I really enjoy your articles on Facebook. With regards to the article about O.E. Rothwell Lumber Co. Ltd. I am attaching information about the lumber mill in Lanark which operated from 1946 to 2003 in the Village employing many local people over the years.
Hope some of this information will be helpful.
Elaine Rothwell Hanna
O.E. Rothwell’s introduction to the Forest Industry started by cutting cordwood in the winter and driving it to Carleton Place by horse and sleigh. In the summer months he was hired out as a farm hand to farms in the area of Ferguson Falls.
In 1936, Ossie, as he was known, hired four private sawmills known as Custom Mills. Two were situated in the Ferguson Falls area, one at Boyd’s Settlement and one at Brightside.
With the onset of World War II, Ossie in 1940 applied to join the Army. As a result of being in the lumber business he was refused entry because he was deemed too important to the war effort at home.
In 1942 Ossie purchased Christie Donaldson’s mill which he set up on the 9ft Concession of Lanark Township. This mill operated there for two years, then was moved to Clydesville for another two years.
In 1944 he purchased Waites Brothers mill with a Crown Timber Licence of 1600 Acres in the Ompah area of Mosque Lake and along with his own mill made one large mill from the two.
This mill was set up in 1946 on South Street in Lanark adjacent to the Clyde River. This was a seasonal mill and operated from April to the end of October. In the winter months a bush camp was set up on the Crown Licence which with logs cut there and private logs purchased locally supplied the mill during the summer period.
1956 saw the business being incorporated and becoming the O.E. Rothwell Lumber Co. Ltd. A planing mill was started in 1959 with equipment from Rothwell-Perrin Lumber Co. Ltd. in Portland, a Company which Ossie and Frank Perrin purchased in 1948 which was formerly Portland Lumber Co.
Ossie was President of this Company until 1959 when he sold his shares to Mr. Perrin and some staff members when they started to build Pre-Fabricated houses. Construction of a new sawmill was started on the same site in Lanark in 1966 and started producing Lumber on August 28th, 1967. This automated mill used less labour and the average production was 3,000,000 board feet of lumber per year.
Two Dehumidification Dry Kilns with a capacity of 40,000 board feet were built in L976. This allowed some of the lumber being kiln dried to a moisture content allowing it to be used directly in the manufacturing of furniture.
Ossie retired in 1983 and the business was purchased by Don and Jeff Rothwell. Ossie passed away June 23d, 1985. A new planing mill was started in 1987, 20% of the production was company lumber and the remaining 80% was lumber from companies in Ontario and Quebec needing their lumber planed.
The 1990’s saw a boom in the hardwood lumber industry resulting in many companies building new mills with far larger capacities of production. As a result, in 2001,, with a surplus of hardwood lumber being produced in Canada and the United States and an offshore influence many mills were forced out of business. July 2003 saw the O.E. Rothwell Lumber Co. Ltd.being forced to close their doors.
Nice Shirley, I hear the food was really good and very friendly atmosphere!
In the early 20’s my husband was ill. Friends used to take me for a Sunday drive for a change of scenery. We would stop at Perry’s for a snack. Without fail, Perry would cook up a big order of fried mushrooms and send them home to my husband. This was his favourite treat when he was able to drop in when he was well. My husband died in 2011 and this is still a fond memory of Perry’s kindness
Hello Linda I was wondering what you could tell me about the Rothwell sawmill in Lanark
So I began to dig and this is what I found….. andif you have any memories please comment or email/
FRANK PERRIN— President ef Rothweli-Perrin Lumber Co ltd was co-founder and served as vice-president and general manager until 1957 when he became president purchased by 0 E Rathwell of Lanark and Frank Perrin of Portland and the new name established. Mr Perrin had previously served as general manager for the former company The assets of the firm consisted af a small work shop saw mill.
