Tag Archives: McEwen

Looking for Photos of ‘The Castle’ in Ashton

Looking for Photos of ‘The Castle’ in Ashton

In the books that were donated I have come across some interesting information about a home that was once in Ashton that was called, “The Castle”. It was believed to be build by Mr. Archie Blair and was an imposing 3 storey, 14 room frame bulding painted white.

It had a high roof with four gables and the surrounding verandahs were supported by broad pillars. Over the large hospitable French doors was a very ornate fanlight. Mr. Blair operated a shoemaking business over at the Forester’s Hall and had two sons: Dr. Blair and Jack Blair.

The imposing home was destroyed by fire. Living there at the time of the fire was Mrs. Archie Blair, her sisters Tina and Jessie McEwen and a brother Sandy McEwen. Sandy was in bed with a broken hip when the fire broke out at noon hour. Hilton Fleming was at his home nearby for his midday meal, noticed the smoke and realized that Sandy was upstairs and helpless scaled two fences and enetered the burning building. He was able to snatch Sandy in his arms and head for safety. Sandy kept shouting for his pants, but Mr. Fleming just screamed back ” to hell with your pants’ as he carried him to the safety of the Forrester’s Hall. The hall later was a residence owned by Mr. Slade.

RALPH WALLACE BURTON OIL ON BOARD Grey Wet November Day” Ashton, Ontario

with files from the book donations “Country Tales” Donated by- Ed and Shirley (Catherine) Simpson

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
10 Jul 1942, Fri  •  Page 12
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
30 Dec 1925, Wed  •  Page 2

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
27 May 1929, Mon  •  Page 2
Name:Archibald Blair
Marriage Date:4 Jan 1870
Marriage Place:Lanark County, Ontario, Canada
Spouse:Mary McEwen

1871 census

Name:Archibald Blair
Marital Status:Married
Birth Date:1847
Birth Place:Ontario
Residence Place:Goulburn, Carleton, Ontario
District Number:78
Religion:Weslyan Methodist
Occupation:Shoe Maker
Family Number:177
Neighbours:View others on page
Household MembersAgeArchibald Blair24Mary Blair20

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
30 Mar 1935, Sat  •  Page 46
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
19 Feb 1897, Fri  •  Page 5

Memories of Ashton Station Road –Ashton Feed Mill –Jennifer Fenwick Irwin Photos

  1. Wind Storm in Ashton- Heath Ridge Farms 1976 
  2. Dust on the Wind –Ashton Social Notes 1887-1897 Names Names Names
  3. Another Lanark County “Murdoch Mystery” –Elfreda Drummond of Ashton
  4. When Trains Crash —Ashton Train Accident 1950
  5. Mrs Crigger’s House in Ashton?
  6. The Ashton Hotel– Questions Questions Flemmings and McFarlanes
  7. McFarlanes –Stewart’s Fire– and Other Things in Ashton
  8. Somewhere in Ashton-The Ashton Curmudgeon
  9. The Ashton Funeral to end all Funerals
  10. Did Anyone Ever Have Fun in Ashton?
  11. Ashton 101
  12. Did Anyone Have Fun in Ashton? Part 2- The Fleming House 
  13. How to Catch a Pigeon in Ashton
  14. The Ashton Carleton Place Car Theft Ring
  15. Did Samuel Pittard of Ashton Murder His Wife?
  16. Good Old Lanark County Music–From the 70s to now
  17. The John Shore House
  18. Jenkins: Ashton’s log and mortar-chinked history meets modern times

More History on the Murphy Morphy McEwen House — Karen Prytula

More History on the Murphy Morphy McEwen House — Karen Prytula
“McEwen House Bell Street”

Linda, you asked me who the original owner of the lot that 119 Bell was constructed on. Here is some more history- Karen Prytula

The short answer is the Crown deeded the lot on Bell Street to John Murphy/Morphy in 1824 after completion of his settlement duties. This was originally an 80 acre lot. John was one of the 3 sons of Edmund Morphy. And I believe this lot to belong to son John because the other 2 sons of Edmund were James and William, and they owned land adjacent to this lot at the same time, and, their names were also spelled Murphy in the land records.

