Tag Archives: Divorce

When the Skeletons Finally Come Out of the Closet “D-I-V-O-R-C-E”

When the Skeletons Finally Come Out of the Closet “D-I-V-O-R-C-E”

My grandmother on the maternal side was Gladys Ethelyn Griffin Crittenden. She was born and grew up in Laconia, Belnap New Hampshire. She married my Grandfather George Crittenden in 1917 in Montreal and had my mother in 1929. She died at the age of 39 and no mention of her daughter was mentioned in her obit.

The Gazette
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
15 Apr 1935, Mon  •  Page 7

When I was a child I heard whispers that I am sure children were not supposed to hear. I knew my Grandfather had a few women that were not my Grandmothers, but one was not supposed to talk about things like that. For years I wondered why the name Cecile was said with a horrified face.

One day at a 10 am Church service I was sitting with my grandmother in our usual pew when someone with heavy perfume tapped my grandmother on the shoulder. My grandmother quickly looked at me in horror and her lips became pursed. The strange woman waved to me and my grandmother clutched my hand very quickly and told me not to speak to her.

Well, I thought, here we are in a place of God and my grandmother is not being too neighbourly. The church service ended and we left quickly. It did not stop the lady and she followed quickly behind us. In fact, she followed us all the way home, and into the verandah where she sat down on one of the chairs. My grandmother instructed me to go into the kitchen while she talked to this woman.

The woman quickly vanished after my grandmother spoke to her and I don’t think I ever saw her again. My grandfather had just passed away in Seattle and apparently it had something to do with that. My grandmother said she wanted money and expected to be in the will as she was “Cecile”. I never found out who “Cecile” really was until today. I just assumed that she was one of my grandfather’s former girlfriends.

My mother from the ages of 14-18 was in the Ste Agathe Sanitarium because she had tuberculosis and had one lung removed. I heard the stories many times about my Grandfather’s wife that had burned all my mother’s things and sold her piano because she had convinced my grandfather that my mother was coming back. But was that true? When my mother was released she never did go back to Park Extension in Montreal, and instead went to Cowansville, Quebec to work at Bruck Mills.

Apparently my mother not coming home and being an only child caused a rift between my grandfather and Cecile and the marriage went south. Really south.There was no uniform federal divorce law in Canada until 1968 and this was the very early 50s. Instead, there was a patch-work of divorce laws in the different provinces, depending on the laws in force in each province at the time it joined Confederation. In Quebec, the Civil Code of Lower Canada declared that “Marriage can only be dissolved by the natural death of one of the parties; while both live it is indissoluble”.

The English Matrimonial Causes Act 1857 provided that a husband could sue on grounds of adultery alone, but a wife would have to allege adultery together with other grounds.The only way for an individual to get divorced in the provinces where there was no divorce law—as well as in cases where the domicile of the parties was unclear—was to apply to the federal Parliament for a private bill of divorce. These bills were primarily handled by the Senate of Canada where a special committee would undertake an investigation of a request for a divorce. If the committee found that the request had merit, the marriage would be dissolved by an Act of Parliament.

So today, I found out that my Grandfather had to apply to Parliament for a divorce on the grounds of adultery.

Montreal, Quebec, Canada
30 Jun 1953, Tue  •  Page 24

Of George Arthur Crittenden, of Montreal, Quebec; praying for the passage of an Act to dissolve his marriage with Cecile David Crittenden. 1953 November

MONDAY, 7th December, 1953. The Standing Committee on Divorce beg leave to make their one hundred and twentieth Report, as follows:- 1. With respect to the petition of George Arthur Crittenden, of the city of Montreal, in the province of Quebec, clerk, for an Act to dissolve his marriage with Cecile David Crittenden, the Committee find that the requirements of the Rules of the Senate have been complied with in all material respects. 2. The Committee recommend the passage of an Act to dissolve the said marriage. All which is respectfully submitted. W. M. ASELTINE, Acting Chairman.

Crittenden. George Arthur Petition, 40; reported, 125; adopted, 136. Bill (N-4)-lst, 2nd and/3rd, 153-154. Passage by Corns., 245. Message, 246. R.A., 279. Ch. 161.

So I am assuming it was easier for a man to get a divorce from his wife in those days and since adultery was the only way to get a divorce– the woman had to suck it up.

So, maybe the story was all wrong from the beginning and I am starting to give Cecile the benefit of the doubt even though she was not kind to my mother. Maybe she did have an agreement with my grandfather that he said: ‘ If I get this divorce using you as the ‘ bad guy” I will leave you something in my will”.