RAYMOND GAMBLE-Vice-president joined the staff in 1951 and has served in various capacities was elected vice-president in 1957 and appointed general manager recently a small office building and a fleet of two trucks. In 1949 the building storage apace was in creased and sash and door manufacturing plant put into operation. By this time the staff had increased to a total of fifteen From 1948 to 1958 the firm has enjoyed a steady growth.
ELDON GUTHRIE – Assistant general manager with responsibilities being sales in the show room and the territories and purchasing of building supplies every year with additional trucks and cars have been added to the fleet. At the present time the Arm operates twelve delivery trucks ranging from half-tons to tractor tandem trailers and five passenger cars. Two lift trucks have been added to the equipment in the yard for fast handling of lumber. In 1955 the firm opened a branch yard and office in Kingston and entered the prefabrication and by commencing construction of precision built quality homes.
This department has grown, until today it forms better than fifty per cent of the total volume of the company’s business. In order to consolidate assets of the firm and to create greater control. The yard and office in Kingston were sold in 1936. The addition of the dry kiln to our equipment enabled them to supply steam heat to all the buildings. The yard In the same year the site of the mill and sash factory were doubled to accommodate the precision built quality home operations.
In 1957 a new shaving baler built and installed enabled FRANK WOODS sales representative in the Kingston area to turn another byproduct of planing mill into saleable merchandise. The showroom was tripled’ in size and modernized to become one of the finest in Eastern Ontario. There has been an increase instaff from four to sixty-eight The number of trucks increased from two to fourteen including thre tractor trailers and the output of lumber from a very modest beginning in 1948 to over six million board feet in 1957. The growth of the firm has added several new homes to the community in the last ten years.
The Mazinaw-Lanark Sustainable Forest License (Number 542621) was signed on October 30, 2002 by Mazinaw-Lanark Forest Inc. of Cloyne Ontario. It was amended May 22, 2003. The SFL is intended to provide timber to the following existing forest resource processing facilities of the shareholders or associated with the shareholders of the Mazinaw-Lanark Forest Inc: Chapter Three 49 Domtar Inc. located at Cornwall Norampac Inc. located at Trenton Lavern Heideman & Sons Limited located at Eganville Dament & Charles Lumber Mfg. Ltd. and Herb. Shaw and Sons Limited located at Pembroke George Stein Limited located at Palmer Rapids Gulick Forest Products Ltd. located at Palmer Rapids O.E. Rothwell Lumber Co. Ltd. located at Lanark and M.J. Umpherson Lumber Co. Ltd. Located at Lanark
Sale of Rothwell Logging Mill Building & Equipment b) Bidders are instructed to include an up to date WSIB certificate and an insurance certificate for general liability in the amount of $5,000,000 adding the Township as an additional insured. c) Bids must be addressed to Chelsea Dawes, Manager of Facilities/Community Affairs The Township of Lanark Highlands, 75 George St. Lanark, Ontario K0G 1X0, and must be received by the Township no later than the Closing Date and Closing Time of: 10:00 am (EASTERN STANDARD TIME) On February 14th, 2020
Perhaps had we as residents done a better job of supporting our local business, Drysdales, D&B Shoe Store, Home Hardware, The Kitten Mills, OE Rothwell, Playfair Woodproducts and many others the town would be in better shape. I was guilty of “price” shopping outside of my community as many others were as well. If we want to rebuild Lanark we have to show we will support it. I buy all I can in the village and going forward will continue too. A hard lesson that almost killed a town of great people but Lanark and its residents are the toughest I’ve ever met and I believe it will eventually bounce back.
Well now I can remember the woolen mill and George Young’s furniture store with caskets in the back room. 1960s.
