Tag Archives: miller

I Am Who I am Because of You

I Am Who I am Because of You

Once the Duke had “his way” with some peasant girl, she was soon forgotten and my family continued to farm rocks— Steven Robert Morrison

I saw this quote from my friend Steven yesterday and I wondered why some of our ancestors were so naive and honestly, not thinking. But, I realized some of my moves through life have also been dumb as rocks, so, in all honesty, I guess some of us have not changed.

For the past 6 years I have spent hours a day recording local history and answering other people’s questions about their families, and I have never really looked at my own. Last night instead of wrapping Christmas presents I decided to start my family tree on my maternal side as I knew it was going to be the easiest.

Years ago Iveson Miller from Island Brook used to visit our home on Albert Street in Cowansville, Quebec and tell me family stories. Before my Mother died in 1963 he gave her this wonderful family tree book hand written in turquoise fountain pen ink. My mother stored it in the piano bench and ever so often I would take it out and read it. To this day I have never seen a more comprehensive book and was hoping one day it would be given to me. But that was not to be. When my mother died my father took all the family photographs and that precious family tree book and burned them in the burn barrel in the back yard. Today I understand that the years of pain he went through with my sick mother drove him to do that, but I often wonder if he regretted it. So last night I began Iveson Miller’s journey once again, knowing I would not get the detail he had once provided, but it would be something for my children and grandchildren to cherish. I thank Ruth Burns Morrow for compiling the “History of Island Brook” and for the people that saved it.

Bernice Ethelyn Crittenden in West Brome

My mother’s family were basically Irish to the core and came from England and Ireland and settled in the United States and Argenteuil County, Quebec and them moved on to Island Brook and Brome in the Eastern Townships. Island Brook was a fantasy place to me during my early childhood and I can still myself in one of the Miller’s small barns milking my first cow.

James Miller and his wife Mary Henderson were the grandparents of my grandmother Gladys E Griffin (on her maternal side Charlotte J. Miller) who died of the family disease at age 39. Gladys would have no idea that her only child, my mother, Bernice Ethelyn Crittenden, and her granddaughter, my sister Robin Anne Knight Nutbrown would die before the age of 40 from the same thing she had died of–cancer.

Gladys’s grandfather James Miller was actually a veteran of the Fenian Raid, belonging to No. 5 Company of the Argenteuil (Quebec) Rangers, for which services he received a Fenian Raid Medal. Decades after the Fenian Raids, in 1899, the federal government decided to award the “Canada General Service Medal” to all who volunteered during the Fenian invasions of 1866 and 1870. James serve at Cornwall & St. Johns at Niagara 1866 under Colonel Abbott Island Brook, Quebec for 3 months.

However, in order to actually receive the medal, the person had to still be alive in 1899 and had to apply for it. The Ontario Government offered a free grant of land to all the Fenian Raid Veterans. Mr. Miller was one of those who did not accept the offer, as he believed that what they offered was very poor land. Later it became the site of the fabulously rich gold fields in the Kirkland Lake area. Would this be considered a ‘dumb as rocks move?

Ontario Travel photo– Kirkland Lake area– Some of the folks that made it rich.

During his younger years, James Miller and his brothers travelled with the farmers, who were taking their produce to Port Royal (Montreal), as Security Guards against Indian attack.

Mary Henderson and daughter Ethelyn Miller

(courtesy of Vernalyn Morrow Hughes)-Mr. Miller was born at Gore, near Lakefield, Quebec on May 8th, 1844. He was married on April 6th, 1864 in Lakefield to Mary Henderson, who was born on December 22nd, 1844. She was the daughter of William Henderson and Jane Sutton, who came from Sligo, Ireland, and settled near Lakefield in 1824.

James Miller and his wife moved from Argenteuil County to Island Brook, Quebec in January 1868, accompanied by their son, Alexander, who was three years old. I wonder if James had accepted the offer to mine in the fabulously rich gold fields in the Kirkland Lake if life would have been different. There was no cars in those days and the trip to Island Brook was made by oxen. It was a great perilous distance of approximately two hundred miles and settlements were a rare site in those days and there were no settlements east of the Island Brook River.

So the description of life they had was no different than that of any other settler I have written about. Mary Miller worked with her husband on a daily basis clearing the land, and taking the children along with her. They burned the trees they cut down and often baked potatoes in the hot ashes from the fires which would be their noon meal. Later on in years their great granddaughter Linda would do the same thing with the Cowansville Girl Guides at the Brome Fair property not knowing that this was no lark to them as it was to her.

My great grandfather James Miller walked on trails through the woods to La Patrie (12 miles), or to Cookshire, a distance of 8 miles, to get groceries, and he carried them home on his back. I have written so much about other settler families and wondered if my only interesting heritage was Alexander Knight ( great grandfather on my paternal side). Alexander was a music writer, had a musician’s agency and ran music halls in London. Or how about Louisa Knight who scandalously rocked Queen Victoria’s court. I wanted some hard working settlers on my side and I was not to be disappointed.

Ruth Burns Morrow wrote that James also worked on the railway line when it was built through Cookshire. He designed houses and barns for friends and neighbours as the settlement grew and made scale-models beforehand and when the time came for a barn-raising.

photo Canada Rail

My great grandfather was also a rural mail driver for thirty-four years, under contract to the Dominion Government and his route covered twenty-two miles from Island Brook through Learned Plain to Cookshire. When the roads were blocked by snowstorms, he made the trip on foot, carrying mail on his back. In all those 34 years, only four trips were missed. During busy seasons on the farm, his daughter Ethelyn often carried the mail. When I saw the name Ethelyn I was taken back. I often wondered where my mother Bernice Ethelyn Crittenden Knight had gotten the name Ethelyn from– and there it was. Ethelyn was taken from James and Mary Miller’s daughter. My grandmother Gladys Ethelyn Griffin Crittenden had been named after her and then chose the same middle name for her daughter Bernice.

