Tag Archives: pioneers

Helen Isabella Murdoch Campbell— Remembering Commerce Ship Settlers

Helen Isabella Murdoch Campbell— Remembering Commerce Ship Settlers

The Weekly British Whig
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
09 Nov 1916, Thu  •  Page 5

In the first year of immigration, 1820, many of the settlers arrived at Lanark very late in
the season. The Commerce had docked at Quebec City on June 20th allowing her 402
passengers to reach the settlement by midsummer. But the other vessels did not arrive at
Quebec until late summer; the Brock on August 20th and the Prompt on August 31st, meaning
their 546 settlers did not arrive at Lanark until early autumn.. read more here–CLICK HERE

           Eighty-three years ago Lanark’s first post office was established with Mr. J.A. Murdock as postmaster. At that time and indeed until 1851 it was controlled by the English post office. Mails were not so frequent as now and were carried on horseback from Perth. John Hall acquired the position in 1834 and appears on the scene of incoming and outgoing mail bags until 1854 when A.G. Hall succeeded to the office. This gentleman resigning in 1858 left an opening for William Moorehouse, who was appointed on Oct. 1st of that year. He held office for less than three years, resigning on April 1st, 1861. A.G. Hall was reappointed on Oct. 1st, 1861, and remained the incumbent till his death which took place January, 1866. William Robertson next took the position on April 1st, 1866, was removed from office in December, 1872, and Alexander Munro appointed. In 1874, however, William Robertson was reappointed and remained till the 11th March, 1879, when he resigned and A.P. Bower thereafter ruled behind the scenes, until 1882, when Mr. MacLean was asked to step in. The Lanark post office was made a money order office on the establishment of money order offices in Canada in 1855 and a savings bank business was established in 1868.
That peaceful residential part of Lanark now known as Beatty Corner was once the neighbourhood where two taverns flourished, viz, Buffam‘s, mentioned before, and Mrs. Lamont‘s. The Lamont inn supplied a sort of home for the shantymen when off work and many tales are told of the roistering times passed within its hospitable walls. — CLICK Here
Name:Helen Isabella Campbell
Birth Date:abt 1831
Birth Place:Lonark Co
Death Date:21 Oct 1916
Death Place:Lanark, Ontario, Canada
Cause of Death:Senility

On Saturday, October 21, Helen Isabella Murdoch, widow of John Gray Campbell who died one year and three months ago. Aged 85 years 11 months. He father the late John A. Murdoch, brother in Aberdeen and her mother Jean Hall, from Clackmannan were among settlers on the “Commerce” in 1820. They married in Lanark Village shortly after and had family of ten. She married June 16, 1852 by Thomas Fraser, Presbyterian, Lanark. To Elmwood.

Name:Helen Isabella Campbell
Birth Date:10 Nov 1830
Birth Place:Lanark County, Ontario, Canada
Death Date:21 Oct 1916
Death Place:Perth, Lanark County, Ontario, Canada
Cemetery:Elmwood Cemetery
Burial or Cremation Place:Perth, Lanark County, Ontario, Canada
Has Bio?:Y
Spouse:John Gray Campbell
Children:Peter Gray CampbellJohn Murdoch CampbellEva WalkerAlma Hall RuddAlexander Bower CampbellLorne Argyll CampbellMary Isabella BurnsAnnie Gray MacGillivray

The Green Settlers of Lanark County

Mothell Parish familes that are in the 1816-1822 1816 – 1824 Beckwith Settlers Names

One of the First Settlers of Drumond from the Massacre at Culloden

The Old Settlers Weren’t so Old After All

Dear Lanark Era –Lanark Society Settlers Letter

James Weir Campbell — Lizzie McKeracher — Lanark

John Lyons John Campbell & Morphy Appleton Bridge Settlements

Can You Still Smell the Fireplace?

Can You Still Smell the Fireplace?





The fireplace had its advantages and disadvantages. — – In the homes of the pioneers the chief feature was the fireplace, wide and open to the sky. In those pioneer days they did not have stoves of any sort. At the outside the fireplaces were made of hardwood logs. It often happened that the fireplaces caught fire and endangered the house itself. It was surprising, however, how long a log fireplace made of oak or ironwood lasted. In winter, fires had to be kept going constantly in the fireplaces, or the cold air would come down the chimney and ‘ freeze the house, usually a place of one room.

