Tag Archives: ottawa valley

The Stewarts and the Shiners of the Gatineaus

The Stewarts and the Shiners of the Gatineaus

Irish Stick Fighters from Ottawa Valley Stickfighters, believed to be Beckwith Shiners from the Foresters Falls – Roche Fendu area…. Taken from The Perth Courier, Nov.29, 1872, 

Between the 1840s and 1850s in the Gatineau district in the province of Quebec, there was a very wild stretch of country, with settlements few and far between. Supplies were carried up the more remote sections in canoes, and there were many cascades in the river. The voyager was frequently obliged to portage along with the freight until they could find a place where he could trust himself in the water again. There existed in that partof the area a body of men who the public called “Shiners”. The operations of the Shiners extended from Bytown (Ottawa) to many miles up the Gatineau and wary be the man or woman who fell under their displeasure.

This group of men were recruited from the ranks of the Irish emigrants who were coming in droves to Canada.These men were not content to let the old feuds from the old country rest in peace, but sought to escalate them in Canada. In the old land the Orange and Green had been at war for a very long time and neither side wanted to bury the hatchet. The Shiners were of the old school Irish Roman Catholic, and the tales emerged of how little value they put on human life.

Early in the 1840s a Scotchman named Stewart took up a large tract of land in the Gatineaus, about 150 miles from Hull, and he brought his wife and three children to settle. All his friends thought he was crazy to even think of taking his delicately bred wife so far away from civilization. However no amount of opposition could deter Stewart. His intention was to procure as much land as he could so later on his children could divy up the land for their families and call that tract of land ‘The Stewarts of Stewartsville’. A log home was put up in the wilderness and he finally sent for his wife and children.

Ill times began for the family as soon as they got there and their rations dwindled to nothing during the first long and lengthy winter. Mrs. Stewart fell ill and nearly died. A small grave was dug beside the home and in it was placed their first male child. Any other man might deal with half of this and decide to go home but not Mr. Stewart as he was a stubborn man.

When Stewart had been living up in the Gatineaus for almost six years, an incident happened that well cost him his life. Feelings were running high between the Shiners and their opponents. An election had been held in Hull, and Mr. Stewart having been down there at the time indulged a little more freely in consuming the spirits and during conservation and expressed how he really felt about the Shiners. That probably wasnot the best of ideas.

He made the journey home safely, but a few days later recieved word that the Shiners would be paying him a visit shortly. That surely meant trouble, but Stewart laughed at the threats. His wife however spent the next three days in hysterics. Three days later an old Scotch priest, Father Paisley, and a friend who were travelling down the river stopped at the Stewarts house to rest. Three of their children were then unbaptized. As the Stewarts were Presbyterian they were determined to seize the day and give them their family a good Christian baptism while Father Paisley was there. They were invited to dinner and stayed the night.

At one in the morning a loud door knock was heard. Mr. Stewart knew it was the Shiners and they told him to come outside. By this time the whole household was up and Mrs. Stewart was on her knees with her children around her praying. The Shiners were not happy with the delay and tried to force the door open. Suddenly Father Paisley with his supplice on and an uplifted crucifix in his hands, stepoed in between Stewart and the 20 masked and armed Shiners who have now broken the door.

Seeing the priest the Shiners backed up and demanded he stop protecting Mr. Stewart who is cowering behind the priest’s burly form. Father Paisley screamed that they would have to kill him first and commanded them to leave the house in the name of HIM who was on the crucifix. The Shiners retorted that he was an Orangeman. The priest replied that they had all been baptized in Ireland and he had baptized the Stewart children yesterday and because of the kindness of being taken in he would protect Mr. Stewart from their wrath. The Shiners had a war meeting and decided not to harm Stewart and would leave him alone.

This was not to be the last time there was to be a record of how religious intervention stopped the shed of blood in the Ottawa area. As for the Stewart family they lived in the Gatineaus for many years and are laid to rest in the vicinity. There is no doubt that stories were told through the generations about the visit from the Shiners.

