This document contains the following

Historic Lanark County Documents from the Perth Courier

Received from: Christine Spencer - [email protected]


This document contains the following:

Ferguson’s Falls Never Had Any Falls

Once A Ribald River Town, Ferguson’s Falls May Be Dying

Armstrong’s Corners, Cross Roads of History

Local Historian Compiles Congregational Church History

Fallout from the 1905 Perth Old Boys’ Reunion

Presbyterian Church of Franktown

Drummond Centre United Church

Orangemen

Masons

Rideau Ferry

History of the Rideau Ferry Road

The Lanark Era Newspaper

Pioneer Mica Miners

Andrew Dickson, Pioneer of Pakenham

Balderson was Known as Clarksville

The Last Duel

The MacPhails—County Pioneers

Perth Courier, August 10, 1934

Ferguson’s Falls Never Had Any Falls

Ferguson’s Falls in Drummond Township is a beautiful little hamlet which has seen better days.  At the present time the village is trying to achieve a reputation as a summer resort and a fishing center and is succeeding well.

But there was a time back in the ‘60’s when the Fall boasted a saw mill, grist mill, tannery and other enterprises and looked forward to finding a place on the map.  Two mills were operated by water power which was provided by a dam across the Mississippi.  By the way, we omitted to mention that Ferguson’s Falls is located on the Mississippi.

Just how the place got its name of “Falls” is hard to understand as there never was a natural waterfall there.  There was always a rapids but the drop in the river was never according to old inhabitants, sufficient to be honored by the name of “Falls”.

About 1850 Robert Blair built a dam across the river and thus created the artificial “Falls” on the north bank of the stream and he built a saw mill and on the south bank a grist mill.

Blair’s dam in high water flooded the low lands up the river and the farmers naturally objected.

In the 70’s fire visited one mill after another.  Then the farmers above the dam got busy and induced the government to prevent Mr. Blair from rebuilding.  Soon afterwards the government removed the dam and now the waters of the river have free flow.

The site of Ferguson’s Falls appears to have originally been owned by one Captain Ferguson a disbanded military officer who received his grant in the 20’s of last century from the Perth Military Government Office.

Ferguson’s Falls is on the highway between Perth and Renfrew and other points.  The road between the Falls and Perth is a distance of 13 miles and was originally a “forced” road.

Local tradition has a story of seven Irishmen, all young men, who in the early part of the last century came from the St. Lawrence to Perth by the existing road and then hewed the trail through the unbroken forest to the district just northwest of what is now Ferguson’s Falls.  These seven young Irishmen are said to have been the first settlers between Perth and McNab’s settlement around White Lake.

Thomas Hollinger, who tells about these seven pioneer Irishmen, recalls the names of four of them as Quinn, Carberry, Hartney and Neville.  Descendents of these men are still in this locality.

At one time, Ferguson’s Falls boasted three hotels and a post office which was kept by Robert Hicks.  Today there is no post office at the Falls.  To reach a resident of the Falls by mail, one addresses him or her at RR#1, Lanark.

The Falls today has a small saw mill but it is not operated by water power.  It is run by Louis Bedard.

Among the present residents of Ferguson’s Falls are Mrs. Gray, a widow; William McCaffery a retired harness maker; Alexander Sheppard who runs a general store and blacksmith shop; William Dickinson who runs a hotel; Charles Hollinger, auctioneer and drover; Tom Command, trapper; Thomas Hollinger, farmer and owner of a number of summer cottages; Louis Bedard who has a saw mill.

The Falls boasts a fine cement county bridge. The marshy portion of the river just above the Falls has always produced a large crop of muskrats.  They are still plentiful.

Back in the ‘60’s, the Mississippi River was the scene of a sad drowning.  Miss Kitty Filleter or Filieter, was drowned just east of the village.  The boat upset while she was fishing.  She and her brother, a bachelor, had lived together not far from the village.

In the ‘60’s a lot of pork was packed at Ferguson’s Falls for use in the shanties.  Charles Hollinger, grandfather of Thomas and Charles Hollinger, had an inspection office at the Falls and the pork had to be passed by him for quality before it could be sent into the surrounding shanties.  Mr. Hollinger also kept a hotel.

In the ‘60’s and ‘70’s the road between Perth and Ferguson’s Falls and Renfrew was still little more than a trail.  Today it is a road to travel by car.

Ferguson’s Falls is one of the most picturesque little spots in eastern Ontario.

Perth Courier, September 13, 1962

Once A Ribald River Town, Ferguson’s Falls May Be Dying

(Not Transcribed in Full)

Ferguson’s Falls is a dying community.

It has lost its businesses, industries and much of its history.  The first to admit the hard truth are the thirty happy residents of Ferguson’s Falls.  The town is kept alive by the lazy Mississippi River, a river which gave birth to the village, converted it into a boom town, destroyed it, but with sympathy bred of long years of association keeps the town living today as a quiet and friendly tourist retreat.

Ferguson’s Falls was once the centre of a great timber war which involved the highest courts of the Empire.  It also has a ghost but nobody has seen her recently.

Ferguson’s own “California” John Pool initiated Lanark’s first and only trek to California in 1849 to stake a claim in the gold rush.

Ferguson’s Falls was once a thriving village of 500 persons with three mills, three hotels, a post office, a tannery, a meat processing firm, wagon maker and a law authority.  The town slowly decayed following the collapse of the timber trade.

The area was first settled by two families each of (word obliterated) and Douglas and one each family of Scanlon, Powers, and Carberry, Irishmen all, who homesteaded on RR1 and RR5, Lanark township.  The families had worked in Perth after walking from Brockville in 1816.

A village was eventually erected around several primitive mills at the ford and called “Millford”.  The name was changed when a Captain George Ferguson was deeded 70 acres at the ford and water rights.  He sold out to Ebeneezer Woodward in 1838 who first divided the area into two lots.

The; names of Blair, Lee, Code, McVicar and Harvey figure prominently in property rights up to 1872 when friction between loggers and farmers culminated in flooded lands and burned mills.

The “Ford” was one of the toughest places on the river.  Men fought for love, money, business and just for the love of brawling.  They fought in taverns, yard, village, street and even on floating rafts, old accounts say.

It was during these hard times that Lanark County’s famous song “The Ballad of Jimmy Whalen” was first put together by a Ferguson’s Falls bard.

But the biggest and bloodiest fight of all was the Caldwell and McLaren feud.  The entire countryside became embroiled.  Signs of trouble began in 1850 and broke into open hostility in 1878 when the powerful lumber baron McLaren of Perth declared “No man but me has any right on this river.”

Caldwell, of Lanark, another lumber baron, protested.  On March 6, 1884, the Privy Council in London sustained Caldwell’s counter claim  which established throughout the Empire the right of river usage via improvements of another party.  The judgment had far reaching consequences in gaining certain common rights of navigable streams for public and industrial use. 

St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church was built in 1856, the first church in town.  The parish priest today is Father Healey of Lanark.  Protestant churches never built in the town but located on rural routes several miles away to serve a scattered population.  Anglican, Free Methodist, United and Baptist exist today serving a rural population of about 300.

The first Anglican service in town was held some time previous to 1850.  The second floor of a two storey log cabin (about 300 yards from the ford) sheltered the worshippers.  Then owned by the Gummersal family, the same cabin is today owned and occupied by A.L. Badour, his wife and family.  Behind the Badour house is the first public school, now a garage.  It was built in 1872.  James Ferguson was the first teacher.  His classes averaged about 25 students.

Mrs. Badour, an Ottawa school teacher, keeps notes on the town.  From a copy of the “Canadian Business Directory”, she uncovered the following long lost business leaders of 1857-58, many of whose descendents still reside in the vicinity today:  Hicks (post master), Gummersal (tanner), Hollinger (meat inspector), Blair (mill), Doroway (cooper), Doyle (innkeeper), Iveton, Stratford, Sullivan (cobblers), McCaffrey (wagons), John and M. McCaffrey (blacksmiths), Nouseau (cabinet maker) and Tennant (justice).

Ferguson’s Falls is a pioneer village with a proud history.  It has its own ghost.  Many will remember the vain-glorious poems and songs of Wilfred Lawrence Command

Perth Courier, November 9, 1961

Armstrong’s Corners:  Cross Roads of History

If you have been driving on the Lanark road during the past year you will have seen the number of attractive homes springing up at the junction of the 6th Concession of Bathurst and Drummond townships but you may not know that this little village is rising on the site of a settlement almost as old as Perth itself.  The Drummond Hotel once stood on the property now owned by Don Campbell while Clark Devlin farms the land cleared by Jimmie Armstrong, a farmer and blacksmith who gave his name to this little cross roads hamlet.

Nature was the deciding factor that located this early centre on the Lanark road.  The black ash swamp on the north side of Ferguson’s hill blocked the northward traffic on the town line between the townships of Bathurst and Drummond and forced the early settlers to turn to the right and follow the high land along the south shore of the swamp to a narrow point between the 7th and 8th Concessions of Drummond where it was an easy matter to cross tot eh north shore and continue on to the Mississippi river where a ferry was operated for a number of years at a point north of the R.H. McIlquham farm.

Many of the first settlers in the townships of Lanark and Dalhousie followed this road and Andrew tells in his book “Pioneer Sketches of the District of Bathurst” about the pioneers who built rafts on the Clyde and Mississippi rivers and floated down to Murphy’s Falls, Apple Tree Falls, and Shipman’s Falls to settle in the north part of the county.  In later years the road from Armstrong’s Corners was extended to Prestonvale, Ferguson’s Falls, Boyd’s Settlement, on past the Wolves Groves to Shipman’s Falls, now Almonte.  This was called the Perth Road and is clearly marked as such on the Carleton Place sheet 31 F-1, Army Survey Map, a copy of which may be obtained from James Brothers Hardware.

