Tag Archives: ramsay

Murray Martin Ramsay Bee Keeper


The Historical Settlement of Leckie’s Corners FROM MM.ca

In the 1840s, the area in Ramsay Township along the eight line about half a mile west of present day Almonte was a thriving community known as Leckie’s Corners.  Most settlers had made their way from Perth along the Old Perth Road which was little more than a blazed footpath through dense forest. As part of all settlers’ duties, they were required to clear the road along their property which then became the 8th Line.  Settlers were also to build a dwelling within the first 3 years.  The first settlers were John Mitchell Jr and John Mitchell Snr who arrived in 1821.  James Nicholson who arrives in 1822 and Patrick Slatery who followed in 1823.

The Importance of the Eighth Line

In the 1820s, the Eighth Line was the main road connecting Ramsayville or Shipman’s Mills (now Almonte) with Pakenham.  The Ninth Line (now Hwy 29) was only a path.  The road from Morphy’s Falls (present day Carleton Place) to present day Almonte was built by statute labour in 1828.  From Almonte to Pakenham, the road for many years was so bad that it could only be used for hauling supplies in winter. The road ran from Almonte to the Tannery hill on the Eighth Line and along it past the Bennie’s mill on the Indian River to Bennie’s Corners, then across to the Ninth Line at Snedden’s and on to Pakenham. With the Old Perth Road joining the Eighth Line between Lots 14 and 15, it is not difficult to imagine the Eighth Line as a most heavily travelled road.  It was, therefore, only natural that schools, churches, and businesses were built along it.  The present day Wolf Grove Road between Auld Kirk and Union Hall was not opened as a highway until 1967.  Before that time, it was used only as a winter road.

By 1863 the community of Leckie’s Corners was well established. There was a school, a general store, a tannery, a harness shop, a blacksmith shop, a town hall and no less than three churches.

Below is a diagram (not to scale) of the significant places in Leckie’s Corners:

Diagram of significant places along the line at Leckie's Corners
Drawing of Leckie's Corners

                                The Site of Old Town Hall: On this corner where this house stands, the residents of Ramsay Township, who had been holding meetings in the schoolhouse, erected a town hall in 1851 from which to conduct business. In 1916, the building was sold for lumber.

                                The Stepping Place: On the opposite corner where the municipal garage now stands there was a stopping house. This was a place where travelers could spend the night and stable their horses. 

                                Site of the Old Methodist Church: The important of the church in the lives of early settlers is very apparent.  Camp meetings such as the one shown below, met the social and spiritual needs of early Methodist settlers prior to the establishment of church building.  Settlers were also visited by travelling ministers.

A Methodist church house, or meeting house as it was called, was a log structure built about 1835 and as one of the first churches in the area, it was open to all other denominations when not in use by the Methodists.  This church no longer exists

                                The Free Church and Manse: Another of the community’s church built that was built in 1845/46 was known as the Free Church or Canada Presbyterian church.  Land was purchased for a graveyard, church and a manse.  The graveyard proved to be too stony and many bodies were moved to the Auld Kirk cemetery.  The Rev William Mackenzie, father of William Tate Mackenzie was an early minister for the free church.  The manse where he lived is now a private home. Twenty years later, the congregation moved to a new church in Almonte and the building was later purchased by the reformed Presbyterian church.  Their minister Reverend Robert Shields, lived in the Auld Kirk manse with his wife Elizabeth, the hat maker in Leckie’s Corners.  The old church was subsequently sold and became a barn. The following picture shows it in that capacity and the former manse can be seen beside. The church building was later destroyed by fire.

                                The Schoolhouse: ln 1856, a new stone schoolhouse was built next to the tannery. In this picture taken in 1898, the woodshed at the back of the school can be seen.  It was the responsibility of the students to bring the wood in from the woodshed and keep the fire going in the school.  Students also brought water to school from the nearest supply. This school served School Section Number 9 (S.S.#9). One of the early school inspectors was Rev John McMorran who became the minister at the Auld Kirk in 1846. The school was in use until 1970. The school house is now a private home.

                                The Tannery: The Tannery built in 1839 by Thomas Mansell who is listed as its owner in an 1851 Directory of Merchants.  People from all over the area brought their Animal hides to the Tannery to be processed into leather. This involved soaking them in vats with the bark of various tress such as oak or hemlock.  Tanneries were always built by a source of water that could be dammed to create a source of power to grind the bark. In this case, it was built by Woolton Creek. In 1908 it was reconfigured as the Mississippi Pride Cheese factory after fire destroyed the original cheese factory.  In the 1930s it took on a new role as a dance hall for a short period of time.  It had since been restored as a private residence.

                                Robert Drury’s Harness Shop and House: The leather produced at a tannery usually lead to the establishment nearby of enterprises that used leather. Leckie’s Corners boasted both a shoemaker and harness maker, Robert Drury, directly across the road in the 1860s.  Robert Drury was born in Ireland and came to Canada with his mother and sister in 1842.  It is thought that he first that he first owned a harness shop on the second floor of the Tannery. This would have been an ideal location for obtaining hides.  In May 150, he purchased ½ acre of land from Thoams Mansell right across the road form the tannery and built a house and harness shop.  The date that he built them is not known but an 1863 map shows the house and shop.  On 28 June 1861, the following ad appeared in the Almonte Gazette.

In 1866 he moved his enterprise into Almonte.

                                The Mississippi Pride Cheese Factory: The first cheese factory at Leckie’s Corners appears in an 1881 map. The Mississippi Pride Cheese Factory was located up the hill across the road from the tannery. Farmers brought their milk to the cheese factory daily. It was a tremendous blow to local farmers when the factory was destroyed by fire in 1908. The owners immediately made arrangements to set up business in the tannery which had been empty for some time.  Within two days it was functioning as the new cheese factory. The tannery in its new capacity can be seen in the following picture. The large tub at the left side of the building is the whey vat.  After dropping off their milk, the farmers would fill up their empty cans with whey to be used as feed for their livestock.

