Carleton Junction Busy Spot In Days of Old Wood Burners Men Who Cut and Hauled Supplies for “Puffing Billies” (steam locomotives) Suffered Great Hardships. Memories of Days When Wood Piles and Water Plugs Lined the Old Brockville and Ottawa Railway. Were Some Fierce Encounters Between the Bush Whackers. ( bandits)
In one of his interesting and colorful series of stories relating to the old days in the neighborhood of Carleton Place, Mr. J. Sid Annable tells about the time in the early eighties when the district around the Junction Town was the center of operations for harvesting fuel to feed the little wood-burning engines that operated on the old Brockville and Ottawa Railway.
“Carleton Junction,” Mr. Annable writes, “was made the working center for the wood gathering operations for the Chalk River and Havelock divisions. The large round house located at the Junction housed the old wood-burners which were equipped with four driving wheels, two on each side. The fender, coupled to the engine, was constructed in much the same fashion as fenders are today. Built of steel with a capacity of up to ten thousand gallons of water, the center was made In a large U to hold the wood about fifteen cords ot four-foot sticks, mostly from the swamps and rough timber lands between Perth and Havelock.”
Every station on the line had Its water tower and wood yard for refuelling purposes. Those water plugs were all under the supervision of Road Master Tom Burgess and he was very proud of the pretty flower beds and shrubs around each station, for which he was personally responsible. Like the Shanties. It was Burgess job to see that the wood was harvested. In winter time he had hundreds of choppers cutting down the tamarack and hemlock trees which were under ten inches at the butt, trimming off the branches and cutting the wood into proper lengths.
After that the wood was hauled on sloops or bobsleighs out to the railway tracks where sidings were provided to hold hundreds of cars. These sidings were also used by trains passing in opposite directions. “The wood was piled as close to the rails as safety would permit. The bush whackers were paid so much a cord, after the wood was measured by the road master’s foreman. When the snow was gone and the winter cutting was finished, there were wood piles everywhere you looked along the main line.
“Then came the wood trains operating out of Carleton Junc tion. About ten crews were en gaged in this work five or six weeks every spring. Among the old time engineers who were at the throttles on the wood trains were Jack Carey, Joe Durecott and Jack Gallagher, all of whom have long since passed to the great beyond.
Some of the conductors I recall were Bill Flagg, Abe Chapman, Pat Caddington, Jack McDonald. Oake Brushe and Jack Laval. “These wood trains would pull twenty flat or box cars to the wood piles and the crew, working for ninety cents a day. would load the cars and ride them to their des tination where they would then engage in the task of unloading These men, with hands cut and bleeding and clothes torn to shreds, worked anywhere from ten to fifteen hours a day.
Real Hardships. “The hardships these nomads of the bush endured to eke out a bare existence was little short of terrible. When they returned home each night they and their families would face mitts with leather of all kinds to protect their hands. Old Dan Tucker and Jim Miller, (read-Remembering a Shoemaker in Lanark Village–Thomas Wilson) the village shoemakers, often cut up calf skins in the shape of mitt fronts and sold them to the workers at twenty cents a pair. “Many fights and wrestling matches were staged at the wood yards and camps while the men were waiting for the trains to pick them up after the day’s work was done. Many a battle royal was started by bullies who always went around with chips on their shoulders. “The genial assistant superintendent, H. B. Spencer, earned for himself the international reputation of being the greatest authority on snow filling on the railways in winter time.
In his capacity as chief train despatches J. E. A. Robillard also was instrumental in preventing many a pile up of trains by his method of mapping out suitable meeting points. His able assistant. John Cole, was always on the Job at night. “Mr. Spencer left the employ of the C.P.R. in later years and assumed the management of the Hull Electric Railway. But his connection with that enterprise was of short duration; lt was not long before he was back on the old Job with the CP.R. “It was in 1885, I believe, that the railways turned to the use of soft coal as a fuel, and that was the finish of wood burning locomotives In this part ot Canada.”
The Kingston and Pembroke Railway (K & P) was a Canadian railway that operated in eastern Ontario. The railway was seen as a business opportunity by business people in Kingston, Pembroke, Montreal and New York. It would support the lumber (especially pine lumber which was in high demand across Canada and the United States) and mining industries, as well as the agricultural economy in eastern Ontario.
Incorporated in 1871, the K&P was intended to run from Kingston to Pembroke. By 1884, approximately 180 km of mainline and sidings had been laid, reaching Renfrew where it ceased after 12 years of construction. The K & P never did reach Pembroke. On January 1, 1913, the K & P Railroad officially became part of the CPR. The line was gradually abandoned beginning in the 1950s, with the last operating section from Kingston to Tichborne closing in 1986. The K & P is affectionately remembered as the Kick and Push railroad.
