Tag Archives: dr. preston

Mechanic Girl — Lanark County’s Pacer

Mechanic Girl — Lanark County’s Pacer
The Gazette
Montreal, Quebec, Quebec, Canada
08 Dec 1892, Thu  •  Page 8
The Gazette
Montreal, Quebec, Quebec, Canada
09 Mar 1893, Thu  •  Page 8
The Gazette
Montreal, Quebec, Quebec, Canada
03 Feb 1893, Fri  •  Page 8

So I looked and looked for the Jacques Cartier thinking it was a race track.. and no it was a special race at Blue Bonnets.. DUH!.

The Blue Bonnets Raceway (later named Hippodrome de Montréal) was a horse racing track and casino in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It closed on October 13, 2009, after 137 years of operation.
Demolition of the site began in mid-2018, after sitting abandoned and derelict for nearly a decade

In 1872, the Blue Bonnets Raceway for thoroughbred horse racing opened on the Jos. Decary farm in the easternmost part of the Blue Bonnets community, now Montreal West. In 1886, the Ontario and Quebec Railway (a company controlled by the Canadian Pacific Railway) cut the raceway in half. In 1905, John F. Ryan founded the Jockey Club of Montreal which on June 4, 1907, opened a new Blue Bonnets Raceway on Decarie Boulevard. In 1958, Jean-Louis Levesque built a multi-million-dollar clubhouse for the Blue Bonnets Raceway and by 1961, it began to challenge the preeminence of the Ontario racing industry. From 1961 and 1975, the Raceway was home to the Quebec Derby, an annual horse race conceived by Levesque.

 La maison Joseph-Décary, avenue de Vendôme in Dorval

So what happened to Mechanic Girl? You would not believe this, but the pacer horse that was bought by Mr. Kelly of Almonte ( actually it was Dr. Kelly) The Doctors of Almonte … In the First Half of the Century – John King Kelly — Almonte Gazette — John Dunn made her way back to Lanark County. Mechanic Girl was bought back to one of the Carleton Place horse enthusiasts–Dr. Preston and George Burgess as Dr. Kelly and Dr. Preston were friends. She ended her days in Carleton Place. –

More Notes about the Mysterious Arklan Farm

Let’s Go Racing Boys with Nellie Sharper and Alex Hunter from Carleton Place

We’re Goin’ Racin’ Boys on High Street

Tippins — Perth– Just Wanted to Keep His Horse Warm?

Let’s go Racing Boys — J. A. Brunton –Where was This Sign?

More Notes about the Mysterious Arklan Farm

When I Say Whoa–I Mean Whoa–The Dairy Horse

Uncle Johnnie Erskine and Stewart Ferguson by Tom Edwards

The Horses of Carleton Place– Wonder if they ever had a Merlin?

Ride a Horse Save a Cowboy

Findlay vs. Bailey in Carleton Place —Horses vs. Cars

The Horseshoe Sinkhole Bridge? Mysteries of Lanark County

Name These Lanark County Horseshoe Honeys!

Wild Horses Could Not Drag Me Away

You’ve Got Trouble in Franktown-Dead Horses and Wives

A Horse is a Horse of Course– Of Course—Angus McFarlane

Buggies Horses and Accidents

Let’s Go Racing Boys with Nellie Sharper and Alex Hunter from Carleton Place

Let’s Go Racing Boys with Nellie Sharper and Alex Hunter from Carleton Place





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lipped from The Ottawa Journal,  26 Jan 1898, Wed,  Page 6

Nellie Sharper was the horse to beat and was initially owned by Dr. Preston of Carleton Place. Alex Hunter rode her and in her last years he owned Nellie outright. Unfortunately, in February 3, 1899 Nellie was scratched from a race at Landsdowne in Ottawa and was sent back to Carleton Place as she was no longer in good shape to race.

Alex Hunter’s father was Sandy Hunter, with a mustache like the handlebars of a bicycle and was in usual good humor, taking in the cash as long as there were customers in sight.  In 1881 and 1882 charcoal was made by Sandy Hunter, a blacksmith in Carleton Place, first for his own use in his blacksmith shop to shrink the wagon tires on the wood felloes of the large six foot wheels of the dump carts used by the Boyd Caldwell and Peter McLaren lumber firms.  His sons Alex and Lorenzo Hunter followed in their father’s footsteps and continued this enterprise from a commercial standpoint for some time. The balance of the charcoal pit products I have talked (The Old Charcoal BBQ Pits in Carleton Place) about were stored in the old barn where his son Alex Hunter had his livery stable, at the rear of the old Metcafe property (between Bridge and Water Streets).

Alex Hunter had a large livery stable in Carleton Place with many horses known by such names as Swayback Charlie, Black Rat-tail, and Old Buckskin.  He made the horses work night and day, drawing wood in the daytime and human freight at night.  He was the same tall, sandy-haired horseman who owned and drove Little Vic at the ice meets in Ottawa and also Nellie Sharper.  Later he operated the former Metcalfe House, which he bought from Joe Wilson.  He owned a hotel in Ottawa afterwards, on Clarence Street down on the market square, the Grand Central Hotel.





 - , A GREAT CARD - . To-iporrow To-iporrow...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  11 Feb 1897, Thu,  Page 6




 - A RECORD MILE i . Was Made On The Ice Track on...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  10 Jan 1898, Mon,  Page 6

 - ., . r The races In Montreal were not finished...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  07 Feb 1898, Mon,  Page 7


 - Nellie Sharper Victory Protested De-cause...

Clipped from Democrat and Chronicle,  13 Jul 1898, Wed,  Page 11


 - Last Day at Hornellsvilie Provided Several...

Clipped from The Buffalo Enquirer,  16 Jul 1898, Sat,  Page 6


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.



Uncle Johnnie Erskine and Stewart Ferguson by Tom Edwards

More Notes about the Mysterious Arklan Farm

You’ve Got Trouble in Franktown-Dead Horses and Wives

A Horse is a Horse of Course– Of Course—Angus McFarlane

Buggies Horses and Accidents

Wild Horses Could Not Drag Me Away

The Horses of Carleton Place– Wonder if they ever had a Merlin?

Ride a Horse Save a Cowboy

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The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
02 Feb 1898, Wed  •  Page 1

More Notes about the Mysterious Arklan Farm


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Arklan Farm from Public Archives

Along with Dr. Howard and a few other personalities in Carleton Place- Arklan Farm is on my bucket list of finding out interesting tidbits. Here is some more things I found today.



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Ottawa Journal June 1 1889

Through the years George Burgess had bought bits of pieces of land until he accumulated over 200 acres and began what he called: “an industrial or model farm of his own called Arklan”. In June of 1889  Mr. Burgess was noted in the Ottawa Journal for his stock of Jersey Cows and every October he would have an auction for jersey cattle and the folks would come for miles.

On Arklan Island he had  a sawmill where he cut all the lumber for building and fencing. Burgess also had a stable with some thirty head of cattle of very choice stock. He was also a horse enthusiast and along with Carleton Place’s very own Dr. Preston had an interest in  the “colt stake” and Arklan was also home to Dr. Preston’s trotters and thoroughbreds.  It was said there was no finer group of horse flesh than right in Carleton Place. He  told the journal he was surrounding his farm with wire fence and planting both maple and elm trees.



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October 1900- Note: Arklan Farm is only ten minutes walk from town.:) Ottawa Journal




Ottawa Journal January 1910


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In 1912 he tried to sell Arklan Farm with J. T. Devlin as the auctioneer.

“The sale at Arklan on Monday gave astonishment to Mr. Burgess—it exceeded his calculations, the crowd was the biggest at any sale in years– tramp tramp a tramp, the farmers are marching all morning. At noon the multitude was served refreshments bearing the genuine Burgess signet, which is the seal of supremacy. Mr. Devlin rang up his voice at 10 am and did not stop until 5 pm.

The Arklan Farm nor the Doherty farm did not get a bidder, but the Hillside domain went over to Mr. C. F. Burgess. All the minor stuff advertised was sold at good prices, a vast quantity of machinery, harness, wagons, etc., cattle, and so on— with a sense of relief going wave like over the soul of the owner as he saw the encumbrances moving off in glad hands. Burgess still had enough equipment to make the Arklan and Doherty farms earn their living in good shape”.  April 12 1912



Almonte Gazette 1921

In 1921 Mr. G. Arthur Burgess announced a big sale of stock and implements at Arklan Farm on the 5th October.




April 29 1927 –Almonte Gazette

Several piles of lumber caught fire at the Arklan Saw Mill, about a half mile from Carleton Place. The origin is unknown and it had gained considerable headway before it was noticed.  The local fire brigade was called and with the water supply on Arklan the fire was soon under control- Mr. E.M. Baker Proprietor of the Arklan Mill is covered by insurance.

A very interesting wedding took place on Monday evening at 8.30 at the Arklan Farm, when Miss Sadie Foster MacDougall, only , daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John MacDougall, was united in the bonds of holy matrimony to Mr. Frederick Nelson MeNeely, son of Mr. and Mrs. Alex S, MeNeely, of the 7 th Line, Beckwith--ALMONTE, ONTARIO, FRIDAY, AUGUST 15, 1924 –Almonte Gazette


Arklan refers to the vicinity immediately east of Carleton Place, ON and includes an island. This island was formerly utilized as a water power site and was first called Bailey’s Mills, then Bredin’s Mills and later Arklan Mills.

Land in this area was purchased by A. C. Burgess and his brother, G. A. Burgess (who was the mayor of Carleton Place in 1903 and 1921). The name Arklan was given to this property by G. A.

G. A. Burgess also started a dairy around this time but since there was already a Lanark Dairy in existence, Mr. Burgess called his enterprise – Arklan Dairy (the last three letters of LANARK placed at the front!). This little twist of fate solved Mr. Burgess’ problem back then and at the same time created a much sought after milk bottle for modern day collectors.

Dairy bottles especially ones with colourful silk screening on them continue to be popular with collectors although their container cousins: earthen stoneware and redware today rule the roost in terms of highly sought after objects.

Thanks to DM for bringing this example of a very interesting piece of Ottawa Valley history to our recent Club meeting.


Our Very Own Tom Sawyer–Adam of Arklan Island

New Photos from Mysterious Arklan Island

Tales from Arklan Island–Odds and Ends

The Natives of Carleton Place — Violins and Deer

Tales From Arklan –The Midnight Heist



John Rayner –photo–today… photo

Shades of The Godfather in Dr. Preston’s Office in Carleton Place



I don’t know about you but I have a difficult time with taxidermy. I realize in years gone by it was the norm to have dead animals around your home and on the walls. A few years ago I walked into a friends home to see he had his two late dogs stuffed and on top of the television. I was horrified.


However–when does replacing books and magazines with a taxidermy head begin in a doctor’s office? I love horses, so seeing a horses head on the wall would bother me– especially if I was 8 years old.  Carleton Place’s local veterinary Dr. McGregor installed a two headed calf on his wall one day and Dr. Preston on Bridge Street decided to follow suit. What did he put on the wall?

Dr. Preston had a horse head placed on his vestibule wall and announced to all it was the real horse from “Little Vic’s Colt”.  Little Vic’s Colt was the story of a race horse with a white star between his eyes and the son of Victory and grandson of Man o’ War. Some people laughed at Little Vic and said Little Vic was too small and too jumpy to be a race horse. But when a young boy from Harlem called Pony loved a horse more than himself, great things happened–like being a jockey. Doris Gates wrote the beloved children’s book and it was published in 1951.

So my question is? Where did that horse head in Dr. Preston’s office come from? Where did it go? Do I really want to know? And-they call me strange…..