I knew being a pig headed woman I must have had strong women on both my sides, but it was with great pride when I read about my great grandmother Mary Miller. Mary was the local midwife in the early days of the Island Brook settlement and brought over a hundred babies into the world without losing a single mother or baby. If the home where the birth was to take place was nearby, Mrs. Miller would walk to it, otherwise the husband would come for her with whatever conveyance he had.

A story from “History of Island Brook” tells of a member of the Irish settlement, on the road to Ditton, came for Mary with a stone-drag (a flat platform made of heavy planks used for hauling away large stones when clearing a field). As there was nothing to hold onto, and the worried father-to-be kept whipping the horse to make it go faster, Mrs. Miller was in danger of falling off without the driver even noticing it, but she managed to hang on, and arrived safely, although badly shaken up.

Mary, like all of my family, seldom wanted any pay for her services, although people often gave her a pretty dish from their cupboard, or some meat. Mary was there when anyone needed help as a nurse and she also laid out the deceased after a death. One of her saddest experiences was laying out four young children of the family of John Patton, who died within a few days of each other. Because they died of such a contagious disease, black diphtheria, the bodies were taken directly from the home and buried at night.

Mr. and Mrs. Miller were active members of the Methodist Church and helped in building the Church”.

A pile of wood is on my bucket list if I ever win money- but it might be too late. Once a cornerstone of the tiny Eastern Township community, the old Methodist church was mostly unused since it stopped offering regular services in the 1980s. In 2014 the then United Church decided to try and sell the building. The asking price is a paltry $15,000, but so far, there have been no serious offers — probably because buying it means having to move the old church, which was built in 1870, to a new lot. If I ever win the lotto and the church is still around– look for it in my yard– as I think it would be grand to have in memory of my old Irish ancestors. As Andrew Lyon told me on Facebook in 2016:

“We attended a service in the cemetery two weeks ago and the church is down. Lumber is stacked and I believe the building could be re-assembled elsewhere”.The Old Church in Island Brook That Needs a Home

I think the key word now in conclusion is: every day your life is re-assembled, sometimes even elsewhere. Life is not a solo act–it’s a huge collaboration, and we all need to assemble around us the people who care about us and support us in times of strife living or dead. It’s our duty…. especially now.

I thank Ruth Burns Morrow for compiling the “History of Island Brook”. I hope one day to read it all and send regards to those still living in Island Brook.

My Name is Bernice — A Letter to a Daughter

The Old Church in Island Brook That Needs a Home

What Do You Do if You Just Can’t Walk Right In?

We Are Family

The Summer of 1964

Because You Loved Me…..

A Curio of Nostalgic Words

The Personal Ad of June 9th 1966

Did They Try to Run the World?

Memories of Mary Louise Deller Knight’s Wood Stove

The Story of Trenches –Fred Knight Legion Branch #99 Cowansville

Mary Louise Deller Knight — Evelyn Beban Lewis–The Townships Sun

On the Subject of Accidents and Underwear

The Conversationalist

How Miss Miller the Milliner on Bridge Street Turned into a Stanzel Story

How Miss Miller the Milliner on Bridge Street Turned into a Stanzel Story
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
08 Feb 1900, Thu  •  Page 4

Max Movshovitz’s dry goods store was located in what was known as the
Sumner Building. Morbic Sumner operated a dry goods store also. The Sumner Building at 154-160 Bridge Street is on Lot 25, which is one of the larger lots on Bridge Street. In the 1960’s a large fire occurred and a parking lot took over where some of the businesses had been. So it is unclear based on land deeds if some of the businesses were located in the Sumner Building or at what is now the parking lot.

Dr. Winters was a dentist and his practice was taken over by Dr. Smith an MD. Two Stanzel sisters operated a millinery store where Miss Miller had a stand. William Stanzel, originally of France, settled in Goulbourn and in 1874, William moved his shoe shop from Goulbourn to Carleton Place. William’s son Stephen learned the trade and Ross and Earl later owned Stanzel’s shoes. These two Stanzel gals were William’s daughters .

So after that I began to research trying to find the Stanzel girls I found this terrible accident that fatally wounded Richard Stanzel. He had three sons, but one of his children, Viola P. died at 6 months old. After Richard accidentally passed in 1934 at the age of 61, his wife Elizabeth Ida died 6 years later in 1940 at the age of 64.

Stanzel Genealogy.

Richard Milton Stanzel
1873 – 1934

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
12 Apr 1934, Thu  •  Page 3

Spouse:Elizabeth Ida Saunders
Father:William Stanzel
Mother:Catherine Wright
Children:Viola P.
Birth:05/02/1873 Stittsville Ottawa Ontario Canada
Death:11/04/1934 Ottawa Ottawa Ontario Canada
Residence:1 Jun 1921 Carleton Place Lanark Ontario Canada
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
29 Oct 1940, Tue  •  Page 16

The Stanzel Shoe Store

The Stanzel Homes of Carleton Place

The Fred Astaire of Carleton Place — John Stanzel

LOST in Cedar Hill

LOST in Cedar Hill


download (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 and The Tales of Almonte

The Lonely Grave of Barney Shiels of Cedar Hill

So Which Island did the River Drivers of Clayton get Marooned On?

Catherine Miller of Perth –Waited 60 Years– Updates!!

Catherine Miller of Perth –Waited 60 Years– Updates!!



WAITED FOR GROOM 60 YEARS Miss Miller, Jilted On Her Wedding Day, Became Demented


In March 16 of 1902 in the little town of Perth, the death is announced of Miss Catharine Millar, known in the neighbourhood around as “Kitty” Miller. Sixty years ago she was a beautiful and accomplished girl in Scotland and was engaged to be married to a young man who had a large interest In a Scottish thread factory.

The day was fixed for the wedding and every preparation was made for the ceremony. The wedding day came and “Kitty,” dressed in her bridal attire and awaited the bridegroom. Instead, there came a message that he had married another.