In the 1880s the Kingston and Pembroke railway completed its last leg. The K & P ran three trains daily but only the day train went as far as Renfrew. Altogether within the 24 hour period there were many passenger trains daily on the mainline, as well as the freight trains.
The K & P coming northward from Robertsville stopped at many of the little villages along the way such as: Mississippi, Clarendon, Snow Road, Wilbur, Lavant etc.
The Kingston and Pembroke railway was nicknamed “The Kick and Push’ because the railway twisted through the rugged Frontenac Hills and the old steam engine had little chance to display its full power.
The C. P. R. Co. have struck a lot of hard luck of late, and there seems to be no let-up to it. What with accidents by snow-slides, run-offs, collisions, &c., and the severe snow-storms of the past winter, they have been experiencing quite a serious time of it. The latest we have to report is one entailing serious financial loss by destruction of rolling stock and impeded traffic, but providentially no loss of life.
We refer to the which took place on the C. P. R. track opposite the residence of Mr. Thomas McCann, a mile this side of Pakenham, early on Tuesday morning last. This spot has been regarded with suspicion for years past by residents of the neighbourhood. The express for Winnipeg that morning was somewhat late, and when passing over the scene of the slide the passengers got a good shaking up, showing that the earth had at that time been wearing away from the track a little. An examination of the wheels of the express was made at Pakenham, and everything was found right. A freight train composed of empty box-cars followed the express three-quarters-of-an-hour afterwards, the engine running backward at the head. Just as the engine cleared the fatal spot the the right side of the track, stopping the train suddenly.
The tender was pretty badly smashed, as was also the cab of the engine, the engineer and fireman having a narrow escape with their lives. The fireman received a slight injury on the forehead. The train stood for but a short time when the earth (probably owing to the action of the frost and the water) began to slide away from beneath the track,, and all at once one of the centre cars broke from the others and slid with the earth to the river—a distance of between and 75 yards. Two cars and the van were still left en the track at the rear end of the train, and the men lost no time in making themselves scarce there from.
It was well they did, too, for after some time another large section commenced to slip, and all three cars were precipitated to the great chasm below. The third car from the engine turned a half-somersault, and remains, minus wheels, &c., bottom side up halfway down the steep divide ; while the second remains suspended over the brow of the hill in an exceedingly dangerous position. The whole presented —one that pen cannot properly describe. Nearly 100 yards of the track and earth were carried away. The Mississippi at that point will be narrowed by about twenty yards as a result of the accident.
The ice was heaved up along the shore as if there had been a tremendous ice-shove, while for acres both up and down the river it was broken into large cakes. The railway fence and a telegraph pole which were alongside the track remained for some time in about the same position on the shore of the river as they had occupied up above, which will serve to show what a large portion of the earth must have become detached from its original position. The momentum obtained by the moving earth may be judged from the fact that large clods were on the river and remain thirty or forty yards from the opposite shore.
Fortunately the box cars were all empty, being on the way to McLaughlin Bros. yards at Arnprior to be filled with lumber ; otherwise the loss to the Company would be very much heavier. Every car was smashed more or Iras, while the engine was badly damaged, it will be a big job to haul up the cars that are now lying around promiscuously on the hank and in the river. is laid by most people who have visited the scene to the action of the water and the frost. The water probably insinuated itself into minute cracks, which were widened and deepened by freezing during the winter. The fissures thus created, under the influence of the late warm weather, may have produced the landslip. Or the bed or strata supporting the superincumbent mass may have absorbed water enough to render it slippery, causing the slid, in chat way n getting a gang of men to work to clear away the wreck and build anew the portion of the track that was taken away.
Mr. H. B. Spencer, Assistant Superintendent, was early on the scene, with a large staff, to look after the interests of the Company. The passengers and baggage on the express from Winnipeg were transferred about nine o’clock, a special train being sent for the purpose, so that comparatively little delay was experienced by the travellers. It will take two or three days to get the m shape again. Since the above was written some ten to fifteen feet of earth where the new track was laid has disappeared
A very large staff of men has been put on and the work is being pushed ahead as rapidly as the circumstances will permit. Word from the scene of the accident this (Thursday) forenoon is to the effect that about thirty feet of the earth that was being prepared for the road-bed went away during last night. Some spectators are said to have narrowly escaped being carried down with it. The C. P. R. Company have purchased the field adjoining the Stack from Mr. McCann, and will make a circuit through it, commencing some distance back in order to ensure perfect safety. This will entail a lot of heavy work, and it will be almost impossible to have the track ready for trains to cross for a week or two, at least. Mr. C. W. Spencer is now on the scene superintending the work
April 22, 1887 Almonte Gazette
The Pakenham Landslide has been visited by thousands of people during the past ten days. Mr. Spencer estimates the loss to the Company by means of it at about $15,000. The route through Mr. McCann’ s field was ready for the first train last Saturday afternoon. The rails were laid on the ground, making it a pretty rough piece of road, with quite a hill to climb at the end nextto Pakenham. It required two engines and a pretty full head of steam to accomplish the trip. Freight had been accumulating very rapidly, and on Sunday train after train was rushed through in order to catch up. The cars that went down with the slide will be fished up and repaired.
