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Death from Corrosive Sublimate —Carleton Place’s Revere House

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The Huron Expositor – Aug 15, 1890

What was Mercury(II) chloride or mercuric chloride (archaically, corrosive sublimate)? According to Wikipedia it is a chemical compound of mercury and chlorine with the formula HgCl2. This white crystalline solid is a laboratory reagent and a molecular compound. Once used as a treatment for syphilis and if you have followed my blogs on the Queen’s Hotel where prescriptions were taken and filled, it was the number one prescription filled in the town of Carleton Place during the late 1800s.

Upon careful examination of coroner reports from the nineteenth-century  it was revealed that, to a statistically significant degree, the majority of poison- related deaths during this time period were not murders. Instead, they were either accidental or suicidal.

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A close reading of testimonies and evidence shows that although the government may have been aware of this problem, they were unable to devise a suitable remedy. Finally, a survey of popular press articles and literature concerning poisonings demonstrates that despite the circulation of such data, poisons were still considered to be exclusively in the domain of the criminal.

Previous to 1870, English law required that the estates of felonious suicides be forfeited to the state and thus the law automatically disinherited any surviving kin and nullified wills. Prior to 1823, the corpses of those found to be caused by suicides were not even buried in traditional cemeteries and were impaled through the heart before burial to prevent ghosts.

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The Leland Hotel at 224 Bridge Street was built in 1830 for Robert Bell, and is one of the oldest stone buildings in Carleton Place.  Opened in 1846 by Napoleon Lavallee as the Carleton House Hotel and was operated by him until 1870.  During 1870, Napoleon Lavallee removed his hotel business to his large new stone building that he built at the corner of Lake Avenue and Bridge Streets known as The Mississippi Hotel. The Mississipi was later taken over by Wattie McIlquham who later built an addition to the building.

 

RELATED READING

The Leland and Rathwell Hotels on Bridge Street

Hell on Wheels at Lady Chatterton’s Hotel in Carleton Place

Bitten by the Kissing Bug — A Shocking Conclusion to the Life of Carleton Place’s Daniel E. Sheppard

The Strange Disappearance of Bertha Sumner of Carleton Place

For the Love of Paris Green –Another Local Murdoch Mystery?

Walking With Ghosts — The Accidental Addiction

TALES OF THE QUEENS HOTEL ARE LISTED HERE