Tag Archives: settlers

A Letter to Mother –1832– Life in the Rural Area

A Letter to Mother –1832–  Life in the Rural Area

Mrs. Blank wrote to her mother on Nov. 20. 1832. Her husband was a retired British Officer and they had immigrated to Ontario, Canada.


Our log house is not yet finished, butis in a state of forwardness and we are indebted to the neighboursfor allowing us to live in their home. This is the first settlement on their land, and we all have difficulties in common. They have a fine piece of land well situated and they are about to move into a larger home and allowing us to use their smaller one until our new home is built.

We are beginning to get used to our Robinson Crusoe sort of life.Our inconviences are temporary, but one of our worst are the bad roads and the distances from the towns to be able to get our basic needs and provisions. Till we raise our own grain and fatten our own hogs, sheep and poultry, we must be dependent on the stores for food of every kind. These supplies have to be brought up at considerable expense and loss of time, through our makeshift bush roads.

You can send down for a list of groceries to be forwarded when a team comes up, and when we examine our stores, behold rice, sugar, currants, pepper and mustard all jumbled in one mess. And then woe and destruction to the brittle ware that may chance to travel through our roads. Lucky indeed are we if through the superior carefulness of the person who packed it if only half the goods are smashed that we ordered becauseof maybe an accident upon the teamster and the teamster upon the bad roads.

For such mishaps we have no redress. The storekeeper lays the mishaps on the teamsters and the teamsters blame the team and the bad roads. This is now the worst season this and just after the breaking up of the snow. One of our greatest inconveniences arises from the badness of our roads and the distances at which we are placed from any village or town where provisions are to be procured. There are times when the most necessary articles of provisions are not to be procured at any price. A settler in the bush requires to hold himself pretty independent, not only of the luxuries of the table, but not infrequently of the very necessaries.

One time no pork is to be procured, another time there is a scarcity of flour, or perhaps the condition of the roads prevents a team going up or down. Then you must ask for help from a neighbor. If you have the good fortune to be near one. or fare the best you can procure some potatoes. The potatoes are a great blessing here. New settlers would otherwise often be greatly distressed

Our own stock of tea was exhausted and we were unable to procure more. In this dilemma, milk would have been an excellent substitute, or coffee if we had possessed it. But we had neither the one nor the other, so we agreed to try the Yankee tea hemlock sprigs boiled. This proved to my taste a vile decoction and our neighbours laughed at our faces, declaring the potation was excellent,and he set us all an example by drinking six cups of this truly awful beverage.

One day I encountered a fall hurricane.A dense gloom overspread the heavens and I had been busily engaged with the cattle and had not noticed my being so near. My husband called to me to use speed to the house or the open clearing. As I left the pines the thunderous shock of trees falling in all directions was heard. The rush of the whirlwind sweeping down the lake made me sensible of the danger with which I had been threatened. Then came a blinding snow storm; but I could behold the progress of the tempest in safety, having gained the safety of our house. Not a leaf remained on the trees when the hurricane was over. They were bare and desolate. Thus ended the short reign of the Indian summer

The Meek Oxen “The driver of the oxen had thrown himself upon the ground, while the poor beasts held down their meek heads patiently abiding the pelting of the pitiless storm. Not a leaf remained on the trees when the hurricane was over. They were bare and desolate. Thus ended the short reign of the Indian summer.

Branching into the progress of work on their farm, the lady continues. My husband has lent out 10acres of land to some Irish choppers who have established themmselves in a shanty. The ground is to be perfectly cleared of everything except stumps. These will take from seven to nine or ten years to decay. The process of clearing away the stumps is too expensive for new beginners to venture upon.

We shall have about three acres ready for spring crops, provided we get a good burning of that which is already chopped near the site of the house. This will be sown with oats, pumpkins, Indian corn and potatoes. The other ten acres will be ready for putting in a crop of wheat. So you see it will be a long time before we reap a harvest. We could not even get in spring wheat early enough to come to perfection this year. We shall try to get two cows in the spring as they are little expense during the spring, summer and autumn and by the winter we shall have pumpkins and oat straw for them.

LIPPED FROMThe British Whig and General Advertiser for Canada WestKingston, Ontario, Canada17 May 1844, Fri  •  Page 3

Peter Robinson Settlers from Cork to Canada 1823 & 1825
National Archives of Canada: MG 24 B 74, 1-4 and 1-5, microfilm reel M-141 see also M-140

Letter of appreciation from some 1825 Settlers

R’t. Honorable Earl Bathurst
Sec’y. of State for the Colonies
12th December 1826
Please Your LordshipWe the undersigned Emigrants sent to Canada by Govt. in 1825 and settled by the Hon’ble. P. Robinson in the Township of Douro, beg leave to express to your Lordship our sincere thanks for the distinguished kindness we have experienced.
We have been brought from a Country where we had many difficulties to contend with, and supported here to the time at the expense of the Government our every want has been anticipated and provided for. And independance not only brought wither our reach, but actually bestowed upon us.
We have furnished our justly respected Superintendent with a particular account of what we have done since our arrival, by which your Lordship will perceive what we have accomplished and that we have not abused the goodness of the Gov’t. by idleness.We trust our orderly conduct as members of society and steady Loyalty as subjects of the British Crown will evince the gratitude we feel for the many favours we have received. That the blessings of a grateful people may surround the Throne of his Majesty is the sincere prayer of
Your Lordships
most respectful Humble Serv’ts.
John ArmstrongMichail [sic] Brien
Samuel AdamsCorn. Sheehan
John LeahyWilliam Mahony
William LeahyDaniel Sheehan Snr.
Thomas LeahyJohn Allen
Denis McCartyWilliam Hogan
James CotterMichail [sic] Londergan [sic]
Maurice CotterRobert Ditch (?)
Patrick CotterDaniel Molony
Charles CrowleyMichael Leahy
John MaloneyMichael Sullivan
Michail [sic] CaseyPatrick Leahy
Maurice BrienThomas Thorpy
John SheehanMichail [sic] Thorpy
Denis O’BrienThomas Tobin
Michail [sic] Leahy Jnr.John Tobin
Edmond AllenMichail Conden
Daniel SheehanGeorge Byrne
D. ConryMorris Brien
Patrick Leahy Snr.Timothy Sweney
John CranlyMichail [sic] Mahony
James McCartyJohn Fleming
John QuinMichail [sic] Sullivan
Thomas MoloneySusanna Couch
Michail [sic] KeanChristopher Couch
Richard MeadeMichail [sic] Elligott

The Original Thomas Alfred Code and Andrew Haydon Letters —Part 29— The Shepherd’s Bush Ghost

Letters from Bennett Rosamond — 1894- Adin Daigle Collection

Letter from Davis House to Scotts in Pakenham- Adin Daigle Collection– Where Was Davis House?

Local News and Farming–More Letters from Appleton 1921-Amy and George Buchanan-Doug B. McCarten

Mothell Parish familes that are in the 1816-1822 1816 – 1824 Beckwith Settlers Names

Dear Lanark Era –Lanark Society Settlers Letter

The Story of Jane Russell Gibson of Lanark County

Ramsay Settlers 101

Beckwith –Settlers — Sir Robert the Bruce— and Migrating Turtles

The Dalhousie Settlers of Innisfail Township

The Dalhousie Settlers of Innisfail Township

Perth Courier, September 30, 1932

The Dalhousie Settlers of Innisfail Township

Not Transcribed In Full

A reprint from the Barrie Examiner

A memorial erected to the Dalhousie settlers of Innisfail township, perpetuating the memory of a band of Scottish settlers from Dalhousie Township who located in Innisfail early in the last century and whose descendents played a large part in the up building of that township—a handsome memorial was unveiled and dedicated in the 6th Line Cemetery last Saturday afternoon, Sept. 17, 1932.  There was a large attendance although the weather was rainy and possibly kept some people away.  The sun came out long enough to permit the carrying out of the ceremony but the addresses had to be postponed until later in the day. 

The memorial is in the form of a cairn surmounted by a kildalton cross and is 19 feet high.  Stones were specially selected by the builder Alfred Davis of Belle Ewert from the farms which these Dalhousie men cut out of the forest 100 years ago.  On the cross are carved an axe and a sickle emblematic of pioneer labors.  The monument is of excellent workmanship and is a credit to the builder and worthy of the rugged men and women in whose memory it is erected. 