Employees who worked for OE Rothwell
The Perth Courier Obituary 1985, Wednesday April 10 Ivan Lawrence Closs
The village of Lanark and surrounding area was shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Mr. Ivan Closs at the Great War Memorial Hospital, Perth. Mr. Closs has been hospitalized for two weeks following a heart attack. He was making excellent progress towards recovery when a second massive coronary claimed his life on Sunday, November 11, 1984. Born in Lavant Township, March 15, 1927, Ivan Lawrence Closs was a son of the late Benjamin Closs and his late wife, the former Jenny Napier. He received his early education at Flower Station. On October 17, 1951, he married to Barbara M. Closs of Lavant Township, who survives with one son, Leslie J. Closs, daughter-in-law Rose and one grandson, John B. Closs, of Kingston. He is also survived by two sisters, Mrs. Emma James of Perth and Mrs. Lyla Garrett of Clyde Forks. He was predeceased by one brother, John L. Closs of Flower Station. The late Mr. Closs was employed for 23 years by the Canadian Pacific Railway During this period he worked at Arden. Flower Station, Renfrew and Havelock. After leaving C.P.R. he returned to Lanark and worked for the O. E. Rothwell Lumber Company, Central Wire and Cable, Perth, Canadian International Paper Company, Smiths Falls and for past seven years with the Ministry of Natural Resources. He was a member of St. Andrew’s United Church Lanark. He also belonged to Evergreen Masonic Lodge, No. 209, Lanark, and to the Order of the Eastern Star, Royal Tay, No. 193, Perth and Royal Canadian Legion Branch 244 Perth. An Eastern Star Service was held on Monday evening, November 12, 1984 which was largely attended. The funeral was held on Tuesday, November 13, 1984, at the Young Funeral Home, Lanark. The service was conducted by Rev James M. Whyte of Central Lanark Charge, with interment in Hopetown Cemetery. Pallbearers were six nephews. Gordon Closs, Clarence (Buddy) Closs, Winston Wayne and Thomas James and Ron Garrett. Flower-bearers were nieces and nephews of the deceased. The many floral arrangements, contributions to charitable organizations and the large number of people who called at the Funeral Home to pay their respect were testimony to the esteem in which Ivan was held in the community.
What do you know about Robert J. Stead? He built the house at 109 George Street in Lanark. Robert J. Stead who was a photographer and his two twin daughters built this house and we would like to know the history of it. Does anyone know the history of the house?
After an illness of four years Mr. Robert J. Stead passed peacefully away at his residence in Lanark Village last Friday afternoon, August 22nd (1919). The late Mr. Stead who succumbed to chronic Brights disease, was born in Middleville seventy four years ago on the homestead now occupied by Mr. Harry Rodger. In 1865 he married Miss Malvina Millotte who with a family of six survives him, Robert and Mrs. C. Calhoun at home, Mrs. T. A. Mason in Lanark, Mrs. M. Cleave at Selkirk, Manitoba, Mrs. A. B. Adamson and Miss Edna Stead at Winnipeg, Manitoba. For over thirty years Mr. Stead was a capable photographer and bee-keeper in the Village and for a number of years served as a councillor. Later he was nominated Reeve of the Village of Lanark. Mr. Stead is one of Lanark’s oldest residents and was a man very highly esteemed and respected by everyone. In politics he was a Liberal and in religion was a staunch Presbyterian. The funeral took place on Sunday, August 24th at 2.30 p.m., from his former residence to Lanark Village Cemetery and was largely attended.
In the 1871 census Robert J. Stead is listed in Lanark Village, aged 25. He is a photographer.
Robert Stead is listed on the Militia Roster of 1871 as living in Lanark Village and being 25 years of age.
When the last of the Gemmell line died in 1938, A drawer of glass plates was removed from their house at Pine Grove. These plates could only have been the negatives from the archives of the late local photographer Robert J. Stead.
PHOTO ARTIST, LANARK VILLAGE (1871). Robert J. Stead was born in 1845.1 He was the son of Robert Stead and Margaret Dick.1 Robert J. Stead married Malvina Milotte on 25 December 1865, at, Lanark, .1 Robert J. Stead died in 1919, at LANARK CO. ONTARIO.1
2. What do you know about Boyd’s settlement in Innsville ontario.?
Perth Courier, October 24, 1946
History of Boyd’s Settlement
The following sketch was prepared by Mrs. Wesley Willows and Mrs. Earl Willows is an outline of the early history of Boyd’s Settlement in Lanark Township a few miles from Innisville.
