Tag Archives: middleville museum

McNichol Family Middleville

McNichol Family Middleville

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Middleville Museum




John H. McNicol, 1871 – 1948

John H. McNicol was born on month day 1871, at birth place, to John McNicol and Mary Thompson McNicol (born Nairn).
John was born on September 15 1845, in Dalhousie Twp, Lanark, Ontario, Canada.
Mary was born on May 22 1846, in Ontario, Canada.
John had 6 siblings: Archibald McNicolArthur Hugh McNicol and 4 other siblings.
John married Janet “Jennie” McNicol (born Machan) on month day 1901, at age 30 at marriage place.
Janet was born on March 13 1880, in Dalhousie Twp. Lanark, Ontario.
They had 3 children: Arthur Evan McNicol and 2 other children.


010176-1907 (Lanark Co): John SCOTT, 27, Cheesemaker, Beckwith, Dalhousie, s/o John SCOTT and Mary McNICHOL, married Rebecca Jane DOUGLAS, 22, Pakenham, Pakenham, d/o John DOUGLAS and Rebecca STANLEY??, wit; Alexander SCOTT of Watsons Corners and Susan DOUGLAS of Cedar Hill, 27 March 1907, Pakenham.

Vol 22 Pg 242 (Lanark Co) John PERCY, 45, widower, Ireland, Toronto, s/o John PERCY & Margaret DUFF, married Martha O’BRIEN, 36, widow, Glasgow Scotland, Dalhousie, d/o John DUNN & Mary CAMERON. Witn: John McNICHOL & Isabel BEITH, both of Dalhousie. Dec. 2, 1872 Dalhousie




Dalhousie Poland School Names Names Names

Tragedy in Dalhousie Township 1936

Dalhousie McDonald’s Corners School

A Rare Photo of S. S. #5 Dalhousie 1890s — Thanks to Donna Mcfarlane

The Cross on Top of the Hearse

The Cross on Top of the Hearse


Middleville Museum


In rural areas people do pull over in towns located in predominantly rural areas. But in major cities you will seldom find it happening.

I always cross myself when a hearse passes. Doing so provides an opportunity to pray for the departed and those grieving. It’s also a healthy reminder of our own mortality and that our death could occur at any minute.

Alice Borrowman from the Middleville Museum told me that when it was carrying a Catholic, a cross was placed atop the hearse. When a Protestant was inside, the cross  in some places was removed or as in Young’s hearse it was folded down.

In our area it was definitely a community funeral and they paid a great deal of attention to death and funerals. Many people attended funerals, and would think it strange for a town’s resident not to pay respect to an upstanding citizen by attending a funeral. The funeral process began immediately after a death had occurred, when female neighbours or local midwives gathered at the home of the deceased to lay out the body. The corpse was typically laid on a bed or a flat surface, such as boards or a door, suspended between supports and covered with a white sheet. In some homes this would be in the front room, in others the bedroom or the kitchen. First the body was washed and then, using simple materials readily at hand, the mouth was closed by tying a handkerchief under the chin and coins or pebbles were used to close the eyes.

While the body was being prepared by the women, a six-sided coffin was being constructed by a local carpenter or lumber mill. It was a full day’s work and might be done without charge since the maker saw it as his contribution to the community. The body was kept in the home from one to three days, although hot weather or a very obese corpse might require speedy burial. In winter, the stove was allowed to go out to keep the house cool. If ice was available, a bathtub full was placed under the body, or ice was packed around the abdomen to slow decomposition and minimize odour.




How Heavenly Funeral Potatoes Got Their Name

The Young Family Funeral Home Lanark County

The Woman Who Got the Dead End Sign Removed in Carleton Place

Ed Fleming — The First Funeral Parlour in Carleton Place

Funerals With Dignity in Carleton Place – Just a Surrey with a Fringe on Top —- Our Haunted Heritage

Blast From the Past–Remembering Alan Barker– July 4 1979

Dead Ringers –To Live and Die in Morbid Times

The Ashton Funeral to end all Funerals

The Last Man to Let you Down? Political Leanings at Local Funeral Homes?

Embalming 1891 – A Local Report

What was one of the Largest Funerals in Lanark County?

Things You Just Don’t say at a Funeral— Even if you Are a Professional Mourner

A Tale From the Patterson Funeral Home — Carleton Place

Blast From the Past–Remembering Alan Barker– July 4 1979


Embalming 1891 – A Local Report

Joe Baye — Donna Sweeney Lowry

Joe Baye — Donna Sweeney Lowry


Middleville img (12) (1)

Middleville Museum photo

Good morning,

I just read your post about Joe Baye relatives looking for info and you visiting his grave at Auld Kirk. My mom grew up near the floating bridge. My grandmother Annie (Moulton) Giles and Ellen (Slack) Baye were good friends. One of Ellen and Joe’s granddaughters, Eleanor, spent a lot of time at their cabin by Floating Bridge.