                                Robert Yule’s Tailor Shop: Another thriving business in Leckie’s Corners was the tailor shop.  Robert Yule was the tailor at Leckie’s Corners.  He was born in Glasgow, Scotland 28 May 1808.  In 1821 he came to Ramsay Township with his parents James Yuill and Barbara Colton. They settled on the east half of Lot 11, Conc 6, Ramsay.  He was one of 10 children.

Robert wen to the village of Lanark, where he served his tailor’s apprenticeship under Finlay McLaren.  There he met McLaren’s niece, Janet, who had also come to learn the trade, and they married.

In 1839 he purchased ¾ acre in the east half of Lot 16, Conc 7 Ramsay, where he built a house with a tailor shop on one end.  The two separate entrances can still be seen. 

Robert was an excellent tailor which can be seen by looking at the beautifully tailored clothing in the photograph of his family.

                                Thomas Leckie’s General Store: The settlement was named for Thomas Leckie, a very enterprising individual. He first shows up in records in 1839 as having a license to sell liquor at his inn, the location of which is not known.  In 1846, he purchased land in Leckie’s Corners and opened a general store which probably looked much like this picture. The building was eventually moved and became a machine shed.  In the same building was a Milliner named Elizabeth Waddell, seen here in one of her delicate creations: (PICTURE)

Her sister Margaret operated a dressmaking business there as well.  Thomas Leckie also had a cabinet making business in Almonte, sold farm equipment and operated a sawmill. Thomas Leckie also became the editor of the Almonte’s first newspaper, The Examiner. He went bankrupt during the depression of 1857 and later in 1861 he and his family emigrated to the US.  This foundation is all that is left of his general store. Leckie’s General Store changed hands many times and in the late 1800s was turned into a carriage shop run by James Scott.  

                                Ruins of Stone House Owned by Slatery and Scotts: James Scott (owner of the carriage shop located in the old Leckie’s general store) and his wife became prominent members of the Leckie’s Corners society. community.  They lived in a beautiful stone house across the road. It was demolished in 1944.  The stone was used in building the retaining wall for what is now known at the Heritage Mall in Almonte. All that remains today are the stones of a crumpling wall.  The house had been previously occupied owned by William Slattery whose blacksmith shop was located in a building behind the house. There was room inside the blacksmith shop for a team of horses.

                                The Old Log Schoolhouse: Another building of importance in a community was the schoolhouse which as located within walking distance of the majority of the people. The first school in Leckie’s Corners was a log structure located at the corner of Gleeson Rd across form Leckie’s General Store.

                                Edward Nicholson’s House: When Ramsay was surveyed, one seventh of the land was set aside for the government and one seventh was also set aside for the Church.  This was called the Clergy Reserve.  And in Ramsay there were two such lots.  It was hoped that as the land became more and more settled, the value of these parcels of land would increase.  These clergy reserves were always a problem for early settlers since nobody lived on these parcels and therefore did not clear the road. One of these parcels was eventually purchased by Edward Nicholson who received his Crown Land Patent in 1855. His house, a log structure, still stands.

Sweetest Man in Lanark County — Harry Toop Honey Maker

The Robbing of the Honey Pot- Andrew Cochrane Ramsay Yuill

Honey and the Andersons of Hopetown

Inside the Old Honey Pot — The Henderson Apiaries Carleton Place

What Was a Honey Wagon?- The Job of a Night Soil Scavenger

Putting Leckie’s Corners Back on the Map — The Buchanan Scrapbook Clippings

Stories of Ramsay Township– Leckies Corner’s – James Templeton Daughter’s 1931

Remembering Leckie’s Corners 1887

Tidbits About Ramsay S.S. #9 The Tannery School

The House on the Hill — Up the 8th Line of Ramsay — Jaan Kolk Files

Some Cold Hard Facts- First Tailor in Ramsay and a Cow Without a Bell

James Naismith 101 – Plaque 1965 — Part 2 – Sarah More

James Naismith 101 –  Plaque 1965 — Part 2 – Sarah More

Naismith Home outside of Almonte

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
11 Aug 2001, Sat  •  Page 31

Thanks to Sarah More


Dr. James Naismith 101 —- Sarah More

Unseen James Naismith Photos and his Real Birthplace

The Naismith Home

The 1968 Tribute to Naismith

Sarah More

The Toughest Pair —-Sarah More

Henry & Nettie Barrie —Sarah More — Balderson

Robert M. More — Reformed Presbyterian Church of Almonte– By Sarah More

Miss Ida Paul — Sarah More

Hot off the Press –Old Appleton Post Office & General Store –Sarah More

Dr. James Naismith 101 —- Sarah More

What is This? Thanks to Sarah More

Eighteen Historic Plaques from the Lobby of the Almonte General Hospital

One hundred years ago in 1872 the little log schoolhouse of S.S.No. 5 in Ramsay was closed……..

One hundred years ago in 1872 the little log schoolhouse of S.S.No. 5 in Ramsay was closed……..


Aunt Margaret had this in a frame   but she had the names in behind

it..that she knew- Donna Mcfarlane

One hundred years ago in 1872 the little log schoolhouse of S.S.No. 5 in Ramsay was closed. It was situated at the side of the cross road on the top of the hill, for the road then ran straight over the hill, on the west half of Lot 10 in the Fifth Concession.

