Tag Archives: Weird

The Girl Who Gave Birth to Rabbits — Magazines from the 50s Larry Clark

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The Girl Who Gave Birth to Rabbits — Magazines from the 50s Larry Clark

Larry Clark sent me this cover of this 50s magazine..

Thought this was an interesting title. Wonder if it is true? We’ll never know unless I dig out the article for you? Perhaps it should give some insight as how to tell truth from fiction since it skips “Fiction” and is lists it under “True Stories” Larry

So was there really a story? Yes there was-

Mary ToftMary Toft (née Denyer; c. 1701–1763), also spelled Tofts, was an English woman from Godalming, Surrey, who in 1726 became the subject of considerable controversy when she tricked doctors into believing that she had given birth to rabbits.

In the early eighteenth century a woman named Mary Toft felt the lacerations of London tongues as sharply as anyone of her generation. Her bizarre, sad story began fifty miles southwest of the city, in the market town of Godalming, where she lived with her husband and their three young children. Mary, depicted by sources at the time as a short, stocky woman of “sullen temper,” was illiterate and impoverished. Her husband had a trade as a clothier but was, apparently, not particularly skilled at it; work was sparse. On the infrequent occasions when life for the Tofts was not difficult, it was merely drab.

As Godalming was a stagecoach stop on the road to London, Mary likely caught glimpses of more exotic, wealthy, and eventful lives led in the big city. Perhaps she dreamt of such a life on an afternoon in April 1726 when, several weeks pregnant with a fourth child, she was weeding in a field and caught sight of a rabbit. Spotting the chance of a free dinner, she chased it, and though the animal escaped her grasp, it wouldn’t leave her mind. As Mary later told the story, for the next few weeks she developed an agonizing craving for rabbit meat, obsessing over rabbit stew, rabbit pie, rabbit fried, roasted, and poached. The craving was all the stronger because it could never be satisfied on the Tofts’ tiny income, an income that would spread thinner when the next child arrived.

Four months later, Mary took ill. It seemed that she was going into premature labour. But her midwife, John Howard, observed that Mary gave birth not to a baby but to dead, dismembered animals—first something that looked like a pig’s bladder, then a cat’s paw and head, and afterward rabbits, one after the other. By the time Howard reported the case to the distinguished medical men of London, he had delivered eleven rabbits from Mary, all of which he pickled in jars and lined up on the shelf in his study.

Most of the medical authorities in London ignored Howard and his tale of preternatural births as the yarns of a yokel or a prankster. But when King George I heard of it, he ordered his court anatomist Nathaniel St. André to investigate immediately. St. André, an opportunistic dilettante with a taste for ornately embroidered shirts, had a checkered past: born and raised in Switzerland, he wandered across Europe working as a servant, a language teacher, a dancer, and a fencing instructor, charming and seducing as he went. His interest in medicine came only after noticing the wealth of a surgeon who was treating him for an injury inflicted by one of his ham-fisted fencing students, and decided that a career as a physician might be a more agreeable way of earning a living. As soon as his wounds healed, St. André made his way to London and, after a perfunctory apprenticeship, set up a surgical practice of his own, soon charming his way to the heart of the Georgian court. In other walks of life a man like St. André would have been classed as a gentleman amateur, but this was a crucial time in the history of British science: for men of medicine, professional credentials and methodological rigor were valued over charisma and élan. St. André, therefore, became a totem of Britons’ fears about their German sovereign, whom they considered an overindulged, undereducated fop surrounded by dastardly foreigners on the make.

St. André arrived at John Howard’s house with apparently impeccable timing: the moment he crossed the threshold, Mary was in the late stages of labor with a fifteenth rabbit, and over the ensuing hours more followed. The royal doctor could barely believe his eyes. Before each birth, he observed, Mary’s abdomen pulsated and quivered, as though the animals were jumping or burrowing down her fallopian tubes searching for an escape. The pressure of being expelled through the uterus, he concluded in a rakish leap of logic, accounted for the fact that the rabbits were born dead, and in crushed pieces. Although she screamed in anguish during the final stage of each labor, Toft remained remarkably calm—“she laugh’d very heartily with us,” St. André noted. That, if nothing else, should have given him pause. But St. André was too excited by his discovery and the prestige he would gain from it to allow the intrusion of doubt. Instead, he took several of the pickled rabbits back to London to present before a dumbfounded King, and arranged for Mary to be transported to the capital, where she might be studied and displayed before all the great scientists of the age. For her troubles, she was promised a royal pension.

Inevitably, St. André published a self-aggrandizing account of these events; equally inevitably, it proved a sensational hit in London. Mary Toft became a citywide obsession. Tales of monstrous births are ever-present throughout history—search “Obama Clone” to see how they persist even today—but in the early 1700s, Toft’s story had a particular resonance with Londoners. In England, it had become common for parents to make money by displaying their conjoined twins or the corpses of their stillborn children, the unedifying symptom of a wider fascination with “human monstrosities” that was strong in northwest Europe. In eighteenth-century Netherlands, for instance, it was believed even by many doctors that women had been known to give birth to a mouse-like creature called a “sooterkin.” Folk wisdom had it that such aberrations were possible because women were able to influence the nature of the things in their wombs by the mysterious power of their thoughts, an idea that persisted into the tender years of the Enlightenment, as medieval lore found curious points of fusion with the modern scientific methods of Bacon, Newton, and Descartes.

In his seminal early eighteenth-century work on midwifery, The Female Physician, Dr. John Maubray sketched out some key aspects of modern obstetrics, yet he also advised that women should avoid “playing with Dogs, Squirrels, Apes, &c.,” as this could lead to the birth of vile creatures. When Maubray, an outspoken believer in the sooterkin, heard of Mary Toft, he regarded it as affirmation of his own convictions. But many of St. André’s contemporaries were too instilled with rational Enlightenment principles—as well as old-fashioned common sense—to be convinced, and they began to investigate for themselves. Leading the skeptics was Richard Manningham, a colleague of St. André’s, who had briefly seen Mary before she was brought to London. When he initially examined her, Manningham was startled by several things: “the Motion on the right side of her Belly, which they call’d the leaping up of the Rabbet,” the flushing of her face, the quickening of her pulse, and the fact that the opening to her uterus “spread a little,” as it would in the later stages of pregnancy. And then, quite suddenly, Mary’s condition took an alarming turn. She had “Convulsions,” according to Manningham, “which I never before observed in her, with frequent Contractions of her Fingers, rolling of her Eyes, and great Riflings in her Stomach and Belly: During the Fit she would often make a whining Noise and at Intervals be more than ordinary faint.” The seizure lasted two fraught hours. At one point Manningham could not detect a pulse. Then, as suddenly as they had arrived, the symptoms disappeared, and Mary fell asleep. When she woke the next morning, she said she had no memory of the incident. And neither had she given birth to any more rabbits.

Later that evening: a decisive twist in the tale. A porter at the house where Mary Toft was living reported that Mary had attempted to bribe him into smuggling pieces of rabbit into her quarters. Manningham confronted his patient, who indignantly rejected the accusation at first, but when Manningham suggested to her that the only way to discover the truth of her strange condition was exploratory surgery, Mary broke down in tears and confessed that the whole thing had been a ruse.

