Tag Archives: merrickville

Daughter of Minister Was Pinned to Log Wall by Wicked Bull

Daughter of Minister Was Pinned to Log Wall by Wicked Bull




Back in the 1850s there lived near Merrickville an Anglican minister named Morris, who was generally known as “Father” Morris. Mr. Morris, besides preaching, owned and operated a farm. He had some well bred cattle and included in  his stock was a valuable big imported bull with long out-pointing horns.

This bull was nearly the cause of the death of a favourite daughter. It appears that one day the daughter went out to an open log shed where the cattle found shelter in stormy weather. It was said that the bull was a very wicked animal. While the girl was in the shed the bull came along, and seeing her, bellowed and dashed at her. The girl tried to get away and ran close to the back wall in an attempt to escape.

The bull, however, cut her off and pinned her to the log wall. Its charge was so furious that it could not extricate its horns to gore the girl. The bull’s roars of rage attracted the attention of a brother who was in a nearby field. When this brother saw what the situation was ran Into the house, got a butcher knife, and returning, cut the bull’s throat.

As soon as the bull was dead the young man got an axe and released the animal’s horns from the log wall. When the girl was released she was unconscious but not seriously injured. The happening stirred the people of the Merrickville district greatly.


 - the per- of be in i I i to merrickville...

Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Journal,
  2. 19 Oct 1896, Mon,
  3. Page 3
  4.  - MERRK KVII.I.K. Merrickville, Sept. 23. Several... - boy. who has been In the United States for some...

    Clipped from

    1. The Ottawa Citizen,
    2. 26 Sep 1898, Mon,
    3. Page 2Information 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.


      It’s the Merrickville News 1880

    4. Mentions of Merrickville: Fire and Folks

Easton’s Corners- The Last Carriage Shop

Easton’s Corners- The Last Carriage Shop

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Twin carriage shops in Eastons Corners, Wolford township. The first one (right) was built about 1870 by Mr. Watts whose name can still be seen on the building; the second one was added a few years later to cope with the expanding trade. Credit: Parks Canada (North Grenville Times)

“The carriages built in these factories were necessary to fill the need for horse drawn buggies that were being used for moving freight goods, delivering mail, visiting neighbours, picking up supplies, and dating. By 1840, carriages had become an integral part of everyday life in the pioneering community.

The carriage not only supported trade in the area, but also the growth of “carriage works”, as it was called, which included foundry and wood processing industries. As these trades were already alive and well in Merrickville-Wolford, carriage-making was a natural next step. Throughout the late 19th and early 20th century, horse-drawn carriages reigned supreme and became a source of family pride, much like cars today.

The carriage factory in Eastons Corners, that is now up for sale, was started by Robert G. Eastman in the 1850s. When he moved to Merrickville to start up another carriage-making business, the factory was taken over by John Watts and Sons, who continued to operate into the 20th century.”  (North Grenville Times)

John Watts & Sons Carriage Factory building, Easton’s Corners (not far from Merrickville). The business was established in about 1837.

“By the 1850s There were carriage works all along the Rideau corridor. Larger communities such as Ottawa and Kingston had several but even smaller communities along the Rideau had carriage shops to service local demand. Merrickville was no exception. One of the more prominent carriage and wagon-makers in Merrickville was Obadiah Read, who was operating as a wheelwright in town as early as 1848. And by 1860 he was building carriages as well. Highly respected as a man of business Obadiah Read had a street named for him when, following the death of William Merrick, the land north of the River was sub-divided. The District Health Centre, the Merrickville Community Centre and the L’ecole Ste. Marguerite Bourgeoys are located on Read Street .

Another name famous in the area was Robert G. Eastman who started off at Easton’s Corners in the 1850s, but soon moved to Merrickville and by 1871 was running a shop employing five men to make wagons, buggies, cutters, sleighs and the like products. His carriage factory in Easton’s Corners was taken over by John Watts and Sons who continued to operate into the 20th century. Their carriage shop was recently restored as an antiques shop and is now the only physically remaining carriage works in the district.” (Merrickville Historical Society)



Jim Hands Auction Photos 2018

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Auction to take place on Saturday, April 21st at 10am onsite at 88 Main Street, Easton’s Corners! 