Mom and Eleanor became good friends. Eleanor was Mom’s maid-of-honour. Mom loved the Baye’s like grandparents. I was told when Joe died his little black horse was gifted to Mom. The beautiful horse was never without it’s netting and was never made to take a quick step unless Joe had been drinking. When this happened Mom said you could hear the poor thing snorting and puffing and the whip cracking when they turned onto the 12th line! Another time when he was drunk he cut the tails off Mrs.Bayes cats.

After enduring enough of Joe Mrs Baye confided in my grandmother and they sent away for some kind of herbal medicine that would stop you from drinking. After Mrs Baye sneaked in into Joe’s tea or food, he became deathly ill and Mrs.Baye thought she had killed him. But he didn’t die and supposedly was not as fond of alcohol after that.

Joe made excellent axe handles from the near perfect hickory limbs he harvested from neighbours property. Mom laughed and said everyone had to go to Joe to buy an axe handle because Joe had cleaned out all the good limbs.

Joe loved music. Joe and Ellen put up an outdoor dance platform at their cabin and couples came from all around to dance. That is where my Mom and Dad met.

The Mississippi runs along county road 29 behind many Lowry farms. I understand Joe trapped all along the Mississippi River. Joe was certainly a well known character at one time.


Author’s Note

Thank you for your story.. Keep sending them in!!

Did you know?

On the return trip they camped against Indians Landing on the Mississippi Lake, sometimes staying there for most of the summer.  Joe and Johnny Baye made their local headquarters there in the 1880’s and 90’s.  They sold boats including dugouts made of ash and basswood, and many of their axe handles and colored hampers and clothes baskets were sold in the stores of the town.  Joe Baye and his white wife also lived at the Floating Bridge on the Indian River in Ramsay.  He died in the Almonte hospital in 1928.



The Legend Of Big Joe Baye — How Much Do You Know?

The Little Door by the River

    1. Lanark County Recipes Beaver Tail and Muskrat — No thanks LOL

Living with the Natives — Mrs Copithorne’s Bread

  1. Looking for Information on the Native Fort Farm of Fred Sadler of Almonte

  2. The Adventurous History of the Mississippi – Linda’s Mailbag

  3. Beckwith Child Stolen by Natives

  4. The Natives of Carleton Place — Violins and Deer

  5. They Died From Dirty Clothing — The Whiteduck Family

  6. From Carleton Place to Fish Creek –North West Rebellion

The S.S. #6 Middleville School

The S.S. #6 Middleville School

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Middleville Public School in 1908– Photo by Laurie Yuill


Agnes Yuill began attending the Middleville School in 1900 and sat at a two seater desk and wrote on a slate. There were 50 other children in that school packed on the upper floor, and the room was so full someone had to sit on a globe box. But you have to remember that classes were large in those days as everyone had a large family and at one point there were over 100 young children attending that school. There wasn’t any electricity back then, so light came from the windows and a few lamps. The schoolhouses were heated by large metal stoves that burned wood. Parents in the school district were expected to chip in to provide wood for the school, so lots of times kids might walk to school carrying a log or two!




Can you imagine what it was like to walk to school in the winter? They used to have two stoves running: an upstairs stove made by James Brothers of Perth and downstairs a Findlay Stove and the schoolhouse was always warm with the two stoves going.


 Photo by Laurie Yuill


Jim Bowes, Agnes Yuill, Jane Yuill, & Alex Buchanan Yuill in Hopetown, July 1913
1977 Perth Courier


Paper and books were hard to get, so textbooks were often shared. To do math problems or write out answers, students used slates during class. For big exams or to practice handwriting, paper and pens would be used, but the pens back then were very different.

They were often made out of quills from birds and were dipped in pots of ink in order to write. That could lead to things getting messy! Ink spills and stains can really mess up a test! Even using pencils was tricky — the pencils had to be sharpened with knives! In the country and small towns, schools went up to Grade 8. High schools — or as they was called then, grammar schools — were in cities or big towns. So usually only children with rich parents got to go to school past Grade 8.



In the country and small towns, schools went up to Grade 8. High schools — or as they was called then, grammar schools — were in cities or big towns. So usually only children with rich parents got to go to school past Grade 8.

When kids did get to go to school, they were expected to memorize lots of things, standing in front of the schoolroom to recite their lessons. The subjects were mainly reading, math and writing, with others like geography added to the curriculum in 1850 and history in 1860.



Kids hardly ever got perfect attendance. Bad weather kept everyone away, and when students’ families lived on farms, they were expected to help out and stay home from school when things got busy. The reason we have summer vacation today is because summer is when everything’s growing and the family was needed in the fields.

The Middleville school became what is now the Middleville Museum and the Museum has catalogued the history of the school which was one of 10 school sections in the township from 1822 until the last class in 1969.  Although the building was built in 1869 the first school house was built in 1822 when a log house was erected on the site where the old Presbyterian manse had stood.

