WILLIAM PITTMAN LETT.
"CITIZIEN" PRINTING AND PUBLISHING COMPANY, SPARKS STREET
As no book, small or great—gay or grave, witty or sublime, scientific, dramatic, poetic, tragic, historical, metaphysical, philosophical, polemical, wise or otherwise—can be considered complete, particularly at the beginning, without a preface; I have deemed it expedient that the contents of the following pages should be dignified by a few lines of an introductory nature.
It was not my intention when I commenced these reminiscences to publish them in their present form, neither had I any idea of their extending beyond a few hundred lines. That I have changed my mind is entirely owing to the solicitations of friends desirous of having them in compact shape, and not to any particular ambition of my own to write a book.
I do not pretend to present the reader with anything perfect in rhythm, polished in measure, or labored in style of construction. I have aimed at the truth, and imagine I have hit it.
My object has been, simply, to gather together as many of the names and incidents connected with Bytown's early history as memory alone could recal. My desire has been to rescue from oblivion—as far as my humble efforts could conduce to such a desirable end—what otherwise might possibly have been forgotten. In the contemplation of those names and incidents, I have often, recently, overlooked the fact that I now live in a City with nearly thirty thousand inhabitants, and that its name is Ottawa. It has, nevertheless, been to me a pleasant labor of love to walk in memory among the men and the habitations of byegone times.
Doubtless, of the inhabitants of dear old Bytown, there are some among the dead and others among the living, whose names may not be found in this little work. These broken links in the chain will be to me a source of regret. To the shades of the departed and to the ears of the living, whom I would not willingly have overlooked without
"A smile or a grasp of the hand passing on."
I shall only say, as an atonement for the unwitting lapses of an imperfect memory, in the language once used by a friend and countryman in my hearing, as he passed a very pretty girl: "Remember, my dear, that I do not pass you with my heart."
WILLIAM PITTMAN LETT.
OTTAWA, MARCH, 1873.
In '28, on Patrick's Day, At one p.m., there came this way From Richmond, in the dawn of spring, He who doth now the glories sing Of ancient Bytown, as 'twas then, A place of busy working men, Who handled barrows and pickaxes, Tamping irons and broadaxes, And paid no Corporation taxes; Who, without license onward carried All kinds of trade, but getting married; Stout, sinewy, and hardy chaps, Who'd take and pay back adverse raps, Nor ever think of such a thing As squaring off outside the ring, Those little disagreements, which Make wearers of the long robe rich. Such were the men, and such alone, Who quarried the vast piles of stone, Those mighty, ponderous, cut-stone blocks, With which Mackay built up the Locks. The road wound round the Barrack Hill, By the old Graveyard, calm and still; It would have sounded snobbish, very, To call it then a Cemetery— Crossed the Canal below the Bridge, And then struck up the rising ridge On Rideau Street, where Stewart's Store Stood in the good old days of yore; There William Stewart flourished then, A man among old Bytown's men; And there, Ben Gordon ruled the roast, Evoking many a hearty toast, And purchase from the throngs who came To buy cheap goods in friendship's name. Friend Ben, dates back a warm and true heart To days of Mackintosh and Stewart. Beside where Aumond and Barreille Their fate together erst did try, In the old "French Store," on whose card Imprimis was J. D. Bernard. "Grande Joe," still sturdy, stout and strong. Long be he so! Will o'er my song, Bend kindly, and perhaps may sigh, While rapidly o'er days gone by, He wanders back in memory. Aye, sigh, for when he look's around, How few, alas! can now be found, Who heard the shrill meridian sound Of Cameron's bugle from the hill, How few, alas! are living still— How few who saw in pride pass on The Sappers with their scarlet on, Their hackle plumes and scales of brass, Their stately tread as on they pass. I seem to see them through the shade Of years, in warlike pomp arrayed, Marching in splendid order past, Their bugles ringing on the blast, Their bayonets glittering in the sun, The vision fades, the dream is done. Below the Bridge, at least below, Where stands the Sappers' structure now, You had to pass in going down From Upper to the Lower Town; For, reader, then, no bridge was there, Where afterwards with wondrous care, And skilful hands; the Sappers made That arch which casts into the shade All other arches in the land, By which Canals and streams are span'd; The passing wayfarer sees nought But a stone bridge by labor wrought, The Poet's retrospective eye Searching the depths of memory, A monument to Colonel By, Beholds, enduring as each pile Which stands beside the Ancient Nile, As o'er the past my vision runs, Gazing on Bytown's elder sons, The portly Colonel I behold Plainly as in the days of old, Conjured before me at this hour By memory's undying power; Seated upon, his great black steed Of stately form and noble breed. A man who knew not how to flinch— A British soldier every inch. Courteous alike to low and high A gentleman was Colonel By! And did I write of lines three score About him, I could say no more. Howard and Thompson then kept store Down by "the Creek," almost next door, George Patterson must claim a line Among the men of auld lang syne; A man of very ancient fame, Who in old '27 came. One of the first firm doth remain, He is our worthy Chamberlain, Who ne'er in life's farce cut a dash On other people's errant cash; Who guards, as it is right well known, Better than e'er he did his own, The people's money, firm and sure, To the last cent, safe and secure. And opposite across the street, A friend or foe could always meet A man deserving hero's title, Uncompromising Watson Litle! A stern upholder of the law Who ne'er in justice found a flaw, With well charged blunderbuss in hand He asked not order or command, But sallied forth semper paratus To aid the Posse Comitatus! "Peace to his ashes!" many a score Of heads he smashed in days of yore! Where is the marble slab to show Where Watson Litle's dust lies low? Close by "the Creek," on the south side Of Rideau Street, did then reside John Cuzner, a British tar, For pluck renown'd both near and far! Nor would I willingly forget While tracing recollections met Of other days, and from the past Collecting memories fading fast, Of lines our earliest purveyor, John MacNaughton, the Surveyor, The only one who then was quite At home with the theodolite, And boxed the trembling compass well, Before the days of Robert Bell. A little further up the street, James Martin's name the eye did greet A round faced Caledonian, who Good eating and good drinking knew; And "Four-pence-half-penny" McKenzie Daily vended wolsey linsey, Next door to one of comic cheer Acknowledged the best auctioneer, That ever knock'd a bargain down, Or bidder if he chanced to frown; He set himself up in the end As Carleton's most worthy friend And by vox populi was sent To Parliament to represent The men of Carleton, one and all, In ancient Legislative Hall. And by "The Tiger" sleek and fat, Our old friend "Jimmy Johnston" sat, The corner stock'd with silks and ribbon, Was kept and owned by Miss Fitzgibbon. A good stand it has ever been For commerce in this busy scene; Stand oft of idler and of scorner, I mean the modern "Howell's Corner," Called after "Roderick of the sword," Once well known Chairman of School Board. And down below near Nicholas Street, A quiet man each morn you'd meet At ten a.m., his pathway wending, With steps to Ordnance office bending, A mild man and an unassuming, Health and good nature ever blooming Seem'd stamped upon his smiling face, Where time had scarcely left its trace; Semper idem let me beg Thy pardon, honest William Clegg! Nor must, although his bones are rotten, The ancient Mosgrove be forgotten, A man of kindly nature, he Has left a spot in memory While gazing on each vanish'd scene That still remains both fresh and green For when in heat of hurling bent The ball oft through his window went, He pitch'd it to us out again, And ask'd no payment for the pane. On Sussex Street, James Inglis flourish'd, A cannie Scot, and well he nourish'd A very thriving dry goods trade, And "piles" of good hard silver made, Almost amongst the forest trees, By furs from Aborigines. No "Hotel" then was in the town, "The British" in its old renown, Of our Hotels the ancient mother Had not one stone laid on another; Donald McArthur in a cavern Of wood sustained his ancient tavern, And there the best of cheer was found Within old Bytown's classic ground; And now I'll close my roll of fame With a most well-remember'd name, A man of dignity supreme Rises to view in memory's dream, Ultra in Toryism's tariff, Was Simon Fraser, Carleton's Sheriff, Personified by the third vowel, Forerunner of W.F. Powell, A high and most important man In the renown'd old Fraser Clan, Who well had worn the Highland tartan, For he was bold as any Spartan, And did his duty mildly, gravely, And wore the sword and cocked hat bravely.