John Watts & Son’s Carriage Factory This 1850’s property features a glimpse into the past, when carriage works lined the Rideau Corridor. It is now the only physically remaining carriage works structure in the district. Appears to be a structurally sound, 2 storey building. Some restoration has been done. Enterprising developers should swoop up & juxtapose old & new for a spectacular residence. Having an historic facade w/ exposed brick walls, beams, wood floors & giant windows, all that hint at the building’s past. Alternatively a clever storage facility. Dug well. Electrical services at road. No septic. Lot size 50 ft frontage x 160 ft depth (+/-). Zoned; Commercial. Taxes; $ 1750.00 (+/-). This property will be sold w/ a very reasonable reserve bid. For private viewing, terms & conditions please call our office @ 613-267-6027. Jim Hands Auction







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“J. Baird, Painter and Carriage-maker, c. 1907”.
John Baird (1867 – 1939) ran his carriage shop at the north west corner of Bridge and Charlotte Streets. The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum is lucky to have a wheelbarrow made by John in our collection thanks his Grandson Denzil Baird for the donation. —John Baird the Carriage Maker



Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Journal,
  2. 30 Apr 1947, Wed,
  3. Page 7


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.

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


Buggies Horses and Accidents

The Runaway Bridesmaid From Rosebank to Huntley

Wild Horses Could Not Drag Me Away

You’ve Got Trouble in Franktown-Dead Horses and Wives

A Horse is a Horse of Course– Of Course—Angus McFarlane

What Came First in Lanark County? The Chicken Or the Egg?

What Came First in Lanark County? The Chicken Or the Egg?




Some of Lanark County’s Firsts’

First name was Bathurst District.

First white settler, William Merrick, founder of  *Merrickville

First *party of settlers from Scotland, 1820

First Upper Canada parliamentary representative, Hon. Alexander Morris, Perth

First representative in Province of Canada parliament, Hon. Malcolm Cameron, founder of The Courier

First Time County was divided into north and south ridings, 1851

First member Legislative Council, *Hon James Shaw

First representatives to Ontario Legislature, 1867, Daniel Galbraith and W. N. Shaw

First warden, Alex McMillan, 1841

First clerk of district council, Robert Moffatt, Perth, 1841

First session United, Counties of Lanark and, Renfrew, 1850

First *railway train arrived in Perth from Brockville on February 7th, 1859

First time reeves were chosen by vote of the people, and not by council 1867

First administrator of early military settlement, Staff-Surgeon Thom 1815

First settlers in Burgess Township were members of the “de Wattevilles” Germans who had fought in the Napoleonic wars, who came out here and fought against the U. S. A. with the British soldiers and who like their descendants became splendid Canadian citizens.

First surveyor of townships, Capt, Reuben Sherwood, 1816

First resident clergyman, Rev W. Bell, 1817

First teacher, John Halliday, 1817

First owner of oxen, *James Bryce, Bathurst

First assessment records show *one cow owned in Bathurst.

First white child born, *Eliza Holderness

First court house, 1821

First newspaper, *The Examiner 1825

First issue of The Courier was in 1834

First Curling Club in Perth was organized December 17th, 1875

First *Bible Society in Lanark County was formed in St. Andrew’s Church in Perth on February 24th, 1836

First election in Perth was held on July 10th, 1820, between Messrs. William Morris and Benjamin Delisle for the Commons, House of Assembly.

First Presbyterian minister, Rev A Wm. *Bell, arrived in Perth from Scotland in June, 1817.



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.

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





*It’s the Merrickville News 1880

*Dear Lanark Era –Lanark Society Settlers Letter

*Shaw’s of Perth

*I’ve Been Working on the RailroadSome Cold Hard Facts- First Tailor in Ramsay and a Cow Without a Bell

*Alfred Dulmage-The Son of the First White Child

*What Happened When the Paper Boy Never got Paid in Perth…..

