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The Arnprior Golf Club:

Founders, Architect, Greenkeepers, and Pros of the First Ten Years


It has not been often in Canada that a golf course has celebrated its 100th anniversary.


Most of the early golf courses associated with Canada’s cities and big towns were located in the late 1800s and early 1900s at the boundary of these communities, but the boundaries changed as the communities grew and the land that once hosted a golf course was re-purposed for industrial or suburban development. So it was for the original golf courses of the Royal Montreal Golf Club, the Royal Quebec Golf Club, the Toronto Golf Club, the Royal Ottawa Golf Club, and so on.


And so, each of these venerable golf clubs is much older than the golf course on which they now play.


At Sand Point, however, the golf course and the golf club are the same age.


The Arnprior Golf Club was formed in 1923. It was incorporated by the fall of that year in order to buy the farm at Sand Point on which its golf course would be laid out in the spring of 1924. The pages that follow show that it takes a community to build a golf club and a golf course, and that it takes a community to sustain them.


In honour of the community of fervent devotees of the royal and ancient game who founded the Arnprior Golf Club and built the Sand Point Golf course a century ago, and in support of the community of like-minded successors who have sustained both the club and the course through the 100 years since, I have written this essay on the founders, the architect, the greenkeepers and the golf professionals who got it all going during the first ten years of the Arnprior Golf Club’s existence.

Arnprior Golf's First Beginning

Organized golf was played in Arnprior by 1901.


Those who established the first Arnprior golf course that year were relatively late participants in the North American golf fad of the late 1890s. This fad began in the United States in 1893, and then it spread to Canada.


Golf, mind you, had certainly become established in several Canadian cities almost a generation before it became established in the United States: Montreal in 1873, Quebec in 1874, and Toronto in 1876. (Brantford and Niagara-on-the-Lake had also established golf clubs by the late 1870s.)

Figure 1 Royal Montreal Golf Club, 1882.

But when the popularity of golf spread south from Scotland into England in the early 1890s, resulting not just in the construction of many new golf courses on the links land of coastal England, but also in the construction for the first time of inland parkland courses, interest in the game was aroused in the United States. The development of architectural strategies for designing golf courses on non-links land was the key, for North America had little accessible links land but a virtually limitless supply of inland real estate near population centres.

Reflecting on the astonishing speed with which the game of golf spread throughout the United States from 1893 to 1895, as what the San Francisco Examiner called “the fad of the hour” (30 June 1895, p. 32), the New York Sun observed:


Golf is outstripping all the outdoor games just now in its rapid growth. It took years to fully acclimatize tennis, and, with the exception of baseball, which is a home product, the other fresh-air games and recreations have only become popular by slow degrees.


But golf is advancing with seven-league strides, like Jack in the fairy tale, and will soon travel the continent over, from the Arctic line to the Mexican border, for the game is spreading through Canada as well as the United States. (Sun [New York], 8 March 1896, p. 9)


The Ottawa Golf Club, founded in 1891, and the Kingston Golf Club, revived in 1891 (the original organization lasted from 1886 to 1888), predate this fad, which perhaps emerged in Canada at Hamilton during the summer of 1894 and then at Cobourg in 1895 (where regular summer visitors from Rochester, which established its own golf club that year, were among those interested in the formation of Cobourg’s first golf club that year). Then, in 1896, clubs were established at Cornwall and Port Hope.


American resorts in the Thousand Islands also established golf courses at this time, attracting wealthy visitors from the eastern United States, and the development of golf in these resorts was probably a spur for a number of Canadian communities along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River to establish their first golf clubs. In Napanee, for instance, the present golf club was established in 1897 (playing golf on the very land on which it still plays today). Picton first organized a golf club in October of 1897 (Napanee Express, 8 October 1897, p. 1). Brockville was only a few months behind the curve: its first golf club was organized in the spring of 1898 (Ottawa Journal, 28 April 1898, p. 6). And the laying out of golf courses at resorts in the Thousand Islands probably also led to the laying out of nine-hole courses at the Victoria Hotel in Aylmer, Quebec, in 1899 and at the Grand Hotel in Caledonia Springs, Ontario, in 1900.


Further inland in Eastern Ontario, Merrickville laid out the first of its two early golf courses in the spring of 1897. A newspaper announced later in 1897 that “A golf club is to be organized in Smith’s Falls” (Almonte Gazette, 9 October 1897, p. 7). In Perth, although Captain Roderick Matheson had laid out a three-hole golf course on his farm in 1890 for the use of six or seven of his friends, it seems to have been only late in 1897 that a proper club was organized: “Messrs. Lang and Hudson have started golf in Perth. They play in a large field on the Matheson farm. A golf club is likely to be organized in Perth very soon” (Lanark Era, 27 October 1897, p. 5). Sure enough, the Almonte Gazette soon confirmed that “Perth is to have a golf club” (29 October 1897). In 1898, Carleton Place, known as “the junction town,” also became interested in the game, prompting James McLeod, editor of the Gazette in the rival town of Almonte, to mock its neighbour for its pretentiousness: “The junction town is putting on frills. It is to have a golf club” (Almonte Gazette, 2 September 1898, p. 8). Despite his apparent disdain for the game, however, McLeod would soon become vice-president of the Almonte Golf Club, which was first organized in 1902.


Like McLeod, the editor of the Arnprior Chronicle, R.A. Jeffery, cast a sceptical eye on the increasing popularity of golf at this time: “Instead of going in for golf, the greatest fad of the day, Arnprior has reverted to lawn tennis” (cited in the Almonte Gazette, 6 July 1900, p. 3). Writing in the summer of 1900, Jeffery was premature in congratulating the town for resisting the golf fad, for devotees of the royal and ancient game in Arnprior were organizing their own golf club and had laid out their own golf links by the spring of the next year: “Arnprior has added another to its attractions, golf links having been laid out for the local enthusiasts” (Ottawa Citizen, 1 June 1901, p. 10). This golf course seems to have been in use for at least four years, for we read in 1904 that both of Arnprior’s most popular sports were still flourishing three years afterwards: “Arnprior athletics are limited to golf and tennis this season” (Almonte Gazette, 17 June 1904, p. 1).


But this golf fad did not last in Arnprior

Arnprior Golf's Second Beginning

It is not clear when Arnprior’s early 1900s’ interest in golf petered out. In the spring of 1921, however, there was a new effort to establish a golf club:


Golf for Arnprior


It is quite probable that Arnprior will have a golf club this summer.


Negotiations are now on for laying out a six-hole course and there are a great many devotees of the game who are anxious that it be introduced. (British Daily Whig [Kingston], 7 April 1921, p. 5)


It does not seem that anything came of this promising initiative.


