Tag Archives: kingston

The British Home Children — The Trip to Canada

The British Home Children — The Trip to Canada

Between 1869 and 1932, over 100,000 children were sent from Britain to Canada through assisted juvenile emigration. These migrants are called “home children” because most went from an emigration agency’s home for children in Britain to its Canadian receiving home. The children were placed with families in rural Canada.

Douglas G Barbour of Brockville who was sent out in 1927 on the very day he turned 16 recalled being very sick on the voyage. The journey which took seven days “wasn’t a bad crossing” he said, “but the first day out was rough. All the children were put down below to get out of the way of the waves which were just swishing over the deck.

Another lad and myself just had to see the waves so we walked out on deck. A big wave came along and swept over us and we were washed overboard. I grabbed the rail so hard I think the marks are still there on my hands and I saved myself.

His companion was washed overboard but was rescued. On the same ship was his friend John Thomson now of Gananoque who had been in a home for five years. His father was killed in an accident at the creamery where he worked and he and his four younger brothers had all been sent to live at Quarrier’s Home. He also was 16 years old.

British Home Children in Canada

Both boys along with the 40 or 50 others in their group were sent to receiving homes in Brockville. From there Thomson was sent to the market garden farm of Howard Keyes in Cataraqui which then was well outside the city of Kingston.

“It was all right” he said “but it was all work. If you want to eat you’ve got to work they say.”

He worked on the farm from 1927 to 1931 when he married and rented the farm next to Keyes and set up market gardening with his wife. “It turned out OK” he said with a smile, But a lot weren’t as lucky as I was to get a good home.” 

Diana Thompson of Huntsville had a sizable display of family photos and documents detailing the experiences of her grandmother Margaret Watt who was with her twin sister Sarah and was sent over in 1890 when they were 14.

Their mother had died when they were three and their father, a joiner, remarried. When he was killed in an accident on a ship his wife gave the girls to their uncle to care for. However one day when he was at work his wife and her sister took the girls to the Quarrier’s Home and left them there.

Quarrier Homes at Bridge of Weir. Read more here click

Their crossing took 21 days and after landing at Quebec the twins were separated and sent to farms in the Brockville area “My grandmother wouldn’t talk about her life story” Thompson said, “She had left two older sisters and a brother behind.” 

Beth Bruder, chair of the Canadian organizing committee, also touched on the theme of separation and loss – loss these children suffered going into the home loss when they came to Canada and especially loss of innocence. Many she said were shocked to find that they were viewed only as workers, not as equals in their new country.

Bruder recalled her own mother telling her of overhearing someone ask who she was on her first Sunday in church. “Oh she’s just a Home girl” came the reply- a reply whose sting was never forgotten “Today however” Bruder said “I want to focus on the success that many of these children had in a country that gave them a chance to grow and prosper.”

with files from

The Kingston Whig-Standard

Kingston, Ontario

Ernest Kennings — Home Boy — British Home Children

Robert Laidlaw Home Boy — British Home Children–Buchanan Scrapbook Clippings

Did You Know About Dr. Barnardo’s Baby’s Castle? British Home Children — Home Boys

Canadians Just Wanted to Use me as a Scullery-Maid

Laundry Babies – Black Market Baby BMH 5-7-66

More Unwed Mother Stories — Peacock Babies

The Wright Brothers– British Home Children

Home Boys and Family–Mallindine Family — Larry Clark

Clippings of the Barnardo Home Boys and Girls

Lily Roberts of Drummond The Rest of the Story

British Home Children – Quebec Assoc click

Ontario East British Home Child Family click

British Home Children Advocacy & Research Association click

Banshees and Steamships

Banshees and Steamships
he Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
28 Oct 1933, Sat  •  Page 2

So why was the boat called The Banshee? I think this story might have a lot to do with it.

The Banshee of Kingston Mills

A banshee, or Bean Sidhe, is a fairy from Irish folklore whose scream was an omen of death. Her thin scream is referred to as “caoine,” which translates to “keening.” It is said that a banshee’s cry predicts the death of a member of one of Ireland’s five major families: the O’Grady’s, the O’Neills, the O’Briens, the O’Connors or the Kavanaghs.

Over time as families blended, it was said that most Irish families had their own banshee. It is also said that the banshees followed their families as they emigrated from Ireland to other places across the globe, though some stayed behind to grieve at the original family estate.

It is believed they were based on an old Irish tradition where women would sing a lament to signify one’s passing. This too was referred to as keening. As many keeners accepted alcohol as payment, which the church frowned upon, many have speculated it was these keeners who were punished in the eyes of God and were forced to become banshees. Another factor that likely contributed to the superstitious legend is the cry of the barn owl. In ancient battles, owls would screech and take flight if they noticed an army approaching, which would forewarn the defending army.

In June 1930, on a hot summer day, visitors to Kingston Mills Lock were alarmed when they heard banshees groaning and sobbing in the marsh. A tale spread by the community has grown and spread until some residents fear for the marshes around the Kingston locks. The matter remained hearsay until a local newspaper published a story. Since then calls have poured in reporting sights of the spectre.

These people are convinced they saw something and people claiming sight have fainted immediately. The sounds happen when the sun is high and the marsh is full of water. Many people heard the sounds over the years but no one could find anything that caused them.

An older Carleton Place resident told me they made several fires when they stayed overnight to protect them from the banshees in the woods.There have been several reported banshee sightings, but it is said that if a banshee becomes aware of a human’s presence watching her, she will disappear into a cloud of mist. When she does, it is accompanied by a fluttering sound like a bird flapping its wings.

So are there Banshees? This story is from the Frontenac Arch Biosphere

The legend of the Banshee started when the Rideau Canal was being built and Irish people settled near the lock. They brought with them supernatural beliefs and the ‘Bean-Sidhe’ who mourns over the death of a good or holy person was one of those beliefs.

