In 1915 the Carleton Place municipal waterworks system which was completed in the previous year, went into operation. Electric lights were installed in the town’s schools. The Hawthorne Woollen Mill, bought by Charles W. Bates and Richard Thomson, was re-opened and re-equipped to meet war demands.
War news and war service work dominated the local scene. There were many district recruits joining the armed forces, reports of heavy casualties, the furnishing of a motor ambulance and the making of Red Cross Society supplies, industrial work on government orders, increase in price levels and some food restrictions.
The Mississippi Golf Club was formed and acquired the old Patterson farm and stone farmhouse on the Appleton road.
The Goodwood Rural Telephone Company was organized. By 1915 it had installed 1,100 poles and had contracts for installing forty-four miles of lines in Beckwith and in the west part of Goulbourn township. It was initially done through the Carleton Place Board of Trade with various meetings held in the Carleton Place Town Hall with the villages of Franktown and Ashton.Quickly a rivalry between Carleton Place and Franktown arose (southern and northern Beckwith) and two telephone companies began. Good wood and the Beckwith and Montague Rural Telephone Company. They both sold out to Bell in 1961.It was not until the 1960s that telephone lines were run to serve the cottages along Lake Park.
Somehow I got the idea that Lanark was the county town of Lanark county. Since this would be just about the only county town in Ontario that I had never visited (always of course excepting Hali-burton, where even the train goes only three times a week!) I decided it would be just the thing to round out my day if I could make it to Lanark. Here indeed would be terra incognita. So turning my car toward terra incognita, I went out of Carleton Place and turned off at the church.
I struck a road that sometimes was paved, and sometimes was not, till I came to a spot called Ferguson’s Falls. By now the countryside had changed. Gone were the lush acres of Carleton Place. In their place was that undecided sort of country that exists between Brockvllle and Kingston, and west of Perth. It can’t quite make up its mind whether to be agricultural country or not. So you find pockets of good land, interspersed by stretches of picturesque rock lands. These same woods, good for maple syrup in the spring, pasture in the summer, and fuel in the winter, are not to be sneezed at, if you have some arable land as well, but you are out of luck as a farmer if all your land is this way.
However, I was not out to sob over the steering wheel about the plight of the farmer who owned a rock pile, but to get on to Lanark town, and ultimately it came into view. I took a couple of squirms, went around a hill or two, and landed plump in front of the Lanark Era. Just about the easiest place to get acquainted, the quickest place to get Information, and the best place to feel at home for any newspaperman is a country newspaper office. Deadlines aren’t the disagreeable things there they are in such fast-moving sheets as The Citizen, and so they generally have time to talk to you.
I sat there and sniffed that lovely smell of a composing room, and plumped myself down to see if I could find out something about Lanark. First and foremost, Lanark produced the great George Mair, whose epic, Tecumseh, is regarded as one of the truly great literary things done by a Canadian. With that I might couple the fact that Managing Editor Robertson of Beaverbrook’s London Daily Express, is an old Lanark boy. So is George Mcllraith, Liberal M.P. for Ottawa West.
In with these important tidings, I would breathlessly add that the chain stores have not yet invaded this delightful place. Lanark today has only a few over 700 people, but it once had more. Its chief support in days gone by was the woollen mill, but this burned down at the end of the last war, or thereabouts. There was no other large industry to replace it, and today the largest payroll in the town is that of the school. Incidentally, I see the Lanark Era of the issue when I was in town said the teachers had resigned, and it was decided to advertise for new ones.
I went south on the road which they said was the bumpiest in Lanark and they misinformed me, for there is a bumpier one in Georgia and in due course I came to the outskirts of Perth. I was told by George Mcllraith that I had missed a most important item outside Perth, and that was the first bank established in Upper Canada. I was back two weeks later, but entering by another road, missed it again.
I might say that I had been through *Perth a good many times by rail, but had no idea it was such a beautiful place. Perth has a pretty park in its midst, and is so laid out, not only to give it real beauty, but to create the impression that the town is really bigger than it is. I have been in the original Perth in Scotland, and both of course, are on the Tay. While doubtless the Caledonian counterpart is more entrancingly located, the Canadian Perth, and Lanark’s county town, does not suffer too much by comparison.
