Tag Archives: Sherbrooke

 Social Notes and Love for Community Newspapers — Linda Knight Seccaspina

 Social Notes and Love for Community Newspapers — Linda Knight Seccaspina

 Social Notes and Love for Community Newspapers —Linda Knight Seccaspina

Yesterday I was looking for information in newspaper archives about a local cave I will be writing about, and ended up reading years of local social columns. Who knew that after decades some of the old Eastern Townships social columns would be posted for the world to see.

They were all from small local newspapers: The Sherbrooke Daily Record, “The News and Eastern Townships Advocate ” and the “Granby Leader Mail”. These social notes found their way into all the newspapers on small bits of paper – typed or handwritten, and at times with very odd spelling.

Here are some I found about my family:

 “Mr. and Mrs. Arthr Knight with their little girls, Linda and Robin spent a week’s holiday in Montreal.”

Actually, it was just another week in 1961 for my mother to see the specialist, Dr. Gingras at the Darlington Rehabilitation Centre in Montreal. My father decided to bring us along to give her something to smile about. She played the piano one day in the common room and I danced around to the “Waltz of the Flowers”. Several Thalidomide afflicted kids came in to enjoy the music and my bad dancing.

One tried to dance with me, gracefully waving her hands that were somewhere near her armpits. I stopped in shock, and my mother glared at me. I took off my black Mary Jane shoes and gave them to the girl as I knew she had admired them. She was my hero, and so were all the other afflicted kids in the Darlington Rehabilitation Centre. That was the day I learned to respect everyone no matter what — as we are all the same.

“The Brownies closed their season of 1959 with a Doll Exhibition at the Parish of Nelsonville Church Hall.”

The paper said that Judy Clough and Linda Lee Pratt won out of the 30 entries. My beautiful Miss Revlon doll did not even place. Seems the second judge ratted to the others that my mother had sewn the doll dress. I never forgot that lesson. Don’t lie about doing things you never did.

“Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Knight held a party last Saturday night at their lovely home on Albert Street in Cowansville.”

What they did not read is that Linda Knight, their daughter, could not sleep. She joined the party and sat in a circle of adults as they played a sort of musical chairs with a huge bag of women’s underwear. When the music stopped, the one holding the bag had to put on whatever they picked out. Did I mention they were blindfolded?

What was that all about?

There was also no mention of the woman that had way too much to drink and had sat on the open window sill. Somehow she fell out of the window into the bushes below with a paper plate of pineapple squares in her hand.

After all these years I have learned never to divulge a name and am eternally grateful I have never fallen out of a window while eating squares.

“Mr. and Mrs. Murray Wallet and their children Sheila and Gary spent a week at their summer cottage in Iron Hill.”

I used to love going to my best friend’s cottage. It stood in all its glory partially hidden by lilac trees. There isn’t a week that does not go by that I don’t think of it.

There are nothing but wonderful memories of walking along the stream that came down from the mountain top. We also used to make evening gloves on our arms with the mud from the hole in the earth that was called their swimming pool.

We toasted marshmallows and hot dogs in a bonfire, while the fireflies buzzed around us. To get water we had to shake the hose that ran up the hill to the underground water source. We were always unsure if a bear was going to pop out. The best of it all was sitting inside sipping cocoa, and laughing at stories while the rain pounded down on the tin roof.

No amount of descriptive words in any newspaper could do it justice.

To this day I still remember and will never forget. Some memories are meant to never be forgotten.

Professor Beth Garfrerick from the University of Alabama wrote a thesis on how social information was distributed through the ages. I read a lot of small town newspapers from the past on a daily basis to try and get bits of information to piece community history together. Contrary to what some believe, it takes hours, and sometimes days, to get something interesting enough to entice readers.

A lot of my historical information comes from what Ms. Garfrerick calls “Ploggers”. Those were the local “newspaper print loggers” who played an important role in recording births, deaths and everyday happenings. If these were not online I could not write these community stories. But, I was pleased as punch that Professor Beth Garfrerick quoted me on page 12 of her thesis:

Canadian blogger Linda Seccaspina believes that small-town newspapers continue to publish the news that most residents of those communities want to read. She wrote, “Who does not want to know who got arrested at the local watering-hole or whose lawn-ornaments are missing that week? Even though large newspapers are losing money, the local weekly small-town newspapers still manage to survive. Why? Because the local population depends on their weekly words and supports them.”

This year my New Year greetings include the support for the Sherbrooke Record. It’s an honour to write for the same newspaper my family read when I was a child. One of the biggest differences between larger newspapers  and community journalism is that the staff have to face its audience every single day. Feedback is immediate. A community without a small newspaper is nothing more than a local media desert, and sadly there isn’t one that isn’t struggling economically. 

So, in this coming year of 2023, buy a subscription to your community newspaper where you live. Like the Sherbrooke Record I write for– place an advertisement, tell a business you read about them in your community newspaper. Engage with your newspaper and tell the politicians that our local press is a priority. There is no substitute for a local newspaper that has been doing its job for all the Eastern Townships population for generations and generations. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Happy New Year and see you in 2023. Can’t wait!

There is no substitute for a local newspaper that has been doing its job for all the Eastern Townships population for generations and generations. PLEASE support them.