In his diary, Rev. William Bell, first Presbyterian minister in Perth, speaks of Armstrong’s Corners, the hotel, the blacksmith shop, and the first winter road across the black ash swamp.  He also reports the serious accident he experienced during February, 1857.  Driving a borrowed horse and cutter to Lanark, the horse ran away while going down the steep hill at Stanley’s and struck a stump with such violence as to break the shafts from the cutter.  Mr. Bell was thrown against the stump, cutting his scalp.  He reported in his diary that four men rushed from Mr. Armstrong’s blacksmith shop and carried him into the house where his wound was dressed by Mr. McNichol and Mr. Armstrong lent him new shafts and harness which enabled him to drive back to Perth.

When the present road to Lanark was opened complete with toll gates, the lower road was used less and less while the hotel, blacksmith shop and Armstrong’s Corner faded into the past.  Now we see history repeating itself as the new hamlet rises.  The diaries and journals of Rev. William Bell are in the care of the Douglas Library at Queen’s University, Kingston.  Rev. Bell helped to found this institution and his son Rev. George Bell, L.L.D., was the first student entered upon the books of Queen’s on March 7, 1842.  Later Dr. George Bell served as a professor at Queens’ and was named a trustee and later still, the registrar of the University.

Ryerson Press of Toronto published a book in 1947 “The Man Austere—Rev. William Bell—Parson and Pioneer” by L. Skelton which tells of Mr. Bell’s early years in Scotland and his life at Perth and in early Canada from 1817 to the time of his death forty years later.  A copy of this work is in the Perth Library and new copies still may be available from the publisher.  With Canada’s centennial coming in 1967 it is more important than ever that we should remember and retain records of this district’s past.

Perth Courier, March 2, 1961 

Lanark Historian Compiles Congregational Church History

The chance discovery of a newspaper dated 1889 among the contents of an old trunk provided the inspiration for the following history of the Congregational Churches of Middleville, Rosetta, Hopetown and Lanark Village.  The compilation was made recently by W. H. McFarlane, of Perth, a former publisher of the Lanark Era and later of the Arnprior Chronicle.

From the files of the Christmas edition of the Lanark Village Gazette, published December 29, 1889, a six column, four page paper printed by the Almonte Gazette, McLeod and McEwen publishers, we glean these interesting notices on the history of Congregationalism in that part of Lanark County, comprising Middleville, Hopetown, Rosetta and Lanark Village.  The story was written for the Lanark Gazette by Rev. R.K. Black, a former pastor who at this time has moved to Sarnia to reside.

The Congregational Church in Lanark Township originated in a withdrawal from the Presbyterian Church.  It was in the year 1848 or 1849 that about fifty people, most of whom being heads of families and residing near Middleville and Rosetta, left the Presbyterian Church in consequence of what they regarded as the arbitrary conduct of their minister.

At first and for some time, the spiritual wants of this considerable body of people were supplied by the ministry of Duncan McIndlay, a former elder of the church, a most excellent man who possessed in a more than ordinary degree the gift of exhortation.  Subsequently they received more or less supply from what was then known as the Presbytery of the Free Church but as they had little prospect of being able to obtain a settled minister from that body, they decided to seek connection with the Congregationalists.

With a view to that end, they invited Rev. Mr. Byrne, then Congregational minister in Bytown (now Ottawa) to visit them.  By his advise, they applied to the Congregational College at Toronto for a student to labor among them for the summer months.  Their request was granted and in the summer of 1850 Mr. James Hay was sent to them.  During his term of over five months, his labors were very acceptable to the people and he was urgently requested to return the next summer.  This he was unable to do.

Mr. Black’s own story:

In the summer of 1851, I, as a student, took over the field.  That season was to me the most enjoyable of all my seasons of student labor for, though the country was rocky and the roads rough, the congregations were large and attentive and the people treated me with remarkable kindness.  Soon after returning to Toronto to spend my last term of college I received a document signed by about 100 heads of families inviting me to return to Lanark the next summer and become their pastor.

With an invitation drawn up in that form, I could not comply in as much as no Congregational Church had as yet been formed in that locality; but I consented to return and labor among them with a view to the formation of a church upon Congregational principles.

Accordingly, in the month of May, 1852, I returned to Lanark and resumed my labors, receiving a very hearty welcome from the people.  I preached during that summer every Sabbath at Middleville and Rosetta and once a fort night at Lanark Village to excellent congregations.

The roads at that time being too rough for a carriage, I performed all my journeys on horse back and to this privation I cheerfully submitted the more so that many of my people came for miles on foot to the places of worship, at that time were primitive log buildings lacking the luxury of pews.

The people sat upon rough pine boards which were laid upon cedar blocks.  So eager were the people to hear every word of the sermon there were occasions when some, overcome by drowsiness, would rise and remain standing for the remainder of the sermon.  More devout worshippers, attentive hearers, and hearty participants in the service of song no pastor could desire to have.  The reverent stillness and order at the usual diet of worship was never disturbed save when the babe of some tired mother persisted in exercising its lungs to the discomfort of the audience or when among the few dogs who would persist in coming to church and who usually lay quite still at their master’s feet, there arose a misunderstanding.  On still more rare occasions was it when some of the pine boards that did duty for a seat gave way under its ponderous load, thus causing slight confusion and alarm.

As the time drew near for the contemplated formation of a Congregational Church, I found the enterprise to be set with no little difficulty.  The people were delighted with that liberty and independence which is so marked a feature of our church form of government but they were not so enamored of the doctrine of practice-purity of communion.  A regenerated membership, they did not quite understand and had serious objections to.

My acquaintance with the people convinced me that though very kind and respectful to myself and regular in attendance on the meaning of grace, only a small proportion of them wee even in the judgment of charity, converted people.  Some, who had been previously members of the church, I knew were in to habit of occasionally becoming intoxicated; others indulged in the use of profane language; while the best that cold be said of the most of them was that they were externally moral and respectable people.

To form a church of such promiscuous material, to those of us who believe that churches are to be weighed and not simply numbered; and that quality, not quantity, stand the true test of strength, would be to say the least, be extremely hazardous.  And yet to select from those who had been previously church members, would be sure to provoke opposition and lead to charges of partiality.

Indeed, so beset with difficulty did the enterprise appear to myself, then a young man and not yet ordained in the ministry, that I wrote to Rev. K.N. Fenwick, then pastor of the church in Kingston, asking him to undertake the task of forming the church and promising that I would be willing to undertake the pastorate should the membership see fit to call me in that office.  Mr. Fenwick, while expressing his willingness to help me in every way he could, yet declined to undertake this work on the plea that I knew the people better than he did but still encouraged me to proceed and not fear the consequences but to trust the Lord for results.

Accordingly, at my request, in the summer of 1852, 15 godly men and women, all of them heads of families, met in the place of worship at Middleville, and after earnest please for divine direction and blessing and mutual consultation, gave to one another the right hand of fellowship and were constituted a Congregational Church, holding for substance the principles which are set forth in the Declaration of Faith and Church Order of the Congregational Union of England and Wales.

Soon after, I received a unanimous call to the pastorate which I accepted.  Three deacons were appointed and subsequently two others were added.  The deacons appointed were Messrs. Archibald Rankin, Robert Affleck, and Robert Robertson, William Affleck(?0 or Allan(?) (page torn), and Robert Peacock.  Truly noble men these five deacons proved themselves to be.  No pastor every possessed such kind friends or more efficient helpers; no church was ever blessed with more devoted servants.  They have all gone to their last rest and reward but their children are for the most part active members of the church and following in the footsteps of their pious fathers.

On the Sabbath following the week in which the church was formed, I gave information that a meeting had been held during the past week and a Congregational Church formed and invited any who might desire to become members of the new church to confer with me and their cases would be dealt with according to Congregational usage.  As I expected, a storm immediately arose.  There were loud murmurs of discontent.  I was accused of partiality and even of separating man and wife as was said by the man whose wife had united with the church but who himself had not been asked to join.  The meeting was called a secret meeting because the public was not invited to attend.  The members of the new church were called self righteous and it was predicted that I should not be sustained and would be necessitated to leave the place.

I heard all this turmoil as if I did not hear it and went on with my work, patiently and hopefully visiting even the families of those who were known to be malcontents.  None of them expressed to me personally their disapproval with my course.  It was soon found that the really disaffected parties were but few though the noise they made was considerable.  Only two heads of families left the congregation.  The first year of the church’s history was one of steady but by no means extraordinary progress.

I was ordained as pastor of the church in October, 1852, Rev. J. Roaf(?) of Toronto, Rev. K.M. Fenwick of Kingston and Rev. J. Climie of Bowmanville being the officiating clergymen.

During the winter of 1852, steps were taken to erect a new and commodious frame church building at Rosetta which was completed the next summer.  It was found that at the end of the first year of the church’s history, that the membership had doubled to about 30.

The chief feature of that year’s ministry was the deep and solemn attention that was paid to the preached word and constituted the most remarkable in the history of Congregationalism in Lanark, as the great revival of religion in 1853.  From the time that the excitement connected with the formation of the church subsided, Mr. Black preached a series of very searching sermons on such subjects as “The Nature of Conversion”, “The New Birth”, and “Church Membership and Those Who Are Entitled To It”.