One man I talked to today had experience with an open fireplace in his boyhood days. He says he has, however, tender recollections of them as on windy days the smoke they emitted used to be blown back into the house nearly suffocating everybody. If the front door was opened to let the smoke out, the draught would blow the sparks from the fireplace over the floor. He said he could still smell that fireplace smoke yet. The fireplaces, despite their drawbacks, served a good purpose and many a fine and tasty meal has been cooked in them. Fireplace cooking may be a lost skill, but it’s one you can regain with a little practice.



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 (USA

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. Tales of Almonte and Arnprior Then and Now.


The Deserted Fireplace at Watson’s Corners

The Fireplace Ghost on Highway 7

The Wizard from Lanark Highlands

A 40 Mile Walk to Lanark 1826

A 40 Mile Walk to Lanark 1826



Nepean Point 1870

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  10 Jan 1894, Wed,  Page 5



Bytown Upper Canada 1839



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 andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)



Dear Lanark Era –Lanark Society Settlers Letter

Plans For the Lanark County Townships, 1827, with Names Names Names

Ramsay Settlers 101

Beckwith –Settlers — Sir Robert the Bruce— and Migrating Turtles

EARLY SETTLEMENT OF DALHOUSIE-Tina Penman, Middleville, Ont.

Lanark County 101 — It Began with Rocks, Trees, and Swamps

What Was Smiths Falls Perth and Port Elmsley like to Joseph and Jane Weekes?

Rock the Boat! Lanark County or Bust! Part 1

It Wasn’t the Sloop John B — Do’s and Don’t in an Immigrant Ship -Part 2

Riders on the Storm– Journey to Lanark County — Part 3

ROCKIN’ Cholera On the Trek to the New World — Part 4

Rolling down the Rapids –Journey to Lanark Part 5


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Have You Ever Paid Tribute to our Pioneers? Middleville Pioneer Cemetery

Have You Ever Paid Tribute to our Pioneers? Middleville Pioneer Cemetery



Photo Linda Seccaspina 2015


Compared to some of our older cemeteries that are literally decaying before our eyes the Middleville pioneers can  rest in peace. Have you ever driven to Middleville and seen the 25 original headstones inlaid into a flowered bordered tribute adjacent to Trinity United Church? While not part of *Lanark’s 7 Wonders just looking at them you can practically hear their 19th century stories. The headstones cover a 26 year old period from 1851 and located over the original grave site.

One marker of note covers three graves. They are the Affleck children: Agnes age 7 and her sisters Jane and Elizabeth 4 and 1 who all died in August and September of 1856 from either diptheria or scarlet fever that swept Lanark County that ye



In Memory of John, son of Archibald & E. McInnes, died Nov 21, 1857, aged 1 year & 6 months. Middleville Pioneer Cemetery Middleville, Ontario. Burials 1955 – 1900 CLICK HERE


Like the St. James Anglican church cemetery in Carleton Place that removed their hand water pump  Middleville too worried about seepage of contaminated graves from the old graveyard into the town’s well water. Middleville decided to move their cemetery to the Greenwood Cemetery in the 1870s.

Several of the plots were dug up and the remains transferred to the new site. Over the years the old site fell upon hard times and in the 1930s they tried to clean it up but they stopped fearful of damage to the crumbling markers that were now buried under the overgrown grass.

In the 1960s Mrs. Jesse Stewart Gillies funded the reconstruction from a request from her husband David Gilles that the founder’s Headstone James Gillies be restored. His headstone dating back to 1851 was the oldest in the cemetery. James had come from Scotland in 1821 at the age of 55 with his wife and children. He established a sawmill near the village shortly after it was founded in 1820 as part of the Upper Canada district of Bathurst.

Borrowing the idea of the monument idea from Upper Canada Village the work was completed in 1971 and an official ceremony dedicated by former mayor the late Charlotte Whitton was in 1972. If you have never visited this Lanark location you are missing part of Lanark’s great history.



