I get asked all sorts of questions, and they are not only of the historical kind. Yesterday Marge Mitchell asked me the following:
On the Weather Channel there is a radar map that shows incoming precipitation. I always check our area and if there are storms predicted I move the map on my screen and check your area. Carleton Place is not shown on the map on their site. On my GPS I was showing our friends where Carleton Place is as they didn’t believe me when I mentioned that we have our own Mississippi River—north of course. The GPS didn’t show Carleton Place, just Almonte, Perth and Smith Falls. I was crushed–your town can’t lose its identity.
So I offer this question to you dear readers. What’s up with that as they say.
Workers attempt to clear a road near what is now Ottawa International Airport after a snowstorm
I got an email from Tim Findlay yesterday, and because I was so busy on Sunday I didn’t open my mail until this morning. Of course Monday was the day after the snowstorm. As the snow still falls I began to research his question about what year the train carrying the Riel rebellion troops were “marooned” by a big snow storm in Carleton Place. Tim thought it might be sometime around 1885.
The Ottawa Sharpshooters returning from the North West Rebellion, July 1885. Photo taken at Smith’s Falls, ON. Source: LAC, Topley Series E, MIKAN No.
So I sent out a historical 911 to the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum and by the time I had finished typing out the note– I thought had found it. Feb. 26-27, 1887, when 56 cm of snow fell. It was considered such a piddling amount at the time — really — that the newspaper headline barely murmured the fact that: it was the worst storm in the history of railroading.
But Tim did have some basis to the year 1885 as I found another entry: in April of 1885 they received a squall that fully entombed Ottawa in 71 cm of snow. Okay all well and good but– did they have to deal with a plow leaving 3 ft mounds in front of our driveways?
But here’s my question: would it not be more likely that the troop train would have been marooned in the big deal that entombed Ottawa in 1885 than the 56cm of 1887?–TIM
I bow to the master..:)
Jayne Henry– Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum–Unless those guys were two years late to the party it would be 1885 since the rebellion was only in the spring of 1885
please do not take this photo seriously.. this is just a parody
Special: Louis Riel Day 2013 Blizzard
Louis Riel Day was marked this year by a significant blizzard that brought much of the Red River Valley to a standstill. While snowfall was relatively light, with only 5–10cm reported in most localities (although a few pockets of 10–15cm did exist through the Southern portion of the Red River Valley), strong northerly winds that gusted as high as 70–80km/h produced blowing snow that gave whiteout conditions through most of the Valley.
Charles Mair and members of the Canadian Party (including fugitive Thomas Scott) at Portage la Prairie, enlist Major Charles Arkoll Boulton to lead an attack against Upper Fort Garry. They march as far as Headingly, where they are stalled “3 or 4 days” by a blizzard that breaks out on the 11th of February 1901.
What happened to all the family run, independent fabric stores in every town? The old fabric industry has indeed undergone huge changes in the last 3 decades. Stores have closed, factories have closed, women are working more, fashion styles have changed, sewing is not being taught in our schools and current trends toward on-line buying have all contributed to this wave of change. When I saw a sewing pattern was selling for $35 a few years ago I realized it was cheaper to buy something ready-made than sew.
I got a comment from “Tom” last night and this is what he said:
I remember many moons ago, going to the Mill Fab, to get my mother material to make clothes. I can’t remember if Fabric World became Mill Fab or vise versa. I remember it was in the Old Embassy Restaurant and Dan’s Bait Shop was right beside it.
You should ask the lads on here, how many of them went to Kings Castle to get their hair cut. I loved going into the pool hall, watching the older fellas play “GOLF”, on the pool tables. You should also talk to Les Reynolds about Corky’s old warehouse on Mill Street. Laurie Melrose with the bowling alley. I love reading your articles and there is a lot of history for sure in CP.-Tom
So tell me about King’s Castle? Were you the King of your domain there? Let’s see if we can round up some memories:)
“Good morning Linda. Could you please help clear up how the Mississippi lake/river got its name. Often heard it was a native name that the early settlers could not pronounce so they called it the Mississippi as its source was still unknown. Is there any truth to this? Thank you.” Steve Van Viet.
In 1820 many small settlements began to spring up along the banks of the Mississippi river up to Morphy’s Falls now Carleton Place. On several of the islands in Mississippi Lake the settlers found Algonquin aboriginals encamped who considered the Mississippi lakes northern shore their hunting ground. Did you know most forests along the shores are less than a century old? It has also been said wild mink can still be spotted along the northern shores of Mississippi Lake.
Beginning at its headwaters in Mazinaw Lake, it winds 124 miles through the historic landscape of Eastern Ontario to the Ottawa River. Pioneers and lumber barons, traders and cottagers; all have lived and died along the river’s course.
The origin of the river’s name is something of a mystery; although its current spelling may be derived from that of its much larger American cousin, it is most certainly a corruption of a different native name, as the translation ‘great water’ would not apply to a relatively minor tributary of the Ottawa, definitely the largest river in the area. Instead, the name may originate from “Mazinaa[bikinigan]-ziibi”, Algonquian for ‘[painted] image river’, referring to the pictographs found on Mazinaw Lake, though this is by no means proven. —Wikipedia
At some point in history, it’s pronunciation drifted from the Algonquin to the Americanized ‘Mississippi’. Of course the “Americanized” Mississippi is itself derived from the Ojibwa (Chippewa Indian) language ‘misi-zibbi’ meaning “great river” or literally, “river of the falls.
So Steve– when I grew up in Quebec we spoke Joual. (Quebec French made up from a mixture of local English and French words). I can probably assume this is what happened in the early days of Morphy Falls. Much like speaking Joual the Aboriginal word ‘misi-zibbi’ soon became pronounced Mississippi by the local settlers.
I have no clear answer about the origin of the name but I’ll try to offer some insight from the little research I did. Be forewarned this is mostly just my opinion. I would agree that the name Mississippi means big river and comes from the Chippewa (who are the major tribe of the Algonquin people’s) words “missi meaning “large,” and sippi meaning ‘flowing water,” which taken together literally mean “large river.” I got that quote from a website which I’m going to attach to this email for you to read too even though its talking about the American river. I THINK that the lake was probably named Mississippi first because it’s the largest body of water in the area so obviously “big water” makes sense for it. I think that the river was just given the same name because it is the only notable water way coming out of the lake.