Tag Archives: lanark era

The Clyde Woollen Mill Fire — Hour By Hour 1917

The Clyde Woollen Mill Fire — Hour By Hour 1917

CLIPPED FROMThe Lanark EraLanark, Ontario, Canada27 Jun 1917, Wed  •  Page 1

The was completely destroyed by fire late Thursday night. Of the large main building in which all the manufacturing was carried on nothing remains except a lint portion of the inactive stone wall and a great heap of smoking debris.

Part of Mr. Crierson, the Superintendants home, also fell prey to the flames, but the office and shipping room, store houses and a few other outhouses wore saved by the excellent and effective work of the firemen. The damage amounts to one hundred thousand dollars, covered by insurance to the extent of 50 thousand dollars. The fire originated at about 9.4.1 p.m. in the boiler room, and was first noticed hy Mr. Cardinal, nightwatchman, on his return from one of his hourly rounds.

A time clock is used and registered upon every hour as the watchman makes a complete inspection of the entire plant. He had just returned to the waiting quarters in the boiler room and had gone to the adjoining department for a handful of waste when the fire was spotted.

Though at times it seemed that the flames would get beyond the rear of the main building where there were a number of storehouses in which are kept large stocks of wool and other raw material it did not. The cloth from the shipping room was all removed to places of safety. Danger to the wool was immediate and serious, and, and the firemen did all they could do to hold down the danger at the east and north ends, the chances of cutting off the -wool losses seemed’ remote.

Extra precautionary measures were taken in this direction and all put in readiness with men and teams to remove the wool in short order. The arrival of the Perth Fire Brigade relieved the situation. They had been summoned and made the journey from Perth to help. When they came they saw a small smouldering fire in a wood pile which stands in the boiler room. Deciding that they could extingnish the blaze quite easily with a sprinkling of water, they went to procure pails and found upon their return that the flames had developed out of control, reaching high up the wells and all around the boiler room.

The alarm was given and quick help at hand, but so sudden and furious had the burning grow that it was impossible to do anything of an efficient nature. The mill firefighters were situated inside the building, but the raging flames prevented this being brought into service.

In a few minutes devastation hail spread east and went to the spinning and carding departments and westward into the finishing room. The last room of all to come to ruin was the weaving. Bursting from their confinement it hit the interior of the building, the flames passed out and over to the dye room and curled in the direction of Mr. Grierson’s house.

The situation was one of keeping control with Perth by means of relays of teams at points along every few feet. The Fire Captain (placed his engine at the Clyde Bridge on George Street), laid hose along Hillier St., caught up around the rear of the building anil joined with Captain White’s Lanark men in forming a complete barrage which cut off the danger from the wool stock anil outbuilding.

Stubbornly the flames shot and roared towards the superintendent’s home, lint equally stubborn and the ascendancy ebbed and flowed for nearly two hours before the flames showed signs of subsidence. In the mill itself large quantities of wool were stored amongst quantities of goods throughout the mill in various stages of fire.

In the scouring house downstairs a miscellaneous assortment of goods were ready for the machines and these were recovered. Thousands of dollars were in stock everywhere and had a strong wind prevailed even this might have been a vain effort, and when the fire spots came along they were quickly extinguished.

Precautions taken in this way saved the fire from spreading and the Fire Brigade was doing splendid work The fire engine stationed at the bridge, no more than one hundred feet distant from the burning building, worked along at full capacity and sent four strong, steady streams of water, distributed to the heat advantage, along the north sides of the building. This was a great task that demanded courage and perseverance.

About an hour after the first alarm the roofs began to weaken and fall, cracking and splitting with the terrific heat, broke off in sections and came down. The centre section of the mill was raised to the ground, disclosing fantastic shapes in twisted and gnarled machinery. A few years ago a brick storey had been added to tho mill, which is all gone, as well as about one-third of the eastern and western sections of the substantial old stone walls which enclosed the plant.

The destruction is so complete that all the order and form of this industry, which was Lanark pride and main support, has passed into the elements, and nothing remains but the slag of the ruin. The fire was all around and as far away as Smiths Falls the glare in the sky was noted. Crowds of people gathered from all quarters. Scores of automobiles came from the towns and villages and countryside. The fire alarm rang in Perth as soon as word was received there, end in a short time the engine and hose were ready end on the way.

Many of Perth’s folk came along in cars and other rigs.The building was originally a store owned by tlie Main, at that time a prominent business family in Lanark. A few years later the property was acquired by the late Boyd Caldwell and converted by him into a Woolen Mill. From time to time improvements end additions have been made.

When the wheels first turned that gave Lanark a standing as an industrial village there was general rejoicing. Caldwell’s Tweeds have honored Lanark for as long as it has existed. At the same time, it seems unthinkable that the place which has been the voice of inspiration for fifty years of successful effort and uninterrupted business policy, should be abandoned lightly. In the meantime plans have been in motion for recovering as fast as possible.

Appleton will take care of the finishing until machinery can be installed in the Perth plant. The Aberdeen Mill in Lanark will be doubled up in capacity by overtime.

Also read–100 Hands Thrown Out of Work –Lanark Village

The Weekly British Whig
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
25 Jun 1917, Mon  •  Page 8


Click here

The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
16 Nov 1910, Wed  •  Page 8

Clyde Woolen Mills
  • Lot 2 George St.
  • Clyde Woolen Mills (Caldwell and Watchorn, proprietors; subsequently Boyd Caldwell and Co.) established a woolen mill in 1867.
  • The building was destroyed by fire in 1917. (the Glenayr Kitten Outlet Store was later situated in the Boyd Caldwell store).

Aberdeen Mills
  • Lot 2 George St.
  • William Clyde Caldwell, proprietor, built and began operating a woolen mill by 1890.
  • There was a fire at the mill in June 1901.
  • It was still operating under the Caldwells until 1930.


The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
19 Nov 1919, Wed  •  Page 1

100 Hands Thrown Out of Work –Lanark Village

A Walk through Lanark Village in 1871

Revolutions of Death at Caldwell & Son’s

Sandy Caldwell King of the River Boys

More Clippings– Lanark Fire 1959

The Aftermath of the Lanark Fire June 1959

The Lanark Fire of 1895

Lanark Fire 1959– Hour by Hour

The Lanark Fire June 15th 1959

I Found My Thrill on Hall’s Hill

I Found My Thrill on Hall’s Hill

The Lanark Era –24 Nov 1915

The exhilarating pastime of bicycling down Hall’s Hill is one that appeals to the youngster looking for thrills. The momentum that a bicycle gains excites the rider, but the bump end, the whack that greets the poor pedestrian toiling upwards end onwards are not the things one expects in Lanark.

There ia a law which says you can’t run down yonr neighbour indiscriminately, and if this law is to be disregarded the Chief will play his part. Complaints are frequent and the public is long-suffering, but a peaceful citizen can’t be expected to restrain his temper if bicyle riders are allowed to behave like Huns.