Photo Linda Seccaspina 2015




*The Seven Wonders of Lanark County

IN 2016 this happened

Image may contain: outdoor, nature and text


Middleville Pioneer Cemetery Middleville, Ontario. Burials 1955 – 1900 CLICK HERE


JUNE 5– Middleville Museum CLICK HERE

Family History Day – Canada 150

Lanark Township (Highlands) descendants of our early settlers (and those who wish they were😉), join us on Sunday June 25 at the Museum for our Canada 150 descendants group photo. Stephen Dodds will be there with his drone to get several group photos at 1:30. David Murdoch will speak about his 1867 ancestry quest at 11:30 and 2:15. We will have copies of David’s research for those who are interested. This will be a great chance to catch up with friends and neighbours. Refreshments will be served. We hope to see many of you there.

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)







It’s the Middleville News

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

When History Comes to You–A Visit from Middleville

EARLY SETTLEMENT OF DALHOUSIE-Tina Penman, Middleville, Ont.

Visiting the Neighbours — Middleville Ontario and Down the 511

When History Comes to You–A Visit from Middleville

Where is it Now? The Heirloom of William Camelon




Just a Field of Stones Now? “The Old Perth Burying Ground” Now on Ontario Abandoned Places?

The Old Burying Ground — Perth

The Clayton Methodist Cemetery

St. Mary’s “Old” Cemetery

In Memory of the Very Few–Adamsville Burial Site

The Oldest Cemetery in Drummond

So Who was Buried First in the Franktown Cemetery?

Kings Warks and Cemeteries–Interesting Discoveries of Lanark County

The Ghost Lights in St. James Cemetery

The Forgotten Cemetery at the End of Lake Ave West

Stairway to Heaven in a Cemetery? Our Haunted Heritage

Before and After — Auld Kirk


Bride’s Magazine 1878



photo from https://www.pinterest.com/


The ladies of ye olden time, and particularly the brides, were dressed in a style essentially different from those shown in the fashion plates of Harper’s Bazaar for 1878.


Photo-Vintage Bazaar covers


 Silver gelatin print of a new bride, 1880’s Sydney, Australia


Fancy bonnets, kid gloves, and silk dresses were never dreamed of. The most
complete wardrobe consisted of a home-spun dress,deer-skin petticoats, dyed blue from the bark of the soft maple, and a squirrel-skin bonnet. In many instances, bride and bridegroom mounted the same horse, and rode away to the nearest magistrate, a
happy couple.


1880s bride-photo from https://www.pinterest.com/



1880s bride in silk and satin-photo from https://www.pinterest.com/



1880s bride in silk and satin-photo from https://www.pinterest.com/


Brides before 1900 (12).jpg

Bride in the 1860s-photo from https://www.pinterest.com/



The Bride and Her Bridesmaids, Albert Sands Southworth, Josiah Johnson Hawes, whole plate daguerreotype. 1851



Minneapolis-wedding-Lily Absinthe



1880s Wedding Couple Shake Hands-photo from https://www.pinterest.com/



wedding portrait circa 1880s-photo from https://www.pinterest.com/



A pioneer wedding-photo from https://www.pinterest.com/


Pioneer wedding-photo from https://www.pinterest.com/



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


Going to the Chapel? Hold on– Not so Fast!




Photo from www.bytown.net

Did you know that among the pioneers, great difficulty was  had for many years. The consummation of courtship was impossible in those days with only the *Rev. Dr. Stuart being the only regular clergy man from the Lower Province line to Kingston.
The eager bridal parites were compelled to wait for months, and in some cases for years, before the golden opportunity presented itself. To obviate this difficulty,in many instances,magistrates, colonels, majors, adjutants and surgeons consented to perform the
ceremony. By the Act of 1783, these irregular marriages were confirmed. The practice yet in vogue in rural sections, of keeping intending marriages a secret, no doubt, in a measure, grew out of the system of posting up notices of the intention of personsto marry.

The notices were frequently attached to trees by the roadside, and taken down by the parties most interested. Public opinion rapidly changed in favor of conferring the right to marry upon ministers of all denominations, and in 1798 an Act was passed, which made it lawful for the minister of any congregation professing to be a member of the Church of Scotland, the Lutheran Church, or a Calvinist Church, to marry according to the rites of
such church.

By a clause of this Act, the clergyman was compelled to appear at the Quarter Sessions,
prove his office, and take the oath of allegiance. It will be observed that, by this Act, the Methodists and some other denominations were treated with contempt by the authorities at that time ruling the Province. An obvious right was withheld, and a grave injustice done to a body well deserving of recognition.