Whoever laid the pavement between Perth and Smiths Falls did a good job, and my own concern was the proximity of a speed cop. Smiths Falls is pretty enough, and seems to change but little. I associate with Smiths Falls all kinds of emotions. I remember, for instance, sitting at a table in the dining room of the main hotel there, and learning that Doc Cook had “discovered” the North Pole. It was also during another momentous meal there that a fellow at the table said that the Mauretanla had just broken the world’s speed record for a steamship.
At a later date, I stopped off at S.F. to see a girl, between trains, and later again, used to drop into the Canadian Pacific station to have a chat with “Tex” Ricard, who went to Queen’s in my day, and later became a railway despatcher. But above all. I remember going down to The Falls one time at the behest of The Citizen to write about vaccination and some of its evils. I went around to all the locations first, and climaxed the day by interviewing a couple of indignant medical officials.
I returned on the last train, charged a heavy dinner up to The Citizen, and then was pleased to hear from Vincent Pask, night city editor, that it was the best story I had written for him up to date. That I had turned in a lot of bad ones I am the first to admit. The trip from Smiths Falls home through a sort of lane of a highway was dull, and I was shocked to see what a small place Franktown is. I was prepared for something better. I bypassed Carleton Place on the way back, and arrived safely at the Island Boulevard traffic circle without incident. Austin F. Cross June 1940
The City Bank was the first bank to establish an agency in Perth, the Hon. Roderick Matheson being agent. He transacted business in his own office, where Matheson & Balderson now are, but finding that his own business required all his attention he gave up the agency, as no other agent was appointed, the office was closed. Then the Commercial Bank opened an agency, with Captain Leslie as Manager. His office was kept in the small stone building, which still stands on the property near the old dwelling house. John A. McLaren now lives in this building. He farmed a little, as well as managed the Bank, and had in his employ an old man by the name of McFarlane, but transacted all his business himself.
In order to do this, he had a bell put on the building, which was rung if he was wanted while out attending to his farm duties during bank hours, but he had no scruples about keeping people waiting. He was very exact and particular about paying out money, as even in these days, a stranger could not draw money for a cheque unless identified, or accompanied by a friend known to the Manager. He married a lady from Kingston, who was very peculiar. She never went out except to church, and very rarely there, and always dressed in the same ‘good’ clothes from the time she came to Perth until they left. Captain Leslie did not do a very large business, in fact, not enough to pay his salary which was six hundred dollars per year. He only had an ordinary iron box for a safe, which was built in the floor of his private office, the top opening upward from the floor like a trapdoor, so that his business could not have been very extensive.
In 1856, he handed over the books to Mr. James Bell, who later became the Registrar of South Lanark, and the Bank was removed to his dwelling on Drummomd Street, where Mr. McArthur‘s house now stands. As the Bank quarters were not ready for him, a small brick addition was built for an office, which was pulled down when Mr. McArthur built his present residence.
In the early 1870s if farmer who lived near Richmond couldn’t find what he wanted In Richmond, he usually drove out to Franktown in Lanark, about 14 miles away. Franktown in the 1870s was a live village of about 200 inhabitants.
From the vicinity of Franktown large quantities of hop poles were taken out, and thousands of railway ties as it was on the line of the Brockville and Ottawa railway. At least the road ran within a mile and a quarter of the town, and it had an office of the Canadian Express Co.
There were two general stores kept bv Robert Cavanagh and Richard Pierce. Mr. Cavanagh besides running a large store operated a shingle and saw mill. There were two hotels kept by William Moore and Thomas Clark. The village boasted no less than three doctors:
In the persons of Dr. William McRae, and Doctors Andrew J. Nelson, and George Nesbitt. There were three blacksmith, a cabinet maker, several shoemakers three coopers, a saddler, a tailor and a dressmaker. The postmaster was Ewan McEwan who was also a justice of the peace. There was also another justice of the peace called George Kidd.
FRANKTOWN – 1851 DIRECTORY
A Village situated in the Township of Beckwith, County of Lanark – distant from Carleton Place, 9 miles, from Perth 15 miles, from Smith’s Falls, 12 miles, from Bytown, 36 miles – usual stage fare to Bytown, 7s. 6d. – to Smith’s Falls, 2s. 6d. Population about 100.
