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Part Seventy-Two ~ Join the Festivities!

Join in the festivities on Saturday, June 24th, as Westport celebrates Heritage Day with an event so large that it will take place at Lockwood Park and The Westport Community Centre!

This weekend, visit Westport for Heritage Day!  There will be a pie juding contest, children’s activities, a petting zoo, the Lion’s Club Food Tent, wood-fired pizza, and live music.  With over 100 heritage displays, you won’t want to miss Westport’s biggest and best Heritage Day ever!

While you are taking in the sights and sounds, be sure to visit the Community Centre with its heritage displays and antique vehicles.  Stop by the museum table and pick up a copy of our fund-raising newspaper for only $5.00 per copy.

This Heritage Festival is destined to be even bigger than the Westport Tea Party of 1892!

A Westport Tea Party The most successful tea meeting yet held in the Presbyterian Church, Westport, was last Monday evening. The people flocked in large numbers to the church, when at six the ringing of the church bell announced that tea was ready. The tables had been laid in the manse adjoining the church, and the taste displayed in their arrangement was much admired, while much that tempted the appetite was there to be found. After about 300 persons had been served an adjournment was made to the church, and Mr. Fredenburgh was unanimously chosen chairman, a position he filled in his usual happy manner. On the platform were Revs. Messrs. Reynolds, of Elgin; Wright, of Lyn; Pletts(?) and Jones, of Westport; each during the evening making a short address, much appreciated. Miss Ewing excelled herself in a recitation, “The Siege of Lucknow.” To Prof. Connery, of Kingston, is due to a great extent the success of the entertainment. His recitations, especially. How to Catch a Mouse” convulsing the audience with laughter. Not a little of the evening’s enjoyment is due to the choir, they rendering some very choice selections. A vote of thanks was tendered Mrs. Reynolds and Mrs. Abel Wing, for having collected sufficient money to purchase all the dishes, knives, forks and spoons required for tea meeting and church purposes, thereby supplying a long felt want. Hearty thanks were tendered to all who had assisted in making the evening pass so pleasantly. December 12, 1892

Part Seventy-One ~ and then there were more

For some reason, the obituaries were full of drowning deaths in the early days.  Whether it was caused by the clothing that was worn (nobody dared leave their home without that three-piece suit or bulky day dress with bustle and hat), a lack of lighting along the water (last week we discussed Herbert Foster that drowned in the canal at night), or simply the inability to swim (many never learned, as there was too much work to do during daylight hours to waste time swimming when just a quick sit in the shallow water could cool you just as well), drowning was certainly near the top of the list of accidental deaths.  One thing that they all have in common is the effect it had on family and community.

The Tragic Loss of Helen Barker

Helen was the daughter of Murray and Emma Pearl (nee: Whitmarsh), and she met her fate on The Mill Pond in 1928.  On Helen’s death certificate the place of death was listed as “Westport Mill Pond”, which is much more specific than usual.  Sadly, Helen’s death was most likely not caused by her clothing, lighting, or the inability to swim, but simply being a child having fun on ice that was too thin.

Helen Barker, born January 21, 1914, died December 15, 1928.   Source: The Obituary Book loaned to The Rideau District Museum

Helen can be seen in the back row of this class photo from 1923, second from the left wearing the big hat. Top Row: Leila Botting, Helen Barker, Freda Ainse, Alice Myers, Jean MacDonald, Beatrice Tooley, Mabel Forrester, Norma Stevens, Gertrude Donnell, Sybil Berry, Lila Derbyshire, Evelyn Barker, Velma Thompson. 2nd Row: Alann Bailey, Harry Bradley, Howard Myers, Noah Chamberlain, Ronald Wing, George Alfred, Jack Forrester, Fred Abrams, Frank Abrams, George Curry, Howard Green, Jim Last, George Sully, Buster Lockwood, Harold Merkley, Floyd Green. Front Row: Olive McEwen, Violet Tooley, Cecile Barker, Mary Barker, Helen Kilpatrick, Luella Merkley, Lilian Merkley, Lila Porter, Marguerite Dennison, Gladys Sully, Erlene Thake, Annie Curry, Ruby Steele, Edythe Chamberlain, Helen Conley. Photo Source: from the archives of The Rideau District Museum, with students’ names identified by the late Beulah Knapp

Part Seventy ~ Some interesting snippets

I have been reading through a book of old obituaries and articles which have been kindly loaned to the museum, and to say that some of them are fascinating would be an understatement.  Although a little different than what we usually showcase on Vintage Westport, I am going to share a few that I find particularly interesting as I come across them.

We will start with an entry from Newboro:

The Drowning Death of Herbert S. Foster

“The residents of Newboro and vicinity were cast in deep sorrow on Wednesday, June 28 when it was learned that Herbert S. Foster could not be located.  On Tuesday night after ten o’clock he went upstairs to retire but owing to the excessive heat he came down, having taken his glasses off.  He took a walk to the canal and must have been closer than expected and dropped in.  His watch was stopped at 10:30 so drowning must have been at that time.  When he did not return Wednesday, the villagers searched the waters and about five o’clock in the evening the body was found in the canal.

The funeral took place from his late residence to St. Mary’s Church under charge of the Masonic Lodge.  The service was conducted by Rev. H.K. Coleman who preached a very touching sermon.  It was one of the largest funerals held here in some time.  The floral tributes were numerous and beautiful showing the high esteem in which the deceased was held.

He leaves to mourn his loss two sisters, Mrs. A.W. Butman, of New York, Mrs. G.S. Wrathall, of Newboro, four brothers, William of Calgary, John of Buffalo, George of Montreal, and Ernest of Smiths Falls.  The deceased was a life long resident of Newboro and will be greatly missed.  The remains was buried in the family plot in St. Mary’s Church cemetery.”

H.S. Foster can be seen on the left in this photo from 1907. He would drown in the canal in 1933. “Lawn bowling in Newboro, Ontario in 1907. Left to Right H.S. Foster, W.H. Sturgeon, J.J. Gallagher, Bank Clerk, Dr. R.B. King, A.H. Tett, J.T. Gallagher.”  Photo Source: Rideau Lakes Public Library, via Lakes and Islands Times Past portal on

And next is an article regarding the “Dumb-bell Murder” in the U.S.A., which has a local tie:

“Dr. James A. Kearney, assistant surgeon on the staff at Sing Sing Prison, who conducted the autopsies upon Mrs. Ruth Snyder and Henry Judd Gray [both of New York], electrocuted there Thursday, is a native of Westport, where his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Kearney, reside.  He is a graduate in Medicine of Queen’s University and served overseas with the C.A.M.C., afterwards becoming connected with a military hospital in Western Canada before accepting appointment to the staff of Sing Sing five years ago.”

Although we don’t have a photo of Dr. James Kearney, we do have one of his younger brother, Father Francis Kearney. James was born in 1890, and Francis in 1892. Photo Source: The Review-Mirror

Part Sixty-Nine ~ Extra! Extra!  Read all about it!

We are open for the season and ready for another busy summer at The Rideau District Museum!  Our latest fund-raising publication is ready and hot off the presses for your reading enjoyment.  For only $5.00 you can support The Rideau District Museum by purchasing “The Rideau & District Times”.  Learn more about your village with stories, articles, and many, many photographs of Westport during the War Years of 1917-1918.

Part Sixty-Eight ~ Another Season at The Rideau District Museum

Spring is in full swing in the village and that means that seasonal businesses, shuttered for the long winter, are now opening their doors.  Golf courses, chip wagons, and The Rideau District Museum are ready for another busy summer where we welcome tourists and locals alike!  The Museum will open next Thursday (June 1st) on our spring schedule (Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays from 10:00 to 4:30, and Sundays from 1:00 to 4:30) until July when we open daily.  Be sure to stop by and check out our exhibits as we enter our 56th season and celebrate Canada’s 150th.

The building which housed the blacksmith shop for almost 100 years still stands on the southeast corner of Bedford and George Streets. These photos, from the spring of 1915, were taken in the yard of the shop and shows William and Elizabeth Kilpatrick and their daughter Helen. The Kilpatricks were the last family to live over the blacksmith shop, as the prosperous times that followed allowed subsequent owners to move to finer quarters in the brick house next door on Bedford Street.  Photo Source: Museum Archives.  Donor:  Anonymous

A horse is waiting for a new set of shoes outside J.E. McCann’s blacksmith shop. Photo Source: Shirley Brousseau

Perhaps one of the last photos of the blacksmith shop before it ceased operations in the 1950s. Just a few years later, it would open its doors as The Rideau District Museum in 1961. Photo Source: Bill Steele

Part Sixty-Seven ~ Hooray for The Harbour

It was an exciting event in the village back at the turn of the century when the government sent in the dredge to remove weeds from the channel. Photo Source: From the postcard collection of Cliff McEwen with special thanks to Stuart McEwen and Jim Forrester

An excerpt from The Book of Westport: “The people of Westport were expecting a visit in August from the government dredge for the purpose of improving the steamboat channel near the docks. Four hundred dollars had been spent on the same week a few years previous, but it was still considered to be in impassable condition.” Photo Source: From the postcard collection of Cliff McEwen with thanks to Stuart McEwen and Jim Forrester

The days of steamers coming through the harbour had long passed by the 1960s when the bridge was installed for pedestrian access to the island. Photo Source: From the postcard collection of Cliff McEwen with thanks to Stuart McEwen and Jim Forrester

Part Sixty-Six ~ It happened this week

Way, way back in 1914, the following entries were recorded in Nell McCann’s diary:

“Moved our Bed upstairs & Started house cleaning May 12th 1914

Noah Whitmarsh died of Plura Pneumonia.  Nursed by Miss Lynn May 14th 1914

Ernie Botting & Nettie De Wolfe Married in house By Dr McKenzie May 12/14

Mr. Wm Bird stricken with Paralysis died on May 20/1914 Burried on 22

Put our Garden in on Monday May 18 – Planted our Fruit Trees on May 16-1914”

Noah Whitmarsh was a local cattle dealer and also Reeve of North Crosby for several years. He died of pneumonia at Westport’s Mount View Hospital.

Mrs. Charlie Ethel Chamberlain and her sister Annette (Nettie) DeWolfe in their younger years. Nettie married Ernest Botting on May 12th, 1914.

Mount View Hospital can be seen on the right in this old photo of the Mill Pond when it was more of a swamp.

Part Sixty-Five ~ Thanks to our local newspaper

We at Vintage Westport would like to take this opportunity to thank The Review-Mirror for allowing us to use images found within the pages of vintage Westport Mirrors over the years.  We are very fortunate that a small village like Westport has had a local newspaper within our midst for over a hundred years, and our history is kept alive with the photos that can be found in them.  Nothing brings the past to life like being able to look at the face of an ancestor, seeing the streets that we still walk today, and being a part of the sports and events that have kept Westport thriving as a community for generations.  So a shout-out of thanks to Howie and The Review-Mirror!

Part Sixty-Four ~ Continuing with class…

Need I say more.  We’ve had such great comments and so many views, that we are going to keep going with our vintage class photos of local students.  How great is it that the museum has so many great pictures of our children over the years!

“Westport School Fair (circa 1927) Junior Room Teacher Dara McFarlane later Mrs. Wilfred Rice (Pickles) ~ Some of the faces were identified in The Westport Mirror a few years ago: Back row from left: Norm Kane, Margaret Adams (banner carriers), A. Scott, (?) Chamberlain, Don H. (Lard) Green, (?), Orville Forrester, Jamie Breakenridge, (?) Anderson, (?) Anderson, (?), (?), Ted Adams; Middle Row: (?) Scott, Margaret Alfred, Verna Abrams, (?), (?), Edith McEwen, Jean McEwen, (?), (?), Charles or Ronnie Taggart; Front Row: (?), (?), (?), (?), Pauline Townsend, (?), (?) Tooley, Fern Stoness, (?) Anderson, (?), (?), (?).

1925 picture of the Westport Continuation School – Read from bottom of picture up. Row 1: L. Dier; G. Green; E. Merkley; F. Truelove; H. Fraser; C. McCann; G. Scott; Row 2: E. Lyons; M. Merkley; M. Last; M. Last; M. Dier; N. Myers; B. Ewing; H. Porter; C. Henderson; Row 3: I. Sargent; V. Perry; G. Church; T. Abrams; C. Young; G. McKendry; R. Green; Miss H. Cork (teacher); Row 4: Rev. J. McKendry (principal); I. Hull; E. Dier; I. Kilpatrick; H. McEwen; H. Sawden; P. Atcheson; E. Henderson; M. Bresee; Row 5: E. Fraser; W. Dier; J. Porter; B. Palmer; A. Brash; Pansy Barr; E. Hully; C.J. McEwen; Row 6: J. North; A. Black; W. Derbyshire; A. Lee; Row 7: H. Goodfellow; R. Derbyshire; G. Wright; W.J. Coleman; J. Ewing; Picture and names were courtesy of Beulah Knapp

Love this photo! From the pages of The Review-Mirror, “A Mountain Group in the year 1932. Front row: P. Traynor (Brown), E. Norwood. Second row: K. Norwood (Adrain), P. Merkley (Nolan), K. McShane (Norwood), L. Merkley (Burke). Back row: R. Traynor, D. Norwood photo courtesy of H. & C. Merkley”

Part Sixty-Three ~ Here We Go… Again

Who doesn’t love looking at class photos from the last century?  Hopefully not you, because here we go again!

Because The Rideau District Museum has a plethora of photos of citizens of the village from the 1900s, it seems a shame not to share them all on Vintage Westport.  Even if you see yourself here, it isn’t because you are ‘vintage’, but because you were fortunate enough (or unfortunate enough, depending on your take), to have shown up on picture day when you were in school.

Westport Public School Junior Room, April 1948 Top Row: Myrtle Green, Evelyn Rice, Betty Anne Wing, Mary Goodfellow, Jill Roberts, Billy Laprade, Arlene Storms, Archie Rice, Ronald Neil, Howard Maynard. 2nd Row: Donna Storms, Margaret Stafford, Joan Anne Gordon, Anita Prevost, Weston Brash, Mary Forrester (Teacher) Front Row: Margaret Truelove, Iona Salter, Pat Arnold, Edna Russell, Kathlyn Stafford, Ronnie Menzies (standing)

Westport Public School – Year Unknown – Teachers: R.R. Andress, Thelma Abrams ~ Top Row: Hugh Chamberlain, Ron Abrams, Elmer Steele, Bruce Stoness, Jennie Green, Hilda Sully, Marjorie Derbyshire, Gladys Tooley, Lucille Vanderhoof, Glenn Reynolds, Floyd Snider, Harold Forrester. 3rd Row: Bill Stafford, Fred Stevens, Jim Genge, Phyllis Botting, Elva Botting, Marjorie Wing, Betty Anderson, Arthena Kimberly, Gwen Stoness, Garland Myers, _____ Kimberly, Bill Blair, Lawrence Derbyshire. 2nd Row: Jerry Marsack, _____, Edna Rice, Helen McMullen, Anne Dennison, Lorna Wing, Lettie Dennison, Lorraine Rice, Jean Salter, Lois Abrams, Lois Sully, Helen Green, Phyllis Green. Front Row: Neil Stafford, Billy Colles, Walter Green, Carl Brash, Eric Stoness, ____, Cecil Rice, _____, Dale Stafford, Delmar Darling, Reggie Wing.

And another picture of “School Section No. 6 at The Narrow – Picnic at the Lock, 1909”. From the pages of the Review-Mirror. Back Row: Alphonse Thompson, John Leo Kane, Bernard Kane, Gerald Thompson, Augustine Quinn, Alphonse Quigley, Teacher: Miss Margaret Mooney, Bernadette Thompson, Anne Quigley, Florence Kelly, Carmel Quigley, Carmel Grennon. Front Row: Ida Allore, Mary Quigley, Marcella Quigley, Edith Thompson, Marguerite McNamee, Helen Carty, Marie Carty, Josephine Troy, Emeron Quigley.

Part Sixty-Two ~ Continuing with the Trend

Last week we took a look at the pupils of Bell’s School, Salem, and Ardmore, and, not surprisingly, that was our most popular Vintage Westport post ever.  For those who don’t follow The Rideau District Museum on Facebook, we had over 1,800 views of that particular post!

We love being popular, so, to continue with the trend, we are going to post three more school photos today where you might be able to spot a grandparent or distant relative. As always, we thank you for following Vintage Westport and keeping our history alive!

From The  Review-Mirror (unknown date of issue). – The students of Newboro School – “Taken by a Kiwanis club person from Syracuse, NY who was staying at the hotel. Top Row (l to r): sister of George Lake, Phyllis Leggett, Lola Dier, Althea Kelsey, Pauline Mavety, Ethel Taylor, Marjorie Mavety. Second row (l to r): Doris Leggett, an unknown visitor, Alice Hull, Ethel Lyons, Josephine Tett, Alice Scott (daughter of hotel owners), Gladys Herrington (lived with the Scotts), Honor Tett, Evelyn Lyons, Mabel Warren, Wilhomena Tolles. Third row (l to r): Ross Knapp, Bruce Bell, Arthur Lyons, George Warren, Frank Knapp, a visitor, Dorothy Knapp, Marie Kelsey, Helen Kelsey, Frances Holmes, Lorraine Leggett. Fourth row (l to r): Eleanor Lyons, John Bell, Elma Lyons, Beryl Lyons, Geraldine Kelsey, Adelaide Fleming. Fifth row (l to r): Fred Fleming, Alma Frost, Alice Caird. Picture taken perhaps in 1919. Submitted by Ruth Gray, Bedford Mills”

School No. 6 at The Narrows, 1915 ~ From the pages of the Review-Mirror Back Row: Mary McNamee, Ursula Quigley, Mary Quigley, Ida Alore, Marcella Quigley, Marie Carty, Marguerite McNamee. Teacher: Edith Thompson, Gerald Thompson, Edward Andrew Kelly, Wilfred Haughian. Front Row: Frank Mooney, Florence Quigley, Edna Alore, Evaristus Carty, Gladys Alore, Maurice McNamee, Tom Mooney, Leonard Haughian, James Thompson, Alphonse Alore.

This is one of my favorites; kids just having fun. Westport Public School, September 18, 1946 Back Row: Edna Russell, Shirley Cooper, Jane Woodburn, Jill Roberts, Joan Anne Gordon, Margaret Stafford Front Row: Myrtle Green, Kathlyn Stafford, Margaret Truelove, Betty Sully, Pat Arnold, Anne Morlock, Florrie Dancy, Mary Goodfellow

Part Sixty-One ~ A Look Out of Town

This week, Vintage Westport is venturing out of the village and taking a peek at some of the outlying schools in the district.  Back in the days of the one-room schoolhouses, children would walk for miles every day to class and some would even hop on the B&W and ride to school in style on the train with a monthly pass.

From the pages of The Review-Mirror, this photo of the students of Salem School was taken on Arbor Day in 1937.

This photo from 1951 was found in the pages of The Review-Mirror and shows the students of Ardmore School on the Mountain.

The students of Bell’s School stand outside the building in 1954. The pupils had the added interest of the train running right behind the school and would often get up to shenanigans when one would pass by. (scanned courtesy of The Review-Mirror)

Part Sixty ~ A Final Look Back at Blair’s

Continuing last week’s post, “A Look at Blair’s Store”, we are going to take another glimpse at some memories of the store that stood on the corner of Main and Bedford Streets.  Were you in the village at the time of the fire, and were you one of the many gathered on the street to watch it burn?

From shortly before Blair’s Store burned, this ad was in the pages of The Westport Mirror. (Scanned courtesy of The Review-Mirror)

From the front page of The Westport Mirror, looking back at Blair’s Store. (Scanned courtesy of The Review-Mirror)

Most of the village turned out to watch the flames being fought in 1963. (Scanned courtesy of The Review-Mirror)

Part Fifty-Nine ~ A Look at Blair’s Store

Blair’s Store was a Westport landmark that stood on the southeast corner of Main and Bedford Streets.  One of the last big fires of commercial properties within the boundaries of the village, Blair’s was destroyed in 1963.

Do you recognize the annex to The Cove in the background of this photo of Blair’s Store? Photo courtesy of the Review-Mirror

Blair’s stood on the southeast corner of Main and Bedford Streets before it was destroyed by fire in the 1960s. Photo courtesy of The Review-Mirror

Delivery trucks are at the ready for Blair’s Store. Photo courtesy of The Review-Mirror


Part Fifty-Eight ~ Westport’s Irish Roots

Because today is St. Patrick’s Day, and many in the village will be celebrating their Irish heritage, I thought it would be fitting to put in an excerpt from The Book of Westport.

“Irish-Catholic roots run very strong in Westport. In the 1850’s, a great number of
weddings recorded in the St. Edward’s parish register by Rev. Foley had origins in
Ireland. Henry Bennett & Mary Ryan (both of County Armagh), John Donnelly &
Margaret Byrns (both from Ireland), Felix Bennett & Bridget McCoy (both from
County Armagh), Michael McCoy & Martha O’Here (County Armagh), Patrick Fegan
& Alice O’Here (both from Ireland) were all united in marriage in 1852 in Westport.

This class photo from 1899 shows some of the descendants of those early Westport marriages. Back Row (Left to Right) Tom Quinn, James Kearney, Don Bennett, James Garvin, Frank Quinn, John McCaffrey, ____, Edward Ryan, John Quinn, Frank White, James Hoban, Leonard White, Augustine Charbonneau, Clifford White, Roy Lilly. Fourth Row: Marcella Bennett, Teresa McCann, Katherine Quinn, Mamie Garvin, Nellie Bennett, Annie Boulger, Teresa Whellan. 3rd Row: Mary Burns, Jennie Hazelton, Mary Martin, Florence Fraser, Josephine Hickey, Ann Ryan, Lilly Bennett, Anastasia McCann, Ida May McCann, Mary McCann. 2nd Row: Mazie McCann, Minnie Flynn, Florence Coburn, Julia McCann, Mary Hoban, Sadie Hazelton, Mary Hearley, Beatrice Fraser, Della McCann, Birdie Mulville, Frances Coburn, Josephine Burns, Maggie Charbonneau,, Mazie Renauld, Marguerite McCann. Front Row: Ambrose Biird, Arthur White, Edward Bennett, Ambrose Bennett, George Coburn, Augustine McNally, Wallter Whelan, John Coburn, Herbert Martin, Roy McCann, James Hazelton, Leo Bennett, Sylvester Renauld, Joseph Bennett, Louis McCann, Lambert Garvin, Edward Martin, John White, Michael Ryan, Francis Kearney

Many of the Irish that came to The Mountain during the Potato Famine have
remained in the area for generations, as the names of these students (below) at
Mountainview School in 1914 indicate. Members of the Dier, McCann, and Murphy
families immigrated to North Crosby in the mid-1800”s.

Back Row: Mary Beden, Hilda Dier, Mac McCann, Tana Dier, Babe Perkins, G. McCann Second Row: John McCann, Joseph McCann, N. Dier, Jim Dandy, E. Dier, M. McCann, N. McCann Third Row: D. McCann, E. Perkins, B. Donnelly, A. McCann, Mary Donnelly, M. Murphy and Francis McCann Photo Source: From the pages of The Review-Mirror, Bedford Street, Westport

Descendants of the early Lennon families that immigrated to the Westport area from Ireland. Back Row: Ethel, Nicholas, Stacia, Alice, Walter Front Row: Rob, Mary, Maggie-Ann Photo Source: From the Early Westport Photo Album ~ Donor: Anonymous”

Part Fifty-Seven ~ What Else Was There (at the Upper Mills)

Last week we took a look at the west end of the  Mill Pond and saw the International Buckle Factory in its glory days before the fire that destroyed it in 1909.  Back in the early 1900s, the Upper Mills was the location of the Buckle Factory, The Electric Light and Milling Company, and of course, Mount-View Hospital.  This week we’ll take a look at three more photos of the Upper Mills.

The Upper Mills showing The Stoness Mill before it burned and would later be replaced with the brick mill that some may remember. Note the lack of houses along Mountain Road and the west end of Bedford Street. ~ Courtesy of the Rideau District Museum from our early Westport photo album

Dam on the Mill Pond ~ Prior to The Stoness Mill, the Electric Light & Milling Company was located on the pond. The EL&M was purchased by the Stoness family after the dam broke ~ Courtesy of the Rideau District Museum from our early Westport photo album

Another great photo of the Upper Mills ~ Courtesy of The Rideau District Museum from our early Westport photo album

Part Fifty-Six ~ So this was The Mill Pond

The west-end of The Mill Pond was once home to the International Buckle Factory, which was built around 1903 and destroyed by fire in 1909. Mount-View Hospital was operated by Dr. Berry and Dr. Singleton, with nurses Alice and Rebecca Lynn, from the 1890s until the 1920s. Originally the hospital was the residence of Joel Clark who had operated the Carding Mill; the building still stands, now as a private residence, in its original location. Westport was very industrious in its early days, and had a sash and door factory, a furniture factory (Fredenburgh’s Red Mill), a malleable iron works, and more.

The International Buckle Factory as seen from the west end of The Mountain.  At this time, Mount-View Hospital was still in operation ~ From the Archives of The Rideau District Museum

A man stands in the marshy waters of what is now The Mill Pond ~ From the Archives of The Rideau District Museum

This once-desolate end of the village is the current location of Centre Street, Bill Thake Drive, Rebecca Lane, Mountain Road, etc.. Sand Lake can be seen in the distance. ~ From the Archives of The Rideau District Museum

Part Fifty-Five ~ The Day the Dam Broke

The following is an excerpt from the Book of Westport:

“When the village awoke on Saturday, July 1st, [1905] they were surprised to find that the Westport woolen mill and electric light dam had broken during the night and carried away the Sand
Lake dam, the buckle factory dam, the road near W.C. Fredenburgh’s dam and the bridges at Mountain Road and Main Street. As a result, those in the village were greatly concerned as they had suddenly become more isolated and business was sure to be seriously affected. Damages were estimated at $10,000.”

The rushing waters from the broken dam resulted in an almost complete drainage of Sand Lake, and severe damage to The Narrows and Newboro locks.

From the archives of The Rideau District Museum – Early Westport Photo Album

From the archives of The Rideau District Museum – Early Westport Photo Album

From the archives of The Rideau District Museum – Early Westport Photo Album


Part Fifty-Four ~ Before it was The Cove

Before The Cove was The Cove, it was the Tweedsmuir (or ‘The Tweeds’ as many would remember).  But prior to The Tweeds, it was called The Lexena.

Alex and Lena Brown combined their names to give The Lexena its title.  It operated as a hotel/inn for many years and served turkey dinners and good old-fashioned cooking out of the home once owned by the Fredenburgh family.

Lena is shown in the photo on the left in her late 40s or early 50s, and in the photo on the right, she is in her younger years (possibly in her teens).  Lena Laishley Brown was a prominent Westport business-woman and entrepreneur that maintained a successful, neat, and prosperous establishment.

Alex and Lena purchased the Fredenburgh estate around 1930 and added the west wing to create the Lexena. Photos from the archives of The Rideau District Museum

Part Fifty-Three ~ The Corner of Main and Spring

Before it was the bank, it was… the bank.  The Merchant’s Bank was opened in the old Cameron Hotel in the late 1800s, and has remained a bank since that time.  In 1913 a second financial institution opened in the village; the Union Bank was located on the corner of Main and Bedford in the old Lockwood’s store with J.J. Gallagher, manager, T.E. McLeod, teller, and Harold Dowdall, ledger-keeper.

Local men gather in front of the bank in 1940. Perhaps some of you may recognize a few of the faces seen here. From the pages of the Westport Mirror.

Wm. Kennedy and his son Arthur stand in front of the Merchant’s Bank on the corner of Main and Spring (current location of the Bank of Montreal) in 1897 or 1900. Wm. would die in 1913 from ‘liver trouble’, according to the Diary of Nell McCann.  Note the boot scraper beside William and the plank walkways before the granolithic walks were installed.  This photo is from the archives of The Rideau District Museum and was donated by Beulah Knapp.

It seems like the happening place to be during the time of this old photo (year unknown) was in front of the bank and McEwen’s Pharmacy on Main. From the pages of the Westport Mirror


Part Fifty-Two ~ The Death of Wm. Foley

“The Death of Wm Foley occurred at his home here on Feb 7th 1917 of Appoplexy.  He fell in the Cellar where he had went to get an Apple to eat before retiring.  Father D. E. Foley of Toronto said his Funeral Mass & Father ORourke sang the Libera.  Pallbearers – B.J. McNally. W.C. Fredenburgh, John Cawley. Wm Ewart, J.J. Gallagher & John Mulville, His Brother James Foley of Ottowa attended The Funeral”

W.M. Ewart had his office on Main Street and was a pallbearer at the funeral of Wm. Foley. According to his advertisement in the Westport Mirror of the early 1900s, Mr. Ewart was Barrister, Solicitor, Notary, Conveyancer, with Money To Loan.

John Cawley, also a pallbearer for the funeral, was Contractor, Builder, Cement Works Owner, and Cement Walk Installer.

Father O’Rourke. Parish Priest of St. Edward’s Church, sang at the funeral.  Father O’Rourke died on October 2nd, 1927 at the age of 67, and is buried under the cross between the Church and Rectory.

Part Fifty-One ~ Out and About Town

This week we’re looking at some vintage Westport photos of early transportation in the village.

Oxen on Church Street, circa 1910. This photo is from a 1989 edition of The Mirror, in which a couple of people thought they could identify some of those pictured. The team of oxen belonged to Barney Murphy. Alfie Bennett in the grey cap (uncle of Bruce Bennett), George Warren in black hat (relative of Ken Warren), Billie Smith who lived on the Delbert Adrain farm, Mike Bennett in black hat (Peter Bennett’s father), brothers Wilfred and Mike (driver) Murphy (sons of Barney Murphy). Mike was the father of Fanny Murphy.

From a 1988 copy of the Westport Mirror, this picture shows Raymond Merkley, Norm Kane, Harold Merkley, Tony Farrell (photo was taken by Lloyd Merkley) with Raymond’s 1928 Model A Ford in August of 1938.

Coming down (or up) The Mountain in the 1930s. Who could ever forget the hairpin turn that used to be at the bottom until the 1980s or 90s.

Part Fifty ~ Some Women Named Maggie

From 1900 to 1909, the list of the most popular baby girl names usually brought Margaret out in the top three.  Maggie, sometimes a given name, and often the shortened form of Margaret, also shows up frequently somewhere in the list.

Today, we shall look at the photos of three women named Maggie.

Kissing Tom (Thomas Taggart) with Maggie Russell on the left – unknown woman on the right. They are standing in front of the old post office on Main Street and the building behind them is where the Vanilla Beans patio is now located.  Photo and information supplied to the museum archives by Beulah Knapp.

St. Ed’s Sewing Group 1903 – Maggie Kane Murphy, Rosemary Murphy Howell, Julia O’Grady Kane, Sadie McCann Grant, Mrs. Willie Grant Egan, Mayme Mooney Donnelly. From the pages of The Westport Mirror

The Lennon Family – left to right – Ethel, Nicholas, Stacia, Alice (boy at far right) Walter, Rob, Maggie, Mary Ann – Maggie Lennon was Mary Sherwood’s Mother.  From the archives of The Rideau District Museum

Part Forty-Nine ~ Ninety-Eight Years Ago in Westport

Happenings in 1919 in the words of Nell McCann

“Sister OHara Died at Philadelphia – with her her Sisters – & her Remains were brought to Kingston on Mar 12th accompanied By Margaret, Jenny & John  & his Wife – Met in Kingston by Steve OHara & Wife also J. F. McNally & Wife.  The OHara Party returned to Westport & stayed a few days then went”

Vintage Westport 154

Some members of the O’Hara family: Bernard O’Hara, Pat O’Hara, Marcellus O’Hara, Sam Nichols, Jimmie Oakie, Tom O’Hara, John O’Hara, Phonse O’Hara, Jerome O’Hara, Steve O’Hara. This photo was dropped off anonymously in an album of miscellaneous photos to the museum with names identified on the back.

“Mar 5th Ash Wedensday Dr Berry Died at his home here after a short Illness of Flu followed by Paralysis age 52 yrs”

Vintage Westport 155

Dr. Berry is shown here in 1909. This picture was from a souvenir edition of The Westport Mirror which highlighted prominent businessmen of the village.

“Social held in St Edwards School & Grounds on July 16th very large attendance (danced in Hall until 4 A.M.) realized a goodly sum

                Ice Cream Candy Booth 48.00

                Soft Drinks

                Ball Room

                Eating Booth

                10 Gold Piece

                Chest Tea

                Suit Clothse

                Candy Box


Nett Proceeds over $900″

Vintage Westport 156

Postcard of St. Ed’s School – first separate school in Leeds & Grenville, built for $7,000.00 in 1886. From the archives of The Rideau District Museum.

Part Forty-Eight ~ Ninety-Nine Years Ago in Westport

Now that the New Year has arrived, let’s transport ourselves back ninety-nine years to 1918 when the Red Cross was first organized in Westport.  At this time, the village had been thrown into the devastation of The Great War, losses and injuries had begun to pile up, and respected citizens started to take action.

“The (Red Cross Society) Organized in Westport on Jan 3rd (Dr Lockwood gave a talk on the war, Father ORourke Chairman, James McQuire President, M.E. Mulville Treasurer. W. Ripley Secretary) The Ladies of the Executive are 5 in Number.  Representing the 5 Denominations – Mrs B.J. McNally Mrs. H.W. Lockwood, Mrs. Baylay, Mrs. G. Fredenburgh, Mrs. H. [I] Arnold”

~the above entry is from The Diary of Nell McCann

Win Ripley became the treasurer, which was definitely within his wheelhouse, as they say.  He was a man of many talents.


Win Ripley worked out of his home and office on Spring Street. This ad for his business was found in the Westport Mirror of 1917.


Win’s home/office was on Spring Street, in his house which looks very similar to today. This photo came to the archives of the museum as an anonymous donation.


Win, his family, and his car are shown in this photo which also came to the museum in the anonymously donated album. The museum is always pleased to take in albums or individual photos of local interest, as it helps us keep our history alive.

Part Forty-Seven ~ tensions in the Village

The holidays are a time to celebrate, be joyous, and be with family.  However, during the war years, the village was filled with the tensions of local boys preparing for battle and heading overseas.

During the early days of World War I, parents, friends, and relatives watched the youth of Westport pack up their belongings and head off to an unknown future.  The following entries from Nell’s Diary recorded the December happenings of 1915.

“We have about 20 Soldiers billeted here for the winter drilling under Capt. Bert Adams.  Went to Kingston on 13th Dec & got Kakia Suits returned & is drilling under Liutenant”


Captain Bert Adams would die only a few months after Nell’s diary entry, when he drowned in The Rideau while fishing in July of 1916.  Bert Adams is shown here in a baseball photo from the pages of The Westport Mirror in the early part of the 1900s.

“Died on the Battle Fields of France Dec 12/1915 R.A. Kane Son of Thomas & Ellen Kane after being C. Engineer on the B. F. for over 18 months”


Corporal Robert A. Kane was Westport’s first Casualty in The Great War.  His mother sent a copy of the above photo to be a part of the Queen’s University archives.


The obituary of Corporal Kane was seen in newspapers across the province. The above was from the pages of The Globe, Toronto, Saturday January 1, 1916

“Deming McCann home to spend Christmas in his Military Uniform R.C.H.A. looks fine  Just 18 years”


Deming McCann is shown in the front row of this class photo.  Deming was wounded in France by gunshot to his left shoulder in November of 1917.  Also shown in the front row is Theodore Charbonneau who died from injuries sustained in November of 1917.  In this photo: Front Row: Earl McNally, Arthur McCann, Deming McCann, Wilfred Tobin, Christopher McNally, and Theodore Charbonneau.  Centre Row: Frances McNally, Kathleen O’Hara, Anne O’Hara, Sephronia McCann, Eva Coburn, Bertha Martin, Carmel Grennon, Marcella Carty, Lottie Bennett, Lucy Kearney, Mary Mulville, and Anne Bower.  Back Row: Reg Martin, Tom Garvin, Edward Ryan, Norbert McNally, Jerome Adams, Edward Mulville, Ambrose Garvin, and Ambrose Mulville.

Part Forty-Six ~ Nell McCann

Christmas is almost here, and The Rideau District Museum would like to thank all that have bought copies of The Book of Westport and The Diary of Nell McCann to give as gifts for the holidays.  Your support of the museum is greatly appreciated.

Nell’s diary has been an amazing fundraiser for us over the years, and if you’ve read it, you can understand why; it is a candid accounting of real life in the village in the early 1900s from a woman who was was writing down her thoughts without ever knowing how important her words would become to the history of Westport.

Today we are going to look at a few pictures of Nell, supplied to the museum by her relatives, Jackalyn Brady and Jim Forrester.

And here’s Nell.


Nell McCann


Nell’s mother, known as “Auntie Martin”, on Spring Street


The Forrester family at their home on Rideau Street (the school can be seen in the background). Many of these people were mentioned in a Christmas entry in Nell’s Diary: “Our first Real Sleighing Dec 24th – Good for Xmas. Had our Christmas dinner with Aunt Forrester, Uncle John, Jim, Lizzie & Mabel. Good Cheer”. Shown in this photo are: Back Lena (Menzie) Forrester, Mabel (Forrester) Richardson, Rose (Williams) Forrester, Lizzie (Forrester) Patrick. Middle: Wm. Forrester on Grandfather John Forrester’s lap, Bridget (McArdle) Forrester, Auntie Martin. Front Fred Forrester, Mary Forrester, Bob Forrester, Jack Forrester c 1910

Part Forty-Five ~ Westport Christmas of 1912

In keeping with the holiday season, I decided this would be a good time to share some Christmas entries from Nell’s Diary from 1912:

“Mrs. Jas Mulville moved into her new house Christmas Eve Dec 24/12”

“Born to Mrs. Coskey (nee A. Brady) a son on Christmas Day 1912”

And speaking of Mrs. James Mulville, her husband, J.V. Mulville was the owner of The American House on Main Street (40 Main Street), and the Mrs. would keep control of the hotel for many years after his death.

An interesting tidbit about J.V. can be found within the pages of The Book of Westport:

“In August, Mr. J.V. Mulville had on exhibition at the American House
Hotel, a 5 ounce egg from one of his Black Minorca hens measuring
seven and a half by eight and a half inches.  1905″

That’s one big egg!

Less than a month later, the death of James Mulville was reported in local papers:

“Mr. James Mulville, proprietor of the American House Hotel for thirty
years, died on August 30th at 78 years of age. Settling in Westport
half a century before, he came from Ireland, and for twenty years
operated two stage lines running out of Westport. His widow and
seven children survive.  1905″

Do you have your copies of The Book of Westport and Nell McCann’s Diary to give as gifts this holiday?  If not, The Book of Westport can be purchased at Lower Mountain Mercantile and Town Hall for $20.00, and The Diary of Nell McCann is available at Town Hall for $10.00!


J.V. Mulville’s American House Hotel can be seen on the left-hand side of the street. This building still stands at 40 Main.