A tribute to the past
A record for the present
A message for posterity
In the year 1815 a proclamation was issued in England which greatly affected the lives of many British subjects and the history of the new world. This proclamation offered free passage to such natives of Great Britain as might wish to set sail for Canada for the purpose of settling there. Free provisions as an inducement were also offered until such time as the land which they were given would produce enough to support them. Besides this they were to be given ten pounds as a loan. Each group of four families were to receive a grindstone, a cross cut saw, and whip saw. To each family was given an adze, a hand saw, draw knife, one shell augur, two gimlets, door lock and hinges, scythe and snath, reaping hook, two hoes, one hay fork, skillet, camp kettle, one blanket for each member of the family.
This process was eagerly read by man in the old land. The old system of land holding was oppressive and the people knew little of freedom or equality. As a result, the younger and more adventurous thought with longing of the new world. It would appear that many who were friends in Ireland must have come to Canada within a short time of each other and gathered in communities together.
They landed at Montreal and came on to Brockville by steamboat or scows towed by oxen. They probably crossed the Rideau at Rideau Ferry as that was the only crossing place along that part of the river. It is likely that they also passed through Perth.
An ocean voyage took at least seven weeks and parcels and letters took a endless time to reach the new world. The immigrants were crowded into the holds of ships and deplorable sanitation added to the discomfort and disease. Ship fever broke out and took a heavy toll. Of 100,000 immigrants coming to Canada, it is estimated that 5,000 died at sea and 20,000 after landing at St. John, Quebec and Montreal.
The original settlement of Lanark township was commenced in 1820 and was marked by a piece of paper nailed to a tree on the side of a street in the present village of Lanark. On this piece of paper were the words “This is Lanark”. In the same year Boyd’s settlement was opened to settlers. The first home was begun by Sam Boyd, unmarried, who settled in the field now south of the present cheese factory house. It was a square built house with a roof going up to a square instead of the usual ridge. John Boyd, his brother, whose wife died at sea, settled where his great grandson Franklin Boyd now lives. Henry Hammond and wife Margaret Boyd (sister of the Boyd men), settled on the farm now owned by Mr. and Mrs. William Crosswell. Andrew Stevenson and wife Mary Boyd lived on the farm now occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Ed Ventress. Foster Stern, married Jane Boyd and settled on a farm on the town line now owned by Clifford Hammond.George Code married Sara Boyd and lived on what is now Russell Willows’ farm. This George Code is the son of the Code family which lived on the farm now owned by Oscar Ventress. There were many brothers and sisters in the family and they make many an interesting story but we need only think of those who lived right here in the settlement. Another brother lived on the present Munro farm. The last Code on the old homestead was Thomas Nancable Code. He was musical and conducted a singing school and led the church choir for many years.
There were also two Jackson brothers –one was Thomas Jackson who married Rachel Code and lived where Clifford Hammond now resides. Some of their descendents are Robert of Vancouver, Judge Arthur Jackson who recently retired from the bench in Toronto and Bessie (Mrs. Sher. (?) Willows) of Calgary. There are also Nellie, wife of John Tennant. Lantrim Jackson married Erlen(?) Ennis and settled where Earl Willows now lives. They were the grandparents of Mrs. Alfred Hammond, Colin and Wesley Willows—and many others too numerous to mention.
William and James Magee lived on farms later owned by William Bailey and now the property of William C. McCall. It is believed that William D’Arcy Magee, one of the fathers of the Confederation, was a brother of these men.