ALPHABETICAL LIST F PROFESSIONS, TRADES, & c.
BURROWS, JAMES M., general store and hotelkeeper – travellers will find this a comfortable house, and moderate charges
Hello Linda, please allow me to introduce myself, my name is Nancy Leeder and I am doing family history. My Father was adopted in 1929, and his paternal mother was a woman by the name of Goldie Hill, she was from Smiths Falls, but lived in Ottawa. Her long term boyfriend (12years) was a married man from Perth, and together they had 6 children, who were separated during their early life. There was 3 girls and three boys.
As I stated earlier my Dad was adopted by Goldie’s sister, one of the boys died, two of the girls went to live with their father in Perth, and 2 remained with Goldie for a time. Perhaps your asking why I am writing you, well, one of the children lived at R.R. 2 Carleton Place on a farm.
Her name was Shirley Anne Hill, and she showed up in a couple of pictures you had posted. One was the senior girls choir and the grade 12 graduating class from 1951. I also know she was an active member of the 4H club and owned her own horse. Shirley‘s, two sisters are alive and well even though one is in her late 80’s and the other sister just turned 90. I know that Shirley went on and became a nurse. However, I have no idea what happened to her after that, there was talked she joined the army and moved to New Mexico.
I have no idea if she came back to the community. Of course it is my hope that Shirley is alive and would want to meet the two sisters she never knew. My Dad passed away in 2007, so finding his siblings were somewhat bittersweet. I have remained and visited my dad’s two sisters, such lovely women, I would love to reunite them. Anyways, sorry to ramble on, really just wondering if you knew where I could see other photos, it would be much appreciated.
Shirley, may not know anything about her sisters and one of her brothers. I can tell you she lived on a farm at R.R. #2, which I believe might be the Franktown Road, and I believed she owned a horse. Any information about Shirley, would more than welcome, so please share this with anyone that may have a story or information regarding her or her whereabouts.
Linda, I want to thank you so much for reaching out to me I appreciate more than you know. Sincerely, Nancy
In March of 1911 after challenging his host Mr. James Anderson, of Franktown, near Smith’s Falls, to give an exhibition of step dancing, and competing with him for several moments, Mr. Andrew Burrows age 64 of Smith’s Falls collapsed, sat down on a lounge and expired moments, and before a doctor could reach him.
It was the unfortunate man’s last challenge. He had spent Wednesday with Mr. Anderson, and there was a dance at the house, that night. All enjoyed the festivities, and shortly after midnight, when the fun was at its height, Mr. Burrows, in fun challenged Mr. Anderson to give an exhibition dance.
After they had been dancing for some moments and several present had vigorously applauded, Mr. Burrows said he was done out. A few moment later he was dead. The deceased was well known in the Smiths Falls, Ottawa and Franktown, where he was born. He was a stock dealer and had lately been active in having a new road opened between Franktown and Smith’s Falls. His wife died suddenly, three years previous in 1908 and left three sisters of Nepean township and a brother, Matthew, of Kansas City. The deceased lived part of the time in Smiths Falls and the remainder at Franktown.
Carleton Place Herald, Feb. 10, 1903
Presbyterian Church of Franktown
The music was of a very high order and reflects great credit on Mr. Lavall, the leader, for bringing his choir to such a high state of efficiency. There is a mortgage on the church but with the cooperation of all, the time will come as Dr. Crombie said, he will be invited (the third time to Franktown) to set a match to the mortgage. The ladies have already contributed $500 towards the building fund. From Carleton Place there were noticed in the audience Mr. and Mrs. R.E. Box, Mr. and Mrs. H.M. Williams, Jas. Smith and Family, and Mr. and Mrs. James Knox, Mr. D. McLaren, Mr. Sutton, Hugh Robertson, R.J. Robertson, Dr. E. McEwen, Mrs. Rev. G. Woodside. From Smith’s Falls, Mr. and Mrs. James King, Thomas Campbell and Misses T. and Maggie Campbell and Andrew Burrows.
In August of 1937 from the great pen of the editor/publisher, Adelbert Stewart “Stew” Hanna came a ghastly worded editorial against a gentleman from Carleton Place. Anyone who thinks that the rural town shenanigans of this day and age is new could not be farther than the truth.
