Tag Archives: horse racing

Almonte’s Outlaw Horse — A Horse of a Tale

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This is the story of two race horses- a fast one from Almonte and a slow one from Renfrew that were expertly  retouched to look exactly alike. From that succesaful “operation”  they went on to make history in Canada and the United States and became the object of search in the two countries until they vanished completely after making their owner a fortune.

 

For this amazing episode in ‘the history of horse racing’ in the Ottawa Valley the writer has drawn on the records of Bob Boal, dean of Lanark County, politically and municipally on whose father’s farm at Pakenham these two famous horses were kept when not racing. The man who owned both was D. G. Macdonell popularily known as “DG” brilliant Almonte lawyer who rose to prominence in the Canadian political arena.

 

In the reckless nineties, horse racing and politics were absorbing preoccupations in the Ottawa Valley. “D.G.” excelled In both. He had his private paddock in Almonte alongside the CPR tracks and spent time “cleaning up” at all the fall fairs in the Valley. Macdonell, in partnership with John Kelley, decided to enter his horses in the “big” circuits In the United States.  While competing on the United States tracks, “D.G.” bought 5 branded horse which had been outlawed as a “ringer.”

 

He brought this horse, which had three horse shoes branded on its side, to skilled Almonte veterinary. Dr. Young.  After several months of expert work. Dr. Young succesfully removed the brands on MacDonald’s imported horse. There was no secret about it and all the racing fraternity In the district followed the ‘experiment’ with keen interest.  Thus disguised with the brands removed Macdonell took It across the border where it resumed its spectacular win on all tracks. However, the American Judge became suspicious and threatened to disqualify the horse if it was ever entered again.

 

So Macdonell and Kelley returned to Almonte with the horse. That year at the Renfrew Fair they were impressed by another horse that closely resembled their once branded winner except for its legs. The Renfrew horse was ‘ considerably slower but it would do. So they bought the Renfrew horse and painted its legs to match their racing marvel.

 

Then they returned to the race tracks of the United States with the two horses looking identical to each other. When they wanted to lose a race they ran the slow Renfrew horse, and when they wanted to win they entered the ex-branded horse. Finally the big sweepstakes race came up in Kentucky. Macdonell, after a succession of losses with his slow horse (to build up long-odds) entered his fast horse. Going all for broke, be bet his shirt on It and cleaned up $50,000.

 

But the jig was up, the American Judge with a long memory somehow identified identified the outlawed horse, seized it and put a guard over it. That night Macdonell bought off the guard and escaped with the horse. An American detective  followed hot on his trail across the border to the home pasture on the Boal farm outside of Pakenham. But they, or anybody else, never saw the famous horse again. They just disappeared.

 

Not only did D. G. Macdonell outsmart the American horse racing “sharpers” “D.G.” decided to enter the lists as North Lanark as a brash Liberal candidate in 1898. He was not the favored political son of Lanark –then and since – consistently Tory. But Macdonell had other potent assets. He was a native son of Glengarry and to the Scots of Beckwith, Ramsay and Dalhousie township that outweighed every other consideration.

 

Accordingly to the story “D C.” turned up unsupported at the nomination convention, wearing a Glengarry bonnet to thethe dismay of party line Liberals and Tories. His fiery election speech and “the Glengarry” captured the Scottish delegates from the concession. He won the nomination but not the election.

 

historicalnotes

 

Unexpected Almonte
September 14, 2019  · 

Almonte was featured in the Saturday, 4 January 1879 issue of the Canadian illustrated News.
The Canadian Illustrated News was a weekly Canadian illustrated magazine published in Montreal from 1869 to 1883. It was published by George Desbarats.
The magazine was notable for being the first in the world to consistently produce photographs at a successful rate. This was possible with the financial backing of Desbarats, as well as the invention of half-tone photo-engraving by William Leggo (Wikipedia)
Depicted above are:
St. Andrew’s Church, St. Paul’s Church & Parsonage, Daniel Galbraith Esq MP, The residence of Major Gemmill, The High School, St. John’s Church, The R.C. Church, School & Parsonage, The Rosamond Woollen Company’s Mill, Elm Glen (Residence of A. Elliott Esq), D.G. Macdonnell Esq, Reeve, Riley’s Hotel, Messrs, Elliott & Sheard’s Woollen Mill, Dr. Mostyn MPP, Residence of D.G. Macdonnell, Esq., Reeve.

Early Life

Donald Greenfield Macdonell was born in Morrisburg, Ontario, on July 2, 1849. His parents were Alexander Greenfield Macdonell (1817-1889) and Helen Sophia (“Ellen”) Doran (1826-1871). Alexander Macdonell was a lawyer.

Donald became a lawyer in 1874. He lived for a time in Almonte, Ontario, a town of textile mills on Canada’s Mississippi River, about 20 kilometres southwest of Ottawa.

Marriage to Margaret Rosamond

On June 30, 1875, in Almonte, he married Margaret Rosamond. She was born about 1858 in Carleton Place, Ontario. Her parents were Bennett Rosamond (1833-1910) and Adair Mary Roy. Bennett Rosamond was a prominent manufacturer and politician in Almonte.

