This was my Grand Parents house, Michael and Julia McCann. The house was sold when they died but the back parcel of land was kept for sometime and we had a Christmas tree farm. The land was sold I think in 1982 or around there. I also had an Aunt, Alice Quinn who lived on Neopolitan Street. I believe Doris Quinn is doing a tree on the Quinn side. I have alot of history in Carleton Place and loved seeing the house.
Wes White-remember many meals and sleep overs within that house as a.kid. it was owned by the Noyse-Browns at that time.
John Morphy 1994-1860, eldest son was married in 1821 to Mary Willis, daughter of Thomas Willis of Morphy’s Falls. As Jennifer from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum said: “These were inhabitants of the new village, who were you going to marry? A Moore, Willis or Morphy– those were your choices”. So, Thomas and George Willis, gave their daughters in marriage to John and William Morphy.
John Morphy along with James Wallace and William Wilson of Ramsay township were the three intelligent farmers of the neighbourhood recommended by Robert Bell, Esquire, of Carleton Place in 1838 for appointment by the lieutenant commissioners to manage the semi-annual market fairs then being established by provincial charter to Carleton Place.
When the Carleton Place Mechanic’s associations and Library Association began in 1846 John Morphy was one of the original subscribing members. John’s farm house was located near the river at the east end of Mill Street. Its site was located between the present large stone textile mill building ( McArthur) and the CPR railroad line. (Right where the town yard is)
The last occupant of this home was the watchman of the Bates and Innes textile mill. Its timbers were still sound, when in the course of making a new road to the mill, it was dismantled.
At their farmhouse on the east end of Mill Street John and Mary Moore raised a family of six sons and six daughters. The eldest Elizabeth was said to be the first child born in the Morphy Falls settlement born May 5th 1822. John was a Baptist church member when he died in his home November 15,1860 at the age of 66.
Thanks to Doug Moffat for giving me these great notes by Howard Morton Brown.
With the Morphys and the Moores, the Willises long were among the widely known earliest owners of farm land coming within the present boundaries of the town. It is well recorded that the whole central section of the present town was first located to the Morphy and the Moore families in 1819 as Crown grants of farm land; the part extending north of Lake Avenue to four of the Morphys, and three hundred acres at the south side of Lake Avenue to three of the Moores. William Moore is said to have aided in the founding of the town by opening its first blacksmith shop in 1820, the first year of settlement as a community. About the same time the first marriages here were those of Sarah, daughter of George Willis, to William Morphy, and Mary, daughter of Thomas Willis, to John Morphy. Well known descendants of these families continue to live in the town and district.
In 1879 the hunters made their appearance on the Upper Mississippi Lake and many stories have been told of the slaughter of both wild geese and duck. The name of Glovers around Carleton Place and vicinity was synonymous with duck hunting Tom, Bill, Bob, Sime and Charlie were all crack shots against feathered fowl.
They killed them off by the thousand until the ducks changed their course again. Now the *Glovers are all dead and the old fear of the human enemy has been forgotten by the feathered creatures. In this region of the inland lakes that are tributaries to the Mississippi, such as Haley’s Lake, there were found a full perfect set of elk horns taken out of the mud of this lake in a perfect state of preservation, bleached white by the water and sun rays for hundreds of years.
The oldest records say that elk have not been known in that vicinity for many centuries. When Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano sailed into New York Bay in 1524, bison and elk ranged across most of the East. The deer of Beckwith were killed off for the meat. But the wholesale massacre of the elk, like that of the Buffalo, was carried on for the joy of seeing the great creatures fall in dying agony; and, in later years, by tusk hunters who were too lazy to be hide hunters. Travellers in Eastern Canada were obliged to record only the reminiscences of old settlers, or the discovery of fossil horns and skulls like that which was found in Haley’s Lake.
The Lanark County sportsmen built an old corduroy road into the hunting areas from the main highway between Carleton Place and Perth. It was a few miles off the highway that some remember from their boyhood days. It was natural feeding place where the water was shallow and there were plenty of rice and grass beds.
photo from jay playfair album from Laurie Yuill == Corduroy Road–
There were two outstanding drowning fatalities in the Mississippi. One in 1882 when Alex Gillies and Peter Peden, two of Carleton Place’s promising young men. They were drowned while duck hunting and their funeral was the largest and saddest cortege that passed through the streets of Carleton Place.
The second fatality was the drowning of Noble Bennett and Dick Willis in 1893 who were duck hunting. They were drowned in Kinch Bay and Willis was not found for some days. His body was found standing mired in the mud close to the rice beds; the top of his head was just below the water. Bennett’s body was found months later.
They built a a flat bottomed boat with plate glass in the bottom, three feet square, to be used by the searchers who lay prone on the bottom looking down into the water. Many of the old timers will remember this, and the sadness and gloom it cast over the village. They were both good swimmers, but their fate was claimed once again by the Mississippi Lake.
*Glovers-A young Glover child was killed by being crushed under a lumber yard wagon; Billy Glover fatally injured sliding down the Spring Street hill;
Under the title of the Carleton Place Game, Fish and Insectivorous Birds Protective Society it continued to operate for some years. Original officers of the group were William Pattie, president ; Jim Bothwell, vice president ; Walter Kibbee, secretary-treasurer, and committee members John Cavers, Tom Glover, John Moore, Jim Morphy and Jim Presley ; elected at a May meeting in the old fire hall on Bridge Street, when a constitution drawn up by Robert Bell was adopted. Glovers ran a carriage shop.
