Tag Archives: irish

Irish Immigrant Girls Were in Demand Despite Hard Times

Irish Immigrant Girls Were in Demand Despite Hard Times


In the year 1873 very few people had any money, particularly for such luxuries as servant girls. It will be learned with surprise, therefore, Rev. Dr. O’Connor, of St. Patrick’s church, announced in the local press that through the auspices of St. Patrick’s Orphans’ Home, fifty Irish girls of good health and good moral character were coming to Ottawa and would be distributed either for household service or marriage.


There was a wild rush for the girls but it turned out later that only 20 came to Ottawa, the other 30 having been sent by the Irish senders and the Canadian immigration authorities to the West. Consequently Dr. O’Connor and the officers of the home had to scramble to satisfy the demands of the Ottawa people with 20 girls instead of fifty.

The arrival and disposition of the girls was treated in a humorous vein by a Citizen reporter, who wrote in part: “Dangerous Days”. The city press made known the fact that the householders of Ottawa in a collective body seemed each and all to have made up their minds to secure one of the new arrivals. The influx of the strangers was the all-absorbing topic at every family and ladies event to discuss with their mutual friends in detailing their anxieties to obtain the services of one of Father Nugent’s proteges.

Neither of them could show their face on the street without being beset with applicants for girls. There were young married men, widowers, and men that had not been married but were going to be, all clamouring for a girl. If there is any truth in the old saying that ‘there Is no rest for the wicked,’ these two gentlemen must have begun to think themselves the veriest sinners on earth. But their troubles ended not there. The male sex they could well enough refuse, but what could they say to an avalanche of chignoned and Grecian-bended dames and damsels who put on their prettiest smiles and most bewitching looks to induce Good Father John,” or ‘Kind Mr. Wills’ to secure them a girl.

However, both did their best and some twenty were promised their first choice, leaving, as Father O’Connor expected, some thirty more girls to be fought for among other applicants. On a Friday morning the girls arrived in Ottawa, under the charge of Miss Fletcher, and were met at the station by Dr. O’Connor, Mr. Martin Battle, secretary of the St. Patrick’s and Mr. Wills the immigration agent, and a few others. But great disappointment was found that the party consisted of only 20, the rest having been sent west instead of to Ottawa, as was first intended.


The newcomers, were at once taken charge of and conveyed to St. Patrick’s Home, where due arrangement had been made for their reception. Here comfortable meals, were prepared for them, and a large wooden building, just erected for the home wash-house, was converted into a temporary dormitory for their use. Had Father O’Connor not been vigilant the help seekers would have carried them all off then and there. But with prudent foresight that good gentleman forbade any one seeing them till the afternoon, rightly concluding that after a three days journey they would be all the better for bodily rest and refreshment.

In a strange land, the emigrants were soon asleep under shelter of the roof which the Irish generosity has erected for the relief of Irish distress. To these girls, landed thousands of miles from familiar scenes,  such a reception must have been most welcome, and to them this noble institution has Indeed proved St. Patrick s Home.

In time all the twenty girls found nice homes in Ottawa and in due time no doubt, all of them found a husband, though the story does not say that. It appears, however, that the girls were placed with families, rather than with the seekers of wives. But the question arises how things were so financially dismal in 1873, was there such a rush for the girls as servants? The article does not say so, but probably they were taken by members of the civil service, who, having permanent positions, did not suffer to any extent from the hard times

St. Patrick’s Home History

Early Days

On December 17, 1865, a meeting of the Association of Members of St. Patrick’s Church took place in the Parish Hall to consider establishing a House of Refuge for Irish poor.  It was unanimously accepted that this organization would be called St. Patrick’s Orphanage and Asylum.


“Dominique, nique, nique s’en allait tout simplement”–The Pembroke Grey Nuns

I am a Laundry Girl

Women in Peril– Betrayed by Heartless Scoundrels 1882

The Home for Friendless Women

The Old Woman Who Walked From Perth?

Updates–What Happened to the Cardwell Orphans?

He Fired the Barn! The Orphans of Carleton Place

From Dublin to Drummond- Mahon Family Reunion — Series –Part 5 — Kevin Dooley and Irish Immigration

From Dublin to Drummond- Mahon Family Reunion —  Series –Part 5 — Kevin Dooley and Irish Immigration


Celtic Historian Kevin Dooley click here

The Lia Fáil (Stone of Destiny) atop the Hill of Tara, County Meath, Ireland.

The Lia Fáil (Stone of Destiny) atop the Hill of Tara, County Meath, Ireland. 

Celtic Historian Kevin Dooley came to the reunion to tell the Mahon families what their ancestors went throughHe also told us a few settlements in Ireland were older than Sonehenge carvings in the Irish stones —older than the pyramids. When ancient Egypt and Ireland are spoken about in the same breath it usually results in the rolling of eyes, polite exits and the sound of murmurs citing pseudo-history and new age babble. At least, that used to be the case.

Recent discoveries in DNA research have added to already verified archaeological finds to present a scenario that is now more difficult to dismiss.


Photo-Dublin to Drummond 200th Mahon Family Reunion

The Hill of Tara is one of Ireland’s most ancient sacred sites. It is surrounded by many other Neolithic earthworks and tombs and although commonly associated with the Celts, the site pre-dates their arrival in Ireland by thousands of years.

In legend it is the place where the Tuatha De Danann reigned. These were a God-like people who were said to have arrived in Ireland in mysterious ships and had magical powers. Read more here..




Here we have a portrait of Mary and Evelyn Mahon, daughters of John and Bridget Mahon, taken in the early 1900’s.

Irish Immigration

The Mahon family is one of the oldest families that immigrated from the centre of Ireland and James Mahon’s small farm was located just outside of town.  They were also a clan and had lands and had trades.

This stage of Irish-Canadian immigration history gathered momentum in the 1760s when advertisements appeared in Ireland’s Ulster province offering “industrious farmers and useful mechanics” the opportunity to emigrate to British North America (as Canada was then known) with the promise of at least 200 acres of land per household.

Some 300 new settlers took up the challenge, arriving in Halifax, and the following year they were joined by 170 immigrants who sailed from Londonderry and settled the New Dublin area.

Another sizeable group of Irish immigrants arrived in 1823-1825. Mainly Catholic paupers from counties Clare, Cork and Limerick, they created a 2000-strong settlement in Peterborough, Ontario (named after Peter Robinson who commissioned the twelve ships that carried them).

Each household was given a cow, basic implements and three bushels of seed potato to get them started on a new life.

This, too, was successful, and was followed by several years of active emigration, principally from Britain (which then included Ireland). In 1831 alone, 34,000 Irish immigrants arrived in Quebec. Even though they now had freedom of religion some of the Catholic immigrants changed their religion to get land and a lot of Catholic settlers were placed on the provincial lines to keep the Quebec french settlers out.



