During the French and Indian Wars the defeated French sought refuge on Wellesley Island near Poplar Bay and the former site of the Hotel Westminster. There are numerous takes that the French buried an enormous sum of gold and other priceless artifacts. Only one Frenchman escaped from the aftermath of the fighting and before he returned to France he drew a map and then gave it to his descendents upon his return. The map that showed the location of the buried treasure was last seen in 1914. If it really was buried chances are it is still there as the geological formation of the islands which bears the weight of the great span of the bridge is red granite, and has been there for hundreds of thousands of years, and strong.
In 1937 the folks from from Ottawa enjoyed enjoyed every minute of the cruises to Wellesley arranged by J. G. Mitchell, of Lansdowne, one of the strongest supporters supporters of the new “International Bridge scheme”. In the St. Lawrence River they passed the relic of past years, the excursion ‘ steamer “Riverside”. It was gradually falling into decay between Wellesley and Larue Islands. The boat had been purchased for her engine but it had not been removed and the lifeboats still rested on the top deck. Memories of those that came up the river fascinated by the stories of pirates, mayhem and gold on the island was excellent publication for the hotel. Another story has Captain Kidd, the infamous pirate sailing up the St. Lawrence River to Wellesley Island and burying his treasure at the site of two poplar trees.
Thousand Island Park on the upper end of Wellesley Island was founded by the Methodist Church in 1875. Their religious buildings, cottages, boathouses, and docks were the scene of many years of activity (Leavitt, 1879). Also on Wellesley Island was the Presbyterian Camp, called Westminster Park. The International Camp Ground, situated one mile below Morristown, New York, was a Methodist Camp with members coming from both Canada and the United States (Leavitt, 1879).
Other United States island hotels were the Grenell Tavern (which eventually became the Pullman Hotel), the Hub, the Murray Hill, the Cliff House and the hotels and resorts built on Wellesley Island. The Thousand Island Park hotel which burned in 1890 was replaced by the Columbian. This was “considered the finest hotel above the city of Montreal” (Common, 1919). It was built in the shape of a Greek cross to give the easiest escape as well as the outside view to every room. This also caught fire in 1912 when much of the Thousand Island Park was destroyed by fire (Common, 1949).
The club itself, built on George C. Boldt’s property on Wellesley Island, was known as the Millionaires’ Club as most of its members fitted into that category. In its by-laws was the following statement: “The particular business object of the Club is the promotion and cultivation of social intercourse among its members, and for enjoyment and recreation on the St. Lawrence River and its tributaries, and for yachting, boating, and fishing on the same, and fcr the advancement of their mutual interests as summer residents of the Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence River” (Thousand Island Club By Laws).
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)