Come, now, my gentle Muse, once more, Come with me to the days of yore, And let us wake, with friendly hand The memories of that distant land, The past; and while thy minstrel weaves A chaplet from the Sybil leaves Of recollection—let the light Of truth upon his lines be bright. May he with reverential tread Approach the dwellings of the dead, Seeking for some sweet flower of good Within their solemn solitude: And if he finds in fadeless bloom Around some well remember'd tomb, Some cherish'd record of the past Which has defied time's rudes blast, And down futurity's deep vale Shed fragrance on the passing gale, Love's labor, then, the task will be, My gentle Muse, for thee and me. 'Mongst those of old remember'd well, John Wade doth in my memory dwell, A wit of most undoubted feather— A mighty advocate of leather— A solemn man too, when required. With healing instincts deeply fired, He with claw-instrument could draw Teeth deftly from an aching jaw, And ready was his lancet too When nothing short of blood would do; Relieved he many a racking pain, When shall we see his like again? And William Tormey, stern and straight, A man who came ere '28, Chief of the men who kept the fire on And hammer'd the strong bands of iron, Which first securely bound together The old lock gates through wind and weather, The old Town Council minutes bear The record that his name is there. And Thomas Hanly, loud the praise I gave him in my early days For bread, that Eve might tempted be To eat, had it grown on that tree, On which hung the forbidden fruit Whose seed gave earth's ills their sad root. Friend Tom dealt in the rising leaven In the old days of '27, With "Jemmy Lang," an ancient Scot, Who ne'er the barley bree forgot; An honest, simple man was he As ever loved good company; And Tom McDermott, while I twine The names of yore in song of mine, Can I forget a name like thine? Ah, no! although thine ashes rest Beneath our common mother's breast, No name more spotless doth engage My muse, or grace my tuneful page. Stern Matthew Connell, fiery Celt, Below the present Bywash dwelt, Beside John Cowan, o'er whose grave The grass of '32 did wave. No man got in a passion faster Than did old Bytown's first postmaster; Yet was he a most upright man, And well the old machinery "ran" When mail bags came on horse's back Before we had a railway track, And their arrival on each morn Was signall'd by an old tin horn. Peace to his shade! in '32 The cholera Matthew Connell slew. Kind reader, let me pass awhile, Beside the "Bywash," deem'd so vile, Then called "the Creek"—though now the pest— The festering miasmatic nest Of Boards of Health, who dread infection— My very heart's sincere affection Clings fondly to that old creek still; For oft in boyhood's joyous thrill, O'er its ice-bosom in wild play I chased the ball in youth's bright day. With young companions loved and dear! How few of such, alas! are here To listen to the bye-gone story Of the old Creek's vanish'd glory! 'Twixt "wooden lock" and Rideau Street, Young Bytown oft was wont to meet— To struggle in the "shinny game;" Ah! then it was a place of fame, Full sixty feet from shore to shore, While now it measures scarce a score; Modern improvement has prevail'd— Its fair proportions are curtail'd; Its banks filled in, more space to gain. Its stream, by many a filthy drain, Which once was rapid, always clear, Changed into color worse than beer, To cool and icy scowling scan, Of rigid, total abstinence man. Gone is its fair renown of yore, It's schoolboy battles all are o'er, Which made it then a "Campo Bello" For many an embryo daring fellow— Too young to know what men of sense Have called the art of self-defence; There buttons flew, from stitching riven, Black eyes and bloody noses given— Even conflicts national took place, Among old Bytown's youthful race. Why not? for children bigger grown I rave sometimes down the gauntlet thrown For cause as small, and launch'd afar The fierce and fiery bolts of war, Simply to find out which was best. Caesar or Pompey by the test. In those past combats "rich and rare" Luke Cuzner always had his share. For Luke in days of auld lang syne Did most pugnaciously incline, Never to challenge slack or slow, And never stain'd by "coward's blow." The Joyces too, Mick, John and Walter, In battle's path did seldom falter, But "Jimmy," in those days of grace Held a peacemaker's blessed place, Nor has he wander'd far astray From the same calm and tranquil way. The belt was worn by any one Who had the latest battle won, 'Till Simon Murphy's springing bound Lit on that ancient battle ground, And from that hour he was King Of our young pugilistic ring! But here I'd like to pause a minute And go to Hull—there's something in it That to the hour of life's December I shall endeavor to remember. The old "Columbian" schoolhouse, where In childhood's dawn I did repair; It was a famous strict old school Sway'd by the ancient birchen rule, The place where youthful ignorance brought us, The spot where famed James Agnew taught us; A Scot was he of good condition, A man of nerve and erudition, A strict disciplinarian, who Knew well what any boy could do, And woe to him who did not do it For he got certain cause to rue it. No sinner ever dreaded Charon, Nor was the mighty rod of Aaron, By ancient Egypt's magic men, In Pharoah's old despotic reign, More feared as symbol of a God Than was by us James Agnew's rod; With it he batter'd arithmetic, Lore practical and theoretic Latin too, and English grammar Into your head, a perfect "crammar," Was Agnew's most persuasive rod, Nor less his magisterial nod. How would such stern tuition suit In our Collegiate Institute? Amongst the unforgotten few Who rise to memory's magic view, While winging on her backward flight, My schoolfellow, Alonzo Wright, Appears a lad of slender frame, I cannot say he's still the same, Except in soul, for that sublime Has soar'd above the touch of time, And in "immortal youth" appears, Unchanged by circumstance or years, A good fellow, this was his name At school, methinks he's still the same. May he give powers of swift volition To all who offer opposition To him in the approaching "scrimmage," For what is but a brazen image At best, a people's approbation, Which sometimes with the situation, Changes as egg in hand of wizard, Or color in chameleon lizard. There too, are Job and David Moore, Bill Northgraves mentioned not before, Who in the little school-house red On early education fed. And Thomas Curtis Brigham, too, Lennox and Christopher in view, Arise before my sight, Strongly defined in memory's light, And Wright both Ruggles and Tiberias, And Wyman who was seldom serious, Poor fellow! in life's manly bloom He slept in an untimely tomb. Time fails me, or I fain would tell Of many more remembered well, But end I here my present strain Till memory wakes it up again.
I cross the Ottawa once more. From Hull again to Bytown's shore. And for a moment I behold The river as it was of old, Swelling, majestic in its pride, A glorious stream from side to side! A "Grand River" was Ottawa then, The pride of ancient lumbermen, By slabs and sawdust undefiled. The joy of nature's dusky child, Who's matchless, perfect bark canoe Oft o'er its crystal bosom flew— Not bridged all o'er like shaking bogs By endless booms of dirty logs, Which to the thrifty and the wise Are doubtless marks of enterprise, And evidences too of health, Of pocket and commercial wealth, Yet sadly, sometimes out of place, And serious blots on Nature's face. What would big Indian "Clouthier" say— The red-skinn'd Samson could he stray From the happy hunting ground away— Could he behold the stream to-day— The great Kah-nah-jo, where the God Of the Algonquins used to nod In dreamy slumber 'mid the smoke Which from the mighty cataract broke, Hemm'd in by sawmills, booms and piers— The features of a thousand years Of beauty ruthlessly defaced— The landmarks of the past displaced, And little left to tell the story Of Ottawa's departed glory; But water running where it ran When the red deer chase began. 'Twould startle even Philemon Wright With all his wisdom and foresight. Could he arise, good man of old, And modern Ottawa behold, He'd feel himself a stranger too— 'Mid scenes of wonder strange and new— In Hull, of little worth for tillage, The spot on which he built his village. Return I now, this slight digression Was worth the time, I've an impression; Clouthier, the Indian, was a giant, And "Squire Wright," strong, self-reliant, Was he who o'er the border came And gave to Hull its ancient fame; A man of enterprise and spirit Who in this history well doth merit, Such place of prominence as can Be given to such a stirring man. On the way back I see the ground Where ferrying Odium was found, And afterwards, next in progression, Friend John Bedard came in possession, And certainly much money made By a successful carrying trade. The place seems alter'd, art and skill Have built up Wright and Batson's mill At the old wharf, or near at hand, Where the first steamer used to land, Before even that small craft could ride At any wharf on Bytown's side. And not far off, in days of yore A cottage stood—'tis there no more, And if there ever was a spot Where friend and foe a welcome got— Where generous hospitality Presided o'er the banquet free, And friendship's hand for rich and poor Was ever opening the door— That spot was where that cottage stood, Embowered in the cedar wood, And he who there resided with An open heart, was old Ralph Smith! In memory I behold him now, With sparkling eye and lofty brow, And round the table amply spread, Are Patton, Henry, Ralph and Ned, And Dolly—blessed be her shade! Who, such nice things for schoolboys made, And made them feel just as no other On earth could do except their mother. But I must hurry, or I own, I ne'er shall reach the Upper Town, For there I'll find an ancient throng To link together in my song, And I shall wake them up ere long. 'Mongst those of olden time who came Was one whose engineering fame Was brilliant—let none call be braggart While speaking thus of John MacTaggart, A genius of the highest grade In that most scientific trade, Who plann'd with wise, consummate skill, Even from the lock-gates lowest sill To Kingston Mills, the undertaking Which cost such time and cash in making, Rideau Canal, the work of years, And England's Royal Engineers. Brother of Isaac, once known hero As Corporation Engineer, Or Street Surveyor in that time When Ottawa's fur was not so prime, Whom well of old the writer knew, And as he comes up for review— Like volume taken from the shelf— He harm'd no one but himself, Is all his bitterest foe can say Of Isaac who has passed away. And James Fitzgibbon, where is he? Beneath the weeping willow tree, Retired, quiet-going man Who ne'er his head 'gainst faction ran. And close upon his fading track I see the shadow of James Black, Who once on Rideau Street kept store In the remember'd days of yore, A stirring, active man was he, Genteel, polite to a degree, That customers were always fain Who saw him once to call again; His wife in the old churchyard lay— Her epitaph I know to-day. And there stands Thomas Burrows, too, As he appeared before my view, Leaning upon his garden gate Beside the Creek in '28; He held of trust, an office high Under the reign of Colonel By. And Tom McDonald, as we then Were wont to call the best of men; A man of spirit rare was he Who never had an enemy. And there, too, Captain Victor goes With most aristocratic nose, And manners haughty with the ring Of ton when George the Fourth was king. And Lieut. Pooley, for whose skill The "Gully" bridge is named so still, Ask Lyman Perkins, if you doubt it, And he will tell you all about it. And Dr. Tuthill, who with skill Could cure more readily than kill, Physic'd, emetic'd, too, and clyster'd, And con amore, bled and blister'd, In the old Hospital, which stood Unscathed by tempest, fire, or flood, For fifty years, to be down cast, By chance, or carelessness, at last, Theme for conjecture, most prolific, Another phase of the Pacific Railway which will cause a broil, Unless 'tis built on British soil! And there, too, Joseph Coombs was found, With solemn step his march around Among the patients, pacing slowly— Disciple of the meek and lowly, Who afterwards oft turned the key On many a goodly company. In that strong work of mason's trowel, Ruled now by Alexander Powell. And William Addison, no more— As trim a soldier as e'er wore The uniform, or bravely bore His head erect, with step as light As wings that touch the air in flight. Well had he won and kept from harm The honor'd stripes upon his arm. Such men as he have been the stay Of Britain in her darkest day! And Sergeant Johnston who, with skill, The raw and awkward squad could drill— A warrior in air and tone, Who had his country service done— Straight as a ramrod, and his might Of voice would Lambkin's soul delight. And brave John Murphy—champion John! I can't forget as I pass on. As fine a fellow as e'er wore The scarlet coat in days of yore. With upright form of manliest grace, With wondrous beauty in his face, And perfect symmetry of limb; Appollo might have envied him! And then he was as brave and true As e'er the sword or bayonet drew, Full many a battle did he fight, His injured comrade's wrongs to right; For well he knew each mood and tense Of the old art of self-defence; And woe to him who dared a fling With bold John Murphy in the ring. There many a pugilistic martyr Met his match and caught a Tartar.