Rev. John Clemie of Bowmanville, who had been in attendance at a meeting held at Rosetta, remained over the Sabbath to preach for me at Middleville and Rosetta while Mr. Black went to preach at Lanark Village.

Deep and lasting were the impressions made by Rev. Mr. Clemie.  Many were moved to tears by his sermon and when the preacher at the close of the service asked any who were so desirous of obtaining salvation to manifest it by rising, quite a number stood up and remained for conference and prayer.  From that service may be dated the commencement of a great work of grace which spread over the whole township of Lanark and into the neighboring townships of Ramsay and Darling.

It is estimated that during the autumn and following winter months, not less than 400 souls wee brought to a saving knowledge of Jesus.  For about two months, crowded meetings were held at Rosetta every evening with Rev. Mr. Clemie preaching.

Some of those who were converted at the Rosetta special services came from Lanark Village and having expressed a strong desire that a series of meetings be held in Lanark, Rev. K.M. Fenwick of Kingston was induced to come and conduct the work in the village.  For several weeks, he preached every evening to large congregations.

Ere Mr. Fenwick returned home, a church was formed at Lanark Village which, before one year had passed, became so strong as to warrant their calling a pastor and taking steps to erect a new and beautiful house of worship.

Soon special services were begun at Middleville and here too the work was equally powerful.  Well do they remember many instances a young man whose intemperate habits had grieved the hearts of their pious parents and all men who had seldom known to enter the house of God, stood up for prayer.

Never shall they forget a scene witnesses at one of those meetings held in Middleville.  Neil McCallum, who had formerly been an elder in a church in Paisley, Scotland, and whose home was Hopetown, stood up in the meeting and with tears streaming down his cheek, asked that special prayer be offered for a large class of young men and women that he taught every Sabbath but none of whom had as yet professed their faith in Christ.  Mr. McCallum also requested that services be held in Hopetown.

Rev. J. Fraser was induced to conduct the services at Hopetown.  His labors were much blessed.  Every member of Mr. McCallum’s Bible Class was brought to Jesus and unitedly formed the nucleus of a Congregational Church at Hopetown which for a few years  was wrought in connection with Lanark Village but was afterwards united with the Middleville and Rosetta circuit.

Mr. Fenwick’s evangelistic meetings mentioned above continued for six weeks and as a result, the Lanark Congregational Church was organized in December of 1853.

The first members enrolled were Mr. and Mrs. John Livingston, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Boyle, Mr. and Mrs. John J. Brown, Boyd Caldwell, Mrs. Boyd Caldwell, Mrs. Thomas Watt, Mrs. William Jones, Mr. Thomas Francis, Miss Francis, Mr. Thomas Baird.  Of these the last six were still in the church in 1889 while others had passed to their reward or removed from the community.

Early in 1854, Rev. H. Lancaster was ordained pastor at Lanark Village.  Steps were taken at once to erect a church edifice.  For the first year the Baptist Church was their meeting place and for another year or so services were held in the town hall.

James Bowes was awarded the contract for the erection of a frame building and after a severe misfortune, having a great deal of the material prepared for the erection of the edifice destroyed by fire, the building was completed.

In February, 1856, the new Lanark Congregational Church was formally opened.  Mr. Lancashire’s pastorate was extended over a term of four years.  He died in 1885 at the home of his daughter in Detroit.

Next to be called to the ministry of the Lanark Church was Rev. P. Shanks.  He continued to minister to the spiritual needs of the people for eight years.  Upon severing his connection to the church he moved to New South Wales.

For the next four years the pastorate was in charge of Rev. Richard Lewis who later left for Grand Haven, Michigan.

During Mr. Lewis’ term, a comfortable manse was erected convenient to the church. 

The next pastor chosen by the people was Rev. John Brown who served nearly nine years leaving the field in 1880.

In the autumn of 1876 a great revival was started which lasted for almost two years.  The first meeting was held on the steps of the Lanark Village town hall conducted by Rev. R. McKay.

In December, 1889 Mr. Ramsey(?), a student, was ordained as minister this being his first charge.

This concludes the history of Congregationalism in the churches of Lanark Township as written by Rev. R.K. Black up to the year 1889 and published in the Lanark Village Gazette about seven years before the Lanark Era was established.

Fallout from the Old Boys Reunion of 1905

(Transcriber’s Note:  The Lanark County Genealogical Society has put up almost all of the information about the Old Boys Reunion of 1905, but I found some follow up articles about some of the “old boys” in some issues of the Perth Courier following the reunion.  They are presented below.)

Perth Courier, July 14, 1905

William G. McMullen, sheriff of Los Angeles, California, was a visitor to the old town during the reunion days.  He left the farm in North Elmsley 33 years ago and has not visited this locality since.  He is a fine, portly man and a well doer.  He is still visiting his aged father Luke McMullen and his sisters Mrs. L. Darou and Mrs. Thomas Moodie.

James Code, an old Balderson boy, who furnished an interesting article for our Old Boys edition came all the way from Evanston, Wyoming to attend the gathering and brought his daughter Kate with him whose visit east and down the St. Lawrence was a revelation and delight to her.  Mr. Code is a cousin of Mrs. James Shaw and John Moulton, both of Drummond Centre and visited them during his stay here.

Joshua Adams, barrister and now Customs Officer in Sarnia, Ontario, was one of the visitors who gave an address at the Old Boys reception in the skating rink.  He is a son of the late Capt. Adams of Adamsville, now Glen Tay who was one of the pioneer settlers of Bathurst and who erected a saw and grist mill at the water power there.  Mr. Adams is a brother of the late Mrs. Henry Moorhouse and has visited his old home from time to time.  He has taken the Courier ever since he left Perth in the early ‘50’s.

The government has appointed George A. Radenhurst as police magistrate in Barrie in succession to T. Ross.  Mr. Radenhurst is a Perth Old Boy, a descendent of the Radenhursts of early Perth  He was here for the reunion and spoke at the reception meeting at the skating rink on the evening of July 1.  He is a solid man both in size and in his municipality.  He has filled nearly all the offices in the gift of his fellow citizens and was offered the convention of his party for the Local House but this he declined.

J. J. McLaurin is another Perth Old Boy, who visited the home of his younger days during the reunion.  In the early 60’s he taught school in the Old Ferry Road section and in 1867 he became an important member of the Courier editorial staff showing a special aptitude as a skillful and original paragrapher.  He afterwards went to Pennsylvania where he became a noted newspaper man; then went into “oil” where he remains today.  He was welcomed by many of his old scholars who are yet in this locality.

Norman A. Riddell, one of the leading merchants in Carleton Place, stopped at his father’s on Herriott Street.  “Norm” has been away from us either in Almonte or Carleton Place for over twenty years but his heart still beats for his native town as strong as it did when he fished in the Tay waters when his world was young and when he sported with his lacrosse stick on the green.  He gave a very interesting address of remembrances to the Old Boys Reunion services at Knox Church.

George A Lister was a visitor at his father’s Andrew Lister, during his stay.  George is a good sample of the Perth Old Boys and one of those of whom his fellow townsmen have reasons to be proud.  He is a graduate of the Perth public school and high school and early in life became a teacher, following his calling in McDonald’s Corners and Dalhousie for a time.  He became a citizen of Winnipeg 12 or 15 years ago and married there the daughter of Dr. Dunbar.  He has time and inclination outside of his week day work to superintend the largest Presbyterian Sunday School in the Northwest and while here acted as chairman of the Old Boys Reunion services in Knox Church on Sunday afternoon, June 2.

William Thom of Whitechurch, Ontario, is renewing old acquaintances.  It is over 30 years since he left Dalhousie. Era

Mr. Porritt made a splendid run to Perth and back for the Old Boys celebration.  On the return trip one of the front wheels slipped into the ditch at J. Fitzgerald’s corner and twisted the front axle.  However, the damage was slight.  Almonte Gazette

George Atkinson of Ottawa, some thirty odd years ago, the miller at Glen Tay, spent Saturday and Sunday in Lanark as the guest of his old friend George Bond.  Mr. Atkinson followed the occupation of bricklayer in his younger days but is now in possession of a prosperous grocery business in the capital city.  Lanark Era

George Buffam of Eganville called to see Lanark friends on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Twelve years ago George was a miller at the Clyde Roller Mills.  His splendid physique and great strength earned him a wide and enviable reputation.  He could place two bags of flour in a wagon as easily as most men could two pillows of feathers.  George is in the milling business in Eganville.  Lanark Era

Among the hundreds of Old Boys at Perth none shone so luminously in that beautiful character as Joseph Warren of Pembroke, now of Eganville.  His yet strong, intellectual face covered his marks of age as he was everywhere reverently, even enthusiastically welcomed.  In the evening, his name sounded above the roar of calls for the old man’s eloquence at the public meeting.  He was absent but the human megaphone declared Sir Joseph to have been the best teacher the grand old county of Lanark has ever known.  Carleton Place Central Canadian

Representatives of Arnprior at the Old Boys Reunion in Perth appear to have been Samuel Farmer, Mr. and Mrs. J.J. Neilson, Mrs. J. Mattson, J.H. McKerracher, George H. Larivee and John E. Cameron.  The attendance approximated 2,000 and everyone had a most enjoyable visit.  Mr. McKerracher tells the Chronicle that he had the time of his life and never expects to see anything like it at all again until the day when he is called upon to present some enterprising resident of one of the townships with a $20 set of harnesses.  Mr. Larivee arrived home on Wednesday evening feeling that it was good to have gone to Perth.  Arnprior Chronicle

Mrs. Robert Affleck of Middleville attended the Old Boys and Girls Reunion.  This lady is 97 years old and went in and out the same day a distance of thirty miles.  While in town she stayed with her grand daughter Mrs. J.K. Affleck on Gore Street.