Some favourite teachers that came out of the Middleville School was: Libie Rogers, a teacher at the school, was one of the 40 Canadians selected to go to Africa to instruct Boer children in concentration camps. J. H. McFarlane who also taught in Carleton Place taught there. His son was Leslie McFarland author of the Hardy Boys book series. Situated on a small mound the history that lies in that building will be passed on to future generations.

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 and The Tales of Almonte


Middleville School Photos- Laurie Yuill

Photos of Laurie Yuill- Somerville/Mather Picnic 1937–Charles Home, Lloyd Knowles House–Foster Family

Mr. Lionel Barr’s Store Middleville and Other Mementos –‎Laurie Yuill‎

Middleville– Yuill- Photos Laurie Yuill

Did you Know we have a “World Class Museum” right in Lanark County?

The Young Family Funeral Home Lanark County

The Young Family Funeral Home Lanark County


One of my joys this year in 2017 was visiting the Middleville & District Museum in the heart of Lanark County. I could not believe this place– it was everything I ever wished for in history displays. (Did you Know we have a “World Class Museum” right in Lanark County?)

These photos of the hearse from the Middleville Museum was used for funerals around Lanark County by the Young family Funeral Home in the Village of Lanark, Ontario. A team of black horses pulled it for the funeral, and if  a child had passed, the black horses were switched for white ones. A hearse and horses laden with ostrich plumes were indicative of a person’s wealth and often families hired extra horses festooned with plumes. Two plumes meant that the deceased was of modest means while three to four meant that he or she was better off. If you could afford five or six plumes you were wealthy, but having seven plumes was reserved for the truly rich.


There was a detachable black wooded cross for Roman Catholic funerals, and in the winter the hearse was mounted on runners to master those rural winter roads. For the poor, about $8 Canadian today, one could have a hearse with one horse, a mourning coach also with one horse, an elm coffin covered in black with handles, mattress, pillow, side sheets and a coachmen with a black crepe band.

The deceased were waked in their homes in those days before embalming. The family placed wide black crepe roses with matching black ribbons on their front door to warn visitors it was a house of mourning. Friends and family gathered in the parlour to support the family and pay their respects. In the summer buckets of ice were placed under the coffin to keep the corpse cool.


The hearse came to the home to pick up the coffin that was covered with the floral tributes and sometimes sheaves of grain were used to honour the deceased. The procession made its way from the deceased person’s house towards the cemetery but often made a detour through a busy part of town to get the maximum effect for the money spent. Once the trip through town was complete, the procession moved into a brisk trot until the cemetery gates were reached and then a sedate walk was in order towards the chapel for the ceremony. The burial itself was witnessed by the men only and then the whole group returned to the house for a meal.This particular hearse was last used for the funeral of Mrs James Dodd in 1944.



Photos- Linda Seccaspina with Files from the Middleville Museum


Perth Courier, Jan. 8, 1897

Pepper—Died, at Lanark on Thursday, Dec. 24, Eliza Taylor Pepper, relict of the late William Pepper, aged 86(?).

Death of Mrs. Peter McIntyre—The subject of the following sketch, whose maidenname was Christina Craig, and who died on Thursday, Dec. 31, was born near Lochearnhead, Paisley, Scotland, in 1810.  She was married in 1830 and with her husband emigrated to this country in 1831 when they settled in Drummond on the farm now occupied by Archibald McTavish where they remained until 1840 when they removed to her home in Bathurst near Balderson.  Deceased was greatly respected  and much beloved by all who knew her. She was a devout Christian and a member of the Presbyterian Church.  It was always a joy to her to fulfill the divine injunction to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and to minister to the afflicted.  Her family, which consisted of six children, are:  Findlay, deceased, who was at one time a bookkeeper for the late Boyd Caldwell of Lanark; and Duncan who died at the age of five years.  Those who survive are:  Mrs. Ansley(?) Keyes of this town; Lizzie C. and John P. on the homestead and Peter on his farm adjoining.  The funeral took place Sunday afternoon, Jan. 3 when Rev. J.S. McIlraith conducted the services and gave an appropriate address from Isaiah 57-1, the righteous perish and no man layeth it to heart.  A large assembly accompanied the remains of the departed to Elmwood.  May He who wept at the grave of Lazarus be the consolation of the aged and bereaved husband and his family and may they through Him be united in the mansion beyond.

Perth Courier, Feb. 5, 1897

The Era says:  “On Thursday morning of last week death brought relief to the sufferings of Mrs. Robert Stone, widow of the late Robert Stone of Dalhousie.  Deceased was 72 years of age.  She leaves a family of seven, three sons and four daughters.  Deceased had been ailing for some months and her daughters Mrs. George Manahan of Gilbert P – alns(?) and Mrs. George Buffam of Eganville wee called home a few weeks ago.  The three sons, Messrs. Johnston, Robert and William and two daughters Miss Mary and Miss Lizzie reside on the homestead.  The funeral took place on Satuirday from her late residence to the Lanark Village Cemetery.”