Near where the George Street market stood Lived William Northgraves, then a good And skilful watch-maker, who's chime Did regulate the march of time, And Arthur Hopper, sporting blade, Was in the same time serving trade, Though guiltless of the modern tricks Of time serving in politics; He made gold rings for bridal matches, As well as cleaned and mended watches. And last of old watchmakers three, I mention mild Maurice Dupuis, Who's even tenor ne'er did vary From the upright and exemplary, At Corcoran's corner, now the stand For carters, very near at hand, Dwelt one who's unforgotten name Is worthy of poetic fame; With scientific sleight he bled, And then anatomized the dead. With hand so wonderfully skill'd, Victims delighted to be killed, Came willingly to yield up life, An offering to Tom Hickey's knife; So high his sense of honor ran, The butcher in the gentleman Merged so completely, you'd be lost, Which in him to admire the most; By ancient poets it was sung Those whom the gods love all die young, Tom Hickey's early death did prove That those die young whom all men love. I must not here omit the name Of Heubach from my roll of fame, He passes under memory's scan A simple minded honest man, With manners quiet, mild and bland, An emigrant from fatherland. And Joseph Nadeau, far and near Famed 'mongst the boys for good La Tir And old John Cochran stern and tall, Immoveable as a stone wall! Staunch to his principles stood he, No matter what the cost might be; Oh! for a few of his old stamp, To trim with fire the waning lamp! And Louis Grison, worthy man, In "Maville's village," first began His little trade, which wider spread As ancient Bytown went ahead. Two rows of houses built of wood, Near Enoch Walkley's brewery stood With narrow little street between, This was the village that I mean. Then William Graham kept the peace Of all the town with perfect ease; Potato whiskey then was cheap, And we had little peace to keep. Such monstrous practice was unknown As kicking when a man was down, Though many a stunning blow was felt, None ever struck below the belt; The ring was form'd, and fair play Reign'd without challenge at each fray, And never yet, that I could hear, Did constable e'er interfere, Or even think that amongst crimes Rank'd this brave pastime of old times. Then Martin Hennessy was young, A Hercules with sinews strung; You might as well an anvil "lick," Or stand against a horse's kick And fear not shattered rib or jaw As risk a smash from Martin's paw. I've seen him in the days of yore His fist crash through a panel door. Martin soon ran his wild race out, For "Doctor" Whitney with a "clout" Of a great bludgeon laid him out Heady for post mortem and bier, Thus ended Martin's rough career. Ah! those were happy halcyon days, Well worthy of immortal lays. Here I must summon from the band Of the departed shadowy land George Parsons, and his name entwine In this poetic wreath of mine. Beside the creek his name I meet On the west side of William street, Twas called "the lane," ere legislation Gave it its present designation; Admirers of steeds fleet and game Will not forget George Parson's name. And I would be worse than a Turk, Did I forget George Robert Burke, A man who mingled not in strife, Nor ever did in all his life An act to cause a blush of shame On any face that bears his name! Nor can I Archie Foster pass, Too soon departed, too, alas! A man of feelings warm and kind— A friend who never left behind A friendly act, if in his power To act the friend in trouble's hour, Ah! 'twas a melancholy day When Archie Foster passed away. And now a man with learning's grace And mildness pictured in his face Stands forth in retrospection's ray As if it was but yesterday, It is the good Hugh Hagan's shade Who's precepts many a scholar made. Nor would my reminiscent eye While scanning erudition's sky, Fail to perceive through cloud and storm Friend James Maloney's stately form— A fixed star in the Teacher's heaven Since the old days of '27, When learning's every art and rule, In the old Mathematic School, According to education laws He taught—and ne'er forget the "taws." The handle was just two feet long, And well he trounced the noisy throng! At the west border of the swamp Where cedars grew mid mosses damp, Just at the corner where to-day Ben Huckell doth his name display, In other days dwelt William May, A member of the old "Alliance" Which easily put at defiance The conflagrations that were seen "Like Angel's visits far between," For Bytown then was almost free From an Insurance Company! Poor fellow! by a sudden stroke Death's gloomy shadow o'er him broke, Upon that well remembered day— When the old town was wild and gay. From verdant vale to sunny ridge, On which the new Suspension Bridge Was opened—and crowds congregated To see it then "inaugurated." To use a word from Uncle Sam, The concourse was a perfect jam. 'Twas built by Alexander Christie, From the land of mountains misty; And though the whirlwind and the storm For years have revelled on its form— Though ponderous loads for many a year Have passed it o'er from from far and near, It stands in strength unshaken still, A monument of art and skill; Long may the builder dash the tide Of Jordan's swelling surge aside; And when the lot of all mankind Overtakes him, may he safely find A bridge across to Canaan's shore, To pass in peace death's valley o'er. While rambling backwards up life's hill, I meet the stern Paul Joseph Gill, A man with much tuition fraught, Who youth at the old creek side taught, Where Thomas Dowsley doth display, His maps of land for sale to-day. Paul Joseph Gill could with a frown Keep juvenile offenders down; His ruler flat I can't forget, My fingers seem to tingle yet, As recollection o'er me brings That ruler amongst other things, Which come around me link by link, While of the vanished past I think. John Frost, too, rises up before My vision of the time that's o'er; He built upon foundation damp, In Lower Town's great cedar swamp, Which stretched from Sussex Street to where That engineering structure fair— The fond-admiring eye doth greet, Spanning the stream at Ottawa Street. And "Sandy" Graham, strange it is, That I thus far his name should miss, While tracing from the scenes gone by Each unforgotten memory Sandy was, aye, a joyous blade, And many a good stroke of trade He with commercial wisdom made, In other times when he was young, And Yankee silver round was flung With lavish hand by low and high In the good days of Colonel By. And William Hunton, who came late, If I am right, in '28, And many a good quart of whiskey, To make the old Bytonians frisky— And many a pound of Twankay tea And Muscovado vended he, For Howard and Thompson in the time When cash was plenty and trade prime. Friend Tom a little later came, A youth then of quite slender frame. In form he's something still the same— Though time has taken from his heel The spring it used of old to feel. And streaked his locks with silver, too, Which long withstood all time could do, Yet in the dream that's passed away I see Tom Hunton of to-day.
