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The Amazing Mr. Paul




Photo from the Carleton Place Canadian files from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

When I first moved to Carleton Place in 1981 I joined the Carleton Place Historical Society. Each month when I attended their meetings at the Carleton Place Library Mr. Paul would tell me stories that kept me coming back each month just to see him. There is no doubt that Mr. Paul became an inspiration years later to tell stories about Lanark County. He once told me that if I heard a story about the local area to keep passing it on so no one will ever forget.



Mount Blow Farm- donated by Norman Paul to the North Lanark Regional Museum


Norman,  was a fixture of Lanark County more than anyone I had ever met at the time. His father came from Scotland in 1821 and settled in what was called  the Mount Blow farm on the Rae side just a bit south-west of Almonte. Norman was born January 1, 1900 on the farm that is said to be situated on a *narrow round strip of white limestone.

Norman Paul’s great grandfather was the first Assessor in Ramsay in 1836 and when I knew him Norman still had the Census Sheet for the southwest half of Ramsay Township for the Census taken in 1837.

What people remember most about Norman besides his stories was that he was a whittler. His wooden creations are still in the North Lanark Museum in Appleton today and these dioramas were made in the 1980s depicting local pioneer life.

Norman used to travel to schools, fairs and other events to display his dioramas and give presentations on pioneer life. When the North Lanark Regional Museum opened in Appleton in 1970, Norman donated the majority of his pieces to the museum where they continued to be on display for the public. Unfortunately the museum burned down in 1979 and the collection was destroyed. Fortunately Norman Paul decided to remake the dioramas and again donated them to the rebuilt museum in the 80s.

I consider myself blessed to have known Norman Paul, and it isn’t often I don’t remember the smile of the 1987 “Maple Man of the Year”. In fact I never want too– he was that important to me and the rest of Lanark County.



Perth Courier, March 27, 1868

Leckie-Paul—Married, at Mount Blow Ramsay, by the Rev. Wm. McKenzie, on the 20th inst., Mr. John Leckie to Miss Marion Paul, both of Ramsay.


June of 1905. This school photo features teachers, Miss Ida Paul and Miss Lizzie Spears, who are located second and seventh from the left in the back row–North Lanark Regional Museum


*Many of the stone structures built in Almonte depended upon the Paul kiln for limestone. Lime was shipped as far as Merrickville from the “Mount Blow” kiln, as it was called, and old account books list buyers from Innisville, North Gower, Franktown, Smiths Falls, Prospect, Ashton, Huntley, Richmond, and other outlying points. The kiln was built of black iron stone on the site of a steep hill. It was barrel-shaped with an arched entrance, lined with fire brick and the front covered with dressed stone. Gum woods such as hemlock, tamarack, pine, spruce and cedar were used for firing. The manufacturing season began generally in mid February and ran to mid December. There were 12 or 14 such kilns in operation on the Paul farm by 1866 and the greatest production year was 1885 when they sold 9000 bushels. John Paul & Sons were awarded a bronze medal at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition in London in 1886 for their sample of lime.- Jean S. McGill book ‘A Pioneer History of Lanark County’ on the settlement of Ramsay Township

PAUL, FRANK YUILL – In hospital, Ottawa, Ontario on Tuesday, March 7th, 1989. Frank Yuill Paul – beloved husband of Eleanor Jean Clapp. Loving father of Geoffrey at home; Nancy, Sudbury; Allen, Whitehorse, Yukon and David of Toronto. Dear son of Norman Paul, RR 2, Almonte and the late Caroline Bowland. Dear brother of Ruth (Mrs. Arthur Armstrong), Burks Falls, Ontario: Jim, RR 2, Almonte and Norma Paul of Akron, Ohio. In his 49th year. Friends called at the Kerry Funeral Home, 154 Elgin Street, Almonte on Wednesday and Thursday. Funeral service was held at Almonte United Church on Friday, March l0th. Rev. Clifford Evans and Jack Lougheed officiated. Cremation, Ottawa.
James P. Paul

Photo and text- North Lanark Regional Museum

James P. Paul -Interviewed November 4, 2013 by Sarah Chisholm
Catalogue No.: 2013.43.1
Duration: 42 minutes
Photo: L-R: Sarah, Jim

James P. Paul (Jim Paul) comes from a long line of farmers. He grew up on Mount Blow Farm in Ramsay which was started by the Paul family in 1821.