It is possible the marsh clay dried up around the cattail roots and the air burst out of them causing groaning noises.

read more

Fresh Fairy Foot Marks Earth On a Charcoal Pit Westport Perth –McNamee

Faeries on the Malloch Farm

The Faeries of McArthur Island- Dedicated to the Bagg Children

Oddities — Lanark County Puffball Mushrooms

Beware of the Lanark County Fairy Rings

he Buffalo Commercial
Buffalo, New York
13 Mar 1861, Wed  •  Page 3
The Buffalo Commercial
Buffalo, New York
12 Aug 1864, Fri  •  Page 3
Buffalo Morning Express and Illustrated Buffalo Express
Buffalo, New York
13 Sep 1872, Fri  •  Page 3

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
08 Dec 1914, Tue  •  Page 6

Women in Prison 1900s

Women in Prison 1900s


Clipped from

    1. The Ottawa Citizen,
    2. 14 Jul 1920, Wed,
    3. Page 6

In 1835, almost a hundred years before the Prison for Women opened, the first three women arrived at Kingston Penitentiary, just across the road from the future site of the Prison for Women. Susan Turner, Hannah Downes and Hannah Baglen, all serving one to two years for larceny, were housed temporarily in the prison hospital until a separate facility could be found. It was not until 1839 that they were moved to part of the North Wing, then designated as the first prison for women in Canada.

Women inmates rarely came into contact with their male counterparts. While several babies were born inside the walls, the women conceived before they had been admitted to the prison. In some cases, mothers were allowed to keep their babies in their cells, usually only as long as was necessary to wean them, after which the child would be sent to an orphanage or to family members.

Conditions for the women were similar to those for men, or worse. Their quarters were cold, damp and crawling with bugs. Punishment for infractions of rules included floggings and placement in the “box”: a coffin-like container with air holes, in which a woman was forced to stand, hunched over, for hours at a time. Women, like men offenders, could also be chained, submerged in ice water, put in a dark cell or fed only bread and water. And so it went for years. In 1881, Matron Mary Leahy reported for the year that various members of the inmate population of 15 had spent a total of 14 days in solitary confinement on a diet of bread and water.

Although their numbers were comparatively small, women prisoners in Kingston Penitentiary seldom had enough room; as their numbers increased they were moved several times within the prison. In 1858, the Warden reported that eight women were forced to sleep in the corridor due to a lack of cells. In 1867, the Inspector strongly advocated in his annual report that a proper women’s prison be built outside the walls of Kingston Penitentiary.


Photo from the files of Doris Blackburn/ Karen Blackburn Chenier 1930s

Regrettably, no action was taken and conditions for incarcerated women remained poor. Productive activity for the women was often in short supply and limited to typically “female” pursuits: the manufacture of inmate clothing and other needlework activities. In 1872, Matron Leahy reported that the women inmates had made, among other things, 201 aprons, 34 sun bonnets, 406 pillowcases and 1,480 pairs of socks.

In 1889, Inspector James G. Moylan, referring to the women’s area of Kingston Penitentiary, stated as follows: “I have always considered this portion of the penitentiary unfit for the use that is made of it. Apart from its objectionable proximity to the male prison, the cells being underground in a gloomy and dismal compartment is sufficient cause for recommending a change.”

In 1909, a partial remedy was decided upon: a new, separate prison for women would be constructed, but it would still be located within the walls of Kingston Penitentiary. By February 1913, male inmates had completed construction of the Northwest Cell Block and the women inmates moved into their new quarters. There were 32 single-occupancy cells and two double sick-bay cells.

The following year, the Royal Commission on Penitentiaries, having favourably commented on the new building, nonetheless stated “… that the interests of all concerned would be best served if those few inmates were transferred to an institution for women. It may be possible that, as has been suggested elsewhere in this report, in connection with certain other classes, arrangements might be made with the provincial authorities for the custody of all female offenders.”

In 1934, after 99 years, the women were at last moved from Kingston Penitentiary to a separate institution – across the road, behind the Warden’s residence and into the new Prison for Women. It wasn’t any closer to home and it certainly wasn’t what many of them had hoped for. Women in prison in Canada


Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Journal,
  2. 06 Jan 1920, Tue,
  3. Page 13 - Isolation Wing. Two of the most interesting...

    Clipped from

    1. The Ottawa Citizen,
    2. 18 Oct 1919, Sat,
    3. Page 20 
    4. 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.


      Several Shades of Christina Gray –Home for Friendless Women in Ottawa

    5. The Home for Friendless Women

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

    7. What Do Sir Wilfred Laurier and Lanark County Women Have in Common?

    8. Women Arrested for Wearing Pants?

How They Stopped Body Snatching in Lanark County

How They Stopped Body Snatching in Lanark County

 - Several cases of body snatching are reported...

Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Journal,
  2. 07 Mar 1896, Sat,
  3. Page 5




Body snatching was once notorious and had many particularly atrocious offences. Especially at St. James Cemetery in Carleton Place where a woman’s body was once desecrated from the coffin and later found dumped into the cellar of the Kingston Medical college and re-embalmed. But, years later the burying ground custodians could scarcely recall an instance of the kind within their experience. At its peak grave robbing was a profitable vocation to keep a number of  people employed.

Aside from other considerations, it  later would be next to impossible to get a body out of St.James cemetery without being detected in the act. In the late 1880s the grounds were  patrolled through the night, and precaution was taken to prevent depredations of any kind.

