Tag Archives: History

Life Was Not a Piece of Cake in Ely

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Life Was Not a Piece of Cake in Ely

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Gears Falls Dunham Quebec- Photo BANQ

In 1799 John Wales built a log house on a better than average lot in Dunham, Quebec, but after listening to bogus information he heard that Ely was the place to call home. John and his friend decided to head out and see what the supposed new colony offered. Even though they were determined to become one of the permanent settlers of Ely it seems like they didn’t investigate the matter thoroughly. In previous years other settlers had attempted to settle there only to remain for barely two years as it was starvation, or move on.  It seemed to be a mystery to John and his friend what had happened them and there were few clues to what might have passed. A number of the original settlers were upper-class gentlemen who were not accustomed to manual labour; the group included very few farmers or skilled men so they were doomed from the start.

 

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South Ely-BANQ

But sometimes people are stubborn as was John Wales, who had already spent 11 years toughing it out in nothing more that could be considered a backwoods life. No matter how bad things are however, you can make things worse. Mr. Wales packed up what he thought was enough provisions for a year that would be enough for his family. Being a generous man he welcomed all those that stopped at his home for a day or two until they would prepare a home of his own.

Needless to say the family’s provision’s ran out sooner than expected and he had to make a decision to travel to Frelighsburg which was over 46 miles away. It was the dead of winter when he began his journey with only his sled and a yoke of oxen. Because the snow was deep he was forced to make his own road through the snow for much of the distance to Frelighsburg.

As the days passed by his family became alarmed at his long absence and worried about their own existence. They had little left to eat and ate solely bread made from coarse cornmeal that John’s wife prepared in a mortar. This was no easy thing as the corn needed a lot of cleaning and they had to pull broken grains, cob, and rocks out as well as be religious about ‘picking’ the grains to save a tooth or two. The whole family hoped that he would be back soon with something better for them to eat as starvation was eventually going to knock at the door soon.

 

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Ely photo- BANQ

Finally, one night after more than a week after his departure, his 8 children were roused from their slumber by an unusual noise below. Hearing their father’s voice they descended the ladder from their upstairs berth and baking in the open hearth was a good size shortcake then called Soda Cake. Before baking powder hit the scene in 1856, making anything was not a piece of cake. In addition to beating air into their eggs, they often used a kitchen staple called pearlash, or potash, made from lye and wood ashes, and this agent was difficult to make, caustic and often smelly.

You would think Wales would have thought twice about living in Ely having to travel so far for food, but he carried on even though his cattle was being eaten by bears and crops were constantly being destroyed. Cold and isolation could take its toll on families who found themselves literally snowed in for weeks at a time.

His family eventually moved back to Dunham having had just about enough in Ely, but one son remained with John Wales. The work was relentless, and the story goes that his son undressed only once during the course of three months at night as the local bears kept them busy. Pigs, sheep you name it became meals for these Bruins and such were the incidents in which Mr. Wales shared during his stay in Ely.

Years later John finally gave up and moved back to Dunham in 1812. He settled comfortably on a lot of land owned by his grandson Orlin Wales and lived there until he died. Of all the family Orlin was said to be just like his grandfather as local history writes. He began the first cheese factory, became postmaster and was a strong man of the community.  For his Grandfather it was a long and painful road getting to a life he felt happy with. Life is hard, but there are moments, sometimes hours – and, if you’re really lucky, full days – where everything feels just right.

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During the early 19th century, baking soda was introduced for baking goods in the United States. An early baking soda quick bread: “Soda Cakes,” was first presented by Mary Randolph in a 1824 book called Virginia Housewife. As a result of using leavening agent, American shortcakes became lighter and fluffier than the original shortcake.

By 1850, strawberry shortcake was a well-known biscuit and fruit dessert served hot with butter and sweetened cream. During the early 19th century, baking soda was introduced for baking goods in the United States. An early baking soda quick bread: “Soda Cakes,” was first presented by Mary Randolph in a 1824 book called Virginia Housewife. As a result of using leavening agent, American shortcakes became lighter and fluffier than the original shortcake

SODA CAKES- Mary Randolph

Dissolve half a pound of sugar in a pint of milk, add a tea-spoonful of soda; pour it on two pounds of flour–melt half a pound of butter, knead all together till light, put it in shallow moulds, and bake it quickly in a brisk oven.

