Tag Archives: Norman Bernhardt

Otter Lake Man was a Small Man — BUT!!–

Otter Lake Man was a Small Man — BUT!!–




There was a man in the 1860s who was not half native but also hailed of German descent named Norman Bernhardt. He was a really strong man and hailed from Otter Lake and worked for the John Gillies Lumber Yard in Braeside. Although he strong as no other he only measured only 5 foot 8 inches. One of the tales that is still carried on to this day was that he lifted three pork barrels end to end. A barrel of pork weighed 240 pounds in those days, but he mastered this very impressive feat.

On another occasion while working at Bertrand Lake, he carried 14 bags of oats a distance of a mile and  a half over a portage. The oats averaged 72 pounds a  bag. That would make the weight he carried a little over nine hundred pounds.

A well known Ottawa Valley lumberman who told this story but did not want his name used, for fear he would be branded as a stretcher of the truth says that six or seven of the bags were carried by means of a *tump line and the remaining bags were piled on top of the man’s head and shoulders. Believe It or not.

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The third and last feat of strength credited to this gentleman took place in Otter Lake. It is alleged that on this occasion that he carried a weight of 2.200 pounds of wheat a distance of over 100 feet. Hard to Believe.

I kind of have to think twice at this story, but there were undoubtedly some remarkable men that existed in our local history. and Andrew White of Pembroke, the millionaire lumberman of Pembroke, and champion lifter of of the Ottawa Valley.  So we put the feats of this man in the records in the legends sections.



*A tumpline (/tump-lyne/) is a strap attached at both ends to a sack, backpack, or other luggage and used to carry the object by placing the strap over the top of the head. This utilizes the spine rather than the shoulders as standard backpack straps do.


Andrew White of Pembroke

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Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and theSherbrooke Record and and Screamin’ Mamas (USACome 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. Tales of Almonte and Arnprior Then and Now.



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