By September of the same year, similar plans were afoot in Renfrew:


The Golf Club The prospects for the formation of a golf club in Renfrew are exceedingly bright. Keen interest is being taken in the matter by quite a number, and the committee has already made considerable progress in the matter of looking over possible sites. (British Daily Whig [Kingston], 27 September 1921, p. 10)


Nothing came of this initiative, either.


Like Arnprior, Renfrew had also had an earlier golf club. In the spring of 1906, we read in the Almonte Gazette that “Renfrew is going to have a golf club” (Almonte Gazette, 13 April 1906, p. 3). By the fall of the year, wedding events were being held “under the auspices of the Renfrew Golf Club” (Weekly British Whig [Kingston], 18 October 1906, p. 2). Like the first golf club in Arnprior, however, the original Renfrew Golf Club also lapsed.


Clearly, both Arnprior and Renfrew had difficulty establishing a lasting golf culture during the early decades of the twentieth century.


When a third effort was made to form a golf club in Renfrew in 1924, perhaps it is not surprising that we hear in a newspaper’s report about it an allusion to the impermanence of the earlier clubs: “There seems every likelihood of a very enthusiastic golf club finding a permanent foothold in Renfrew much to the satisfaction of many who for years have advocated its existence” (Ottawa Journal, 7 April 1924, p. 16, emphasis added).

This 1924 attempt to establish a “permanent foothold” for golf in Renfrew was the most promising of all. On April 7th, we are assured that “A strong committee is at the head of affairs and various properties suitable for a golf course have been visited, and it is expected that when reported upon one will be selected and purchased” (Ottawa Journal, 7 April 1924, p. 16). And just three days later, everything was settled:


Renfrew Planning for a Golf Course


Prominent Citizens Obtain Option on Fine Property ….


A number of prominent Renfrew businessmen, headed by Mr. J.L. Murray, mayor of Renfrew, have taken an option on the 165-acre farm of John Moran on the northeast boundary of the town, with the object of forming a golf club.


The price was $8,500.


The land will form an ideal course, and there is already a house built on the farm that will serve as a club house. Work will be begun on the links immediately to have them in readiness for the opening of the golf season. (Ottawa Journal, 10 April 1924, p. 1)


It was said that “a number of prominent businessmen … are contributing largely and speak for the club’s success,” and it was mentioned that the leader of these businessmen, “Mayor J. Murray,” happened to be the son-in-law of Senator M.J. O’Brien” – the wealthiest person in Renfrew (Daily British Whig [Kingston], 15 April 1924, p. 5).


The secretary of this new Renfrew Golf Club informed the editor of the American Annual Golf Guide for 1925 of further particulars regarding the club:




Estd. 1924


Holes – 9. Length – 2,650 yds.


Visitors’ charges – 50 c per day.


(American Annual Golf Guide and Year Book 1925, ed. J. Lewis Brown [New York: Golf Guide Company, Inc., 1925], p. 444)


The same information was reported in the 1926 and 1927 editions of the American Annual Golf Guide, but the editor seems simply to have reprinted the original information from 1924 after having failed to hear anything further from the club, for the 1924 version of the Renfrew Golf Club does not seem to have survived its first year.

Perhaps the fault this time was not a lack of enthusiasm for golf in Renfrew but rather a co-opting of a significant portion of Renfrew’s golf enthusiasts by the Arnprior Golf Club, for an initiative begun in 1923 to establish a golf club in Arnprior had drawn the support of a considerable number of important and influential Renfrew people.


Working together, golfers representing each of these towns finally inaugurated a golf club that would endure.

Arnprior Golf's Proper Beginning

Perhaps there had been attempts to establish a golf club in Arnprior in addition to the one that produced a golf club from 1901 to 1904 and in addition to the prospective golf club of 1921, but I have found no mention of them in newspapers of the day.

Figure 2 David Armitage Gillies (1882-1967), circa mid-1930s.

We know, however, that the planning that would produce the first nine holes of the present Sand Point golf course was initiated in the spring of 1923 when a group of Arnprior and Renfrew men began to organize a golf club “at a meeting … held in the home of D.A. Gillies, Arnprior” (Arnprior Chronicle, 26 May 1955, p. 1).


After graduating from Queen’s University in the early 1900s and trying his hand at mountain climbing for several years, David Armitage Gillies (1882-1967) entered the Gillies Brothers lumber business, starting out in the company’s lumber camps, then rafting logs down the Ottawa River to the company’s Braeside mills, and finally taking up office work. President of Gillies Brothers from 1938 to 1958, he would become a life-long member of the Arnprior Golf Club, frequently serving as a director and as a member of important committees.

Organizational meetings amongst Arnprior representatives, on the one hand, and Renfrew representatives, on the other, became more frequent and more ambitious throughout the summer and fall of 1923. By the end of the summer, the promoters of the golf club project had begun to consider and even to inspect possible sites for laying out a golf course.


In October, the Almonte Gazette reported: “Arnprior Golf Club has been organized. J.S. Moir and Alex Reid are two of the directors. The former is president” (Almonte Gazette, 26 October 1923, p. 3). The Almonte newspaper did not mention the club’s vice-president, its secretary, or any of its many other directors. It probably mentioned Moir and Reid because they were both former residents of Almonte whose names the newspaper’s readers would have recognized.

Two weeks later, the same newspaper reported that “The Ballantyne property at Sand Point has been finally acquired by the Arnprior Golf Club” (Almonte Gazette, 9 November 1923, p. 7). The description of this property as having “been finally acquired” may indicate that a purchase option had been negotiated well before the deal closed at the beginning of November (emphasis added).


This property appealed to the promoters of the golf club not just because of its potential for development as a golf course, but also because it was almost equally accessible to residents of both Arnprior and Renfrew.


Interestingly, however, although the golf club was a joint venture between representatives of the two towns, the not-yet-incorporated Arnprior Golf Club’s “provisional directorate” named in the fall of 1923 comprised Arnprior men exclusively: “J.S. Moir, W.W. Weed, G.H. Johnson, and W.H.A. Short as Secretary,” as well as Alec Reid (mentioned above)


I quote here from an anonymous account called “Arnprior Colf Club History” (see Arnprior & McNab/Braeside Archives, “Peter Hessel Collection,” Fonds no. 0021, Series 1, Subseries ARN7, 2 “Arnprior Golf Club History - provided to members as part of their members package 2013. Author unknown,” accession no. 1994 0021). Part of this text is archived on the internet in connection with an old Arnprior Golf Club website dating from about 2013. (See “History” [Arnprior Golf Club, circa 2013],


Who were these men – J.S. Moir, G.H. Johnson, W.W. Weed, W.H.A. Short, and Alex Reid – the five provisional directors of 1923?

