Tag Archives: westport

Robert Andrew Augustine Kane Niki Bittle

Robert Andrew Augustine Kane Niki Bittle

If you’ve ever wondered what War really looks in the faces of the men and women fighting it, meet my 3rd Cousin Robert Andrew Augustine Kane, he shipped out June 1st 1915, he was killed in action December 12, 1915 after 194 days in hell. This is how 6 months 11 days of war ages the face of a 26 year old kid. (Photo 1) Roberts death was officially classified as “Wastage” by the Government of Canada because he wasn’t Frontline KIA, he was shot in the chest by the enemy while digging trenches for the front lines.

Niki Bittle text and photos

Bittle Family Genealogy- Photos- Nikki Bittle

Newspaper Clippings – Bittle McGlade Kane Stinson Kelley Family Genealogy — Nikki Bittle

Fresh Fairy Foot Marks Earth On a Charcoal Pit Westport Perth –McNamee

Fresh Fairy Foot Marks Earth On a Charcoal Pit  Westport Perth –McNamee


This is a story about Irish fairies in Canada, and the story began on the road from Perth to Westport. It was near the McNamee Farm which was at the foot of the mountain, just beyond the Scotch Line, not far from Stanleyville.  Among the stories is one which might lead to when the Irish immigrants came to the mountain top between Westport and Perth, in North Burgess. Apparently their particular family fairies came with them.

In the early 1850s Mr. McNamee’s father was working as a charcoal burner on the west, side of the mountain, close to Westport. With him he had as a helper a man named George Murphy. Those who understand charcoal burning will remember that when the wood used to be well lit it would be covered by a bed of sand or earth, so that the wood might be merely charred instead of being burned.

One morning when his father and George Murphy awoke they saw that the earth which they had put over the charcoal was covered with tiny footprints. The prints were about two inches long, and exactly the shape of a human foot. The marks of the heels and the toes were clear cut.

The whole surface of the pit was covered in tiny footprints and gave the impression that a number of little people had been dancing on the fresh earth surface. The two men were greatly surprised at what they saw. Neither had seen anything like it in Ireland. They had heard a great deal about fairies while back in the homeland, but had never seen any of their footprints.

The men were loath to disturb the earth and waited a long time for someone to come and verify what they had seen, but as nobody came they were forced finally to uncover the pit. If there has been any cameras in those days they might have taken a photo, but there were none, so they had no evidence to show their families and friends

Both Mr. McNamee and Mr. Murphy made wide inquiries as to whether anybody else had had a similar experience, but they could not find that anybody had. So they came to the conclusion that they had been specially favoured.  Some to whom they told the story suggested that the foot-marks were those of some small animal, but both men strongly averred that the marks were like those of miniature human feet much smaller than those of a new baby’s feet.


Mr. J. B. McNamee tells another story that about 1870, just after they were married, his father and his mother had an experience with a banshee. They had started home from a dance at a neighbour’s and were going by way of a bush road, when they heard nearby a weird cry, unlike anything human they had ever heard. It was a half sobbing, half moaning cry, as of something in dire distress. Mrs. McNamee said: “Maurice, can that be a banshee”?

As they were not far from the house of the dance, they decided to go back and let the people know what they heard. As they walked back they heard the cry a second time, and before they had reached the home of the neighbours, they had heard it a third time. When they told the neighbour and those who were still at the dance what they had heard, they all turned out to listen. But the cries were not repeated.

Three days later a man was killed in the bush close to the house where the dance was held. , Mr McNamee says the early settlers all believed in fairies, banshees and ghosts, and that ghost stories were the favourite amusement at every evening gathering. Ghosts were not talked about at barn-raisings or daytime gatherings, as there would not be any “kick” in talking about ghosts in the broad daylight. The telling of ghost stories gave every night gathering a “kick.”