The shock affected her mind, and for several years she was confined in an asylum. The doctors finally decided that she could be given into the custody of her relatives, as they thought a change of scene and surroundings would prove the best cure. The Miller family moved quickly from Scotland to Canada hoping it wold change Kitty’s spirits.


Image result for wedding dress 1840 bonnet

Nearly 50 years have passed since their settlement in Lanark County, yet never, a month has elapsed in which “Kitty” did not don her wedding garments to await the coming of her lover. The dress was antique, of amber-coloured silk, with a long front peaked waist, plaited and corded, with bell sleeves and skirt hanging oddly on account of the straight width.


Image result for wedding dress 1840 bonnet

The bonnet was also peculiar. It was made of white silk, trimmed with satin ribbon and a stiff lace matching the dress in colour. Miss Millar was 80 years old when she died, and for nearly 60 years had preserved this wedding dress, expecting the arrival of her promised husband. All her immediate relatives had died before her and she was living with friends at the time still with her robes made in Scotland long ago.


Catherine “Kitty” Miller



4 Jan 1902 (aged 79–80)


Bathurst, Lanark County, Ontario, Canada

Scotch LineLanark CountyOntarioCanada

Perth Courier –
The death of Miss Catherine Miller, generally known as “Kitty Miller,” on Tuesday of last week, closed the last chapter of one of the “tragedies of life,” which call forth the sympathy of all. In her youth she was beautiful and accomplished. She was engaged to a young man who had a large interest in a thread factory. The day was set for the wedding and the young girl had made every preparation. While dressed in her wedding garments, waiting for the groom, word was brought that he had married another girl. The shock affected her mind, and it was found necessary to place her in an asylum. As time went by she became quiet and she left the asylum and went to live with her mother. Her mind was still affected, but she was very peaceable. The doctor suggested a complete change of surroundings for her, and she and her mother came to Canada. They found a home with John Grey, who then lived on the 4th line. Here the mother died, and some time after Miss Miller was taken to live with the late Mrs. George Grey. When Mrs. Grey died, her daughter, Mrs. Alexander Palmer, took charge of her. It was pitiful to see “Kitty” as every month she would don her wedding dress and wait for her expected lover. She never forgot the fact that she was a bride waiting for the groom. Her dress is very antique. It is an amber colored silk, with a long front, peaked waist, pleated and corded, with bell sleeves and skirt, hanging oddly on account of the straight width. The bonnet also is peculiar. It is made of white silk, trimmed with satin ribbon, and a stiff lace matching the dress in color. Miss Miller was eighty years old when she died, and for nearly sixty years has cherished this wedding dress, expecting her lover to appear and wed her. She was buried in the Scotch Line cemetery on Thursday last.


The Daily Whig, Kingston, Saturday, February 22, 1902, page 4

Scotch Line Cemetery



Location513 Scotch Line, Lot 12, Concession 10, Upper Scotch Line, North BurgessScotch Line Cemetery

Details: In 1886, a half-acre of land on the Upper Scotch Line passed hands from Gilbert Wilson and his wife Marian, to a group of men wishing to have a community cemetery. The cemetery trustees were John Wilson, Robert Allan and Robert Hendry. They purchased the half-acre for $75. Although the land was not officially a cemetery until 1886, around ten people had been buried there previous to the purchase. In the same year as its purchase, the Scotch Line Cemetery had its first official burial. The man’s name was Mr. George Oliver, a local mill owner, who died at the age of 49 on June 26, 1886. A fence was put up around the cemetery in 1887 and the cost of $40, as well as the purchase price of the land, was paid for by a group of 24 men in the area.A piece of land 10 feet in size was added to the west side of the cemetery in 1920. Also added was a strip of land 40 feet wide fronting the Upper Scotch Line and 210 feet to the rear of the cemetery. The strip was purchased in 1941 from the Scotch Line School, which shared the same lot as the cemetery. In the same year, the land between the west side of the cemetery and Allan’s Side Road was purchased for $100 from Gilbert Wilson. The project of planting 200 pine seedlings was completed in May of 1942, with the trees being placed along the fence separating the cemetery from the school, as well as the fence by Allan’s Side Road. After its closure in 1968, the remaining school property was purchased for $1000 on July 12 th . This purchase would mark the final expansion of the cemetery. The Scotch Line School is still situated on the cemetery lot and is a beautiful addition to the land.

Contact: Allan Menzies, Registrar, 613- 264-2697 

The Alexander Palmers of Christie Lake Tay Valley Perth that looked after her.

Detail Source
Name Alexander Palmer
Gender Male
Marital Status Married
Age 45
Birth Year abt 1846
Birth Place Ontario
Residence Date 1891
Residence Place Bathurst, Lanark South, Ontario, Canada
Relation to Head Head
Religion Free Church
Occupation Farmer House Carpenter
Can Read Y
Can Write Y
French Canadian No
Spouse Isabella Palmer
Father’s Birth Place England
Mother’s Birth Place Scotland
Division Number 1
Neighbours View others on page
Household Members (Name) Age Relationship
Alexander Palmer 45 Head
Isabella Palmer 44 Wife
Grace Palmer 12 Daughter
Harold Palmer 10 Son
Winnerfred Palmer 8 Daughter
Johnnie Palmer 4 Son
Enumeration District 84
Page number 18


CLIPPED FROMThe Lanark EraLanark, Ontario, Canada05 Feb 1902, Wed  •  Page 4

January 1902

January 1920

CLIPPED FROMThe Kingston Whig-StandardKingston, Ontario, Canada22 Feb 1902, Sat  •  Page 4

The Peculiar Case of Jeanetta Lena McHardy

The Odd Tale of Insane Johnny Long?

Embroidery of the Insane?