Lost Ottawa


Morning of Weirdness. Here is a stamp of Joseph Monterrand, known among English speakers as Big Joe Mufferaw.

Joseph was apparently a six foot four French Canadian — truly big for that time — famous as a lumberjack in the Ottawa Valley, but even more famous as one of the few people in the Outaouais willing to stand up against Ottawa’s infamous Shiners.

A real person, he died in 1864. Then his life was appropriated to become the stuff of legends—

Andrew Leamy & Jos. Montferrand – The Two Solitudes, Through a Lens Darkly– Click

The Shiners’ War

Lumbermen in the Ottawa Valley, late 19th century, Topley Studio.

Library and Archives Canada, PA-012605.

20 October 1835

CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa CitizenOttawa, Ontario, Canada31 Aug 1935, Sat  •  Page 2

The Last of the Fenians Sons— Bellamy’s Mills — James Ingram

When the Fenians Came to Visit

When the Fenians Came to Visit

The Rare Fenian Medal of Private W. Rorison– Carleton Place Rifle Company
Fenians OR Ballygiblins? Fighting Irish 101

Fenian Raid Sale– Get Yer Boots Before You Have to go Fight Again

Debunking the Stories My Family Told Me

The Rare Fenian Medal of Private W. Rorison– Carleton Place Rifle Company

A Carleton Place Fenian Soldier’s Photo

Ballygiblin Riots in Carleton Place — Were We Bad to the Bone?

The Hidden Hideaway On Glen Isle

Samuel Hawkshaw- Carleton Place–Carleton Blazers of Bells Corners

So About that Ballygiblin Sign…. Fourteen Years Later!

The Everyday Life of a Lumberjack and River Driver –James Annable

The Everyday Life of a Lumberjack and River Driver –James Annable

Photo from- thanks to Cathy & Terry Machin– Moore Lumber Co who Dugald New worked at as a cook and labourer.The Postcard Courtship of Emma Buffam and Dugald New – Episode 3

It has seldom been our privilege to present a more comprehensive word picture of the everyday life of a lumberjack and river driver on the Upper Ottawa a half century ago, than that which comes to us today from the pen of Mr. James Annable of Carleton Place. Born on the banks of the Mississippi at Carleton Place, in the days when lumbering on that important tributary of the Ottawa was at its height, Mr. Annable at an early age threw in his lot with the bronzed giants of the forest and river. His experiences during that first season are not only interesting but highly informative.

“I left home to go to the headwaters of the Mississippi river in Lavant as a cook’s flunkey in the shanty of Boyd Caldwell, Sr., pioneer lumberman with timber limits at Ompah. We outfitted in Lanark village and travelled by wagons. There were thirty teams of horses, each wagon loaded with bob-sleighs and tools, along with provisions to feed seventy men that winter. The foreman in charge (we shall call him Bob Price) was six feet tall and weighed about 200 pounds. The wagons were loaded to capacity with flour, beans, black molasses, salt pork, sugar, tea, etc. The cook wagon was equipped with utensils and food already cooked to feed the crew composed of teamsters, bush rangers, roadmen, sawyers and river drivers.

It took fifteen days to make the Journey to Lavant station, near Ompah, where our camp site was already staked out. On our arrival at the Snow Road, we were almost frozen as winter had set in and the ice was on the inland lakes and creeks, we arrived with a number of the men sick with colds and sore feet; many of them had to cut brush roads around sluiceways. At last the wagons arrived.

“We lived in tents for twenty days while the shanty was being constructed out of hemlock logs. After the trees were felled the broad-axe men notched the ends and locked them on the corners, boring a one-inch auger hole through each tier and driving dowel pins made of ash and hickory sapling to hold the corners intact. They were floated alongside each other and held together with swifters made out of rope and the inner bark of ash and elm. Each stick would average from 800 to 1,000 feet virgin pine. They were formed into cribs of twelve sticks each. Rafters were made out of tamarack and spruce, tapering from eight inches at the butt to four inches at the top. The pitch of the roof was about 30 degrees. “The roof was made by hewing out the center of eight inch timber with a tool called an adze. After narrower so that they would float and not break apart.