Faeries on the Malloch Farm

The Faeries of McArthur Island- Dedicated to the Bagg Children

Oddities — Lanark County Puffball Mushrooms

Beware of the Lanark County Fairy Rings

The Banshee of Kingston Mills

The Sugar Bush Fairy Poem

The Dreams of a Sugar Plum Fairy

Perth – Westport Stage Over The Mountain was Romantic

Perth – Westport Stage Over The Mountain was Romantic

Scans for Facebook village4_crop-1.jpg

Westport from the Mountain, showing the heavily-wooded harbour-Rideau District Museum


In 1861 a stage between the two points twice a week and it gave travellers a kick.  If you have ever come down that road you know back in those days it must have had a spice of danger in it. With the steep hills and bad roads it would have made a heck of a reality show today.

The mail stage between Perth and Westport used to be an institution until the government started the rural mall service for the benefit of the farmers. The Perth-Westport mail which ran from Perth to Westport “over the mountain,” a distance of about 25 miles, had a stage route which had a romantic touch to it.

It wasn’t like the old stage routes in the level country in the Ottawa district years ago. There was a spice of danger in a trip from Perth to Westport. The road ran up and down some pretty bad hills. It had sharp turns and one who travelled that way never knew when an upset might take place from the high coach. Even those who travel that road today find a thrill in the route.

When the mail coach started running, things were different. One did not know whether the stage would get through or not. The road was very bad in places and the stage was often delayed by weather or other bad conditions. – The Perth-Westport mail stage in the early days made trips twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays. It made the return trip each mail day. When the stage left Westport and started up the long steep hill to the mountain top, the passengers sometimes had to get out and help push. The stage as a rule carried about 6 passengers and stage day used to be a big day on the mountain top. The farmers always left their work and came down to the roadside at stage time to see the stage go by and pass greetings with Andy Hobin, the stage driver.

If the stage was not late Andy would always stop a minute and tell the latest news in Westport or in Perth, as the case might be. In those early days everyone was news hungry and the mountain people being isolated were particularly hungry.

The mountain farmers always went to their gates on mail days to “see who was travelling,” as well as to hear the news. It was some thing to be able to tell that Pat Monahan had gone down to Perth, or that Mike Sheehan had gone to Westport.

In winter the Perth-Westport stage often had a hard time. Sometimes a blizzard would come up and the stage would have to stop and both driver and passengers would have to  be put up at farm houses wherever the block came. The McNamee family said their father often accommodated as many as six people with lodging and meals for a day or more.

Sometimes in the Winter the stage would have to stop altogether for weeks, as the mountain road would be sealed tight by drifts. Not even the local farmers could get to town during these periods. For years the Perth-Westport road has not heard the sound of the mail-stage horn, and the road has thereby lost some of its charm. The road  now is taken by American and other tourists, who visit the lake country but it will always be one of the most picturesque roads in the area.




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 (USACome 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

Ottawa to Perth in One Day!! James Copeland

Stagecoaches and Mail Carriers of the Past –Photos

The Last Stagecoach Driver in Lanark County

Hogging Buffalo Robes will not be Tolerated on a Stagecoach

So Where was McGonigal’s Livery Stable?

The Appleton Mail Man Who Always Got Things Straightened Away

The Westport Jamboree — Looking for Photos

The Westport Jamboree — Looking for Photos


Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Journal,
  2. 16 Jul 1960, Sat,
  3. Page 38



It all started reading about Charlie Leech and if you don’t know about him, you can read all about him here. CLICK HERE

Then people began to talk about the Westport Jamboree.. If any of you have photos we would love to see them.


David Ferguson Was not Charlie Leech the Father of Dorothy Bresee (Daryl Bresee) I Stayed at a white stucco farmhouse for a couple summers at a farm Leech (1954 and 1955) . The farm was between Newboro and Crosby ? Am I close to being correct or am I way off. Mrs Leech and Daryl’s mom made Dandelion wine for medicinal purposes only – grin. It always appeared at the Chaffey’s Locks summer Sunday picnics. As kids it seemed a wobbly drive home after. GRIN

Jacky Brady Wasn’t Charlie Leech the founder of Camp IAWAH on Wolfe Lake??

