Tag Archives: pig

Pat Burns And the Black Pig– A Ghost Story?

Pat Burns And the Black Pig– A Ghost Story?

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This is a near-ghost story, if you know what we mean. The experience was that of one Patrick Burns, a middle-aged mechanic who boarded at Mrs. Richard Guy’s boarding house on Wellington street. The time was the fall of 1868 and Mr. Burns had occasion to go to Conroy’s mill on the Aylmer road on business. He was walking home late at night and the night was dark and very still.

Not long before the Burns trip a poor unfortunate had hung himself in a bush just west of the Protestant cemetery outside of Hull. The bush of course was supposed to be haunted. Just when Mr. Burns was passing the (haunted) bush, he heard through the stillness a rustling noise at the edge of the bush. He stood still and his hat literally rose from his head and his hair was on end with fear. looking towards the bush in the darkness he discovered a dark object on the edge of the road. The object slowly moved towards him.

Patrick would have bolted, but it was fear that held him rooted to the ground. The black object came closer and closer. When it was within a few feet it revealed itself to be a large black pig. At first thought Pat felt like falling on the pig and hugging it, he was so happy. But on second thought, he didn’t. It occurred to him the pig was black and well, you know how it is, with people when they are superstitious. The pig might not be a pig at all, he reasoned; it might be the son of Satan. By this time the black pig had crossed the road and disappeared into the darkness. Pat’s feet suddenly loosened, and he didn’t stop running till he reached Eddy’s corner. Don’t laugh, you might have been scared yourself! 🙂

  1. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place. Tales of Almonte and Arnprior Then and Now.
    1. relatedreading

      Lanark County Pigs on the Wing

    2. Run Pig Run–Shake it Off! Convictions of 1870

      When Pigs Fly or Bacon Up is Hard to Do

      Tuesday’s Top Lanark County Story- Pigs in Dalhousie Space?

    3. The Mysterious Tatlock Mine

Lanark County Pigs on the Wing

Lanark County Pigs on the Wing



When most of the citizens of Lanark County kept a pig or two, the practice was to buy the pigs when they were  a month or two old from a farmer. They would feed them until the late fall, then slaughter them and salt the meat away for Winter.

One day William McCall came to town with a wagon full of young grunters. Knocking on doors began to go up and down the streets of Carleton Place offering his piglets for sale. Nearly all of them were black Berkshires and the best that could be bought in Lanark County. When Mr. McCall called at the home of Jim Shiels he only had three left: two Berkshires and one runt.

Jim said he would take the rest of them at the usual price of two bucks each, but Bill hung out for a price of $2.50 each as that was the price he got for the rest of them. Well, the prospective buyer stated he did not intend paying more than the going price.

It looks like a deadlock was developing and old Bill, well, he was ready to drive away, until Hollie Shiels, Jim’s son, came out to tell his father that dinner was ready. Hollie saw what was going on and took it upon himself to act as a kind of referee between the two.

He gave his Dad a wink and  told Mr. McCall that in his opinion the black Berkshires were definitely worth $2.50 a piece. A suggestion from Hollie was that his father buy the two black ones for that price, and surely Mr. McCall would throw in the runt for a dollar. Not thinking too clearly the seller thought this new deal was quite acceptable,  money was exchanged and the wheels of commerce turned once again. Mr. McCall rode down Town Line that night towards home thinking he had the best of the deal. He hadn’t been born in a barn but there was no question that no one got the best of him in the art of the deal– until he got home later and thought really about it.


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 and The Tales of Almonte