Photo-Dublin to Drummond 200th Mahon Family Reunion



It was also to become the setting of the most tragic events in Canadian immigration history: the arrival of thousands of sick and dying Irish immigrants fleeing the famine that gripped Ireland in the late 1840s. Some of them barely survived the harsh Canadian winters.

In 1846, an estimated 33,000 people of all nationalities landed at Grosse Isle. The following year the number rose to 84,500. Nearly 70% were Irish and many suffered from what they called ‘ship fever’.

It was actually typhus but it’s hardly surprising they blamed their illness on the boats they arrived in, for conditions on board were horrendous and perfect for disease to spread. About one-sixth of Irish passengers died during their voyage or shortly after landing. No wonder the immigration ships from Ireland became known as ‘coffin ships’.

But the illness wasn’t confined to the ships. Grosse Isle was also hopelessly underfunded to cope with such an influx, sick or not.

Accommodation was woefully inadequate and medical provision was insufficient. Inevitably, the disease spread among the supposedly healthy. Doctors, nurses, priests and even the Mayor of Montreal died alongside the immigrants.

As news of the 1846-47 tragedy spread, those Irish emigrants who could afford it, preferred to immigrate to the United States rather than Canada. This wasn’t an option for all immigrants, of course.

Read Linda’s story about Grosse Isle- Click Below

A Cross for the Irish who Perished on the St. Lawrence Shores


Celtic Historian Kevin Dooley at the Mahon Family Reunion


Kevin Dooley and Linda Seccaspina, Mahon Family reunion  August 2019

Who is Kevin Dooley

Kevin Dooley was born in Ireland, has worked as a machinist, seaman and marine engineer, has lived in Ottawa for nearly 40 years.

“I have spoken to no one who understands why it turned into the fight that it did,” says Dooley, who will forever speak in the deep, burling and rolling accent of his native country. “Everyone thought it was such the obvious thing to do.” Read more here…

Memories of Kevin Dooley by Jaan Kolk

I first met Kevin Dooley in the 90s through some musical friends who were also
in Ottawa’s Celtic music community, and often joined the Irish session
Kevin led at Daniel O’Connell’s Pub Thursday nights. In 2003 Kevin got a
nasty letter from SOCAN about copyright license fees for that session he
hosted. It was sent to him in error; the matter of license fees was
between SOCAN and the pub owner, and was not Kevin’s responsibility. The
whole thing went away, but if you know Kevin, the idea of SOCAN telling
Kevin (of all people!) “Ahem, we license the world’s repertoire of
music” was the height of irony.

It was so ironic, in fact, that it raised the ghost of Phil Ochs (known
for his strong sense of irony) who came to me while I was doing grocery
shopping on a Saturday afternoon.

He said “Jaan, I’ve got some new lyrics for an old song of mine” and whispered them to me.

I rushed home with only half the stuff I was supposed to buy, fired up my computer and
wrote them all down. That’s how “The Ballad of Kevin Dooley” was written.


I’ve clipped the 2003 Citizen story on Dooley and SOCAN here:

Kevin Dooley be careful where you whistle -



The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
10 Apr 2003, Thu  •  Page 55

And I’ve attached my PDF with lyrics and chords.

Enjoy the history,

The Ballad of Kevin Dooley.jpg




Jaan said that he did this tongue in cheek. I knew it was a misunderstanding that was not going to be a problem for Kevin. When I perform the song, I usually say that Charlie actually *did* get off the MTA without much trouble, but the Kingston Trio had a hit with that song anyway ;)” Kevin has  heard me do it a few times, and for a short time a copy of the lyrics was displayed at Daniel O’Connell’s.


Mahon’s Crest



Mahon History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms


In its ancient Gaelic form, the Irish name Mahon was written Mac Mathghamhna, which later became Mac Mathuna. Both names are derived from the word “mathghamhan,” which means “bear.”


Early Origins of the Mahon family


The surname Mahon was first found in County Clare (Irish: An Clár) located on the west coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where the MacMahons were lords of Corca Baisgin; and possessed the greater part of the baronies of Moyarta and Clonderlaw.


Early History of the Mahon family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Mahon research.
Another 110 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1119, 1715, 1780, 1519, 1606, 1644, 1600, 1650, 1643, 1650, 1660, 1737, 1707, 1715, 1715, 1737, 1680, 1747, 1727, 1737, 1737 and 1747 are included under the topic Early Mahon History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Mahon Spelling Variations

Many variations of the name Mahon were found in archives from the Middle Ages. These variations can be somewhat explained by the challenge of translation of Gaelic names into English. Hence, the spelling and language in which the people’s names were recorded was often up to the individual scribe. Variations of the name Mahon found include MacMahon, MacMann, MacMahan, MacMohan and others.

Early Notables of the Mahon family (pre 1700)


Notable amongst the family name at this time was Séamus mac Pilib Mac Mathghamhna (died 1519), was Bishop of Derry. Hugh Oge MacMahon (1606-1644), was an Irish conspirator, was probably of Sir Brian MacHugh Oge MacMahon, Lord of the Dartree in the county of Monaghan. Herber MacMahon (1600-1650), Bishop of Clogher in 1643, a Catholic leader, commanded the Ulster…


Migration of the Mahon family to the New World and Oceana


Irish families began leaving their homeland for North America in the late 18th century. These families were usually modestly well off, but they were looking forward to owning and working on a sizable tract of land of their own. This pattern of emigration continued until the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine sparked a major exodus of destitute and desperate Irish people. These people were not leaving for a grant of land in North America because by this time the East Coast had reached its saturation point and free land was scarce. They were merely looking to escape the disease, starvation, and hopelessness that Ireland had fallen into. Although these unfortunate immigrants did not receive a warm welcome by the established populations in the United States and what would become Canada, they were absolutely critical to the rapid development that these two nations enjoyed. They would help populate the western lands and provide the cheap labor required for a rapid industrialization. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has revealed many early bearers of the name Mahon or one of its variants:

Mahon Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • James Mahon, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1828
  • Patrick Mahon, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1829
  • Andrew Mahon, aged 22, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig “Sea Horse” from Galway, Ireland
  • Isabella Mahon, aged 20, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship “Condor” in 1838
  • Mrs. Dolly Mahon, aged 40 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship “Phoenix” departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle in June 1847 [1]

Mahon Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Sarah Mahon, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746 [2]

Mahon Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Henry Mahon, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811 [2]
  • Samuel Mahon, who arrived in South Carolina in 1814 [2]
  • Bridget Mahon, who arrived in New York, NY in 1815 [2]
  • Catherine Mahon, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1816 [2]
  • Charles Mahon, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 [2]
  • .