Perth Courier, July 21, 1905

A welcome visitor to the reunion was Mrs. J.C. Mitchell of Myer’s Cove who returned to her home on Saturday.  Mrs. Mitchell is a Perth girl by birth but has been away for some years.

Peter Cram of Carleton Place is writing for extra copies of the Old Boys edition of the Courier—the pink issue as some called it, saying:  “I have a brother-in-law in Australia who went there in 18??, who is conversant with the early Perth history as embodied in the letters from Donald Fraser, J.M. Walker, and others.  My wife’s people are intense Perthites woven into the history of the times those letters describe.”

John Rowatt, Brooklyn, New York, visited his uncle William Lochead, at Brightside a few days last week.  Mr. Rowatt also visited the old home near Fallbrook which he had not seen for twenty years.  Era.

Perth Courier, July 28, 1905

John H. Holmes of Orillia, an old boy sprinter who won the Old Boys Race at the Dominion Day celebration has been presented with the medal which was hung up as a prize.  The memento shows an inscription appropriate to the event.

Carleton Place Herald, Feb. 10, 1903

Presbyterian Church of Franktown

The Presbyterians of Franktown evidently believe that what is worth doing is worth doing well as is proven by the handsome structure that was on Sunday last opened and dedicated for all time to the worship of God.  For years and years “it was in the hearts of the people to build a house for the Lord” to supplant the old structure and not until a year ago did things take a definite shape.  The cornerstone was laid last summer by Rev. Dr. Crombie of Smith’s Falls and since that time to the present, the contractor, Mr. Wilson of Almonte, and the architect, Mr. Eady of Ottawa, have bent their best energies to produce a building worthy of the congregation at Franktown.  The edifice is built of stone—all from Beckwith—the cut stone being furnished by F. McEwen And Son of the Dominion Quarry.  The style is Romanesque and the appointments both in the auditorium and in the basement are perfect.  The entrance tot eh body of the church is in the south east corner, thus making good seating capacity inside although not occupying much space. The choir gallery, back of the pulpit, and the acoustic properties of the gallery and the whole church are of the highest order.  The basement contains a school room, a vestry and a library room.  The whole building is heated by a hot air furnace and gives perfect satisfaction.  Too much credit cannot be given to the building committee in connection with the church.  They are:  William Drummond, chairman; P. McEwen, Secretary-Treasurer; Messrs. D.R. Ferguson, Peter McLaren, Jas. L. McArthur, and Allan Cameron.   Although the weather was very unfavorable for the opening day, yet at both services the church was comfortably full.  On the platform were Professor Ross of Queen’s who took charge of the service; Rev. Dr. Crombie, the honored and aged Clerk of the Presbytery; and the faithful pastor of the church, Rev. A.H. McFarlane.  On Monday evening, the church was filled to overflowing the gathering being of a social nature.  The ladies of the congregation provided refreshments in the lecture room of the church and served tea from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.  After ample justice had been done to the good things downstairs, the audience repaired to the body of the church where a musical and literary program of a very high order was rendered.  The pastor of the church Rev. Mr. McFarlane occupied the chair and in a few well chosen words referred to the building of he church and thanked the congregation of Franktown for the good and faithful work performed.  Mrs. James King of Smith’s Falls presented a communion set in memory of her father Duncan Ferguson, who labored so earnestly for Christ’s kingdom in connection with the church.  Mrs. Jas. L. McArthur presented a Bible and Mrs. Allan Cameron three plush chairs for the pulpit platform.  The speakers of the evening were Rev. Dr. Crombie and Rev. Mr. Cooke of Smith’s Falls, Rev. John May of Franktown, Rev. Paul Pergau of Franktown and Revs. Woodside and Scott of Carleton Place.  The speeches were sandwiched in between selections of the choir from Smith’s Falls.  The music was of a very high order and reflects great credit on Mr. Lavall, the leader, for bringing his choir to such a high state of efficiency. There is a mortgage on the church but with the cooperation of all, the time will come as Dr. Crombie said, he will be invited (the third time to Franktown) to set a match to the mortgage.  The ladies have already contributed $500 towards the building fund.  From Carleton Place there were noticed in the audience Mr. and Mrs. R.E. Box, Mr. and Mrs. H.M. Williams, Jas. Smith and Family, and Mr. and Mrs. James Knox, Mr. D. McLaren, Mr. Sutton, Hugh Robertson, R.J. Robertson, Dr. E. McEwen, Mrs. Rev. G. Woodside.  From Smith’s Falls, Mr. and Mrs. James King, Thomas Campbell and Misses T. and Maggie Campbell and Andrew Burrows.

Perth Courier, Oct. 30, 1931

Drummond Centre United Church, 50th Anniversary and Golden Jubilee

(Only the historical portion of this article was transcribed)

A brief history of the congregation:  Drummond Centre community was largely settled by pioneers from Scotland over 100 years ago—their spiritual interests were not forgotten and they realized the need of God in their life.  The following extract was read and prepared by the late James Shaw at the 40th anniversary and taken from the local paper of October 14, 1920:  In the pioneer days in Drummond township many of the early settlers had to travel a considerable distance to Knox Church in Perth.  As many of these settlers had come from Scotland, a land where the ordinances of Divine Grace were faithfully attended, the people felt that they must have in their own community some visible sign of Jehovah’s presence.  To this end Mr. Duncan McLaren, an elder of Knox Church, Perth, was chosen to appeal to the Brockville Presbytery to form a congregation.  After some discussion, the Brockville Presbytery granted the request and steps were taken to form a congregation in connection with Balderson; an outshoot from St. Andrew’s Perth.

In 1877 Mission Fields were formed in the congregations with J.K. Baillie, as the first missionary who remained among us for two summers.  Mr. Baillie was followed by John Geddes, who labored for a year and a half after which he returned from Scotland.

The two missions were established—one congregation in the summer of 1880 (illegible word) Rev. J.G. Stuart as minister who was inducted into the charge in October, 1880.  His salary was $400 supplemented by $200 from the mission board.  During his ministry of over 9 years he endeared himself to the congregation especially in the Sabbath School and among the young.  In December of 1889 he resigned being called to St. Mark’s Church, Toronto.

A few months afterwards a call was extended to Rev. J.S. McIlraith of Montreal College and in the spring of 1890 he was inducted.  He labored among us for almost 21 years doing faithful work especial visiting the sick and aged.  He resigned in the summer of 1911 and was followed by Rev. J.G. Greig.

Rev. J.G. Greig was inducted in the autumn of 1911 and ministered to us for almost 8 years.  He too gave us practical and faithful sermons which if we lived out in our daily lives would make us more Christian like in character.  In autumn of 1919 Mr. Greig accepted a call to Valleyfield, Quebec.  At the close of his ministry the missionary giving amounted to $1,722, there being a gradual increase in the giving from the congregation to the present date.  After being several months without a missionary, a call was extended to Rev. G.C. Treanor and accepted trusting that the ministry will be as successful as those who preceded him.

In the fall of 1922 Mr. Treanor retired having accepted a call to Arthur and Goodville in the Saugeen Presbytery.

In March, 1923 a unanimous call was given to Rev. R.A. McRae, B.A., a recent graduate of the Montreal Presbyterian College.  He was ordained and inducted in the Balderson church in March, 1923.  He did faithful and conscientious work and resigned in 1927 and is now laboring in Minden, Ontario.

Rev. C.M. Currie, M.A., B.D. then became pastor and did faithful work until he resigned in 1930 in order that he might pursue a post graduate course in New College in Edinburgh, Scotland for his Ph.D. degree.  Before leaving for Scotland, he married Edith McTavish of Balderson.  Recently, he has been called and accepted the call to be assistant minister of Cannorgate Church of Edinburgh, Scotland.  In the summer of 1930, Rev. Thomas McNaught, B.D. of White Lake, became pastor and he was inducted on the evening of July 4, 1930.

A few items might be mentioned regarding the Drummond Centre Church.  The organizers of the church in Drummond were Messrs. Duncan McLaren, James Shaw and James Stewart.  Mr. Stewart deeded the land for the church.  Rev. William Burns of Knox Church, Perth, conducted the opening services and preached.  The first preacher in the church was the late Mr. Adam Young, followed by the late Mr. Wesley Clarke and he in turn was succeeded by Mr. D.A. McLaren and later by Mr. William McFarlane, now of Prestonvale.

The elders now at Drummond are Messrs. William McLaren, Dan Malloch, J.B. Miller and Wilbert Lewis and the managers are Messrs. Homer Shaw, James McLaren and William McNaughton.

Perth Courier, October 18, 1962

Orangemen

(This article is not transcribed in full, just the historical part)

Sir John A. McDonald, Canada’s first prime minister and “Father of the Confederation:, first campaigned for Confederation in the Orange lodges of Lanark and Leeds counties.  Sir John was a resident of Kingston, an ardent Orangeman who saw the possibilities of having one federal parliament and a separate provincial legislature or “manifest destiny” which saw all North America as one great American country.

What the Orangemen had been able to do inspired him to attempt, Sir John admitted, “for the sake of the future of Canada”.  Thus confederation was born when the Orange Order boasted 1,400 lodges and tens of thousands of members.  The year was 1867.