The satirists and journalists of London had a proverbial field day. They took particular glee in bringing low St. André, the so-called expert close to the seat of power. One writer dismissed him as “due composition of Knave and Fool both,” and declared that in this case of monstrous births, “the Monster of Monsters, beyond Comprehension, / Is that they expected a monstrous Pension.” And the medical establishment as a whole took a hammering: when they weren’t ridiculed for their gullibility, their ineptitude, and their venality, they were accused of being sex pests, dirty old men whose peccadilloes they cloaked behind erudite mumbo jumbo. The most famous takedown came from William Hogarth, who spoofed the adoration of the magi with Toft as the Virgin Mary and the “wise men” roles taken by St. André and his colleagues. “It pouts, it swells, it spreads, it comes,” one of them exclaims as his arm disappears up Toft’s skirt, “searching into the depths of things.” Hogarth titled this illustration Cunicularii, a double pun on the Latin for rabbit (cuniculus) and vulva (cunnus). A similar word, coney, was ubiquitous eighteenth-century London slang for both rabbit and female genitalia.

But nailing the dirty old sods and the Johnny Foreigner imbeciles who filled the ranks of the establishment was just the entrée. What the London reading public really hungered for was its pound of underclass flesh. It’s a tiny joy that’s felt viscerally by many Britons even today: the schadenfreude of watching someone with ideas above her station being brought down to where she really belongs, face down in the dirt with everyone else. In some places Mary was pitied as a “stupid creature,” or the “mere simple tool” of her husband, who, it was thought, had manipulated her into the scam, hoping for a windfall. Others were less charitable. A spoof confession, titled “Much Ado About Nothing,” was published, depicting Mary as a grasping, stupid, amoral slut, of the sort that the British have long loved to loathe, a misogynistic caricature of a repugnant banshee that the London tabloids of our century have kept alive.

In accordance with the conventions of what we would now call the tabloid exposé, Mary dictated her own apology and confession, variously blaming her husband, her mother-in-law, and—somewhat oddly—the wife of a local organ grinder for pushing her into the hoax. But, sadly, that document never reached as wide a contemporary audience as the spoofs; her obvious contrition and embarrassment went unacknowledged by the public at large. Instead of a cunning and avaricious self-promoter, Mary Toft seems to have been a confused, impressionable, and scared woman who wanted perhaps a little attention and excitement, and a few shillings extra as she contemplated how she might feed a continually growing family. What Mary needed was an Oprah, someone to offer her a confessional platform where the public shaming would go hand in hand with instant atonement. What she got instead was a custodial sentence: several weeks inside Bridewell prison, where her continued humiliation was deemed part of the punishment. Several times a week, members of the public were invited in, for a small fee, and Mary was paraded before them by her wardens. In the days before camerascelebrity hounding had to be done in a more bespoke fashion; papping back then was an immersive experience for the viewer as well as the subject. Soon after her release from Bridewell, Mary gave birth to a little girl, seemingly healthy and non-leporine. Her infamy persisted for the next several decades, though the woman herself disappeared from the records, save for newspaper reports many years later that she had been convicted of a petty theft. Her life, it seems, remained difficult and unsatisfying long after the public interest had drifted elsewhere.

Magazines from the 50s from Larry Clark

In 1975 a Strange Bird Fell from the Sky in Almonte

A Bird Weighing How Much was Found Near Barry’s Bay?

How a Boy of 16 Escaped From A Pack of Wolves on Richmond Road

The Wolves of Lanark County

Dancing With Wolves in Perth

This Ram was Ten Yards Long Sir and His Horns Reached the Sky

The Bond Family Tombstone in the Basement

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The Bond Family Tombstone in the Basement

From April 21 1999 section A3 Dave Hick

Dave bought the Bond building in 1998 and found a headstone in the basement. Jacob Bond died in 1873. There was funeral services business just a few buildings up the street over Stewart’s Comba’s furniture store called Matthews. Read –Walking With Ghosts — The Accidental Addiction

matthews2

The gravestone was broken in the 50s and taken to the store to be repaired where it got forgotten, gave the stone to Jake Gallipeau who looked after the Anglican cemetery where it was repaired and reinstated. Jacob died from inhaling toxic wallpaper paste and was buried with his infant son.–Thanks to Dave Hicks Read-When Wallpaper Killed You — Walls of Death

Jacob Bond was born February 18, 1837 and died May 1873 from accidental poisoning on Bridge Street where Joie Bonds store was. Irma Willoughby’s husband was related to the Bonds and she was working on the Bond Family tree and was able to fill in some of the blanks. She said the accidental poisoning was because of the glue in the wallpaper that was highly toxic in small-enclosed areas. It is unclear why Joseph died in July 1874.

Jacob was the first of ten children born to Joseph and Henrietta Bond. Jacob was a shoemaker and cloth finisher. It is unknown when Joseph’s tombstone was brought back to the Bond store with the intention of fixing it but how long it had been there is unclear and unknown and it remained in the basement until the building was sold.

Former Bond building on Bridge Street in Carleton Place
From April 21 1999 section A3 Dave Hick
actual tombstone repaired

Jacob Bond

BIRTH1836
DEATH9 May 1873 (aged 36–37)
BURIALSaint James CemeteryCarleton Place, Lanark County, Ontario, Canada  Show Map
Name:Joseph Francis Bond
Gender:M (Male)
Birth Date:Aug 1872
Death Date:24 Jul 1874
Cemetery:Saint James Cemetery
Burial or Cremation Place:Carleton Place, Lanark County, Ontario, Canada
Henrietta Bond
Name:Henrietta Bond
Birth Date:1810
Death Date:11 Apr 1875
Death Place:Almonte, Lanark County, Ontario, Canada
Cemetery:Saint James Cemetery
Burial or Cremation Place:Carleton Place, Lanark County, Ontario, Canada
Has Bio?:N
Children:Robert Langford BondMargaret J. ThoburnJacob Bond
URL:https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/197350517/henrietta-bond
Name:Henryetta Bond
Gender:Female
Marital Status:Married
Widowed:M
Origin:Irish
Age:60
Birth Date:1811
Birth Place:Ireland
Residence Place:Almonte, Lanark North, Ontario
District Number:80
Subdistrict:b
Religion:Church Of England
Neighbours:View others on page
Household MembersAgeJoseph Bond60Henryetta Bond60W Henry Bond28Robert Bond20Richard Bond20Rebecca Bond16
1871 Census

april 1875 almonte gazette

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
09 Apr 1937, Fri  •  Page 15
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
19 Feb 1938, Sat  •  Page 1

Related Reading

The Name is Bond—-Joie Bond

Looking for information on Joey Bond

The True Carleton Place Story of Joie Bond- by Jennifer Hamilton

Stories of Curiousity – Ida Wood

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Stories of  Curiousity – Ida Wood

I love interesting stories.. and I found this one this weekend.. I have cut and pasted it here and did some research on it that is at the bottom. There is a great long blog post by Karen Abbott at the Smithsonian about a pair of reclusive sisters who disappeared themselves in a Manhattan hotel room until death’s hand forced the door open:

In a nutshell a bitter contest which is being waged before Surrogate Foley in New York City by claimants to the 5900,000 estate of Mrs. Ida E. Wood brings out anew the bizarre, fantastic, incredible story of that strange woman’s life and death.

Living in the Herald Square Hotel there was a very old woman she was 93, in fact probably the queerest old woman anywhere alive. For she lived all alone in one room. And that room was the weirdest place imaginable. For it was so filled with rubbish of one kind or another that the ancient could barely insert her weakened, emaciated frame through the crevices.

