Tag Archives: wool growers

The Famous President McKinley Cumberland Ram–Where is it Now?

The Famous President McKinley Cumberland Ram–Where is it Now?


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  16 Aug 1978, Wed,  [First] REVISION,  Page 3


So this ram was last seen at Wool Growers in Carleton Place in1978, and my question was: “Where is it Now?” I called the kind folks at the Real Wool Shop here in Carleton Place and they told me they thought he had moved lock, stock, and wool barrel to Almonte.

The ‘Cumberland Ram’ now resides in Carletbn Place Stuffed Cumberland rani’ was a witness to history.  When Leon Czolgosz fired the shot (hat killed United States President William McKinley in Buffalo, Sept. 5, 190I, little was it known that a somewhat insignificant feature in the assassination would crop up in a small town in Canada 77 years later. At (he Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers warehouse in Carlelon Place, there is a mounted “Cumberland Ram,’,” which according to legend, figured prominently in the fatal shooting of McKinley.

Louis Filler, in his book The President Speaks described the tragedy in this way: “In March 1.90I, he (McKinley) commenced a nationwide tour that was a triumphant procession from Alabama to California. His visit to the Pan-American Exposition on the Niagara frontier seemed like a capstone to his achievements when suddenly, he was dead, struck down as he extended his hand in goodwill to the assassin. Leon Czolgosz, a 29-year-old native born citizen of Detroit.” The legend has it that the”Cumberland Ram” was on exhibit at this Buffalo Exposition and the assassin fired the fatal shot probably while leaning nil the glass rase that enclosed the mounted sheep.

A contemporary journalist w.rote at the time, “never was there a crime more without purpose, more without possible good effect; William McKinley was no oppressor of the people, no irresponsible and cruel autocrat; no.act of his had ever, from evil intent, taken bread from one man’s hand, the hope from one man’s heart; he was the representative of the people’s will, not their master.”

The ram was eventually purchased from an American company in 1954 by G. A. O’Brien, then with an Oxford, N. S., woojen mill and later with the Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers.’ O’Brien lives at his Scotia-Heath farm just outside of Carleton Place and he enjoys reminise-. ing on the story of his “Cumberland Ram.” According to Bob Cleland and Eric Bjergso, executives at the Canadian Wool Growers plant, the “Cumberland Ram” is an extinct breed. They believe the Cumberland sheep was originally bred in Scotland and then rehabilitated in Cape Breton. Bjergso said that when the Wool Growers had their office in Weston, Ont., some years ago, the “Ram” was an object of great interest and the company planned on having it placed in a large glass bubble over the front of the building but zoning or other regulations prohibited this.

The “Ram” was then stored away in what is called a “sheep crush” and removed when taken on exhibition tours throughout Canada. It was last publicly displayed at the 1977 plowing match in Kingston. The animal presently is prominently displayed In the company’s product display room. The Carleton Place plant, formerly a Canadian Pacific roundhouse, is the main warehouse for all ‘ wool growers in Canada. . Fifteen years ago, said Cleland, they handled 10 times the quantity of wool they presently do. He attributes this to the fact that sheep farmers were in the business for wool, whereas now they raise sheep for meat. Another unique feature which Cleland mentioned is that a sheep raised for wool does not have the same meat value as one raised specifically for meat; conversely the animal raised for meat docs not have as fine a wool coat. But the company likes to play both sides of the sheep farmer and while they prefer the choice Canadian wool,, they compromise to help the meat producer with the slogan replete with bumper stickers proclaiming “Eat Canadian Lamb , 20,000 Coyotes Can’t Be Wrong.” 



The assassination of President McKinley


This ram had indeed moved around from the 1901 Pan American Exposition where he was allegedly involved in the assassination of President McKinley, and then on to Oxford, N.S. The ram even made the 1977 Kingston Plowing Match. So, he was capable of being anywhere, but I was curious.

I called the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum in Almonte, and sure enough that very same Cumberland Ram is there in their permanent third floor display. History moves on and so did this ram. Yesterday is history, and sometimes tomorrow is a mystery, and once again a head scratcher is solved with a story.




Mississippi Valley Textile Museum

Image result for cumberland ram McKinley

Mississippi Valley Textile Museum


Photo-Kickshaw Productions



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  28 Jun 1941, Sat,  Page 11


 Photo Linda Seccaspina- Mississippi Valley Textile Museum



Clipped from The Topeka Daily Capital,  25 Oct 1901, Fri,  Page 4

Clipped from The Topeka Daily Capital,  25 Oct 1901, Fri,  Page 4

The Middleville Chair that Ended up Rocking John F. Kennedy President of the United States

The Rosamond Woolen Company’s Constipation Blues

Perils of the Cows of Carleton Place or Where’s the Beefalo?

Another Lanark Mystery– Paris Green

The Henry Ashby Story-Left in a Shack Without Food? Putting the Mystery Together

The Body in the Well Mystery

Armchair Tourism in Carleton Place– Wooly Bully!!!! Part 6



Please play while listening..


Photo- the gals and a gent on the Carleton Place Chamber of Commerce tour of Carleton Place– come along with us today to see the Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers 





Photo Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum



Have you ever visited the Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers company in Carlton Place?  It is an amazing place located in the old Canadian Pacific Railway workshop and roundhouse, which was used  by the railway from 1890 till 1939. The WoolGrowers Co-operative moved into the building in 1940. They process over three million pounds of wool every year and we should be proud that we as the town of Carleton Place are the only people that process wool in Canada. That’s right-all the wool come here!




For more than 70 years, 142 Franktown Road in Carleton Place has been the go-to place for wool! In 1940 the Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers Limited purchased a large, limestone building from the Canadian Pacific Railway.












The quality check man. He is the lone wolf for quality control. Can you imagine examining raw wool all day long?



Right next door is the The Real Wool Shop

Real Wool Shop supplies the discerning consumer with wool related products for men and women of all ages, from wool underwear to sheepskin slippers to coats. Seasonal fashion clothing is also available year round. The yarn department is a treat for all knitters from beginners to experienced.






The Real Wool Shop Facebook page

Wool Shop Contact

Contact Information

Phone: 613-257-2714
Email: woolshop @ wool.ca
Location: 142 Franktown Rd, Carleton Place, ON K7C 3P3

Store Hours

Weekdays: 9:30 to 6:00
Saturday: 9:30 to 5:00
Sunday: 11:00 to 5:00


Today’s photo is of workers taking a break at the CPR Engine Repair Shops. Built in 1890 as a round house and repair shop for the Canadian Pacific Railway, it employed about 200 workers. After operations were moved to Smiths Falls, the building was purchased by the Canadian Cooperative Woolgrowers. Iron tracks from the turntable in the roundhouse were sold as scrap to help the war effort in 1940. Can you help us identify any of these men?–Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum


Armchair Tourism in Carleton Place –Part 1–Bud’s Taxi

Armchair Tourism in Carleton Place –Part 2–A Snack and a View

Armchair Tourism in Carleton Place–I Threw Away my Candy at The Ginger Cafe Part 3

Armchair Tourism in Carleton Place –Part 4–Stepping Back in Time

Armchair Tourism in Carleton Place –Part 5–Fly Me to the Moon


Related Wool Reading

So How Much Time Do You Get for Stealing Wool?

Before The Carleton Place Mews?

Carleton Place Wins Prizes for their Wool!

“Wear Your Woolens Ladies” — says The Carleton Place Canadian


Jennifer Fenwick Irwin–second photo
This photo shows the water tower located near the corner of the engine repair shops (now the Woolgrowers building). Photo from the collection of The Museum of Science and Technolog