Perth was there with one of the oldest Orange lodges in Canada, LOL #7, Drummond Centre.  Old records show how politicians stumped up and down the rural routes selling ideas in lodge rooms, on the street, over the fence, in the parlor and country stores.

Only five older lodges exist, LOL#1 in Brockville, LOL#3 in Foxboro in South Hastings, LOL#5 in Peel County and LOL#6 in Kingston (the lodge Sir John belonged to).

Almost 140 years after the founding of the Orange Confederacy in 1688 the Orange influence reached into the Perth area.  This influence was strongest in the U.E.L., army and navy settlements through Canada, the order having been founded on military lines to protect Protestant interests in troubled Ireland.  Perth was a military settlement.

Ruling body for Lanark County Orangemen is the Imperial Grand Council of the World, with Captain Sir George A. Clark, Bart, DL, ERD of Ireland the Grand Master.  All English speaking and Commonwealth countries are represented at this level.  Next comes the Grand Lodge of British America with eleven provincial bodies of which the Grand Lodge of Ontario east is one with 25 county jurisdictions.  The Orange Association of the County of Lanark, part of Ontario east, boasts three districts with 13 primary lodges.  The primary lodge in Perth is LOL #115 which meets at the Orange Hall on Gore Street east.  The lodge master is Herbert Campbell and the secretary is James Kirkham, both of  Perth.  The Grand Lodge of Ontario east has met nine times in Lanark County since 1830—in Perth in 1885 and 1933; in Smith’s Falls in 1890, 1902, 1911, 1922, and 1945; and in Carleton Place in 1929.  His Honor Judge J.A. Scott of Perth was Grand Master of British North America in 1911-14.  Rev. Canon J.W.R. Meakin of Almonte is currently the honorary Grand Chaplin of Ontario east while Lt. Col. Hon. T. Ashmore Kidd of Kingston has been Imperial Grand Master of the World and Grand Master of British North America 1930-33 and 1940-47.

The Orange Order has exerted an influence in Lanark far in excess of its numbers although its numbers have never been large.  It is a “grass roots” movement with “few aristocrats” or people with “aristocratic notions” included in its membership.  The rural influence has a leveling effect so it seems.

What do Orangemen do?  First, they support the reformers faith; next comes strong support of British democratic ideals for parliamentary government.  The Bill of Rights of 1689 is the Order’s Bible.  “Equal rights for all and special privileges for none” has been the battle cry of the Order for ages.  Orangemen support benevolent causes including two Orange homes for children.  There is an active insurance program and many bands—Perth, Smith’s Falls and Carleton Place boast Orange bands.

District Masters:  Kenneth Leacock, Smith’s Falls; William Evans, Pakenham; W.H. Shaw, R.R.#2, Perth.  Secretaries:  Lyle Jordan, Smith’s Falls; W.A. Fulton, Pakenham; Roy Haveron, Perth.

Primary Lodges (Master and Secretary)

LOL Drummond Centre

Edward Wright

LOL 92, Innisville:  George Gardiner, Gordon James

LOL 88, Smith’s Falls-Harvey Leacock, Ken Leacock

LOL 115, Perth:  Herbert Campbell, James Kirkham

LOL190, Montague-John Kidd, Elmer Fox

LOL 202, Fallbrook-Cecil Ireton, M. Giles

LOL 381, Franktown-Glen Irvine, Milton McCaul

LOL512, Montague-Russell Burchill, W. Rice

LOL749, Wemyss-Carl Larmon, L.J. Patterson

LOL788, 2nd Line Drummond-O.P. Dowdall, J.B. Hands

Lanark is bordered by North Leeds with three districts and 11 lodges (Borden Gard, Grant Tye, Ian Woods, county master, secretary and treasurer respectively), Carleton with 8 districts and 33 lodges (Mac Story of Richmond, and Wesley C. Hongomery(?) of North Gower master and secretary); Lennox and Addington with 2 districts and 13 lodges and Renfrew with four districts and 21 lodges.

Perth Courier, May 5, 1961

Evergreen Lodge Lanark (only a portion of this article, which deals with the dedication of a new Masonic Temple, is transcribed, the portion dealing with the history of the Masons in the area)

Thursday, May 11, 1961 must go on record as the greatest achievement day in Masonry for the members of the Evergreen Lodge AF & AM #209 in Lanark.  This marks the occasion of the dedication ceremony of a new Masonic temple for Evergreen Lodge which was instituted 92 years ago July 15, 1869………..(a) destructive fire on June 15, 1959 destroyed their lodge rooms, which were located in the Strang Drug Store building……..At the time of the fire the lodge members were not able to save anything as everything was a total loss including all records and past history of the lodge.  The charter, which was 90 years old, was a great loss.  Grand Lodge at Hamilton having records of the institution of the Evergreen Lodge have provided a simile of the former charger which shows the first Masonic Lodge in Lanark was instituted July 15, 1869.  Seven members were required to get that charter and they were:  Charles E. Field, Robert Pollack, Thomas Watchorn, Alexander C. Dobbie, William C. Caldwell, David Munro, John Wilson.  The chapter shows that Charles E. Field was the first Worshipful Master; Robert Pollack the first Senior Warden; and Thomas Watchorn was the first Junior Warden.  A strange coincidence shows that the new charger was taken out on July 15, 1959, exactly 90 years to a day.  As it is difficult to learn of the early history of the lodge, the present membership recall that the lodge met in the top story of the late George Hunt’s drug store on the corner of George and Clarence Streets and remained there until the fire of 1959.  It is known that in the early days of the lodge’s history that the membership held meetings in vacant buildings in the village.  At one time the Masonic Hall was in a building situated at the rear of the residence now occupied by Mervin McLaren adjacent to the Anglican Church.

Since the institution of the lodge in 1859, 63 members have presided as Worshipful Master some for more than one time.  The past masters of the Lodge are:

Charles E. Field, Robert Pollack, Thomas Watchorn, F.M. Dimwoodie, David Munro, J.M. Caldwell, W.A. Field, A.G. Dobbie, J.D. Maxwell, J.H. Bothwell for 6 terms, A.P. Meirose, Alexander Cameron, Joseph Bone, J.H. Wilson, James McFarlane, Alexander Buffam, A.L. Connors(?), Wm. J. Rothwell, S.H. Gregg, John M. Strang (deceased), Rutherford McIlquham (deceased), Robert Stewart (deceased), Lindsay Barr (deceased),  David McLaren 6 terms, Boyd A.C. Caldwell, Andrew Doyle, Dr. Keith Cameron, William K. Fair, Arthur E. Brown, James McDonald, Edwin P. McLaren (deceased), Ewan G. McIlraith, W. Mel Lee, Ralph E. Walroth, Austin G. Cameron (deceased), George R. Ennis (deceased), Gerald Gordon, H.C. Vaughan, William C. Cross, J.A. Strang, Archibald Yuill, J. Mervyn Roberts, Clifford Beach, J. Elmer Paul, (first name illegible) King, J.W. Nicholson (Deceased), G.A. Beatty, John W. Campbell (deceased), James C. Playfair, K.A. Creighton, C.L. Virgin (deceased), James C. Playfair, K.A. Creighton, O.E. Rothwell, Lloyd Knowles, Wilbert Kerr, Lloyd North, -- two more names but they are illegible.

Perth Courier, October 4, 1962

Rideau Ferry

The Crown issued out 100 acre grants in Burgess (SE and NE) townships.  The first settler it is believed was Archie Campbell (nobody is exactly sure) who became the town’s leading businessman in later years.  The first minister was Rev. George Buchanan who served from Franktown.  The only church near the village today is (illegible word) Bethel(?) United Church with W. Graham(?), a student minister in charge.

The village grew around a ferry boat operated by John Oliver but owned by Archie Campbell. Custom labeled the site Oliver’s Ferry.  Oliver was a hard drinking, hard working, rough talking and slightly dishonest character-about-town, old records say he was notorious for robbing unsuspecting travelers who slept at his home.

For all his short comings he was a key cog in improving traveling conditions between Perth and South Elmsley. Before he operated the ferry, goods were trucked to Perth on men’s backs from as far away as Brockville.

“I will shoot me the first Indian I see” Oliver once boasted after a scuffle with a redskin.  He did just that, but his victim was a harmless squaw walking through the forest.

Several days later Oliver was found butchered about four miles from his home.  The dead squaw’s husband had tracked down Oliver and killed him in best Indian fashion.  There was little weeping about the “Ferry” over Oliver’s untimely end.

The site became known as Rideau Ferry largely due to the efforts of Ann Campbell Smith, the local pony-mail rider.  Oliver was buried and forgotten.

Empire strategists gave the village an unsuspected boast in 1826 when the government dug a canal linking Kingston to Bytown (now Ottawa), the purpose being to protect supply lines from a possible “Yankee” invasion.

This event brought 1,300 workers to the village front door.  More than 500 men died of malaria.  Upon completion in 1832, Archie Campbell erected a wharf and warehouse to handle canal produce.  Side wheelers plowed the river and wagon trains brought goods to the Campbell wharf.  In 1834 Campbell died of cholera.

Business remained excellent until 1859 when the Brockville to Perth railroad took away the carrying trade.  At the time, a stagecoach made regular trips between Perth and Rideau Ferry.  But it was not until 1870 that the site really became little more than a shanty village.  Then came  the construction of the first summer cottage on Rideau Lake and a mars invasion followed.  Senator Peter McLaren, F.W. Hall, C.J. Sewell, Lawrence Gemmell, Dr. A.E. Hanna of Perth, John Dettrick, Charles Frost and the Bethunes entered en masse.

