THEIR first night was spent In hastily improvised wigwams of branches. According to legend, this first encampment was on an eminence ever since known aa “Fiddler’s Hill.” Pestered by mosquitoes and black flies, they were apparently in low spirits. Besides being under a depressing nostalgia, they were probably appalled at the prospect of ever establishing clearances In that heavilly timbered land. The story is that a young fiddler, Alex Watt, rescued them from despair by playing those melodies that stir the heart. Under his wizardry, pulses ofthe wild music of a race that dwelt unconquered be- yond Hadrian’s WalL The black mood of despair passed and Scotland took root in Dalhousie.
Once established on their clearances, these Scots began, to feel the need of former associations and social contacts. Old habits and customs of clan hospitality asserted themselves. They visited about the settlement in companies. While on these visits they brought with them sufficient food to help the larder of their hosts for no single homestead had more than sufficient for its own requirements. According to a record of an interview with James Park (descendant of a Dalhousie pioneer), they frequently stayed for an evening at the Ross homestead where “his wife, Lily, would make tea, read the Bible, and sing Gaelic songs far into the night”.
Died, at Watson’s Corners on Sunday, Feb. 7, the beloved wife of George Fair, aged 51.
When Marion Agnes Craig was born in 1845 in Lanark, Ontario, her father, Alexander, was 30, and her mother, Agnes, was 24. She married George Fair on August 26, 1870, in her hometown. She died on February 4, 1897, in Lanark, Ontario, at the age of 52, and was buried in Watsons Corners, Ontario. Agnes Craig married George Fair in Lanark, Ontario, on August 26, 1870, when she was 25 years old.
Perth Courier, Feb. 19, 1897
Watson’s Corners: It becomes our sad duty this week to record the death of Mrs. George Fair which took place at her late home on Sabbath morning, 7th inst. After suffering intensely from cancer for months. On December 15 the deceased underwent an operation and had what was supposed to be at the time all the cancer removed but as time went on it was found that her system was full of cancer which eventually caused her death.
Deceased, whose maiden name was Agnes Craig, was born in Dalhousie 51 years ago. Twenty six years ago she married George Fair who survives her and came to live in our village where she has resided ever since with the exception of a few years she spent in Michigan. The deceased was of a kind and loving disposition and made friends with all with whom she came into contact.
During her illness her sufferings were such as pen would fail to describe. Some time previous to the end she called her loved ones to her bedside and bade them a loving farewell telling them she was going to the home prepared for God’s children where there would be no more pain or sorrow.
The funeral on Tuesday was very large the church literally packed while many had to remain outside. Rev. J.A. Leitch preached a very appropriate sermon after which the remains were conveyed to the cemetery and deposited in their last resting place to await the resurrection morning. Deceased was a member of Zion Church, the Ladies Aid Society and Christian Endeavor Society and also a teacher in the Sabbath School.
Mrs George Fair ( Marion Agnes Craig)
4 Feb 1897
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
Cause of Death:
Her husband George Fair was born on October 25, 1830, in New York, USA. He married Agnes Craig on August 26, 1870, in Lanark, Ontario. He died on October 30, 1913, in Palmerston, Ontario, having lived a long life of 83 years, and was buried in Watsons Corners, Ontario.
Her youngest son was accidentally killed in 1901.
George Levi Fair
18 Oct 1901
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
Cause of Death:
Accidentally Shot Died Instanlty
When George Levi Fair was born on April 22, 1886, in Lanark, Ontario, his father, George, was 55 and his mother, Marion Agnes, was 40. He had four siblings. He died as a teenager on October 18, 1901, in Watsons Corners, Ontario, and was buried there.
George Goodson PRETTY of Tatlock, who 79 years ago planted a tree on his farm to recall the visit of the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, marked the most recent royal visit, as seen above. Mr. Pretty is standing nearest the tree on which he has fastened a large framed picture of Queen Victoria. Mr. Pretty is in his 96th year.
From Rolling Lands of Lanark Nonagenarian Greets Royal Party
For almost 96 years George Goodson Pretty has been looking out from his home in the Tatlock section of Darling township to the rocky ramparts beyond, out toward the uplands of Lanark township, a community his pioneer grandsires helped settle when England’s military men were demobilized following the Napoleonic and Peninsular wars.
His father, Daniel Pretty, hailed from Wiltshire, England; his mother, Margaret WARK, from Scotland’s hills, and looking back over the years it seems now that one hundred acres of rough land covered with millions of stones were inadequate compensation and poor gratitude for a lifetime of army service. But military men then knew little of land values and officials who made the allocations apparently cared less.
