Lennox and Addington Historical Society Papers and Records, Volume 1, 1909
Note.-These letters were written by an "old resident," and were published in The Beaver in 1873 and 1874. They appear in one of the Historical Society Scrap Books.
LETTER I. LETTER II. LETTER III. LETTER IV. LETTER V. LETTER VI. LETTER VII.
Having been recently favored with a letter from an old friend, who for many years was a prominent resident of the place, we have taken the liberty of inserting it in this chapter, for the benefit of your readers. It was with great interest that we perused it, and have not the least doubt but that it will be very interesting to all who read it.
I have experienced some difficulty in obtaining exact dates and statistics of the early settlement of our town, and trust that where errors have occurred due allowance will be made.
The following is taken from the letter above mentioned:
Mr. Oarfield was the name of the millwright in 1792.-John Grange, sr., supposed the farm he had the patent for, the lot which would have covered the present town proper and waterpower, but Judge Cartwright's patent described the falls as one of the boundaries, so John, although he tried, could not get possession of that waterpower. John, however, had a power on his farm, and improved it.-The trip-hammer and first "Appanee Mills" only, were burnt.-Old Mr. Kesler was very loud in his devotions, and in the summer, while the windows and doors of his domicile were open, was frequently heard to pray that the "Tivil might pe sent town to falls, neffer to return no more." He was a large, powerful man, and his sneeze, (always at noon), like a meridian gun, could be heard, it was said, at David Hess's, a long distance off. His residence stood where the Rennie cottage now stands, east of the bridge, and his Smith shop a little west, below the road. He once introduced a German friend, the first temperance lecturer in Napanee, and the first to use the old school house for religious purposes, who selected for his text, "Touch not, taste not, handle not," concluding his remarks with, "vat did I say? I don't say you shan't take none, but you must not take too much."-Mac rented the mills with the clearance, 1 3/4 acres of land, in 1817, at a yearly rental of L750 ($3,000) and taxes.-The first school was opened in a building opposite the "old red tavern," and among the boys of the day were Isaiah and John Huffman, Donald and James McPherson, Charles McGreer, John Hosey, George,Long, Thos. Grange, Davis Hawley, William Caton, Thomas Chamberlain (the late Dr.), Arch. McNeill, with others who have passed away.-Alexander Young, imported from Aberdeen by Mac., was the first teacher ; Mac also erected the old school house, about the year 1827. The nearest schools were at Jehiel Hawley's, about three miles east, and at Samuel McCoy's, about the same distance south, on the old Kingston road. -Among the first to fill the pulpit of the old school house, which was open to all denominations, were the Revs. John Booth and Radcliffe, of Kingston, Wesleyans; and, before the erection of the school house, by Rev. Mr. Jeffers in the dwelling house of old Mr. George Carscallen, and at McCoy's school house in North Fredericksburgh, and afterwards in a building erected by Mac, near the old mill, afterwards used by Perry's for manufacturing purposes.-Charles H. Morgan, of Edinburgh, then Deputy Postmaster, afterwards agent of the Bank of Montreal at Cobourg, and who recently died in Chicago, assisted John A. in "pitching the tunes," for John, poor boy, although displaying a bold front, had not much tune or ear for music, and to this day can hardly follow in "Scots wa hae," or "Auld Lang Syne." Although in after years he became a strong pillar of State, he never was an inside pillar of any church. He used occasionally to attend the early candle-light meetings, in the old school house, for the purpose of "seeing home" one of the beauties of those days, whose connexions were reputed to be the finest and most stately of Canada's fair daughters. He, one evening however, by accident or otherwise, offered her the wrong arm, which she at once observed and rashly mittened him on the spot. - She was afterwards wooed and won by a handsomer and, as she thought, a better man, and is now living at Hay Bay, twelve miles from Napanee, in peace and plenty.-The old school house, being for sometime unoccupied, became, a public nuisance for disreputables. It was taken down in 1860 and removed to Piety Hill, one of the finest sites in the County, a fit resting place for the first school house and place of worship erected on "Flour River".-From which can be seen old Bav Quinte, Long Reach, Captain John's Island, the Town of Mill Point, Prince Edward High Shore, and the County of Hastings. The writer remembers seeing a portion of the Massassaga Indians encamped and carousing on the first site of the previous named building, who afterwards removed to Grape Island and Rice Lake, and were Christianized by the Methodist missionaries.-The funeral sermon of Mr. Hamilton, father of old Mrs. McNeill, was preached in this building by the Rev. Job Deacons, attended by a large number of Roman Catholics, as well as Protestants. Mrs. McNeill first lived in the third concession of Richmond.- The first building in Clarksville was erected by the late B. Ham, Esq., and the second by an Irish tailor,, Pat. Phoney. Where the Crystal Palace now stands Was then a dense wood.-Old Mrs. Hosey is probably the oldest continuous inhabitant, while her son John is the oldest native born and continuous inhabitant now living in Napanee.-It is more than sixty years since the south end of the old Red Tavern was occupied by Archibald Campbell, since of "Bald Mountain," and who preceded Henry McLaren, one of a large family, still residents of Richmond. The latter was killed at this tavern by his horse "bolting" into the yard, and throwing him against the gatepost. The first wild beast show was held in the same yard shortly after, and the lions roared on smelling the human blood. A man named Guy had a "smithy" where the present big mill stands.-Of the "hosts" who were sent out to fight in '37, Fraser's company was said to have been the best officered, having the tallest, shortest and heaviest or largest round.-Fraser, Ramsay and McNeill, all gone; none, however, died on the battlefield.-The first agricultural society in Canada was formed in 1818, for the United Counties of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington, by the Hon. Messrs. Markland and McAuley, and Alex. Pringle, Esq., of Kingston, (the two latter being publishers and proprietors of the Kingston Chronicle, now the Chronicle and News), and Allan McPherson, Esq., of Napanee, now of Kingston, who is the only survivor, and is now the oldest Magistrate in Canada.
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