Quebec has been slow on giving civil rights to married women: until 1954, a married woman was legally listed as “incapable of contracting”, together with minors, “interdicted persons”, “persons insane or suffering a temporary derangement of intellect … or who by reason of weakness of understanding are unable to give a valid consent”, and “persons who are affected by civil degradation”

The removal of the married woman from this list, however, did little to improve her legal situation, due to marriage laws which restricted her rights and gave the husband legal authority over her: legal incapacity was still the general rule until 1964. A woman did not have equal rights with her husband regarding children until 1977.

So why else would she have turned up after he had passed away 20 years later– had not something been promised to her for a facility in the divorce. After all- she was labelled the bad guy in family stories.

I guess we will never know now, but now I know the rest of the story.

Park Extension Montreal


Did you know?

It has been argued that one of the explanations for the current high rates of cohabitation in Quebec is that the traditionally strong social control of the church and the Catholic doctrine over people’s private relations and sexual morality, resulting in conservative marriage legislation and resistance to legal change, has led the population to rebel against traditional and conservative social values and avoid marriage altogether. Since 1995, the majority of births in Quebec are outside of marriage; as of 2015, 63% of births were outside of marriage.

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Patriotic Stink Bugs Celebrating the 4th of July as an Ameri-Canadian Child

Is it all Relative? Linda Knight Seccaspina

I Am Who I am Because of You

My Name is Bernice — A Letter to a Daughter

The Old Church in Island Brook That Needs a Home

What Do You Do if You Just Can’t Walk Right In?

We Are Family

The Summer of 1964

Did They Try to Run the World?

Till Death Do Us Part in Lanark County?

Till Death Do Us Part in Lanark County?


(stock photo of a “happy” wedding)

On Friday I wrote two stories about local women and their dilemmas coping with life in early Lanark County. When I was reading Glenn Lockwood’s book on Beckwith this weekend he wrote that it was basically religious social control that attempted to shield women from scorn in that early society.

Local women were controlled to such a point that young women such as Dorah Smith from Carleton Place, who arrived in Canada as a orphan had to obtain a guardian to give their consent before she could marry. Home became the centre of virtue and the proper life for women and it was a matter of fact that one must be married by twenty-one, and expected to begin having children immediately. Those that did not marry were regarded as social failures and treated with pity and contempt.

I have published many Perth Courier ads that were in newspapers of engagements gone sour, not only because they found their future partner undesirable, but more so that their future partner might be a little lighter in the purse. This factor might guarantee their quality of life might go down a notch or two, and that might be not advantageous to either party. Seeing passion, lust and love were way down on the food chain one has to wonder how happy some were in marriage.

It was duty first, owning land and happiness later, and children were not exempt in these rules. Disobedient son?  You might want to think once or twice about that as another brother might inherit what was supposed to be coming your way. What you owned became a status symbol, and homes and property remained in the family for generations. It was important until about the mid 1900s that property remain in the family. In fact,  land could not be sold or mortgaged unless it was within the family.

I often thought it was strange that when my Grandfather died he had strong stipulations in his will and my father continued the same tradition. When my Dad died neither my sister or I could only share his estate until she turned 31. Disputes between siblings separated families. Between 1828 and 1851 only a fraction of wills left property to the wife, and wills that left property to their wives would only remain valid as long as they remained unmarried.

Married women were barred from making contracts, appearing as witnesses in court, and initiating lawsuits. A wife’s legal personality was subsumed under her husband’s and all her property automatically became her husband’s. Even if she had her own land, her husband received the income from it as she had no legal rights. Similar to the  court case between  Beckwith residents Selina Drummond and her husband, law mostly removed itself from marital relations.


Bathurst Courier, March, 1838

Notice, my wife Christian McQuarrie having left my bed and board for no just cause I hereby forbid any person from harboring her as I will pay no debits contracted by her on my account.  Daniel McQuarrie

Bathurst Courier, April 13, 1838

Notice, the subscriber forbids any person harboring or trusting his wife Betsey Markey (?) Mankey (?) Minielly, as she has left his bed and board without any just cause.  W. Minnielly, Elmsley

Bathurst Courier, June 1, 1838


Notice, Elizabeth Youll, my wife, having left my bed and board without any just cause, I prohibit any person from giving her credit in my name as I will not pay any such debt.  James Youll

Notice, Janet Anderson, my wife, having left my bed and board without any just cause, I prohibit any person from giving her credit in my name as I will not pay any such debt.  Joseph Anderson

Bathurst Courier August 9, 1839

Notice, my wife Bridget Connel Kenny having left my bed and board without any just cause I hereby forbid any person from harboring her on my account as I will pay no debts of her contracting after this date. John Kenny

As my wife Ann Horton McIntyre has left my bed and board for no just cause I hereby forbid any person from harboring her on my account as I will pay no debts contracted by her.  Peter McIntyre

Perth Courier, April 7, 1871

Caution—Whereas my wife, Elizabeth Ann Geary, has left my bed and board without any just cause or provocation, the public will hereby be cautioned against giving her any credit on my account.  George Geary, Bathurst


Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.