The new school was built on one-half acre sold to the trustees for one dollar by Daniel Galbraith. The carpenters were Daniel Watt and Jas. Bryson. In 1893 the well was drilled by

Messrs. Dunlop and Stevenson of Union Hall for $57.50. The trustees at that time were Joseph Smith, Sidney Toop and Robert Yuill.

Another half acre of land was purchased for a playground from Mr. Wm. H. Leach in 1912 for

$50.00. The trustees then were Wm. J. Paul. Augustus Toop and Wm. Gilmour. Miss Nell Forest was the first teacher and there were many through the years as in -the first years many stayed only one year.

These were: Miss Cameron, Miss

Shepherd, Bella Russell, Bella

Scott (Mrs. Andrew Paul), Miss

Jessie Galbraith, Miss Ward, Miss

McDonahue, Miss • H. Dougherty,

Miss Bain, Mrs. R. A. Galbraith),

Miss Nagle, Miss Dark, Miss

Burke, Miss M. Langtry, who

taught in 1896-97 for $275.00 and

later married Hayes Boyd.

Then followed,Miss Bixby, Miss

Moore’ Miss Margaret Langtry.

Miss Warren, Miss Neilson, Miss

Quinn, Miss Ramsay, Miss Butler

(Mrs. Alex McTavishi. Miss Teskey, Miss Laura Houston, Miss

Mary Foley, Miss Martin, Miss

Quinn, Miss Janie MeArton, Mrs.

Wilbert Cochran), Miss O’Donnell, Miss C onn/ Miss O’Donnell,

Miss Frances McIntyre, Mrs.

Chamney Cooke>. Mrs. Brown,

Miss Bronson, Miss H. Cannon.

Miss Eva Gordon, Miss Ethel Rath.

Mr. Hawley, Miss I. Waddell. Miss

Susie McFadden (Mrs. Edgar McCann), Mrs. McCann. Miss Rachael Young, 

Miss Leila Campbell

(Mrs. Alex Snedden), Mr. Bert

Knowles, Miss Marjorie Willis,

Miss Grace MacEachern (Mrs.

Harry Toop). Miss Ethel Nicholl.

In 1945 the enrollment was down and the school was closed and the pupils were driven to S.S. No. 14.That year the majority of the schools in the township came under the jurisdiction.

of the Ramsay School board and Mr. Fred Toop was the school’s representative on that board.

In a couple of years the school was reopened with many more

pupils with Miss Ferne Willows and Mrs. John McGill as teacher, Miss Muriel Sweeney, Mrs. Marion Gardiner, Mrs. Margaret Arnott, Mrs. Dorothy DeLaurier, Miss Barbara Brundige, Miss Eleanor Clapp (Mrs. Frank Paul). 

In the late fifties a music teacher, Mrs. Dana Featherstone was engaged and continued until the school closed. In 1959 the trustees were Bert Hazelwood, Gordon Thom and Borden Hilliard with Mrs. James Paul, secretary-treasurer. In 1964 the Department of Education forced all small schools to close and the Township School Area was formed. 

The trustees levy in 1964 for school purposes was two mills for Galbraith School. The school was used by the Area and Mrs. Jean Stewart taught all grades in 1964-66. Mr. Lyndon Somerton taught Grades 7 and 8 in 1966-67, Mrs. Terry Giffin Grade 1 in 1967-68 and Miss Vivian Moore taught in 1968-69. In 1969 the township schools were sold and the children taken by bus to Almonte or Carleton Place. 

Galbraith’s School was sold to Mr. Bert Hazelwood and in its hundredth year was moved across the road to the Hazelwood farm. So another chapter of Ramsay’s history is closed. — 

Compiled from the Rocky Ridge Tweedsmuir Book by Mrs, Norman Paul

Almonte Gazette

S.S #5 Darling John Beaton

S.S. #5 White School White Community Hall

Norman Paul Talks About the Little Red School House- The Buchanan Scrapbook

S.S. No. 2 Ramsay – Wright’s School — Clippings

Dugald Campbell –Memories of Ramsay Township and Almonte–Ministers Hunters and Schools

2702 Words of History About Grieg’s School Ramsay–Miss Ruby Wilson

  1. The Grieg School– The Fire and Mrs. Pearl McCann
  2. Scotch Corners Union S.S. #10 School Fire
  3. Fire Drills, Loud Bells and a Whole Lot of Noise — Learning How Not to Burn in School
  4. Did the Germans Start the Fire at the Portland School in 1915?
  5. S.S. 18 Knowles School — Nearby to McIllquham’s Bridge
  6. Be True to Your School–SS #15 Drummond
  7. Middleville School Photos- Laurie Yuill
  8. The Home Permit– School Records
  9. Suspended Teacher —Appleton School 1931 — Miss Annie NeilsonLadies & Gentlemen- Your School Teachers of Lanark County 1898School Salaries of 1918The Fight Over One Room Schools in 1965!

Sweetest Man in Lanark County — Harry Toop Honey Maker

Sweetest Man in Lanark County — Harry Toop Honey Maker

I found a 4lb Honey Tin
From Harry G Toop
R.R.3 Carleton Place
Adin Daigle

Mr. Harry Toop, well known apiarist, who is now located near Arnprior but who used to reside in Ramsay Township near Carleton Place, was surprised to receive the following letter from a stranger who was travelling to the Old Country aboard the Empress of France:

Dear Mr. Toop, It is a brilliant, sunny, warm day on the mid-Atlantic and just the correct atmosphere for thinking about bees and honey. I have enjoyed your honey so much during this last week that I cannot refrain from commending you. Your honey is used on this ship and its clear, well prepared packaging is a credit to your skill and business methods. The quality of the honey interests me even more. I am perfectly sure that the many passengers who are eating this product are doing so because of this good flavour.