And John McGraves, the chandler, why Could I so long have passed him by? By accident I've turned a leaf Which brings him out in bold relief A plain and unassuming man Was John; his candles never ran. And many in this ancient place Owed him a debt for a clean face. William Kipp, too, doth memory greet, In a small shop on Rideau Street, A man of gentlemanly kind, With a well-cultivated mind; And Commissary Strachan, too, And Oriel, who had much to do Paying the debts of Waterloo, And many another battle field Where Britons fought and did not yield. And old John Ring, "good gracious me!" I had almost forgotten thee— Thou "Silky" John of other years, Gone from this dreary vale of tears, A passing shade, and more's the pity, For thou wert ever gay and witty. And Charles Baines, an old time lawyer, Stood here professional top sawyer; He owned a bull dog, arrant thief! Who plundered Agar Yielding's beef; And when friend Yielding sought for law, To deal with canine of such maw, "Why, there is just one simple way," Said Charley, "Make the owner pay;" "I thank you for your judgment brief," Said Agar, "pay me for the beef." "Seven and sixpence worth of prog, Was bolted by your big bull dog." "All right," said Charley, like a flash, And quickly handed o'er the cash; But, as friend Yielding turned to go, "Come back," said Charley, "for you owe Just seven and sixpence for advice, So hand it over in a trice." While on the past I now reflect, I well and clearly recollect John Wilson, who kept office here, And afterwards a Judge austere Of the Queen's Bench or Common Pleas, Sat with much dignity and ease. 'Tis past, I shall not here relate Young Robert Lyon's luckless fate, Nor shall I stir the tomb and tell Why he an early victim fell At folly's shrine, as he who bends A martyr to ill-judging friends, Will always fall; but end I here This record of his short career. Honor, indeed! thy shrine appears, Surrounded by a sea of tears. George Shouldice is a man of old, Henry was too, who 'neath the mould Lies slumbering in solemn rest— He many a pompous body drest With garments fine and quite exotic, When fashion was not so despotic. And Charles Friel, an early man With Bytown's history began, A man of ready tongue and wit, A politician who could hit And sway with eloquence the throng, Which shouts alike for right or wrong. Father of Henry James, who died. Just as his eye of hope descried The goal he labored to attain— The honors he had fought to gain. Tis no uncommon thing to find A little man with full grown mind: And 'mongst those who have gone to rest— Who of their chances made the best In life's o'er turning changing reel, I freely rank Henry J. Friel. And Daniel Fisher, too, is gone, Of Scotia's children he was one Who clothed the naked in his day— That is, the naked who could pay. I have a friendly feeling yet For him, for I can ne'er forget The jacket blue which first I wore In the old cherished days of yore, That jacket which I don'd with pride. Caused me to feel a man beside The urchin in the pinafore Which I had just arisen o'er; In Daniel Fisher's shop 'twas made— Headquarters of the fig-leaf trade.— In that most ancient grand device Which had its rise in Paradise. I see as on I hurry past, Pat Duggan, who blew vulcan's blast, And friend Kehoe, who with hand neat Fitted the shoes to horse's feet; And John McGivern, the baker, And Robert Wanless, harness-maker; And William Atkins, who is still Holding his own upon the hill Of life, though slowly wending Towards the goal that has no ending; And Silas Burpee, pious man, Who in the early ages ran With drums and belts and wheels complete A turning mill on old York Street— Upon the very spot, now thought of Where gander's head George Shouldice shot off, With an old smooth-bore, but would not That day attempt a second shot; 'Twas wise of George, a second shot Might have consigned to luckless pot, His marksman's name, and half a shilling, His renown in the art of killing. It was a stirring place of trade Where famous spinning tops were made. And splendid water power was found Where now there's nought but solid ground, Covered with numerous loads of wood, A costly item bad or good. In modern times—of old it stood, Maple at ninety cents a cord, Just four and six-pence, by my word! And Julius Burpee, gone! well, well! He kept the old Rideau Hotel, Where man and beast could get the best And truly find the traveller's rest. Julius still might living be Were it not for the "barley bree." And Edward Darcey too, appears. And Jeffry Nolan, who in years Gone by, was stout and strong in fight. And in the conflict always right, Before the days when frolic's King McDougall "made Dungarven ring!" Frank's arm then, as mine, was strong, None but himself in all the throng So far the ponderous sledge could hurl, Until at last with dexterous whirl, "The school master" defiant came And walked off champion of the game. From first to last I've found him true, McDougal ciamar tha sibhn dieugh? And Charles Sparrow, where, oh, where Is he who once was Bytown's Mayor, Ere, J.B. Turgeon took the chair? Lost 'mid the overwhelming blaze Of changes new; gone from the gaze Of public life, like many a man Who, once for public honors ran. And George and Robert Lang are gone, Men of intelligence and tone, Who held positions marked and high In Bytown's old society. Nor has amongst the ancient few Captain McKinnon from my view— Though long a tenant of the tomb— Faded into oblivion's gloom. If Roderick Stewart now was near, He'd pour into my listening ear A tale I would delight to hear, Of other men of other times, Who's names may have escaped my rhymes. The Captain lived, a man discreet, Near where the ancient arch did meet O'er famous little Sussex Street, For there a tragedy took place Which here the muse with truth shall trace. A boy stood near that arch of old Upon a wintry day—'twas cold, Tired of sleighing down the hill, He for a moment there stood still, That boy sits now with pen in hand, From memory's photographic land Painting in colors fair and true The vanished scenes which once he knew. As thus he rested taking breath, He little dreamed of blood or death. Up Rideau Street a man there came, Charles McStravick was his name. A tall, lithe, active fellow, he, As in a thousand you could see; A white blanket capote he wore, And jauntily himself he bore, He stepped beneath the arch, and then Rushed at him fiercely two strong men. Both with surprise and dread were scan'd. One had a loaded whip in hand, The other a short bludgeon bore, And in a moment, all was o'er! Three blows, a crash, a stream of blood. All of the victim bad or good In life, was in an instant crushed To dust—off the assailants rushed, And none can tell from then 'till now The hands that laid McStravick low, Nor does he who relates the story Know more of that occurrence gory My history would be faithless here Did "Happy Jimmy" not appear, An innocent good natured soul As ever loved the flowing bowl— An institution of the day That like himself hath passed away, Was "Happy Jimmy," he who made A vagrant's life a merry trade.
And now, kind reader, I behold Before me, as in days of old, Bold Paddy Whelan, Wexford Paddy Surely of noisy men the daddy; A man of most Herculean form, Who roamed through sunshine and through storm, And sounded loud in other days His notes in Hamnett Pinhey's praise— And well he might sing with loud swell, "The Lamb of March" deserved it well! A man of learning, wit, and sense, No shallow thing of vain pretence, The true stamp of the current guinea Bore March's Father, Hamnett Pinhey. To "Muddy Little York" went he, The Independent and the Free To represent with power effective Amid the wisdom most collective, In the old days of Compact Rule Ere Grittism yet had gone to school; Dalhousie District's Archives too, Can show what he was wont to do. Paddy, though not of genus ferae, Was yet a queer lusus naturae; His vital organs played beneath A shield of solid bone 'till death, Without a yielding space between, Where ribs in other men are seen, Though not a feathered bird, his toes Were web'd as well the writer knows, And joined in one in style most rare His molars and incisors were; His voice, when at its loudest swell, Was like a railway whistle's yell; In stature he was six feet tall, So there is Paddy for you all! But strike I now a strain sublime, A touch heroic into rhyme. As memory doth with truth uncoil The history of old Bob Boyle, A British soldier, bold and free, Of the old Ninety-Ninth was he, Who bravely fought and 'scaped from harm, At Lundy's Lane and Crysler's Farm, And gallantly his bayonet bore, At Fort Niagara, and the shore Of Sackett's Harbor trod of yore, When "Uncle Sam," our friend and brother, Or cousin, kicked up such a "bother" In 1812, and tried In vain to lower Britain's pride, By cutting from her parent side, By a Caesarean operation, The proudest offspring of the nation! The Union Jack, thank heaven! still Floats proudly over vale and hill, Of this Dominion grand of ours; And shattered be the vital powers, By fatal stroke, like that which slew, Sennacherib's Assyrian crew, Of him who's traitor hand shall dare To furl one fold that flutters there! And palsied be the traitor tongue, And from its root uptorn and wrung, That dares to utter but one word To weaken the soul-anchored cord, Which binds Canadians heart and hand In love to the old Mother Land! Bob Boyle, "I thank thee" that thy name Hath stirred the patriotic flame, In days like these, when treason's veil Drops when passions fierce assail, And leaves exposed to public view The traitor double-dyed in hue! Hear, spawn of disaffection's thrall! Rouge, Annexationist and all This—ere the Union Jack shall fall, The path of treason red with blood Shall sink beneath a crimson flood, While o'er it from the highest crag, Will wave the glorious meteor flag! I've wandered somewhat from my track, But quietly I now come back; Into my train of thought there blew A passing spark, away it flew, And I was gone before I knew— Like nitro-glycerine it sprung, And from the pathway I was flung. Yet no uncertain sound give I, I risk it as a prophecy. By George Street north, I pass and see There Pierre Desloges, a man was he, But little known beyond the spot Where first he built his little cot. And Alexander Ethier too, A carpenter, both good and true Beside him dwelt, where busy feet, Pass onward to Dalhousie Street. And now I think it passing strange That in wild fancy's flitting range I have not seen and mark'd before John Litle standing at his door— In Sussex Street where erst, kept he An Inn of quite a good degree Of excellence in the old time Which has evoked this lengthy rhyme, John was a man of sturdy frame As any that hath borne his name. Even Brave Bob Elliot would delight His prowess to behold in fight; And Robert Elliott was not slow To give