A cemetery superintendent said: “The body snatching business ceased to be profitable when we used a pine box to enclose the casket”. Before the introduction to this outer box it was comparatively easy for the grave robber to narrow excavation at the head of grave, lift the wooden lid over the through which the face of the is seen, smash the glass, insert a hook under the chin and jerk the body out of the grave. But after the improvements the grave had to be excavated and the pine box unscrewed before the coffin was accessible. This takes some time, and so increased the chances discovery that few cared to engage in the business.

Unlike years before, the only bodies for which a high price was asked were those of persons dying in some mysterious way or some rare disease for which physicians or others interested were often willing to pay to induce the body snatcher to long chances.

Of course the body of a person of great wealth was always more or less in danger, but their ire usually made practically impenetrable. While there was little body snatching after the late 1800s work done by the body snatchers of a past generation often comes to light when, through the wishes of relatives or otherwise, it becomes necessary to transfer a corpse to another spot.

Many an empty was found from years past, and the cemetery men had to conceal from the relatives the absence of the remains their resting place. The custodian would seek to convince the friends of the long departed one that it was better that they should not look at the corpse, that it was decayed recognition, and that the sight of would be unpleasant to them. If he succeeded, as he usually persuading them to forego the of another last look, he manages enough sand and earth into the coffin to give it the proper weight and eludes suspicion.

In other cases the head of the coffin is found to have smashed in and there are marks of ghastly body hook under the chin,  the remains are intact, showing the robbers were interrupted at their work or found that they had the wrong corpse.

But, the value of a corpse depreciated as the years went by. The physicians and schools got all the bodies they wanted at the hospitals.


 - Smiths Falls News SMITHS FALLS, Nor. ; I. f...

Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Journal,
  2. 03 Nov 1922, Fri,
  3. Page 23
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


The Invasion of the Body Snatchers of Lanark County

Macabre Jobs of the Past–Resurrectionists

Stairway to Heaven in a Cemetery? Our Haunted Heritage

How Sweet is the Highway to Hell?

Did Samuel Pittard of Ashton Murder His Wife?

The Subject of Insanity

The Subject of Insanity

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Photo: Assistant Physician’s Office, Brockville Asylum for the Insane, [ca. 1903

Perth Courier, March 14, 1890

The Smith’s Falls News says:  One of our citizens, Arthur Couch, is suffering from that form of insanity known as melancholia. Six or seven weeks back the symptoms first began to show themselves but no further notice was taken at the time than would be taken of a man who might become somewhat odd or preoccupied.  A couple of weeks ago however, the disease took a more dangerous turn and on Saturday the 1st inst., he made an attempt on his life which would have been successful but for the providential interference of a friend.

An effort has been made to place the unfortunate man in the asylum at Kingston but that institution was over crowded and he could not be admitted.  He is at present at home where he is carefully watched although he is quiet in demeanour.  He appears to take no interest in anything around him except horses, and knows no one except his most intimate friends to whom he will once in a while talk horses. One of the peculiarities of his madness is that of the two horses which are standing in a stable he believes one to be dead and will not feed it.


Perth Courier, October 27, 1876

Almonte:  Insane—One of the workmen employed in Mr. William Wylie’s woolen mill named Thomas Glasgow, became deranged in his mind last week and was taken to the county gaol for safe keeping.  The unfortunate man has always been a quiet, industrious, and temperate man but a short time ago he lost his wife, which misfortune is supposed to have caused his present insanity.

Perth Courier, November 10, 1876

Insane—A few weeks ago a young man named Patrick Bowes, son of Mrs. Bowes of Almonte, showed signs of insanity which last week culminated in an undeniable attack of that dreadful complaint.  He was committed to the gaol at Perth on Monday last on information laid down by his uncle, Mr. John O’Neil of Bathurst, there to await the action of the asylum authorities.  He is about 17 years of age and in his affliction both he and his widowed mother have the entire sympathy of the people of Almonte.

Data Base for the Rockwood Insane Asylum in Kingston, Ontario


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  03 Mar 1948, Wed,  Page 16

Clipped from The Buffalo Commercial,  09 Oct 1902, Thu,  Page 2


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 Peculiar Case of Jeanetta Lena McHardy

The Odd Tale of Insane Johnny Long?

Embroidery of the Insane?

To Be Manic Depressive in a Rural Town — Kingston Insane Asylum

The Insane Spinster Ghost of Appleton Ontariounnamed (1)

The Gift of a Gavel– Frank Moon

The Gift of a Gavel– Frank Moon



Donated to the Lanark & District Museum by Dr. Harold Cumming, Kingston August 2002.

This gavel was donated by Dr. Harold Cumming Kingston, Ontario believed to be the Great Great Grandson of the late Granny Cumming of Watson’s Corners. This gavel was given to him by iconic Mr. Frank Moon of Carleton Place who when visiting his daughter in Kingston fell ill with pneumonia and was treated by Mr. Cumming.

By way of returning a kindness Mr.Moon sent him this gavel. A visit by Dr. Cumming to Carleton Place revealed Mr. Moon’s workshop filled with tools which most he had made himself. He would fashion a candlestick from cherry wood until he had it to his satisfaction and then turn it into a replica in brass. He also had a gadget hooked to his dining room table which turned out to be a knitting machine. He would turn  a handle and crank out a pair of socks quickly. Upon Mr. Moon’s death a gentleman from Peterborough purchased everything and moved it there where he operates a small business.



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  21 Jul 1959, Tue,  Page 20



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  19 Jul 1946, Fri,  Page 10


Margaret M. <i>Muir</i> Cumming

Perth Courier, July 17, 1896

Mrs. Cummings, an aged resident of Watson’s Corners who has been ailing for about three years, died on Monday the funeral taking place at 3:00 to Watson’s Corners’ Cemetery.  Era.


Margaret Cumming

Birth: unknown, Scotland
Death: Jul. 13, 1896

age 82 yrs. Wife of Peter Cumming-Native of Kirkfield Bank, Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Family links:
 Peter Cumming (____ – 1865)*
 Elizabeth Anderson Cumming Storie (1841 – 1920)*
 John Cumming (1845 – 1909)*

*Calculated relationship

Saint Andrew’s Cemetery
Watson’s Corners
Lanark County
Ontario, Canada



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.



The Magical World of Mr. Moon by David Robertson

Did You Know? The Oldest Library in Lanark County


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A Bewitched Bed in Odessa

A Bewitched Bed in Odessa

November 1 1897

A rather queer occurrence is reported from Odessa, twelve miles from Kingston. In the house of William H. Smith, fifth concession, Ernestown, there is a bed which on Sunday morning commenced to move about in a singular way, throwing off the bed clothes and turning over on the floor.

As soon as the things were replaced the occurrence was repeated and still continued. A bible was placed upon the bed, but after a few upheavals the bed failed to dislodge it, and did not tumble over that time. Mr. Smith slept on the bed Sunday night, being shifted to and fro but not thrown out. When he arose in the morning the bed again wriggled and tumbled over. A correspondent interviewed Mr. Smith and vouches for’ the truth of the occurrence, regarding which no explanation can be given. 

Author’s Note– After reading some of the classifieds from the Upper Canada Herald, I would assume it might be the ghosts of wives gone bye..:)


June 13 1834

British Whig

A CHILD FOUND – A child about ten years of age, the son of a  Mr. Walker, residing in the 4thconcession of Ernestown, strayed away from his home in the woods surrounding his father’s dwelling was absent 48 hours.  Yesterday the whole neighborhood to a man turned out, and forming regular divisions, had the satisfaction of finding him and restoring him to the arms of his parents.
Nov 7 1834

British Whig

NOTICE – Six Pence Reward

RUNAWAY from the subscriber, Sarah Crage, this is to forbid any person or persons harboring or trusting her on my account, as I will not pay any debts of her contracting.

Any person, who will return her, shall have the above reward, but no charges paid


Bath, 3rd Nov 1834

Aug 15 1834

British Whig


WHEREAS my wife, Polly Harrison, having left me without any just cause, this is to forbid any person or persons harbouring or trusting her on my account, as I shall pay no debts of her contracting.


Wilton, Aug 11 1834

Mar 19 1835

British Whig

Notice –

WHEREAS my Wife Jane, having left my bed and board without any just provocation;  this is to forbid any person or persons trusting or harbouring her on my account, as I will pay no debts of her contracting after this date


Ernestown March 8th 1835

May 6 1829

Upper Canada Herald

The undersigned, having obtained his Licence to keep a House of Entertainment in the Village of Bath, through his friends, to whom he feels grateful, for their recommendation; he pledges himself to give general satisfaction and will faithfully demean himself as an Innkeeper.

Jacob VanCleak

Bath, May 1st, 1828

All persons are hereby forbid trusting Abigail, my wife, on my account, as she has been delirious for several years past, and has certainly forsaken my bed and board, as I am determined not to pay any debts of her contracting after this date

DAVID PURDY  Ernest Town July 19 1819 Upper Canada Herald




Ernestown railroad station was built for the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada. Its cornerstone was laid in 1855

Ernestown station sits on the north side of two sets of still-active tracks, just west of Lennox and Addington County Road #4, near a little sideroad called Link Road.

It has been suggested that political factors were the reason the Ernestown station was preferred over more populated areas like Bath to the east. Unlike Bath, there was no real community in Ernestown.

After the station was built, a community developed. At the same time, Bath, without a station, declined. Today, with the station abandoned, there are only residences left near the station and no real community.



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.


Does Your Chewing Gum Lose its Flavour on the Bedpost Overnight?

The Bed Bugs are Jumpin’ in Carleton Place!

Remember the Hospital Bed Races of Carleton Place?

Updates–What Happened to the Cardwell Orphans?

Updates–What Happened to the Cardwell Orphans?


The sad state of affairs with small children..😦 Clipped from The Ottawa Journal, 17 Jan 1894, Wed, Page 1

I posted this on Tuesday. What happened to these children? The next day this was posted…



Clipped from Manitoba Morning Free Press18 Jan 1894, ThuPage 2






It was always believed that some sort of miracle would would take place in the life of an orphan and they would be adopted. Orphans were normally taken in by their immediate relatives, neighbours or couples without children. Laws related to adoption did not prevail in the Victorian era and so most of the instances of adoption were informal. Adoption of a child of the lower class by people of higher class, however, did not permit the child to maintain relations with the higher class and Canada had strict laws. If you suddenly found yourself without family you were put in jail until the courts could deem your story. Canada was worried about the country becoming a dumping ground for child immigrants. Your morals were assessed to see if you could become responsible citizens.

Some of the orphans considered themselves lucky to get placed in educational institutions. The philanthropists of the Victorian era considered it a social responsibility to donate money to schools which were formed to educate the orphans and provide boarding facilities. Food, clothing, shelter and education were given to orphans until they turn seventeen. Once they attained the age of seventeen the orphans were expected to work and earn on their own.

Most of these education centres were not funded properly and Orphans were educated for the purpose of performing lower-middle class occupation such as that of a governess. To make matters worse the nutrition standards were not up to the standards and corporeal punishment excessively. In such poor conditions, diseases spread rapidly in the crowded centres.

As abandonment of children was quite often during the Victorian era a residential institution to take care of the orphans became the need of the hour. Thus orphanages were set up in different parts of United Kingdom as Group home, children home, rehabilitation centre and youth treatment centre.

