Tag Archives: hermit

Mr. Mitchell was not a Hermit– The Rest of the Story


It is denied emphatically by Mrs. Jane Masterman, who is a great grandniece of the gentleman who was described in an article in the Ottawa Citizen as a Ramsay hermit (read-The Story of “Old Mitchell,” Who Lived Outside of Almonte. The story was reproduced in the Gazette of last week. Mr. Mitchell resided on a sixty acre farm near the Auld Kirk, on the 8th line of Ramsay and he was a bachelor.

He had not many friends but those he had came very close to him, for he was fond ot good company. Mr. Mitchell’s real name was Flannigan. His father was an Irish Roman Catholic and his mother was a Scotch woman named Mitchell. After he had grown to manhood Mr. Mitchell became a Protestant and took his mother’s name. He had only one month’s schooling says Masterman, but he caried on his own education with the help of his mother and became a very scholarly man. He seems to have been a good deal of a philosopher and read extensively. He was particularly fond of his Bible and he committed many passages, to memory.

There are many relatives of Mr. Mitchell in this part of the country. The Byrons are related to him. They all resent the imputations cast upon his memory. Mrs. Masterman describes him as “one of the grandest old men in the whole world,” and adds that he was never a hermit. There is an interesting connection with the Auld Kirk and Mr. Mitchell and Mrs. Masterman. Mr. Mitchell attended that church, which congregation later moved to Almonte. It was St. Andrew’s church and was called the “Auld Kirk” because St. Andrew’s suffered the loss of a number of its members after the secession of 1843 from the church of Scotland.

The secessionists— it is needless to go into why they seceded— in Almonte , and the district formed the St. John’s Presbyterian Church, connected with the Free Church of Scotland. However the St. John’s members rejoined with St. Andrew’s a number of years ago. and the name St. Andrew’s was allowed to dron, and the church was called the “Almonte Presbyterian Church.” Mrs. Masterman’s husband, the late Thomas Masterman, was its faithful caretaker in his late years. After the last union of churches in 1925 the name of St. Andrew’s Church was changed to Bethany, by which name the original “Auld Kirk;’” congregation is known today.

St. John’s church was reopened by those who refused to go with the Presbyterian Church into the union, and so the situation today is exactly as it was three quarters of a century ago when Mr. Mitchell was in his prime. Mrs. Masterman says that the sand that went into the building ot a number of Almonte houses, such as P. C. MacGregor’s. Mr. W. ‘West’s, Mr. Harold Jamieson’s, and most of the buildings on Mill street came from Mr. Mitchell’s farm.

The Story of “Old Mitchell,” Who Lived Outside of Almonte

It’s Okay to Date a Student — Ella Deweiller and Charles Bauer– 1930s — Now You Know the Rest of the Story…..

Digging Up the Other Stories… the Rest of the Story

The Faces On the Almonte Steps–the Rest of the Story

Marjorie and Charlie Rintoul–The Rest of the Story– Thanks to Norma Ford

Did You Know This? “The Rest of the Story”

Dissecting a Letter to the Editor — Isabel Aitken Ranney and Auld Kirk

Everything You Wanted to Know About Auld Kirk

Before and After — Auld Kirk

The Very Sad Tale of Cecil Cummings of Carleton Place

The Story of “Old Mitchell,” Who Lived Outside of Almonte

The Story of “Old Mitchell,” Who Lived Outside of Almonte




In the 1860s there lived outside of Almonte within a short distance, a man who was known by the name of “Old Mitchell,” and who was a real hermit. “Old Mitchell,” as he was called, was a bachelor who lived a lonely life on his own farm.

Although this man lived within a mile or two of Almonte he had not been known to enter Almonte for over 30 years, and had seldom even been off his own farm. His food had, during those 30 years, been brought to him either from the village and from neighbours. Mr. Mitchell had a fine brand of sand on his farm, and his “pit” was much resorted to by Almonte builders, and by farmers who required it.

The hermit grew hay and oats, kept cows and hens, and was pretty well self-contained. People didn’t bother the hermit much except when they went on business, as he kept three rather savage dogs. The hermit, while living a hermit’s life managed to keep pretty well abreast of the news and so it came about that in the spring of 1860 that he learned the Prince of Wales was going to visit Almonte. On the day of the Prince’s arrival much to the surprise of his neighbours the hermit left his farm and walked towards Almonte.

But, he did not go all the way. He stopped at the top or the “Bay Hill” just outside of Almonte, from which point he could get a good view of the road where the Prince was to pass.

One day the hermit died and he was found dead in his shack. A search was made after he had not been seen for some time, and the actions of his dogs and stock had made it apparent that something had happened on the place. There was a general impression among the Almonte people and his neighbours that the old man had a lot of money saved up, and after his death a lot of digging was done all over the farm, but without result.

“Old Mitchell” had no relatives anywhere near Almonte. Mr. Young does not remember what became of his property and says that those who had occasion to visit the old man noticed that the appearance of his shack used to tell that the hermit regularly swept his one room home, but that he used to sweep the dirt into corners and behind cupboards, etc. Every now and then he would have a general cleaning  because as a hermit he knew that he was connected to everything in his life– except maybe housecleaning.


Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and theSherbrooke Record and and Screamin’ Mamas (USACome 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. Tales of Almonte and Arnprior Then and Now.

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