Chaplin’s Dairy in Glen Tay


Whenever I saw the big white and pink Chaplin’s Dairy truck pull into the yard, I had only one thing on my mind; and that was their delicious chocolate milk.  It came in small pint-sized glass bottles, and had a round, waxed cardboard cap on the top to seal it in. The cap had a little tab, so that you could pull it off of the bottle, and the pint bottle was the perfect size for small eager hands.  After the cap was off, I was just seconds away from tipping the bottle and tasting the richest, creamiest chocolate milk ever produced.

Chaplin's Dairy milk tab


Our Dad worked for Chaplin’s Dairy for decades.  He drove one of the big pink and white trucks, and had a regular ‘route’ of customers in Perth.  He used a big, black, metal carrier to transport milk from the back of the truck to the customer’s front door.  The carrier had eight slots, and each slot held a quart bottle of milk.  He also had a book of order slips. It was a small, thick pad of paper about three by six inches, stapled together at the end.  There was a top sheet that was numbered, a small sheet of carbon paper under that, and a blank sheet at the bottom.  On the top copy, Dad wrote the customer’s name, address, and what they had ordered, along with the total price and that was the customer’s copy.  Because each order was written on top of the sheet of carbon paper, the Dairy had a carbon copy underneath for their records.

Once in a while Dad would bring me to the Dairy and I was fascinated to see the many steps that the milk went through in order to end up on someone’s table.  It was fun to sit in the big truck so high up, and the ride was very different from our car at home.  The truck bounced up and down a lot more, and made a lot of noise, as we drove down the lane, and up the third line toward Perth.  It was neat to look outside, and see how much lower the other cars were on the road.  Every time we’d go over a bump or hill the truck would bounce again, and of course there were no seat belts in those days, so it was quite exciting.

We’d drive along until we could see Nick and Doreen Webber’s house at the corner, and we’d begin to slow down.  Just a bit past Webber’s house we turned right, and Chaplin’s Dairy was a small building on the right side of the road, just up from the corner at Glen Tay.

We’d park the truck, and I would follow Dad into the Dairy.  As soon as he opened the door I could see all of the steam in the air.  It was really, really, humid.  The inside of the building was grey and concrete and the floor was always wet.  Sometimes we’d see one of the Chaplin brothers Cameron or John, and they always wore big rubber boots and the steam rose up all around them.

Because the milk came in glass bottles in those days, a lot of the steam was produced from the big machine that they used to sterilize the bottles.  When the customers were finished with their milk, they would rinse their bottles (hopefully!), leave them on their doorstep for Dad, and he would bring them back to the Dairy that evening.   John or Cameron Chaplin would take the empty bottles and put them through the bottle washer.  The bottle washer washed, rinsed, sterilized, and then rinsed again, so the bottles were sparkling clean and ready for the next batch of milk.

The next machine filled the bottles, then capped them with the little waxed cardboard caps.  There was a large room toward the back of the Dairy, and that was a cold storage room, where the freshly bottled milk was kept.  Most of the time when I visited I saw them bottling homogenized, 2 per cent, skim, and chocolate milk. Sometimes, one of the Chaplins, would hand me a pint bottle of chocolate milk, right off of the filling machine.  I would gladly accept, and thought to myself that if Mother was here she would say that I was going to spoil my supper.  Dad never said anything though, because he knew how much I loved Chaplin’s chocolate milk.

Chaplin’s Dairy was a family business.  The dairy was started by Delbert Chaplin in the early 1900s, and his brother Edgar Chaplin also worked in the business. The Chaplin family owned a large 300 acre farm at R.R 4 Perth and Delbert demonstrated his ingenuity by setting up a method to process their milk from their Holstein herd.  At first he operated the business from their farm, but later in 1935 he built the Dairy building at Glen Tay corners.

Delbert Chaplin

1920  – Edgar Chaplin, (Uncle of John and Cameron Chaplin)

When Chaplin’s Dairy began to deliver milk from the new location at Glen Tay, the quarts of milk were just 5 cents each, and it was delivered by horse and wagon. The milk was not bottled at that time but was distributed to the customers from a large tank at the back of the wagon.  The customer would leave a container on their front step or front porch, and Delbert or Edgar would ladle the milk out of the larger can with a pint or quart measure.

The Chaplin farm was producing an average of 3,000 quarts of milk per day and John, Cameron and their brother Don processed the milk and delivered it in the Perth area.

Chaplin's early milk bottles

    photo: Nancy Gingerich


The demand for their milk increased, and they expanded, and made arrangements to have five neighbouring farms supply their business with additional milk.  They were also producing chocolate milk and buttermilk at that time.  They made butter as well, but only to supply their own families and it wasn’t for sale to the public.

Chaplin's truck

L to R: Gordon Chaplin, (Royce Frith seated in truck), Donald ‘Don’ Chaplin

By 1945 the sons had taken over the dairy farm and Don took on the responsibility of managing the farm, but their father continued to be active at the Dairy.   They continued to expand their business and operated for many decades.  They expanded their product line to include grape juice and orange juice.They were successful and respected in the community and were known for their high quality products throughout the Perth area.

Tim Stafford: ” When I turned nine, Mom told Dad that she could no longer put up with  me on Saturdays because of my bad behavior.  That’s the ‘how and why’ of me working with Dad, on the milk truck for Chaplin’s Dairy.

I wasn’t much help at first, but he gave me fifty cents and a chocolate bar purchased at McGlade’s service station, on Gore Street.

Later, when I got my driver’s license, John Chaplin hired me and another high school student, Don Lindsay, to do his milk route, and the Christie Lake cottage route, while he covered the other routes and the ‘inside’ workers for summer vacations.

We were making $25.00 a week, plus we were expected to eat at the restaurants we delivered to on a rotating basis.  The daily meal was paid for by Chaplin’s Dairy.  John Chaplin’s favourite restaurant was Wong’s Chinese, but Don and I preferred ‘The Bright Spot’, where Muz MacLean, Hillis Conroy’s son-in-law worked.  We usually ordered grilled cheese, french fries, and cokes.”

Chaplin's quart milk bottles

Quart milk bottles –  1960s


Roger Stafford“I am not positive, but I believe I was about 12 when I started working Saturdays and summers with Dad on the milk truck. The first Summer I worked with Dad, our brother, Tim, was working with Grant or Gary Chaplin.

They were delivering to the stores and restaurants in Perth, and to summer camps and cottages. They drove to Christie Lake to deliver to Cavanagh’s (general store) and the Lodges (Norvic Lodge and Arliedale Lodge) . I believe Tim had been Dad’s helper on the milk truck, prior to me starting to work with Dad.  

We used to be at the dairy by 7:00 a.m., and usually got home between 17:30 and 18:00 in the evenings. When I first started with Dad, we delivered milk out of the back of a pickup with a tarp over the glass bottles to protect them from the sun and cold.  Milk was 23 cents a quart bottle, and 25 cents for chocolate milk. We also had pints and half pints in glass bottles. Whipped cream and buttermilk were also carried on the truck. It was not long after I started that we used an enclosed truck to deliver out of. It was much easier, but it had no air conditioning, and a piss-poor heater. When I worked six days a week in the summer, I earned $6. for the week.”

In 1970 Don decided to sell the farm and a few years later in 1974 John and Cameron made the decision to stop processing the milk themselves and just be distributors.  In total, John worked for 42 years in the business and Cameron for 30. At that time Chaplins were one of the last small dairies that still processed their own milk.  They began to sell milk for Clark’s Dairies in Ottawa.  John felt that there were too many changes taking place at that time and that the cost would be too prohibitive to continue processing their own milk.