John Snedden Moir

John Snedden Moir was obviously an enthusiastic backer of this project, and so was his son Gilbert Whyte Moir (1890-1959), who worked with his father in their Arnprior hardware business until 1928 (when he purchased a garage in downtown Arnprior that he operated until 1940). A veteran of the Royal Air Force during World War I, G.W. loved golf and could not wait for the golf course to be built in 1924, so in February he prepared a room for practising golf in the hardware store on John Street (a building that still retains the Moir name painted on its side):

Figure 3 John St, Arnprior.

Mr. G.W. Moir, one of the enthusiastic members of the Arnprior Golf Club, has fitted up a room above the store of J.S. Moir & Son on John Street where members of the club gather daily to practise driving, which is the primary fundamental in golfing.


Mr. Moir has enclosed a gallery about 15 ft x 25 ft with felt walls to prevent the balls rebounding.


A number of members and prospective members of the Arnprior club are securing some pre-season experience ….


All who care to visit the room will be made welcome. (Arnprior Chronicle, cited in the Almonte Gazette, 29 February 1924, p. 7)

Moir’s hardware store effectively served as a winter golf school for Arnprior’s golf neophytes.

Figure 4 J.S. Moir (1864-1931), Plumber and Steamfitter and Sanitary Engineer of Canada [Magazine], vol 6 no 6 (1 March 1912), p. 9.

Born in Ramsay Township in Lanark County in 1864, a great-grandson of Scotsman William Moir who settled there in the early 1800s, John Snedden Moir attended public school and high school in Almonte.


But then, “as a young man,” he “came to Arnprior and established himself in the hardware business. He began in a small way, but industry, integrity, and vision brought its own reward and down through the years the name Moir became widely and favorably known all through the Ottawa Valley” (Arnprior Chronicle, 11 June 1931, p. 1). Effectively the hardware king of Arnprior and the surrounding district, he appears in the photograph below as the man standing second from left alongside his employees who are ranged across the front of his store in 1912.

Figure 5 J.S. Moir stands second from left. G.W. Moir may be the young man standing fourth from the left. Plumber and Steamfitter and Sanitary Engineer of Canada [Magazine], vol 6 no 6 (1 March 1912), p. 9.

Moir also sold automobiles and sports equipment.

Figure 6 A portion of the J.S. Moir storefront on John Street on Dominion Day (July 1st) 1914.

During the winter of 1924, those who made their way through the hardware store to the room specially prepared by G.W. Moir for golf practice no doubt passed a display of the latest golf equipment.

J.S. Moir was a keen sportsmen and outdoorsman. In the early 1900s, he became a member of both the Arnprior Gun Club and the Arnprior Curling Club. In the late 1800s, he had one of only two summer residences at the Diamond Park resort on the Madawaska River about three miles from Arnprior, but just before World War I, the family began spending summers in Norway Bay.

He was very active in the community. He served on Arnprior’s Library Board, Board of Trade, and Board of Health. He also served the Methodist church in virtually every capacity, from member of the administrative board to superintendent of the Sunday school. And “He served over a period of years on the municipal council, was one of the most active when Arnprior was incorporated as a town, and largely through his instrumentality were waterworks and sewers installed in Arnprior upward of thirty years ago [i.e. in the early 1900s]” (Ottawa Citizen, 11 June 1931, p. 2). The Arnprior Chronicle said that he was a “patron of everything that was worthy in the social and cultural life of the Community” (Arnprior Chronicle, 11 June 1931, p. 1).


When Moir died in June of 1931, it was remembered that “He helped to organize the Arnprior Golf club in 1923 and became the first president” (Ottawa Citizen, 11 June 1931, p. 2). In fact, he served as president both in 1924 and 1925 – his two-year run as president establishing a precedent for succeeding presidents to follow. The Arnprior Chronicle observed that “to his genius and leadership is credited the stability and success today enjoyed by the club” (Arnprior Chronicle, 11 June 1931, p. 1).

George Hamilton Johnson

Accepting to serve as a provisional director of the newly formed Arnprior Golf Club in 1923, George Hamilton Johnson (1875-1933) lent considerable prestige to the directorate.

Figure 7 Lieutenant-Colonel George Hamilton Johnson, Arnprior Chronicle, 16 October 1930, p. 1.

Just four years before, in January of 1919, after having served in France during World War I (where he was rapidly promoted from lieutenant to major to lieutenant-colonel), he had been appointed by King George V a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), and later the same year he had been appointed by the Republic of France a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.


Born 31 October 1875 in St John, New Brunswick, Johnson was raised and educated in Campbellton, New Brunswick He then studied engineering at university. Upon graduation, he was hired by the Montreal engineering firm Carrier, Laine, & Co. to manage its office in St. John, New Brunswick. Although only in his early twenties, he quickly gained a reputation “as one of the most capable businessmen on the road” (Evening Mail [Halifax], 17 January 1900, p. 9).

Late in 1899, however, he interrupted his budding business career to join “the second lot of New Brunswick volunteers” to serve in what was then called the Boer War (Evening Mail [Halifax], 17 January 1900, p. 9). He sailed to South Africa early in 1900, serving for one year as a “gunner” in the “12th [Royal Canadian] Field Battery, E. Battery, South Africa” (as indicated in his Canadian World War I personnel record).

Discharged in January of 1901, he was just twenty-five years old. He returned to the family home in Campbellton, where he nursed an eye injury: shrapnel had penetrated his left eye and could not be removed. A scar over this eye marked where the shrapnel had hit him. The several pieces of shrapnel that he carried in the eye would trouble him for the next thirty years. Eventually, as the Ottawa Citizen observed in 1933, doctors decided in the late 1920s and early 1930s to try to remove the shrapnel: “A few years ago, a piece of shrapnel was removed in an Ottawa hospital, and shortly after another piece was removed in a Montreal hospital, and at the latter, it was necessary also to remove the eye” (Ottawa Citizen, 18 December 1933, p. 4).

Upon his return from South Africa, the young military veteran deferred his return to the business world, instead becoming for several years “associated with McGill University in Montreal as a demonstrating engineer” (Ottawa Journal, 18 December 1933, p. 8).


Late in 1903, however, McLachlin Brothers, Limited (a big lumber company based in Arnprior, but with extensive timber harvesting rights throughout Central Ontario), made him an offer he could not refuse: on 1 January 1904, he became the company’s chief engineer.

Figure 8 George H. Johnson poses on an "alligator tugboat" in one of the McLachlin Brothers log booms on the Ottawa River, circa 1904.

Johnson served in this position for the next twenty-five years (except for three years spent in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during World War I). In fact, Johnson worked for McLachlin Brothers until the company ceased operations in the early 1930s, at which point “he was engaged as a consulting mechanical engineer for the International Paper Company” and also became a “consulting engineer for the Pembroke Power Company” (Ottawa Citizen, 18 December 1933, p. 4).

