Tag Archives: st declans

Not Happy in Happy Valley? Head up to the French Line for some Sweet Marie


Holy cow, I don’t want to get in trouble, so this blog is for information purposes only! What you choose to do with it– well, don’t tell me. Before you start, check the laws in your local area, some places you cant even own a still let alone use it to make a drinkable product.



                           St. Declans- Bytown.net

Seems when Happy Valley off of Townline in our fair town of Carleton Place couldn’t provide the liquid jollies, it was mentioned in the newspaper that a few of our prominent citizens headed up to the French Line where they were introduced to Sweet Marie. No folks, Marie was not a lassie, but a liquid distilled from potatoes, and it was said to have a wallop or kick to it equal to that of a cantankerous mule.



This recipe is from the Moonshine Recipe Library

  • This recipe is adjustable. If you would like to make 5 or 20 gallons, easily half or double recipe.
  • 10gal. of Fermenter
  • 20lbs. of White Sugar
  • 2.5lbs. of Potatoes
  • 1 Can (12oz) of Tomato Paste
  • 1 Lemon (1 Large, or 3 Small)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Baker’s Yeast (Ex. Fleischmann’s or Red Star)
  • Option One:
  • For a great fermenter use Brute trashcans.
  • Two: Check your local donut shop free or cheap old filling buckets. Go for the five gallon size.
  • Three: You can also buy brand new five gallon paint buckets, making sure that they are plastic. Note: Later on while making 10 gallons of mash it is easier to mix in one bucket but the downside is that it becomes very hard to move a 10 gallon bucket after filling with mix. Splitting mix into two 5 gallon buckets makes it easier to move but harder to mix

Related reading:

From the Files of The Canadian — Who is This? Where is This?






There is today and has been since the mid 1830s a French settlement in Darling Township. It is still known as the French Line. The French from Lower Canada were among the first in the area as they made up part of the crew of the survey teams for the original surveys. The greater part, however, arrived here as a direct result of the political strife of 1837-38. The village of St. Benoit, Cte. Deux Montages, was burned to the ground in reprisal for the affair of St. Eustace. The families Majore, Cardinal and Lalonde all came from St. Benoit and even as I was growing up the story of “La Grande Brulee” was still being told. Others (the Rangers) came from Coteau du Lac. The economy was as chaotic then as now and they came because of the work commencing in the timber industry in Lanark. Some arrived by way of the Upper Ottawa and the rest came via Brockville and Perth.- Lanark County Genealogy Society

From the Files of The Canadian — Who is This? Where is This?


Thanks to Stephanie Sweetnam we are putting things together.. Her comment:

My father Michael Bennett took these pictures and wrote the original story about Mrs.Crosbie for the Canadian. He probably took some of the other pictures in the box and could fill in blanks.


The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum has boxes of photos from the old “Canadian newspaper” basement that Jennifer Fenwick Irwin rescued. Boxes of old treasured photos from times gone by. Does anyone know where this is, and who it is? I loved the Bean Supper poster and I tracked the church down.

I think we need to get it into our heads that photographs are more important than we think they are. We can tell historical detail from backgrounds, and by identifying this lady we found out her historical importance to Flower Station in Lanark County.

So who was she? We found out very quickly and now her history is documented.

Hal Garrett on May 7, 2015 at 4:28 am said:
The lady in the pictures is Mrs. Irene Crosbie who ran the general store at Flower Station which is in the township of Lanark Highlands. She and her husband Art ran the store for many years, after he passed away she continued to run it until she was well into her 80’s. She was a remarkable woman who raised a family of I believe 18 children of which I believe included 3 sets of twins.

Georgette Cameron added:

Good work Hal and she was an amazing woman. Grandma Crosbie was the most positive and inspirational person that I have ever known. She was able to find the good in everyone and never had a bad thing to say about anyone. She did a great job raising her children and was a very strong individually.


Did you notice it was —Sand Baked Beans? Recipe below.

Cheryl added:

My Uncle Harry Majore made the sand-baked beans for the annual Bean Supper at St. Declan’s Church. I remember going behind the drive shed and watching Uncle Harry work around the pots of beans. The aroma was amazing! It was always a fun time, with great food, home-made pies and games. It was also a time to visit the graves of my relatives. Thank you so much for writing about this area of Lanark County!





Bottom photo thanks to Allan Lewis from Bytown or Bust– they have some added information if you click on the link above.


Saint Declan’s is a quaint rural church tucked into the hills of Lanark Highlands about three kilometres west of Brightside on the French Line Road. The parish was established in 1872 and the church built in 1889. It once served a community of mostly francophone families. The name was given by Father Declan Foley, who, at the church’s blessing on July 7, 1889, named it after his baptismal patron*.

Over the years a priest’s residence was built and a drive shed erected to provide winter shelter for the horses while Mass was being celebrated. The shed was later used to host the parish’s famous annual sand-baked bean supper and dance. The rectory has since been removed but the shed still remains. On the grassy hill beside the little white church is Saint Declan’s Cemetery, where former generations now rest.

Saint Declan’s is a mission of Almonte, with the parish priest commuting from Holy Name of Mary Church to celebrate Mass with the congregation on a monthly basis.

Although small in numbers its faithful parishioners have kept the church financially self-sufficient. When the building was declared structurally unstable and threatened with closure in October 2001 local Catholics raised the necessary funds within a year to begin repairs that were completed in 2004.


About 10 hours, mostly unattended, plus soaking time. (About 3 hours plus soaking time for oven method.)


2 pounds dried beans of your choice (soldier, pea, Jacob’s Cattle, great northern, yellow eye, etc.)
3 onions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons dry mustard
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 pound salt pork, sliced into pieces about 2 inches by 1/2 inch


1. Soak beans overnight in water to cover or quick-soak: Put beans in a large pot, add water to cover by 2 inches and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse.

2. If you don’t already have a bean hole, dig a hole about half again as large as whatever pot you plan to cook the beans in. (The key is that there be 6 inches between the top of the hole and the top of the pot.) Build a fire in the hole using about 10 pieces of cord wood. When the fire is burning well, add 10 softball-size rocks, then continue to burn until the wood is reduced to embers. You should have a bed of embers 2 to 3 inches deep.

3. Meanwhile, drain and rinse the beans and put them into a 6-quart Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot along with all remaining ingredients except the salt pork. Stir well to combine. Lay the salt pork slices on top of the beans, then add water to cover by about an inch. Bring just to a simmer over medium-high heat.

4. Carefully remove the rocks from the bean hole. Put the pot into the hole on top of the embers, cover it with a triple layer of heavy-duty foil, then put the rocks back into the hole around and on top of the pot. Fill in the hole with dirt, covering the pot. Come back 8 hours later, remove the pot from the hole and serve the beans.

12 servings

OVEN METHOD: Follow Steps 1 and 3 above, then transfer the pot to a 350-degree oven and bake until the beans are tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Check beans every half-hour or so after the first hour, adding water as needed if all the water has been absorbed.