At the Crossroads – the Rielly House Hotel

6092 Perth St.

Rielly House Hotel courtesy GTHS
Rielly House Hotel – 1910
courtesy GTHS

The Rielly House was built literally at the crossroads of traffic through Richmond.  It was situated at the meeting place of the Perth Road ( the major route from Bytown to Perth), and the Huntley Road (the major north-south route that joined Prescott on the St. Lawrence with the communities on the Ottawa River). It was also built at the crossroads of Richmond’s history.  Before 1855, Richmond was booming. Edward Rielly estimated that 300 teams of horses passed through the village during the lumber season as men moved to and from the lumber camps of the Upper Ottawa Valley. This traffic generated a demand for accommodations for men and their horses as well as services such as taverns, stores, blacksmiths, and wheelwrights. This grand stone building is symbolic of the prosperity generated by the traffic.  What do we know about the Rielly family? Why did their prosperity and that of Richmond not endure? Continue reading

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Richmond Men of the Carleton Blazers

Acquittance Roll #5 1869 officers
The Commanding Officers – Company #5 Carleton Blazers 1868-1869

Several weeks ago when we posted a blog about the encampment of the Carleton Blazers, a question arose.  How did a village of less than 500 people have more than 50 men enlist in the militia?  Who were these men?  These questions prompted a second look at the Acquittance Roll for Company 5 (June 1869).  A search of the censuses and Belden Atlas revealed only a total of twelve militiamen who appeared as living in Richmond. Where did the others live? Continue reading

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Something For Everyone – The Town Hall

6107 Perth Street

Richmond Agricultural Society 'Dining Hall" 2012
Richmond Agricultural Society ‘Dining Hall” 2012

Church suppers beside the jail!  That is part of the history of this building which has been a social centre for villagers for more than one hundred and fifty years. Built on Cockburn St., it was originally the Town Hall for the Village. Then during the term of Reeve Hugh Rielly (1886-1896) the building was moved several blocks to the south side of Perth St. near the corner of McBean (this area is now part of the Memorial Park).  The building was moved for a second time, in 1951, and at its new location, across the street, became the Dining Hall for the Richmond Fair. Continue reading

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The Carleton Volunteers

Beginning in the 1820’s and throughout the nineteenth century, the men of the village regularly demonstrated their loyalty to “Crown” and “Country”.  During the 1860’s, following in the tradition of many of their fathers and grandfathers (who were veterans of the War of 1812), Richmond’s young men volunteered to defend their land against the threat of an American based invasion by the Fenian Society.  They formed one of the nine companies of the 43rd Battalion of Infantry commonly called the Carleton Blazers.  During the year, this militia company (Company #5) would drill at home and then gather with the rest of the Battalion in a summer encampment.  One can only imagine the excitement, resolve and pride felt by most of these men, mainly farmers and/or their sons. (for an exception to this positive response see Murder on the main street) The following sympathetic description of an encampment appeared in the Ottawa Citizen on July 3, 1868. The article tells us about life in the militia, but equally important, it describes the attitude of the wider rural community. Continue reading

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Hemphill Post Office

Building 1902-1904 Courtesy GTHS
Brennery Tailor Shop 1902-1904
Courtesy GTHS

3444 McBean St.

This house, representative of a late nineteenth century village home and commercial building was built at the time when the centre of the village moved north to the intersection of Perth and McBean Streets. The property is interesting for its owners, before and after, the house was built. The structure has housed a shoemaker’s shop, a tailor shop, and the village post office. For almost the last 20 years, it has been the site of “The Country Quilter”. Continue reading

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William Butler’s Store

3451 McBean St.

Home & Store of William Butler
from Belden Atlas 1879

The Historical Atlas of Carleton County, published in 1879, features drawings of the homes of prominent county residents including this McBean St. residence of William Butler.  Mr. Butler was a long time Richmond Postmaster (1857-1902), merchant, tradesman, and village leader.  His home was located in the wing running parallel to the street while his store was in the section to the right with its door in the front facing gable. This configuration made it ideal for future owners, Dr. F.F. Kemp and Dr. R. Fitz-Gerald to combine their homes and offices. Continue reading

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Montreal Millionaire Philanthropist finances Richmond School Garden

A Hundred Gardeners – Richmond
from Queen’s Quarterly- 1905

If Richmond had had a newspaper in 1904, a headline might have proclaimed, “ Montreal Millionaire Philanthropist finances Richmond School Garden”.  Indeed it would have been valid because Sir Charles Macdonald, owner of a multimillion-dollar tobacco empire, did indeed provide funds for a three-year project that placed Richmond on the leading edge of a movement to radically change the nature of Ontario education. Why did he sponsor a garden in Richmond and what was it like? Continue reading

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1868 – Murder on the main street

We found the following article which outlines the case against Robert Hamilton in the shooting death of George Brownlee.  However questions remain. Was Hamilton found guilty and if so what was his punishment?  Why was Hamilton so angry about his son going to Ottawa with his militia company?  Why in the weeks following the Coroner’s inquest did Temperance, or the lack of it, become such a contentious issue?  Click to see the entire article and ensuing debate. Continue reading

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William McElroy House

3459 McBean St.

McElroy Family 1913
The McElroy Family of Richmond

Across the street from the stately Queen Anne brick house of Henry McElroy, is the more modest white clapboard home of his brother, William. A merchant, insurance agent, notary public, and justice of the peace, William acted as a link between the military traditions of his father and grandfather and the sacrifices of his sons.  The greatest sacrifice came from his youngest son Flight Lieut. Victor Henry (Harry) McElroy who lost his life in World War I and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his bravery. Continue reading

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Henry McElroy/ Dr. Chanonhouse House

In the spirit of the Queen Anne Revival style
Courtesy Christy Pitcher

3468 McBean St.

Constructed before 1893, this stately brick house was home to one of Richmond’s most highly regarded merchants, Henry McElroy. Henry (1829-1893) was a son of merchant Patrick McElroy who owned the property at 3556 McBean St.  However, Henry was more than a merchant. He was also a mill owner, and his house was constructed of material from his own local brickyard.  After the sale of this house to Dr. Robert Chanonhouse in 1902, it was used not only for his residence but also office. Dr. Chanonhouse was highly respected by the community because of his competence, willingness to visit patients in all types of weather, and especially because of his dedication during the great flu epidemic of 1918. The Chaulk family who currently live in the house have owned the property for more than 40 years. Continue reading

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