The History of the Sherbrooke Daily Record– click

The Sherbrooke Record

6 MallorySherbrooke, QuebecJ1M 2E2

Record archives pulled from the flood


Let’s face it, most everyone went to High School and somehow it doesn’t matter what you did and where you were, everyone pretty well has similar memories. Thoughts about growing up, music, the clothes, and your fellow classmates in the 50’s to the late 60’s are not just for class reunions. There isn’t a day that does not go by that I don’t have flashbacks like in the film Peggy Sue Got Married.

This book would not have been written had it not been for the former students of Heroes Memorial and Massey Vanier in Cowansville, Quebec, Canada joining together on Facebook to create these memories. It was nothing but joy for me to compile these bits of conversation and add some of my own stories to do some good for the school.

Proceeds from this book will go to either a breakfast or anti-bullying program at Heroes Memorial and this book is dedicated to every single one of you that lived in my era, because you know what? We rocked!

On the Subject of UFO’s– Linda Knight Seccaspina —

On the Subject of UFO’s– Linda Knight Seccaspina —

On the subject of UFO’s– Linda Knight Seccaspina

A few years ago I wrote a historical story about an incident that took place in 1915. It was a tale of shenanigans by a group of kids that led the citizens of the Ottawa Valley to believe the Germans had landed via UFO’s. Years later paranormal studies attempted to debunk history and insist it wasn’t kids wreaking mayhem, but was indeed a cluster of UFO’s.

As a fan of the X-Files I really believe that there is someone else out there. However, I have always thought my late father was dubious when he insisted I join him in a spaceship watch. In the late 60’s he claimed to have seen something up in those starry skies hovering over the Brome Pond/Lac Bromont area– which I jokingly blamed it on too much exhaust coming out of his Ford Pinto. 

In 1974 it happened again and this time he made me sit for what seemed like hours to see what he claimed was another UFO. Of course I never saw anything unusual and handed him a glass of wine and suggested he go watch The Rockford Files.

Today, going through the news archives I found out that there were indeed many UFO sightings in the Eastern Townships and Arthur Knight might not have been so crazy after all. In the late 60’s many sightings in the Sherbrooke area have been documented and Michael Phelps sent a letter to the Sudbury Star in 1990 in response to a request by the newspaper for personal encounters.

The letter discussed a 1968 incident at an Ayer’s Cliff cottage on the shores of Lake Massawippi that his family was renting. He spoke of walking home one evening when the whole sky lit up like giant spotlights being turned on. He looked across the lake and saw  3 or 4 balls descend, and after a few seconds they were gone. His sister had seen the same thing, but later they found out that it had not been a visit from beyond, rather it had been nothing but earthquake lights.

In the summer of 1909 a similar aerial display was seen in that part of the heavens which looked down upon the Eastern Townships. At night it was seen by many, but two fishermen claimed that they had a view of it by daylight, although it must be admitted that the description given by the latter was not quite so circumstantial and satisfactory.

The people of the Townships justly celebrated for solving mysteries were this time completely baffled. There were explanations, but no two people agreed on one story. Some in Magog thought it might be a new contraption for facilitating smuggling, others guessed it might be improved rural mail delivery. Some thought it could have been done for election purposes, but there just wasn’t one pending.

As the autumn nights grew dark, and chilly the mysterious flying machine like the birds went its way and was seen no more. Until a few weeks later in October it was seen hovering above the city of Worcester, Mass. exciting the people considerably and causing no end of conversation.

Now it was discussed whether the flying object could be a thing of supernatural existence. It was nothing in the nature of a witch or anything of that sort. The fact that it appeared at Worcester and not at Salem, of uncanny fame, stopped the witch’s conversation immediately. They said the thing “bore a ‘searchlight”, and there is nothing on record to show that a witch ever carried anything on her journeys except a broom. 

Again, it became the talk of the Townships, and some thought it should now be considered serious and be attended to. One thing was for sure– that the people of New England would not be satisfied with any of the Township’s theories based on such common subjects as spying or smuggling.

The Montreal Star’s explanation was that any answer that did not provide for something like a visit from the Martians would not be satisfactory. In the meantime they suggested that everyone should look into hiring one of their famous air navigators and put them on the trail of the mystery, and just fly It down.

Did anyone ever take up The Montreal Star’s suggestion? Not in any archives I was digging into, but as they say: “The truth is still out there!”

UFO Sightings in Lanark County 1982 — Lanark Village

Was it the Germans Or UFO’s that Invaded the Ottawa Valley in 1915?

Saturated with UFO activity Lee Cole 1994

Unsolved Mysteries — The Almonte Woman Abducted by a UFO (Part 2)

More UFO Sightings in Carleton Place!

Was it a UFO? A Meteorite or a Fuse Box? A Carleton Place Legend

Memories of UFO’s Earthquake Lights and Gale Pond

Did the Germans Start the Fire at the Portland School in 1915?

What’s In a Name? Lanark County 101– Or What’s What in 1934

What’s In a Name? Lanark County 101– Or What’s What in 1934

Lanark was a provincial riding in Ontario, Canada, that was created for the 1934 election. In 1987 there was a minor redistribution and the riding was renamed to Lanark-Renfrew. It was abolished prior to the 1999 election. It was merged into the riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke.