In fact, I have taken the time to ask many of them why they eat it and the answer is the same. “It tastes good and it looks nice.” I am on my way to Britain and Europe to look at the foreign bees and apiaries, not as a scientist or commercial giant, but out of interest alone. My own apiary is at Bobcaygeon, Ont., where I find that flavour and appearance of honey sells more of it than price controls and bargain lots. With a lot of people aboard and all of them looking for something to do, it gives them fun and me too, when I talk of bees and beekeeping. It is astounding to find so many people who have heard little or nothing about honey. I People who have honey to sell | should note this. Good luck to you, sir, I hope you have a bumper season. July 1952 Almonte Gazette

So Harry Toop, renowned beekeeper for the last 62 years, how do those beastly little suckers make honey, anyway? “I could talk about bees all week,” says Mr. Toop, 80, while explaining the parts of a brood box in the wooden shed built onto his 1870s brick farmhouse on the Upper Dwyer Hill Road. “I’m still fascinated with bees. After all this time, I still haven’t learned everything about them yet.”

During the next four hours, he will show you samples of the nasty verroa mite, read pertinent verses from Deuteronomy, retell the biblical story of the prodigal son, inquire about your stance on angels, tell the story of his wife’s passing three year’s ago today, recount his vacation to Seattle, and explain what concession line he grew up on outside Carleton Place.

He will tell you about the man who filled a 70-gallon butter crock full of honey, then cracked it wide open on his trunk latch. “Seventy pounds of honey in his trunk,” says Mr. Toop, releasing a series of high-pitched “hee-hee-hees”. Or the contestant who cheated one year at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto by adding food colouring to darken his amber honey; or how it’s okay to be in a bad mood once in a while. “Even my mother-in-law got in bad humour on a windy day.” Or the guy who filled his expensive beeswax bars with cheaper parafin, wax, in an effort to cheat his dealer.

“Not all the crooks are dead, you know.” Right, so the bee flies up to the flower, Mr. Toop, and then what happens? “Do you remember how the refraction of light works?” And he is off again, demonstrating a device used to measure the moisture content of honey by measuring how the light bends through a drop of the sweet liquid. “Once the queen starts to lay eggs, she never has to be fertilized again,” says Mr. Toop, who once kept a queen bee for five years, which seems an awfully long time for a bug to live.

The queen seems to have something to do with the production of honey, as do other bees called drones and workers. “It’s marvelous. I’m amazed at these bees.” Harry (Honey) Toop, who has five daughters, learned about making honey from his father and grandfather and at one time had 800 hives. The fourth of 10 children, he still remembers the year when he harvested 96,000 pounds of honey, using it to supply more than 60 stores in a circuit around Arnprior.

When he started in the business, honey was selling for nine cents a pound. He still retails a little to his favoured customers, at $1.80 a pound. “In order to be a good beekeeper, you have to think like a bee,” says Mr. Toop, without elaborating on that particular thought process. His main preoccupation now is his beekeeping supply business. In a big workshop about 100 metres from his house, he builds wooden frames, foundation combs, big wooden boxes that house bees during the winter, and other stuff that seems to have something to do with making honey.

We still aren’t sure. – It is clear that Mr. Toop who is as sharp as a bee’s stinger knows everything there is to know about bees and honey. In fact, maybe he knows too much. Which could explain why he has such trouble knowing where to begin answering questions for non-experts. From a little office in the back, he pulls out a brown book with a gold embossed cover that reads All I Know about Beekeeping, By Harry Toop. Finally, we’re getting somewhere. He flips it open and the pages are blank. Mr. Toop is nearly doubled over with laughter. “I got you on that one … hee, hee, hee.”

Mr. Toop built the workshop himself and supplies dozens of products to small beekeepers in the area, ‘ “See that saw over there? I bought it in 1940. I’ve got to show you this.” From a cupboard, he pulls out a saw blade resting in a wooden sleeve and yanks out the end of his tape measure. “Now this blade was 10 inches when I bought it.” It now measures eight and five-eights, the wear caused by thousands of cuts and hundreds of sharpenings.

Mr. Toop, a tall man with blue eyes and neatly combed white hair, has a cross-cut saw on the wall that he remembers felled 2,600 logs one winter. It needs to be sharpened with a special file. “Would you be interested in seeing it?” And off he goes again, seeking out yet another drawer holding a tool wrapped in brown paper. It hardly needs to be said that Mr. Toop loves being a beekeeper, though he admits he is thinking of selling the business because of his advancing years. “A beekeeper has an opportunity to live so close to nature, God’s creation, and you have an opportunity to see so much of what’s happening.”

Alan Fox, 57, a part-time beekeeper from Dacre, stopped in to see Mr. Toop and pick up some supplies jars and things that seemed to have something to do with honey. “He’s been my mentor as far as beekeeping goes,” says Mr. Fox. He said Mr. Toop is well-known in beekeeping circles across Ontario, for longevity and depth of knowledge. Mr. Toop, a one-time farmer who “got busy with bees after I stopped fussing with cows,” was an apiary inspector for the government of Ontario for 40 years and has been a honey judge at fairs all over Ontario. “You have to understand the nature of the bees so you can work co-operatively with them,” says Mr. Toop. As late afternoon approaches, it is time for leave-taking. He was right after all he can talk about bees for a week.

Kely Egan Southam Newspapers

CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa CitizenOttawa, Ontario, Canada15 Sep 1998, Tue  •  Page 29

I found a 4lb Honey Tin
From Harry G Toop
R.R.3 Carleton Place
Adin Daigle

Perth Courier, Oct. 24, 1884
Mr. Edmund Anderson of Hopetown has obtained from his apiary this year 6,344 pounds of honey, 23 packages of which he has sent to Montreal leaving 18 on hand yet. He has sold a considerable quantity in small lots. He says the “Holy Land” bee has come out over all the others as a producer

Memories of a honey tin by Stuart McIntosh— After the honey was eaten these tin pales often became useful for other things on the farm: a container for milk for the house, for picking berries, etc.

