Tag Archives: milliners

The Mayhew Sisters Business Women of Carleton Place — Schwerdtfeger Genealogy

The Mayhew Sisters Business Women of Carleton Place — Schwerdtfeger Genealogy

Miss Bertha Mayhew ran her own millinery shop on the main street of Carleton Place in the late 1800’s. She had learned the trade from her older sisters who ran “The Misses Mayhew” hat and dress shop in Pakenham.

After falling in love with and marrying the shopkeeper next door, barber and tobacconist Henry Schwerdtfeger, she closed her shop and Henry took over the entire main floor for his businesses. The couple continued to live upstairs with their daughters Gladys and Hazel before buying a large red brick home on Lake Avenue West. 

Bertha continued to work out of her home, and years later, when daughter Hazel died in 1988, executors discovered boxes and boxes of hats and millinery supplies in the attic. Many taxidermy birds, lace, netting, beadwork, chenille flowers and buttons are still in their original packaging. With great foresight, this collection was donated to the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum by the Hazel Schwerdtfeger Estate. Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum 2014

Miss M. A. Mayhew, who has been in poor health for several months, passed away somewhat unexpectedly Monday afternoon. Her trouble was a heart failure. Miss Mayhew was a daughter of the late Ephriam Mayhew of Athens, Ont., and was 65 years of age. She came to Carleton Place with her sister Sophia in 1879, the two embarking in business here as milliners and dressmakers. Sophia died in 1887, and Adeline continued the business until three years ago, when she retired. They were successful, and built the block known by their name on Bridge street. May 8th 1903 Almonte Gazette

As Good as New and Good Food Company now on Bridge Street-

Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Bertha Mayhew was 20 years younger than her sister Mary Adeline and 23 years younger than her sister Sophia. In 1879 the sisters moved to Carleton Place from Pakenham and set up shop on Bridge Street, as noted in the Carleton Place Directory listing: “Mayhew, Miss Adeline (S. & A. Mayhew)”. ((Sophia and Mary Adeline)

In the late 1800’s Bertha ( Bertie) Opa Mayhew of Carleton Place,Ontario was running her sister’s milliner on Bridge Street right next to dashing Henry Schwerdtfeger who ran the local tobacco store. The two sisters had been listed as Milliners & Dressmakers in Pakenham, Ontario, but it looks like the oldest Mary Adeline came to Carleton Place and set up the business first.

Sophia was listed as living in Pakenham and spending most of her time in Carleton Place. read-Before the Schwerdtfeger Sisters – There was Aunt Sophia

Bertha O Mayhew
10 August 1865
5 November 1939-

Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Bertha Mayhew
Marriage Date:
29 Jan 1890
Marriage Place:
Canada, Carleton Place, Ontario–

Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Bertha looks like she was a late child of the Mayhew family and was sent to live with her sister in Carleton Place and learn the business. Mary Adeline owned the building with Sophia and as the sisters died off it was gradually passed down to Bertha upon the death of Mary in 1903. Henry Schwerdtfeger ran the local tobacco store where the Good Food Co was and after he married her, she closed down the business and expanded his tobacco business in there and likely took care of her affairs which included being the proprietor of the building. The Schwerdtfeger ‘s had two daughters: Hazel and Gladys.


In the 1891 census the newlyweds are living with Mary and I imagine they were still all living together until Mary died.

Mary A Mayhew52Head
Henry A Schmondfeger27Lodger
Bertha Schmondfeger27Lodger

After their parents Henry and Bertha died, sisters Hazel and Gladysl, (who never married) lived together in the old family home on Lake Ave West. Hazel became a registered nurse and the sisters lovingly kept all their mother’s millinery sundries and later donated the collection to the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum. A large portion of Hazel’s estate was willed to the Victorian Order of Nurses in Carleton Place, and as a tribute, the former V.O.N. building on Campbell Street was named Hazel House with a portrait  of her and her sister hung in the foyer

Patti LennoxThe VON building was built because of a generous bequest from the Schwerdtfeger sisters. Until the building sold last year, their pictures (along with a plaque commemorating the building opening) hung in our reception area.

Henry Schwerdtfeger had left his daughters a monthly stipend, but as the cost of living got higher it just was not enough to live on. Once in awhile when money ran low they used to go buy furniture at Home Hardware on their late fathers account and then return the merchandise for cash the next day. No one ever said anything about their habits as they were extremely loyal customers.

According to the late resident Carmen Lalonde who worked for EADES Home Hardware on Bridge Street; he remembered the two sisters very well. Some considered the two quite odd, with one sister always leading the way at a quick gait, and the other one huffing and puffing behind her.

One summer day a man attempted to enter the Schwerdtfeger sisters home through a basement window and alarmed the sisters. Soon the locking of doors and windows became routine, and when repairmen entered they found themselves locked inside the house with the sisters until the job was done. The daughters of milliner Bertha Mayhew Schwerdtfeger will always be fondly known by their pillbox hats–one wore red, and the other one blue.

