Wednesday, July 17, 2024
The Way We Were

The Way We Were – September 20, 2023

25 Years Ago - Sept. 16, 1998

Arson suspected in sawmill blaze: Arson is suspected in last week’s fire which destroyed Morley Hodgins Inc. sawmill on Lang Street in Shawville and came dangerously close to setting two nearby buildings ablaze.
In fact, if Shawville-Clarendon firefighters had not already been dressed in their turnout gear and in the fire trucks returning from a false alarm, things may have turned out differently, the assistant fire chief says.
“We’re lucky we were out on that other call. If we weren’t, I wouldn’t doubt if those other buildings would be gone,” says Neil Sharpe, referring to the building which houses Decor Sylvia and Barber Farm Equipment and the garage Petro Pontiac uses for storing vehicles.
It took firefighters more than five hours to extinguish the blaze. Over the following three days, they had to return three more times to dose the smouldering embers.
Fred Meilleur celebrates 75th: If a man’s wealth were to be judged by the number of friends he has, then Fred Meilleur is a very rich man.
Fred, along with his sister Margaret Gavan celebrated their birthday with 375 friends this past Saturday at the Linus C. Hearty Arena in Chapeau. The evening was a fundraiser for the arena.
“Fred is a giant of a man in every meaning of the word,” said Renfrew County MP Hec Clouthier, donning his fedora of the legendary Meilleur.
Pontiac Warden Bobby Ladouceur reminisced about the first time he met Fred.
“We came up from Fort Coulonge to Chapeau in the late 50’s to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. We arrived at Fred’s after 2 a.m., danced until the morning hours in the streets of Chapeau, that was the time I became Irish.”
Pontiac representatives, MP Robert Bertrand, MNA Robert Middlemiss and local mayors shared their birthday greetings with the audience.

50 Years Ago - Sept. 26, 1973

Plaque to commemorate steamboats that plied the Upper Ottawa River: A historic plaque commemorating steamboats on the Upper Ottawa River will be unveiled at Point Alexander beside the municipal hall about four miles west of Deep River on Highway 17.
Many residents of the Ottawa Valley recall boat excursions on the upper reaches of the Ottawa River, including Lac Deschenes, Lac des Chats, Lac Coulonge, Lower and Upper Allumette lakes by Ile-aux-Allumettes and the Deep River Reach, also known as Rivière Creuse, extending from a short distance below the Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories to Rapides-des-Joachims.
The first steamboat on the Upper Ottawa River was the 25 horsepower “Lady Colborne” built in 1833 for service between Aylmer and chats Falls about 25 miles upstream from Ottawa.
War games over Quebec: A major part of Canada’s Air Defence Command (ADC) will be tested during a joint 22nd and 23rd NORAD Region exercise in October to be held over Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and the maritime provinces.
ADC radar sites will attempt to detect “simulated” hostile bombers which will use electronic devices and irregular flight patterns to confuse NORAD detector sites. As the “friendly enemies” are located, supersonic CF-101, F-102 and F-106 jet aircraft will be “scrambled” from ADC units at Canadian Forces Bases in Bagotville, Que., Val d’or, Que., Base Chatham, N.B. and U.S. fighter bases to intercept the “hostiles”.

75 Years Ago - Oct. 7, 1948

Local News: Early Thursday morning, fire thought to have started from a defective chimney completely destroyed the farm home of Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Hodgins and family on the Portage du Fort road. Mr. and Mrs. Hodgins had made the fire in the stove and had gone out to the barn to milk. While out only a few minutes, they noticed the fire. They succeeded in getting their two children out of the upstairs window. The home was formerly owned by the late Edmund Hodgins and was taken over from the estate in 1941. The loss, almost total is only partially covered by insurance.
1948 marked the setting up of a Junior Department of the Shawville Agricultural Society. Since one of the great features of a Class “B” fair is the junior work, the different judging competitions staged by this department were held on the first day of the fair. This is the first fair in many years that the swine barn has been filled to capacity. There was a splendid calf club exhibit, the best in years. The officers in charge are unanimous in the opinion it was a very successful first year.
Premier Drew of Ontario was elected new leader of the Progressive Conservatives and intends to win the coming Dominion general election. Drew told the cheering delegates who had given him 827 of their votes on a decisive first ballot that Progressive Conservative triumphs in Ontario could be duplicated across Canada because it had been shown “people believe our party stands for the things best for our country.”