or to resent a blow In other days, when not as now. The olive branch of peace is seen Between the orange and the green. And Richard Stethem in the haze Of Bytown's distant early days Before my vision doth appear, To claim his right of entry here. And Robert Stethem, too, his brother, Of village denizens another; John Miller too, of leather fame, Who from the County Wexford came, And first made here such boots and shoes As fashion could not now refuse In this fastidious age to take And wear them for their matchless make. And how have I not had before James Anderson, a man of yore, Who pitched his tent in days gone by 'Mong Bytown's ancient company, An honest hearted jovial Scot As e'er in exile cast his lot 'Mongst those who pioneered the track Down which my memory's muse looks back. And now as I stretch forth my hand In search of one from Paddy's land, A man of wit and humour rare, I touch him still and find him there. From Erin, scarcely from Armagh, To Carleton came Denis McGrath, Loud has his North Hibernian tongue Upon the Byward market rung For six and thirty years; in truth, I've known him since the days of youth, John Litle can my tale review Of Denis, he will find it true. And John Macdonald, of the Isles, With face clad in perennial smiles, Knight of the knock-down hammer, he Claims passing notice now from me— A well read man, for truth to tell, He studied Burns and Byron well; And which two of the wizard few Have touched with tuneful hand so true. The throbbing pulses of the soul, Which vibrate 'neath their wild control. Friend John Macdonald, here's my hand, Thou relic of the vanished land! Michael McBean I can't pass by, He kept of old a grocery— Just opposite McDougal's gate, Where the big auger hangs in state. Richard McCann, too, did abide In peace the Sappers' Bridge beside, In house we ne'er shall see again, Once tenanted by Andrew Main— A cannie, sober, honest Scot, Was Andrew Main—an humble lot, With patient industry he bore, Till fortune smiled, and then a store He opened, in extensive way, Where William Fingland keeps to-day. Peter A. Egleson to boot, The young idea how to shoot, On George Street north, in days gone by Taught in his own academy; At length the birch he threw aside, And floated proudly on the tide Of commerce—and his name appears Where it was found in other years. Next Richard Thomas comes to view, And Nat and Jonas Barry too, All plasterers of the old time Who made their bread by sand and lime. Joachim Valiquette, a baker, And Joseph Valiquette, shoemaker, A votary of the rod and line When summer evenings are fine, He like a nightingale can sing A holy strain—as well as bring From well known spot—a goodly string Of fish upon a Thursday night That Friday may be kept all right. Gone is our friend Peter Riel Whom old Bytonians once knew well; An innocent good man was he, Given sometimes to a little spree; Once member of the Council here, He gave forth many a loyal cheer, And sat triumphal carriage on, In state with Queen Victoria's Son, When Albert Edward came this way A royal visit here to pay. My song complete would not appear Unless "the Major's" name were here; His regimental number now I can't recall—but this I know, He bravely marched with battle brand Among the guardians of the land, Ready alike to fall or stand As duty's accents gave command; Far might yon seek, and find not then A soul more genial amongst men, A lot unmarked by mortal ills Is all I wish to Major Wills.
Though strictly not of Bytown fame, I can't forget John Egan's name, It well deserves what I can give, To make it unforgotten live; For 'mongst the sons of enterprise, Who rose with Bytown's early rise, When "Norway Pine" was number one, John Egan stands almost alone— The king of the Grand River, then The Wellington of lumber men A man of boundless energy, And vast capacity was he, All difficulties had to fly, And cower before his dauntless eye! Right well may Aylmer mourn and boast The enterprising son she lost, Upon the day when from earth's toil He "shuffled off the mortal coil." And N.H. Baird, of old was here, A scientific engineer; And Finland, the contractor, who With coach and four the streets drove through, The grandest carriage of the kind E'er seen in Bytown—with behind— In gorgeous and artistic glare, A lion and an eagle—where Is friend Perkins? he can still Remember that old eagle's bill. And Captain Andrew Wilson, O! I've got an old sea lion now, Who saw the flash of Nelson's eye, Amid the smoke of victory, Both at Trafalgar and the Nile. Aye, saw the hero's dying smile Of triumph, when his cruise was o'er, And to the vast eternal shore, Launched forth by death's o'erwhelming gale His gallant spirit spread its sail! O'er flowing bowl with might and main, He fought his battle's o'er again, Talked of chain shot, and "Stinkpot's" stench, And hated cordially the French, Whom he believed were but created To be by sailors killed and hated What e'er he was, what passage o'er, He took to the mysterious shore, Old Charon never cleft the wave. Yet with a soul more true and brave! And Baptiste Homier, when alive, I think had children twenty-five, Presided o'er a tavern neat, On the south side of Rideau street. A place well known both near and far, And there John Johnston kept the bar, Related backward up the stream, To him who had the lucky dream; With the old Chief, who in "a fix" Was found before old '76. Colonial history has told The story in the days of old. The Indian dreamed, the General lost His uniform, but to his cost The wily chieftain quickly found The General's dream, bought solid ground, And Martin, James, and Darby Keally From the green land of the "Shillaly." Richard Fitzsimmons, too, was found, The Paganini of sweet sound In days gone by, with memories big, And well he danced an Irish jig. Most incomplete would be my tale, Did I not draw aside the veil, And bring from distant vistas through, The ancient fiddler into view. While strolling downward by the locks, One of those reminiscent knocks I felt, which brought my eye before Another of the men of yore; I gazed, as the dim shadow neared, And then before my sight appeared The recollection of a name, 'Twas Commissary Ashworth came. And not far off, with business look And pen in hand o'er ponderous book, I see another friend of youth Noted for probity and truth; 'Tis Thomas Donelly, worthy man! Whom now with memory's eye I scan. Still as the mist of memory clears, I meet the men of other years; Another page I now unfold, And Captain Bolton I behold, Or Major Bolton, if you will, Who lived upon the "Major's Hill," Which got his rank and bears it still. It used to be in days gone by, "The Colonel's Hill," a rank more high, And worthy of the ancient trees, Whose foliage rustled in the breeze, Where pigeons, in their annual flight, Were wont by thousands to alight, O! many a fusilade I've seen, Of flint locks in its bowers green; It got the name recorded here, From Colonel By, who first lived there; 'Twas then a grove of thickest shade, What civilization's hand hath made, The Indian, with its withering skill, It has done for the "Colonel's Hill." Who comes, so centaur like in grace, Good spirits pictured in his face? 'Tis Isaac Smith, let truth not vary, A gentleman from Tipperary, Beloved by all, 'twere hard to mate him, He had no enemies to hate him, His friends were neither scarce nor few They numbered every soul he knew. Who e'er remembers Isaac Smith, Mounted top boots and breeches with, Upon his stately old black mare Will recollect a horseman rare. Christopher Carlton, where art thou? Come here, old friend, I want thee now To ramble back with me again To where of old McPherson and Crane, And Francis Clemow, too, I think, Did business at the Basin's brink. And Bindon Burton Alton, who Has vanished from terrestial view; The poet with the flashing eye— The true born son of minstrelsy! Who sang so sweetly, memory still Trembles with the undying thrill. Which throbbed in melting tones of fire From Bindon Burton Alton's lyre, Alas! alas! that such a soul Should sink a victim to the bowl. Thomas MacKay, who's worthy name Is well known even to modern fame. The worth which honest men revere Deserves a fitting record here. With mighty gangs he excavated The ancient quarry situated On west side of "the Major's Hill." Which modern hands find hard to till; The stones from thence by powder rent To build the seven Canal Locks went. The Sappers' Bridge, too, was erected By blocks of limestone thence ejected. Like many another rising man. Mackay for ancient Russell "ran" To use a term, which means to-day That he runs best who best can pay! The declaration found him seated And his antagonist defeated. New honors came his name to greet, A Legislative Councillor's seat Was given next to Russell's pride, Clad with which dignity he died. And no more upright man has e'er Deserving of the post sat there. And William Stewart, too, who's name Elsewhere has graced my roll of fame, Was as the reader will remember, For Bytown long ago a member, Good representative he made, And his constituents ne'er betrayed, We were by taxes lightly rated When Bytown was incorporated, By the Bill by him presented When he this village represented In '47, the year, no other, When to that stingy old step mother, The County of Carleton we were tied And had our temper sorely tried. This was before Lord Sydenham's reign Which gave that legislative strain To our Colonial Constitution, And made a legal institution, The Bill Municipal in Legislation, The often tinkered act which rules the nation. And James Stewart, a medico Of the old school of long ago, A votary of potent pill, And lancet too for many an ill. And not a whit more given to kill His patients, say these truthful rhymes. Than M.D's of more modern times, And now I think it only fair To mention here Doctor O'Hare, Who of old Bytown formed a part, And practised the assuaging art Before the time of Scanlon's tarry, Before the days of Edward Barry Who in his person did combine The medical and legal line, Exhibiting as his degree Upon his card J.P.M.D." He gave to Bytown's sporting men Such Fox-hunt as we ne'er again Shall see; ah! 'twas a joyful day, When Barry with tin horn away, In glory on "Bob Logie's" back, Followed the variegated pack Yelping in chorus o'er the plain, We'll never see such sport again! Who would at length the story hear, Can ask the Sheriff, he was there, And bravely in his headlong way Did "Shamrock" carry him that day, Close in the terror stricken wake Of Reynard, over bush and brake, James Fraser, too, can tell the tale, For he went over hill and dale, And swamp and fence and ditch and bush, Foremost in the determined rush. To get up first and win the brush, While loud above the yelling din, Sounded the Doctor's horn of tin, That hunt the public health to save Was the best prescription e'er he gave.
