Contents of this Document

Historic Lanark County Documents from the Perth Courier

Received from: Christine Spencer - [email protected]

Contents of this Document:

Lest We Forget:  Bathurst

The Gillies Machine Shop Fire

Lest We Forget:  North Sherbrooke

Lest We Forget:  Lanark

History of Boyd’s Settlement

The Diaries of John Hart

Early History of the Bathurst Congregation

Perth Courier, March 22, 1935

Lest We Forget


The Mississippi has numerous rapids along its course and each one has its beauty spots as Dalhousie Lake, Sheridan Rapids, Playfairville, and Ferguson’s Falls.  Beauty pictured by nature in repose and tranquility lie peacefully along the left shore of the Mississippi at Playfairville.  The rapids, tumbling and splashing the creamy foam hither and thither as the water, maddened by obstructions, seeks to find its way to a lower level of greater expanse.  On the left shore with its velvety green grass and its wide spreading cedars stood the substantial restful residence of the late Col. Playfair.

The turmoil of the rapids and the placidity of the quiet home stand in bold contrast adds to the fascinating beauty.

The hamlet was properly named Playfairville as the Playfairs were quite numerous in the vicinity.  The late William Playfair, a man of integrity, owned a saw mill at this hamlet where for many years he cut lumber and shingles.  He had a large family of more than ordinary ability and initiative.  His small son  Laurence had the distinction of being swept over the dam and through the rapids, arriving at school the following morning bright and cheerful.  He is now an M.D. in some town in western Ontario.

The lay preacher was known as “little” John Playfair—many times I sat and listened to him discourse with fluency on both the old and the new testaments.  His memory was marvelous.  Often I have compared him with George E. Foster because of his wonderful memory and rapidity of speech.  The scripture passages he wielded with penetrating force and the word of God quickly and powerfully and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and of the joints and marrow and was a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Elijah Playfair lived in the village and James Playfair cultivated a nearby farm.  The name Playfair stood for honesty and uprightness and square dealing.

G.C. Mills conducted a small grocery store and kept the post office. Alex Mills, his son, drove the stage from Playfairville to Perth by way of Fallbrook and Harper, carrying the daily mail.  The hamlet once boasted a blacksmith shop and a carriage shop.  An old wooden bridge with names innumerable carved with jack knives spanned the rapids.  On the right shore were the homes of James Johnston and Dave O’Neil.  Topping the hill stood the modest Methodist Church where Rev. Mr. Pletts and his successor Rev. Mr. Roadhouse unfolded the sacred messages and went in and out among the people delivering the words of comfort or inspiration receiving welcome in every home.  I wonder what is left of this hamlet?  The memory of its people still lingers, reminding us that the only lasting wealth we can possess is a good name.

Let me now in memory tread the wood roadway to Fallbrook, admiring as we pass along Alex Anderson’s beautiful grove of pine.  In about 15 minutes we reach the historic red school house on the top of the hill overlooking Bolton’s Creed on whose banks the ancient but historic cheese factory now stands.  Ancient?  Well, not youthful.  Historic?  Yes.   Fallbrook was one of 17 factories that contributed to making the large cheese sent to the World’s Fair at Chicago.  This makes it historic and as such should go down in history. The cheese maker was David C. Ennis who now resides in western Canada.  The cheese weighed eleven tons and was sold to Sir Thomas Lipton on condition that he draw it through the large cities of England on a truck drawn by white horses.  This he did and established for Canada a market in Britain for Canadian cheese.

About 100 yards from the factory was the hotel, general store and post office conducted by Mr. and Mrs. W.G. Cameron.  The hotel at that time was not a paying proposition as lumber operations had passed their zenith and the trade was gradually dying.  However, many happy hours were spent socially in the old building.  The winter evenings were pleasantly whiled away by playing euchre.  About 7:30 p.m. Bill Gallagher, with his long beautiful flowing beard, Mic. McCabe, with his typical Irish whiskers, and Mic. Foley would be in the sitting room of the hotel awaiting developments. Soon Watty would appear on the scene with a pack of worn cards, pull out a bench and say “Come on, McCabe, we’ll give the boys a trim.”  Gallagher and Foley would take up the challenge.  Taking their places around the bench, Watty would put the cards close to Bill and blandly remark “Cut the deal”.  Bill would stroke his long beard and cut.  Momentary silence.  Then Bill would laughingly exclaim “By gosh, Watt, it is all mine”.  Bill would shuffle the deck, deal them round and the game of “Take Your Partner’s Best” was on.  The spectators enjoyed the game as much as the players.  Watty’s dry humor, McCabe’s Irish wit, Bill’s soft, measured censure and Foley’s musical laugh made the game one continuous round of merriment.

W.G. Cameron was a man of powerful personality, strong convictions and rigidly upright in all his dealings with his fellow man.  Mrs. Cameron was a real businesswoman, of strong intellectual ability, liked by the whole county.  Ever extending help where help was needed, endeavoring always to encourage people to a higher plane of life, she managed the store and post centre(?).  James Cameron, a boarder at the hotel and brother of W.G. Cameron, conducted the blacksmith shop and did wood work such as making wagons and sleighs.  Had he persisted, he might have been a tailor as he spent the greater part of one whole winter making himself a pair of trousers.