Who did the taxidermy in Carleton Place?  Seems Pete and Jimmy Garvin did a  lot of taxidermy work in their spare hours. Samples of their work were all over town and some of their best pieces used to be in the High School. Word was some of it was still hanging around until it was torn down.


Photos and files from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Click Bait– The Accident Stories of Carleton Place


In the early 1900’s newspaper readership was driven by scandalous writing, or as we would call it today-click-bait.  I can’t even imagine what the families went through with each accident written in graphic detail. I have read so many appendage amputations by our local trains in gory detail, it has made the hair stand upon my arms some days. In most cases all the accidents were attended to by Carleton Place’s Dr. Preston. It seems the rest of the lot were content in just the basic aspects of medical life. So who took over from Dr. Preston when he stepped away for a much needed vacation? It was Dr. Gorrell who practiced in Ottawa. He was also an avid curler, not that makes any difference.:)

This story is not for the faint  of heart.

Feb 10, 1900

At 10 o’clock yesterday morning Tom Simpson age 27, the son of the late Jas. Simpson was killed whilst attending a wood sawing machine on the premises of Mr. Robert Drummond who lives near the home of the unfortunate victim. Whilst the machine was being operated, the balance wheel burst and a piece of the flying iron struck Mr. Simpson in the body with terrific force tearing its way with the speed of an exploding shrapnel through his vitals and almost disemboweling the man.


Dr. Gorrell was speedily summoned, but it was clear that nothing could be done to save the young man’s life. After an hour and a half, partly spent in feeble consciousness, death relived the sufferer. The momentum of the flying pieces of metal is shown by the fact that one of them was thrown a long distance and broke through a rafter in the barn roof. It was only last week that one of Mr. Simpson’s sisters became the bride of John Blair of Ashton, and the terrible transition from a home of festivity to one of dire sorrow in but a few days impresses the people roundabout with the uncertainty of life. The late Mrs. Simpson of Ottawa, whose death occurred some months ago, at the age of 106 years was the grandmother of the deceased.


Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Dr. Preston- esteemed physician of Carleton Place who was not afraid to get his hands dirty. I told Dr. Drake I considered him just like Dr. Preston. Drop in to the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum. Learn all about Dr. Preston’s moustache!

267 Edmund Street
Carleton Place, Ontario
(613) 253-7013

Dr.Preston Was in the House — The Case of the Severed Foot



It seems in the old days people used to jump from trains a lot in this area, and many a mishap happened. I have read at least a dozen accounts today of people having terrible accidents. The man of the hour that seem to come to the rescue all the time was our very own Dr. Preston of Bridge Street.


Newton Switzer of Ashton exhibited a remarkable piece of fortitude after getting his right foot caught off by a passing train in April of 1899. Switzer was on the No. 7 train at 3 am on the way to Carleton Place. After passing the railway bridge the train slowed up so the young fellow decided to jump off a platform of the slowly moving train at Anable’s Crossing. He missed his footing and fell under the train.

When he realized he could not stand up, he mechanically picked up his severed member, put it under his arm, and dragged himself to Samuel Dunfield’s house. Another week, another train mishap, and Dr. Preston from Carleton Place was the one that was always called. Throughout the whole ordeal it was said the brave young man never lost consciousness. Dr. Preston said he exhibited remarkable pluck.
Dr. Preston’s office was located at 104 Bridge Street. 
The property was originally owned by Edmund Morphy. Later owners include James McDiarmid, Allan McDonald, John McEwen, Archibald Gillies and Alexander Forbes Stewart. Stewart sold the property to Dr. Richard F. Preston in 1883 for $1,000. This site was listed as “vacant” in town assessment roles of 1885 – 1889. From 1890 – 1897 it was listed as “unfinished”. The home originally had a stable behind it, kept by a Mr. Halpenny who drove the buggy for the doctor.– Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum
Other Photos-Linda Seccaspina