For McLachlin Brothers, Johnson had been responsible for designing everything from lumber boats to improved saws, such as the “large new band resaw” celebrated in the Canadian Lumberman journal (21 April 1921, p. 57). Similarly, for the International Paper Company, “he designed and superintended the construction of a number of large boats” (Ottawa Citizen, 18 December 1933, p. 4).


Furthermore, “Throughout the engineering world, he was a well-known authority on the operation of diesel engines” (Ottawa Citizen, 18 December 1933, p. 4). Not surprisingly, it turns out that he had been awarded his Legion of Honour and CBE distinctions during World War I for “engineering services of exceptional natures in France and England” (Ottawa Citizen, 18 December 1933, p. 4).


His service in World War I had begun on 15 August 1916, when he travelled to Montreal to enlist in the Canadian Forestry Corp, which had been created just the day before.

Figure 9 Recruitment poster, World War I.

After the disappointment of British expectations that the war would be over by Christmas of 1914 and the subsequent realization that trenches would have to be dug across Europe from the North Sea to the border of Switzerland, it was recognized that huge quantities of lumber would be needed on the Western Front, and it was also recognized by allied armies that Canadians were the world’s foremost timber experts, from harvesting to sawmilling. And so, the Canadian Forestry Corps was created, and lumberjacks and sawmill hands were thereafter actively recruited to cut down forests in England, Scotland, and France.

Although members of the Forestry Corps were often far removed from battle, when the Armistice was signed on 11 November 1918, Lieutenant-Colonel Johnson (then the Deputy Director of Timber Operations for the Forestry Corps) had been so involved in facilitating the movement of allied forces as they followed the rearguard of the retreating German army that he was one of the first to cross into Germany. He later wrote that the photograph below shows him seated in the back of his Cadillac staff car just after crossing the Rhine River into Germany at Alt-Breisach on 18 November 1918 – suggesting that his “was the first car of any of the Allied Armies to cross the Rhine” (Lieutenant-Colonel George H. Johnson, letter to Cadillac Motor Car Company, Detroit Michigan, 18 December 1918).

Figure 10 Johnson seated behind his driver, Staff Sergeant Frank Bourner, 18 November 1918, Alt-Breisach, Germany.

And so, famous in North America for his boat and engine designs and famous in Europe for his work in the Forestry Corps, “Colonel George H. Johnson” became “an engineer with an enviable reputation on two continents” (Ottawa Citizen, 18 December 1933, p. 4).

After his demobilization in May of 1919, Johnson returned to Arnprior, which had become his second home.

Figure 11 Campbellton Rural Cemetery, Campbellton, Restigouche, New Brunswick. (The year of birth and the year of death are incorrect.)

But although Johnson loved Arnprior, Campbellton was the home of his ancestors, and so, when he died unexpectedly in December of 1933 (at just fifty-eight years of age), the family sent one of his brothers to collect the body and bring it back to Campbellton for burial near the family home in the spring of 1934.


The Ottawa Journal observed in its obituary article about Colonel Johnson that “Among the employees of McLachlin Brothers and the citizens of Arnprior, he was well and favorably known …. Always keenly and actively interested in the town’s welfare, he freely gave of his services whenever called upon” – as when asked to serve as a provisional director of the Arnprior Golf Club in 1923 (Ottawa Journal, 18 December 1933, p. 8).

Johnson served as a club director from 1926 to 1929, and in each season from 1928 to 1933, with eye operations scheduled, he agreed also to serve as a member of the greens committee, which was his favourite.

He was the only one of the four provisional directors who did not subsequently serve as president of the Arnprior Golf Club, but, as the Arnprior Chronicle suggested, this did not mean that he was not a leader at the club:


A resident here for almost 30 years, Arnprior was really his home, and his intense interest in the well-being of the community was apparent in many directions in which his exceptional attainments and ambitions rendered him a leader.

In many ways, he was of material assistance to the golf club and other kindred organizations, and for years municipal councils have derived benefit from advice based on many years of experience in engineering works. (Arnprior Chronicle, 21 December 1933, p. 3)

Woolsey Waterbury Weed

American Woolsey Waterbury Weed (1890-1946) arrived in Arnprior in 1919.

Figure 12 Kenwood Mills, circa 1919.

Just twenty-eight years old, Weed had been appointed the first managing director of Kenwood Mills, Limited, which through the purchase of the old Griffith-McNaughton mill had just been established as the Canadian branch of the New York manufacturer of felt known as F.C. Huyck and Sons, Limited.

Virtually from the moment of his arrival in Arnprior, Weed became involved in the organization of local sports clubs. 

Figure 13 W.W. Weed, Kenwood Mills, 1933.

In 1920, he was elected vice-president of the hockey club that played in the Ottawa and District League. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, he accepted appointment to the executive committees of clubs managing various sports, including tennis, baseball, curling and skiing. In retrospect, then, it is perhaps not surprising that in 1923 he was chosen to be a provisional director of the Arnprior Golf Club. Of this important role as a club founder, it was later said that “More than any other individual, he was responsible for organizing the Arnprior Golf Club” (Ottawa Journal, 13 May 1946, p. 14).


I would be willing to bet that Weed supplied from the Kenwood Mills the felt that Gilbert Moir used to prevent golf balls from rebounding off the walls of the room that he set up in the J.S. Moir Hardware Store for driving practice during the winter of 1924.


Born in Potsdam, New York, in 1890, Weed was a good student from the start and soon acquired a passion for learning. 

After his public schooling, he attended the Clarkson Institute of technology. He then received degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Syracuse and the University of Illinois.


He was hired by the Huyck firm in 1917 “to organize its system of cost accounting” (Troy Record [New York], 14 May 1946, p. 7). His management of Kenwood Mills beginning in 1919 was a great success.

Figure 14 Woolsey Waterbury Weed (1890- 1946), Arnprior Chronicle, 20 February 1936, p. 1.

On the one hand, “Under his guiding touch as managing director, the business expanded its markets to three continents and Mr. Weed became widely known in industrial circles across Canada” (Ottawa Journal, 13 May 1946, p. 14).


On the other hand, “he won esteem from employees of Kenwood Mills when the bonus system was introduced. This allowed every worker to share in the profits of the company” (Ottawa Journal, 13 May 1946, p. 14).


As a consequence of Weed’s success in Arnprior on behalf of F.C. Huyck and Sons, “He was elected a director [of the company] in 1927 and became vice-president in 1936” (Troy Record [New York], 14 May 1946, p. 7).

As soon as he had set himself up in Arnprior, he became good friends with the Moir family, especially J.S. Moir’s children:

he was the same age as Gilbert Moir with whom he shared an interest in curling and golf, and in 1920 he was asked to serve as an official witness at the wedding of one of Gilbert’s sisters. He also became good friends with Colonel Johnson and R.A. Jeffery, the proprietor and editor of the Arnprior Chronicle who would become the Arnprior Golf Club’s first vice-president.