In 1933, in an austerity measure to mark the depression times, the province passed an update to the Representation Act that reduced the number of seats in the legislature from 112 to 90. The riding of Lanark was created from parts of Lanark North and Lanark South and consisted of the townships of Beckwith, Bathurst, Burgess North, Dalhousie, Darling, Drummond, Elmsley North, Lanark, Lavant, Montague, Pakenham, Ramsay, Sherbrooke North and Sherbrooke South. It also included the towns of Almonte, Carleton Place, Perth, and Smith’s Falls and the village of Lanark


W H A T ’S in a Name? Sometimes very little. Scores of townships in On- ” tario are called after old-time members of the Provincial Legislature big frogs in the little political puddles of their day—whose names mean nothing to this generation. Sir John Graves Simcoe, first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, gave his own name to one of our counties. Lady Simcoe claimed a share in the work; and to this day three of the townships in that county bear the names of her pet spaniel puppies, Tiny, Tay and Flos. •

 But often in the place names of a community there are suggestions of its ” early history and the origin of its pioneers. The Highlanders who settled Glengarry county have left proof of their love for the old land in the names we find there—Lochiel, Dunvegan, Lochinvar, Dalkeith, Athol, Glen Roy and a dozen others. The Highland emigrant never forgot. 

Lowlanders who came to our own country in 1811-1822 for- or fail to renew in Canada the names of shires and streams and towns which they had known a t home. Lanark, county, township and village,—the Tay, the Clyde, Kilmarnock, Clyde Forks, Glen Tay, the Scotch Line, all remind us of the districts in Scotland from which thousands of our first settlers came. But now our townships, for the most part, preserve the names of the great or near-great men then concerned, in their colonial government or their friends. 

BURGESS, probably from the Bishop of Salisbury, school-mate and friend of Prime Minister Addington (Did you know that North Burgess is now part of Tay Valley?) read- McLaren’s Phosphate Mine — BurgessWood Housing– Anglo Canadian Phosphate Company

ELMSLEY, after Hon. John Elmsley, second Chief Justice of Upper Canada;  Read-A Town Called Barbodies–Port Elmsley 101

BECKWITH and MONTAGUE after Commander J. Beckwith and Admiral Sir George Montague who were friends and guests of Earl Dalhousie Quebec during his term as Governor; – Read-The Beckwith McGregors or readThe Barren Lands of Montague?

DARLING, after Col. H. C. Darling, Military Secretary to Lord Dalhousie for whom he made an inspection and report regarding the Perth and Rideau settlements in 1822. By the way, many years ago I was told by one of the ‘oldest inhabitants’ that this township was named in honour of Grace Darling, the heroic lighthouse girl who, alone in her frail skiff, rescued nine sailors from the wrecked schooner, “Forfarshire” in the storm swept North Sea. Every school reader fifty years ago contained the story of that braV’e deed. One would like to : believe that the township owed its name to her; but she was only eight years old when the survey and naming were completed, and the more commonplace explanation must be accepted.  Read-People are Afraid to Work– Jennie Majaury- Darling Township

DRUMMOND—Sir Gordon Drummond was born a t Quebec .where his father was paymaster of the military forces. Sir Gordon entered the army and served with distinction in Holland, Minorca, Egypt and Gibraltar before coming back to Canada in 1813 to take a gallant part in the war against the United States Read-Drummond Centre United Church — and The Ireton Brothers 38 Year Reunion–Names Names Names

SHERBROOKE—Sir John Cope Sherbrooke followed Drummond as Governor. Perhaps in Quebec he might have worked out some peaceful solution of the troubles and conflicts, even then becoming acute, between the French Canadians, and the British minority there. But the shuffling policy of the British Colonies office convinced him that the task was hard, and his failing health hastened his resignation.  Read-What’s Happening at Christie Lake June 23, 1899

LAVANT—Sherbrooke was succeeded as Governor by the Duke of Richmond. Richmond Village, the Goodwood river (commonly known as the “Jock”) and the townships of Fitzroy, March and Torbolton in Carleton county get their names from the Duke’s family or estates, and our township of Lavant recalls a village near the Goodwood racetrack on the Duke’s estate in Sussex, England. Read-The Lavant Station Fire 1939

Driving between Ottawa and Franktown one passes a cairn on the roadside in memory of the tragic death there of Charles Lennox, fourth Duke of Richmond. 

The story has been often published with varying details. But the account written by his son, Lord William Pitt Lennox, has not, I think, been reproduced in recent years. It may be of interest to read his own words:

That a far cry from the glitter and glamour of his vice-regal courts at Dublin and Quebec, from his sumptuous entertainments at Goodwood, from the gorgeous ball at Brussels where the Richmonds entertained Wellington and his officers on the eve of Quatre Bras and Waterloo, to this poor crazed Charles Lennox, running madly through a Canadian swamp, and dying at last on a pallet of straw in a back-woods cow byre. “He was born in a barn, and he has died in a barn” said the gossips, when the news reached England. Which was true. Read-The Haunted Canoe from the Jock River

Immigration/ settlers stories

Ramsay W.I. Tweedsmuir History Book 1—SOME EARLY RAMSAY HISTORY

Plans For the Lanark County Townships, 1827, with Names Names Names

How Did Settlers Make Their Lime?