In some instances the ministers were not disposed to quietly submit to the unjust law.
Elder Ryan and the Rev. Mr. Smith, Ryan s son-in-law, both performed the ceremony. Ryan was in consequence banished from the Province, but was pardoned. Smith stood his trial, acted as his ownlawyer, and got free.

Justice was at last done by the Act of 1831, which, in addition to the churches
before named, made it lawful for the remaining orthodox denominations to solemnize matrimony, after having obtained certificates from the Quarter Sessions.In May, 1814, the Government appointed five persons in the Province to issue marriage licenses,the point in Eastern Canada being Cornwall.





Marriage Certificates from the Lanark County Genealogical Society Page–

Marriage Certificates

The certificates have been submitted by website users or from the Perth Museum Archives.


Memorial Tiles: Rev. John Stuart

Perth Courier, November, 1933

The following is from the Pilot Mound, Manitoba, Sentinel, Mrs. Stewart having been the former Miss Marjory McIntyre of Balderson before her marriage to Mr. D. A. Stewart.  “Golden wedding bells chimed in Copperfield on Sunday, Oct. 8 when a highly esteemed pioneer couple Mr. and Mrs. D.A. Stewart celebrated their 50th anniversary of their wedding day at home with their family.  Harry and Kathleen received the congratulations of many friends who called during the day.  On October 8, 1883, D.A. Stewart married Marjorie McIntyre in Winnipeg.  They took the train to Manitou and completed their journey by horse and buggy to the farm close by the (illegible word) Mound.  When they arrived, threshing was in progress on the next acre and the gang halted to give a royal salute with full whistle honors to the bride and groom.  Since that happy day, Mr. and Mrs. Stewart have lived on the same farm; a fine pine tree grove planted by Mr. Stewart surrounds an avenue leading to their home.  Both have played important parts in the up building of this district since the pioneer days.  Mr. Stewart is a graduate in Applied Science and Arts of McGill and taught school as a young man in the east.  On coming west he entered actively into political life and as a Liberal candidate successful contested Lisgar in a memorable contest – in which the defeated aspirants included the late R.L. Richardson and represented Lisgar in the Federal House.  He has always been keenly and actively interested in education and municipal matters and for many years was inspector of schools; he is still secretary-treasurer of his own school district, Copperfield, he was for some time clerk of Louise municipality.  Mrs. Stewart despite some infirmities, is a bright, cheerful little lady, possessing a remarkable memory of happenings of early years.

Perth Courier, July 19, 1940

On Wednesday of last week Mr. and Mrs. George Garrett of Doranville, pioneer residents of that district, quietly celebrated the 68th anniversary of their marriage.  It was on July 10, 1872 that Mr. Garrett, who was the fourth son of the late George Garrett and Mary Greer of Silver Lake, took as a bride Jane Johnston, daughter of Robert Johnston and Ellen Greer of (illegible, maybe Oso?).  (note, last names as printed of the mothers are both Greer).  At that time there were only two or three houses at Sharbot Lake and no church there.  The minister who performed the ceremony was a Methodist circuit rider from Maberly.  Recalling these early days, Mr. Garrett stated “I had built a little cabin back in the bush north of Zealand and not far from the farm now occupied by Jim McCord.  The neighbors were good in those days and they gave me a lot of help in building my first home.”  To this clearing in the woods, the young couple repaired.  They did not have much in the way of worldly goods but stout hearts and a willingness to work were valuable assets.  Mr. Garrett owned an ox team but most of his work was with the axe.  “I was young and strong” he said “and could work all day without ever tiring.  I was always chopping wood to make potash for cash.  We had lots of hard work but there was always plenty to eat and we were as happy as kings.”  The little log cabin became too small for the growing family and a larger house was built in which Mr. and Mrs. Garrett raised their family of three sons and five daughters. After their family had grown up they sold their farm and retired to Sharbot Lake where Mr. Garrett was employed on the C.P.R. section.  “When we were pioneering”, Mr. Garrett said, “game was plentiful.  I saw lots of bear and deer and at night the wolves used to howl.”  Mr. Garrett, who is 91 years of age, is still rugged and active.  Mrs. Garrett is 90 and was able to do all her own work until last October when she was badly injured in a fall.  Since that time she has been in poor health.  Six  sons and daughters are still living including Thomas of Sydenham; Robert of Leamington; George of Zealand; Mrs. Robert Armstrong of Zealand; Mrs. Charles Gordon of Sharbot Lake; and Mrs. Acheson(?) of Detroit.  Mrs. Viola Moore of Lombardy who died last month was a daughter while another daughter Mrs. Ellen McCord, died 23 years ago.


