Tag Archives: family history

Is it all Relative? Linda Knight Seccaspina

Is it all Relative? Linda Knight Seccaspina

Is it all Relative? Linda Knight Seccaspina

As they say, if you shake a family tree hard enough the nuts will begin to fall out. I spend a good part of my day writing history, and as of now I have about 5800 different stories on Lanark County in Ontario and the Eastern Townships. I never thought this would be what I would be doing in my later years, but after writing about what annoys me and celebrity gossip in for years I finally found my calling.

I don’t write text book history, I write about people that made our communities, the families. It wasn’t the politicians that helped our towns and cities grow, it’s the people that worked hard. As far as I am concerned everyone has a story and it’s all about chasing that information. But how far do you dig for these stories? What happens when you find the family stories that are like cornbread that isn’t done in the middle?

Last year each member of a local family all got Ancestry DNA kits for Christmas and their mother begged them to return them, assuring them that they were not accurate. Well, no one listened to her and most of them eventually found out that Dad wasn’t their real father. Apparently there had been a lot of unzipped genes in the family and family dinners were never the same after that.

What I have found odd with my own lot is that no one ever told me the stories about the good guys of the family. All I ever heard were stories of ancestors that never made it up to the standards of the Knight or Crittenden family. There was Cousin Odessa that was named after the Port of Odessa that was suddenly sent to Cowansville, Quebec from London. My grandparents soon found out that Odessa should have been named after Port Sherry instead of Odessa. As Alexander Fleming once said “If Penicillin can cure those that are ill, Sherry can bring the dead back to life!” I would like to believe Odessa is still out there somewhere like a good bottle of biologically aged sherry,

Last year I pieced my together my small family tree together while remembering the persistent repetitive stories of:

“She had to lock the door against the Fenians who were coming to her door- it was terrible!”

“He worked for Bell Telephone when he came from England in the early 1900s and froze to the poles in the dead of winter installing wires”

“She worked in the cafe in Devon where they sold the Devonshire Cream. Once she spilled soup on someone important and got fired”

“Every week your Grandfather gave her a 50 cent piece which she put in a small velvet bag that she wore around her neck. We never found it and wondered for years what she did with all the money.”

“He ran away to the USA without his family and if you look at this photo of his grave, that is why you should never leave your family- this is what happens– you die!!!”

Now this is only a tiny smattering of what I heard in my life, and every statement is true. I still have that postcard of my great grandfather’s grave and will probably pass the same message on to my sons.

I am wondering if I was told all these stories because there were far worse ones out there and they figured that would stop me from digging and finding something no family wanted to hear about. That however will never happen unless I win the lotto and then can afford another $25 dollars a month to join Ancestry in Europe.

As a writer I keep a buffer zone on family tragedy of 50 years, but I still have had some family tell me to take down a story that happened over 100 years ago. Personally I feel like Nancy Drew when I write as I feel like it’s solving a puzzle. But, when you find out a father’s name blank and crossed out on a delayed birth certificate be prepared for what you are going to discover. Ten to one some family is not going to want to hear that their great grandmother was caught with a man and morphine in a hotel room in Watertown N.Y in 1891 like I did this week.

So why do I write about past family stories? I am curious by nature, nosy, and I love the thrill of finding a story no one has heard about before. If I find a family mystery, I dig until I find the answer. I want people to know about the local individuals from the past whose lives helped make us what we are today. Our children and grandchildren need to hear about their ancestors- good and bad- it’s all history.

My youngest son’s favourite Tshirt reads:

“If you think I’m crazy you should meet the rest of my family!”

He’s right- crazy doesn’t run in our family– it gallops!

Coleman Family History–Just for Your Records

Coleman Family History–Just for Your Records


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Mill Street as it appeared in 1889. This land was first purchased by a Mr. Coleman from the Morphy family in 1820. In 1822, Hugh Boulton purchased it and finished construction. The mill was later owned by Horace Brown as a flour mill. On the left-hand side are buildings used for the Boulton-Brown Grist Mill, and on the right-hand side is the residence of Horace Brown, grandfather of A. Roy Brown.–Photo–Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Read more at Down by the Old Mill Stream — Carleton Place




Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  09 May 1942, Sat,  Page 22





Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  24 Mar 1947, Mon,  Page 8




Darla Fisher Giles— D.C. Coleman lived in this house on William St. He is pictured here in front of his parents former house in 1924 during Home Week.