The milk industry in the 1970s was changing from glass bottles to paper cartons,although most customers preferred the taste of milk in glass bottles. The process of returning and washing the bottles was becoming too time consuming, and too expensive. The federal government was also insisting that businesses use the metric system.  This conversion would have meant purchasing new equipment because their milk was sold in pints and quarts, and they would have to begin selling in litres.

At the point in time when John and Cameron decided to sell the business, they had 1,000 customers, and a modern fleet of trucks, doing 12 runs per day, with four salesmen.  They also offered a complete line of dairy products which included cottage cheese, eggs and also several types of juice. Their last delivery was made by Cameron, on Sept. 17, 1977 and their milk at that time, was 65 cents a quart.

Chaplin’s Dairy was sold that year to Bill McConachie.  Bill was formerly a driver for many years who brought the milk from Ottawa.  His plan was to begin delivering milk to Smiths Falls, to increase his market.

It’s likely difficult for the younger generation to believe that milk was delivered door to door each day, or that it had no expiry date stamped on the bottle.  The milk was fresh from the cow either that day, or the day before, processed at Chaplin’s Dairy, and delivered right to your door step.  There was no need for an expiry date.  It’s also interesting that they managed to have a pretty successful recycling process of sterilizing the bottles and getting them back on the trucks by the next morning.  That was all accomplished without ‘blue bins’ and recycling plants.

Did the milk taste better in a glass bottle?  Yes, it did; and anyone who has drank it from a bottle will tell you the same thing.  We certainly drank enough of the stuff at our house to offer an opinion on that.  One of the benefits of having your father work as a milk man is that he brought home enough milk for the family, each night, in his milk carrier.  When you are raising five children, that’s a lot of milk.  We were fortunate to have had such fresh milk each and every day and we never ran out.

Chaplin's pint milk bottle

One Pint, glass milk bottle, 1960s

Although the work wasn’t easy, I believe that Dad enjoyed his customers in Perth, and the quick chats had each day.  Whenever Mother and Dad shopped at the IGA on Wilson Street, customers from his milk route would often come up to say ‘Hello’, and exchange a few words.  Dad was well liked, and at Christmas his customers showered him with gifts.  He received many, many boxes of chocolates, packs of cigarettes and one and two dollar bills in lovely Christmas cards.  He was always late getting home Christmas Eve, and part of the reason was that his customers took a few extra minutes to wish him a Merry Christmas, and give him their gifts.

We were fortunate to have grown up at a time when there were family businesses, producing high quality products, and selling them door to door.  At one time we had a milk man, an egg man- (Mr. Greer), and a bread man, delivering right to our door.

As the years passed by, many of the small family businesses have closed down, one by one, and in many cases our products are produced far away by people we don’t know. There are dates stamped on the products now telling us when they are destined to ‘expire’.  We often have no idea what processes are used to make some of the things that we eat, and so we purchase them on faith alone.  Gone are the days when we always knew what we were eating, and even knew the people that made the goods.

Now, we are left with the memories of Chaplin’s, our small, local dairy in Glen Tay. It was a place where we could stop by for a visit and be greeted by John, Don, or Cameron in their big rubber boots, clouds of steam rising all around them. With a big smile they’d pluck a pint of chocolate milk off of the line, and hand it to a little girl from down the road. Their products were made with pride and care, and they were confident that their customers would be satisfied.  For years, Chaplin’s Dairy was a well known business in our community, and their products were enjoyed in Perth and area homes for many, many decades.




(excerpts from ‘Lanark County Kid: My Travels up and down the Third Line’) 

LC Kid

Memories of working at Chaplin’s Dairy – my brothers Tim Stafford and Roger Stafford, excerpts from the book ‘Recipes and Recollections: Treats and Tales from our Mother’s Kitchen’

R and R bookmark image

photos:  Stafford family collection,  Perth Remembered





Ompah Stomp!



“Drivin’ country roads, highway 509,

August sun is shinin’, and we’re feelin’ fine,

Been workin’ real hard, and we need a little break,

Headin’ for the party up at Palmerston Lake


Grab a bottle, twist the cap, and pass it around,

Swayin’ with my baby to the country sounds,

Music’s loud, fool around, go for a romp,

This is how we do it at the Ompah Stomp”

Arlene Stafford-Wilson



The Ompah Stomp

It was late August, 1978, that we heard about a music festival, to be held over the Labour Day weekend, in Ompah.  This was going to be a back-roads tour, to end all back-roads tours – an outdoor party with live music, and we couldn’t wait!



The Village of Ompah

In those days, Ompah was a tiny, quiet, village.  The most popular place in Ompah, was the Trout Lake Hotel, owned by Wayne Kearney.

The building was originally a private residence; over 150 years old, in fact it was the oldest building in Ompah. Over the years, the residence became a popular local bar. The old timers around there say that they began serving liquor there in 1904.  It was the first licensed establishment in Eastern Ontario, and the locals also claimed that it was one of the first bars in the province.

The hotel was rumoured to have been the setting for some famous and infamous barroom brawls too, but we won’t get into that. The busiest times were in the summer. During the year, there were quiet times, but the seasonal visitors, mostly summer fishing enthusiasts, and the winter snowmobiling patrons, kept it fairly busy.



Trout Lake Hotel, Ompah, Ontario


The First Ompah Stomp

After much anticipation, Labour Day weekend, 1978,  finally arrived.

We jammed as many young people that could fit, into one of my friend’s parent’s cars, and off we headed to Ompah.  We drove up the Third Line, and turned onto Cameron Side Road, past Calvin Church, over the railroad tracks, and onto Hwy 7. We turned onto the Elphin Maberly Road, and continued onto Hwy 509, then Lake Road, and Lafolia Lane.  We parked, and got out of the car. The Stomp grounds were beautiful, green, and lush, with tall, majestic trees, situated on a hill, overlooking scenic Palmerston Lake.

Palmerston Lake

Palmerston Lake  (also referred to locally as Trout Lake)

That first Ompah Stomp, was held on September 3, 1978, and their special guests were Max Keeping, of CJOH TV, and Doug Anderson of CKBY FM.  There was a step dancing contest, held at about 8 p.m., followed by old fashioned round and square dancing.  The musical guest artists that year were Sneezy Waters, Mike O’Reilly, and Wayne Rostad.




Thomas Burke’s Store, Ompah



L-> R: Dennis Rowan (bass) , Neville Wells (vocals, guitar), Peter Clements (drums), Al Webster (guitar),  Band: Sweetwater 

Over the years, we grew to believe, that this annual country music festival, was our own little ‘Woodstock’.  The Ompah Stomp grew, in leaps and bounds, as people heard about it, and wanted to experience the live music, and party atmosphere.

That first year, in 1978, the organizers had anticipated about 200 people attending, and the total numbers were closer to 3,500.  The second year,  the crowds grew to 5,000 and the third year, saw the attendance numbers rise to 6,500.



L  – Tony Hickey       Centre –  Paul Munro,     R. – Brent Munro




Wayne Rostad



Local dancers – showing off their moves

Some of the musical acts that performed at the Stomp were:  Neville ‘Nev’ Wells, , the Family Brown, Jack McRae and the King of Clubs, The Prescott Brothers, Hugh Scott, Ron McMunn and Carbine, Steve Glenn, David Thompson, Fred Dixon, Lynn and Chris, Lloyd Wilson, Dallas Harms, Ted Daigle, C-Weed Band, Terry Carisse and many others.


L – R: Dennis Rowan, Neville Wells
Guitar: Neville Wells



Drums:  Peter Clements    



Michael O’Reilly



1978 – early crowds at the Ompah Stomp



Gary “Spike” Spicer (guitar)    



                      Warren Sutcliffe (bass) 



Pete McCormick (drums)


“Perth Courier” September 12, 1979 – a review of the second year of the ‘Stomp’:



Dennis Rowan, Neville Wells



Al Webster


Sneezy Waters


A poem written by Kathy Norwood, about the ‘Stomp’, printed in March 1980




Peter Clements (drums) 



                                                                        Doug Orr


The Crowds Grew Larger Each Year

The Ompah Stomp became a much-anticipated annual event, and was featured in the local newspapers.