*Notes About The First Baptist Church in Perth

*Bell Street– Carleton Place Ontario

It’s the Merrickville News 1880

It’s the Merrickville News 1880



Perth Remembered photo-In 1876, the construction of the Perth High School was completed at a cost of $16,000.00. The student enrolment ranged from 150 to 175 the first year.



January 16 1881

Mr. F. M. White’s marsh intends having a sort of skating match on his rink before long.

Mr. F. L. Newman and Mr. M. A. Gill are attending the Collegiate Institute at Perth. We wish them success in every undertaking and may the reward of the diligent student be theirs.

The County Lodge of the I. O. G. T. was held here Thursday last, but the several Subordinate Lodges throughout the County were not very well represented, owing perhaps to the roads or weather.


Soldiers of the Queen— Order of the 1st Battalion, The Cheshire Regiment appears to be wearing Masonic regalia but in fact he is a member of the International Order of Good Templars


The public entertainment given by the Good Templars on the 8th lost was not so well attended as perhaps it would have been had it received more extensive advertising. The Templars are giving another open meeting m their own hall on Thusday night next.



Photo-Virtual Reference Library


May 14 1897

A little boy named Ernest Van Camp, of Merrickville, is deservedly a hero just now. The Rideau Record says this boy and a companion. Frankie Real, were playing -on a raft of timbers in the Canal Basin, just below the draw-bridge, when the latter missed his footing and fell into the water. Not being skilled in the art of swimming he immediately sank, but came up almost as quickly. Again he sank, and again he came up. By this time little Ernest, who had never lost his presence of mind, pushed a pole to the drowning lad, telling him to catch hold of it. This he did and was pulled to the edge of the raft. No sooner did he come within reaching distance than he grasped hold of Ernest, who also caught hold of him ‘and hung on while he shouted for help. In a few moments assistance arrived and the little fellow was rescued from his perilous position


Related reading…

Mentions of Merrickville: Fire and Folks

Paranormal Hauntings of the Rideau Canal and other Unsolved Ghost Stories

You Say Goodbye I Say Hello – Doors of Merrickville (takes time for photos to load)

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

Mentions of Merrickville: Fire and Folks



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Photo-The Ottawa Journal26 May 1980


In May of 1980 a grocery store was wiped out and a young couple lost all their possessions in a fire that gutted a century old building on Merrickville’s main street. The fire broke out that day shortly before 3 p.m. which was caused by exploding cans of charcoal lighter that was stored in the back of a grocery store. The flames erupted into a giant fireball which crept up the back wall into the attic area.

Though the grocery store which was owned by Robin Chinkiwsky was hardly burned damage was extensive when the floor above caved in. Only one upstairs apartment was leased out and the two individuals that lived there were uninsured and lost everything. However their dog Sally was instrumental in alerting to the fire. The smoke was reported as deadly and the firemen found it impossible to control the flames.





Master W.J.F. James,
Kemptville or Merrickville.

This photo is from an album purchased at a yard sale in Winchester, Ontario. Other photos in the album were taken in studios in Paris France, New York City, Auburn New York, York Pennsylvania, and Curacao West Indies. This photo was the only one dated.

On a sheet of paper inside the album is written in pencil: “Presented to Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Johnston & Family. By Mr. & Mrs. Thos. Hames or Homes“. Click here to see it.

The photo is dated Jan. 28th, 1896, and the boy is identified as Master W.J.F. James. The photographer is D. E. Pelton, Kemptville & Merrickville, Ont.


Merrickville, Ontario :Men’s Hockey Team, 1903-1904

Men in the photo are identified thus:
Officers: Jim Mills; F.A.J. Davis; G.R. Putnam (Reeve); T. Edwards.
Team: Gordon Angus (Goal); Tom Kyle (Point); Mervyn Merkley (Rover); John Cranstoun (Rover); George Laycock (Centre); Harry Watchorn (Wing); Jud Watchorn (Wing).

Thanks to the late Dr. Hal Cumming for this photo. He believed that the man directly behind the goaltender was his uncle, John Cranstoun, but was unable to identify any other individual officers or players.