Honey display now on at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

The Robbing of the Honey Pot- Andrew Cochrane Ramsay Yuill

Honey and the Andersons of Hopetown

Inside the Old Honey Pot — The Henderson Apiaries Carleton Place

What Was a Honey Wagon?- The Job of a Night Soil Scavenger

The Burnt Lands Part 3 – The Great Fire of 1870

The Burnt Lands Part 3 – The Great Fire of 1870
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
07 Dec 1929, Sat  •  Page 2

Some nights I go to bed and worry about the Burnt Lands. Not much I can do personally, but I can keep people aware. It really needs to be protected better, and respected.

Burnt Lands Road is named for a fire that swept through the area more than a century ago. The road is on an alvar, a flat landscape also known as a limestone pavement, where soil is thin or non-existent. It is part of a rare and fragile ecosystem. Ottawa Gatineau Geo- heritage calls it “an outstanding example of this globally significant habitat.” The cracked and fractured limestone is dotted with stands of cedar, spruce, balsam fir and poplars. It supports some 82 breeding bird species, 48 butterfly species and 98 owlet moths and is home to a globally rare orchid called the ram’s head lady’s slipper. Some of the alvar is on private land. About 610 hectares of it has been designated an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

In 1986 Pat Taylorosa had a passion for the history and shapes of rocks returned to university to complete a study on the Burnt Lands of Almonte, an area famous for it’s great fire of 1870 and it’s many rare and unusual species of plants. Mrs Taylor, the mother of two young children, has a love o f geology that knows no bounds. Recently, she sat in her living room with the floor covered in geological maps and books, explaining the interesting facets of Almonte’s Burnt Lands. “The Great Fire ” of 1870 started at Pitch Hill, a few miles from Almonte and swept along throughout Huntley and March townships, consuming a great part of Carleton county.

Mr. Currie told how the combination of wind and fire, when it hit a tamarack swamp at Stittsville, threw whole trees into the air, with ashes and living flames hurled far and wide. read- CLICK HERE

The line cedar log fences for which the area was noted, acted as conductors. According to a report in an Ottawa paper of the day “ it was said that no horse could gallop as fast as those flames spread along the fences.” The air was on fire, presumably from combustible gasses gathered during the sweltering heat of the preceding weeks.

According to the information, people hid anywhere they could to escape the ravages of the flames. Hundreds spent the night submerged in the river at Bells Corners, which was the focus of the fire. It was said that people could read by the light 50 miles away, and the smoke was seen in upper New York state. About a dozen human lives were lost and a great deal of livestock.

After the fire The Almonte Gazette reported that a cow could be bought for four dollars, because there was not a trace of feed or grazing space left. Fires had been prevalent all that summer, and The Gazette didn’t report this one until a week later when it listed names of people and the losses they had suffered. The area was ripe for fire because of its topography; a thin layer of soil overlying limestone “ pavement” at the highest point on the landscape. This resulted in excellent drainage which left the plateau bone dry as the summer passed, it was August at the time of the fire, and the bush was like tinder. It was a natural for such a great fire.

Today, little has changed in the Burnt Lands area anymore, as farming is not possible with the thin layer of soil, but the trees still grow —-notably white pine, white cedar and white spruce. The Burnt Lands, like all of this area up to the Mississippi River was under the Champlain Sea until about 12,000 years ago, and according to Mrs Taylor, this accounts for the line of gravel pits extending along the edge o f Ramsay Township. These were beaches at one time: In these areas and in similar sand deposits are being discovered whale and seal bones and seashells. By 1870, of course, the sea had receded to it’s present location. ( read- Whale Sightings in Pakenham and Smiths Falls – Holy SeaWorld! and – Whale Sightings Outside Smiths Falls– Part 2)

The Burnt Lands has long been recognized as having a unique assemblage of plant life divided among the three types of habitat on the plateau. The areas mosaic the plateau. Communities of low pasture grass, open coniferous forests and bare limestone pavement are the most noticeable.


The grassy meadows are perhaps the most interesting, according to Mrs. Taylor Richardson Philadelphia Witchgrass and dropseed which are found here are considered to be rare in the province of Ontario. In the early summer can be found the showy yellow balsam ragwort and later on the white flowers of the Uplant white aster can be spotted.

The limestone pavement habitat looks just as it sounds, with flat bare rock patches edged with mosses and miniature plants growing in the soil trapped in cracks. Here is found in spring the Early Saxifrage, which only lives for a day. Later, the tiny Rock Sandwort and attractive blue Harebell can be spotted.

Later on in the summer are many of the showy flowers called Hairy Beardtongue and the lovely blue Fringed Gentian. The open evergreen forests also have their share of rare and unusual plants with equally intriguing names. In May is the, rarely found in Canada, exotic, Ramshead Lady-slipper orchid and the showy red columbine. Pink gaywings and another orchid, the yellow lady-slipper can be found along with the hairy honey suckle and the rare Cooper’s Milkvetch which is known in Latin as “neglected star galaxy” (rough translation).

The area is a suitable habitat for small mammals and even some deer and is especially accessible for hiking.

With files from the Almonte Gazette 1985.

The Gazette didn’t report this one until a week later when it listed names of people and the losses they had suffered.
All Clippings ==August 1870– Almonte Gazette

Lanark County Hand Typed Notes –Burnt Lands

The Drought of 1871 and the Mills on the Mississippi River

How Many Stitts of Stittsville Remain?