“Perth Courier”  Sept. 2, 1981,  page 19:


Poster from 1982




A section of the happy crowd – 1978


The Road to ‘The Stomp’  – 1983



Poster from 1984



Liquor and beer flowed freely from coolers and wine-skins, and the lineup at the washroom facilities was unbelievably long, but everyone enjoyed themselves just the same.  It was wonderful to have a music festival so close to us.  In those days, if we wanted to hear live music of that caliber, we’d have to travel to Ottawa or Kingston, so it was great to have the Ompah Stomp so nearby.




As the years passed by, the Ompah Stomp had a reputation as a wild party, and the local police adopted stricter controls for the festival.



The Stomp carried on for many years, after those first few annual celebrations. Visitors traveled from the U.S., and from neighbouring provinces as well.

Labour Day weekend was one of the busiest and most exciting times for us, in the area, because of the Ompah Stomp.


Looking back, it’s difficult to imagine that a tiny village of around 100 people, and their local snowmobile club, could create a music festival, attracting thousands of people, from all around.

The Ompah Stomp was a shining example of the spirit of the people in rural Eastern Ontario, and what they could accomplish.  They never faltered in their belief that they could succeed, or lacked the confidence to organize a music festival just because they were a handful of folks, from a tiny village.

The Ompah Stomp became a metaphor, an example for all of us, that it only takes a few people who believe strongly in something to make a difference.  It sure made a difference for us kids in the country, who were always looking for a little excitement.

I will always remember those special times at the Ompah Stomp, and how they made our last weekend each summer something we’d all remember fondly for years to come.

Photos from the 1978 Ompah Stomp from the private collection of Don White, from the band, Grateful We’re Not Dead:  Grateful We’re Not Dead Facebook Page

Many thanks to Don White and Neville Wells for providing the names of the musicians in the photos!

Neville Wells, a founding father of the ‘Ompah Stomp’, was inducted into the Ottawa Valley County Music Hall of Fame, in 1994.

Neville Wells Hall of Fame

For more information on Grateful We’re Not Dead:  Grateful We’re Not Dead Official Band Website


Some of the families who settled around Ompah:  Dunham, Kelford, Closs, Conlon, Dawson, Ellenberger, Elliott, English, Gunner, Hitchcock, Cox, Keller, Killlingbeck, Kirkwood, Mabo, Massey, McGonigal, McDougall, Molyneaux, Moore, McDonald, Murphy, Payne, Praskey, Sproule, Thomas, Tooley, Richardson, Riddell, Roberts, Sproule, Stewart, Stinson, Thomas, Uens, Ostler, MacRow, Martelock, James, Ackerman, Allen, Struthers, Brown, Gunsinger, Lemke, Armstrong, Jeannerett, Hermer, McNeil, Badour, Johnston, Kring, HIll, Weiss, Wood, Card, Boyd, Dempster, Donaldson, Larock, Morrow, Mundell, Praskey, Ryder, Shanks.


… Search for your ancestor in the 1901 Census of Canada:


1901 Census of Canada

Why Did the Ompah Stomp end? Find out the real reasons behind the final days of the Ompah Stomp, from the people who were there…

Discover the ‘glory days’ of the Ompah Stomp, how it began, who was there, the unforgettable parties, the music, and more:

“The Legendary Ompah Stomp”, in the book –

‘Lanark County Calling: All Roads Lead Home’   ISBN: 978-0-9877026-61

Book Launch poster 1


Available at The Book Nook and Other Treasures, and The Bookworm, in Perth, Mill Street Books in Almonte,  or online at

For more information on the history of Ompah and some of its founding families:

Clarendon and Miller Community Archives:


Balderson Cheese – Craving the Curd

Whenever a kid in Lanark County heard the word ‘Balderson’ spoken at their home, most of the time their thoughts turned to cheese.  The Balderson Cheese Factory was a short drive up the Lanark Road from our place, and they made the best cheese in the world.  People came from miles around to buy Balderson Cheese, curds, and butter, and our family was no different. Usually a visit to the cheese factory took place as part of a Sunday drive.

Balderson was a small hamlet situated about halfway between Perth and Lanark and was one of the earliest communities settled along with Perth.  Balderson, a suburb was also settled partly by soldiers, and partly by Scottish immigrants from Perthshire in the Scottish Highlands.  It was founded by Sergeant Balderson in June 1816.

When we spent time in Balderson during the 1960s and 1970s some of the family names were: Bell, Burns, Davidson, Devlin, Haley, Jones, Kennedy, King, McGregor, McIntyre, McTavish, Myers and Newman.


Balderson Cheese factory 1954

The ‘new’  factory, built after the 1929 fire

cheese curds

cheese curds

The Balderson Cheese Factory had already been operating for many decades by the time I first remember it.  The factory was established 1881.  It was formed by a group of dairy farmers of Lanark County.  They were known as the Farmer’s Cheese and Butter Association of Balderson. They decided to use the excess milk that they were each producing on their farms, build a factory, produce Cheddar cheese and sell it locally. They built a small, plain-looking, wood-frame building near the Balderson Corners crossroads.

Balderson Cheese factory


Loading dock Balderson Cheese factory

Balderson Cheese Factory – Loading Dock

In the early days, each dairy farmer would bring their milk by horse and wagon and drop it off at the factory.  Later, to become more efficient, special milk wagons were built and routes were established and workers from the factory would go from farm to farm picking up the milk.

Balderson 1905

‘The Perth Courier’, Sept. 20, 1962


Just twelve years after opening, the Balderson Cheese Factory was one of the twelve factories that contributed cheese to create the ‘Mammoth’ cheese for the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The old timers said that it was six feet high and weighed over 20,000 lbs.


Mammoth cheese

In 1929, a fire burned the original factory and all that was left was the concrete floor.

Balderson rebuilt

‘The Perth Courier’, Sept. 13, 1929


Although Dad was familiar with the original factory, we had only seen the one that was rebuilt in 1930.  It was a plain-looking building and was built in a similar style to many of the other local cheese factories, in and around Perth.  There was a small sign outside and the inside they had a very small counter and sold three products: cheese –  yellow or coloured orange, cheese curds, and butter. You could buy mild cheese or old cheese, and Dad preferred the older ‘sharp’ cheese and liked to enjoy it with a slice of Mother’s homemade apple pie. The cheese was cut from rounds, wrapped in waxed paper and sealed with a piece of scotch tape.  There was one person working behind the counter that would get your cheese and ring it up on the cash register. Everyone else worked in the back.

Balderson Cheese factory cheese-maker

Cheese-Maker,  Balderson Cheese Factory

Dad would often know the person working behind the counter, and he’d ask if we could go back and watch them make the cheese.  Now, that was really interesting!  There was always a distinct smell in the factory, even at the front counter.  It smelled kind of like buttermilk, and the air always seemed very warm and humid.  It was behind the counter where all the magic took place.

Balderson 1962

‘The Perth Courier’, Sept. 20, 1962


There were huge metal vats, filled with heated milk.  I don’t know what they use now, but in those days, they added rennet to the milk to make it curdle.  Rennet was an acid which could be found in the fourth stomach of calves and was used for digestion.  When the rennet was added to the milk it curdled and formed into clumps.  The workers in the factory would walk around with long wooden paddles and stir the vats.  Some were newly curdling and were very easy to stir, others in later stages required quite a bit of muscle to stir because the curds were forming in large, heavy clumps.  In the last vat the salt was added and some of the curds were strained out and sold, but the remainder would be pressed into huge round wooden molds.  The molds were lined with cheesecloth so that the cheese wouldn’t stick when it was time to remove it.