Mahon Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Michael Mahon, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship “Constance” in 1849 [3]
  • Judith Mahon, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship “Inconstant” in 1849 [4]
  • John Mahon, aged 22, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship “Mary Green” [5]
  • Richard Mahon, aged 23, a farm servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship “Trafalgar” [6]
  • Ann Mahon, aged 27, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship “Trafalgar” [6]

Mahon Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Alexander Mahon, aged 42, a farm servant, who arrived in Otago aboard the ship “Philip Laing” in 1848
  • Catherine Mahon, aged 43, who arrived in Otago aboard the ship “Philip Laing” in 1848
  • Robert Mahon, aged 11, who arrived in Otago aboard the ship “Philip Laing” in 1848
  • Mr. Patrick Mahon, British settler as part of the 8th Detachment of the Royal New Zealand Fencibles travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship “Oriental Queen” arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 18th September 1849 [7]
  • Mrs. Susan Mahon, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship “Oriental Queen” arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 18th September 1849 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Mahon (post 1700)

  • Jack Mahon (1933-2005), Irish Gaelic footballer who played from 1947 to 1962
  • Hugh Mahon (1857-1931), Irish-born, Australian politician, Member of the Australian Parliament for Coolgardie (1901-1913)
  • Charles James Patrick Mahon (1800-1891), known as the O’Gorman Mahon and James Patrick Mahon, an Irish nationalist journalist, barrister, parliamentarian and international mercenary
  • Craig Derek Mahon (b. 1989), Irish footballer
  • Pete Mahon (b. 1947), Irish football manager
  • Alan Joseph Mahon (b. 1978), retired Irish footballer who played from 1995 to 2011, member of the Republic of Ireland National Team in 2000
  • Derek Mahon (b. 1941), Irish poet
  • Mark P. Mahon (1930-2017), American Democrat politician, Member of the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1993 to 1998
  • John “Jack” Mahon (d. 1911), English professional footballer who played from 1928 to 1946 and managed IF Elfsborg from 1946 to 1949
  • John “Jack” Mahon (b. 1886), English professional association football player
Declan Barron
in the section ‘Contemporary notables of the name Mahon (post 1700)’ James Patrick ‘The O’Gorman’ Mahon is listed as Charles. This is an error made by the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography in the 1890s that has recently been corrected.

Historic Events for the Mahon family


RMS Titanic

  • Miss Bridget Delia Mahon (d. 1912), aged 20, Irish Third Class passenger from Derrymartin, Mayo who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [8]

The Mahon Motto


The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Sic nos sic sacra tuemur
Motto Translation: Thus we guard our sacred rights.

More tomorrow


Stay tuned for more as:

All are welcome, all are welcome,

All are welcome in this place.




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 and The Tales of Almonte

From Dublin to Drummond- Mahon Family Reunion — The Series –Part 1

From Dublin to Drummond- Mahon Family Reunion — The Series –Part 2

From Dublin to Drummond- Mahon Family Reunion — The Series –Part 3

From Dublin to Drummond- Mahon Family Reunion — The Series –Part 4 — The Family Photograph!!!!


From Dublin to Drummond- Mahon Family Reunion — The Series –Part 4 — The Family Photograph!!!!

From Dublin to Drummond- Mahon Family Reunion — The Series –Part 4 — The Family Photograph!!!!

Please play While Viewing



Okay, there’s no single secret trick. If only it were that easy! So many Mahons, and at one point it was right and left, and there were the slow walkers, and those who just wanted to get it over… but this is what happened and they did it well.


The Pink Mahons– Descendants of:



And there were only two from Orange County Ca. Cheryl Moss said: 

“I took Janet and Jim Miles who came up from LA, Calif., out to the homestead of her great-great-grandfather Thomas who came from Ireland.  A few buildings remain, not in good shape after 190 years but Janet was able to feel the logs he hand cut to build his home.  It was very emotional for her and she was soooooo grateful.  The smile on her face, her laughter meant so very much to me”.  


The Yellow Mahons— Descendants of:



I got out JUST in time to catch them dispersing from the group shot. But here they were.


The Green Mahons–— Descendants of:


Now, this was a crowd– how they got together in one bunch I will never know.. but they did it and it did not take a long time.

First Try






Second Attempt








The Final Product- Well done everyone!!



My Photograph

The only Mahon to compete in the Perth Kilt Run


So– do the Irish wear kilts? Though the origins of the Irish kilt continue to be a subject of debate, current evidence suggests that kilts originated in the Scottish Highlands and Isles and were worn by Irish nationalists from at least 1890 onwards and then cemented from the early 1900s as a symbol of Gaelic identity.

More tomorrow


Stay tuned for more as:

All are welcome, all are welcome,

All are welcome in this place.



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 and The Tales of Almonte

From Dublin to Drummond- Mahon Family Reunion — The Series –Part 1

From Dublin to Drummond- Mahon Family Reunion — The Series –Part 2

From Dublin to Drummond- Mahon Family Reunion — The Series –Part 3

Mothell Parish Families Desiring to leave to go to Upper Canada  1817 – 1818

Mothell Parish Families Desiring to leave to go to Upper Canada  1817 – 1818





Emigrants from Counties Carlow & Wexford to Canada. By 1817 there was a post war recession and Irish crops were failing. Soldiers returning from the Napoleonic wars on the European mainland were flooding the labour market. There had been a war in North America between the Americans and the Canadians (1812-14). The English government offered free land to settlers (preferrably with military experience) to defend Canada from the Americans.

Records are on the Canada page.

With Hugh Masson’s (related to the Willoughby’s) notes in brackets.