Hall’s Hill is not a roller boller boaster by any means. If any person thinks it is, let him keep on thinking so and he will land at the end of his wild career with a charge against him that will take a lot of explaining. Our advice is to forsake the cement sidewalk and pedal to more congenial stretches where the going is good and pedestrians venture not.

So where was Hall’s Hill?

Robert Milotte

Halls Hill is the hill on Main Street right at the dog groomers the old Dairy Bar.  It was named after a gentleman named James Hall he was one of the first wave of settlers in the village from Scotland and had a big hand in erecting the first school in the area.

Susan M. Storie

 The dairy bar house was built by John McLean postmaster in the late 1800’s. My grandmother was adopted by Mr. McLean and then when she married, she and my Grandfather, Wallace Storie lived in the house, where they raised their nine children. They eventually sold it.

Susan M. StorieRobert Milotte so it is Hall’s Hill…. thank you so much for sharing this information. 🙂 How is this not more known… I wonder…

Susan M. Storie I’m not sure Perhaps this information got lost as part of the history of the village because it was named for one of the original settlers in the 1820’s

The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
12 Jul 1905, Wed  •  Page 4

Isobel Foster– Fiddler’s Hill –Buchanan Scrapbook Clippings

Stories From Fiddler’s Hill

Fiddler’s Hill— Where the Green Grass Doesn’t Grow in Lanark

Did You know they Wanted to Cut the Bay Hill Down? And Other Stories

The Egg House on the Hill — The Duncans

No Memories of Boot Hill — Comments

The Church On the Hill in the Middle of Hood

Ontario History — What Was Beaver Hay and a Stripper Cow? Lanark Era Classified Ads

Ontario History — What Was Beaver Hay and a Stripper Cow? Lanark Era Classified Ads
The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
06 Dec 1899, Wed  •  Page 1

A “Stripper Cow” is an old cow well past her prime. A cow that has nearly stopped giving milk, so that it can be obtained from her only by stripping.

A castrated, male bovine.

The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
18 Aug 1915, Wed  •  Page 1

Beaver Hay is the rank grass that grows in beaver meadows.

Speaker: Yeah, some places they made them. Interviewer: Yeah. Speaker: Just all round. Interviewer: Quite different. Um- Speaker: Brought them to a peak. Generally went and got a- a load of wild hay from the beaver meadow or somewhere. Interviewer: Yeah. Speaker: To put on the top because beaver hay turned the water much better than the other. Interviewer: Oh that’s interesting. I wonder why that was. Speaker: I don’t know. At that time, you-know, they, ah- they used to have these big beaver meadows that they had to cut with, ah, the scythe. You’ve seen them?

Speaker: Arnold Milford, Gender: Male, Age at interview: 93, Interview: 1977, Lanark County

Speaker: The loft was above and you put up a hand, you-know? Interviewer: Mm-hm. Speaker: You’d fork it up to the loft and somebody would stack it back and spread it back in the mow. Interviewer: Yes. This was wild hay. Speaker: Wild hay, yeah. Interviewer: Yes. Speaker: Beaver w– what they call beaver hay. Interviewer: Yes

Speaker: Alfred Starz, Gender: Male, Age at interview: 72, Interview: 1978, Lanark County

Broiler Chicken
A meat chicken raised to the weight of 2.65 kg or under.

Male goat.

Mature, male deer.

A young, male goat (teenager).

Meat that comes from adult goats.

The term for a baby chicken (male or female) until it is about three weeks of age

A young male chicken.

The first milk that any animal (including humans) produce after they give birth. This milk helps to pass along the mother’s immunity to disease to her offspring.

Roaster Chicken
A larger meat chicken raised to the weight of over 2.65 kg.

An adult female pig that has given birth.

The reddish-pink flesh-like covering on the throat and neck of a turkey. It helps to release extra body heat.

This term is used to describe the stage when animals are taken off their mother’s milk and fed solid foods, like grasses.

A neutered male sheep.

The Farmer is the Man

Eggs 10 Cents a dozen–Farmers Markets of Smiths Falls and Almonte 1880 and 1889

Dating A Farmer — It’s Not All Hearts And Cow Tails

Lanark Farm Life is Not so Bad- 1951

Once Upon a Time on the Farm

Farming Could be a Dangerous Business in Lanark County? Who Do You Know?

She Doesn’t Think My Tractor is Sexy–The Farmer’s Wife 1889

Leclaire Lake 1940– Rodger Somerville– L. C. Affleck

Leclaire Lake 1940– Rodger Somerville–  L. C. Affleck

Renfrew County
Renfrew County – Keysource Thomas-Thor Renfrew County

Almonte Gazette-November 21 1940

Starting on the return journey from a hunting trip Mr. Rodger Somerville, governor of Lanark County jail, and L. C. Affleck, publisher of The Lanark Era, had a narrow escape from drowning Friday morning. Leaving their hunt camp on Leclaire lake in the Matawatchan district (near Renfrew), early in the morning, the two hunters had to cross the lake to their cars. The boat was powered by an outboard motor and about one hundred yards from the camp shore, the boat suddenly submerged and the two men had to strike out for shore.

Each grasped an oar which enabled them to keep afloat but were hampered considerably by their heavy clothing and long boots. Mr. Somerville was the stronger swimmer and reached shallow water first and shouted encouragement to Mr. Affleck. Both men were exhausted when reaching shore. Shouting to other campers across the lake, about 800 yards distant, they came to the unlucky men’s assistance and supplied them with wood and blankets. After drying their clothes they were able to continue their way home. A considerable amount of camp equipment and personal belongings went to the bottom of the lake when their boat submerged.

Leclaire Lake

Leclaire Lake is a lake in Ontario and has an elevation of 260 metres. Leclaire Lake is close to Little Lake.

The Township of Matawatchan had two communities: The Village of Matawatchan and Camel Chute. Camel Chute was originally named Campbell Chute after a local logger, but when surveyors arrived and asked residents the name of the place the local brogue was misheard as Camel. Matawatchan is an Indian name (probably Algonquin) and in some records it is spelled as ‘Mataouschie’. Some believe it means “running through rushes”, but Indian Affairs says it means “first settlement.” Some current long-time residents think the name should be translated as “hidden village.” It suggests that there may have been an Aboriginal settlement here before the Europeans arrived.

While Griffith was primarily Irish and French in the early days, the population of the geographic township of Matawatchan was primarily Scots and French. Local memory says that the first settler in the Village of Matawatchan was a MacDonald, but soon after there were Wilsons, MacPhersons, McLellans, Hutson’s and many others. Many of the French families are still here but their names have become anglicized over the years. The LeClaire family were very early settlers, and they are still prominent in the area. Read more here– CLICK

W. Rodger SommervilleNotes

W. Rodger Somerville
Birth Date:
Death Date:
Saint John’s Parish Cemetery
Burial or Cremation Place:
Perth, Lanark County, Ontario, Canada
Has Bio?:
Mary Jane Somerville

L. C. Affleck Notes

In 1921 the year electricity came to Lanark, the Era installed a typesetting machine, the Linotype.  This truly was a labor saving device.  The first linotype operator to be trained by myself was Miss Bell Currie, now Mrs. Austin McFarlane.  She later became operator on the Ottawa Citizen.  The Era was the first hydro-power user in Lanark as I did away with the gas engine and bought an electric motor to drive the press.