At the rear of the old factory, double walls were built two feet thick, with sawdust packed inside as insulation to keep the cheese cool as it cured.  After the cheese was strained and pressed into molds it was stored in the curing room. The whey, the liquid that was strained from the cheese, was stored in big tanks.  In the old days the whey was returned to the farmers to use as feed, but later when tighter government regulations were introduced the whey was dumped.  Each cheese was waxed, boxed, weighed, molded, inspected, cooled, turned and shipped. The cheese was regularly inspected by Government inspectors and the stock turns over every ten days. The cheese remained in the curing room until it was shipped.

Balderson cheese vat of curd and whey

Vat of Curd and Whey


Cheese making was an art form in Balderson and their Master Cheese Maker when I was a kid, was Omar Matte. Mr. Matte had begun making cheese when he was fifteen working for his father in St. Albert.  By the 1960s he had been making cheese for 27 years. In those days, Mr. Matte would mold 120 tons of cheese per year and most was shipped to the Sanderson Grading Station in Oxford where it went on to foreign markets. Ten tons of cheese on average was sold locally in the Balderson area. Over 100 tons of cheese and 9,000 pounds of butter produced yearly by the mid 1960s and sold all over North America.

There were many Master Cheese Makers before him – Chris J. Bell of Perth, James Somerville of Boyd’s, Walter Partridge of the Scotch Line, James Prentice of Perth, Charles Gallery of Perth, Robert Lucas of Jasper and Percy George of Christie Lake.


Balderson Cheesemakers

1881-1887  W. Brown

1888-1891  J. Milton 1888-1891

1892-1901  W.D. Simes

1902-1904  E.E. Haley

1905-1911  J.M. Scott

1912-1917  T.K. Whyte

1918-1921  M. Haley

1922-1929  A. Quinn

1930  G. Spencer

1931-1937  P. Kirkham

1937-1939  J.L. Prentice

1939-1941  C.J. Bell

1941-1942  J. Somerville

1943  W. Partridge

1944-1955  C. Gallery

1956-1958  R. Lucas

1959-1960  P. George

1961-1966  O. Matte

1966-1974  Y. Leroux

1975-1980  L. Lalonde

1980  N. Matte

As the years passed by, the cheese gained tremendous popularity, news of the product spread, and the little business was bought by a large company.  After many decades the Balderson Cheese business has changed hands many times.

You can still find Balderson cheese today, and many types and grades of cheese available in all of the major supermarkets.

I smile whenever I see the Balderson name and think of the little hamlet outside of Perth. I remember our Sunday drives to the old cheese factory, and how they made the best curd in the world!


cheese curd 2kid eating cheese curd

(story is an excerpt from  ‘Lanark County Kid: My Travels Up and Down the Third Line’ ISBN: 978-0-9877026-16)

LC Kid

available in local book stores: The Book Nook & Other Treasures, and  ‘Bookworm’ in Perth, Mill Street Books in Almonte
Vintage Photos: ‘Perth Remembered’
Newsclippings: ‘The Perth Courier’

Book Review, by ‘The Lanark Era’ Sept. 8, 2020

Book review The Lanark Era Sept 8 2020 part 1

Book review The Lanark Era Sept 8 2020 part 2

LC Collection cover

lanark Era ad Sept 8 2020

“The Lanark Era”, Sept. 8, 2020

Books - seven

Book Review: “Inside Ottawa Valley”

Inside Ottawa Valley banner Sept 2020

Inside Ottawa Valley 2

Arlene Stafford-Wilson photo Inside Ottawa Valley

Arlene Stafford-Wilson has penned another book in her Lanark County Collections series.

This one, “Winding Our Way Down Memory Lane,” will be released Saturday, Sept. 12. She will be at a book signing at The Book Nook and Other Treasurers in Perth from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Ottawa author, with deep roots in Lanark County, has readers travel through the 1960s and 1970s with a fun trip to the Port Elmsley Drive-In, a visit to the Rideau Ferry Inn and even a stop at the Stumble Inn in Ferguson Falls.

Preserving history is Stafford-Wilson’s other passion, as she’s a genealogist. Writing books about stories from her own past is a way for her to combine both loves of writing and genealogy. Her last book about the stories of Lanark County was released two years ago.

LC Collection cover

Inside the pages of this latest book, Stafford-Wilson shares some homespun goodness with one of her mother’s famous recipes. So famous, she said, that her mother was a red ribbon winner at the Perth Fair. The writer remembers: “There was something peculiar in the pantry … in a glass jar that seemed to have a life of its own,” alongside the “collection of shotguns and rifles leaning up against the corner by the window.”

“Memory Lane” shares how water was found by dowsing. Stafford-Wilson explains what this method is and how it was used to find water every time by the local well drillers.

Another detailed yarn is one highlighting the history of the Perth library. From its humble beginnings, to a devastating fire, and how it rose from the ashes like the phoenix to become the mainstay it is today in the heart of Perth.

Who remembers the Stumble Inn at Ferguson Falls? “At one time, there were three hotels,” the author writes. In the early 1900s, loggers would “come to spend their pay on drinks and a good time.”

In this chapter, Stafford-Wilson writes about the seven Irish bachelors who came to clear land in Ferguson Falls. Find out about Patrick Quinn, John Quinn, James Carberry, William Scanlan, Terrence Doyle, John Cullen and James Power — who declared a solemn pact to help each other establish themselves. Here is where the Quinn Settlement was born.

Another local hot spot was the Rideau Ferry Inn, where “nearly every well-known rock band in the country performed during the 1960s and ‘70s in the 472-seat Poonamalie Room,” Stafford-Wilson writes. Many people also enjoyed the country music played at the nearby Antler Inn.

Parking lot fights were regular occurrences, Stafford-Wilson notes. “We saw more than a few bloody noses … there was often far more wild behaviour outside than inside.”

A fun read was learning about the Port Elmsley Drive-In, and how in the 1970s, Friday nights were for gleaming sports cars ripping up Roger’s Road in Perth. High school boys would race the quarter-mile track timed with a stopwatch “borrowed” from the high school.


Which one was the fastest between Kenny Moore’s green fastback Mustang, Craig Cullen’s black Camaro or Steve Richardson’s big sleek Plymouth.

Stafford-Wilson writes: “These races were followed by a tour around town complete with burnouts and smoke shows,” and the occasional ticket was issued by the police for unnecessary noise.

It was the next night that this same group of people would head to the drive-in to show off their hotrods.

There is a lot of history about the drive-in and how it closed on opening night in 1953 after rain washed out the fresh gravel and all 50 cars had to be towed out, which took most of the night and into the next morning. The theatre closed for a week until the ground dried out.

These short vignettes will leave you wanting more stories from days gone by.

For those families mentioned throughout the book, in true genealogist fashion, Stafford-Wilson has alphabetized names in an index for easy reference.

Call The Book Nook and Other Treasurers at 1-613-267-2350 to reserve a copy, or preorder your copy at

Laurie Weir 2020

Rideau Ferry Inn – Those Hot Summer Nights!

Rideau Ferry Inn blog post image

Oh, those hot summer nights at the Rideau Ferry Inn!  The dancing, the laughter, stolen kisses, sneaking drinks in the parking lot, and the best live rock and roll around!

Its official name back then, was the Poonamalie Pavilion, but nobody called it that.  To my friends and me, it was simply the Rideau Ferry Inn; and you could find us there most weekend nights in the summer, socializing, laughing, and dancing the night away.

