This is not the first time we have seen young men disappear or leave home. Originally documented when 5 to 14 years old in 1880, these boys are traced to the 1900 census when they were young adults. In general, the decision to leave farming was related to the urban-industrial “pull” of the surrounding environment and the degree of farm mechanization of the community. While migratory behavior correlates positively with occupational change, the major social correlates are somewhat different.
There was also the exodus to Manitoba, which was a milestone in Lanark County in the late 1800s. From north to south and east to west the farmers and farmers’ sons were flocking westward. The main reason was that it was said Manitoba was the destination of finally having good fortune in farming.
The results of farming were terrible in the years of 1880- 1890 and a hay crop had failed owing to drought in summer of 1888. Yesterday I learned in the Almonte Gazette there was a terrible infestation of insects and grasshoppers that ate the crops that summer of 1888. The spring of 1889 was turned into rain and dampness which also hindered growing. Read- When Crops Failed — Lanark County Went Manitoba Dreamin’
John Elliott never turned up anywhere– so he either ran of foul play, changed his name, and the list is endless.
When Mrs. John Blakeley bid good bye to her brother 38 years ago, when she was a little girl, she was devastated. Then years later she heard that he was dead. Over 23 years ago a certificate of death issued by the Foresters of which society he was a member. Then to find him walk calmly into her home on Wednesday morning and announce himself alive was the experience of Mrs. John Blakeley, of Almonte, wife of the manager of the Yorkshire Wool Stock Company. ( Read-MIDNIGHT FIRE DESTROYS THE YORKSHIRE WOOL STOCK MILL 1923)
Mr. J. C. Wilson, the long lost brother, lives in Minneapolis. He has prospered during these long years that he was supposed to be dead. Apparently the rumor of his death arose through a similarity of names, some one of the name of J. C. Wilson having really passed away.
A week or so ago Mr. Wilson was determined to revisit Canada and see once again the members of his family. He went to Brantford where he had been ‘brought up’. When he arrived in the morning and found that his father at the age of 89 still lived in the red “brick house” of his boyhood. The old gentleman was pale and hearty. His father had never really believed that his son was dead, and when his daughter announced that a gentleman-whom he had not seen for a long time had come to visit him he asked:
“Is it my boy, Jake?”
Mrs. G. H. Fair, the sister of Mr. Wilson, who resides with her father In Brantford, accompanied her brother to Almonte. So this week in the Blakeley home in New England part of Almonte was a family gathering which renews acquaintance.
In the 1921 Census.. he was named as visiting along with his sister and her daughters from Brantford.
BLAKELEY family street naming application information for the Town of Almonte– click here..
My Great Grandfather, John Blakeley, came to Almonte with his family in 1919… over a hundred years ago. He took up residence on 24 Malcolm St. in April of 1919, and managed the Shoddy Mill for about 10 years until his death in 1929.
The Almonte Gazette archives show that he was elected to the Town Council in 1921, as well as to the Board of Education in 1925. He was involved in many of the town’s activities over the years, even being named an Honorary President of the Almonte Hockey Club.
The Blakeley descendants have had a long standing and prolific presence in Almonte over the years. My grandparents, Tom and Lillian Blakeley, raised seven children in their home at 229 Ann Street, and Uncle Bill and Aunt Clara Blakeley raised four children at 115 Colina Street.
John Blakeley’s sons, Tom, and Bill, and Bill’s son, Keith, were all longstanding members of the Almonte Fire Dept.; my grandfather Tom Blakeley retiring after 35 years in 1958, and his brother, my Uncle Bill, served for 51 years. Keith rose to the position of Deputy Chief of the Almonte-Ramsay Fire Dept. until he passed away in 1983.
My Uncles Don Blakeley and Earl Blakeley, and Bill Blakeley’s son, Wally Blakeley all served overseas, but Wally did not make it home. In a June 17, 1944 letter… 11 days after D-Day… from my Uncle Don to my grandmother while he was overseas he wrote “I bet there was quite the excitement the day we landed, eh! I’d have liked to seen one of the papers. ”. Almonte was there and was part of D-Day!! There is a graphite portrait of my Uncle Earl in the Canadian War Museum as part of an exhibit of 14 portraits of Canadian War Veterans.
My Aunt Clara Blakeley, wife of Bill Blakeley, was a Silver Cross Mother because her son, Wally, was killed in action. In addition to our family’s wartime service, in peacetime, my dad, Murray Blakeley, first served in the Royal Canadian Navy aboard the HMCS New Liskeard, as well as in the mid 1950s he was a soldier in the Regular Army stationed at Camp Borden.
Our family’s service information can be verified by the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 240.
My mother, Marion Blakeley, was a nurse in the Rosamond Memorial Hospital, and then in the new Almonte General Hospital when it opened in 1961. As I recall being told, she was involved in the delivery of the last baby to be born in the Rosamond Hospital, and the first baby to be born in the new hospital.