April 29 1987–Almonte Gazette
On Friday night last about twenty feet more of the earth at the scene of the accident near Pakenham slid away, taking with it the portion that had been partially prepared for the rails. This proves that it was a wise move to make the circuit through the fields. The officials of the road have not yet decided whether they will make the route now in use permanent or build trestle-work and use the old route. In either case it will be quite a big job.
Where was the Pakenham Station?
Pakenham, ON-Photo by Andrew Jeanes, 21 April 2014 West off highway15 in Pakenham on to White Fish Lake Road, ½ km west to Five Arches Drive at end of street on left hand side. Former CP Pakenham Station, moved a short distance away from the former right-of-way and in use as a residence. CLICK
Ottawa Citizen 22 January 1969 – HIghway 29 between Carleton Place and Almonte
CARLETON PLACE Attempts to clear the $500,000 wreckage of 34 freight cars piled up at a level crossing near here Tuesday continued this morning under the threat of an explosion from two overturned propane gas tankers.
Provincial police kept guard over the area, about three miles north of here on Highway 29 at the CPR crossing, as about 50 men and two giant cranes hauled twisted box cars from the clogged line.
The highway remained closed to traffic today while other trains were rerouted.
The two tankers were not ruptured in the massive 3.30 p.m. derailment, but police kept hundreds of curious spectators well back from the scene in the event leaking gas might explode.
Both police and railway officials were astonished that there had been no injuries.
One of the first cars to derail left the tracks just before the level crossing and sliced across the highway only a few feet in front of a waiting school bus. Box cars stacked up.
Other cars ripped up sections of the highway, railway lines and wooden ties as they piled up, and in some cases, landed on top of one another. One freight car landed with its steel wheels on top of a tanker.Two hydro poles were sliced through by other cars. The top section of some pole was left dangling over the line supported only by the high-voltage cables.Complete wheel assemblies of many cars were torn off as they piled into one another and lay strewn along the tracks among sections of line, twisted cars and splintered ties.
Train Crash Theory – Wheel is Blamed
A crack which caused the leading wheel of either the fourth or fifth car to come off is believed to be to blame for the $500,000 freight train crash near Carleton Place yesterday.
It is known that at least eight rails between Almonte and the accident scene were broken.
This could have been caused by the faulty wheel running out of line and pounding against the rail as the east bound train headed for Carleton Place, said one railway employee.
The 60-car freight train left Chalk River several hours before. Its speed at the time of the accident was estimated to be about 45 m.p.h.
George G. Sayer, assistant superintendent for the Smiths Falls division of CPR, said work crews were concentrating their efforts to pulling cars away from the tracks and repairing breaks so regular traffic, which had been diverted to other lines, could again travel the main line.
Mr. Sayer said he hoped the two cranes, one brought in from Smiths Falls and the other from Sudbury, could pull the two tankers back on to the tracks and pull them away by sometime this afternoon.
One eye-witness, Bill Ritchie, 32, a Bell Telephone employee from Almonte, was driving north toward the level crossing when he saw the red signal lights begin flashing.
“I saw the train swaying so I stopped about 500 feet from the tracks,” he said. “The next thing I saw were freight cars flying through the air like cardboard boxes in a high wind. It was terrifying.”
He said a couple of cars shot across the highway “while the others piled up on the north side like magazines thrown on the floor.”
“There was a hell of a crash and snow flying in the air. A lot landed on my truck so I jumped out and after a minute or two ran up to the tracks. I thought people would be hurt,” said Mr.Ritchie.
He said that by the time he got there, people from the locomotive, that had shot through the crossing pulling three cars and dragging a fourth without wheels, met him.
“One box car just missed the school bus, which luckily didn’t have any children aboard, and another cut into the hydro poles and the warning flashers,” said Mr. Richie.
“There was a ball of fire in the sky when one hydro pole was cut off,” said Mr. Ritchie, who added that he and a work-mate then flagged down cars until police arrive.