To Be Manic Depressive in a Rural Town — Kingston Insane Asylum

The Insane Spinster Ghost of Appleton Ontario

William Millar, Farmer No. 14, 2nd Concession of Dalhousie 1820

William Millar, Farmer No. 14, 2nd Concession of Dalhousie 1820


William Millar Jr. ( photo of son of William Millar who wrote the letter below William Millar Jr. was born in Dalhousie Township)


I bought the book “Pioneer Sketches in the District of Bathurst” as the letters in the Thomas Alfred Code journal I am transcribing were written for the author of the book mentioned above by Andrew Haydon. There was supposed to be a Volume 2 which never happened. I found this letter today in Haydon’s book and he spelled the writer’s name as: “Miller” and much as I tried could not find any mention of him. Now I know now that it was spelled “Millar” from family memories below.


From William Millar to his father Lanark-on-the-Clyde

Perth, 2nd October 1820.

Dear Father,

I have got my land and everything as was said. My farm is 20 miles from this town and 5 miles from Lanark Township. It is in the township of Dalhousie, No. 14 in the 2nd Concession. I am just going off on Monday to build my house. It is a nice lot of ground, and I have 10 acres of hay on it. If I had been here two months sooner I would have had a cow this Winter. If I have time I will cut some hay yet and get a cow, but this I cannot say until I get my house. Two pounds a head is just we paid from Quebec to the Perth Government settlements. In this town, there are six or eight large stores where you can get anything, as you or I could in Glasgow, but cast metal  is very dear and crockery wear.

It has only been four years since the town of Perth was a wilderness of wood. There are four churches in it and the distance from my farm to Quebec is 409 miles. I intend to keep my family in Perth until I have my house up and provisions for them. The winter beef is 3d a pound; tobacco, 15:30 a pound; rum 15 a bottle. When you write to me, direct it to William Millar, farmer No. 14, 2nd concession of Dalhousie, by Lanark. I have called my farm Whitelee, but it will not be known by that for some time. My friends need not come here, but for farming. No tradesmen is wanted mostly at all.

We came from Quebec to Montreal in a steamboat, and a land carriage from that to Lachine, and from that in boats to Prescott, and from that to Perth in wagons and such horses for running I never saw in my life. I got my wife family and baggage on a wagon and I thought when they started that the men were made for as they went off like a shot out of a gun and up hill and dale was alike.

They were most of them farmers, and I told the man that was with me, that if I were to run our horses that way we would kill them, but he said to have no fear of them. They are the most mettlesome creatures I ever saw. I can tell you, and you may tell all you know, that my wife bakes loaves as good as the best risped loaves in Glasgow. I thought I would miss the Oatmeal greatly , but I do not. If you come get into some society– a great saving.

A pot which you can buy there for  4 shillings will cost you 2 pounds here, and a kettle costing you 6 shillings costs 2 pounds here. Pots and pans be sure to fetch, and a grindstone. A set of tea dishes which you can buy for 3 shillings will cost 1 pound here. A 4s.6d dollar is 5s. here, and one of your shillings is 13d., and your farthing is 1/2d. and a penny piece the same. Everything you have if it be the shape of copper, goes for 1/2d. I have gotten 2 pounds this day, and I got as much this day three months ago and as much in three months after that, and I get farming utensils of every description that I need. Thanks be to God for being so fortunate as I am. I got information this day from Captain Marshall how I will get you out free of expenses, and if I get this for you I think I shall be happy. This I write, if I get it for you, how you are to do.

Your son,

William Millar

Diane Duncan added

The following genealogy of William Miller who wrote the letter may be of some assistance. William Miller  and Margaret Burns, Dalhousie, arrived 1820, Con 2 Lot 14 was followed the next year, 1821 by his parents William Miller and Elizabeth Gilmour who settled on Lanark Township, Concession 1, Lot 15. They were just two of four William Millers to settle in the area in this time. As you will note, there are two William Millers in later generations that I have not documented that May be the William in Kincardine. I will check this out later today. Can’t imagine why I have not yet documented them! Please update this info as it is perpetuating misinformation. I will do my best to get the later William info to you asap.


William Millar
Born 8 Nov 1799 in Falkirk, Scotlandmap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]



Diane Duncan added:

Linda I believe that William was born earlier 1789 and he was married to Margaret Burns. His father and brothers came in 1821 and settled nearby. He was my 3rd great grandfather and ended up in Racine WI.

It’s been a busy day! Just wanted to follow up on my comment on your blog. Dad and I worked for years to identify the William on Lot 14 Con 2 Dalhousie. Our William, born in 1786, was finally identified as ‘the’ William who wrote the letter. There were at least four Williams to arrive in 1820-21 and I have a file on each of them…somewhere. I am currently finalizing an update to a file on the descendants of William and Margaret Miller and will be posting the genealogy on a site I have set up for that purpose. Once I have tracked as many descendants as possible I plan to write their story. In addition to that, I want to track the children of ‘William Miller” and Elizabeth Gilmour his parents who settled nearby in Lanark Township. His brothers also settled nearby. Dad focused on the males in the family and I am trying to document the story of the women as well. This is a slow process but I am seeing an end point in the near future for this family.
However, there is some tantalizing info in your post. At the moment I show a relationship to the Smith family via Robert, a brother of William, of Lot 14 Concession 2. Their father was the William Miller m to Elizabeth mentioned above and lived on L15 Con 1 Lanark.
I still have unfinished work re the William in Kincardine and will turn my mind to that shortly and keep you posted.

Father of Ann (Miller) Smith, William Millar, Michael Muir Millar, Jannet (Millar) Smith, Mary Millar and Ellen (Miller) Smith
Died 10 Nov 1856 in Hibert Township, Ontario–In the Genealogical Records of Mary Glennis Graham Turner, she states that William Millar, grandson of William Millar and
Margaret Ralston, wrote to her saying,

“I discovered the book, ‘Pioneer Sketches in the District of Bathurst,’ [by AndrewHaydon, Ryerson Press] on Oct. 15, 1955. It contained this letter written by my great grandfather to his father in Scotland. The book is in an old library at Watson’s Corners, [Dalhousie] Lanark Co., Ontario. The Lot No. 14 Concession 2, Dalhousie Twn. is where my grandfather was born. I visited it for the first time in October 1955, and found all the buildings gone from the place.”