In 1839 John M sold 11 acres for 25 pounds. I would figure if he is selling off land, he probably is living on the land and so that log part of the house could be as early as 1824.

Balance: 69 acres

In 1841 JohnM sells 25 acres for 100 pounds to H. Baines. Balance: 44 acres

In 1841 JohnM also sells to H. Boulton, acreage not specified, for 63 pounds…

By 1861 JohnM is dead, and so probably left the remaining acreage to his son/brother William, whom I believe may have sold to H. Boulton.

The 1863 map shows an R. Bell owning the lot, and a Dr. Wilson owning the stone home (105 Bell) next to this one.

The 1879 map does not have names written on it like the earlier map does.

Because this house was on lot 15W, Concession XII – it’s a big lot and there are probably lots of houses that are made of log then covered with clapboard.

There were plenty of owners on this lot but not one of them was a McEwen. One of the walking tour pamphlets refers to this house as the Murphy/Morphy house – so I am confident this is probably where John Murphy/Morphy lived. Possibly Dr. McEwen rented it when he was living there.


PIN 05119-0129

The above legal description is of absolutely no help as it does not even mention the Concession #, which we know to be XII.

“Founded Upon A Rock” does not mention a Dr. McEwen at all. It mentions a John Morphy, but not in relation to the house.

If the house was built in the 1880s it could have been built by any number of the property owners listed on the land abstract, because, lots of families lived on lot 15. It’s impossible to know which family was on a certain acreage/sq.footage.

I think the log cabin was there for maybe close to 50 years and instead of tearing it down, a newer owner just clapboarded around it in the 1880s, and additions were added when necessary.

part of the log from the house that was hand hewed that we got for Jennifer for the museum

There is a technology out there called Dendrochronology (the science or technique of dating events, environmental change, and archaeological artifacts by using the characteristic patterns of annual growth rings in timber and tree trunks.) which can tell the year the log was taken down. I am reading up on it to see if maybe we can get the year the log was cut down which will tell us, if this was an original Morphy homestead.  i.e. if it was cut down before 1861 (the year I know John was deceased by) it was probably the original John Morphy homestead.  If the log was cut down after 1861 then it could not have been his home.

Photo- Adin Wesley Daigle

June 12, 2020 2:25 PM

After some of the siding was removed there stood a two storey log home. Yes the “McEwen home” was originally a two storey log home probably built in 1848 with the hard wood logs taken from the lot or the park across the street. Very unheard of to see a two storey log home and the people that built it must have been well off. I asked the developer to cut off part of one of the logs and thanks to Karen P and Mark Smith they carried it to her van for the museum so we would have part of the house.

As the home came down the smell of rot filled the air. The logs at the base of the house were basically all sawdust and apparently they had been trying to save the base logs patching for years. The house also had asbestos in it. Sadly there were little options for this home. Instead of being angry–don’t let other heritage houses get this far along so they can’t be saved.

Instead of discussion put your words into actions. JOIN and SUPPORT, DONATE to our Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum — (their website is http://www.cpbheritagemuseum.com.
On the page you will see a tab called Join Us, all the information is there.) Instead of complaining..

Put your words into actions. Join our Municipal Heritage Committee. https://carletonplace.ca/municipal-heritage-committee.php

Linda Seccaspina

William Morphy Family

Do You Know How Edmond Morphy Died?

What’s Changed in Your Home in 40 Years?

The Natives of Carleton Place — Violins and Deer

Who Came First? The Morphy or the Moore? The Name Game

Alfred Dulmage-The Son of the First White Child

Little Kenny Morphy Went Pike Fishing

Reusing the Past of Carleton Place — The Morphy’s and the McCann’s

The McEwen McEwan Fire 1949

The McEwen McEwan Fire 1949


The Gazette 
Montreal, Quebec, Quebec, Canada
13 Jan 1950, Fri

Hello again Linda !!