With such important residents the village got its first bridge in 1871.  A wooden structure was built jointly by Perth and the Dominion government, and the village received a two span, 500 iron bridge later in 1896.  The first bridge master was Duncan Campbell; today he is Jack McKenzie.

The first school was built in 1875 at a cost of $500 and called SS6 Elmsley.  It still functions.

The first Rideau Ferry Regatta was organized in 1897 with swimming, paddling, rowing, tilting, yacht racing,  and greasy pole contests entertaining the spectators who lined the bridge.  The site of the annual regatta has shifted to the Pig Island area.  The Rideau Ferry Yacht Club composed of Perth and Smith’s Falls and some U.S. members is famous for its power boat events.

Ever since the first cottage was built, tourism has been “king” at Rideau Ferry.  Other industries have taken second place or vanished.  The old cheese factory was purchased by Cameron MacCallum in 1952 and converted into a home.  The Globe Graphite Company, a manufacturer of graphite for ammunition closed its doors in 1896 beacause of dwindling raw graphite reserves in the Elmsley district.  The situation worsened resulting in the local lead mine closing shop in the late 1920’s.  A faint reminder of past glories with old graphite is the grinding stone securing the base of the Ferry Inn’s flag pole.

What did Ferry residents do during those long cold winters before 1900?  Mr. Robert Joynt, 79, a long time resident who digs deep into local history, says when residents weren’t drawing ice, you could play hockey, or skate, eat home made ice cream, sip ginger beer and maybe play parlor games like “Wink Me Shyly”, “Post Office”, “Spin The Pan”, “Musical Chairs” or sit about talking over hot tea or coffee.  In the spring, the rage of the town was the maple sugar parties.

Perth Courier, June 6, 1966

History of the Rideau Ferry Road

(not transcribed in full)

For the past six weeks, a story has been appearing in the Smith’s Falls Record entitled “Past and Present Scenes on the Rideau Ferry-Perth Road”.  This history was compiled by Mrs. E.W. Joynt, of Lombardy, assisted by Mrs. W.J. McLean of Perth, RR5.  These two ladies have compiled a detailed account of the history of Rideau Ferry and the Perth Road which must have taken much research.  Mrs. Joynt has written the Courier asking if we would be interested in publishing the story.

The County of Leeds is one of the historic counties of southern Ontario.  Stretching from Brockville the county seat, on the banks of the St. Lawrence as far as Smith’s Falls, it extends along the shores of Rideau Lake and all the Rideau Canal system all the way to Seeley’s Bay.  Leeds is one of the areas set aside for settlement by the United Empire Loyalists…..When first cleared, for settlement, the land of Leeds County was fertile and easily cultivated so that pioneer homes were soon established.  When the early settlers from Ireland and Scotland arrived in this new land, they came to the settlement at Brockville.  Here were stationed the supply depots and military headquarters from which the pioneer settlers received their supplies and equipment to help them carve out a home for themselves in this vast wilderness.  There were trails through the forest from Brockville to Perth and over these rough hewn trails settlers conveyed their scant belongings on foot or by ox cart a long, arduous journey fraught with dangers of wild beasts lurking in the dense shrubbery.  From Brockville they walked on about ten miles  then west to Portland where they were transported by scow on the Rideau to Oliver’s Ferry coming thence on foot to Perth.  The route was outlined by Captain Ottay who gave his name to Ottay Lake.

Perth was an English government enterprise and was well established as a small military settlement as early as 1815.  Hence there was continuous close contact with the government headquarters in Brockville and in the year several hundreds of loads of supplies passed over these blazed trails.  Finally, in the year 1816(?) 1818(?) Peter Harris, M.P., had a road built beginning at what is now the village of Toledo through to Lombardy and thence to Oliver’s Ferry, now known as Rideau Ferry.

 At this point the enterprising young man Archibald Campbell eventually built a scow to transport horses, cattle, produce and people across the water way.  It was ably handled by a hired helper named John Oliver who gave his name to this crossing on the Rideau Lake.  In the year 1822 Campbell built a store shop for the accommodation of settlers so that stores that could not be transported could be stored and protected when they had to await a means of transport.  Next he enlarged his operation by putting teams for conveyances on the road to drive the produce to the new settlement in Perth and to other settlements which were eventually opening up in the district.  The Campbell home later became the Coutts’ house on the site of the present Rideau Ferry Inn.  In the year 18?? A general store was built by Peter Coutts and a red brick dwelling was the home of Mrs. Ann Smith, an early post mistress.

In 1871 by joint actions of Perth and the government of Canada a substantial wooden bridge was built across the Rideau thus ending the operation of the scow.  In 18(??) this wooden bridge was replaced by a 501 foot iron bridge—one section which swings open allowing the larger boats to go through.

The first bridgeman was Duncan Campbell a brother of Archibald and their wives were sisters.  The bridgeman had no union time.  He had to swing the span night and day and often in the dark hours the whistle blew.  On March 3, 1894 Mrs. Smith, the post mistress, walked across the finished span.  On April 27, Sam Hall started painting the bridge; on May 18, Mr. Phillips, government inspector, surveyed the approaches to the bridge.

(Note this article is now continued in the June 16, 1966 issue)  A short distance from the Ferry on the road leading to Perth, was a swampy portion of road once infested by great black snakes and here one can still feel in imagination the old corduroy road built of logs laid side by side and one can visualize the oxcarts rumbling over it as they made their way along with their loads of supplies.  Farther on was a log house owned by a frog catcher but this has long since been replaced by a modern brick home.  Across from it stands a shop where once a blacksmith plied his trade shoeing and repairing farm machinery.

Passing along over a culvert on the road through which the water flows freely in the spring towards the Rideau Lake, one comes to the farm of one of the pioneer settlers John Coutts.   It remained in the Coutts family from generation to generation until recently when it was purchased by Scott Burchell, the present mayor of Perth.  Across the road are the remains of a gravel pit from which were taken countless loads of gravel to be used in the upkeep of the nearby roads.

In those early days the system of maintenance was known as “statute labor”.  Each land owners had to provide a stated number of hours of labor and providing teams and wagons to draw the gravel used in the process of road making.

Nearby is Hemlock Hill, one of the beauty spots on the Ferry Road in spite of its sharp, hazardous turn.  Following along the winding road one comes tot eh Ferry Cemetery where lie the remains of many of the pioneers.  The land was purchased in the year 1885(?) and the following year the first burial was made in it.  Among those to find a resting  place in the well kept cemetery were Duncan Campbell and his wife Jessie Buchanan, who was a daughter of Rev. George Buchanan, a pioneer minister in the township of Beckwith.

Continuing along the road at the corner the road turns towards the right to Port Elmsley.  A short distance along this road is the site of the old graphite mine on a property known to old timers as the “Grierson” place.  John Grierson, a miner of early days, may have located the deposit of graphite but the mine was opened up and operated by Rinaldo McConnell and later by the Globe Graphite Company.  The ore was drawn by teams of wagons to a mill at Pike Falls where it was processed for shipment.  The mine has been inactive and non productive for many years.

Previous to this, a factory was built at the Ferry and teams drew the ore here to be processed.  In 1896 the 100 foot long factory was torn down.  Robert Miller bought sixty feet of this and used it in the building of a barn and Archie Coutts bought the remaining forty feet.  It is said for many years the fine lead dust could be seen in the barn.

Turning left at the corner we come to Bethel United Church, built in 1895.  In the year 1888 a log church had been erected on a plot of ground purchased from William Richard McLean for $5 but this building was later moved to be replaced by the current structure.

(This article is continued in the June 23, 1966 issue.)  The farm at the cross roads belongs to William Richard McLean and has been in the family since 1820.  Opposite the church and high on a hill is the home of James Coutts.  This land originally belonged to Archie Morrison and was passed on to his son David Morrison and to his son James Morrison.

To the left of the Ferry road is the McLean farm now occupied by Ian McLean, son of the late T.N. McLean.  This land has been in the McLean family for five generations having been granted originally to Dr. John McLean of Dumfries, Scotland, a surgeon in the Royal Navy of England, a distinguished scholar and man of letters.  In 1813 he came out on a commission appointment by the British government and headed by Admiral Bayfield.  Their duties were to survey around Lake Superior and across the Canadian border into Michigan.

In reward for his services, Dr. McLean was granted the land on which he homesteaded and upon which he made his home until he died.  Admiral Bayfield’s sword and other personal possessions are in the Canadian Museum in Montreal and two cities in Michigan perpetuate his name.

Next on the road is the small one room school house formerly known as SE.  It replaced a small log school in which one of the early teachers was Miss Barbara Galightly who served for the modest salary of twenty pounds a year.

SS#6 was built in 1875 by William Kean whose tender of $500 was payable upon completion of the school house.  He was authorized to make 16 desks with seats attached at $4 per seat and desk.  Among the early trustees were William Gould, William John McLean, and William Richard McLean.  Early teachers were Margaret Halliday (Mrs. Peter Coutts), Miss Weekes (Mrs. John McCallum, mother of Mary McCallum) and Miss Boone (Mrs. N. McVeety).  The frame school house is now not used having been replaced by a modern township school built on the Port Elmsley to which the pupils are transported by bus.  Verily “the old order changeth giving place to the new.”