Ancient leather trunks; parcels whose brown paper coverings were yellow and disintegrating from age; canned goods; old-fashioned velvet boxes; tin cans; broken dishes you never saw such a witch’s nest. And there that old lady had lived for many years, in secret, furtively slipping out at night to buy the miserable fare that kept her alive. And it was only when she fell ill and the hotel people had to do something about it, that her identity and amazing history came to light. As she lay unconscious on a ragged pallet, they found among her papers the name of an eminent New York lawyer, Judge Morgan J. O’Brien.

His son, of the same name, responded and took charge. And then it was learned that the hermit was Ida Wood, widow of a man who had been famous in his time. Benjamin Wood, publisher of the old New York Daily News, associate of Jim Fisk and Jay Gould, and a high-rolling gambler at poker, faro bank and roulette. He was a rich man, was Ben Wood, and his wife flew high. Whenever he gambled it was their compact that half of the winnings were to go to her, and many’s the time that Mrs. Ida Wood’s gleaming carriage, with coachman and footman on the box, would appear in front of Ben Wood’s favorite gambling house down in Fulton street. And, there, Ida, in her rustling silks and jewels, would sit patiently, waiting until Ben was through bucking the tiger even if it was far into the night until she got her split. Often that split amounted to thousands of dollars for Ben Wood

The years rolled on. Ida travelled ahead and was socially successful. She was received by Napoleon the Third and the Empress Eugenie, In London she danced with the then Prince of Wales. Long-treasured dance programs found in her littered den proved that. Ben Wood departed this life, and Ida grew old and queer. She suspected banks and would have none of them. She drew her cash from all the banks where she had deposits. And then she simply disappeared.

It is easy to disappear in New York, if you know how. The secret resembles Edgar Allan Poe’s formula for perfect concealment of any article. Put it in plain sight, conspicuously like an envelope on a mantelpiece and nobody will bother to look at it twice. So Ida Wood merely went to a New York hotel, just off Broadway and, as I say, simply disappeared.

When Mr. Morgan J. O’Brien, Jr., took charge and brought in the near relatives, Otis F. Wood, Washington Wood, Henry Wise Wood and Benjamin Wood, all nephews, the surprises began. As they opened the old leather trunks and the innumerable brown parcels, they began to find laces and wonderful old shawls, whose value it was difficult to estimate; bolts of laces, yard after yard of the finest, accumulated in Spain, Ireland and Venice museum pieces. And they found whole hoards of jewellery twelve boxes full the heavy and ornate jewellery of the last century. And then they began to find cash, hidden in the oddest places in empty tomato cans, in old shoes, behind strips of torn wall-paper. They found in this manner more than $200,000 in currency. But that was chicken feed! Fiction never produced a stranger episode than the discovery of the main hoard. The nurse who had been put in charge of the old lady noticed that she counted money whenever she thought no one was looking. So the nurse pretended to sleep, and through half-closed eyes, saw Mrs. Wood, after counting bill after bill, replacing a small parcel underneath her skirt. That night, when Ida Wood went to sleep, the nurse, investigating cautiously, found that there was a pocket sewed to the lining of the skirt, near the waist. Gently she removed from the pocket a canvas bag. She called Mr. Otis F. Wood by ‘phone and when he arrived, she handed him that canvas bag.

When Nephew Otis opened that bag, he got an electric shock, for inside the bag were flat parcels, each holding ten $10,000 bills $500,000 in hard cash. Within twenty minutes the money was banked and safe. Death came to Ida Wood on March 12, 1932, at the age of 93. And then the battle for her wealth began, with 687 people claiming kinship by blood or marriage. Surrogate Foley has recognised the status of five persons claiming to be the nearest of kin, and has eliminated the claims of 87 others.

Many remain to be passed on. In all my newspaper career full of colourful and exciting incidents, I have never come upon a more curious chapter of life than the story of Ida Wood, tiny lady of exquisite beauty, favoured dancing partner of the Prince of Wales, envy of the ladies and toast of the men. Fated to end in an untidy room, almost blind, smoking black cigars and thrilling her dwarfed soul by endlessly counting $10,000 bills.

 -
Arizona Republic
Phoenix, Arizona
18 Aug 1935, Sun  •  Page 31

By Karen Abbott SMITHSONIANMAG.COM
JANUARY 23, 2013

Ida Wood never had any intention of renewing contact with the outside world, but on March 5, 1931, death made it necessary. At four o’clock that afternoon, the 93-year-old did something she hadn’t done in 24 years of living at the Herald Square Hotel: she voluntarily opened the door, craned her neck down the corridor, and called for help.

“Maid, come here!” she shouted. “My sister is sick. Get a doctor. I think she’s going to die.”

Over the next 24 hours various people filtered in and out of room 552: the hotel manager, the house physician of the nearby Hotel McAlpin and an undertaker, who summoned two lawyers from the venerable firm of O’Brien, Boardman, Conboy, Memhard & Early. The body of Ida’s sister, Miss Mary E. Mayfield, lay on the couch in the parlor, covered with a sheet. The room was crammed with piles of yellowed newspapers, cracker boxes, balls of used string, stacks of old wrapping paper and several large trunks. One of the lawyers, Morgan O’Brien Jr., began questioning hotel employees, trying to assemble the puzzle of this strange and disheveled life.

The manager said he had worked at the hotel for seven years and had never seen Ida Wood or her deceased sister. His records indicated that they had moved into the two-room suite in 1907, along with Ida’s daughter, Miss Emma Wood, who died in a hospital in 1928 at the age of 71. They always paid their bills in cash. The fifth-floor maid said she hadn’t gotten into the sisters’ suite at all, and only twice had persuaded the women to hand over soiled sheets and towels and accept clean ones through a crack in the door. A bellhop said that for many years it had been his habit to knock on the door once a day and ask the ladies if they wanted anything.

They requested the same items every time: evaporated milk, crackers, coffee, bacon and eggs—which were cooked in a makeshift kitchenette in the bathroom—and occasionally fish, which they ate raw. Ida always tipped ten cents, telling him that money was the last she had in the world.

From time to time they also requested Copenhagen snuff, Havana cigars and jars of petroleum jelly, which Ida massaged onto her face for several hours each day. She was five feet tall and 70 pounds, nearly deaf and stooped like a question mark, but her face still bore clear evidence of its former beauty. “You could see what an extraordinarily pretty woman she once was,” O’Brien noted. “Her complexion, in spite of her age, was as creamy and pink and unwrinkled as any I have ever seen. It was like tinted ivory. Her profile was like a lovely cameo.” She hadn’t had a bath in years.

As the undertaker prepared her sister’s body just a few feet away, Ida Wood suddenly grew talkative. She said she had been a celebrated belle in the South and a prominent socialite in the North. Her husband was Benjamin Wood, the brother of Fernando Wood, former mayor of New York and perennial congressman. She had, despite her complaints to the bellhop, a good deal of cash stashed in her bedroom.

At first they all thought she was senile.

Ida Wood never had any intention of renewing contact with the outside world, but on March 5, 1931, death made it necessary. At four o’clock that afternoon, the 93-year-old did something she hadn’t done in 24 years of living at the Herald Square Hotel: she voluntarily opened the door, craned her neck down the corridor, and called for help.

“Maid, come here!” she shouted. “My sister is sick. Get a doctor. I think she’s going to die”

Over the next 24 hours various people filtered in and out of room 552: the hotel manager, the house physician of the nearby Hotel McAlpin and an undertaker, who summoned two lawyers from the venerable firm of O’Brien, Boardman, Conboy, Memhard & Early. The body of Ida’s sister, Miss Mary E. Mayfield, lay on the couch in the parlor, covered with a sheet. The room was crammed with piles of yellowed newspapers, cracker boxes, balls of used string, stacks of old wrapping paper and several large trunks. One of the lawyers, Morgan O’Brien Jr., began questioning hotel employees, trying to assemble the puzzle of this strange and disheveled life.

