Tag Archives: townships

Life Interrupted — Linda Knight Seccaspina

Life Interrupted — Linda Knight Seccaspina

Our new editor at The Townships Sun, Rachel Garber thought it would be a great idea if I wrote about our late editor Barbara Heath. Normally it would be an easy task for me, but in this case I had never met Barbara. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t know her– but in reality, we knew each other. They say to have a close friendship you need to meet each other first which helps strengthen the bond. Barbara and I did not need that, as we easily exchanged over a 100 emails between each other and felt like long lost sisters.

I first met Barbara years ago when she emailed me about a story I did about the rumoured 30-foot- long monster called Gog, Manaloo, Memphre, the Anaconda, or the Lake Monster of Lake Memphremagog. Somehow she had seen it on Facebook and asked if the Townships Sun could run it. Since I had spent the first  night  of my honeymoon looking out the motel window which faced Lake Memphremagog searching for that creature; it was a story that was near and dear to my heart.

And so, as they say, began the online friendship of Linda and Barbara. I had been writing for years in the States for publications about celebrities, murders and pets and she assured me that history was my thing and she was right. She encouraged me to keep writing with my heart, and to pursue my potential. It’s not like I needed anyone to encourage my prolific writing, but even though we were the same age, it was like someone putting their arm around you. It was always that way between us. She represented a part of my self-identity.

Barbara under the CIBC sign.

We both believed in saving heritage like the Tomifobia church which is a short distance from Stanstead, Quebec. The poor wee church was sold and abandoned for years and it left a mark on both of our hearts. She was a fighter like myself and we both stood up for the wrongs in our communities. Barbara with the closing of the CIBC in Stanstead and me with stormwater management ponds and supporting local business. It doesn’t matter how slowly we now moved along, we just had to make sure we didn’t stop. Neither of us kept our feelings in a drawer to be forgotten.

I am heartbroken and I should have known her health wasn’t getting better. In March she sent me two beautiful jewellery artifacts that belonged to her mother. She said in a letter, 

“I hope they bring you joy and show your spirit. You are certainly a valuable member of the Sun Family.”

Barbara did not wish to have any services, like myself. We both had figured out that lots of things happen after you die and none of them involve the deceased. I had told Barbara that when I die, cremate me and stick a tree on me. I wanted absolutely no headstones so these genealogists I have been writing about for years will come looking for me. She always thought that was funny.


We never met, yet we knew each other well, almost like we were friends before, 

We never met, but we both grew up in the Eastern Townships and loved and breathed history,

We never met, but you sent me letters from those that enjoyed my writing in the Townships Sun and told me never to stop writing. 

We never met, but you were a friend and a mentor, and for that I will be eternally grateful and never ever forget you.

I wish there was email in heaven.


Also read-Mary Louise Deller Knight — Evelyn Beban Lewis–The Townships Sun

Here Comes the Sun! The Townships Sun

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

Naming the Townships of Lanark County 1899

Naming the Townships of Lanark County 1899


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 - . LAKABK COTTHTY HAJCX8. Lanark. County, says...

 - does Ramsay township, for Lord Dal. housle's...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  15 Aug 1899, Tue,  Page 4



Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)

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.



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

The Old Settlers Weren’t so Old After All

Some Cold Hard Facts- First Tailor in Ramsay and a Cow Without a Bell

Dear Lanark Era –Lanark Society Settlers Letter

Ramsay Settlers 101

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

EARLY SETTLEMENT OF DALHOUSIE-Tina Penman, Middleville, Ont.

Lanark County 101 — It Began with Rocks, Trees, and Swamps

What Was Smiths Falls Perth and Port Elmsley like to Joseph and Jane Weekes?

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

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

Rolling down the Rapids –Journey to Lanark Part 5

The Lanark County Council Scottish Poem– names names names

The Lanark County Council Scottish Poem– names names names


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Lanark County Council 1909- Photo from Norma Ford



Oh, place it on record, this year of our Lord.

 A record complete of the men at the Board

The Board where the laws of the County are made.

 And all the petitions for money are laid.

            THERE’S honest John Browning, erect in his chair.

 Elected as Warden, the boys put him there, and his praises we’ll chant. ­All honor to John, the Reeve of Lavant With gentle persuasion good order he keeps, and when he calls “Order! Then order he reaps He signs all the bills and accounts that go the through, and keeps a close eye on the money chest too. He comes from a township; smooth where it’s not rough they say he is blest with a lashin’ o’ stuff. He leans to the ladies, put that in your crop A lady’s man always moves up to the top.

            NOW add seriatim, let that mean what it will. While each legislator now swallows a pill, we’ll take the boys singly and pass on our way, From Darling to Elmsley, from granite to clay; Now Craig is the first, and all the boys call him Jack. He shuffled the cards and he shifted the pack. The deal that he made put him out of the hole, Oh, sad was the wreck of poor Jimmy Rintoul

            DALHOUSIE is known as a. canny old spot, that’s why they elected the man they call Scott He chased his opponents all over the shop; Bill Jackson got left, so did Willie Dunlop, now. Scott is a man and his front name is John, as gentle a soul as you might look upon, so saintly in peace, but a devil in War­ He then talks the Gaelic of dark Lochnagar

            Now LANARK is blessed with a set of good men “they eat lots of fruit well, the fruit of the hen. They deal in fat horses anti breed bonnie Rye and a wee “Deoch and Doris” is welcome “Hooch aye Jack Somerville! Yes, he’s a pretty good scout,

He doesn’t say much, but you’ve got to look out. For it’s up to the ceiling and down to the floor then something is started and jack clips his oar.