Almonte Gazette January 1969
The remains of five torn and twisted box cars stall lie scattered about at the scene of the spectacular train wreck which occurred at tile half-way crossing between Almonte and Carleton Place on Tuesday. Clean-up crews of the C.P.R. Mechanical Department estimates it will take another week to clear the area of the remaining debris. They are now in the process of burning out the wooden interiors of the boxcars, following which they will be cut up with torches and hauled away.
A broken wheel apparently spread the track at about eight foot intervals for the entire distance and trains have been on a go-slow order along that stretch since rail traffic was resumed the day following the accident. A telegraph pole beside the crossing which had the bottom portion sheared off leaving the top dangling on its wares has yet to be replaced. Traffic on Highway 29 was disrupted for several days while heavy cranes removed most of the 30 cars which left the rails during the pileup and had to be rerouted along the 8th line and the Appleton road. Marks are clearly visible where derailed box cars rolled across the highway adjacent to the crossing gouging deep ruts in the asphalt. Some are even evident several feet back of the white line on the south side of the track where vehicle traffic is required to stop. Occupants of a car and a Bell Telephone truck who witnessed the derailment from that location were fortunate they had stopped well short of the crossing
Almonte Farmer Killed By Train Gravelle Toshack Meets Instant Death When Horses Are Frightened ALMONTE, April 20. – While crossing the railway line at Wylie’s crossing, Almonte, this morning, Grevelle Toshack, a prosperous farmer of the distric, was knocked down and instantly killed by the 10.17 C.P.R. train. Mr. Doshack was driving a tam of horses and ad stopped at the Producer’s Dairy to wait for his son. As the train approached the horses, evidently frightened, ran right into its path and the vehicle was shattered. One of the horses was cut in two, while the other escaped. The victim was well known in the township of Ramsay, where he had been a farmer for many years
Ottawa Citizen 20 April 1929.
Farmer is Instantly Killed by a Train! ALMONTE, April 20. When his horses became frightened at the Pembroke C.P.R. train and ran onto the railway track at Wylies Milling Company here shortly after 10 o’clock this morning, Gravelle Toshack, a farmer in the township of Ramsay, four miles from here, was struck by the train and instantly killed. Mr. Toshack was thrown about fifteen feet from the track and when picked up was dead. One of the horses was also killed and the wagon completely demolished. Mr. Toshack with his son had come into town and had stopped at the Producers’ Dairy, which is close to the track. His son went into the dairy and during his absence the train passed through the town. The horses became frightened and started to run away. Mr. Toshack, not realizing that the train was so close, did not jump from the wagon. It is likely that an inquest will be opened this afternoon.
1929, Friday April 26, The Almonte Gazette front page GREVILLE E. TOSHACK INSTANTLY KILLED AT THE MAIN STREET RAILWAY. CROSSING Community Stirred by Tragic Death of Well Known Ramsay Farmer Horses Bolted Over Track In Front of Train Greville Toshack Unable To Control Team and Was Killed Team was Standing When Train Whistled Engine Crashed Into Wagon and One Horse Was Killed Remarkable Concourse at Funeral and at the Auld Kirk Cemetery Where Interment Was Made. Mr Toshack Was Fine Athlete in His Younger Days.
Greville E. Toshack, prominent Ramsay farmer, was instantly killed at the C.P.R. crossing on Main Street on Saturday morning shortly after 10 o’clock. His team had been standing at the Producer’s Dairy which is close to the railway track, which the east-bound local came along. The whistle of the locomotive evidently startled the horses. They bolted up Main Street. The engine struck the wagon. One of the horses was killed. The details of the tragedy were considered at the inquest on Monday evening. It seems that this team all winter had made the trip almost every day from the Toshack farm to the Producer’s Dairy and had never shown signs of uneasiness at the passing of trains. On the fatal occasion Mr Toshack was sitting sideways on the single board between the front and hind wheels of the wagon. He held the reins and was waiting for his son Robert who was inside the Dairy building. At the curve, which is some 600 yards from the crossing the locomotive whistled and, according to Mr Andrew Cochrane, of Almonte, who was talking to him at the time, the horses started up. They stopped for a second or so and then bolted across the track just as the train approached. Mr Toshack’s back was toward the incoming train. Apparently he did not hear the whistle, and was bestowing all his attention on the effort to control his horses. The locomotive whistled, the bell was ringing continuously, and the emergency brakes were applied but the tragedy could not be avoided. Mr Toshack was thrown from the wagon on to the siding at the Wylie Mill and his head struck the steel rail. He died instantaneously.
