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The Young Family Funeral Home Lanark County

The Young Family Funeral Home Lanark County


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.

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.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)


The Woman Who Got the Dead End Sign Removed in Carleton Place

Ed Fleming — The First Funeral Parlour in Carleton Place

Funerals With Dignity in Carleton Place – Just a Surrey with a Fringe on Top —- Our Haunted Heritage

Blast From the Past–Remembering Alan Barker– July 4 1979

Dead Ringers –To Live and Die in Morbid Times

The Ashton Funeral to end all Funerals

The Last Man to Let you Down? Political Leanings at Local Funeral Homes?

Embalming 1891 – A Local Report

What was one of the Largest Funerals in Lanark County?

Things You Just Don’t say at a Funeral— Even if you Are a Professional Mourner

A Tale From the Patterson Funeral Home — Carleton Place


Death Becomes Her —Proper Mourning

Death Becomes Her —Proper Mourning

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  02 Dec 1905, Sat,  Page 15

Did you know the material most prized to show grief was lignite, also known as jet, a fossilized form of coal. Jet is deep, dark and somber. In the first phase of mourning, jet jewelry was the only ornamentation women were allowed to wear.

The middle classes in particular, wishing to follow and accept the higher canons of decency of the upper classes, thus they emulated every example she set.  They liked to use black edged stationery, envelopes, notepaper and visiting cards.


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Prayer books and bibles had to be bound in Black morocco leather and handkerchiefs edged in black. The list was endless, but all touches were intended to convey to the onlooker through a series of signs and symbols visual messages that the deepest feelings of sadness were felt at the loss. They tied little black or purple ribbons around dressing table bottles and added similar purple or black ribbons even to the clothing of infants.


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While women were only supposed to wear jet for the first stage, during the second stage of mourning one could wear a piece of jewellery if it contained, or was made of, hair. That would be human hair. That would be human hair taken from the deceased love one. Brooches, bracelets, rings, chains and buckles were all made of hair; sometimes there was just a bit enclosed in a hollow band or brooch, other times, the hair was crafted into a piece of its own.


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Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  26 Jan 1901, Sat,  Page 1

A widow was to wear a bonnet of heavy crepe and a veil to cover the face for the first three months. At the end of three months the veil was to be worn from the back of the bonnet for another nine months. Altogether, restrictive mourning dress, known as widow’s weeds, was to be worn for a minimum of two years, although many widows chose to shun colour forever. The duration of wearing these clothes depended on how well the wearer knew the recently departed. A new widow would be expected to mourn her husband (and wear the full attire) for two years, unless the woman was deemed old, in which case she was expected to mourn until her own passing.



The Ottawa Journal Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Wed, Sep 27, 1916 – Page 10


Everybody else was presumed to be easier to lose. Mourning a parent would be expected to take one year, whereas grandparents and siblings would be mourned for six months.With such low-age life expectancy and large families, Victorians were in mourning more often than not throughout their lives. Holding on to your mourning wear was considered bad luck and would bring untimely death to the family, so most would discard their outfits after wearing them.

This meant that once another family member died, more clothing would need to be made and paid for. This often gave the dressmakers – ironically – customers for life.In 1865 Henry Mayhew the social historian remarked that  “Women had to put aside all their ordinary clothes and wear nothing but black, in the appropriate materials and with particular accessories, for the first stages of mourning”. The fashion for heavy mourning was drastically reduced during the Edwardian era and even more so after the Great War.  So many individuals died that just about everyone was in mourning for someone.  By 1918 a whole new attitude had developed and this was hastened even further by the Second World War.



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  03 Apr 1915, Sat,  Page 15


Once a member of the house died, all of the mirrors in the house were to be covered. If a mirror in the house fell and broke, it was thought that someone in the home would die soon. When someone died in the house, the clock was to be stopped at the hour of death or bad luck would ensue. When a body was removed from the house, it had to be taken head-first so that it could not beckon others to follow.



Drawing of a design for a 'safety coffin'

Not really a mourning tradition, but a good sign of the times: Coffin alarms. The fear of being buried alive was so severe that a device known as a coffin alarm was invented. The contraption was simply a bell attached to the headstone with a chain that connected to a ring placed on the finger of the corpse. (Gives the term “dead ringer” a whole new meaning.) There were outbreaks of many diseases at the time that would leave the body in a comatose state. It could take nothing more than a careless physician or an underlying disease to pronounce the sufferer as deceased, and for the funeral preparations to begin almost instantly.


Clipped from Manitoba Free Press,  02 Jun 1915, Wed,  Page 9



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.




The Ashton Funeral to end all Funerals

What was one of the Largest Funerals in Lanark County?

Ed Fleming — The First Funeral Parlour in Carleton Place

The Funeral Train That Went Through Carleton Place — Our Haunted Heritage

Old Wives Tales of Death — Our Haunted Heritage

Funerals With Dignity in Carleton Place – Just a Surrey with a Fringe on Top —- Our Haunted Heritage

Death by Corset? Bring Out Your Dead and Other Notions! Our Haunted Heritage

Things You Just Don’t say at a Funeral— Even if you Are a Professional Mourner






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Haunted Heritage Cupcakes by Shannon Michie-mcdonald Tonight at the Museum!


What goes along with our Haunted Heritage Event tonight at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Museum? CUPCAKES by  Carleton Place’s very own Shannon Michie-mcdonald



The first ones are “B52 Boo!” A chocolate base cupcake with hints of baileys, kaluha and ammeretto , with a coffee cream cheese frosting.
The second is a Candy Corange Cream Dream. It is a French vanilla cake with orange lemon icing.
The third is Nutty Nightmare and that is a chocolate cupcake with grizzly grey peanut butter frosting and a fondant full moon. It is embellished with a dark cherry chocolate full moon or quarter moon.
 We have also added  speaker Emma Drummond  (yes Lorna Drummond’s very own Granddaughter) who is in her last year of Humber College and interning at Cole Funeral Services and will have some interesting things to say.

Speakers are: Linda Seccaspina, author of The Tales of Carleton Place and Tilting the Kilt- Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place. Also Jennifer Fenwick Irwin curator of the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum will have a brief duscussion about the display of yesterday’s rites and traditions that will be only available to view that night.

Honourary Greeter Guest will be: Town of Carleton Place Councillor Sean Redmond. 

Guest speakers will be: 

Steven Robert Morrison

Well known Tarot, Palmistry and Facereader from Ottawa will discuss all sorts of interesting traditions and symbolism of funerals etc. 

Steven, has been active in the spiritual and the metapsychic fields of study for the most part of his life. Following a path and exploring the varied ideas and philosophies of many faiths. Always outspoken and with both the ability to say “what needs to be said” while all the time remaining diplomatic, honest and understanding.Steven, has proven he as the ability to see things that seem to lie just beyond that of the ordinary and the everyday.With more than a decade of doing this as a source of fulfillment and as a joy, and with more that 35,000 individual readings– we know what he has to say about the rites of the departed will be of great interest.