A carding mill operated by Will Wallace stood near the hotel on the banks of the creek.  Business was brisk as the farmers for many miles in the surrounding country brought their wool to the factory.  George Wallace and George Buffam, two old residents, were known as mill wrights, an art fast disappearing.  The MacIntosh brothers were kept busy in making boots and shoes for the inhabitants of the village and adjacent territory.  If the boots were somewhat large they would shrink and if somewhat small the leather would surely give.  In any case, they were just as the maker wished them to be

John Buffam, carpenter, attended to the necessary repairing of old buildings and to the erection of new ones.

Simon Falls, skilled in the woolen trade, opened a small factory near Lees’ flour mill doing carding and spinning for his many customers.

William Lees, for many years representative for Lanark in the legislature, owned and operated a flour mill and a saw mill both situated on the Fall River.  The saw mill gave employment to a number of men in the summer and the hauling of lumber to Perth employed men in the winter.  Somewhat distant from the village, on Boulton Creek, James Cameron and Hugh Blair operated a small saw mill until it was destroyed by fire.

Another general store was conducted by John Fumerton and was close to Cameron’s blacksmith shop.  In conjunction with this store was the large hall where different denominations held church services.  Anglican, Methodist, and what was known as The Brethren used it.  The representative of The Brethren society was a Mr. Dunlop. A calm, gentle, dignified gentleman, traveling from place to place carrying the gospel message.

At the end of the bridge crossing the Fall River stood a formidable house under the command of Henry Buffam.  No horse or carriage was permitted to pass without first handing over the compelling talisman.  This done, the traveler was permitted to pass on his way with all good wishes for a save return with the necessary coin to ensure Buffam’s “pass, my man”.  The purpose of the toll gate was to collect money from those who used the road; this money being used to keep the road in good repair and possibly paying a small dividend to the shareholders of the road.

Settled on the north shore of Bolton’s Creek, cultivating their productive farms were Josh Gallagher and Bill Gallagher, George Kerr, Andrew Bain, John Bain, William Mackie and Charles Mackie.  Going up the 11th Line, the homes of Bill Johnston, Sam Buffam, Hugh McDonald, R. Dickson, D. Ennis, J. Warrington, T. Ennis, J. Anderson and W. H. Blair still stand in reality as in memory of 45 years ago.  To portray these different characters with a degree of accuracy would require page upon page; suffice it to say all were human, prone to stumble but strengthened by the spirit of helpfulness, companionship and charity.

No farther seek their merits to disclose

Or draw their frailities from their dead abode.

Ninety One

Carleton Place Herald, March 27, 1906


The Gillies Machine Shops Sadly Damaged—Loss Very Heavy

One of the most disastrous fires we have had in Carleton Place for some time occurred this morning this morning in the machine works of the John Gillies Estate Co., Ltd., when the two upper flats were destroyed, with a number of the new launches—some finished and some in course of construction—all the wood working machinery and all the patterns and stock carried on the third floor were destroyed.  The loss is inestimable at this writing but it will not be less than $10,000 and is probably greater and is complete as the Company carried their own risk.  At least twenty men will be out of employment for a time and those of them working on the second flat have lost their tools as well.

The fire started about 8:35 and was caused by an explosion of gasoline in a launch that was about complete.  Master George Dougherty was operating the engine with a view to testing it, when a spark somehow got to the gasoline tank, causing an explosion that blew the end out of the boat and scattered the fire instantly amongst the flammable material in the shop.  Dougherty was badly scorched about the hands and arms and his face and neck were singed.  How he escaped worse injury is marvelous.  He also has a foot badly bruised.  The spread of the fire was so rapid that the man had to flee at once and it was no time until the third flat, where was stored the valuable patterns, finished in oil and varnish, was all ablaze.

The alarm was sounded at once and in a remarkably short time the fire brigade responded.  Two lines of hose were attached to the hydrant in front of the Canada Woolen Mills and water was soon playing; a third line of hose was attached from Brown’s pump and a little later two additional streams were thrown from the fire engine on the river bank.  A third stream was run from the factory later, making six in all but the fire being in the upper part of the high building and with so much material to feed the flames, made it difficult to handle and before the last spark was extinguished the best part of the roof of the building and the floor between the second and third flats were destroyed.

There were five complete launches in the shop—one was valued at $1,200—besides other boats partly built.  Whilst these are not completely destroyed, the loss is very considerable and the damage by water to the valuable machinery on the lower floors will also be heavy.

Mr. James Gillies, who is president of the company, has been in poor health for a week or two and is not in a position to give an explanation as to the loss or what action the company may take to restore the establishment.  Messrs. William and David Gillies are also at home, and witnessed the heroic work of the firemen and others as they struggled with the devouring elements.

Meanwhile the employees will devote their energies to protecting the plant and doing what they can to save the perishable material.

The disaster could scarce have come at a worse season, when the Company were busy with orders and everything was humming in the expectation of a busy season in the launch and engine business.

Much regret is expressed throughout the town, as the loss will be felt in more ways than one and it is hoped the company will see their way to rebuilding without delay.

Perth Courier, March, 1935

Lest We Forget:  North Sherbrooke

Nearly half a century has elapsed since I had the privilege of living in North Sherbrooke, Lanark County, in that part of the township in the vicinity of Elphin, which originally was known as Mann’s Corners.  The country is very picturesque with its rolling lands, maple woods interspersed with evergreens; the wooded hills, the green pastures, the pasture lands, the modest fields of grain, and the luscious apple orchards surrounding the pleasant farm homes inviting the attention of the traveler to dine upon the landscape beauty.