One Horse Escaped. It is curious that the horse nearest the locomotive escaped, and it is conjectured that the tongue of the smashed wagon hit the farther horse and killed it. The wagon was broken into splinters and part of it carried on the cow-catcher of the engine until it was brought to a standstill. Mr Toshack was very widely known and the tragedy caused the deepest regret in the community. He was 58 years of age, the eldest son of the late John Toshack and his wife, Janet Young, and a descendant of that Greville Toshack one of the pioneer settlers of Ramsay who came from Scotland over a century ago. He was born on the farm where he spent all his life. As a young man he became very well known throughout sport. He was a fine lacrosse and baseball player as well as a runner and had the happy knack of making and keeping friendships. he never lost interest in games in his later years and he was a familiar figure amongst the spectators at local sports.
Leaves Four Sons Thirty years ago he was married to Miss Annie Snedden, who survives with a family of four sons, Robert at home, and John, Greville and Fred, of Prescott. One daughter Annie predeceased him some years ago. He is survived by one sister, Mrs W.A. Snedden of Blakeney, and to them all the deepest sympathy of a very large circle of friends is extended. The funeral which was held on Monday afternoon from his late residence on the ninth line of Ramsay was attended by an extraordinary large gathering of mourners. The cortege was about a mile and three quarters long. Interment was made at the Auld Kirk cemetery where most of Mr Toshack’s relatives have been laid.
Masonic Funeral The funeral was conducted under the auspices of Mississippi Lodge A.F. and A.M., of which Mr Toshack was a member. The service was conducted by Rev J.R. MacCrimmon of Bethany United Church and Mr A.M. Woottor, of Blakeney United Church. The pallbearers were Messrs Alex Barker, George Graham, John McGill, John Lindsay, Oswald McPhail, and Oral Arthur. Amongst those who attended the funeral from a distance were Mr Thos Harris, Montreal; Mr George Graham and Mr S.H. Ogden, Ottawa; Mr Wilfred Snedden, Toronto; Mr and Mrs Stanley Everett, Prescott; Mr James Wilson and son of Renfrew; Mr and Mrs Robert Buckham, of Kinburn; Mr R. Moir, Mr and Mrs C. Baker and Mrs George Etherington, Arnprior; Mrs T. Wilson, Fitzroy; Mr and Mrs Wm Young and Mr and Mrs Andrew Young, Clay Bank. It was a touching sight at the Auld Kirk Cemetery when the four Toshack boys and the four Snedden boys surrounded the grave of their father and uncle as he was laid to rest.
Perth Courier, August 24, 1877
California Correspondence—In last week’s and this week’s issue will be found most interesting letters from California by Mr. Gavin Toshack, lately engaged on the editorial staff of the Almonte Gazette. Mr. Toshack has told the story of his voyage there in very graphic terms and we hope to publish his experiences in the “land of the gold” in the shape of equally interesting letters in future issues of the Courier.
I saw this on Charles Dobie’s history pages and really had to find out the story behind this photo. If you love photos from the past this page of Mr. Dobie’s is the place to check out.
So where today would this location be? Thanks to
David C Elgear – well, the tracks actually hit the SJAM just past the beach (where the Transitway merged). I would assume it was a little further along. Lawn Avenue is also in the story….it is up parallel to Carling Ave just past Carlingwood…..a little bit of a hike
Ottawa Journal Thursday 26 June 1913
Saw Train Wrecked; Tells Thrilling Story of the Scenes After the Crash Westboro Resident was Watching Express from Electric Car
Four Coaches Suddenly Jumped Outwards Into the River – Terrible Scenes Immediately Followed.
Mr. H. Hill, of Westboro, witnessed the wreck. Mr. Hill and his wife had taken a car ride to Britannia. He says: “Returning, when near McKellar Townsite, between McKellar homestead and Mason’s mill. I noticed the train coming. Two track-layers had just stood aside to allow the train to pass when suddenly four coaches upset. Two fell inwards and two outwards into the Ottawa River. The two which upset towards the shore side of the tracks fell on the two track men. They must have been killed.
“The engine and first three coaches and the last two did not leave the rails. The engine and first three coaches broke away from the wreck and went forward. Then the last coach of the three broke loose again from the engine and front two cars. The last two coaches stood on the track. They did not telescope. Two of the cars, the ones which fell inwards, buckled and fell nearly lengthwise. We got one man out from right underneath one of these cars. His chest was badly mangled and he died immediately afterward without gaining consciousness.
“The cars in the river were only half submerged and when the rescue party arrived we broke in the windows and commenced to pull out the people in these cars'”
“Some of the dead came from these cars. Whether they were pinned down and drowned in that way, I do not know. They may have been stunned and drowned in this manner.