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

The Old Settlers Weren’t so Old After All

Dear Lanark Era –Lanark Society Settlers Letter

Ramsay Settlers 101

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

Come to Canada– the Weather is Fine — Immigration Links

Lanark Settlement Emigrants Leave Scotland

Sheppard’s Falls — Shipman’s Falls — Shipman’s Mills –Waterford — Ramsayville Victoriaville and Almonte — Senator Haydon

ROCKIN’ Cholera On the Trek to the New World — Part 4

Rock the Boat! Lanark County or Bust! Part 1

It Wasn’t the Sloop John B — Do’s and Don’t in an Immigrant Ship -Part 2

Riders on the Storm– Journey to Lanark County — Part 3

200 Monsters Swimming in the Lake……… — Linda Knight Seccaspina

200 Monsters Swimming in the Lake……… — Linda Knight Seccaspina

200 Monsters Swimming in the Lake Linda Knight Seccaspina

One night in 1972 I was staying at the motel that faces Lake Memphremagog near Magog, Quebec as I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the sea serpent that lives in that lake.The lake is like no other, and a rumoured 30-foot- long monster called Gog, Manaloo, Memphre, the Anaconda, or the Lake Monster of Lake Memphremagog  is said to swim the cold waters. As they say you can’t cross the sea by merely standing and staring at the waters. It was early in the morning and visibility was low–and not one lake dwelling sea creature was seen.

I personally have heard many a story from my mother’s side of some snake-like creature once seen with his head a foot or so out of the water bobbing slightly up and down. The story was nothing to scoff at they said and it had a scream that rocked the mountains all the way to Owl’s Head and then on to Jay Peak. 

A report in Quebec’s weekly Stanstead Journal in late January, 1847, put it this way:

“I am not aware whether it is generally known that a strange something of a sea serpent exists in Lake Memphremagog”

The part of the animal which my cousins actually saw measured about fifteen feet in length, so they said. Folks for years have blamed it on the state of Vermont which is supposedly full of leaky nuclear plants which can create horrible mutation things. One of the best descriptions of the creature was produced by Norman Bingham in his novel, The Sea Serpent Legend, in 1926. 

Did you know scientists once met in Shelburne, Vermont to study the photographs, sonar readings and 144 sightings from over 400 years? Dr. George Zug chairman of the Smithsonian Institute’s Department of Vertebrate Zoology summed up the panel’s findings by saying:

“There is a population of large animals of some kind in that water!” 

Serious scientists assume there are at least 200 of them, but there is no telling really how many species we have as lines have never reached the murky bottom of some parts of the lake.

In June of 1868 a report from the Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania said that the sea serpent had once again turned up in Lake Memphremagog. They feared it was  a repetition of the Nahant hoax. An animal of similar appearance had been seen in August, 1819, off Nahant, Boston, and remained in the neighbourhood waters for some weeks. Two hundred persons witnessed it, and the serpent-shaped head was elevated two feet above the surface. Its sole eye was remarkably brilliant and glistening. One often has to wonder if these were remarks were made sober.

The aquatic reptile in Lake Memphremagog is always seen coming from the American border. As it edges its way through the water they explained that natural waterways like Lake Memphremagog are gateways to the parallel world where monsters like the sea serpent came from, with the intention of recruiting others of course. 

Some say the stories began to attract tourism to the town, but really monster gawkers aren’t the spending type and you can’t even sell Tshirts for one of of the names lest you get sued. Monsters that are not seen every day still seem to have copyright laws like the Pixar Monsters. Go figure.

The best year of a good monster-sighting season on Lake Memphremagog was in 1996. At least 27 boaters and cottagers — in nine separate reported visions — claim to have seen the lake dwelling creature once the ice came out in the Spring. The last sighting occurred on June 4, 2000 when 2 people observed a strange creature of a greyish colour resembling a multiple humped whale. They observed this phenomenon from the wharf of Knowlton’s Landing. 

The natives believed that the serpent had found its way to the lake through a subterranean channel entering Lake Memphremagog at Owl’s Head, the deepest portion of the lake. It seems some also think that it had become trapped in the lake because it was far too stupid to find its way out. Heck, this creature might even be an American, but there has been no word if he is a Republican or Democrat.

Maybe this is one reason I don’t hang my feet off the edge of the bed at night because I don’t want the monster under the bed to grab them. I’ve always been curious about the creatures that live under there or those in our closets.

But, what happens if you stop believing in these tales about sea monsters and other things that go bump in the night?

What if someday you drop a piece of bread on the floor and kick it under something or throw it into Lake Memphremagog and walk away?

What happens if someone under that bed or in that lake whispers thank you in return for that piece of bread?

Words to ponder my friends, or have you just crossed over into . . . the Twilight Zone? It makes perfect sense, because if you are going to tell a story, tell a big one, or nothing at all.

Read also-

Could the Giant Pike of Carleton Place Have Turned Into the Lake Memphremagog Monster?

The Water Dragon of White Lake? 1936

More Lake Monsters–Moose or Monster?

Did You Ever See the Monster of Otty Lake?

The Ghost Ship of Brown’s Hill

Neighbourhood News Sea Serpents in Carleton Place and Pink Eye in Eganville

Local Sea Serpent Positively Seen This Time!!

Sea Serpent Captured in Chats Lake


The Sea Serpents of Lake Ontario

The Banshee of Kingston Mills

The Wendigo’s of Devil’s Mountain

Fresh Fairy Foot Marks Earth On a Charcoal Pit Westport Perth –McNamee

The Legend of Horseshoe Falls

I Will Remember You –Susan Nutbrown McKinnon

I Will Remember You –Susan Nutbrown McKinnon
Susan hugging her mum– I always called her Mrs. Nutbrown..:) and a few of the Nutbrown sisters..

This morning I got up to news of having one less friend in my life. It’s not that I had seen Susan recently, in fact, it has been a very long time. In reality you would not go for years, or even months, without talking to your partner or even a neighbour, but sometimes, unintentionally, we end up not speaking to a friend who mattered in our lives because friendships tend to change as people age or move.