David Ferguson Well Cam Iawah was a great Church Camp for us, met my first girlfriend there and remained friends for more than 20 years. No idea who started it but well done as I recall at least as a camper.

Christina Card I asked mom, Jacky, and she said Charlie Leech was indeed the founder of Camp Iawah.

Rita Moore Christine Janeway Svendsen, would you know the years, that the fair was in Westport. I remember going as a young girl, was it held where the community centre is now.???? Thanks for you help and your postings always enjoy.


David Ferguson The fair was certainly there for quite some time I suspect when the new fire hall was built that it stopped – not sure would that be around 62-63? . But we sure had fun the cotton candy was of course great, I used to hang out at the wheels of chance. The Ferris wheel was not that high but was always scary for me. I never liked the ring on the bottle cause it just never worked. My sister used to win stuff a lot. I think the art show is a real draw and so much better.

David Ferguson For us the real fun was the Friday and Saturday night dances at Scotts ballroom.

Christine Janeway Offhand I don’t know for sure when the fairs were in town, but when I get back into the Museum in the spring I’ll see what I can find out.

Rita Moore I would say that were still coming up until aleast 1958-59, was great fun. And yes the dances at Scott’s ballroom were the best……….

Jacky Brady David Ferguson I think you are recalling the “Jamboree”. It was sponsored each summer by the Lions Club. There was a ferris wheel, merry-go-round, bingo, crown and anchor etc. It ran until at least the mid ’70’s. It was a summer highlight for us Westport kids.

David Ferguson Indeed that was it wow into the 70’s? I left to go to school in 66 so missed a lot of stuff after that.

Donna Richardson I always understood the “Jamboree” here in town ended when it was pretty much rained out one year and the “carnies” were so disgusted with the poor turnout, they emptied the sewage from their trailers along Concession St. as they left town. The town had to clean the road and was so upset with them, they were never invited back. After that I believe we had a small circus come to town and the RCMP Musical Ride came for the centennial in 1967. Certainly once the firehall was built and improvements made to the ball field, there was never a fair as we remember it.

Cheryl Ready Jamboree was definitely there in the early seventies as I was living there then. I think I had a budget of four dollars to last the whole fair.

Christine Janeway I can definitely remember some sort of fair down by the arena when I was younger, and I was born in ’72, so there was something still going in the latter part of the 70’s…

Rita Moore Jacky Brady, That is right Jacky—now I remember it was called the Jamboree…. How we looked forward to that coming to town..

Susan Beamish oh the memories My mom sitting at the bingo and me running back every hour for some more change please and don’t forget the swings they were my favorite… Twisting it up before you took off so you spun around like crazy..

Cheryl Ready I loved the swings. Great memories.


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 and The Tales of Almonte

  1. relatedreading


The Beginning of Things in Westport

Foley Mountain Conservation Area History Information

Foley Mountain Conservation Area History Information
Jennifer E. Ferris– our Lanark historian and apple gal–Lost Lanark Legacy Fruit Trees– Need Help! sent this to me after Leah Roberts, B.A., B.Ed responded to her query.
Foley Mountain Conservation Area
History Information
Declan Finbar Foley
Born in Youghal, County Cork, Ireland, 1819
Came to Westport before Confederation
He and his wife raised 16 children here.
Considered one of the first families to own most of the land that is
today a part of Westport.
It is said that he wanted to own everything that could be seen from his
general store on Main Street (the store still exists as a private
residence at 45 Main Street) including today’s Foley Mountain.
Jake Barnhart
Jake Barnhart, a Native man, had a cabin close to the current site of
the Foley Mountain Interpretive Centre. Mr. Barnhart had a small farm
with crops and livestock the grazed the now regenerating forest
surrounding the Interpretive Centre. He and his daughter eventually
moved into town and the cabin began to deteriorate.
Current members of the Friends of Foley Mountain Board of Directors
remember playing in “Jake’s House” when they were children. By this
time, the building was in a quite state of disrepair but made for an
exciting adventure for local children. People recall that the walls were
lined with old newspaper for insulation. They also remember climbing
the rickety stairs to the second floor and exploring what was left of the
living space. Horseshoes and nails can still be found around the site of
the cabin.
Formation of Foley Mountain Conservation Area
Harold Foley, a descendant of Declan, left the mountain property to the
government when he died with instructions that it be preserved as a
natural area.
The land was purchased in 1970 by the Rideau Valley Conservation
Authority with other parcels of land being acquired later on to create
the conservation area as it is known today.