The first people we took out of the cars on the bank were a man and a boy with their hands badly injured. They were placed in the ambulance and hurried to the hospital. The first doctors to arrive on the scene were Dr. I.G. Smith and Dr. Kidd.
We took a Salvation Army girl out of the first coach to go into the water. She was uninjured and was taken to the Salvation Army headquarters in the city. Another old gentleman, his wife and five children were in the last coach to overturn. The old gentleman broke a window and climbed out. They were all uninjured. A girl of about seven years of age and her brother of fifteen years were on their way to Edmonton, to meet their father. They were with their mother and she is as yet unaccounted for. They were taken from a coach which overturned into the water, and the supposition is that their mother was drowned.
“There were quite a number of foreigners, Russians, Scandinavians, and others in the colonist car which overturned into the water.
From what I could see they will be unable to find just how many are in the cars which went into the water until the wrecking crew lift the cars. One of the cars broke of its trucks and fell in the stream nearly turning upside down. It finally lay on is (sic) side.
Old Man’s Story “The old gentleman with the five children told me his experience of this wreck. ‘I was standing up’, he said, ‘when I felt the car going over. After the first shock I braced myself and fell into the corner without any injury. I was merely shaken up. Although it happened in a second it felt as if it took the car half a minute to fall on its side. The Salvation Army girl was thrown violently from one side of the car to the other side of the car but was uninjured.
“The first men on the scene were the section men,” continued Mr. Hill “I and some other people in the car ran across the fields to the train, but the section men commenced the work of rescue immediately.
“Two girls who live close to the wreck, the two Misses Barrie, did heroic work in attending to the injured. They carried pails of water and stimulants around to the injured, helped dress wounds and assisted the surgeons. “Mr. Dunning, who lives close to the scene of the wreck, telephoned to the Chief of Police, also for ambulances and doctors, and it was due to him that ambulances and autos to care for the injured reached the scene of the wreck so quickly. He also provided linen to dress the wounds received by the injured. The first ambulance arrived about 15 or 20 minutes after the wreck had taken place.
“There was a lady and her daughter taken from the first car to turn into the water. The lady’s head was badly crushed. Her daughter was uninjured but hysterical. The most pathetic incident was that of the two children bound for Edmonton. They searched the faces of each injured person taken from the wreck, looking for their mother.
“Whether the accident was caused by a spreading rail or not I do not know. When I got there one of the rails was turned clear of the ties altogether. I do not know what the section men were doing at that spot but I imagine that they were engaged in laying new ties.
There is no curve at that spot, so I imagine that the track was weakened in some way and that the weight of the engine spread the rail and the swing of the back coaches would strain the weakened track and bulge it to one side. I didn’t hear any of the officials discussing the cause of the wreck.
The insides of the cars were very badly wrecked, although the cars themselves were not telescoped. The seats were ripped every way , all torn from the floor. The floors were not turned up, but the sides on which the cars fell were caved in and smashed to splinters. I think that the majority of the people hurt were on the side which fell and that the fall of the heavy seats, torn from their fastenings, caused quite a number of fatalities.”
Ottawa Journal 26 June 1913
Over 5,000 visited scene of wreck. Inquiry is ordered. Enquiry into the cause of fatal wreck ordered injured recovering Death list now totals 8, and injured sixty-five
CPR will open inquiry tomorrow – woman believe dead is found alive – woman passenger disappears. The inquest in connection with the tragic wreck of the Imperial Limited at McKellar Township yesterday afternoon was opened by Coroner Dr. Craig at noon today. The jury met at Rogers and Burney’s undertaking parlors, Laurier Avenue, and adjournment was made till tomorrow night in the courthouse, Nicholas Street.
All that took place today was the formal identification of the body of John Peace, Glasgow, Scotland by his chum, a man named Cutt of the same place. The inquest will be nominally into the death of Peace, but will really concern itself with the whole tragedy and it cause.
Messrs George Hodge, general superintendent, and C Murphy, general superintendent of traffic for the CPR arrived in the city this morning, and the company’s inquiry into the circumstances will begin tomorrow at the Broad Street Station. Superintendent Gilliland of the Ottawa – Chalk River division of the CPR on which the accident occurred is here from Smith Falls.
Seen by a Journal reporter, Mr. Gilliland denied the report that any section men have been killed, but admitted that section men had been working on the right-of-way in the vicinity of the wreck. “I don’t know how the report that section men had been crushed to death had his origins,” he said. The Montreal – Ottawa division of the CPR over which superintendent Spencer has jurisdiction and responsibility, has its western limit at the end of the Broad Street terminal yards, or about 2 miles east of the place where the derailment happened.