Can I, an ancient friend, pass by, Who even to-day still greets my eye, And brings up among modern men The dearly cherish'd past again? 'Tis far, far back, I scarce can fix The date, perhaps, 'twas '26, When he, in Huntly, on a farm, Once tried his unaccustomed arm At work for which 'twas never made, In that most independent trade. He left Bucolics, trees, and all, And moved away to Montreal, To teach, as better him did suit, "The young idea how to shoot." And many a youth has blest the day Of Alexander Workman's sway. I'll say no more, lest I should be Accused, perhaps, of flattery. 'Twould scarcely here be out of place If Edward Griffin's smiling face I should present in colors true— In good Samaritanic view; The patron of Joe Lee, whose name Is known to histrionic fame; Who play'd at Shylock on the stage, When tragedy was more the rage Than in this sad degenerate age. And where art thou, my friend, George Story, A man of yore, though not yet hoary? The even tenor of thy way Hast thou maintain'd for many a day; They tell us within human range That mortal things are given to change, It may be so, yet thou art still But little changed, though down the hill Quietly gliding, still thou hast An air about thee of the past; Who knew thee thirty years ago At the first glance would know thee now. And Thomas Story—modest man— As well as any other can, Or, he may think, much better too, Suit habit's taste in me or you, In coat artistically made According to that ancient trade, Which had its rise in solitude, Where Adam lived before the flood— Is still Tom Story of the past, Long may his life's fair measure last And Sandy Mowat, here's a line To thee, in memory of lang syne; Fond wert thou of the target ground— Fond of a rifle and a hound; Dost thou remember Bearbrook's brink And the old shanty without "chink," Or door to stop the piercing gale That whirled along the snow-clad vale, Where Peter McArthur, you and I, Once slept beneath a wintry sky; While through the roof in splendor bright We saw the guardians of the night— The snow-storm of the coming day— The savage wounded buck at bay— And how we lost and found our way? Dost thou forget the strain of glee That from deep slumber's arms roused thee? Dost thou remember who did ride The bounding wounded buck astride, And whose the crimsoned hunting knife That ended there the quarry's life. Then "Eastman's Springs" were little known To few beyond we three alone. And Malcolm Ferguson, oh why, Should memory's record pass thee by? An artist of the gentle trade, By whom Bytonians were arrayed Most fashionably in old times. When dross among the social crimes Held not the rank which modern art Hath given it in fashion's mart. An agile fireman, danger-proof, As ever struggled up a roof, Or to the midnight summons sprang When the alarm signal rang; As cat or squirrel of active limb— A "ridge-pole" was a street to him. The old extinguishers of flame Will well remember Malcolm's name. As the long past I wander through, Michael O'Reilly comes to view; A man of stature, somewhat brief, Who largely dealt of old in beef, In that cheap time when scanty coin Was ample for the fattest loin, Rounds, chops, and beefsteaks were not gold In those delightful days of old. 'Tis true the tallow-candle's light Was all the ray that cheered the night, Before our first assizes term Was dignified by actual sperm— The real thing—no "Belmont's" then Were found among the sons of men. Another name remembrance brings, The muse of old John Darcey sings, In numbers almost a magician— A wonderful arithmetician, Whose mode with all others "collided," Who added, multiplied, divided, And even substracted by such rules As ne'er were known or taught at schools. No learned professor of the birch E'er left John Darcey in the lurch; No pedagogue was ever able To con his arithmetic table. And Edward Darcey—no relation— Except in name, to old Equation, A son of Crispin, a sole nailer, Who owned a curly dog called "Sailor"— A noble, liver-hue'd retriever, Who'd make one almost a believer In canine intellectual merit Which dogs as well as men inherit. Louis Pinard, in ancient times, Was always ready with the "dimes"— Excuse the slang—which a disgrace is— At gallopping or trotting races, And A.P. Lesperance beside him, A good horse kept, and well could ride him, When horsemanship was more in fashion Than sitting still and laying lash on, In four-wheeled vehicle at ease, Which modern Jehuism doth please. And Galipean, who kept good whiskey, And old Jamaica to make frisky The visitors to his retreat, On the east side of Sussex Street, Close to the very spot, I think, Where now James Thompson deals in mink, Otter and other kinds of fur, Prime and unprime, without demur. 'Twas at this inn one afternoon In '33, the month was June, That Martin Hennessy once tried On horseback up the stairs to ride. And would have done so, but for this, A pistol shot that did not miss, Which gave him, oh, most foul disgrace! A charge of buckshot in the face, Which spoiled his beauty without doubt. And knocked his "dexter peeper" out. And E.S. Lyman, old cathartic! With lengthy form and features arctic— Dispenser of blisters, pills and potions, Boluses and specific lotions, And panaceas in variety To cram the ailing to satiety— Succeeded Auld, Apothecary, A scientific quoiter, very, Who righted phisiologic faults With Calomel and Epsom Salts, And made prescriptions up with skill Of aqua pura, which doth still Maintain its place as chief ingredient, In every mixture, quite expedient, He kept his drug shop at the spot Where hospitality has got Her Shiboleth from land of Tara, Under the rule of Pat. O'Meara! And Richard Kneeshaw, man of science, Who placed in reason such reliance, As made him almost think salvation Could not be found in revelation: Chemist and druggist by profession, He held within his mind's possession Vast stores of knowledge, ever breeding Ideas new from constant reading. And Henry Bishoprick, a wise man, Who acted druggist and exciseman, And seized at loaded pistol's muzzle Contrabandistas, who could puzzle An ordinary Gager's cunning When tea and whiskey they were running. And William Henry Baldwin, too, Who first appeared in public view At the old Albion, where in state, Bob Graham rules the roast of late; Son of a U.E. Loyalist, Who found his way out of the mist Republican which played such tricks With loyalty in '76, He came, as many another came To Canada, in Britain's name, To live his life and die beside The flag that's still his country's pride! Thomas Gillespie Burns, "T.G.," I have not quite forgotten thee; Thou wert an early importation From Erin's Isle, and thy migration Did little damp in heart or hand Thy love for the old parent land, Who's green is greener in its pride Of bloom than all the world beside! Thy boast has always been true blue— To British institutions true! And William Rogerson, 'tis well That I of him should something tell— A tall, majestic, looking son Of Caledonia—he was one, In early times, who carried on The lumber traffic with a will, When such names as Price and McGill Were standards in the staple trade Which Bytown Ottawa hath made. And William Dunning, who kept store The first old County Gaol before, Where now the Albion proudly stands And flourishes in other hands, And Clements Bradley, who lived near The border long ago, was here; An agriculturist of yore, Who settled near the Rideau's shore, And opened 'mid primeval trees A pathway for the passing breeze. Full half a century has flown Since the first tree he tumbled down, And yet his strength seems still unspent, His step is firm, his back unbent.