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

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




The Beginning of Things in Westport



Jennifer E Ferris…..

Looking for Information on an Almonte Photo


The Townend Saga is Solved

Jennifer E Ferris

Lost Lanark Legacy Fruit Trees–

Need Help!


A.C. Burgess “Dining Hall Carleton Place” 1885

Henry Lang and His Lanark County Magic Barn?

The Hopetown General Store– Looking for Memories

Please take the Devil Out of Me? Rev. James Wilson of Lanark

Please take the Devil Out of Me? Rev. James Wilson of Lanark


Photo Lost Ottawa Photo Lost Ottawa–Image source: Library & Archives Canada

Abbie Gourgon on Lost Ottawa–This is rather a long shot, but I was hoping someone on here might recognize the house in this photograph from circa. 1910. The photographer was James Christopher Donaldson, whose studio was on Sparks Street

Jaan Kolk– (Linda’s historical lifesaver 🙂 A search for “Donaldson Studio” at LAC turns up only one hit:

“Unidentified house on mount stamped with ‘Donaldson Studio, 202 1/2 Sparks Street, Ottawa, Ontario.’ “

So, the question Jaan asked which I found quite amusing was: It is identified as part of the collection of Rev. James Wilson of Lanark. One wonders if the “Devil’s Lake” pennant on the building (look closely) wasn’t a bit of ironic humour for the good Presbyterian minister.

Author’s Note: Knowing the once piousness of Lanark County I doubt it, but sometimes one would like to think humour might be afoot.


1960 collector’s plate for St. Andrew’s United Church, Lanark–Kijiji-


Perth Courier, July 10, 1896

St. Andrew’s Church, Lanark, Historical Sketch by Rev.D. M. Buchanan, B.A.


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Photo- Archives Canada thanks to Jaan Kolk

The village of Lanark is situated on the River Clyde and is near the center of the county of Lanark.  The name “Lanark” and “Clyde” betray the origins of the early settlers who came chiefly from Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire, Scotland, many of them were Paisley weavers.  The first to settle in this vicinity was a ship load of immigrants from Scotland, who arrived near the present site of this village in the latter part of the summer of 1820 and who spent the first winter in the land of their adoption encamped on the hill near where the Episcopal Church now stands.  Though assisted by the government to make a start in this new land—then a wild forest—they nevertheless had to endure indescribable hardships and troubles.

In October, 1831 the contracts for building a manse were issued.  Messrs. Drysdale and Hay contracted for the mason work for 57 pounds.  The stone house now known as the old manse, was completed the following summer and continued to be used as the manse upwards of 62 years when it was sold to Rev. Mr. Wilson on his retirement.

On May 6, 1862, Rev. James Wilson, M.A., began his ministry and was regularly inducted to the pastorate on June 11, 1862.  The induction service was held in the Town Hall, the new church not being yet completed.  Mr. Wilson was for three years a missionary under the Colonial Committee in Nova Scotia and having returned to Scotland was minister of Maxwelton Church, Dumfries for a short time.  He came then to Canada and officiated for a short time on St. Joseph Street, Montreal.  The elders of the congregation at the time of Mr. Wilson’s induction were Messrs. Robert Mason, Alexander Stewart, Robert James and Peter McLaren (teacher) and the membership of the church numbered 106.  The congregation had been for some time wading in deep water and the finances were in a very unsatisfactory state the congregation being then deeply involved in debt.  The collection per Sabbath amounted to only sixty cents.  However, under the new minister the work revived and the people received fresh inspiration and entered upon the work with renewed energy and zeal.  The new church being completed a few months after Mr. Wilson’s induction, was opened on Sabbath, August 10, 1862.  The Rev. Mr. Wilson preached the first sermon at the opening of the church from Ezra vi:14 “and they builded and finished it according to the commandment of the God of Israel”.

