Stately standing since 1850 in its beautiful spot along the Mississippi River at Appleton, the Appleton General Store was one of the oldest commercial buildings in the village.
The Village of Appleton, located west of Ottawa, was without power since the ice storm swept across much of Lanark County on Wednesday, April 5th, 2023. Residents said the power came back on Friday morning, just before the fire started in the historic building.
The Store, built by Thomas Arthur, as a two-and-a-half-storey brick building was among the few remaining examples of commercial brick architecture in the village. The general store was once the hub of the village having also been a post office, a gas station and a home over the years.
The building recently purchased by young entrepreneurs in Almonte was undergoing renovations to turn it into a café/bakery and Airbnb. The store was a historic landmark of Lanark County and no fire marshal investigation will take place.
This organization was founded in 1897 by Adelaide Hunter Hoodless with the help of Erland Lee (since back then a woman alone would have trouble getting recognition). Her son had died from drinking contaminated milk and she formed a group of her neighbours in the Stony Creek area of Ontario to improve the education of rural women about health & sanitation. Within a few years the motto “For Home & Country” was approved along with an oval royal blue & gold pin bearing the slogan.
In most rural communities it was the only group that all women could join, regardless of politics or religion. In the beginning, the women joined as a break from the drudgery at home and a social outing where they could learn from each other or a speaker. Over the years branches were formed in most communities and the organization grew to have a District level (usually a County), an Area level, Provincial, Canadian, and finally the ACWW (Associated Countrywomen of the World). Queen Elizabeth was a member in England.
The Department of Agriculture supported the W.I. with a Home Economist in each county who conducted workshops for leaders sent by local branches to learn crafts such as bread making or quilting. The leaders then returned to share the info with all their members. The 4-H Clubs also gained leaders from the W.I. who were trained by the Home Economists. Unfortunately, the Ontario Government cut out these programs some decades ago which was a great loss to rural people. Over the years many resolutions have been sent through the levels supporting worthy projects or seeking changes in many items affecting rural life.
Agriculture in the Classroom is an Ontario-wide project widely supported by the W.I. As few teachers have an agricultural background, children were missing this part of their education.
Preserving history became a major focus when in the late 1940’s Lady Tweedsmuir, wife of the Governor General, was afraid rural history was being lost. She sponsored a competition for the best community history across Canada and this became a focus of each branch with curators appointed who created Tweedsmuir History Books to preserve photos and stories.
Many of these are available online since the FWIO (Federated Women’s Institutes of Ontario) obtained a large grant to digitize many of the books. Online you go to FWIO, then to the History Tab, then Digitized Histories and then click the “Virtual archives” link to take you to a page where you enter the name of the branch you are searching.
When the FWIO celebrated their 100th Anniversary in 1997, there were 16,000 members but that number has declined greatly since so many women are working out of the home and information on homemaking skills is quite available online. Many members kept on with their rural branches when they retired to town so that a survey back then showed 1/3 lived on a farm,1/3 lived in a rural area and 1/3 had retired to town.
In Lanark County, we had 11 branches in the north and 17 in the south but now only have 2 and 3-a drastic change. Archives Lanark is striving to store the Tweedsmuir Histories and Minute Books of the disbanded branches and has scanned most of what is stored there. These books are a great source of old photos and farm histories recorded over the years so many people have been excited to find a photo of what their farmhouse looked like decades ago or photos of their ancestors.
The histories of the W.I. are especially useful for finding stories on female ancestors since there was a competition in 1997 for the best collection of autobiographies so detailed stories of women were documented then along with photos and stories of their work in the W.I. They also contain newspaper stories collected over the years.
Some of the W.I. branches that Archives Lanark have books for are Appleton, Beckwith, Cedar Hill, Clayton, Pine Grove, Rocky Ridge, Rosetta, Union Hall from the North and Balderson, Fallbrook, Ferguson Falls, Franktown, Rosedale, Snow Road, Otty Lake, Second Line of Drummond
My great-great-great-grandparents Alexander Park, Mary McDonald, Thomas Easton, and Mary McDonald Chambers came to Lanark in 1820 onboard the Prompt. My great-great-grandfather Daniel Harper came a few years later and his son Samuel Knowles Harper married Lillian Easton. My grandmother Rosemary Harper was born in 1876 in Lanark. I have a few old pictures of the property and people that I am prepared to share with you.
Did any of your ancestors have a great idea for an invention?
If they did they may have applied for a patent. A Canadian patent is the government giving the exclusive right or title for a set period, especially the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention. This patent is only valid in Canada. Patents issued before October 1, 1989, were valid for 17 years from the date of issue and after that date, they were valid for 20 years provided you paid the maintenance fee in full.
Here we present a overview of some of the registered patents of citizens from Ontario’s Lanark County, compiled by the Lanark County Genealogical Society and other contributors.
Lanark County Ontario patent owners are often considered as “Mothers of Inventions” that reflect the needs in the everyday life of our county’s creative minds. It’s an invaluable resource for scholars, students, and general readers interested in Lanark County Ontario Canada history.
The simplest of the “modern” calculators is slightly more complicated than using an abacus that uses beads that slide on rods. It can be used to count, add, subtract, multiply and more. The most common abacus is split into two basic rows: The top row for the “5”s, and the bottom row for the “ones”. There are two beads in the top row, and five beads in the bottom one.
The only resource of its kind, this unique Giant Floor Map is not like the typical map you are used to seeing. It is without provincial and territorial boundaries and spans 11 x 8 metres (35 x 26 feet). It highlights spoken languages and language groups and, displays outlining the key historical events of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in Canada.
Unveiled in the fall of 2018, this fun and interactive experience allows you to explore the multiple aspects connected to both history and present-day Indigenous Peoples living in Canada.
This Map caught the attention of many cartographers from around the world, including the organizers of the 2019 International Cartographic Conference being held in July in Tokyo, Japan. “People want to learn about this unique cartography project. It resonates with so many people, Indigenous and non-Indigenous,” noted Bearhead. “There are many colonized countries in the world and many countries where Indigenous peoples and knowledge have been and continue to be oppressed. An initiative like this is very inspiring.”
In this atlas, you will find reference maps of Indigenous Canada, as well as a section devoted to Truth and Reconciliation and detailed pages on the many aspects of the topic with contemporary and historical photography and maps. There’s also a glossary of common Indigenous terms.
This atlas was created by The Royal Canadian Geographical Society in conjunction with the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Métis Nation, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and Indspire. Digital Atlas copies are available at https://indigenouspeoplesatlasofcanada.ca, and print copies are available for purchase at Chapters or Amazon.ca.
Ramsay township settler, John Toshack writes back home to his dear old friend Aleck Sinclair.
In 1820, Ramsay Township, Bathurst District was surveyed by Reuben Sherwood and associates. The survey was completed in January 1821 and the first European settlers began to arrive in February of that year. It was in the late summer of 1821 that a large inpouring of settlers known as the Lanark Society Settlers arrived.
More than forty settlement societies, from the Glasgow area of Scotland, organized, managed and assisted the mass emigration of Scottish families to the New Lanark Settlement in Bathurst District, Upper Canada under the auspices of the British government.
The immigrants were granted undeveloped land in the townships of Dalhousie, Lanark, North Sherbrooke and Ramsay. Many of the settlers were unemployed/underemployed weavers who suffered years of financial hardship as a result of Britain’s faltering economy and the industrialization of the textile industry in Glasgow following the Napoleonic War.
John Toshack’s letter is one of the few letters which remain from those written by the Lanark Society settlers in the Ramsay township’s first year. In a letter dated 11 Sep 1821, we are given a first-hand account of this settler’s first year in Lanark County, Bathhurst District, Canada
Suggested Resources for more on the Lanark County Settlers
The mince pie began life in medieval times, all the way back to the Crusaders of the 13 century and was known as the Christ-mass pye. They were shaped into ovals to represent the manager that baby Jesus was placed upon his birth. The filling was a combination of mixed meats, fruits, and spices, the pie represented the gifts Jesus received from the three Wise Men. Long before the turkey, the Christmas pie took center stage at the festive meal.
In 1901 a reporter of the West Somerset Free Press wrote when visiting a family he was presented with a mince pie and went on to describe the pie as ‘pure torture’ he added that he went to bed that night feeling he had swallowed a ton of concrete. The pride of making the perfect mince pie continued through wartime with local WI’s introducing mince pie competitions which was the talk of the local community.
Are you looking for the best Christmas pie for your holiday feast? Is there anything better than a traditional British pie with a buttery and flaky crust filled with a mix of dried fruits and spices and baked to golden perfection?
It was in 2009 that Robert Campbell with the assistance of Elizabeth Campbell Truemner and Jason Campbell combined forces to transcribe the pages of a cherished 200+year old notebook of John Campbell that is safely kept by one of his descendants.
John was a gardener from Glasgow Scotland, born on 10 May 1781 to Archibald Campbell and Marion Dougal. His father was a gardener as was his grandfather Duncan Campbell. John also got his gardening genes from his mother’s side of the family as the Douglas also were a gardening family.
Scottish gardeners according to 1993 genealogist Duncan Beaton’s letter to researcher Robert Campbell “In the 19th century, Scottish gardeners were world-famous” They travelled the world collecting specimens of plants and worked in all the great gardens of the day”.
We think that he must have dreamed he would belong to that elite group; he wrote his first entry in the book in Glasgow in 1801 at the age of 20 years. John continued to write about his gardening in Scotland and during his many years in Upper Canada. John made his last entry in 1849 at Admaston Township, Renfrew County.
He began his gardening in February 1801 in Glasgow, soon he transferred to an estate at the Parish of Buchanan, Stirlingshire, Scotland, near the village of Drymen, not far from Loch Lomond. His wife Mary McGeogh was a young lady from Wigtownshire County in Scotland’s southwest. About 3 years later he transferred to the Campbell estate named Drimsynie at Lochgoilhead in County Argyll. This estate was then in the hands of a Campbell man other than his father who was also named Archibald also. This Archibald’s wife was Lillias McLachlan.
John and Mary’s (McGeogh) son Archibald “Baldy” was born in 1807 and two other children, Lillias and Sarah, followed. Mary died on 2 Feb 1810 leaving John with three young children to look after and he went looking for a wife finding one he married Mary McGregor on 19 Dec 1810 at Barony, Lanark, Scotland.
John and Mary (McGregor) had five children born in Scotland John Jr, Peter, Ann, and Marion who were christened in July 1820 not long before John made the decision to emigrate to Canada, he was among the Lanark Society Settlers. They had one more child upon arrival to Lanark County. His emigration with his family is described in Mary Campbell Plaunt’s book The House Where I was Born.
Most of his notebook is devoted to John’s time as a settler in Lanark Township and then in Admaston Township John kept careful records of the dates of events because they were important to the settlers.
The notebook is not page numbered; however, John did a reasonably good job of putting in dates. Day, Month. It seems that he started out each year with a full date and then occasionally added it until the new year opened. As long as the entry was made somewhere in the book, with the date, it seems that he felt secure that he could find it again.
This made for difficult to reconcile the information recorded and in understanding his move from Lanark Township to Admaston Township.
The family handed-down story tells of John and his brother Peter walking to Renfrew in the fall of 1832, climbing the Pinnacle, seeing the attractive fall colours and deciding that this would be a good area to settle. they returned to Lanark Township for the winter.
John with his sons John Jr., and Peter and their friends Archibald Patterson and John Bremner went back to Admaston in April of 1833 to build some rudimentary housing for the family, and they moved in early 1834 bringing their horses and cattle. From the notebook, we read that they spent the entire summer getting ready for the family. On Page 14 of the notebook, there is an entry of a payment to a Peter Cummings, a blacksmith for 1 day moving 3s 6p. They would travel the cut road from Lanark Township to Arnprior onward to Renfrew and out to where they had staked their lot.
In his years as a settler both in Lanark and Renfrew, John conducted a range of businesses beyond selling seeds, shrubs, and fruit trees. Sometimes he sold meat and vegetables- anything a settler could use. We learned in reading the notebook entries that he was an incessant entrepreneur and was known throughout both townships. It is clear that John was no ordinary settler maybe his diligence to be successful earned him the nickname “Cabbage Jock”. Maybe he sold a lot of cabbage in the fall and how he got that nickname is unknown.