That farm in Darling, cleared of stone and overburden, is today productive, but the thick fences made from these boulders, picked by both men and women with infinite patience and toil, provide evidence eloquent and abundant of what some of these earliest settlers endured before they had sufficient clearances to grow even potatoes or corn for their own subsistence.
Tribute of a Pioneer
This rugged old veteran, who has never been ill a day in all his 96 years, didn’t see the King and Queen but back on his hundred acres in the seventh concession of Darling township as the drums rolled and pomp and circumstance marked the recent triumphal entry of Their Majesties to the Dominion’s Capital, the aged Mr. Pretty did his best to mark the epochal event. He got out a large picture of Queen Victoria and fastened it to a wide-spreading oak tree that stands in front of his premises. That sheltering tree was proudly planted by him seventy-nine years ago to mark the visit to Canada of another member of the royal family, the Prince of Wales, later His Majesty King Edward VII. Today what was then the tiny sapling with but six tender shoots planted in 1860 is now the most majestic tree on the premises. It is still the “Prince of Wales tree” and somehow one fancies King George VI would have been pleased had he been able to pass by the Pretty farm in Darling’s hinterland and see this living if modest monument erected so long ago in honor of his grandsire by a descendant of him who wore the King’s uniform before Victoria the Good was yet upon England’s throne.
Long Life and Happiness
Asked to ascribe a reason for his remarkable longevity and freedom from the usual ills to which man is heir, Mr. Pretty simply smiled pleasantly and admitted he didn’t know. He has never used tobacco in any form, but he wouldn’t offer that as a reason. He has used liquor sparingly, still makes use of it moderately if he thinks he needs it. He was worked particularly hard all of his life, helped clear the farm on which he dwells, labored long in the lumber camps when lumbermen hereabout found most of their virgin pine in the vicinity of White Lake and Lanark county. He ploughed the rough land with the aid of oxen and he harvested his meager crop with a reaping hook, carrying the hay and grain on two long poles, because in that primitive day there were neither wagons nor hay racks. In fact he remembers distinctly the advent of the first wagon and to his farm came the first binder in all the district. People then walked miles through bush or swale to attend church or they rode on horseback and he muses that folks seemed more anxious in that primitive day to attend these backwoods places of worship than now when motor cars and modern roads have made things so easy.
Women Have No Easy Task
But perhaps Mrs. Pretty offers a solution to her husband’s unusually long life, in fact she accepts a little credit for it. Good plain food, plenty of work, pay as you go and freedom from worry is her answer. And in all of these attributes to happiness and contentment she has been a splendid helpmate, never one to shun the arduous duties of the farm, she helped pick the innumerable boulders in the fields, she assisted in shingling the house and barns, she cut grain with the sickle and she helped spin the yarn out of which the family clothing was made. With it all she was the mother of nine children. She was an EVANS of Ramsay township, Janet EVANS, Mr. Pretty’s second wife, who is twenty years his junior and at the age of 76 still does all her own housework and helps considerable with the endless duties of farm life. “Less divorces and more children” would be her simple philosophy for a world that seems to have gone a little askew.
And this elicited the interesting information that Mr. Pretty was one of fourteen children. That’s almost unheard of in this more advanced era. He is the last of the fourteen and he can reminisce long and interestedly on the evolution of locomotion from the stoneboat to the airplane. His intellect is still keen and he marvels at all the scientific progress he has witnessed. He thinks science has in some respect lessened initiative in the rising generation; in his early days they had to know how to tan a hide, convert it into leather and have it ready when the itinerant shoemaker came into the district “whipping the cat,” a term applied to the wandering maker of the family’s footwear.
Long a Municipal Councillor
For years George Pretty served well as municipal councillor in Darling township, he still manifests an intelligent interest in municipal affairs and in the larger field of politics; one of his treasured missives is a letter received a few days ago from Hon. Dr. Manion bearing felicitations on his long and useful life. But sitting there with him gazing toward the distant hills of what was once historic “Granny Cummings’ Corner”, [Ed. Note: Now called Watson’s Corners] one fancied he was not thinking so much of the fleeting foibles of a wearied world as of this spreading oak planted by him in formative days and with which he has grown old – a lovely tree that mayhap recalled to his mind the subtle lines of a poet:
“I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree;
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray.”
(from an Ottawa
George G. PRETTY Passes On Here in His 101st Year
A life that had spanned a century and was filled with memories of days when Canada was a struggling young nation ended yesterday with the passing of George Goodson PRETTY of Darling township in his 101st year. His death occurred at the home of his son, William PRETTY, 38 Glendale Avenue.