On the octagonal side of the monument are bronze panels bearing the names of eight families of these settlers, while on the front of the monument facing #11 Highway is a bronze tablet bearing the following inscription:

To commemorate the honored group of Scottish Dalhousie Settlers Allan, Cross, Climie, Duncan, Laurie, Jack, Todd, Wallace, who came to Innsifail Township A.D. 1832 after ten year’s stay in Dalhousie, Lanark County, Ontario.  This emblem is erected by their descendents A.D. 1932 and placed on the threshold of the pioneer log kirk and a later edifice.

Octogenarians present were Mrs. Charles Cross, 86; William Jack, 82; and Joseph Todd, 82(?) 92(?).  They are the oldest members in their respective families.  A  number of objects of interest from pioneer days were exhibited.  These included a piece of a weaver’s beam used in Dalhousie Township owned by Miss Mary Jack; a lute over 100 years old played by Mrs. Martha Cross; also her husband’s white linen trousers made of hand made material which were wore to kirk and on other special occasions; a weaver’s shuttle brought to Canada from Scotland by Isabella Malcolm who afterwards became the wife of Charles Todd whose grandson Charles MacLennan resides on the old pioneer homestead of Charles Todd; cooper’s tools and a Bible brought from Scotland by the grandfather of John Wallace of LeFroy(?); a Paisley shawl owned by Mrs. (Rev) A.B. Reckie(?) of Binbrook and worn by her grandmother Wallace on her wedding day.  Howard Allan has a wicker chair made in Dalhousie before these settlers came to Innisfail.

The chairman in a brief address gave a few facts regarding the Dalhousie settlers. He felt that the memorial was a tribute not only to these but to all who opened up settlement in the township.  The sterling and kindly character of these early settlers were practiced, preached and left by them.  They were noted for their friendliness, always ready to help those in need.  Mr. Allen pointed out that while some sought to cast odium on the Dalhousie settlers for their supposed sympathy with the “rebels” in 1837, some of the settlers and their descendents were distinctly honored.  When the municipality was organized William Cross was elected as its first reeve, Eben Todd was an ex-warden and others in these families have also served in important positions.

Short sketches from family histories wee given by the following:  Allan by Fred Allan, Churchill; Cross by Mrs. (Rev.) TarkingtonLittle by the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Little of Innisfail; Duncan by William Duncan of Lefroy; Jack by Mrs. William Jack of Lefroy; Todd by Elmer Rothwell of Gilford; Wallace by Robert Wallace of Hamilton; Laurie (or Lowery) by J.J. Whalen of Vancouver.

In connection with the Todd history Mr. Rothwell read portions of a letter written 90 years ago by Thomas Todd, Edinburgh, to his brother John Todd in Innisfail.  It dealt with the politics and relative conditions of that day in Scotland and pictured a depression as bad as that through which the world is passing today.

A.F. Hunter’s History of the County of Simcoe contains the following sketch of these pioneers “Innisfail, like West Gwillimbury(?), had its ‘Scotch Settlement’ but the group of settlers which it comprised came from another quarter and at a later date—the autumn of 1832.  Previous to that year they had settled in the township of Dalhousie, Lanark County but finding its rocky surface anything but a congenial dwelling place and seeing no prospects of making a permanent home here they came to Innisfail.  Their native place was Glasgow and its vicinity where some of them had belonged to the recalcitrant brotherhood of Glasgow weavers so notorious in British history.  They left Scotland at the time of the intense public excitement preceding the passing of the Reform Bill.  Most of them had taken part in the agitation and like the Pilgrim fathers of an earlier time they preferred to life beyond the sea rather than endure the grievances of their native land.  Most of the, too, were platform orators and enthusiastic Reformers, which their descendents are to this day.  The individuals who, with their families, composed this interesting group of settlers were:

John Lawrie, N1/2 Lot 17, Concession 2

Rev. John Climie, S ½ Lot 17, Concession 2

John Todd, S ½ Lot 19, Concession 2

Hugh Todd, North ½ Lot 12, Concession 5

Garvin Allan, Concession 3(?), Lot 15(?)

Robert Wallace, South ½ Lot 18(?) Concession 6(?)

William Duncan, South ½ Lot 18(?) Concession 6(?)

William Cross, Lot 20(?), Concession 6

James Jack, North ½ Lot 21, Concession 5(?)

They settled close together and this circumstance together with the fact that a number of their descendents remained at the old homesteads and in the neighborhood gave the southeastern part of Innisfail the Scotch-Presbyterian flavor which it possessed.

At the Rebellion of 1837 some of these settlers did not desire to go to the front and assist in the quelling of the uprising as that natural sympathy to some extent with the principals advocated by William Lyon McKenzie and his party.  As the Dalhousie settlers were not outspoken in their opinion on the matter they were suspected of having non-pacific intentions.  One of the possessed an old rusty musket which was promptly taken from him lest he aid the rebels cause and he was forced by loyalists to go to the frontier.  This circumstance attached the name “Rebels in Disguise” to the Dalhousie people and their descendents for some years after the Rebellion.  Another report was circulated that they had been banished form Glasgow to Dalhousie and that they had fled from their places of banishment to Innisfail.  This report was chiefly made to do duty at municipal elections when any of the Dalhousie settlers were candidates.

John Lawrie on, on the list given above, was a prominent person in his neighborhood and a platform speaker of ability.  His two sons John and William Lawrie together with Dugald McLean were the three sawyers of the settlement for which they manufactured almost all of the lumber for the district with a whipsaw in one of the ole time saw pits.  About the year 1840 John Lawrie, Sr., and McLean obtained a canoe near DeGrasse Pt. on Sunday afternoon and set out to cross the lake to Roach’s pit on the opposite shore.  They were never heard of afterwards and it is supposed they had been drowned off De Grasse’s Pt.

The other son William Lawrie, probably better known than any other member of the group.  A few years after his arrival at Innisfail he married a daughter of Rev. John Climie and filled a variety of callings.  At one time he preached occasionally; at another he occupied the position of chief constable after having served a term in Bradford as Bailiff of the Division Court and another in Barrie in the office of Sheriff Smith.  At another time he was bailiff, auctioneer, etc and traveled throughout the county to a considerable extent in these capacities.

Rev John Climie, the second individual on the above list had been a weaver in a village seven miles from Glasgow.  A brother of his started the famous Clark spool firm of Glasgow.  The name of the firm continued for several years as Climie and Clark.  His family consisted of four sons and some daughters who came with him from Scotland. One of the sons died in Innisfail soon after their arrival.  Rev. John Climie, Jr., of his family, was a Congregationalist minister and was stationed from 1849 onward for some time at Bowmore in Notiawaxaga(?) and subsequently at Darlington(?) in 1851; Bowmanville in 1856; and Belleville in 1861.  It appears to have been difficult for him to abastain from taking part in politics.  His son W.R. Climie was secretary of the Ontario Press Association and editor and proprietor of the Bowmanville Sun until his death in 1894(?).  William Climie another son of the pioneer lived on the homestead on the 2nd Concession line.  The two remaining brothers George and Andrew went to Perth County.

Dalhousie Settlers list click here…

The Lanark ‘Society Settlers’ Ralph Shaw click here.

Lanark Society Settlers

Welcome to the Lanark Society Settlers Freespace Page! click here

The Story of Wild Bob Ferguson of Dalhousie Township

Hoods School SS #2 Dalhousie

Did you Ever Hear About Hoods Corners?