The establishment of orphanages played a major role in reducing the infant mortality rates. The orphanages offered community-based living and learning to children. Though orphanages acted as a better option when compared to adoption and foster care, in some of the unregulated orphanages, children were subject to abuse and neglect. But there were still some orphans searching for a ray of light in the darkness, living in the streets doing menial work and begging for money for their living.

Gilbert and Bertha Cardwell were pardoned by the Dominion of Canada and who knows what desperate place they were sent. Attempts to find them on genealogy pages, insane asylum lists etc. were fruitless. All that is know is they went to an orphanage in Kingston and the were probably sent to the Sunnyside Children’s Centre in Kingston. From mid-century until 1893, children’s homes like the Kingston Orphans’ Home were the primary providers of care and protection to destitute and neglected children in Ontario. About one-third of the children admitted were returned to family, but more than half were placed in private homes when discharged. Establishing good placement procedures was therefore a priority and a primary motivation for the founding of the Home. One hundred thirty-five children placed by the Home from 1857 to 1876 are tracked in order to assess these placement practices and the Home’s effectiveness as a child protection agency.







Clipped from The Ottawa Journal20 Nov 1905, MonPage 1



Clipped from Vancouver Daily World16 Jul 1896, ThuPage 7



Sunnyside Children’s Centre Kingston 1857-1998

The Orphans’ Home and Widows’ Friend Society was organized in 1857 to provide for the care and education of orphans. Initially these children came from the House of Industry, an institution established by the Female Benevolent Society for the poor of the area. By 1857 the House of Industry was well established and receiving aid so the women who had been involved in organizing that agency now turned their attention to the children. In March, 1857, thirteen children were admitted from the House of Industry into a house on Earl street where they were cared for and taught by a Mrs. Harold. Other destitute children attended the classes.
In 1862 the Orphans’ Home and Widows’ Friend Society was granted a charter. In 1862 the Orphanage and school moved to larger quarters. In 1927 the building housing the Orphanage was bought by Queen’s University and Sunnyside, the home of Mrs. G.Y. Chown, was bought for use as an orphanage. As conditions changed and orphan children were adopted or placed in foster homes the orphanage had fewer and fewer inmates. By 1947 the role of Sunnyside had changed. Since that time it has been a centre for the treatment of emotionally disturbed children


Ottawa– Protestants Orphan’s Home 😦



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal20 Nov 1899, MonPage 4


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 and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)


He Fired the Barn! The Orphans of Carleton Place

1,200 Died of Plague Which Hit City in 1847

1,200 Died of Plague Which Hit City in 1847


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School of Medicine, Queen’s University



When I was doing research Bertha and Gilbert Cardwell I cam across this. I had no idea– so I thought it should be documented.


The Kingston Whig Standard, January 8, 1949, by Edwin E. Horsey:


It was the 1847 famine in Ireland that was indirectly responsible for the founding of two of Kingston’s charitable institutions — the Home for the Aged and Sunnyside Children’s Home. Both establishments were organized primarily to take care of the widows and orphans left following the scourge of emigrant or ship-fever which claimed 1,200 lives here 101 years ago.

The deadly effects of the dire visitation were felt for years, for, while the progress of the epidemic had been stayed, there remained the problem of caring adequately for the many destitute persons and orphans. It is difficult for us fully to realize today the magnitude of the misery caused by the ravages of the disease, without doubt the greatest in the city’s history.

The plague of ship-fever was brought to Canada when thousands of Irish emigrants, fleeing from famine and pestilence, died during the ocean voyage or on reaching our shores. The United States, sensing danger, closed its ports to the refugees, but almost 100,000 were brought to Canada. While a quarantine was established at Grosse Isle in the lower St. Lawrence, those considered healthy or seeming well were allowed to continue on to Quebec and Montreal. Outbreaks of the plague quickly followed in both cities. It is estimated 20,000 died at lower St. Lawrence River ports.

At Montreal, those with a presumably clean bill of health, and desiring to do so, were permitted to continue further west. Passage was provided on barges and steamboats to Kingston, and so on by vessel to Toronto. But the trail of pestilence and death followed. At Kingston, the bodies of those who died on the last stretch of the river journey were unloaded on to the wharves for hasty removal and burial, while the sick were segregated in an effort to prevent further infection.



KGH BE16-9_CROP.jpg

Kingston Hospital 1890-Credit: Henry Henderson – KGH Archives


Old people never ceased telling of the harrowing experiences of those days; how the rumbling death-cart passed through the streets laden with bodies. These were taken to the field south of the present site of the General Hospital, placed side by side in trenches, sprinkled plentifully with quicklime and covered up. A great mound stood there unmarked for many years — the common grave of over 1,200 victims. During the term of the late Archbishop Cleary he had erected, in 1894, the monument now marking this burial place.

However, in face of all precautions taken, the fever spread through the city. Many homes became infected. A council report states: The expenditures of that year (1847) in the city, on account of the indigent emigrants, exceeded £13,000, and had that expenditure been charged upon the city, a special tax exceeding nine shillings in the pound would have been necessary.



School of Rehabilitation Therapy – Queen’s University
With all the moderen facilities for combating contagion at our disposal today, the appearance of a few cases of typhoid or other infectious disease causes a near-panic. But try and picture what conditions must have been in 1847, without any of these aids, when up to 2,500 infected persons and contacts were dumped weekly on the city’s doorstep.

When the epidemic was finally checked in 1848, the destitution following in its wake was of an acute nature. However, having been relieved of the hospital work they had carried on for some 25 years, the members of the Female Benevolent Society turned their attention to making provision for the care of the indigent and friendless.

In a report the secretary of the society, Mrs. Cartwright, outlined the object of the venture, to quote: The crowded state of the hospital and the general prevalence of fever throughout the town prevented the operations of the society from being carried on in the usual manner, but it was at lenghth agreed that efforts should be made for the establishment of a House of Industry, as the most effectual means of affording relief to the many destitute beings left among us by the recent calamitous season of sickness and destitution arising from the awful visitation of famine in Ireland.