The Wrights and Wellwoods lived on the 11th Line down near Mud Lake on land now owned by William S. Munro. We have a story told by Thorpe Wright about the experience of his parents in crossing the water. The vessel carried 341 passengers and no doctor. Cholera broke out and 41 died and were buried at sea. Mr. Wright was a tailor by trade and made the caps and gowns for students of Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. On the ship he sewed the dead bodies of the cholera victims up in blankets for burial. Mrs. Wright fell ill and the ship’s captain was about to bleed her, which was the customary procedure. Mr. Wright, who did not agree with this method of treatment, took his shears and fought off the captain. His own treatment was to steam the patient. This he did after he scared off the captain and his wife recovered. The care of their infant child was thrust upon the tailor and he solved the food problem by preparing a mixture of powdered biscuit, sugar and water upon which the baby fed and thrived for three weeks. The vessel, however, having hid one man, brought the epidemic to Quebec where thousands died and were buried in trenches on the Plains of Abraham.
After these settlers arrived, they found things were not as easy as they expected. Provisions were not as easily obtained as promised. The implements furnished were big and clumsy. Even years later, when Henry Hammond had a daughter grown big enough to grow potatoes, she declared “it was a big enough job to carry the shovel let alone use it to dig the potatoes from among the roots of the trees.” Mr. Hammond was the first to own a horse in the settlement and quite a novelty it was. His son tells that he remembers the first dollar he saw. It was obtained by shipping potash to England and the dollars were shipped back in payment.
Before coming to this new land, Sam Boyd was a teacher in Ireland. It is also said that it was he who opened the first Methodist Sunday school in that part of Ireland. After coming to Lanark township, he became a leader in the life of the community and it is believed that he may have been the first school master here. When he came to this country, Sam Boyd left behind him a dear friend in the person of a young lady named Nancy. It is said that he was quite sick and ailing much of his time until at last one day Nancy arrived from the old country. After that Sam made a remarkable recovery and married his Nancy.
The first school was in the corner of the cemetery near Clifford Hammond’s fence. It was the first school for miles around and as a result had a large attendance. As many as 70-80 were enrolled. The school was simply set down in the middle of the forest. One day during the years when the school was under the direction of a school master named John Manley, a very fierce storm developed. It was called “The Slash” because it ripped down a strip through the forest leaving a mass of tangled, twisted wreckage of trees, trunks etc., lying in its wake. In the path of The Slash lay the school house. When the storm subsided, Mrs. Lantrim Jackson hurried up to the school, terrified lest she find it in ruins. To her surprise, she found the trees lying all around the school house but the building itself was not damaged. Mr. Manley, a God fearing man, on seeing the storm sweeping down on them, dropped to his knees and prayed for Divine protection for the children in his care. Later, John Manley became a preacher and was a minister in Toronto when 100 years old and died not so long ago. He had gone to Toronto to be with other Manley families settled there—one of whom was the father of Laura Manley Secord of Beaver Dam fame.
The God fearing pioneers were not such as would leave their faith neglected in the new country. In 1821 we find Rev. J.G Peale stationed at Perth and walking out to Boyd’s Settlement carrying his saddle bags on his back. On his arrival he had services in the home of Henry Hammond. From that time on services were held from shanty to shanty (as the homes then were called). Then they met in the school house until the first church was built.
The first church in this district was built just inside the present cemetery gates. The resolution passed at the time to decide to build a new church read in part as follows: “we shall build a house of Divine Worship which shall be called the Jackson Street Methodist Church, 12th Concession Lanark, to be built of cedar logs 26×36 feet inside. The building committee to be F. Stern, Andrew Stevenson, William McGee, and Thomas Jackson”. Another resolution read as follows: “The meeting house on the 12th Concession Lanark, be open for the Church of England, Presbyterian, Baptist and Quakers when not occupied by the Methodists”.
Much more could be told of the early history of Boyd’s Settlement, but it would make this story cumbersome. However, in conclusion, we might say that in many communities, the earliest settlers thought that they required stimulants to give them strength for their heavy duties. It was not so much in this settlement. The earliest settlers of Boyd’s were a temperate class. People who lived to bring in the Kingdom of God in their community and today we are reaping the fruits of their labors and that of their children.