Not only did Weed play a founding role at the golf club, but “He was largely instrumental in organizing the Arnprior Civic Promotion Bureau, Arnprior Winter Sports, Limited, the first tennis club, and other cultural and community projects…. In addition to these accomplishments, Mr. Weed was a devotee of music and the arts” (Ottawa Journal, 13 May 1946, p. 14). When the new hockey and curling rink that Weed had promoted (on behalf of Kenwood Mills) was opened in 1936, he was celebrated as “that personable, able, modest gentleman who is captain of the ship, the majordomo, the best of good fellows, Managing director W.W. Weed” (Ottawa Citizen, 20 February 1936, p. 11).

In 1927, at a dinner organized at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club so his Arnprior friends could wish him well before he traveled to Pasadena, California, to marry Esther Neighbor, Weed told his friends that he had come to love Arnprior so much that he would be loathe ever to leave his adopted town: “he declared that he has been a resident of Canada now for eight years and it would require to be a pretty tempting offer that would induce him to leave Arnprior and return to Albany” (Ottawa Citizen, 13 July 1927, p. 17).


Well, that offer came.


When the last of founder F.C. Huyck’s sons died, Weed accepted the call to replace him: “Upon the death of Francis C. Huyck in 1938, he became president of the company” (Troy Record [New York], 14 May 1946, p. 7). Weed’s Arnprior friends held their breath as Weed resisted the temptation to change his residence:


The news of Mr. W.W. Weed’s promotion to the presidency of F.C. Huyck and Sons did not occasion any great surprise here. In fact, everything pointed to the likelihood of his selection, but his friends here and citizens generally were hopeful it might not turn out that way in case he should find it necessary to give up residence here in favor of Albany, N.Y….


It is thought he will continue to reside here, at least for the moment….


The elevation of Mr. Weed to the head of one of the largest corporations of its kind on the American continent is a tribute to his business ability and executive capacity….


Mr. Weed’s years of residence here have been marked by much constructive community effort and should conditions eventually make it necessary that he move his place of residence to Albany, his going would be a matter of loss to his town and keen regret to the citizens. He has been behind almost every move having for its purpose the town’s interest. He was the leading proponent of Arnprior’s tennis and golf clubs, and among their first presidents. (Ottawa Citizen, 8 December 1938, p. 4)


In 1940, however, Weed moved to Albany.


Back in New York, he became a director of the National Commercial Bank and Trust Company of Albany and a director of the National Association of Woolen Manufacturers, and during World War II, he served on behalf of the woolen industry on the advisory committee of the United States War Production Board.


Still, Weed retained a cottage at Marshall’s Bay on the Ottawa River and regularly returned to Arnprior, visiting the town in the spring of 1946 just three weeks before his unexpected death of a heart attack at fifty-six years of age.

He served as president of the golf club in 1928 and 1929, served as a director in many other years, and he also served as chair of the greens committee in 1936, 1937, 1938, and 1940. And although he had moved to Albany in August of 1940, he also served on the greens committee in 1941.


Weed was a good golfer: he won the club championship in 1930 with a score of 82.

William Harold Armstrong Short

When he was appointed acting secretary of the Arnprior Golf Club in 1923, twenty-nine-year-old Harold Short was the youngest of the club’s provisional directors.

Figure 15 William Harold Armstrong Short (1894-1967), circa 1946.

Born 31 January 1894 in New Edinburgh, Ottawa, the son of William Short (city assessor and former alderman), Harold was described as a “member of a well-known Ottawa family,” one of the city’s oldest (Ottawa Journal, 18 March 1941, p. 19).


Educated in Ottawa, Harold was from a young age “actively interested in sports” in general. In particular, he was well-known locally as “a member of the New Edinburgh canoe club” (Ottawa Journal, 30 March 1950, p. 5).


After graduating from high school, he worked as a bookkeeper. But shortly after he turned twenty, World War I broke out and he decided to suspend his budding career in the business world to serve in the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

Enlisting in January of 1915 in the 8th Canadian Mounted Rifles (CMR), he was sent overseas in October of that year with the 5th CMR. He served “in the field” in France until 1919.


Short was regularly promoted, rising quickly from private to sergeant, and then, in 1918, being granted a commission as lieutenant in the 5th CMR. In 1917, he was “mentioned in despatches for distinguished and gallant service and devotion to duty,” and in 1918 he was “awarded the Meritorious Medal in recognition of valuable services rendered with the Forces in France” (see the Canadian World War I personnel record for W.H.A. Short).


The photograph below shows soldiers from the two companies the 5th CMR sitting on top of the “Glamorgan,” a British Mk IV tank, on 2 August 1918, the day the tank was demonstrated to them at Bacouel-sur-Selle, Amiens, France – with the CMR officers, among whom is Lieutenant W.H.A. Short, standing to the side.

Figure 17 Photograph, Library and Archives Canada. MIKAN No. 340524.

Figure 16 Detail from photo above.

Shown to the left, in an enlarged detail from the photograph above, is an officer that resembles twenty-four-year-old Lieutenant Harold Short.


According to the War Diaries of the 5th CMR, a week after the Mark VI tank was demonstrated to the Canadians, “a platoon of A. Co[mpan]y under Lieut. W.H.A. Short and One Tank were ordered to round up … [an] enemy convoy” and also to escort back to Canadian lines soldiers of the Canadian Light Horse and prisoners they had captured (Appendix, War Diaries – 5 th Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles, Library and Archives Canada).


Lieutenant Short was demobilized in the spring of 1919 and sailed back to Canada, returning to Ottawa in April.

Figure 18 W.H.A. short, Kenwood Mills, 1933.

In December of 1919, Short’s pre-war bookkeeping experience earned him a minor office position under W.W. Weed at Kenwood Mills. Twenty-two years later, when Short succeeded Weed as manager of the factory, the Ottawa Citizen marvelled at the career of the local Ottawa boy made-good in Arnprior:


Mr. Short’s ascendency to direction of the company has been meteoric. He didn’t return to Ottawa from war service in France until 1919 and in December of that year went to Arnprior and joined the office staff of Kenwood Mills, Limited. In turn, he became office manager and secretary-treasurer [in 1932]. Two years ago, he was elected a director, and now [1941] he assumes the joint responsibilities of manager, director, and secretary of the company. (Ottawa Citizen, 18 March 1941, p. 2)


And his rise in the company was not over. When Weed became president of F.C. Huyck and Sons in 1938, Short continued in Arnprior as managing director of Kenwood Mills but also soon became vice president. And when Weed died unexpectedly in 1946, Short was made a director of F.C. Huyck and Sons. In 1950, he became president of Kenwood Mills.