John Campbell died on 1 June 1850 and is buried in the Adamson Cemetery at 60 Reid Road Admaston Township, Renfrew County Ontario. His wife Mary McGregor died on 21 April 1853 and is buried in the same plot. Cemetery location Con 4 Lot 12 Renfrew County Admaston Township
Pages of the Notebook
Photo with headstone and a brief research list Birth and Death Dates of Archibald and Marion’s family was provided by LCGS member Fran and Don Cooper.
The Bulger name is familiar to many older readers of the Eganville Leader who avidly followed the weekly social notes written by Miss Carmelita Bulger. Carmelita, also known as Pat to her family, observed the comings and goings of area residents for over two decades from behind the counter at the popular general store at the intersection of Bulger Road and what is now called McGaghran Road.
In the days of horse and buggy, both were well-travelled routes. Bulger Road ran almost arrow straight from Kelly’s Corners, past what is now Shaw Woods, through a couple of good curves to the Snake River Bridge before intersecting with Highway 41 to Pembroke. McGaghran Road, which originated as the District Line, also crossed the Snake River further east and emerged near St. Pius Roman Catholic Church in Osceola. Here one could turn left to Micksburg or right toward Cobden. Today McGaghran Road is a favourite back road to the Renfrew-Pontiac Livestock sales barn near Cobden, with cattle trailers rattling down through Pine Valley on Tuesdays.
The crossroads at McGaghran and Bulger was the site of a blacksmith shop which later became a general store, also housing the community post office. A one-room schoolhouse across the road served the children of the district.
An ambitious Irish immigrant, Daniel hailed from Nairn in County Offaly and arrived in Canada in 1840. Records show that Daniel and at least one brother, David, came from Ireland as young men, arriving in Lanark County. By 1851, both brothers with their young families are listed in the Wilberforce census records. Daniel made his way to the fertile land of Wilberforce Township where he built a rough pioneer shanty with a scoop basswood roof. During an alarming encounter with a bear who broke into the cabin while he was asleep in his high bunk under the eaves, Daniel found himself unable to lift the heavy roof to escape. He remained trapped in his bed until the bear devoured all the provisions and left as he had arrived.
Daniel married Ellen Sheehan of Ramsey Township, fathering 13 children, including three who died in infancy. His brother, David, also married a girl from the Lanark area and both families settled in Wilberforce. However, by1861 there is no record of David’s family in the area, other than a son, Nicholas, living with his uncle Daniel. There is speculation that both David and his wife died, and that Daniel Bulger incorporated both farms into one.
A stern figure of a man with imposing sideburns, by 1871 he had two houses, two barns and had increased his livestock to four horses, 10 milk cows, 33 sheep and nine pigs. By 1874 he possessed the deeds to a total of 460 acres of land in Wilberforce Twp. The farm was fertile, producing 10 tons of hay, 600 bushels of oats, 300 lbs of butter and 65 lbs of wool. The forest on the land also contributed over 6,500 cubic feet of white pine, red pine and other species, all cut into square sided timber, as well as 1,750 standard pine logs and 24 cords of firewood. He built a grand brick three storey (presumably bear-proof) house near the intersection of what is today’s Cold Creek Road and Bulger Road. The farm was later owned by Wilfrid and Gladys Howard who raised their own large family, most of whom still live in this area. As a parent, Daniel also had an interest in education for his surviving 10 children and was among the first school trustees of the local schoolhouse built on Bulger land.
One of Daniel’s sons, Patrick, established a haberdashery in Eganville and another son, Michael, established an all-purpose ‘general store’ at Bulger’s Corners in 1880. Michael and his wife, Mary Jane Breen, raised their children in a stately red brick house built adjoining the store. Situated on the district line (now McGaghran Road) which divided Wilberforce and Bromley townships, the store also served as the post office and was the social centre of the community on Saturday nights when farmers and their families came to the crossroads to shop, exchange gossip, play cards and perhaps partake of a little nip. Under the proprietorship of Michael’s son, Lorne Bulger, and later managed by Lorne’s sister, Carmelita, it was one of the longest serving general stores in eastern Ontario. The building, now a private home, still stands today, sturdily anchored on a stone and masonry basement with two-foot-thick walls.