Situated along the clear, blue waters of the Rideau, the Rideau Ferry Inn has hosted many generations of tourists and boaters, providing sumptuous meals, comfortable accommodation, and lively entertainment.  Arguably, the highlight of the small settlement of Rideau Ferry, our former teenage haunt, wasn’t the original structure at this location.  The original building was actually a home.

The original structure was a house built in 1853 by Archibald Campbell.  Archibald married Elizabeth Buchanan, a preacher’s daughter.  Her father was the Reverend George Buchanan, and was one of the early Presbyterian ministers of Beckwith Township, serving the congregation at Franktown.

Their daughter, Helen Buchanan Campbell, married John Coutts.  As her parents were aging, and needed assistance, the couple moved in with them in 1870.  During that time, John made some additions to the home, and when he was finished, they not only had ample room for themselves, but had more than enough room to accommodate guests.  They began to rent rooms in the house to summer tourists, who were traveling by boat ,along the mighty Rideau waterways.


As the years went by, their home became known as ‘Coutts House’, and eventually, had the reputation of being a very fine hotel.  In 1893 a three-storey addition was built at the back of the house.  A large dining room was added to the first floor. The second and third floors had fifteen hotel rooms each, and an indoor bathroom.

Rideau Ferry Coutts House 1889

After 1905, the building was rented to a series of business men. During the 1920s and 30s, regattas became popular, and Coutts House held canoe races, and rowboats races. The Coutts family also sponsored competitions for sailboats, and it was the site of many grand daytime celebrations, and intimate evening affairs, for the wealthy travelers, visiting in the summer.

In 1947, Doug Wallace, native of Osgoode bought Coutts House, tore it down, and built a new structure with wood framing, and grey granite blocks.  It was a two-storey building, and the second floor featured a large dance area, with seating on three sides.

By the 1960s, the building had become known as the Rideau Ferry Inn, and during this time, became licensed for liquor sales.  Up until that time people would smuggle in their own booze, particularly in the roaring twenties when rum-running along the Rideau had its hey-day.

Rideau Ferry Bridge

It was in the 1970s, that I first heard the tales about the popular night spot, and all the good times that were had at the Rideau Ferry Inn.  There were stories told up and down the halls of the Perth High School – stories of summer romances with cottagers staying at seasonal properties nearby, or the ultra-cool teens that traveled by boat along the Rideau, with their parents.  There was also talk of the teenage kids from the States, and their hip clothing and accessories; styles that would take years to reach our little communities near Perth.  There were lots of accounts at our high school of the talented rock bands that performed, and of the nights spent dancing to the top hits played by edgy disc jockeys.  I couldn’t wait to go and see it for myself.

Paul Tarle Band

photo: L.  Steve Francis, Mike McPherson, Brian Jones, and seated – Paul Tarle.

The main house-band at ‘The Inn’ in the early 1970s was the Paul Tarle Band – and we showed off our cool dance moves, as we listened to their popular rock classics.

Dance 1970s

One of the best parties of our steamy Lanark County  summers was the annual Rideau Ferry Regatta. Beautiful, sleek, boats from all over, competing for the sought-after prizes, and the prestige of being ‘Number 1’ on the big lakes.

Boat Show Rideau Ferry

Regattas were all about hot sun, cold beers, the cool, clear waters of the Rideau Lakes, and beautiful boats all around us.

Rideau Ferry Inn 1982

We’ll never forget the annual regattas, or the great music at the Rideau Ferry Inn. Bands like ‘Sammy Seaman’ and his group kept us up until the wee hours.  Some nights it was ‘Woody Herman and the Young Thundering Herd’, and other evenings we were entertained by the ‘Paul Chabot Band’.   Occasionally, instead of live bands at the ‘Inn’, there was a ‘Disco’ dance provided by a local disc jockey, by the name of  ‘Sounds Great’.

Many years after our frequent teenage visits to the Rideau Ferry Inn, the building was purchased by Elmer and Eva Purdon.  It was still ‘the’ place at that time to host fancy wedding receptions, or 50th wedding anniversary celebrations.

Because we’d had so many good times at the Rideau Ferry Inn, it was a terrible shock for my friends and I when we heard about the fire in February of 1986, that destroyed our former dance hall.  The fire started on the top floor, where the dances had been held for so many years.  The ground floor was also destroyed in the fire, and that is where the kitchen, the large dining room, and bar were located.

My friends and I drove down to Rideau Ferry a few days after the fire.  I don’t think it was so much out of curiosity, but more out of disbelief.  Could it be true, that the place where we’d passed so many of our happy youthful hours was really gone? There were so many memories of friendships, dancing, and all of the special evenings we spent at the Rideau Ferry Inn.

We drove up to where the Inn had stood, and looked around. No one said a word.  I think that as we stared at the charred foundation of the building, each of us was recalling our own versions of the times spent there, in our youth.  They were such innocent, awkward, magical, teenage times. We sat there for a few more moments, still silent, and then drove away, back up the Ferry Road toward Perth.

The building may be gone, but our fond memories of the Rideau Ferry Inn will remain with us forever.  We will always remember the music, the friends, and the good times. Those long summer nights, when the stars seemed to shine a little brighter, the sunsets glowed a little softer.  The peaceful, pristine, waters of the Rideau Lakes made a perfect backdrop for those innocent days of our youth, when life stretched out ahead of us… full of promise, and our dreams for the future.

Lake Life sunset


An excerpt from – ‘Revelry and Rogues on the Rideau’  – ‘Lanark County Chronicle’ available in local book stores, or online. ISBN 978-0-9877026-23

LC Chronicle from web


Local Names:

Although there were lots of tourists and visitors in the summer, they were only there for a few short weeks at most. We became acquainted with many of the folks who lived year-round at Rideau Ferry, and some of the local names at that time were: McLean, Donaldson, Buchanan, Gemmill, Frost, Sewell, Coutts, Gallagher, Beveridge, McKay, Wills, McVeety, Millar, Tully, Oliver, Dettrick, Bethune, Purdon, Hitchcock, Fitzgerald, Hall, Gould, Irving, Joynt, King, McCue, Wallace, McKay and Campbell.


Join the author on a steamy hot summer night, park your car outside the Rideau Ferry Inn in the ‘passion pit’,  duck as the beer-bottles fly, and the action heats up outside.  Hear some of the top bands from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s play some classic rock and roll along the peaceful shores of the Rideau – read about it in the new book, released September 2020:

“Lanark County Collection: Winding Our Way Down Memory Lane”

LC Collection cover

available at The Book Nook, and The Bookworm, in Perth, and Mill Street Books in Almonte.

Also online at

photos:  Perth Historical Society, Carol-Ann McDougall, Perth Remembered, Vintage Smiths Falls and Perth, The Perth Courier, Georgia McNally, Vintage Race Boat Shop, and from private collections.

For boating on the big lakes  – Rideau Ferry Marina

Rideau Ferry Regatta


New Book sneak preview- Fall release 2020

poster for LC Collection website

Arlene in front of Book Nook Sept 12 2020

Arlene Stafford-Wilson, at the book launch for “Lanark County Collection: Winding Our Way Down Memory Lane”, at The Book Nook, Perth, Ontario, on September 12, 2020.

“Lanark County Collection:

Winding Our Way Down Memory Lane”

“Travel back in time to the 1960s and 1970s, as the author invites you to come along on this journey through rural Eastern Ontario.  Visit the Rideau Ferry Inn, a much-loved dance hall, where rock and roll was king.  Watch in wonder as a water-witcher dazzles you with their mysterious abilities, as they locate the best spot to dig a country well.  Spend the evening at the infamous Stumble Inn, in Ferguson Falls, known for its bootleg whiskey, and legendary fighting among the Irish villagers.  Next, meet the dedicated staff of the Perth Public Library, and discover the tragedy, scandal, and unstoppable spirit that made this place ‘the heart of the town’. Visit a rural farmhouse, and discover the secrets behind the art and science of sourdough.  Spend a hot summer night at the Port Elmsley Drive In, meet some fascinating people, and find out what happens behind the scenes, while you watch a movie under the stars.  Join the author, as you wind your way down memory lane.”

