This poem about Franktown was glued into the journal of Thomas Alfred Code (1920s)
Franktown Past and Present
A Poetic Panorama Of Rich and Exuberant Fancy by Rev. John May, M.A. (1834-1913),
Near Franktown I first saw the light,
And Franktown still is my delight,
Yes,though its sliding down the hill,
The dear place, I still love it still,
Unrivalled spot to muse and think,
And make demands on printer’s ink,
Concocting simple easy rhymes,
Descriptive of the olden times.
This village saw a lively rush,
When Ottawa was still a bush,
Two highways intersected here:
Stage coaches crossed from far and near,
Discharging passengers and freight,
Flourishing stores kept open late,
Two fine hotels aglow with light,
Were vocal far into the night.
With song and glee and rustic dance,
Toned with ‘scrap” or two perchance,
A jolly frolic place as yet,
For then the village still was wet.
Two or three lively business men
Made tidy little fortunes then.
Labourers had enough to do:
Good wages for their labour too.
Mechanics, artisans and such
Hard work enough if not too much.
The tailor stitched with all his might;
The cooper thumped his barrel tight:
The brisk shoemaker pegged away,
More than a dozen hours of the day.
All were busy then as bees,
Until the railway banished these.
The engine crushed the Village legs,
Much as the housewife mashes eggs,
And left it moaning night to death,
With feeble pulse and gasping breath.
O for the golden days of yore!
The Church was crowded to the door,
Two doctors fired their dead shot pills,
Full 50 miles, at mortal ills,
The great Van Ambergh brought his show,
To Franktown. sixty years ago.
The Ring–Behold it as you pass,
Sodded, and coated o’er with grass!
He halted at no other town:
All mustered here to see the clown,
The lion. elephant, chimpanzee,
And lots of other things that tickle fancy,
As for fairs on village green,
This match could nowhere else be seen,
One deafening din of bullock roar,
Buyers and sellers by the score,
Fat rolls of money right and left,
None stolen– rare indeed was the sight,
Here a wild fellow travelling “tight”
And yelling “Howld Me” or I’ll fight!
Another striding to and fro,
With chip on shoulder–don’t you know!
Yonder a maniac raves and rants,
With nothing on him save his pants!
Elsewhere uplifted fists abound,
A wild mob seething round and round,
Meanwhile away from row and noise,
Apples are sold to girls and boys,
One big one for a penny or two,
If rather small for one to do.
The buyer settles and departs:
Settlers go home with joyous hearts,
And swollen pockets. Night settles in.
And ends the fair, the fight, the din.
Those days are gone.
Those days are fled,
Poor dear old Franktown hangs her head.
Not hers the fault, her sons are grand,
Her daughters best in all the land!
Yet she droops and fades away,
Sad contrast to her early day.
No Amburgh now unfolds his tent,
No tavern rings with merriment.
No stage coach blows its rousing horn:
The fair of all its splendours shorn,
The tailor, cooper, cobbler gone.
Two doctors? No! Not even one,
In the still necessary store,
One customer for ten of yore,
The streets are silent as the grave:
The whole place darksome as a cave.
The houses stand; but on the street,
You’re startled if a face you meet!
The Agent now avoids the place:
Seldom a stranger shows his face:
The traveller likes it not a bit–
No place to eat, or sleep, or sit!
No provender for man or beast.
Where once* was spread a ducal feast!
Wayfarers give it the ‘go-by”,
For Franktown, once so wet is now dry.
A place of placid sweet repose,
What a retreat ‘twoud be for those’
Unnerved by hustling city din,
On wrecked on bestial seas of sin!
The monk bevowed to silence keep,
The sluggard, wed to sloth and sleep,
The hustler in his mad pursuit
Or gain, or other Dead Sea fruit,
The worried, fretted, restless man,
Dwindling existence to a span:
All, whirling furious and fast
Like leaves in a November blast:-
Come, one and all, and sit with me,
Beneath this spreading basswood tree;
And rest, and sleep, and happy be!
For, be it clearly understood
This wild oat place, at last, is good.
*The Duke of Richmond slept a night and had his meal at the old Burrows hotel on his way from Perth to Richmond. Read The Haunted Canoe from the Jock River and The Franktown Inn
Franktown was nailed to the glade, and though it never reached the glory painted by the noble imperialists. It has never forgotten that Van Amberg’s Circus bivouacked there one day because both Perth and Carleton Place were too small affairs to entertain so massive an establishment. It was probably also on the same trek when the Duke of Richmond was bitten by his pet fox and rabies developed and he slipped away and was drowned in the river as he sought to quench is burning thirst. Well that’s what the fox said. Read –How Franktown Got Its Name and Meanwhile Back in Lanark Village
Franktown Historical Fact
Indians who had camped for the winter at Franktown, selling baskets through the district, struck their tents and returned to the St. Regis Reserve
Carleton Place Herald, Feb. 10, 1903–Presbyterian Church of Franktown
Mrs. Jas. L. McArthur presented a Bible and Mrs. Allan Cameron three plush chairs for the pulpit platform. The speakers of the evening were Rev. Dr. Crombie and Rev. Mr. Cooke of Smith’s Falls, Rev. John May of Franktown, Rev. Paul Pergau of Franktown and Revs. Woodside and Scott of Carleton Place
- The Ottawa Citizen,
- 27 Dec 1930, Sat,
- Page 2
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.
Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)