  1. GRIFFITH, Widow, Lewis, Elizabeth?, Jane1, Catherine, James, Jane2 , Mary,
  2. GRIFFITH, Richard, Sarah, William, John, Lewis, Richard
  3. PRESCOTT, Richard, Mary, Lewis
  4. JAMES, Thomas, ?, Anne, Catherine, Jacob, Thomas, religion RC
  5. PIELOW, name missing, Sally, Dinah, Elizabeth
  6. SMYTH, John, Molly, Mary, Sally
  7. KIRFOOT, William , Elizabeth, Jane, Thomas, Samuel, Eliza, [this KERFOOT family settled Con 4 lot 25 Beckwith Twp. Lanark Co.
  8. GRIFFITH, Henry, Catherine
  9. LETT, John, –olly, Martha, 3 more unscrambled names,[ this family was one to move with some of the Willoughbys to Lambton Co.]
  10. STONE, William, Susanne, John, Eliza, Jane, William , George,
  11. FLEMING, John, Betty, Jane, William ,Richard, Dorah,
  12. WARD, John, Anne, Ellen, Mary died,
  13. WARD, Luke, Betty, Richard, John Anne,
  14. GORDON, Samuel, Mary, John, Samuel,
  15. KIERFOOT, George Senior, Jane, Jane Foxstone servant,[ George KERFOOT was known to come but died at Nepean’s Point 1819 before rest got to Beckwith]
  16. MORRIS, Joseph, Sarah, Susan, Jane, James, Mary,
  17. MORRIS, William, Jane, Henry, James Mary, Joseph? Betty?, Jane, Ellen,
  18. WILLOUGHBY, George, Anne, [nee Kerfoot], MaryAnn, Peggy, Alley, William, Thomas, Richard [I descend from Mary Ann]
  19. GRIFFITH, John, Mary, Betty, Sally, Anne, Peggy, Jane, May, John, Betty Gregg= servant
  20. Missing
  21. PENDER, Widow, Mary, Samuel, John, Mary Langford=servant
  22. LANGFORD, Widow died Oct. 1817, George, Sally Joseph, William, Richard,
  23. STACEY/ STEACY  William, Allie/Sally/Alice, Sally, Joseph, Annie, Betty, Jane,
  24. BRADLEY Samuel, Betty, Isaac, John,  [Samuel will be related to the Kerfoots via Wm’s wife Elizabeth. Records indicate she was Elizabeth Bradley, the widow Wilson before her marriage to Wm Kerfoot. Sam might be a son of Eliz]
  25. BASSETT, Edward, Mary, John, Peggy, Thomas, William, Edward? Bassett? Michael Leach/Leech apprentice, Sally Bradley, gone to America 1817, family emigrated to America, probably Canada in 1817,
  26. BRADLEY William, ..ea perhaps Jane Shea noted in burial Register Mothel ,Shea Bradley Coolcullen died of fever Oct 12th buried Coolcullen,  ..illy, Betty, Henry, John, Alley, Thomas, Samuel,
  27. SCARF James Anne, Enoch, Joseph, John, Becham,[Scarfs are found throughout Carleton Co. Scarf family is being traced by Barbara Hadden]
  28. RATHWILE/ Rathwell/Rothwell, Edward, Jane and Jane FENNEL[Rothwell is the spelling used in the Tithe applotment book 1824 for Prospect church Coolcullen. Ireland and in land records for Con 4 lot 26 Beckwith Twp.1880]
  29. ROSE Widow, Joseph, Betty, James, and James servant
  30. KEAYS/ KEYES/ Keys Thomas, Mary,

 Mary left 1818 ,Mary Married William ??, William left 1818 William married Mary??, Jane, Mary or May, Elizabeth, Richard

  1. KIERFOOT/KERFOOT George, Deborah, William,
  2. EUSTACE William, Catherine, left 1817
  3. GARLAND Thomas, Jane, Elizabeth, Thomas, Nicholas, Anne
  4. ALCOCK, Thomas, Dorah, Mary, Thomas, Joseph, Mary, Francis [Alcocks settled near Kerfoots on Con 4 at Prospect, Beckwith Twp. Peter Light is tracing some of these]
  5. TRISTRASSE??, Thomas, Catherine, Patrick, Mary, Thomas, Adam, family left 1817
  6. SHIRLEY Basil, Jane, Ellen Morris servant [see families 16 & 17 Shirleys married into Willoughby, some Shirleys stayed in Ireland]


  1. GRIFFITH Thomas, Susan, Mary, Anne, Rachel, Francis, Sally, Thomas, Susanna, Esther,
  2. JACKSON Robert, Mary, Hannah, Sally, Mary, Robert,
  3. LUCAS Widow, Robert, Sally,
  4. TOOLE, James, Susan, Robert, Sally [might be POOLE as Pooles settled on Con 4 near Prospect, Beckwith Twp. Lanark Co along with Alcock, Willoughby, Kerfoot]
  5. DUCK / AUCK / HUCK William? Margaret? Jonathan married to Anne, Richard
  6. SAUNDERS, …?, Margaret, Thomas, John, Margaret, Jane, Martha,
  7. SAUNDERS Widow, George, Ellen, James, Nath, Bridget, Betty, Mary, Jane Joseph,
  8. PRESCOTT Widow, Henry married ? Mary, Mary, William
  9. SAUNDERS William, Anne, Anne,
  10. LEECH /Leach/Leich George, [see family 25 Bassett]

Received from: Rory Griffith                                                    Posted: 13 December, 2006.



Fenians OR Ballygiblins? Fighting Irish 101

What Was Smiths Falls Perth and Port Elmsley like to Joseph and Jane Weekes?

Lanark County 101 — It Began with Rocks, Trees, and Swamps

A Cross for the Irish who Perished on the St. Lawrence Shores

Rock the Boat! Lanark County or Bust! Part 1

It Wasn’t the Sloop John B — Do’s and Don’t in an Immigrant Ship -Part 2

Riders on the Storm– Journey to Lanark County — Part 3

ROCKIN’ Cholera On the Trek to the New World — Part 4

Rolling down the Rapids –Journey to Lanark Part 5


ben-orange (1).jpg
Few people are better able to tell about the early days of Orangeism in our counties than Geo. Boyce, past grand master of Ontario East. He has seen the membership of the order in Carleton grow from 700 to 1300 in 1927.

He has walked in Orange processions annually, rain or shine, since 1864. He has seen the days when Orange lodges were housed in log buildings. But always was there the wooden shutters the distinctive Insignia, as it were, of a county Orange lodge. “It isn’t as  shutters were required on an Orange lodge room any more than on any other sort of a lodge room.” said Mr. Boyce, “but lt always seemed to be a sort of accepted idea that shutters were a distinctive mark for a county lodge.

In the early days school buildings and Orange lodge buildings looked very much alike. But when shutters were used on the Orange lodges there could not be any mistake by either Orangemen or  as to where the lodges were located.

About Orange parades Mr.  Boyce added: “I never knew of a parade, how-ever far back, which was short of either a white home, a fife, or a drum. I have never heard of a district where some farmer could not play the fife, or at least do his beat,” he added, “and for the drum, there have always been in every district big muscular chap who were both able and willing to beat the nicest drum which could be handed them. “

The reason there were so many Orange Lodges was that many of the settlers were from Northern Ireland had been members of Orange lodges there. It was natural therefore that when a number of North of Ireland men settled in a certain locality that the first thing they did was form an Orange lodge.

Comment– Clifford Johnston wrote: This article has missed the most important reason for there having been so many Orange Lodges. Settlers from the Isles were predominantly Protestants. They arrived in a predominantly Roman Catholic country with a large social infrastucture which excluded Protestants. Protestants were not invited to RC social functions. The Orange Lodges filled the social structure void for Protestants. As the roads improved, as movies came of age, as cars replaced horses Protestants became more mobile, providing greater social opportunities for them, and Orange Lodges started to decline in importance and numbers. I still have my grandfather’s LOL ribbon/badge, Pendleton #950, now defunct.


Above is a photograph of Bennett Rosamond the Grand Master of the Orange Order in Canada. Bennett is with members of Lodge 389 in Lanark, or, Almonte. The image on the banner is that of William of Orange who is carried in Orange Parades. That is Bennett on the far right, looking like Gandalf, or, a Levite Prophet.

