One of my joys this year in 2017 was visiting the Middleville & District Museum in the heart of Lanark County. I could not believe this place– it was everything I ever wished for in history displays. (Did you Know we have a “World Class Museum” right in Lanark County?)
These photos of the hearse from the Middleville Museum was used for funerals around Lanark County by the Young family Funeral Home in the Village of Lanark, Ontario. A team of black horses pulled it for the funeral, and if a child had passed, the black horses were switched for white ones. A hearse and horses laden with ostrich plumes were indicative of a person’s wealth and often families hired extra horses festooned with plumes. Two plumes meant that the deceased was of modest means while three to four meant that he or she was better off. If you could afford five or six plumes you were wealthy, but having seven plumes was reserved for the truly rich.
There was a detachable black wooded cross for Roman Catholic funerals, and in the winter the hearse was mounted on runners to master those rural winter roads. For the poor, about $8 Canadian today, one could have a hearse with one horse, a mourning coach also with one horse, an elm coffin covered in black with handles, mattress, pillow, side sheets and a coachmen with a black crepe band.
The deceased were waked in their homes in those days before embalming. The family placed wide black crepe roses with matching black ribbons on their front door to warn visitors it was a house of mourning. Friends and family gathered in the parlour to support the family and pay their respects. In the summer buckets of ice were placed under the coffin to keep the corpse cool.
The hearse came to the home to pick up the coffin that was covered with the floral tributes and sometimes sheaves of grain were used to honour the deceased. The procession made its way from the deceased person’s house towards the cemetery but often made a detour through a busy part of town to get the maximum effect for the money spent. Once the trip through town was complete, the procession moved into a brisk trot until the cemetery gates were reached and then a sedate walk was in order towards the chapel for the ceremony. The burial itself was witnessed by the men only and then the whole group returned to the house for a meal.This particular hearse was last used for the funeral of Mrs James Dodd in 1944.
Photos- Linda Seccaspina with Files from the Middleville Museum
Perth Courier, Jan. 8, 1897
Pepper—Died, at Lanark on Thursday, Dec. 24, Eliza Taylor Pepper, relict of the late William Pepper, aged 86(?).
Death of Mrs. Peter McIntyre—The subject of the following sketch, whose maidenname was Christina Craig, and who died on Thursday, Dec. 31, was born near Lochearnhead, Paisley, Scotland, in 1810. She was married in 1830 and with her husband emigrated to this country in 1831 when they settled in Drummond on the farm now occupied by Archibald McTavish where they remained until 1840 when they removed to her home in Bathurst near Balderson. Deceased was greatly respected and much beloved by all who knew her. She was a devout Christian and a member of the Presbyterian Church. It was always a joy to her to fulfill the divine injunction to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and to minister to the afflicted. Her family, which consisted of six children, are: Findlay, deceased, who was at one time a bookkeeper for the late Boyd Caldwell of Lanark; and Duncan who died at the age of five years. Those who survive are: Mrs. Ansley(?) Keyes of this town; Lizzie C. and John P. on the homestead and Peter on his farm adjoining. The funeral took place Sunday afternoon, Jan. 3 when Rev. J.S. McIlraith conducted the services and gave an appropriate address from Isaiah 57-1, the righteous perish and no man layeth it to heart. A large assembly accompanied the remains of the departed to Elmwood. May He who wept at the grave of Lazarus be the consolation of the aged and bereaved husband and his family and may they through Him be united in the mansion beyond.
Perth Courier, Feb. 5, 1897
The Era says: “On Thursday morning of last week death brought relief to the sufferings of Mrs. Robert Stone, widow of the late Robert Stone of Dalhousie. Deceased was 72 years of age. She leaves a family of seven, three sons and four daughters. Deceased had been ailing for some months and her daughters Mrs. George Manahan of Gilbert P – alns(?) and Mrs. George Buffam of Eganville wee called home a few weeks ago. The three sons, Messrs. Johnston, Robert and William and two daughters Miss Mary and Miss Lizzie reside on the homestead. The funeral took place on Satuirday from her late residence to the Lanark Village Cemetery.”
Perth Courier, Feb. 19, 1897
Spence—Died, at Lanark on Friday, Feb. 12, Jane McDougall Spence, beloved wife of Jas. Spence, aged 43(?) 45(?).
Lanark Links: We regret to record the death of Jane McDougall, wife of James Spence of this village. She had been ill for over nine weeks and during her sickness suffered severely yet showed great patience. She leaves a husband and five little children to mourn her loss.
Lanark Links: We have to record the death of another of our citizens, Mrs. John Manahan. She had been ill for a long time and manifested a Christian patience during her illness. Being beloved by all who knew her, the funeral on Monday was largely attended.
Perth Courier, April 23, 1897
Those members of the Lanark County Council of 15 years ago will learn with sorrow of the death of a much respected member of that body, Daniel Drummond. The Gazette of April 16 says: “The township of Ramsay has lost one of its oldest and most highly respected residents by the death of Daniel Drummond which took place on Friday, at his home in Clayton at the age of 70(?). Deceased had been ailing with a heart affliction for the past two years and in consequence had not been able during that time either to take an active part in public affairs or paying much attention to his own private business. The late Mr. Drummond was born in Ramsay in 1826 and removed to Clayton about 30 years ago where he bought a grist mill and saw mill which he continued to work until the time of his death. Mr. Drummond was a man of strict integrity, upright in all his dealings and of a kind and genial disposition. He was a man of more than ordinary intellect and this was early recognized by his friends and neighbors in the vicinity and he was for many years the respected and efficient reeve of Ramsay. In religion he was an active member of the Presbyterian Church as long as his health permitted him to do active work. In politics he was a Liberal.
Tennant—Died, at Lanark, on Thursday, April 1, Lloyd Tennant, only son of Edward Tennant, aged 15.
Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)
Funerals With Dignity in Carleton Place – Just a Surrey with a Fringe on Top —- Our Haunted Heritage