The original settlers hailed from Scotland—the land of Bobby Burns and like Burns, were bold, upright and honest.  The present generation still carry the Scottish accent as well as the other characteristics of their progenitors.  They were people overflowing with hospitality, tenderness and kindness.  The outstretched hand was always ready to help the needy.

The store at Elphin was conducted by the late Peter McIntyre and in a small annex J. Shane practiced the trade of shoe making.  The annex becoming too small for his expanding trade, Shane moved about a mile east to a building which had been owned by a gentleman who had the burning impulse of bringing beautiful horses from western Ontario and selling them for high prices to the Elphin farmers.  His profits were high as his costs were merely those of stealing the horses from the owners without the owner’s knowledge.  Persisting in this business, government officials sought his companionship and graciously escorted him to a home near Kingston prepared by the government for characters such as he.

Directly across from McIntyre’s store stood the cheese factory and close by Danny(?) Munroe had a blacksmith shop where he was always ready to shoe horses, trade watches(?) or enjoy a smoke.

The store was the rendezvous for the clan—gathering there on winter evenings to swap stories.  Dane(?) McYuan generally was the grand aggregate while Jim Brownlee ran a good second.

About fifty yards from the store, was a small church built of sided(?) logs (the work of the broad axe) but not in use as the congregation was too numerous to be accommodated within its historic walls.  A large hall over a shed was used as a place of worship.  Here, Rev. Alexander McAulay ministered faithfully to his flock, Will Miller and John Stewart were two of the elders.  The people were loyal to their church and the services were well attended.  About a mile east was the school house where the village teacher taught his little school for forty pounds a year.

A little to the north of the highway leading from McDonald’s Corners wended the Mississippi river down which thousands of logs were annually guided by jolly river drivers.  The Caldwells of Lanark and the McLarens of Perth were the leading lumbermen of the day.  Where the hydro equipment plant now stands, where the High Falls offered obstructions to the river men.  To overcome this natural obstruction an immense slide was constructed on the north side of the stream down which the logs were run without damage.  This slide was the cause of a long drawn out and costly law suit centering on what is known as “The Streams(?) Hill(?)”.  Such names as McDonald, McIlquham, Barber, Bowes and Greer are known from the headwaters of the Mississippi to the mills at Carleton Place.  Peter McCallum, I believe, is the only one of those hardy farmers who can now answer the “roll call”.  Down the stream from the High Falls, stood Geddes’ Flour Mill, where the stone process of making flour was in its heyday.  Here at the rapids is Dalhousie Lake—now renowned as a summer resort—then resplendent in its natural beauty.  Around this section we find the Geddes, Smiths, Pauls, McDugalls, Duncans and Millers, pioneers of large muscular frames, whose hospitality was in keeping with their frames.

In the immediate vicinity of Elphin, George Wilson (postmaster), James Brownlee, D. McVean, Jeff Pitcher, R. Balfour, M. McFarlane (carpenter), R.(?) Campbell, W. Smith, T. Wilson and T. Izatt(?), performing the daily farm tasks.  Settled on the surrounding farms were H. Weir (weaver), J. Miller (drover) H. Wilson (late Chief of Police of Carleton Place) R.(?) Bain, (first letter of name illegible) Clement, R.(?) Wilson (drover), Duncan Ferguson, G. Campbell, F. Ferguson, D. McVean, A. Ferguson, William Nusbett, and Sandy Crawford—the precenter of the Kirk.

These pioneers have all departed, so have the captains and kings, but the richness of humanity’s texture is strengthened more by the quiet, unselfish life than by that of those who stride the course to the sounds of trumpets.  Their power have created wealth which is dead, but the hospitality, the quietness and the tenderness march on.

It was not uncommon to see the wool taken off the sheep, carded by hand, made into rolls, spun into yarn on the spinning wheel and knit into mittens and socks or sold to M. Weir to be woven into cloth.

Sugar making was carried out somewhat differently fifty years ago.  Troughs were made for catching the sap.  Spiles(?) were made of cedar and the tapping was done by means of an auger and gauge.  The sap was boiled in metal or iron coolers arranged in rows of five or six.  These coolers were hung over an immense fire which added brilliancy and delight tot eh work.  The farmer’s implements consisted  of ploughs and harrows, scythes, rakes, etc.  Few owned mowing machines or reapers.

Transportation was not by motor car but by a wagon drawn by six horses.  Great pride was taken by the farmers for having beautiful horses full of pep, and action.

These people had their amusements.  In summer, they had special gatherings and picnics in which the whole neighborhood heartily participated and thoroughly enjoyed.  The picnic grounds were at Mr. McDougall’s grove, an ideal place, now only a memory as the woodsman’s axe has wrought a change. 

In the autumn corn-huskings and apple-parings followed by the old fashioned square dance whiled away many a pleasant hour.  Young and old mingled in the whirling mane exhilarated by the lively strains of “The Soldier’s Joy” and “The Gay Grandsire Whisked Beneath The Garden of Threescore”.

Winter brought sleigh riding when the horses hooves kept time to the musical chimes of the merry bells.  The high mountain at the back of McLaren’s Depot provided an ideal toboggan slide.  Here the younger people enjoyed the clear, frosty nights sliding down the mountain side for the distance of a mile, then laboriously pulling the toboggans back to the summit to repeat the operation.  The air was filled with mirth and jollity.