Mount Blow Farm operated as a mixed farm until the early 1900s and was well known for its lime kiln business which ran from the 1860s to 1908. In 1925 the farm began the transition from mixed farming to dairy farming, building a purebred Holstein herd. In 1951 Jim Paul officially joined his father and his brother on the farm. Mount Blow Farm continued to expand and evolve. The farm improved with the addition of milking machines, a bulk tank and a pipeline all added by 1970.

Jim speaks about the history of the farm, the equipment changes and also speaks about his father, Norman Paul. Norman Paul is well known in Lanark County for his whittlings and dioramas.

This is a great interview for anyone interested in the history of Ramsay, agriculture, in particular the dairy industry.


The Paul Family–Learn more about the Paul family at the North Lanark Regional Museum-The Story of the Paul Family at Mount Blow Farm (Yellow Duotang) — — Four Page typed information on the Paul Family at Mount Blow Farm #73



Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

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

In Memory of Wandering Wayne –Wayne Richards



Rest in peace Wayne, hope you don’t mind me sharing this picture. I work across the street and one day had my new camera and was finding inspiration and there you were. Photo and comment by Lisa Stanley Sheehan


UPDATE– A GOFUNDME page has been started  to create a mural for Wayne- click on this link

A memorial service will be held Wednesday at 10 am for Wayne will take place at the Alan R. Barker Funeral Home 19 McArthur Avenue, Carleton Place on Wednesday March 16, 2016, at 10:00 a.m.


Written with the thoughts and comments of the people of Carleton Place

There isn’t a day that I don’t look out my window and see the little white frame house on the corner of Lake Ave East and Argyle and think of Wayne Richards, who was fondly known as Wandering Wayne in Carleton Place. I always knew it was his childhood home, and for years I have asked Wayne to tell me his life story, but he was reluctant. Wayne was a humble man, and as we often passed in the streets he never forgot to smile and nod back. If you took the time to talk to him he could tell you more about the town of Carleton Place and your family then you ever thought possible.

Like everyone else in town I have watched Wayne deteriorate the past few years. Instead of walking, he now stood in the doorway of the Queen’s Hotel watching the world go by. Wayne knew that the beauty of Carleton Place still surrounded him and he was content with that.


Photo by Michael Gauthier

To tell you the truth I never thought Wayne was going to die,even though he was in his 80s (1935-2016) as he was such an iconic part of Carleton Place. When I heard the news I, like all of you, shed a few tears. As Ted Hurdis said, if we could have put a fit bit on Wayne years ago it would have been really interesting to see how many hundreds of miles he walked. He was as close to Forrest Gump as we are ever going to see.

But, how much did we really know about Wayne Richards? Wayne once delivered milk and butter from the Carleton Place Dairy. He also worked at Leigh Instruments in the plastic shop for awhile in the 1960s. When Lynda Hartley worked as a nurse at the Civic Hospital, Wayne worked in the house keeping department. He had a sister Donna, and Margaret Sovey, a member of St. Andrews Church, who passed away in 2014 and an older brother Donald. His parents were Ernest and Idena Richards, but if you really think about it, the town of Carleton Place became Wayne’s family.

Lila Leach-James knew Wayne’s family very well and said he had endured many hardships in his lifetime. However, Wayne held down a good job in the city for a long time and traveled somewhat, in particular, boarding a bus and spending weekends in Toronto doing walkabouts. He was very clever, and quite a history buff, and was determined to remain on his own. There was also a story of a man that was hired to map every dwelling in Carleton Place, the surrounding area and talk to homeowners. There were many times he had to stop by the Queen’s Hotel for Wayne’s assistance as he was quite knowledgeable about the people in our community.

But surprisingly enough, what a lot of people remember about Wayne were his eating habits. When Amanda Wark worked at Subway in the mid to late nineties, Wayne used to come in almost every weekend and order a 6″ meatball sub, doing this for weeks and weeks and then suddenly he’d throw a curveball and get a steak and cheese instead. He got a real kick out of confusing them.

Holly’s parents ran the local Dixie Lee and every single day, at the same time, he would come and order the same meal. Wayne loved The Eating Place and he ate there every day at four o’clock on the dot, ordering the sandwich special.  John Daniel Morin said Wayne often talked to him there and he was a walking encyclopedia on various topics, in particular hockey statistics. Lynne Johnson used to leave money for meals at the Eating Place for Wayne, which was the idea of the Guthries. The staff were great to collect it for him and Gwen the waitress helped him with his breakfast in the morning.