The manager said he had worked at the hotel for seven years and had never seen Ida Wood or her deceased sister. His records indicated that they had moved into the two-room suite in 1907, along with Ida’s daughter, Miss Emma Wood, who died in a hospital in 1928 at the age of 71. They always paid their bills in cash. The fifth-floor maid said she hadn’t gotten into the sisters’ suite at all, and only twice had persuaded the women to hand over soiled sheets and towels and accept clean ones through a crack in the door. A bellhop said that for many years it had been his habit to knock on the door once a day and ask the ladies if they wanted anything. They requested the same items every time: evaporated milk, crackers, coffee, bacon and eggs—which were cooked in a makeshift kitchenette in the bathroom—and occasionally fish, which they ate raw. Ida always tipped ten cents, telling him that money was the last she had in the world. From time to time they also requested Copenhagen snuff, Havana cigars and jars of petroleum jelly, which Ida massaged onto her face for several hours each day. She was five feet tall and 70 pounds, nearly deaf and stooped like a question mark, but her face still bore clear evidence of its former beauty. “You could see what an extraordinarily pretty woman she once was,” O’Brien noted. “Her complexion, in spite of her age, was as creamy and pink and unwrinkled as any I have ever seen. It was like tinted ivory. Her profile was like a lovely cameo.” She hadn’t had a bath in years.

As the undertaker prepared her sister’s body just a few feet away, Ida Wood suddenly grew talkative. She said she had been a celebrated belle in the South and a prominent socialite in the North. Her husband was Benjamin Wood, the brother of Fernando Wood, former mayor of New York and perennial congressman. She had, despite her complaints to the bellhop, a good deal of cash stashed in her bedroom.

Ida Mayfield Wood in the 1860s
Ida Mayfield Wood in the 1860s (From The Recluse of Herald Square)

Ida first came to New York in 1857, when she was 19 and determined to become someone else. She listened to gossip and studied the society pages, finding frequent mention of Benjamin Wood, a 37-year-old businessman and politician. Knowing they would never cross paths in the ordinary course of events, she composed a letter on crisp blue stationery:

May 28, 1857

Mr. Wood—Sir

Having heard of you often, I venture to address you from hearing a young lady, one of your ‘former loves,’ speak of you. She says you are fond of ‘new faces.’ I fancy that as I am new in the city and in ‘affairs de coeur’ that I might contract an agreeable intimacy with you; of as long duration as you saw fit to have it. I believe that I am not extremely bad looking, nor disagreeable. Perhaps not quite as handsome as the lady with you at present, but I know a little more, and there is an old saying—‘Knowledge is power.’ If you would wish an interview address a letter to No. Broadway P O New York stating what time we may meet.

Although Benjamin Wood was married, to his second wife, Delia Wood, he did wish an interview, and was pleasantly surprised to find someone who wasn’t “bad looking” at all: Ida was a slight girl with long black hair and sad, languorous eyes. She told him she was the daughter of Henry Mayfield, a Louisiana sugar planter, and Ann Mary Crawford, a descendant of the Earls of Crawford. Ida became his mistress immediately and his wife ten years later, in 1867, after Delia died. They had a daughter, Emma Wood, on whom they doted. No one dwelled on the fact that she had been born before they wed.

As the consort and then wife of Benjamin Wood, Ida had access to New York’s social and cultural elite. She danced with the Prince of Wales during his 1860 visit to the city. Less than a year later she met Abraham Lincoln, who stopped in New York on his way from Illinois to Washington as president-elect. Reporters called her “a belle of New Orleans” and admired the “bright plumage and fragile beauty that made her remarkable even in the parasol age.” Every afternoon around four o’clock, attended by two liveried footmen, she went for a carriage ride, calling for Benjamin at the Manhattan Club. He emerged right away and joined her. She sat rigidly beside him, tilting her fringed parasol against the sun, and together they rode along Fifth Avenue.

There was one significant divide between them: Ida excelled at saving money, but Ben was a careless spender and avid gambler. He played cards for very high stakes, once even wagering the Daily News; luckily he won that hand. He often wrote letters to Ida apologizing for his gambling habits, signing them, “unfortunately for you, your husband, Ben.” The next day he would be back at John Morrissey’s gambling hall on lower Broadway, where he won and lost large sums at roulette. Once he woke Ida up, spread $100,000 across their bed, and giddily insisted she count it.

Ida devised methods for dealing with Ben’s addiction, often waiting outside the club so that if he won she was on hand to demand her share. If he lost, she charged him for making her wait. She promised not to interfere with his gambling as long as he gave her half of everything he won and absorbed all losses himself. When he died in 1900, the New York Times wrote, “It was said yesterday that Mr. Wood possessed no real estate and that his personal property was of small value”—a true statement, in a sense, since everything he’d owned was now in Ida’s name.

In the course of reconstructing Ida’s eventful life, O’Brien sent another member of his law firm, Harold Wentworth, back to the Herald Square Hotel. Harold brought Ida fresh roses every day. Sometimes she stuck them in a tin can of water; other times she snapped off their buds and tossed them over her shoulder. The firm also hired two private detectives to take the room next door and keep a 24-hour watch over her. While Ida smoked one of her slender cigars, slathered her face with petroleum jelly, and complained she couldn’t hear, Harold shouted at her about uncashed dividend checks, hoarded cash, the possibility of robbery and how she really should let the maid come in to clean the rooms.

Although Harold tried to be discreet, word about the rich recluse of Herald Square got around. One day a man named Otis Wood came to the firm’s office, identified himself as a son of Fernando Wood’s and a nephew of Ida’s, and said he would like to help her. The firm took him, his three brothers and several of their children as clients. Soon afterward, Benjamin Wood’s son from his first marriage and some of his children came forward and hired their own firm, Talley & Lamb. They all seemed to agree that the best way to help Ida was to have her declared incompetent, which, in September 1931, she was.

With the help of two nurses, and in the presence of members of both factions of the Wood family, Ida was moved to a pair of rooms directly below the ones she had occupied for so many years. She wept as they escorted her downstairs. “Why?” she asked. “I can take care of myself.” Her old suite was searched and inside an old shoebox they found $247,200 in cash, mostly in $1,000 and $5,000 bills. They thought that was all of it until the following day, when a nurse tunneled a hand up Ida’s dress while she slept and retrieved an oilcloth pocket holding $500,000 in $10,000 bills.

Next they examined Ida’s 54 trunks, some stored in the basement of the hotel, others in an uptown warehouse. Inside lay bolts of the finest lace from Ireland, Venice and Spain; armfuls of exquisite gowns, necklaces, watches, bracelets, tiaras and other gem-encrusted pieces; several $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 gold certificates dating back to the 1860s; a gold-headed ebony stick (a Wood family heirloom that had been a gift from President James Monroe), and an 1867 letter from Charles Dickens to Benjamin Wood. Each trunk was taken to the Harriman National Bank, where the contents were placed in vaults. In an old box of stale crackers they discovered a diamond necklace worth $40,000. They dug up her sister’s coffin and the undertaker inspected its contents, finding nothing but Mary Mayfield’s remains. There was not much left to do except wait for Ida Wood to die.

In that regard, as in everything else, Ida proved stubborn. Reporters, as yet unaware of brothers Homer and Langley Collyer living in similar squalor in Harlem, descended upon her hotel room. Her mind wandered from the past to the present but remained ever suspicious and alert. When nurses brought her food she asked, “How much did this cost?” If the answer was more than a dollar, she pushed it away and said, “It’s too much. Take it back. I won’t eat it.”

