The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
11 Aug 2001, Sat • Page 31
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
11 Aug 2001, Sat • Page 31
The boyhood home of an Ottawa Valley hero was up for sale in 2001. Set on a breathtaking piece of farmland, not far from the edge of the Mississippi River, the Georgian-style stone home, where basketball’s inventor James Naismith grew up, has been put on the market by the Almonte family who restored it during the past 12 years.
Owners of the Naismith home are asking $495,000 for the charming piece of sports history. Though the famed occupant’s original game involved nailing’ a couple of peach baskets to either end of a gymnasium, the driveway now features a beat-up basketball hoop, something clearly used by the four boys. Greg and Marianne Smith bought the 150-year old home when their four sons were young, hoping to make a homestead the boys would return to once they were adults.
But priorities have changed since the couple put hours of work into restoring the home. When they bought the 45-acre piece of land, the Smiths were keen to farm and bring their boys up with the farming traditions. They lived the dream, but now the boys are in their teens and their interests have changed. Galen, 17, is getting his pilot’s licence; Jonah, 16, is interested in cooking; and Colin, 14, and Darcy, 12, are getting into kayaking.
“We had horses and chickens and lambs, but we’ve evolved out ,” Mr. Smith said. Earlier on, the Smiths had subdivided their land so they could build a new home at the back of the property overlooking the Mississippi, an area Mrs. Smith and the family’s German Shepherd, Harley, walk every day. The new house will be bigger, with a solarium, hot tub, and screened sun porch. The design will maximize the picturesque view of the lazy, winding river. “If we could have taken this house and put it on a smaller lot on the river, we would have. We’ll really miss this house because it’s so full of character and all our memories,” says Mr. Smith. “Our youngest boy was born here. The oldest was four when we came.”
Outside the home, on County Road 29, a passersby can read a plaque detailing the connection to James Naismith. The local hero was born in November 1861, in a home on the same property, all of which was owned by his extended family. Unseen James Naismith Photos and his Real Birthplace
When he was nine years old, his father got work at Grand Calumet and the family moved. But typhoid fever felled both parents, leaving nine-year-old James, his sister and brother orphans. The young trio returned to the stone home and were brought up by their uncle. Today there are memories of James Naismith in the restored rooms. The Smiths were diligent in the restoration, repairing stone work, refinishing floors, re-installing the trademark wrap-around veranda’ and reshingling the roof with cedar.
The family also added a delightful sunroom, complete with a full wall of windows. This attractive room houses a computer, an upright piano and terracotta tiles that give this Ottawa Valley home a sunny southern feel.
Some of the work was done on the advice of the Ontario Heritage Foundation, which gave the family a $87,000 grant over three years to complete the $130,000 restoration. Inside, they returned the kitchen to its original location, adjacent to the old fireplace, which, needless to say, they no longer use for cooking.
The kitchen, with a long dining table, boasts deep inset windows set into thick exterior walls. The door at the formal entrance to the home, is surrounded by windows, but it’s the fanciful carved-wood veranda that defines the character of this stone house. The Smiths got most of their clues for the facade’s restoration from a 1890s photograph given to them by their neighbours and previous owners of the home, the Graces.
“When we bought the house, there was no trace of this veranda and the shutters were all gone,” said Mr. Smith. “But this photo really helped. We knew the kind of wood and exactly what it looked like, how it had a curved roof and came in just under this window. We found the corner posts and so we knew the exact dimensions. This photo gave us everything we needed to put it back the way it was 100 years ago.”
Thick-slabbed pine floors fill the inside hallway from the front door. To the left is Mr. Smith’s home office, where he works as a communications consultant. To the right is a double parlour, which the busy family uses as a living room and dining room. Upstairs, rather than refinishing the floors, the Smiths carpeted. The four bedrooms are basic rooms, with sloped ceilings.
The front gable and window would have housed a sewing room, Mr. Smith speculated, but has since been turned into a full bath. The fifth bedroom, which could be used as a family room, is on the main floor, just behind the kitchen. The home has changed hands a number of times over its long history. The Grace family, from whom the Smiths bought it in 1988, owned it for more than 60 years. “We’ve heard that it had been used as a grain storage house and that the farmers used it as a headquarters when they were building the highway,” Mr. Smith said. “It had deteriorated a bit- but no longer.”
The actual old family house and birthplace of Dr. James Naismith.