Taming of the Beckwith Shrew?

A Smith’s Falls “Frustrated Young Love’s Dream” Purdy vs Lenahan


Going to the Chapel? Hold on– Not so Fast!

Another Episode in Spinsterdom–The Armour Sisters of Perth

She Came Back! A Ghost Divorce Story

Slander You Say in Hopetown? Divorce in Rosetta?

Go Ask Alice – The Saga of a Personal Ad Divorce



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Taming of the Beckwith Shrew?

Taming of the Beckwith Shrew?




In December of 1915, the wife of a Beckwith farmer failed in her attempt to get alimony for domestic infelicity. I didn’t know what the infelicity meant so I looked it up and it means: something (such as a word or phrase) that is infelicitous or bottom line:  the quality or state of being unhappy; unhappiness. Okay she was really unhappy since they married on April 2 1912 in Carleton Place.

It seems James Thomas Drummond and his wife Selina (maiden name Fender or Fenders) were really unhappy and a court case for alimony lasted almost a complete day in the Supreme Court of Ontario because she was that miserable.


Screenshot 2017-06-23 at 12


Selina said her husband 37 year-old Thomas Drummond was a pain in the derriere and she was ruled in her own home by her husband and his mother.  Apparently, the conditions of their home were so unsanitary (livestock was mentioned) that her health had been endangered. The husband brought some of the local neighbours to testify at the court hearing as his witnesses. One of the them, Mrs. Robertson, said Selina was lying, and while she was nursing Mrs. Drummond she saw nothing of the sort. The aged witness said if anything it was Selina who had issues, and she would use profane language against her husband and was certainly not kind to him.

Counsel to 37 year-old Selina Drummond asked Mrs. Robertson why she had told Selina that her husband had killed his first wife and he was going to do his best to kill her. Mrs. Robertson became angry and said she had never said anything of the kind. At various times it was proven that similar to Bossin’ Billy of Beckwith that she would leave the home and go to her sister-in-laws to cry and complain about her husband. Judge Chute agreed that a placement or an addition of an extra bed in a bedroom was nothing to quarrel about. That bed would be his mothers of course.

The sister-in-law had turned on a dime in court it seems, saying only that Selina just wanted to boss her family around and her husband was nothing short of an angel. Both sister-in-law Mrs. Harrison and husband James Drummond denied that he not had pulled Selina around the yard by her hair. In fact, he said angrily, Selina disappeared sometimes for weeks on end and he had to send for the Carleton Place police to bring her home. He did admit however that he had sworn at her when she provoked him.

Judge Clute said it was one of the most disgusting cases he had heard because of the language and was ashamed he had to listen to both sides.  In searching the archives I can find no further records- only that Selina received no alimony as requested. Not even a gravestone of either of them.



Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.




Selena Fender Or Fenders

Mentioned in the record of James Thomas Drummond and Selena Fender Or Fenders
Name James Thomas Drummond
Event Type Marriage
Event Date 02 Apr 1912
Event Place Carleton Place, Lanark, Ontario, Canada
Gender Male
Age 34
Birth Year (Estimated) 1878
Father’s Name Russell Drummond
Mother’s Name Mary Elizabeth Lowe
Spouse’s Name Selena Fender Or Fenders
Spouse’s Gender Female
Spouse’s Age 34
Spouse’s Birth Year (Estimated) 1878
Spouse’s Father’s Name Andrew Lowe
Spouse’s Mother’s Name Sarah Jane Dowdall



Going to the Chapel? Hold on– Not so Fast!

Another Episode in Spinsterdom–The Armour Sisters of Perth

She Came Back! A Ghost Divorce Story

Slander You Say in Hopetown? Divorce in Rosetta?

Go Ask Alice – The Saga of a Personal Ad Divorce


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She Came Back! A Ghost Divorce Story

She Came Back! A Ghost Divorce Story


A True Story from the Newspaper Archives 1897

When Miss Rippledeane married Mr. Baldwin in 1897 he was a widower. The marriage hit the skids pretty quickly and Mrs. Baldwin brought suit for divorce. It must have baffled the lawyers and judge as the grounds was because a ghost of former Mrs. Baldwin, his first wife, insisted on still jointly sharing the house and interfering with their matrimonial happiness in spirit.

