Tag Archives: sandy caldwell

The Alexander Clyde Caldwell Family Part 1

The Alexander Clyde Caldwell Family Part 1


This is a new Lanark County Genealogical Society acquisition from Chris Allen –This was shot in Cairo Egypt in March of 1929- Major General Alexander Clyde Caldwell and his wife Ina Caldwell– and as he wrote with the “Sons of Big Guns” Sons– Billy on the left and Sandy on the right.

The Major General Alexander Clyde Caldwell family lived at 14 Range Road in Ottawa, Ontario and was an assistant director of Intelligence. His father was William Caldwell of Lanark, prominent businessman and politician, and  as well A. C. had a famous uncle- the notorious Boyd Caldwell. A.C. Caldwell also had a brother Boyd who was in the woollen business– along with one other brother, and three sisters.  After A.C died his wife Ina sold the family home on Range Road to the Soviet Socialist Republic for $20,000 in 1943. His two sons known as “Billy and Sandy” both died at Niagara on the Lake in 1965.


The family at Dalhousie Lake- Photo-LCGS acquisition from Chris Allen


Dalhousie Lake –Photo-LCGS acquisition from Chris Allen-“First Camp” 1890

Attendees: (in no particular order) Mrs. Wallace, AC Caldwell. Miss Robertson, Miss M. Wallace, N. Young, Ed Cooper, Miss N. Robertson, R. Robertson, Miss L. Drysdale, Lloyd Robertson, Miss Barrie, Mrs. R. Drysdale, Dr. Lyle

More to come!!!!


Great Canadian War Project-Major-General Alexander Clyde Caldwell
Died: May 31, 1939


July 5 1939

 - CAI.O WEIX -On -On Thursday. June I. 1MB. Major...

June 2, 1939

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2018 Google Earth


Billy or Sandy’s bedroomPhoto-LCGS acquisition from Chris Allen

Sons–Sandy and Billy Caldwell 

 - CALDWELL. William Clyde At Niagara on the Lake...

William Caldwell (Billy) July 29 1965

 - CALDWELL. Alexander Henry Maxwell (Sandy) At...

Alexander Caldwell (Sandy) February 19 1965

Father Wm. C. Caldwell


William C. Caldwell, Member for N. Lanark, Ontario Legislative Assembly.
Source: Library and Archives Canada/MIKAN 3213567

 - C. CALDWELL PASSES HUM Member for North Lanark...

January 9 1905

CALDWELL, WILLIAM CLYDE (originally William Caldwell), businessman and politician; b. 14 May 1843 in Lanark, Upper Canada, son of Alexander Caldwell and Mary Ann Maxwell; m. first 1868 Ida Virginia Cauldwell, his second cousin (d. 1869); m. secondly 1871 Katherine Smith Falconer, and they had three sons and four daughters; d. 7 Jan. 1905 in Lanark. Read more here..


Willam Caldwell, father of A.C. Caldwell also set up a $500 Scholarship in his name at Queen’s University

Judith SalleyI met Bill Caldwell at he home of my aunt and uncle (Ewan Caldwell) in 1957. He was an intersting character.


Revolutions of Death at Caldwell & Son’s

Sandy Caldwell King of the River Boys

A Walk through Lanark Village in 1871

Your Mississippi River, Ontario Fact of the Day

100 Hands Thrown Out of Work –Lanark Village

100 Hands Thrown Out of Work –Lanark Village



Photos-Lanark & District Museum 1917



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  22 Jun 1917, Fri,  Page 2


Photos-Lanark & District Museum


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  22 Jun 1917, Fri,  Page 8


Photos-Lanark & District Museum


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Clipped from The Winnipeg Tribune,  09 Sep 1916, Sat,  Page 11




The Clyde Woolen Mills were completely destroyed by fire last Thursday night. Of the large main building in which all the manufacturing was carried on nothing remains but portions of the massive stone walls and a great” heap of smoking debris. The dye-house was also utterly gutted.