The Tragic Life of Mary Paul–Hood’s Settlement- Mary Beth Wylie

The Church On the Hill in the Middle of Hood

Drummond, Lanark, Darling, Dalhousie, Bathurst and North and South Sherbrooke –Be Ready to March — 1838

Geddes Rapids Bridge 1903 — Dalhousie Lake

Dalhousie Township Names Names Names –Land Registry Genealogy

Adventures at Dalhousie Lake at the Duncan’s Cottages — Noreen Tyers

Helen Isabella Murdoch Campbell— Remembering Commerce Ship Settlers

Helen Isabella Murdoch Campbell— Remembering Commerce Ship Settlers

The Weekly British Whig
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
09 Nov 1916, Thu  •  Page 5

In the first year of immigration, 1820, many of the settlers arrived at Lanark very late in
the season. The Commerce had docked at Quebec City on June 20th allowing her 402
passengers to reach the settlement by midsummer. But the other vessels did not arrive at
Quebec until late summer; the Brock on August 20th and the Prompt on August 31st, meaning
their 546 settlers did not arrive at Lanark until early autumn.. read more here–CLICK HERE

           Eighty-three years ago Lanark’s first post office was established with Mr. J.A. Murdock as postmaster. At that time and indeed until 1851 it was controlled by the English post office. Mails were not so frequent as now and were carried on horseback from Perth. John Hall acquired the position in 1834 and appears on the scene of incoming and outgoing mail bags until 1854 when A.G. Hall succeeded to the office. This gentleman resigning in 1858 left an opening for William Moorehouse, who was appointed on Oct. 1st of that year. He held office for less than three years, resigning on April 1st, 1861. A.G. Hall was reappointed on Oct. 1st, 1861, and remained the incumbent till his death which took place January, 1866. William Robertson next took the position on April 1st, 1866, was removed from office in December, 1872, and Alexander Munro appointed. In 1874, however, William Robertson was reappointed and remained till the 11th March, 1879, when he resigned and A.P. Bower thereafter ruled behind the scenes, until 1882, when Mr. MacLean was asked to step in. The Lanark post office was made a money order office on the establishment of money order offices in Canada in 1855 and a savings bank business was established in 1868.
That peaceful residential part of Lanark now known as Beatty Corner was once the neighbourhood where two taverns flourished, viz, Buffam‘s, mentioned before, and Mrs. Lamont‘s. The Lamont inn supplied a sort of home for the shantymen when off work and many tales are told of the roistering times passed within its hospitable walls. — CLICK Here
Name:Helen Isabella Campbell
Birth Date:abt 1831
Birth Place:Lonark Co
Death Date:21 Oct 1916
Death Place:Lanark, Ontario, Canada
Cause of Death:Senility

On Saturday, October 21, Helen Isabella Murdoch, widow of John Gray Campbell who died one year and three months ago. Aged 85 years 11 months. He father the late John A. Murdoch, brother in Aberdeen and her mother Jean Hall, from Clackmannan were among settlers on the “Commerce” in 1820. They married in Lanark Village shortly after and had family of ten. She married June 16, 1852 by Thomas Fraser, Presbyterian, Lanark. To Elmwood.

Name:Helen Isabella Campbell
Birth Date:10 Nov 1830
Birth Place:Lanark County, Ontario, Canada
Death Date:21 Oct 1916
Death Place:Perth, Lanark County, Ontario, Canada
Cemetery:Elmwood Cemetery
Burial or Cremation Place:Perth, Lanark County, Ontario, Canada
Has Bio?:Y
Spouse:John Gray Campbell
Children:Peter Gray CampbellJohn Murdoch CampbellEva WalkerAlma Hall RuddAlexander Bower CampbellLorne Argyll CampbellMary Isabella BurnsAnnie Gray MacGillivray

The Green Settlers of Lanark County

Mothell Parish familes that are in the 1816-1822 1816 – 1824 Beckwith Settlers Names

One of the First Settlers of Drumond from the Massacre at Culloden

The Old Settlers Weren’t so Old After All

Dear Lanark Era –Lanark Society Settlers Letter

James Weir Campbell — Lizzie McKeracher — Lanark

John Lyons John Campbell & Morphy Appleton Bridge Settlements

Come to Canada– the Weather is Fine — Immigration Links

Come to Canada– the Weather is Fine — Immigration Links
Chicago Tribune
Chicago, Illinois
03 Jul 1940, Wed  •  Page 12

It is known the later Soundex can be useful in locating records of immigrants who arrived in the United States at any port of entry before 1940, many of them in the 1930s, who either entered the U.S. illegally or overstayed their temporary visas. The Alien Registration Act of 1940 revealed these immigrants’ illegal status, and they soon applied for an immigrant visa and adjustment of immigration status in the United States. When a visa application was approved, the applicant had to travel outside the United States to collect the visa and return through a U.S. port of entry where a record of admission for permanent residence could be filed. Thus the post-1924 Soundex (M1463) contains records of many alien residents of the Northeast and Midwest who traveled to Montreal in the early 1940s so they might legally re-immigrate to the United States. Many of these World War II-era “re-immigrants” are Canadian-born individuals who arrived prior to 1924 or Jews who somehow made their way from Europe to the United States in the 1930s or very early 1940s.

After 1945 Europe opened its floodgates as hundreds of thousands sought refuge from a devastated continent. British emigrants were fleeing cities destroyed by the Blitz and diets stunted by rationing; there were, too, 41,000 war brides and nearly 20,000 children fathered by Canadian soldiers stationed in the UK during the war. Refugees poured out of Germany, especially in the wake of the quartering of the nation (and Berlin) into Soviet and Western zones (see Section 9.4). The same was true of Czecho-Slovaks uncertain of their country’s future and disconsolate about its immediate past. In Italy, Austria, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium refugee camps were established in the late 1940s.

Find out Immigration Records for:

Immigration Records

Local and you can read here…

(1901 Ontario census (Lanark, North & South) transcribing project at the bottom of the page)- http://automatedgenealogy.com

Search the 1871 Lanark County Census (head of house & stray) online!

Link to “Lanark County Directory of Rural Property Owners” – Charles Dobie site.

The 1817 census for Bathurst Township – Pages  1   2   3   4     6   7   8   9   10

The 1819 census for Bathurst Township – Pages   1   2   3   4    6   7

    The above Bathurst Census images supplied by Ron Cox, with thanks!

Online! 1819M Male Census Bathurst Township

Online! 1819F Female Census Bathurst Township

Online! 1842 Census Bathurst Township – Head of Household only

Online! 1820 Census Beckwith Township

Online! 1821 Census Beckwith Township

Online! 1822 Census Beckwith Township

Online! 1842 Census Beckwith Township

Online! 1851 Census Beckwith Township

Online! 1861 Census Beckwith Township

Online! 1817 Census Burgess Township

Online! 1819 Census Burgess Township

Online! 1820 Census Burgess Township

Online! 1822 Census Burgess Township

Online! 1817 Census Drummond Township

Online! 1820 Census Drummond Township

Online! 1821 Census Drummond Township

Online! 1822 Census Drummond Township

Online! 1842 Census Drummond Township – Head of household only

Online! 1817 Census Elmsley Township

Online! 1820 Census Elmsley Township

Online! 1821 Census Elmsley Township

Online! 1822 Census Elmsley Township

Online! 1820 Census Montague Township

Online! 1821 Census Montague Township

Online! 1822 Census Montague Township

Online! 1841 Census Montague Township

Online! 1851 Census Montague Township

Online! 1861 Census Montague Township

More here.. click from Rootsweb

Related reading

Lanark Settlement Emigrants Leave Scotland

8 Photos — Looking for Hilda Dunkley Lesway’s Story

The Norwegian Bride– Not Your Ordinary Bride

How Many Women Does it Take to Replace a Team of Horses?The Doukhobors

What Was Smiths Falls Perth and Port Elmsley like to Joseph and Jane Weekes?

A Tale of Immigrants — John Davies

I Am Who I am Because of You

I Am Who I am Because of You

Once the Duke had “his way” with some peasant girl, she was soon forgotten and my family continued to farm rocks— Steven Robert Morrison

I saw this quote from my friend Steven yesterday and I wondered why some of our ancestors were so naive and honestly, not thinking. But, I realized some of my moves through life have also been dumb as rocks, so, in all honesty, I guess some of us have not changed.

For the past 6 years I have spent hours a day recording local history and answering other people’s questions about their families, and I have never really looked at my own. Last night instead of wrapping Christmas presents I decided to start my family tree on my maternal side as I knew it was going to be the easiest.

Years ago Iveson Miller from Island Brook used to visit our home on Albert Street in Cowansville, Quebec and tell me family stories. Before my Mother died in 1963 he gave her this wonderful family tree book hand written in turquoise fountain pen ink. My mother stored it in the piano bench and ever so often I would take it out and read it. To this day I have never seen a more comprehensive book and was hoping one day it would be given to me. But that was not to be. When my mother died my father took all the family photographs and that precious family tree book and burned them in the burn barrel in the back yard. Today I understand that the years of pain he went through with my sick mother drove him to do that, but I often wonder if he regretted it. So last night I began Iveson Miller’s journey once again, knowing I would not get the detail he had once provided, but it would be something for my children and grandchildren to cherish. I thank Ruth Burns Morrow for compiling the “History of Island Brook” and for the people that saved it.