Mrs. Baldwin insisted she was once a cheerful healthful woman, and now she was in a nervous frame of mind altogether owing to the ghostly persecutions of her husband’s former wife.

Apparently the former missus was waiting for the new missus the day they got married and the new bride saw her standing in the doorway dressed in white waiting for the new couple. The new Mrs. Baldwin asked her new husband who the lady was and he said he saw nothing of the sort. She thought he was jesting and upon giving the description of the ghostly vision the maidservant gave way to emotion declaring it was none other than the dead wife herself, Rosamond Baldwin.

Since that initial encounter the ghost followed her wherever she went, pinching her, pulling her hair, and causing her to cry out in front of guests. To collect further evidence she called for her sister Miss Anna Rippledeane to come visit, not telling her that the former Mrs. Baldwin was still calling her former residence home. One day Anna screamed in fright insisting that she too saw the lady in white. She made her new brother-in-law search for the ghost under the bed, which was futile.

In Mrs. Baldwin’s suit she claimed she once overheard her husband begging: “Rosamond please go away and leave him in peace”. Upon being interviewed Mr. Baldwin refused to speak about the incident. But, the divorce suit was brought forward and will determine whether Mrs. Baldwin is entitled to a divorce and whether Mr. Baldwin is creating bigamy by having one under the quick and even the dead.  if the divorce has granted Mr. Baldwin has assured his current wife that he will not marry again.




Another sad Baldwin Tale




Clipped from The Inter Ocean26 Apr 1889, FriPage 7


Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)





To Be Manic Depressive in a Rural Town — Kingston Insane Asylum

The Insane Spinster Ghost of Appleton Ontario

Embroidery of the Insane?

An Unusual Sale —-Selling Your Wife?




Almonte Gazette 1882

One day last week a  man in Ottawa whose marital relations were not of the most pleasant kind resolved to save the expense of an Act of Parliament to sever the marriage tie and sold his wife to a young man in the Pontiac for ten dollars. Now the purchaser has been advised that he is heir to several thousand dollars in England. Moral: Purchase a wife if you want a fortune.



wife sell ipn 21 oct 99

The English custom of wife selling largely began in the late 17th century when divorce was a practical impossibility for all but the very wealthy. In the ritualized form, after parading his wife with a halter around her neck, arm, or waist, a husband would publicly auction her to the highest bidder. Although the custom had no basis in law and frequently resulted in prosecution, particularly from the mid-19th century onwards, the attitude of the authorities was equivocal.


At least one early 19th-century magistrate is on record as stating that he did not believe he had the right to prevent wife sales, and there were cases of local Poor Law Commissioners forcing husbands to sell their wives, rather than having to maintain the family in workhouses. The English custom of wife selling spread to Wales, Scotland, Australia, and the United States before dying out in the early 20th century.

Paint Your Wagon was reality!




I Found My Email Address on the Ashley Madison Website


Yesterday I read an article in a major local newspaper about one of their reporters finding his name on the Canadian-founded Ashley Madison dating site. Apparently, they even had the newspapers email address for his contact information. The reporter could not figure out how they got it. Right–well I know why–because one of my long lost email addresses is also on that same list.

I signed up a few years ago with very little information and no credit card info to write a story I was doing for Open Salon. But then again, I was also on farmersonly.com and dateazombie.com for a short period of time also doing research. Please note, I take my writing very seriously and am fearless when I write a story. Even though I requested they remove my name from Ashley Madison’s email list three days after the story was written; (and never heard from them again) the email address is still there. Let that be a lesson, if you have something to hide, your history is never wiped clean on the internet.

So now that the cat is out of the bag—one only has to ask what self-righteous, morality-policing, “sin”-protesting preachers, politicians, and hypocrites will be on this list? Better entertainment could hardly be imagined! Do we really care if other people are having an affair? Who is anyone to judge? Some people are going to be shocked when they find out both their husband and wife are on the site!

Why don’t these “internet Robin Hoods” do something useful? Clear some debts, give us higher credit scores, give someone an A on their finals. Apparently, customers are very hurt that these hackers would betray their trust and loyalty by revealing such information. Well honey, the karma train has just rolled into the station. Why would you blast all your info on a website during a day and age when everything is easily leaked and hacked? When you sign up, you are taking that risk–it’s common sense. No pity for those who lead their lives with hormones and sex drives.