Here is her Grandfather

William MIllar, JP

William Millar, JP of Kincardine Township
“He is active in the promotion of agricultural interests through various societies, and lends his influence in a general way to all enterprises of public benefit.”

“William Miller, of the Village of Bervie, in the Township of Kincardine, is the son of William Millar, of Scotch birth, who was one of the early settlers in the County of Lanark. Wm. Millar, jr., was born in the Township of Dalhousie, Lanark County, in 1826, and came to Bruce County in 1850, settling in the Township of Kincardine.

When Mr. Millar came to this section, his entire worldly possessions consisted of two or three small tools in common use, a yoke of oxen, and less than $1 in money; and in order to procure food he went all the way to Durham with grists for the neighbors “on shares,” the trip occupying from seven to ten days. He now owns 300 acres of fine land, and is one of the leading farmers in the community, carrying on an extensive cheese manufacturing business in addition to his farm.

Mr. Millar never sought public office, though he has been a Justice of the Peace for very many years. He is active in the promotion of agricultural interests through the various societies, and lends his influence, in a general way, to all enterprises of public benefit.”

Belden 1880 Atlas of the County of Bruce




 - fraavaluable Land, in Upper Canada.-Ay...

Clipped from

  1. The Morning Chronicle,
  2. 25 Apr 1816, Thu,
  3. Page 4



Clipped from

  1. The Caledonian Mercury,
  2. 12 Feb 1816, Mon,
  3. Page 1


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)


A Giant’s Kettle in the Middle of Lanark County

Dear Lanark Era –Lanark Society Settlers Letter

“They were Set Down in Dalhousie Township”– Effie Park Salkeld

The Carleton Place Beanery at Dalhousie Lake

Tuesday’s Top Lanark County Story- Pigs in Dalhousie Space?

The Story of Wild Bob Ferguson of Dalhousie Township

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 4a – Innisville the Beginning

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 4a – Innisville the Beginning



There are about 6 huge pages about Innisville written by Thomas Alfred Code so I will do this in parts. This is 4a— the beginning.

As to the early history of Innisville, little is on record. The place was known as Freer Falls at the outset. Later the water power property was deeded to James Ennis Senior, and rather pretentious mills for that time were erected, which later on included a flour or grist mill as they were called in those days. An Oatmeal mill was added later. The oats were kiln dried, and the sole method used in the next process, was stone grinding. The product was the Scotch Oatmeal; there is none better made today.

A sawmill was amongst the first necessities: and up and down single saw was operated– a slow process compared with the circular saw which was added later. A shingle mill made up the list. About 12,000 feet of lumber, and 20,000 shingles were turned out daily and hauled to the Perth Railway Station.

In the early 1850s James Ennis Junior had taken charge of the business. He died early in life and his son John became heir to the business. The boy being underage the grandfather Jackson took charge and conducted business successfully and economically for years. I remember a penny a slab was charged for the slabs from the sawmill. A story is told of a customer wanting a better rate going to the miller and advising him to reduce the toll from one twelfth to one tenth if he wished to get more business.

Grandfather Jackson passed away in the late 1860s. The business then came into the hands of John Ennis, then of age, and conducted with enterprise, but with indifferent success until 1882 when the whole premise burned down. At that time there was  an evident dry rot creeping in that finally settled the fate of all the small mills throughout the country. The wants of the people were gradually being supplied from without.

There was another son of James Innis by first marriage– David Innis. Being dissatisfied with home treatment he left– as stated at the time–for Australia. David married Elizabeth Churchill shortly before leaving. In due time after his departure a son was born. David returned twenty years after to find his son a young man. Both died shortly after meeting for the first time. Author’s Note–Read Kerr or Ennis? More about the Innisville Scoundrel


John Innis left for Sarnia and started a grocery business there and passed away a few years ago. (this was written in 1929) Thus ended the name and personnel in the village that took their name.

With the burning of the mills little was left to mark the existence of this once thrifty community. Let me add that it was not uncommon to see twenty teams load up with supplies for Sand Point and the north country. Many of the teamsters remained for the balance of the winter at a  wage of about one dollar a day, and finding. In those days the railway had not extended beyond Arnprior or Sand Point. In fact I am told that when the old B&O came to Perth the wise men did not approve of extending the road beyond Perth, hoping to make Perth the forwarding point for all time.

In the settlement days the villages built up where water power was to be obtained in order to provide lumber and grind the grain. Today (1929) conditions have changed. The disappearance of adjacent lumbering had much to do with leaving these small places high and dry. Transportation was another factor in the evolution.

Tomorrow– the peak years of the village.. Part 4 b

17911042_1939481689621278_1408603826_n (1).jpg

Photo Nancy Hudson











Photo- Perth Remembered


The first industrial process on the site was operated by the Kilpatrick family beginning in 1842 and established as a tannery shortly thereafter.  In 1882 a new owner, Thomas Alfred Code, established Codes Custom Wool Mill with a range of processes, including: carding, spinning, fulling, shearing, pressing, and coloring of yarns. In 1896, its name was changed to the Tay Knitting Mill, and it produced yarn, hosiery, socks, gloves, sporting-goods, sweaters, and mitts. Another change came in 1899, when a felt-making process was introduced and the mill was renamed Code Felt. The company continued to operate until the closing of the factory in 1998.


51 Herriott – The Code Mill is actually a collage of five different buildings dating from 1842. T.A. Code moved to Perth in 1876, and bought this property by 1883. Code spent 60 years in business in Perth. The business started with a contract to supply the North West Mounted Police with socks, and continued for many years manufacturing felt for both industrial and commercial uses.

Code Felt Co today– Click here..


