Tag Archives: Peter Peden

Stories of the Mississippi River — Elk, Rice Beds, and Corduroy Roads

Stories of the Mississippi River — Elk, Rice Beds, and Corduroy Roads



In 1879 the hunters made their appearance on the Upper Mississippi Lake and many stories have been told of the slaughter of both wild geese and duck. The name of Glovers around Carleton Place and vicinity was synonymous with duck hunting Tom, Bill, Bob, Sime and Charlie were all crack shots against feathered fowl.

They killed them off by the thousand until the ducks changed their course again. Now the *Glovers are all dead and the old fear of the human enemy has been forgotten by the feathered creatures.  In this region of the inland lakes that are tributaries to the Mississippi, such as Haley’s Lake, there were found a full perfect set of elk horns taken out of the mud of this lake in a perfect state of preservation, bleached white by the water and sun rays for hundreds of years.

The oldest records say that elk have not been known in that vicinity for many centuries. When Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano sailed into New York Bay in 1524, bison and elk ranged across most of the East. The deer of Beckwith were killed off for the meat. But the wholesale massacre of the elk, like that of the Buffalo, was carried on for the joy of seeing the great creatures fall in dying agony; and, in later years, by tusk hunters who were too lazy to be hide hunters. Travellers in Eastern Canada were obliged to record only the reminiscences of old settlers, or the discovery of fossil horns and skulls like that which was found in Haley’s Lake.



The Lanark County sportsmen built an old corduroy road into the hunting areas from the main highway between Carleton Place and Perth.  It was a few miles off the highway that some remember from their boyhood days. It was natural feeding place where the water was shallow and there were plenty of rice and grass beds.

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photo from jay playfair album from Laurie Yuill == Corduroy Road–

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There were two outstanding drowning fatalities in the Mississippi. One in 1882 when Alex Gillies and Peter Peden, two of Carleton Place’s promising young men. They were drowned while duck hunting and their funeral was the largest and saddest cortege that passed through the streets of Carleton Place.



The second fatality was the drowning of Noble Bennett and Dick Willis in 1893 who were duck hunting. They were drowned in Kinch Bay and Willis was not found for some days. His body was found standing mired in the mud close to the rice beds; the top of his head was just below the water. Bennett’s body was found months later.

They built a a flat bottomed boat with plate glass in the bottom, three feet square, to be used by the searchers who lay prone on the bottom looking down into the water. Many of the old timers will remember this, and the sadness and gloom it cast over the village. They were both good swimmers, but their fate was claimed once again by the Mississippi Lake.



*Glovers-A young Glover child was killed by being crushed under a lumber yard wagon; Billy Glover fatally injured sliding down the Spring Street hill;

Under the title of the Carleton Place Game, Fish and Insectivorous Birds Protective Society it continued to operate for some years.  Original officers of the group were William Pattie, president ; Jim Bothwell, vice president ; Walter Kibbee, secretary-treasurer, and committee members John Cavers, Tom Glover, John Moore, Jim Morphy and Jim Presley ; elected at a May meeting in the old fire hall on Bridge Street, when a constitution drawn up by Robert Bell was adopted.  Glovers ran a carriage shop.

Plenty Canada, a non-profit Indigenous-based charity in Lanark County are starting a World Wildlife Federation funded field project to study wild rice in the surrounding area. The organizers have heard there could be beds of wild rice in Clayton Lake and contacted MVFN asking for local information on these, or possible locations.


If you are aware of any wild rice beds in any Lanark County lakes please get in touch with Shannon Farmer directly at Shannonfarmer@trentu.ca or (705)740-5874.





relatedreading (1)

The Sad Tale of Alexander Gillies and Peter Peden

People from the Potter-Bennett Block Fire– A Shocking Find

The Dangers of the Mississippi River-Arnold Boner 😦

Robert Drader Bill Shail Saved from Drowning May 28 1957


Murder or Accident — Bates & Innes Flume

photo from jay playfair album from Laurie Yuill == Corduroy Road
from teh Buchanan scrapbook
Donna Porteous ·
What a view!!!! It’s golden… Rice fields on the Mississippi ♡♡♡

The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
04 Dec 1918, Wed  •  Page 8

People from the Potter-Bennett Block Fire– A Shocking Find



Almonte Fire Brigade–Almonte.com

January 25, 1890–Almonte Gazette

Almonte suffered the worst fire in years when the Potter-Bennett block was destroyed. *Mr. Noble Bennett lost his residence and part of its contents;  Jas. Robb, shop and portion of contents; *Duncan Campbell, studio. The tailor’s loss was estimated at over $2,000. The fire was caused by someone upsetting a coal oil lamp from the upstairs of Mr. Noble Bennett’s home.