The Bush Fires of 1870 Perth Courier — Names Names and more Names of the Past

What Do You Know About the Burnt Lands?

Ottawa Valley’s Great Fire of 1870


Part 1, Making Land

Also read–

Whale Sightings in Pakenham and Smiths Falls – Holy SeaWorld!

Whale Sightings Outside Smiths Falls– Part 2

The Mystery of the Masonic Rock – Pakenham

Mrs. William Paul –7th Line Ramsay —Pioneers in Petticoats

Mrs. William Paul –7th Line Ramsay —Pioneers in Petticoats

Almonte Gazette

September 16, 1881

Death of An Old Settler – We are called upon this week to chronicle the death of one of the pioneer settlers of Lanark County – of whom but few are now living – in the person of Mrs. Wm. Paul, sr., (Jane Mathie) of the 7th line Ramsay. The sad event took place on Friday last, and, although not unexpected, the news of her death was received with sorrow by a large circle of friends. The funeral took place on Monday, and the large number who followed her remains to the grave showed the universal esteem and respect in which she was held by the community. Deceased was one of the very earliest settlers in Ramsay, having, with her husband, emigrated from Glasgow, Scotland – their native place – in the year 1821 – sixty years ago – and settled in Ramsay the same year, and on the farm on which she resided continuously until her death.

She attained the ripe old age of 84 years, and for the past 26 years had been an invalid, caused by a severe attack of rheumatic fever – an affliction which was borne with exemplary patience and resignation. Although physically disabled she was strong intellectually, and it was always a pleasure to her to relate her experiences in the early years of her life in Ramsay – a time when Almonte had no existence, and when Lanark County was almost a trackless forest.

Few can imagine the hardships endured or the obstacles which had to be overcome by the settlers at that time, and the present generation should not forget that they have these hardy pioneers to thank for paving the way to the fertile farms and prosperous villages which are to be seen throughout the country. Thus one by one they are passing away, until at present but very few remain; and are leaving behind them examples of industry, energy and perseverance which will not soon be forgotten.

(note: this is Jane Paul?) YES – Jane Mathie, born 1797 died 9 Sep 1881.)

Related reading..

Norman Paul Talks About the Little Red School House- The Buchanan Scrapbook

Sarah Duff McPherson and John Paul — Mount Blow Farm

J. Paul’s Store in Clayton –Putting Together a Story — Joseph Paul and Margaret Rath Paul

Miss Ida Paul — Sarah More

The Wondrous Life of Norman Paul

The Amazing Mr. Paul

Alan and Betty Thompson Meadowside Farms 7th Line Ramsay

What Happened to the Gold on the Ramsay 7th line?

First Woman School Trustee — Mrs. W . A. Gilmour — Hazelwood School

First Woman School Trustee — Mrs. W . A. Gilmour — Hazelwood School

from the Almonte Gazette…Ramsay # 5 1959-1960 school year

January 1920

The township of Ramsay’s first lady school trustee is Mrs. W . A. Gilmour. At the annual meeting of School Section No. 5, Ramsay, held on Wednesday, Mrs. Gilmour was elected to fill the position for the next three years.

Mrs. Gilmour has a high reputation as an educationist, and there is much satisfaction that she should be tendered this appointment and that she should accept it. She is a daughter of the late Robert Yuill at Ramsay, and was married to Mr. William A. Gilmour, one of the most prominent agriculturists in Ramsay. Both Yuills and Giimours were amongst the first settlers from Scotland in this part of the area.

S.S. No. 5 Ramsay – Galbraith School

Daniel Galbraith purchased land on the West half of Lot 11, Concession 5 in Ramsay township in 1855. He sold half an acre to the trustees in 1870 for $1.00. The first teacher was Nell Forest. Ratepayers became enraged when the Ramsay Township School Boarded voted to close the school, so in 1958, S.S. No. 5 became a separate school section. Ratepayers donated two cords of wood per family. A new piano was purchased and a music teacher was hired. In 1969, the rural pupils were bussed to Almonte or Carleton Place. .

Photo- Jennifer E Ferris-The Forgotten Galbraith School House

S.S. No. 5 Ramsay – Galbraith School—Daniel Galbraith purchased land on the West half of Lot 11, Concession 5 in Ramsay township in 1855. He sold half an acre to the trustees in 1870 for $1.00. The first teacher was Nell Forest. Ratepayers became enraged when the Ramsay Township School Boarded voted to close the school, so in 1958, S.S. No. 5 became a separate school section. Ratepayers donated two cords of wood per family. A new piano was purchased and a music teacher was hired. In 1969, the rural pupils were bussed to Almonte or Carleton Place. The school was moved across the road to become Bert Hazelwood’s cabin in his bush. Read-Recollections of Bert Hazelwood 1973

North Lanark Regional Museum

August 21, 2021  · It’s almost back-to-school and we’re going through our school books collection! This copy of ‘Vitalized English’ was used in the S.S. No. 5 Ramsay school – called the Galbraith School. The land (Lot 11, Concession 5 in Ramsay Township) was purchased in 1855 by Daniel Galbraith, who sold half an acre of that land to school trustees in 1870 for $1.

The school operated until 1969 when the Government of Ontario mandated the consolidation of county school boards, and students were bussed to either Almonte or Carleton Place for their education.