 

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I Knew it Wasn’t Petticoat Junction!– Eastern Townships History

Angry Mobs, Wolves and Bloodsuckers –Selby Lake

Hobos, Apple Pie, and the Depression–Tales from 569 South Street

Memories of UFO’s Earthquake Lights and Gale Pond

Documenting Houses -Almonte — 133 Marshall Street

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Documenting Houses -Almonte — 133 Marshall Street

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133 Marshall Street Almonte now for sale

 

 

This place is now for sale so I put put a 411 on information so we can document it. Thanks john Morrow

John Morrow— I lived next door to this house with my grandparents, Frank and Agnes (Napier) Morrow, at 133 Marshall Street before I started school. My cousin Maureen (Morrow) Dugdale and her husband Jim bought that house from our grandmother shortly after they were married.

 

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When I was living there the house at 143 Marshall Street was owned and occupied by Morley and Louise Parsons and their family of 5 Morley had a huge garden in the open space between the two houses. Their son, Morley Jr.(surprisingly nicknamed “Dick” or Dickie” despite their full names being Harold Morley Parsons in both cases) died in a freak shooting accident trying to unload a gun at a police checkpoint on Wolf Grove Road in September 1968. When my Dad, who was born at 133 Marshall Street, was growing up the owners were Amos and Rose Robinson, parents of Jenny Munro of Clayton.

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historicalnotes

 - Young hunter killed on trip with his girl...

 

 - PARSONS, Harold Morley In nosmtal, Almonte....

Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Journal,
  2. 23 Sep 1968, Mon,
  3. Page 26Information 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.

    relatedreading

    Comments Comments Comments–Documenting History

  4. The End of 41 Julian Street — Is That All There Is?

  5. The Time Capsule of CPHS

  6. My Fondest Memories of Almonte –Marty Taylor

It’s Smyth not Smith Falls?

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It’s Smyth not Smith Falls?

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Vintage Smiths Falls & Perth  —Smiths Falls-Main Street. c1908

 

 

Smiths Falls, or rather the site of it was allocated In the year 1784 to one Major Thomas Smyth, a United Empire loyalist, -when lands were being given out by the Imperial Commission to the men who had suffered land losses and hardships as a result oi their loyalty to the crown during the American Revolution. To this Major Thomas Smyth fell lots one and two in the fourth concession of Elmsley in the county of Leeds. The central portion of the now prosperous town of Smiths Falls is located in the center of the Smyth allocation. The unfortunate part of the story i that Major Smyth lost possession of this property with its fine water power in the year 1825, just two years before the starting of the Rldeau Canal. In the year 1810 the Major became financially distressed. On the strength of this Rideau River property he borrowed two hundred and thirty-three pounds from one Joseph Bewell, a Boston merchant. The mortgage was for a year.

 

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Smiths Falls- Joshua Bates’ and Truman Ward’s Wool and Grist Mills on Old Sly’s Road with the CNR train bridge in the background. c1870 —Vintage Smiths Falls & Perth

In 1824 the debt not having been repaid. Mr. Sewell brought action at York (Toronto) for foreclosure the mortgage. He obtained judgment. In August. 1825, Sheriff John Stewart offered the property for sale. The sale took place at Brockville. Charles Jones (afterwards the Hon. C. Jones) was the highest bidder. The property went to him at 105. In the following year the property sold by Mr. Jones to Abel Ward, one of three brothers (Empire Loyalists), who lived near Brockville. Mr. Ward, who was a lumberman, paid six hundred pounds for the property. Building of Canal. Then came the building of the Rideau Canal in 1827 and with it a voting surveyor from New York state, named James Simpson. Young Simpson bought two-thirds of the Ward property for fifteen hundred pounds. The value of the place was being rapidly enhanced. Ward and Simpson became partners in Improvements. They erected grist and sawmills and stores. Simpson made his home at the Falls. Simpson became a leader among the settlers. He initiated road building by means of “bees.” it was he who opened the first road from Smyth’s Falls to Beckwith. He took a contract for work on the Smyth’s Falls section of the canal.

In the year 1829 the village was “laid out” as a townsite for the owners bv John Booth, deputy provincial land surveyor, who lived at Elizabethtown. In 1832. the year the canal started operations, James Simpson sold out his interests to his brother, William Simpson, and went to California. Between 1832 and 1845 much of the village site had been disposed of in lots of a fifth of an acre. These lots were sold at an average price of one hundred and twenty-five pounds.