In the center of the crib the cookery was located, also tents for the river drivers. These men wore high boots almost to the knees the roof -timbers were complete. This made it waterproof and when completed it was almost air tight. Ventilation was made under the eaves to carry out the smoke. “Around the south end of the camp bunks were constructed three tiers high and five feet wide to hold two men. Their beds were made soft by cutting cedar boughs and filling the bunks with them.

Each man had to make his own bed, the blankets being furnished by the company. Pillows were ‘out’ until the flour sacks were empty, when they would be filled with straw and in time everyone had his pillow. Next, the cookery was constructed by making a log box six feet wide and 18 feet long.

Moore Logging Crew-Photo from- thanks to Cathy & Terry Machin– Moore Lumber Co.The Postcard Courtship of Emma Buffam and Dugald New – Episode 3

Each man had his own pike pole and peavy or cant-hook and our first slide was reached at Playfair, a few miles from Lanark. The cribs were all broken up and had to be made in four-stick lots to run through the slide Into the lower waters, and it was about eight feet. The kitchen crib was the last to go through. Then on down to Ferguson’s Falls, twelve miles distant.

A post was set in the center with iron bands, with loops for the large iron pipe that supported the cooking utensils over the Are, to rest on. When we were boiling spuds, beans and ‘sow belly,’ the beans when boiled soft were placed in a 24 inch cast, iron kettle with cover that projected out over the edge a half Inch. These were buried in the sand and ashes over night and were ready to serve for breakfast piping hot, flavored with blackstrap molasses and plenty of salt pork browned to a golden hue. read-The Carleton Place Beanery at Dalhousie Lake

The bread was baked the same way, the loaves coming out of the Dutch oven with crust on all sides, weighing about twenty pounds and cut in wedges. At meal time each man took his tin plate and tea basin and knife and fork and stood in line until the cook or the cook’s devil would help him with his food. Fresh meat was seldom served in those days but there was plenty of wild game to be had, but with no shooting allowed we used to snare rabbits.

Photo from- thanks to Cathy & Terry Machin– Moore Lumber Co. along with Brooks Lumber Co.who were a huge outfit out of the US and bought land parcels all through Canada to cut wood. Thanks Jaan KolkThe Postcard Courtship of Emma Buffam and Dugald New – Episode 3

After each meal, eacn man took care of his dishes and tools and put them on the rack ready for the next chow time. When the days work was done and supper over, they sat on the long benches that ran in front of the bunks, the boys would enjoy themselves by playing flutes, fiddles, mouth organs and jewsharps. Old shanty songs prevailed and the old timers took delight in hanging it on the tenderfoot, but it did not take long for the first-timer to learn his way about. Wrangling and fighting were taboo.

A tragedy occurred as we passed Innisville rapids into the big waters of Mississippi Lake. Our foreman called for volunteers to ride a chain boom through Innisville rapids. Some twelve of the old timers went through fine, after a three-mile sail, each man on a single stick thirty feet long and twelve to fifteen inches in diameter. These logs were chained together end to end and were snubbed to shore at Cooke’s Landing wilh one end to the other and poled against the current across the mouth of the big lake and made fast to trees on the other shore.

When everything was made fast, all the crew went up again to the slide and ran the square timber through the lower rapids out into the clear water They floated the cribs endways until they reached the boom, placing the cribs close together in formation to get in readiness to cross the Mississippi lake about four miles to the head of Pretty island. There always seemed to be a head wind ahead of us so we had to lie idle until the wind chance to south.

One of my favourite photos of Ruby Featherstone down at the old Pike Hole. Photo- Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
18 Dec 1937, Sat  •  Page 2

Franktown Once Enlivened By Shouts of Lumberjacks–The word of Mrs. Frances Atkinson

Just Another Day in Logging

  1. Six Women in Town but Lots of Logging
  2. Loggers– Arborists– Then and Now in Lanark County
  3. You Don’t Waltz With Timber on a Windy DaySmoking Toking Along to the Log Driver’s Waltz Sandy Caldwell King of the River BoysYour Mississippi River, Ontario Fact of the Day

Ed and Shirley’s Simpson –Historic Books — the List

Ed and Shirley’s Simpson –Historic Books — the List

Thanks to Ed and Shirley Simpson I am slowly going though boxes of books from the late Ed Simpson to document and after will be donated to a proper spot. These books are NOT to be SOLD… nor would I ever do that to anything historic.. so they will be treated with great love.