Susan Nutbrown McKinnon was one of those friends in my life. I might not have seen or spoken to her in years but she had been an important part of my life when I lived in Sherbrooke, Quebec. She would always be that friend no matter what. I only have one photo to remember our friendship as I lost a great deal of photos in a house fire. But, I never forgot her – ever. She was THE girl — the beautiful girl that everyone wanted to be. Blonde, tall, stunning and a personality that appreciated life and made you love life too.

It was through Susan that I met her family, and the Nutbrown family forever became part of my life.  I guess that is another reason why I am so upset— yet another loss for this family who had the biggest heart in Sherbrooke, Quebec. I always feel things happen for a reason, and our friendship was fate as far as I am concerned. We chose each other for a reason.

I met Susan when I worked at Au Bon Marche on King Street in Sherbrooke. She loved clothes like I did and was what we called a ‘frequent flyer’ customer. In the matter of weeks we became fast and furious friends and she made me feel part of the Nutbrown family. Her brothers and sisters were just like her and sitting at the dinner table with them made me feel whole and happy– and then there was Bill.

Bill Nutbrown was the elder brother, and handsome as all get out, and made my heart flutter. Susan and I laughed about my crush, and she even egged me on. I thought there would be nothing better in this world to be part of the Nutbrown family and to have Susan as a legal sister-in- law. It would even be spectacular to have her as an official ‘sister’.

One Saturday night she arranged to have Bill hang around with me and my late sister Robin at a Bishop’s University event. Sitting in the Lennoxville pub it took exactly 5 minutes before Bill was gazing with stars in his eyes at Robin and I ended up leaving them alone joining Susan in the gym. That night sealed their fate and Robin and Bill got married and she was one that became a Nutbrown with Susan as her official sister-in- law.

Susan took this photo of me at Judy’s house in Dearborn, Michigan. The only photo I have left to remind me of our friendship

As I sit here this morning looking at the one silly picture I have left to remind me of Susan I have regrets. I regret after this photo was taken in Dearborn Heights in Michigan we never really kept up our friendship. She married the man of her dreams, Ray McKinnon, and moved to the United States. It seems we just aren’t obligated to keep up friendships as life changes for us– and in this case I have a lot of regrets. 

How do we decide we suddenly don’t have time for people that were once in your life and loved you– like Susan? Sometimes I think you feel they will always be there– but here is my reality: today Susan is no longer here, her sister Pam is no longer here– their mother who gave me hugs and loved me is no longer here, and my sister Robin is no longer here. It’s the age-old problem of having really good intentions and a horrible follow through.

Now we have more friendly acquaintances than real deep friendships and when you lose one it protects us from the hurt that I am feeling today. I had not spoken to Susan in years, but today I mourn the loss of the kind, compassionate and inspirational friend I once knew. I feel the loss her family, and her four beautiful sons are feeling today. I am angry that I did not keep the friendship breathing, or keep it in existence.

The most painful goodbyes are the ones never said and never explained, they say, and today I mourn the loss of Susan Nutbrown McKinnon, a friend forever– always in my heart. We may not have spoken or seen each other in years– but every day you still walked and will to continue to walk beside me in memory.

Life is so precious, hug or call your friend today and my love to the Nutbrown family. Even though Susan’s song has ended, her melody lingers on in my heart today and forever.

In Loving Memory of James Luther Hosking- The Father of Aboriginal Archaeology



Today I am documenting for posterity the story of  James Luther Hosking that was originally published in the Sherbrooke Record in 2009. Thanks to David Hosking for sending this and letting the whole world share what a great man his Father was.

In Loving Memory of James Luther Hosking—24 May 1922 – 17 June 2008

By David Hosking

Screenshot 2017-02-20 at 11.jpg

Five years ago, in his 86th year, Jim Hosking bought the farm, having lived only half of the time on this Earth that he wished for, and perhaps three or four times longer than what a few of his relatives had hoped for. Incredibly, for over eight decades, Jim escaped near-death experiences at least two million times. Never afraid of hard work, he was a very active man who was prone to overexerting himself at whatever task he undertook. His favourite expression following each endeavour was That damn-near killed me!” and he fully enjoyed relaying the intricate details of each of these brushes with death to anyone within earshot.

He was born into an impecunious family in the boondocks of New Jersey, and he was raised by his grandmother who used to swear at him a lot, albeit lovingly. They cut their own firewood, grew their own vegetables, stole chickens from the neighbours, and shot a wide variety of varmints for the cooking pot in order to survive the lean and hungry years of the Great Depression. Speaking of food, Jim loved to eat and could never pass up a meal, or even a snack. He ate lots of animal fat which never seemed to adversely affect his overall health and stature. Throughout his youthful years, Jim suffered from asthma. This ailment prevented his acceptance into the military at the outbreak of WWII. Instead, he served the wartime effort as an electrochemist with the Aircraft Radio Company where he participated in the development of the first remote-controlled airplane.

To escape the unhealthy New Jersey climate, as well as a failed marriage, Jim moved to Sherbrooke, Quebec in 1949, and brought along his two young children, Linda and Jimmy, to be raised in a more civilized place. At this point in his life, he met Elaine Marian Bishop who swept him off his feet with her incredible beauty and compassionate heart. He was star-struck and could hardly believe his good fortune in finding the true love of his life. Elaine and Jim were married at the United Church in Bishopton in 1950. Three years later, Elaine and Jim gave birth to the fifth member of the family, David, who eventually grew up, despite the strong doubts of his parents, teachers, relatives and law enforcement.