On December 20 of the same year, Messrs. James McIlquham and John Brown were ordained as elders.  It can therefore be seen that Mr. McIlquham is the oldest elder in the congregation and is the only member of the session as it was constituted in the first year of Rev. Wilson’s pastorate that is now with us.  He is now in the 34th year of active service in the session.  Other ordinations to the eldership during Mr. Wilson’s time are as follows:  on September 20, 1868, Charles McIlraith and Robert Fleming were ordained and John Nicol was admitted to the session having acted as elder before coming within the bounds of the congregation.  On June 24, 1876, Robert James, Jr., George Blair and Andrew Blair were ordained.  Of these, Charles McIlraith and George Blair are still members of the session but all the others have gone to meet their eternal reward with the exception of John Brown who removed several years ago to the U.S. and Andrew Baird who is now serving as elder in Middleville.

The introduction of the organ to aid in the service of praise was a matter that agitated the congregation during the first decade of Mr. Wilson’s pastorate to some extent.  Some were in favor of its introduction whilst others had conscientious scruples against what has often under such circumstances been termed as a mark of reproach “the kist o’ whistles”.  But to the credit of the congregation—the organ was introduced in the latter part of 1872 with almost the unanimous consent of the congregation and has ever since been used as a means to aid the singing.

At the close of the year 1892 after a long pastorate of over 30 years, the Rev. Mr. Wilson feeling the infirmities of age, retired from the active duties of the ministry, the congregation granting him the use of the manse for life, which arrangement  was afterwards changed to selling to Mr. Wilson the manse property for $450.  Under Mr. Wilson’s pastorate the congregation made considerable progress.  Having found it in unfavorable financial circumstances he left it in good financial standing.  The weekly collection had risen from sixty cents to about four dollars and the membership had increased to 128.  The attendance at the Sabbath School was about 60.

In so long a pastorate, the congregation passed through many experiences and the pastor had his days of discouragement as well as sunshine.  Probably the most trying period of Mr. Wilson’s pastorate were to have on more than one occasion has work interrupted by the introduction into the community of self elected and self named evangelists who would be better described as fire brands destroying the peace and retarding the progress of the Church of Christ.  In the midst of such scenes and against the opprobrium of those who were carried off their feet with the wave of popular excitement, Mr. Wilson remained true to his sacred trust and maintained the doctrine of the Word of God at all hazards.  To Mr. Wilson’s steadfastness to the doctrine of Presbyterianism, yea to the truths of the Gospel and to those staunch and stalwart Christians who stood by him in the face of all such waves of excitement must in a large measure be attributed the solid foundation of Presbyterianism in Lanark today.  Mr. Wilson is still with us and it is the prayer of his many friends that he may be long spared to enjoy his well earned rest and to spend the evening of his life among us.

After Mr. Wilson’s resignation, the pastorate was vacant for over six months during which time candidates were being heard.  At a meeting of the congregation on the 4th of June, 1893, Rev. D.M. Buchanan, B.A., was called and at that meeting it was also agreed to sell the old manse property and proceed to build a new one.  Mr. Buchanan having agreed to accept the call, was inducted by the Presbytery of Lanark and Renfrew in the church on July 20.  The elders at the time of his induction were Messrs. McIlquham, Blair, Charles McIlraith and Robert James who died a few months afterwards.  Nearly three years have elapsed under the present pastorate during which time the congregation has made rapid progress but the history and details of these years must be left to be written by another pen.  Permit us, however, to give a few of the leading particulars and the present numerical strength of the congregations.  The new manse which cost about $1,825 was completed and the minister’s family began to occupy it in December, 1893.  During the following summer, commodious sheds for the horses costing in all about $325 were built.  Additions were made to the session as follows:  on January 7, 1894 Peter Duncan was ordained as elder and on September 23 of the same year Messrs. John Smith, John Manahan and Stewart McIlraith were ordained.