The area immediately surrounding the school and the church was known for many years as “McCue’s Post Office” because the first post office was located in the fine old stone home of William McCue.  The mail was brought from Pike Falls station and later from Perth to be distributed in the office tended by members of the McCue household.  With the advent of rural mail this office disappeared.

A stone building situated on the hill and commanding a fair view of the lake was the former Methodist Church in the area and served its purpose until Church Union in 1825 gathered Methodist and Presbyterians into one body.

Across the road in the valley was an ash kiln where ashes were converted into potash.  The kiln was owned by Jack Buchanan who lived close by.  He would go to nearby towns and throughout the country in the winter buying ashes and bringing them home in his high boxed sleigh.  

A left turn leads to Elmgrove, a picturesque wooden settlement not far from Rideau Lake.  Here were the farms of the McVeety’s, the Hughes, and the Bests and across the line, the Gallaghers, and the Tullys all names well known in the history of Elmsley and Burgess.  In this locality, too, are the summer homes and cabin resort areas catering to the summer tourist industry.

Following along the Ferry Road one comes to a long hill known to old timers as “Moody’s Hill” so called because the house and land was owned by a farmer of that name.  Later, when John Menzies had the land, it became more familiarly known as “Manzies Hill”.

Going down the hill and veering sharply to the left one enters the Gibbs Creek Swamp.  In the summer it is gay and bright with the purple of the loose strife growing along the swampy road and in the autumn the red, gold and green of the maples and evergreens which add beauty all along the trail road.  The creek flows from Ottay Lake into the Tay River and in the early history of the district was called Jebb’s Creek after a Lt. Joshua Jebb who took part in the early exploration of the route between Kingston and Ottawa.  Across the bridge and up the hill, the land was owned in days gone by, by Luke McMullen.

(this article was continued in the June 30, 1966 issue.)  People of other days will remember Cyrus Davis, who operated a market garden but the land has changed hands several times through the years.  At one time, the farm was operated by the late Albert  McVeety, son of Mrs. Thomas McVeety of Perth; later it was acquired by Matthew Burpee who developed a modern farm and kept a fine herd of cattle.  Once more it passed into new ownership and now belongs to William Munroe who also operates two school buses.  Opposite this farm is one which is an Elmsley landmark, since it was once the property of Mr. George Oliver, a well known and respected figure in this district.  His grandson, Donald Oliver now operates the farm and is an ardent agriculturalist.

The home at the brow of the hill was early owned by John McPherson and later by Louis Darou.  His son, Ray Darou, occupied it for a number of years prior to his death.  He served as clerk of the County of Lanark.

Perth Courier, August 9, 1862

Lanark Era Newspaper

Written by W.M. McFarlane

This year the Lanark Era entered its 66th year of publication in Lanark Village.  During this time the Era was published by five proprietors.

Lanark’s first newspaper was the Lanark Observer published in 1852(?) 1832(?) by J.R. Gemmill a son of the first Presbyterian minister in Lanark.  For two years the presses ran in Lanark and for two more years in Perth before they folded up.  Lanark’s second paper was the Era, established in 1895 by the late John Sutherland, a native of Lanark Township.  Mr. Sutherland published the paper in a building on the corner lot where Mel Lee’s hardware business stood prior to the fire.  For two years he struggled with the business and sold it to Robert Wilson of Carleton Place on May 13, 1898(?).  Mr. Wilson moved the old hand turned press and other equipment to a room in the former Dobbie block.  Later he purchased the Manshan building in 1901 and again moved the plant.  The Era is still in the same location.

Early apprentices with the Lanark Era soon became familiar with the old hand turned press of that day.  On press day a couple of men were employed to turn the press by hand.  They took turns at the job.  One would turn out a few copies while the other went out for a beer and this kept up until the run was off which was about 1,000 copies in those days.  Of course, the Era paid for the beer.

About 1906 a new cylinder press printing four pages at a time, was installed. This was a great addition to the plant.  It was operated by a gas engine, not as economical as a beer but a lot more reliable.

In those days, the paper was all set by hand every letter being picked out of a case separately and placed in its proper position for reading.  For 20 years Mr. Wilson was editor and finally through age, he persuaded young Bill McFarlane to buy the business.  It was in January, 1918 the year after the Caldwell Woolen Mill fire, I entered the newspaper field as owner of the Lanark Era.  I toiled away with a staff of three girls all good type setters.

In 1921 the year electricity came to Lanark, the Era installed a typesetting machine, the Linotype.  This truly was a labor saving device.  The first linotype operator to be trained by myself was Miss Bell Currie, now Mrs. Austin McFarlane.  She later became operator on the Ottawa Citizen.  The Era was the first hydro-power user in Lanark as I did away with the gas engine and bought an electric motor to drive the press.

With a desire to move on to a larger newspaper field, I sold out in 1929 to L.C. Affleck, who continued to build up the business for 19 years.  In 1947 the Era was on the market and Erroll Mason decided to try his luck in journalism.  Mr. Mason passed away in October of 1961 and the Era continued under the proprietorship of Muriel Mason, and her staff, the Somerville brothers, Ivan and Leonard.

The Era obtained a circulation of 1,400 a few years ago and to this day enjoys that subscription lists go to all parts of the world where former Lanarkites reside.

The Lanark Era reached its 66th year of publication this year and in that time produced more apprentice printers who made good in other fields.  The Pepper boys, Allan and Jack were the first to graduate.  Allan became associated with West Chester Company, a chain of papers at White Plains, New York.  Jack became the first linotype mechanic in Ontario and later established a large job printing plant in Toronto.  Others to go in the early days were Russell McGuire, Frank Class, Bill McFarlane, Lawrence McDougall, John Graham and L.C. Affleck.

The Lanark Era though not a large newspaper is in keeping with the village and one thing that stands out clearly is that the Era is the only paper published that gives a “hoot” about Lanark.

Perth Courier, September 17, 1964

Pioneer Mica Miners

25 years ago the late Miss Lillian Smith of Perth donated a now century old six ledger book to the Perth Museum.  The ledger was originally part of the American Mica Mining Company operating in North Burgess Township during 1864-65.  This pay roll lists the names of many well known district families.  To say nothing of showing the differences in wages paid miners 100 years ago and today.

The first name entered in the ledger is that of Thomas Stapleton, a blaster.  For the week ending September 24, 1864, Thomas received $5 for four days work at $1.25 per day.  Thomas McPharland, pitman, was paid $4.80 for a six day stint at 80 cents a day.  John McPharland, a dresser, worked one day that week for 30 cents.  For the week ending October 1, Owen Powers, foreman, was reimbursed to the tune of $7.50 ($1.25 per day).  G.N. Randall, superintendent of the cutting and directing, was paid $3.21 per day, definitely “top brass” earnings.  But he was still far from the class of engineer F. Poole (F. Poole and Associates) whose salary was $6 per day.  A. Castle, described as a “superintendent” was paid $1 per day and granted $8.35 in “expenses” from Montreal to the mines.  It may be that Mr. Castle was some sort of supervisor whose duties were dignified with a fine sounding title somewhat like discreetly referring to today’s garbage men as “sanitary engineers”.

One hundred years ago the company paid out an average of $219 per week in wages and salaries for 104 days work and a work day was ten hours long.  This means that the hourly rates were as follows:  blaster, twelve and a half cents; pitman, eight cents; dresser, three cents; foreman, twelve and a half cents; superintendent of cutting and dressing, thirty two cents; engineer, sixty cents.

In the interests of genealogy, a reproduction of the names in the list on the ledger is given:

Foremen:  Owen Powers and Peter Powers

Balster:  Bernard Berns

Pitmen:  Pat White, Peter White, Michael McPharland (#1), Michael McPharland (#2), Thomas McPharland, Francis McPharland, Lawrence Russell, Thomas Stapleton, Thomas Darcy, Michael Darcy, Owen McCann, Michael Carrens, John McNamee, T. Queen, Alexander Parks, Thomas Burns, Arthur Donnelly, Hugh McShane, Hugh Kelly, Michael White, John Ryan, William Whitelaw, James McLade (this could have been McGlade).

Striker:  Peter Martin

Balsters:  John Donnelly, Thomas Donnelly, Pat K. Morgan, Arthur Fagan, Thomas Drennan, Michael Hanley, Joseph Bennett, Henry Miles, Pat Quinn, Lawrence Russell, Owen Loy

Dresser:  John Stapleton

Perth Courier, October 1, 1964

Sheriff Andrew Dickson, Pioneer of Pakenham

Andrew Dickson was born in Edinburgh in Perthshire on November 11, 1797, son of William Dickson and Jean Wallace, the oldest of a family of ten.  At 22, in 1819, he “came out” for the British government to take charge of a light house at Sherburne, Nova Scotia and held this position for two years.

At the end of this stint, he sent for his parents and such of the family as could come to Canada and the family lived in Perth until the late winter of 1823-24 when they settled in Fitzroy Township.

Andrew was married to Elizabeth Forbes at Perth on March 23, 1824 by Rev. William Bell and brought his bride to his new home on the East ½ of Lot 18, 6th Concession of Fitzroy.

In either 1828 or 1831 he bought the mills and river rights of what is now Pakenham from Messrs Harvey and Powell.  He also acquired a little store.  The village became known as Dickson’s Mills and made much progress.  It secured a regular mail service and Mr. Dickson became the first post master.

He bought a saw mill, engaged in lumbering, and soon became the leading figure of the township.  In 1844 he was elected township representative on the Bathurst District Council.  He became the third sheriff of the district of Bathurst and Registrar of the County of Renfrew.  He held the latter office for three years and that of sheriff for ten years until 1852 when he resigned to accept the wardenship of the penitentiary at Kingston.  This he held for six years effecting various reforms in reorganization of management and the treatment and training of prisoners.