I was amazed that he knew of my family. It made me feel instantly at home. I rode over to the Boyds cemetery and visited with all the members of my family buried there. I sat there on a beautiful sunny day watching the butterflies flying around the headstones and I could feel their spirits. My great Uncle Edgar (my grandfather’s youngest brother) had been buried there in 1991. I sat there for an hour contemplating. I then got on my motorcycle and rode in to Carleton Place. It had changed so much since 1981. I was determined to find your home if it still existed.
I knew that finding the railroad track was key to my finding Springside Hall. I found the track and parked my Harley and started walking. When I found your home I gasped. It was the home but it looked so different from my memory, the architecturally correct addition you had built was amazing. Of course the limestone fencing threw me for a loop. I walked slowly around the perimeter taking in the home. I stood at the front gate and admired your English garden and the front of Aunt May’s old home. I hadn’t noticed you gardening and when you stood up it startled me as I could tell I probably startled you. I uttered a quick hello and kept walking. An tall American standing and staring at a house in motorcycle garb could be disconcerting at the least. I went back to my bike and rode past your house once more. I told my wife I was a bit angry at myself for not asking the woman in the garden if you knew of my Aunt May and Uncle George. I am thankful to know that you do.
I researched for hours and could not find out if Wampole ever set up shop on Hillier Street.
Henry K. Wampole & Co. Occupy Clyde Woolen Mill Factory Office. Lanark Ontario
The Henry K. Wampole Co. Limited, manufacturing pharmacists with headquarters in Perth, Out. have completed negotiations where, they will open up a branch in Lanark Village. On Monday, Sept 22nd, representatives of that firm were in town and leased from Mr. Caldwell the factory office situated at 113 Hillier Street. ( now a priavte residence)
This office was found to be satisfactory for the companys immediate requirements, and operations have already commenced towards having the building renovated for the new industry. Some time ago the Henry K. Wampole Company announced the fact that they could employ many more in their factory if the housing and boarding problems then confronting everybody in Perth, could be overcome. Parties coming to Perth from outside points could readily find employment with this thriving industry.
They found it practically impossible to obtain board or secure a dwelling house. Consequently the manufacturing pharmacists found it necessary to expand their industry to other towns. Smith Falls was their first consideration but in this town they found that conditions as regards housing and boarding were on a par with that ot Perth. In the meantime Mr. Alex. McIntyre had written Mr. J. A. Stewart, M.P.P, Mr. Stewart controls the Henry K Wampole establishment and Mr. McIntyre explained to him the unlimited opportunities afforded to industries in Lanark Village.
In his letter he eulogized the excellent sites for such an industry and also the ample accommodations which Lanark can provide to outside families and employees. The result was that Mr. J. A. Stewarts attention was directed to Lanark as the field in which his industry could spread with great success and he had his representatives visit Lanark. Mr. Alex. McIntyre is to be con gratulated on his commendable act in being highly instrumental in bringing such a well known industry to Lanark.
The Henry K. Wampole Co. are a thriving and energetic concern and their pharmaceutical products are known throughout the Dominion. It is a growing industry and one which brings prosperity and progressiveness to any town. To have such an industry come to Lanark is, we hope, the advance guard of a tidal wave ol prosperity. At first this industry will be of small proportions in Lanark but we have visions of it being resembled to the acorn which, in a few years, becomes a mighty oak.
The branch to be opened in Lanark Village will specialize on the preparation and *packeting Formolid Throat Ease, a tablet which is strongly antiseptic and used for the prevention and spread of sore throat and bronchial trouble. The employees will be mostly girls, and we believe the industry will start with a staff of twenty-five which will increase as the industry progresses. This is the first new industry to come to Lanark since the burning of the Caldwell Woolen Mills and we hope this will be the nucleus about which many more industries will be established in Lanark Village.