By then, Short had been president of many of Arnprior’s sports clubs as well. He was the president of various junior hockey clubs from the 1920s to the 1950s. An excellent curler, he was the president of the Arnprior Curling Club in 1935 and 1936.

Figure 19 Harold Short putts at the Arnprior Golf Club. From "The Town and the Mill," Crawley Films, 1948.

Having served the Arnprior Golf Club previously as director, secretary-treasurer, and vice-president, he was elected in 1932 to serve as president. He led the club through the worst years of the great Depression, not just keeping the balance sheet in a healthy state, but also enabling improvements, as we can see from his address to the shareholders in March of 1933:


Mr. Harold A. Short, president, reviewed the past season’s activities …. Considering the present economic condition [in the country] and the excellent state of the club’s property, President short felt that the members had every reason to be satisfied. The debt is small, and plans have already been made to reduce this in the coming year. He expressed his appreciation for the loyalty and co-operation extended to him last year … and outlined certain further improvements that might be made to the clubhouse at no very great cost. (Ottawa Citizen, 16 March 1933, p. 10).


Howard Short’s profile in Arnprior grew in importance every year. From the late 1920s onwards, as a representative of the Arnprior Branch of the Canadian Legion, he became an important promoter of the building of the town’s war memorial.

He was also an important promoter of the development of the McLachlin residence into a hospital, in recognition of which he was in 1944 elected the first chairman of the board of the Arnprior and District Memorial Hospital. As the Ottawa Journal observed in 1946, “He has served on almost every important local organization” (Ottawa Journal, 21 December 1946, p. 19).


His profile as a businessmen grew provincially and nationally throughout the 1950s. In 1952, he was elected chairman of Ontario division of the Canadian Manufacturers Association. Two years later, he was elected to CMA executive committee.


He died in 1967.

Alex Reid

Alexander Reid (1874-1956) first came to Arnprior in 1881 as a seven-year-old boy when his family immigrated to Canada from Perthshire, Scotland. He had hardly had time to make friends in his new home, however, before his family moved to Almonte, where Reid received his education in the public schools.


He left school at sixteen years of age to work for a local Almonte merchant, but almost immediately the ambitious young boy moved to Ottawa to work for “a mercantile concern” there for several years (Ottawa Citizen, 1 November 1956, p. 5).

Figure 20 The Watchman [Arnprior], 27 October 1916, p. 1.

By 1897, however, the twenty-three-year-old young man was ready for his next move. Alex Reid joined with his brother Thomas to establish Reid and Reid, a dry goods business, in downtown Arnprior.


This business was dissolved in the early 1900s and for several years afterwards Alex Reid worked as a travelling salesman for a variety of clothing firms. Based on his experience in this new industry, Alex returned to Arnprior in 1907 and established a men’s clothing store and haberdashery, which he operated successfully until 1931, when he sold it to Montreal interests.


Alex “The Clothier” Reid became a well-known citizen of Arnprior. He was elected several times to town council before World War I, and he was then elected reeve.

Figure 21 Alexander Reid (1874-1956), Ottawa Citizen, 8 March 1913, p. 18.

But education became his main public-service interest: “He was a member of the Public School Board for seven years, three of which he was chairman. He then became secretary-treasurer of the Public School Board and subsequently also took over the position of secretary-treasurer of Arnprior and District High School, positions he held for … 15 years” (Ottawa Citizen, 1 November 1956, p. 5).


Reid also developed his own educational interests. He became “a historical authority on the early days of [the Arnprior] community” (Ottawa Citizen, 7 March 1956, p. 10). He particularly liked “to reminisce on the bygone lumbering era” (Ottawa Citizen, 7 March 1956, p. 10).


Six weeks after his death late in November of 1956, a new public school under construction in Arnprior was named after him ‘to pay tribute” to his memory: “Alexander Reid Public School.”

A big promoter of winter sports, especially curling, Reid also loved golf. When he died in 1956, it was said that he was “one of the prime movers in establishing the Arnprior Golf Club” (Ottawa Citizen, 1 November 1956, p. 5).


Alex Reid had left Scotland when he was just seven years of age, but perhaps he had already gained an acquaintance with the game by then, priming him for an active role in the founding of the Arnprior Golf Club forty years later.

The First Office Holders

Founded with the provisional board of directors comprising the five men discussed in the chapters above, Arnprior Golf Club, Limited, seems not to have got around to electing its first proper board of directors until 25 January 1924 (“History” [Arnprior Golf Club], op. cit.).


In its June issue of 1924, Canadian Golfer magazine informed readers of the creation of the new golf club in Arnprior, wished it well, and named the club’s new office holders:


A successful club has been started this season at Arnprior, Ont., with the following strong Board of Directors: President, J.S. Moir; Vice-President, R.A. Jeffery; Sec’y Treas., Harold Short; Ch. Green Committee, W.W. Weed….


Here’s wishing the Arnprior Golf Club an unbounded success now and in the years to come. (Canadian Golfer, vol 10 no 2 [June 1924], p. 204)


Of the 1924 office holders named above, President Moir, Secretary-Treasurer Short, and Greens Committee Chairman Weed have been discussed above.


What is the story of R.A. Jeffery, the Vice-President?

Ronald Angus Jeffery

Of the four members of the first executive committee elected in January of 1924, the only one who had not been named a provisional director in the fall of 1923 was Ronald Angus Jeffery, known to his friends as “Jeff.”

Figure 22 R.A. Jeffery (1877-1949), Arnprior Watchman, 5 January 1917, p. 1.

Figure 23 R.A. Jeffery, Arnprior Chronicle, 22 November 1929, p. 1.

Born in Montreal in 1877, “the genial R.A. Jeffery” had come to Arnprior in 1895 (British Daily Whig, 10 January 1914, p. 9). He became proprietor and editor of the Arnprior Chronicle in 1899, a position he held until his retirement in 1929. For many years, he was also the Arnprior correspondent regarding local news sent to Ottawa newspapers such as the Citizen and Journal and the Toronto newspaper the Mail and Empire.


From the moment he arrived in Arnprior, he lived at the centre of local events both as a reporter and as an enabler of these events, for he served as president of sports teams and leagues, as a writer about local history (particularly that of the Roman Catholic Church), and as president and chairman of committees in charge of municipal services, health, education, and so on.

Jeffery ultimately “occupied every municipal office in Arnprior,” serving as mayor in 1924 when he was also elected vice-president of the golf club (Arnprior Chronicle, 29 January 1949, p. 1). He served another term as mayor in 1925, when he was re-elected by acclamation.


Jeffery served as Chairman of the Board of Education and then as chairman of the Separate School Board. He was a director of the Arnprior Hospital. He was chairman of the Arnprior Hydro Electric Commission and president of the Arnprior Board of Trade. He served as president of the Arnprior branch of the Canadian Red Cross Society, and he also served for several years on the Ontario Parole Board.