With a desire to move on to a larger newspaper field, I sold out in 1929 to L.C. Affleck, who continued to build up the business for 19 years.  In 1947 the Era was on the market and Erroll Mason decided to try his luck in journalism.  Mr. Mason passed away in October of 1961 and the Era continued under the proprietorship of Muriel Mason, and her staff, the Somerville brothers, Ivan and Leonard.

Arnprior Chronicle April 11, 1930
Arnprior Chronicle April 11, 1930

Mr. and Mrs. Albert Somerville Buchanan Scrapbook Clippings

Looking for History on this Home – Earl and Ann Somerville?

Photos of Laurie Yuill- Somerville/Mather Picnic 1937–Charles Home, Lloyd Knowles House–Foster Family

Nelson Affleck Blacksmith Clippings and Genealogy

Words of Mary Borrowman Affleck

Robert Drader Bill Shail Saved from Drowning May 28 1957

Tales from the Mississippi Rapids

Spring 1909 Pakenham — James Lunny William David Story

The Dangers of the Mississippi River-Arnold Boner 😦


James J. Hands – Dies in Perth — Former Mayor Accidentally Drowns in House Bath

EARLY SETTLEMENT OF DALHOUSIE-Tina Penman, Middleville, Ont.




Early Settlement – Essay One –  posted 6 August, 2001.

Lanark Era
Oct. 25th, 1916


Historical Essay which was awarded the First Prize of $5, donated by Mr.
Donald McNicol, New York

The Essay

In 1815 a proclamation was issued in England to any person in Great Britain
who might be desirous of going to Canada for the purpose of settling therein.
As an inducement to the intending settlers, they were to get free provisions
during the voyage and also after their arrival, until such time as the land
could be made to support them.  The land was given free to to each male
immigrant over twenty-one and they were also provided with ten pounds
sterling as loan.  Then to each group of four families there were given a
grindstone, a cross-cut and a whip-saw, while each family received an adze, a
hand saw, drawing-knife, a shell-augur, two gimlets, door-lock and hinges,
scythe and snath, reaping-hook, two hoes, hay-fork, scillet, camp kettle, and
a blanket for each of its members.

When the first of these parties arrives in Canada they found that the
authorities had made no preparation for them, so they were compelled to stay
in Brockville till the following summer.  Meanwhile, surveyors made hasty
surveys of a location for them.  The effect of this delay caused a number of
the party of the Highlanders of Scotland to go across the American border.
The first act of this party was to fell a gigantic elm tree in the fall of
1815.  The tree mentioned stood on the right bank of the Tay River in the
present town of Perth and after much waiting these hardy Highlanders of
Scotland were rewarded by the completion of the survey and the readiness of
the lots to receive them.  And sometimes they complained about the bad agency
and those in charge did not look after the settlers conveniences as well as
they should.  In 1820 the County of Lanark received a number of settlers who
belonged to Lesmahago (which is a district in Scotland) and Transatlantic
societies of Scottish immigrants who settled in Dalhousie Township.  This is
a brief account of the early settlement of Dalhousie Township.

Dalhousie, North Sherbrooke and Lavant were formed into a municipal union in
the year 1850, and as we will only refer to North Sherbrooke and Lavant
briefly, as this sketch is meant for Dalhousie.  The three townships are
located in the northwest corner of the county.  Contained within the three
townships is an area of 137,630 acres, or more than 215 square miles, of
which in 1871 there were 62,532 acres occupied, while of this area 25,180 was
improved and 14,514 under crop.  With a population of 2,295, with Dalhousie
in the lead, though North Sherbrooke contains several hundred residents and
Lavant is scarcely settled as there are but two localities North and South
Lavant.  The reason at that time being the rocky hills, dismal swamps,
explains why they were not settled so quickly as the other townships in the
county.  With the immense heaps of rocks that nature heaped up in these
townships they are a source of wealth to the people as with proper
development may prove of more value than was then believed.  I refer to the
mineral wealth that is stored up in the bowels of this particular portion of
the earth.  A few mines at that time were copper mines located on lot 6, con.
7 of Lavant, owned by Arch. Browning, who leased it to the Canada Mining
Company for fifty years in 1872, the ore assaying forty-five per cent pure
copper.  The Lavant iron mine is on lots 3 and 4, in 12 and 13 concessions,
and was owned by Boyd Caldwell of Lanark.  The ore is a fine sample of the
magnetic variety.  The Dalhousie mine is on lot 1, south concession, and
yields hematite ore, owned by Mrs. Playfair, who leased it to Alex. Cowan for
ninety-nine years.  This is a brief account of the early mines.

The three townships were surveyed by Reuben Sherwood from about 1820 when he
commenced Dalhousie.  He finished in the year 1821-22 in the winter, when he
surveyed Lavant.  They received their names in honor, respectively, of Lord
Dalhousie, Governor General of Canada at that time, Sir I. C. Sherbrooke, and
one Lavant, an officer in the French Colonial forces when Canada was under
the French monarch.  The first settlement in these townships was formed in
Dalhousie in the fall of 1820 by Scotchmen from Glasgow and Paisley, who
formed themselves into colonization groups before leaving Scotland.  The
Lesmahago society contained thirty-three families or about three hundred
immigrants and these sailed from Scotland in the ship Prompt July 4th 1820,
and arrived at Quebec two months later.  They had no definite place of
location and were met by officers of the Government who, as an inducement to
secure their settlement in Lanark County, offered them one hundred acres for
each head of a family and ten schillings for each person as a cash bonus.
The Lesmahago accepted it and the Government offered to convey them to their
chosen location for two shillings each, and, as the passage between Quebec
and Prescott took two weeks, it was the 15th of September when they reached
Perth.  Five days later than the departure of the Prompt from Greenock
another vessel, the Brock, bore away from the same port.  On board were the
Transatlantic society consisting of seven families.