My grandmother, Lillian Blakeley, worked at the candy counter and my grandfather’s sister, Edna, worked at the ticket booth of the O’Brien Theatre for many years. Keith Blakeley, in addition to his service on the Almonte Fire Dept., was also Director of the Almonte Fair Board for a number of years. Keith and Stella Blakeley’s daughter, Bonnie, was a school teacher in Almonte and Pakenham, and their other daughter, Sherry, served on Almonte Town Council for 7 years under Mayors Dorothy Finner and Ron Pettem.
The archives of the Almonte Gazette follow the progress of myself, my siblings, and my cousins as we progressed through school year after year, as well as a number of articles telling of the happy events and the sad ones our family experienced.
People in this part of Ontario were pleasantly surprised on Sunday morning to hear an announcement over C.F.R.A. to the effect that Mr. Frank Bates, clerk-treasurer of Lanark Township, who had been missing from his home at Hopetown for over a month had communicated with his relatives.
It appears that Mr. Bates, who was suffering from amnesia, was at the Empire Hotel in Winnipeg when he telephoned his brother in-law, Mr. James Wiliis of Lanark Village. Mr. Willis and his sister, Mrs. Bates, left at once for “Winnipeg and Mr. Bates came home with them.
The man whose disappearance caused such a mild sensation is a veteran of the last World War and added to the strain of his period of service, was a head injury which he received some five years ago when he was kicked by a horse.
In addition to his duties as clerk treasurer of the township, he had a farm and he was also on the staff of the unemployment insurance office in Perth. Just before he disappeared, an order had -come through from the civil -service commission making his post permanent.What puzzled the police and his friends, who prosecuted a search for Mr. Bates, was the absence of any motive. His books were in good shape and he had no more serious domestic and social anxieties than other people have in this fast moving age.
He was seen in Toronto by a man who knew him well enough to recognize him and that was the last that was known of his movements until the welcome message came from him at Winnipeg. People in this county were very sorry for his family, especially his wife. She was made acting clerk treasurer of the township during his absence and carried on the duties in a way most satisfactory.
Clipped from The Ottawa Journal, 22 Jul 1974, Mon, First Edition, Page 2
First we lost a few skids of stone from the Findlay house on High Street that were supposed to be saved. Later I found out that the missing stone is sitting on McArthur Island along with the stone from Central School and Prince of Wales. (some of the school’s stone was used as fill to fill up the river channel next to the Gilles building down by the back bridges)
No one is aware that this cairn existed except a few, but the article above from the Ottawa Journal says it does. Saturday I drove around and around the block and saw nothing but this concrete slab. It looked like something was once in there?
David Robertson seems to remember a cairn but not at this location as pictured but down the street straight off the side of the building. “I seem to remember someone telling me the cement base pictured was a location of a water well with pump — I could be wrong”.
Bill Brunton thinks it was located right across the street from Barbara Couch’s old house and David thinks he is right. Bill also mentioned that he thinks the cairn was once hit by a car?
Today I went back and think this is the location just on top of the wee hill as you can see the stone buried in the ground, or what is left of it.
This is what it looked like – Info below.
The beautiful Prince of Wales school was demolished in 1971 to make space for a senior citizens residence. A stone cairn was erected by some of those residents in memory of the building, but it no longer stands. What happened to this cairn? (There are rumors of a car hitting it!) Well, we’ve just recently found photos of it’s unveiling and the wording on the plaque. Let’s get this memorial replaced!
Cairns of Carleton Place
Findlay Memorial Cairn-High Street
This is the Findlay Memorial Cairn, located on the site of the first foundry on High Street. It gets missed, tucked away on the north side of High Street in a tiny little park with a shuffleboard court! All that remains is an empty field and a cairn of a once great company. The Findlay Cairn on High Street–The Inner Remains of the Findlay Foundry
In Riverside Park there lies a little-known site which is of some interest in the town’s history. It is found at the extreme end of the town’s park, near Lake Avenue and close to the Mississippi River. This was a burial ground, where members of one of the first families of settlers of the town were laid in a now unmarked graveyard. The late Alex John Duff, Beckwith farmer, that he recalled this burial ground in his youth in the 1880s as being at that time a little cemetery about 15 or 20 feet square, a gravestone in which bore the name Catin Willis.
Discovery of this site in 1946 was reported at a Carleton Place Parks Commission meeting, at which the suggestion was made that the area should be marked as a historical site by erection of a cairn. Later the remains were exhumed and moved to the United Church cemetery. – Whatcha’ Talkin Bout Willis? — This Old House in Carleton Place
The Morphy Cram on Emily Street
The Cairn above placed on the property now owned by The Bell Telephone Company, which was the original burying site for the Morphy Family, first settlers of this area. In 1819 Edmond Morphy, his wife Barbara Miller and their eight children, the first residents on the site of Carleton Place, emigrated to Upper Canada from Ireland and settled here.–Read more The Statue of Liberty of Carleton Place