Can you provide names, corrections or comments?
Please email Charlie Dobie.

related reading

Village of Merrickville

Paranormal Hauntings of the Rideau Canal and other Unsolved Ghost Stories

You Say Goodbye I Say Hello – Doors of Merrickville (takes time for photos to load)

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

The Holiday Train is Coming!!! Help Support the Food Bank!



18th edition of the CP Holiday Train ready to support communities and raise awareness

As in years past, two trains will operate coast-to-coast under the Holiday Train banner, with approximately 150 shows held in November and December. The train that operates primarily through the U.S. will launch in the Montreal area on Nov. 25, while the all-Canada train’s first shows will come a day later, also in Montreal. The U.S. train will complete its final shows in Saskatchewan on Dec. 15, and the final show of the tour will take place Dec. 17 at Port Coquitlam, B.C.

“We are very excited about this year’s CP Holiday Train and are encouraging all event attendees to bring healthy, nutritious food items to the shows,” said Pam Jolliffe, Interim Executive Director, Food Banks Canada. “For the last two decades, CP has played an integral role in raising essential food for the holidays and in raising awareness of hunger-related issues.”

Every pound of food and dollar raised at each stop stays with the local food bank to help feed those in need in that community. 

Performing this year!!



Platinum selling Country star Dallas Smith has blazed a path across genres in Canadian music for nearly two decades and fans continue to prove they’ll follow him wherever he wants to go. This Vancouver, BC native has an armful of JUNO and CCMA Award wins and nominations and continues one of the most talked about journeys in Canadian country music.

“Being able to help local food banks across the country is something I’m excited to be a part of. I’ve toured Canada many times but not like this. I can’t wait for this amazing experience to begin”.

Finch Tracks adjacent to James Street between Williams Street & George Street 2016-11-27 2:30 PM 2:45 PM – 3:15 PM Dallas Smith and Odds
Merrickville 103 East Broadway & County Road #2. South side of crossing near Bay Street 2016-11-27 4:45 PM 5:00 PM – 5:30 PM Dallas Smith and Odds
Smiths Falls Smith Falls Train Station, 63 Victoria St. 2016-11-27 6:20 PM 6:30 PM – 7:00 PM Dallas Smith and Odds
Perth Rail yard near the junction of Herriott Street & Sherbrooke Street E 2016-11-27 7:40 PM 8:00 PM – 8:30 PM Dallas Smith and Odds

I was Born a Boxcar Child- Tales of the Railroad

You Say Goodbye I Say Hello – Doors of Merrickville


In the Hawaiian language the word “Aloha” can mean “hello” or “goodbye” so below is a photo blog and quotes on doors that open and say “hello” or shut and say “goodbye”.

All Photos by Linda Seccaspina




Big doors swing on little hinges.
Aloha W. Clement Stone



For too long, decisions have been taken behind closed doors – tablets of stone have simply been past down to people without bothering to involve people, listen to their views or give them information about what we are doing and why.
 Peter Mandelson


I will reveal the secrets behind these doors.
Zahi Hawass





It is difficult for the common good to prevail against the intense concentration of those who have a special interest, especially if the decisions are made behind locked doors.
Jimmy Carter



I looked back at some of my earlier published stories with genuine horror and remorse. I got thinking, How many extant copies might there be, who owns them, and do they keep their doors locked?
Richard Russo



I feel very adventurous. There are so many doors to be opened, and I’m not afraid to look behind them.
Elizabeth Taylor


Love unlocks doors and opens windows that weren’t even there before.
Mignon McLaughlin


Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.
 Joseph Campbell



Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot.
 Clarence Thomas



Doors open because you’re beautiful, but I wouldn’t cultivate beauty to the exclusion of brains.
 Tia Carrere



Death hath a thousand doors to let out life: I shall find one.
 Philip Massinger



A Hello and Goodbye Hawaiian Short Story

In 1974 vintage clothing was finally coming into its own and I had many a customer that wanted vintage and silk Hawaiian shirts. Sad to say Canada was not the mecca of procuring vintage clothing in large quantities so I was told the only place to go was New York City to a used clothing processing plant.