On several occasions, when the nurses weren’t looking, she shuffled to a partly opened window and tried to scream above the roaring traffic of Herald Square: “Help! Help! I’m a prisoner. Get me out of here!” Other times she treated the nurses as her confidantes, sharing what they believed were cherished memories. “I’m a Mayfield,” she told them. “They used to spell it M-a-i-f-i-e-l-d in the old days, you know. I grew up in the city of New Orleans, a wonderful city.… My mother had a very good education, you know. She spoke German, Spanish and Italian, and she wanted me to be educated too, so she sent me to boarding school in New Orleans.

Letters from these Southern relatives, the Mayfields, began to pour in, but Ida was too blind to read herself. Crawfords also jockeyed for attention, all of them ready to prove their ancestry to a branch of the Earls of Crawford. One missive addressed Ida as “Dear Aunt Ida” and promised to take care of her. She claimed to be the “daughter of Lewis Mayfield.” The nurse who read the letter to Ida asked if she knew the writer, and Ida replied that she never heard of her. All told, 406 people claimed to be her heirs.

By now Ida, too, was waiting for her death. She didn’t bother to dress, wearing her nightgown and ragged slippers all day, and stopped battling any attempt to take her temperature. She had nothing left but the exquisite fantasy she’d created, one that—to her mind, at least—had seemed more right and true with each passing year. Only after she died, on March 12, 1932, did all of the lawyers and supposed relatives unravel the mystery of her life: Her father wasn’t Henry Mayfield, prominent Louisiana sugar planter, but Thomas Walsh, a poor Irish immigrant who had settled in Malden, Massachusetts, in the 1840s. Her mother had little formal education and grew up in the slums of Dublin. Ida’s real name was Ellen Walsh, and when she was in her teens she adopted the surname Mayfield because she liked the sound of it. Her sister Mary took the name too. Emma Wood, her daughter with Benjamin Wood, wasn’t her daughter at all, but another sister. Her husband never divulged her secrets.

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Arizona Republic
Phoenix, Arizona
18 Aug 1935, Sun  •  Page 31

Toward the end, when the shades were drawn and the tattered lace curtains pulled tight, Ida shared one final memory. When she was a young girl she noticed a sign in a storefront window: “Your Future and Fortune Told.” She saved up the money for a consultation. In the dingy parlor, the old gypsy seer traced rough fingertips over her palms and spoke in dulcet tones. “My dear,” she said, “you are going to be a very lucky girl. You are going to marry a rich man, and get everything you want out of this life.” Ida believed it was true—and that, at least, they could never take away.


Sources:
Books:
Joseph A. Cox, The Recluse of Herald Square. New York: the MacMillan Company, 1964; Benjamin Wood and Menahem Blondheim, Copperhead Gore: Benjamin Wood’s Fort Lafayette and Civil War America. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2006.

Articles:
St. Clair McKelway, “The Rich Recluse of Herald Square.” The New Yorker, October 31, 1953; “Recluse Hid $1,000,000 in Her Hotel Room.” New York Times, March 13, 1932; “406 Claimants Out As Ida Wood Heirs.” New York Times, September 1, 1937; “Recluse Glimpses Wonders of Today.” New York Times, October 8, 1931; “Recluse’s Trunks Yield Dresses, Jewels, and Laces Worth Million.” New York Times, October 17, 1931; “Aged Recluse, Once Belle, Has $500,000 Cash In Skirt.” Washington Post, October 10, 1931; “Ida Wood’s Early Life Is Revealed.” Hartford Courant, September 16, 1937; “Who Gets This $1,000,000?” Seattle Sunday Times, August 18, 1935; “Mrs. Wood’s Forty Trunks Will Be Opened Today.” Boston Globe, November 2, 1931.

Fascinating Ida – Frank McNally on the continued story of Ida Wood, a rich recluse who hid her humble Irish origins

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The Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati, Ohio
13 Jun 1905, Tue  •  Page 3
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The Age
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
28 May 1966, Sat  •  Page 24
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Chicago Tribune
Chicago, Illinois
16 Sep 1937, Thu  •  Page 18

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Herald and Review
Decatur, Illinois
16 Sep 1937, Thu  •  Page 1

The Burgess Will and Other Burgess Oddities

The Strange Story Of Adam Symes and Miss Jennie Graham

Strange Stories from the Past

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Strange Stories from the Past

 

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A strange death occurred in Kingston on Monday. A reporter
was called into a house by a woman, who said her father was
dead. The press-man went in and saw a man sleeping in a
chair, touched him on the shoulder and said, “Wake up. Who’s
dead?” The woman·touched the reporter and said, “That is the
man.” His name was McGlynn, aged 53, a native of Tyrone,
Ireland. He ate a heavy dinner at 2 o’clock, and laughingly said
on being called to his dinner, “I don’t want to die hungry.” He
leaves a widow and one daughter. Almonte Gazette July 1890
P. Dougall, Renfrew, stung by a bee under the eyelid. grew
unconscious·: A doctor restored him, saying the bee had
touched a nerve, and the effect was the same as if he had been
kicked by a horse.  Almonte Gazette July 18, 1890

 

Spiritualism took many forms. There were the famous Fox Sisters of New York and the famous “Rochester Rappings” that helped to forge the spiritualist moment of the mid-19th century. Well-known author Arthur Conan Doyle, a member of the British Society for Psychical Research from the 1890s, began to give public lectures on spiritualism beginning in 1917. And, following his death in 1930, Lady Conan Doyle organized seances to contact him. No word yet from the other side, as far as I know.

The item below concerns ghost dogs. Well, why not? The story goes that a group of men (and a fox terrier) were sitting around the smoking room in a country house. No idea what they were smoking but they heard “heavy, shambling footsteps of an old dog and the jingle of his collar.” When one of the men called to the old dog, he was informed that it had died. My favourite detail is that the “fox terrier bristled up, growled, and pursued the invisible across the carpet.” Source: The Review (Drumheller, Alberta, Canada) 17 April 1914.

 

In 1894, the American government announced that its “rainmaking experiments” were a failure. Source: Salt Lake Herald 31 March 1894

 

 

In 1879, Nellie Neimeyer “a former member of the demi monde” of St. Louis got married. She was described as “comparatively young in years, but old in sin”. In this story, Ms Neimeyer shocked everyone in attendance when she began to pray in earnest for redemption. Source: National Police Gazette 27 December 1879

 

Amelia Skerl sued her husband for divorce because he was a “man who can’t appreciate the superiority of patent fasteners over buttons for women’s gowns and refuses to kiss [her] before relatives and permits her to go unkissed and unhugged for two years …” Source: Washington Times 31 October 1919

 

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and theSherbrooke Record and and Screamin’ 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. Tales of Almonte and Arnprior Then and Now.

relatedreading

What’s in Your Home? — Weird Things in My House

Debunking a Postcard 1913 — Strange Ephemera

  1. Strange Coincidences– The Duncan Fire

  2. What’s the Strangest Thing You Have Found Outside?

  3. Mrs Jarley and her Waxworks Hits Lanark– and they call me strange:)

 “Sale” Fairs — Crops and Sometimes Fair Damsels

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 “Sale” Fairs — Crops and Sometimes Fair Damsels

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Sale Fairs were a huge rural feature. One of the old time customs of holding fairs every spring and fall was for the disposal of farm produce and other merchandise. They were,  the old timers say, the occasion of lively gatherings and shared with political meetings, camp meetings, etc, the opportunity for early settlers to meet in social converse and exchange greetings, as well as dispose of their wares and maybe wives.
Fairs of 1851 
Among the fairs established in 1851 were those located at:
South March. Cross Roads lot 8 con. 6 Huntley
Sand Point
Pakenham and Fitzroy Harbor
In 1852 Lot 13 con. 8  Renfrew Co Village of Ramsay township of Ramsay; and the village of Ross.
Renfrew co. were established as market centres.
You can also read: The Country Fairs 1879

Between the late eighteenth and the mid-nineteenth century there was a strange and fascinating custom called wife-selling. During this period there wasn’t a year without a newspaper report of a court case involving the sale of a wife. Between 1780 and 1850, around 300 wives were sold in England.