Eby(?) Wilson was the dentist for the neighborhood, at least for all emergencies requiring extraction, having acquired the art in uprooting boulders, not molars, by means of the plough.  His instruments consisted of a peculiar shaped lance for tearing the gums and what was known as a key for the extraction operation.  When his knee was planted firmly on your chest it was considered an anesthetic for agony when it is at its height, is mute.  But why linger on this painful scene?

The Scottish people are said to thrive on porridge, the Bible and the shorter catechism but these good people were progressive and required a more varied diet and for their daily menu had porridge, the Bible, the shorter catechism and the Perth Courier.

Gone are these settlers of nearly fifty years ago.  No more they lift the latch to welcome strangers.  Their contributions to life and to the world has been made quietly, humbly and persistently.

Let not ambition mock their useful toil,

Their homely joys and destiny obscure

Nor grandeur hear with a disdainful smile

The short and simple annals of the poor.


Perth Courier, April 5, 1935

Lest We Forget:  Lanark

Middleville, lovliest village of the plain

Where hearth and plenty cheered the laboring swain

How often I have loitered o’er thy green

Where humble happiness endeared each scene!

Middleville, a name which would suggest a certain location inland as being in the middle of the township or possibly that of the county, may be the hub towards which the people of the township converge. Like its neighbors Lavant, Darling, Dalhousie, the early settlers were of Scotch origin and thoroughly educated in honesty, thrift and frugality.

As I remember the village it consisted of two general stores, a blacksmith shop, shoe shop, carriage shop, saw mill, two stopping places and three churches and a school.

Climbing a gentle incline on the Lanark road, the traveler approaches the home of William Borrowman, whose surroundings would indicate the owner to be a man of intelligence and interest in the finer arts.  Entering his residence he is found to be not only a gentleman farmer but a jeweller whose tradesmanship is not surpassed  by the city tradesman.

Some short distance from the Borrowman home is the Congregational Church and manse occupied by Rev. J. Lambert Alexander, a young clergyman beginning his career in the ministry.  He is a true success.  His real object  was that of including the principles of Jesus in the minds and hearts of each hearer.  He was a promising youth and afterwards became a leading light in church union.  He was strong intellectually, easily approachable, of kindly disposition and tolerant in his views.

Sickness in the village was rare but what did occur was skillfully taken care of by Dr. Mather, a graduate of Queen’s.  The clever young doctor was a most sociable man, humorous and intensely interested in the gems of literature.  He had a hobby of taking snapshots and developing the same.  One fair day he had a few in his window getting the sunlight to bring them to maturity.  They remained in the window overnight.  The next morning the old lady who cared for his office sympathetically remarked “You didna sell many of your pictures, doctor?”

A carriage and wagon shop was operated by David Dobbie.  Carriages, wagons, cutters, and sleighs were then in demand as the motor car was then just an infant.  Dave was meticulously exacting in his workmanship and a neck yolk has been known to stay in the vice for three or four weeks before released to the purchaser.

Bill Sommerville, stone mason and plasterer, spent most of this time out of the village in the summer performing work in his line for farmers and other builders.  He was always happy and in rain or in shine his greeting was always:  “Y-a-a-a, it is a fine day!”.  Through time he left the village and took up residence in Lanark where he is now a valued and respected resident.

One of Middleville’s (illegible word) characters was the late Mrs. Guthrie.  She was of a calm, refined temperament. Her acts of goodness were kindly performed.  Her welcomes were genuine and her life was one of kindness, helpfulness and good will for all.  She was a beautiful character the memory of whom will glow forever.

The Presbyterian Church had for its clergyman Rev. Mr. Smith, a man of strong personality.  He was a Scotsman and had a good deal of a “burr” in his accent which made him very pleasing to hear.  Meeting him in his home was a rare treat.  His affable, pleasing manner had a fascinating power which drew the visitor close to him making him forget his vices and his woes while the pastor good naturedly and kindly pointed him to the skies.  He did not gain greatness by political power neither by financial power but by service.  His was true greatness.  He served in the pulpit and out of the pulpit, in times of joyousness and in times of sadness he was with his people, rejoicing with those who rejoiced and weeping with those who wept.  He was one of them.  In memory I can see and hear him as he expounds on the text “Grieve not the holy Spirit whereby you are sealed unto the day of Redemption”.  The sermon done, he placed a hand under each cover and suiting the action to the words said “The book is closed, the sermon is sealed and there was a good one.”

The merchants were Mr. Croft and A.R. McIntyre.  General stores were necessary in county villages at that time.  The great chain stores almost annihilated the small country stores to detriment of the community.  These general stores were the meeting places in the evenings, particularly winter evenings, when weighty subjects were good naturedly discussed.

An outstanding man was Archibald Rankin who for many years was clerk for the municipality of Lanark township.  He was thoroughly skilled in  municipal law and was a councilor to the members of the Council.  He was active in all social activities being a stager of ability.  Another singer of note was Peter Morris who I can still hear singing “The Old Oaken Bucket”.

The Sons of Temperance was a thriving organization with a large membership. The township of Lanark was deprived of the right to sell spirituous liquors by what was known as the Dunkin Act and is still under that dispensation.