According to the History of the Rosemond Family by Leland Rosemond, the Rosamond family were members of the Orange Order in Leitrim Ireland, and fled to Canada after a Rosamond son killed a Catholic lad who was invading the Rosamond home with a gang bent on doing my kindred harm.


Blast From the Past–Orange Parade Smiths Falls– Year Unknown

Photos of the Orange Parade Almonte 1963 — Name that Band?

And Then There Were 11– Orangemen’s Parade in Carleton Place

The Day 5000 People Marched Into Carleton Place – Controversial New Exhibit!


When the Fenians Came to Visit

When the Fenians Came to Visit


There were stirring times in the Ottawa district in the year 1866. That was the year that was set for the U.S. Fenians to raid and capture Canada.  All the district south of Ottawa was agog with excitement, because, if the Fenians had been able to cross the St. Lawrence and gain a foothold, the district between the St. Lawrence and Ottawa rivers would have had to bear the brunt of the fighting.

Everywhere in the Ottawa district volunteer companies sprang into existence, and stood ready to leap to the country’s defence. Drill halls were built at Manotick and North Gower and the volunteer corps. In those districts began to drill feverishly. The whole district was on edge. A story of the excitement which prevailed in the country around Manotick, North Gower and Kars was told by Mr. W. J. Scobie, on Gladstone Avenue years ago.

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From Amanda Armstrong– I was going through some hints on ancestry and found that my 3x great grandfather, Samuel Hawkshaw (If you’ll recall, he’s the husband of Carleton Place’s eldest lady, Martha Hawkshaw)-read–The Grand Old Ladies of Carleton Place
Samuel served in the Fenian Raids! His record states he was part of the 43rd Battalion, which at that time was known as the Carleton Blazers of Bell’s Corners. He was only there for 16 days, and doesn’t seem to be mentioned in any other Carleton Place records for the raids. But it’s still so cool to know he volunteered to fight!

Mr. Scobie was a very small boy then, but the events which took place were impressed on his mind. The Scobies lived on the River road between Kars and Manotick. Mr. Scobie’s father was the late Samuel Scobie. Mr. W. J. Scobie tells us that as soon as word spread that the Fenians might cross, all the people in North Gower township began to prepare. Old shot guns which had hung on the wall as ornaments were taken down, cleaned and oiled.

To provide against a sudden and unexpected raid every farmhouse at night was turned into a fort.  At night, scythes, pitch forks. crowbars, etc, were carried into the houses and placed where they might best serve as weapons of defence. All doors were locked and barred after dark. Where there were numbers of boys in a family, the boys took their turn night after night doing outlook duty.

One night when the excitement was at its- height the Scobie house received a visit from Mr. John Ferguson, a son-in-law of Samuel Scobie. Mr. Ferguson was an officer in the militia company which had Its headquarters at Manotick. When Mr. Ferguson called it was fairly late, and young W. J. Scobie and his brothers were in bed upstairs. Mr. Ferguson had come to tell Mr. Samuel Scobie that a man who had come from the St. Lawrence had told that things were getting critical there, and that the Fenians might cross at anytime.

While the men were talking there came a loud rap at the door. Instantly Samuel Scobie, Mr. Ferguson and the older boys jumped to their feet and grabbed convenient weapons. Mr. Scobie advanced to the barred door and standing to one side, shouted,

“Who is there?”

A voice replied. “Is John Ferguson here?” “Yes,” Mr. Ferguson replied, “who wants him?” The voice continued, ‘The Queen wants him, The Fenians are coming and he is to report to Manotick at 6 am! The company marches to the front tomorrow at nine o’clock.

Mr. Scobie withdrew the bars, opened the door and invited the Queen’s messenger in. Mr. Ferguson put on his hat and left for his home. The next morning the village of Manotick responded to the bugle call, and the brave men of the Manotick corps set off on their 45 mile march to the front.

 - a of to Tiie Fenians. A large portion of onr...


Fenians OR Ballygiblins? Fighting Irish 101

Fenian Raid Sale– Get Yer Boots Before You Have to go Fight Again

Debunking the Stories My Family Told Me

The Rare Fenian Medal of Private W. Rorison– Carleton Place Rifle Company

A Carleton Place Fenian Soldier’s Photo

The Hidden Hideaway On Glen Isle

Samuel Hawkshaw- Carleton Place–Carleton Blazers of Bells Corners

So About that Ballygiblin Sign…. Fourteen Years Later!

A Cross for the Irish who Perished on the St. Lawrence Shores

A Cross for the Irish who Perished on the St. Lawrence Shores


Kebeca1690 – DeviantArt

In 1909 they erected a monument, a cross for the Irish Immigrants, who perished of the plague on the shores of the St. Lawrence in 1847-1848. This particular page of Canada’s history dealing with that sad event is a black and terrible one. They were dark years, ones for all Ireland, as well as for those Irishmen who had come to Canada’s hospitable shores only to die horribly of plague, as the potato famine raged in Ireland. Irishmen left their native soil by shiploads hoping to find plenty and a more happy life in Canada. But the cholera or ship fever, or whatever the dread disease was called broke out, and the poor immigrants whose constitutions had been reduced by hunger and trouble at home, fell easy victims.

Death’s scythe mowed the poor people down by thousands both on shipboard and at the quarantine station at Grosse lsle, 27 miles below Quebec. They died literally by hundreds, and some were buried before they were even dead in a great trench on the Island. Terror stalked abroad; the story of the great plague of London was repeated on Canada’s shores. It was told that 12,000 men women and children were buried in one great last resting place. In those days men travelled in sailing vessels and the journey to Canada took three months, so it can be seen how easy it was for the seeds of the plague to sprout and grow in the packed and unsanitary vessels of those days.

The young children came through the plague generally speaking better than their parents. After the ravages had ceased, hundreds of orphans drew the sympathy and protection of the French settlers of Quebec, and that is why all through the lower part of the province in the 1920’s to 1930’s you would find O’Flahertys, Donovans, McCools, Flynns, and Gilhoolys who could not speak a word of English.

The powers to be decided that the grave of these Irish Immigrants, for it is one great grave, was to have a headstone. As the result of the activity of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, a heroic Celtic cross seven feet high was placed on a commanding spot on Grosse Isle and told of the terrible tragedy that was enacted at the quarantine station years ago.


 - IHli CKHKMOMKS. On fiunia, August U. the great...

Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Journal,
  2. 19 Jul 1909, Mon,
  3. Page 4


File:Cimetiere de l'est Grosse Ile 2.jpgGrave, eastern cemetery, Grosse Isle, Quebec. “Heinrich Neuman, age 6 years, Ex. S.S. Palanza, Died dec. 20. 1912”






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 Norwegian Bride– Not Your Ordinary Bride

How Many Women Does it Take to Replace a Team of Horses?The Doukhobors

What Was Smiths Falls Perth and Port Elmsley like to Joseph and Jane Weekes?