Peacefully surrounded by family on Saturday, July 24, 2021, Ed Simpson passed away at 91 years of age. Beloved husband of Catherine Shirley. Father of Debby, Tom (predeceased), and Donna (Don). Grandfather of Mekki and Ben (Kailin). No service will be held as per his wishes.

Thanks to Ed and Shirley Simpson

Renfrew Fair 1953-1953-Ed and Shirley (Catherine) Simpson

Did You Know? Union School #9 and Goulburn #16

When One Boat Filled the Rideau Lock–Rideau King

Women’s Institute Burritts Rapids 1902-1988

Looking for Photos of ‘The Castle’ in Ashton

A Romantic Story of the Founding Of Burritt’s Rapids

Clippings and Memories of Mac Beattie — The Buchanan Scrapbooks

Clippings and Memories of Mac Beattie — The Buchanan Scrapbooks

With files from The Keeper of the Scrapbooks — Christina ‘tina’  Camelon Buchanan — Thanks to Diane Juby— click here..

Mac Beattie was the Ottawa Valley. And for almost everyone who knew him he will always be the personification of the area he loved. Even in death. Monday Beattie died in the Arn-prior Hospital having lost his five-month battle with cancer. Born at Braeside, near Arnprior, 65 years ago, Beattie spent more than 40 years celebrating his native valley in song and poetry, lie was one of the first artists to appear on national television when CTV first came into being, performing on Cross Canada Barn Dance out of CJOH.

He and his Mclodiers were frequent performers in the early days of radio station CFRA, founded by the late Frank Ryan, as well as on national radio out of Pembroke and on television’s Don Messer Show. When news of his death circulated around town it was obvious nothing else would be talked about, nothing was as important. In the Cameron Country Hotel the oldtimers had their Beattie stories to tell. “He wanted to give people a little bit of enjoyment,” Max Mooney said. “He was the Ottawa Valley, his father before him was a fine musician.

His father used to sit in this very bar room and when he’d play the bagpipes, we’d all rush to the door to sec who the band was.” Murray Dark of Belleveue Farms recalls “hundreds of dances with Mac in Pukenham and at Sunny-dale Acres in Lake Dore where Mac found his inspiration for the Lake Dore Waltz. “Mac and the Melodiers used to drop in at my place every time they came by,” says Jim Reid, owner of what was then Reid’s Fine Foods. “My wife played the piano and they sometimes set up the band for a little bit.” “He was a hell of a hockey player; a goaltender,” Mooney remembers. “He played Junior hockey for years three of the Major Leagues were after him.” But music and the valley kept Mac.

He married Marie McMunn, raised his three children in Arnprior, and daughter Bonnie began to sing with her father’s band at a young age. A year ago, some 400 people attended a testimonial dinner for Beattie at Renfrew Armory, when he was presented with a plaque on behalf of Premier William Davis for his outstanding contribution to country music in the Ottawa Valley. He recorded nine albums, mostly of his own music, and published a book of poetry in the ’60s. He leaves 80 poems, which will be published, and at the time of his death was writing some of the history of the Valley, with particular attention to the lumbermen who worked the Ottawa River. His most successful song was The Logdrivers’ Song. 5 June 1982

With files from The Keeper of the Scrapbooks — Christina ‘tina’  Camelon Buchanan — Thanks to Diane Juby— click here..

John MacNab Beattie (Mac) was born where the Madawaska and Ottawa Rivers converge at the town of Arnprior, Ontario, in the year 1916. His father, Jim, was away at war in Europe and would not see him until it was ended. When Jim Beattie returned home the family moved a few miles upstream to the village of Braeside where he would take a job with the Gillies Lumber Company.