 

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Vintage Smiths Falls & Perth —Smiths Falls- Activity in front of the Russell Hotel on Beckwith street. c1905

 

By 1840 there were Methodist, Roman Catholic and Presbyterian churches in existence. The Anglican body used a government workshop as a place of worship. There were eight stores and fifty dwellings, a cabinet shop, a chair factory, a tannery, cooper shop, saddler’s, a foundry, two flour mills, two sawmills, and an oat mill. Up to the year 1835 no question of the validity of the Ward-Simpson title had been raised. Major Smyth died in 1831. In 1833 his two sons, Terence and George, who resided at Merrickville decided to take advantage of the establishment of a court of chancery and endeavour to regain possession.

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Smiths Falls- Activity in front of the Russell Hotel on Beckwith street. c1905

A chancery lawsuit was begun by the Smyths. It lasted a long time and proved very costly. The case was not settled till 1844. The Smyth suit was dismissed. It is worthy of note that Abram Green, a brother-in-law of the Smyths, drove alt the way from Charleston, Penn., in a sleigh to give evidence in their behalf. Abel Ward lived till 1882. James Simpson went to California when he left Canada. He became a world rover and died at sea. Just how or when the name Smyth became corrupted to Smith is not clear. The CP.R. gave Smiths Falls its second boost in 1885 when it made the place a divisional point on its new Montreal to Toronto and Chicago “short line.”

 

 

historicalnotes

 - flllegeO Severe Treatment Was JoH it H....

Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Journal,
  2. 15 Jun 1899, Thu,
  3. Page 1

 

 

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.

relatedreading

 

Downtown Smiths Falls 1887

Dr. William Pratt — Murder of his Housekeeper in Smiths Falls

It Started in the Candy Kitchen Restaurant– Kerfoot Fire Smiths Falls

Slot Machines in Smiths Falls– Not Good For the Public

Lanark’s First Church in the Middle of the Forest

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Lanark’s First Church in the Middle of the Forest

 - Lanark's First Under Trying Wood Was Sawn Front... - the 700 the and in he to his this the on of the...

Ottawa Citizen 1938

 

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Lanark Baptist, Sacred Heart Roman Catholic, St. Andrew’s United and St. Paul’s Anglican Perth Remembered

 

On the 23rd of January, 1821, back in Quebec, Dalhousie wrote
the Duke of Hamilton to suggest that contributions be sought in the
Glasgow area for the building of a church in New Lanark, a small village in
Lanark township pleasantly situated on the Clyde River about 15 miles from
Perth.

This was done and in 1823, £ 280 were sent to Canada from Scotland
for the purpose. Soon a stone church with eight windows was built.
It had a gallery across the back and room for three hundred persons.
But although the emigrants had sought a minister even before leaving
Scotland, one was not easily to be found.

In June, 1820, when the ship Commerce was docked at Greenock preparing
to sail for Quebec with one of the first shiploads of the Lanarkshire
emigrants, one of the Presbyterian Scots had handed a petition to the
Rev. Mr. Robert Easton, a Montreal Secession Presbyterian minister
standing on the landing. The petition, signed by the Presbyterian

emigrants, asked that a minister be sent to their new home in Upper Canada.
Easton seemed the logical man to receive the petition because he was in
Scotland for the purpose of raising funds to send Presbyterian clergymen
to British North America. No answer was received from Easton and over a
year later, in September 1821, the Presbyterian Church Committee at
Lanark, Upper Canada, again wrote Easton, now back in Montreal. The
Committee stated that sites for the church and school had been granted and
that a house is now in a state of forwardness to answer the double
purpose of church and school. But again, no answer was received.
By March, 1822, a schoolmaster had arrived in the township and “it was
agreed by the church managers that unless they had some answer to their
request for a minister they would apply directly to Earl Bathurst and the
Joint Committee in Edinburgh” – the latter committee had sent the Rev.
Mr. William Bell to the town of Perth. What the Lanark Committee evidently
did not know was that an ordained Presbyterian minister, the Rev. Mr.
John Gemmell, was already among them.