Robert Hawkins-Feduke– Again Linda, I thank you for keeping our local history alive and available to a new generation who may not be unaware of the people and events that shaped our community and indeed the country as a whole. When D’Alton Coleman was President and Chairman of the Board of the CPR, it was one of the largest employers in the country and one of the largest international transportation firms. He never forgot his childhood home and was always willing to meet railroaders from Carleton Place, should they be visiting Montreal.


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.


Read more about James Coleman and where he lived here.. CLICK

Carleton Place Then and Now–Bridge Street Series– Volume 6-The Eating Place to…


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Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

This photo of 283 William Street, Carleton Place, was taken in 1923. This was the childhood home of Dalton Corrie Coleman.
Coleman worked as private secretary to Senator George Cox in 1897 and as editor of the Belleville Intelligencer before joining the CPR in 1899. He advanced rapidly and before turning 40 was put in charge of CPR’s western lines.
In 1934 Coleman became Vice President of CPR, and, as the health of president Sir Edward Beatty deteriorated, increasingly took over his duties. Coleman was appointed president in 1942 and chairman in 1943. The company was then engaged not only in railway work but in war production, shipping and air traffic. Under Coleman, Canadian Pacific Airlines was organized.
He retired in 1947. Coleman Street in Carleton Place, site of our CPR railway station, was named in his honour. http://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx…

“They were Set Down in Dalhousie Township”– Effie Park Salkeld




Effie and her Husband Rae Salkeld of Gerald Saskatchewan 30th wedding anniversary.From the photo collection of Beverly Salkeld

Beverly Salkeld from Winnpeg Manitoba sent this to us yesterday:

Thought you might find this interesting as it was written by my Grandmother Effie Edna Park Salkeld. She was born to Duncan and Mary Mcintosh Park in Lanark County in October of 1892 and died at Langenburg Hospitial in Saskatchewan April 19th Easter Sunday in 1965. She is buried in Gerald United Cemetery Saskatchewan



“the company of people were set down in Dalhousie township on September 30th”

Dalhousie Townshipsee index of people link in Historical Facts



“Father borrowed a fancy cutter and robes to drive to St. James Church to be married”


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Baby photo of Effie Edna Park born to Duncan and Mary Whyte Mcintosh Park on October 3 / 1892 in Lanark County Ontario. From the photo collection of Beverly Salkeld


“one of my first presents was a doll with a china head”






 “I went to the old Poland school with Ernie and Emma when I was 5”

The Old Poland School – Poland, Ont., which was replaced by a new “brick” school in the village, now being used as a private residence.


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“I got a Lydia E. Pinkham’s pill box and filled it with peas for my pills”


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          “Maggie Etta slept between us and died when she was one year old”

                          *Margaret Etta “Maggie” Park Dec 4th 1890-Dec 11-1890





“She met us at Rat Portage” (Kenora)

“We waited in an upstairs room sitting room in Renfrew. The Salvation Army Band played in the street- “Pass Me Not Oh Gentle Saviour”- I had never heard anything like it”



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“She put turpentine in her homemade soap- I sure hated washing with it”



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    “He would have the men haul wheat”

                                                     Ox cart of wheat and straw 1905


“the cream kept stirred until it was ripe in an old favourite Maxwell butter churn”


From the writings of Effie Edna Park Salkeld 

Header                                Index of the population in Dalhousie Township click here


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From Perth Courier 1895- someone copied it out of the Perth Courier please feel free to use it.. Mrs. Duncan Park was my great grandmother . Effie Parks mother.. from  Beverly Salkeld



Watson’s Corners Cemetery

*Maggie Etta Park

Birth: Dec. 4, 1890
Ontario, Canada
Death: Dec. 11, 1891
Ontario, Canada

Margaret Loretta Park. (Maggie Etta) was the seventh daughter of Mary Whyte McIntosh and Duncan Park she was born Dec 4 / 1890 in Dahousie Township,Lanark county and died there of pneumonia on the 11th of December 1891. Her and her mother are buried side by side in Watsons Corners Cemetery in Larnark Ontario. She was born between sisters Emma and Effie.
Saint Andrew’s Cemetery
Watson’s Corners
Lanark County
Ontario, Canada
Created by: Beverly Salkeld
Record added: Oct 18, 2010

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun