Lanark County Classics – Book Launch

A sunny, warm, late September day brought record crowds to the official book launch for “Lanark County Classics: A Treasury of Tales from Another Time”.

The Book Nook, a popular store on the main street of historic Perth, Ontario, was the setting for a steady stream of book lovers eager to read the latest collection of stories set in Lanark County, the picturesque maple syrup capital of Ontario.

The newly released stories in this series are set in Perth, Lanark, DeWitt’s Corners, Pakenham, Clyde’s Forks, Middleville, and the former North Burgess Township, taking the reader along on a journey back to the 1960s and 1970s in rural Eastern Ontario.

An early visitor to the store on Saturday, was Tara Gesner, from Metroland Media, a reporter covering the book launch for the local newspaper.

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There were many new faces stopping by, after reading the glowing reviews appearing in several publications   Review of Lanark County Classics

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A reader from Port Elmsley stopped by, interested in local history, and had certainly come to the right book launch for stories set around the region.

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Dianne Tysick Pinder-Moss, former classmate of the author has purchased the entire collection for her mother, who has been a fan of the series since the beginning.

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Nancy Townend, Pakenham resident, came to the launch after hearing that one of the stories ‘Perils in Pakenham’, was set in her lovely,scenic, village.

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Carol-Ann McDougall,  resident of the Big Rideau Lake, featured in the story “Lake Life – A Rideau Ferry Love Story” Lake Life – A Rideau Ferry Love Story  brought a lovely, bright yellow chrysanthemum to grace the table of the book launch.  Carol-Ann has read all of the books in the Lanark County series, and has been looking forward to reading the newest collection of stories.

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Carla Brown stopped by, as she often does, to purchase the latest Lanark County book for her grandmother Shirley Myers.

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Avid reader of local history, Tom Ayres was eager to get the latest book in the series.  Tom has read all five in the collection, and is the reader who requested the story on Antler Lodge, featured in the last book – Lanark County Connections. Antler Lodge

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One of the stories in the new book, Lanark County Classics is ‘Meet Me in DeWitt’s Corners. The story takes the reader back to the earliest days of the hamlet, recounts the history of this proud settlement, and the DeWitt family, whose name still graces the community today.   It was a special treat to have members of this founding family attend the book launch.

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Jane DeWitt Brady O’Grady – descendant of pioneer Zephaniah DeWitt, founding family of DeWitt’s Corners.

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Also, a direct descendant of Zephaniah DeWitt, and native of DeWitt’s Corners – William ‘Bill’ Cavanagh,  son of Helen DeWitt and James ‘Jim’ Cavanagh, and his wife Brenda.

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Another native of DeWitt’s Corners, and descendant of pioneer Zephaniah DeWitt, sister of Bill, JoAnne Cavanagh Butler, daughter of Helen DeWitt and James ‘Jim’ Cavanagh:

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It was a real treat to share some memories of DeWitt’s Corners with Jane, JoAnne and Bill!

Along with the DeWitt descendants, long-time residents of DeWitt’s Corners, Elaine and Dave Morrow stopped by the book launch.  Both Dave and Elaine contributed their memories and stories of DeWitt’s Corners for the book.  Owner of The Book Nook, Leslie Wallack, is standing to the right of Elaine. Leslie and her staff were busy the entire day assisting visitors to this popular store.

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Beverly Miller Ferlatte also stopped by the book launch.  Beverly shared her memories of S.S. # 4 , Bathurst, School for the story based in DeWitt’s Corners.  Beverly’s grandmother Mary Jordan was a well-loved and respected teacher at the school for many years.  The school house has been converted into a residence and Beverly’s brother Brian is the current owner of this historic building.

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Janice Jordan Gordon was another contributer to the DeWitt’s Corners story in the book. Janice was very helpful in identifying the children in several class photos from S.S. # 4 Bathurst School.

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A book launch would not be complete without a visit from former neighbours from the Third Line of Bathurst, Margery Conboy and her daughter Diana. Margery and her husband Wayne Conboy also shared their memories of DeWitt’s Corners, and the historic cheese factory that remained at ‘The Corners’ until 1979.

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Another former neighbour, Dave Mitchell,stopped by the book launch.  Dave was also interested in reading the story on DeWitt’s Corners, and finding out more about the history of the area where he was raised.

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The Book Launch at The Book Nook was a great success!  Many thanks to host Leslie Wallack and her staff, for keeping up with the steady crowds, and for providing the delicious refreshments.

A special thanks to all who came, from near and far, to stop by and chat, to share some memories, and to be a part of the busy day!

………………………………………………

Stories in “Lanark County Classics”:

  1. Baffling Banshees in Burgess
  2. Meet Me in DeWitt’s Corners
  3. Mystery in Clyde Forks
  4. Multitudes in Middleville
  5. A Grand Era in Lanark
  6. Perils in Pakenham
  7. Perplexed in Perth

 

http://www.staffordwilson.com

 

 

UFO Sightings Over Perth

Since the infamous sightings in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947, people across North America have become more aware of strange lights, and unusual objects, in the night skies.

By the late 1960s in Perth Ontario, details of sightings were published in the local papers, and many credible witnesses reported their accounts of these strange events.

Flying Saucers With Red Lights

Over Port Elmsley

Confirmed by Perth OPP

UFO OPP sightings

Ivan Vandusen, R.R. 2 Smiths Falls,

– one of the first to report the UFOs

 

Ivan Van Dusen UFO reportIvan Van Dusen # 2

Flying in Formation, Ten Feet Apart…..

Moving toward Carleton Place

Everet Lavender

 

Mrs. Essex Clement in Port Elmsley:

“They just disappeared.”

 

Mrs. Essex Clement UFO

 

Two Perth OPPs see UFOs on HWY 43

Hovering Over the Army Tower

in Drummond Township

R.C.A.F. Asks for a Full Report

 

OPP Sighting UFO

UFOs Seen Over Mississippi Lake

 

UFOs over Mississippi Lake

 

It was called the

“Autumn of Aliens”

 

The night skies in Eastern Ontario became very active in the summer and fall of 1973, and some organizations reported that it was one of the largest number of U.F.O. sightings over North America, calling it the ‘Autumn of Aliens’.

Huge Chunks of Ice Fell from the Sky

In Lanark County, it all seemed to begin with a sudden hailstorm, on the Friday the 13th of July.  The hailstorm came out of nowhere, and huge chunks of ice fell, many almost three inches in diameter.  Hundreds of windows and car windshields were smashed by jagged pieces of ice.  A Smiths Falls resident was cut on the head by a chunk of falling ice, and required seven stitches. No one was seriously injured, although there were a few farmers that got caught outside, working in the fields, and had to seek shelter from the large chunks of ice falling from the sky.

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Barely 48 hours after the hailstorm, police departments in Perth and Smiths Falls received a number of calls from residents, claiming to have seen flying objects in the sky.

Flying Object Seen Near Balderson

A local man reported that he and five others were on the Eighth Line near Balderson at 9:30 p.m., when a flying object appeared to be travelling south to north, then returned to the south.   He observed that it was quite large, shaped like a tart.  Another report came in from a resident of Sherbrooke Street in Perth, who saw the same object overhead.  He said that his dog had howled constantly while the object appeared in the sky.

CJET Radio Holds Call-In Show

Due to large number of UFO Sightings!

So many people had observed the same object that CJET radio station in Smiths Falls held a call-in show the following Monday, so that people could phone the show, and share reports of what they had seen.

Sparkling Yellow-Orange Light

Over Perth

UFO 1

“The Perth Courier”, Thursday, April 19, 1973

 

Julian Kustra reports flying object

over Sherbrooke Street in Perth

UFO 2

“The Perth Courier” , Thursday, July 19, 1973, page 1.

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UFO Reported in Beckwith Township

on Tennyson Road

The next UFO sighting to be reported in the fall of 1973 took place in Beckwith Township.  A young man was returning to Perth from Ottawa, driving along Highway 7 near Carleton Place, when his headlights suddenly went out.  Concerned that he might be pulled over by the police with his headlights out he decided to take the back way, and turned onto Tennyson Road.  The section of the road closest to Perth has swamp on both sides, and the lad noticed two large lights in the sky, hovering over the swamp.  The object was in the sky just above the tree line.  He pulled the car over to the side of the road, and as he stopped the car he noticed that the object stopped as well, and hovered over the swamp.  He remained parked for a few minutes, and then started to drive again.  When he began to move, so did the object, and it travelled parallel to him for a few more minutes, then disappeared.  Early the next morning, when he pulled out of his driveway in Perth, his headlights were working again.

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Small Sphere Hovers in Sky

Over Smiths Falls

Another sighting in the late summer of 1973 was first reported by a young lad working at a gas station in Smiths Falls. He spotted a small sphere in the sky that appeared to be hovering in one fixed location.  He reported seeing silver flames coming from both the top and the bottom of the craft.  The lad was quick to call CJET radio station, and ask if anyone else had seen the odd sphere in the sky.  The radio station confirmed that yes, indeed; they could see it as well.  In the days that followed, at least 40 people in the Smiths Falls area came forward, stating that they had seen the object as well.

Cigar-Shaped Object in Sky

Over Horseshoe Bay, Rideau Lakes

In the summer of 1974 people were once again talking about another strange object in the sky.  It was a typical warm summer evening on the Rideau Lakes, and there were cottagers and residents alike, who saw more than they bargained for, on the night of August 12th.   At around 10 p.m., many were sitting outside, enjoying the call of the loons, and listening to the water lapping on the shore.  Suddenly, high in the night sky, a cigar-shaped object appeared.  Some described it as a long, flat shape, orange in colour. Many said that it was more red than orange, and was shaped like a sphere. Everyone that saw it agreed that it was silent, and it hovered over the Big Rideau Lake, on the south side of Horseshoe Bay, for several minutes, and then vanished.

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It wasn’t just in the Perth area that strange objects and lights appeared in the sky.  Several residents of the town of Brockville, including some local police officers, confirmed the sightings of some odd lights moving in the night skies.

Brockville UFO

From “The Perth Courier”,  January 3, 1979,  front page, a sighting reported by George Shanks of Lanark, Ontario:

 

White Blinking Light in Sky

Over Ferguson Falls

flies from Almonte

to McDonald’s Corners

 

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Cartoon printed in “The Perth Courier”, January 10, 1979, page 2

Flying objects in the sky became the talk of the town!

 

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Strange sightings of unidentified flying objects were recorded in the Perth area as early as the late 1950s.  Fiery balls of light, objects moving up and down, back and forth, quickly, in ways that airplanes were not able to maneuver.

UFO Tracking Station

Established near Ottawa

UFO tracking stations were established just outside of Ottawa, and rumours of government radio towers and underground facilities were heard up and down the concessions in Lanark County.  Excavations were reported near Almonte, and government agents were testing the soil on several farms in Ramsay Township.

When reporters attempted to investigate, the government representatives denied all, despite the fact that local men were working as labourers on many of the projects and could confirm what they had seen.

……………………..

 

For more information on strange sightings in the night skies over Lanark County, and some of the government’s secret projects in the 1960s and 1970s, read the full story ‘Perplexed in Perth’, from the new book “Lanark County Classics: A Treasury of Tales from Another Time”.

Available at The Book Nook, The Bookworm & Blackwood Originals in Perth,  Perfect Books & Books on Beechwood in Ottawa, Arlie’s Books in Smiths Falls, Mill St. Books and Divine Consign in Almonte, or on http://www.staffordwilson.com

Lanark County Classics Book Cover small for blog

http://www.staffordwilson.com

An Afternoon to Remember – Tay Valley Township’s 200th Anniversary Launch

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Despite the overcast skies and threats of rain, nothing could dampen the spirits of the enthusiastic crowds that packed the Eco-Tay Centre on Saturday afternoon to mark the launch of Tay Valley’s 200th anniversary celebrations.

The well- organized event ran like clock-work, beginning with the volunteers warmly greeting visitors at the gate, accompanied by the well-designed, colourful signage proclaiming that this was ‘the place to be’ to celebrate the history of Tay Valley Township.

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Eco Tay Barns0001

The event was held in a huge, rustic, barn, one of the many lovely buildings on the property known as the Eco-Tay Education Centre. The Eco-Tay Centre, owned by Michael Glover and Annie Dalton is the site of the Ritchie family homestead, the original settlers in 1816.

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The barn was a hive of activity, with something for current and former residents and history-lovers of all kinds.   Kay Rogers, Editor of ‘At Home in Tay Valley’ was busy at the book table, signing copies of the popular book, while visitors waited in line, eager to purchase the historical publication. Over 60 of the contributors – writers, artists, videographers and story-tellers were present at the event, and the room was abuzz with lively conversations and reminiscences of days gone by.

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A beautiful cake, artfully decorated with the Tay Valley 200th anniversary logo was the centrepiece for a table covered with delightful goodies to please the most discerning palate.

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Not far from the book table, positioned near a doorway, and back-lit by the sun, was perhaps one of the loveliest quilts imaginable, displayed with pride, created and stitched by the Lanark County Quilters Guild. This awe-inspiring quilt features 200 quilt squares, and an actual map of the original 1816 settlements. The 200-square quilt was fashioned specifically for the 200th anniversary celebrations, and certainly showcases the fine work done by the members of the Guild.