In PAKENHAM Township the little boys play, the run of their fancies is moulded in clay. But the mould of the men is genuine gold, O’Connor the Great beat McKibbin, I’m told. Now, Bill took some beating. Of fine parts in Bill: A great grist of kindness he takes to the mill. I am sure he will spread it, and not without honor To him they elected, our good friend O’Connor.

            Now RAMSAY is smiling in excellent trim. ­Oh, where is McArton, and what about Syme? I bow to the honor your township has done. A good man has gone, and a. good man has won. From Carleton to Almonte you’ve now on the string. ­A pretty long step for a. neat Highland fling. A sigh for the past, with its gullies and ridges, Hope springs on, eternal to culverts and. Bridges

            A word about DRUMMOND. Let’s give him a cheer for on comes the hero, commanding a steer. This may be the brindle long years ago lost. ‘When Oates was a farmer and steers he could boast. O shame on you Drummond shame and a. tear! Did no Drummond maidens go leaping last year”. This fellow’s a bachelor, no mint may compare, over burdened with riches and never a care. Oh, why must the State pine and suffer the loss, for Leap Year is past, native gold gone to dress. No feminine hand gentle udders to squeeze. And time finds a. bachelor harder to please, Oh dim are the meadows and dark are the goods is Drummond so barren of petticoat goods? Speak up, fairest ladies, there’s something amiss.  Make Andrew engage, you and seal with a kiss

            THE hillside of BATHURST is fertile and fair. A very good reason for rhyming with Blair. This lucky young stalwart comes on fancy free, with every good measure he’s bound to agree. Some time in the future, disturbing his dreams. He may think this old world is not what it seems For serving the public creates in its wake. The whirlpool and its eddies that matter at steer and staunch is the craft with course pointing true That reaches the harbor with cattle and sow


But ELMSLEY floats near like and angel of dreams.  The Rideau enthroned, proud Queen of the streams, and visions of joy on the old Ferry Road.  Attend the election of Good Mr. Code.  His pipe dreams are Highways, sure Heaven itself calls.  An entry to Perth and a road to Smiths Falls.  Ah’ then twill be paradise, golden and blessed like some brave young Bhoy by his colleen caressed

            THEN Nature passed round all her bounteous gifts And the magical gods entered into the drift; A Banshee in Burgess bored deep in the ground, Deposited there all the ore to be  found, And now with a. smile like a. mica mans roll, Jack Cobourn comes on at the head oft he poll, He winks and he nods and he gives you the eye, And than you decide if it’s Dewar’s or “Rye..” Some day he’ll be Warden, and. Burgess will cheer, ‘Good luck to you, Jack, and a, Happy New Year!”

            The pastoral scenes of Montague swell O’er many a stretch of hillside and dell Supported by friends, and fearing no foe, ‘Tis Ferguson comes with face all aglow In pure mathematics he stands all alone. And clever Indeed is the figuring done. Percentages tell when the values are high. And old Montague is assessed to the sky. But equalization sets everything right  Sir Ferguson is a most chivalrous Knight

            The riches of Beckwith piled up to the skies Great bars of pure bullion in pyramids rise, and thus represented braw laddie comes MacNairn, McLaren  descendant of Thrums Now Thrums is a picturesque spot in the glen. Oat porridge and haggis; are food for the men and these are the chiefs, with Montague too. Surveyed the town Line, and Moore put it through. Nae doot it. costs thoosands and thoosands and mair But what about that? Losh, the money is there!

            But  ere a fond leave of the rural we take a glimpse at the beauty of sweet Christy Lake. SOUTH SHERBROOKE a name that brings memories dear.  The form of Buchanan, the dim shade of Greer.  For, placid the waters and gentle the day.  A hook and a paddle a crust and away Tis the reign of the Georges for weal or for woe.  By George! Its time that a fishing we go.

            The urbans are models they never do wrong Economy swells from their lips in a song. There’s Charlie and Tommy together at school In the long; long ago, playing “Peanuts” and “Bull,” But now with a flow of choice speech at command The “Peanuts” and “Bull” spread all over the land. Oh, warm is the core of their dear Irish hearts.

And woe is the day when Perth from them parts! They fight with shillelaghs, their aim it is true A “wake” for the men who would challenge them too.

            But down at the Junction (Carleton Place), where, sweet, waters flow The broad  Mississippi, alive and aglow, Bill Nichols and Pattie, night, morning and noon, Jump like the old cow that jumped over the moon Today it is bridges, tomorrow the roads  For here is the chairman the biggest of toads, And dark grows the puddle of taxes and rates As they ever boost  Carleton bless their innocent  They, ride in a roller with a calliope’s  scream and each one is heading along  at full steam

             Now deep o’er the senses what strange fancies steal.  The hum of an engine, an automobile And Scott, hypnotizing, oh save his hair neck! The Bank has been charging exchange on a cheque! Oh, fly to the city, and fly to the town. The money rates surely must all tumble down.  I don’t give a vacuum for station or rank But give me, oh give me the run of the bank!

            But list to the bagpipes far over the lift.  The Campbell’s are coming to shovel the drift.  The wee German lairdie is up to his ears.  In billows  of snowdrifts, the worst of the years, so marching along comes the fierce   Highland Clan, kilted and plaided and pledged to a man The laird and his men from the Clyde will go through, and woe to the tyrant. Oh God save the King. The steel it shall flash and the claymore shall ring.


Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Citizen,
  2. 28 Oct 1937, Thu,
  3. Page 3

Newspaper Articles compiled by Grant McFarlane of Lanark.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)

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.



What Came First in Lanark County? The Chicken Or the Egg?

Lanark Era Vignettes-

Notes About The Lanark County Councilunnamed (1)

With files from The Keeper of the Scrapbooks — Christina ‘tina’  Camelon Buchanan — Thanks to Diane Juby— click here..