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Handwritten Notes from 1821- Erin McEwen

Handwritten Notes from 1821- Erin McEwen


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Erin McEwen–here is the direct “translation” of the handwritten notes from 1821. I apologise for the grammar, etc., but this is a true copy:

Author’s Note- Hannah Stedworthy could also be Hannah Stidworthy in various translations.


In June 1821, a party of stalwart young Scotch men and women assembled at the Stedworthy Home in Dornock Scotland to make arrangement for their sailing to Canada – a new country just opening up.


Among the group was a young married couple, William McEwen and his wife who before her marriage was Hannah Stedworthy. This young couple, having all the comforts of life in their own home were advised by their parents not to risk the hardships and trials which lay before them; but with great courage and ambition, they bid adieu to friends home and their country and set sail in June for their new land.


The voyage was long and rough, it taking many months at sea (5 months), and it took days to make the trip on land. They landed in Brockville and made the trip to Perth in a covered wagon drawn by oxen. After getting all information as to the blazed trails, they struck off themselves leaving the rest of their party to go where they desired. They strapped their belongings on their back consisting of an ax, a tea set, a lock and key to lock a shanty when they would build one, a treasured Bible which they always read while resting, soda salt-flour and a griddle to cook the scones.


The way through the bush was a blazed one with many swells and bogs on their pathway but they plodded on for many miles, digging up the soil here and there to examine it. Finally, they came to a creek and spring with a nice rise of trees leading up from it. This soil looked good around the roots of the trees and they decided to build a wigwam there. They intended to build a shanty at once; but they were expecting the stork to visit them soon. They at once set to work and cut poles and covered them with brush. While they were busy at work building their wigwam (which was in an adjacent field to the present McEwen home), they heard the sound of an ax at a distance. The two set out in the direction of the sound to fine one Sandy McLean and his wife making a scow under a basswood tree on the 7th line.


Rejoicing to have found these friends who to had come from Scotland near them, and the women only too glad to be able to help one so young who needed a friend for on that cold November night, a male child was born in the wigwam. The first white male child born in Ramsay Township. They called him William after his father. Soon after, they build a shanty on the hill by cutting down trees and piling them up and burning them.


They tore up the soil around the trees with a drag two poles pointed with wooden teeth dragging the ground, sowed seed by hand which they carried on their backs from Perth, reaped it with a sickle, catching a cluster in one hand and cutting it with the other. Thrashed it will a flail, cleaned it in the wind with a hand sieve and carried it back to Perth on their backs to have it stone into ground flour and then brought back to make scones and bread. They planted hops and trained them to run op poles, picked blossoms off and boiled them and used the boiling water on flour, salt and grated potatoes to make yeast. They used a pumpkin cut in two and scooped out for a basin. They used flambos, a piece of twisted cotton or string layered on a pewter spoon, the spoon filled with tallow. It was then stuck into a crevice in the wigwam (and later the shanty), for a light. They had no matches. They used flint. They would strike the flint on a piece of steel or pocket knife, a park from the flint would light the punk. The rotten core in maple gathered for this purpose.


When the surveyors came from Perth to survey the lines, McLean’s had build their shanty directly on the 7th line so McEwen’s had to build another shanty nearer to the 7th line where three more sons and 1 daughter were born. The father died, leaving the mother and son William on the farm. The others went to Western Ontario



The Saga of a James Street Home— Christina McEwen Muirhead

What Was it Like Living in Beckwith 1800s? Christina McEwen Muirhead

Christena McEwen– The Belle of Beckwith Part 1 -“The Woodcocks”

Killed by Zulus — Duncan and James Box

Was a Boldt Castle Boathouse Once in our Midst? See the Home of the Daphne!

He Hailed from Carleton Place– Harold Box– The Forgotten Scientist?

The Continuing Saga of Christena McEwen Muirhead—The McLaren Mill

“Bossin’ Billy” McEwen Muirhead –Box family

McLaren Left it All to the McLeod Sisters–His Maids!

“2,000 people on the streets”–Dr. Finlay McEwen of Carleton Place

The Lost Gilles Family Ephemera Rescued

The McEwen McEwan Fire 1949

The Spirit of the 7th Line

History Still Lives on at The McEwen House in Beckwith

The Gnarled Beckwith Oak

So Where is that Gnarled Oak in Beckwith?

Watson’s Mills Family in Carleton Place –Erin McEwen

Watson’s Mills Family in Carleton Place –Erin McEwen



Did you know that you have two grandsons of the Watson’s Mill living here in Carleton Place? One of them is my husband 🙂 Not sure is this is too out of your boundary; however there is a fabulous ghost story involved!!!! Amelia loves visiting and seeing her GPa’s pix in the museum and visiting their old house.

In 1860, Moss Kent Dickinson and Joseph Merrill Currier founded Watson’s Mill in Manotick (at that time it was known as the Long Island Milling Enterprise). This same year, Joseph met Anne (Annie) Elizabeth Crosby. It was love at first sight and was not long before she became Joseph’s second wife (his first wife and children were deceased). After they were wed, during their mon-long honeymoon, the two attended a celebration to commemorate the Mill’s successful first year of operation. For the celebration, Annie was dressed in a beautiful white hooped dress. Unfortunately, the full crinoline hooped skirt, while fashionable, proved dangerous on this occasion. While descending the stairs from the attic to the second floor of the Mill, the skirt of Annie’s dress was caught in a revolving drive shaft. Allegedly, Annie turned to Joseph to utter an endearment. At this instant, Annie’s dress flared out and caught on one of the rotating shafts. Annie was pulled off her feet and thrown against a nearby support pillar. She was killed instantly. Joseph was so distraught by the death of his wife that he sold his shares in the Mill to his business partner and left Manotick. In 1868, Joseph remarried. Joseph’s third bride was Hannah Wright (the daughter of Ruggles Wright (the son of Philemon Wright, founder of Hull)). That same year, Joseph built a grand house in Ottawa for Hannah.

The address is 24 Sussex Drive. Yes, you read that correctly…it is now known at the house of the Prime Minister (the house was purchased by the Canadian government in 1943). Annie’s body was buried back in Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa; however, her spirit continues to live at Watson’s Mill. It is said that on dreary days and misty evening, Annie can still be seen staring out of the second floor windows of the Mill. Moreover, several people have claimed to hear “lady like” footsteps on the second floor – when no one is upstairs. Other have claimed that they have been “grabbed” on the stairs. Rumour has it, Ann wishes to ensure that no one else shares her fate. In 1946 Curtis’ grandfather Harry Watson, purchased the mill and renamed the Mill Watson’s Mill. Harry Watson was the last owner to operate the Mill at an industrial level. The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority purchased the Mill in 1972 and it was developed into a museum. Curtis’ father, Robert Watson spent many a Summer working in the Mill. Moreover, the Watson family lived onsite from 1946-1972.

To this day he claims that he has never seen the ghost of Annie; however, there have been many ghost investigation teams that beg to differ. For ourselves, we have never visited on a dreary day or a misty evening…perhaps we should? Here is a photo of Harry’s great-granddaughter Amelia looking out of the second floor window where Annie is said to stare out of…perhaps children are more in-tune with apparitions? Amelia is typically a very “go-go” child and yet she was very calm at this particular place…?

Erin McEwen