Bernice Ethelyn Crittenden in West Brome

My mother’s family were basically Irish to the core and came from England and Ireland and settled in the United States and Argenteuil County, Quebec and them moved on to Island Brook and Brome in the Eastern Townships. Island Brook was a fantasy place to me during my early childhood and I can still myself in one of the Miller’s small barns milking my first cow.

James Miller and his wife Mary Henderson were the grandparents of my grandmother Gladys E Griffin (on her maternal side Charlotte J. Miller) who died of the family disease at age 39. Gladys would have no idea that her only child, my mother, Bernice Ethelyn Crittenden, and her granddaughter, my sister Robin Anne Knight Nutbrown would die before the age of 40 from the same thing she had died of–cancer.

Gladys’s grandfather James Miller was actually a veteran of the Fenian Raid, belonging to No. 5 Company of the Argenteuil (Quebec) Rangers, for which services he received a Fenian Raid Medal. Decades after the Fenian Raids, in 1899, the federal government decided to award the “Canada General Service Medal” to all who volunteered during the Fenian invasions of 1866 and 1870. James serve at Cornwall & St. Johns at Niagara 1866 under Colonel Abbott Island Brook, Quebec for 3 months.

However, in order to actually receive the medal, the person had to still be alive in 1899 and had to apply for it. The Ontario Government offered a free grant of land to all the Fenian Raid Veterans. Mr. Miller was one of those who did not accept the offer, as he believed that what they offered was very poor land. Later it became the site of the fabulously rich gold fields in the Kirkland Lake area. Would this be considered a ‘dumb as rocks move?

Ontario Travel photo– Kirkland Lake area– Some of the folks that made it rich.

During his younger years, James Miller and his brothers travelled with the farmers, who were taking their produce to Port Royal (Montreal), as Security Guards against Indian attack.

Mary Henderson and daughter Ethelyn Miller

(courtesy of Vernalyn Morrow Hughes)-Mr. Miller was born at Gore, near Lakefield, Quebec on May 8th, 1844. He was married on April 6th, 1864 in Lakefield to Mary Henderson, who was born on December 22nd, 1844. She was the daughter of William Henderson and Jane Sutton, who came from Sligo, Ireland, and settled near Lakefield in 1824.

James Miller and his wife moved from Argenteuil County to Island Brook, Quebec in January 1868, accompanied by their son, Alexander, who was three years old. I wonder if James had accepted the offer to mine in the fabulously rich gold fields in the Kirkland Lake if life would have been different. There was no cars in those days and the trip to Island Brook was made by oxen. It was a great perilous distance of approximately two hundred miles and settlements were a rare site in those days and there were no settlements east of the Island Brook River.

So the description of life they had was no different than that of any other settler I have written about. Mary Miller worked with her husband on a daily basis clearing the land, and taking the children along with her. They burned the trees they cut down and often baked potatoes in the hot ashes from the fires which would be their noon meal. Later on in years their great granddaughter Linda would do the same thing with the Cowansville Girl Guides at the Brome Fair property not knowing that this was no lark to them as it was to her.

My great grandfather James Miller walked on trails through the woods to La Patrie (12 miles), or to Cookshire, a distance of 8 miles, to get groceries, and he carried them home on his back. I have written so much about other settler families and wondered if my only interesting heritage was Alexander Knight ( great grandfather on my paternal side). Alexander was a music writer, had a musician’s agency and ran music halls in London. Or how about Louisa Knight who scandalously rocked Queen Victoria’s court. I wanted some hard working settlers on my side and I was not to be disappointed.

Ruth Burns Morrow wrote that James also worked on the railway line when it was built through Cookshire. He designed houses and barns for friends and neighbours as the settlement grew and made scale-models beforehand and when the time came for a barn-raising.

photo Canada Rail

My great grandfather was also a rural mail driver for thirty-four years, under contract to the Dominion Government and his route covered twenty-two miles from Island Brook through Learned Plain to Cookshire. When the roads were blocked by snowstorms, he made the trip on foot, carrying mail on his back. In all those 34 years, only four trips were missed. During busy seasons on the farm, his daughter Ethelyn often carried the mail. When I saw the name Ethelyn I was taken back. I often wondered where my mother Bernice Ethelyn Crittenden Knight had gotten the name Ethelyn from– and there it was. Ethelyn was taken from James and Mary Miller’s daughter. My grandmother Gladys Ethelyn Griffin Crittenden had been named after her and then chose the same middle name for her daughter Bernice.

I knew being a pig headed woman I must have had strong women on both my sides, but it was with great pride when I read about my great grandmother Mary Miller. Mary was the local midwife in the early days of the Island Brook settlement and brought over a hundred babies into the world without losing a single mother or baby. If the home where the birth was to take place was nearby, Mrs. Miller would walk to it, otherwise the husband would come for her with whatever conveyance he had.

A story from “History of Island Brook” tells of a member of the Irish settlement, on the road to Ditton, came for Mary with a stone-drag (a flat platform made of heavy planks used for hauling away large stones when clearing a field). As there was nothing to hold onto, and the worried father-to-be kept whipping the horse to make it go faster, Mrs. Miller was in danger of falling off without the driver even noticing it, but she managed to hang on, and arrived safely, although badly shaken up.

Mary, like all of my family, seldom wanted any pay for her services, although people often gave her a pretty dish from their cupboard, or some meat. Mary was there when anyone needed help as a nurse and she also laid out the deceased after a death. One of her saddest experiences was laying out four young children of the family of John Patton, who died within a few days of each other. Because they died of such a contagious disease, black diphtheria, the bodies were taken directly from the home and buried at night.

Mr. and Mrs. Miller were active members of the Methodist Church and helped in building the Church”.

A pile of wood is on my bucket list if I ever win money- but it might be too late. Once a cornerstone of the tiny Eastern Township community, the old Methodist church was mostly unused since it stopped offering regular services in the 1980s. In 2014 the then United Church decided to try and sell the building. The asking price is a paltry $15,000, but so far, there have been no serious offers — probably because buying it means having to move the old church, which was built in 1870, to a new lot. If I ever win the lotto and the church is still around– look for it in my yard– as I think it would be grand to have in memory of my old Irish ancestors. As Andrew Lyon told me on Facebook in 2016:

“We attended a service in the cemetery two weeks ago and the church is down. Lumber is stacked and I believe the building could be re-assembled elsewhere”.The Old Church in Island Brook That Needs a Home

I think the key word now in conclusion is: every day your life is re-assembled, sometimes even elsewhere. Life is not a solo act–it’s a huge collaboration, and we all need to assemble around us the people who care about us and support us in times of strife living or dead. It’s our duty…. especially now.

I thank Ruth Burns Morrow for compiling the “History of Island Brook”. I hope one day to read it all and send regards to those still living in Island Brook.

My Name is Bernice — A Letter to a Daughter

The Old Church in Island Brook That Needs a Home

What Do You Do if You Just Can’t Walk Right In?

We Are Family

The Summer of 1964

Because You Loved Me…..

A Curio of Nostalgic Words

The Personal Ad of June 9th 1966

Did They Try to Run the World?

Memories of Mary Louise Deller Knight’s Wood Stove

The Story of Trenches –Fred Knight Legion Branch #99 Cowansville

Mary Louise Deller Knight — Evelyn Beban Lewis–The Townships Sun

On the Subject of Accidents and Underwear

The Conversationalist

The Green Settlers of Lanark County

Kathy Bradford Would that be Bert Hazelwood??

Mr. Wm. Edwards in his stories “Rustic Jottings from the Bush” tells some humorous stories of the experiences of green settlers in the early days. He tells one story about the first attempt of his father, John Edwards, to make maple sugar. Mr. Edwards had some fine maples on his farm and being told about the value of the maple for the making of sugar, decided to try sugar making.