Pierre Rocque, thou ancient man of stone! I had almost let thee alone; But 'twere not well to leave behind, A man of such a rocky kind; Thy Christian name is stone—that's hard, Rock is thy surname, saith the Bard Thou art an adamantine card. And Baptist Cantin, too, it seems, Appears 'mongst recollections' dreams, A carpenter of worth and note, Who ne'er asked sixpence for his vote. Helaire Pinard presents his face, And cheerfully I give him place, A quiet, rare man, be it known, Who minds no business but his own. Joseph Paquette, to thee I give A line to make thy memory live, 'Mid earliest recollections, thou Art not the one least thought of now; Something far better than mere fame Is thine, it is an honest name! Thomas E. Woodbury, who made Tin cans and stovepipes, when the trade And town was in an infant state, Back in the days of '28. And Fletcher, an old Yankee, who Taught school and flogged his scholars, too With a good health-inspiring cat, My blessing on his old white hat! Tho' scarce, entitled like the rest By early advent, I think best To name "The Orator of the West," James Spencer Lidstone, child of song, The "man of memory," vast and long, Who had, reader you need not start, All Milton's Paradise by heart; Strange mixture he of prose and rhyme, Ridiculous, and the sublime In him were singularly blended; Where one began or the other ended, It would be difficult to tell. He played his part in each so well, James Spencer Lidstone, fare thee well! And 'mongst the ancient sons of fame Who says that Dinny Cantlin's name Does not deserve a line or two In these old chronicles most true? Dinny was just four feet in length, Although a man of pith and strength, His arm was always ready, too, All rowdyism to subdue. When special constable one day, He captured in some sudden fray A fellow six feet high, or taller, And held him firmly by the collar; And Dinny, as he upward gazed At the colossus, o'er him raised, Exclaimed, "escape now, if you can, You're in the clutches of a man!" Dinny had a commanding eye, His hat was eighteen inches high Come next to view, Denis O'Neill, A ship carpenter, who laid the keel Of many a vessel in his day, And still he clinks and caulks away. James Finch, too, who died here of late, Was one of those of '28, Or '27 it may be, Comes nearer to the certainty; James Finch sledged stoutly with a will, In the old forge on "Major's Hill," In '29, he once lay still For fifteen minutes on the ground Insensible to sight or sound, 'Twas a stone that almost killed him quite, In a most lively faction fight In Bytown's celebrated fair, When stones flew thickly through the air, I can't forget it, I was there; Its history I'll not jot down Until I get to Upper Town. And Charles Rowan, well I know, The reader sought for him ere now, What shall I of friend Charlie say, Who came from Connaught all the way? Who well can speak the celtic tongue In which the Irish mintrels sung. When famous Malachi of old The collar wore of beaten gold, Torn fiercely from the haughty Dane By his right arm in battle slain! Charlie is mild and full of meekness, Horses with him have been a weakness: A clipper spanking between traces He used to drive at trotting races, And then his powers of selection In liquor almost touch perfection. Next comes James Whitty, man of old, Who once was a young sailor bold, A quiet, little Wexford man, Who warmed his jacket at Japan, And "dashed his buttons" gaily, too, In China with the pig-tailed crew; Ere he in times that are no more On Ottawa's bosom tugged an oar. John Ashfield now in sight appears, A gunsmith of the faded years; Just as flint locks began to lapse, He came in with percussion caps. Here, too, is William Graham, the same, Who from Fermanagh County came, And many a hard earned shilling made By groceries and general trade; Father of him once called "Black Bill," That we might designate him still, From him of Madawaska note, Who oft on timber was afloat, And who has claim in song of mine To something o'er a passing line. Companion of my early youth, When time with us was young; and truth Was all we knew in life's fair spring, Thy name doth recollections bring Long slumbering in "oblivions vale," 'Till waked by memory's passing gale; With thee I strayed in days of yore Beside old "Goodwood's" pleasant shore; Each unforgotten scene by thee Is brought to life again for me; A child again with thee I stand, Among that childish happy band, Who thought not, dreamt not, that the day Of early bliss would pass away; No retrospect can be more fair That that I see behind me there, Friend William Graham, I wish thee well, But this to thee I need not tell. Who is he with the cassock on, Who bursts my second sight upon, A merry twinkle in his eye, Not sanctimonious, nor yet sly, His country, one can scarcely miss Such pure Hibernian brogue is his? Tis surely Father Heron's gait, Bytown's first priest in '28. Close in canonical degree, John Cannon's stately form I see, In bigotry no stern red-tapist, Favorite of Protestant and Papist; A jovial blade with soul elastic, No gloomy-faced ecclesiastic, He ruled his congregation well, Nor taught them that the path to hell Was thronged by those who made digression From penance, fasting and confession. And there with academic birch, Stands Anslie of the English Church, Who preached in Hull and Bytown too, Of old, to many a godless crew, Assembled on each Sabbath day To pass an idle hour away, Though doubtless some went there to pray, While here I pass in swift review The reverend and pious few, Who stood as finger posts of yore, Pointing the way to Canaan's shore, John Carroll surely should appear, And take his proper station here, An honest Wesleyan was he, Who never knew hypocrisy. George Poole in days more distant still, In the little church on "Sandy Hill," Which gave its name to "Chapel Street," His congregation oft did meet. And John C. Davidson, also, Was one of those who long ago 'Mid primal darkness, thick and gross, Unfurled the banner of the cross; A Methodist both sound and prime He was esteemed in the old time, 'Till something gave his faith a lurch, And he bolted to the English Church, In which 'tis said that he is quite "A burning and a shining light."
And now another man I seek, Who lived on George Street, by the creek, Lo! memory's telescopic eye At once John Taillon's shade brings nigh, And as his form approaches near, His laugh I almost seem to hear. One of those lost with much regret, James Leamy, I would not forget, Though not a man of '28, His early and untimely fate— His merry life and tragic fall, Are in the memory of all. And Andrew Leamy in his time, Was head of many a stirring "shine;" A man of mark he might be singled, In whom the good and bad commingled, In equal balance in such way, That each in turn had its sway; He's gone! the grass grows o'er his head; The muse deals gently with the dead. James Devlin, where are you old man, Whose fingers o'er the catgut ran? Professor of the art to foil Both "treason, stratagem and spoil," In days which now are but a riddle, When William Murphy played the fiddle So merrily, long, long ago, To trip of "light fantastic toe." Fond were you of the rod and line When sport and profit did combine In other days, when mighty Bass And Pickerel lay upon the grass Beside you, as with practised hand, You hauled the scaly kings to land Night-lines and gill-nets, may they be Accurst—have ruined you and me! And left us nought but "tommy cods" As trophies for our idle rods. Who is he with such pompous air— Such magic curl of scented hair, With glass stuck tightly o'er one eye To scan the common passer by, While every air betokens well The presence of a "howling swell?" 'Tis Henry Howard Burgess, O! To him Dundreary's self were slow. And Thomas Burgess, too, was here, A swell, though not quite so severe. And the two Johnston's, born twins, As like each other as two pins, Clerks in the Ordnance Office were And surely a most proper pair. John Grant, too, who quite early came, A constable of ancient fame, Who kept the peace, right well, 'tis true, When he had nothing else to do. Few were the summonses he got, Warrants fell seldom to his lot; The town was not by courts infested, People liked not to be arrested, And seldom were—for to the Ring Complainants did their troubles bring, And there found justice, sometimes too much Redress, of which they oft did rue much. J.B. Lavois, with thee I close My lengthy memories of those I knew of old in Lower Town, Though last, not least in size, I own. A butcher of the olden time, Who furnished roasts and steaks most prime, In the old George Street Market House, Where cats held many a grand carouse, Ere rats to Bytown emigrated In swarms pestiferous and hated. And if I have forgotten one, Whom memory could not fasten on, Let him feel no neglecting smart, I have not passed him with my heart, I've done my best 'neath friendship's spoil, So Lower Bytown now farewell!
And now, kind reader, westward ho! Across the Sappers' Bridge we go; When first in youth I cross'd it o'er, The arch was wood, "and nothing more"— As Edgar A. Poe doth remark About that raven big and dark— The wooden span, I mean, stretched o'er The channel's width from shore to shore, On which skilled artificers laid The arch of stone, so truly made, And strong, that it to-day appears, After the crush of forty years And more, impervious to decay, As if 'twere built but yesterday. I stand upon the western side, And see in all its verdant pride The hill crowned with its ancient trees, Who's foliage rustled in the breeze For centuries, all branching wide, Standing untouched on every side; A spot where the Algonquin magi, May have reclined "sub tegmine fagi;" For when across the Sapper's Bridge, The prospect was a fine beech ridge, And "Gibson's corner," in old time, For squirrel hunting was most prime, "Prime" is a somewhat slangy phrase For these high philologic days, And in connexion, be it stated, With a spot to science dedicated. J.H.P. Gibson's astral lecture Will place this fact beyond conjecture. Bound that old spot now thronged by all, Has many a chipmonk met his fall By dart from youthful sportsman's bow, Which laid the striped beech-nutter low. No central Ottawa was then, As now, resort of busy men— The first stone of our centre town By Mason's hand was not laid down; A forest path across the hill To Bank Street led—the place was still; No noisy vehicle passed there, The dwellers of the wood to scare. The road for carriages led round Old Bytown's ancient burial ground, Upon the hill's south eastern base, Of which there is not now a trace; And spreading off in endless green To the canal the bush was seen— The ancient forest—then the deer To Bank Street Church's site was near, And ruffed-grouse, wrongly named partridges, Whirled and drum'd between the ridges, Black ducks and Teal did oft alight In ponds round Corkstown from their flight, And when the swamp down Slater Street Was cleared, a dozen snipes would greet At every step the sportman's eye, O! glorious spot of days gone by. To listen, ah! 