Blueberry Point Lake Massawippi www.lacmassawippi.ca

The family lived in Sherbrooke during the winter months but spent the summers at their cottage on the western shore of Lake Massawippi near Blueberry Point. Jim and Elaine cleared the wilderness property and built two cottages, mostly by hand, for the express purpose of steering their children away from joining street-gangs in Sherbrooke. The travails of building the cottages gave Jim at least one million opportunities to use his favourite expression “…damn near killed me!”

Jim was passionate about hunting and fishing, as well as archaeology. He is considered by some to be the father of aboriginal archaeology in the Province of Quebec. He loved and respected all aspects of the natural environment; he was a member of the Naturalist Society (not to be confused with Naturist) in Lennoxville where he enjoyed listening to talks about the birds and the bees from his colleagues. For years he was dedicated to improving the water quality of his adopted lake, annoying friends and neighbours alike by selling memberships to them in the Lake Massawippi Fish & Game Club. He also dedicated many hours to the sportsman’s community by serving as one of the first district instructors for the Quebec hunter’s safety course. This was an ideal public venue for discussing the potential for death and dismemberment by firearms—one of Jim’s many favourite topics.

Jim was a Freemason, who was raised a Master Mason in 1953. He was twice Past Master of the Prince of Wales Lodge in Sherbrooke and then Chaplain of the Lodge in Magog. Membership in the Fraternity had a major and positive influence on his outlook toward mankind and on his relationship with God.

In 1995, Elaine, his loving wife of forty-five years, passed away quietly at the Sherbrooke Hospital after a very long illness. For many years, until her demise, Jim attended to Elaine’s daily needs as she slipped further and further away. He is survived by his three children, Linda, James, and David, all who have been blessed with good looks and brilliant minds. His kids participated in the mass Anglo Exodus from Quebec in the 60s and 70s and now they reside in various other parts of North America.

Jim is survived by his daughter Linda Hosking (Wright), son James Raymond Hosking and other son David Luther Hosking. His grandchildren are Laura Wright and Michael Wright, Julie Hosking (Fitchet), Lisa Hosking (Stanton), Elaine Hosking and Collin Hosking. He was also the great-grandfather of Tyler Fitchet and Olivia Stanton. Expanding the family circle a bit further, Jim was the brother of William, and the sister of Katherine, Alice, and Evelyn, all of New Jersey. Regarding Jim’s obituary, published in 2008 in the Daily Record, some of Jim’s in-laws pointed out that their names were not mentioned in the newspaper. Unencumbered by experience with writing such things, that same author shall try to make amends herein. Accordingly, Jim was the brother-in-law of Lloyd and Rita Bishop, the late Douglas and Ethel Bishop, Lorne and Pauline Bishop, and Douglas and Shirley (Bishop) (late) Willard.

Jim’s presence on this Earth is sorely missed by his family and friends, notwithstanding his corny humour. Clearly, he was a character—strong-willed, quick to help, quick to laugh, and most certainly not a slave to fashion. He had a significant impact on all who met him.

Love to you always, Dad.


James L. Hosking is considered the father of prehistoric archeology in this region. Originally from the United States, he settled in Sherbrooke in 1949. He discovered more than a dozen sites in the region, including the one at Lac des Nations. In the early 1960s, he helped found the Société d’archéologie de Sherbrooke with Abbé René Lévesque. For more than 50 years, he gathered many artifacts, creating one of the most impressive private collections of the region’s prehistoric archeology. In 1973 at Lac des Nations, James L. Hosking discovered an artifact that leads us to believe that First Nations people were in this area between 6 000 and 4 000 years before present.

Hosking, James L.  1922-1928
Passed away suddenly on Tuesday June 17, 2008 at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. Dear father of Linda Wright of Kitchener. As requested by James, a private funeral service will be held, graveside in Sherbrooke, Quebec.

Related reading:





Newspaper article from David Hosking

Where is Pointe James Hosking?–Click here

Monday, January 18th, 2010

As of December 1st, 2009, the Southern portion of Lac des Nations is officially known as Pointe James Hosking.  It fulfills one of Jim’s most intense and long-lasting wishes. He would often speak with a sense of urgency over the matter of having a plaque put up along the river`s edge to make known the culture that lived there before us.

It was made known to him when he found the spear point in the lake, and he wanted so badly to share this knowledge with others because he had a deep love and respect for anything involving conservation, history, culture and above all, people – even if they lived there thousands of years ago and he never saw them. It didn’t matter – he still had a deep respect for them and would often say how he wished he could have met them.

His convictions are a crying voice to the memory of our forgotten ancestors, a voice that would not have been so readily expressed by any other person other than himself. I am proud of James Hosking for this. He wanted them to be remembered, and it is ironic that through his generous disposition he will be remembered along with them, thus becoming a part of what he loved so much.

Memories of UFO’s Earthquake Lights and Gale Pond

Memories of UFO’s Earthquake Lights and Gale Pond


 Expansion of UFO photos bell-shaped taken during the wave 1974 in the Eastern Townships

Yesterday I wrote a story about an incident that took place in 1915. It was a tale of shenanigans by a group of kids that led the citizens of the Ottawa Valley to believe the Germans had landed. Years later paranormal studies attempted to debunk history and insist it was a cluster of UFO’s.