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A special announcement was made around 2:00 pm that the guest of honour would be arriving shortly. Entering the building with a military escort, the Honorable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, representing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in Canada, was welcomed by all present.

The opening ceremonies were led by Lanark County Warden, and Reeve for Tay Valley Township Keith Kerr, officially declaring the launch of the 200th anniversary celebrations. Her Honour, Elizabeth Dowdeswell graciously thanked Tay Valley Township for inviting her to participate, and she shared some inspirational thoughts on the importance of preserving local history for future generations. Kay Rogers shared her experiences of editing the 200th anniversary publication, comparing it to an old fashioned ‘bee’, where many hands make light work.

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It was a pleasure to meet with the distinguished guests, as well as some familiar faces from the neighbourhood – Maxine and Keith Jordan, Verna Perkins, Dianne Tysick Pinder-Moss, Nancy (Miller) Chenier, and Beverly (Miller) Ferlatte. It was lovely to have the opportunity to meet Eco-Tay owner Michael Glover, and Lanark County Tourism Manager Marie White.

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Arlene & Lt. Governor of Ontario0001

Arlene & Marie White0001

The Lieutenant Governor, along with County Warden Keith Kerr toured the grounds of the Eco Tay property, and exchanged thoughts on the 200th anniversary plans in place for 2016, and the highlights of events taking place in the months to come.

Walking the grounds of the beautifully maintained property, and the lush green landscape stretching in every direction, it was a time to remember and reflect on the original owners. The Ritchie family, who in 1816 cleared the land, built a home, and started their lives in the new world. It was a day to remember all of the original settlers to Tay Valley, and how they laid the foundations for our communities and our futures.

Grounds at Eco Tay0001It was an occasion to reflect on those that came before us, and a day to celebrate the achievements of the past 200 years. Many thanks, to the organizers and the volunteers who made the event such a success. Special thanks to Kay Rogers who gathered our stories, our photos, our artwork, and our history, and assembled it all in “At Home in Tay Valley”, so that future generations may remember who we were, and how we lived.

http://www.staffordwilson.com

Free Online Searchable Land Records 1763-1865

Tobias Stafford petition

Did your ancestors immigrate to North America between 1763-1865? This online database contains more than 82,000 individuals who arrived in present-day Ontario, Canada between 1783 and 1865. Keep in mind that may pioneers from America landed and settled first in this particular area of Canada before moving on to the United States.

To obtain a grant of free land, each pioneer settler was required to submit a written petition. He had to supply the necessary certificates from a local judge confirming his age, that he was of good character, and if available a discharge certificate from the military. Usually, the documents were returned so they are not included with these land petitions.

The process of granting the land followed four essential steps:

• Assigning of specific lots to each settler;
• The land assigned was surveyed to establish exact boundaries
• Settlers were required to clear and cultivate a small section of the land
and build a dwelling house
• Finally, when all of these requirements were satisfied, the deed was issued

Index of Land Petitions of Upper Canada

This link is an index to the petitions, with full details on where the actual petitions can be found for each individual listed. Remember to note the microfilm, volume, and page numbers, so you may easily find your ancestor’s land records using the next link:

To see the actual images of your ancestor’s land petition:

Digitized Image of Land Petition

The digitized images are presented in PDF, but there is also a link on the page to the JPG file if you would like to print the record or save it to your computer’s hard drive.
To borrow these microfilms:

These microfilms may be loaned to other libraries across the country (NAC Series RG 1, L 3) from the Archives: http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/services/loans-other-institutions/Pages/loans-other-institutions.aspx

Good luck with your search and I invite you to post questions and comments!

http://www.staffordwilson.com

Book Launch – Lanark County Calendar

LC Cal Book Launch Ad

Join us on Saturday, November 2nd from 1 – 3 p.m. at The Book Nook – 60 Gore St. E. in Perth, Ontario for the launch of ‘Lanark County Calendar – Four Seasons on the Third Line’.

There is a waiting list, so to reserve your copy for the launch, please call 613-267-2350.

Just in time for Christmas – a signed copy makes a great gift.

For out of town – Order online at http://www.staffordwilson.com

In her fourth book, author Arlene Stafford-Wilson invites us to spend the year with her and watch the seasons change on the family farm in Bathurst Township in the 1960s and 70s. Join her in the magical weeks leading up to Christmas in the country. Spend the days of early spring with her as she collects the sap for maple syrup season. Share the lazy days of childhood and the long walks down country lanes picking wildflowers on hot summer days. Come along as she goes to the Perth Fair and be there as the Lanark County maple trees show off their spectacular fall colours. Experience the change of seasons in Eastern Ontario from winter, spring, summer and fall in this Lanark County Calendar.