In Lanark County and surrounding area a few men did not think their wives worked hard enough, or were tiresome, and exchanged or bartered them at the local fairs or in private.  Since the sheriffs were in charge of these events, they were either done in secret or they looked the other way. I wrote a story about a woman and her children in Drummond who was sold by her husband to the neighbour and I can’t find it. The woman ended up being happier with her neighbour as her previous husband had been a piece of work. It is bad enough trying to trace folks with wives dying early from childbirth and the widower remarrying 3 or 4 times, but this gets to be a tad confusing.

The first divorce was established in 1857 and before that it was very difficult and costly to dissolve a marriage. The average man could not afford an annulment and the only alternative to divorce was to separate through the process of a public sale. In poor districts, a wife was considered a chattel to be bought and sold like any other commodity.

The husband would take his wife to the marketplace or cattle auction in England and register his wife as a good of sale and a rope was placed around her neck, waist or wrist, and they were made to stand on an auction block.

It was an illegal practice but also the only alternative for the average man and the authorities turned a blind eye to it. In most 18th- and early 19th-century sales, the woman usually was sold in a cattle market. Payment often was based on her weight.

There was one wife who turned the tables on her spouse by suggesting she would sell better in a different town. She then had him shanghaied for a long cruise, leaving her with their home and possessions. Feminists who opposed the practice often used stones and weighted socks to disrupt some sales. They actually caused one auctioneer to seek protection.

When the deal was done they would go to the local tavern to celebrate the successful transaction. Almost every single wife went on sale or to an auction of her own volition and held a veto over where she went next. In many cases, the sale would be announced in advance in a local newspaper and the purchaser was arranged in advance. The sale was just a form of symbolic separation.

Have you read?

Should I Stay or Should I Go?–A Tall Lanark County Tale about Wives, Cattle and Tomfoolery

historicalnotes

 - WIFE SELLING Still a Rude Commercial Form in...

Clipped from

  1. Messenger-Inquirer,
  2. 30 Dec 1903, Wed,
  3. Page 5 - Wheat Wlvks Wer Sold. A century or to ago wife...

    relatedreading

    A Smith’s Falls “Frustrated Young Love’s Dream” Purdy vs Lenahan

  4. Sixteen Wives– What Do You Get? Another Day Older and Deeper in Debt

  5. I’m so Sick of that Same Old Love — Bigamous Relations in Lanark County

    James Watson– Bigamy and Shoes

    A Smith’s Falls “Frustrated Young Love’s Dream” Purdy vs Lenahan

    She Came Back! A Ghost Divorce Story

    One Night in Almonte or Was it Carleton Place?

    Bigamists? How About the Much Married Woman? One for the Murdoch Mystery Files

    Bigamy–The Story of Ken and Anne and Debby and Cathy and…

Newspaper Clippings of the Collyer’s of New York–The Original Hoarders

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Newspaper Clippings of the Collyer’s of New York–The Original Hoarders

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Clipped from The Plain Speaker,  24 Mar 1947, Mon,  Page 1

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Clipped from Janesville Daily Gazette,  21 Mar 1947, Fri,  Page 5

Clipped from Lancaster Eagle-Gazette,  24 Mar 1947, Mon,  Page 1

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Clipped from The Decatur Daily Review,  09 Apr 1947, Wed,  Page 13

Clipped from News-Journal,  09 Apr 1947, Wed,  Page 8

Clipped from The Wilkes-Barre Record,  09 Apr 1947, Wed,  Page 1

 

Read 

Found amid 120 tons of junk in their Fifth Avenue mansion: The story of the Collyer brothers

 

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ 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.

relatedreading

Was Your Grandmother a “Saboteur!”? Hoarding Before Television

 

 

 

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Friday October the 13th– 6:30.. meet in front of the old Leland Hotel on Bridge Street (Scott Reid’s office) and enjoy a one hour Bridge Street walk with stories of murder mayhem and Believe it or Not!!. Some tales might not be appropriate for young ears. FREE!–

 

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The Man who Disappeared– Stories of Dr. G. E. Kidd

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The Man who Disappeared– Stories of Dr. G. E. Kidd

Colonel Dr. George E Kidd

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If you did not go on our LCGS Bus Tour of Beckwith Township or have read the book “The Story of the Derry” by Dr. G. E. Kidd you did not hear about the strange man named Patmos who along with his family settled on 220 acres of Beckwith swampy land. But–when they arrived, or when they left, or where they went, is not known.

Why did the Beckwith locals give the man the name of Patmos? Was it because of some religious indication?  Long ago the apostle named John found himself “on the island called Patmos” which is a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea. On account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.” While “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day,” he heard a loud voice instruct him to “write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches.” What John saw and wrote has become the most influential — and controversial — vision in the history of Christianity.  Was Patmos of Beckwith a holy man also, and is that is why they called him by that name?

It was said Patmos lived a life of isolation and loneliness as the summer months was cut off by the waters of the swamp. One can only assume his year’s supplies and his cattle managed during the winter months. Historical documents say that his daughter died and he carried her lifeless body through the swamp and across a section of the river to have a proper burial at the church he wanted her to have the proper rites at the Church of Kirk.

So why did the early settlers call this mysterious man Patmos who lived on the only grassy knoll in a small clearing with a few wild plum trees? Word is only a few odd stones show the remainder of a foundation where a home and a family lived on a rough passing trail.

 

 

 

historicalnotes

Perth Courier, Sept. 12, 1946

Dr. George E. Kidd of Vancouver was a recent visitor to Carleton Place.  He is the author of a series of stories in the Carleton Place Canadian entitled “The Derry” relating to the history of Beckwith Township and in last week’s the 14th chapter, which told of the Kid Farms was printed as follows:

“At the time of his death in 1851 this lot—Lot 21—was owned by John Kidd who, coming to Canada from Ireland in 1818, had located on its east half.  He was then a young man 20 years of age.  He had married in Ireland but his wife had died, either at sea or immediately after landing on the Canadian side.  She left a baby boy who was placed by his father in the care of a foster mother in Quebec city.  Two years later, John had made a home for himself and went back to claim his son.  They returned by boat to Richmond Landing and from here the father walked through the woods carrying the child.  The boy’s name was Andrew and he later settled in Huron County.”

“John Kidd was accompanied to Canada by his father Andrew Kidd, his mother Jane (whose maiden name was Kilfoyle) together with three brothers and four sisters, all of whom were younger than himself.  The names of these were as follows:  Thomas, Andrew, George, Mary (Mrs. Leeson), Jane (Mrs. Shirley), Betsey (Mrs. Mills) and Sarah (Mrs. Kilfoyle).”