Very few of these processing plants exist today with the quality they once had. Now these recycling places pick up public used clothing and it is sent to one of the largest used clothing retailers and after a certain amount of time they are re-baled sent out to third world countries. In the 70’s I could buy a 500 pound bale of Grade AA clothing at 2 cents a pound now it’s a 20,000 and 40,000 lbs. minimum bale at usually 39 – 50 cents a pound depending on the grade you want.

Looking for these places in those days was looking for a needle in a haystack. because of health codes. I was told to go to a certain address on 122nd street but they failed to tell me it was across the bridge in Flushing NY and not in the center of Harlem where I stood in a phone booth trying to find out the companies location.

An hour later found us in this huge warehouse with back loaders piling clothing into a compressor to contain it into bales. We were asked what grade we wanted and within 30 minutes they had a forklift put it on top of our station wagon. I don’t know if you have ever driven hundreds of miles in a car with a 500 pound bale on top of your car but let’s just say the ceiling was caving in.

When we got to the US/ Canadian border at Ogdensburg, N. Y we were instructed to pull over to one of their storage areas. Thinking that they would give it a quick look and tell us to go on our way we were shocked when we were told that the bale had to be opened, checked and to come back in a few days.

When we returned the now uncompressed bale looked like an explosion of clothing and it was three times the size after it was baled. We had to make three return trips from Ottawa to the border to get all that clothing back to my store where it was piled in a small room until it reached the ceiling. After that, thousands of pieces were picked over and ironed. That was my first and very last attempt to bring vintage shirts to Canada. It was a quick ‘hello’ and ‘good bye’ endeavor never to be attempted again.






All photos by Linda Seccaspina 2012 from the little town of Merrickville, Ontario which is my dream town to retire in.

The door with the face on it is one of my fave jewelry designers located in the same town.

I’m Hard to Beat— The Resume of the Century



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In doing some research this morning I found this item in a 1908 Almonte Gazette-


Hard to Beat 1908 Almonte Gazette

The Merrickville school board recently advertised for a principal for the public school. A number of replies were received but the following one establishes a record.

The applicant said : “ Hold first class ( A l ) certificate- Have taught for 12 years. Highest references. Good disciplinarian. Fully up, in calisthenics and music. Good looker, fine talker. Don’t smoke. Don’t drink. Take me– I am all around hard to beat. If the trustees don’t catch on Dr., they’ll make the mistake of their life.”

A the bottom of the-hand comer a P.S. is marked and the word “ married” is inserted.





On hand to receive their awards were the winners of the School historical essay contest. This programme was initiated four years ago by the Historical Society to engender interest in local history among the youth of Merrickville & district. The winners were all from Merrickville Public School; Harry Hitsman, winner from the grade 4-5-6 category wrote about the “History of the Corktown Road” while grade 7-8 winner Devon Coates told about the “Ghost of Sam Jakes Inn”. Thanks to Mrs. Lorraine Allen, Principal and the teachers Miss Elizabeth Telford, grade 8 and Mrs. Kathy Porter, grades 5,6 for their encouragement of the students and their cooperation with the contest. All of the student essays will be on display in the Blockhouse over the summer. Drop into the Blockhouse over the summer and read the talented efforts of these budding authors.– 2005 Merrickville & District Historical Society Newsletter

The Wondrous Merrickville’s 11th annual House and Garden Tour





Merrickville’s 11th annual House and Garden Tour sponsored by Holy Trinity Anglican Church is to be held June 18, 2016

This year’s tour will transport ticketholders through a wondrous metamorphosis of some of the areas most impressive and historic homes and gardens. It’s a fundraiser for the local church and features a number of historic houses – including one built on property that was original deeded to Benedict Arnold! The five gardens are equally wonderful examples of the best of both past and present, one having been featured in a recent CBC mini-series.

The Blockhouse Museum (operated by the Merrickville and District Historical Society)  will be open throughout the House and Garden Tour (and for the rest of the summer, too!). Your expert guides will be dressed in period costume and, once inside, visitors will experience life in Merrickville during the early 1800s.




                                      There are a total of four homes on the tour this year.


Angel Manor

Angel Manor

The house is on Kilmarnock Island. The land on which the house was built was given to the sons of Benedict Arnold for their father’s help in the American revolution. They owned the land until the 1830’s but never lived on it.