He was an important lay member of the Roman Catholic Church in Ontario. He was “widely known throughout the province for his work with the Knights of Columbus and was a … state deputy of that order” (Windsor Star, 27 October 1949, p. 20). In fact, he “was honored by Pope Pius in 1947 when he was made a knight commander of the Order of St. Gregory for his many years of service to the Roman Catholic Church” (Windsor Star, 27 October 1949, p. 20).


His support for sports was wide and of long duration, from baseball and curling to golf. And his love of sports took his influence beyond Arnprior. In 1910, he donated a trophy for hockey competition in rural areas of Renfrew County to stimulate the development of competitive leagues in smaller centres. In 1920, he served as president of the Upper Ottawa Valley Hockey League. In 1947, he was elected president of the Canadian Branch of the Royal Caledonia Curling Club of Scotland.

Figure 24 R.A. Jeffery, Montreal Star, 18 November 1947, p. 35.

Jeffery served as the Arnprior Golf Club’s second president in 1926 and 1927, and he served on its most important committees for twenty years. There was nothing he would not do for the club: as a renowned amateur singer and musician (he had been performing at Arnprior entertainments from the 1890s onwards), “Mr. R.A. Jeffery was pianist for community singing” at the shareholders meeting of Arnprior Golf Club, Limited, in the spring of 1936 (Arnprior Chronicle, 1 April 1936, p. 1).


When the Upper Ottawa Valley Seniors’ Golf Association was formed in 1939, Jeffery served as the new organization’s vice-president.


Just a few weeks before he died in the fall of 1949, he was made an honorary member of the Gordon Cup Committee, in recognition of his having served for a quarter of a century as historian of the records of this annual competition amongst teams representing the golf clubs of Renfrew, Pembroke, Carleton Place, and Arnprior.

The Other 1924 Directors Without Portfolio

The 1924 item in Canadian Golfer about the new Arnprior Golf Club had named not only the club’s office holders, but also the other members of the first board of directors:


A successful club has been started this season at Arnprior, Ont., with the following strong Board of Directors: President, J.S. Moir; Vice-President, R.A. Jeffery; Sec’y Treas., Harold Short; Ch. Green Committee, W.W. Weed.


Other Directors, D.A. Gillies, D. McLachlin, J. Brennan, Dr. Box, E.P. Keaney, Col. Johnson and Alec Reid. (Canadian Golfer, vol 10 no 2 [June 1924], p. 204)


Having discussed above Moir, Johnson, Weed, Short, Jeffery, Gillies, and Reid, I will discuss briefly the other directors mentioned above: McLachlin, Brennan, Box, and Keaney.


Perhaps the most prominent of the 1924 directors was Daniel McLachlin (1881-1954), who was named after his grandfather – the person who in the mid-nineteenth century built a sawmill and gristmill at what would become Arnprior and founded the McLachlin Brothers Lumber Company. This company would become in the twentieth century the largest lumber firm in North America.

Figure 25 Daniel McLachlin (1881-1954), circa 1920.

Like D.A. Gillies of Gillies Brothers, Dan McLachlin knew from an early age that he was destined to work in the family’s company. After education in Arnprior’s public schools, Ottawa’s Ashbury College, and Montreal’s McGill University, he took his place in the company. After the death of his father, he served as president of McLachlin Brothers until the company was sold in the 1930s.


He served as president of the Canadian Lumberman’s Association and as vice-president of the American Lumberman’s Association. He served several consecutive terms as Mayor of Arnprior in the late 1920s, and he became “a recognized authority on the history of Arnprior” (Ottawa Journal, 4 March 1954, p. 39).


He was a popular figure: “The possessor of an outstanding personality and fine character, Dan McLachlin endeared himself to the thousands of workmen who passed through the great lumbering era in Arnprior.

Lumberjacks and high government and business executives alike held the name Dan McLachlin in high esteem” (Ottawa Journal, 4 March 1954, p. 1).

McLachlin was a keen golfer.


Another of the 1924 directors, John Brennan (1855-1930), was described as “probably the Ottawa Valley’s best-known citizen” (Ottawa Journal, 5 March 1930, p. 1).


A great promoter of the club, Brennan may never have even played a game of golf.

Figure 26 John Brennan (1855-1930), Ottawa Citizen, 8 March 1913, p. 18.

Born at Bonnechere Point in Horton Township in 1855, he had started work with the Union Forwarding Company of Sand Point, became a builder of tracks for the Canadian Pacific Railway as far as the head of the Great Lakes, and became President of the Galetta Electric Power and Milling Company. He gave time and energy to worthwhile projects in the communities where he worked.


In 1905, for instance, he served as a Renfrew County Councillor and took “the initiative … for the establishment of telephone communication between Arnprior and Sand Point” (Weekly British Whig [Kingston], 10 July 1905, p. 3). He would also serve as Warden of Renfrew County and Councillor, Reeve, and Mayor of Arnprior.


His great sporting passion was horse breeding, but because he believed that a community such as Arnprior needed a golf club to attract strong businesses to the area, he became a director of the Arnprior Golf Club.

John Howard Box (1891-1973) was a long-time servant of the Arnprior Golf Club.


Born and raised in Calabogie, he was from the beginning an athletic youth who pursued interests in a wide variety of sports all his life. At Queen’s University he played on both the football and hockey teams. In Arnprior, he added curling and golf to his sporting repertoire. He also coached the rugby team and served as president of the baseball club.

Figure 27 Dr. John Howard Box, Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps, 1915.

Graduating from his medical studies at Queen’s in 1915, Dr. Box immediately enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary force and was sent overseas with the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps. Enlisting as a private, he was promoted during service in France to the rank of lieutenant, and then captain. He transferred to the British Expeditionary Force and thereafter served in France, Greece (Macedonia), Egypt, and Russia (Siberia).


He was awarded the Military Cross by King George V.


Discharged in Vladivostok, Siberia, in 1919, he accepted the position of port health officer in Shanghai, China, where he served for four months. He next went to New York City for eighteen months of postgraduate training in surgery at Columbus Hospital. He entered practice at Kitchener, Ontario, for a brief period but in 1921 moved to Arnprior, where he spent the rest of his life.

He became a town councillor in the late 1920s and early 1930s, he served on the board of education, he served as Medical Officer of Health for Arnprior and McNab Township, and he also served as company physician for several local industries. He was a prime mover in the introduction of local health initiatives, such as the of pasteurization of milk and the filtration and chlorination of water.


He served on all the important committees of the Arnprior Golf Club, and he served two years as president (1930-31). In 1930, he hired the man who would become the club’s longest-serving head greenkeeper: Edward Allan.