But was he just a downtown icon? Wayne really lived up to his nickname Wandering Wayne. One minute you would see him downtown, and a few hours later you might run in to him in Smith Falls, or at the arena eating a hot dog on hockey nights. Or, you might run into him in Home Hardware when it was on Bridge Street watching TV.

Lyndy Rylott said after her husband Gary retired, he always had to go to town for something and would drive from their home in Ashton into Carleton Place. Occasionally the weather would be cold and raining and often he would pick Wayne up on the edge of town and drop him off downtown. Unfortunately, she never knew of these drives until just before her husband died. When she saw Wayne out for his walk, he told her of their little trips. Wayne believed that one step at a time is good for the soul and another thing he will be greatly missed for is asking everyone for the time during the day.

Bud Hamilton, a life time resident of Carleton Place, said he knew Wayne all his life and offered many times to drive him to Smith Falls to have cataracts removed but he wanted no part of that– he would just say thank you and that he was fine. At one time Wayne used to walk a return trip to Ottawa each day and as some have said if Wayne had been a dog walker he would have become a millionaire!

Erin S. Albright came to Carleton Place in the Spring of 2012 with a friend, to get cheaper gas. At $1.07 a liter at the time, it was worth the drive in from Ottawa. They went into the diner next to the gas station for some lunch. Wayne walked over, asked how they were and how their day was going. They had a great chat and he let them know where the ice cream place was (sadly still closed for the season). When they were getting ready to leave, Erin impulsively gave him a hug. He had moved on to chat to other people, but she had to tell him how he made Carleton Place a very welcoming place. Erin didn’t know him long, but he made a day without that awesome dairy fresh ice cream they had been looking forward to special and friendlier.  It reminded her why she would truly prefer to live in a small town.

I often wonder if Wayne ever realized how famous and well liked he was. Even as Wayne got a little older, got a little sicker, he kept on walking and the townsfolk of Carleton Place helped him with his daily journeys. Wandering Wayne was a Carleton Place icon as everyone knew who he was, even if they never met him personally. Wayne Richards brought our community together in a very special way. As Faye Lavergne said,

“Wayne requested the best of each of us in our little town. and hopefully  for the most part we all met his expectations”.

Thanks Wayne for always reminding us to take the time to be kind, and you will be greatly missed.  When walking through the ‘valley of shadows’ remember, a shadow is cast by a Light and as Curtis Geroux said, “I know this immortal man is still trekkin’ somewhere”.

May you be walking the clouds in heaven.

To the town of Carleton Place–Let’s get a mural going– bronze a pair of his shoes.. anything for a man who loved us so much!

Thanks Tara Taylor for telling me about this picture on —Carleton Place Meet Me on the Mississippi site COMMUNITY PHOTO ALBUM–






Llew Lloyd— Nice pic of a very nice man. I’ve known Wayne going all the way back to when he delivered milk door to door in a horse drawn wagon. Loved chatting with him every time I saw him . He never forgot a name and could tell you stories about sport’s teams that would astound you. He was a walking encylopedia. Books could have been written about the history of Carleton Place if someone had taken the time to listen and record all his memories. Many of us have some great ones. Now he’s gone ,but not forgotten.

Deputy Mayor Jerry Flynn– Like Llew Lloyd, I have known Wayne Richards all my life, with first memories being of the horse drawn milk wagon, and the day the horse and wagon ended up down by the river at the end of Joseph street, after the horse decided to take off without Wayne while he was delivering our milk at 244 Flora St.. Wayne was a C.P historian and walking encyclopedia, being much more worldly than some would think. I heard many of his stories of travel over the years, with his trip to Yankee Stadium being one of my favorites. We have had many memorable individuals, in my time, frequent our Main St., but none who matched the demeanor of Wayne. Anybody who has known Wayne Richards has been blessed to have crossed his path.

It has been said that His story, and his many stories and recollections of Carleton Place, should have been documented. Well, just so everyone knows, I made an attempt a few years ago when Jeff Maguire and I conducted several interviews with residents of C.P. In no uncertain terms was that going to happen, with Wayne cutting the conversation very short. What Wayne did leave us, was our memories of a kind and gentle man who was somewhat iconic, reminding us that we don’t need a lot of extravagance, or a lot of possessions to make our mark in life. Wayne lived a simple life, and left this world a better place.
Jerry Flynn


 I  I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floatin’ around accidental-like on a breeze. But I, I think maybe it’s both. We miss you already Wayne. If there’s anything you need, we won’t be far away. Forrest Gump