As a result of their efforts a stone building then at the head of Princess Street was secured for the reception of widows and orphans. At that time Division Street was generally spoken of as the head of Princess Street, and as far as the present writer could determine the building secured was located at or near the site of the telephone offices.

Having inaugurated this charity, the society took steps to provide for the permanence of the institution as a place of refuge, as they, to further quote the secretary, depreciated the idea of casting out so many helpless beings to cling to a miserable and precarious mode of living about town in worthlessness, begging and vice, or to wander through the country. The members of the society were assisted by a committee of gentlemen, and undertook to devise means of employment for the inmates and promote the sale of articles made.

* * *
In the course of a few years the Female Benevolent Society collected funds, under Mayor Counter’s authority, for a House of Industry. This brought about the acquisition by the city of a stone building on the north side of Earl Street (present Nos. 303-305) with extensive grounds for garden cultivation. A superintendent was engaged to supervise the activities of the inmates, and at the same time a regular board of directors created to carry the responsibilities of management.

The institution remained at the Earl Street location for some 20 years, when it was removed to more suitable premises purchased by the city on Montreal Street. The building has been enlarged and improved as need required; and in 1887 a wing added as a Home for the Aged, the generous gift of the late Dr. Henry Skinner and members of his family.



House of Industry Kingston


The Female Benevolent Society, under a branch of their organization known as the Widows and Orphans Friend Society, also undertook the task of doing something definite for widows and orphans, apart from their interest in the House of Industry. Realizing that children should be segregated if good was to be accomplished, the ladies secured a small house as an orphans’ home, and placed a competent matron in charge.

In this manner the Home came into existence, with 12 children as inmates. A school, to which non-resident children were admitted, was conducted at the Home, the classes coming under the supervision of the Common School Board, in 1857, with a qualified teacher in charge. From board records extant, the school made as good a showing as any of the regular elementary public schools.

The small quarters soon became inadequate, so a block of land was purchased at the intersection of Union Street and University Avenue. Through the liberality of the citizens a more commodious institution was erected in the early 1860’s, where, as Miss Machar records, so many destitute children were succored, taught and cared for.

All the children were not a charge of the society. Many were paid for by mothers and fathers, who through necessity could not give them proper care, and consequently placed them in the Home where the best of supervision was provided.

In more recent years the Union Street property was sold to Queen’s University, to be converted into the Students’ Union. At that time Sunnyside was purchased and made use of.

The activities and accomplishments of the devoted members of the Female Benevolent Society are among the outstanding heroic achievements of Kingston’s history, deserving some form of permanent recognition even at this late date.






Clipped from The Brandon Sun13 Aug 1975, WedPage 2



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 and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)




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

The Story of Jane Russell Gibson of Lanark County

The Caterpillar Plague of 1898

The Great White Plague

Remember ???? Memories of Mrs. Gee’s Homemade Egg Rolls

Remember ???? Memories of Mrs. Gee’s Homemade Egg Rolls



Dining Out in Greater Lost Ottawa … namely Perth,
Shared by Mike Komendat‎, who asks:
“Does anyone remember Mrs. Gee’s Eggrolls? They were located on Wilson St. In Perth. People would come from everywhere to buy them. Delicious! Although the sign is still there, unfortunately Mrs. Gee’s is long gone.”
Marjorie Moore Kelly
When the kids were small we camped at Murphy’s Point Provincial Park, always in one if their boat-in sites. We tried always to hit Mrs. Gee’s on the way home for a real treat after days of camp grub.

Milhouse Van Houten

I’ve seen that sign for years, never dropped in, I guess I never will
Yes, the sign is still there in Perth
No photo description available.

Marty Leclerc Photography


The Story

Years ago there was a culinary tradition if you were in or around Perth in the 80s. You and your family stopped in at a place called ‘Mrs Gee’s Homemade Egg Rolls’. There was no doubt that they made the best darn egg rolls in the world, and were once a landmark in Perth. The egg rolls were always fried to perfection in a tidy neat wagon that was once located in the parking lot of Mac’s Milk on Wilson Street West.

The stand that was there years ago is gone, and as I am typing this I am trying to remember the taste and smell.  The egg rolls were huge, slightly spicy, and filled with veggies. They came in two sizes: either regular or jumbo size. In fact Mary Gee once said that two jumbos were perfect for a truck drivers lunch. You couldn’t leave without one of their homemade almond cookies and a cup of fresh brewed  tea too.

Mrs Gee’s Egg Rolls was in such demand they decided to expand to Carleton Place in 1980 where it was was located on the Woolgrowers property. But 100 yards away troubled brewed when Sal’s Place complained about the new competition according to the newspaper archives.

The complaints made their way to the Carleton Place Town Hall that Mrs. Gee’s was located on industrial property and getting a free ride for a mere 75 bucks for a canteen license. Owner Sal Marinaz of Sal’s insisted to council that the mobile needed to move to another location.

Meanwhile bylaws were changing in Perth about whether or not the Gee’s egg roll emporium was either situated in a mobile or stationary wagon. Suddenly the health inspectors got involved and scratched their heads over the situation- as rules were different for either category.  Herbert Gee was baffled by everything that was happening, and his final statement was: “that over 100,000 egg rolls had been served and no one had died”.

It was said after Mrs. Gee’s Egg Rolls closed, people would peek in the door of Jameson’s Restaurant on Wilson Street West with trepidation. Some would inch their way by the Largest Buffet in the County”  and quietly ask about Mrs Gee’s egg rolls.  But, the waitress knew what we were talking about, and they still made them with the original recipe, though only if people asked for them.