The American House sign can be seen just beyond that of the Windsor Hotel. The Windsor was destroyed by fire in the 1920’s.


J.V. Mulville, proprietor of The American House, was also the proud owner of a very, very large egg in 1905.

Part Forty-Four ~ the two Billy Burns

Back in the early part of the 1900’s, people died in many unusual ways.  A lot.  Mr. Ben Tett was found dead in his chair in December of 1915.  Miss Mary Black was found dead sitting on her chair on Fair Day in 1917.  George Hartwell was found dead in his chair in May of 1921.

And those are just the chair-related deaths in Nell’s Diary.

No matter how you died in Westport, in the end you might just end up being looked after by Billy Burns.  Or at least by one of them.

As there were two Billy Burns in the village, and to save confusion, they were known as “Church Billy” and “Undertaker Billy”.


One of the Billys


Billy Burns’ team of blacks at St. Ed’s Cemetery. The driver is one of the two men hired to dig the grave and each were paid $1.00 for the task.


Part Forty-Three ~ More class pictures

As we think of the hustle and bustle that is Black Friday for some of our friends in the U.S., it is a good time to sit back, relax, and be glad that we aren’t fighting crowds for great deals on televisions and toys.  It’s a perfect opportunity to grab a cup of coffee and look at some more early-years photographs from Westport’s educational institutions.


St. Ed’s School Band ~ Year unknown ~ Back Row: Eulalia Kallaugher, Marie Hamilton, Fern Stoness, Catherine Murphy, Monica McCann Third Row: Vivian Donnelly, Dorothy Lynett, Hilda McAndrews, Julia O’Grady, Marie Garvin. Second Row: Helen Myers, ____ Stoness, Walter Byrnes. Front Row: Hugh Walsh, Margaret Donnelly, Donny Cooper, Harry Hamilton. Band Leader: Des Walsh


St. Ed’s School Children on Front Steps of the Church, 1920s ~ Front Row (Left to Right): Anna Speagle, Elizabeth Speagle, Justina McMartin, Teresa Farrell, Helen Hamilton, Catherine Mulville, Mary Vincent Speagle, Ida Bryan, Irene Coburn, Mary Byrnes, Margaret Merkley, Eileen Bennett, Mary Murphy, Kathleen Speagle, Marie Martin, Helen Martin. 2nd Row: Wilfrid Adam, Edwin Hamilton, Oliver McNally, Edward Bryan, Joseph Herlehy, William Merkley, Thomas Murphy, Gerald Mulville, Bernard Cawley, Joseph Muchmore, Joseph Hamilton, Patrick O’Hara, Bernard Merkley, Edward Speagle, James Cawley, Deming Bryan. 3rd Row: Thomas Cawley, Joseph Cawley, Austin McAndrews, Francis Merkley, Vincent Topping, Gerald Adam, Brandon Mulville, Evaristus Carty, William McVeigh, Francis Farrell, George Speagle, Walter Mulville, James Bryan, Francis McShane, William Byrnes. 4th Row: Doreen Hicks, Kathleen McCann, Kathleen Cawley, Marie Speagle, Helen Farrell, Margaret Mulville, Mary Peters, Mary Bryan, Bernice Mulville, Ella Gillis, Evelyn Coburn, Ursula Herlehy, Irene McAndrews, Della Speagle, Margaret McMartin, Rita Bryan.


circa 1922 St Ed’s ~ Names unknown

Part Forty-Two ~ Here comes the snow

So far this autumn we have managed to see very little snow in Westport, but we are slated to have a little bit of the white stuff early next week.  According to the Diary of Nell McCann, that’s right about on schedule.

The following diary entries are about the first snows of the season in the early 1900s.

  • “First heavy Snow Storm of the Season (have to shovel) Nov 24/12”

This one is from 1913, when the first snow of the season arrived on the 10th of November:

  • Nov 10 First cold Blustery day with flurrys of Snow & dreadfull wind Storm & Snow Storm.  Nov 10 Started to use the Wood out of the Barn

    And from 1914:

  • Second Snow Storm of the Season the day Mrs Maurice Lehan’s Body was placed in the vault Nov 13/1914  (The first snow storm of 1914 was on October 26th)

Speaking of Nell, if you haven’t yet purchased a copy of Nell’s Diary, or the Book of Westport, they can be purchased at Town Hall during the winter months when the museum is closed.  They would make a terrific gift for the holidays, or a thoughtful Stocking Stuffer.  Copies of the Book of Westport are also available at The Lower Mountain Mercantile!

And now for some snow photos of Westport:


This photo from the pages of The Westport Mirror was taken on Bedford Street, back in the late 1960s or early 70s. A little later than the photos we usually share on Vintage Westport, but we don’t have an abundance of Westport snow photos from the early days.


An unidentified man stands in a snowbank with Mrs. Castle’s Bake Shop in the background. Circa the early 1900s, this photo was taken on Church Street.


Two unidentified women stand in the snow, somewhere in the village.

Part Forty-One ~ We Remember

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!

     Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

Westport remembers our own who fell during The Great War (WWI):

  • Orval Adam ~ Member of The Royal Flying Corps ~ Date of Casualty:  April 1, 1918 ~ Aged 31 Years
  • Frederick Board ~ 2nd Canadian Infantry Battalion ~Date of Casualty:  Sept. 13th, 1917 ~ Aged 23 Years
  • John Cherry Boyd ~ 2nd Canadian Infantry Battalion ~Date of Casualty:  August 18th, 1917 ~ Aged 23 Years
  • Theo. Charbonneau ~ 8th Canadian Infantry Battalion ~Date of Casualty:  November 19th, 1917 ~ Aged 21 Years
  • David A. Herlehy ~ Died at Sea ~ Enlisted Name: David Herley ~ Naval records not yet released, further details not available
  • Robert A. Kane ~ 3rd Field Co. Canadian Engineers ~Date of Casualty:  December 12th, 1915 ~ Aged 26 Years
  • Andrew Kish ~ 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles ~Date of Casualty:  Sept. 7th, 1917 ~ Aged 24 Years
  • Terrance J. McCaffrey ~ Killed in Action ~ Date of Casualty:  Nov. 3rd, 1917 ~ Aged 27 Years
  • Edward Nixon ~ 27th Battalion Canadian Infantry ~ Date of Casualty:  November 6th, 1917 ~ Aged 31 Years
  • Harry Cecil Roushorn ~ 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles ~ Killed at Vimy Ridge ~ April 9th, 1917 ~ Aged 23 Years
  • William Truelove ~ 3rd Machine Gun Company ~ Date of Casualty:  Sept. 24th, 1918 ~ Aged 24 Years
  • George Earl Wing ~ 4th Regiment Canadian Mounted Rifles ~Date of Casualty:  April 9th, 1917 ~ Aged 24 Years

From the pages of The Westport Mirror, 1917


From the pages of The Westport Mirror, 1917


From the pages of The Westport Mirror, 1917


Westport boys line up at Town Hall before shipping off overseas to serve their time in The Great War


Part Forty ~ Conley Continued

Last week we looked at the Conley building on Main Street, and today we’ll look a little bit deeper at the Conley’s business in the Village of Westport.

James Conley and his son built their new shop on Main Street in 1909 to showcase the boats and launches that they manufactured.  In earlier years, a factory was situated on Bedford Street where Conley and Truelove operated their boat building and carriage works.  This building is now home to The Rideau District Museum.

In April of 1912, G.S. Conley of Westport patented a new and improved boat fender, making it quite clear that boat building was definitely in the Conley blood.


This photo, from the early 1900s, shows one of the boats that would have been on display at the Conley showcase on Main Street.


Now home of the Rideau District Museum, the Conley & Truelove factory on Bedford Street was illustrated in Thad. Leavitt’s History of Leeds and Grenville which was published in 1879.


The caption on this old photo from the 1909 Souvenir Edition of the Westport Mirror read “Jas. Conley & Son – Manufacturers of Skiffs and Gasolene Launches”.


Part Thirty-Nine ~ “The Times They Are A Changin'”

To quote Bob Dylan, “The Times They Are A Changin'”, as is the face of Main Street. Work began this week on 31 Main Street, and this old site is undergoing another facelift.

Over the many years of Westport’s history, 31 Main has housed the boat-building factory of James and George Conley, Conley’s Garage, Dave’s Marina, the mall, and more.

As I am no poet, the following is a photographic ode to 31 Main Street – The Conley Years.


During the 30s, Main Street was home to a hardware store, and the telephone company was on the east side of the street. Conley’s Garage at 31 Main can be seen just beyond the truck.


Conley’s Garage in the snow, most likely in the 30s or 40s.


The inside of Conley’s Garage (circa 1930) with Mrs. Clifford McEwen (Laura Myers) working at the desk.

Part Thirty-Eight ~ More Old-Timey School Photos

It’s time for some more photos from the early days of Westport.  This week, we’ll look at some classes from the Westport Public School.


Westport Public School ~ 1912 ~ Names were given to the Museum by Cliff McEwen, many years ago.   Teacher, Louise Connelly.  3rd Row: Cassie Prevost, Edith Whaley, Minnie Scott, Carrie Whitmarsh, Liesa Hutchings, Jean Castle, R. Clark, Ruth Young 2nd Row: A. Whitmarsh, Marjorie Arnold, Jean Adams, Lance Seargent, Kenneth Butler, Jim Crawford, Eddie Botting, Trudy Glenn  Front Row: ____ Grove, ____ Grove, Harold Fredenburgh, Stanley Wing, Clifford McEwen, Ross Springgay, Ralph Myers


This was a special class held at the Orange Hall because Westport Public School was overcrowded ~ 1920’s ~ Teacher, Mr. Hamilton ~ Top Row: Jamie Breakenridge, Norman Kane, Russell Moulton, Ted Adams, Maynard Green, Dick Sully, Rheona Thake, Florence Stevens, Edythe Rice, Jean Wing, Blanche Merkley 2nd Row: Stanley Brash, Ken Chamberlain, Jack Anderson, Lloyd Anderson, Beatrice Moulton, Fern Stoness, Beatrice Merkley, Irene Kirkpatrick Front Row: Elise McEwen, Margret Sully, Pearly Merkley, Mabel Hicks


Westport Public School – circa 1924 ~ Top Row: Kelly Dier, Frank Clark, Floyd Green, Mary Wing, Evelyn Porter, Viola Prevost, Marie McCann, Freda Horten, Beatrice Tooley 4th Row: George McCulloch, Helen Barker, Helen Kilpatrick, Mabel Forrester, Doris Horton, Lela Botting, Dorothy Conway, Mildred Abrams, Edith Chamberlain, Raymond Scott. 3rd Row: _____, Lila Derbyshire, Norma Stevens, _____, Lillian Merkley, Luella Merkley, Lila Porter, _____, Jim Niblock, Jack Alford. 2nd Row: Cliff Perry, Harold Merkley, Pete Clark, Don Derbyshire, Elmer Wright, Frank Knapp, Herb Dennison, Russell Sully, _____, Jimmy Last. Front Row: _____ Warren, Pat Green, Wilbur Merkley, Arthur Warren, George Sully, Hugh Bradley, Hubert Green.


Part Thirty-Seven ~ Old School Photos–St. Edward’s

Waking up on this chilly October morning, I was trying to think of a blog post that was something a little different, that could be looked at for a while, and perhaps enjoyed with your morning cup of coffee. What could be better than some old class photos from the early years of Westport’s schools.

So we shall start out with an oldy, but definitely a goody.  Here is a class picture from 1899 at St. Edward’s School. Try to imagine the excitement that might have been felt that day in school way back in the 1890s, when it might very well have been the first photo that these children had ever been in, in a time before everyone had a cell phone in their hands with the ability to take as many pictures as they want. (Note: because of the age of this photo, it can’t get any larger without getting a tad blurry)


Back Row (Left to Right) Tom Quinn, James Kearney, Don Bennett, James Garvin, Frank Quinn, John McCaffrey, ____, Edward Ryan, John Quinn, Frank White, James Hoban, Leonard White, Augustine Charbonneau, Clifford White, Roy Lilly. Fourth Row: Marcella Bennett, Teresa McCann, Katherine Quinn, Mamie Garvin, Nellie Bennett, Annie Boulger, Teresa Whelan. 3rd Row: Mary Burns, Jennie Hazelton, Mary Martin, Florence Fraser, Josephine Hickey, Ann Ryan, Lily Bennett, Anastasia McCann, Ida May McCann, Mary McCann 2nd Row: Mazie McCann, Minnie Flynn, Florence Coburn, Julia McCann, Mary Hoban, Sadie Hazelton, Mary Hearley, Beatrice Fraser, Della McCann, Birdie Mulville, Frances Coburn, Josephine Burns, Maggie Charbonneau, Mazie Renauld, Marguerite McCann Front Row: Ambrose Bird, Arthur White, Edward Bennett, Ambrose Bennett, George Coburn, Augustine McNally, Walter Whelan, John Coburn, Herbert Martin, Roy McCann, James Hazelton, Leo Bennett, Sylvester Renauld, Joseph Bennett, Louis McCann, Lambert Garvin, Edward Martin, John White, Michael Ryan, Francis Kearney

Another St. Ed’s photo, this one circa 1910.


Back Row (left to right): Reg Martin, Tom Garvin, Edward Ryan, Norbert McNally, Jerome Adams, Edward Mulville, Ambrose Garvin, Ambrose Mulville. Centre: Frances McNally, Kathleen O’Hara, Anne O’Hara, Sephronia McCann, Eva Coburn, Bertha Martin, Carmel Grennon, Marcella Carty, Lotttie Bennett, Lucy Kearney, Mary Mulville, Anne Bower. Front Row: Earl McNally, Arthur McCann, Deming McCann, Wilfred Tobin, Christopher McNally, Theodore Charbonneau.

And lastly, a 1907 graduation photo from St. Ed’s Continuation School.


Back Row: Joseph Moriarty, Jane O’Neil, Sadie Ryan, Anna Nolan, Margaret Scanlan, Marcella Donnelly, Robert Kane. Front Row: Julia McCann, Mabel Forrester, Mazie Renaud, Mazie McCann, Lena Tobin

Part Thirty-Six ~ Happy Thanksgiving!


Apparently Blair’s was your Turkey Fair Day Headquarters way back in 1909

Thanksgiving is here again and there’s no better time to share some turkey-related Westport nostalgia.

The Westport Turkey Fair (also known as Poultry Fair Day) was usually held in December and folks from far and wide would flock to Westport to purchase turkeys, chickens, and pretty much any other livestock that locals would feel like parting with.

The major buyers usually hailed from the U.S.A. and Quebec, as those from nearby refused to pay the high prices that were demanded at the sale.  In the early 1900s, turkeys would sometimes fetch the hefty price of 32 cents a pound, which is today’s equivalent of $6.75!!!!!


Crowds gathered on Church Street for this Turkey Fair, circa 1909.


Breakenridge’s also thought they were the store that should be your Turkey Fair Day Headquarters in the early 1900s.


Part Thirty-Five ~ All Things Bright and Beautiful

Westport has always had an active fund-raising presence and community spirit. From work-bees to arranging packages to send overseas during The Great War (later known as WWI), the community has a tendency to pull together when it needs to, as well as supporting local artists, writers, and the like.  Last weekend there was a fund-raiser for the library in the form of a Local Writers’ Showcase.  This weekend the Westport Arts Council presents “All Things Bright and Beautiful ~ a gathering of quilts and quilters”.  Over the years, Westport has gained the reputation of a bustling arts community that is home to countless artists, studios, and craftspeople.

When I talk about Westport on this blog, it is usually in the form of individuals and their accomplishments, events that happened on specific streets, etc., but this week we’re going to look at Westport as a whole.

The best way that I can think of to tie in community spirit and our wonderful Westport, are with photos taken of the entire village, whether it be from The Mountain, the Rideau, or across the lake.  So as you look at the pictures of our town, whether you live in the village, near the village, cottage nearby, or visit us from far away through our blog, give yourself a nice little pat on the back to congratulate yourself on your great decision to become a part of the Westport community.


This old postcard shows Westport from the water – an unusual angle from the early days, as most village photos were taken from The Mountain


Westport from the highway – this postcard shows the village off in the distance as can be seen near the bend on Highway 42


An appropriate village postcard for a week where we are talking about Westport’s quilt show named “All Things Bright and Beautiful”. This colored postcard (circa the early 1900s) was taken before the Red Mill and The Wardrobe House were destroyed by fire.

If you are wanting to get in on the fun and take a look at hundreds of quilts in our local churches on Saturday, and support the Westport Arts Council at the same time, you can purchase your passport to get you admitted to the displays for $5.00 at The Museum.

Part Thirty-Four ~ the weather is a-changing

‘Tis the season for changing leaves, warmer clothes, and dropping temperatures.  I’m sure many debated turning on their furnaces this morning, or lighting a warm and cozy fire in the fireplace or wood stove.  When did it get chilly enough to light the fires for the winters back a hundred years ago?  As always, Nell McCann has the answer for us.  Here are a few memories of olden-days Westport.

“Fire in Church for first this Fall on All Saints Day Nov 1 1915”


It must have been very difficult to keep the large interior of St. Edward’s Church cozy during brutally cold spells in the early years.

“Jan 21st (1920) Coldest day & night this winter 35 D below Zero – 23rd Stormy – Snow & Wind avereged 18 below Zero – Feb came in nice & remained so for 2 weeks – last two weeks very cold some days Registering 28 below & some 18 below”


The Westport Public School was looking for wood for the winter of 1935.

“Nov 10 First cold Blustery day with flurrys of Snow & dreadfull wind Storm & Snow Storm  Nov 10 Started to use the Wood out of the Barn”


A wintery day on Church Street

Part Thirty-Three ~ events and goings-on in our schools

Would Nell McCann have been an avid social media maven if she were still alive today?  What if she were sharing everyday Westport occurrences on Facebook or Twitter?

Nell probably had no idea that her words would one day become a great insight into our village’s past, an invaluable tool for genealogical research, and a fantastic source of local history which is enjoyed and appreciated by hundreds of people.  Just like the students (and most adults) of today share their lives with friends and followers, Nell recorded similar entries into her own personal diary that we still enjoy reading today.

Each entry could very easily be posted onto Facebook today, and it would not seem at all out of the ordinary for someone to share their thoughts and musings with the world.  What would seem unusual, however, are the illnesses that would shut down not only the schools, but a large part of the village.

Below is a sample of school-related journal postings that could be deemed ‘Facebook worthy’:

Scarlet Fever in the Convent School Pupils Oct 1913


Keeping pupils out of school, or even closing the schools, due to epidemics was very common in the early part of the 1900s. Even when vaccinations were available, not everyone could afford them, so things like Scarlet Fever traveled quickly through the village.

Died at his home here of Tubercular Meningitis after a short Illness, Mr Burton Taggart (Principal of High School) at the age of 37 his funeral Conducted By The Masons & I.O.O.F was largely attended & the profusions of Flowers which was laid on his Casket Testified to The high Esteem in which he was held” (1915)


Burton Taggart, once the principal of the public school, died of Tubercular Meningitis, a form of TB.

Churches, Schools, Pool Rooms closed down Tight, for about 3 weeks on Account of The Flu Epidemic, Beginning the 20 of Oct & lasting until Nov 18th” (1918)


The students that didn’t have the flu must have been rejoicing when the schools were closed down for three weeks in 1918:  the Spanish Flu that hit Canada in 1918 killed about 50,000 Canadians (including many from Westport) and was carried across the world by returning soldiers from WWI.  One of Westport’s pool halls that would have been closed down for the epidemic was located on Church Street.

Part Thirty-Two ~ a look at some of our teachers

Although there was always an abundance of wonderful and influential teachers in the village over the years, we at Vintage Westport like to focus on the long-ago.  Even though we have a huge supply of old class photos, the teachers weren’t always identified in them, and so they are destined to go nameless in pictures from the latter part of the 1800s and early 1900s.


Miss Mary Stinson ~ 1881 to 1978

We do, however, have some identified photos of a few of our local educators at the Westport Public School.  Meet Miss Mary Stinson.

This photo was taken around the time of Mary’s graduation from the Ottawa Normal School in 1902, and she would later teach in Westport for about five years.

She left Westport and headed west, a very common occurrence back in the early 1900s, especially for those with breathing difficulties, as the fresh air of the mountains was supposed to do wonders for one’s health.

Mary would meet her husband in Alberta and the two of them would eventually move even further west to British Columbia.

Upon her departure from Westport, her pupils gave her a letter stating, “our best wishes for your health and success shall always follow you in the great pathway of life”.


Miss A. Lola Bullard, Elocutionist

Next up is Miss Lola Bullard, shown here in 1909.

From the pages of the 1911 census, Lola is listed as single, born in 1888, living with her father, Burton, Aunt Emma, 12-year-old brother Josiah, and her grandparents Levina and Josiah in Leeds, Ontario.

Miss Bullard taught classes in Westport, Newboro, Delta, and Athens and was from Plum Hollow.

A locally well-known elocutionist, Miss Lola taught the art of proper pronunciation to her pupils and was adept at giving speeches.

Lastly we have Dora Beatrice McFarlane, Junior Room teacher at the public school in 1927, and in later years at Halliday’s School, S.S.#5, North Crosby.


1927 Westport School Fair

Born in Prescott in 1900, Miss McFarlane would marry Wilfred Rice of Westport in July of 1927.  Interestingly, and in a shameless plug for the museum, next summer we will have Mrs. Rice’s wedding dress on display in our collection

Mrs. Rice can be seen in the back row of the above photo wearing the hat.

Part Thirty-One ~ there weren’t just doctors

A few weeks ago we talked about the doctors of Westport, and how they were responsible for bringing new lives into our town and keeping residents healthy through the village’s epidemics and everyday illnesses.

Vintage Westport 98

Alice Lynn

But we haven’t yet talked about the two main nurses at our own Mount-View Hospital.

The Lynn Sisters.

Alice and Rebecca were the daughters of William Robert Lynn and Mary Ann Matchet, both immigrants from Ireland.

Alice, born in 1860, taught school for three years and then attended nursing school in Waltham, Massachusetts, in her early 20’s.  She nursed in the Westport area for the remainder of her life and was one of the founders of Mount-View.  Also serving as a midwife, Alice would often move into the home of the soon-to-deliver woman and stay for a time after the birth until the mother was able to look after her family again.  As a result of Alice’s assistance, a great number of babies in Westport were named Alice.

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Rebecca Lynn

In 1866 the Lynns had another daughter whom they named Rebecca, however, she died at the age of eight months.  Apparently, William had loved the first Rebecca so much, that he also named his next daughter Rebecca as well.  Rebecca was one of eleven children, but not unusual for the latter part of the 1800s, only six lived until adulthood.  The second Rebecca was born in 1871.  Rebecca also received her nursing diploma in Waltham, and together with Alice, she would serve Westport and area as nurse and midwife.  As neither of the women married, they lived together in a house on Rideau Street.  Rebecca died in 1966 at the ripe old age of 95 and is buried in the United Church Cemetery; which is the same final destination as her brothers Thomas and Abraham and her sisters Alice, who lived until she was 80, and Caroline (Whitmarsh), and their parents.

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Mount-View Hospital on the edge of the Mill Pond.

Part Thirty ~ St. Edward’s School

Work began on The Convent School way back in 1885, and the building was completed in 1886.  For one hundred and thirty years the Sisters and teachers at St. Ed’s have shared their knowledge through Catholic education with the youth of our village.

The corner stone from the original St. Edward’s school sits in The Rideau District Museum.  It reads, “Convent School Erected 1885; Rt. Rev. J.V. Cleary. S.T.D., Bp of Kingston; Rev. M. J. Stanton, Pastor”.

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The Day It All Began ~ this photo, courtesy of The Review-Mirror, shows the first day of classes at the newly-opened “Convent school”

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An early class photo of the pupils at St. Edward’s School, shown here in 1899. At this time, the school would have been a youthful thirteen years old!

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Anis Bird (shown in the above photo) was born in 1877 and was one of the first students at the Convent School. Her father, William, walked to Kingston with John Whelan to petition Bishop Cleary for the building of the school in the 1880s.

Part Twenty-Nine ~ a few of the Doctors of Westport

Staying on the topic of doctors, this week we’re going to take a brief look at some of the early ones in the village.

Doctors Berry and Singleton were the main doctors that worked at Mount-View Hospital, which still stands (as a private residence) at the edge of The Mill Pond.  These doctors and the Lynn sisters were instrumental in Westport’s health care during the latter part of the 1800s and into the 1900s.

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From left, Dr. Foley, Dr. Singleton, Dr. Parker, and Dr. Berry, 1898, in the parlour of the Foley House.

Doctor Hamilton kept the village healthy during the years of WWI, delivering babies, performing surgeries, making house calls, and even accompanying patients to Brockville when necessary.  Dr. Hamilton was mentioned over 25 times in Nell’s Diary as he assisted the infirm of Westport and brought new lives into the world.

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Dr. Hamilton worked as a teacher to supplement his income while earning his degree. After interning at St. John’s Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y., he returned to Westport where he worked as a family doctor until his death in 1955.

Doctor Ford Goodfellow, another of Westport’s prominent early physicians, was born during the smallpox epidemic of 1902. At the time of his graduation, many of the modern conveniences of medicine had not yet been established and home births were still the norm.  Even when roads were impassable, Doc Goodfellow would make his way to the patient’s side no matter the hour.  When conditions would allow, the doctor would travel by “hand-jigger” along the railway track.  “One evening as I was pumping my way along the railway track, in a race with the stork, I heard the disturbing sound of an approaching train.  I jumped off and managed to tip my hand-jigger seconds before the train rushed by.”

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Dr. Goodfellow graduated from Queen’s University Medical School in 1927.  He also studied psychiatry for 18 months in Brockville, which was likely of great help to him when he returned to practice in Westport. It was 1932 and the village was in the grip of The Great Depression, the effects of which were shared by patient and doctor alike.

Part Twenty-Eight ~ some deeper delving into Lockwood Field

Last week we talked a bit about the history of the Community Field on Concession Street.  In the early days, performances would be held there and large platforms would be brought out for stages and dancing.  Although no photos seem to exist of these platforms, at least to my knowledge, last week we looked at a few pictures of sports days, school events, etc. on the premises of what is now known as Lockwood Memorial Field.