100 Years Ago - Sept. 27, 1923

Local News: Hedged in on the one hand by the Central Canada Fair and on the other by Renfrew’s Home Week and Exhibition, the two biggest events of the year in Eastern Canada, it is, perhaps not surprising that our local fair should have suffered materially in attendance. The weather was all that could be desired and exhibitors performed their part well. Old-timers were heard to say that they never before saw a better exhibition in Shawville.
The entertainment features of the fair consisted principally of speed contests on the race track and baseball matches with some fancy driving and riding contests in the prize ring.
An “All Star” team from Pontiac Lower League figured in a baseball match with Barry’s Bay team at Renfrew Fair on Thursday and came out winners by a score of 14 to 6.
Mr. Harold H. Hodgins just reached home from church on Sunday morning to save his barn from being destroyed by fire, as he found, at the foot of the ladder, a space of several yards in extent where the straw had been burnt over and was still smouldering. The fire is attributed to the carelessness of boys searching for pigeons, who had been using cigarettes.
The Sunday train service on the Waltham branch of the C.P.R. has been discontinued for the season and after this week, the two-train-a-day passenger service will cease and be replaced by the tri-weekly hitherto in operation.
Ad: To the thrifty housekeepers: Dish towel, free! with 12 bars soap - 8 comfort soap, 4 white Naptha all for $1.00. G.F. Hodgins Ltd.

125 Years Ago - Sept. 22, 1898

Local News: Mr. Andrew McCredie of Bristol lost a roll of some 70 odd dollars on the grounds on exhibition day. The money was found by Mrs. Thomas Sharpe of the same township and returned to the owner.
In response to the notice in our issue of the 8th inst, with reference to minerals, we have received samples of graphite, quartz and other ores from Mr. H.S. Elliott of Clarendon, Mr. Archie Moore of Leslie has also brought us samples of an ore resembling copper, taken from his property in that locality.
Quite a successful box social was held in the Orange Hall on this line on Tuesday evening. The program consisted of speeches, readings and singing. Mr. S. Magee of Beechgrove acted as auctioneer and the boxes were disposed of satisfactorily, in most cases, especially those that were traded.
Consumption claimed another victim on Friday night last in the person of Mrs. Ben Baird. The deceased who was only 23 years of age was a daughter of Mr. Wm. Havlin of Clarendon and her death makes the fourth of which has occurred in that family in a comparatively short time from the same disease.
The farmers of the Steel Line are busying attending the threshing mills and the hum of the mills and sound of the whistle can be heard, reminding one that another year has almost gone.
Mr. Poupore, M.P. has made a donation of twenty-five dollars to the Shawville park committee.
Two of our enterprising young men in Weirstead neighbourhood have purchased from Drummond Bros. their well known Sawyer mill which has done excellent work during the past years and is still in fine running order. We wish the young men every success in their work.
A very enjoyable evening was spent on Monday last by those who attended the social in Walsh’ Hall held under the auspices of the Episcopal Church in Bryson. Among those assembled were noticed many friends from Shawville, Portage and Quyon who had taken advantage of the fine evening to attend what proved to be an intellectual treat.


This article is available free to all subscribers to The Equity. If you are a subscriber, please enter your email address and password below.


If you are a subscriber but have not yet set up your online account, please contact Liz Draper at to do so.


To become a subscriber to The Equity, please use our Subscribe page or contact