Jim Beattie, a harmonica and bugle player, ventriloquist and jokester, would spend his winters in the shanty camps of the Gatineau Hills in Pontiac County, Quebec. It was at these camps that Jimmie would hear the songs and stories of shantymen from all over the valley. They’d sing Irish songs, Scottish songs, French songs and songs of the shanty life. They’d dance the reels and entertain themselves to pass the monotony of daily life in the winter camps.

When Jimmie came home each spring, he’d bring back those songs and stories that would fascinate his family. It was in this atmosphere that Mac grew up. It was in this folklore of the valley that he would dedicate his life. His love of the stories, the lives of the people, of the gentle times, the hard times, it all hit home by the time he was a teen-ager. Mac Beattie utilized these spiritual forces to forge ahead during those very interesting times.

Listening to Mac Beattie’s lyrics now, you could not fail to notice his frequent mention of the people and places of the Ottawa Valley. You would also probably notice the strange way he used his voice to enunciate his words, the old-style inflections he utilized in his poetic ballads. I have not heard anyone else sing like this, and even now in the Valley with its distinct Irish/Scotts accent, Mac’s accent remains unique.

Mac Beattie never played a melodic instrument other than a bit of harmonica. Instead, he chose the washboard to accompany his songs. Along with friends Gaetan Fairfield and Garnie Scheel, he formed a band called the Melodiers in the early 1930s to mimic the sounds of the big dance bands of that era.

It is probably because his songs were either learned or composed without the accompaniment of a melodic instrument that Mac’s vocal patterns remained in theold traditional style. He didn’t have a wonderful voice, but what he had he used well. He sang a cappella, using the syllables of words in the traditional way of Celtic melodies. He’d teach these songs to his friends who would then work out arrangements to fit around his singing style.

In time, Mac Beattie would go on to become Mr. Ottawa Valley with his Melodiers, riding the ups and downs of the music business for over 5 decades. During that time he would be heard and seen on national television and radio; he would associate his show with step-dancing great Don Gilchrist; he would make lifelong friends with important cultural leaders of both sides of the Ottawa River. And lastly, he would be inducted into the Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame as its second inductee (at Mac’s insistance, his late fiddler, Reg Hill, received the honour of being the first to be inducted). He would also leave us with 90 tracks of music spanning 9 LPs recorded between the years of 1960 to 1975.

And Now there is great news! Peter Beattie has just released The Best of Mac Beattie and the Ottawas Valley Melodiers CD – this means that you can now purchase Mac’s wonderful music for the first time in years. Contact Peter at p.beattie@sympatico.ca Read —Mac Beattie and the Ottawa Valley Melodiers __ CLICK

With his oldtime music group, the Ottawa Valley Melodiers, he was heard regularly on CFRA radio, Ottawa, until the late 1950s and on CHOV, Pembroke, until the early 1960s. He also performed at local fairs, dances, and clubs. The Melodiers included at various times Beattie’s daughter Bonnie, the steel guitarist Garnet Scheel, and the noted fiddler Reg Hill. Beattie’s first 78, ‘The Log Driver’s Song,’ released by Rodeo Records in the early 1950s, was followed by 11 LPs under Rodeo’s various labels. Many of his songs were based on Ottawa Valley events, people, and places – eg, ‘Lake Dore Waltz’ and ‘Train Wreck at Almonte’.

Memories of Bob Whitney and his Wobbleboard Carleton Place

Memories About Bernie Costello

Remembering Etta Whitney Carleton Place

Reserve Me a Table –The Silver Fox –Ron McMunn

Good Old Lanark County Music–From the 70s to now

Fiddling in Lanark County by David Ennis

Looking for Info on The Happy Wanderers etc.