The “grand old man of Darling township” was born in the Tatlock section. That part of the township was settled by his father, Daniel PRETTY of Wiltshire, England, and other pioneers demobilized from England’s armies following the Napoleonic wars. His mother, Margaret WARK, came to Canada from Scotland’s hills. His boyhood was filled with the hard work and healthful living of the farm, one of a family of 12 children. He is the last of that family.
Educationed in that district, Mr. Pretty continued to live on the family homestead and in 1880 he married Agnes BELLAMY of Clayton, Ont. who died three years later. In 1886 he married Janet EVANS, also of Clayton, whose death occurred Feb. 4, 1943. The late Mr. Pretty left his farm soon after and came to Ottawa, where he has resided with his son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. William PRETTY, ever since.
For years he served his community well as municipal councilor in Darling township and was also a school trustee. Even after he ceased taking an active part in these things he continued his keen interest in them and in the larger field of politics. One of his treasures was a letter from the late Hon. Dr. R. J. Manion bearing felicitations on his long and useful life. When the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, paid a visit to Canada in 1860, Mr. Pretty planted an oak tree on his farm to commemorate the event. When King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited Canada, Mr. Pretty was not able to see them but he got out a picture of Queen Victoria and hung it on the tree which had grown to sturdy proportions, in an observance of the great event.
A man of genial personality and splendid character, Mr. Pretty never used tobacco in any form but he did use liquor sparingly, he told a reporter when last interviewed. He was proud of the hard work he had done during his long life. He had helped clear the land on his farm, labored long in lumber camps when lumbermen thereabout found most of their virgin pine in the vicinity of White Lake and in Lanark county. He ploughed the rough land with oxen and harvested his meager crop with a reaping hook. He saw the first wagon in that district and to his farm came the first binder. He walked or rode horseback for miles to attend church. The farm he labored so hard to build up is still in family hands. His son, Aldon, resides on it.
Surviving, in addition to Aldon and William, are four other sons, Ellwood G. PRETTY of Ashton; R. Preston PRETTY of Chicago; George A. PRETTY of Clayton, and James E. PRETTY of Carleton Place; three daughters, Mrs. Joshua SCOTT of Renfrew, Mrs. Dorcas COUR of Kansas City, Mo., and Mrs. William TRAIL of Lanark; seventeen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, several nephews and nieces; three sister-in-laws, Mrs. Lewis PRESCOTT of Smiths Falls, Mrs. Kate YOUNG of Western Canada, and Mrs. Richard EVANS of Kemptville.
The body is resting at Young’s undertaking parlors, Lanark, from where the funeral will be held to Guthrie United Church, Clayton, on Friday for service at 2 p.m. Burial will be in Clayton cemetery.
I have written stories about Fiddler’s Hill yet I had never seen it before. I guess I had this romantic vision of this hill on the 3rd concession of Dalhousie of a fiddler named Alexander Watt keeping the settler’s safe that night from the wolves. Not only did he fiddle for safety but everyone knew the land was scarcely usable for agriculture. Seeing the vast expanse of untamed wilderness ahead of them from the top of the hill, they became discouraged. They did press on the next day, and came to another hill the following night where some settled and founded the community of Watson’s Corners, visible in the distance from this hill. Fiddler’s Hill— Where the Green Grass Doesn’t Grow in Lanark
So when Jennifer Ferris turned the corner off the highway she said,”|Oh by the way this is Fiddler’s Hill!” I said, “What?”
It is definitely a hill when you coast down the hill away from it or drive back up– but it was not what I was expecting. But still another thing off my bucket list.
I found this very tragic story about Fiddler’s Hill.. but there is so much love I put it here for posterity
St. James Church, located at Hood, Ont., was built around 1860, located at lot 16, concession 3, Dalhousie Township.
This church is no longer being used.
Robert “Wild Bob” Ferguson
1866 – 1889
Buried in the Ferguson Cemetery, Dalhousie Township
Friday August 23, 1889 The Perth Courier
Tragedy at Calabogie Lake Fatal Row Between Two River Drivers The Inquest
Kingston Ont., August 15 – “I’ll fight that fellow or I will be in hell tonight.” These were the remarks of an enraged river man in the village of Madawaska on Tuesday night. About eight o’clock he was shot and after great agony died yesterday about 11 o’clock . It was Edward McLaughlin, river driver, who shot Robert Ferguson and killed him.
