Tag Archives: winter

Sand in the Trunk and Other Winter Things – Linda Knight Seccaspina

Sand in the Trunk and Other Winter Things – Linda Knight Seccaspina

Sand in the Trunk and Other Winter Things – Linda Knight Seccaspina

Two months ago I got my winter tires on my car. As I listened to the roar of the heavier tires, and watched them throw my tire sensor system out of whack, I had to laugh at some old memories.

My late husband Angelo used to argue that winter tires were “for people from Toronto who have to call in the army to shovel the sidewalks when it snows.” That was until one day he backed down my father’s snowy Miltimore driveway in Bromont and removed part of his fence. Not content with believing his Delta 88 could do such a thing he attempted to reverse again, only this time he hit the mailbox.

Through the years as he got older he began to realize living in a rural area needed snow tires. One day I overheard Angelo tell my oldest son Sky to get his head out of the sand and put some winter tires on his car. I just smiled and realized things just take time to sink in. It was similar to that proudest moment of being a parent when my child agreed it was finally cold enough to wear a hat.

Arthur Knight, my late Dad, always insisted that you kept bags of sand in the trunk for traction in case you got stuck in the winter. His 70s Ford Pinto was loaded to the brim with bags of sand, and when I went to visit him he always insisted on tossing some in my trunk too.  

It was supposed to add weight, and if I ever got stuck, the sand could be used for traction, he said. I never actually got stuck, so I never had to use the sand.  He said he learned the hard way hitting every ditch on the Brome Pond road one winter with no sand or salt in the trunk and a bunch of lightweights riding in his car with him. Somehow I doubt that a couple of sandbags, add or subtract anything is meaningful to the traction of a vehicle today that already weighs a few tons when empty, plus a few hundred pounds with a driver and passenger. But, weight was significant in the days of rear wheel drive, because most of the weight was in the front. I can well remember in my youth, the only way I got up an icy hill (not having heeded my father’s advice about the sand) was to have a couple of my friends climb into the trunk to put some weight over the back wheels.

Every year AAA publishes advice for winter driving and putting sand or litter in the back of a car is always on the list. I personally prefer cat litter because it’s relatively inexpensive (non clumping, non scented) and provides decent traction.

I decided to look this traction myth up on Snopes.com and the page was completely blank. Had Arthur Knight had it all wrong? I found a few discussions on a few automotive boards and one man had this to say.

“So while extra weight generally improves traction, the only safe place to put it is in between the wheels. That’s why, for traction, we suggest car-pooling. In fact, when recruiting car-poolers, you could start by putting up a sign at Weight-Watchers.”

After more research I decided to go back to Snopes where I found another link about the topic. Again the page was blank and the lone entry was about a woman called *“The Human Couch”.

Word on the street goes that a very large woman had to be brought to the ER after she had experienced shortness of breath. While they attempted to undress her an asthma inhaler fell out of one of the folds of her arm. A shiny new dime was under her breast and a TV remote control was found somewhere else on her body. Her family was extremely grateful that she was okay, and that they found the remote.

It’s easy to see I don’t care for Winter one bit, and if there is one good thing that comes out of snow, cold and ice is the fact I haven’t seen a mosquito in a really long time.

*( Brown, Mark.  Emergency! True Stories from the Nation’s ERs. –New York: Villard Books, 1997.   ISBN 0-312-96265-7   (pp. 32-33).

Findlay vs. Bailey in Carleton Place —Horses vs. Cars

When was the First Car Fatality in Carleton Place?

When Things Come 360 –The First Automobile Fatality in Carleton Place– Torrance, Burgess, and Names Names

The Carleton Place Bathroom Appliance Cars

Rollin’ Down the Mississippi River —- Tunes and Cars of Carleton Place 1971

You Need to be Heroic to Live in Lanark — A Letter from 1907

You Need to be Heroic to Live in Lanark — A Letter from 1907

The Lanark Era

Lanark, Ontario, Canada30 Jan 1907, Wed  •  Page 1

Local News and Farming–More Letters from Appleton 1921-Amy and George Buchanan-Doug B. McCarten

Dissecting a Letter to the Editor — Isabel Aitken Ranney and Auld Kirk

Clippings and a Letter from Sadie Coleman –Robert Keith Duffett Coleman

Forgotten Letters – William Findlay- Almonte Memories –The Buchanan Scrapbook

Letter to the Editor– Chief Dougherty Does not Have the Best Firetruck!

1907 POSTCARD – VILLAGE OF LANARK. This postcard is from my personal collection of Perth and area scenes. It depicts the Village of Lanark looking northward on George Street. Caldwell’s Store and residence on the left with Caldwell’s Mill back left. To the right on the corner partially hidden is the Clyde Hotel. The postcard was sent to Miss Amy Caldwell of Caldwell Mills from Alice Quinn. The card reads. “Lanark, April 11, 07. My dear friend: I should have written before now but failed. How are you getting along and Alex also? From your former teacher Alice Quinn”. On the front it reads, “Clyde Forks can’t come up with this – eh

Community Plowing Way Back Then —

Community Plowing Way Back Then —

Wilda WhyteI think that pic is on Rossetta road by Stewart Rodger old farm plow truck most likey Edwin Mckirdy Laurie Whyte.

Karen LloydWilda Whyte I think you are right. That old truck is in the Museum in Ottawa.

Karen Lloyd=Stuart McIntosh no…he didn’t buy the plow until the early 50s.

Ray ThompsonLooks like his for sure. I was luckily enough to get a ride in it. Driver side was on the right. He operated the wing and drove

Stuart McIntoshElvin McKay had an army truck like that he used to clear lanes around Union Hall area.

Lyall MckayStuart McIntosh it appears to be a vee plough his was a straight plough made from a steam engine boiler

Valerie RodgerSure looks like the trees at Stewart & Isobel’s lane way.

Stuart McIntoshThanks for the pic Lyle. Great memories of that truck.

Stuart McIntoshI believe you sat on the right side to drive it. Barely enough clearance to park it at the back of his garage.

Peter MclarenErwin Gibson and Johnny Gibson both had army trucks that plowed township roads.

Robert ShanksClearing was done by Big Hitches of horses pulling and pushing road graders. The ones out front did the pulling while the ones out back pushed on an angle to stop the plow from being pushed sideways by the forces on the plow blade!

. A wintery day in the Eastern Townships of Quebec where I was born.. 1937.. Can you imagine?

Jennifer E Ferris
March 1, 2021  · 

Tonight’s snow squall on the way home. Can’t see 1/2 a km, maybe a 1/4.
Glad to be home.
Wicked north wind driving the snow across

Blair T. Paul, Artist – Canadian and International
December 27, 2021 at 12:11 PM  · 

This is what winters used to look like…when snow came in December on a regular basis and lasted until March. As a boy in Poland, where this picture was taken in the 1940s, it meant great sleigh riding and snow forts, but what a job to keep the road open!
Teams of horses pulled wooden ploughs to keep a track open, and in this photo my great Uncle Robert MacDougall is standing on the sleigh, and I think Lennox Paul may be on the right. Aunt Jessie Paul’s house and the United Church are seen in the background

One Snowy Night in Carleton Place — A Short Memoir by Dennis Lloyd

The Snowstorm of March 1947 – Jim Houston

Ya call that a Snowstorm? Linda’s Mailbag

To All the Snowmageddons I Have Loved Before

Let’s Just “Gruel” in the New Year

Let’s Just “Gruel” in the New Year

When I used to watch old movies as a child; gruel was served to orphans as an economic necessity. You certainly couldn’t feed hundreds of children steak and eggs on the city’s dime and Dickens loved using gruel as a metephor for cruelty. The Dickensian delights of the Victorian workhouse, immortalised in the moment when a starving Oliver Twist dares to ask for some more watery gruel.

In my family–the gruel came with much praise and many comments every day in January — undoubting the decision of its wholesomeness along with a small side bowl of prunes for everyone’s constitution. In today’s realm it would be much like yogurt attempts to advertise for the thoughts of regular constitution.

Gruel can actually be quite tasty they say. Mary Louise Deller Knight’s was not. Like the 1976 tune “Give Peace a Chance” I was instructed to give gruel a chance- every single day. The thin porridge has had a bad reputation with me ever since. My grandmother decided the month of January should be dedicated to getting everyone’s body ready for the rest of the Winter and layers of morning gruel lining my intestines would do it.

You know maybe if Grammy had followed the old recipe above I might have given it a chance. But- she made her slushy gruel, containing oats, water, milk and onion. That’s right — onion. As my grandfather would say:

“There’s no flavour at all without the onion.”

I begged to differ.

As she rejoyced about it ‘sticking to my insides’, today I would have retorted, “They call that Dysphagia!” In yesterday’s life it was “eat your meals or starve.”

Today, in these nutritionally conscious times, gruel is an all-rounder. It’s got all the carbs and water you need to barely survive for another day. For the health-conscious gruel can be made more interesting by adding bee pollen, maca, hemp seeds, coconut butter, lentil sprouts or fermented tree-nut cheese. Consider yourself warned this might become a new food trend!

Me? I think I will just eat my ethically-sourced, fair trade hat and avoid it like the Black Plague.

More gruel recipes click here.

Pease Pudding in the Pot, Nine Days Old

It’s Too Cold to Be Pretty — Winter 2021

It’s Too Cold to Be Pretty — Winter 2021

February 19, 2021

It’s too Cold to Be Pretty

I live in an old home that was built in 1867 and various additions were added throughout the years. Everything was built with stone– and the walls are three feet thick. The thickness of the walls holds the heat away for a week in the hot summer and then it becomes an oven. The same applies to winter–keeps the cold out for a bit and then cold drafty temperatures prevail.

Sometimes as I type I wear fingerless gloves similar to the 19th century folks that once lived here only they had muffs. Apparently the Victorians paid attention to their hands first to keep warm and muffs were just the item to keep their fingers toasty. Of course the drawback which is the same with fingerless gloves is that once you have to do things with your hands other than sit there, smile and twiddle your fingers– it’s fruitless. You just can’t press that ‘delete winter’ button as fingers need to be free—cold or not.

One perfect thing about winter in an old home is snuggling under those warm blankets, not that I don’t have backup. Decades ago at an auction in Knowlton, Quebec my father bought me one of those long-handled bed warmers that they used to put charcoal or hot rocks in and rub the contraption over the sheets. But one must ask themselves how safe that would be today. I have never heard Martha Stewart say all is well with smouldering coals with her 300- thread- count sheets. As far as I know, and I could be wrong, she has also not come out with matching nightcaps and socks to accessorize her sheet line either.

Former owners of my home used to have a lift up hatch door in my living room floor for access to the cistern below. For all of you that have older homes you know a cistern is where they stored all the water caught in rainstorms. Using the roof as a rain collection surface, gutters and downspouts delivered water to the cistern. In the old days when the temperature dropped, water in homes began to turn into ice. I can’t imagine my first job in the morning lifting up that hatch to the cistern and break the ice up if we had not saved water from the previous day for cooking.

But then again we have a few spots in the house that have to have heaters running on them when it goes below freezing, or the pipes will freeze and burst. That in the old days was called being “frozen up”. It must have been pretty miserable in this home built by the first Scots in the area to be so cold. Come Spring, no one knew what pipe was going to break first when the thaw came and buckets and bowls were always ready to collect the drips.

Needless to say when we bought his home in 1981 we had no idea the cistern existed until 20 years later as they had constructed a stone wall over the entrance. Goes to show you how fed up they were with the cistern and they probably got sick of catching the fresh fish they stored in the cistern on cold days with an axe.

I read a lot of Victorians kept warm in an older home by living in one room during the colder days with a fire roaring. It did mean that people would have frozen if they had left the room, so I imagine they seldom left.  One would likely assume that was when strong deodorant was invented or thought about.

Long drapes and fireplaces or wood burning stoves solved a huge problem in days of yore, but it’s not solving mine. I long to get rid of the daily uniforms of warm sweatshirts and sweatpants and sleeveless fun fur jackets. Today I took a photo of spring items I wanted to wear. A green and blue sweater and extra long vinyl baby blue elbow gloves. I laugh when I look at the gloves and realize 100 years ago I would have been cleaning the cistern with them. You have to admit they could clean a lot of floors with the length of them.

I look in the mirror at the white winter skin that gazes back at me in contrast to my black attire. Even though the outfit has been monotonous this winter it has kept me warm. Of course back then I probably would have been jokingly identified as a sickly Victorian woman who would not have made it through the winter. Stay warm my friends, Spring is coming.

Carleton Place Railroad Notations

Carleton Place Railroad Notations
Canadian Pacific Railway Co., Wreck. Part of a wreck scene in the vicinity of the shops in Carleton Place. Negative envelope shows 1900-1910
ID #: MAT-04600
Subject: Canadian Pacific Railway Co.,Wreck,Déraillement
Collection Name: Aubrey Mattingly Transportation Collection

From the Ottawa Citizen August 20, 1948

Gananoque Man Injured
CARLETON PLACE Walter Cross, 58, Gananoque steam roller operator, suffered a possible skull fracture and other injuries yesterday when a Pembroke-Ottawa passenger train struck his machine. The roller was cut in two and some minutes later Cross was found, semi-conscious, on the front of the locomotive. Carleton Place is 40 miles northwest of Brockville.

Winnipeg by way of Carleton over railroad. By Sid Anabelle

They left Toronto March 1, 1885, and arrived at Carleton Junction on March 3, In one of the worst blizzards Ontario has ever known. The first section was snow-bound immediately on its arrival,” said Mr. Annable. Tom Bagley, yardmaster, got lost in the snow trying to find sidings to store the sufficient heat to warm the wooden coaches, a consequence of which was that the volunteers suffered greatly from the intense cold.

The snow was six feet deep on the level over the village and all trains were held up at this point for five days. Every foot of siding was utilized for the coaches. The only Pullman car in the service was that which served as headquarters for Major Fred Middleton of the Queen’s Own Rifles, Colonel Otter and their officers. This was placed on a siding opposite the old C.P.R. station, two hundred yards from the railroad gates. The shanty which sheltered Bob Taggart, the gate-man, still stands in the same old spot.

Yardmaster Bagley and his crew, composed of Andy Armour, Bill Carr, Tom Carter and Jack Annable had maneuvered the snow plows around to clean the sidings, they put the coaches on the north bound sidings from the station to the railroad bridge which crosses the Mississippi below the rapids.

There were only two streets for crossing purposes in the lower part of the village commonly called Chisleville —McLaughlin’s crossing on Lake avenue and Annable’s. Our crossing was not used much as the traffic was light. Later they placed fifty coaches on these sidings. Regulars were stationed along the sides of the train to prevent volunteers leaving without passes. These privileges were few and hard to obtain.

The writer’s home was only a hundred feet away, and as the men were calling for someone to run their errands I decided to make myself useful. The snow was set and soft and I was the proud possessor of a toboggan and a team of dogs, the only ones in the village. As the boys were calling for postcards, my first investment was one hundred penny postcards. Before I had finished one coach I had sold my stock at for five cents each.

 I then bought writing paper, envelopes and stamps and sold them for ten cents a set. By this time I had realized fifty dollars on my original investment of one dollar. After the second day I loaded my toboggan with eatables pies, doughnuts, oranges and apples and drove them up and down between the snow-bound trains. As the food in the baggage cars was getting low I found ready buyers for my cargo.

I worked from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and by the time the trains were ready to move on I had cleared over three hundred dollars. The last day of his sojourn in Carleton Place Colonel Otter sent for me and asked me to go to the Bank of Ottawa for him. He gave me a large envelope covered with sealing wax, which I was to deliver to the manager, John A. Bangs, and return immediately with an answer. Mr. Bangs told me afterwards that the envelope contained two thousand dollars.

When I returned Col. Otter invited me to Join the Queen’s Own Rifles. Owing to the fact, however, that my mother was sick in bed at the time, my father refused to give his consent. Later I went to Col. W, W. Wylie and Capt. Joe McKay of the 43rd Regiment of volunteers of our village and told them I wanted to get out to the West. If I had to run away to do it. McKay refused to heed my plea; he sent for my oldest brother to take me home.

Mr. Annable then tells of preparations made by a companion whom he chooses to call Peck and himself to “make a break for it” in the spring. 

The Lanark County “Carpetbaggers”–Lanark Electric Railway

So Which William Built the Carleton Place Railway Bridge?

The trial of W. H. S. Simpson the Railway Mail Clerk

The Titanic of a Railway Disaster — Dr. Allan McLellan of Carleton Place

Did You Know About These Local Train Wrecks?

The Glen Tay Train Wrecks of Lanark County

55 years ago–One of the Most Tragic Accidents in the History of Almonte

The Kick and Push Town of Folger

Train Accident? Five Bucks and a Free Lunch in Carleton Place Should Settle it

The Glen Tay Train Wrecks of Lanark County

The Men That Road the Rails

Tragedy and Suffering in Lanark County-Trains and Cellar Stairs

The Mystery Streets of Carleton Place– Where was the First Train Station?

Memories of When Rail was King- Carleton Place

Linda’s Dreadful Dark Tales – When Irish Eyes Aren’t Smiling — Our Haunted Heritage

I was Born a Boxcar Child- Tales of the Railroad

Driving in a Winter Wonderland

Driving in a Winter Wonderland



As I listened to the roar of my snow tires through the snowfall last week, I had to laugh at some old memories. My late husband Angelo used to argue that winter tires were “for people from Toronto who have to call in the army to shovel the sidewalks when it snows.”  That was until one day he backed down my father’s snowy driveway on Miltimore Drive in Bromont and removed part of my Dad’s fence. Not content with believing his Delta 88 could do such a thing he attempted to reverse again, only this time he hit the mailbox. He remained silent on the drive back to Ottawa and I never heard him tell tall tales about snow tires again.


My late father Arthur Knight always insisted that you should keep bags of sand in the trunk for traction in case you got stuck in the winter. His 70s Ford Pinto was loaded to the brim with bags of sand, and when I went to visit him he insisted tossing in more in my trunk. It was supposed to add weight, and if I ever got stuck, the sand could be used for traction he said. I never actually got stuck, so I never had to use the sand. Somehow I doubt that a couple of sandbags add or subtract anything meaningful to the traction of a vehicle that already weighs a ton when empty, plus a few hundred pounds with a driver and passenger.


Every year CAA publishes advice for winter driving and putting sand or litter in the back of a rear wheel drive car is always on the list. I personally prefer cat litter because it’s relatively inexpensive (non clumping, non scented) and provides decent traction.


When I was a kid everyone had snow tires. It was only in the 80s that people got silly and bought into the “all season” foolishness.


We’ve all heard someone say:


“I’ve been driving 50 years and have never needed winter tires–or– really, I only need two snow tires!”


Which meansHold my Timmies! I got this!


My Dad also used to tell the neighbours to pour hot water from the kettle on a frozen windshield. I heard him say that so many times, but he failed to tell folks about the puddle it left behind. That can lead someone to suffer a nasty spill– which he seemed to take each time he luckily didn’t crack the windshield with that boiling water.


Or how about turning your car on and idling it so the car will be warm? Sometimes I had time to run up Albert Street and buy something at Bonneau’s before the neighbour’s car was fully warmed up. Years ago cars didn’t have technology to properly warm up a carburetor but some folks still believe the myth their Dad and Grandfather told them about keeping the car warm.


If anyone ever tries to tell you any of these are true, block your ears and slowly back away. My favourite thing about winter? When it’s over!  Just be glad you don’t live in Newfoundland!


Cattle Driving — Keeping the Beast on the Road

“Let the Cattle Pass” An Insulting Nuisance

Weekend Driving- Smiths Falls Franktown and Carleton Place 1925

Tips From the Almonte Gazette “Travel Section” 1874



The Winter of 1916

The Winter of 1916



Jennifer Fenwick Irwin– Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum. This was December of 1916, and the only time I’ve heard of that the ice here was thick enough for skating. This photo of Horace Brown was taken the same day. He was A. Roy Brown’s younger brother and home on leave.

So not thinking with a full deck I assumed that there must have been a heck of a cold snap in the area. As I searched through the archives I found out that the west was hit hard with cold and snow.

Victoria’s Snowstorms of the Century – February 2, 1916 and December 28-29, 1996. Huge snowstorms, 80 years apart, clobbered Canada’s “snow-free” city with more than 55 cm of snow. The December storm dropped 80 cm of snow in 24 hours, 125 cm in five days with cleanup costs exceeding $200 million (including a record insurance payout for BC of $80 million).

But for the east it was just another winter with the usual comings and goings….



Feb 11th 1916 Almonte Gazette

Screenshot 2018-01-06 at 10.jpg

Feb 11th 1916 Almonte Gazette

Then Darla Fisher Giles solved the mystery. A sweet woman named Mrs. Smith who lived on William St was employed as Mrs Johnston’s companion and told us kids of a time that you could skate on the river outside Dr. Johnston’s house. She claimed it was before the dam was reconfigured and the river froze solid in that area.



Skating at the Central Bridge besides Patterson Funeral Home at Carleton Place 1916.– Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

“My Father finally sent me to skate on the river. I had skates, but he wouldn’t ever let me skate on the river before. There were large kids skating right next to the Central Bridge. That was before the dam was changed.”



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  31 Oct 1916, Tue,  Page 5



Image result for winter 1916 canada


“The coldest winter was 1916-17. The winter was so cold that I felt like crying… I can remember we weren’t allowed to have a brazier because it weren’t far away from the enemy and therefore we couldn’t brew up tea. But we used to have tea sent up to us, up the communication trench. Well a communication trench can be as much as three quarters of a mile long. It used to start off in a huge dixie, two men would carry it with like a stretcher. It would start off boiling hot; by the time it got to us in the front line, there was ice on the top it was so cold.”

The winter of 1916-17 also caused a famine in Germany and is often known as the ‘Turnip Winter’. After an extremely wet autumn had ruined the potato crops and cereal production, the German population was forced to subsist on turnips in order to survive.

Killer Lightning – July 29, 1916. Lightning ignited a forest fire which burned down the towns of Cochrane and Matheson, Ontario, killing 233 people.


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As the need for soldiers overseas led to a shortage of workers in Canada, many of these “Austrian” internees were released on parole to work for private companies.


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)


Moonlight Skating to Greensleeves–Comments Comments Comments

The Almonte Skating Rink on “The Island”

So Where Was the Ice Palace?

The Old Carleton Place Arena

So What Did You Wear Ice Skating?


The Figure Skaters of Carleton Place

Skaters Under Ice? Ring That Bell!

Falling Through the Ice- One Reason Indoor Rinks Were Created

Doug Gibson–Founder of Junior Hockey in Carleton Place


Tragedy at Prescott — Beneath the Stains of Time…




Photo from —Antique Maps and PrintsPrescott Ontario from Ogdensburg Harbour. BARTLETT old print 1842


February 14,1874-Almonte Gazette


A gentleman from Prescott informs an evening contemporary of fearful tragedy which took place in the neighbourhood of this town on Thursday night last. It appears that during the day the Walsh Brothers took an active part in the elections, knocking about and drinking a great deal. They both stayed together until midnight when they left a tavern– one going toward Ogdensburg across the river, and the other directing his step towards the country. Not really knowing his direction he continued walking until he found himself getting so very cold that he dreaded being frozen.

The younger Walsh brother then turned off into the woods to a farmer’s house to which he hoped to gain admission. He rapped at the door, but the farmer refused to let him in thinking that he was a burglar on a midnight prowl. He begged repeatedly for admission, if only for a few moments, that he might warm himself and go home. The farmer, however, hesitated in his determination not to admit him, even with the poor drunkard’s pitiful wails.

The almost frozen man sat down for a few moments beside the house, but the cold began to encroach upon him so he attempted to break the window, hoping by that means to get into the house. The farmer, whose heart seemed to be hard indeed, did not appreciate this proceeding, and called to the poor fellow to desist.

He did not, however, and instead redoubled his efforts. The farmer then went for his gun, and returning to the window took deliberate aim and shot the poor fellow through the neck. He fell back and possibly would have been allowed to die but for the advent to the scene of a third party, who was alarmed by the report of the gun.The wounded man was taken into the house, and medical aid immediately procured, but recovery was scarcely possible.

The other brother started out to cross over the frozen river to Ogdensburg, but his adventure was not so tragic as that of his poor brother. After he left the tavern at the hour above mentioned, be was not seen again that night.  The next morning, however, he was picked up on the ice by a person crossing over with a team. He was taken back to Prescott, where it was ascertained that his legs and arms had been frozen to his body. The man was almost speechless with the cold, and his appearance was that of a corpse.

Medical aid was of course called in without delay, and everything possible was done to prevent serious consequences, but it was thought he cannot possibly survive. Such then is the fate of those two young men, and it should be remembered that the said tragedy is attributable to the drinking of whiskey and nothing else.


Author’s Note-

The name of the young man was George Walsh who was found by a Mr. McKay about mile from town with both his legs frozen on the ice. He was in critical state and I cannot find any other mention of him.

The other brother (no first name) who was trying to break into the house of a Mr. Newberry. When told to go out he used threatening language at Newberry, whereupon Newberry shot at Walsh, lodging several shots in his neck. There were not much hope for his recovery.

In even through hours of searching I could find no further  mention of their names anywhere.

God rest their souls full of broken thoughts…


February 13, 1874-Almonte Gazette

On Tuesday afternoon a horse and sleigh crossed the St. Lawrence at Brockville

Feb 27 1874-Almonte Gazette

The Pembroke Standard grumbles because the ice is-‘too thin.”


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


Winter-Freezing to Death in Lanark County



Those who attempted to walk home in the winter found themselves struggling for hours through drifts up to their armpits and suffered frostbite. Sometimes travelling by sleigh found the drifts impassable, and many were abandoned by their drivers.

People came across horses that had frozen solid in their harnesses and whose heads stuck up out of the drifting snow.  Sometimes the winds were so strong that some of the unlucky were blown into the drifts and found they couldn’t dig themselves out. 

Women, in billowing dresses and skirts were particularly susceptible.  Sometimes the bodies of men and women who had been pushed by the wind into drifts were discovered hours or days later by an arm or leg protruding from the snow.

Perth Courier, Feb. 13, 1874 and Almonte Gazette

Shocking Occurrence—Young Woman Frozen to Death

An occurrence of a melancholy and somewhat shocking character took place in this vicinity in the past week, which calls for a close and scrutinizing examination by authorities and court officials.  We will briefly narrate the details.

On Saturday morning last the body of a young woman named Elizabeth Murphy was found dead by the roadside in North Burgess, almost twelve miles from Perth, the unfortunate creature having apparently frozen to death.

The story of the sad affair is something like this:  It seems that she and her brother, Terence Murphy, came to Perth on Friday forenoon and started for their home again in Burgess in the evening—it is believed somewhat intoxicated.  The next morning the body of the girl was found on the road, lifeless, with marks of violence about the face and head.

Her brother professes total ignorance about what occurred before and after this had transpired, pleading an excess of intoxication, which deprived him of the power of observing what took place around him or in fact to himself, save in one thing—he has, he says, in indistinct recollection of the horses running away.

To those who are charitable enough to take cognizance of this fact, only, and leave out other circumstances bearing on the case, the running away of the team may sufficiently account for the bruises that appeared on the body of the girl.  But it appears that the brother was not so drunk as he endeavoured to make it appear.

Parties giving evidence at the inquest swore that they saw him looking for his horses after they had run away, very far from being so far gone in his intoxication, as his testimony made it appear, and his own mother testified that when he got home, before commencing the search for the runaway animals, he was sober enough to make his own tea.

Though this does not establish anything of itself, still it convicts him of falsifying his evidence and goes to prove at least an amount of cold-blooded indifference as to his sister’s fate after she was thrown out of the sleigh, which confounds our ideas of humanity and fraternal affection.

It is possible that the change in humanity of not taking care of his sister instead of searching for his horses on that freezing night, when, by the best of evidence, he knew her to be injured, is all that will be brought home to Murphy.  Still, it is an affair which demands investigation.

On Sunday last, upon proper representation of the affair having been made, Dr. Howden, of Perth, Coroner, set out for the place and proceeded to hold an inquest on the remains.  After hearing evidence of several witnesses knowing more or less the circumstances we have given above, indicating that Terence Murphy, himself, the jury, through their foreman, Mr. Patrick Dooher, returned the following verdict:  The jury, upon oath find that the deceased came to death on the 6th Feb., through injury and exposure, the result of having been left on the road by her brother, Terence on the aforesaid night and the jury are further of the opinion that the said Terence Murphy was guilty of culpable negligence in not looking after the deceased, inasmuch as opportunity afforded and evidence shows that he was not incapable through intoxication.

On the Wednesday following Coroner Howden issued a warrant for Murphy’s arrest in order that the case might go before the grand jury at the approaching Assizes and having been taken in charge by the constable is now in jail awaiting the final disposition of the suit.



Perth Courier, December 30, 1870

Kellock—Died, on Thursday morning, 20th Dec., Robert B. Kellock, Esq., Lanark, aged 30 years.

Further information in the same paper:  Sad Event:  It is seldom that we record any event, sad or distressing with more real sorrow than in chronicling the death of one of our younger townsmen, Mr. Robert B. Kellock, son of R. Kellock, Esq., gaoler.  On Thursday morning, 29th December, Mr. Kellock was found in a dying state partly frozen on the railway track near Campbell’s Crossing, about two and a half miles from Perth. He was taken into a farmhouse contiguous and died soon afterward. The sad intelligence was at once sent to his friends in Perth who had his body conveyed home.  Deceased had been down to Smith’s Falls that afternoon, and returning had missed the regular train and took instead a wood-train that was going into Perth late at night.  There is some mystery connected to his passage on this train, some affirming that he came all the way to Perth.  This is very unlikely and it is probable that he may by some means or other have fallen off the open cars, and stunned by the fall was frozen into helplessness and beyond recovery in the bitter cold of that night.  This sad occurrence has cast a gloom over the whole town and the bereaved family have the sympathy of the community generally.


We are informed on good authority that nothing is better for withdrawing the frost without injury to the frozen ears, cheeks, fingers, than the immediate application of kerosene.  Rub it in gently a few times.  In one instant both cheeks were frozen and this remedy gave immediate relief without the usual inflammation.  It is indispensable that the application be made before the thaw.  This remedy is the more valuable because it is always at hand in every house.  Country Gentleman


Perth Courier, Jan. 29, 1875

Shocking Occurrence—On the morning of the 29th inst., the body of James Drummond of Beckwith Township was found in the yard of Moore ’s Hotel in Franktown, frozen stiff.  The unfortunate man, we understand, was somewhat addicted to drink; it is supposed he had strayed into the hotel yard, and lying down had perished.  He leaves a wife and young family to mourn his fate.

Perth Courier, Feb. 19, 1875

Frozen to Death—Last Tuesday night a woman named Mrs. Geloesh, living in the Township of Bathurst , on the edge of Christy’s Lake , was frozen to death.  Deceased was somewhat deranged in her intellect, and had been accustomed to wander through the adjacent country and it was on one of these rambling tours that her life was cut short by undue exposure to the bitter cold of this freezing night.  She leaves a family behind her, we believe.  Dr. Howden, Coroner, yesterday proceeded to hold an inquest on her remains

Sarah Ferguson

On Monday last the body of Sarah Ferguson found frozen in bush near Drummond 2nd Concession. She had left her brother in Montague Dec 14 for friends in Dalhousie. Aged about 40. Unmarried.  Family story says that Sarah was going home for Christmas after a visit with her brother John in Numogate. She was found sitting on a stump with her bag on the ground beside her, frozen as she had died.

1887-Perth Courier

A thick crust has been formed on on the snow in the woods by the recent soft and hard weather. It is very hard on horses engaged in the shanties, and many of them have been completely used up with sore legs. The deep snow has also caused an unusual number of accidents to men by rendering it difficult for them to get out of the way of falling trees.


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Related reading:

Withered Family Found– Almonte Gazette– A Media Mystery