Hope you had a great time at the Carleton Place 200th parade. So sorry to have missed it. I have a question for you concerning the McEwen Family of the Ottawa Valley. Shortly after the funeral of Clarke Gourlay I became part of another real-life adventure belonging to the McEwan Family of the Ottawa Valley The story that I have become immersed in is that of Cpl Enos McEwan and his wife Olive Matheson. On Dec 27th 1949 their Christmas Tree caught fire trapping them and their 5 children in their home near Billings Bridge. The parents would shortly die as a result of their severe burns received in saving the lives of all 5 children and the children would be divided among the relatives.



There is a remarkable tribute to Olive on Page 3 of the Ottawa Journal from the 12th of Jan 1950.


The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
12 Jan 1950, Thu  •  Page 3

In addition to bringing life back to this remarkable story of parents’ ultimate sacrifice and love for their children’ I thought it might be interesting if you could spread the story in the hopes that maybe , just maybe, there might still be a young nurse or fireman or doctor that was present at that time that might be able to add so much to that side of the story and the fires impact on the community outside of the immediate family.

Christopher Muller



The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
12 Jan 1950, Thu  •  Page 13




The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
16 Jan 1950, Mon  •  Page 14


Clippings Of the McLaren Case The Scandal That Rocked Lanark County

Clippings Of the McLaren Case The Scandal That Rocked Lanark County

If you read

McLaren Left it All to the McLeod Sisters–His Maids!


Daniel McLaren was William Muirhead’s uncle, the brother of his mother Agnes. He also was  a bachelor and very well to do. Mary McLeod and her sister Isabella were Daniel’s housekeepers and apparently upon his death when his will was read; he had left his estate to the McLeod sisters.

And so it began

 - on case. The action Is brought by consent by J....


Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Citizen,
  2. 21 May 1902, Wed,
  3. Page 5

 - j er. I did not open the valise and I do DID IT...

 - II GO IP IN SMOKE Continued from Page Five. but...


 - as By all I I I a I Mc-Kerracher, McKer-racher...

Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Citizen,
  2. 23 May 1902, Fri,
  3. Page 8
  4.  - 0VER- fit-too t : the Reifler- en the a...

 - Dis-positiop sub-sequently Mc-Laren'g i ' j...

Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Citizen,
  2. 24 May 1902, Sat,
  3. Page 13



Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Citizen,
  2. 22 May 1902, Thu,
  3. Page 2


  1. Clipped from

    1. The Ottawa Citizen,
    2. 03 May 1902, Sat,
    3. Page 9
  2. historicalnotes
  3.  - e l in I'erth thiw morning that i iot i ie...

    Clipped from Page 10 Oct 2. 1902

 - McLaren will case. Court of Appeal Decides That...

Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Citizen,
  2. 03 Oct 1903, Sat,
  3. Page 5

So who won?

 - When the news reached town last evening that...

lipped from

  1. The Ottawa Citizen,
  2. 19 Nov 1903, Thu,
  3. Page 7


John A StewartJohn A. Stewart, McLaren’s nephew

In 1896 COL. A.J. MATHESON, became the proprietor and editor with CAPT. J.W. MOTHERWELL as publisher.  Both these worthy newspaper men have also passed to the great beyond.  In 1886 CHAS. F. STONE, fresh from Perth Collegiate, entered the Expositor as “printer’s devil,” and completed his apprenticeship in September, 1890, when he secured a position on the Deseronto Tribune, later on the Wiarton Echo and the Petrolia Advertiser.  In 1893, on account of the illness of Capt. Montherwell, Mr. Stone was offered the position of publisher and accepted it in March of that year.  Three years later, after Col. Matheson had received the endorsation of the electors of South Lanark to represent them in the Provincial Legislature, the control of the Expositor passed into the hands of Mr. Stone, who was its editor and proprietor until early in 1914, when he was appointed Collector of Inland Revenue.  His son, the late HAROLD E. STONE, who was killed overseas, published it until December 1914, when the Expositor passed into the hands of Mr. John A. Stewart. Perth Remembered