Table of Contents:

Chapter 1:   The Mysterious Ways of the Water-Witcher

Chapter 2:   Hot Summer Nights at the Rideau Ferry Inn

Chapter 3:   Perth Library – Heart of the Town

Chapter 4:   Mother’s Farmhouse Sourdough

Chapter 5:   The Stumble Inn of Ferguson Falls

Chapter 6:   Port Elmsley Drive-In – Showcase of the Golden Triangle

Chapter 1

The Mysterious Ways

of the Water Witcher

water witcher

In the first story we find ourselves sitting on the cool grass on a hot day, in the 1960s, watching in wonder as a dowser walks through the yard, in search of the best spot to dig a country well.  You’ll meet our local drilling crew, Jerry Thompson and Connell ‘Connie’ Thompson, of Althorpe, and our dowser, Jack Dowdall, from Glen Tay, as they work their magic to find a source of water the old fashioned way.

Thompson Drilling

According to Jerry Thompson, “Jack believed heart and soul in dowsing”, and he was known to be as skilled and as accurate as they come.

My sister, Jackie, curious about the mystery of dowsing, asked the men if she could try it herself.

“I remember when a new well was drilled, and when the men came with the dowsing stick. I can’t recall what they called it – I think a divining stick or rod, but it was used to find water. 

I was there and asked if I could try it.  The men seemed amused, but the Dowser told me what to do.  I can’t remember if I felt anything or not, but when he found the water, it seemed to pull him and the stick almost down to the ground.”      

 Jackie Stafford Wharton


Come back to the farm in the 1960s, meet Jerry and Connie Thompson, and Jack Dowdall, and spend the day as they search for water with an apple switch.


Chapter 2

Hot Summer Nights

at the Rideau Ferry Inn

Rideau Ferry Inn Sept 2020

In the second story, we head to the Rideau Ferry Inn, on a warm summer evening, in the 1970s, to hear some live rock and roll, enjoy a few drinks, and dance the night away along the peaceful lake-shore.  Visit the parking lot, also known as the passion pit, and watch a standoff between the boys in blue from P.D.C.I., and the lads in red from the Smiths Falls High School. Meet some of the bands who entertained us on those endless summer nights: “The Stampeders”, “The Five Man Electrical Band”, “The Paul Tarle Band”, Edward Bear, the “Cooper Brothers”, “Too Cold to Hold”, “Eight Seconds”, “Metagenesis”, “The Crayons”, and many, many more.  Watch the summer romances unfold, as the cottagers and the kids from neighbouring towns visit for the evening.

Rideau Ferry Inn 2 Sept 2020

Chapter 3

Perth Library:  Heart of the Town

Perth Library

Our next stop is the Perth Public Library, where we’ll learn about a tragedy, a scandal, and what really happens behind the circulation desk.  Meet the librarians, from the very earliest days of the institution, like Harriet ‘Hattie’ Nicol, and come along for Hattie’s first ride in a motor-car. We’ll meet all of the librarians from 1907 to present day, like Flora MacLennan, Doris Stone, daughter of the publisher of the local paper in Perth, George McCulloch, Caretaker, Vera Sanderson, Natalie Flett, Helen Garrett, Connie Ebbs, Marilyn Tufts, Joan Mitchell, and Diana Cleland. We’ll meet the courageous  librarians who were there the night of the fire, on January 3rd, 1980 –  Faye Cunningham, working that evening, and Susan Snyder, who came to witness the fire as soon as she heard the news; and read their personal accounts of the tragedy and the aftermath.  We’ll also hear from Fire Inspector, Harold Jordan, and his thoughts as to the cause of the fire, and some speculations from folks around town. We’ll meet Sharon Coreau, a librarian who worked there in the 1970s, and hear her impressions and memories of the people, the staff, and the old stately building on Gore Street. From the ‘new’ location, on Herriott Street, we’ll meet Elizabeth Goldman and Erika Heesen, learn about the path which led them to their roles as Head Librarians in Perth, and how technology evolved and changed the library over the years. Read about a shocking scandal in the 1970s, how a brave young librarian challenged the Board, and find out why an entire Board was fired one fateful year.  Meet the Board members, the librarians, the after-school staff, the students, the caretakers, and the volunteers who made the library ‘the heart of the town’. These stories and more, of this well-loved, and cherished institution.

Chapter 4

Mother’s Farmhouse Sourdough

sourdough Klondike

Prospectors baking sourdough bread during the Klondike Gold Rush

photo: Parks Canada

Discover the fascinating story of sourdough, and meet a feisty adventurous girl who grew up out west, in the big city, and the baking secrets that she brought to Lanark County. Learn about the early prospectors in the days of the Klondike Gold Rush, and how they carried their sourdough starter in a small sac, on a cord around their necks or a pouch tied to their belts. Find out why these wise old prospectors were given the nickname of ‘sourdoughs’. Spend the afternoon in an old farmhouse pantry, and watch in wonder as the sourdough concoction bubbles away on the pantry shelf.  Discover the art and the science, and one of the baking secrets that won countless prizes at the local fairs, year after year!

Chapter 5

The Stumble Inn of Ferguson Falls

stumble inn black and white

In this story, we head to Ferguson Falls, on a warm summer’s eve in the 1930s, and spend the night at the infamous Stumble Inn.  We’ll meet our host for the evening, Billy McCaffrey, sit at the gnarled wooden table, enjoy a few shots of whiskey, then take cover when the fights break out among the Irish villagers! We’ll hear the locals tell their fascinating tales passed down to them through the generations, and listen to the soulful Irish music played on the fiddles and the tin flutes. Come along with us, back to the early days in Ferguson Falls, sample the whiskey, listen to the music, sing some songs, and maybe we’ll even see a ghost or two!!


Chapter 6

Port Elmsley Drive-In

Showcase of the Golden Triangle

port elmsley drive in black and white

In our final story, we’ll visit the Port Elmsley Drive In, on a steamy, hot summer evening. We’ll meet Laura Williams, daughter of founder Bill Williams, and hear about the earliest days of the Drive In.  Join Laura as she works tirelessly in the ‘Potato Shack’, with local girls, Sandra and Cathy Polk, peeling hundreds of potatoes in preparation for an all-nighter’s tasty french-fries.  Meet the gang at the concession stand  – Cathy O’Grady, Bonnie O’Grady, Dawn Polk, Pam Polk, Susan Polk, Lorraine ‘Bunny’ Van Dusen, Violet Van Dusen, Cindy Van Dusen, Susan Van Dusen, Mary Benson, John Benson, and Glen Hart, to name a few.  Meet former owner, Jan Stepniak, and hear about the night when American rock band, “The Byrds” played under the stars.  Witness the excitement on a summer’s evening when local farmer, Bill Beveridge’s sheep and cattle get loose, and wander among the parked cars. Join the nervous movie-goers on another fateful evening when a skunk wanders through the crowd with a Pepsi cup stuck on his head. Come along for some adventures at the Port Elmsley Drive-In, meet the talented staff who worked there over the years, and discover what really happens behind the scenes at this much-loved local treasure!

LC Collection cover

Come along on these adventures, back to the 1960s and 1970s, as we wind our way down memory lane!