Perth Courier, Feb. 19, 1897

Spence—Died, at Lanark on Friday, Feb. 12, Jane McDougall Spence, beloved wife of Jas. Spence, aged 43(?) 45(?).

Lanark Links:  We regret to record the death of Jane McDougall, wife of James Spence of this village. She had been ill for over nine weeks and during her sickness suffered severely yet showed great patience.  She leaves a husband and five little children to mourn her loss.

Lanark Links:  We have to record the death of another of our citizens, Mrs. John Manahan.  She had been ill for a long time and manifested a Christian patience during her illness.  Being beloved by all who knew her, the funeral on Monday was largely attended.

Perth Courier, April 23, 1897

Those members of the Lanark County Council of 15 years ago will learn with sorrow of the death of a much respected member of that body, Daniel Drummond.  The Gazette of April 16 says:  “The township of Ramsay has lost one of its oldest and most highly respected residents by the death of Daniel Drummond which took place on Friday, at his home in Clayton at the age of 70(?).  Deceased had been ailing with a heart affliction for the past two years and in consequence had not been able during that time either to take an active part in public affairs or paying much attention to his own private business.  The late Mr. Drummond was born in Ramsay in 1826 and removed to Clayton about 30 years ago where he bought a grist mill and saw mill which he continued to work until the time of his death.  Mr. Drummond was a man of strict integrity, upright in all his dealings and of a kind and genial disposition.  He was a man of more than ordinary intellect and this was early recognized by his friends and neighbors in the vicinity and he was for many years the respected and efficient reeve of Ramsay.  In religion he was an active member of the Presbyterian Church as long as his health permitted him to do active work.  In politics he was a Liberal.

Tennant—Died, at Lanark, on Thursday, April 1, Lloyd Tennant, only son of Edward Tennant, aged 15.

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)


The Woman Who Got the Dead End Sign Removed in Carleton Place

Ed Fleming — The First Funeral Parlour in Carleton Place

Funerals With Dignity in Carleton Place – Just a Surrey with a Fringe on Top —- Our Haunted Heritage

Blast From the Past–Remembering Alan Barker– July 4 1979

Dead Ringers –To Live and Die in Morbid Times

The Ashton Funeral to end all Funerals

The Last Man to Let you Down? Political Leanings at Local Funeral Homes?

Embalming 1891 – A Local Report

What was one of the Largest Funerals in Lanark County?

Things You Just Don’t say at a Funeral— Even if you Are a Professional Mourner

A Tale From the Patterson Funeral Home — Carleton Place


Ken Bowes of Middleville

Ken Bowes of Middleville


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Ken Bowes was just a farmer and carpenter living in Middleville who still used his team of horses when he plowed the land and tended to the sap in the Spring. Ken never thought of making miniatures, but when he saw the tiny wagons and sleighs made by  Bruce White in the 70s he decided to make them too.

Like all of us he thought if someone can make something  he could too, but it soon set in how tedious the work was and how many hours it took. After spending every extra hour on his new hobby Ken thought that he would record exactly how much time he was really devoting. In reality he spent 56 hours to make a tiny double work harness and 63 hours to build the wagon.

But devoting time to something you love was already in the family.  His father James Bowes once spent half a day behind a yoke of a team of oxen plowing in Manitoba. It took time and patience to get used to plowing the fields like that and he said he felt like he was back in biblical times.

Ken like doing things the ‘old-fashioned’ way and born in nearby Gailbraith where he grew up working in lumber camps using the horses he loved to create hauling logs out of the woods. It was in his early occupations that he found out how much enjoyed working with wood, and he could  square lumber with a broad axe with the best of them. This experience went a long way when he began to build log cabins and Ken personally built the family home for his wife Grace and his four daughters.

Those first miniature pieces that Ken made after all those hours ended up once being displayed in the windows of Duncan’s Barbershop in Almonte, Ontario and in the Spring you too can see some of his displays at the Middleville Museum. May Ken rest in peace.




Middleville Museum





Perth Courier

James Bowes was awarded the contract for the erection of a frame building and after a severe misfortune, having a great deal of the material prepared for the erection of the edifice destroyed by fire, the building was completed.