As a fan of the X-Files I really believe that there is someone else out there. However, I have always thought my late father was nuts when he insisted I join him in a spaceship watch. In the late 60’s he claimed to have seen something up in those starry skies hovering over the Brome Pond/Lac Bromont area– which I blamed it on too much exhaust coming out of his Ford Pinto. In 1974 it happened again and this time he made me sit for what seemed like hours to see what he claimed was another UFO. Of course I never saw anything unusual and handed him a glass of wine and told him to go watch The Rockford Files.

Today going through the news archives I found out that that there were indeed many UFO sightings in the Eastern Townships and Arthur Knight might not have been so crazy after all. In the late 60’s many sightings in the Sherbrooke area have been documented and Michael Phelps sent a letter to the Sudbury Star in 1990 in response to a request by the newspaper for personal encounters.

The letter discussed a 1968 incident at an Ayer’s Cliff cottage on the shores of Lake Massawippi that his family was renting . He spoke of walking home one evening when the whole sky lit up like giant spotlights being turned on. He looked across the lake and saw  3 or 4 balls descend and after a few seconds they were gone. His sister had seen the same thing, but later they found out that it had not been a visit from beyond, rather it had been nothing but earthquake lights.

Rare flashes of light are not caused by birds, or planes, or UFOs. Instead, the lights are caused by electrical properties of certain rocks in specific settings. When nature stresses certain rocks, electric charges are activated, as if you switched on a battery in the Earth’s crust. On the 12th of November 1988, a bright purple-pink globe of light was recorded moving through the sky along the St. Lawrence River near the city of Quebec, 11 days before a powerful quake in the Saguenay.

On the 15th of July in 1974, a UFO wave swept the Sudbury, Ontario and the Eastern Townships area. Among these were some UFOs that had a bell shape and that was what my father had insisted he had seen in his second encounter. In October of  the same year a bell-shaped UFO was also seen between Deauville and Rock Forest, and in this case, the object was orange in colour.


Lac Gale or as we all knew it as kids— Gale Pond–The Balnea Spa transferred 320 acres of conservation terrain to Nature Conservancy Canada-Photo from Adventurial

So today I sit here, over 30 years later, and wonder what my father actually saw. Did he see spaceships, or was it it natural mineral gas lights coming off nearby Gale Pond? For those that have no idea what I am talking about– Gale Pond, which is now called Lac Gale,  sits on top of Gale Mountain in Bromont. As a kid we used to climb the rough trail up the mountain where a former volcanic crater sat at the top, disguised as a natural lake. There we would mingle with the campers of Gale Camp that Reverend Peacock of the Anglican church in Cowansville had begun in 1944.

So what did my Dad see? There are two possibilities– either we are alone in this universe or we are not.  I guess we will never know– but after doing research for this story, more of my childhood came back in a flood of memories. It’s just so hard to forget an area that gave me so much to remember– even on the subject of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

“It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call– The Twilight Zone.


Thank you to Those Darn Kids of Cowansville High School Facebook page for the Gail Pond history that I had forgotten.

Rupert H DobbinGale Mountain and Gale Pond. Named after Sir Samuel Gale who had the land grant for a huge area around there. There is a monument to him and one to his wife close to the old one room school house (now a house) on the Sweetsburg to West Shefford road that runs along the west base of Mont Gay (Gale). Before it became a home the old school house was used as a polling station for elections. Used to climb up and swim off the damn on the south end of Gale Pond. The water in that lake warmed up faster than any other lake after a heavy rain.The west flank of Gale Mountain became a small ski centre for awhile but closed. The land became a ‘rural’ subdivision.

The Farr boys had a bobsled they used to ride down the ‘Gale Pond Road’ to the Brome Pond road which formed a ‘T’ junction. That’s a steep descent and on ice the brakes were useless which resulted in a major wreck with Farr’s scattered all over the snow bank. Only minor injuries but I don’t remember the bobsled being used much on that route again.

Georgina Cote-King— Reverend Peacock’s camp was Gail Camp and the pond was the same name, my brother Donald King was a councillor and Jean his wife helped Mrs. Peacock with the food.

Maureen Forster Page-My husband Bob bought it from Reverend Peacock. Bob and his brothers went to camp there their whole childhood. That was their summer. His mom and dad worked and stayed there too. Kids came from all over. Doug Harvey, the hockey player donated money and brought kids from Montreal along with his kids.

We sold it to the town of Bromont after we owned it for 3 or 4 years. It was never supposed to be anything but a natural park. That was the deal at the time. The road is still a small dirt road. They changed it so it didn’t go through the barnyard, but still only goes as far as the camp was. There’s a walking path around the pond and a couple of large chalets. My kids went there on school trips and stayed in one of the buildings. They had swinging ropes and bridges etc. They also taught mountain climbing with ropes and how to shoot bow and arrow etc.  and the swimming is still excellent.

Linda BrombyAfter Gale Pond it was known as the “Base de Plein Air Davignon “. I think it was subsidized by the Quebec government. It is now home to the Balnea spa.

Murray Dover-– At 15 yrs I was the kitchen goffer, 2 yrs, all for the big 100$ free room and board,, for 5 weeks,,Don,& Jeannie, Bill & Cynthia Clinton, Mrs. Westover was the summer nurse and asked us the daily question we all dreaded– if we had been regular that morning.

Mary Ellen LickfoldGale Pond…the dusty roads in the back of the pickup, long trudge up the hill, cool off in that lovely after a long day of throwing bales, zoom back down the hill, climb back into the box of the truck and get dusted out all the way back home!! Sounds rather dumb now but it was a highlight!!