The blacksmith was a very busy man shoeing horses, making chains, ironing wagons, buggies, cutters and sleighs.  Albert Cunningham, and R.(?) B.(?) Somerville stood the strain of this heavy work for many years before being compelled to retire.  Christy Jackson, a free going, likeable man, conducted a stopping place near McIntyre’s store and catered to the traveling public with courtesy.

Across a little vale from Somerville’s shop, then up a slight incline to a small  tableland stood the school house where Miss Spence taught many of the beginners at that time to recognize “hat, coat, rack”.  Yes.  36 years ago.

The great annual event of the village was the “Fair” or more aristocratically speaking “The Exhibition”.  This being the last fair of the year, it was always well patronized.  Once visited, the conclusion is that fairs of major importance rank as minors in art skill and workmanship.  In the building, the paintings, pencil work, crayon work, etc. hold the visitor.  The needle work draws the admiration of every on looker; the fancy work of every description demands the unstinted praise of young and old, of the professional and the amateur.  Outside the building lovers of animals leisurely move around viewing the horses, sheep, swine, cattle, calves, lambs and the common expression “did you ever see better?” is heard on all sides of the ring.  When the day is over, the directors county their earnings and in their joy another success financially has been added to their credit.

The surrounding country is beautiful—the land productive and settled with a sturdy class of people.  Here we find the Afflecks and the Somerville string to out number each other.  No finer type of citizen to be found anywhere.  The Crofts, the Guthries, the Blackburns, the Mathers, the Yuills, the Mitchells and many others of like type.  These are real citizens co-operating in all good work their motto being “service for mankind”.

Ninety Nine

Perth Courier, October 24, 1946

History of Boyd’s Settlement

The following sketch was prepared by Mrs. Wesley Willows and Mrs. Earl Willows is an outline of the early history of Boyd’s Settlement in Lanark Township a few miles from Innisville.

A tribute to the past

A record for the present

A message for posterity

In the year 1815 a proclamation was issued in England which greatly affected the lives of many British subjects and the history of the new world.  This proclamation offered free passage to such natives of Great Britain as might wish to set sail for Canada for the purpose of settling there.  Free provisions as an inducement were also offered until such time as the land which they were given would produce enough to support them.  Besides this they were to be given ten pounds as a loan.  Each group of four families were to receive a grindstone, a cross cut saw, and whip saw.  To each family was given an adze, a hand saw, draw knife, one shell augur, two gimlets, door lock and hinges, scythe and snath, reaping hook, two hoes, one hay fork, skillet, camp kettle, one blanket for each member of the family.

This process was eagerly read by man in the old land. The old system of land holding was oppressive and the people knew little of freedom or equality.  As a result, the younger and more adventurous thought with longing of the new world.  It would appear that many who were friends in Ireland must have come to Canada within a short time of each other and gathered in communities together.

They landed at Montreal and came on to Brockville by steamboat or scows towed by oxen.  They probably crossed the Rideau at Rideau Ferry as that was the only crossing place along that part of the river.  It is likely that they also passed through Perth.

An ocean voyage took at least seven weeks and parcels and letters took a endless time to reach the new world.  The immigrants were crowded into the holds of ships and deplorable sanitation added to the discomfort and disease.  Ship fever broke out and took a heavy toll.  Of 100,000 immigrants coming to Canada, it is estimated that 5,000 died at sea and 20,000 after landing at St. John, Quebec and Montreal.

The original settlement of Lanark township was commenced in 1820 and was marked by a piece of paper nailed to a tree on the side of a street in the present village of Lanark.  On this piece of paper were the words “This is Lanark”.  In the same year Boyd’s settlement was opened to settlers.  The first home was begun by Sam Boyd, unmarried, who settled in the field now south of the present cheese factory house.  It was a square built house with a roof going up to a square instead of the usual ridge.  John Boyd, his brother, whose wife died at sea, settled where his great grandson Franklin Boyd now lives.  Henry Hammond and wife Margaret Boyd (sister of the Boyd men), settled on the farm now owned by Mr. and Mrs. William Crosswell.  Andrew Stevenson and wife Mary Boyd lived on the farm now occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Ed Ventress.  Foster Stern, married Jane Boyd and settled on a farm on the town line now owned by Clifford Hammond.  George Code married Sara Boyd and lived on what is now Russell Willows’ farm.  This George Code is the son of the Code family which lived on the farm now owned by Oscar Ventress.  There were many brothers and sisters in the family and they make many an interesting story but we need only think of those who lived right here in the settlement.  Another brother lived on the present Munro farm.  The last Code on the old homestead was Thomas Nancable Code.  He was musical and conducted a singing school and led the church choir for many years.

There were also two Jackson brothers –one was Thomas Jackson who married Rachel Code and lived where Clifford Hammond now resides.  Some of their descendents are Robert of Vancouver, Judge Arthur Jackson who recently retired from the bench in Toronto and Bessie (Mrs. Sher. (?) Willows) of Calgary.  There are also Nellie, wife of John Tennant.  Lantrim Jackson married Erlen(?) Ennis and settled where Earl Willows now lives.  They were the grandparents of Mrs. Alfred Hammond, Colin and Wesley Willows—and many others too numerous to mention.

William and James Magee lived on farms later owned by William Bailey and now the property of William C. McCall.  It is believed that William D’Arcy Magee, one of the fathers of the Confederation, was a brother of these men.