The monetary loss to the company will not be great, according to opinions expressed this morning. While the two cars that went down the embankment into the river are now of practically no value the other two that were twisted into the opposite direction can, according to Mr. Gilliland, be still repaired and used.
The track was cleared by 6:30 this morning and a great part of the morning was spent in raising the four cars. This will take some time.
There are several changes in the list of fatalities. Mrs. Bunting, of Winnipeg, and her little child were reported this morning to have been among the killed. As a matter of fact they are stopping at the home of Mr. E. Hurry, of Woodroffe. Mrs. Bunting and her four children came through the accident with no very great injury, although the mother has slight injuries about the back.
The body supposed to have been that of Mrs. Bunting proved to be that of Mrs. McClure and Edmonton woman, of about 52 years of age. She was on her way out to Edmonton after a visit. The child found and said at first to be the daughter of Mrs. Bunting is the granddaughter of mrs. McClure. Its mother who escaped from the wreck with only slight injuries is at 131 Lawn Avenue, the home of Mr. John Sarsfield. Woman disappears.
Strange things can happen at times of great excitement, such as that which prevailed after yesterday’s accident, and strange things did. One of the most remarkable was the sprinting away of a woman who had come through the wreck physically unscathed but with her nervous system badly shaken. She was standing beside the cars sobbing her sorrow for the less fortunate friends, when a helpful woman took her, and led her away. Those taking the names of survivors failed to get a record of this woman’s identity, and since the accident she has not been heard from. Superintendent Spencer of the CPR is anxious to get in touch with her. John Donnelly of Glen Island, has left St. Luke’s Hospital fully recovered. He was pinned under a seat and nearly drowned.
During the afternoon and evening the Ottawa Electric Railway carried about 5,000 passengers out to the wreck. Cars from every service in the city were rushed on to the Britannia line to accommodate the overflow.
Gananoque Man Injured CARLETON PLACE Walter Cross, 58, Gananoque steam roller operator, suffered a possible skull fracture and other injuries yesterday when a Pembroke-Ottawa passenger train struck his machine. The roller was cut in two and some minutes later Cross was found, semi-conscious, on the front of the locomotive. Carleton Place is 40 miles northwest of Brockville.
Winnipeg by way of Carleton over railroad. By Sid Anabelle
They left Toronto March 1, 1885, and arrived at Carleton Junction on March 3, In one of the worst blizzards Ontario has ever known. The first section was snow-bound immediately on its arrival,” said Mr. Annable. Tom Bagley, yardmaster, got lost in the snow trying to find sidings to store the sufficient heat to warm the wooden coaches, a consequence of which was that the volunteers suffered greatly from the intense cold.
The snow was six feet deep on the level over the village and all trains were held up at this point for five days. Every foot of siding was utilized for the coaches. The only Pullman car in the service was that which served as headquarters for Major Fred Middleton of the Queen’s Own Rifles, Colonel Otter and their officers. This was placed on a siding opposite the old C.P.R. station, two hundred yards from the railroad gates. The shanty which sheltered Bob Taggart, the gate-man, still stands in the same old spot.
Yardmaster Bagley and his crew, composed of Andy Armour, Bill Carr, Tom Carter and Jack Annable had maneuvered the snow plows around to clean the sidings, they put the coaches on the north bound sidings from the station to the railroad bridge which crosses the Mississippi below the rapids.
There were only two streets for crossing purposes in the lower part of the village commonly called Chisleville —McLaughlin’s crossing on Lake avenue and Annable’s. Our crossing was not used much as the traffic was light. Later they placed fifty coaches on these sidings. Regulars were stationed along the sides of the train to prevent volunteers leaving without passes. These privileges were few and hard to obtain.
The writer’s home was only a hundred feet away, and as the men were calling for someone to run their errands I decided to make myself useful. The snow was set and soft and I was the proud possessor of a toboggan and a team of dogs, the only ones in the village. As the boys were calling for postcards, my first investment was one hundred penny postcards. Before I had finished one coach I had sold my stock at for five cents each.
I then bought writing paper, envelopes and stamps and sold them for ten cents a set. By this time I had realized fifty dollars on my original investment of one dollar. After the second day I loaded my toboggan with eatables pies, doughnuts, oranges and apples and drove them up and down between the snow-bound trains. As the food in the baggage cars was getting low I found ready buyers for my cargo.
I worked from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and by the time the trains were ready to move on I had cleared over three hundred dollars. The last day of his sojourn in Carleton Place Colonel Otter sent for me and asked me to go to the Bank of Ottawa for him. He gave me a large envelope covered with sealing wax, which I was to deliver to the manager, John A. Bangs, and return immediately with an answer. Mr. Bangs told me afterwards that the envelope contained two thousand dollars.