At this time, some of the better known Wampole products were the tasteless extracts of Cod Liver, Grape Salt, Formolid Throat Ease, and more. Our products may have changed, but their quality did not. This rich history allows Wampole to make a claim that only they can do… Being the 1st Canadian Established Vitamins and Supplements Company!–Wampole Facebook
1.) Pte. Ronald Gamble, killed in action. Much sympathy is felt in town for Mr. and Mrs. James Gamble in the death of their son Ronald Gamble who was on Monday officially reported killed in action between the 3rd and 4th November. Evidently it was his first time to go in to the trenches as in one of his last letters he said his unit was on the march and that he would write again when he reached the front lines. In one of his last letters he said “we have been traveling around the country and have seen some lovely scenery. There is so much dust here as it has done nothing but rain this week and we are over the boot tops in mud where ever we go. We will likely be meeting our friends across the way in a few days.” Ronald enlisted with the 240th Battalion on the 10th September, 1916 and left Canada for overseas with this unit on the 25th April, 1917. He went to France this past September and thus was there but a brief period before he was added to that long list of Canadians who have their last resting place in France. He was but 18 years of age and a very fine young man. Before enlisting at Perth he was employed in the printing and box making department of the Henry K. Wampole Co. (transcriber’s note, a letter from this company was not transcribed.)
Top stories of the June 7, 1912 edition of The Perth Courier
Perth gets big new thriving industry “Perth will have another new industry. For some time, negotiations have been in progress between Henry K. Wampole & Co. of Cincinnati, Ohio to take care of the Canadian business for the Jergens company. The Jergens company is the second largest manufacturer in the United States of high class toilet soaps.. the two companies are coming together to handle the soap, perfume and toilet business in Canada. A new company, with headquarters as Perth, is being incorporated to be known as the Andrew Jergens Co. Limited.”
Somehow I got the idea that Lanark was the county town of Lanark county. Since this would be just about the only county town in Ontario that I had never visited (always of course excepting Hali-burton, where even the train goes only three times a week!) I decided it would be just the thing to round out my day if I could make it to Lanark. Here indeed would be terra incognita. So turning my car toward terra incognita, I went out of Carleton Place and turned off at the church.
I struck a road that sometimes was paved, and sometimes was not, till I came to a spot called Ferguson’s Falls. By now the countryside had changed. Gone were the lush acres of Carleton Place. In their place was that undecided sort of country that exists between Brockvllle and Kingston, and west of Perth. It can’t quite make up its mind whether to be agricultural country or not. So you find pockets of good land, interspersed by stretches of picturesque rock lands. These same woods, good for maple syrup in the spring, pasture in the summer, and fuel in the winter, are not to be sneezed at, if you have some arable land as well, but you are out of luck as a farmer if all your land is this way.
However, I was not out to sob over the steering wheel about the plight of the farmer who owned a rock pile, but to get on to Lanark town, and ultimately it came into view. I took a couple of squirms, went around a hill or two, and landed plump in front of the Lanark Era. Just about the easiest place to get acquainted, the quickest place to get Information, and the best place to feel at home for any newspaperman is a country newspaper office. Deadlines aren’t the disagreeable things there they are in such fast-moving sheets as The Citizen, and so they generally have time to talk to you.
I sat there and sniffed that lovely smell of a composing room, and plumped myself down to see if I could find out something about Lanark. First and foremost, Lanark produced the great George Mair, whose epic, Tecumseh, is regarded as one of the truly great literary things done by a Canadian. With that I might couple the fact that Managing Editor Robertson of Beaverbrook’s London Daily Express, is an old Lanark boy. So is George Mcllraith, Liberal M.P. for Ottawa West.