BOWES, Kenneth Peacefully at Almonte Country Haven on Saturday, August 27th, 2005, J. Kenneth Bowes in his 87th year. Beloved husband of Grace (Caldwell) Bowes. He will be sadly missed by his four daughters, Shirley Botham (Joe), Joyce Farrell (Max), Nora Shorkey (Richard) and Marilyn Bowes-Henry (Rod); cherished grandfather of Monty, Jeff, Stacy (Gary), Sarah (Jeremy), Joey, Whitney, Samantha and Nicholas. Brother of the late Alex, Charlie and Arthur Bowes and Luella Foster. Fondly remembered by his nieces, nephews, family and friends. Friends may pay their respects at the Young Funeral Home, Lanark on Monday, August 29th, 2005 from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 P.M. Funeral service will be held in First Baptist Church, Lanark on Tuesday at 11:00 A.M. Interment, Greenwood Cemetery, Middleville.
Published in The Ottawa Citizen on Aug. 29, 2005

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.


Have You Ever Paid Tribute to our Pioneers? Middleville Pioneer Cemetery

Have You Ever Paid Tribute to our Pioneers? Middleville Pioneer Cemetery



Photo Linda Seccaspina 2015


Compared to some of our older cemeteries that are literally decaying before our eyes the Middleville pioneers can  rest in peace. Have you ever driven to Middleville and seen the 25 original headstones inlaid into a flowered bordered tribute adjacent to Trinity United Church? While not part of *Lanark’s 7 Wonders just looking at them you can practically hear their 19th century stories. The headstones cover a 26 year old period from 1851 and located over the original grave site.

One marker of note covers three graves. They are the Affleck children: Agnes age 7 and her sisters Jane and Elizabeth 4 and 1 who all died in August and September of 1856 from either diptheria or scarlet fever that swept Lanark County that ye



In Memory of John, son of Archibald & E. McInnes, died Nov 21, 1857, aged 1 year & 6 months. Middleville Pioneer Cemetery Middleville, Ontario. Burials 1955 – 1900 CLICK HERE


Like the St. James Anglican church cemetery in Carleton Place that removed their hand water pump  Middleville too worried about seepage of contaminated graves from the old graveyard into the town’s well water. Middleville decided to move their cemetery to the Greenwood Cemetery in the 1870s.

Several of the plots were dug up and the remains transferred to the new site. Over the years the old site fell upon hard times and in the 1930s they tried to clean it up but they stopped fearful of damage to the crumbling markers that were now buried under the overgrown grass.

In the 1960s Mrs. Jesse Stewart Gillies funded the reconstruction from a request from her husband David Gilles that the founder’s Headstone James Gillies be restored. His headstone dating back to 1851 was the oldest in the cemetery. James had come from Scotland in 1821 at the age of 55 with his wife and children. He established a sawmill near the village shortly after it was founded in 1820 as part of the Upper Canada district of Bathurst.

Borrowing the idea of the monument idea from Upper Canada Village the work was completed in 1971 and an official ceremony dedicated by former mayor the late Charlotte Whitton was in 1972. If you have never visited this Lanark location you are missing part of Lanark’s great history.



Photo Linda Seccaspina 2015




*The Seven Wonders of Lanark County

IN 2016 this happened

Image may contain: outdoor, nature and text


Middleville Pioneer Cemetery Middleville, Ontario. Burials 1955 – 1900 CLICK HERE


JUNE 5– Middleville Museum CLICK HERE

Family History Day – Canada 150

Lanark Township (Highlands) descendants of our early settlers (and those who wish they were😉), join us on Sunday June 25 at the Museum for our Canada 150 descendants group photo. Stephen Dodds will be there with his drone to get several group photos at 1:30. David Murdoch will speak about his 1867 ancestry quest at 11:30 and 2:15. We will have copies of David’s research for those who are interested. This will be a great chance to catch up with friends and neighbours. Refreshments will be served. We hope to see many of you there.

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 Middleville News

Hissing Steam, Parades and a 1930 Hearse–Pioneer Days Middleville

When History Comes to You–A Visit from Middleville

EARLY SETTLEMENT OF DALHOUSIE-Tina Penman, Middleville, Ont.

Visiting the Neighbours — Middleville Ontario and Down the 511

When History Comes to You–A Visit from Middleville

Where is it Now? The Heirloom of William Camelon




Just a Field of Stones Now? “The Old Perth Burying Ground” Now on Ontario Abandoned Places?

The Old Burying Ground — Perth

The Clayton Methodist Cemetery

St. Mary’s “Old” Cemetery

In Memory of the Very Few–Adamsville Burial Site

The Oldest Cemetery in Drummond

So Who was Buried First in the Franktown Cemetery?

Kings Warks and Cemeteries–Interesting Discoveries of Lanark County

The Ghost Lights in St. James Cemetery

The Forgotten Cemetery at the End of Lake Ave West

Stairway to Heaven in a Cemetery? Our Haunted Heritage

Before and After — Auld Kirk


When History Comes to You–A Visit from Middleville





Everyone knows I love old photos as you can tell so much about the area by studying people and backgrounds– and today, I was privileged to view and touch part of Lanark County in person.

It all began with a phone call from Raymond Blackburn from Middleville last week about a photo of the old Caldwell’s Mill in Wilbur. To make matters even nicer, Raymond is the late Cameron Lalonde’s brother-in-law, and John Camelon (Camelon Hurricane Lamp story) had referred me to him.