But who was the “Lockwood” that this field is named for?

To sum it up in just a few words, Dr. Ambrose Lockwood was a war hero.

Dr. Lockwood made his way to The Front during the early days of WWI where he soon discovered that patients brought into the clearing stations with lung injuries were being shuffled off to wards to die.  At the time it was felt that beds and nursing care needed to be reserved for those with injuries that could be treated and had at least some hopes of survival.  Hope didn’t exist for those whose lungs were damaged by shrapnel or gunshot wounds.

Unable to perform operations that he knew would save the lives of hundreds (or thousands) of men, as families could not be reached in time to get permission to perform a risky and unheard of surgery, Dr. Lockwood’s hands were tied…

…until a soldier entered the clearing station who, as fate would have it, was a relative of one of the higher-ups that was present at the hospital.  Knowing that there was a chance to save the young man’s life, Dr. Lockwood was finally granted the permission needed from a family member and performed the lung surgery.  This young soldier survived the war, as did countless others that were brought out from the back wards of the hospitals and given the life-saving surgery that Dr. Ambrose Lockwood had wanted to perform since the onset of The Great War.

So the next time you are strolling through Lockwood Field, think of the story of a local hero that gave so many young soldiers the chance to return home to their families after a devastating injury that would have otherwise ended their life.

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Dr. Ambrose Lockwood was born in 1888 and grew up in the home and store owned by his father, Hiram, on the corner of Main and Bedford Streets.

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An athletic youth, Ambrose Lockwood played baseball and hockey in the village, which makes it so fitting that Lockwood Field has hosted so many tournaments and games over the years.

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Awards kept piling up as Dr. Lockwood continued his field work at the hospitals overseas during The Great War. He would return from the war front and open The Lockwood Clinic in Toronto, which is still in existence today.

Part Twenty-Seven ~ a long history in ‘The Field’

Were you among the spectators at Lockwood Field last night to watch the performance of Taming of the Shrew?  Lockwood Field, once known as the Community Field, or simply The Field, has a long history of bringing the village together.  Picnics, school sports days, live theater, and entertainment has happened in that same spot for well over a hundred years, and the very first picnic ever held in Westport was held there on September 7th of 1870!

Next time you are enjoying an evening event at Lockwood Field, take a look at the silhouettes of the buildings that surround you, and you’ll be looking at almost the same view that would have been seen more than one hundred years ago, from the spire of St. Edward’s Church, to Knox Presbyterian (minus the bell tower), and even the old Rideau View Dairy.

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This School Fair Day was held on the Community Field, and the familiar spire of St. Ed’s Church can be seen in the background. You can also see the old Steele Brothers Theater, which was destroyed by fire in April of 1920.

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Games at the old open-air hockey rink were enjoyed by hundreds of spectators, and a hockey match almost guaranteed that most of the village would turn out to watch it.

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School Sports Days were held at The Field, and Knox Presbyterian Church still stands in the same place on its hill to the south. The bell tower is long gone, as it was removed after brutal Canadian winters took their toll.

Part Twenty-Six ~ more things we don’t see in Westport anymore ~ Part Three

This is our third week of looking at things we just don’t see in Westport anymore.  Over the years, traditions change and other things just lose their appeal.  Things such as:

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Empire Day Celebrations – Empire Day was observed annually on the school day preceding the May 24 holiday for Queen Victoria’s birthday. Considered to be the most important patriotic rite for children in English-speaking Canada, it fizzled out after the half century following its first observance in 1899. This photo is from the Westport Public School’s Empire Day in 1907.  One thing that will likely never go out of style are awkward photos where a large portion of those in it are looking in different directions.

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Getting dressed up in your finest clothing for a portrait – In our current world of selfies and people running around the streets catching digital creatures, a camera is almost always in-hand.  The days of getting dressed up, organizing your family members for a convenient time to attend a photograph session at the local photographer, waiting an unbelievable length of time (it was common to have to sit still for over an hour for early cameras to capture your image) for the photo to be taken, all seem like a lot of work by today’s standards.  This photo shows John Forrester, his wife Bridget, and Bridget’s sister.

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Horses in the streets ~ Unless Dale is out for a ride in his carriage, or taking some sightseers for a tour, it is pretty uncommon to see a horse in the streets of the village. Try to think back to the days before automobiles when horses (and the occasional ox) pulling wagons was the norm. Imagine what it was like the first time a motor car drove into the village!

Part Twenty-Five ~ more things we don’t see in Westport anymore

Last week we looked at three things that you just don’t see anymore in Westport, like drive-ins, dance halls, and cart races.

This week, we’ll look at a few more pictures of other things that have disappeared off the Westport map.

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Things we no longer see in Westport–the second floor of The Adams Block (later known as The Myers Block after the purchase in 1911). The top floor was removed in the 1960’s after a fire.

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Things we no longer see in Westport–that little building beside the old Bennett’s Cosy Corner (that was, at one time, the old post office). In case you don’t remember, or it was before your time, the building was removed many years ago and is now the site of the lovely patio at Vanilla Beans.

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Things we no longer see in Westport–we still have some of the best ice cream shops around, but I’m betting you’d have a tough time going into any store anywhere and finding yourself some “Gurd’s Dry Ginger Ale”, and perhaps a “Whiz Bang” for fifteen cents.

Part Twenty-Four ~ things we don’t see in Westport anymore

Lots of things disappear in a village, whether through progress, lack of interest, or the ordinary shifting of demographics that renders them obsolete.  Today we’re going to look at three things that haven’t been seen in Westport for a very long time:  Scott’s Ballroom that used to stand on Bedford Street at the site of the municipal parking lot, the cart races in the street of the 1960 Homecoming Week, and the old drive-in known as “Mountain View Drive-In Theatre”.

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Homecoming Week was a huge deal in 1960, with fun (and sometimes dangerous) events such as cart races in the streets, water ski shows, and night-time pajama parades.

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Scott’s Ballroom was the height of Westport activity for many, many years. Starting out as an open-air ballroom, it later was housed in a Quonset hut until it was abandoned and then demolished in 1997.

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“Mountain View Drive-In Theatre” was the place to be for the movie-going crowds in the village.

Part Twenty-Three ~ on this day in our history

What happened in Westport during the last century on this day? Nell McCann’s diary to the rescue!

100 years ago today, Nell made the following journal entry:

“Drowned in the Rideau while out fishing Capt. Bert Adams on Sat July 8th 1916 age 43 buried under the I.O.O.F. funeral private”

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Bert Adams can be found in this old photo of the Westport baseball team from the early 1900’s. (Names were identified many years ago in the Westport Mirror) Front (l to r): Ambrose Lockwood, Arden Dier, Bert Adams, Jim Forrester, Herb Brennan. Second Row: George Coborne (Coburn), ?, ?, Fred Forrester, ?, Back Row: Roy Derbyshire, Mike Bennett.

103 years ago today:

“Lawn Social held in aid of Ladies Institute July 8/13.  A great Success. [Senatir] Derbyshire & Hon. [Dormaveu] Speakers $110.00”

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Westport was full of social and humanitarian groups who did everything from raise money for local causes to sewing groups that assisted the needy in times of strife. One of those groups was the St. Ed’s Sewing Group, shown here in the early 1900’s. Back row: Maggie (Kane) Murphy; Rosemary (Murphy) Howell; Julia (O’Grady) Kane. Front Row: Sadie (McCann) Grant; Mrs. Willie (Grant) Egan; Mayme (Mooney) Donnelly. Photo and identification from the pages of The Review-Mirror, Westport.

96 years ago today:

“Died in Ottowa after 4 Months Illness of Ulcers of Stomach – Miss Myrtle Whitmarsh July 8 Buried in Westport”

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E. O. Whitmarsh, cattle dealer, was the father of Myrtle Whitmarsh.  Myrtle died at the age of 24 in Ottawa. Cause of death on Myrtle’s death certificate was “Gastric Ulcer”.

Part Twenty-Two ~ Happy Canada Day

As today is Canada Day, it seems appropriate to post Canada-Day-themed pictures.  However, as there are no photos that seem to have been taken during this holiday in old-time Westport, the best we can do is show some of our summer-themed photos taken at what is now The Lions Club Beach.  Although these photos are a little more recent than we usually post, it seemed a fitting way to kick off the celebrations that will be held there this afternoon and evening.

A happy and safe Canada Day to all of our readers from Vintage Westport!

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“Sand Lake Beach”, circa 1948

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“Sand Lake Beach” stamped 1945

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A photo of the beach with a dog in the water and a sparsely treed mountain. There used to be two change rooms at opposite ends of the beach, with one for boys and one for the girls.

Part Twenty-One ~ Now You See It, Now You Don’t (Part Three)

Let’s go back to the days of the 1920’s.  More specifically, the winter of 1923.  This was the year that fire visited both the Wardrobe Hotel (which we talked about last week) and The Windsor.  Both of these structures lost their battle to the flames.

The Windsor, which was located just south of The American House Hotel (current location of Neil Scott’s realty office), burned down less than two months after the Wardrobe.  It was shortly after these devastating fires that new equipment was purchased and a new team of fire fighters were organized in the village.

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Now You See It ~ The Windsor Hotel. The Windsor stood near the turn on Rideau and Main before it was destroyed by fire in 1923. The American House can be seen beyond it.

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Now You Don’t. The lot that The Windsor had stood on was vacant for many years after the fire. It later became Bruce Bennett’s Service Station and is now home to the condominiums.  This photo is from 1936.

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A new and improved fire response team was organized shortly after the fires of 1923 in the hopes of keeping such destruction from happening on a large scale again in the village.


Part Twenty ~ Now You See It, Now You Don’t (Part Two)

In part two of “Now You See It”, we’re going to look at The Wardrobe Hotel (also known as The Wardrobe House, and for a brief period of time The Wardrop).  More information was given about the Wardrobe way back on Week Five when we discussed hotels of the village.

The Wardrobe sat snugly on the southwest corner of Church and Bedford Streets for many, many years and was a place to get a good meal, comfortable and clean lodgings, and maybe even a beverage or two.

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Now You See It ~ The Wardrobe Hotel. Circled in red, The Wardrobe can be seen across from the building which now houses the Westport Village Pharmacy.

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The Wardrobe Hotel was lost on a cold night in January, 1923.

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Now You Don’t. After the fire that destroyed the Wardrobe Hotel in 1923, the face of Bedford Street was changed dramatically.   The service station on the corner of Church and Bedford (shown here in 1936) sits where The Wardrobe once stood.  That same spot would later be occupied by a string of different businesses and is the current location of Inger’s Boutique.

Part Nineteen ~ Now You See It, Now You Don’t (Part One)

For those that are familiar with Westport, it sometimes seems that things tend to stay the same;  the same wonderful shops, restaurants and landmarks consistently dot the landscape.  However, during the early years, the face of Westport was changing frequently, mainly due to fires and new construction.

Take the north end of Church Street, for example.  Right up until 1915 you could have a clear view of The Mountain at the end of that block.

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Now You See It ~ The Mountain.    Up until 1915 there was an unobstructed view at the end of Church Street.

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Another view of The Mountain as seen from Church Street prior to 1915.

In 1915, The Myers’ Block was constructed at the end of Church Street on Bedford, and it was recorded in Nell’s Diary:

“Tea in aid of The Soldiers to be served in Myers New block on Sat July 17 1915.  Opening of the new Block a very successfull Red Cross Tea Realized about $85 Sat July 17/1915″

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Taken in 1927, the Myers Block can now be seen sitting in its rightful spot at 14 Bedford Street, with a now-obscured view of The Mountain in the background.

Part Eighteen ~ Taking the Train

The old Brockville and Westport train was popular in its day, which makes it hard to believe the financial difficulties that were encountered.  Almost from the start, the B & W was fighting off creditors and bankruptcy.

The train was used for almost everything, from circus cars to students with passes hopping on to catch a ride to school.  It was also used to whisk people away to adventures in distant cities, or, quite often, on their honeymoons.

The Diary of Nell McCann mentions many such couples in her diary entries, such as the following couple:

“Married at St. Edwards By Rev M. ORourke at 8 a.m. Maggie Scanlin & Jack Hamilton of Elgin.  Attendants Dr. James Dunn & Nellie Scanlin.  Trip to Ottowa on Afternoon Train”

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The train was a gathering place for locals and visitors alike in its earlier days in Westport.

Also from Nell’s Diary:

“Married in the House by Rev M. Boudreau Miss Eva Blair & Fred Laidlaw.  Motored over to Perth & took The 1 a.m. Train for Western Points, Oct 3rd 1916”.

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A group of locals at one of the locks on the canal, including Eva Blair who took the train on her honeymoon. (Cliff McEwen, unknown woman, Blanche Blair, Eva Blair, Helena Whaley, Babe McEwen. Those in the photo were identified by Cliff McEwen many years ago).

Rain, snow, sleet, or hail, the train made its way back and forth from Brockville to Westport.

“Roy Palmer & Cassie Provost Married by Rev Howe at the Parsonage & took the afternoon train for Ottowa & eastern Parts on Monday 21 April – Terrible rainy day”

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Minnie (Fyfe) Hughes, Frank Hughes and Hilda Russell waiting at the B & W station on a rainy day (or possibly a very sunny day), circa 1915.