The Hayshakers — Charlie Finner

All About Lorraine Lemay –Mississippi Hotel

Describing Photos- thanks to Cathy & Terry Machin

Describing Photos- thanks to Cathy & Terry Machin
Photo-Thanks to Cathy and Terry Machin these are local photos in the Ottawa Valley–I am quite sure these are Dugald New from CP when he was working with the loggers in Ottawa and just outside with the Moore logging company– Circa 1907

A lot of rain had run into the furrows from the west side of the creek- it was a slop hole now. I’m counting on the cows wantin’ to get out and I guess it’s about time to let old … the western edge of the homestead, a place he’d concentrated the plowing. When they got to the plowed swath the horses were mired in the mud up over their grith straps. Two men were still stuck in the mud with the horses and the rest had fled into the trees“- Cracker Justice –By Janet Post

Related reading

Debunking a Postcard 1913 — Strange Ephemera

Photo-Thanks to Cathy and Terry Machin–these are local photos in the Ottawa Valley

During World War II, my dad junked out the steam engine this gear came from and sold it for scrap iron. He used this gear for a base for a mailbox stand. That’s how it was preserved.

Before they scrapped the engine, they used it to smoke meat. When they butchered, they hung the bacon and hams in front, and burned wood to smoke the meat. They would hang the country hams on a chain upstairs and my brother would use his jack knife to cut a chunk off the ham when he wanted a chew of ham.

As boys, my brother and I took the engine’s brass pieces to school and donated them to the war effort. I still have the engine’s original state inspector’s certificate; it was dated 1918.-Lawrence Torske, McIntosh, Minnesota

Related reading

Second Lieut. H. A. Powell, to Mr. and Mrs. S. H. Lowry, of Pakenham — Steam in WW1

Ernie Giles Steam Engine Man

Steam Engines– Clippings About Harold Richardson

Photos!! Who is With These Steam Engines?

Glory Days of Carleton Place–So What Happened to the Moore Steam Engine?

The Old Steam Engine Tractor on Mullet Street

James Miller Steam Engine Man from Perth

Hissing Steam, Parades and a 1930 Hearse–Pioneer Days Middleville

Shipman & Acme Engines Clippings and Notations

“Where Are They Now?” Des Moore’s Steam Engine

“Around the Local Fairs in 80 Days”? Lanark County Minor Steampunk Story

Stories of Big Joe Montferrand

Stories of Big Joe Montferrand


Big Joe was a logger and he plied his dangerous trade along the Ottawa Valley as he led the men who conveyed the long trains of logs down the swift rivers to the pulp mills of Montreal and beyond. He was a man of extraordinary strength and courage, attributes matched only by his civility and kindness. During his life he was called upon to teach a lesson to many a quarrelsome braggart or would-be-bully, but unlike the fictitious Paul Bunyan, Big Joe lived and his numerous descendants still reside in Quebec.

In January of 1925 Mr. Derby told a very personal story about Montferrand when he boarded in Aylmer with the Derby family. Mr. Derby Senior and Big Joe were friends and Derby said that the fabled stories of Big Joe Montferrand of being a quarrelsome lad was a myth– except when he was in action.

Joe was generally a good natured man, but when someone started anything he went into action. He instantly became a real wildman and it was said that his kick was deadly. In 1855 however Derby was in Quebec with Montferrand and they were lying off on a raft of wood off Cap Rouge near Quebec. At one point they both decided to get a wee shot of booze and a man asked if he was not indeed Big Joe Montferrand and that he was pleased to meet him.

The man expressed interest in him as the strongest man in the area and said he would like to see if this story was true by fighting him. Big Joe agreed and they both went off to the hotel yard ready to fight. Derby  thought it was best to stay in the bar at this point and have a couple of drinks as really he had no idea they were going to fight.

Before long Joe came in and told the barkeeper he had best come out and take care of what was now a dead man. According to the story the two of them had not been fighting long before the man began to  fight unfairly bunting his head. Joe warned him to fight fairly or he would kick, but the man refused to listen. So Joe did what he did best and that was to kick his opponent, and he kicked hard. One of Joe’s kicks went near the man’s heart and that was the end of the story, and his opponent dropped like a log.

Of course a huge fuss ensued and Joe was not arrested but was detained for a few days until he was able to go back to his logging crew. He had learned a lesson that day and never fought anyone else who challenged him.