For the Love of Money-Gillies Gilmours and the McLarens

2702 Words of History About Grieg’s School Ramsay–Miss Ruby Wilson

Norman Paul Talks About the Little Red School House- The Buchanan Scrapbook

Recollections of Bert Hazelwood 1973

A Story of Almonte, Carleton Place, Ballygiblins and Mr. Neil McDonald

A Story of Almonte, Carleton Place, Ballygiblins and Mr. Neil McDonald

One of the many family sagas of emigration to Ramsay township was that of the McDonald family which, after investigating other locations, chose land in the tenth concession of Ramsay north of the falls of Almonte.  Long-lived members of this family included the father, John McDonald of the Isle of Mull, who came in 1821 with his wife, three sons and several daughters, and lived in Ramsay till he reached his hundredth year in 1857.  His son Neil at the age of 100 had the distinction of living in three centuries before his death in 1901 at his Ramsay homestead.

The Almonte Gazette 1896

We have pleasure this week in giving space to the following sketch on the life of one of Lanark County’s hardy pioneers, who had his share of the trials and incidents to life hereabout in the 1820s and thirties, in the person of Mr. Neil McDonald, father of Mr. Lauchlin McDonald, 10th line of Ramsay (with whom the venerable gentleman resides) and grandfather of Bev. John A. McDonald of Whitnesy, Mr. Neil McDonald of Carleton Place High School, Mr. R. L. McDonald, principal of Almonte public school, and Mr. W. McDonald, student at Queen’s.

Neil McDonald was born at Loch Buy, Isle of Mull, on the west coast of Scotland, in the year 1800. He well remembers Waterloo, where many of his clansmen fought and bled. His father, John McDonald, although in comfortable circumstances, was led to emigrate to Canada to find homes for his sons. Accordingly, in June 1821, he with his family of three sons and five daughters, set sail from Oban in the ship, “ Duchess of Richmond,” and after an uneventful Crossing of five weeks landed at Quebec on the 2nd of August.

From Quebec they went by steam to Montreal, thence to Lachine by stage. Taking small boats they sailed up the Ottawa to Point Fortune, but failing to secure land to suit them, returned up the St. Lawrence and took a Durham boat to Prescott, intending to go to Little York, now Toronto. Meeting friends they were induced to go to Perth. They were conveyed to Perth by wagon, making that distance in three days.

Perth was then a small village having three taverns, two distilleries and three stores, with blacksmith, shoemaker and tailor shops. Applying to the late Col. Matheson for land, they were sent to Prospect in Lanark, Dalhousie and Sherbrooke Townships, but failing to find a suitable location, rented a farm in Drummond, twelve miles from Perth, from Duncan McNaughton, doing statute labour and paying taxes as rent. It was now fall, and after laying in a supply of provisions, they set to work to clear land.

After a hard winter’s work they got about 12 acres roughly cleared and set to work to plant it, using hoes. They were rewarded with a fine crop of corn, potatoes, and a little wheat and oats. This was all cut with sickles. In the summer of 1822, Neil and Lauchlin went to Ramsay and took up 400 acres of land for father and sons, being lots 22, 24 and 25, now owned by Lauchlin McDonald, John Arthur, Sr., and James Barker, Jr., on the 10th concession, and lot 19 on the 11th concession now owned by Michael Ryan.

The brothers cleared an acre of land on lot 22 and built a shanty near the 10th line. They planted potatoes on it, but the crop proved a failure, and they had but a few bushels. The following winter Neil, with his sister, Flora (afterwards Mrs. D. McNaughton, Drummond) worked on the new farm, and chopped ten acres. They carried hay on their backs a distance of two miles for their cow. In the fall of 1821, all but the parents and Laughlin were taken ill of fever, and Neil’s life was despaired of, but all recovered except Donald, who died about two years later from its effects.

The hard work and severe climate was fatal also to Lauchlin who died within a fortnight of Donald. The bodies of the two brothers were carried from Drummond, a distance of 22 miles, on the shoulders of friends and interred in the place which is now the family burial ground. The other members of the family moved down in May, bringing three cows and two pigs. The father and Neil put in about one acre -of potatoes and one of wheat, and had a good yield of both. They then logged the remainder of the clearing, burning a great many fine pines and oaks.

The next winter his sister, Belle, followed her brothers to -the grave. His sister Sarah, had been married in the preceding April to Mr. A. Cameron of Beekwith, father of Mr. R. Cameron of this town. Flora was married in the fall of 1824 to Mr. D, McNaughton of Drummond, leaving Neil alone with his father and mother. In June of that year they carried a barrel of flour from Morphy’s Falls (now Carleton Place), a distance of twelve miles. This was one of the heaviest tasks of his life.

In December of 1825, he, in company with “Big Neil McKillop” set out to purchase a yoke of oxen and some sheep. They spent fifteen days travelling, going as far as Cornwall and spending the nights sleeping by the firesides of hospitable settlers. In the same year about four hundred Irishmen from Ballygiblin arrived and camped in the neighbourhood. Many of them took up land, but the rest remained and -became the terror of the country. Finally the militia had to be called out to keep the peace, and one of the rebels was shot in an attempt to restore order.

When Neil first came to Ramsay, Almonte was called Shepherd’s Falls after a young Scotsman named Shepherd, who had erected the frame of a sawmill, but who at that time was in gaol (jail) for debt. This and a small shanty uninhabited, were the only buildings erected. Shepherd’s property was purchased by Mr. Boyce, a Yankee from Brockville, who divided the land between his son and his son in law, Daniel Shipman. His son started a carding mill, and D. Shipman completed the, sawmill and married a McLean, near Carleton Place, and after a happy married life of nineteen years she died, leaving a family of -two sons and five daughters Isabel (Mrs. Alex. Bayne of Carleton Place); Lauchlin, living on the homestead; Margaret (Mrs. James Cowan of Pakenham); Catherine (Mrs. Stephen Dickson of Calabogie); and John, Flora and Mary, deceased.