Today he and his lovely wife Ruby dropped in and showed me the photo. Raymond said his father had found it when he took down an old log structure and he wanted to know more about it. I knew immediately where it was and I told him a bit about it, but I kept taking pictures of the photo so I could share it with everyone.


Wilbur Mine-Photo by:clay70 2010

The Wilbur Mine was one of Lanark County’s largest success stories when it came to iron mining, and it operated from 1886 until 1911. It was an underground operation extracting ore and producing 125,000 tonnes of ore from 1886-1900. Since almost everyone in town worked for the mine, the area was abandoned after the mine shut down and the post office closed in 1913.  Both the Wilbur and Boyd Caldwell Mines have been abandoned for over a hundred years and both sites are overgrown and returned to nature. Beaver ponds etc. have removed almost all traces of the community–especially the old workings.

Of course it all goes back to a favourite family of mine: The Caldwell family. There is no doubt this family had their fingers in everything in Lanark County, and it has been noted they made some money with the Wilbur Mine. Boyd Caldwell, who I have mentioned a few times, put in a little time in a second mine which what was called Clyde Forks/Boyd Caldwell Mine. (Lavant iron mine is on lots 3 and 4, in 12 and 13 concessions) They also operated a steam sawmill (*see the Raymond and Ruby Blackburn photo) built near the new railway Boyd Caldwell built at Wilbur. The development of steam power provided a greater degree of mechanization. Scrap lumber from the mill provided a source of fuel for firing the boilerThe Caldwell’s were the stuff powerful  80s TV mini series were based on — they were in– and then they were out— and Boyd went back to Lanark and got elected to Parliament.


Flooded mine shafts-Wilbur Mine-Photo by: eric 2010

In February of 1887 a terrible accident occurred in the Wilbur mines at 1.30 on a Thursday morning. At that time a huge scale of earth, weighing many tons was without an instant’s warning, precipitated from the roof upon a number of miners, who were working around the skip car. Those who escaped instant death raised the alarm, which was quickly responded to. They went to work rescuing those still alive and recovering the bodies of the men that were killed.

Louis Clow and Joseph Revell, being only partly buried, were seriously hurt. Five men, John Burton, foreman, Thomas Woodruff, Julius Bagot, Wm. Carver and James McCormick, were directly under the centre of the mass when it fell, and all were taken out dead. Long before the bodies were recovered the wives, children and other relatives of the unfortunate dead had assembled at the mine, and many heartrending scenes occurred.

The verdict was: had the roof been properly supported by timbers, the accident would not have occurred.  But it did not stop there. On the 3rd of September 1887 there was a terrible explosion which broke the leg of a youth named Dunn in two places. The other workmen escaped.  On December 13-1889— *Donald’s sawmill at Wilbur Station, on the K.and P. R. was burned. The loss was $94,000– but their insurance was $9400 and in February of 1890 Wilbur mine was closed and then reopened again.


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Hopper along rail spurs-Wilbur Mine-Photo by: eric 2010

Now, there are only three home left. According to Jordan Smith who has a great blog about mines called Dualsport Diary a few locals in the 50s decided to take a crack at mining there again. They spent three years surveying, drilling etc. –all for naught. About that time folks began to disappear. Not because they were heading back to a more prosperous future—but not one trace of them were ever found. Six other people suffered the same fate. All of them were near the mine and then they weren’t. Police, dogs and locals all searched for them and they were never found- save a few personal items. One wonders if they just didn’t fall into some dark mine hole.  After all, the ore zones were once accessed by a combination of small open pits and an underground inclined shaft which operated to a depth of 300 feet.



*Photo-Caldwells Mills- Wilbur Ontario-Ruby and Raymond Blackburn collection

So what is happening to the long lost photo above from Wilbur that Ruby and Raymond Blackburn showed me today? They are donating it to the Middleville Museum– after all, we are not makers of history, we are made by history. (Martin Luther King)

July 14 1882–The Caldwell’s steam sawmill here commenced running on Monday last, and the “hum” of the circular saw can now be heard in this vicinity. In 6 few weeks the mill will be ran -both night and day. About 30 hands in all will be employed. Mr. Pollock, the courteous agent of the firm, informs us that a shingle mill will be added after a time which will continue running during the winter months, and will give employment to a number of additional workmen




Wilbur–The community had houses, boarding houses, a school, a store, and a population which varied between 100 and 250 persons. When the mine closed in 1911, the 1911 census records indicate 68 persons were living at the mine site and 2 others worked at the mine, but lived at Lavant. Of these 68 persons 30 worked at the mine, six of whom were miners, and one a driller. Others were firemen, engineers, teamsters, mechanics, labourers, carpenters, and an accountant, plus wives and children.