Montferrand stood 6’4″ and was lithe and powerful, and one of his biographers, Andre de la Chevrotiere, described him as “prodigiously strong and at the same time generous, charitable, patriotic and with a love for hard work.” Anyway, big Joe was a famous fighting man, and some of his memorable battles took place right here.

He spent a lot of time in Hull and Ottawa between 1825 and 1850. One of his brawls became known in every shanty as “the battle of the beast with seven heads.” Montferrand was a ladies’ man, and he had a date with a fair creature who was coveted also by one of seven MacDonald brothers. The MacDonalds were an unruly lot four of them standing more than six feet, and they knew Joe – would be crossing the Footbridge at the Chaudiere from Hull to the Ottawa side. They decided to confront Joe in the middle of the bridge.

Joe pounded six of them senseless, and came to the youngest, and took mercy, and told him to go home to his mother. Joe continued on his way to keep his rendezvous with the lady fair. ‘ He was a bush foreman, and when the lads were taking off with civilization for the bush, it was Joe’s custom to stand them treats in a tavern, and it was said his generosity usually exceeded his purse.

One time, he was leading his gang into the woods for the winter when they came to The Tavern of the Pretty Widow.  Montferrand wanted to stand the treats but he was broke. He asked The Widow for credit, and she granted his wish, and so Joe decided to leave a calling card. From his “turkey” the bundle the men carried containing all their belongings he got out his “cork boots” (caulked boots), cleared a path, launched himself into the air and planted both feet on the ceiling, leaving his heel marks.

So was born “the legend of the cork boots,” and so many travellers stopped into The Widow’s place to see the marks of the feat that she was well repaid. He had one line of challenge: “No man on the Ottawa can stand up to Jos. Montferrand.” In those days when a “rough and tumble” or “a toute fain” meant using the head, feet, fists and even teeth’, nobody ever did.

Did you know?:- Far more often, though, the appellation ”Mrs.” indicated a widow’s tavern. As the only women to be licensed in their own right were widows. 


The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
09 Nov 1935, Sat  •  Page 32

Canada’s Mythical Mufferaw is a real part of Mattawa


Mattawa and District Historical Society

All About Lorraine Lemay –Mississippi Hotel

Architecture Stories: The Hotel that Stompin’ Tom Connors Saved

From January to June–The Year of Earthquakes 1897

From January to June–The Year of Earthquakes 1897



Earthquake monitoring began in Canada in the late 1800s. The first known, instrumentally detected earthquake in Canada was the March 23, 1897  in the Montreal-area event, recorded on a 3-component seismograph at McGill University in Montreal, Québec (QC). The first continuously operating seismographs in Canada were located in Toronto, Ontario (ON) (installed September, 1897) and Victoria, BC (starting September 3, 1898). These were low-gain Milne seismographs (most sensitive to large, distant earthquakes), which were a part of the global network established by the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

From January to June of 1897 various earthquakes were listed throughout our area.

June 4 1897-Almonte Gazette
A severe shock of earthquake was felt in Almonte about a quarter past
ten o’clock last Thursday night. Mr. D. M. Fraser held his watch in hand
and said the rumbling and shock lasted about 45 seconds.

About eleven o’clock a minor shock was felt. Several ladies who were attending
the theatres in Montreal fainted through fear and had to be carried
out. In Almonte dishes rattled, doors flew open, and many of our female
citizens were badly scared.




Clipped from The Ottawa Journal28 May 1897, FriPage 1








Clipped from The Ottawa Journal, 10 Jul 1911, Mon, Page 3 What happened to a local Perth gal when she came back to Canada after the San Francisco earthquake.

January 13 1888


On Wednesday morning of this week, between three and four o’clock, two distinct shocks of earthquake were felt throughout Almonte, with an interval of a few seconds between each shock. The first was the more violent of the two* and lasted several minutes. It was sufficiently strong enough to vibrate buildings. Many of our townspeople felt the quake, and it caused many of them to quake also.