'twas splendid fun! To Commissary Oriel's gun, As with a quick well practiced eye He made the quivering feathers fly! There was not then one cabin sill Laid down on famed Ashburnham Hill, Who's heights with pine and hemlock crowned, Towered o'er the wooded landscape round. Then Bradish Billings farmed away Where his descendants live to-day, A man of enterprising fame, Who from the land of pumpkin's came, And pitched his tent in honor's track Beneath the glorious Union Jack! Then Colonel By was in a jam Erecting the first hogsback dam, Which vanished with Spring's sweeping flood; But science made the structure good By the advice of one, no civil Engineer, with whom a level Or other instrument of science, Had not the most remote alliance. 'Twas built as he proposed—I'm sorry His name from memory I can't worry, If Lyman Perkins was beside me, To it he certainly could guide me. For he has got, of ancient bore, A well authenticated store. Now first among our old landmarks, Comes Laird of Bytown, Nicholas Sparks, Who came across in '26 From Hull, his lucky fate to fix Upon a bush farm which he bought For sixty pounds—and little thought, While grumbling at a price so high, That fortune had not passed him by. He little dreamed of Ottawa now, When 'mongst the stumps his wooden plough Stir'd the first sod in times of old; He knew not then, that 'twas not mould He turne'd up, and tilled, but gold. 'Tis not my business here to flatter, Or with enconiums to bespatter The shadows of departed men Whom we shall never see again. Yet I may say, who knew him well, And of him would not falsehood tell, That as poor human nature ran, He was an honest upright man, "Close fisted" as the need occurred, Yet one who always kept his word. Whate'er the cost—I say no more Of Nicholas Sparks—who for the shore Unknown, has shaken out his sail Where riches are of no avail To win calm sea or favoring gale And Lyman Perkins, what of thee, Will pass for current coin from me? Thou art a man of early date— Of '27 or '28— in Bytown's history, and 'tis said, Though hard to drive, thou may'st be led, That is, if one could just agree In view and argument with thee; When standing in the days of yore At "Pooley's Bridge," thine eye ran o'er The picture with a prescient glance; Experience taught thee that thy chance Was then—thy foresight came To aid thee in life's winning game. Although no silver spoon was in Thy mouth, when to this world of sin Thou camest, thou hast forged from fate A path in life most fortunate; To praise thee I shall take no pains, Thy enterprise has brought thee gains— 'Tis something to be born with brains! Daniel O'Connor there doth stand, One of the old departed band— Another of the pioneers Of Bytown in its early years; In memory's magic glass I see Him as he first appeared to me In '28 when passing down Through the main street in Upper Town. A merchant of a distant date Before the days of '28, And County Treasurer was he, Long, too, a Carleton J.P., Ere Courts of Justice were installed, When Bytown "Nepean Point" was called; In politics he was a Tory, And thus doth end of him my story. Nathaniel Sherrold Blasdell, too, Who once a blacksmith's bellows blew In the old forge, which in the shade Of the Russell House still undecayed, Stands firm a landmark of the past, How long will such old memories last? He, too, was one of those who's hand Built up the bulwarks of the land, I say unto such men as he, Requiescat in pace. And Doctor Rankin, there he goes, With solemn brow and turned out toes Upon his mottled bob-tailed horse, Who's canter said, the patients worse, Or better, as the trusty steed Did indicate by passing speed. John Burrows, too, with serious air, Sung hymns and offered frequent prayer, And taught a Sunday School with might, To spread religion's early light, He held a post in other years Among the Royal Engineers, With Colonel By, a right-hand man, His course of favor he began, And once owned much of the wild land Upon which Ottawa doth stand. John Ghitty is a favorite name, His old hotel was known to fame, And travellers from far and near, Called at his temple of good cheer. A mason of most high degree, In the craft's early dawn was he. So much respected was he here, That unbought friendship o'er his bier Shed many a sad regretful tear. And surly old James Doran, too, A warrior of Waterloo, Kept with a despot's iron hand, The best hotel in all the land; Who entered there of human kind Was forced to leave his dog behind, For Doran had a frowning face For each and all the canine race. And Daniel Fisher, who kept store On Wellington's west side of yore, A most experienced auctioneer In somewhat more contracted sphere, Than circles trade's expanding flow Round Bermingham, McLean and Rowe And Michael Burke, who kept a still— And made beer down below the hill Where malt and hops together came, And gave the "Brewery Hill" its name— That hill with pathway to the right, Where Bank Street ends upon the height. And many a barrel of his beer Went down, the Irish heart to cheer, When ancient crowds did celebrate St. Patrick's Day in '28. But patriotism's spirit rose; From words contention went to blows, And ere the little "scrimmage" ended A crack that never could be mended, Was in a luckless cranium made, By one whom justice never paid; I cannot tell what colored ribbon He wore—his name was Dan McGibbon.
George William Baker, better known As "Captain Baker" in the town. Who oft the mailbag's lock untied Long after Matthew Connell died— Long after Helen Denny's hand Sent postal letters o'er the land; An Englishman of good degree, A Justice of the Peace was he, And Captain of Artillery— If memory has not gone astray— He was in his life's early day, He shewed his claims to education In County Council legislation, Where he in intellectual pride Sat long by Hamnett Pinhey's side, Our Local Parliament's since then Have seldom witnessed two such men Paymaster Rudyerd, too, I scan, A most important gentleman, Who carried in the days of old The Governmental bags of gold; Yet never did one less resemble He, of the twelve who did dissemble, And for the thirty pieces paid, His master cruelly betrayed. And John McCarthy, who can say That he's a man of yesterday? Through the dim maze of vanished year His name to memory appears, A dealer in strong leather ware That stood the worst of wear and tear Since paths of '27 he trod, His eye hath seen the grassy sod O'er many a friend—let's hope no foe— With whom he started long ago, In the long race down life's steep hill On which he treads securely still. Captain Letreton, too, I see, An officer of high degree. The owner, ere the days of rats, Of that wide district called "the Flats" In modern times, where I behold, A pinery as in days of old. And Isaac Firth, an old John Bull, Of milk of human kindness full, Of rotund form and smiling face, Who kept an entertaining place For travel-worn and weary fellows Who landed where Caleb S. Bellows, Out on "the Point" his habitation Built in a pleasant situation, Before the days when piles of lumber Did first fair nature's face encumber; Quite near the spot where first with skill John Perkins built his little mill, Where Philip Thompson many a year Ago, commenced his bright career, And took the ebbing of the tide, Which into golden waves did glide; He man'd his craft and steered her well O'er placid calm and tossing swell, And independent of the gale Hath snap'd his oar and furled his sail. 'Twas just above "the whitefish hole," How dear that spot is to my soul! There Allan Cameron and I Together many a day did hie, To haul the silvery shining prey From out the whirling eddy's spray; In July, '32, to land, I drew two barrels with my own hand, The trophies of the hook and line In the dear days of auld lang syne That was the fatal month and year When cholera was rampant here; Malignant Asiatic type, Which from the book of life did wipe The name of many a sturdy one 'Twixt rise and setting of the sun. Dread terror brooded o'er the land, While the destroying angel's hand Smote here and there each deadly blow, Which laid in dust the proudest low! As I remember—those fared worst, Who in that dismal time were curst With dangerous and insatiate thirst. And H.V. Noel, surely here His name is worthy to appear; 'Mongst those whom I so long have known, Tis strange that he has not outgrown The friendship of the early few Into who's confidence he grew, By the unchanging honest course He steered for better or for worse, Well has he worn, long may he bear Up stoutly 'gainst the world's care! John Cruickshank of the kirk, who prayed Beneath the old white birch's shade— The old white birch—that sacred trust! Improvement's hand hath to the dust Upturned to make frontal space For temple of more modern grace, A grander altar than of yore, The ancient "Black mouth's" knelt before. And Robert Sheriff, stately man, Who the Crown Timber Office "ran"— To use a well worn Yankee phrase Unknown in Bytown's early days. And A.J. Christie, what shall I Say of this old celebrity? An M.D. of exceeding skill Who dealt in lancet, leech and pill, Cantharides and laudanum, too, When milder measures would not do; A polished scholar and a sage, A thinker far before his age, A writer of sarcastic vein And philosophic depth, who's train Of thought was comprehensive, deep, Peace to his ashes! let him sleep! In ancient times his prophet eye Saw Bytown's future destiny, Fools laughed and disbelieved the seer Who's second sight saw triumph near— A scene which fortune did fulfil The Parliament on "Barrack Hill!" And Lawyer Hagerman I knew, When lawyers little had to do— Their briefs were few, their fees were brief, And brief had been their Sunday beef, Had they nought else to fill their maw Than the proceeds of briefless law; For litigation had not then Curst Bytown's early race of men! And Robert Drummond, Engineer, Who built across the "Grande Chaudiere" The old "Swing Bridge," which many a day Amid the "Kettle's" curling spray, From side to side did gently sway. The adamantine iron tether Which chained two provinces together, Ere legislation's fiat came With moral might to do the same. Well's and McCrea of lumbering note, Who had on many a stream afloat Vast rafts of red pine timber, when White pine was little thought of; then Oak, elm, cedar and red pine And staves, together did combine, With now and then a mast or spar, To make up what would go at par, At Stadacona—old Quebec— Where brave Montgomery got a check In a most bootless, foolish strife, Which cost him his undaunted life— Where Arnold got a broken thigh, Ere at West Point his treachery Brought Major Andre without hope To Washington's relentless rope! To Wolfe I'd like to wander back, But 'twill not do, so to my track I now reluctantly return, Who next is ready for the urn? Adam Hood Burwell is the man, An English Churchman he began, But ended a most shining light, A mystic, full-fledged Irvingite, With pinions rustling for a sphere Of usefulness he found not here. Another of the reverend throng I'll introduce, 'tis S.S. Strong, A man who's memory I recall As one respected here by all, An honor to his cloth and race, With whom no strange fire left its trace, Upon the shrine where truth he found, Who preached and practiced precepts sound, Nor wore his shoes on hallowed ground. William and Hugh Calder's names Arise, and now present their claims To immortality in rhyme, Both merchants of the olden time. John Anderson, a merchant was, And dealt with profit and with loss In groceries and dainty "grub," With wine, Jamaica, rum and shrub, That had no leaves upon its stem, Though beads like dewdrops did begem Its ruby rippling diadem.