The first telephone line came to Bulgers Corners from Cobden in 1910. There were three subscribers on the line: Bulgers Store, the Osceola store and the parish priest in Osceola. Later, the Bromley Telephone Company, centred in Douglas, served almost all the homes in the area with party lines which were a marvellous feature if news had to travel quickly at the expense of individual privacy. Before the phone lines arrived, news came to Bulgers Corners via the post office which was established in 1884 with blacksmith Timothy O’Gorman as the first postmaster.
After O’Gorman’s death, Michael Bulger took over the role and the post office moved to a separate office in the store. The mail came from Cobden to be sorted and householders came to the store to pick up the mail. In 1915 a rural route was established, and mail delivery came to each household. That change must have affected the fortunes of the shopkeepers who had previously been guaranteed a steady influx of potential customers coming to pick up their post.
With the popular Tin Lizzies built in Henry Ford’s factory, it was possible to go faster and further afield. Michael Bulger added a delivery truck to his business which also served as a passenger vehicle simply by setting several benches on the open truck bed. In summer, a cloud of dust enveloped the passengers; in spring, the dirt roads were pocked with mudholes; in winter, the roads which were plowed for the width of a team of horses, were too narrow to allow cars. Only in the warm, dry bugless autumn did travel either by horse or by car permit any pleasure at all. In winter, along the open flats of Bromley and Admaston, a big storm could render roads impassable for days or even weeks. Michael Bulger’s granddaughter, Ann, recorded that the mailman from Eganville, one Charles Miller, would periodically take pity on the snowed-in community, leave his car at Kelly’s Corners and snowshoe a round trip of some six to eight miles to bring the mail to the marooned residents.
Much local business was in barter, trade or cash dependent on cattle, crop or livestock sales. Notes in the store ledger promise payment “when the lambs are sold”. Carcasses of beef and pork were shipped to mining camps in northern and western Ontario. Eggs, butter and poultry were shipped to Montreal, Ottawa and Sudbury. The Great Depression very much affected the area and like many other rural people, Michael Bulger was forced to borrow money to keep his business afloat. Nevertheless, he continued extending credit to his neighbours so they could feed their families. By the time Michael died in 1933, the store was deeply in debt for the times, although all his working children sent money home to help with the store. Son Lorne delayed marriage for eight years so he could concentrate on paying off the mortgage.
After Michael’s death in 1933, son Lawrence (Lornie) took over the store. A generous and community-minded man, he too carried the debts of friends and neighbours until he had to take a job selling insurance to keep the store afloat, while his sister Carmelita ran the store. Another sister, Viola, was a well-known teacher at the Osceola school as well as long-time housekeeper for Father Isaiah Rice. Another sister, Ann Mary Irene joined the Grey Sisters, and a brother became a monk with the Christian Brothers but drowned later in a forestry accident on a lumber boom. Another brother went to the seminary but was not ordained and a younger sister, Bernice, suffered from a misdiagnosed thyroid deficiency and also died young.
Lorne Bulger and his wife, Doreen had three daughters, all of whom graduated from St. James Roman Catholic Continuation School in Eganville. Lorne died after a car accident in 1987 at Kelly’s Corner which also injured his sisters. His three daughters had moved from the area, Joan and Betty becoming nurses and Ann becoming a teacher.
Bulger’s Corners eventually fell upon hard economic times as the availability of automobiles sent residents further afield to the larger centres of Renfrew and Pembroke. Despite that, the general store survived until 1986, almost a museum with its mementos of the past lovingly tended for 26 years by Carmelita Bulger after her brother, Lorne’s death. As a shopkeeper at the crossroads, Carmelita had an inside view of the social events of the area and for many years wrote the popular social notes for The Eganville Leader.
At the closure of the landmark store, Wilno auctioneer Leonard Daly presided over a well-attended final auction of the contents of the historic building. The one-room schoolhouse is now a private home and, sadly, there is no longer any presence of the Bulger family in the hamlet bearing their name. The Bulger names engraved on tombstones in the cemetery behind St. Michael’s church in Douglas is all that remains of this pioneer family whose presence was so vital in establishing the ghost hamlets of Bulger’s Corners.