But now Jameson’s with the over  30 feet of hot and cold Daily Buffet is closed. The memories of Mrs. Gee’s Egg Rolls are now just one other thing from the past.  Now, Mrs. Gee’s Egg Rolls is just a memory of good friends, good food and good times.

s-l500 (1)


Mrs. Gee’s had difficulties in Carleton Place


Is there such a thing as too much success? Herb Gee may be starting to think so. He had 22 suits and made big money in the brokerage business. But, it turned him into a workaholic and Gee and his wife Mary decided they had to get out of the retrace.

They obtained a Canadian Tire store in Gananoque then took on the store in Perth. But once again Herb Gee said he found himself working 18 hours a day six or seven days a week dealing with the headaches imposed by a large business So the Gees turned to egg rolls using Herb’s mother’s recipe a converted chip wagon and a kitchen fryer.

But success has struck again and in order to seize back enough time for a family life Gee finds he must take on extra management. And, to pay for the extra management what started out as the perfect little family business will have to expand If the right management talent is available (Gee has his eye on someone in Perth) there could soon eventually be a sprinkling of pagoda-shaped Mrs Gee’s Eggrolls stands from Kingston to Ottawa.

Starting from scratch in the food business a year and a half ago the Gees tinkered with Herb’s mother’s recipe until things were going reasonably well. “Of course what I didn’t know was that over the winter and spring we would receive a number of reviews (including a mention in Where to Eat in Canada) “This increased business substantially to die point where I was back in the retrace again”

He won’t say how many egg rolls they have sold (that’s a “trade secret”) but last week they went through 200 pounds of lean ground pork. Still too much of a businessman to hang out a “sold out” sign when the days supply runs out Gee wants to meet the demand but knows the demand will disappear if they overextend themselves and the quality suffers.

“Even when you’re small it’s difficult enough keeping a handle on the quality of the product When you grow and get bigger your service to ‘ V ‘ the public or the quality of the product diminish and quite often the price goes up too because of inefficiencies within your own system.”

So, he decided to set up a second location on Highway 7 near the Big Cheese tourist information centre not far from the first on Wilson St. However his hopes were dimmed yesterday when the town council refused him permission to erect a stand there because it is a road right-of-way. Gee’s lawyer told him Thursday that he had met all the requirements town council set when Gee’s application was discussed last week. The town had accepted his rental payment. It’s not the only spot in town but Gee is ready to fight for his rights.

“I grew up in the slums of Montreal and I’ve been in fights before” he said. It was in Montreal that Gee realized his mother’s eggrolls might be the basis of a business but he got sidetracked by university. “The big treat for all my buddies as a teenager was to come over to our place. We could down a dozen egg rolls with no sweat. They used to say ’Mrs Gee you should sell these egg rolls for a living.’

Of course Mom and Dad (who were in the laundry business) would just laugh about it and never gave it a second thought.” Although a native of Yunnan in China, Herb’s wife Mary ate her first eggroll in Montreal where she met Herb while attending university. Gee says the eggroll probably comes from San Francisco, not China, although the Chinese do have something similar called a spring roll.

Mrs. Gee’s secret is the seasoning– the proportions of vegetable ingredients and the fact that things are fresh. The Gees say they have gone considerable distances to get the ingredients they are after. Mary Gee spends eight hours a day supervising as many as seven students making egg rolls. “It doesn’t look like much, but I think anybody would be amazed at all the little problems there are to tend to. You’d have to have your own business to appreciate them.”

If expansion does come, it will be a little at a time and more or less at the pace set by the new management partner. “We would have to make sure that whatever new outlet we opened was being really well run before we attempt the next one” But,  it works in Perth and there’s no reason to think it can’t work well any place especially where there is a bigger market.”

Gee says there is much to be learned from the franchise operations like McDonald’s. He has rejected the “40 Billion Sold” sign but the pagoda shaped stand will proclaim a Mrs Gee’s the same as the golden arches convey McDonald’s message. A big difference is that Mrs Gee’s outlets will be easily moved. “With the energy crisis one of the questions circulating in the brokerage industry is how well the McDonalds and Burger Kings arid Wendy’s are’ going to do because they’re volume businesses and they depend on a lot of traffic. 

Sure it’s a tough time to be expanding a business Gee says but you have to presume unemployment and inflation are not going to destroy western society.

1979 Ottawa Citizen




Food markets too have pleaded for a piece of the action but as far as Herb Gee is concerned the answer is no. His contribution to the booming fast-food market ‘ is so successful that to put it quite bluntly: “I will not – resell our product” The quality might suffer.” The eggroll has come of age –Gee has done with the eggroll what others have done with the hamburger and the hot dog.

Food reviews — it’a even mentioned in the current edition of Anne Hardy’s “Where To Eat In Canada” — have described Mrs Gee’s Homemade Eggrolls in such words as “a delightful snack” or “a meal in itself”. Gee’s has seen in the space of three years – his single-product fast- food chain spread from ‘ Perth to Carleton Place ’ to Smiths Falla to Pembroke and now to Kingston with further openings planned in the next year in Cornwall and Sarnia.

He owns the Perth Carleton Place and Smiths Falls outlets himself while the remainder and those planned for the future are franchises. It all started in the spring of 1978, Herb Gee a former stockbroker from Montreal and successful operator of Canadian Tire franchises in Perth and Gananoque was looking for something “less complex” to run.

“The trouble with most businesses today” he told The Whig-Standard in a recent interview “is that they’re toohighly specialized with complex inventories. “I wanted to find a business that wasn’t -labor-intensive in terms of skills — one that didn’t require high salaries complexity of product accounts receivable or having to deal with shrinkage problems and credit. The answer was in the eggroll.