A photograph of Annie Naismith, sister of Dr. James Naismith, outside the old family house and birthplace of Dr. James Naismith. This week after doing some research I stumbled upon these photos by accident. I put up a few of these photos on Facebook and history was suddenly not what it seemed. We have always assumed Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball was born in the stone home on Highway 29, just outside of Almonte and just past the Mill of Kintail exit. So I found out the rest of the story from local historian Rose Mary Sarsfield who got the information from another iconic local historian Marilyn Snedden.
A photograph of Annie Naismith, the sister of Dr. James Naismith, outside the old family house and birthplace of James Naismith.
Clayton Historian Rose Mary Sarsfield-— Here is the real story according to Marilyn Snedden who has done years of research in this area. The house pictured above where James Naismith first lived as a child, “was where Kay Grace and now Dianna Nanne live-the bungalow to the north of the Naismith House. There was a Peter Naismith in the Cheryl Patterson house early on and James’ father John worked there before he went to Fort Coulonge. I think Peter was an uncle of John but the family of course had all the same names.” The family moved to Fort Coulonge where James’ father started a sawmill but the mill burned down and then the father got typhoid fever and died.
House on Highway 29 that was once was once the childhood home of Dr. James Naismith, the creator of basketball, but he was never born there– now Evermore Wedding Events– and there is a heritage plaque in the front of it.
The mother wrote to her mother Janet Young (who lived in the house that we now know as the Naismith house on Highway 29) to send someone for her children. Her single brother Peter went and got the children. The mother also died and soon after the Young grandparents also died so the single brother Peter Young was left to raise the three Naismith children.
These photographs were part of a group of 6 photographs donated by Jim Naismith, the grandson of Dr. Naismith, and originally scanned and sent to him by Marilyn Snedden who lives near Bennies Corners near Almonte, Ontario.
Peter J. Young and Annie Naismith outside their house in Almonte, Ontario
A photograph of Peter J. Young, Dr. James Naismith’s uncle, and Annie Naismith, Naismith’s sister, standing outside a door to their house in Almonte Ontario.
According to Steve Maynard this home is at 81 Union Street in Almonte
According to the file name of this digital photograph, this is photograph of family portraits of John Naismith’s Family. The John referred to could by the father of Dr. James Naismith, but this was not identified. Naismith also had a son, John Edwin Naismith. The portraits were not identified either. There are four photographs shown, sitting on top of a piece of furniture. This photograph was part of a group of 6 photographs donated by Jim Naismith, the grandson of Dr. Naismith, and originally scanned and sent to him by Marilyn Snedden who lives near Bennies Corners near Almonte, Ontario.
The top photograph shows Dr. James Naismith and family sitting on a porch of a cabin. The photograph has information written on the side and on the actual photograph. At the bottom of the photograph is written “Uncle Jim, Mama ‘M….’ Jim ‘Papa Jimmy” a t Redfeather – 1922 (?)” . The exact date and the name of “Mama….” are hard to make out. According to this information Dr. Naismith is seated on the right, holding his standing grandson Jim, Mama (perhaps Maude Naismith) is seated in a rocking chair in the middle of the porch, and Naismith’s son, Jim is seated on the left. He is wearing a hat. The photograph is fro Red Feather, Colorado. These three photographs were sent to and donated to the Springfield College Archives and Special Collections by Lauren and Rachael Naismith, the daughters of Naismith’s grandson, Jim, shown in this picture. It is believed that one of them wrote the notes on the sides of the photographs.
Copies of three photographs of Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of Basketball, and his family. These include two photos taken in Lawrence Kansas on the campus of Kansas University. One of these shows two students doing a balancing routine with one student laying on his back in the grass with his knees bent and the other in a handstand being supported by the lower man’s outstretched arms and with his own hands on the students knees. Naismith is standing beside them, leaning back and pointing at the student doing the handstand. Buildings on the campus are seen behind them. The other photo is of Naismith and two students holding aloft lacrosse sticks while leaping in the air. The sticks meet above them. Again, buildings on the campus of Kansas State University can be seen behind them.