The Brock arrived in Quebec some days ahead of the Prompt and the Transatlantic found themselves in Lanark County at the same time as the Lesmahago and were actually the
first to settle in Dalhousie.  Several families were displeased with the
appearance of Lanark County and went across the American border.  The
remainder went on, guided by Mr. Ravelin, a chainman in the survey, toward
Dalhousie.  They met James Breden on lot 5, concession 2, Lanark Township,
living in a wigwam – the only white man seen since leaving Drummond.
Arriving at the frontier of Dalhousie they drew their location by lot, taking
from a hat a slip of paper with a number of a certain lot on it.  The five
families settling then and there were James Blair, east half lot 8; John
McLellan, west half lot 7; John McNangle, west half lot 8; Neil Campbell,
east half lot 6, and Donald McPhee, east half lot 1 – all on the first
concession.  The passengers of the Prompt remained at Perth till Sept. 30th,
1820.  The government paid an installment of one-third of their bonus money
and they went forth in quest of their future home.  They were taken in wagons
as far as the present site of Lanark village, where they found a paper nailed
to a tree in the heart of the forest through which they had cleared a road for
the wagons.  The placard contained these words “This is Lanark.”  Near here,
on the hill overlook the Clyde, their baggage was put down; the wagons
returned to Perth.  They employed Lieutenant Fraser to guide them to
Dalhousie, where they chose their lots in the same manner as the other

The location selected by this party was central, a short distance
west of where Watson’s Corners now is.  A few of them were James Martin, Wm.
Barrett, Charles Bailie, James Watson, George Brown, Thomas Easton, George
Easton, Edward Conroy, Peter Sheilds, John Donald, John Duncan, Andrew Park,
James Park, John Todd, Wm. Jack, James Hood and Alex. Watt.  Rober Forest got
lost in the woods but was discovered by John Duncan.  The first man to lose
his life was George Richmond, the school teach of the society, by the fall of
a tree with fatal effect.  Of the hardships and dangers I won’t say anything,
but they “backed” in all their supplies, or, if the article did not suit
their back, they carried it on their head; for instance carrying a cooler all
the way from Perth on the head.  Of the other townships we will just mention
Arch. Browning of Lavant, who came in during 1846, and the first few years he
lived there he killed eighty-two wolves and sixty-eight bears in Lavant,
showing that beasts of prey were plentiful at that time.

The development of the township proceeded slowly but steadily the first
twenty-five years.  There were school houses built right away and religious
services were held in them.  St. Andrew’s hall was built in 1828, or
thereabout, and Rev. Dr. Gemmill, ex-minister of the Secession Church of
Dalry, Ayrshire, Scotland, was the first to officiate in that sacred office.
The residents of these townships organized local government under the crude
municipal laws.  As early as 1821 the only information we can get on this
point is that a Mr. Virtue was the first collector and Thomas Scott was
township clerk as early as 1826.  When the three townships were formed into a
municipal union in 1850, their council consisted of John Kay, Edward Conroy,
Donald McNicol, Wm. Purdon and James Smith, and Andrew McInnes was clerk.  As
this sketch has already gone beyond the number of words, I will just mention
St. James Church was built in 1860 and the minister at that time was W. C.
Clarke.  Also a group of townships were called Bathurst District and the
present county of Carleton was called the Dalhousie District.  The first
parliamentary election was held in 1825 and Alexander Morris, a merchant of
Perth, was elected.

Tina Penman, Middleville, Ont.
(Age 14 years.)

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

Related Reading

Lanark Era Vignettes-

The Lanark Era Newspaper

What was one of the Largest Funerals in Lanark County?

Balderson–Lanark Era–R.S. McTavish

Lanark Fire 1959– Hour by Hour



You have read the newspaper reports of the 1959 Lanark Village fire and the posting I did this year. Yesterday I found an article written by the NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL CANADA DIVISION OF BUILDING RESEARCH in 1959. It answers some of the questions I always had and is basically a minute by minute report.



NPARC number 20386279


The conflagration which occurred on 15 June 1959 in Lanark, Ontario, destroyed approximately 33 buildings representing almost the entire business centre of this village of 950 people. The fire started in the Campbell Sash and Door Factory at the corner of Owen and George Streets shortly after noon and spread rapidly down the main street in a southerly direction. It was brought under control at about 3:45 p.m–after involving both sides of the street for one and a half blocks and having started a large number of smaller fires throughout the village. The Town Hall, Fire Department Headquarters, Telephone Exchange , Hotel, stores and apartments were among the buildings lost. The Dominion Fire Commission report on Fire Losses in Canada gives $738,420 as the estimated total loss.

At approximately 12:20 p.m a resident of the village discovered the fire burning in a one-story wood-frame building located at George and Owen Streets and used as a woodworking plant. Machinery in the plant had been closed down, and the employees had left for lunch at noon. The fire seemed to have made considerable headway in a pile of wood shavings and was extending to the interior of the building. He sounded the alarm to call the volunteer brigade.



Photo- Ottawa Citizen- Lanark Era

By the time the fire fighters had assembled and returned to the factory, the fire had broken through the roof and the adjacent florist’s shop was on fire. The fire chief said that when he was called out by the alarm the house facing his on George Street was on fire. This was the building on the south side of George Street near the place where the conflagration was brought under control.

At the arrival of the fire-fighting equipment, an attempt was made to extinguish the fire with the supply of water carried with the apparatus; this attack soon had to be discontinued and the apparatus moved to the river to start pumping water into large hose lines,as the fire had attacked the roof of the building. Live embers were being carried by the strong winds to the opposite end of the village igniting a number of wood shingled roofs, causing considerable concern to the residents who were attempting to extinguish the fires with water from their wells.

The fire began to spread very rapidly from the building of origin in an easterly and southerly direction to ignite wood and masonry buildings in its path for a distance of approximately one-half mile. A mutual aid system is arranged with the various township fire departments, and with the occurrence of this fire, assistance was requested by telephone from the township fire coordinator at Smiths Falls 50 miles away, and the Town of Perth, 12 miles from Lanark.



A former resident of the village, just a young boy at the time of the fire, was recently quoted as saying, “People didn’t just lose their homes and their livelihoods…we lost the fabric of our community”. —Lanark & District Museum


As the fire progressed, the telephone exchange and communications were destroyed leaving the village isolated. It became necessary to use the car radio facilities of the Ontario Provincial Police to request other assistance to control the fire. Lanark’s fire-fighting apparatus, consisting of one 500-gal pump, one 420-gal pump and one portable pump, were now drawing water from the Clyde River that flows through the east end of the village, and relaying it to the fire which now had involved a number ,of buildings on the north side of George Street between Owen and Clarence Streets where an attempt was made to check the fire.

The strong north winds which had carried the fire in an easterly direction now began to change direction and the fire was carried across George Street to attack buildings on the south side where it continued to spread. It was estimated that within one-half hour from the start of the fire, many of the buildings bounded by Owen and Clarence on George Street which compromised the business section, were ignited or in the line of fire, and fires were occurring in various parts of the village from flying embers.

The Perth fire brigade with a pumping unit and equipment were the first to arrive on the scene at approximately 1:00 p.m. On approaching the village it was reported that live embers were flying in all directions and the main fire seemed to be centred in the business district on George Street, with a number of wood-frame buildings ignited from flying embers on the south side of the Clyde River in the vicinity of Mill Street. In an attempt to control the fires in this area, pumping operations were carried out from the bridge crossing the Clyde River, and hose lines were laid to the various buildings which had been ignited by flying embers and were threatening to spread the fire.