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In the 1883, Mr. T. A. Code established Codes Custom Wool Mill with a range of processes, including:  carding, spinning, fulling, shearing, pressing, and coloring of yarns. In 1896, its name was changed to the  Tay Knitting Mill, and it produced yarn, hosiery, socks, gloves, sporting-goods, sweaters, and mitts.  Another change came in 1899, when a felt-making process was introduced and the mill was renamed  Code Felt. The company continued to operate until the closing of the factory in 1998. The following year, John Stewart began a major restoration and introduced new uses for this landmark. This impressive limestone complex with its central atrium now has an interesting mix of commercial tenants.-Perth Remembered


How did I get this?

I purchased this journal online from a dealer in California. I made every attempt to make sure the journal came back to its rightful location. Every day I will be  putting up a new page so its contents are available to anyone. It is a well worn journal full of glued letters and newspaper clippings which I think belonged to Code’s son Allan at one point. Yes there is lots of genealogy in this journal. I am going to document it page by page. This journal was all handwritten and hand typed.

How did it get into the United States?  The book definitely belonged to Allan Code and he died in Ohio in 1969.

Allan Leslie Code

1896–1969 — BIRTH 27 MAR 1896  Ontario—DEATH JUN 1969  Mentor, Lake, Ohio, USA


Andrew Haydon.jpgAndrew Haydon- see bio below–He was the author of Pioneer Sketches of The District of Bathurst (Lanark and Renfrew Counties, Ontario) (The Ryerson Press, 1925) and Mackenzie King and the Liberal Party (Allen, 1930).


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 Original Thomas Alfred Code and Andrew Haydon Letters – —Part 1

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 2– Perth Mill

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 3– Genealogy Ennis

When Newspapers Gossiped–David Kerr Innisville

Kerr or Ennis? More about the Innisville Scoundrel

What Went Wrong with the Code Mill Fire in Innisville?

History of McLaren’s Depot — by Evelyn Gemmill and Elaine DeLisle

History of McLaren’s Depot — by Evelyn Gemmill and Elaine DeLisle


Photo from Clarendon Miller Archives

The Lanark County Genealogical Society is very honoured to have been sent this and to be able to publish it.

This is the history written by my deceased Mother Evelyn Gemmill and updated to present by myself for the 150thCelebration last year of The Snow Road Community Centre.  Sharon Dowdall also did a wonderful presentation on Snow Road and the school.
Thank you for your wonderful page on Facebook.  I really enjoy reading all the history of the area.
Elaine (Gemmill) DeLisle
Elphin, ON

History of McLaren’s Depot–Written by Evelyn Gemmill and Elaine DeLisle

Lot 11 Con 11 Palmerston, Frontenac County Ontario

Property:  Believed to be bought from the Crown by Gillies Lumber Co. who took McLaren on as a partner and later sold to him hence the name McLaren’s Depot.  McLaren sold to Canada Lumber Co. in 1880 who sold to William Richards in 1890.  In 1909 the Richard’s sold all but the store and about an acre of the property to David and Marion Gemmill.  David tore down all the log barns and built a new bank barn which stands across the road from where the farm house was.   In 1943 Elmer Gemmill bought the farm from his mother.  In 1974 Elmer and Evelyn Gemmill sold to their son Dale and Mary Gemmill.  In 2006 Dale and Mary sold the farm to their son Scott.  In 2013 the barns were divided off the farm and that piece of property was sold to John French and Molly Hartin.

Farm House:  In 1885 Canada Lumber Co. built the frame house 21’ x 27’ for their foreman by the name of Lenahan.  The original house had 3 rooms downstairs and 3 bedrooms and a hall upstairs with a summer kitchen on the back and a verandah across the front.  In 1928 the summer kitchen was torn down and an addition added with basement and 2 storeys, kitchen and bedroom with a cistern in the basement.  This addition was 16’ x 24’ with a verandah on both sides.  At the same time the two story woodshed was built 16’ x 24’.  The house was wired in 1944.  In 1948 the front verandah was replaced with a sun porch built by Elmer.   In 1950 the house was sided with red insul-brick siding.  In 1960 a waterline was put in coming from a well under the store.  It was 1975 before the hot water was put in.  In 1962 they built new chimney and put in furnace, and also put on an aluminum roof.  In 1969 had 10 storm windows were put on.  About 1950 a garage was built to the north.  It was torn down in April 1986 by Dale.  The woodshed is still standing.  Dale built his big garage for his sand and gravel business in 1997.  The farm house was torn down by Scott Gemmill on April 15th 2014.  Four generations of Gemmill’s had lived in it.

Residents of the Farm House over the years were:  The Lenahan family who, Mr. Lenahan was a foreman for McLaren and later Canada Lumber Co.  1893 -1904?  Chris Forbes and family then lived there.  He was book keeper for Canada Lumber Co. (His daughter Carrie was born June 1904) Johnston Buchanan lived in the house until 1909 when it was bought by my grandfather David Gemmill and his wife Marion Fair.  All their family were born in the house except the oldest Eldred who was born at Watson’s Corners.  Their family were Eldred, Doris, George, Elmer, Marion, Laura, Gerald and Stanley.  In 1943 Elmer Gemmill brought his new wife Evelyn Barrie also from Watson’s Corners to take over the farm from his mother after his father Dave died in 1940.  They raised their four children here, Dale, Earl, Walter and me, Elaine.  In 1974 Elmer retired and Dale returned with his wife Mary Pretty and their sons, Rodger, Scott.  A third child Cynthia then was born in 1977.  In June 1986 Dale and Mary purchased the store and moved there.  Rick and Diane Roberts rented the farm house with their children Lance and Cassandra until 1988.  In January 1989 Stephen Hermer and his family moved in and lived here until the house was torn down in 2014.