“Lanark County Collection: Winding Our Way Down Memory Lane”, is the 8th book in the series:

Books - seven

writers-festival-entrance-256x300               Writers-festival-11-300x284

autumn in the country

crystal palace

warm familiar scents

Crystal-palace 2

air was fresh and crisp


Ottawa International Writer’s Festival

Quilt quote

Book Fair farmer's market authors # 20001 (1)

Ottawa International Writer’s Festival – Perth Chapter

autumn gusts

book nook fb adTo reserve a signed copy – 613-267-2350, or visit their website to order

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Also available at:

The Bookworm for website

Bookworm website:

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Family Reunions – Lanark County 1970s & 1980s

Lanark County Family Reunions


Someone once said,

“Families are like branches on a tree – we all grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one.” 

Many families who settled in Lanark County came from Europe – mainly Ireland, Scotland, some from England, and from countless other locations around the world.   As sons and daughters grew up and left the family homesteads, they in turn spread out across the country and beyond.  Organizing a family reunion became a yearly ritual for some families, and many advertised their reunions in the local papers.

The following is a snapshot of some of the families who held reunions in the 1970s and 1980s in Lanark County.  Our story begins with some commentary from a popular local journalist, Bill Smiley, and his personal views on family reunions…..

Family Reunion column by Bill Smiley

(December 18, 1975. p.2 – an excerpt of Bill Smiley’s column)


Lanark County Family Reunions banner


Andison Family

(Aug. 6, 1970, p.12 – “The Perth Courier”)

Andison family


Crampton Family

(October 21, 1971, p.10)

Crampton family


Schonauer Family

(July 10, 1975. p. 12)

Schonauer family


Slack Family

(Aug. 28, 1975, p.10)

Slack family


McKay Family

McKay family

June 2, 1977, p.4


Barr Family

Barr family

Aug. 18, 1977 p.16


Patterson Family

Patterson family 1

Patterson family 2

July 19, 1978 p.19


Kirkham Family

Kirkham family

Aug. 30, 1978 p.6



Love Family

Love family

News from Flower Station, Aug. 22, 1979 p.7



Geddes Family

Geddes family

Snow Road News, Aug. 19, 1979, p.31



Kirkham, Dixon, McKenacher, Truelove, and Tysick families

Kirkham family 1

Kirkham family 2

September 26, 1979, p.26


Desjardine Family

Desjardine family

Flower Station news – March 5, 1980 p.11


Barrie Family

Barrie family

Snow Road news – July 9, 1980, p.8



Rintoul Family

Rintoul family

Aug. 15, 1981, p.5


Hermer Family

Hermer family

Oct. 7, 1981 p.15 – Ardoch news


Massey – Marshall Family

Massey family

Massey family 1

Massey family 2

Massey family 3

May 26, 1982 p. 19



Caswell Family

Caswell family

July 14, 1982, p.11



Miller Family

Miller family

July 21, 1982, p.14



Camelon Family

camelon reunion

July 21, 1982, p.14



VanAlstine Family

VanAlstine family

July 21, 1982, p.14




Closs Family

Closs family

July 28, 1982, p.7



Echlin Family

Echlin family

July 28, 1982 p.14



Arnott Family

Arnott family

Aug. 4, 1982, p.3





Larmon Family

Larmon family 2

Larmon family

Aug. 18, 1982 p.27



Adrain Family

Adrain family

Dec. 22, 1982, p.22


McDonnell Family

McDonnell family

July 20, 1983 p.10 – Donnelly’s Corners


Brady Family

Brady family

July 27, 1983, p.22


Crosbie and Gemmill Families

Crosbie and Gemmill family

July 27, 1983, p.22



Devlin Family

Devlin family

July 27, 1983, p.22



Killingbeck, Koffman, & Baxter Families

Killingbeck family

Sept. 7, 1983 p.6



Bowes and Mahon Families

Bowes and Mahon families

July 25, 1984 p.3



Umpherson Family

Umpherson family

Aug. 1, 1984, p.13


McKenzie – Peters, Thomas, Morrow, Kerr

McKenzie Peters families

Sept. 26, 1984 p.14



Hill – Millar Families

Hill Millar families

Oct. 3, 1984, p.10


Chabot Family

Chabot family

Oct. 17, 1984 p.12



memories quote


Stafford family reunion 2012 Oshawa

photo: Stafford family reunion – 2012, at the Marriott Hotel, Consumers Drive, Whitby,  Ontario
Back row, l to r:  Roger Stafford, Sam Wharton, Kevin Wilson, Tim Stafford, Jim Ryan
Front row, l to r: Ruth (Parks) Stafford, Jackie Stafford Wharton, Arlene Stafford-Wilson, Marian (Salemink) Stafford, and Judy Stafford Ryan


News clippings of all Lanark County family reunions – from: “The Perth Courier”














Farmer of the Week 1962-64


Farmer of the Week’ was a column that appeared in “The Perth Courier”, and ran from August 1962 until August 1964.  The farmers featured in these articles were chosen because they were noteworthy.  Some were prominent because of the sheer size of their operations, some were unique because of the type of farming they did, and some specialized in a style or method of farming that was deemed newsworthy at that time. No matter the reason that each of these local farmers was singled out, they were all important to our community.  Many were members of community organizations, active in their churches, and some were even politicians. The most important thing they all had in common, and a source of pride for all, was that they were farmers…..

This is a tribute to our Lanark County farmers.  Not all were featured in the local papers, but all contributed to their families, and their communities.  We are grateful for those who labour in the soil, in all weather conditions, to put wholesome food on our nation’s tables.  Thank-you!




Farmer of the week banner


G. Mervyn Ferrier

Farmer of the Week – August 16, 1962

Ferrier, Mervyn 1962


Matt Burpee

Farmer of the Week – August 23, 1962

Burpee Matt


Peter Timmons

Farmer of the Week – September 6, 1962

Peter Timmons


Dave Spence

Farmer of the Week – October 11, 1962

Dave Spence

George Ferrier

Farmer of the Week – October 18, 1962

George Ferrier



Delbert Chaplin

Farmer of the Week – October 25, 1962

Delbert Chaplin



Hubert Hossie

Farmer of the Week – November 1, 1962

Hubert Hossie


Neil Stewart

Farmer of the Week – November 8, 1962

Neil Stewart


Borden Perkins

Farmer of the Week – November 22, 1962

Borden Perkins

Walter McKay

Farmer of the Week – December 6, 1962

Walter McKay


Emil Graff

Farmer of the Week – December 20, 1962

Emil Graff


Ernest Erwin

Farmer of the Week – January 10, 1963

Ernest Erwin

Clayton Hands

Farmer of the Week – January 17, 1963

Clayton Hands


George Couch

Farmer of the Week – January 24, 1963

George Couch


Donald Oliver

Farmer of the Week – February 7, 1963

Donald Oliver

Bill Allan

Farmer of the Week – February 14, 1963

Bill Allen # 1

Bill Allen # 2


James Brown

Farmer of the Week – March 21, 1963

James Brown

Arnold Long

Farmer of the Week – April 4, 1963

Arnold Long


Brian Paul

Farmer of the Week – April 11, 1963

Brian Paul


Tom Balfour

Farmer of the Week – May 2, 1963

Tom Balfour


Dr. W.J. Stinson

Farmer of the Week – May 16, 1963

W.J. Stinson

Chris Perkins

Farmer of the Week  – June 20, 1963

Chris Perkins

Chris Perkins 2


Chris Perkins 3


Mervyn Ferrier

Farmer of the Week – July 4, 1963

Mervyn Ferrier


Jan Vanden Bosch

Farmer of the Week – July 25, 1963

Jan Vanden Bosch


Burton Hands

Farmer of the Week – August 8, 1963

Burton Hands

Delbert McMullen

Farmer of the Week – August 29, 1963

Delbert McMullen


Whity Orton

Farmer of the Week – September 5, 1963

Whity Orton

Orton #2


Richard Lubers

Farmer of the Week – October 10, 1963

Richard Lubers

Cecil Dobbie

Farmer of the Week – October 17, 1963

Cecil Dobbie

Dobbie 2


John Korry

Farmer of the Week – January 23, 1964

John Korry 1

John Korry 2

A.P.C. Hopkinson

Farmer of the Week – June 4, 1964

A.P.C. Hopkinson


Tom Easton

Farmer of the Week – June 11, 1964

Tom Easton

James Carmen Gibson

Farmer of the Week – June 18, 1964

James Carmen Gibson

Pat Henretta

Farmer of the Week – June 25, 1964

Pat Henretta

Pat Henretta 2



James Drew

Farmer of the Week – July 9, 1964

James Drew 1


James Drew 2



Charles Wilson

Farmer of the Week – August 6, 1964

Charles Wilson

Simon McVeety

Farmer of the Week – August 13, 1964

Simon McVeety



Farmer quote


My Mother, she was Orange…..and my Father, he was Green

“You picked a hell of a day to get married!”