Villa Villekulla

Villa Villekulla

Built in 1885, the home has been lovingly restored and decorated in an eclectic style. One of the home-owners, a talented artist, has decorated the home using many of her own pieces.

Stephen Merrick House

Stephen Merrick House

The Stephen Merrick house, erected in 1844 in Merrickville by Stephen Merrick, son of the founder of Merrickville, is recognized as a Canadian historic site and part of the architectural heritage of the Rideau Corridor by Parks Canada. The cut-stone front of ashlar.

Anarchy Apartment

Anarchy Apartment

This newly built 2-storey apartment is housed in an historic building on St. Lawrence Street above “Anarchy Studio”. The clever use of space is a must-see for anyone interested in decorating a bijoux.

Car aficionados will be delighted by the handsome array of antique automobiles which will be parked in front of each home and garden. Thank you to the Ottawa MG Club and Barry Phillips.




Two of the featured gardens are situated in Burritts Rapids, a sister community to Merrickville a few kilometres away. Burritts Rapids was founded in the 1790’s. Old photographs echo the historic architecture of this picturesque community which has not changed much in over 200 years. “The shops have gone, but the structures have been carefully retained as private homes.”

These two gardens have been featured in Canadian Gardening magazine.

John French House Garden

John French House Garden

Olivia Mills honed her gardening skills at her father’s and mother’s side in Ireland. The John Strahan French House is the oldest dwelling (circa 1820) in the charming village of Burritt’s Rapids.

The Burritt Farm Garden

The Burritt Farm Garden

Built circa 1832, Burritt Farm was erected on land granted to Daniel Burritt the Younger on May 17, 1802. “[The house is an] excellent example of stone cottages that were built in the Rideau Canal corridor following the completion of the Rideau Canal.

Elgin Street Garden

Elgin Street Garden

This Elgin Street home and garden sits on land originally owned by the Mirrick family. The Edwardian style house was built in the 1880’s. The owners, Joelle Schmid and Nick Previsich, purchased the house in 2012 and gardening quickly became a passion of theirs.

Samuel Pearson House Garden A

Samuel Pearson House Garden A

The Samuel Pearson House on St. Lawrence Street is an elegant stone double perched on the corner of Colbourne Street. Designated heritage, the house was built in 1866 by the skilled stonemasons who built the Rideau Canal.

Samuel Pearson House Garden B

Samuel Pearson House Garden B

The north garden greets the visitor with a sense of a lovely, calm oasis in a busy village. The home-owner was drawn by the elegance and size of the stone house when creating this garden 15 years ago.

Rideau Woodland Ramble

Rideau Woodland Ramble

Art, Jazz And The Garden 2016 Come and enjoy Art & Jazz in the gardens at the award winning Rideau Woodland Ramble again on June 18th 2016 between 12pm and 5 pm. Members of MAG Artists as well as guest artists, and Red Jazz will be on hand.






I have found, through years of practice, that people garden in order to make something grow; to interact with nature; to share, to find sanctuary, to heal, to honour the earth, to leave a mark.  Through gardening, we feel whole as we make our personal work of art upon our land.
–   Julie Moir Messervy, The Inward Garden, 1995, p.19



Paranormal Hauntings of the Rideau Canal and other Unsolved Ghost Stories




Paranormal Hauntings of the Rideau Canal and other Unsolved Ghost Stories


 All Photos by Linda Seccaspina– visit the
Blockhouse Museum

 Merrickville and District Historical Society–PO Box 294–Merrickville, Ontario K0G 1N0
email: info@merrickvillehistory.org                      


The Story of Oliver’s Ferry


There is a legend told at Rideau Ferry, Ontario of murder most foul, where travelers disappear,  and of human bones found. In the early 1800s, a Mr. Oliver set up a ferry business at today’s Rideau Ferry. His ferry, a rough hewn raft, linked roads leading from Brockville and Perth. Mr. Oliver had one unusual quirk. He would refuse to take travelers across to the far side after dark, preferring to put them up in his house overnight and send them on their way at first light in the morning.