Barns:  The original barns were probably built by Gillies in about 1850.  The hay barn was frame with double threshing floor.  Sheep shed – frame.  The cow-byre and stable were log buildings.  An octagon silo was built beside the cow byre with a hen house built in a corner.  In 1921-22 these barns were torn down and the present Bank barn was built further back from the road.  The stable, cow byre, box stalls & silo, hay barn & granary were now all under one roof.  In 1978 the stable was torn out and an open cattle barn with cement floor was built.  In 1980 the silo was torn out and in 1981 the lumber on the front was replaced with new doors.  A milk room and entrance was built complete with sewage system and hot water put in.  The hen house was built inside the gate about 1960. In 1991 Sterling Laffin rented and remodeled the barn.  The barns were severed from the rest of the property in 2008.    Scott Gemmill built a new large house on the property at this time.  It was sold to John French and Molly Hartin in 2014.

Sugar Camps:  The first building was a black smiths’ shop built by the Lumber Co. with a stable below beside the rocks.  Part of this building was a frame building which housed a photographers shop.   After Gemmill’s bought in 1909 this shop was turned into the sugar camp where maple syrup was made and was used until 1940 when the roof fell in.  A new sugar camp was built in the middle of the sugar bush.  This camp was used when we were growing up and it had no electricity.  We had to carry all the syrup up a steep hill to get it home.  This camp was used until 1971 when the camp was moved back to the site of the original one.  This camp was torn down in 1989/90 and moved to the present site in Albert Millar’s sugar bush which was bought from Arnold Carson in 1984.  A story ran in the Lanark Era about the 100 consecutive years of syrup making in the Gemmill family in 2009, with Cole Gemmill tapping a tree.  He was the 5th generation to tap trees on this farm.  Because of failing health Dale Gemmill made syrup for the last time the spring of 2012.  As it was a poor year he only made 50 gallons of syrup.  The bush and camp have since been rented to Steven Skinner.

Log House:   This house was probably built as a trading post by Gillies Lumber Co. and later Peter McLaren used it as a store and Post Office (1870). The frame part was built on and rented.  A number of families lived in the two places; one of the first known was Fleetwood Millar who was a clerk in Allen’s store.  The Jim Patterson family lived in one part in 1906, when Jim drove a team for Isaac Allen.  (He had a brother Wilfred).  Lewis Trombley lived in the frame part and the Charles Kennedy family in the log house from 1906 – 1910.  Jim Duncan lived in the log house, sometime between 1910-1918.  His wife was Dolly Wright (Wright’s lived in a house where Glenn and Karen Patterson now live).  From 1918 to 1927 Mrs. Andrew Gemmill (Great-Grandma Gemmill) lived in the frame house. She was a midwife and helped deliver many of the local babies.  Her daughters Agnes (Mrs. Jim Richards) and Martha (Mrs. Frank George) and her sons Willard and Lorne, also a sister-in-law Agnes (Mrs. Frank King) lived with her part of this time. After 1927 the log part was turned into a Feed Store Shed for United Farms Co op run by David Gemmill (Grandpa).  In early 1930 when Highway 509 was under construction Bill McIntyre lived in the frame part, and then Watson and John Fair (Our grandmother’s brothers) were last known residents.  The frame part was torn down and log part was used for storage and as a garage.  (I remember as kids playing in there and dad always stored the sap cans in here.)  In 1970 the log house was sold for $175.00 by Elmer Gemmill and logs were taken to Loughborough Lake to build a cottage.

In 1971 approximately 1 acre was surveyed off for Dale Gemmill and deeds for this lot were turned back to Elmer and Evelyn in 1974 when they proceeded to build a new bungalow with full basement and 2 bedrooms, bath, kitchen and living room.  All conveniences were installed including electric heat, septic system, and well water with chimney from the basement.  The basement was divided into four parts, with storeroom, workshop, laundry room and rec room.  In 1975 the house was bricked by Brian Larocque of Lanark.  After Evelyn died in 1998, Dale and Mary purchased the house from the estate and rented it out for four years and then decided to build an addition and renovate the inside.  After building on a heated garage with a large bedroom and bathroom above and opening up the whole living area, they moved over from the store in November of 2003.  Elmer, Evelyn and Dale all passed away in this house, where they lived the last portion of their lives.

Drive Shed:  A large two story building beside the log house was used as a storage shed and shop.  In 1938 half of this shed was torn down and the remaining part was used as a machine and storage shed.  It was hit by lightning and burned to the ground the end of May 2006.

McLaren’s Depot Store:  The building that housed the store is reported to have been built by Canada Lumber Co. as a store and residence after 1890.  The store was run by the Richards family with Post Office brought back from McKinnon’s in fall of 1912.  Adam McGonegal rented and W. J. Clement operated the store until 1914 when it was moved to John A. Geddes’ store and station at the other end of the village of Snow Road.  In 1937 George Gemmill bought the store from Richards and ran it for 5 years and then sold to John A. Geddes in 1942.  In 1948 Max and Dorothy Millar bought the store and John A. Geddes’ business.  They lived there with their children Bob, Joanne and Sharon.  The post office was brought back to the store and was run by Max Millar from January 1, 1949 until November 10, 1973.  The store was bought by Americans Jerry and Phyllis Saylor March 31st 1973.  They opened a little restaurant on the side where the feed shed used to be and called it “The Dew Drop In”.  Saylor’s closed the business part of the store in 1978, but kept the post office until Dale and Mary Gemmill purchased the store from them in July of 1986 under the name D & M General Store.  They closed the store on October 31, 2010.  They tore down the store in March 2013.

New Homes:  In 1989 Sterling and Norma Laffin built a new home where the first and third sugar camp site was beside the big rock before going up Gemmill Rd.  It was sold to Nick Agiomavritis in 2010.

Scott Gemmill built a new home beside the Alex Trombley house in the fall of 1992 on a corner of the Gemmill farm. His Grandpa Elmer Gemmill and dad Dale helped him build it.  A beautiful stone wall was built along the driveway.  Scott has two children Cole and Sierra.  This house was sold to Cory Davenport and Lauren Scott in May 2013.