The Wrights and Wellwoods lived on the 11th Line down near Mud Lake on land now owned by William S. Munro.  We have a story told by Thorpe Wright about the experience of his parents in crossing the water.  The vessel carried 341 passengers and no doctor.  Cholera broke out and 41 died and were buried at sea.  Mr. Wright was a tailor by trade and made the caps and gowns for students of Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.  On the ship he sewed the dead bodies of the cholera victims up in blankets for burial.  Mrs. Wright fell ill and the ship’s captain was about to bleed her, which was the customary procedure.  Mr. Wright, who did not agree with this method of treatment, took his shears and fought off the captain.  His own treatment was to steam the patient.  This he did after he scared off the captain and his wife recovered.  The care of their infant child was thrust upon the tailor and he solved the food problem by preparing a mixture of powdered biscuit, sugar and water upon which the baby fed and thrived for three weeks.  The vessel, however, having hid one man, brought the epidemic to Quebec where thousands died and were buried in trenches on the Plains of Abraham.

After these settlers arrived, they found things were not as easy as they expected.  Provisions were not as easily obtained as promised.  The implements furnished were big and clumsy.  Even years later, when Henry Hammond had a daughter grown big enough to grow potatoes, she declared “it was a big enough job to carry the shovel let alone use it to dig the potatoes from among the roots of the trees.”  Mr. Hammond was the first to own a horse in the settlement and quite a novelty it was.  His son tells that he remembers the first dollar he saw.  It was obtained by shipping potash to England and the dollars were shipped back in payment.

Before coming to this new land, Sam Boyd was a teacher in Ireland.  It is also said that it was he who opened the first Methodist Sunday school in that part of Ireland.  After coming to Lanark township, he became a leader in the life of the community and it is believed that he may have been the first school master here.  When he came to this country, Sam Boyd left behind him a dear friend in the person of a young lady named Nancy.  It is said that he was quite sick and ailing much of his time until at last one day Nancy arrived from the old country.  After that Sam made a remarkable recovery and married his Nancy.

The first school was in the corner of the cemetery near Clifford Hammond’s fence.  It was the first school for miles around and as a result had a large attendance.  As many as 70-80 were enrolled.  The school was simply set down in the middle of the forest.  One day during the years when the school was under the direction of a school master named John Manley, a very fierce storm developed.  It was called “The Slash” because it ripped down a strip through the forest leaving a mass of tangled, twisted wreckage of trees, trunks etc., lying in its wake.  In the path of The Slash lay the school house.  When the storm subsided, Mrs. Lantrim Jackson hurried up to the school, terrified lest she find it in ruins.  To her surprise, she found the trees lying all around the school house but the building itself was not damaged.  Mr. Manley, a God fearing man, on seeing the storm sweeping down on them, dropped to his knees and prayed for Divine protection for the children in his care.  Later, John Manley became a preacher and was a minister in Toronto when 100 years old and died not so long ago.  He had gone to Toronto to be with other Manley families settled there—one of whom was the father of Laura Manley Secord of Beaver Dam fame.

The God fearing pioneers were not such as would leave their faith neglected in the new country.  In 1821 we find Rev. J.G Peale stationed at Perth and walking out to Boyd’s Settlement carrying his saddle bags on his back.  On his arrival he had services in the home of Henry Hammond.  From that time on services were held from shanty to shanty (as the homes then were called).  Then they met in the school house until the first church was built.

The first church in this district was built just inside the present cemetery gates.  The resolution passed at the time to decide to build a new church read in part as follows:  “we shall build a house of Divine Worship which shall be called the Jackson Street Methodist Church, 12th Concession Lanark, to be built of cedar logs 26x36 feet inside.  The building committee to be F. Stern, Andrew Stevenson, William McGee, and Thomas Jackson”.  Another resolution read as follows:  “The meeting house on the 12th Concession Lanark, be open for the Church of England, Presbyterian, Baptist and Quakers when not occupied by the Methodists”.

Much more could be told of the early history of Boyd’s Settlement, but it would make this story cumbersome.  However, in conclusion, we might say that in many communities, the earliest settlers thought that they required stimulants to give them strength for their heavy duties.  It was not so much in this settlement.  The earliest settlers of Boyd’s were a temperate class.  People who lived to bring in the Kingdom of God in their community and today we are reaping the fruits of their labors and that of their children.

Perth Courier, April 24, 1925

The Diaries of John Hart

When an Ottawa Citizen reporter was in Perth a few days ago gathering material to boost Perth’s Old Home Week, he obtained a diary of the late John Hart from his grandson, W.B. Hart and we re-publish the same below.

John Hart was born in Paisley, Scotland on the 6th November, 1808.  In 1841, he decided to seek his fortunes in Canada.  He was married and had four children.  He had no intention of leaving them behind in the old country.  To transport the family would mean a great deal of expense and although he evidently was a man of substance he was also “canny.”

Growing accounts were reaching Great Britain in those times of golden opportunities offered to those willing to brave the dangers and the hardships of the voyage across the Atlantic and offers of generous grants of land to settlers were proving exceedingly attractive to able bodied Britons who saw no very rosy future in store for them  in their own country.  He conceived the idea of organizing a group of these and was so successful that he gathered nearly 400 passengers, chartered a vessel, provisioned it, obtained the necessary permits to emigrate, and financed the expedition so successfully that he was able to land himself and his family on this side of the Atlantic without any expense.  He frankly boasted of this achievement for although it turned out successfully, it might have proved a disaster for him as he had advanced the money himself for a great many of the passengers and allowed them to pay all save a small deposit, after they had reached Canada.  It is recorded that only one of the 400 people fell down on his payment and that one only because he seemed to have ill fortune in the new land.