Thirty-five and a half MILLION users worldwide. Should we call this hacking terrorism? People aren’t breaking the law by using this site or owning these sites. The hackers are breaking the law because they disagree with the sites’ owners and content. As I found out when I was researching the site- it was nothing but a cesspool. I was actually appalled at some of the stuff I saw, and it takes a lot to shake my apple tree.

Did some of these users begin to see themselves making a bad mistake, walk back from the brink and have a new appreciation for their S/O? A straying mind, temporary marital strife, lack of perspective and too much free time could have landed many people signing up for the site before realizing it was a mistake. Many of those people will now be outed – and their lives potentially ruined. And they say gay marriage is hurting the institution of heterosexual marriage?

Cheating is morally wrong – but it isn’t illegal. It is grounds for divorce- but we will never know the back story of every person being outed and why they were on the site. But again, in reality, it was, and always will be cheating. The new motto is: if you were not on Ashley Madison, you don’t have to worry. If you were, get a divorce attorney if you can’t work things out. I am personally hoping Charlie Sheen will say it was him, take the rap, and everyone will just move on with their lives.

If you don’t want someone to find out what you are doing, don’t do it. If you’re dumb enough to cheat via a website and think you’re infallible, then you deserve it. Don’t have an affair then. Especially via the internet.

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place


Go Ask Alice – The Saga of a Personal Ad Divorce


                This is a true story about someone that was near and dear to me

Alice read the personal ads that had been thrown down on the floor by the bed. She knew that Bob’s mind was living somewhere else these days besides inside their 2 story home. Putting on her glasses she slowly began to read them until one grabbed her by the throat and did not let go.

“Attractive athletic guy with a fun down to earth personality and married seeking an attractive married lady in my same or similar situation. I am not looking for a divorce or to be a home wrecker only looking for an attractive married lady who understands that I am NOT available to go out on weekends and usual times that people date.”

 It seemed that was her husband and his very organized life had allotted no tom foolery on the weekends as they practically lived at the country club. God forbid he lose his social status on his way up the society ladder.

Night after night after she had read that very first personal ad, he failed to come home after work until almost dawn. Alice listened to excuse after excuse until one day she could take no more. She filed for divorce and threw him out of the home that she would ultimately lose six months later because she could not pay the mortgage. He continued to send her emails screaming of the love he still had for her along with missing his beloved home. Bob continued to speak about his needs and wants in the personal ads and one day she read the following and again knew it was him.

Losing these (.) (.) in the Divorce

Yep, we are losing the house, she took the car, our credit is in the toilet and all I miss about her is the TWINS – those luscious 40DD beauties.


After she read that she was disgusted she had lost so many years with him as it was obvious he only seemed to miss her boobs. Bob continued to drag the paperwork and the lawyers were costing more than anything they had ever saved. Alice was now living with her mother at the age of 41 and each day crawled by with emails from lawyers and more delays. Finally Bob promised her an ending if she gave him some first edition books that he wanted. Alice agreed as she would sell her soul to put an end to this dragging divorce.

She dressed that day with care in hopes of finally celebrating the end of a relationship with someone she now hated. Alice sat down on one side of the table and he sat on the other. The piercing dark looks they exchanged said it all. He wanted more and demanded the only thing she now had left. If she gave him her car then and only then would he would finalize the divorce. Alice was in a rage as she walked down 23 flights of stairs and wondered what she had initially seen in him.

The next day as she glanced at the personal ads she read the following:

Today in Divorce Court on the 23rd floor.

This is a long shot but I’ll give it a try. You were on the 23rd Floor today of the 175 Smith Building in Divorce Court at 1:30pm. I was wearing a black long sleeve shirt with the cuffs rolled-up and jeans. We glanced at each other a few times…but it’s an awkward place to approach someone. If you had blonde hair and were wearing a short black dress please contact me.

With that Alice started to draw and did not stop until she finished. She scanned the cartoon and emailed it to the newspaper. The next day she opened her paper to the personal ads and started to smile. She suddenly felt in charge of a situation that had gone so very wrong.

“Bob Reggie- remember us years ago?”


“I gave you everything I had, you decided to build a steamroller and run over me. It’s been 2 years since we’ve lived together, and over 6 months since we’ve seen each other. Finish the damn divorce paperwork, please.”

And he did..

Robin Thicke and Paula Patton Separating? Say it Ain’t So! – Zoomer



Robin Thicke and Paula Patton Separating? Say it Ain’t So! – Zoomer.