Part Seventeen ~ Early Summertime Postcards

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Cottage on Second (2nd) Island on The Rideau. This cottage has since been replaced with another.

Summer may not officially arrive for several weeks, but the weather certainly feels like cottage-season is already here.  Camping, cottaging, and boating on the waters near Westport are a popular pastime, for obvious reasons.  Early settlers, however, found little value in lake-shore property due to its unworkability, and those planning to make a living off of the land were hesitant to purchase lots on the water.

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Resorts and lodges were a huge summertime draw for tourists, such as Nordlaw Lodge on Bob’s Lake, shown here.

The earliest cottage-themed record in Nell’s Diary was found in 1914:

“My first trip to Bobs Lake to J. C. F. (J.C. Forrester)  Cottage with Bob & family.  Splendid time.  Aug 2/1914.  Spent the week out at the Cottage with Aunt & Uncle from the 5th to the 9th of Aug.  Visitors Muriel Butler & Fred Forrester, Mr Whaley & Stanley, J.C.F., Mrs. Hill from S. Falls”

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An old postcard stamped, “Rideau Lake Westport”

However, the newly released book of Westport has a recording of cottagers taking to their lakeside getaways in 1897, pre-dating Nell’s diary entry by more than 15 years:

“Citizens were starting to take possession of their summer cottages and were entertaining their friends”, and “Many locals were camping on the Lower Rideau Lake.”

If you’ve been enjoying our Vintage Westport blog posts, you may want to purchase a copy of the Museum’s newly released book of Westport, which contains over 200 local historic photos of our village, citizens, and more.  These books are available at the Museum for $20.00 (no tax), or, if you live too far away to make the trip to Westport, the book can be ordered directly  from the distributor (shipping charges apply) by clicking on the book cover below:

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Part Sixteen ~ Westport Postcards from the 1930’s

For a change of pace, today we’re going to look at some postcards of Westport from the 1930’s.  Places like Castle’s Jewelry Shop (which was located on Church Street) and various stores around the village would sell postcards of local sites to the vacationing masses.  The following three photos were given to the museum many years ago from an anonymous donor.

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Church Street (circa the 1930’s)

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Another view of Church Street

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Main Street after the Post Office was built in 1935.

Part Fifteen ~ People of our Past (Part Five)

Nell kept track of everyone; whether they lived in the village or were just passing through.  She also knew who was checking into Westport’s hospital, Mount-View.

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Mount-View Hospital is shown at the left in this old photograph from the late 1890’s.

From cataract surgery to appendectomies, Mount-View was a convenient hospital that still stands on the edge of the Mill Pond.  Entries from Nell’s diary stated things like, “Mt. View Hospital opened for an Operation on Jimmy [Antwine] but through some misunderstanding it did not take place so Albert – a Orphan Boy was first & Wilfred Murphy & [Alphonnus] Thompson nextand,  “Jim McCann’s operation performed in Mount-View Hospital on March 17th 1912“.

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Nell McCann

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Nell recorded Jim McCann’s operation in her diary, as well as the fire that destroyed his shop in 1920: “ Jan 18 At 6 A.M. James E. McCann Blacksmith Shop & supplies for Winter trade, also 2 Horses were burned – cold windy morning – J.F. McNallys house caught fire quite often.”  The remains of Jim McCann’s blacksmith shop can be seen in this photo from 1920.

Part Fourteen ~ People of our Past (Part Four)

In The Diary of Nell McCann, Nell kept tabs on the village and recorded the births and deaths that occurred around her.  In the early 1900’s, even though Westport was a thriving village full of young families and hard-working citizens, there were a great number of deaths due to illnesses and circumstances of the times.  From pneumonia to child-birth, death was the most-recorded event in Nell’s book.  The word “born” was mentioned sixty-eight times, while “died” made an appearance two hundred and twenty-two times!

“Mrs. Duncan Ripley died at her home Upper Mills Feb 9/13”.

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This photo, circa 1890, shows Duncan Ripley with his dog.  Duncan would have been around 56 years old at the time this picture was taken.  Duncan and Emeline are buried in Knox cemetery and their headstone reads:  “In memory of Duncan C. Ripley, died May 16, 1906, aged 72 years.  Also his wife, Emeline S. Day, died Feb. 9, 1913, aged 76 years.”

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Mrs. Duncan G. Ripley (Emeline S. Day) was around 53 years old at the time of this photo in 1890. Emeline’s death was recorded in Nell’s diary in 1913.

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This photo, also from around 1890, shows Emeline in her home, which was later known as “The Neil Stoness House” at the Upper Mills.

Part Thirteen ~ People of our Past (Part Three)

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about Nell McCann and the diary in which she recorded the comings and goings in early Westport. Since it is the end of the month, we’re going to look again at Nell’s diary and some of the entries that she made during the month of April and the prominent villagers that she wrote about.

1913 ~ “Dr. Singleton Sold his house to E. [Gremmon] Apr. 15

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Dr. Goodfellow and Dr. Singleton had houses side-by-side on Spring Street. The home that Dr. Singleton sold in 1913 is the 2nd house from the left.

1914 ~ “Noah Whitmarsh died of Plura Pneumonia.  Nursed by Miss Lynn May 14th 1914

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Noah Whitmarsh and his brothers were cattle dealers in Westport in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

1914 ~ “Ernie Botting & Nettie De Wolfe Married in house By Dr McKenzie May 12/14”

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A young Nettie De Wolfe (seated) and her sister, Ethel, are shown in this photo from the 1800’s.

Part Twelve ~ People of our Past (Part Two)

Walter Colster

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Walter Colster came to the village around 1905.  A talented photographer, Walter set up his shop on Church Street West.  In the 1909 commemorative issue of The Westport Mirror, it stated that he had a “fine gallery which is well equipped with the best cameras, etc. and turns out first-class photos”.

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During the early days of Westport, Gypsy caravans would frequently visit towns and villages in the area.  Colster’s photography studio can be seen behind the man with the bear, dating this photo of Church Street to sometime after 1905 when Walter moved to Westport.  At the end of the block, you can see the Wardrobe House hotel.

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With this closer view, you can see the sign for Walter’s shop on the side of the building, and attached to the front wall beside the windows are samples of his photography in frames.  This building was most-likely destroyed in one of the Church Street fires (the fire of 1915 started in McEwen’s bakeshop across the street, and the fire of 1923 originated in Blair’s store where a Masonic meeting had been held earlier that evening).

Part Eleven ~ People of our Past (Part One)

Nell McCann

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Nell McCann and her bicycle.  Nell authored “The Diary of Nell McCann ~ one woman’s journal of life in the Village of Westport, as written in the early 1900’s” which is a fund-raiser for The Rideau District Museum.

We’ve looked at the hotels, palace ships and even the layout of the village, but we have yet to talk about the early citizens that helped shape our town.  Prominent businessmen and early entrepreneurs frequently got their names into the local papers for their accomplishments, but Nell McCann was a resident that wrote down everything that she saw and heard into the pages of her diary.  Those same prominent businessmen and notable citizens made their way into Nell’s writings (quite frequently as the Pall Bearers in local funerals), as this entry from 1916 indicates:

“Captain Thos Lynch died Oct 23rd from the effects of a fall from an Apple Tree funeral at St Edwards Wedensday Oct 25. Pall Bearers. M. Mulville -P. Garvin- Jas. H. Martin – John Cawley – J. P. Foley-F. Charbonneau-W Byrnes Undertaker”

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Prominent citizen, John Cawley, was mentioned numerous times in Nell’s diary including the entry regarding the funeral of Captain Lynch. John Cawley’s most notable feat in Westport history was installing the granolithic sidewalks in the early 1900’s which replaced the old wooden walkways.

Part Ten ~ Clothiers of Westport

There were a great number of merchant tailors and clothiers popping up around Westport in the early 1900’s.  No matter what your needs were, there was someone available to make you look your best.  There was also an abundance of general stores, grocery and bakery shops.  The following ads were found in turn-of-the-century editions of The Westport Mirror.


Ephraim Wiseman had his clothing store on Main Street East (partway down the block between Spring and Bedford Streets).

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Declan Foley sold clothing, shoes and general goods at his shop on Main Street.

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John E. Whaley was a merchant tailor on Church Street who specialized in tweeds, worsteds, serges, fancy vestings and overcoatings.

Part Nine ~ Revised Westport Fire Maps

New construction.  Destruction by fire.  Many things changed quickly in Westport in the early 1900’s.  Last week we looked at the fire maps of the village in 1897.  Now, if you would like to examine the differences between the original maps and almost ten years later (September of 1908), you can check them out below.  To examine them on a bigger scale, they are available on the website of Library & Archives Canada.  Simply click on the following revised maps and you can zoom in and examine our village and the changes that occurred during the early 1900’s.

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Part Eight ~ Westport Fire Maps

Ready to explore the village of olden days and see if you can find your home, or what used to stand on its spot?  The fire maps of Westport (and most towns) for 1897 indicated which buildings were made of stone, wood or brick and also showed where there were piles of woods, sheds and more.  This would help both insurance companies and fire responders know what they were dealing with in a town.  The maps of 1897 for Westport show a lot of the streets before they were destroyed by fires, and these maps would later be revised in the 1900’s to show the changes that had occurred since they were first created.  The Westport maps have now become public domain, and the link to examine them closer can be found at the website of the Toronto Public Library. Click HERE to be whisked away to the Toronto Public Library site where maps can be viewed on a larger scale

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Part Seven ~ The Hotels of Westport (Part Three)

Last week we mentioned the fire that came close to the American House Hotel.  That would be the fire of March, 1923, which destroyed the Windsor Hotel along with a house to its north and two across the road.  The late Beulah Knapp (Palmer) was present at the fire and recalled the piano was saved from the flames, was rolled out the front door by helpful onlookers and sustained damage when it crossed the road.  Likely due to the brick construction of the Foley House and the stone of the American House, both of those buildings survived the north-blowing wind that might have otherwise destroyed them.

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The Windsor Hotel, which was located just north of the corner where Rideau Street becomes Main, was destroyed in the fire of March, 1923.

The final in our series is the only one that still functions as an inn.  The Cove, located on the corner of Main and Bedford Streets was originally the home of local businessman and mill owner, William Fredenburgh.  Both the main inn building and the annex located across the street were constructed as private residences.  The Lexena Hotel (shown in the photo below from the 1930’s) was owned by Alex and Lena Brown and became the Tweedsmuir Hotel in later years.  Locals can still recall fond (and some not-so-fond) memories of “The Tweeds”, but stories still surface of the times that were had ‘back in the day’.  Now a charming inn with a reputation of fine dining, one thing that hasn’t changed over the years is the glorious view of The Mill Pond which draws so many visitors to Westport year after year.

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The Lexena became The Tweedsmuir and is now home to The Cove Country Inn

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Part Six ~ The Hotels of Westport (Part Two)

I’m sure that many of you can remember The Westport Inn, which had once been called the Alhambra.  Standing on the outside curve of George Street, The Westport Inn was a local landmark for many years, even after its doors closed to overnight guests.  Abandoned and largely forgotten (except by those that would sneak in to play cards), the large hotel fell into disrepair and was torn down in the 1980’s.

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The Alhambra Inn was located on the outer curve of George Street.

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The Alhambra (later known as The Westport Inn) was mentioned in the pages of “Nell’s Diary” ~ “Alhambra Hotel changed hands Nov 1st – 1941 – Hagan & Mitchell Proprietors”.

There probably aren’t a lot of locals that can still remember The Ryan.  Built in the 1920’s, The Ryan was touted as being one of the finest hotels in all of Canada.  With fishing from the balconies that faced the water, and a river running through the basement where boats could be driven inside the hotel, it was widely promoted and was said to be fully booked for its grand opening.  A grand opening that never happened.  The Ryan was suspiciously destroyed by fire before it ever saw its first guest.  We will talk more about The Ryan when we cover the fires of Westport at a later date.

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Destroyed by fire under mysterious circumstances, The Ryan was situated at the water’s edge below the annex to The Cove. The current Grist Mill Gallery is built on part of the foundation of what was once thought of as ‘Westport’s white elephant’.

Part Five ~ The Hotels of Westport (Part One)

Because of the railway, the proximity to the Rideau, and the number of roads passing through it, Westport was once a hub of activity for reasons other than our current bustling tourism trade.  Farmers stopping in the village to trade their livestock, cheese merchants coming to town to ship out their goods on the train, and tradesmen staying over for business purposes could be picked up at the station or the waterfront and catch an express stagecoach to one of the many hotels in town.  The Wardrobe, The American Hotel, and the Cameron Hotel were just three of the hotels functioning in the late 1800’s in Westport.  Of these three hotels, only one is no longer standing.

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Fire came close to the doors of The American House Hotel when a nearby hotel burned in 1923 (the 1923 fire will be covered at a later date when we discuss the fires of Westport).  Built in the 1850’s, this is one of the oldest structures in Westport.  The building is now home to a real estate office, and still stands securely at 40 Main Street.