The action of the Perth brigade no doubt was a factor in the control of this fire. Fire brigades with men and equipment continued to arrive at intervals throughout the afternoon from Smiths Falls, Bathurst, Carleton Place, Almonte, Arnprior Civil Defence College and Brockville. The City of Ottawa, while not a participant in the mutual aid arrangement, was requested for assistance and dispatched a pumping unit with men and equipment.

By 3:45 p.m., the wind began to die down and the fire was brought under control half-way down the block between Clarence and Hillier Streets. Apparatus from the various municipalities was gradually released after 6:00 p.m. The Perth brigade remained on duty until 7: 00 a .m. , 16 June, and the Lanark Village brigade worked throughout the day to extinguish smouldering fires. A high wind variously reported as being from 30 to 55 mph rose during the morning and continued throughout most of the afternoon. A press photographer and his pilot who flew over the village at the height of the fire estimated the speed at about 30 mph.  Light rain began to fall in Lanark later in the afternoon when the fire was being brought under control.


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

Just read the story on the Lanark Fire. My husband Bill McNeely was one of the firemen from Carleton Place who fought this fire. There is a pic that was donated by C. Wilson and it had three firemen in it and it was Cal Wilson, Bill McNeely and Bob Bennett in it.– Margaret McNeely


The fire completely destroyed all the buildings within an area approximately 1100 ft long and 600 ft wide. Beyond this area many smaller fires started but they were put out by fire fighters and householders. The damage varied from superficial damage of roof shingles, to the complete destruction of  sheds behind the Knitting Mill.



Lanark & District Museum–These bars are from the former Lanark Village lock-up! It was located behind the former Town Hall until it burnt in the Lanark Fire in 1959


With the exception of the incidents otherwise noted on the plan, all ignition in this peripheral area occurred on roofs. Where the buildings were completely destroyed the information was obtained from local residents. On the day following the fire a large number of large cinders were observed on both sides of the river. One piece weighed 50 gm and it is estimated that in its original state it would have been approximately 8 by 5 by 1 in. The piece was completely reduced to charcoal.

Small fires were also reported as having occurred in the lumber yard across the river and on the roof of the Anglican church. These were extinguished, however, before much damage was done. The fire completely burned out the centre of Lanark and it is impossible to state with any certainty how the fire spread from building to building in each individual case.



Nancy Hudson–
I remember my Grade 5 teacher asking us to pray for the people of Lanark that afternoon. My parents took my brother and I to see the aftermath of the fire a few days later. Had never seen anything like it in my life.
Keitha Napier Price
I was six years old at the time. I had just gotten home from the grocery store with a loaf of bread. Once home we heard the fire siren. Kitty corner from our house on Owen street was the mill on fire. I remember my mother gathering pictures and placing them at the front door. The heat from the fire bubbled the paint on our house. I remember everyone running with pails of water. Soon the children were taken outside of Lanark to Halls farm. I remember returning home that night. It was a frightening scene for a child. I remember my Mom and neighbours making sandwiches and serving them to the firemen and the people who lost their homes. Even at the age of six that memory will be with me my entire life. Lanark was a beautiful village which was destroyed by fire and has never been quite the same since.

Also read

The Lanark Fire June 15th 1959

More Clippings– Lanark Fire 1959

The Aftermath of the Lanark Fire June 1959

The Lanark Fire of 1895



Thanks to James Leverance for sending these photos.

Hi Linda I found this photo of Lanark from 1959 and was wondering if this is the old Lanark Skating Rink built in 1900?

Balderson–Lanark Era–R.S. McTavish





Perth Courier, May 8, 1947

Early settlement of Balderson—from a paper prepared by R.S. McTavish and presented at a meeting of the Balderson Women’s Institute.  It was first published in the Lanark Era in 1943

The modern historian has to a large degree discarded the idea of history of countries consisting of battles, treaties, invasions, etc., and  we like to link ourselves up with the history and lives of the pioneers who settled in our immediate neighborhood.  In so doing, I find that the history of Balderson dates back to Sgt. Balderson who crossed the Atlantic in 1816 and halted at the pretty little hamlet that is now Balderson and gave it its name.

Sgt. Balderson was a fine specimen of English soldier.  He was a quiet and peaceable man, a kind neighbor, and respected by all who knew him.  He was born in Lincoln, England in 1783 and came to Balderson in 1816 and died here in 1851.  He served eleven years under Wellington and received a medal for his service.  Sgt Balderson had met the Duke of Wellington and had a personal interview with him.

In 1815 he married Annie Hewitt.  Mrs. Balderson and Mrs. Josias Ritchie were the first white women who slept in a house in Perth.  Another soldier who came to the neighborhood of Balderson about the same time was Lt. Gould whose grandson was a resident of Perth and two granddaughter’s Mrs. Donald McIntyre and Mrs. Peter McIntyre (same name both times) both lived at Balderson.  In those days the social advantages were practically nothing except in so far as these sturdy young pioneers kept up their love of literature, education and religion.  Later on the soiree became an annual outing for the people of every clan.

In the early days one of the great difficulties was to get enough money to satisfy the modest demands of the tax collector.  Exchange or barter was the order of the day and there were very few cash transactions.  Pork, oats and potash were the staple articles the farmer of that day had to sell.  Later on the farmer, as his clearance increased in size, ventured to sow wheat and barley for the market.  The trade in cattle, sheep and lamb was then in its infancy.

The first school house at Balderson was a little cottage roofed building that stood near the site of the Lanark toll gate or rather where it was.  The first school teacher was Peter Stewart.  He was supposed to have been a very cross teacher and usually carried the tows on his shoulder and when he saw a pupil whose eyes were not on his books, he would throw the tows to that pupil and tell whoever it might be to return the tows and he may well know what happened.

Then a John Campbell taught and he was noted for his kindness.  Then followed Andrew Allan, Alexander Shaw, and William Reed in 1867-69 and then Petter Cannuary.  After that the school had two teachers and the names below are the senior teachers since that time:  Duncan Stewart, Peter McIntyre, J.P.(?) Anderson, Hugh Robertson, A.E. Smitherman, Neil McDonald, Dun. Robertson, John F. Warren, Christina McNaughton, Ed Cooper, Peter Clement, John A. McDonald, John Forrester, Miss Ferguson, John Hope, Miss McGarry, Amanda Donaldson, Robert Balderson, Veronica Noonan, Ernest McDowall, Laura Keays, Ethel James, Teresa Johnson, Annie McLean, Miss Ganon, Gert Livingstone, Well. Duncan, Gladys Warren, Ka.(?) Huckabone, Elsie Barkley, Mrs. K. Bell.