Perth Courier, December 5, 1879

Graham-James—Married, on the 19th (?) Nov., at the residence of the bride’s father, by Rev. James Wilson, Lanark, Mr. William H. Graham, Cumberland, Ontario, to Miss Ellen James, daughter of Mr. Robert James, Esq., Lanark.

Campbell-Shanks—Married, on the 17th Nov., at the residence of the bridegroom’s father, Dalhousie, by Rev. James Wilson, Lanark, Mr. John A. Campbell to Miss Catherine Shanks, daughter of Mr. Samuel Shanks, Esq.

Perth Courier, Jan. 2, 1880

McCurdy-Crawford—Married, on the 17th Dec., at the Manse, Lanark, by Rev. James Wilson, Mr. John McCurdy to Miss Agnes Crawford, youngest daughter of Mr. Robert Crawford, Esq., Drummond.

McDougall-Johnson—Married, on the (date illegible) December, at the Clyde (?) Hotel, Lanark, by Rev. James Wilson, Mr. Charles McDougall to Miss Sarah Ann Johnson, daughter of Mr. Arthur Johnson, Esq., of the same place.
Perth Courier, Feb. 13, 1880

Stead-Lee—Married, at the Clyde Hotel, Lanark, on the 29th Jan., by Rev. James Wilson, Mr. William Stead to Miss Catharine Jane Lee, daughter of the late Mr. Peter Lee, Esq., and granddaughter of Mr. John Donald, Esq., all of Dalhousie.

McDonald-Purdon—Married, at the Clyde Hotel at Lanark on the 7th Feb. by Rev. James Wilson, Mr. Alexander McDonald to Miss Jennie Purdon, daughter of Mr. William Purdon, Esq., Dalhousie.

Perth Courier, July 9, 1880
McFarlane-Dobbie—Married, at the Clyde Hotel, Lanark, on the 23rd June, by Rev. James Wilson, Mr. James McFarlane of Drummond to Miss Charlotte E. Dobbie, eldest daughter of Mr. Thomas Dobbie of Lanark.

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Terry Anderson from  Lost Ottawa As soon as I zoomed in on that house I thought “cottage.” I think the pendant on the front porch says Devils Lake. There is a Devil Lake about half-way between Smith’s Falls and Kingston – south west of SF, almost due north of Kingston. The front porch has a hammock, rocking chairs, and everyone looks pretty relaxed. Might this be some family’s summer place at the lake?

Author’s Note–  Terry Anderson –AGREED–I am wondering if the Devil’s Lake marked on the pennant is not a cottage at Devil’s Lake 10 minutes out of Westport? In looking at the residential buildings in that area it seems there are a lot of older homes that make up the area.

Jaan Kolk- The lake near Westport seems to have been consistently called “Devil Lake” while the pennant appears to say “Devil’s Lake” (with a very prominent apostrophe.) Given that the photo was in the family collection of Presbyterian minister Rev. James Wilson, it seems quite plausible that the devilish pennant was placed on the summer home as a wry joke – so it may be a red herring as a clue to the location.

So What do you think?

Red Herring? Joke? Or Name of Lake?

The Old StoreThis beautiful, fully winterized 3 bedroom cottage / home on Devil Lake is full of history. It is the original corner store & post office in the quaint settlement of Bedford Mills–

Jaan Kolk- This is a bit of a long shot, but the house looks somewhat like the old manse at Lanark – perhaps at a different time. Does anyone have other pictures of the old Presbyterian Manse at Lanark (built 1832)?

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.


Did You Know They Moved St. Paul’s Cemetery?