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun

Related reading

Was it the Germans Or UFO’s that Invaded the Ottawa Valley in 1915?

Unsolved Mysteries — The Almonte Woman Abducted by a UFO (Part 2)

More UFO Sightings in Carleton Place!


Neil Chartier
December 22, 2020  · 

Old farm with a wagon of hay near Mont Gale in Bromont, picture taken September 2020.

New Year’s Eve ’68- Thrills and Spills with the High School Golden Boy

New Year’s Eve ’68- Thrills and Spills with the High School Golden Boy


Memories of Au Bon Marche in Sherbrooke - PressReader


Linda circa early 70s  in Sherbrooke, Quebec when she was manager of Le Knack at Au Bon Marche.

I stopped celebrating New Year’s Eve during my seventeenth year on this earth. That year was so traumatic it cured me for life of participating in any future celebrations. Well, maybe I did do a brief stint in my nineteenth year and it was exactly thirty three minute participation and no more than that. That was the actual time it took to jam eleven people into a Mini Austin. It was snowing hard that night and people did need a ride home.

For approximately four years in High School I loved a boy and he was no ordinary boy. He was “The Golden Boy of Cowansville High School”. He was blonde, French Canadian and handsome as all get out. When he smiled, you could see the stars glimmer from his teeth and when he walked down the hall girls melted into puddles. Of course I had no chance of ever snaring this magnificent creature as I was about 102 pounds overweight. I smiled, I curled my hair, I used deodorant and he would never ever look my way. I was so huge he probably thought I was a school corridor column and not the girl that loved him.

At age sixteen I left school, went to Fashion Design School and all thoughts of Golden Boy left my head. I worked part time in a fashion store, lost about a zillion pounds and had the wardrobe any mod in the 60’s would die for. That was probably one reason I lost so much weight. It was either food or clothes and the clothes won out hands down.

So before the year 1968 ended, it found me holding an invite to the coolest New Year’s Eve party around. It was to be held in the basement of an old A & P store in Granby, Quebec and I knew my old school chums would be there. I was so excited to see them and dressed very carefully. I wore a black velvet “Twiggy” mini dress with a front zipper and white collar, black fishnets and patent cuban heel shoes with a big silver buckle on them.

As I walked down the stairs and into the make shift teen club people’s mouths dropped and screamed when they saw me. Taking off my long black Dr. Zhivago style midi coat carefully I slowly walked up to the dance floor in all my glory. I happily danced my feet off to a half dozen Creedence Clearwater songs until I was a sweaty mess. To cool off, I went outside to get air and of course icicles started forming on my hair from the cold frigid air.

I don’t smoke so I tried to lean against the brick wall seductively while the icicles were quickly multiplying in my hair. Maybe this year I could honestly snag a guy to dance with me. I prayed silently, “Just this once God, before I die, let me dance with a real boy.”

Through the haze of cigarette smoke clouds and ice fog I saw a shadow following me. He was tall lean and boy was he blonde. Yes, dear readers it was none other than Golden Boy. Golden Boy in all his glory was approaching me from 30 degrees north.



Illustration from the East Bay Express they did for my story


The icicles in my hair suddenly started to melt and I became tongue tied as he looked at me and then hugged me. I just couldn’t savour this moment I had yearned for as I was too busy worrying if I stunk from perspiration. He spoke in a low sexy voice that made the earth shatter and the heavens suddenly opened. My heart was beating on overdrive and I was about to explode as he said,

“Linda, you look just fabulous!”

Wait, was he talking to someone else? I looked around and saw no one, so yes he was talking to me. More icicles started to melt from my hair as my body overheated. He grabbed my hand and we went inside where we proceeded to slow dance. I could feel his heart beat and we were so close I could smell his Aqua Velva and his Gitanes. We proceeded to dance the rest of the night away and he rode home with me in the bus holding my hand tightly. The heavy snow had turned to a deadly freezing rain but he insisted on walking me home.

We walked up the short path to the handmade death defying wobbling concrete steps that were now a skating rink. He took my head in his hands and kissed me. In fact he kissed me a lot. Yes, he kissed me so much he wanted more.

Instead of being in lust, angry thoughts suddenly flooded my brain of how badly he had treated me in the past. I suddenly started to rage that if I wasn’t 100 pounds thinner he wouldn’t be kissing me right now. In reality I was aiming for the snow bank on the right when I poked him hard,  but instead he fell down the icy concrete steps. Yes, the very same steps I had fallen down years ago and cracked my head open. Golden Boy lay there and was most definitely knocked out. In fact he was knocked out good and cold, like the freezing rain that was coming down quickly.

I called my father to drive him to the hospital. He was fine, except he had one problem. He was having a hard time remembering anything. Everyone blamed the slippery conditions and no one even thought that a former chubby stood up for herself that night. Yes, she had given her all for every other high school or college girl that had loved a Golden Boy once in her life and was treated badly.

So after that I never really celebrated New Year’s Eve again. I decided what happened that night was enough for me. I mean, you only get once chance sometimes in life, and that was it. So now every New Year’s Eve I celebrate with Dick Clark and remember. When I see his name pop up on Classmates.com, I smile. I smile that same sinister smile the night Golden Boy became not so golden and ‘slipped’ down the wobbly concrete stairs. I bet after forty years he isn’’t so golden anymore. Frankly I bet he is a tad tarnished.


This was first published as a prize winner in a competition for the East Bay Express in 2009 and the illustration in the centre is from the East Bay Express.

Memories of that evening