It was not expected in fact it would be a libel on the character of these old Perthshire Highlanders to ever harbor the idea that they would remain any length of time without a church and minister and in 1834 they started a subscription list to raise funds to build a church.  From among the names of the first contributors we fine a few that would be still familiar:  Alexander Montgomery, Peter Campbell, Patrick Campbell, (the Campbells mentioned used to live where Colin McNichol lives now), John McCallum, Hugh McCallum (one of these men lived where William Mather is now), John McLaren, Findlay McIntyre, Duncan McNee, Peter McTavish, Arthur Tullis and a number of Perth men subscribed.  Here are some of them:  John Haggart, Robert Gemwell (Gemmil?), Duncan Kippen.  The Sunday collections amounted to about four shillings and six pence in those early days (1836).  There were two Presbytrerian churches in Perth at that time St. Andrew’s and Knox.  Rev. William Bell was the minister at St. Andrew’s  and Rev. T.C. Wilson for Knox.  Rev. William Church and later on Rev. Bain, D.D. were also ministers.  In 1877 when another branch of Presbyterians of Drummond joined Balderson this action had to be taken to the Brockville presbytery as the Perth church at that time belonged to the Brockville presbytery but when Balderson got established they joined the presbytery of Lanark and Renfrew.  When the Drummond people made this change, Duncan McLaren from Drummond was elder and he had to inform the Brockville presbytery of the desired change and it was granted.  This Duncan McLaren who was referred to was the grandfather of the McLaren family living at Drummond Centre.  After this action was taken the Balderson and Drummond churches became self sustaining in 1877.  Although it was not supplied by a stationed minister until 1881 the congregation was taken care of by Rev. Bain. Rev. J.G.Stewart first preached at Balderson in 1881 and was at Balderson nine or ten years.  Rev. J.S. McIlraith followed him and was at Balderson 21 years followed by Rev. J.G. Greig, Rev. G.G. Treaver, Rev. N. McRae, Rev. C. Currie, Rev. T. McNaught, Rev. Beattie, Rev. R. Dickson and Rev. N. Graham.

Now the history of the Anglican church was started about the same time.  They, too, were supplied by ministers from St. James Church, Perth, Rev. Michael Harris, who was known far and wide as a very kindly man, greatly beloved by all who knew him not only by his own people but by everyone.  Next to him was Rev. Pyne then Rev. Stevenson.  It was during Rev. Stevenson’s time that the Anglican Church at Balderson liked up with Lanark.  Before that they were served by St. James Church, Perth.  The first minister who took the Balderson charge as far as can be found out was Rev. Cruder, then Rev. Gulias(?).  Next was Rev. Farrer, Rev. Holg(?), Rev. Heaven(?), Rev. Seale, Rev. Aborne, Rev. Phillips, Rev. Hodder(?), Rev. Vaughan, Rev. J.S.K.Tyrell, and Rev. Roberts.  Both denominations have handsome church properties and are a credit to the pioneers of those days showing that their interest in religion was backed up by work as well as faith.  Here are some of the names of the people who subscribed to the support of the Anglican Church:  William Cunningham, George Cunningham, Jno. Charles, George McCue, G. Willows, and William Keayes.  It might be of interest to call attention to the site of the original churches.  The Presbyterian Church stood almost on the same site the United Church is now.  The original church is now being used by John McGregor as a machine shed.

Now a word about the people of the immediate neighborhood as there were a number from here who filled important positions.  It has produced school teachers, school inspectors, doctors, missionaries, members of Parliament, authors and nurses.  Amont them we fine names quite familiar to a number of us.  R.L. Richardson was an author.  Afterwards he became a member of Parliament and then the Hugh McIntyre family that lived right alongside of the Richardson farm, and produced a son who qualified as a doctor and missionary.  Two of the same family were authors, another brother a high school inspector and another brother still who once taught school at Balderson.  He was a member of Parliament to the Dominion government and was appointed postmaster general for Winnipeg.  Another outstanding man was P.C. McGregor a high school teacher.  He was a man much respected and whose write up of Balderson years ago is responsible for much of this ancient history for I took a lot from his early account of Balderson’s Corners.

The good work of Balderson has been kept up in recent years.  There were two school teachers in the William Allan family, two from the McIntyre family of the meadow, three from the Robert Whyte family, one from the Herb Stewart family, a nurse from the herb Stewart family, a nurse from the Martin Doyle family.  Those I have mentioned all came from families living on the 8th Line Drummond.  Then in Bathurst there was the Richard Warren family that produced two school teachers, a college professor, a doctor and a member of parliament.  The other teachers that I can recall are Robert Balderson, Thomas Balderson and Henry McNaughton.

Now as to the charge from the ancient days to the present times in the immediate hamlet.  A hotel was owned and operated by one Angus McDonald in the same building that Well. McDougall owns.  After Mr. McDonald passed on his widow started a small store but did not carry on long.  She rented the property to Mr. Armstrong from Perth and he carried on only a short time.  Then John Doucitt(?) carried on a number of years then James Gould and Robert Cowie operated a store for a short time.  The McDougall property was sold to William Jones who carried on for a number of years.  Jones sold to Jas. Watt and Watt sold to Harvey McCue who sold to Mel McDougall.   He sold to Arthur Cooke and he sold to Well. McDougall.

The other store has a different record.  In 1868 J.W. Cowie came to Balderson from the Scotch Lilne in the month of February and started a small store.  The same place of business is still going strong under the management of his daughter Tily Cowie.  The post office is kept by Miss Cowie.  The two stores, post office, blacksmith shop and cheese factory were the most important places of business.  At one time there was a cheese factory owned and operated by one Moffat Bersee(?) and another on the 9th line Bathurst owned and operated by Jas. Keays.  He bought the milk and hired a cheese maker.  One of them was George Publowand his house was at Balderson where Jno. McDougall now lives.  Publow was a young man twenty years old when he hired and formed an agreement with Jas. Keays that he would give Keays one pound of cheese for every ten pounds of milk delivered and he did it.  This George Publow later became Chief Dairy Inspector for Ontario.  Then, in 1881 the farmers in the neighborhood of Balderson started a cheese factory which later developed into a Cheese and Butter Association and was incorporated with rules and bylaws drafted to conduct the business accordingly.  The original structure was destroyed by fire in 1929 and was rebuilt the same year with cement blocks as material and is, I believe, the best equipped cheese factory in Ontario.  Instructor Barr made that statement when he was addressing a meeting in Toronto shortly after he had seen the Balderson factory.



Lanark Era Vignettes-

The Lanark Era Newspaper

What was one of the Largest Funerals in Lanark County?