In 1900 a bottle of McLaren’s “old Perth malt whiskey” sold for 90 cents; 80 cents if you brought your own bottle. Today, an empty McLaren bottle with label intact sells for as high as $5 in antique shops across Ontario.  One collector of old bottles predicted in twenty years the price for these fast disappearing artifacts of old Perth would go as high as $15 each.  Full bottles of which there are still a few left just are not for sale at any price.

Despite the disparagement in prices now and in the old days, John A. McLaren, Perth’s whiskey king, managed to eke out a fairly comfortable living.  In fact, he became one of the town’s wealthiest businessmen and his product was known to hundreds or thousands of Canadians from the Pacific to the Atlantic.

John A. was one of the first liquor manufacturers to put out what is known as “mickies” (12 oz bottles) on the Canadian market.  The product came in amber with clear bottles the latter having a bluish tinge.

The McLaren distillery was founded in 1831 by Robert McLaren, father of John A. , who followed the traditions of the great Scotch whiskey manufacturers of his day, many of which are still going strong.  “Old Perth Malt” had a unique flavor due to wood being used in the malt making, rather than peat as used in Scotland and Ireland.  Its Canadian contemporaries were made in four days while McLaren was processed a full 30 days.

One of the wealthiest if not the wealthiest manufacturing establishments in Perth was the McLaren Distillery, located on what is now Stewart Park directly behind the home of Mayor E.S. Burchell on Market Square.  Opposite the mayor’s house stood the McLaren stables, which boasted more than 100 bulls happily thriving on the mash left over from malt making.

Stewart Park might well stand today as a monument to John A. McLaren as well as to John A. Stewart for it was from the enterprising “booze king” that the Stewart fortune and holdings were acquired.  Stewart, a relative of McLaren’s, was the principal heir in the malt maker’s will and himself became a national figure in business and politics.  He served as M.P. for Lanark and entered the Bennett cabinet as Minister of Railways and Canals.

When John A. McLaren died at the turn of the century, Stewart continued the operation of the distillery along with other enterprises including the Henry K. Wampole Company and later the Perth Expositor.  He was described as a shrewd businessman and opportunist as well as a master of litigation.

Perhaps Stewart’s finest display of legal finesse came with the handling of the McLaren will.  Although he proved to be the legal heir, it took a bit of explaining to the powers that be before the fortunes of his kinsman could be added to Stewart’s coffers.

“Old Perth Malt Whiskey has gained such a high reputation among the judges of fine liquor it is regarded as non-injurious and has become a household staple where other whiskies would not be tolerated” said the proponents of the day.

Unfortunately, despite the eloquent pleas put forth by the hidden persuaders of yesteryear, the Ontario Temperance Act disagreed and in 1917 “Perth Old Malt Whiskey” along with its imitators was banished from the Ontario market.  Prohibition had descended on the land and the whiskey sellers, the licensed ones at least, were left with empty shelves. Article from The Perth Courier– Perth Remembered

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and theSherbrooke Record and and Screamin’ Mamas (USACome and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place. Tales of Almonte and Arnprior Then and Now.


Perth’s Millionaire Bachelor – Who Inherited His Fortune? — arlene stafford wilson

The Continuing Saga of Christena McEwen Muirhead—The McLaren Mill

McLaren Left it All to the McLeod Sisters–His Maids!

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 10- Code Family – I conjured to myself: “You will know me later!” And Peter McLaren did.