The wording of the diary of John Hart proves that he was a man of great determination and courage, canny to a degree, but withal, possessed of such a keen sense of humor that his records of financial “coups” are exceedingly humorous to read.  He had, moreover, an evident relish for good spirits, incidents related below proving that he was as zealous to procuring a little more of those as of the Bibles and Testaments presentments presented to the band of immigrants.

The vessel chartered by John Hart was the Carlton.  She left Glasgow on April 15, 1842, and arrived at Quebec on June 5, the voyage taking exactly 51 days.  Here the diary concludes but footnotes by a descendent of John Hart state that the voyage was continued up the St. Lawrence to Montreal, and up the Ottawa River to Bytown.  There they again changed vessels and sailed up the Rideau Canal to Oliver’s Ferry whence they completed the journey to Perth in wagons over rough roads.  From Glasgow to Perth the journey occupied nine weeks and it is reported that Perth, as John Hart found it, was a thriving town.

A few extracts from the diary suffice to give a vivid picture of the hazardous undertaking.

April 16, 1842  Bread and potatoes brought on board—passengers can cook victuals very well as galley is well made.  Some passengers are unable to purchase food so made a collection of one penny from all on board.

Tuesday, April 19, 1842—Served two pounds of biscuits to each passenger; tea, one pound sugar, one pound peas, one pound meal but the most tedious job we had today was serving out the rum.  We bought twenty gallons and eleven gallons of gin.  There were six bottles of rum came to my share and two bottles of gin.  Bibles and Testaments were also distributed.  I got a bible and five Testaments—although it was more than what came to my share.

Wednesday, April 20, 1842  Highlanders came on board with fine pig.  21 of us bought it for 21 shillings.

Thursday, April 30—Going at a fine rate.  Six miles per hour.  Bought a coffee mill for one shilling at Port Glasgow.  I hire it out for one penny each to grind coffee as we had forgot a coffee mill so my shilling will pay me well.

Saturday—Served out gin today, I had two bottles.  Capital stuff.  We had a very busy day today as we did not want to be giving out anything on the Sabbath.  We have prayer and praises every evening.  Some of the passengers are already green with sea sickness.  The sea was rough and we must stay in our berths to keep from falling.  There was a storm today and all the chests in our room fell around.  It was laughable, really, to have seen me crawling out from under although it was serious.

May 4, 1842—This day very coarse; we could not cook much.  We lost two and a half bottles of rum to the storm.  The passengers were all starving for water but Jamie and me—we always managed to have some but served it out in small quantities and made it go far.

May 6, 1842—Well, Jean very poorly in and she has fouled her stomach.  I think from taking gruel with a lump of butter on it.  Today we had an addition to our number.  Mrs. Vallance(?) Valliance(?) had a new child.

May 21, 1842—Very cold, some of the passengers frost bit.  Fishing boats around the ship. 

May 22, 1842—Very calm and on the lee bow(?)

6:00—Where we were yet

11:00—Still where we were

May 27, 1842—Friday Rob Blackburn’s youngest child died of measles.  Our first death.  Burial at sea.  However, had me made a fine new shooting(?) coat at the top of fashion.  I wear it as I write this.

The writer of this unique diary or log from which the above extracts are taken lived to a ripe old age and died lamented by the whole settlement of Perth on October 23, 1881 being then 73 years of age.

Perth Courier, August 10, 1834

Early History of the Bathurst Congregation

In May of 1873, work in connection with the Bathurst mission of the Presbyterian Church in Canada was commenced, the Presbytery sending out into the field a Mr. F. Ballantyne, who served from June until August at Bathurst and Maberly.  The services at Bathurst were held in McClellan’s school house.  The Union Church was built that year on the McLellan property on the Upper 3rd Line and opened for public worship in 1874. Mr. Vanderwert carried on the work.

In 1875(?) Thomas Bennett carried on the work for five months and in this year, services were held at Althorpe.  In 1876 G.D. Boyne had charge of the field on the same plan as the previous year.  Mr. Penman followed in 1877 and preached on the Scotch Line on Sabbath evenings.   G.R. Fitzpatrick conducted services at Bathurst, Althorpe, Scotch Line, and 6th Line and was followed in 1879 by R.C. Murray.

In 1880 Mr. Pollack and Mr. McLean worked the field for ten weeks, discontinuing the Scotch Line.  J.C. Campbell supplied in 1881 and resumed the Scotch Line meetings.  In 1882 John Moore continued the work dropping the Scotch Line and holding the service at Althorpe every Sabbath.

In 1883 the Mission was under the care of F.W. Johnson, followed in 1884 by J.F. Smith and in 1886 by Arpad Govan.  J.W.H. Milne continued the work in 1886 and resumed the Scotch Line meetings.  W.J. Drummond followed in 1887 and D.R. Drummond in 1888 and James Hodge in 1889.

A.D. Menzies took charge of the field in 1890 discontinuing the 6th Line services and was followed by R.G. Gow in 1891 who followed the same plan.  In 1892 C.D. Campbell worked the field and held in mid-week services at the 6th Line.  C.G. Young followed in 1893.