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

Lanark Era Vignettes-



Apparently these are pictures of soldiers who lived in the Franktown, Ontario area in Lanark County. Read one of the Lanark Era Vingettes–Lanark Era Vignettes – Oct. 27, 2015— Go visit the The Lanark Era Facebook page
Soldier has socks and handkerchiefs stolen in trenches


Lanark Era Vignettes – Oct. 27, 2015
Soldier has socks and handkerchiefs stolen in trenches
100 Years Ago ~ 1915

Letter from the front from Capt. T.R. Caldwell:
“…letters and cablegram were delivered while we were in the trenches and you can imagine how much they helped to keep up the smile…We have finished our first term in the trenches. We were relieved and are now in the rear, five or six miles from the front line, in which they call a rest camp. It is quite an experience being relieved – everything so quiet and in the dead of night. If the enemy knew what we were doing they would cause serious losses to our troops. But my what a relief to be able to walk around in the open and feel you can keep your head up. The first night out we spent in tents without blankets, being afraid we might have picked up some friends in the trenches. In the morning the baths are ready, and what joy…. I did not have my clothes or boots off for seven days so you can form some idea how we felt after a bath and clean underwear. The men are all issued clean underwear, and, although it may not be new, it is clean, and that counts. It has rained for two days and the mud is simply awful. One gets covered from head to foot, especially in the trenches. It is the kind of mud and clay that seems hard to drain, and, while you may be able to get rid of surface water, it does not seem to dry up. The Major and myself have a nice tent to ourselves and have managed to get some straw which keeps us off the damp ground. I have my kit bag, Hudson Bay Blanket, and the Donegal rug, and I tell you these cold damp nights you need them all. During our stay in the trenches someone got into my kit bag and took all my socks and handkerchiefs, so at present I am rather hard up. Long ere this you will have received the good news. It is some distance from where we are; so far we have not been drawn in, I can’t say any more or my letter would not go through, but I can say this, that just at present the Allies are winning.”

Trafalgar Day has come and gone with its appeal for assistance to the British Red Cross Society’s funds. From early morning until late at night our worthy councillors in turn, assisted by representatives of the Women’s Institute, sat at the receipt of gifts, taking the amounts that were gladly given until, when the day was done, $883.90 had been handed in. This was a splendid response, reflecting great credit upon our citizenship and giving just cause for gratitude for what has been done.

Mr. John Legary left for Englehart, where he has secured a situation as barber.
Mrs. Henry Shillington is confined to her home near here with an attack of typhoid fever.
Butter making will be commenced at the Lanark and Drummond factory on Nov. 1.
The new 6-ton boiler for the Clyde Woolen Mills is en route from Perth. The bridge over the Mississippi had to be strengthened to allow it to pass over.

Mr. John Johnson of Watson’s Corners was taken to Kingston, suffering from appendicitis. An operation was performed in the General Hospital there and the latest reports are that he is progressing favourably towards recovery.
Mr. Clifford Watt of Winnipeg, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. John A. Watt of this place, underwent an operation for appendicitis in the Winnipeg General Hospital. He is doing as well as could be expected.

Accounts are being mailed this week to subscribers who are in arrears for two years or more, and we trust that all who receive them will respond promptly. We need the money. The amount due from each is small but when multiplied by hundreds the aggregate due us is large. Kindly examine label on your paper and if you are in arrears, please remit.
Mr. Thos. L. Closs, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. James Closs, Prestonvale, has heard the call of the Motherland, and gave up a good position with a railroad company to enlist with the 1st Canadian Pioneers at Prince Rupert, B.C. The battalion was mobilized in British Columbia, but is now at Winnipeg, where a few more recruits are being taken on. Only miners, lumber jacks, prospectors, railroad construction men and others accustomed to a rough outdoor life are accepted. The Pioneers expect to come east in a short time.

Dr. A.B. Roberts, a native of Lanark and a well-known practising physician of Saskatoon, received word of his appointment in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and will leave to join his new regiment at Camp Hughes. He expects to be sent abroad with little delay.

Mrs. F.A. Drysdale and daughter Hilda left for their new home in Renfrew.
Miss Annie Craig, daughter of Mrs. Andrew Craig of this village, who has been employed as stenographer in Lindsay’s Store, Ottawa, is now a clerk in the Department of Naval Service.
The weather has been delightful; bright, sunshiny days and clear, frosty nights.

Tatlock News:
The good road work carried on by Mr. James Caldwell is now completed.
Some of the men around here are preparing to go deer hunting this season.
Mr. Wm. Easton of Marble Bluff is at present employed with Mr. John Guthrie.
Messrs. James Yuill and Albert McGonegal, who have been employed with Mr. James Caldwell for the past few months, have returned to their homes.

Hopetown News:
Mr. Arch Gibson, who went to Saskatchewan with the harvest excursionists, has returned home.
Mrs. Stewart Baird and daughter, Miss Edith, have returned home from an extended visit to Antler, Sask.
The hum of the threshing-mill is heard near our village, and the granaries are better filled than they have been for a number of years.

Dopson – In Drummond, on Oct. 10, to Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Dopson, a son.
Kehoe – In Drummond, on Oct. 19, to Mr. and Mrs. A. Kehoe, a son.
Stedman-Couch – In Drummond, on Oct. 16, by Rev. Mr. Huxtable, Evelyn, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. R. Couch, to E.R. Stedman.
Towle-Mitchell – At Perth, on Oct. 19, by Rev. W.E. Reynolds, assisted by Rev. W.M. Grant, Jennetta Mitchell, daughter of Mrs. Andrew McArthur, to William H. Towle, all of Perth.
Cox-Tullis – At Perth, on Oct. 20, in St. James’ church, by Rev. D.T. Clayton, Edith Tullis, daughter of Mrs. W.F. Devlin, to John W. Cox, of Toronto.

75 Years Ago ~ 1940

The Local Government Extension Act, introduced by the Hepburn Government, would go into force in local municipalities Jan. 1 unless voters decide otherwise.
Publow-Noonan – At Sacred Heart church, Lanark, on Oct. 28, by Rev. J.G. Clancy, Catherine Mary, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Noonan, Bathurst, to Wilfred Publow of Perth.
Pennett – In Drummond, on Oct. 22, Louis J. Pennett, aged 75 years.
McDiarmid – At Ottawa on Oct. 24, James R. McDiarmid, formerly of Carleton Place, in his 86th year.
Munro – At Clayton on Oct. 25, Martha M. Shane, relict of Thomas Munro, aged 77 years.

60 Years Ago ~ 1955

An unfortunate accident occurred to Mr. Gordon Taylor of the village. Mr. Taylor fell under the back wheel of a truck driven by Mr. Ronald Sweeney and had his leg broken about six inches above the knee.
Mr. Wellington McDougall has leased the rink for the 1955-56 skating season.
Roberts – At the G.W.M. Hospital, Perth, on Oct. 22, to Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Roberts of Lanark Village, a daughter.
Bartraw – In Lanark Village, on Oct. 24, Mary Dunn, beloved wife of Joseph Bartraw, in her 84th year.
Cameron – At McCue Nursing Home, Perth, on Oct. 23, Agnes Jane Larocque, beloved wife of John G. Cameron, in her 80th year.

50 Years Ago ~ 1965

Vernon S. Ready, a former Lanark Village student and son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Ready who resided in Lanark for a number of years, has been appointed dean of McArthur College of Education in Kingston.
The Central Mississippi Conservation Association was formed with Albert T. Miller as president.
Thomson – At the Ottawa Civic Hospital, on Oct. 19, to Alan and Ruth (nee Affleck), a son, Paul Andrew.