For the Love of Money-Gillies Gilmours and the McLarens


History Still Lives on at The McEwen House in Beckwith

History Still Lives on at The McEwen House in Beckwith





It took seven long years for the McEwen’s to build this stone house on the 7th line, about a half mile west of Highway 29. Made of local limestone it has a centre door way with Cross and Bible panels, sidelights, and a square fanlight at the top. Directly over the door is proudly marked 1873, the day that the house was finally completed.

Set in a grove of lovely trees the house has a snake fence separating it from the roadway and at the rear there was once barns, a stable, a tack house and a drive shed. The house that remained in the family for decades was one of the finest homes in Beckwith at one point.




The dining room has a ‘dado’ once known as a chair rail, and all the rooms were finished as it was truly a house of distinction with a boxed staircase located in the centre hall. The kitchen has an interesting porthole window facing West and recessed windows are all panelled and have bubble glass panes. Beamed ceilings, golden ash woodwork, and pegged floors grace the  house as well as matching doors throughout with 6 panels and enamelled doorknobs.

That large staircase carried the feet of a family that led upwards to three bedrooms complete with floors made of Balsam Poplar or Balm of Gilead. It was once a popular tree as it also had medicinal properties of balsam poplar that lie in the winter buds. These are black, upright and sticky, and are strongly aromatic and if chewed taste tarry and hot.

It is not surprising that the buds also contain and are covered with waxy resins, terpenes and phenolics with disinfectant properties.  It is among the fastest growing trees in Canada, up to a foot each year, especially when young. The trees are short-lived, normally up to about 100 years, but used as flooring like this home it can give a golden glow to the atmosphere of the home.

The former ell and woodshed was converted in the 70s by Eve and Peter Levers who bought the home from Clarence McEwen. Today the house is still there with a few minor changes.

When I had to turn either red or left on Highway 29; it was a no brainer, and I immediately felt drawn to the left. It was the right move as sure enough, barely half a mile now the road, was the McEwen home. It was set back farther than what I had originally thought and thought of living there the long cold winters in this secluded area. In fact I could still see in my mind “Bossin’ Billy” McEwen Muirhead trudging down the road after another argument with her husband with her coat hem blowing in the wind.

The barns were no longer there, but the property was well maintained and looked loved. That’s all that mattered to me, the history of the McEwen house still lives on– and that’s what counts.






Jayne Munro-Ouimet–Hi Linda, Here is another McEwen house in Beckwith.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.



The House of Daughters –Stonecroft House

Update on The Manse in Beckwith

The Manse on the 7th Line of Beckwith

Home and Garden Before Home and Garden Magazine

The James Black Homestead

The Mysterious Riddell— H B Montgomery House

The Wall Mysteries of Lake Ave East -Residential Artists

The Manse on the 7th Line of Beckwith

Rescuing the Money Pits —The Other Dunlop Home with the Coffin Door

The Carleton Place House with the Coffin Door

Before and After in Carleton Place –The Doctor is in!

Heh Miss Wilsonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn! Carleton Place Heroe

Was This the Architect of the Findlay Homes on High Street?

The Carleton Place House That Disappeared

The McCarten House of Carleton Place

Old McRostie Had a Farm in Carleton Place

Time Capsule in the ‘Hi Diddle Day’ House?

The Louis on Sarah Street for $43,500 — Before and After– Architecture in Carleton Place

Memories of Mississippi Manor

Day in the Life of a 70’s Pattie Drive Home – The Stay at Home Mom Era

Architecture Stories: The Hotel that Stompin’ Tom Connors Saved

Dim All The Lights — The Troubled Times of the Abner Nichols Home on Bridge Street

The Brick Houses of Carleton Place

So What Happened to The Findlay House Stone?