The Jaan Kolk Files

Did You Know we Once Had a Grand Hotel? The Grand Central Hotel

The Cholera Epidemic of 1911

The Ashton Hotel– Questions Questions Flemmings and McFarlanes

Benoit & Richardson Photo– a Mystery

Before there was Baker Bob’s There was The Almonte Bakery

Does Anyone Remember Cohen’s in Lanark Village?

The Children of Ross Dhu –Evacuation to Canada

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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!–


Here we go Carleton Place– Mark Your Calendars–
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!–

Join us and learn about the history under your feet! This year’s St. James Cemetery Walk will take place Thursday October 19th and october 21– Museum Curator Jennfer Irwin will lead you through the gravestones and introduce you to some of our most memorable lost souls!
Be ready for a few surprises along the way….
This walk takes place in the dark on uneven ground. Please wear proper footwear and bring a small flashlight if you like.
Tickets available at the Museum, 267 Edmund Street. Two dates!!!

OCT 28th
Downtown Carleton Place Halloween Trick or Treat Day–https://www.facebook.com/events/489742168060479/

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The Beginning of Things in Westport


Perth Courier, September 21, 1934

Stirring Events Marked the Early Days of Westport


The Cove Country Inn has been a Westport landmark for a very long time. —From Westport’s Pinterest Page

And now we come to the beginning of things in Westport, that snug little village on the Rideau Lakes about 32 miles this side of Kingston.  Thomas Joseph Quinn of 217 Besserer Street, Ottawa, was born about three miles from Westport 83 years ago and lived and labored there for a great many years and later moved to Perth before going to Ottawa.  Mr. Quinn is one of the few remaining links between the present and Westport’s pioneer days and is wonderfully active for a man of his age and has an excellent memory.  He has given us a life like description of that village as it was when he was a boy.   Mr. Quinn’s father, the late Thomas Quinn, came out from the north of Ireland about the beginning of the 19th century and settled in the township of North Crosby where there was no sign of a village.  There were a few scattered settlers in the district but things were still in a very primitive state.  A few of those rugged path finders who had already established homes in the forest vastness and whose names may be associated with the founding of the village of Westport were Thomas Manion, James McGough, Hughie Burns, James Lappon, Bernard Trainor and John McGlade.  Years before the village came into being, early settlers erected a little log school house on the boundary line between North Crosby and Burgess and it was there that the children of the pioneer settlers in both townships received their education.  Some of them had to walk three or four miles over rough forest trails to reach school.



From Westport’s Pinterest Page


The first school master that Mr. Quinn remembers was one Thomas Gash(?) Cash(?) who in early life had suffered an injury to his right leg and as a consequence walked with a considerable limp.  Mr. Gash was succeeded by Barney Stanley who hailed from Stanleyville in the township of Burgess.  A few of Mr. Quinn’s school mates were John Quigley; Barney, John and Rosie McGlade; James Thompson; John Thompson; William Thomas; Bridget and Mary Manion; Betsey McGalde; Patrick Hynes; Laurence and Mike Bennett; and Charles and John McShane.

Mr. Quinn states that as far as he can recollect, the first merchants in the village of Westport were Alexander Arnold and John Foley.  Both kept general stores dealing in dry goods, hardware, groceries, produce, etc. One of the leading men in the community at the time was a W. H. Fredenburgh, who conducted a grist mill and was reeve of North Crosby.  In the very early days there were no fewer than five blacksmiths in the village.  They were Joseph Skillington, Peter Donnally, Mike Adams, Mike Bennett and John Dwyer.





In the early ‘60’s the town boaster a population of 300 souls, a busy main street, three churches, a fine school house, several hotels and many fine residences.  By that time the firm of Folsom, Arnold and Co, had established a reputation as the leading lumber manufacturer in the county of Leeds.  They also had mills in Albany, New York.  Some of the leading men in the business and social life of the community at that time were Robert F. Birch, tailor; Robert Brash(?), grocer and carpenter; Thomas Bowes, inn keeper; John Butterworth, weaver; Francis A. Cameron, hotel keeper; John Clark, physician and surgeon; George Douglas, shoe maker; Rev. John V. Foley, parish priest; James Kehoe, inn keeper; James Kelly, shoe maker; Peter Kelly, wagon maker; Joseph C. Lingo(?), blacksmith; Rev. Stephen McEathron, Baptist minister; John McGregor, bailiff; John McGuire, teacher; George Murphy, blacksmith; John O’Brien, shoe maker; James Truelove, joiner; William Watt, grocer; and Walter Whelen, post master and general store keeper.