Those were the first words spoken to our mother, the day she met her new father-in-law, Vince Stafford.  He was referring to the fact that they were married on the twelfth of July. He made it quite clear that he was not pleased that his son had chosen to welcome a Protestant into their Roman Catholic family, on July 12th of all days!

Some called it Orangeman’s Day, and some referred to it as the ‘Glorious Twelfth’.  On July 12th each year, Protestant organizations celebrated the victory of Protestant King William of Orange, riding a white horse, who defeated Catholic King James, at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690.

William white horse


The Orange and the Green

When I was a kid, the Irish Rovers recorded a song called “The Orange and the Green”, about a child growing up with one Roman Catholic parent, and one Protestant parent.  We saw them perform the song many times over on a popular television show called ‘The Pig and Whistle’, and the irony of the song was not lost on us.

Irish Rovers “The Orange and Green”

Our father, a Roman Catholic, from Drummond Township, grew up attending St. Patrick’s church in Ferguson Falls, while our mother attended Calvin United in Bathurst (Tay Valley) Township.


St Patricks and Calvin

Although the feelings of bias and animosity between these two religions may seem foreign to us in these more inclusive times, they were still very much in the forefront, during the 1940s, when my parents married. Mother said she never felt accepted by Dad’s family, particularly his parents; and that never changed even up to the late 1950s and early 1960s when the in-laws passed away.

This religious prejudice ran on both sides of the fence. I recall our cousin, Ruth Rutherford, in Ogdensburg, New York, was forbidden to marry her sweetheart, a Catholic lad, and she never got over it.  She remained single for the rest of her life, unable to marry her true love.

It may be difficult for us to imagine, but there were times in our early history in Canada where it was not uncommon for the July 12th celebrations to result in violence or even death.

Montreal Orangemen riots

‘The St. Alban’s Advertiser’, July 20, 1877, p.3


In the early years of the last century, the Orangemen’s Day parades in Canada drew crowds in the thousands, and it was not unusual for fights to break out, and insults along with injuries were to be expected.

Orange Day parade Toronto 1911

Orange Parade, Toronto, July 12, 1911


Although Orangeism originated in Ireland and England, Ogle Robert Gowan, the Order’s first Canadian Grand Master is recognized as the founder of Canadian Orangeism.  It is interesting that Gowan is known to have been a frequent visitor to a local fortune teller, Mother Barnes, the Witch of Plum Hollow. Not wishing to be seen consulting a sooth-sayer, he often sent his wife and their maid to ask questions about his politics and his career.

Orange Lodges, as the membership halls were called, sprang up all over Canada, and in Eastern Ontario, they were a common sight in almost every community.  The closest Orange Hall to our house was at Wemyss, frequently used as a dance hall, and a place to play cards and socialize.

Wemyss orange hall

  “The Perth Courier” Sept. 27, 1940, p.4


Carleton Place was one of the first communities to establish a Loyal Orange Lodge, along with Perth, Smiths Falls, and Montague Township.

Carleton Place Orange Lodge


In the early days, thousands attended Orange events:

Orange celebrations Perth 1904

“The Perth Courier”, July 8, 1904, p4


Through the decades, many community organizations also held their meetings and socials at the local Orange halls.

Drummond Centre

“The Perth Courier”, Oct. 23, 1941,p.1


Carleton Place had one of its largest crowds of visitors on July 12, 1920:


Orangeman's Day 2910

In 1921, the Orange Order agreed on several resolutions, including one intended to abolish all separate schools in Canada.

Orange resolution passed

The popularity of the Orange Order celebrations continued through the 1930s…

orangemens day 1934

“The Perth Courier”, July 13, 1934, p.1


orange order flag

Flag of Canada’s Grand Orange Order


An Orange parade was often led by one of the members on a white horse, symbolizing the white horse ridden by King William of Orange, at the Battle of the Boyne.

orange order white horse

Some of the symbols worn by members of the Orange Order

orange parade symbols

Orange Order – ‘Keys to Heaven

orange order keys


To assist in the war efforts, every Orange Lodge in Canada was turned into a recruiting office in WWII

orange lodge war efforts 1940

“The Perth Courier”, July 19, 1940, p.1


Lanark County Oranges Lodges, Active in 1946

orange lodges lanark county 1946

Lanark County – Orange Order Officers 1946

orange lodge lanark county officers 1946

“The Perth Courier”, July 18, 1946, p.1


In 1957, the Orange Day celebrations were held in Almonte, and Rev. Canon J.W.R. Meaken, shared some comments as part of his address to begin the meeting:

orange order address 1957

“The Perth Courier” July 25, 1957, p.7


Interest in joining the Orange Order began to dwindle in the 1960s and 1970s, and instead of thousands attending the annual parade, it became ‘hundreds’.

orange parade 1971

“The Perth Courier” July 8, 1971, p.1


Memberships grew smaller and smaller in many parts of the country, and in Lanark County, one of the oldest Orange Lodges, in Carleton Place, closed after 185 years, in January of 2015. The existing membership would merge with the Montague lodge # 512.  (The Grand Lodge of Ireland issued the original warrant for the Carleton Place Lodge back in 1830.)

orange lodge Carleton Place closing

Left, John Arksey, County Master for Rideau/St. Lawrence County Orange Lodges,center, Kevin Bradley, Grand Master of the Carleton Place Lodge, and Mark Alexander, provincial grand master, Ontario East, of the Grand Orange Lodge of Eastern Ontario.
“Inside Ottawa Valley” Dec 02, 2015, by Desmond Devoy, ‘Carleton Place Almonte Canadian Gazette’


At one time, there were 30 Lodges throughout Lanark County. After the closing of the Carleton Place Lodge in 2015, only the Montague Lodge and the Smiths Falls Lodge (No. 88), remained. The Almonte Lodge (No. 378) amalgamated with Carleton Place in 1987, Franktown in Beckwith Township (No. 381) in 1992, and Drummond Centre in Drummond/North Elmsley Township (No. 7) in 2013.


Throughout the many decades of the celebration of Orangemen, their sometimes vocal, and occasionally violent encounters with the Catholics, our family will continue to celebrate July 12th for a different reason. July 12th, for us, was the joining of the two religions, historically separated on this date, a young Protestant girl from the west, and a handsome Roman Catholic lad from Drummond Township.


Maybe they were ahead of their time.  It was 1943 afterall, and marrying outside of one’s religion was often frowned upon.  Luckily for us, the five children that followed in this unconventional marriage, would grow up in a home where we learned to respect different opinions, different points of view, and different religions.

Christmas baking

And so, the Protestant girl, and the Catholic boy were married for almost 50 years, until Dad passed away.

I still smile when I hear that Irish Rover’s tune, “The Orange and the Green”,  and July 12th, for us, will always be a special day in our own family history.