Unfortunately he had never studied the effects of evaporation and thought the boiling process would be helped by keeping the kettles closely covered. Day after day he boiled away and expected the sugar to boil at the bottom of the kettles. Evaporation was partially secured by the steam raising the covers of the kettles and then contents grew gradually sweeter. Fresh sap was constantly supplied and though the sugar was looked for but no sugar appeared.

It never occurred to the poor fellow that to get sugar he must cease putting in sap and boil all down to a certain consistency. Business brought a member of the family forty miles from home when he witnessed the operation and the mystery was solved. On his return sugar was soon produced and the family luxuriated on the delicious product of the mania and thanked God for planting in the wilderness a tree so useful, living or dead.

Our boiling friend acquired such intense admiration for the maple that he vowed an axe would never touch them. A giant crop of these maples grew where he intended to clear for crop. All other kinds of trees were removed and the corn and potatoes planted beneath the sturdy sugar maples. Alas the ample foliage of their wide spread limbs so shaded and dwarfed the growing crops beneath that the luckless settler became convinced the same ground could not yield at the same time two such crops.

With feelings lacerated in a twofold sense the beloved maples were cut down and in their falling so smashed the corn and potatoes that little of either was harvested and thus his first season was to a great measure lost.

The next season Mr. Edwards put well away with a new crop in the fully cleared land, but later came once more to grief. At the far side of the newly cleared field was a thick bush. He looked to that bush for protection for his crop and did not put any fence on that side.

A bush will keep off sun. but will not keep out cattle. In July a large flock of neighbours’ cattle came through the bush invaded the unfenced clearing and the result can be guessed. The following morning presented a sight of desolation painful to be seen. That summer a fence was built and the following year a crop was tailed without interference.

Did you know we once had black corn growing here?

One of the first persons in Carleton Place to raise “Black Corn” was James Cavers who lived on High Street in the house once owned and occupied by Cecil Henderson. So what is black corn?

Although Black Aztec corn is drought tolerant, supplemental watering is important to ensure a healthy, mature crop. It will grow in dry conditions, but cobs will be small with small, hard kernels

Black Aztec is an heirloom corn variety recognized for its mature deep-purple to black kernels. This corn is best enjoyed fresh when it is young and still white. When ground, the mature dark kernels produce a coloured cornmeal useful in cooking. Black Aztec corn grows best in temperate climates with moderate to high amounts of rainfall.

James Cavers Geneology

James Cavers, Manufacturer

James Howard Cavers
SPOUSE: Anne O’Connor
DEATH: 16 Nov 1957 – Carleton Place

How Did Settlers Make Their Lime?

Mothell Parish familes that are in the 1816-1822 1816 – 1824 Beckwith Settlers Names

One of the First Settlers of Drumond from the Massacre at Culloden

Shades of Outlander in Carleton Place–John McPherson–Jacobite

Home Economic Winners Lanark County Names Names Names– Drummond Centre

Memories of When the Devil Visited Drummond Township

Innisville Crime — Elwood Ireton of Drummond Centre

Drummond Centre United Church — and The Ireton Brothers 38 Year Reunion–Names Names Names

Stories From Fiddler’s Hill

Stories From Fiddler’s Hill
Fiddler’s Hill

I have written stories about Fiddler’s Hill yet I had never seen it before. I guess I had this romantic vision of this hill on the 3rd concession of Dalhousie of a fiddler named Alexander Watt keeping the settler’s safe that night from the wolves. Not only did he fiddle for safety but everyone knew the land was scarcely usable for agriculture. Seeing the vast expanse of untamed wilderness ahead of them from the top of the hill, they became discouraged. They did press on the next day, and came to another hill the following night where some settled and founded the community of Watson’s Corners, visible in the distance from this hill. Fiddler’s Hill— Where the Green Grass Doesn’t Grow in Lanark

So when Jennifer Ferris turned the corner off the highway she said,”|Oh by the way this is Fiddler’s Hill!” I said, “What?”

It is definitely a hill when you coast down the hill away from it or drive back up– but it was not what I was expecting. But still another thing off my bucket list.

I found this very tragic story about Fiddler’s Hill.. but there is so much love I put it here for posterity

As a military wife, and later a mother, Girl Guide leader and grandmother, Sharon Alward could make any house a home. But an often-nomadic lifestyle which included military bases in Cold Lake, Alta., Lahr, Baden and Heidelberg in Germany, Kingston, Toronto, Halifax and Ottawa had never given her and husband Randy the opportunity to build their own home. Then, a couple of years ago, when the couple began to look for a spot to spend the rest of their years, they came across a 20-hectare lot in the Lanark. Highlands at Fiddler’s Hill, just kilometres from the village of Lanark. They were eight weeks from realizing their dream when an accident Saturday left Mrs. Alward critically injured. She succumbed to her injuries Monday, at the age of 56. “We just felt it was the right spot,” Mr. Alward said yesterday of the location as he fought back tears.

Admittedly, he said, “it didn’t look like much,” but somehow, even through the dense bush, the couple could envision the ridge with their house resting on it and a plateau behind. They imagined paths where they, their children and grandchildren would walk. And they talked of sitting around a small pond on the property, one like no other, and canoeing down a nearby creek. Mrs. Alward died before being able to enjoy her new home. She fell three metres and banged her head against a rock after a longtime friend, helping her pull firewood with an ATV, inadvertently backed up and knocked her off the ledge. The woman, absolved of all blame by everyone involved, is so distraught she is in the care of counsellors and tragedy is hitting on two family fronts.

 “It still is a beautiful spot,” said Mr. Alward, comforted by daughter Stacy and son Douglas while five grandchildren ran about. “It was where we were going to spend the next 20 to 30 years, figuring it might take us the next 20 years just to get ‘t the way we wanted. And we wanted to do it ourselves. We would have moved July 15. “Just Saturday morning, we took a walk and talked about how we would develop it further. I know I said many times I wanted this and often thought, does she? I wondered what she would do in 15 years if I died. But I asked her and she wanted it.” Last week, they bought a pair of nine-week-old black Labs. Everything seemed set, almost perfect.

In hindsight, Mr. Alward regrets that neither woman had the training to handle the ATV so close to a ledge. It just never seemed possible they could be harmed. Even as he ran to his wife, she quickly regained consciousness, spoke to him, then later told paramedics her names, first and last. She remained conscious in the air ambulance on the way to Ottawa Hospital’s Civic campus and the prognosis seemed positive. However, the swelling in her brain increased, and by Sunday night doctors rated her chance of survival at less than five per cent. Mrs. Al-ward’s family made the decision to donate her organs. “One gentleman who had a day or so to live due to liver failure received a new liver,” said Mr. Alward. “Both her lungs went into someone else. Her heart went to another person. “Perhaps the one good to come out of this is knowing that she somehow saved the lives of others.” And then, the Alwards will have another decision to make, one about completing the dream. “I hope I have the strength to finish it, for the kids and the grandkids,” said Mr. Alward. “And when I walk out there, she will always be at my side. “There will never be a ‘No Trespassing’ sign go up on that property. It will always be open for anyone.” Visitation is scheduled for today and tonight with a funeral Thursday at 9:30 a.m. from the Central Chapel of Hulse, Playfair and McGarry.

CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa CitizenOttawa, Ontario, Canada12 May 2004, Wed  •  Page 25

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
23 Apr 1999, Fri  •  Page 81

Fiddler’s Hill— Where the Green Grass Doesn’t Grow in Lanark

The Preaching Rock of Lanark County

A Giant’s Kettle in the Middle of Lanark County

Something I did not Know About –Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust — From High Lonesome to Blueberry Hill

Where Are They Now? Paul Keddy of CPHS 1970

Notes of Lanark County Dances and Fiddlers

Family Heirlooms and Antiques of Mississippi Mills — Golden Jubilee 1937

Family Heirlooms and Antiques of Mississippi Mills — Golden Jubilee 1937

Heirlooms and antiques, the property of old families in the Ottawa district, were brought together in one of the most interesting exhibits of the Ottawa Exhibition Golden Jubilee program. This exhibit, which will be located In the women’s handicrafts building in 1937. The exhibition was in the form of a parlor in a well-to-do home of 1887. To give a contrast there was another exhibit, that of a modern living room, with all the comforts and conveniences

The Ottawa Citizen i
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Issue Date:
Wednesday, August 18, 1937

As the exhibition was celebrating its 50th birthday, the idea of having an exhibit to show what the “properly equipped” parlor of the year 1887 when the exhibition was first held in Ottawa, and another exhibit to show the great strides made in style and furnishings for a home, was developed by the exhibition management with the co-operation of Mrs. J. K. Kelly, of Almonte.