His neighbours seldom saw the travelers in the morning. When asked about them, Mr. Oliver would simply say “They went on their way at first light and you must have been asleep”. One strange thing kept happening though. Many of the travelers who had stayed overnight at Oliver’s house did not arrive at their destination; the neighbours thought victims perhaps, of murderous highway robbers.


Years later, long after Mr. Oliver has passed away, a bridge was to be constructed to replace the ferry service. When the outbuildings on the Oliver property were dismantled to make way for the bridge, human bones were found under the floors and in the walls. The travelers had never left the building.


                                           Sam Jake’s Inn

The 33-room Sam Jakes Inn in Merrickville, On. has a history of non-threatening ghost encounters mostly involving unexplained noises and objects being inexplicably moved. Only a few have been visual sightings and here is one of them.


Some say the ghost is the first wife of Sam Jakes who died in her early twenties but was unable to rest in peace because soon after her death because her husband rushed to the altar with another woman. One staff member, however, believes the ghost is Sam Jakes himself and recalls seeing him late one night walking along one of the hotel’s corridors wearing a stove-pipe hat and an outfit consistent with the period in which he lived.


They were unable to determine whether the ghost that paid a visit in Room 305 one night was male or female. What I did hear was that the apparition was truly real but it did not reappear during a friends recent stay.


Their travel companion however,  who was lodged in a room across the hall said her sleep had been disturbed by the noises coming from the floor above. “Sounded like they were moving furniture or something,” she said. One was gently reminded that their rooms were on the top floor and there was nothing above them but roof. 




Davidson’s Ghost




WARNING: Not for the faint of heart!


There is a tale told at Chaffeys Locks of a ghostly apparition on Opinicon Lake, a solitary paddler in a dugout canoe, the ghost of Old Davy Davidson.

Shortly after the canal was built, a man by the name of David Davidson arrived in the area, building a cabin at the far end of Opinicon Lake. He made his living as a trapper, fisherman and hunter. Although he only made a modest living, rumours circulated that he had a nest-egg stashed away.



By the 1880s, old Davy was a fixture on the lake. In that era, the area was overrun by pack peddlers – men who walked the trails and/or travelled along the canal by boat, stopping at every settlement to sell their wares. It was later rumoured that one of these peddlers got wind of the money Davy was reputed to have hidden near his cabin.

The last person to have seen Davidson was a neighbour from across the lake, a fellow by the name of Thompson. Davidson had come over and visited him in late November. Thompson says that in the days following the visit he hadn’t seen Davidson. A week passed and Thompson became worried, there was no smoke from Davidson’s cabin and no sign of Davidson himself. It had turned cold, there was now ice on the lake, so Thompson had to walk around the lake to get to Davidson’s cabin.




Thompson stopped at the house of another neighbour, a fellow named Buck. After explaining what he was up to, Buck agreed to accompany Thompson, and the two men continued on to Davidson’s cabin. There was a light covering of snow on the ground, but when they got to Davidson’s cabin there was no sign of any footprints other than the ones Thompson and Buck were making. Davidson’s dog was at the door. Thompson called the dog by name, and it allowed the men to approach the cabin.

When they opened the door they were greeted with a grisly sight. Old Davy was dead, tied to a chair, his head beaten in, his face slashed. Davidson’s dog ran into the cabin and wouldn’t let the two men approach old Davy’s body. So the men retreated, heading off to get help.



They returned a few hours later, after dark, with several men and boys carrying lanterns. One of the young lads knew the dog well and had come prepared with a haunch of venison. He coaxed the starving dog outside and tied it up. The men then entered the cabin.

It was a horrifying scene that greeted them. There was blood everywhere in the cabin. Someone had gone to a lot of effort to try to get old Davy to divulge the location of his horde. He had been beaten, burned with hot poker and strangled. Some of the men had to leave when they looked down to see that the killer had even nailed Davy’s feet to the floor.





The cabin itself had been torn apart. The trapdoor to the store room above the ceiling was open. The cupboards were all opened, drawers pulled out and the contents strewn all over the floor. The mattress had been cut to shreds and even parts of the floor had been torn up.