1920, brockville-westport train near the lyndhurst, ontario station circa 1920_.jpg

1920, Brockville-Westport train near the Lyndhurst, Ontario station c. 1920-Lower Beverley Lake Association

Mr. Quinn relates that when the post office was first established in Westport the villagers had to send to Brockville and Kingston for their mail.  There was no stage operating between these points at that time and as yet very few horses were available in the district so they used miles for the purpose.

In those days North Crosby and Burgess were full of “scrappies”, big, husky farmers who were ready to scrap on the slightest provocation and who took delight in demonstrating their ability along these lines.  Most of the impromptu fights for which the early days were noted took place at the fall fair.  Some times it would be a grudge fight but more often there would be no apparent reason for the hostilities other than a desire to show off.

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From Lost Ottawa–Sunday Drive, featuring Bennett’s Service Station, which you would undoubtedly need on your trip to Westport from Lost Ottawa.
Shared by Victoria Edwards, who add a link.Bruce Bennett service station, Westport, Ontario http://villageofwestport.ca/discover-west…/vintage-westport/



Wherever these battles were staged there was no interference.  Always a ring was formed around the combatants and they were not only permitted but encouraged to fight it out to a finish—until one or the other had thrown up the sponge.  Time and again these physical contests were waged right on the main street of the village.  Mr. Quinn recalls one occasion when two huskies of the village staged a grudge fight in front of one of the stores.  During the melee one man chewed the others thumb right off.  Court proceedings followed and at a cost to the chewer of $200.

Mr. Quinn states that he was the man who erected the first light on Westport’s main street, opposite Foley’s General Store.  It was a coil-oil lamp hung on a stout cedar post.  He was designated to keep the lamp filled and the light on.  He usually filled the lame every second night.  Later in his career he conducted a hotel known as the “American House”.  At that time there were two other hotels in the village, the Windsor, operated by Patrick Curry and the Wardrope which was on Bedford Street but Mr. Quinn cannot recall the name of the proprietor.




Mr. Quinn relates that during the fall of each year horse races were run on the main street of the village.  Farmers in their old fashioned gigs would line up at one end of the street and race to the other end and back again while both sides of the street would be lined with spectators from all parts of Burgess and North Crosby.  He stated that at one time he owned a horse named “Limber Jim” who could beat all comers.

Mr. Quinn could recall many of the old barn dances which were “great affairs”.  In those days there were some fine clog dancers in the district.  These included John McGlade and his sister Rosie.  Then there was a Miss Trainor who was a splendid fiddler.  She was a blind girl and her services were always in demand.

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

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


Let’s Talk About the Loon in the Room


14054113_1150097068422849_2165151857361182239_n (1).jpgPhoto Lost Ottawa

Last week Lost Ottawa posted this question:

A Saturday Drive, a Roadside Attraction, and a Lost Ottawa Evening Puzzler, too!

You are heading for Westport. You turn off Highway 15 and you get to Newboro. And there you see behind a barbed-wire fence an imprisoned 20 foot-high duck — correction, loon.

Anyone know the story behind the duck?

Well there were comments– first one being that it was a loon not a duck.

llan DaviesI used to own the old house beside the loon, and walked past it every day going to the post office. The house was built in about 1875, and there were iron mines in the area around that time. The well water in the taps still gets its rusty colour because of that.

Barb Orr RenaudIt is a loon and has been there for years although it didn’t always have a fence around it.

Kathy BobynIt was used as a float in Canada Day parades.



Photo year 2000–by Nan Lowe

So what can our Lanark County folks add to this story– so we can offer our theories to Lost Ottawa.