According to the file name of this digital photograph, this is photograph of family portraits of John Naismith’s Family. The John referred to could by the father of Dr. James Naismith, but this was not identified. Naismith also had a son, John Edwin Naismith. The portraits were not identified either. There are four photographs shown, sitting on top of a piece of furniture. This photograph was part of a group of 6 photographs donated by Jim Naismith, the grandson of Dr. Naismith, and originally scanned and sent to him by Marilyn Snedden who lives near Bennies Corners near Almonte, Ontario
This is a card that states that Dr. James Naismith received an honorary degree in 1910 from the official records at Springfield College (then the International YMCA Training School). At the top of this card, handwritten, it states, he received a “M.P.E. degree” which stands for a Masters of Physical Education.
A picture of Dr. James Naismith with fellow alumni in front of Alumni Hall on the Springfield College Campus. Among those in this picture is Thomas D. Patton, who was a student in the secretarial class that first played basketball.
This document contains three hand-written pages and two typed pages. The typed pages are titled, “Biographical encyclopaedia,” and they describe the following aspects of James Naismith’s life: education, career, membership in societies, social and honor fraternities, military activities, civic societies, genealogy, honors, and athletics. The typed pages appear to be a more organized version of the first three hand-written pages. Who created this biographical information is not known.
Article titled “Dr. J. A. Naismith succumbs at 78,” subtitled “Heart disease claims inventor of Basketball; once studied ministry,” published November 28, 1939 by Buffalo Eve News. Has headings in the body as “Combined other games” and “Was native Canadian.” Frank Mahan suggested that the game be called Naismith Ball, but Naismith objected.
The McArthur Love Story
One of the highlights of the Norway celebrations, “One Hundred Plus Five” was the unveiling of a plaque marking the spot where Neil McArthur built the very first habitation in Norway Bay in 1853.
This ceremony was performed by Mr. J. G. Larivere, Member for Pontiac, assisted by the octogenarian grandson of that pioneer builder, Mr. Lorne McArthur along with his grandson, David Nugent.
Article from the Almonte Gazette – 1972
A Ramsay Elopement
By Edna Gardiner Lowry.
At the resort area of Norway Bay on the Ottawa River a plaque was erected in 1972 to mark the spot where the earliest home in the area was built back in 1853. There was only forest there then, with no indication of the summer recreational spot that Norway Bay presents today.
The author learned about the romance that led to the establishment of that humble home from Mr. Lorne McArthur of Ottawa, a grandson of the young people who built it, and from Mrs. Peter Syme of Ramsay, and from several other sources.
Ellen Naismith was a lovely young lady of twenty years, who lived with her parents on their farm on the sixth concession of Ramsay. Across the Clayton Road lived a young man, Neil McArthur. They were deeply in love with each other and hoped to marry before long. Neil with his father, Archie McArthur, had come to Ramsay in 1847 from McArthur’s Mills in Renfrew County. Mr. McArthur bought the farm from Mr. James Bowes who had settled there in 1821.
Young Neil was a fine looking young man of twenty-five when he went to the lumber camp some distance away to earn money during the winter months. He had a very special reason to earn all he could as he intended to marry Ellen Naismith when he came back in the spring.
Sad to say, Ellen’s parents were not keen on her marrying Neil. They had set their hearts on her marrying another young man in the neighbourhood who was much better off financially.
The mother tried to encourage Ellen to accept his attentions. Ellen objected and cried, saying that she loved only Neil; but in spite of her pleadings, her mother went on making preparations for the wedding, so it would be over before Neil returned home from his winter’s work. The date was set for March 17th, 1853. A very lovely wedding dress was made for the event. Arrangements had been made with the minister of the Auld Kirk and all was in readiness.
Neil was seventy-five miles away to the northwest at McArthur’s Mills where his older brother was starting up a lumber business. Here he would work all winter and bring home his pay in the spring. He had kissed his sweetheart goodbye when he left and both of them looked forward to that great day when he would return to claim his bride. Now, Ellen’s heart was torn with agony, but there was no way for her to contact Neil.
Finally in the early part of March, Ellen learned that some men from Almonte were soon going up to McArthur’s Mills to help with the sawing of logs into lumber. She wrote a long letter to Neil telling him the state of affairs and how if he could not get home in time she would be forced to marry another and she begged him to come quickly.
Somehow she got the letter into the hands of one of the men who was going north, but by the time Neil got it there were only three days left before the wedding date and he was far from home.
When he got the word, he immediately drew his pay and set out for home.
At home in Ramsay, Ellen waited! Her mother went on busily preparing for the wedding. The invitations were out, the house was in order and much of the baking was done in readiness for the approaching occasion.