25 Years Ago ~ 1990

A Lanark resident’s solution to Lanark’s water problems could be to bottle the water from the Paul Drive well for drinking. Each residence would be supplied by enough bottles to last one to two weeks. The resident’s own well could be used for bathing, washing clothes, etc.
The Lanark Figure Skating Club is off to a good start with 125 skaters registered for this ye

The Lanark Era Newspaper




Perth Courier, August 9, 1862

Lanark Era Newspaper

Written by W.M. McFarlane

This year the Lanark Era entered its 66th year of publication in Lanark Village.  During this time the Era was published by five proprietors.

Lanark’s first newspaper was the Lanark Observer published in 1852(?) 1832(?) by J.R. Gemmill a son of the first Presbyterian minister in Lanark.  For two years the presses ran in Lanark and for two more years in Perth before they folded up.  Lanark’s second paper was the Era, established in 1895 by the late John Sutherland, a native of Lanark Township.  Mr. Sutherland published the paper in a building on the corner lot where Mel Lee’s hardware business stood prior to the fire.  For two years he struggled with the business and sold it to Robert Wilson of Carleton Place on May 13, 1898(?).  Mr. Wilson moved the old hand turned press and other equipment to a room in the former Dobbie block.  Later he purchased the Manshan building in 1901 and again moved the plant.  The Era is still in the same location.

Early apprentices with the Lanark Era soon became familiar with the old hand turned press of that day.  On press day a couple of men were employed to turn the press by hand.  They took turns at the job.  One would turn out a few copies while the other went out for a beer and this kept up until the run was off which was about 1,000 copies in those days.  Of course, the Era paid for the beer.

About 1906 a new cylinder press printing four pages at a time, was installed. This was a great addition to the plant.  It was operated by a gas engine, not as economical as a beer but a lot more reliable.

In those days, the paper was all set by hand every letter being picked out of a case separately and placed in its proper position for reading.  For 20 years Mr. Wilson was editor and finally through age, he persuaded youngBill McFarlane to buy the business.  It was in January, 1918 the year after the Caldwell Woolen Mill fire, I entered the newspaper field as owner of the Lanark Era.  I toiled away with a staff of three girls all good type setters.

In 1921 the year electricity came to Lanark, the Era installed a typesetting machine, the Linotype.  This truly was a labor saving device.  The first linotype operator to be trained by myself was Miss Bell Currie, now Mrs. Austin McFarlane.  She later became operator on the Ottawa Citizen.  The Era was the first hydro-power user in Lanark as I did away with the gas engine and bought an electric motor to drive the press.

With a desire to move on to a larger newspaper field, I sold out in 1929 to L.C. Affleck, who continued to build up the business for 19 years.  In 1947 the Era was on the market and Erroll Mason decided to try his luck in journalism.  Mr. Mason passed away in October of 1961 and the Era continued under the proprietorship of Muriel Mason, and her staff, the Somerville brothers, Ivan and Leonard.

The Era obtained a circulation of 1,400 a few years ago and to this day enjoys that subscription lists go to all parts of the world where former Lanarkites reside.

The Lanark Era reached its 66th year of publication this year and in that time produced more apprentice printers who made good in other fields.  The Pepper boys, Allan and Jack were the first to graduate.  Allan became associated with West Chester Company, a chain of papers at White Plains, New York.  Jack became the first linotype mechanic in Ontario and later established a large job printing plant in Toronto.  Others to go in the early days were Russell McGuire, Frank Class, Bill McFarlane, Lawrence McDougall, John Graham and L.C. Affleck.

The Lanark Era though not a large newspaper is in keeping with the village and one thing that stands out clearly is that the Era is the only paper published that gives a “hoot” about Lanark.


Lanark Era Facebook Page


The Lanark Era did an exceptional job of publishing information about early local families and also reported on many who migrated beyond Lanark County.

BOOKS – The Lanark Era – Births, Marriages and Deaths 1895 to 1939

Transcribed by Peter E. Andersen
Published by Global Heritage Press, Milton, 1998-2015


22 Years Ago in January-My Bonnie and Clyde Story-It Happened in Lanark



Lanark-Scotiabank.jpg Scotiabank in Lanark Village to close next week–Lake 88

This is a story to remind you what happens to stolen cars sometimes– and it could happen to you:

The first gentle snow of the year cascaded out of the sky as my late husband Angelo and our sons exited the Carleton Place Arena. A difficult hockey game had been won, and smiles were plastered on my sons’ faces until Angelo stopped and stared at a now empty parking spot. They had parked the Jeep Cherokee only a few hours before and now all that was left in that space was accumulating snow. No longer was there a trusted vehicle ready to take them home and sudden panic filled the crisp night air.



Angelo scratched his head as tiny voices began to ask their father where their vehicle was. They wandered through the beautiful snowy night looking in the parking lot for the Jeep that was not there. Slowly walking home toting their heavy hockey gear, they left footprints in the new snow while silently asking themselves what could have possibly happened to the Jeep.


I stood on the kitchen verandah gazing at the beauty of the new snow and told myself that the night could not be more perfect. In the distance I heard noises and wondered if the young children next door are coming out to make snow angels. Instead I see moving snow covered figures and a gentle cry I recognize coming from one of my children.


“Mum”, my oldest said. “Someone stole our Jeep!”


The tears on their faces were now mixed with snow flakes and I heard the crunch of their feet in fresh snow while they climbed the stairs of the verandah. Inside, safe from the cold and wet we discussed what could have happened and call the police, who advised us of a long wait due to the snowstorm.


Sleep was deprived all that night while the snow fell and the constables told us that our Jeep was probably stripped down never to be seen again. The next morning the sun gleamed brightly on the new snow, and also on the empty spot in our front yard where the Jeep once sat.


The first snow stayed for a week and slowly it melted under a warm sun and turned into puddles much like the tears that I shed for our lost Jeep. That Thursday it snowed once again, and as I shoveled the walkway our neighbour Joyce White poked her head out of the front door and asked,


“Linda, isn’t this your Jeep?”


I walked slowly across the road as my visibility was impaired from the snow and grabbed the Lanark Era newspaper that she held in her hand. There in the newspaper was a picture of our stolen snow covered Jeep. Our vehicle had grabbed front page news as it had been used in a bank robbery in the fair quiet village of Lanark, Ontario. The thieves had left it there after the heist and had escaped through the deep snow to the woods never to be found.


Immediately we called the police to report that the renegade Jeep had once belonged to us. After going through much red tape the tow truck brought back our still snow covered Jeep and as it was released in the yard it made a loud icy thud. The books full of my sons’ sticker collection still remained, but my Verdi CDS were gone, probably used by the criminals to enhance the mood of that first snowy night.


We looked at it closely and then walked away as the vehicle was now at peace – but were we? The next week just as it reached dusk I saw foreign headlights inch their way down the snow covered driveway.

Was it our once stolen Jeep I asked myself?

No, it was a new one that shared the fresh snow as Angelo slowly told me while the flakes hung to my hair,


   “I know I said we would keep it and it was a good ride,

     But each day as I drove it I felt like Bonnie and Clyde!”

     The End


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