The old gentleman is stil quite hearty, although during the past ftew years he has become almost blind. His mental faculties are quite clear. He takes great pleasure in recounting the varied experiences of his long life. His grip is still hearty, and he has all the appearances of completing his century as his, father did, who lived to be one hundred years of age. We trust he may. 

More Native Settlements in Ramsay — Baird’s Bush

Ramsay W.I. Tweedsmuir History Book 1—SOME EARLY RAMSAY HISTORY

Stories of Ramsay Township– Leckies Corner’s – James Templeton Daughter’s 1931

Conversations with Brian McArton– Henry Wilson of Carleton Place and the McArtons of Ramsay

Hand Typed Notes Ramsay Township

Almonte and Ramsay Pioneers – Rafted Down to Their Locations

Energy on the Yuill Farms and Ramsay CSD, Lanark, Ontario

Merril Munro Lost in Ramsay Swamp 1944

Merril Munro Lost in Ramsay Swamp 1944

Merril Munro, 9 year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. John Munro, Jr., 11th line of Ramsay Township, was the object of an intensive search from Monday evening until he was found on Tuesday. Mr. Munro purchased Mrs. W. H. Robertson’s farm on the 11th line at the first of this year. At the back of the farm is a large swamp which runs down to the Mississippi river. The boy had gone to bring the cows home and thought he heard a cowbell in the swamp.

It is thought that he merely heard an echo as the cows had come home themselves. He became completely lost and when he came to the river bank he made a comfortable bed of leaves (so he said) and slept until morning. In the meantime a search party had been organized and shots were fired to try to attract his attention.

The searchers gave up at midnight but continued their search at daylight. Mr. Thos. Command who was patrolling the river in a boat about 10 a.m. Tuesday discovered the lad and rowed across to Percy Drynan’s on Highway 29. From there he was brought to his home. It is noteworthy that the boy was not afraid nor did he complain of being cold. It is understood some of the searchers kept on looking for the lad for some time after he had been found until word reached them to that effect.


LOST in Cedar Hill

So Which Island did the River Drivers of Clayton get Marooned On?

The Babes Lost in the Woods

The Story of Caroline La Rose– Charleston Lake

The Case of the Missing Toe

Francis Shaw Pakenham Postmaster Gone Missing —Elizabeth Shaw — Residential School Teacher

Effie McCallum —– Missing Milliner

The Case of the Missing $900

Explosives Go Missing! Stories From Old Photos

The Missing Heir

This is the old Hugh Munro log house, located on lot 1, concession 11 of Darling Township, which was apparently built in the early 1840’s or early 1850’s.

This property is presently owned by Wilbert Munro.

John Neilson – Neilson Family – Chocolate Genealogy

John Neilson – Neilson Family – Chocolate Genealogy

Name:John Neilson[John F. Neilson]
Birth Date:abt 1850
Birth Place:Ramsay, Ontario
Death Date:4 Nov 1928
Death Place:Lanark, Ontario, Canada
Cause of Death:Stroke Cerebral Hemorrhage With Fanlysie

928, Friday November 9, The Almonte Gazette front page
John Neilson Passes After A Brief Illness
Was One of the Outstanding Citizens of Almonte for Many Years
Was Born on the Pioneer Homestead of the Neilsons in Ramsay.
He was 78 Years of Age. His Wife Died 22 Years Ago.

Almonte has lost a valued and honoured citizen, in the death of Mr John Neilson, who passed away on Sunday evening. His death was a great shock to the town and district, for he had been ill only a few days. Mr Neilson was one of the outstanding citizens of the town, and was held in the highest esteem by a very large circle of friends, both in town and throughout the surrounding district. He was the son of the late Mr and Mrs James Neilson and was in his 79th year. Born in March 1850, in the old pioneer homestead on the 12th line Ramsay, where his grandfather, John Neilson, who came out from Scotland, settled there in the year 1820. Mr Neilson later moved to the 11th line Ramsay, where he successfully followed the occupation of farming for many years until he retired in 1916 and moved to Almonte, where he had since resided.

Active Church Worker
In religion the late Mr Neilson was a staunch Presbyterian. he took an active part in church work, and was a member of the Board of Session for many years. At the time of church union he held the opposite view and adhered to the Continuing body of that denomination and was a member of the Session of that church, up to the time of his death. He was predeceased by his wife, Janet McIlquam, who died twenty-two years ago, in May 1906. He is survived by four sisters, Agnes, Mrs Wilkie, of Toronto, widow of the late Rev John Wilkie, formerly of Indore, India; Marion, Mrs David Forgie, of Cleveland, Ohio; and the Misses Sarah and Jessie, both of whom resided with him at the family home here. Two brothers Matthew and William, and two sisters, Margaret and Mary, died some years ago.

The Funeral
The funeral took place on Tuesday from the family residence to the Presbyterian Church, and thence to the Auld Kirk Cemetery. Impressive services were conducted by the Rev W.H. McCracken, assisted by Rev George Thom. Mr McCracken made reference to the high character and staunch personality of the deceased elder, and there was a large congregation of mourners, many coming from long distances to pay a final tribute of respect and friendship. There were many floral offerings and messages of sympathy. The pallbearers were: Messrs Stanley Neilson, Montreal; James Neilson, Toronto; John Neilson, Welland; Robert Neilson, Ottawa; George McCallum, Carleton Place, all nephews of deceased, and Mr W. D. Aikenhead, of Pakenham.
Contributor: Gary J Byron (49329383)

Neilsen farm- Appleton side Road-Photo from the North Lanark Regional Museum

ReadWhen Corn Doesn’t Grow- Neilson Chocolate Will

Remember These? The Neilson Dairy

Suspended Teacher —Appleton School 1931 — Miss Annie Neilson