On the night of March the 16th, Ellen’s mother suggested that she retire early to get her beauty sleep. She sadly went off to her room at the rear of the house. Fortunately, the others slept at the front. Ellen got into bed with a heart full of sadness wondering if Neil had ever received her letter. She could not sleep. Finally the others went to bed and all was still in the house.
Still lying there awake she thought she heard something like footsteps in the snow beneath her window. Then there was a sound of something gently hitting the wall. She held her breath. When a soft snowball hit her window, she jumped out of bed. Her heart leaped with joy for there in the moonlight stood her beloved Neil. She wanted to shout for joy, but didn’t dare make a sound. She tried to raise the window. At last it went up and Neil whispered to her “Hurry”!
She quickly dressed, grabbed some clothes, but left the wedding dress hanging in its glory. She whispered to Neil to get the ladder from the woodshed. He got it quickly and Ellen descended to his waiting arms.
Neil had borrowed a horse and cutter from his brother and left it out at the gate. Silently they ran to the cutter and away. Safely out of sight of the house, they laid their plans. They would go at once to the manse on the 8th line of Ramsay near the Auld Kirk. (Both buildings are still there) It was well past midnight. It was most unusual for a minister to be awakened at such an unearthly hour. Indeed, he was sound asleep and Neil had to rap on the door several times before he awakened the Rev. John McMorine. When he came to the door in his nightcap holding a flickering candle in his hand he wanted to know what on earth they wanted at this time of night and why they couldn’t come at a decent hour.
When they told him that they wanted to get married, he refused to marry then and told Ellen to go back home like a good girl and not bring disgrace on her parents with her foolishness. He absolutely refused to marry them. After all, how could he? How could he face Ellen’s parents if he married her to Neil when all arrangements had been made for her wedding to another the next day?
When the young folk got back into the cutter, Neil suggested that they go to Pakenham. He knew the Rev. Dr. Alexander Mann, the Presbyterian minister there and he was sure that he would marry them. Ellen declared that she would go to the ends of the earth with him if she had to.
Pakenham was another ten miles away and it was just breaking morning when they arrived at the manse there. This was the second minister that they got out of bed to accommodate them; but they were in a desperate hurray. If they were safely married, Ellen’s parents could do nothing to bring her back.
Dr. Mann recognized Neil and invited them in, no doubt wondering, as Dr. McMorine had wondered why they came to see him at such an unearthly hour.
Neil hastened to tell him that they wanted to get married. Dr. Mann suggested that they have breakfast first and then he would marry them but the young folk urged him to marry them first and have breakfast later so the minister roused his wife, witnesses were summoned, and the nuptial knot was tied.
In the parlour of the manse, the two were wed and Mrs. Mann gave them a bountiful breakfast after which they drove fifteen more miles to Sand Point where they left his brother’s horse to be picked up. The bride and groom then walked across the ice on the Ottawa River to Norway Bay where they stayed with friends till spring when they built their first little home at Norway Bay,
One hundred and five years later, crowds gathered at Norway Bay, as a plaque was unveiled to mark the spot where this little love-nest stood. It brings to mind the old adage so often repeated, “Love will have its way!”
Children of NEIL MCARTHUR and ELLEN NAISMITH are:
|8.||i.||ARCHIBALD4 MCARTHUR, b. August 23, 1854, Norway Bay, Ontario, Canada.|
|9.||ii.||PETER MCARTHUR, b. June 03, 1856.|
|iii.||BETHEA MCARTHUR, b. July 21, 1858; m. (1) UNKNOWN MAGILLIS; m. (2) ALEX WALSH; m. (3) JAMESMILLER.|
|Notes for ALEX WALSH:
Alex’s daughter (unknown whether also Bethea’s daughter) later married Bethea’s youngest brother Allan.
|10.||iv.||DAVID MCARTHUR, b. December 19, 1860; d. September 01, 1933.|
|11.||v.||ROBERT MCARTHUR, b. August 22, 1864; d. November 20, 1943.|
|12.||vi.||NEIL MCARTHUR, b. August 21, 1865; d. February 13, 1961.|
|vii.||JENNIE MCARTHUR, b. March 05, 1869.|
|viii.||JAMES MCARTHUR, b. April 30, 1872.|
|ix.||ALLAN LAWRENCE MCARTHUR, b. 1874.|
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