Jan 3 1890-–At Wilbur Station a few days ago, two cars, while being loaded with lumber and dabs for A. Caldwell & Son, Kingston, broke away, ran down the heavy grade about a mile, and were derailed by cow, which met instant death. The cars were badly shaken up.

Sept 12 1890–The Presbyterian congregation of Wilbur, Ompah and Mundel’s school-house held a union picnic in John McKenzie’s grove, about four miles from here, on Friday, Aug. 29th.

May 22 1891–Bush fires have been raging for several days along the K & P. Railway, in the vicinity of Folger, Livant, Flower and Wilbur. Near the latter place great destruction taken place and several buildings have been burned. For miles the smoke is so dense that nothing can be seen near the railroad. The residents have been kept busy trying to stop the flames. A great deal of cordwood. cut last winter, has been consumed. Rain is needed to stop the destruction. The station at Flower narrowly escaped destruction yesterday from the flames from the bush on fire, but was quenched finally without serious damage, not, however, before the operator on duty, Miss Lyon, had received a bad scare.

June 28 1889–Alfred Webb, of Wilbur, went to Kingston to attend court on June 11th, and disappeared the next day. He cannot be traced. His wife and family of seven children are greatly distressed. Foul play is feared.

July 12 1889-UPDATE-Alfred E. Webb, of Wilbur, tells a queer story. Some time ago he disappeared from Kingston, where he was looking after a lawsuit he had on hand. In a letter to his lawyer he says he was in court on Wednesday, June 12th, but how he got out of it he cannot tell, nor does he know what happened to him for eight days afterwards. When he came to himself he was a long way on the other side of Gananoque. He found a huge bruise on his breast, with the skin rubbed off. He got home on the 26th.

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


Sandy Caldwell King of the River Boys

A Walk through Lanark Village in 1871

Gold in Dem Dar Hills of Lanark

The Kick and Push Town of Folger

Where is it Now? The Heirloom of William Camelon

How Many People Read About Lanark County in 2016? Top Stories?




Municipal Map.jpg

Let’s Check Out What Happened in 2016!

So in the middle of 2016 I expanded my writing to include all of Lanark County on the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page. Here are the 2016’s year end results as of December 30 10:33 am–

In 2016 we had over 722,102 views and 590,692 visits from 131 countries who read about Lanark County (and now Quebec Eastern Townships) history.

Facebook brought in the most hits, next it was various search engines I use and then Twitter coming in second and third respectively. The top countries reading our local stories are:  Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Turks & Caicos Islands, Germany and Australia– and Mexico coming up strong this year.

Here is the deal- I can’t do this alone– no one can–it is only through sharing stories and commenting that we make history come alive! So thank you for helping get the word out about Lanark County. Now let’s keep spreading the word– we can do this!

The top 15 Stories of the Year

The Sad Remains of Law & Orders– Destroyed last Night

Was it Just a Matter of Time? The Old Barracks

In Memory of Wandering Wayne –Wayne Richards

Local Man’s Dad Was Leader of The Stopwatch Gang

The Witch of Plum Hollow – Carleton Place Grandmother

Chesswood of Carleton Place –THE MENU

The Abandoned Farm House in Carleton Place — Disappearing Farms

Did You Know About the Crotch Lake Disaster?

The Rooftop Christmas Tree in Carleton Place (2016)

Going Once- Going Twice- Carleton Place Sold to the Highest Bidder?

Aerial Images of the Old Cold War Barracks Fire-Carole and Bill Flint

The Thomas Easby Murders in 1829 — Foulest Ever in Lanark County

Patterson’s Restaurant Perth

What Happened to the House and Family on Frank Street –Part 1

Can Anyone in Carleton Place Hear Me?


Happy New Year and Thanks for reading!!  It is only through sharing stories and commenting that we make history come alive!

Linda Seccaspina

Related Reading:

How Many People Read the Tales of Carleton Place? Top Stories? 2015

There She Is–The Scarf Queens of Carleton Place 2016


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


In Memory of Carman Lalonde — Grandfather, Father and Historian of Lanark County



Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some like Carman Lalonde stay for awhile and leave deep footprints, and when they leave us we are never the same.

A cloud of sadness now hangs over his family and those who knew him. Grief comes in like waves and sometimes the water is calm and sometimes it’s not–all we can ever learn to do is swim. We have to hold on to the love and not the loss, and that is what Carman Lalonde was all about. He shared his love for the world with his kindness, laughter and stories with all of us.


I had the honour of first meeting Carman and his late wife Irene when his granddaughter Stephanie came into my life and joined our family. Carman and I immediately clicked as we both shared a love of Lanark County history. Most knew that Carman was a reluctant historian, and all the cajoling in the world would not give me a story of the humble man I most wanted to write about.  One day I even offered him the cover of my book Tilting the Kilt because as I told him, if my stories were not enough to sell the book, his legs in a kilt might be.