“When John decided to clear a farm for himself in the newly created township of Beckwith, his father chose to take the remainder of the young family to Montague which was by this time well settled.  Some of Andrew’s descendents still reside here but for the most part they are scattered over Canada.”

“Some years after the deceased of his first wife John Kidd remarried.  His second wife was Margaret Garland, daughter of John Garland.  They had been neighbors in Ireland and in Canada we find them living on adjoining farms.  Together, John and Margaret walked over the 20 mile bush trail to Perth for the wedding ceremony.  They had a family of 14 children named as follows:  Thomas, the eldest who married Mary Ann Leach and lived first in North Gower Township and later in Renfrew County; John who married Betsey Gibson and settled for a time in western Ontario but later moved to Saskatchewan; George who was drowned  while crossing a river in a lumbering area; William who married Leonora McGrath of Fergus and became inspector of schools for Kingston; Eli who married Jeanette McKea of Franktown and moved to Huron County; Wesley who was a wanderer and was lost sight of; and Richard who married Ann Edwards

 

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.

relatedreading

 

The Case of the Bell that Disappeared

What’s in Your Home? — Weird Things in My House

The Dacks and the Mysterious Old Anchor

The Floating Bridge of Carleton Place — Found!

The Writing on the Wall Disappeared but the Memories Don’t

Maybe We Should Film Oak Island in Carleton Place? The Day the Money Disappeared

The Carleton Place House That Disappeared

The Old Woman Who Walked From Perth?

The Strange Disappearance of Bertha Sumner of Carleton Place

The Man of the Walking Dead of Maberly

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I have been writing about downtown Carleton Place Bridge Street for months and this is something I really want to do. Come join me in the Domino’s Parking lot- corner Lake Ave and Bridge, Carleton Place at 11 am Saturday September 16 (rain date September 17) for a free walkabout of Bridge Street. It’s history is way more than just stores. This walkabout is FREE BUT I will be carrying a pouch for donations to the Carleton Place Hospital as they have been so good to me. I don’t know if I will ever do another walking tour so come join me on something that has been on my bucket list since I began writing about Bridge Street. It’s always a good time–trust me.

Are You Ready to Visit the Open Doors?

 

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Is This Story Just Up a Tree?

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Is This Story Just Up a Tree?

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Almonte Gazette April 20, 1950

The Smiths Falls Record-News had a story in its issue last week about a man who visited his cottage at Bass Lake and was chased up a tree by a wolf. He described his plight in great detail stating that the “wolf” just wrinkled its nose and looked mean. The writer knows Bass Lake fairly well and must admit he never saw a wolf In that vicinity though he recalls being chased by a big, mean looking police dog. Could this have been the wolf?

 

Anyway, here is the Smiths Falls man’s account of his adventure: “The wolf wasn’t at the door, but it was close enough as far as Cliff. Wride, of 59 Abel Street, was concerned last week. Mr. Wride was strolling near his cottage at Bass Lake (midway between Lombardy and Rideau Ferry) when he spotted what looked like a dog loping across an open field towards him. He took a second look and decided it was a wolf.

 

Unarmed, Mr. Wride scrambled up a nearby ironwood tree. Foiled, the wolf circled the base of the tree for ten minutes. “He didn’t make a sound,” Mr. Wride said, “just crinkled his nose and looked nasty.” Apparently tired of waiting, the wolf ran off, but no sooner had Mr. Wride descended from his perch than he spotted the animal crawling stealthily back to the tree on its stomach.

In a trice Mr. Wride was back at one end of the ironwood, the wolf at the other. The wolf scurried off again but again circled back. The harried cottager shouted and the surprised animal scurried away. On his second descent, Mr. Wride armed himself with a fence rail, but even a later search with a shot-gun failed to uncover the beast.

 

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.

 relatedreading

Jack the Hugger–The Reign of Albert Haley in Smiths Falls

 

This Ram was Ten Yards Long Sir and His Horns Reached the Sky

John Shaw Spent a Quarter of a Million Dollars?

Robert Shaw “Cold as Ice” in a Cardboard Box?

 

 

The Peculiar Case of Jeanetta Lena McHardy

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The Peculiar Case of Jeanetta Lena McHardy

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Distressing Results Following Vaccination—A Young Daughter of David McHardy of Fergus, the Victim—Has Suffered the Most Intense Agony —Doctors Failed to Help her. 

Author’s note–This story about Dr. Williams’ Pink Pills has flashed by me a few times and today I decided to investigate what happened to this young woman who had such a “miraculous cure”. Before the internet, maybe it would not be such an easy access, and what really happened to young Jenneta Lena McHardy of Fergus, Ontario might have never come to light. Another voice asking for their tale to be told?

Almonte Gazette June 18 1897

From the Fergus News-Record

Nearly every person in this section is acquainted with Mr. David McHardy,
the popular leader of St. Andrew’s church choir, Fergus, Ontario. Our reporter called upon Mr. McHardy at his home in Upper Nichol recently, and from him and his estimable wife a tale of terrible suffering was elicited, suffering that has brought a once exceptionally strong and healthy child to the verge of the grave.

The subject of the sketch,(Jeanette)Lena McHardy, is fourteen years of age, and her parents say she has not grown any since her illness began some two years and a
half ago. Her terrible suffering dates from the time she was vaccinated in June, 1894, and what she has undergone has aroused the deepest sympathy of all the friends of the family.

In conversation with Mr. McHardy and his wife, the following facts were
elicited : “Two years ago last June,” said the father, “Lena was vaccinated by a doctor in Fergus. The arm was very sore and swollen all summer, and became so bad that it was a mass of sores from the shoulder to the elbow.”

 

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In October 1894 a large lump appeared on her back, over one of the lungs. The doctor who vaccinated her treated her all that summer, calling very frequently, but the
medicine he gave her did no good and she was growing weaker and weaker.

When the lump broke out on her back another doctor was consulted, who said she was in a very bad state of health. Her constitution appeared to be completely undermined, and her appetite had completely failed. The last doctor called in gave some outward applications, and lanced the gathering, but it did not give the patient any benefit. Nine such gatherings have appeared since that time, but each broke and disappeared of its own accord, only, however, to be followed by another.

The child became very puny, and little or no food would remain in her stomach.
At night ‘She would fairly rave with the pain in her arm and back, and consequently her trouble was aggravated by a loss of sleep. She had the best of attendance but to no avail,and she was slowly but surely sinking.

Friends advised a treatment with Dr. Williams’ Pink Pills and as a last resort they were tried. To the surprise of both parents and friends Lena began to improve soon after beginning the use of the pills. Her appetite returned, she became stronger and her general health with Dr. Williams’ Pink Pills that her parents are looking for a complete cure.

Mr and Mrs. McHardy thank Dr. Williams’ Pink Pills  for the present improved condition of their child, as they have done her more good than the scores of bottles of doctor’s medicine which she took. Dr. Williams’ Pink Pills are a blood builder and nerve restorer. They supply the blood with its life and health-giving properties, thus driving disease from the system.

There are numerous pink coloured imitations, against which the public are warned. The genuine Pink Pills and can only be had only in boxes the wrapper around which- bears the fall trade mark,

“Dr. Williams’ Pink Pills for Pale People.” Refuse all others.

Author’s Note-

Yes, there really was a McHardy family and Lena was Jeannette Lena McHardy’s second name (she was Jenneta Lena McHardy in the ancestry archives).  Born September 12, 1884.  She died September 12,1898, a little over a year after this was in the newspaper. I looked up her symptoms and and she probably had a form of cancer called neuroblastoma. While the ferrous sulphate ingredient in the Pink Pills would have had a genuine effect against anemia–but they were no cure for cancer. Her cause of death listed was blood poisoning.