All of the original buildings in the McLaren’s Depot picture have been torn down but have been replaced with beautiful new homes.  Life goes on almost 150 years later…..

Written by Evelyn Gemmill and Elaine DeLisle

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)





From the Buchanan scrapbook

Millar Miller– Christopher and Sarah Allison and Packenham Genealogy

Millar Miller– Christopher and Sarah Allison and Packenham Genealogy


Photo–Adam Millar

MILLAR, Christopher and Sarah Allison

We first meet young Christopher Millar as a lad of 17 in his parent’s household in Pakenham, Lanark County. Both parents are listed as Ireland-born and all the 9 children were born in Upper Canada. Father Christopher Millar (1812-1877) was born 1812 in Limerick, Ireland; mother Elizabeth “Eliza” Comba ( 1814-1886), and both parents are buried at Cedar Hill Cemetery, Pakenham. For more click here- CLICK

Adam Millar- Great to see this!!
Christopher Millar is my great great great Grandfather. On his tombstone in the Cedar Hill cemetery his name is spelled with an ‘er'(Miller). On the side where is lists his wife it reads Eliza Comba wife of Christopher Millar with the ‘ar’. My dad had mentioned that there was a family dispute at some point and some kids went with ‘Millar’ and some went with ‘Miller’ but I’m unsure of the true origin.

It is a highlight for me to I should mention that my 3x great grandfather Chris was Chris sr.  In fact I lived on the original farm on concession 3 in Pakenham until June 2015 when I tragically had to sell it. Still kills me a little but I still have the history and a dream to be able to buy it back someday.  As for the different spellings of Millar/Miller go here is my input.


The old census in the original article is so cool to see especially thinking the family were living in a new version of the old home I was living in so recently. I am a descendant of Adam C Millar the 10 year old boy in the census. I know that line and some of 8 year old Young Millers lineage. The original 200 acre farm was split into two 100 acre parcels and given to Adam and Young. The parcels still have an odd division line as Christopher Sr insisted that each boy have equal tillable land due to the swamps of the Precambrian shield that they were farming on. I’m not sure but I have a feeling that was symbolic in the Millar/Miller split as Youngs descendants still use Miller where Adams line use Millar. Apparently Chris jr used Millar too.

The tombstone is kinda neat as it is  solid documentation of the dual names. My dad always told me that Youngs name came about as he was the ‘young lad’ and had to put something down for a name so they went with Young. Maybe that census was the genesis! The farm was and still is in the middle of nowhere. I was the first generation to be born with electricity. The farm got hydro in 1959 and a private phone line in 1999. The old farmhouse is over 160 years old!


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I have a photo that you would probably find interesting. I found it when cleaning out the old farm house. It is a group photo of all of Almonte High School 1933/34. Unfortunately it’s hard to get a good photo of but I’ll attach one. My grandfather Blake Millar is front row right above the ‘L’ of school and the ’19’ of 1933-34 on the stamp on the photo. That would have been his grade 9 year. Also neat to see the old houses and gym equipment in the background of the photo. I’m sure it was taken on the track outside the high school.
Anyways I appreciate your commitment and am always happy to see Millar’s pop up in your articles. Thanks! -Adam Wayne Andrew Millar


Thanks Adam for this. Because of your input we can solve a few more genealogy mysteries. Keep sending those notes in please!! Our history depends on you!


Hi Linda,
   Thanks for replying to my comments regarding Charles Millar and Elizabeth Comba (Millar). As I mentioned Thomas Hampton Comba was the brother of Elizabeth Comba(Millar) and is my 3 x great grandfather. He was one of the original settlers in Pakenham and was part of the Andrew Dickson settlement arriving in 1832.
   Thomas was married to Mary-Ann Millar the brother of Christopher Millar. So the Comba siblings (Thomas and Elizabeth), married the Millar siblings (Charles and Mary-Ann).
Thomas was born around 1798 in Limerick Ireland and died in 1884. Mary-Ann was born in 1806 in Ireland and died in 1897. They are burried in the old Methodist cemetery in Cedar Hill. I have attached pictures of Thomas Comba and Mary-Ann Millar as well as their headstones.
   Thomas was a stone mason by trade and it is rumoured that he worked on some of the buildings in Almonte. He settled permanently on Lot 8 Concession 9 (200 acres), and took up dairy farming, had a sawmill and sold potash. His home dating from around 1863 still exists and is located at the end of Comba Lane off Hwy 29 between Pakenham and Almonte. You can still see evidence  of the stone dam that he built on Glens Creek to drive the sawmill, as well as the sawmill which is attached to the house.
   As background, the Millars (Muellers), were not really Irish but Palatine refugees from Germany. They along with many other Palatine refugees were given land in Southern Ireland during the 1700s by the British crown partly  to increase the number of Protestants in Ireland.
Best Regards,
Jim   Irwin
Terence Miller
Hi Linda, Last year I sent a copy of our family history “From Little Towns” tp Almonte , Carleton Place, and Perth Libraries. Our Great Grandather came to Almonte late 1800
I was born in Carleton Place 1940. My brother and I are fans of your work and are grateful that you are dedicated to bring the past of Ottawa Valley back to life.
Thanks Terry

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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 Hendry Henry Family– Lanark County–Genealogy Tip


Millar Miller– Christopher and Sarah Allison and Packenham Genealogy

Edwards Genealogy– Family Photo Album

James Stewart Ferguson– Lanark County Genealogy


The Oldest Queen’s Graduate D.W. Stewart– Middleville — Lanark Genealogy

Middleville Genealogy-McIlraith- Sommerville

Connecting the Bread to Go with Mr. Jelly-Carleton Place Genealogy

Muirhead Gillies and the Boxes Are All Related–Genealogy and Photos

Photos of Austin Bain Gillies— Gillies Family Genealogy

Names Names Names of St. James Carleton Place Genealogy

The Sinclair Family Cemetery–Photos by Lawrie Sweet with Sinclair Genealogy Notes

Trodden Wright Genealogy