Margaret died in Almonte on August 28, 1877. Read more here CLICK

An organization in Carleton Place with these newer ideas for the conservation of practically all main forms of wild life was formed in 1884.  Under the title of the Carleton Place Game, Fish and Insectivorous Birds Protective Society it continued to operate for some years.  Original officers of the group were William Pattie, president ; Jim Bothwell, vice president ; Walter Kibbee, secretary-treasurer, and committee members John Cavers, Tom Glover, John Moore, Jim Morphy and Jim Presley ; elected at a May meeting in the old fire hall on Bridge Street, when a constitution drawn up by Robert Bell was adopted.  Other members pledged to support the rules of this pioneering wild life protective society were William Beck, Peter Cram, Jim Dunlop, John Flett, David Gillies, Charlie Glover, Tom Hilliard, Archie Knox and Tom Leaver ; Hugh McCormick, William McDiarmid, Hiram McFadden, Jim McFadden, Jim McGregor, George McPherson, William Neelin, Robert Patterson and William Patterson ; Dr. Robert F. Preston, Alex Sibbitt, William Taylor, William Whalen, Will R. Williamson, Alex Wilson and Joe Wilson.  Out of town sportsmen among the first members were Duncan Campbell, John Gemmill, D. G. MacDonnell and Tom Mitcheson, all of Almonte ; Jim Rogers of Montreal and R. W. Stevens of Ottawa.

At this time fishing on Sundays was illegal here as well as hunting on Sundays.  Only about five of these men were said to be still living in 1928 when a story recalling the formation of the Carleton Place wild life protective society of 1884 was published.

Related Reading

War Horses — Between 500 and 1,000 Horses Were Shipped to Europe Everyday

The Ghost Horse of Tatlock — A Faerie Tale???

You’ve Got Trouble in Franktown-Dead Horses and Wives

A Horse is a Horse of Course– Of Course—Angus McFarlane

Buggies Horses and Accidents

Did you Know Old Burnside has a Ghostly Horse?

Let’s go Racing Boys — J. A. Brunton –Where was This Sign?

Let’s Go Racing Boys with Nellie Sharper and Alex Hunter from Carleton Place

Uncle Johnnie Erskine and Stewart Ferguson by Tom Edwards

More Notes about the Mysterious Arklan Farm

Ride a Horse Save a Cowboy

Let’s Go Racing Boys with Nellie Sharper and Alex Hunter from Carleton Place

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Let’s Go Racing Boys with Nellie Sharper and Alex Hunter from Carleton Place

 

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lipped from The Ottawa Journal,  26 Jan 1898, Wed,  Page 6

Nellie Sharper was the horse to beat and was initially owned by Dr. Preston of Carleton Place. Alex Hunter rode her and in her last years he owned Nellie outright. Unfortunately, in February 3, 1899 Nellie was scratched from a race at Landsdowne in Ottawa and was sent back to Carleton Place as she was no longer in good shape to race.

Alex Hunter’s father was Sandy Hunter, with a mustache like the handlebars of a bicycle and was in usual good humor, taking in the cash as long as there were customers in sight.  In 1881 and 1882 charcoal was made by Sandy Hunter, a blacksmith in Carleton Place, first for his own use in his blacksmith shop to shrink the wagon tires on the wood felloes of the large six foot wheels of the dump carts used by the Boyd Caldwell and Peter McLaren lumber firms.  His sons Alex and Lorenzo Hunter followed in their father’s footsteps and continued this enterprise from a commercial standpoint for some time. The balance of the charcoal pit products I have talked (The Old Charcoal BBQ Pits in Carleton Place) about were stored in the old barn where his son Alex Hunter had his livery stable, at the rear of the old Metcafe property (between Bridge and Water Streets).

Alex Hunter had a large livery stable in Carleton Place with many horses known by such names as Swayback Charlie, Black Rat-tail, and Old Buckskin.  He made the horses work night and day, drawing wood in the daytime and human freight at night.  He was the same tall, sandy-haired horseman who owned and drove Little Vic at the ice meets in Ottawa and also Nellie Sharper.  Later he operated the former Metcalfe House, which he bought from Joe Wilson.  He owned a hotel in Ottawa afterwards, on Clarence Street down on the market square, the Grand Central Hotel.

 

 

historicalnotes

 

 - , A GREAT CARD - . To-iporrow To-iporrow...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  11 Feb 1897, Thu,  Page 6

 

 

 

 - A RECORD MILE i . Was Made On The Ice Track on...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  10 Jan 1898, Mon,  Page 6

 - ., . r The races In Montreal were not finished...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  07 Feb 1898, Mon,  Page 7

 

 - Nellie Sharper Victory Protested De-cause...

Clipped from Democrat and Chronicle,  13 Jul 1898, Wed,  Page 11

 

 - Last Day at Hornellsvilie Provided Several...

Clipped from The Buffalo Enquirer,  16 Jul 1898, Sat,  Page 6

 

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ 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

Uncle Johnnie Erskine and Stewart Ferguson by Tom Edwards

More Notes about the Mysterious Arklan Farm

You’ve Got Trouble in Franktown-Dead Horses and Wives

A Horse is a Horse of Course– Of Course—Angus McFarlane

Buggies Horses and Accidents

Wild Horses Could Not Drag Me Away

The Horses of Carleton Place– Wonder if they ever had a Merlin?

Ride a Horse Save a Cowboy

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CLIPPED FROM
The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
02 Feb 1898, Wed  •  Page 1