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A still-recognizable building in Westport, The Cameron Hotel became The Merchant’s Bank in the late 1800’s and has remained a bank ever since. Behind the hotel, along the water’s edge, were stables for the guests to house their animals for the duration of their visit.

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Lost in the fire of January, 1923 (which is a different fire than the one that came close to the American House Hotel mentioned above), The Wardrobe House sat at the southwest corner of Bedford and Church Streets. The fire, which originated in Win Blair’s grocery store, would take out almost an entire block of the village.

Part Four ~ Luxury of Westport’s Past

Cruises were a big deal in the late 1800’s and into the early parts of the 1900’s.  Ships like “The Haggart” of Perth would ply their way along The Rideau bringing tourists, sports teams and spectators to Westport on a regular basis.  For a few cents, folks could join a group of people and sail to our village to enjoy events like community picnics, fairs and baseball games.  These day excursions were extremely popular, but those seeking true luxury would splurge for a cruise on the bigger ships, such as the James Swift, the Rideau Queen, the Rideau Belle and the Rideau King.  These “Palace Ships” would take their passengers in comfort between Kingston and Ottawa with numerous stopovers in between, including “The Port”.  These cruises began their decline into obscurity when war efforts demanded that time and money be spent on necessities rather than luxury.

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The “James Swift” was an early cruise ship on the Rideau in the 1890’s. An onboard fire caused it to be put into dry docks until it was repaired and launched under the new name “The Rideau King”.

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The dining room onboard “The Rideau Queen” gave passengers a taste of luxury that they couldn’t experience at home. Dining room dinner options included items such as lamb, prime rib, and capon and pickled pork for 35 cents each. A slice of pie or a cup of coffee would add an extra ten cents to your bill.

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An estate room on “The Rideau Queen” gave passengers a taste of luxury that they most likely did not experience on a regular basis during their everyday lives.  No records exist for The Rideau Queen after 1928.

Part Three ~ Snowy Days on The Mountain

For anyone that ventured out during the snow storm this week, it was easy to see why it was considered one of the biggest snowfalls in recent memory.  Although storms in Canada are commonplace, our modern snowplows got everyone back up and running within a day.  Back in the earlier days of Westport, snow clearing took a lot longer, with many parking their cars and reverting to the horse and sleigh when the roads became impassible.  Below are three pictures of a snowy day on The Mountain, where the road might have been nightmare-inducing for those with bald tires and bad brakes.

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Imprints on The Mountain made by horse and sleigh as you can see hoof marks between the tracks.

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A snow-covered Mountain road is looking a tad treacherous as only a single set of tracks can be seen coming down the hill.

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Although still snowy, the road has been cleared, making way for an old car to (hopefully) make its way safely home.

Part Two ~ Winter on the Railway

With our first real blast of wintery weather coming up this weekend, it might be a good time to look back at what winters were like in Westport’s earlier days.

Back in the days of the B & W Railway, the speediest route between two stops wasn’t always the train.  Oftentimes, the train would get stuck somewhere along the way and nothing could help but some good, old-fashioned, shoveling.  Bresee’s Cut was a particularly treacherous stretch of track where the train sometimes ended up stuck for quite some time, bringing the passengers to their destinations over 18 hours late!  The following three photographs show the old B & W mired in the snow in Bresee’s Cut.

Vintage Westport 6 Vintage Westport 5 Vintage Westport 4

Part One ~ Beginnings

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Westport, 1871 ~ from the Archives of The Rideau District Museum

Above is one of the earliest-known photographs of Westport, circa 1871.  With open fields in the distance and Fredenburgh’s Furniture Factory in the foreground, many of our current landmarks are absent in this old picture.  Prior to construction in (circa) 1876, the lot where W.H. Fredenburgh would later build his home on the northwest corner of Bedford and Main Streets stands vacant (currently The Cove Country Inn).  The year following this photograph (1872), Hiram Lockwood would construct his general store (currently the home of Lower Mountain Mercantile).

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The Red Mill, 1871 ~ from the Archives of The Rideau District Museum

A close-up view of Fredenburgh’s Furniture Factory (also known as The Red Mill) shows the industrious direction in which Westport was heading during the early years.  The Red Mill was a sash and door factory which also produced high-quality furniture.  Ideally situated along the shores of The Rideau, the goods produced at the factory could be easily shipped by boat to their destination.

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Westport circa 1890 ~ from the Archives of The Rideau District Museum

With Lockwood’s store and W.H. Fredenburgh’s home now in place, this photograph shows a more recognizable view of The Village as it starts to take shape in the early 1890’s.



















































58 Responses so far.

  1. Greg V. Egan says:

    Please enlighten me on the location of “Bresee’s Cut” on the old rail line to Westport. Grew up in the area but have never heard of this location. Thanks

  2. linda blair says:

    In the 50s the 5 and dime, my grandfather and I went to buy a few things. And the Westport fair every fall.

  3. Peri Mcquay says:

    This is a great idea. So worth doing.

  4. Ted. McClenny says:


    • christinejaneway says:

      That’s very true, Ted. As the curator at the Rideau District Museum, I hear so often how people wish they had listened to the stories that had to be shared by their relatives. When it starts to have a lot of meaning for them is after their loved ones are gone.

  5. Joy Fielder says:

    It certainly is wonderful to see all these old photos of Westport. Keep them coming please.

  6. Ryan McCann says:

    This is great, as 5th generation in Westport and I very interested in the history and the settlers. Thank you for curating.

  7. Susan Gander says:

    What a great project! Thanks for taking it on and making it available to us in this way!

  8. Rita Murphy says:

    Love seeing thee pictures.Thanks, Christine. Such a great idea. I will try to send you some. Cheers Rita Herlehy Murphy., Abbotsford B.C.

  9. Virginia Lingard nee Gale says:

    What fun ( and a lot of work) you must have doing this project.I am enjoying your pictures and commentary. Grew up in Westport.

  10. Deborah Hartley says:

    Wasn’t this Rail service also called the Jitney Jim?

    • christinejaneway says:

      Hi Deborah. “The Jitney” was the self-propelled diesel engine that carried passengers along the route. “Jitney Jim” was the son of Bedelia Lyons, and he earned his nick-name after his mother gave birth to him on the Jitney. She was on her way to the hospital in Brockville 🙂

  11. Judith Allen says:

    When I opened SEASONS of WESTPORT,, 8 1/2 years ago one of my first visitors was ROMA WING.
    We were delighted to listen to her reminisce about the time she and her husband ran a shop on the ground floor and raised her family upstairs.

    It was a very special moment when she took my hand and wished us well! It was a very good omen and blessing indeed!

    • christinejaneway says:

      Yes, Judith, Roma is quite the local landmark. She is a wonderful woman that always amazes me with her ability to remember things I did way back in kindergarten 40 years ago!

  12. Laraine Sipos (nee Gibson) says:

    Great project and read, thanks. My parents, Vance and Grace Gibson, purchased the Lockwood property and moved from Quebec City in 1949, to open the 5c to $1 business. My family and I are in town often, hope we can connect to share more info.

    • christinejaneway says:

      Hi Laraine! Your parents were wonderful people (I got to know them very well when I worked at Evergreen Golf Course many, many years ago). The “5 and Dime”, as we all used to call it was a great store.

  13. Kelly Lewis says:

    Christine, you are doing a fantastic job in celebrating Westport’s rich history! It helps me make connections to old photos I have of my Mom’s and the stories she has told. I really enjoy reading your stories and looking at the photos. Thank you so much!

    • christinejaneway says:

      Thanks so much, Kelly. We are very fortunate to have such a large collection of historic village photos. Nothing makes history come alive more effectively than old pictures from the time. When our book of Westport comes out next month, I think people will be amazed by the number of photos that they’ve likely never seen before.

  14. Peri McQuay says:

    Wondering what is known about “Indian Jake”, basket and chair maker, who used to live on Foley Mountain, and later in Westport.

    • christinejaneway says:

      A lot of Westportians (as well as The Museum) have some of the wonderful baskets made by Jake and some of his chairs are still in existence as well. He moved to the North Shore shortly after the Indian Department again ordered the local First Nations people to head to yet another reserve (this one was to be located near Alnwick, Ontario). Many decided that they would ignore this latest call of the government, and remained as independents locally.

  15. Dick Mulville says:

    Enjoying the pic and history my grandfather ran the livery stable and my maternal grandfather Dennis Carty worked on the BW railroad Dick. Mulville

    • christinejaneway says:

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying it, Dick. There are certainly strong local ties in the Mulville family 🙂

  16. Pauline says:

    where can you get a copy of the diary of Nell McCann?

    • christinejaneway says:

      Hi Pauline. When the museum re-opens on Thursday, May 26th, we will have copies available there. If you are going to be at the annual Antique Show the following weekend at the Community Centre, they will be there as well.

  17. Dorothy Grooms says:

    Thanks so much for all your hard work. I really enjoyed the pictures. Looking forward to next Friday.

    • christinejaneway says:

      This project has been a lot of fun and we’re so glad that everyone is enjoying it. There are so many fascinating people and stories in such a small town.

  18. Pauline says:

    Thank you for the reply, I know its a lot to ask, but it is my Mother-in-laws 90th birthday this Saturday and I was thinking it would of been a nice gift to give her. Would it be possible to make arrangements to pick one up this week. If not I will totally understand.

    Thank you

    • christinejaneway says:

      Sorry I didn’t see your message until now, Pauline. I just happen to have one copy left before we get the new batch ready to go. Since we aren’t open yet, I could leave it at Town Hall in case you are able to make it there before your mother-in-law’s birthday. It will be there on Friday the 12th (they are open from 8:30 to 4:30, I believe, and the cost is $10.00), if you happen to be in the vicinity.

      • Pauline says:

        Thank you , I will pick the copy up on Friday at the Town Hall. What great service!!!!

        • christinejaneway says:

          I dropped your diary off this afternoon, so you can pick it up anytime tomorrow. I hope your mother-in-law enjoys it!

  19. Michael Payne says:

    I wonder in the winter picture of the sled runners and horse tracks could have been made by my family members heading to Parish Road,the McCanns’ Also the picture of the car in the winter?

  20. Garry McCann says:

    Fascinating. My great grandfather Thomas Joseph (TJ) McCann owned the Alhambra Hotel (Westport Inn) with his wife and 9 children.

    • christinejaneway says:

      The Alhambra (Westport Inn) was a gorgeous place in its day. I can remember the day that they tore it down (of course, it wasn’t quite so beautiful by that point in time).

  21. Doris Merkley Schomberg says:

    Do you have any pictures of the old Scott’s Ballroom that was so popular in Westport?

    • christinejaneway says:

      Hi Doris. We have a few pictures of Scott’s Ballroom on our Facebook page ( ). One of a masquerade ball in the 60’s, one of a wedding that took place there, a poster for a New Year’s Eve dance, and a picture of the building just prior to demolition. If you aren’t on Facebook, let me know and I can email you the pictures.

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  23. Roy Perron says:

    My grandfather, James Campbell Maxwell Bilton was born and raised in Westport in the late 1890s-early 1900s. I don’t suppose that you would have any information pertaining to his family?

    • christinejaneway says:

      I have a little bit of information on a couple of different Biltons that might be related, perhaps. The old Baptist church was moved to the farm of W.S. Bilton after it had served its purpose as a place of worship in the village. A James Bilton of 1855, and a Wm. Bilton of 1856 and 1858 were mentioned in a book of court records from that time period in Westport. Also, a P.M. Bilton (carpenter) lived on Church Street in the early 1900’s. They might not be the correct Bilton, but you might be related? A James Maxwell Bilton was born in Westport on July 29, 1871. There are also several records that show Bilton spelled as Belton.

      • Roy Perron says:

        I’m sure I was probably related to these Biltons, especially the James Maxwell Bilton. My grandfather, James Campbell Maxwell Bilton was born in 1892.

  24. Nancy Jenkin says:

    This is a priceless gift that you are providing to us all.The extent of this challenging endeavor is overwhelming and truly appreciated by many.Westport will never be forgotten as it’s legacy is being carefully cared for,protected and presented to many generations past and present. Thank you Nancy Kelly Jenkin

  25. Wilma Mulville says:

    Great to see the old places & family names since my husbands Mom & Dad Osborne Declan Mulville & Kathleen far as we know they left in 1939 & moved to Detroit & then to Windsor On. Looking forward to seeing more early Westport history. Thanks we now live n Westport.

  26. KITTY KING says:

    As a child, my dad and his family visited the Big Rideau Lodge. Do you know anything about this place?

    • christinejaneway says:

      Hi Kitty. When we re-open the museum in the spring, I will take a look and see if I can find anything that might be of interest to you.

  27. Jean F. Yuill Edmonton Alberta says:

    Thanks for all the very interesting photos and information about Westport. My Grandmother Margaret Annetta Clark was born in Westport in 1892. I believe the old Mountview Hospital is mentioned as the previous residence of Joel Clark (my great-great grandfather) who operated a carding mill in Westport. Just wondering if this building still stands as it was mentioned as still being a private residence. My grandmother Margaret married Charles Yuill from Calabogie Ont who later became a member of parliament in Alberta. I hope to be able to visit Westport in the near future.

  28. jim Grant says:

    Every time I come home to visit I think of the great times I had growing up in Westport.Oh for the good old days.

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