J.B. Boyd was sent into the field in 1894.  In September of that year, the congregation decided to carry on the mission throughout the twelve months and Mr. Boyd continued in the field.  Up to this time, services were conducted occasionally by Perth ministers and then later by the Methodist ministers on the Maberly circuit during the winter months.

Mr. Boyd continued the work in 1895 until September when at a meeting of the Presbytery held in Arnprior, the Home Mission Committee discussed the advisability of sending a continuous supply to the mission fields of Bathurst and S. Sherbrooke.  A.A. Scott of Carleton Place was appointed to visit the field and ascertain the feeling of the people as to the advisability of providing such supply.  Mr. Scott was instructed to commence with the minister of Knox and St. Andrew’s Churches in Perth to ascertain the bearing on such a move on their congregations.  Mr. Scott visited the field in September and found the people in favor of the proposed change.  They decided to make a canvas of the congregation to raise funds.

At a meeting of the Presbytery held in Carleton Place in November of that year, it was resolved that Bathurst and S. Sherbrooke “be erected into a mission field and that Mr. Scott of Carleton Place and J.S. McIlraith of Balderson be appointed to organize the station, to open a communion rail and take steps towards the formation of a session of which Mr. McIlraigh would be interim moderator and also in organizing the mission field.  The Presbytery recognized as the regular preaching stations the two already established namely the one at S. Sherbrooke and the one at the church at Bathurst, having only one preaching station in the Bathurst section of the field and that the usual appointments, renewable from six months to six months be accorded to Mr. Boyd with allowances of $7 a week with board and horse hair or $1 per week in lieu of the grant from the Home Mission Field to be $2 per Sabaath.

On November 24, 1895, a meeting of he congregation was held in the Union Church at which Mr. A.A. Scott and Mr. McIlraith were present.  A communion roll was drawn up and the following names are office bearers who were elected.

Session—Andrew W. Gamble, William A. Scott, Andrew Palmer, George Miller

Managers—Andrew B. Miller, Andrew W. Miller, W.J. Palmer

Secretary—John Jordan

Treasurer—Nichol Stewart

Auditors—Alexander Palmer, Sydney Miller

On March 17, our newly appointed elders were ordained and inducted into their offices by Rev. J.S. McIlraith and Rev. J. Crombie of Smith’s Falls after which the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was dispensed.

In the fall, Mr. Boyd’s ministry came to a close and William J. McDonald came to the field.  In the following year Calvin Church was built on the property of John Cameron at a cost of $1,450.  The new church was opened and dedicated for public worship on September 13 of that year.

J.W.C. Bennett was appointed to the charge in 1896 and labored for two years.  On August 21 of that year W.J. Palmer was ordained into the eldership, elected by vote of the congregation to take the place of the late William A. Scott.

Rev. James Stewart came to the field in the spring of 1900 followed in 1902 by Rev. J.G. Greig who carried on the work very successfully until the beginning of 1907 when he accepted a call to Cumberland and Rockland.  In 1903 an additional piece of land was purchased from Mr. Cameron and the manse was built at a cost of $950.

After Mr. Greig’s departure a call was issued to Rev. H.J. McDiarmid of St. Lambert, Quebec which call he accepted and was inducted into the charge October, 1907.  The following year a session was elected in South Sherbrooke consisting of Albert Norris and James Kilpatrick who were ordained to the eldership on the 31st May, 1908.  In the fall of 1911 Mr. McDiarmid retired from the ministry.

J.T. Carswell, a student from Queen’s College, was sent to the field in 1912 and continued for three years.  He was followed by Charles H. Ballard, also a Queen’s student who worked the field two years.  Rev. William France followed in 1917.

The pulpit was again vacant in 1921 and Rev. G.G  Treanor of Balderson conducted services in Calvin Church for the summer months.  In 1922 Donald McFarlane and Robert Palmer were inducted into the eldership by the moderator Rev. Mr. Treanor.  Mr. W.D. Maxwell, a student from Knox College had charge of the field for 18 months followed in 1923 by Mr. J.M. Miller and by Mr. Newton Reid in 1924.

In June of 1925, Rev. H.G. Steers of Avonmore was sent to the field until December, 1927 when he accepted a call from Athlaston(?) and Kensington, Quebec.  Mr. D.B. Gordon a Queen’s student had charge of the field from April, 1928 to September, 1929.

On May 29, 1929 a joint meeting of the official boards of Bathurst and Maberly charges was held in Maberly to consider the union of the two charges.  The meeting was called by Rev. J.M. Allen, Convener of Home Missions of the Presbytery.

Rev. J.M. Allen and Rev. F.C. Brown presented the work of the church and property that these fields, united, services could be held at only Bathurst, Althorpe, Bolingbroke and Maberly.  The meeting agreed to this arrangement.  The union, however, did not go into effect until the following year, 1930.

Mr. A.W. Harding of Toronto served the Bathurst field from November of 1929 to June of 1930 doing splendid work.  In July of 1930, Rev. R.B. Harrison was the first minister to be stationed in the united field of the Bathurst-Maberly charge.  On Feb. 15, 1931, John Jordan, Sr. and James W. Scott were ordained to fill the vacancies which were caused by the deaths of John McFarlane and George Miller.

Posted: 08 October, 2005.