Arlene Stafford-Wilson, author of ‘Lanark County Chronicle’, ‘Lanark County Kid’, and ‘Recipes and Recollections’ grew up in Lanark County, on the Third Line of Bathurst Township. She began writing stories and poetry while attending one room schools at Christie Lake and the Scotch Line. By the age of eight several of her poems had been published in children’s magazines and by age 11 she entered and won a writing competition in a national publication. Former Newsletter Editor for the Lanark County Genealogical Society, she has authored articles for both Canadian and Irish Genealogical publications.
Her first three books continue their popularity and sell out time and again in local book stores.

Speaking Engagement at Archives Lanark

March 2 2013 LCGS0001Cattle Drives presentation March 2 20130001

It was a cool sunny day with clear roads for the drive to Archives Lanark, located in the old Drummond Township offices just east of Perth, Ontario.

The parking lot was full and the crowd was enthusiastic at the March meeting of the Lanark County Genealogical Society. It was great to see so many familiar faces and nice to see some new ones as well. We were greeted warmly by LCGS President Janet Dowdall, past President Marilyn Snedden and Irene Spence of Archives Lanark. It was a pleasure to finally meet Jayne Munro, Programme and Public Relations Co-ordinator who had invited me to speak on behalf of the LCGS. I would like to thank Frances Rathwell for supplying the digital projector as well as her help with the set-up.

The members of the LCGS provided a lovely table of refreshments including homemade muffins, cheese and crackers, assorted candies and a refreshing fruit punch.

It was nice to re-connect with old friend Max Sutherland and also to see Rosetta Van Alstine, sister of my former Glen Tay School classmate Anne. Also present was Irma Willoughby who shared her story of observing the cattle drives with her father, back in the day. Brian Dowdall brought great news that he and Janet had recently acquired some very old local documents including some original land titles dating back to the early 1800s.

The presentation included a PowerPoint slide show illustrating three of the pioneer families: McGarry, Stafford and Doyle. Also included were slides discussing the Thomas Stafford family and his descendants. The presentation concluded with a reading of Chapter 6 of my newest book ‘Lanark County Chronicle’ and the story of the ‘Cattle Drives of Ferguson Falls’. There was a question and answer period followed by the presentation of a bottle of maple syrup and a thank-you card from Frances Rathwell.

Sales were brisk at the book table and many books were signed; dedicated to their new owners.

We would like to thank the Lanark County Genealogical Society and Archives Lanark for hosting the event and for all who helped with the set-up and the delicious refreshments and made the day so memorable for us.

History Comes Alive in Perth

Book Nook Book Signing Arlene & Leslie Dec 16 20120001

“History came alive this past weekend as author Arlene Stafford-Wilson signed copies of her books at The Book Nook on Gore Street in Perth.”

Avid historian, former Newsletter Editor and long-time member of the Lanark County Genealogical Society, she grew up on the third concession of Tay Valley Township and has channelled her love of history into two books. The stories include her adventures in the surrounding communities of Perth, Smiths Falls, Carleton Place and Almonte to name a few.

“Our Mother was a keen competitor at the Perth and Maberly Fairs for decades and we wanted to preserve her prize winning recipes along with stories from my four siblings and I growing up on the farm outside of Perth. The book includes over 90 recipes and stories like our old fashioned country Christmas. We’d head back into the bush with an old toboggan, cut down a spruce and drag it back to the house. Most of our Christmas decorations were homemade in those days so was very different than things are today”

Stafford-Wilson’s second book ‘Lanark County Kid’ is a collection of short stories about life in a rural community during the 1960s and 70s and some of the people and places she encountered. The book includes an index at the back and features hundreds of local names.

“If you’ve spent any time at all in the area, you will likely recognize many of the names in the book; you may even be surprised to find your own name there!”

Leslie Wallack, owner of the store says she’s had a waiting list right of people who want to purchase Lanark County Kid and that Recipes and Recollections has also sold well. The book shelves are re-stocked now and both books are available for last minute Christmas gifting.

“I’d like to thank Leslie for sponsoring the book signing and thanks also to all of the old friends and neighbours and new friends who came out and helped to make the day a success.”

The books are also available at Mill Street Books in Almonte and The Bookworm in Perth.