In his diary, Rev. William Bell, first Presbyterian minister in Perth, speaks of Armstrong’s Corners, the hotel, the blacksmith shop, and the first winter road across the black ash swamp. He also reports the serious accident he experienced during February, 1857. Driving a borrowed horse and cutter to Lanark, the horse ran away while going down the steep hill at Stanley’s and struck a stump with such violence as to break the shafts from the cutter. Mr. Bell was thrown against the stump, cutting his scalp. He reported in his diary that four men rushed from Mr. Armstrong’s blacksmith shop and carried him into the house where his wound was dressed by Mr. McNichol and Mr. Armstrong lent him new shafts and harness which enabled him to drive back to Perth– read more here..Where was Prestonvale?
Feb. 28, 1873 – Last Saturday the corpse of D. McPherson, who had lived in this section for 29 years, came into the Union House from the Mattawa. Mr. McPherson had been dead for over three weeks but until Saturday no means of bringing his body for interment could be found. It appears that he had been working in some of the shanties where his services were no longer required and he was provided with and a quantity of money. On his way here he got on a ‘spree’ in which condition he kept himself until his pocket was empty. From some of the numerous effects of that fatal cup he died and this adds another to the long list of deaths from strong drink. Deceased was over 50 years of age and was interred at Prestonvale Cemetery.
The funeral was held in Almonte on Monday afternoon, of Dr. James r Mackintosh Bell. He died at his home “Old Burnside” last Saturday morning following an illness of several months’ duration. He was 57 years of age. The late Dr. Bell was born at St. Andrews, Que., on Dec. 23rd, 1877. He was a son of the late Andrew Bell and Marianne Rosamond. His parents removed to Almonte soon after Dr. Bell’s birth and lived in the residence on Mitcheson street, lately purchased by T. A. Thompson, M.P. Dr. Bell’s father was a well known civil engineer of the Ottawa Valley. His uncle Robert Bell, was for many years Dominion Geologist. Simplest rites characterized the funeral here Monday afternoon of Major James Mackintosh Bell, M.A., Ph.D„ O.B.E., LL.D., world renowned geologist, explorer,’ traveller, author, soldier and lecturer, who passed away at his home, “Old Burnside,” Saturday morning in his 57th year, after a life of color, usefulness and service to his King and country and to his fellow men in Canada and in far off lands, Siberia, Russian Turkest&n, Australia, New Zealand and Manchuria.
War comrades attended but there was no firing party, and there was no funeral oration, just a brief service of marked dignity and beauty. Several hundreds, including more than a score of his most intimate friends from Ottawa, attended the service in St. Paul’s Anglican church to pay their last tribute of respect to Major Bell as a man, who while he won undoubted fame for his brilliant woik in many fields, yet was always best known and most respected for his distinct charm of personality and his unusual capacity for making and keeping friends.
Old comrades of the 73rd Battalion, which Major Bell recruited, provided the’ pallbearers and a guard of honor which stood smartly at attention as the cortege passed the Almonte war memorial enroute to the Auld Kirk cemetery where the casket was placed in a vault, pending interment in the Anglican cemetery later in the spring. The casket was flag-draped, emblematic of Major Bell’s outstanding war services for which he was given the decoration of the Order of the British Empire. Many of the floral tributes, which were sent with a wealth of profusion despite the request of the family that flowers be omitted, were placed on the memorial.
The town flags were half-masted as a mark of respect to Major Bell as one of Almonte’s most noted sons. While he travelled far throughout the world, his home has been here since his very early boyhood years. The streets of the town were practically deserted during the period of the service and later many citizens Stood with bowed heads as the cortege wended its way slowly through the streets to the cemetery. Major Bell was honorary president of the Almonte branch of the Canadian Legion; member of the Mississippi Lodge, A.P. and A.M., Almonte; president of the Ottawa branch of the League of Nations Society in Canada; second vice-president of the Canadian Geographical Society, and a past president of the General Alumni of . Queen’s University.
Representatives of these and other organizations with which he was more or less closely associated during his lifetime were present a t the funeral. Church Service In charge of His Grace the Most Rev. Dr. J. C. Roper, archbishop of Ottawa and metropolitan of Ontario; Archdeacon D. T. Clayton of Perth; and Rev. J. J. Lowe, rector of St. Paul’s, the service lasted just half an hour. Claude Thomson, St. Paul’s organist, officiated a t the organ and W. H. Morton led the full choir. The hymns, favorites of the deceased, were “The King of Love My Shepherd Is” and “Unto the Hills Around Do I Lift Up My Eyes.”
