During Rev. McConnells’ ministry, the first manse at Watson’s Corners was built in 1893, and the next year the Zion Church was built at Watson’s Corners. During Rev. McLean’s ministry in 1908, the Manse was burned to the ground on August 20, but was rebuilt immediately after the fire.
Perth Courier, November 10, 1893
Watson’s Corners: On the night of 31st October the minister and his family, who lately moved into the new manse at Watson’s Corners, got a very pleasant surprise by the ladies and their friends of that section of the Dalhousie congregation. On the evening named Mr. and Mrs. McConnell were invited out to tea and while at the house of their hostess and before the hour for tea had come, two messengers arrived announcing that visitors had come to the manse and Mr. and Mrs. McConnell were wanted. On retracing their steps they found the ladies and gentlemen to the number of 36 had taken full possession and on being ushered into the dining room they found the table loaded with everything inviting to the appetite and they were invited by the president of the Ladies Aid of Watson’s Corners to take their places at the table. After supper, Mr. McConnell was called to take the chair for the evening and a very pleasant hour was spent in religious exercises. Congratulatory addresses were made on the work done since the minister’s labors began in this part of the Dalhousie congregation to which the minister replied and thanked all who were present for the earnest and zealous aid he had received since his arrival at Watson’s Corners. The ladies not only brought ample supplies for all present but enough to make a good beginning in the way of supplying the manse for some time to come. Nor was the minister’s horse forgotten for several bags of oats were brought and stored away for him. Such a visit as this of which we have written is stimulating and helpful both to the minister and the people; and we trust the kind words spoken by those present on this occasion and the response returned by the chairman will long be remembered by all. In concluding this brief recital of what happened at the Presbyterian manse on the night of the 31st October we may add that besides the representatives of our own church and congregation we had male and female members of the Methodist Church who were as liberal and cordial in their gifts and kind words as others. At about 10:00, after singing “God Be With You Till We Meet Again”, etc., the chairman pronouncing the benediction the company dispersed well satisfied with the entertainment of which they were the originators and active agents.
After I wrote the story on the manse in Beckwith (see link below), Corry Turner-Perkins left a comment on the Tales of Carleton Place:
Corry Turner-Perkins —”My dad lived in the Manse in 1957-1960 when he was 5 and his family moved to Beckwith. My grandpa was John Turner, he worked for the town for 25 years, grandma was Roberta (Bobby ) and my dad is Dave and his sister Gypsy”.
Beckwith Councillor and historian Tim Campbell read the comment and invited the family to come back to the manse. On Sunday the two families met and reminisced about the historical property.
Tim Campbell sent me this note this morning with the following information:
“We had a really nice visit from daughter Corry, Dave and grandson John. Dave told us that he lived in our house from 1956-64 and that they rented the house from the owner John Rintoul. He remembered that there were many more barns then we ever realized and that they were 4 in the family and they all slept downstairs.
They said that the house was freezing in the winter. The father -grandfather was a worker for the Carleton Place Public Works for 25 years (John Turner). John found the pond he used to swim in when he was a kid (no longer on our property) and he told us that they used to have approximately 40 head of cattle”.
Now, here is the kicker. Somewhere there is a lost musket. Like the cornerstone on my house, all old homes have secrets for us to find and remember the past. This is why I write. For the sake of getting people together talking TOGETHER about the history of our area. It is that important!
Sandra Hurdis Finigan-–I was working at Giant Tiger that day. I remember them coming in to tell us they were shutting off the power because I think they had to take the lines down as the house passed. We had to write down what customers were buying and use a calculator. I don’t know who entered it all in later but I’m glad it wasn’t me. We all stood at the Windows to watch the house drive by.
photo– Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum