Tag Archives: women

And Suddenly I Became Sad for NO Reason at All….

And Suddenly I Became Sad for NO Reason at All….



They say depression walks hand in hand with a heart attack and since I experienced multiples the black cloud of doom hangs over me this morning. I lay on the bed understanding what it meant when someone told me they wished they had died on the operating table while the loud noise of an outdoor lawnmower blurs my thoughts with the past.

The sound triggered a memory of not being able to stomach the taste of potatoe salad when I was  6 years-old. My Mother sent me to my room with an uneaten plate of the picnic delight and all night long I lay on my bed much like this morning feeling depressed and helpless. While listening to the almost musical score of summer lawnmowers I wondered how I was going to eat that Canadian household staple, and today, I agonized how I was going to get through this. Like the potatoe salad, what caused this mess has not gone away, and I have had to deal with it, and it still remains in a constant place in my mind.

They say “Depression is 3 times more common in patients after a heart attack than in the general population, with 15% to 20% of heart attack victims qualifying for a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, and a far greater proportion experiencing increased levels of depressive symptoms”. That’s an official quote, I didn’t make that up, and I know people don’t understand that just like my Mother not comprehending why I couldn’t put another mouthful of that salad in my mouth.

Laying on that bed on a summer night in the 50s unleashed intense waves of emotion like today. If you’re battling depression and heart disease at the same time, you and your heart will need all of the strength you can get. I never did eat that plate of potatoe salad, and for the next few years she was alive Bernice Ethylene Crittenden Knight constantly reminded me of the incident, just like I am reminded daily what happened to me a week ago.

Like the drone of lawnmowers life goes on and you are as good as whatever you did last. I say “sorry” even more these past few days because I feel everything is my fault.  Some ask if I am okay and I feel what they really mean is: “are you over it yet?” so you can resume normal daily occurrences. My lips say “fine” as I don’t want to deal with further conversation, but my soul is still weeping. I guess I want someone to look me in the eye and say “no, you are not okay” as I am exhausted from trying to feel stronger than I feel.

I try to evaluate that depression is not a sign of weakness–it just means you have been strong far too long. Faking a smile even to your Mother is so much easier than explaining why you are sad, what caused all this, and how broken I feel right now. I hate this feeling that I can’t control what happens to me and it’s like I’m here, but I’m not, and that I belong somewhere else–anywhere, but here.

I should have tried harder I tell myself in both situations and it’s okay to cry as today even the sky is crying. Maybe I am too complicated and expect too much from myself–yet today I feel like such a disappointment like I was to my Mother that evening.

Stars can’t shine without darkness and I’ve had to fight like hell in my life, and fighting like hell has made me what I am. But–it never prepared me for this, and today I feel I have more scars than friends. Sometimes even to live is an act of courage but we have to remember we are worth more than our darkness. As Confucius says:” Our greatest glory is not in ever failing but in rising every time we fail.”

Instead of wiping away the tears, I need to wipe away the people that made me cry and just stop being heart broken. Recovery is a process and it takes time, patience, and everything you’ve got. I will try again tomorrow after my dark cloud passes and learn to dance again in the rain. Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never ever danced in the rain and after all..

 “Everybody cries
And everybody hurts sometimes”





If you think you or a loved one may be suffering from depression, seek help right away from a family doctor or a mental health specialist. You may also want to join a support group for heart attack survivors, such as Mended Hearts, which is sponsored by the American Heart Association.

  • frequent feelings of sadness or emptiness
  • loss of interest in pleasurable activities
  • strange eating or sleeping patterns
  • excessive crying
  • thoughts of suicide and death
  • fatigue
  • difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • feelings of worthlessness or helplessness
  • irritability
  • unexplained aches and pains that don’t respond to treatment



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.



What Becomes of a Broken Heart?


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Till Death Do Us Part in Lanark County?

Till Death Do Us Part in Lanark County?


(stock photo of a “happy” wedding)

On Friday I wrote two stories about local women and their dilemmas coping with life in early Lanark County. When I was reading Glenn Lockwood’s book on Beckwith this weekend he wrote that it was basically religious social control that attempted to shield women from scorn in that early society.

Local women were controlled to such a point that young women such as Dorah Smith from Carleton Place, who arrived in Canada as a orphan had to obtain a guardian to give their consent before she could marry. Home became the centre of virtue and the proper life for women and it was a matter of fact that one must be married by twenty-one, and expected to begin having children immediately. Those that did not marry were regarded as social failures and treated with pity and contempt.

I have published many Perth Courier ads that were in newspapers of engagements gone sour, not only because they found their future partner undesirable, but more so that their future partner might be a little lighter in the purse. This factor might guarantee their quality of life might go down a notch or two, and that might be not advantageous to either party. Seeing passion, lust and love were way down on the food chain one has to wonder how happy some were in marriage.

It was duty first, owning land and happiness later, and children were not exempt in these rules. Disobedient son?  You might want to think once or twice about that as another brother might inherit what was supposed to be coming your way. What you owned became a status symbol, and homes and property remained in the family for generations. It was important until about the mid 1900s that property remain in the family. In fact,  land could not be sold or mortgaged unless it was within the family.

I often thought it was strange that when my Grandfather died he had strong stipulations in his will and my father continued the same tradition. When my Dad died neither my sister or I could only share his estate until she turned 31. Disputes between siblings separated families. Between 1828 and 1851 only a fraction of wills left property to the wife, and wills that left property to their wives would only remain valid as long as they remained unmarried.

Married women were barred from making contracts, appearing as witnesses in court, and initiating lawsuits. A wife’s legal personality was subsumed under her husband’s and all her property automatically became her husband’s. Even if she had her own land, her husband received the income from it as she had no legal rights. Similar to the  court case between  Beckwith residents Selina Drummond and her husband, law mostly removed itself from marital relations.


Bathurst Courier, March, 1838

Notice, my wife Christian McQuarrie having left my bed and board for no just cause I hereby forbid any person from harboring her as I will pay no debits contracted by her on my account.  Daniel McQuarrie

Bathurst Courier, April 13, 1838

Notice, the subscriber forbids any person harboring or trusting his wife Betsey Markey (?) Mankey (?) Minielly, as she has left his bed and board without any just cause.  W. Minnielly, Elmsley

Bathurst Courier, June 1, 1838


Notice, Elizabeth Youll, my wife, having left my bed and board without any just cause, I prohibit any person from giving her credit in my name as I will not pay any such debt.  James Youll

Notice, Janet Anderson, my wife, having left my bed and board without any just cause, I prohibit any person from giving her credit in my name as I will not pay any such debt.  Joseph Anderson

Bathurst Courier August 9, 1839

Notice, my wife Bridget Connel Kenny having left my bed and board without any just cause I hereby forbid any person from harboring her on my account as I will pay no debts of her contracting after this date. John Kenny

As my wife Ann Horton McIntyre has left my bed and board for no just cause I hereby forbid any person from harboring her on my account as I will pay no debts contracted by her.  Peter McIntyre

Perth Courier, April 7, 1871

Caution—Whereas my wife, Elizabeth Ann Geary, has left my bed and board without any just cause or provocation, the public will hereby be cautioned against giving her any credit on my account.  George Geary, Bathurst


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.





Taming of the Beckwith Shrew?

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


Going to the Chapel? Hold on– Not so Fast!

Another Episode in Spinsterdom–The Armour Sisters of Perth

She Came Back! A Ghost Divorce Story

Slander You Say in Hopetown? Divorce in Rosetta?

Go Ask Alice – The Saga of a Personal Ad Divorce



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A Local Handmaids Tale? What Happened ?

A Local Handmaids Tale? What Happened ?


If you are watching The Handmaid’s Tale or read Margaret Atwood’s book women did not have much liberty in the 1800s. It was stay at home until your father passed you on to your new husband.

I found two clippings. Same girl– they just misspelled her name on the second one above. Clipped from The Ottawa Journal, 15 Nov 1895, Fri, Page 7 and posted them earlier this week.


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal, 29 Nov 1895, Fri, Page 8

So what happened to her? I found this.

A Mysterious Case December 1895 —Last week a sensation was caused in Ottawa by the sudden and unaccountable disappearance of a young girl from Carleton Place. She was later reported found by her mother. Soon she disappeared once again and the matter was further shrouded in mystery by the receipt by friend of the missing girl, of a letter stating her determination to commit suicide.

It stated that the missing girl was seen on the streets since, but this report lacks confirmation, and the general opinion is that the unfortunate girl met her death at her own hands.

Celia in Princess Ida.jpg

From the time she was young, a woman was groomed for this role in life–dutiful wife and mother. Properly trained, she learned to sing, play piano or guitar, dance and be conversant about light literature of the day. She also learned French and the rules of etiquette as well as the art of conversation and the art of silence.

A girl was under her mother’s wing for the first few years of her social life. She used her mother’s visiting cards, or that of another female relative if her mother was dead. This same person usually served as her chaperone, as a single girl was never allowed out of the house by herself, especially in mixed company

Great care had to be taken at these public affairs, so as not to offend a possible suitor or his family. Following are some rules of conduct a proper female must adhere to:

  • She never approached people of higher rank, unless being introduced by a mutual friend.
  • People of lesser rank were always introduced to people of higher rank, and then only if the higher-ranking person had given his/her permission.
  • Even after being introduced, the person of higher rank did not have to maintain the acquaintance. They could ignore, or ‘cut’ the person of lower rank.
  • A single woman never addressed a gentleman without an introduction.
  • A single woman never walked out alone. Her chaperone had to be older and preferably married.
  • If she had progressed to the stage of courtship in which she walked out with a gentleman, they always walked apart. A gentleman could offer his hand over rough spots, the only contact he was allowed with a woman who was not his fiancée.
  • Proper women never rode alone in a closed carriage with a man who wasn’t a relative.
  • She would never call upon an unmarried gentleman at his place of residence.
  • She couldn’t receive a man at home if she was alone. Another family member had to be present in the room.
  • A gentlewoman never looked back after anyone in the street, or turned to stare at others at church, the opera, etc.
  • No impure conversations were held in front of single women.
  • No sexual contact was allowed before marriage. Innocence was demanded by men from girls in his class, and most especially from his future wife.
  • Intelligence was not encouraged, nor was any interest in politics

An unmarried woman of 21 could inherit and administer her own property. Even her father had no power over it. Once she married, however, all possessions reverted to her husband. She couldn’t even make a will for her personal property, while a husband could will his wife’s property to his illegitimate children. Therefore, marriage, although her aim in life, had to be very carefully contemplated.

Because many marriages were considered a business deal, few started with love. Although as the years passed, many couples grew tolerably fond of each other, often resulting in a bond almost as deep as love.

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)


Just Like Internet Dating?— Circa 1913

Because You Loved Me — A Vintage Lanark Romance

The McArthur Love Story

Among the Strangers There Was…

Among the Strangers There Was…





Perth Courier, Jan. 8, 1897


The “At Home” given by the young men of Perth in the town hall on the night of December 30 was the social event of the season and was a most brilliant and successful affair in every particular.  The young men and especially the few on the committee who arranged and managed everything deserve infinite credit and the sincere thanks of those present for the completeness of the arrangements and the attention given to details and the attention and courtesy shown to guests.

The fine hall was beautifully decorated with flags, drapings and many colored festoons and brilliantly lighted with incandescent lamps; the floor was well waxed and the rest seats at the back converted into a terraced dias covered with fur rugs and elegant sofas and chairs.  The supper was spread on the stage and was a rich and bountiful repast provided by the ladies of the town interested in the “At Home”.

The music was furnished by the orchestra of the Governor General’s Foot Guards of Ottawa.  Guests were present from all the neighboring towns and from the Royal Military College, Kingston, from the Ottawa, Toronto, Gananoque, etc. and no such gathering of fair women and gallant young men has been seen in our midst for many years.  The dresses of the ladies were distinguished by their taste and beauty and many by their rare costliness.  We give a list of the ladies:

The Lady Patronesses:  Mrs. McLaren, Mrs. William Meighen, Mrs. Senkler, Mrs. Taylor, Mrs. Hall, Mrs. Drummond.

The Debutantes:  Misses Mary Hall, Jean Drummond, Jessie Taylor

Brides:  Mrs. H. Rudyard, Boulton, Gemmill, Allen, R.J. White, C. Gordon, Edwards.

Among the Strangers: ( I found this hillarious when I read it.)

Mrs. J.D. Molson, Smith’s Falls; Mrs. James Whyte, Almonte; Misses S. Wylie; Laura Ferguson of Smith’s Falls’; Aida Ferguson, Mary Wood, Florence Gould, Laura Taller of  Ottawa, Lidyard of Toronto

Some of those noticed belonging to Perth:

Misses McLaren, Mary McLaren, Kathleen McLaren, Edith Taylor, Mary Campbell, Mrs. De Hertel, Mrs. Malloch, Miss Malloch, Miss Mary Shaw and Miss Kathleen Shaw, Miss Senkler, Miss Denny, Mrs. Muckleston, Mrs. Berford, Miss B. Armour, Miss Jessie Henderson, Miss L. Henderson, Mrs. Lees(?), Misses Laura Meighen, Mabel Meighen, B. Drysdale, Jessie Hart, Isabel Hart, Edith Drummond, Carrie Drummond, Glossop, Maud Munro, Gertie Munro, Lister, Balderson, M. Bell, Agnes Bell, M. Campbell, Hattie Meighen, Ethel Meighen, Hogg, Edith Wright, Mrs. Fowler, Mrs. R. McCarthy, Mrs. John Wilson, Mrs. J.R. Mitchell.





PERTH WOMEN’S CLUB 1897. Perth Remembered–Not sure if this is a picture of a Women’s Arts Club or Women’s Temperance Club. Temperance Clubs and meetings were very prevalent during this time in Perth and Lanark County. On the back of the photo there is N.A.7 Club or W.A.T. Club indicated in handwriting so it is hard to decipher. Members in the photo were young women of Perth, daughters of familiar families and merchants in Perth. M. Bell, President, Carrie Drummond, Vice President, Florence Whalitey, Vice President, Eleanor Senkler, Mary Campbell, Secretary, Katherine Beach, Julia Senklar, Edith Drummond, Clara Armstrong, Flora Shaw, Jesse Henderson, Carrie Armstrong, Jessie Hart, Ethel Whyte, Mary Shaw. Thanks to Molly Sinclair for sending in this amazing piece of Perth’s history.



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.



The Home Guard of Carleton Place

The Old Woman Who Walked From Perth?

The Old Woman Who Walked From Perth?



A number of Catholic institutions were clustered around St.Patrick’s Church, a hall, an asylum for the elderly, and an orphans’ home.–Urbsite


Catherine Kelly of Perth was arrested in the 2nd week of May 1898. Why was she arrested? Well, here is her story.


With a faded brown shawl wrapped around her shoulders and wearing a black bonnet and dress Mrs. Catherine Kelly from Perth walked into the Ottawa Police Department that week of May in 1898. With slow steps and a feeble voice the 70 year-old  told the officers that she had walked from Perth to gain admittance to the *St. Patricks Asylum/Home.

The old woman told Constable Joliet after he had found her wandering along Elgin Street that she had walked 100 miles from Perth and it had taken her over a month to complete her journey. She said she collapsed on Richmond Road and a stranger had picked her up and taken her to a nearby farm for nourishment.
Mrs. Kelly’s husband had died 10 years previous and she instantly became penniless and had to live with distant relatives. She grew weary she said of bad treatment and had decided to make her to Ottawa to St. Patricks but they had refused her. The old woman slept in the cell over night and was provided food.

The next day her story began to unravel. Apparently the farmer from Richmond had driven her to Ottawa the day she got picked up on Elgin Street. She did indeed get admitted to St. Patrick’s before but she had made such a disturbance they had asked her to leave.  On fact she had been taken in twice before and left on her own free will.The woman was considered  by the nuns unruly and addicted to the use of bad language.

I don’t know about you but after looking at the St. Patrick’s ‘home’ and everyone abandoning me I might have used bad language too.


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MIKAN no. 3319467 St. Patrick’s Asylum, Ottawa, Ontario. October 1874, Ottawa, Ontario – corner of Maria & Kent Credit: Topley Studio Fonds / Library and Archives Canada / PA-059228




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*St. Patrick’s Orphanage and Asylum was founded in 1865 as “a House of Refuge for the Irish poor.” It was established by an Association of Members of St. Patrick’s Church (Kent St, Ottawa), and was run by the Grey Sisters of the Cross. It housed orphaned children and homeless elderly persons. The original building (corner of Laurier Avenue and Kent St) was torn down years ago, but there is still a St Patrick’s Home in Ottawa (Riverside Drive)

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)



“Dominique, nique, nique s’en allait tout simplement”–The Pembroke Grey Nuns


I am a Laundry Girl

Women in Peril– Betrayed by Heartless Scoundrels 1882

The Home for Friendless Women



It Pays to Advertise… Classified Ad Brides

It Pays to Advertise… Classified Ad Brides
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Photo– The Daily Advertiser  1874
January 1880– The Daily Advertiser
An advertisement appeared in the London Advertiser’s weekly edition not very long ago from a man in Temby Bay, Manitoulin Island, named Ibbotson, in which he spoke of his desire to secure a Christian woman or spinster for a housekeeper or wife. Of course the advertisement was read by many people, among whom was a widow in Perth, mother of two children, who answered it, inquiring for particulars.

The gentleman wrote a reply, according to a correspondent, in which he described his house and worldly goods, and explained that he desired someone to take charge of his household. The widow took kindly to the idea of joining hands with the publisher of the advertisement, and expended about $20 on a ticket to go to the distant island. She did not find things quite as she expected, however.

Mail Order Bride- Photo- Google Images
The household consisted of a father and nine children, the youngest of whom was 7 years of age. The children’s mother had died insane some time previous, and the blushing and charming widow was loath to complete the transaction which she had begun so bravely. She was stopping at *Hilton, and the widower went there to interview her, but the lady of his choice declined to be seen at all.

This would be a sad ending were it not that another chapter yet remains to be unfolded. A young man resident on the island heard of the lady being without a home and she had two little children, 5 and 6 years old. He went and had a nice little talk on Sunday, proposed marriage on Monday, was accepted, and the wedding took place on Tuesday.

The correspondent who furnishes these particulars claims that the widow has not made a mistake, even if it was a hasty -action, for the young man in question is sober, respected and industrious. At last accounts Mr. Ibbotson, the party of the first part, was on his way to Bruce Mines to meet another lady who had taken preliminary steps towards matrimony in response to the same advertisement. For romance– the pure description this Canada of ours can outstrip any country on earth if a proper start is made.

*London: Daily Advertiser 1874, 1880-1885

Nothing Could be Finer Than …..



Almonte Gals-Photo almonte.com

Almonte Gazette– April 16 1897-

It has been noticed of late, but more especially since the fine weather set in that a number of Carleton Place gallants have come to Almonte to see some of our young ladies. This is quite natural, of course, as Almonte’s superiority in that respect is so marked that it is generally acknowledged. (Author’s note–that is the Gazette speaking not me:))


Class in front of high school doors-almonte.com

One young man, whose trips are quite frequent, changed his route into town so that he would not be noticed so much. It proved a sad mistake, however. Before entering town he forgot to pull his overcoat around him, as any wise Almonte young man would have done; but he will know more In the future. A small canine saw the tails waving in the air, and, thinking it too good a chance to let slip, caught them and kept them.

The unfortunate young man had to walk around that night without his overcoat, and Sunday  night was pretty cold. He now advises all the junction town young men to shun Almonte, as everything is on to them even the pups.


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