Footnotes added by LCGS
A link to Lanark County from the Ghost Hamlet of Bulger’s Corners, Renfrew County
An ambitious Irish immigrant, Daniel Bulger hailed from Nairn in County Offaly and arrived in Canada in 1840. Records show that Daniel and at least one brother, David, came from Ireland as young men, arriving in Lanark County. Daniel married Ellen Sheehan (Shane) of Ramsay Township, fathering 13 children, including three who died in infancy. His brother, David, married Amelia Dixon a girl from the Beckwith/Drummond area. By 1851 both families settled in Wilberforce.
One of our members in tracing their family roots visited the hamlet and submitted this photo
Jeannette and Rene Bosman are returning one of the oldest homes in Lanark village back to its former glory as a family residence.
Jeannette said being able to save and restore a historical Lanark landmark, when others, including the old Kitten Mill, have fallen into severe disrepair makes the project even more special.
The exterior of the Bosmans’ home. This will be the front entrance. Evelyn Harford/Metroland
“That is a legacy that’ll live on,” she said. “This house isn’t going anywhere. It’s been here 190 years.”
The stone home has been gutted to create a dream home for the couple.
Interior of the gutted home. Evelyn Harford/Metroland
“It’s a labour of love,” said Jeannette. “This is our town. We don’t want to retire anywhere else.”
Sitting atop a hill, you can still see churches from the house — a reminder of its religious origins.
St. Andrew’s United Church can be seen from the home. Evelyn Harford/Metroland
The home was built in the early 1830s as a manse for Scottish Rev. William McAllister. It remained in that family until it passed to the Catholic Church until 1946.
Seventy-six years ago, George S. Young bought the property and opened Young Funeral Home. In 1975, Blair and Son Funeral Home bought the business and building. It was used as a satellite office and continued to operate under the Young Funeral Home name to honour what Young had built. Wakes and funerals were held in the home until 2013.
Jeannette Bosman holds out a floor plan for the home. Evelyn Harford/Metroland
The home’s unique history and beautiful bones drove the Bosmans to purchase it this March after they sold Providence Point — a retreat they’d owned and operated since 1998.
When the couple were looking for a new place last December, there weren’t a lot of options.
Jeannette said when they saw a dumpster outside the former funeral home while driving to the apartment building they own in Lanark village, the couple decided to reach out.
“We hadn’t heard of any funerals here in forever, I said to Rene ‘What do you think?’” said Jeannette.
On Christmas Eve last year, the couple went to view the property and Jeannette fell in love, despite a past that might have dissuaded others.
The upstairs of the home is gutted. Evelyn Harford/Metroland
“Everybody passed through, and their lives were celebrated here,” said Jeannette. “This is actually a good place. We want to celebrate the history. The house is more than the history of death. Death is a part of life and we shouldn’t be afraid of it.”
Jeannette, Rene and their 14-year-old son, with the help of tradespeople, have stripped the home to the stone walls on the interior and exterior.
“Me and the crowbar have been good friends,” she said.
Horsehair insulation, top, and the old boiler in the basement. Evelyn Harford/Metroland
Through the demolition, the building’s history has been peeled back.
What the couple was able to salvage from the building, they will incorporate into the renovation to honour the home’s history.
“We want to tie the old in with the new,” she said.
Jeannette recalls pulling out thousands and thousands of nails from the lath and plaster walls — a reminder of the love put into the home’s construction.
The home has been stripped to the stone walls inside. Evelyn Harford/Metroland.
“It actually saddens me to take all that lath and plaster off the walls,” said Jeannette. “The work they had to do to even make all those tiny little nails. Somebody has put some major hours into that.”
An old cigarette carton and keys were found. Photos of the ambulance brigade from the First World War were discovered in the attic.
Reminders of the funeral home were also found.
A Victorian funeral carriage, which is owned by Blair and Sons, still rests in the adjacent outbuilding. A home for the piece of history is being sought.
Funeral carriage owned by Blair and Sons. Evelyn Harford/Metroland
The couple hope the home will be ready for them and their youngest son to move in by next Christmas — two years from when they decided to buy the property.
Future plans for the building, in addition to its use as a private residence, are still in discussions.
To follow along with the renovation, visit the Bosmans’ Instagram account @bosmanestate. If anyone has information about the history of the home, contact them through Instagram.