In with these important tidings, I would breathlessly add that the chain stores have not yet invaded this delightful place. Lanark today has only a few over 700 people, but it once had more. Its chief support in days gone by was the woollen mill, but this burned down at the end of the last war, or thereabouts. There was no other large industry to replace it, and today the largest payroll in the town is that of the school. Incidentally, I see the Lanark Era of the issue when I was in town said the teachers had resigned, and it was decided to advertise for new ones.
I went south on the road which they said was the bumpiest in Lanark and they misinformed me, for there is a bumpier one in Georgia and in due course I came to the outskirts of Perth. I was told by George Mcllraith that I had missed a most important item outside Perth, and that was the first bank established in Upper Canada. I was back two weeks later, but entering by another road, missed it again.
I might say that I had been through *Perth a good many times by rail, but had no idea it was such a beautiful place. Perth has a pretty park in its midst, and is so laid out, not only to give it real beauty, but to create the impression that the town is really bigger than it is. I have been in the original Perth in Scotland, and both of course, are on the Tay. While doubtless the Caledonian counterpart is more entrancingly located, the Canadian Perth, and Lanark’s county town, does not suffer too much by comparison.
Whoever laid the pavement between Perth and Smiths Falls did a good job, and my own concern was the proximity of a speed cop. Smiths Falls is pretty enough, and seems to change but little. I associate with Smiths Falls all kinds of emotions. I remember, for instance, sitting at a table in the dining room of the main hotel there, and learning that Doc Cook had “discovered” the North Pole. It was also during another momentous meal there that a fellow at the table said that the Mauretanla had just broken the world’s speed record for a steamship.
At a later date, I stopped off at S.F. to see a girl, between trains, and later again, used to drop into the Canadian Pacific station to have a chat with “Tex” Ricard, who went to Queen’s in my day, and later became a railway despatcher. But above all. I remember going down to The Falls one time at the behest of The Citizen to write about vaccination and some of its evils. I went around to all the locations first, and climaxed the day by interviewing a couple of indignant medical officials.
I returned on the last train, charged a heavy dinner up to The Citizen, and then was pleased to hear from Vincent Pask, night city editor, that it was the best story I had written for him up to date. That I had turned in a lot of bad ones I am the first to admit. The trip from Smiths Falls home through a sort of lane of a highway was dull, and I was shocked to see what a small place Franktown is. I was prepared for something better. I bypassed Carleton Place on the way back, and arrived safely at the Island Boulevard traffic circle without incident. Austin F. Cross June 1940
The City Bank was the first bank to establish an agency in Perth, the Hon. Roderick Matheson being agent. He transacted business in his own office, where Matheson & Balderson now are, but finding that his own business required all his attention he gave up the agency, as no other agent was appointed, the office was closed. Then the Commercial Bank opened an agency, with Captain Leslie as Manager. His office was kept in the small stone building, which still stands on the property near the old dwelling house. John A. McLaren now lives in this building. He farmed a little, as well as managed the Bank, and had in his employ an old man by the name of McFarlane, but transacted all his business himself.
In order to do this, he had a bell put on the building, which was rung if he was wanted while out attending to his farm duties during bank hours, but he had no scruples about keeping people waiting. He was very exact and particular about paying out money, as even in these days, a stranger could not draw money for a cheque unless identified, or accompanied by a friend known to the Manager. He married a lady from Kingston, who was very peculiar. She never went out except to church, and very rarely there, and always dressed in the same ‘good’ clothes from the time she came to Perth until they left. Captain Leslie did not do a very large business, in fact, not enough to pay his salary which was six hundred dollars per year. He only had an ordinary iron box for a safe, which was built in the floor of his private office, the top opening upward from the floor like a trapdoor, so that his business could not have been very extensive.
In 1856, he handed over the books to Mr. James Bell, who later became the Registrar of South Lanark, and the Bank was removed to his dwelling on Drummomd Street, where Mr. McArthur‘s house now stands. As the Bank quarters were not ready for him, a small brick addition was built for an office, which was pulled down when Mr. McArthur built his present residence.