So I did some research and tried to find out some history on these 3 people mentioned. I found two– and one find was shocking when I searched through my archives.

*Noble Bennett-lost his residence in the fire

Noble Bennett was born in 1831 in Lanark, Lanark Ontario and died in Carleton Place on July 26, 1896.  Jane Graham was his first wife (1830-1869) and they 6 children.

George Edward Bennett – Born …1858

R David Bennett – Born …1862

Noble William Bennett – Born …1864
Emmeline A Bennett – Born …1854

Mary Jane Bennett – Born …1856

Sarah Selina Bennett – Born …1860

Alberta Ruth Bennett – Born …1865


Matilda Johnston was Noble’s 2nd wife and they married May 11, 1870. Matilda Johnston, a daughter of Robert and Mary Ann Johnston, was born in Huntley 5 August, 1841 and died in Ottawa 15 Sep 1910. He had 2 children by Matilda, Lilly May, born 1 May 1876, married 1900 in Carleton county, Abraham Baker; and Harry Wood Griffith, born 18 June 1879.


Noble W. BENNETT son of William Noble and Jane Graham
St. Paul’s Anglican+, Almonte Cemetery
Lanark Co./Reg./Dist., Ontario
Noble W. Bennett

Here is what shocked me. I remembered a “Noble William Bennett” drowned near *Black Point in the lower Mississippi Lake along with Dick Willis in October 16, 1889. The son of Jane Graham Noble was born in 1864 and he died at a young 25 years of age. The double drownings took place off the same shore where *Alex Gillies and Peter Peden drowned in 1878.  All the drownings were from their boats capsizing in the rice beds.

A year later in 1890 his family lost their home when the Potter-Bennett block was destroyed in Almonte.



*Duncan Campbell-Tailor- lost his business in the fire

Perth Courier, January 5, 1894

A well known and highly respected resident of Almonte in the person of Duncan Campbell, tailor, passed away Friday afternoon after a short illness from pleurisy aged 59 years.  He was born in Perthshire , Scotland and came to Canada first settling in the town of Perth where he lived several years.  From there he moved to Kingston then to Pembroke then to McDonald’s Corners, Dalhousie Township where he remained a number of years and finally to Almonte.  He never married.

He was of a quiet and unassuming disposition but was possessed of a very keen sense of humour and was well read on all general subjects.  His illness as we have stated was of a short duration but he retained consciousness to the last, settled up all his worldly affairs and passed away with a firm hope that he would enter the realms of endless days to be forever with the blessed.  The funeral took place on Christmas Day to the 8th Line Cemetery which was largely attended by all classes of citizens



Black Point is a point in Mississippi Lake and is nearby to Rathwell’s Shore and Allans Point.

How Black Point got its name does not seem to be known.  It could well be that it was named Black Point from the early deaths by drowning here.  The first recorded drowning in the lake was that of a pioneer settler, John Code who was drowned near here in 1849.  The double drownings took place off this shore, Alex Gillies and Peter Peden in 1878, and Dick Willis and Noble W. Bennett in 1889.  All the drownings were from boats capsized in the rice beds.-Howard Morton Brown

Dick Willis and his brother George played the fiddles at the steamboat picnics held on Pretty’s Island. The date was fixed to correspond with the ripening of John McCann’s corn – his contribution to the feast, as that was a big item on the bill of fare.

The steamer Enterprise was donated free by Senator McLaren.  He also gave a substantial cash donation to purchase groceries and the said groceries to be purchased at Sibbitt’s.

Related reading:

The Sad Tale of Alexander Gillies and Peter Peden


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 and now in The Townships Sun

The Sad Tale of Alexander Gillies and Peter Peden


A few day ago,  in deep research in the Almonte Gazette I saw  a strange remark about Carleton Place about “those two that need not have left us”. Of course I went on a tangent, and during that time I came up with information about Billy the Kidd’s mistress, but still nothing until yesterday’s informative 4 hour deep sea dive into many of the Almonte Gazettes.


Clipped from Ottawa Daily Citizen, 18 Sep 1878, Wed, Page 4 The Sad Tale of Alexander Gillies and Peter Peden

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December 1878 Almonte Gazette

A few days ago the Gazette was shown a splendidly executed India ink and oil painting of the late Messers Alex Gillies and Peter Peden of Carleton Place who were victims of a drowning accident on Mississippi Lake some time ago. The young artist was Mr. W.S. Taggart of Coleman and Taggart. If you remember Alexander M. Gillies and Peter Peden, aged 21 and 22, were drowned in September while duck hunting at night near Black Point in the lower Mississippi Lake.