The Superintendent’s house also fell prey to the flames, but the office and shipping room, store houses and a few other outhouses were saved by the excellent and effective work of the firemen. The damage amounts to one hundred thousand dollars, covered by insurance to the extent of fifty-one thousand dollars. The fire originated at about 9.45 p.m. in the boiler house, and was first noticed by Mr. Ben Cardinal, night watchman, on. his return from one’ of his hourly rounds. He had just returned to his waiting quarters in the boiler room and had gone to an adjoining department for a handful of waste with which to wipe the engine. When he came back he saw a small smouldering fire in a wood pile which stands in reserve in the boiler room., Deciding that he could extinguish thfe blaze quite easily with a sprinkling, of water, he went to procure a pailful and found upon his return that the flames had developed out of control, reaching high up the walls and all around the boiler room.

The alarm was given and help quickly at hand, but so sudden and furious had the burning developed that it was impossible to do anything of an effective nature. The mill fire-fighting plant was situated inside the building, near at hand, but the raging flames prevented this being brought into service. In a few minutes devastation had spread east and upwards to the spinning and carding departments and westward to the finishing room. The last room of all to come to ruin was the weaving.

Bursting from their confinement in the interior of the building, the flames passed out and over to the dye house and curled on in the direction of Mr. Grierson’s house. At the rear of the main building are a number of storehouses in which are kept large stocks of wool and other raw material. In line with these stands the picker house, and just south of it the office and ship-‘ ping room, where quantities of valuable finished goods were shelved.

The cloth from the shipping room was all removed to places of safety. Danger to the wool houses was immediate and serious, and as.the firemen had all they could do to hold down the danger at the east and north ends, the chances of cutting off the wool losses seemed remote.

Extra precautionary measures were taken in this direction and all in readiness with men and teams to remove the wool in short order. The arrival of the Perth fire brigade relieved the situation. They had been summoned and made the journey from Perth by means of relays of teams at points along every few miles in one hour and twenty minutes. In the mill itself large quantities of prepared wool were stored and considerable quantities of goods throughout the mill in various stages of manufacture. In the scouring house downstairs a miscellaneous assortment of goods were ready for the machines, and these were not recovered.

Dye stuffs valued at  many thousands of dollars were in stock in the dyehouse and these are part of the important losses, as they were bought in the early stages of the war and had greatly enhanced in value as well as being very difficult to replace. The destruction is so complete that all the order and form and plan of this industry, which was at once. Lanark’s pride and main ’support, has passed back into the elements, and nothing remains but the slag of the ruin.

In the meantime plans have been advanced for recovering as far as possible the break in production. Appleton will take care of the finishing until machinery can be installed in the Perth plant. The Aberdeen mill in Lanark will be doubled up in capacity by overtime. The citizens of Lanark fully realize their loss. The character of the man at the head of the industry which has suffered has impressed itself upon and is reflected in every department of village life. It would be a matter of universal regret were no way found to approach an adjustment and restoration of conditions under the old order of things.









A Walk through Lanark Village in 1871

Revolutions of Death at Caldwell & Son’s

Sandy Caldwell King of the River Boys

More Clippings– Lanark Fire 1959

The Aftermath of the Lanark Fire June 1959

The Lanark Fire of 1895

Lanark Fire 1959– Hour by Hour

The Lanark Fire June 15th 1959

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Photo= With files from The Keeper of the Scrapbooks — Christina ‘tina’  Camelon Buchanan — Thanks to Diane Juby— click here..

Sandy Caldwell King of the River Boys


Perth Courier, Jan. 7, 1965

Sandy Caldwell King of the River Boys


W. C. Caldwells Aberndeen Mills, Lanark Ontario. Grist and carding mill. Photo: Ewan R. Caldwell Collection, Negative No. PA-135197. Public Archives of Canada. –Perth Remembered


Sandy Caldwell was short, stocky and powerful.  He was quick to decide and act, a devil for persistence (said his enemies) and fiercely loyal to his own in the manner of good leaders everywhere.  For forty years he owned and supervised a great lumbering industry in Lanark County; ate what his men ate; shared their accommodations, however humble; and asked no one to do what he would not.  And when he died it was chronicled “When death came to him at the untimely age of 54 it was as if a great pine had crashed on a hillside leaving a wide gap in the sky line”.