What Did British Immigrants Spend When They First Came to Canada?

The Man Without a Country

Lanark County 101 — It Began with Rocks, Trees, and Swamps

Rock the Boat! Lanark County or Bust! Part 1

It Wasn’t the Sloop John B — Do’s and Don’t in an Immigrant Ship -Part 2

Riders on the Storm– Journey to Lanark County — Part 3

ROCKIN’ Cholera On the Trek to the New World — Part 4

Rolling down the Rapids –Journey to Lanark Part 5

Historical “Droppings” about Pigeon Hill

Historical “Droppings” about Pigeon Hill


At one point in time there were over 3.5 billion passenger pigeons in North America and flocks of giant numbers would blacken the sky– but, did you know the early settlers and their ancestors managed to wipe out most of the birds by 1914? In clearing the forests over the course of the 19th century the loss of natural wilderness paired with increased hunting may have triggered the passenger pigeon’s rapid extinction.

Was this the case in Pigeon Hill, Quebec? George Titemore, from Colombia County, N.Y. was the first person to set up his residence there in 1788,  just a little less than 3/4 of a mile south where the knoll-top community of Pigeon Hill now exists.

Local gossip speaks of a bank teller in Bedford that has said that Pigeon Hill got its name from a French man named Mr. Pigeon. Actually, it was when the early settlers arrived in the area, they supposedly found a ready food supply in the hoardes of passenger pigeons roosting upon the hill. But, according to the history books, it really wasn’t a Hitchcock moment. The original settlers basically only found pasturage and hay for their animals, and in 1792 a famine for the families living in this section of St. Armand threatened their existence. They had no choice but to go into their wheat fields and shell out the unripe grain and boil it for food.

The Titemore family was so desperate that head of household George went to see a gentleman living just over the border in Berkshire, Vermont and purchased 100 pounds of flour for $9.00. George carried it on his back through the woods to his residence which was about 15 miles and also managed to bag a moose, not pigeons, that was grazing with his horses.  He died in 1832 at the age of 76 and had 13 children, yet only two remained in the area.

George’s sister Sophia Titemore was the first white person buried in the Pigeon Hill Cemetery  (Old Methodist Cemetery) on Rue Des Erable. Her brother John is also buried there, and his final resting place is marked by a small slate stone scribed  JT Died July 31 1809 aged 87. There are four slate stones grouped in a square which would probably indicate family members, unfortunately, only JT’s is legible.

Another Pigeon Hill resident Henry Groat had no descendants when he died in 1811, but the stream east of Pigeon Hill where he resided was named Groat Creek after him. The local pigeons have roosted since 1845 on Guthrie Bridge built over Groat Creek, and this is the shortest public covered bridge among the twenty-one authentic covered bridges remaining in the Eastern Townships.

Adam and Eve Sager came to town in 1791 and once again the pigeons proved to be smarter than their human being counterparts after Mrs. Sager was found killed by lightning at the beginning of 1825. Even after that fateful accident, Pigeon Hill was still called Sagerville in honour of the Sagers, but due to the large amount of pigeons that frequented the area the name was soon changed to Pigeon Hill.

The first general store was opened by Pete Yeager about 1810, but he only traded for a couple of years until Adi Vincent and his son took over. Gath Holt was next with a new store by the Episcopal church, but rumour as the pigeon flies was that it was destroyed by gun powder 3 or 4 years later. Fortunately it happened on a Sunday, so few were out and about, and the cause of the explosion was unknown and never talked about.

One Thursday, in June of 1866, the Fenians left their camp in Franklin, Vermont for the sole purpose of stealing horses and plundering dwellings in Canada. One raid found the area around Pigeon Hill overrun with the ragged dirty and half armed Fenians, led by General Samuel Spear. I’m sure the local pigeons in the trees noticed that plundering and burning were more congenial to the Fenian’s tastes than fighting for military fame or taking over Pigeon Hill for their very own. They broke into old Noah Sager’s Hotel and stole and destroyed what they could.  Even Edward Titemore’s home was destroyed in the 1866 Fenian Raid.

Not content with Thursday’s events they returned again on Friday, and 20 more scallywags joined Thursday’s original 40 and spent the day plundering some more. The poor locals were nothing but clay pigeons to these dastardly Fenians while they watched them march to the hotel of F.B. Carpenter and help themselves to a free dinner and then an additional 50 bucks in cash, which would be about $720 in today’s money.

For two days or three days the inhabitants of Pigeon Hill remained mostly unarmed and gossip was abound that there was a 1000 more wild Irishmen hovering nearby awaiting their chance to finish the place off.  In the Detroit Free Press of June of 1866 it was reported that a fight was imminent with the British regulars prepared to fight the Fenians between the boundary lines at Pigeon Hill. Appearances indicated that the British would surround the Fenians, and it was also noted that numbers of discontented invaders were now returning to the States. On June 7, 1866 the Fenian raiders were finally expelled by members of the Canadian Militia after also causing massive chaos at nearby Frelighsburg and St. Armand.

They say that almost every last bird was wiped out in the community where the farmlands of Quebec look to the north and the hills of Vermont to the south. I could find very little mention of Pigeon Hill again except in the newspapers of January of 1896 and August of 1919. Pigeon Hill resident Thomas Hogan never found his Uncle Dandy Hogan after he placed a personal ad in the January St. Louis Dispatch of 1896. The man had been missing for a year and was last seen working at South Atlantic Mills in St. Louis, Mo. In August 1919, a well known open Pigeon Hill liquor joint was busted up at 2:30 am that morning. It was noted that it was the largest seizure made along the border in some time. There was no record of who the stool pigeon was after Deputy Collector L. D. Seward stopped an automobile containing 4 gallons on the Highgate Springs Road originating from Pigeon Hill.

William Shakespeare once said:  “We know what we are, but know not what we may be”. Pigeon Hill may not have become one the great hubs of the Eastern Townships– but it will be remembered in the history books and forever debated why it was named Pigeon Hill.

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 The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)


Fenians OR Ballygiblins? Fighting Irish 101

Angry Mobs, Wolves and Bloodsuckers –Selby Lake

Memories of UFO’s Earthquake Lights and Gale Pond

The Ghost Ship of Brown’s Hill

Hocus Pocus –Necromancy at Fitch Bay

The Execution of Alexander Burns — Capital Punishment in Canada

If You Went Down the Forest Road–Abbott’s Corners

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St Patrick’s Day –The Carleton Place Dramatic Club 1908





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The Ottawa Journal21 Mar 1908, SatPage 10


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

Fenians OR Ballygiblins? Fighting Irish 101



Shiners from Renfrew County



I am the last one standing from the Knight and Crittenden family dynasty and come from a lineage that not even Heinz 57 would understand. My bloodlines are thick with British and Irish roots and a few other tree branches slipped in between. My mother’s side from the Call’s Mills and Island Brook area were all from Ireland, and as a child, tales were told on a weekly basis about our Irish ancestors.