To Mrs. Kelly went the credit for finding the magnificent heirlooms and antiques which were used to furnish the “parlor of 50 years ago.” Among the first settlers in what is known as Blakeney or Snedden’s Station, were members of the Snedden family who came from Rosebank, Scotland. They named the place where they settled Rosebank and it is still known by that name in that vicinity.

Among the treasures the Snedden family brought from Scotland were brass candlesticks, brass curtain tics, pictures of Robert Burns, ‘the poet’, and of Rev. Robert Burns, who was the Presbyterian minister in the kirk where the Snedden family worshipped, a chair worked in needlepoint, a small Brussels rug and a table cover.

New Deals on One-of-a-Kind Brussels Medallion Persian Hand-Knotted ...

All these treasures were loaned by the Snedden family to help furnish the parlor. Another Scottish family coming from Braehead, near Glasgow, was the Young family. Their contribution to the parlor was a mantel clock, well over 100 years old and still keeping good time; a farmer’s seed wreath made by a granddaughter 85 years ago and a needlepoint cushion, beautifully worked. The farmer’s wreath was a work of art and few of them are in existence today.

From the descendants of James Stewart, Scottish blacksmith, the exhibition received the loan of wonderful samplers, old family pictures, walnut what-not, curtains knit years ago by a granddaughter, Jessie Stewart, and several other articles including an old family Bible. The curtains were made of cotton warp twisted and a yarn, homespun and home-dyed by another granddaughter.

The Bible originally belonged to the Tyner family of Toronto and was a wedding gift from Mrs. Robert Knowles, mother of the well known novelist. Mrs. Bower Henry, wife of the immediate past president of the Central Canada Exhibition Association contributed a fireplace almost 100 years old, which was built into the original home on the Silver Springs farm, the Henry home on the Richmond road.

A lovely student’s lamp, an outstanding example of old craftsmanship, was loaned by Mrs. Rose of Pakenham. This lamp was brought here from Baltimore more than 50 years ago.

Miss Annie Arthur, donated a feather wreath which she made when a young girl. The colors were well blended and the flowers-still had a natural appearance. This is an art which is almost lost today. Miss Arthur also loaned an organ, which was one of the first In the Almonte district and was over 85 years of age. The tone was still mellow and true.

One of the smaller ‘ pieces, a little pitcher, well over 125 years old, and a work basket, were loaned by Miss Arthur. Another pitcher and curtain poles were loaned by Mrs. Toshark. Miss K. McDougall was contributing a footstool in needlepoint, very old and beautifully worked. All the items loaned for that Golden Jubilee in 1937 were examples of a pioneer industry or art which had practically disappeared at that point.

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
07 Jan 1933, Sat  •  Page 2

Handwritten Notes from 1821- Erin McEwen

Handwritten Notes from 1821- Erin McEwen


download (81)


Erin McEwen–here is the direct “translation” of the handwritten notes from 1821. I apologise for the grammar, etc., but this is a true copy:

Author’s Note- Hannah Stedworthy could also be Hannah Stidworthy in various translations.


In June 1821, a party of stalwart young Scotch men and women assembled at the Stedworthy Home in Dornock Scotland to make arrangement for their sailing to Canada – a new country just opening up.


Among the group was a young married couple, William McEwen and his wife who before her marriage was Hannah Stedworthy. This young couple, having all the comforts of life in their own home were advised by their parents not to risk the hardships and trials which lay before them; but with great courage and ambition, they bid adieu to friends home and their country and set sail in June for their new land.


The voyage was long and rough, it taking many months at sea (5 months), and it took days to make the trip on land. They landed in Brockville and made the trip to Perth in a covered wagon drawn by oxen. After getting all information as to the blazed trails, they struck off themselves leaving the rest of their party to go where they desired. They strapped their belongings on their back consisting of an ax, a tea set, a lock and key to lock a shanty when they would build one, a treasured Bible which they always read while resting, soda salt-flour and a griddle to cook the scones.


The way through the bush was a blazed one with many swells and bogs on their pathway but they plodded on for many miles, digging up the soil here and there to examine it. Finally, they came to a creek and spring with a nice rise of trees leading up from it. This soil looked good around the roots of the trees and they decided to build a wigwam there. They intended to build a shanty at once; but they were expecting the stork to visit them soon. They at once set to work and cut poles and covered them with brush. While they were busy at work building their wigwam (which was in an adjacent field to the present McEwen home), they heard the sound of an ax at a distance. The two set out in the direction of the sound to fine one Sandy McLean and his wife making a scow under a basswood tree on the 7th line.


Rejoicing to have found these friends who to had come from Scotland near them, and the women only too glad to be able to help one so young who needed a friend for on that cold November night, a male child was born in the wigwam. The first white male child born in Ramsay Township. They called him William after his father. Soon after, they build a shanty on the hill by cutting down trees and piling them up and burning them.


They tore up the soil around the trees with a drag two poles pointed with wooden teeth dragging the ground, sowed seed by hand which they carried on their backs from Perth, reaped it with a sickle, catching a cluster in one hand and cutting it with the other. Thrashed it will a flail, cleaned it in the wind with a hand sieve and carried it back to Perth on their backs to have it stone into ground flour and then brought back to make scones and bread. They planted hops and trained them to run op poles, picked blossoms off and boiled them and used the boiling water on flour, salt and grated potatoes to make yeast. They used a pumpkin cut in two and scooped out for a basin. They used flambos, a piece of twisted cotton or string layered on a pewter spoon, the spoon filled with tallow. It was then stuck into a crevice in the wigwam (and later the shanty), for a light. They had no matches. They used flint. They would strike the flint on a piece of steel or pocket knife, a park from the flint would light the punk. The rotten core in maple gathered for this purpose.


When the surveyors came from Perth to survey the lines, McLean’s had build their shanty directly on the 7th line so McEwen’s had to build another shanty nearer to the 7th line where three more sons and 1 daughter were born. The father died, leaving the mother and son William on the farm. The others went to Western Ontario



The Saga of a James Street Home— Christina McEwen Muirhead

What Was it Like Living in Beckwith 1800s? Christina McEwen Muirhead

Christena McEwen– The Belle of Beckwith Part 1 -“The Woodcocks”

Killed by Zulus — Duncan and James Box

Was a Boldt Castle Boathouse Once in our Midst? See the Home of the Daphne!

He Hailed from Carleton Place– Harold Box– The Forgotten Scientist?

The Continuing Saga of Christena McEwen Muirhead—The McLaren Mill

“Bossin’ Billy” McEwen Muirhead –Box family

McLaren Left it All to the McLeod Sisters–His Maids!

“2,000 people on the streets”–Dr. Finlay McEwen of Carleton Place

The Lost Gilles Family Ephemera Rescued

The McEwen McEwan Fire 1949

The Spirit of the 7th Line

History Still Lives on at The McEwen House in Beckwith

The Gnarled Beckwith Oak

So Where is that Gnarled Oak in Beckwith?