As Lanark County Geneoligical Vice President John Morrow once told me.
“From what I have heard over the years the Almonte Gazette’s then editor/publisher, Adelbert Stewart “Stew” Hanna was quite a character, especially when he was inebriated (which apparently was not that unusual), and was not above a bit of “yellow” journalism at those times, and this appears to be one of them. My father told me one time it was frequently Mrs. Hanna, not Stew, who oversaw the Gazette’s weekly publication because he was in no condition to do the job.
I also had occasion one time to sit down with Angus Edward “Gus” Dobbie, long-time editor of the Smiths Falls Record-News, who told me he and Stew Hanna maintained quite a running editorial battle in the pages of their respective papers. Gus Dobbie also commented about Norman E. H. Turner, who was editor and publisher of the Perth Courier during that time period, that Norm Turner was a great businessman as publisher, but as an editor “he couldn’t sharpen Stew Hanna’s pencils”.
Without further ado here is the Almonte Gazette editorial: During the last week a number of anonymous letters have reached The Almonte Gazette office in which the writers indulge in some rather severe criticism of the way workmen are hired on the Smiths Falls-Carleton Place highway which passes through Franktown. While we do not care to publish an anonymous letter, even though it may not be libelous, we think some of the assertions, made in these communications should be brought to the attention of those most concerned. “Almonte Men Are “Out” For instance, in one of these letters the statement is made that no Almonte man need apply for a job on this stretch of highway. It appears that Dr. A. Downing is the dispenser of patronage on this Ontario Government project and, according to one Almonte man who claimed he asked him for employment, the Doctor said: “When the road was being built beyond Almonte we didn’t get anything in Carleton Place and we are going to see that Almonte gets nothing now.”
Frankly, we don’t believe that a man like Dr. Downing would take such an attitude—at least we are very loath to believe it. In another communication there is some criticism of the experience in road building achieved by some of those who are holding down key jobs.
The Candy Kid
For instance, it is said that one, Mr. “Kid” Bryce is grading construction. It appears that Mr. Bryce’s knowledge of highway construction has been gained from the seat of a taxi-cab. We are not informed whether he studied the engineering problems included in this work, as he’ passed over the highway or whether he parked his limousine under the shade of a tree and observed the work between puffs of smoke from his indispensable cigar as he lolled back on the gorgeous upholstery. At any rate the “Kid” seems to be the candy kid so far as the highway job is concerned. Those who know him best are tickled to death as they round a curve near Franktown to see that noble figure standing like Napoleon—-with legs wide apart—in the middle of the road directing the labouring minions employed by the Government.
An Exacting Gang Boss “Show a little, more speed,” Kid will say through the corner of his mouth, as the boys slacken down under the blistering heat of the last few days, “What do you think us taxpayers are paying you for if it ain’t to work.” Now no one is impugning the ability of Mr. Bryce as a road construction foreman—provided the job requires no experience. For all we know Mr. Bryce may be a most experienced road builder-engineer. After all it is not up to a newspaperman to demand his credentials. Maybe he carries his testimonials around with him in the taxi-cab in the form of a framed certificate from Dr. Downing or some other master road builder Be that as it may, Mr. Bryce is a majestic figure as he swaggers up and down the terrain with the cigar stuck out of one corner of his mouth and the hard shell hat set at a jaunty angle on that great brow. After October you may get a holiday and life will revert to what it always has been —one grand sweet song. HIS EPITAPH “As a taxicab driver he was a great road builder. Rest in Peace”
Photo Linda Seccaspina
The original highway alignment via Ashton Station Road, Flewellyn Road, and Huntley Road was bypassed by a new straighter alignment in the late 1950s. A bypass was completed around Carleton Place in the late 1950s. The old alignment of Highway 15 through downtown became Highway 15B. In 1961, a major highway renumbering took place that saw Highway 43 extended westerly from Smiths Falls to Perth.
It was the former home of James Craig once called Craig’s Castle.
Three generations of Craigs lived there with John Craig being the original settler emigrating from Northern Ireland.
It sits adjacent to the little hamlet of Prospect on the Richmond Franktown Road.