Plenty Canada, a non-profit Indigenous-based charity in Lanark County are starting a World Wildlife Federation funded field project to study wild rice in the surrounding area. The organizers have heard there could be beds of wild rice in Clayton Lake and contacted MVFN asking for local information on these, or possible locations.
If you are aware of any wild rice beds in any Lanark County lakes please get in touch with Shannon Farmer directly at Shannonfarmer@trentu.ca or (705)740-5874.
George Willis Jr. (1820-1892) succeeded his father on the farm at the end of Lake Avenue (Conc. 11, lot 12) and there brought up a family long known in Carleton Place, including Richard, drowned while duck hunting in November 1893, and George E. Willis, photographer, musician and bandmaster, who died in Vancouver in 1940 at age 96 while living with his son Stephen T. Willis of Ottawa business college fame; William and John H. of Carleton Place, and daughters including Jane, wife of James Morphy Jr. the son of “King James” of the pioneer Morphy family.
Willis home at the end of Lake Ave West-photo- Linda Seccaspina
The land surrounding the log cabin and bordering on the Mississippi River a short distance from Lake avenue,Carlo-ton Place, was known for many years as “the shanty field”–The Ottawa Journal Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 12 Dec 1935, Thu • Page 17
I posted this picture months ago wondering if it was the storm of 1976 or 1972 that downed this tree by the Willis House on Lake Ave West. Thanks to the collection of Wanda-Lee Morrison and the late Joan Kehoe I have found out.
The storm happened on my birthday, July 24, in 1972 and I would like to say now I had nothing to do with it. High winds and heavy rain caused widespread damage dropping power lines and uprooting trees. The storm of sudden intensity left Carleton Place residents without power for more than two hours with wind gusting more than 60 miles an hour toppling hydro poles. It also uprooted century old trees like the 100 foot Elm tree on High Street in the photo below. An estimated two inches of rain fell in less than 30 minutes.
The town’s largest industry Leigh Instruments Ltd. spent most of the afternoon in the darkness when its main power line sagged. The storm that began at 2 pm did have a fatality. A dog out for a stroll along Beckwith Street was electrocuted when struck by a hydro wire. Trees were blown down in the town’sparks with what Mayor Arnold Julian called the storm’s funnel.
Some have been quoted that God moves in a mysterious ways and he plants his footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm. Well, a religious gathering in Carleton Place’s Riverside Park was broken up that day in July when a 50-foot tent was ripped to shreds and blown away. No word if someone had made God angry that week in Lanark County, but the storm had actually been predicted to hit Ottawa and somehow that sucker just went south and hit Carleton Place.
In Riverside Park there lies a little-known site which is of some interest in the town’s history. It is found at the extreme end of the town’s park, close to the Mississippi River. This was a burial ground, where members of one of the first families of settlers of the town were laid in a now unmarked graveyard–the Willis family.
After the discovery of this small family graveyard, suggestion was made to council of years gone by that the area should be marked as a historical site by erection of a cairn. Pending the receipt of further particulars, no action by council was taken. The Carleton Place Canadian subsequently found from the late Alex John Duff, a Beckwith farmer, that he recalled this burial ground in his youth in the 1880s as being at that time a little cemetery about 15 or 20 feet square, a gravestone in which bore the name Catin Willis. The remains were later moved, and a small cairn was then placed at the site to remember the Willis Family.
Well, I’m talking about the little log house at the end of Lake Ave West in Carleton Place that everyone has driven by a million times. Did you know it was the oldest house in Carleton Place within the town limits, and it became a historical site in 1980? The owners spent several years trying to return the little house to its original state, and one of the first moves was to remove the siding and expose the original logs. It was built in 1820 by George Willis, an early Beckwith pioneer who was granted 100 acres to establish a farm. The first marriages in Carleton Place were those of Sarah, daughter of George Willis, to William Morphy, and Mary, daughter of Thomas Willis, to John Morphy. There was no choice really. The newspapers reported that they were arranged marriages, as the only other choice was the Moore family.
The house was to remain in the Willis family until 1871. Across the road from the house was the family cemetery. The little cemetery, about 15 or 20 feet square, is found at the extreme end of the town’s park, near Lake Avenue and close to the Mississippi River. This was a burial ground, where members of one of the first families of settlers of the town were laid in an unmarked graveyard. Discovery of this site in 1946 was reported at a Carleton Place Parks Commission meeting, at which the suggestion was made that the area should be marked as a historical site by erection of a cairn. Later the remains were exhumed and moved to the United Church cemetery. Thanks to our curator Jennifer Fenwick Irwin at our Museum she has sent me this picture.
Did you know the Carleton Place Orangemens Parade used to begin at the Willis house on the 12th of July? It was a marshaling ground and headquarters as the Willis boys were part of a third generation prominent among the performers in the bands. Word is the little house has only had less than five owners. When they renovated the home they found some coins, but Mary Cook wrote that the initials of John Willis were carved on one of the original logs years ago. Now that was an historical find!
And now you know the rest of the story 🙂
From Glenda Mahoney– Text reads the willis were one of the early irish settlers in carleton place. The old log house on lake avenue past the high school is the old willis house