Several of the men stayed while others headed back to get the authorities. They returned the next day with the postmaster and county constable. The only conclusion that could be reached was that Davidson had been murdered by person or persons unknown. Although a pack peddler had been sighted in the area in about the presumed date of Davidson’s death, he was never found.

Davidson had no known relatives and his worldly possessions were few, some traps and guns. So after a few weeks of fruitless investigation, the matter was dropped, the crime unsolved. People say he still haunts the area with his dog in his canoe looking for his stolen money.



                                         The Lady in Blue



The red-haired lady in blue, Kathleen McBride, arrived in Burritts Rapids sometime in the 1860s on an early summer’s day, long after the Irish labourers and the British army had finished the Rideau Canal. Kathleen McBride took a room in the hotel beside the canal bridge. She rented one room and the maid reported that she had brought with her only one of everything- one blue dress, one pair of shoes, one brush, and one suitcase.




Throughout her stay, Kathleen spoke to no one. All summer and into the fall, her flowing red tresses and long trailing blue gown travelled slowly on the path from tip to tip. Many a long hour she spent, standing on the upriver hill at the end of the island. She would look out over the Rideau River where the water divides, part into the canal and part downriver to the dam. Often, she stood at the dam watching the water roaring down the sluiceway as it released the surplus water. Most other time was spent walking the mile along the bank of the canal and the river, searching the water. What was she searching for, a son, a husband, a lover? Where could he have gone? Was he one of the many killed by accident during the canal construction? Did he die of the dreaded fever? Had he wandered off, work done, to seek a new life somewhere in America?




Kathleen went out for her last search on the moonlit night of October 31st, with frost crisp underfoot and the water bright and cold. She searched and searched, we know not where or why. Two days later a torn piece of blue satin dress was found on the bank, where the new bridge crosses the river in the middle of the village. In those days most of the countryside was forest, and wild animals abounded. Kathleen McBride might have drowned or been eaten by the bears.



As the years went by, whispers spread that on moonlit nights on the tip to tip trail near the dam, and near the little hill at the top end, Kathleen appears. The red-haired lady in blue still searches, walking or floating through the air, with her torn dress clutched to her breast. Some have been close enough to feel the chill in the air as she passes by. Some have been close enough to hear a tiny keening cry as she searches on. As the decades pass, the sightings still continue. So, if by chance you venture out on a summer’s eve and she passes you by in the moonlight, please move to the side so you don’t hinder her everlasting search.



Connie Adams of the Merrickville Psychic Parlour claims to be a medium of exceptional power and ability. She offers tea leaf readings, tarot readings, dream analysis, séances and ghost walks.


People have sworn that they have talked to the dead in Connie’s Parlour so this could very well be a conduit to the world of the dead. Maybe a link to some of the ghosts of the Rideau Canal in Ontario.





The Rideau Canal, also known as the Rideau Waterway, connects the city of Ottawa Ontario, Canada on the Ottawa River to the city of Kingston, Ontario on Lake Ontario. The 124 mile canal was opened in 1832 as a precaution in case of war with the United States and is still in use today, with most of its original structures intact.


The construction of the canal was supervised by Lieutenant-Colonel John By of the Royal Engineers. Private contractors such as future sugar refining entrepreneur John Redpath, Thomas McKay, Robert Drummond, Thomas Phillips, Andrew White and others were responsible for much of the construction, and the majority of the actual work was done by thousands of Irish and French-Canadian labourers.

The canal work started in 1826, and it took a total of 6 years to complete by 1832. The final cost of its construction was £822,000.


Most of the locks are still hand-operated. There are a total of 45 locks at 23 stations along the Canal, plus two locks at the entrance to the Tay Canal. The locks themselves are living history. The cranks (hand winches known as “crabs”) that open the locks, turn today, opening the wooden gates, just as they when first opened in 1832.




Images by Linda Seccaspina 2011

Images Shot in Merrickville, Ontario and Smith Falls.

Stories by Ken Watson and Clint Fleming- Tales of The Rideau Waterways and Donna Carter

More on Merrickville Ontario