My mother’s side in the Eastern Townships of Quebec were all from Ireland, and as a child tales were told on a weekly basis about what our Irish scallywags did when they came to Canada. Most came during the Great Irish Famine (1845-1849) and some ended up dying on Grosse-Île, where the Canadian immigration centre was situated. It is safe to say that 40% of all “Quebecers” and “Ontarians” have Irish ancestry on at least one side of their family tree– whether they choose to accept it or not

My favourite story was one about my great great aunt fighting off the Fenians during the fight at Eccles Hill on May 25, 1870. According to the Crittenden legend, she fought them off single-handedly using a spoon as a door lock. Knowing my mother’s side of the family, I assumed she probably invited them in to play cards and have a few pints.

Farmers in the vicinity of Eccles Hill near Frelighsburg, Quebec were constantly in dread of being robbed by the Fenians and complained that the Irish were invading the area like a hobby. Many of the locals took their valuable silverware to the woods and buried them in order to be safe. But, like the rest of my past dynasty, it seems that my family didn’t worry about their cutlery and used their silverware instead to lock their doors.

We all need to remember locking doors wasn’t a huge priority in those days. Even if they left home for a week or two, homes were unlocked as break ins didn’t happen that often. Knowing my family I am sure there were some big, scary looking dogs involved that would either deter robbers from trying, or ensure intruders would be caught and immediately maimed in the process. But these were the hopeless Fenians that were invading Eccles Hill, while presumably the Benny Hill Theme song was playing  in the background.

So how did this great great aunt of mine with nerves of steel do it? This family folklore has stuck with me since I was a child, and instead of wondering for the brief years I have left; I decided to finally find out the truth for once and for all. Upon doing research I found out how to open a door with a spoon, but nothing was coming up until I found a story of a woman who went to the last Olympics and her room had no locks on it so she used a spoon.

I looked at the photo once, I looked at it twice and shook my head– it was that simple. All those years wondering. That was it? Yes, that was all she wrote as they say. So many chapters in my life lost in this little family tale. Some families have Kodak moments, some families have wonderful memories,  but I swear my family has straight jacket moments.

Donald McBurneyEastern Townships Roots

I will tell you a story told to me by my father about 1870 the folks in East Clifton,high forest, low forest and surrounding areas heard the Fenians were coming from the U.S to Canada to attack and take over the country. They were under the mistaken impression that Canadians weary of the British yoke, would rise up and join them.the fenians later became the I.R.A.

Well,my great grandfather and many friends grabbed their guns, mounted their horses and rode to the border to disabuse them of the notion that Canada was theirs for the taking. It turned out alright. The U.S.did not want trouble with the British Empire and American cavalry stopped the Fenians at Colebrook. My great grandfather and friends returned home without a shot fired. Just a little history for those who care.

So today it is all about The Fighting Irish.

The Fighting Irish–The Ballygiblins- Lanark County Ontario

The ‘Ballygiblin Riots’ Carleton Place and Almonte, 1824

A series of disturbances between the early Scots arrival and established Protestant settlers jealous of government assistance to new Irish Catholic immigrants, mainly in Beckwith Township and the recent Irish settlers in Ramsay flared up in 1824. The Irish had gotten free farm equipment, medicine, cows and clothing. None of the earlier wave had received an extra thing.  The Irish originated from an estate of Cork, Ireland called Ballygiblin. After the first troubles erupted, a decisive struggle took place just outside of town on the clergy reserve in Ramsay, to the right hand side of the road, towards the lead mine.

Fighting broke out on Mill Street in Carleton Place, and the tumult continued for two weeks of reprisals by each side. The Ballygiblin’s leader was named Bartholomew Murphy, and he was what we would call a “scrapper”. First the knuckles came out, then the shillelaghs,  and assorted Lanark County stones were launched at each other. The Ballygiblins got the worst of the last fight and they quickly retreated to Shipman’s Mills (Almonte) where they some how found a gun.

Col.James Fitzgibbon and his militia got sick and tired of dealing with at least 100 fights and headed straight for the Shipman’s Mills Blacksmith shop to stop it for once and for all. Inside, someone fired a shot and the militia returned fire killing one man and wounding two others.

One of the wounded was indeed Batholomew, and he was arrested along with other Irishmen and two from the militia: James Rochey and Johnny McGuiness. In the end one immigrant was killed, several were injured, and a number of buildings were destroyed or damaged.  No one was ever charged for murder, just malicious shooting. Bartholomew Murphy was charged with throwing stones and ended up  accidentally drowning a year later in Kingston.

Photo from Bytown.net— By the way, this plaque was hijacked on the Central Bridge in Carleton Place and should be replaced

William Morris’s tavern has always been said to be next to the town hall. Today I found this.



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  03 May 1946, Fri,  Page 2


The Fighting Irish-Fenians- Eastern Townships-Quebec


A group of men gathered around a captured Fenian canon, 1870. (P020/003.06/002/312)

In Canada,  a Fenian was said to be a group of Irish radicals, a.k.a. the American branch of the Fenian Brotherhood in the 1860s. They made several attempts (1866, 1870, etc.) to invade some parts of Canada (Southern Ontario and Missisquoi County in Quebe) which were a British dominion at the time. The ultimate goal of the Fenian raids was to hold Canada hostage and therefore be in a position to blackmail the United Kingdom to give Ireland its independence. Because of the invasion attempts, support and/or collaboration for the Fenians in Canada became very rare even among the Irish.

Fenians at different points along the United States border caused great alarm to Canadians in 1866. Among the places attacked were Prescott and Cornwall  in Ontario, and Huntington, Pigeon Hill and Eccles Hill in Quebec.

Farmers in the vicinity of Eccles Hill near Frelighsburg, Quebec were constantly in dread of being robbed by the Fenians. Many of them took valuable silverware to the woods and buried them in order to be safe. That is everyone except a great great aunt of mine. According to the Crittenden legend, she fought off the Fenians single-handedly when the American Irish came across the US border at Eccles Hill trying to take over Canada.

The story told was: she fought off the Fenians with a fork and a spoon in her door lock and not one notation about her can I find in the history pages about the Fenian Raids. Knowing my mother’s side of the family, she probably invited them in to play cards and have a few pints. According to Einstein: Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.

In June of 1866 some 1800 Fenians crossed the border of Lower Canada and did considerable plundering at Pigeon Hill, Quebec. They ruthlessly killed animals belonging to the farmers in the vicinity  and destroyed some of their crops. The Canadian volunteer militia were soon on the scene of action.

