Tag Archives: middleville museum

Middleville 101— Middleville, Loveliest Village of The Plain — 1935

Middleville 101— Middleville, Loveliest Village of The Plain — 1935

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

Perth Courier, April 5, 1935 ( from Rootsweb)

Middleville, lovliest village of the plain

Where hearth and plenty cheered the laboring swain

How often I have loitered o’er thy green

Where humble happiness endeared each scene!

Roy Yuill in front of Archie Rankins house in Middleville in 1927. He was 4 years old. He grew up to work in Lionel Barr’s General store and at Barr’s sawmill. He later became the local electrician servicing many parts Lanark County.– Photo by Laurie Yuil

Middleville, a name which would suggest a certain location inland as being in the middle of the township or possibly that of the county, may be the hub towards which the people of the township converge. Like its neighbors Lavant, Darling, Dalhousie, the early settlers were of Scotch origin and thoroughly educated in honesty, thrift and frugality.

As I remember the village it consisted of two general stores, a blacksmith shop, shoe shop, carriage shop, saw mill, two stopping places and three churches and a school.

Climbing a gentle incline on the Lanark road, the traveler approaches the home of William Borrowman, whose surroundings would indicate the owner to be a man of intelligence and interest in the finer arts.  Entering his residence he is found to be not only a gentleman farmer but a jeweller whose tradesmanship is not surpassed  by the city tradesman.

Some short distance from the Borrowman home is the Congregational Church and manse occupied by Rev. J. Lambert Alexander, a young clergyman beginning his career in the ministry.  He is a true success.  His real object  was that of including the principles of Jesus in the minds and hearts of each hearer.  He was a promising youth and afterwards became a leading light in church union.  He was strong intellectually, easily approachable, of kindly disposition and tolerant in his views.

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

Sickness in the village was rare but what did occur was skillfully taken care of by Dr. Mather, a graduate of Queen’s.  The clever young doctor was a most sociable man, humorous and intensely interested in the gems of literature.  He had a hobby of taking snapshots and developing the same.  One fair day he had a few in his window getting the sunlight to bring them to maturity.  They remained in the window overnight.  The next morning the old lady who cared for his office sympathetically remarked “You didna sell many of your pictures, doctor?”

A carriage and wagon shop was operated by David Dobbie.  Carriages, wagons, cutters, and sleighs were then in demand as the motor car was then just an infant.  Dave was meticulously exacting in his workmanship and a neck yolk has been known to stay in the vice for three or four weeks before released to the purchaser.

Bill Sommerville, stone mason and plasterer, spent most of this time out of the village in the summer performing work in his line for farmers and other builders.  He was always happy and in rain or in shine his greeting was always:  “Y-a-a-a, it is a fine day!”.  Through time he left the village and took up residence in Lanark where he is now a valued and respected resident.

One of Middleville’s (illegible word) characters was the late Mrs. Guthrie.  She was of a calm, refined temperament. Her acts of goodness were kindly performed.  Her welcomes were genuine and her life was one of kindness, helpfulness and good will for all.  She was a beautiful character the memory of whom will glow forever.

The Presbyterian Church had for its clergyman Rev. Mr. Smith, a man of strong personality.  He was a Scotsman and had a good deal of a “burr” in his accent which made him very pleasing to hear.  Meeting him in his home was a rare treat.  His affable, pleasing manner had a fascinating power which drew the visitor close to him making him forget his vices and his woes while the pastor good naturedly and kindly pointed him to the skies.  He did not gain greatness by political power neither by financial power but by service.  His was true greatness.  He served in the pulpit and out of the pulpit, in times of joyousness and in times of sadness he was with his people, rejoicing with those who rejoiced and weeping with those who wept.  He was one of them.  In memory I can see and hear him as he expounds on the text “Grieve not the holy Spirit whereby you are sealed unto the day of Redemption”.  The sermon done, he placed a hand under each cover and suiting the action to the words said “The book is closed, the sermon is sealed and there was a good one.”

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

The merchants were Mr. Croft and A.R. McIntyre.  General stores were necessary in county villages at that time.  The great chain stores almost annihilated the small country stores to detriment of the community.  These general stores were the meeting places in the evenings, particularly winter evenings, when weighty subjects were good naturedly discussed.