Gemmell, a 61 year old Ayrshire Scot and a Secession Presbyterian
minister, had been ordained to a “Lifter” congregation in Dairy, Ayrshire.
Because of inadequate payment of his salary,he had turned first to
medicine, receiving a medical degree from the University of Glasgow, and
then to the printing business. Gemmell and his family emigrated in 1821
to Lanar k township but it was not until August, 1822, that he held his first
church service in the township. Gemmell never managed to rally Lanark’s
Presbyterians around him:the ministry was but one third of his professional
interests, he outspokenly supported one party, even in his sermons, in
a divided community and he visited each community too infrequently – usually once a month. —Early Settlement in Lanark County and the Glasgow Colonial Society by E.A. McDougall

 

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.

relatedreading

LANARK VILLAGE – 1851 DIRECTORY

Village of Lanark Business Directory 1886– 1887

Social News of the Lanarkites 1898

Downtown Smiths Falls 1887

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Downtown Smiths Falls 1887
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In 1887 in Smiths Falls, while Capt. Harden of the Salvation Army was conducting a service at the corner of Main and Beckwith streets, he incidentally made some plain statements about drunkenness and drunkards. A man who was drunk in the crowd, hearing remarks along this line, resented same and slipped up and struck Capt. Harden In the face, knocking him down. The captain of the Army would not prosecute the offender, who nevertheless was charged with disorderly conduct and fined $5 and costs, amounting to $10.30.
In 1887 Rideau lodge, No. 241. I.O.O.F., Smiths Falls, had a membership of 62. Today the membership reaches over the 400 mark and within the past 12 years two other branches of this order have been instituted in Smiths Falls-Chimes Rebekah lodge No. 155 and Liberty Encampment No. 67. ‘ Changes of Time.
In 1887 Mr. Wm. Lavender came home from California and brought with him a horned toad.

 

In 1887 in Smiths Falls, twenty-one firms and businesses were advertisers in the local newspaper, then called the Rideau Record. In the personnel of these firms or businesses there has been an outstanding change during that time. Today, out of that number there is not one of these men connected with a business here today, and an onlooker through these Arms’ names finds that today there Is only one case where the son’s name appears. The following is a list of firms and advertisers.

 

Former Advertisers. The following ‘ads” are taken from the flics of the Rideau Record of in 1887:

 

Graham & Foster,” the only noted cheap, cash, ready-made clothing, dry goods and millinery store In Smiths Falls

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O. Carss. general Insurance agent, representing fire, life, marine and accident Insurance
Frank Clark, sole agent for the Rathburn Lumber Co. Parties building would do well to see our stock before buying
J. Washburn’s special cost sale. Is strictly a cash sale
The Wardrobe House, second to none
M. Ryan, contractor and builder
Miskelly and Begley, a large stock of glassware and lamp goods to choose from
Mr. Horace Carley, agent for Brockville Steam Laundry
R. W. Steacy Jewellery store, where the seeker for good value in jewellery and silverware should call
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Geo. Steele, planing mill, custom planing and sawing
A. G. Foster, the Town Tailor, his clothes are unsurpassed in style and quality
Garrett’s Vienna Bakery– headquarters for all tropical  fruits in season and choice confectionery-
Dr. J. S. McCallum, as usual we have a complete stock of every, thing in the drug line, of the flnest and most reliable kind
McKimm and Loucks, have the very nicest stock of boots and shoes ever shown in Smith Falls;
Lindsay and Gilday — new goods and new prices;
Bryson Graham and Co., every department’ crowded with new goods– comparisons invited;
Lockwood and Miner, front street livery;
W. Corbett, large stock of monuments. . head stones, fencing, etc.;
Carss and Corbett building lots for sale;
Jas. Murray– a great drive in groceries

The Witch of Plum Hollow and the Blacksmith

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The Witch of Plum Hollow and the Blacksmith

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This is an actual hands on photo of Mother Barnes- The Witch of Plum Hollow we were shown at the last Lanark County Genealogical Society meeting,

Sunday was a dull day in Raglan township  (Renfrew County)and no one appeared to be going to church. There was no church, and the only religious services were held in the school house, the minister being a student from the Lutheran College, who made his headquarters at Mr. Yurt’s. When Sunday morning came the blacksmith’s friend  inquired the distance to a church, and a man in a joking mood, told me that it was fifteen miles, and he learned later it was about ten.

The man appeared very jovial concerning church affairs and informed the gentleman that all the ‘bairns were goot’ and did not go “zu Kirche.‘ Then he added that “my bairn vent vonce a year.”

