Tag Archives: selina fender

Taming of the Beckwith Shrew?

Taming of the Beckwith Shrew?




In December of 1915, the wife of a Beckwith farmer failed in her attempt to get alimony for domestic infelicity. I didn’t know what the infelicity meant so I looked it up and it means: something (such as a word or phrase) that is infelicitous or bottom line:  the quality or state of being unhappy; unhappiness. Okay she was really unhappy since they married on April 2 1912 in Carleton Place.

It seems James Thomas Drummond and his wife Selina (maiden name Fender or Fenders) were really unhappy and a court case for alimony lasted almost a complete day in the Supreme Court of Ontario because she was that miserable.


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Selina said her husband 37 year-old Thomas Drummond was a pain in the derriere and she was ruled in her own home by her husband and his mother.  Apparently, the conditions of their home were so unsanitary (livestock was mentioned) that her health had been endangered. The husband brought some of the local neighbours to testify at the court hearing as his witnesses. One of the them, Mrs. Robertson, said Selina was lying, and while she was nursing Mrs. Drummond she saw nothing of the sort. The aged witness said if anything it was Selina who had issues, and she would use profane language against her husband and was certainly not kind to him.

Counsel to 37 year-old Selina Drummond asked Mrs. Robertson why she had told Selina that her husband had killed his first wife and he was going to do his best to kill her. Mrs. Robertson became angry and said she had never said anything of the kind. At various times it was proven that similar to Bossin’ Billy of Beckwith that she would leave the home and go to her sister-in-laws to cry and complain about her husband. Judge Chute agreed that a placement or an addition of an extra bed in a bedroom was nothing to quarrel about. That bed would be his mothers of course.

The sister-in-law had turned on a dime in court it seems, saying only that Selina just wanted to boss her family around and her husband was nothing short of an angel. Both sister-in-law Mrs. Harrison and husband James Drummond denied that he not had pulled Selina around the yard by her hair. In fact, he said angrily, Selina disappeared sometimes for weeks on end and he had to send for the Carleton Place police to bring her home. He did admit however that he had sworn at her when she provoked him.

Judge Clute said it was one of the most disgusting cases he had heard because of the language and was ashamed he had to listen to both sides.  In searching the archives I can find no further records- only that Selina received no alimony as requested. Not even a gravestone of either of them.



Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ 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.




Selena Fender Or Fenders

Mentioned in the record of James Thomas Drummond and Selena Fender Or Fenders
Name James Thomas Drummond
Event Type Marriage
Event Date 02 Apr 1912
Event Place Carleton Place, Lanark, Ontario, Canada
Gender Male
Age 34
Birth Year (Estimated) 1878
Father’s Name Russell Drummond
Mother’s Name Mary Elizabeth Lowe
Spouse’s Name Selena Fender Or Fenders
Spouse’s Gender Female
Spouse’s Age 34
Spouse’s Birth Year (Estimated) 1878
Spouse’s Father’s Name Andrew Lowe
Spouse’s Mother’s Name Sarah Jane Dowdall



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She Came Back! A Ghost Divorce Story

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Go Ask Alice – The Saga of a Personal Ad Divorce


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