Madawaska is a small village in the Kingston and Pembroke railway, fourteen miles from Renfrew. Both men were employed at High Falls by E. B. Eddy, Hull Que. On Tuesday Ferguson and McLaughlin went down from High Falls to Madawaska, and were soon intoxicated. Ferguson, ugly when in his cups, interchanged some blows with McLaughlin, but they were speedily separated. Ferguson, however, was not satisfied, he was most violent in his threats. The blustering river driver could not be pacified. Read the rest here– CLICK—The Story of Wild Bob Ferguson of Dalhousie Township
Deep in Lanark County, in the township of Dalhousie, Pollock and Dora McDougall’s rose garden was the talk of the area. Located a hop, skip , and a jump near Watson’s Corners 100’s of tourists used to visit this rose garden each year. In 1973 there were 415 rose bushes and McDougall decided to specialize in Peace Roses and all were said to be of exhibition quality.––Paradise in Hopetown
In the end I never found Wilson’s Corners where the McDougall House was –Posted on October 23, 2017
Until today June 7th, 2020– a few years later-– Today, Jennifer Ferris drove me to see the former McDougall property. There was nary a rose bush 47 years later–instead it was overgrown, but they did have a lovely garden and they were growing hops.
Dozens of farmers in the Canadian province of Ontario dove into growing hops in recent years, encouraged by an explosion of local craft breweries. Hops are an incredibly difficult crop to grow. To do it very well, you really need to babysit it as it’s a very assertive plant. I wonder what this place will look like in another 47 years.
As the 1800’s turned into the 1900’s, Americans became enamoured with a revivalist movement and people like the local Deacon brothers became laymen with an evangelistic movement that spread faith to the non-religious population. They began with the Christian Endeavor group and one of the brothers became a lay reader in the Carleton Place United Church. There was no mention what happened to the other brother and it looks like they separated as Thomas moved in with his widowed sister.
Although ministers were always in attendance, laymen conducted evangelical prayer sessions, consisting of hymns, prayers, and the reading of Scripture. Comments were solicited from the crowd, but they were not to exceed three minutes or a bell would sound. No donations were sought at these meetings, nor were any participants requested to join any particular church.
February 13, 1897
Watson’s Corners–The Deachman brothers have been holding gospel meetings at Warsaw for the last two weeks with marked success. The church is crowded every night. God is blessing their labors with His servants’ many souls being turned from darkness to light.
Perth Courier, April 1892
Mr. Thomas Deachman assisted the Christian Endeavor here in Watson’s Corners on Monday evening of last week. He also held meetings during the remainder of the
week, which were fairly attended, considering the bad conditions of the road.
They never mentioned Thomas’s wife so he lived with his widowed sister by the looks of the 1921 census. Malcom moved to Toronto and married there.
Name: Thomas Deachman Gender:Male Marital Status:Single Age:59 Birth Year:abt 1862 Birth Place:Ontario Relation to Head of House:Brother Father Birth Place:Ontario Mother Birth Place:Ontario Racial or Tribal Origin:English Province or Territory:Ontario District:Lanark District Number:97 Sub-District:Carleton Place (Town) Sub-District Number:47 City, Town or Village:Town of Carleton Place Street or Township:Flow St Municipality:Carleton Place Occupation:Carpenter Income:1200 Neighbors:View others on page Household Members: NameAge Sarha Deachman53 Malcolm Deachman16 Thomas Deachman59
Name: Sarha Deachman [Sarah Deachman] Gender:Female Marital Status:Widowed Age:53 Birth Year:abt 1868 Birth Place:Ontario Relation to Head of House:Head Father Birth Place:Ontario Mother Birth Place:Ireland Racial or Tribal Origin:English Province or Territory:Ontario District:Lanark District Number:97 Sub-District:Carleton Place (Town) Sub-District Number:47 City, Town or Village:Town of Carleton Place Street or Township:Flow St Municipality:Carleton Place Neighbors:View others on page Household Members: NameAge Sarha Deachman53 Malcolm Deachman16 Thomas Deachman59
Name: Malcolm Deachman
Gender: Male Marital Status:Single Age:16 Birth Year:abt 1905 Birth Place:Ontario Relation to Head of House:Son Father Birth Place:Ontario Mother’s name:Sarha Deachman Mother Birth Place:Ontario Racial or Tribal Origin:English Province or Territory:Ontario District:Lanark District Number:97 Sub-District:Carleton Place (Town) Sub-District Number:47 City, Town or Village:Town of Carleton Place Street or Township:Flow St Municipality:Carleton Place Occupation:Clerk Income:700 Neighbors:View others on page Household Members: NameAge Sarha Deachman53 Malcolm Deachman16 Thomas Deachman59
I always question where is where and people have to help me out. Thanks to the school books from Doris Blackburn we have this great map of reference where we know which lake or body of water is where in Lanark County.