The responsive readings embraced the 90th and the 23rd Psalms. The Scripture . lesson was the usual one, the 16th Chapter of the 1st Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians. The ’committal service was said in the church, followed by the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer ill unison and the benediction by Syg Grace. As the flowers were carried from the church, the organist rendered “Days and Moments Quickly Playing” and then the Nunc Dimittis was chanted as the casket was borne from the church.
Resting on the casket were two sprays of Lilies-of-the-valley, from the family, and a cross of balsam, fashioned by the elder son. Chief Mourners Among the chief mourners were the widow Mrs. Bell, formerly Miss Vera Margaret Beauchamp, daughter of Sir Harold Beauchamp of Wellington, New Zealand; two sons, Andrew B. M. Bell, student a t Queen’s University, and John M. M. Bell, at home; two sisters, Miss Alice Bell of Ottawa and Mrs. John F. Stairs of Montreal; Jeffrey Gaherty, Col. Gilbert’ S. Stairs, K.C., and Denis Stairs, all of Montreal, nephews and Miss Margaret Stairs, Montreal, a niece.
The pallbearers were Allan Jackman, Donald- Taylor, Stanley M cLaren and James Scott, all of Almonte; and Major William Hooper and R obert Patchell, K.C., both of Carleton Place. Ottawa Friends Present Among the many friends and colleagues present from the Capital were the following: Dr. Charles Camsell, deputy minister of mines and president of the Canadian Geographical Society; Charles G. Cowan, chairman of the national executive of the League of Nations Society in Canada; Dr. Oscar D. Skelton, under secretary of state for external affairs; Senator H. H. Horsey, representing the General Alumni of Queen’s University; Senator A. E, Fripp, K.C.; H. S. Southam; Capt. Fairfax Webber, representing the 73rd Battalion; Col. G. P. Murphy; J . Lorn McDougall; R. M. Gemmel, O. M. Biggar, K.C.; J. A. Wilson, controller of civil aviation; G. C. Monture, president of the Ottawa branch of the Queen’s Alumni and secretary of the Ottawa branch of the National Council of Education; Col. H. C. Osborne; J. H. LeRougetel, first secretary of the British high commissioner; representing the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Ottawa branch were: Dr.’ F. J.- Alcock, S. C. Ells, M. F. Goudge, Capt. H. E. Silver and Archibald Campbell and B. Stewart McKenzie. Among Others Present Among others attending from out of town were — Duncan McArthur, professor of history, and E. L. Bruce, professor of geology, representing Queen’s University; M. R. McFarlane, registrar of the pharmacy department, ■ representing the University of Toronto; Bertram Winnett, president of the Queen’s Alma Mater Society; Tandy Davoud, president of the Queen’s University Student Body; :j Andre^ Dorfman, Toronto, managing director of Anglo Huronian, Ltd.;; D. A. Gillies, R. L. Gusselle and JR. A. Jeffrey, all of Arnprior; Mrs. John A. Stewart of Perth; members of Major Bell’s mining staff; members of Almonte Town Council; the Board of Education, and representatives of other public and semi-public bodies; Members of the Conservative executive present were: the County President, A. G. Rosamond, W. H. Stafford, K.C., and Dr. A. A: Metcalfe, H. H. Cole and Jam es Moncur. while Dr. J. F., Dunn, an officer of the Liberal executive of the county, represented that political party. Floral Tributes Among those who sent floral tributes were the following: Rt. Hon. Sir Robert and Lady Borden, Dr. F. G. Banting, Toronto; Dr. R. Tait McKenzie, Philadelphia.
Almonte, Ont. April 1934, Letter to the Editor
Dear Sir:— News dispatch here on Saturday last advises of the death of Major Mackintosh Bell, eminent geologist. Could this, may I ask, have been the Major Bell, C.O. of D. Co. formerly 73rd Bn. Royal Highlanders of Canada? The Major Bell of my memory was a man and a gentleman of superlative degree. He was instinctively precise and deliberate, yet always unfalteringly considerate and sympathetic. For whomever the individual or whatever the circumstances he had a recognizing eye, and a word of conversation, a humanity in fact, considerate and distinctive from the ordinary over-awning army officers. Many youths, of the adolescent years, were alive now to relate, would look back with particular thankfulness and a grateful memory to the Major Bell of their memory, and genuinely grieve his passing as a personal loss to themselves. If I am correct, that this dispatch indicates the passing of Major Bell of the “old’ 73rd Brigade”, will you be good enough to forward to me that copy of your paper containing the resume of his life and passing. Before closing, may I ask if you as residents of your town or countryside such sterling individuals as Charlie Merriott , Dan McKay, Lawrence Ring or .Mervill Neilson? If you have any personal acquaintance with any of these men, will you kindly convey to them my best regards.