Clipped from The Ottawa Journal28 May 1897, FriPage 1



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal02 Jan 1897, SatPage 7


Clipped from The Winnipeg Tribune31 Mar 1897, WedPage 5



January 13 1888


On Wednesday morning of this week, between three and four o’clock, two distinct shocks of earthquake were felt throughout Almonte, with an interval of a few seconds between each shock. The first was the more violent of the two* and lasted several minutes. It was sufficiently strong enough to vibrate buildings. Many of our townspeople felt the quake, and it caused many of them to quake also.


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal20 Feb 1971, SatPage 22



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 and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)





Was it the Germans Or UFO’s that Invaded the Ottawa Valley in 1915?





In 1915 it was said that some of the folks in Brockville and the surrounding area were returning from church and spotted something lit in the sky on February 15, 1915.  When the mayor of Brockville and three constables also witnessed this incident word quickly spread up and down the valley that the Germans were invading Canada.

Vivid flashes in a minor lightening storm gave credence that German aircraft were possibly passing over the area. To make matters even more interesting the mayor of Gananoque also said that two invisible aircraft were heard flying overhead. Parliament Hill went dark at 11 pm that night and the city of Ottawa and most small towns in the outlying areas followed suit 20 minutes later. I have no doubt that many of our local citizens spent a restless fearful night.

Newspaper headlines of: Machines Crossed Over St. Lawrence River: Seen by Many heading to the Capital–Fireballs Dropped appeared quickly the next day. Explanations from government officials were demanded by the local newspapers. Was it really a few of the Morristown youths playing pranks some asked when a paper balloon was found on the ice of the St. Lawrence River near the town? What about the remains of a few more balloons that were found with fireworks attached to them near the Brockville Asylum? Soon after these items were found; the media that had been so intent on causing hysteria scoffed at their reader’s fear in print.

Opinions differed as to the nature of the mysterious objects.  Of course Ottawa had to chime in to assure everyone that Germans aircraft had not flown their planes over Eastern Ontario as the headlines persisted. The Dominion Observatory agreed, adding information about local wind direction and added that everyone just had  war jitters. But, in all honesty the generic comments from the Observatory  and the government did nothing to quell the fear of the locals. As gossip spread and the story transfer expanded to new highs the German bombers became very real to the public. No matter what the media and the government had said in their morning statements the lights still went out all over the Ottawa Valley and guns were set up on various rooftops that next evening.

If you ask some today they will tell you it wasn’t the Morrisburg kids trying to be funny, but in reality it was UFO’s. This story which has appeared in a number of paranormal books  says that as the Valley was “preparing for the arrival of Germans ” these strange lights were apparently spotted in towns all over Ontario and in provinces as far away as Manitoba.

When I was a kid I used to let balloons go up in the sky and I always hoped that maybe an alien would find it and it would make him or her smile. Maybe the pranks of those Morrisburg kids caught someone else’s attention in the sky– I guess we will never know will we.

Almost out of the X-Files isn’t it?

With files from The Almonte Gazette and the Ottawa Journal February 1915



In May of 1910 during the great fire of Carleton Place three young ladies residing in a house in one end of town were suddenly awakened at 3 am by the cries of fire and the illumination of the sky. They thought that Halley’s Comet had passed that night and had produced the end of the world. The three rushed outdoors in their night clothes waving their arms and crying in despair. They thought it the end of the time was near. It took awhile to get the ladies under control and understand what had really happened. No doubt they had read the newspapers that very day about the coming of Halley’s Comet.Then there was the phantom lights Sid Annable wrote about on Mississippi Lake. Were these all yarns or fact?


Related Stories—

When The Streets of Carleton Place Ran Thick With the Blood of Terror!

When The Streets of Carleton Place Ran Thick With the Blood of Terror!- Volume 1- Part 2

The Phantom Light on Mississippi Lake

Was it a UFO? A Meteorite or a Fuse Box? A Carleton Place Legend–Photos

Was it a UFO? A Meteorite or a Fuse Box? A Carleton Place Legend

Unsolved Mysteries — The Almonte Woman Abducted by a UFO (Part 2)

More UFO Sightings in Carleton Place!


Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News