They started selling from a converted chip wagon placed on a Perth parking lot. Herb’s wife Mary took a recipe of his mother’s and kept refining it .“She’s still refining it,” Herb jokes “she’s our chief seasoning producer.” That summer they sold ‘ eggrolls’ by the thousand? (even now that’s all they sell except for beverages)

Over that winter and next spring they received several favorable reviews from food editors and this of course boosted sales further. The next year Herb opened an outlet in Carleton Place and was getting the idea that as long as he could keep rein on the quality of the product he might eventually have ‘ pagoda-shaped Mrs Gee’s Eggrolls stands’ througout Southern Ontario.

By August of last year he had established in Smiths Falls, and in June of this year he sold his first franchise. It went to a lawyer in Pembroke who as Gee – puts it “gave up a 14-year-old law practice to get into the business.” Gee says its “corporate policy” that all Mrs. Gee eggrolls must be made on the premises from which they are sold. This he says guarantees freshness and quality and is the reason that he won’t allow other firms to market his product. “I would lose control over the quality” he says. His second franchised operation has just opened in a converted former Shell service station at the corner of Princess and Clergy streets.

The first Franchisee is Kingston businessman Ed Kane. The story of how Kane got involved in Mrs Gee’s Eggrolls illustrated the ease with which the chain has grown. Kane who grew up in Brooklyn, NY and later lived in Pennsylvania before moving to Kingston two years ago admits: “I’m an eggroll freak In Brooklyn I grew up on ‘Chinese food.”

Driving through Carleton Place in early June this year on the way to two resorts he runs in the Calabogie area Kane spotted Mrs Gee’s. Later he returned to ask the cook if it were possible to get eggrolls to serve as hors d’oeuvres at the lodges. Of course the answer was no, but Kane was further intrigued when a few days later he saw the Perth outlet. He contacted Gee and discussed franchising. A week later Gee came to Kingston to look at 4 or 5 locations. By July 18, the Princess Street site had been secured. Kane could hardly wait to get started.

He beams when he talks about the relatively low cost of setting up an outlet. Payback for the franchis is an incredibly short time — five months. And Gee notes that the Pembroke operation — (“though 1 know it’s hard to believe’):— turned a profit after only one month. Gee estimates that the ideal size for a shop is about 600 square feet that is without sit-down facilities. Kane estimates that payroll alone for his outlet — which will operate from 11 am to midnight seven days a week and employ between 30 and 50 people — will be around $150,000 annually. He hopes to open at another location in the Kingston area once the first outlet is operating smoothly.

Kane and Gee estimate that each outlet can do well on a population base of 10,000. “I guess you could say that I’ve found an alternative in the fastfood market ” Gee says. And that alternative is ‘ tasty and nutritious. Mrs Gee’s eggroll — built around secret seasoning ingredients the recipe of which is a secret Herb Gee says — contains ground pork cabbage bean-sprouts shallots celery and onions.

CLIPPED FROMThe Kingston Whig-StandardKingston, Ontario, Canada26 Aug 1981, Wed  •  Page 31

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
08 Nov 1979, Thu  •  Page 43

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
15 Jul 1981, Wed  •  Page 3

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
13 Jun 1979, Wed  •  Page 3


I wish I knew what happened. Mr.Kane in 1981 posted two months later after he opened the franchisee that they were no longer at that spot. Maybe, whomever was working for them in Kingston got the recipe and tried to do things on their own. I don’t know, but that ad in the WHIG was pretty tell tale. Something happened.. I kept searching and searching and found a posting on Live Journal in 2000 called Mrs Gee’s and Murphy’s Point with a reference:

Still, though, we had a nice time, and after asking a couple of the locals about Mrs Gee’s, it seemed that her world-class eggrolls had been consigned to the dustbin of my adolescent memories. And so it was, until we were heading out of town, along Wilson street, we looked up and on the side of ‘Jameson’s Chinese Buffet’ (yeah, I know .. ) we spotted a little sign

“Mrs Gee’s Homemade Eggrolls. In Parking Lot —->”

No way!

We turned back, and headed into the parking lot and found, towards the main entrance to Jameson’s buffet. We peeked in the door with trepidation, made our way to the bar, and asked about Mrs Gee’s eggrolls.

The waitress knew what we were talking about, and said they still made them with the original recipe, though only if people asked for them.

We ordered a dozen, and about 10 minutes later, a massive paper bag filled with 12 huge eggrolls and a carton of homemade plumb sauce was ours. S pulled one out on the drive home, and as we shared it, I was pleased to see that it was exactly as I remembered the Mrs Gee’s eggrolls from 20 years ago.

Alas, Jameson’s Restaurant is closed.

These are the last two ads I found…If anyone knows the rest if the story I would love to know..

Linda—— sav_77@yahoo.com

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
18 Dec 1984, Tue  •  Page 3

National Post
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
13 Feb 1982, Sat  •  Page 35

Sal’s Place – Memories of Sal Marinaz (Carleton Place Mrs. Gees)

Patterson’s Restaurant Perth

The Superior Restaurant — 1948

Who Remembers Harry’s Cafe?

Summers of Carleton Place Past — Memories of Gooffy’s?

Boomers of Carleton Place

Remembering Your Smiling Face at My Second Place

RACK ‘EM UP —Do You Remember George’s Playhouse?

In Memory of George’s Pizza in Carleton Place

Twin Oaks Motel Opens -1959 — Highway 7 Landmarks

Sentimental Journey Through Carleton Place — Did You Know About Sigma 7?

Let’s Have Some Curb Service!

Remembering The Leatherworks in Carleton Place

Women Who Made a Difference in Carleton Place — Mrs. Lim of the New York Cafe

New York New York in Carleton Place

In Memory of Former Carleton Place Resident Bill Lim