It once had a duck pond, beautiful gardens and a windmill
In 1965 the farm was bought and was owned in by Mr. and Mrs. L. J. Armstrong and they raised Black Angus cattle and did extensive restorations to the home.
There was an upstairs centre suicide door- A “suicide door” is the slang term for a door hinged at its rear rather than the front. Such doors were also originally used on horse-drawn carriages.
The central hallway has a curving stairwell.
Originally the house had two bedrooms over the large downstairs that were intended only for the hired hands.
Originally in the 1830s there was a small log home on the property which is the first house he and his Irish bride lived in. It was almost swallowed up by a dense forest.
A few years later the Craig’s daughter, Maria, married William Henry Leach who bought the farm and lived on it after her father died. They left the property to their son William J. Leach.
The family dog ran the churning machine on a treadmill. Being reluctant to earn his keep the dog kept running away on churning days and hid in the woods. As a result he was put in the basement until his services were needed and his paw marks could still be seen at one time where he attempted to escape. (author’s note- that poor dog)
It would be impossible to give an entire list of the names of the early immigrants of Beckwith, but some of the earliest as follows:
Duncan McEwen, Donald Anderson, John McLaren John Cram, and John Carmichael in the 10th concession.
Peter McDougall, Duncan . McLaren, AIex. and Donald Clark, John and Peter McGregor, in the ninth concession
Alex McGregor, Peter Anderson, John Stewart, and Donald Kennedy in the eighth concession
Findlay McEwen, Archie Dewar John and Peter McDiarmld in the seventh concession
Robert, John James, and Duncan Ferguson, and Duncan McDiarmid in the fifth concession.
From a glance at the names it is pretty obvious that the folks came from the “heathery hills of Scotland”, but it might be of interest to know that they came to form a miniature colony. Although a few returned to there original homeland most would never see their loved ones or homes again.
After six weeks journeying across the Atlantic they arrived at Montreal, and proceeded in small open boat’s up the St. Lawrence to Bytown/ Ottawa. Then they began another weary journey to the solitude lands of Beckwith, where there travel was more impeded than ever. No railway lines, no roads, simply a narrow blazed trail through the leafy woodland
People simply grew what was necessary to exist. Game was plentiful, hence meat was abundant until they killed so many deer they became scarce. Fires were ignited by flint and tinder, and anyone seen using a match was considered suspicious and was looked upon and being a witch or wizard as the case might be. Oil lamps were introduced but they were supposed to be more dangerous than a box of dynamite in the house, hence everyone kept a safe distance from them. Only the most reckless member of the family would attempt to light the lamps. Read– Was the Devil in Peden’s Store? When Matches First Came to Carleton Place
Original Franktown Settlers Store
Lanark April 12, 1821– this was what was available to the settlers at the local concession stores
Files of all sorts
Augers,falling axes, hand axes, pickaxes, hammers,kettles,frying pans,bills, iron wedges,latches and catches,locks and keys, pitchforks, saw sets, hand saws and spades.
Adzes (a tool similar to an axe with an arched blade at right angles to the handle, used for cutting or shaping large pieces of wood.)
Blankets– ONE for each man and woman, and ONE for every two children
Files, Gimlets, Pails and Hemp
The government would give aid to 1,800 emigrants on terms similar to those granted in the previous years. There were already 6,281 applications for help and each immigrant before they sailed from the old country the British Passenger Act set had some minimum requirements for food on board ships had to have: 18 pounds Irish mess beef, 42 pounds of biscuits, 132 pounds of oatmeal, 6 pounds of butter and 3 pounds of molasses based on 84 days passage to Quebec. Passengers in steerage survived on “lukewarm soups, black bread, boiled potatoes, herring or stringy beef.
The fare served to immigrants later detained at Grosse Isle wasn’t much of an improvement over the steamships. In the early years, stewed prunes over dried bread was a standard meal while they waited. Once emigrants arrived at the port of departure, a few obstacles remained. Emigrants had to pass various physical exams to ensure a certain level of health before embarking. This was to prevent the spread of disease while on board as well as to prevent diseases from being carried to the destination country. Physical exams and eye exams (to make sure travellers did not have trachoma, a chronic conjunctivitis) sometimes held emigrants up for days or even an entire week.
What they went through makes a bad day look really good doesn’t it?