The danger posed by the Fenian raids was an important element in motivating the British North America colonies to consider a more centralized defense for mutual protection which was ultimately realized through Canadian Confederation. Home guards were formed and farmers along the border met for drills. Soldiers were often called out on short notice, and one day not only did the required 10,ooo turn out to one fight, but an additional 3000 showed up also. However, supplies were not sent with them, and some soldiers needed boots and other things ten days after mobilization.

Even with little food and water, a change of underclothing and revolvers whose shooting powers were the subject of grave doubt they were able to repulse the Fenians plunderers at Pigeon Hill in Quebec.

One tragic incident occurred during 1866 when Margaret Vincent of Eccles Hill went to get a pail of water. Miss Vincent being deaf did not hear the British sentry on guard, and after not hearing the command to halt, the sentry fired and killed her.

In 1870 the Fenians attempted once again, assembling at St. Albans Vermont. The filibusters who made it to Eccles Hill came under fire by 30 local farmers and quickly retreated. The monument that still sits on Eccles Hill in the Eastern Townships can forever rest in peaceful confidence that there will be no further cause for trouble along the frontier.

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Thanks to my good friend historian Nic Maennling from Lanark he sent me this yesterday..We have a stereopticon slide marked
“W. Sawyer, Photo.,
113 St. Peter street, corner of Craig Montreal.
“Warm reception of the Fenians from Eccles’ Hill”
Kind regards,

Important Eastern Townships Fenian Raids

Mississiquoi County Raid

This Fenian raid occurred during 1870, and the Canadians, acting on information supplied by Thomas Billis Beach, were able to wait for and turn back the attack. The Battle of Eccles Hill was part of a raid into Canadian territory from the United States led by John O’Neill and Samuel Spiers of the Fenian Brotherhood. The army of the Fenian Brotherhood was defeated by local militia units based in Huntingdon on May 25, 1870.

Pigeon Hill Raid 

After the invasion of Canada West failed the Fenians decided to concentrate their efforts on Canada East. However, the American government had begun to impede Fenian activities, and arrested many Fenian leaders. The Fenians saw their plans begin to fade. General Samuel Spear of the Fenians managed to escape arrest. On June 7 Spear and his 1000 men marched into Canadian territory, achieving occupancy of Pigeon Hill, Frelighsburg, St. Armand and Stanbridge. At this point the Canadian government had done little to defend the border, but on June 8 Canadian forces arrived and the Fenians, who were low on arms, ammunition and supplies, promptly surrendered, ending the raid on Canada East.


Two Men Standing Over A Dead Fenian, 1870. (P020/003.06/002/294)

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Shelley Boomhower Slater– Battle of Eccles Hill if you google the directions. You take the Chemin de St. Armand Road from Frelighsburg until you see Chemin Eccles Hill on your left. It is on your right just before the road ends.. This was the old road to Vermont border so it is now a dead end. Hope this helps. If you go to the town of Pigeon Hill (St. Armand) you have gone too far. There should be a sign Approx. 10 minutes 7.8km from Frelighsburg. Great Cycle route.


Read more at Bytown.net

1.Letter from Rev. John Strachan,York

Like many of you I was shocked to hear of the recent Fenian attacks on Fort Erie. How can our government allow Irish immigrants to flow into this United Province of Canada while we continue to be terrorized by Fenian religious zealots? Every Sunday in Catholic churches across the land, radical preachers are whipping their flocks into a catachismic frenzy, urging them to cram their Nicene orthodoxy down our throats three different ways. On every ship coming into Montreal or Halifax, hidden among the malnourished, diseased Irish there are sure to be Fenian terrorists ready to slit your throat at the first opportunity. This needs to stop now.

We all know that the Irish are a bunch of uneducated, colonial savages with a primitive religion. How will our women and children be safe while hoards of drunken Irish flow into our cities and roam the streets? Meanwhile they breed like rabbits, all part of their plan of Papist domination. It is a scientific fact that if Irish immigration continues apace Canada will be a Catholic state by 1910. Enjoy having your wine with communion, because that’s all about to end. And if we let the Irish in, who’s next – Ukrainians? Chinese? Musalmen?

It is our sacred duty to preserve Canadian values now, before it’s too late. In 150 years your children’s children will look back and know that you did the right thing.

Be sure to share this leaflet with all your friends (or at least those of them who can read… and you can probably skip the women, not like they can vote anyways). Say yes to Canada staying Canadian. Say no to Irish immigrants!

Rev. John Strachan,York


60% of the immigration to Canada in the 1800s were Irish. The idea that John Strachen would be so anti-Irish and not Anti-American (which he actually was) in this letter is baffling.

2.–A suspected Fenian, Patrick J. Whelan, was hanged in Ottawa for the assassination of Irish Canadian politician, Thomas D’Arcy McGee in 1868, who had been a member of the Irish Confederation in the 1840s.

3.In Ontario’s Lanark County, the Carleton Place Rifle Company numbering more than 50 men was formed in 1862 to protect Canada during the Fenian raids. In Carleton Place a victory ball and supper “in a style not to be surpassed” was held for the volunteers in the stone building on the corner of Bridge and High Streets which was then William Kelly’s British Hotel.The monument that still sits on Eccles Hill can forever rest in peaceful confidence that there will be no further cause for trouble along the frontier.

4.  Former Cowansville High School Rob Forster added: Well Linda, the Fenian Raid at Pigeon Hill was met by a force of local militia who had bought military rifles and organized, that militia being composed of local farmers who were determined to be prepared after the first local raid. The Fenians were supposedly ‘ragtag’ but that was just to soften the blow to the Irish cause (and I suspect to diminish the role of firearms in Canadian history); the Irish were all battle hardened veterans of the Union Army who had fought in the US Civil War. Our local boys, among whom I am proud to include a family member, defeated them in quick order however, and as the photo shows captured their artillery field piece, the one now seen at the almost forgotten Pigeon Hill monument.


Related Reading:

When the Fenians Came to Visit

The Rare Fenian Medal of Private W. Rorison– Carleton Place Rifle Company
Fenians OR Ballygiblins? Fighting Irish 101

Fenian Raid Sale– Get Yer Boots Before You Have to go Fight Again

Debunking the Stories My Family Told Me

The Rare Fenian Medal of Private W. Rorison– Carleton Place Rifle Company

A Carleton Place Fenian Soldier’s Photo

Ballygiblin Riots in Carleton Place — Were We Bad to the Bone?

The Hidden Hideaway On Glen Isle

Samuel Hawkshaw- Carleton Place–Carleton Blazers of Bells Corners

So About that Ballygiblin Sign…. Fourteen Years Later!

Jamie Stewart
2h  · 

Shiners’ War
In the 1830’s the timber trade was a major source of employment in Ottawa, as the French and Irish would fight over access to work in lumber mills. Many a pitched battle was fought on Rideau St. that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Martin Scorsese’s “Gangs Of New York.