In the afternoon the gentleman found his friend the blacksmith who was working at something and apparently putting his whole soul and consideration into the work. In another place Andy, the older blacksmith was making a whippletree or mending harness which was a difficult task.

He watched his friend for awhile and then asked what he was making. “I am trying to invent perpetual motion,” said he.  A very difficult thing to do, I should think said his friend.

‘Well.‘ said the smithy, “I think I can do it.” Then he added, in a joking way, I had Mrs. Barnes tell my fortune, and she told me I would not be successful. But she don’t know anything! She Is fraud! Just a minute, I will show you a letter that came from her.

Running upstairs, he got the letter, and. with an air of disgust at the contents, he carelessly tossed It over with the remark, ‘Read that. You will see she knows nothing.’ Then, indignantly, he added’ “Look what she says about my marriage. I never asked her any thing about marriage. I have as much notion of getting married as I have of hanging myself. I can hardly keep myself. I am here living with my sisters. I was hoping of getting into McLachlan’s shanty as a shoer but did not succeed.”

After he had finished his explanation his friend opened the letter and read it. He remembers the style of the handwriting which was fine and even indicating the writer was in a pensive mood. The ink was of old fashioned black ink.

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The letter said:

Dear sir,

I received your letter asking for information about your present undertaking. You will not be successful in your present work which is too difficult for you. You are working hard, but your surroundings afford you no opportunities to combine your work in order to be successful. You will be married to a young lady whom you have never seen.

Your marriage will take place in the early part of the present year. The first part of the letter is true, but I have my doubts of the second part.

Mrs. Barnes

The blacksmith seemed to be indignant about the matrimonial part and added that it was *money thrown away when he wrote her. She knows nothing, he said.

This incident was in February and about a month later Mr. McPhee, storekeeper for McLachlin’s and stationed at Palmer Rapids two miles distant was in need of a housekeeper. A pretty young “Gretchen” of nineteen came from Killaloe to apply for the housekeeper job. She was neat and tidy and generally wore high-coloured dresses, sometimes profusely frilled. The young blacksmith was captivated and it needed no prophet to sea that Cupid’s darts were flying thick and fast. Finally the climax came and they were married in May.

Everyone was asked to the wedding, and as his friend congratulated the young blacksmith he remarked,

“Mrs. Barnes evidently knew what she was talking about.”

” It looks that way now.” he said, “but then I could not believe it.”

historicalnotes

*Mrs. Barnes Fees were 25 cents

 

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This was posted on the Tales of Carleton Place yesterday by Jim Hicks and Doug B. McCarten said Jim Hicks it was extensively restored by the previous owner who just (I guess) sold it! She did a remarkable job! My family is very grateful to her for it had previously fallen into disrepair! She ran it as a museum dedicated to Granny Barnes memory. I wonder what will happen to it now? (home of the Witch of Plum Hollow)

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.

relatedreading

An Interview with the Witch of Plum Hollow–Mother Barnes— The Ottawa Free Press 1891

My Grandmother was Mother Barnes-The Witch of Plum Hollow

A Bewitched Bed in Odessa

The Witch of Plum Hollow – Carleton Place Grandmother

Different Seasons of Witches in Lanark County

Plum Hollow Witch and The Mountain Man of Pakenham

The Witches of Rochester Street

Hocus Pocus –Necromancy at Fitch Bay

The Witch of Plum Hollow – Carleton Place Grandmother

The Witch Hollow of Lanark County

Who was Mother Barnes? Find Out About the Witch of Plum Hollow April 7

Local Miracle Story– Woken From a Ten Week Coma

The White Witch of Lanark County–Having the Sight

 

John Boulton was a Hustler Carleton Place 1928

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John Boulton was a Hustler Carleton Place 1928

 - Town First Went by Name 'Morphy's Falls' Plaie... - I WHEN CARLETON WAS AT ITS Settlement Started...

 

 - carleton .. . . s rT n r . r : . i i r i ' i... - r .' ' v f - 1 .,.), WILLIAM PATTEE. oldest... - Has Record 40 Years of Civic Service Wm. Pattee...

Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Citizen,
  2. 14 Jul 1928, Sat,
  3. Page 32Information 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.

    relatedreading

    The Savoy Medicinal Truffle at Pattie’s Drugstore

  4. The Carleton Place Kazoo Band — Great Moments in Kazoo History

  5. The Condo Ephemera of Boulton Brown Mill

    Down by the Old Mill Stream — Carleton Place