Everyone knows about his love for his cats and his garden, but he also had a passion for his photo collection. He knew that one of my hobbies was trying to save old photos from the hands of dealers at auctions, and the last group of photos I bought we shared almost on a bi-weekly basis. When I found and purchased the Millie Aitkenhead collection and showed it to him he began to smile and laugh. I said,

“What’s so funny Carman?”

He said with a sly grin on his face, “I know that woman very well- she dumped me for one of the Woodcocks!”

My mouth dropped at his forthcoming as I could not imagine anyone dumping Carman Lalonde. But Carman was honest and lived his life like Mark Twain. If you always tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.

Carman was always the man to go to at Eades Hardware in Carleton Place and he went above and beyond what was expected of him. He would deliver things past store hours and even plant your tree or plants if need be. Word was if you didn’t have a shovel he would go home and get his. That was just who he was.

Carman began to really fail last week and as I kissed him on the forehead Friday I knew deep in my heart it would not be long. I sat in my car after the visit and cried, but then I smiled and remembered the day his daughter Heather got married– Carman and I sat together and talked away most of the afternoon.


Did we talk abut the beautiful bride and his lovely granddaughters who were bridesmaids?

A little.

Instead of smiling at the guests and talking about the beauty of the day we talked about Clyde Hall in the village of Lanark all afternoon. That was because we were sitting inches away from the front doorway of that very same building. I will remember our conversation forever and cherish every second. I was honoured to be able to listen to him, just like the Lanark County Geneological Society and other local historical groups have been through the years.

Now we mourn the loss of a man who cannot ever be replaced. No more will his family and friends see his smile and hear his loving words. No longer will Middleville enjoy his visits, and no longer will I enjoy his conversation.

Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave and impossible to forget. This week I lost a friend and a family lost their beloved Grandfather and father. My heart is breaking and all I want to do today through my tears is to go visit Carman, see his smile, place some local newspapers on his bed and say

Hello– How Are you?….

And if Carman would see the sadness I have now he would shake his head, and say quite emphatically,

“Oh Linda!”



  I Live On

Don’t cry for me in sadness; don’t weep for me in sorrow,
For I will be beside you, as sure as comes tomorrow.
My body has gone but my spirit lives on, as does my love for you.
Just as in life. I’ll watch over you, I always will be true.
My blood lives on in my children, how I’ve watched them grow up with pride.
I’ll live on within them, always by their side.
I know my jokes weren’t always funny and jobs weren’t always done.
Just try and always remember the good times, the days when we had fun.
Reach out if you need me, for I will always be near.
Just talk to me, as if I am there, I promise I will hear.
For I’ll live on, with in your mind, we’ll never be apart,
As long as you keep my memory, deep within your heart.
So lift up your hearts, don’t be sad, my spirit hasn’t gone.
While your still there, so am I, I really will live on


Carman Lalonde–Obituary- Alan Barker Funeral Home 
(Died May 1, 2016)

Peacefully in hospital, Carleton Place, surrounded by his loving family, on Sunday, May 1, 2016, in his 90th year.

Dearly loved and devoted husband and best friend of the late Irene Isobel Lalonde (nee Blackburn). Much loved and loving dad of Heather (Carlos Grimm) and Ian (Jody Drew). Adored “Grampy” of Stephanie (Perry) Seccaspina and Hannah Southwell. Cherished “Great-Grampy” of Sophia. Predeceased by sisters Kaye McLLravey and Ruby Magahey and brothers Boyd, Harvey, Clarence, Ernie and Stewart. Survived by his brother-in-law and sister-in-law Raymond and Ruby Blackburn. Loved by many nieces and nephews. Carman will be sadly missed by Joyce Tennant.

Carman loved life, his family, the great outdoors and having good times with family and friends. He had a warm and compassionate disposition, always respectful of others’ feelings and opinions and was a totally devoted husband, dad, grandpa, brother and friend.

Friends may visit the family at the Alan R Barker Funeral Home 19 McArthur Avenue, Carleton Place on Thursday, May 5, 2016 from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Funeral service will be held in the chapel on Friday at 11 a.m. Interment at Greenwood Cemetery, Middleville.

Donations to the Carleton Place & District Memorial Hospital Foundation would be appreciated.

A heartfelt thank you to the Staff, Doctors and wonderful Nurses for their outstanding care and compassion given to Carman.



Jayne Munro-Ouimet– Linda, your words are a beautiful tribute to one of the kindest gentleman I ever met. He sure did have a liken for Lanark County history and didn’t mind sharing a few stories with me. Those I will not forget, nor will I forget his encouraging me to record my family history- You’ll need 20 Volumes or more he said with a chuckle. Your Munro’s are in every corner of this county!

He was right and he will be missed. Look up! there’s a new star shining brightly tonight. My condolences, Jayne Munro- Ouimet President of the Lanark County Genealogical Society