An outstanding man was Archibald Rankin who for many years was clerk for the municipality of Lanark township.  He was thoroughly skilled in  municipal law and was a councilor to the members of the Council.  He was active in all social activities being a stager of ability.  Another singer of note was Peter Morris who I can still hear singing “The Old Oaken Bucket”.

The Sons of Temperance was a thriving organization with a large membership. The township of Lanark was deprived of the right to sell spirituous liquors by what was known as the Dunkin Act and is still under that dispensation.

Photo-Mr. & Mrs. Archie Rankin– Photo by Laurie Yuill

The blacksmith was a very busy man shoeing horses, making chains, ironing wagons, buggies, cutters and sleighs.  Albert Cunningham, and R.(?) B.(?) Somerville stood the strain of this heavy work for many years before being compelled to retire.  Christy Jackson, a free going, likeable man, conducted a stopping place near McIntyre’s store and catered to the traveling public with courtesy.

Across a little vale from Somerville’s shop, then up a slight incline to a small  tableland stood the school house where Miss Spence taught many of the beginners at that time to recognize “hat, coat, rack”.  Yes.  36 years ago.

The great annual event of the village was the “Fair” or more aristocratically speaking “The Exhibition”.  This being the last fair of the year, it was always well patronized.  Once visited, the conclusion is that fairs of major importance rank as minors in art skill and workmanship.  In the building, the paintings, pencil work, crayon work, etc. hold the visitor.  The needle work draws the admiration of every on looker; the fancy work of every description demands the unstinted praise of young and old, of the professional and the amateur.  Outside the building lovers of animals leisurely move around viewing the horses, sheep, swine, cattle, calves, lambs and the common expression “did you ever see better?” is heard on all sides of the ring.  When the day is over, the directors county their earnings and in their joy another success financially has been added to their credit.

The surrounding country is beautiful—the land productive and settled with a sturdy class of people.  Here we find the Afflecks and the Somerville string to out number each other.  No finer type of citizen to be found anywhere.  The Crofts, the Guthries, the Blackburns, the Mathers, the Yuills, the Mitchells and many others of like type.  These are real citizens co-operating in all good work their motto being “service for mankind”.

Middleville & District Museum

Open Victoria Day weekend to Thanksgiving weekend, noon to 4pm, ​every Saturday, Sunday and Holiday Monday. COVID-19 Protocols: Masks are recommended but not mandatory for visitors. Admission $5 per person; children under 12 free.

2130 Concession Road 6D, Middleville (Lanark) ON

The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
10 Aug 1910, Wed  •  Page 4

The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
30 Jun 1909, Wed  •  Page 5

Middleville Hotel-Perth Remembered

Middleville -Perth Remembered

The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
30 Jun 1909, Wed  •  Page 5

The Triplets of Middleville — Reverend Smith

What’s in the Middle of Middleville? — The Buchanan Scrapbook

Fiery Cross At Middleville 1926

Middleville 1938 and Things

Have You Seen the Middleville Cemetery?

McNichol Family Middleville

Middleville School _ History and Names Names Names

Jane Rankin Middleville –Gazette Correspondent

James Bowes Mary McKay Middleville Clippings Genealogy

Middleville–The Vertical Board House–Another Beaver Medallion

Visiting the Neighbours — Middleville Ontario and Down the 511

Middleville– Yuill- Photos Laurie Yuill

When History Comes to You–A Visit from Middleville

John Rayner’s Posts

Middleville Museum, Part 3

Middleville Museum, Part 2

Middleville Museum, Part 1

Middleville & District Museum
 Tickets on Sale Now!
Live History (www.livehistoryshows.com), a Governor General’s Award nominated touring theater company, is coming to Middleville. Their company tours internationally and produces site specific customizable mysteries,
“A Timeless Gathering”, an interactive mystery event, will be presented on July 9th at the Middleville & District Museum (2130 Concession Rd 6D); note that the museum will be closed the day of this special event.
Performances: 1pm and 3pm, designed for ages 12 years and older.
Cost: $20 per ticket
To purchase tickets: Contact Dawn Morrison 613-256-4997 or visit the museum this/next weekend; Visa, Mastercard, cash, or cheque accepted. Payment can also be made by e-transfer at middlevillemuseum@gmail.com.

McNichol Family Middleville

McNichol Family Middleville

70547279_10156727488316886_6131980462685421568_n.jpgMiddleville Museum



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

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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.


hopper along rail spur.jpg

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