The Stanzel Homes of Carleton Place

The Appleton Chinchilla House



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“2,000 people on the streets”–Dr. Finlay McEwen of Carleton Place



Perth Courier, Jan. 29, 1892

McEwen—Died, at Carleton Place on the 22nd Jan., Finlay McEwen, M.D., aged 50 years and 9 months. We regret to learn of the death of Dr. Findlay McEwen of Carleton Place on Friday last from pneumonia and heart complications.  The deceased doctor was skillful, genial and popular and his death is universally lamented.  He was about 50 years of age and was married in 1883 to Ellen, daughter of the late John Gillies.  The Carleton Place papers had a lengthy obituary.

Dr. F. McEwen, of Carleton Place, one of the best known and most highly respected citizens of that town, passed away on Friday last, after a long struggle with inflammation of the lungs brought on by a severe attack of la grippe. The Doctor was greatly respected by a wide  circle of warm friends in Almonte, who deeply regret his being cut off at so early an age and in the midst of a life of so much usefulness. We clip the following sketch of his life from the C. P. Herald:

Finlay McEwen,’ M.D., was born in Beckwith township, on the homestead, April 6th, 1841. He was the eldest son of Alexander McEwen, who came out with his father, Finlay McEwen, from Perthshire, Scotland, m 1818. His brothers are Alexander, Peter and Hugh (M.D ), and his sisters are Mrs. Arch. Blair, Mrs. Geo. Blair and Misses Kate, Tena and Jessie. His father, who was one ot the pioneers of this part of Ontario, died in June, 1888, aged 75 years, and his mother, aged 77, is still living. After teaching school for some years, he studied medicine in McGill College, and graduated in 1870.

He first practised in Almonte, remaining here for five months, when he removed to Komoka, near London, Ontario. In 1872 he settled at Carleton Place, succeeding to the practice of Dr. McVean. Being of a cheerful and pleasant disposition, he speedily became a great favourite, and built up a large practice. In April, 1883, he was united in marriage to the was married in 1883 to Ellen Gillies, daughter of the late John Gillies, daughter of the late John Gillies. For Mrs. McEwen, who has been a congenial and untiring helpmate in all her lamented husband’s affair, and their only child, little Helen, four years of age, and all the sorrowing relatives, the sympathy of the community finds expression everywhere.

Dr. McEwen had withstood numerous severe attacks of illness. When a student pleurisy laid heavy siege to his constitution in 1874 the hemorrhage of the lungs threatened to carry him off, and his friends feared he could not survive. In 1876 typhoid fever, in a severe form, proved almost fatal; he was given up to die, but rallied his forces and recovered. In the fall of 1883 he battled with a fierce attack of rheumatic fever, this being, perhaps, the most life-sapping of all his physical trouble”. Again it seemed that he could not live, but under the arduous attention of his confrere, Dr. Preston, he again recovered, after a long prostration.

Through all these trials the man’s characteristics of coolness and tenaciousness were brought forth in bold relief. Five weeks ago his final physical troubles set in. A severe cold brought on double pneumonia and heart complications. Even after the most serious symptoms became manifest, although the patient himself believed he could hardly recover, and Drs. Church, of Ottawa, and Munro, of Perth, were in consultation with the local practitioners, there was a slight revival, and hope pervaded the community.

On Monday week, however, he began to sink gradually, and his immediate friends feared the worst, and on Friday morning, at 7:40, he passed peacefully away. ~ The funeral on Monday was one of the largest ever seen in Carleton Place, there being about 2,000 people on the streets.

The deceased was a Mason and an Oddfellow, but he requested that his funeral should be conducted without any ostentation and without any crape or other outward badge of mourning. Several friends from Almonte were present at the funeral, but a much larger number would have attended had it not been that the funeral of the late *Mrs. Fumerton was announced for the same hour.


*Fumerton—Died, at Carleton Place  Margaret Munro Fumerton, wife of Robert Fumerton, aged 60.

Carleton Place underground

In memory of Mary Henry

We had a great time today at the Old Dr. Mcewen house on Bell Street. The house will be demolished this upcoming week, we had a chance to go and grab a few things for the museum! The owner and his son helped us explore it was fun!

Sat., Sept. 29 / 18 @ 9am

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