When I returned Col. Otter invited me to Join the Queen’s Own Rifles. Owing to the fact, however, that my mother was sick in bed at the time, my father refused to give his consent. Later I went to Col. W, W. Wylie and Capt. Joe McKay of the 43rd Regiment of volunteers of our village and told them I wanted to get out to the West. If I had to run away to do it. McKay refused to heed my plea; he sent for my oldest brother to take me home.
Mr. Annable then tells of preparations made by a companion whom he chooses to call Peck and himself to “make a break for it” in the spring.
The railway and the first textile mills (1851-1865) The brief period between 1851 and 1865 saw the arrival of the railway in Almonte, establishment of the first textile mills and the subdivision of large landholdings into residential areas on both sides of the river. It gave rise to many features that make up the cultural landscape of Almonte today, including parts of the street grid, the railway bridge and right-of-way, the Victoria Woollen Mill, the first land registry office, several churches and many private homes.
The 1850s were a heady time in Ontario, as investors rushed to establish railroad companies and build railway lines, spurred on by generous grants from a colonial government that was keen to see the area settled and serviced. The first railroad in Ontario went into operation in Aurora in 1853, but dozens of others were built before the end of the decade and railway construction continued apace well into the 20th century. Construction of the Brockville and Ottawa Railway (BOR) began in 1853, with the intention of linking the two centres. By 1859 the BOR had reached Almonte, with stops in Smiths Falls, Perth and Carleton Place. At Brockville it connected to the Grand Trunk Railway line, providing links to American markets.
In 1864, the BOR was extended from Almonte northwest to Sand Point located at Arnprior on the Ottawa River, and in 1870 it connected to Ottawa via the Canada Central Railway from Carleton Place. In 1881, the BOR merged with the Canadian Pacific Railway, becoming part of that larger network of railways. The railway continued to play a large part in the daily life of Almonte until 1978, when passenger service ended and the Almonte CPR station 10 was demolished. The town library currently stands on the site of the former train station. The final blow was dealt in 2012, when freight service through the town ended and the rails were removed. Remnants of the railroad remain in the town, however, including the former railroad right-of-way which slices through the downtown, the re-alignment of the street grid along that right-of way, and the prominent railway bridges with its stone piers crossing the river.
Much of the local development during the 1850s was likely in anticipation of the railway and the economic prosperity it was expected to bring to the the town. Hotels were built along Mill Street to serve the anticipated traffic from the new mills and railway. John Murphy’s hotel at the current site of 34, 36 and 38 Mill Street, later the North American Hotel, was destroyed by fire. With files from Mississippi Mills
In early January of 1943 John C. Howard, 64, of Smiths Falls, conductor of the troop train which plowed into the rear of a C.P.R. local-at Almonte on December 27, killing 36 persons and injuring 150 others, committed suicide. His body was found in the Rideau River and left a note that he took his own life because of the wreck.
The note read in part:
“I am sorry I have to do this but I don’t want to go to jail. I. hope you (his son) forgive me for this”.
In the note Howard also said he was being blamed for the wreck which “brought sorrow to so many people” and’ that he could not stand it any longer. Chief Lees quoted that the wreck was not Howard’s fault, but that many people thought it was and “would go on thinking it’.
The note from the conductor was found by a son, Delmar, of Detroit, on his arrival at the family home at 34 Glen avenue, Smiths Falls. Howard lived with his wife, who was an invalid in Smiths Falls. Their daughter, Ella, of Detroit had been home for New Year’s and returned to Detroit a few days ago. The son, Delmar, decided to go to Smiths Falls after the daughter returned to Detroit.
John Howard was to have been one of the principal witnesses at the public inquest into the train disaster which was to be in the Almonte Town Hall the next day at 2:30.
So was he guilty?
As a late-arriving Sunday night local train sat at the station in Almonte, Ont., a troop train from Red Deer, Alta., carrying soldiers bound for Britain, crashed into the rear cars, which were made of wood, killing 39 people and injuring more than 200. As a result of the crash, the Board of Transport recommended that a protection signal west of Almonte be erected.
Did you know the manager of the O’Brien Theatre did not want anything to do with the accident so the police had to go and take the doors off to bring the bodies in.
The Town Hall, designed for legislative purposes, was pot big enough to be a morgue for such a major catastrophe.- The dead and injured overflowed- into the Almonte Hotel, O’Brien Theatre, and Almonte House, an apartment building, all within a stone’s throw of the scene