Tag Archives: schemers

The Lanark County “Carpetbaggers”–Lanark Electric Railway

The Lanark County “Carpetbaggers”–Lanark Electric Railway


In 1892 a scheme was proposed to build the Lanark County Electric Railway Company Perth, Lanark, Oliver’s Ferry, Smith’s Falls, Carleton Place, Almonte. Outside companies could help finance the venture and own a part of it. Riley and Wendler were the Americans from New York proposing the venture and locals included: Alexander H. Edwards and James Fowler from Carleton Place. In 1896 talks fell dead and as the Perth Courier said,“the whole scheme had a faraway look to it”. ..

Alexander H. Edwards 

Mayor of Carleton Place – 1897 – Lumber Manufacturer.

In 1898 and much back and forth it was defeated and Mr. Fowler formerly of Carleton Place and now of Arnprior was promoting a million dollar beet root project for sugar– and by the looks of the clipping below–water plants.


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal09 May 1898, MonPage 7


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal30 Aug 1897, MonPage 8

Carleton Place 1897


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal30 Aug 1897, MonPage 8


May 7, 1898-Mr. Jas. Fowler, the promoter of an electric railway in this county now proposes to run it from Lanark Village to Smith’s Falls via Oliver’s Ferry and Perth. He wants the corporation of Perth to give a cash bonus of $10,000 or to purchase $25,000 first mortgage 5 per cent. 20-year bonds.

May 28,1898-The promoters of the Lanark County Electric Railway are again on the warpath. They want $10,000 each from Lanark, Perth and Smith’s Falls, and promise the people of the latter .place a belt line in their town.

April 12, 1898 – Ground breaking for the County of Lanark Electric Railway was accomplished by Mr. James Doyle, of Perth, and the ground was broken on his farm at Armstrong’s Corners, near Perth.  He used his road grader for the purpose, and turned up the sod for about two acres along the proposed route.  The object was to save the company’s charter, although little else was achieved, and the line was never opened to traffic.

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Clipped from– Local Railway Newspaper Items.. the complete rise and fall is documented here. December 8,1898

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)

Related reading:

So Which William Built the Carleton Place Railway Bridge?

The trial of W. H. S. Simpson the Railway Mail Clerk

The Titanic of a Railway Disaster — Dr. Allan McLellan of Carleton Place

Did You Know About These Local Train Wrecks?

The Glen Tay Train Wrecks of Lanark County

55 years ago–One of the Most Tragic Accidents in the History of Almonte

The Kick and Push Town of Folger

Train Accident? Five Bucks and a Free Lunch in Carleton Place Should Settle it

The Glen Tay Train Wrecks of Lanark County

The Men That Road the Rails

Tragedy and Suffering in Lanark County-Trains and Cellar Stairs

The Mystery Streets of Carleton Place– Where was the First Train Station?

Memories of When Rail was King- Carleton Place

Linda’s Dreadful Dark Tales – When Irish Eyes Aren’t Smiling — Our Haunted Heritage

I was Born a Boxcar Child- Tales of the Railroad


Dr. G. S. Howard of Carleton Place — Just Call Me Master!


One thing always leads to another researching things about Carleton Place. From one advertisement found, comes a mountain of deceit, a man sued for libel, and one of the biggest frauds ever tried in the Dominion of Canada. All this from one local man who made medicine and religious quackery his forte, and was also into green silk robes.


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Dr. Granby Howard was said to owned a vast amount of land in Canada, yet he lived in a home owned by Mrs. Wilke. Surprisingly as I dug deeper, he lost “his” home in the great Carleton Place fire of 1910. Howard Morton Brown thought he was a bit of a  blowhard and said the following:

Dr. Granby Howard, who claimed to have been descended from one of the original 13 Barons of England, was a big man, soft spoken, and used to relate to me about his turkey hunting trips in the U.S.A.  He had a law suit with the Montreal Daily Star and lost.  The Star published a pamphlet about him and distributed it to the householders of Carleton Place.”

He was a staunch Conservative, Orangemen and a friend to Dr. Preston(No Dr. Preston No!). At first I thought his cream for piles was the subject of the Montreal Star Pamphlet war. But it wasn’t! It was much more than that!  Howard began a new religion consisting of thoughts of  Brahmanism, Eastern Philosophy and Christianity. There was also a great deal of balderdash about the rites and ceremonies. The man of mystery was known to his converts as “the Master”-The Sage of Aru. He also carried a sword to slay the Elements. Apparently those “little elements” crawled into select local folks and horses. Howard ran into a great deal of trouble with the local clergy as he used a wee bit of the occult sciences in his ceremonies. What am I saying? He was in lock, stock and barrel. And I talked about our local Masons. Geesh!



Anyways, he embezzled a few people around the area and then took his dog and pony show to St. Louis, Mo.for a spell to see what coffers he could conjure up there. Actually, it was stated his strong hypnotic influences helped sway the townsfolk. One particular American woman was not happy he relieved her of thousands of dollars. After he could not be extradited to the United States the Montreal Star went after him. Phamphets of his dirty deeds done cheap flooded every single home in Carleton Place courtesy of the Montreal newspaper.


He was a deceiver of women (including his wife) He extracted money for his pockets by the wiles of his mysteries. Standing over 6 feet tall, with a grand bear and occasionally sporting a turban G. S. Howard– The Sage of  Aru/Carleton Place definitely created the crime of the century in our town. Fasten your seat belts-we’ve only just begun- it’s going to be a bumpy ride as Bette Davis once said.

Thanks to Jennifer Fenwick Irwin of the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum who dropped everything to help me today and had me spellbound within seconds.