September 1878 –Two Young Men Drowned:  Carleton Place Herald:

It is our painful duty to record a very sad case of drowning  which occurred in the Mississippi Lake on Sunday night last.  Two young men, Alexander Gillies, son of David Gillies and Martha Poole, machinist and Peter Peden, miller, left home about 8:00 in the evening and went up the lake in a small canoe to shoot ducks by moonlight.

They intended returning by midnight but not coming home, yesterday a search was initiated and both bodies were found within 40 feet of the shore near McCann’s lower point called Black Point.  No person saw how the sad accident occurred, but it is supposed that the canoe upset and in order to assist his comrade in swimming, Peter threw off his clothes and succeeded in getting all off but one boot.  When found, he had hold of Alex by one hand and he had one arm around Peter’s neck.  Since the above was typeset we learn that the unfortunate young men were good swimmers but became entangled in weeds and rice and mud and were unable to extricate themselves.

The bodies were found embedded in the mud only a few inches under the surface of the water.  They were brought in on Tuesday afternoon to their heartbroken friends and acquaintances.  The parents and friends of these young men have the heartfelt sympathy of the entire community and the fervent prayer to the God of all grace who afflicts, not willingly but for our good, that he may give strength to them to bear up under their sad bereavement.  Mr. Gillies was 21 years, 11 months and Mr. Peden was 24 years, 4 months.  The funeral will take place on Saturday at 1:00

Hello Linda,
What a wonderful article, thank you for allowing yourself to go on that 4 hour deep see dive into the Almonte Gazette. This was a sad event indeed. I am puzzled that the funeral card lists John Gillies as the father of Alexander Munroe Gillies and the article from the Carleton Place Harold has David Gillies and Martha Poole as the parents. I think his parents were John Gillies and Mary Cullen Bain and I think he was named after Mary Cullen Bain Gillies’ brother in-law Dr. Alexander Munro who married Elizabeth Bain. Alexander and Elizabeth’s son James married Rosalthe Wright and had their first son, Alexander, in 1859. Alexander Munroe Gillies was born in 1856. Alexander Munro’s middle name was ‘Gillies’. Interesting? The Munro name has been spelled a few different ways in Lanark County so this name could be from the Dr. Alexander Munro connection.

I would love to see the painting by WS Taggart of the two drowned men. Have you seen a copy?

Also interesting is that the registrar of the death certificates was ARG Peden. I wonder if he was a relative? And the young man William Peden who died just a few days before Peter, I wonder what relationship he was to the family? How sad.

Thanks for all your great research and stories!


Name Peter Peden
Event Type Death
Event Date 17 Sep 1878
Event Place Carleton Place, Lanark, Ontario
Gender Male
Age 22
Birth Year (Estimated) 1856

Alexander Munroe Gillies

Ontario Deaths and Overseas Deaths
Name Alexander Munroe Gillies
Event Type Death
Event Date 17 Sep 1878
Event Place Carleton Place, Lanark, Ontario
Gender Male
Age 21
Birth Year (Estimated) 1857


Historical Notes:


David Gillies (June 27, 1849 – October 12, 1926) father of Alexander Gillies, was a lumber merchant in Ontario and political figure in Quebec. He represented Pontiac in the Legislative Assembly of Quebec from 1892 to 1908 as a Liberal.

Gillies was born in Herron’s Mills in Lanark County, Ontario, the son of John Gillies and Mary Cullen Bain, both Scottish immigrants, and was educated in Lanark, Carleton Place and at the Brockville Business College. With his brothers, he established a lumber company at Braeside, Ontario on the Ottawa River in 1873, serving as president from 1914 to 1926.[1] Gillies Bros. & Co. Ltd. also manufactured steam engines, mill machinery, textiles and boats. The company did much of their logging in the Pontiac region and Gillies was elected to the Quebec assembly four times even though he was a resident of Ontario.

In 1879, he married Martha Poole. He settled in Carleton Place in 1880. Gillies died in Carleton Place at the age of 77.

Gillies Bros. & Co. Ltd. continued to operate under family ownership until 1963, when it was purchased by Consolidated Paper Corporation who continued operating the company under the same name.-Wikipedia

W. S. Taggart

Thanks to Jennifer Fenwick Irwin the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum we have this picture  of Ewen McEwen, first clerk of Beckwith by W.S. Taggart in 1888 10 years after he painted the portrait of Gilles and Peden after they died. He was listed as an artist in Brockville, Ontario.

light mention at google books:
“In a Canadian attic” (book title)
Gerald Stevens – 1969 – 267 pages
… Artist, Barrie, Ont. WH Sherwood, Artist, Orillia, Ont. WS Taggart, Artist, Brockville, Ont.