Altogether, he was a remarkable man with varied gifts, wide knowledge and boundless energy and a passionate lover of nature.

Sir William Logan, first Director of the Geological Survey of Canada, was among his personal friends.  Dickson was a keen student of rocks and various stones and furnished some of the geological and mineralogical specimens for the Paris staged University Exhibition of 1855.  As well, he provided 64 specimens of wood from the hills and valleys of the Canadian Mississippi.  The collection elicited compliments from the third emperor of France, Napoleon.

By his experience and his writings and speaking on the subject, Dickson did much to develop the agricultural prosperity of the community.

He was an ardent sportsman but always ready to abandon any game for hunting.  He kept as many as thirty hounds at a time.  His venison dinners were famous, attracting from far and near such cronies as Alexander McDonnell of Sand Point, Judge Malloch, Honorable William Morris, T.M. Radenhurst and others from Perth and the Honorable William McDougall of Ottawa, know in political circles as “Wandering Willie”

A.Dickson died on September 12, 1868 and was buried in the little village cemetery on the “Auld Kirk” hill.

Perth Courier, September 20, 1962

Balderson Was Once Known As Clarksville

(not transcribed in full)

Fame came to Balderson in 1828 when a grisly murder focused national attention on the then growing village.  The details were on everyone’s lips.  The event caused Balderson author R.L. Richardson to write “Colin of the 9th Concession” which was given widespread publicity in the pages of the Courier.

Few people know the father of Arthur Meighen taught school in the village.  Meighen was a former Canadian Prime Minister.  But of all the aspects of Balderson life cheese is the most interesting.  The first factory was built in 1881 on land purchased from Nathaniel Balderson, which burned in 1929 and was rebuilt in 1930.  The man behind the helm today is Omer Matte who succeeds an impressive line of cheese makers.  Many are still living There are Chris J. Bell of Perth, James Somerville of Boyd’s, Walter Partridge of the Scotch Line, Charles Gallery of Perth, Robert Lucas of Jasper and Percy George of Christie’s Lake.

The Balderson factory was a feeder station helping to make the giant cheese of 1893 for the World’s Fair in Chicago.  Six feet high and 28 feet in girth the 22,000 pound cheese used up 207,200 pounds of milk before completion.  It was a united effort at helping put Lanark County on the map.

Balderson was incorporated as a village in 1864 although part was then registered as Clarksville, states Mrs. John McGregor, who keeps a village history.  The great bulk of the settlers hailed from the Scotch Highlands chiefly Perthshire.  For a while it was one of Perth’s most important suburbs being settled originally from the Perth military colony.

It was founded by a Sergeant Balderson, who was born in Lincoln, England, in 1783 and died at Balderson in 1851.  Six feet tall, erect and dignified, he served eleven years in the 76th Regiment of Foot under Wellington.  He saw action against the French in Spain at Vittoria, Nive and Nivelle.  He married Annie Hewitt, daughter of Sir Robert Hewitt and homesteaded on Lot 1, Concession 8, Drummond.  Mrs. Balderson and a Mrs(?) Josias Richie were the first white women to sleep in a Perth house.

Balderson was followed by Ensign Gould on Lot 7, Henry McDonald on Lot 12—all on Concession 8; John G. Malloch on Lot 14, James McGarry on Lot 10, Donald Campbell on Lot 3, Peter McLaren on Lot 8—all on the 7th Concession; James McNiece and T. Bright on Lot 10, Concession 9.  The last “original” settler died in 1895.

In 1829 Thomas Easby was hanged by the neck for the brutal murder of his wife and four children the year before.  “Colin”, his young son, testified against his father and sent him to the gallows.  Reaction of the Easby neighbors was shocking, however.  They took his body (Dr. James Wilson led the pack), skinned it, tanned the hide and exhibited the produce at the Perth Fair several years later.  The murderer’s skeleton went west with a Perth boy, old chronicles say.  The young child was sent away to live elsewhere.

Balderson United and St. John’s Anglican are the only churches in the village.  The oldest Presbyterian Church was built in 1839 and is now a machine shed on the James McGregor farm.  The village two room school was purchased by the Loyal Orange Lodge in 1865.

The oldest property deeded is the old Somerville lot, granted by the Crown to Sgt. Balderson in 1815 and now owned by Elmer Ashby, a cattle drover.  Such names as Devlin, Davidson, McGregor, McTavish, Newman, Haley, Kennedy, King, Myers, Jones, McLaren, Closs, Noonan and McIntyre still give a Gaelic tone to the village.

Perth Courier, April 11, 1966

The Last Duel

In the old cemetery on Craig Street, is a gravestone marking the place of Robert Lyon.

Although unobtrusive in its appearance, the gravestone actually indicates where one of the last men in Canada to duel, lies.

In 1821 dueling as a popular past time had gone out but there were still those who felt that dueling was the only way to appease one’s honor.

The circumstances leading up to the duel between Lyon and John Wilson were, to say the least, understandable.  They were over a lady’s honor.

John Wilson was the son of Ebeneezer Wilson, who had emigrated to Sherbrooke Township in 1817.  Mr. Wilson, Sr., was a well educated man.  He had a fair knowledge of medicine and as a result was frequently consulted by other families in the community.  He held aspirations for his son. 

Subsequently he was able to procure a position for his son in the law office of Mr. Boulton.  While residing in Perth, John lived with the Boultons in the red brick house on the northwest corner of Drummond and Harvey Streets. 

Miss Elizabeth Hughes, an English governess, taught school in what was called Miss Ackland’s School for Young Ladies.  This school was located directly behind Boulton’s house.  It was over Miss Hughes that the deadly duel was fought.  In a short time, Lyon became the lover of Miss Hughes.

In June, 1833 both Lyon and Wilson were sent to Ottawa (then Bytown) on business.  They chanced to meet and as far as can be established Lyon made a half serious, half laughing remark regarding Miss Hughes’ unbecoming behavior.  Wilson wrote to Mrs. Boulton recounting what Lyon had said.  Mrs. Boulton then told the remark to her sister, Miss Thom.  As it turned out, Miss Thom was a close friend of Miss Hughes.  Hearing the remark, Miss Hughes was understandably quite chagrined.  It certainly put a damper on her relationship with Lyon, to say the least.

Lyon was furious about the turn of events and slapped Wilson’s face the next time the pair met.  Wilson, enraged, immediately sent a challenge to Lyon to a duel.  Lyon accepted.  The duel was fought in June of 1833 on the banks of the Tay River just east of the Scotch Line.  The Scotch Line separates the districts of Johnstown and Bathurst.

Though Lyon was considered an exceptional shot, he missed his first shot.  So did Wilson.  Both men were willing to let the entire matter rest there.  However, Julius (illegible last name—Deslisle??), Lyon’s second, would not agree to an amiable settlement.  The pistols were re-loaded.  Both men aimed carefully and fired.  Lyon fell – dead. 

Wilson and Simon Robertson(?-almost illegible), Wilson’s second, were arrested and tried at Brockville.  They were both acquitted.  Wilson, who was engaged at the time of the duel, had his engagement broken.  He later married, however, none other than Miss Hughes.  In later life he became a Supreme Court Judge.

At the time of the duel, Wilson and Lyon were both in their 20th year.  Today that  tombstone in the old burying ground is the only vestige of “the last fatal duel fought in Canada.”

Perth Courier, December 8, 1966

The MacPhails—County Pioneers

(Not transcribed in full as the article contains names of this family who may still be living and not wish their names to be printed, however, the article did go into the present generation for anyone wishing to access and read it)

The MacPhail farm in Drummond Township is unique in many ways.  Firstly, the 250 acre farm has been in the family for over a century.  Secondly, at present, three generations of MacPhails call the 250 acre plot of land their home.

The 143 year history of the farm had a simple beginning.  In 1824 Donald MacPhail was one of the early settlers in the Perth region, purchasing a plot of land on the road south of the present day Tennyson.  That was the beginning.  That 1824 deed is still in the registry in the office at Perth.

Donald MacPhail tilled the soil for 40 years and in 1864, upon his death, the farm was passed to his son Peter MacPhail.  Peter MacPhail during his tenure as owner, built the present MacPhail house from rock quarried right on the farm.  That was in 1886.  This sturdy structure served as the first post office for the settlements of Wayside, MacPhail, Tennyson and Richmond until the postal building was moved to its present location.

In 1947, the present owner, Robert G. MacPhail, took over the reins of the farm.  Robert MacPhail the grandson of the original owner, is still running the farm.  As previously stated, there are three generations of MacPhails presently residing on the Drummond township property.  The Robert MacPhails (Mrs. MacPhail is the former Doris Croskery) occupy one farm house.  The second dwelling is occupied by Robert’s son Malcolm MacPhail and his wife Norma (Cullen) and two grandchildren.  If that was not enough, a nephew, Donald MacPhail also lives on the farm in an adjacent house. 

The MacPhail farm today is a reminder of the past.  There is a building still standing that was one of the first cheese factories in the area, if not the first.  Records on the subject are somewhat vague but it is known that Donald MacPhail was a cheese maker in the building for a short time after he had built the farm.  The stone fire place belonging to the first dwelling built on the land still stands to this day.

Mrs. Robert MacPhail’s aunt Jane Munro will be 104 years old next March.


Posted: 26 October, 2005.