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


Living In Constant Sorrow in a Lanark Swamp — Soggy Bottom Gal


I was all set to tell you where I went today, BUT as I sat here looking at the computer screen; I had to get something out of my system. Today I drove by at least a dozen swamps, and as I complained in the Blakeney and Beckwith blog- there was no way I could handle situations like that in those early years. I repeat, NO way my lace up granny boots of years gone by were getting wet for any man or Promised Land.  Are you saying I am allergic to pioneer exercise? Honey, I still haven’t found the right exercise yet–let alone then.

Lanark county has 47 provincially significant wetlands. Some of the largest are Blueberry Marsh (north of Perth), the Innisville Wetlands (upstream of Mississippi Lake) and the Goodwood Marsh south of Carleton Place. Those would be the major ones-there are thousands of minor ones. Settlers tell of long stretches of swamp where, by actual measurement, the black mud was over three feet in depth


Since I have shrunk now to 5ft 5, that would leave me 2 feet of clearance. Well, there goes the knickers and part of the camisole and I refuse to ever be a soggy-bottom gal. (Okay, no mention to aging women changing their underwear after sneezing) There were also thousands of stinging and biting insects and forests full of wild pigeons sometimes flying in flocks of “five acres”. Five acre flocks of poop dropping pigeons? You know what happens–some days you are the pigeon, and some days you are the statue. You want pioneer women to carry guns too? Oh hell I know, those early illegal Lanark squatters aren’t going to shoot themselves.


“The trails and bridle-paths by which they came, sometimes carrying their belongings, sometimes leading oxen with an ox-cart, wound laboriously through towering forests and dank swamps, across flooded creeks, up log-strewn hills and around black morasses. And when, at last, some summer evening, they reached their destination, they found a still denser wilderness, with only the frogs and the wolves to sing a chorus of welcome”.

Wolves like in the Fiddler’s Hill wolves? Oh Lord-I can’t even think about this now. It’s like potato chips. I hear about one darn swamp, a few wolf howls, think back, and I just can’t stop complaining.  It’s seriously a disturbing amount of knowledge.

As a beginning, the new-comers, unused to axe-work, were obliged to cut a road twenty miles long through the wooded wilderness before they could reach the principal place of settlement, and, arriving there, found the surveying of their lands only beginning. Sometimes, too, the promised rations were stopped for very slight reasons. 

I’m sorry, but I even hate camping. I am a “mints on the pillow” “fresh towels” sort of gal. I wouldn’t have done this for any man, not even if he had an over sized wagon with jacked up large tires and big springs.  I would have told my pioneer husband right away: Don’t make me wade through a bunch of your personal issues and three-foot mud to find a new life in wherever the-hell-it-is. I don’t give a crap about your never-ending issues and desires, I’m not your therapist. I just want to get to the damned Promised Land somewhere in Lanark County- and make that pronto!


Listen, anyone cooking in a designer toga and cooking in a 900 square foot stainless steel and granite kitchen should not be calling herself pioneer anything.  My Grammy had a recipe for baked chicken and the first line was, “Catch yourself a good size chicken”. Well, that shot my cholesterol up to about 9000- especially after the thought of having to deal with struggling animals. Was there really dignity in being a pioneer woman? Sorry, mine is under the stove somewhere.  Did Lanark County male pioneers really want to be trekkies before their time? Count me out! Stay tuned tomorrow to where I really went-without the complaining.


No person who has never been in a new settlement can conceive how fatiguing and unpleasant it is to wade through swamp and bushes, and climb over rocks and fallen timber under a burning sun and surrounded with clouds of mosquitoes. Every night when I reached home I was ready to drop down both with corporeal and mental fatigue.

From Rev. William Bell:

Letter XVI from Perth, Upper Canada