OFF TO MANITOBA 1879– Local Lads Names

OFF TO MANITOBA 1879– Local Lads Names

Ottawa Daily Free Press Saturday May 17, 1879


Another Exodus to the Farmers’

El Dorado

How the Intended Settlers Fare by

the Way




Should the present exodus from Ontario to Manitoba continued (sic), the latter will soon lose the somewhat ambiguous title of the “Great Lone Land” bestowed upon it in days gone by, when perhaps its loneliness had charms for the “noble savage,” and those few whites who settled there early, and knowing the fertility of the land did not care to have many neighbors of their own complexion. The last few years have done much towards making known the capabilities of the Manitoba soil, and our Ontario farmers, ever far-seeing, in matters agricultural, soon began to see the advantages afforded by that country in their own particular calling. The few pioneers who had the courage to venture into the almost unknown land began to thrive, and to let their friends know of their prosperity, and as news, good or bad, travels quickly, people began little by little, to make inquiries as to this “land of promise” and the consequence was that others ventured to break up their households in Ontario, and went into the prairie province, there as it were to commence life afresh. They too were in their turn, successful and urged their friends to go out and prosper likewise. The consequence of all this has been that each season has seen an increase in emigration to the North-West until it has reached the dimensions it has done this spring. If a sceptic wanted a proof of the esteem in which Manitoba is at present held by agriculturalists, he should have visited the St. Lawrence and Ottawa depot on Tuesday last, when he would have had all his doubts removed beyond all question. Mr. A.H. Taylor the popular agent of the Grand Trunk railroad has, during the present season arranged four parties of intending settlers in the North-West, and the one it was the privilege of your correspondent to accompany so far as Detroit Junction was the fourth, which set out on Tuesday last his object being to judge for himself of what class of people were going out, what they were going to do, what prospects they had, and in fact, all about the excursion generally. The party, it should be said, consisted of 172 full passengers, representing 215 souls, exclusive of one car of passengers from Millbrook and one car from Peterborough, representing about 150 souls. There was also one car of freight from Peterborough, and two from Millbrook. These were added to the Ottawa party on the way to Sarnia. Your correspondent was told to hold himself in readiness to start at 10 a.m., sharp, but when he reached the depot it was evident that some few hours must elapse before a departure could be effected, so he employed his time by making a tour of


which presented somewhat the appearance of an agricultural show ground the day before the fair. Horses, wagons, (the latter in all stages of dismemberment) agricultural implements, cattle, and all the various articles that go to make up a farmer’s stock in trade, were scattered about in every direction waiting transferment to the cars that were to convey them to their new sphere of action in the great North-West. Besides these were household furniture and baggage of every conceivable kind, from a pianoforte down to a rocking chair, proving that while the useful was considered, the ornamental was not forgotten. There was even a house and farm buildings awaiting transportation; these belonged to Mr. Lowe, of the Department of Agriculture, who has purchased some ten thousand acres of land near Emerson, some sixty miles from Winnipeg. The buildings he has constructed in sections, finding it more economical to pursue this plan, than to consume time in putting off his building operations until the arrival of the people he has sent out to his estate. Mr. Lowe’s forethought in this respect, is worthy of imitation of all intending settlers, who have sufficient of the needful at hand. He has despatched a number of employees and thirty horses, and before the fall will have his arrangements in fair working order, and ready for active operations next spring. The stuff he has sent out filled eight cars. Doctor Schultz, M.P., seeing that there was a necessity in the Province for well bred stock, shipped two car loads of prime Ayrshire bulls and heifers, purchased from Mr. Allan Grant of Fitzroy, and one car load of horses, including one three year old stallion of an excellent stamp. Most of the farmers had stock of various kinds, and the contents of the cars when loaded, were of as varied a kind as those of


There were two peacocks, a couple of pigs (belonging to Mr. W.A. Loucks of Winnipeg, and designated by him as “his stock”) a span of mules, a bull dog, a deer hound, besides all sorts of feathered pets in the passenger carriages. Some of the cars contained large quantities of seed raised chiefly in the Ottawa district from which, as a matter of course, most of the travelers came from.


was of course crowded with people assembled to witness the departure of the train, and bid adieu to their friends who were going by it. Some were tearful at leaving those with whom they had been intimately acquainted all their lives, but truth to say those who were going away were in better spirits than those who were left behind. Finally all was in readiness for the start and the voice of Mr. A. McCullough, who had charge of the train, was heard giving the warning signal of


and the sixteen heavily laden cars moved out of the station amid the parting cheers of the numbers on the platform. By the way before proceeding further on the journey, it is only right to state that Mr. A. G. Peden, General Passenger Agent of the St. L. & O. Railway, Mr. R.K. Clare, General Freight Agent of the same line, and Mr. Jas. E. Parker of Mr. Taylor’s office rendered yeoman’s service in expediting matters at the station, but despite their efforts the start was not effected until half-past two, and


were berthed in Grand Trunk first- class cars, Mr. Wainwright, the general passenger agent of the road, being anxious that everything should be done for the comfort of the party and his efforts in this respect were not only successful but were duly appreciated. Once well on the road, your correspondent made


The people soon appeared to adapt themselves to their novel position; they seemed to have laid in a goodly stock of provisions of all kinds and they had disposed of their odds and ends of property about their places in the carriages with as much method as if starting on a five days’ railway journey was an every day’s occurrence. Here and there a bird cage was hung up, and its occupants appeared to be in as good spirits as their owners. The children made themselves comfortable after their fashion , and seemed as pleased as possible to think they were “off to Manitoba” The female portion of the party of course, with the handiness of the fair sex, generally soon had things “put to rights,” while the men lit their pipes and compared notes as to their prospects in their new homes. People who had never seen one another before struck up an acquaintance, and before the train reached Prescott everybody was on the best terms with everyone else, and the greatest good humor prevailed. After a short delay at the Junction, where another first-class car was in waiting in order that the passengers might not be overcrowded, another piece of thoughtfulness on the part of Mr. Wainwright, the train proceeded to Brockville, where Mr. Taylor was in waiting with another party from the Canada Central district. This addition brought the number of cars up at twenty-eight, and two trains were made up, with three passenger carriages on one and two on the other. Shortly after ten o’clock a start in earnest was effected, and the travelers were fairly on their way to their new homes. Before turning in for the night the musical members of the party commenced to exercise their vocal powers, each car having its separate concert. The melodies performed ranged from “My Grandfather’s Clock” to Moody and Sankey’s hymns. One young lady in the car in which it was the good fortune of your correspondent to be seated possessed a voice of great excellence, and sang some songs in a style that would not have disgraced many professionals. In due time the drowsy god began to make his influence known, and some of the “dodges,” if the term may be used, to secure comfortable roosting places were quaint in the extreme. Of course there were no sleeping cars, and each one had to exercise his or her ingenuity in devising an apology for a bed. Some had boards which, when placed across the seats and the cushions placed upon them, made excellent couches, while others had camp chairs, which also answered well. To the females, of course, were given up as many seats as they wanted. Your correspondent not having provided himself with either planks or a camp chair, was fain to occupy half of a double seat with the Hon. Mr. Sutherland, who was on his way out to his home. Of course on a long trip, such as the one undertaken by the party, some inconveniences have to be put up with, but the exercise of a little ingenuity combined with patience and good humor, will modify them in a wonderful degree; the three virtues named prevailed, and the party only laughed at one another, when one complained of an ache in some part of the body, caused by sleeping in and unwonted position.




Belleville was reached, and there was a general turn-out and enquiries as to “how do you feel,” to which there returned the universal reply, “First rate! Never better.” Then there was a rush for the pump of excellent water at the station for the morning ablutions, and also for a cup of tea, the conductor (your correspondent does not call to mind his name) having considerately kept a stove going in the van, for which he deserves the thanks of the party. Cobourg was reached about seven o’clock, where those who had not cared to carry provisions with them, were supplied with a breakfast at the ordinary rate, and proper justice was done to the meal. The “twenty minutes allowed for refreshments” soon expired, and the journey was resumed without delay. At Port Hope it was expected the Peterborough and Millbank party would be met, but in consequence of the delay that occurred in Ottawa, they had gone ahead. The run between that place and Toronto was a good one and enjoyed by everybody; the folks had settled down to various occupations the women reading or attending to the wants of their youngsters, and the men either discussing the country passed through, the state of the crops and a hundred other subjects. The “fragrant weed” was freely indulged in and here and there a coterie of four might be seen deep in the mysteries of four-handed euchre. A short stop was made in Toronto, when the second train came along. The animals were watered and fed for the second time — the first being at Belleville–and this important matter having been attended to, once more the journey was resumed. Of course it was not without its incidents; a large party is never without some queer genius or another, and this one was provided with a never-failing source of fun in the shape of


The readers of the FREE PRESS must picture to themselves an individual of low stature, clad, so far as nether extremities were concerned, in a pair of pantaloons made of an unknown material, which were stuffed into beef moccasins or shoe packs that came nearly up to his knees; add to this a “coat of no formal cut” that had decidedly seen its best days, for assuredly it could never see much worse, and a once white straw hat perched on the top of a shock head of hair, the whole being covered with a thick layer of real estate, and they will have a fair idea of Moccasin Joe as some wag christened him. What countryman he was is a question difficult to solve, for he was of the polyglot order, English, French or Gaelic were all the same to him. He was a walking edition of Burn’s poems, and although he was considerably “disguised” when he went on board the train, and remained so until your correspondent left the party at Detroit Junction, he always appeared to have his wits about him until the train reached Guelph, when he got off to “refresh” and the train started without him. For some time he was not missed, but presently some one asked “where is Joe?” A search for that worthy revealed the fact he was non est, but at Sarnia the next morning Joe was seen placidly wending his way towards the nearest hotel smoking the same dirty two inches of clay pipe he had in his mouth when he got on board at Ottawa — he had come along by the second train and was just in the same happy frame of mind as ever. Joe stood all the chaff with the most imperturbable good humor, sang a song, and then offered to treat the whole party — he was great fun if you only kept on the windward side of him — it was not well for a person whose olfactory organs were sensitive to go to leeward of him. The last seen of Joe was at Detroit, when he was standing on the hind platform of a car slowly waving his straw hat in farewell to Mr. Taylor and your correspondent. Certain it is that the party will not want for amusement if Moccasin Joe remained with them to the end of the journey.