His name was Alexander “Sandy” Caldwell and it may be that when the first snows of winter fall his ghost comes back to wander the Clyde, Mississippi and Black Rivers and across country to the Trent, areas he and family members put to the axe.  Sandy was the son of John Caldwell, a weaver from Lochwinnoch of Renfrewshire, Scotland who like many of his profession, was adversely affected by the depression which followed the Napoleonic wars and made the seven week voyage by sail boat to Canada to start over.  Sandy and his brother Boyd and sisters Margaret and Mary, like most healthy children, remember the voyage as a grand adventure and never recall the crowded conditions under which they and 600 fellow passengers traveled, the rolling seas, poor food, confusion, retching and drunkenness.



History recalls that Sandy and his brother Boyd too their first raft of square timbers to Quebec in 1837 when they were scarcely out of their teens.  In this fashion they yearly delivered the county’s choicest white and yellow pines to Quebec until 1850 when they dissolved their partnership.  Sandy continued on the Clyde while Boyd concentrated on the Mississippi.

Soon Sandy acquired vast tracts of timber on the Trent, where he encountered the hostility of rivals.  He withstood all manner of “accidents”—cut booms, timber getting mixed up and so on—and pushing steadily ahead, defending his holdings and rights by the grace of devil may care, hard work, and hard fighting crews who never doubted his leadership and whom he had in turn never deserted.

Caldwell bought this animosity to an end when, alone and armed with a sword, he stalked into the enemy headquarters (a bar at a lumber depot on the Trent), stuck the sword into the low ceiling and issued a challenge to the best and bravest among them.  None accepted and in that manner did he win his rights on the Trent without fighting.

A second rival gang forcibly jailed him in (again) a tavern and while trying to reach a decision about his fate his men were brought word of the danger.  At great peril to their lives they crossed a boom at night, swam the final distance to shore, broke into the tavern, laid low his captors and freed their leader.

An impatient man in many respects, he assumed that when one of his men got into trouble, he was innocent until proven guilty.  Suiting actions to this belief, he once whipped a Bytown (Ottawa) policeman whom he interrupted clubbing one of his employees in town on a spree.  Dispatching the police officer, he dumped the dazed worker (and the cop’s club) into his sled and took off.  The club became a Caldwell heirloom.

Another exploit that increased his fame was a timber cruising project in mid winter on snow shoes from Peterborough to the Mississippi watershed.  It was said he could survive the bitterest weather on a hand full of dry rations and shrouding himself in a robe, burrow into the snow for the night.



Clyde Hall was always open to men who had grown grey in his service. He kept many on his pay roll as retainers and no one knows how much he quietly gave away to others including men who in their younger days fought for his rivals against him.

Perhaps his ghost lingers over the Mississippi, remembering a decade of blood shed and bitterness over river rights between his brother Boyd and Peter McLaren.  Those were turbulent years when whole families and entire settlements were divided by the Caldwell/McLaren feud which precipitated stormy debates in legislative assemblies and engaged the attention of Canadian courts.  Finally, in 1889, a Privy Council decision restored peace and prevented further hostilities and the two families became friends.


UPDATE on location of the mill in photo–  As far as we know that is the mill on Hillier Street but it is not on the river. It stands across the street from the stone doctors house, now a B&B. It was burned many years ago and the top story is gone. It is now a private residence.
Nic Maennling– Lanark Museum

You can read the Perth Courier at Lanark Archives

Related reading: 

Your Mississippi River, Ontario Fact of the Day

Lanark Historical Note

A Lanark County Genealogical Society member, Leann Thompson, sent this to me today with information that John Thompson finished building that mill in the picture above.