Gladys and Hazel Schwerdtfeger at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Riverside Heights (1972)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is genea.jpeg

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 28e29769-fb74-4dde-8530-cec9c1b3080a.jpg
Henry Norman Schwerdtfeger 
Bertha Mayhew 
Gladys Adeline Schwerdtfeger 
Hazel Mae Schwerdtfeger 

United (Pine Grove, Maple Wood, St. Fillan’s), Lanark, Ontario

Name:Bertha Schwerdtfeger
Birth Date:10 Aug 1865
Death Date:5 Nov 1939
Cemetery:United Cemeteries
Burial or Cremation Place:Beckwith, Lanark County, Ontario, Canada
Has Bio?:N
Spouse:Henry Norman Schwerdtfeger
Children:Infant Son SchwerdtfegerGladys Adeline SchwerdtfegerHazel Mae Schwerdtfeger
Name:Bertha Mayhew
Origin:Scottish (Scotish)
Birth Date:1864
Birth Place:Ontario
Residence Place:Pakenham, Lanark North, Ontario
District Number:80
Neighbours:View others on page
Household MembersAgeSophia Mayhew30Adeline Mayhew27Walter Mayhew17Bertha Mayhew7

1871 Census

1911 Census

Name:Bertha Schwerdfeger[Bertha Schwerdtfeger]
Racial or Tribal Origin:Canadian
Marital Status:Married
Birth Year:abt 1865
Birth Place:Ontario
Residence Date:1 Jun 1921
House Number:90
Residence Street or Township:Lake Ave
Residence City, Town or Village:Town of Carleton Place
Residence District:Lanark
Residence Province or Territory:OntarioOntario
Residence Country:Canada
Relation to Head of House:Wife
Spouse’s Name:Henry Schwerdfeger
Father Birth Place:Ontario
Mother Birth Place:Ontario
Can Speak English?:Yes
Can Speak French?:No
Can Read?:Yes
Can Write?:Yes
Municipality:Carleton Place
Enumeration District:97
Sub-District:Carleton Place (Town)
Sub-District Number:51
Enumerator:Norman Williamson
District Description:Polling Division No. 6 – Comprising that part of the town south of the 12th concession line and west of Rochester street and Franktown Road
Neighbours:View others on page
Line Number:10
Family Number:92
Household MembersAgeRelationshipHenry Schwerdfeger56HeadBertha Schwerdfeger56WifeGladys Schwerdfeger19DaughterHazel Schwerdfeger17Daughter

Mayhew family


Inscription: [Edit]
In Memory Of
Ephraim Mayhew
Who Died
Nov. 19, 1884
at 77 Years

In Memory Of
Polly Middleton
Wife Of
Ephraim Mayhew
Who Died
Feb. 12, 1869
at 59 Years.

In Memory Of
Mary Adeline Mayhew
Who Died
May 4, 1903
At 55 Years.

In Memory Of
Sophia Mayhew
Who Died
June 13, 1887
At 54 Years,
5 Mon. & 9 Da.

Gravesite Details This Stone is in it’s own fenced in Plot on the Eastern side of the Lyndhurst (Abandoned) Cemetery.

Lyndhurst CemeteryLyndhurst, Leeds and Grenville United Counties, Ontario, Canada

Name:Mary A Mahen[Mary A Mayhew]
Marital Status:Single
Birth Year:abt 1839
Birth Place:United States
Residence Date:1891
Residence Place:Carleton Place, Lanark South, Ontario, Canada
Relation to Head:Head
Number of Employees:7
Can Read:Yes
Can Write:Yes
French Canadian:No
Father’s Birth Place:Ontario
Mother’s Birth Place:Ontario
Neighbours:View others on page
Household MembersAgeRelationshipMary A Mahen52HeadHenry A Schmondfeger27LodgerBertha Schmondfeger27Lodger

1891 Census

Film No 186296 Vol 18 – 21Ephraim Mayhew 64 Edwardsburg Lewis / Sarah Anne Livingstone 62 Edwardsburg Henry Gale / Polly June 19, 1872 Yonge 348

Related reading

Before the Schwerdtfeger Sisters – There was Aunt Sophia

The Unusual Schwerdtfegers — Genealogy

Reverend Schwerdtfeger Buried in the St. Lawrence Seaway

A Letter from a Local Student Nurse 1930s

Before the Schwerdtfeger Sisters – There was Aunt Sophia

So was there Money Hidden in the Schwerdtfeger House?

The Schwerdtfegerisms of Tobacco and Gambling

Honey Blaine

Years later when both sisters were seniors. Hazel had a stroke. Everyday Gladys took Hazel out for a walk holding her hand and initially almost pulling her. In the beginning Hazel could only walk a block. But Gladys never stopped her care or Rehabilitation of her sister. Eventually Hazel was able to walk 2 blocks which put them at my house at 6 Lake Ave West. But Hazel was not able to walk back that first day, so they stopped on my front steps. I had been watching the two sisters with admiration and realized Hazel was feeling quite stressed so we all had a cup of tea and a cookie on my front steps. Oh I forgot to say both Sisters would spread out their skirts to look nice ( almost Southern) and enjoy their tea like real Ladies. They were very sweet! Gladys continued her loving care of Hazel who eventually could walk on her own. But they were both so sweet they often stopped for tea on a tired day. 6 Lake Ave. W was originally the home of JG Craigs. Mr Craig was the 1st RBC Bank Manager and very well esteemed. He also was the proud owner of one of the 1st cars in Carleton Place and initially there was a 2 car garage behind the house. I purchased the house from the Craig Estate and they had loved their house so much that my husband and I had to be interviewed by the Executor of the Estate to ensure we were Reputable enough to buy the home.



“Standing in the Snow Saturday”.

Gladys Schwerdtfeger and Perky were enjoying the snow in front of their home at 68 Lake Avenue. Gladys grew up in the house with her sister Hazel.