Stratford was reached at supper time, and Mr. Taylor had considerately telegraphed ahead to the keeper of the refreshment rooms at the station to have a substantial meal ready for those who chose to partake of it, so that no unnecessary time was lost. The train was soon under weigh again, everything going smoothly and everybody feeling as jolly as Mark Tapley. By the way, speaking of the last named individual, surely Mr. Loucks of Winnipeg must be a lineal descendant of his – for he was jollity personified – he was here and there and everywhere like a corpulent Will o’ the Wisp. When he was not enquiring when and where he could water and feed the animals under his charge, he was nursing some crying baby and comforting it in stentorian tones– somehow or other he made a most successful substitute for a nurse of the proper sex, for on one occasion he came out of what might fitly be termed, the family car, with a face radiant with satisfaction, and with evident pride informed the occupants of the car in which your correspondent was seated that a baby had been crying for forty minutes straight on end, and that during the two hours he had nursed it, it had never uttered a whimper! He supplemented this statement for about the fortieth time by exclaiming, “I say Mr. Taylor, shall I be able to get feed for those horses at Port Huron” The answer was, of course, an affirmative one that had been given also for the fortieth time, but the query began to get monotonous. Mr. Loucks is of a loquacious turn, and waxes eloquent on the subject of Manitoba, and certainly is a most enthusiastic advocate for emigration to that province. He delivered a lecture on that subject during the trip, and held forth for half-an-hour, concluding his oration by proposing three cheers for Mr. Taylor and your correspondent, who he, styled “distinguished gentlemen” ahem, and they were given most lustily, he leading them with the voice of a bulldog Bashan, the crowd proclaiming the fact that they were “jolly good fellows” and someone producing a flask, their health’s were drank in a very cordial manner. Between him and Moccasin Joe there was no lack of material for mirth there.

Port Sarnia was reached at about one o’clock in the morning, too late to cross to Port Huron a drizzling rain was falling and the weather was disagreeably cold. The party made themselves comfortable enough until the time arrived to cross the river. Here is a fitting place to mention the attentive and courteous manner which the conductor of the first train treated his numerous passengers and in him the Grand Trunk have a valuable officer. Port Huron was reached about half-past seven, when the work of examining, by the Customs officers, the baggage of those persons going to Minnesota and Dakota commenced. There were not many of these however, most of them going to Emerson and its vicinity. The baggage of those going to Manitoba was bonded, as were also the horses and cattle, and all would go through without further trouble. The Customs business occupied some time, and it was afternoon before the two trains made a start for the Detroit Junction, where the passengers changed cars for the Michigan Central, Mr. E. Wiley taking charge of the party from Port Huron to the Junction. As the departure was made some one proposed


for having provided such excellent accommodation. These were given in the heartiest manner, and they were well deserved for the most fastidious could not find anything to find fault with.


occurred on the journey between Port Huron and that was the presentation of the following address to Mr. Alexander H. Taylor by Mr. Alex. Thompson, of Cainville, Ont., on behalf of the party:

Detroit, May 15th 1879

To Mr. A.H. Taylor:

Kind Sir,–We, the passengers under your care, beg leave to express our thanks to you before we separate, for the extreme kindness, care and attention which we received from you while on our journey to the great lone land of Manitoba. Although our trip has been long, it has nevertheless been pleasant, for all cares and troubles have been removed from us by your ever careful attention to our many wants. And we also express our utmost thanks to the Grand Trunk officials for furnishing such a trusty officer as you to care for our many requirements while traveling. On our whole journey, we have not heard one unkind word from you in answer to the many annoying questions that have been asked you from time to time, and it is our sincere wish that all our fellow Canadians, who propose coming after us on this journey, may have the good fortune to have you to guide and care for them. Again thanking you, we bid you a kind farewell and a safe journey home. (Signed)

Alex. Thompson, David Graham, James Howison, John Thomson, A. Armstrong, W.H. Armstrong, J.G. Dennis, James D. Robertson, Robert Templeman, Robert Duncan, R. J. Duncan, W.H. Duncan, William James, Matthew (sic) Taylor, Joseph Smith, M.C. Farlane, . M. Armstrong, Adam Maxwell, Robert Robertson, A.N. Couch, W. Edwards, W. Johnson, John Edwards, A. Reid, D. A. Machan, R. Garrett, Jas. Rankin, John Jenkins, Mrs. J. Jenkins, Isaac Murphy, Jane Reid, Mrs. R. Knox, W. Powell, D. McPhail, Miss. J. Moore, A. McPhail, E. Jordan, R. J. Foster, H. Herrod, John Rea, Mrs. McCuaig, S. Kerfoot, George Dart, D.A. Stewart, Miss Traveller, Mrs. Stewart, Richard Costel, M.P. Kennedy, Thomas Murray, John Withers, N.E. Mathewson, H.C. Brown, W.A. Loucks, W. Johnson, Mrs. H. Fee, Thomas Quinn, Denis Lyons, Wesley Fee, John McCaffrey, Abraham Lackey, E.F. Smith, Robt. B. Johnston, A. Johnston, W.Wilson, Hugh McNulty, John Townsend, H. Hetherington, Mrs. Bradshaw, Thos. W. Wilson, William Downey, Robt. Armstrong, John Dixon, Geo. B. Dixon, Theophile Gagnon, Wm. Turnbull, John Turnbull.

Mr. Taylor returned a suitable reply, thanking them for the address, and the kind wishes contained therein.

Detroit Junction was reached about five o’clock, and the change of cars was effected without confusion. The Michigan Central, following the example of the Grand Trunk had placed first-class carriages on, and the passengers were soon comfortably settled in them. Loucks, the irrepressible, shook hands with everybody that came in his way and if he had not been held back, would have hugged Mr. Taylor and your correspondent. The last “good byes” were said, the last hand shaken by them, and the train moved off with as happy a lot of people that ever made voluntary exiles of themselves for the purpose of bettering their position in life.


was the proper one. Many of them were farmers in well-to-do circumstances, who took with them ample capital to give them a good start in their new home, while others were farm hands and artisans who had been thrifty enough to save sufficient to pay their passage and have a tidy little sum besides to keep the wolf from the door while seeking work. With the exception of Moccasin Joe, they all appeared to be sober, industrious men, with a look about them indicating that they were not afraid of hard work,


which scares some people who would like to try their fortune in Manitoba, is a mere nothing, and may be made, as your correspondent has attempted to show, into a very jolly, pleasant trip. The arrangements made by the Grand Trunk are perfect. Everything that can be done to secure the comfort of the parties is done. The trip averages about four days, and, with pleasant companions and the prospect of doing well in the new land, that time soon passes away.

Submitted by Eileen 

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 and The Tales of Almonte

From Gemmil’s Creek to the Riel Rebellion

From Carleton Place to Fish Creek –North West Rebellion

Men Of Lanark Play Big Part Building West

Lanark County Moves West — Sarah Plain and Tall it was Not

When Crops Failed — Lanark County Went Manitoba Dreamin’

Dr. Andrew Elliott of Almonte — Tarred and Feathered

Elizabeth Lindsay of Almonte — Victorian Women Business Owners

If you go West- You might not come back..

Tales from Hudson’s Bay

Merrickville – Some of the Men That Were