 

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Almonte Gazette

 

historicalnotes

Yes, there really is a McHardy family and Lena was Jeannette Lena McHardy’s second name (she was Jenneta Lena McHardy in the ancestry archives).  Born September 12, 1884.  She died September 12,1898 a little over a year after this was in the newspaper. I looked up her symptoms and and she probably had a form of cancer called neuroblastoma. While the ferrous sulphate ingredient in the Pink Pills would have had a genuine effect against anemia– they were no cure for cancer.

Name Jenneta Lena McHardy
Event Type Burial
Event Date 1898
Event Place Fergus, Wellington, Ontario, Canada

Birth Date 12 Sep 1884
Death Date 06 Feb 1898
Affiliate Record Identifier 61538055
Cemetery Belsyde Cemetery

Birth: Sep. 12, 1884
Guelph
Wellington County
Ontario, Canada
Death: Feb. 6, 1898
Guelph
Wellington County
Ontario, Canada

Daughter of David McHardy & Annie Thomson.Birth record shows first name as “Janitta Lina”; death record shows it as “Jenneta Lina”; gravestone shows only “Lena”

Death record shows date of death, Feb. 6th; stone carved Feb 8th.

Cause of death: blood poisoning, 14 yrs.

Family links:
Parents:
David McHardy (1847 – 1937)
Annie Thomson McHardy (1859 – 1932)

Siblings:
Jenneta Lena McHardy (1884 – 1898)
Roy Marshall McHardy (1889 – 1969)*
Lloyd Moffatt McHardy (1893 – 1976)*

*<span class="fakeLink" style="color: #000088; text-decoration: underline;" title="header=[  Reverse Relationships:] body=[This relationship was not directly added to this memorial. Rather, it is calculated based on information added to the related person’s memorial. For example: if Joe Public is linked to Jane Public as a spouse, a reciprocal link will automatically be added to Jane Public’s memorial. ] fade=[on] fadespeed=[.09]”>Calculated relationship

Burial:
Belsyde Cemetery
Fergus
Wellington County
Ontario, Canada

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David McHardy, the youngest son, who succeeded his father on the homestead, married Annie Thompson and their family included George, Stanley, Roy, Lloyd and Jeanette. (Lena). If you look her up on ancestry.com she is listed as Janetta Lina MchardyGeorge McHardy
George McHardy arrived in Upper Nichol in 1835, when he purchased the farm of Donald Wallace. A native of Perthshire, Scotland, his wife was Margaret Marshall, and their family was composed of James, George, John, Edward, David, Catherine, Margaret and Agnes.

Roy McHardy, who married Viola Allan, had a grocery store in Fergus, and also engaged in the milling business, while Lloyd McHardy, who married a daughter of J.B. Chalmers, was a successful hardware merchant in Fergus.
The following item appeared in the Fergus News-Record of November 1, 1900, under the heading of “Coffee and Peanuts”:
“Who would have believed that fully matured coffee and peanuts were grown within a mile of Fergus this past summer. Well such is the case and the grower of same is David McHardy of Nichol”.
When David McHardy left Nichol, his farm was purchased by James A. Martin

 

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Dr Williams’ Pink Pills for Pale People–

There’s another big-business remedy, this time originating in Canada. “Dr Williams” was a brand name, and the pills were manufactured by George T. Fulford of Brockville, Ontario. Born in 1852, Fulford went into the patent medicine business in 1886 and four years later bought the rights to the Pink Pills recipe from Dr William Jackson for $53.01. The Pills arrived in Britain by 1893, and the company had premises on Holborn Viaduct, London.

The Pink Pills included ferrous sulphate, so they would have had a geniune effect against anaemia, but they were weaker and far more expensive than the ordinary iron pills commonly prescribed by physicians.

Fulford, who was appointed to the Senate in 1900, used an “advertorial” style to promote his products. The ads, like the one below,  appeared to be news stories reporting a miracle in some distant town – the miracle always turning out to be a result of someone taking Dr Williams’ Pink Pills.

In 1905, Senator Fulford had the dubious honour of becoming the first Canadian to be killed in an automobile accident, but his company remained in business until 1989.–The Quack Doctor

 

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 and Screamin’ Mamas (US

 

relatedreading

It’s Electrifying! Dr Scott’s Electric Corset

Did You Know Who was Cooking in Back of Lancaster’s Grocery Store? Dr. Howard I Presume! – Part 3

Old Tyme Hot Tips– or– God Would Not Have Given Us Fingers if He had Wanted Us to Use Forks

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Old Tyme Hot Tips– or– God Would Not Have Given Us Fingers if He had Wanted Us to Use Forks

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Eyebrows that did not look fashionable were often masked by tiny pieces of skin from a mouse.


Ceruse was the foundation make-up of choice for both men and women, that gave the famous smooth, pale look. However, it contained lead that seeped into the body through the skin leading to poisoning. This make-up also tended to crack and had a strong odour.


Although the men wore linen drawers, the women wore no knickers at all.


The reason why so many marriages took place in June was that most people had their yearly bath in May so they were still fairly clean when June arrived. However, as a precaution brides carried bouquets of flowers to cover up any odious smells. June weddings and carrying bouquets are still traditional today but most wedding parties smell a lot nicer.


When people took their bath it was the man of the house who had the privilege of the tub filled with clean water. The sons of the house were allowed next, then the wife, the rest of the females and the babies were last.


Houses in the past did not have the protective roofing we have today. It was not unusual for bugs, pests and droppings to fall onto your clean bedding from the roof. So four poles and a canopy was invented to keep the bed clean and this is where the origin of the canopied and four poster beds come from.

 

 

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Photo-Atlas Obscura

A 17th century publication by Peter Levens gives clear instructions to men on how to cure baldness and thinning hair by making the following mixture – a strong alkaline solution containing potassium salts and chicken droppings to be placed on the area to be treated. In addition if men wanted to remove unwanted hair from any area of the body they should make a paste that contains – eggs, strong vinegar and cat dung. Once beaten into a paste, this should be placed on the areas where the hair is to be removed. Why they didn’t just shave is not documented.


When Mary Queen of Scots returned to her native Scotland from France she was astounded and not a little put out that the men continued to wear their hats while sitting down to eat at her banquets. It was then pointed out to the young Queen that this was not a sign of disrespect to her but necessity. The men kept their hats on in order to prevent not only their long hair from touching the food but head lice from falling into their plates.

 

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Period Paper1925 Ad Wyeth’s Sage Tea Sulphur Gray Hair Dye Coloring Jealous Women Beauty DL2


In the 16th century some members of the church condemned using forks to eat as against the will of god. One put out minister remarked: “God would not have given us fingers if He had wanted us to use forks.”


The use of condoms goes back many thousands of years. They went out of favour after the decline of the Roman Empire but re-emerged in the form of linen condoms in the 16th century – perhaps due to the fear of the disease syphilis. The church condemned condoms as a way for the devil to encourage elicit sex. One incensed churchman raged that “the use of these foul things allows people to play filthy persons greater than ever.”

 

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 and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)

 

 

relatedreading

Where Was the First Beauty Parlour in Carleton Place?

Men With Beards Don’t Have Bronchitis

To Die Dying Your Hair

Dead Ringers –To Live and Die in Morbid Times

Lois Lyman–A Hair of a Blunder!

Is Body Hair Something Women Should Be Ashamed Of?

Are You Giving Me a Perm or Making Egg Sandwiches?

I’m Every Woman?