The last of the 1924 directors named above, Earnest Patrick Keaney (1878-1937), has perhaps the saddest story.


Born in Pembroke on 26 September 1878, he was very young when he moved with his family to Sudbury, where his father, Terence Keaney, was working on the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Terence Keaney made Sudbury his permanent home, giving up the engineering profession upon his appointment as Sudbury gaoler. Ernest’s mother, Bridget (Lynch) Keaney became the jail’s “Matron.” In “honour” of Governor and Matron Keaney, Sudbury’s first jail would be nicknamed “Keaney’s Castle.”


Ernest was an intelligent boy, especially adept at mathematics, but he was also a natural athlete. In particular, “he was an outstanding lacrosse player in his youth and was a member of several noted teams in the Nickel Belt” (Montreal Star, 21 July 1937, p. 4). He became “well known in … athletic circles” and “always retained a lively interest in all forms of athletics” (Ottawa Citizen, 19 June 1937, p. 10). When he died, he was remembered by a local newspaper as “another of Northern Ontario’s pioneers” (North Bay Nugget, 21 June 1937).


Like his father, he first worked in railway construction: he was “with the building contractors on the Canadian Northern Railway when it was being put through northern Ontario” (North Bay Nugget, 21 June 1937). But he began a banking career around the turn of the century as a teller with the Sudbury branch of the Ontario Bank. In 1901, he was transferred to the Kingston branch of this bank where he worked as the “receiving teller.” By 1907, he had been promoted to the position of accountant in the Bank of Ottawa at its Haileybury branch. In 1908, he was appointed accountant of this bank’s Pembroke branch. And then in the spring of 1909 he was appointed manager of a new branch in Cochrane, where a house was built for his family. He was eventually hired by the Home Bank of Canada, working as a manager of its London branch in 1918.

By December of 1918, however, Keaney had been appointed Superintendent of the Eastern Branches of the Home Bank of Canada and was in Arnprior readying premises for the opening of a new branch.

Figure 28 The Watchman [Arnprior], 13 January 1919, p. 5.

In 1919, he was made manager of this branch, which “met with such good success” that “the ever-increasing volume of business” from Galetta led to his giving “his personal attention” to the establishment of a sub-branch there – “the first time the people of Galetta … had the convenience of a bank in their village” (Ottawa Citizen, 2 September 1919, p. 12).

Keaney was a local hero.

To whichever community he was sent as teller, bank accountant or bank manager, he supported local sports. When working in Kingston in the early 1900s, he not only served on the executive committee of the lacrosse club in 1902, but he also played for the team (Daily British Whig, 1 August 1902, p. 6). And in Kingston in 1903, he served on “the honorary board of patrons” of the Kingston Hockey Club – alias the “Frontenacs” (Ottawa Citizen, 21 December 1903, p. 8). And he loved simply watching high-level sporting competition: in 1905, for instance, he travelled from Kingston to Ottawa to watch ‘the final Stanley Cup game” (Daily British Whig, 11 March 1905, p. 6).


This story was repeated in Arnprior. As soon as he arrived in town in 1919, he joined the curling club. He was elected treasurer of the baseball club in April of 1922. And, as we know, he was elected a director of the Arnprior Golf Club late in 1923 or early in 1924.

It was when he was a teller at the Ontario Bank branch in Kingston that Keaney met the person he would marry, a housekeeper named Mary Loreto Walsh (1880-1957).

Figure 29 Martin ("Marty" Walsh (1884- 1915), early 1900s.

She was the older “sister of … ‘Marty’ Walsh, a noted hockey star” (Ottawa Citizen, 19 June 1937, p. 10).


Marty presumably became acquainted with Keaney when the latter was a “patron” of the Kingston Frontenacs in the early 1900s. That is when the seventeen-year-old junior hockey phenom moved from the Frontenacs to the Queen’s University hockey team. He would afterwards become a professional and win the Stanley Cup three times with the Ottawa Senators (1909, 1910, 1911), once scoring ten goals in a Stanley Cup game, and scoring 135 goals in his 59 games with the Ottawa team. He is in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Things began to go off the rails for Keaney, however, in 1923. It was not just that the Home Bank of Canada failed that year. His star was rising in this bank, so its sudden failure was certainly a setback. But there was also a controversy arising from his banking decisions the day after the Home Bank of Canada failed on 18 August 1923. It turns out that “some of the depositors of the Home Bank at Arnprior” were allowed to withdraw funds “the day after the bank suspended in Toronto”: “One of these accounts, for quite an amount, was paid to the sisters of a Roman Catholic institution and other accounts to prominent citizens” (Expositor [Brantford], 6 March 1924, p. 8). The amounts involved thousands of dollars.


How had these Arnprior depositors been allowed to recover their deposits when all other depositors in Canada found their accounts frozen?


In 1924, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, who was livid at the bank’s failure, appointed a Royal Commission to investigate the matter. And at the same time, there was talk in Ottawa of the federal government suing the Arnprior Home Bank depositors for the return of the amounts they had withdrawn the summer before.


The explanation out of Arnprior was that it was all an innocent misunderstanding: on the day the bank had failed, “the message sent [from Toronto] to E.P. Keaney, manager of the Home Bank at Arnprior, … did not arrive in time” (Windsor Star, 6 March 1924, p. 11).


Perhaps that was so.


The Royal Bank of Canada took over the Arnprior branch of the Home Bank and retained Keaney as manager. Four years later, however, the Royal Bank would very much regret that decision:


E.P. Keaney, who has been manager of the Royal Bank of Canada branch here for several years, and previously was manager of the Home Bank in Arnprior, has been placed under arrest, charged with forgery on four counts and is on remand in bail of $2,000 …. It is alleged that Mr. Keaney forged four promissory notes in amounts ranging from $100 to $200 and discounted them in the branch of which he is the manager…. The arrest and arraignment of Mr. Keaney has caused somewhat of a sensation in Arnprior, as during his years of residence in the town, he has been one of its leading citizens and has taken a great interest in the welfare of the community. (Ottawa Citizen, 15 February 1927, p. 12)


This story was carried in newspapers across Canada.


Keaney’s appearance in court one week later received sensational treatment:



Former Manager of Royal Bank Branch at Arnprior Remanded Until March 22 for Sentence on Forgery Counts




Strong Appeal for Clemency on Account of Wife and Eight Children ….


C.A. Mulvihill, defence counsel, practically broke down while through tear-dimmed eyes he made one of the most pathetic pleas for clemency at the preliminary hearing of two charges of forgery preferred against Ernest Patrick Keaney, former manager of the Royal Bank branch here.


Keaney pleaded guilty to both counts ….


The hearing took place before a large crowd in the council chamber of the town hall ….


Keaney was charged [that] within the past six months [he] did forge two promissory notes in amounts of $275 each and did discount them in the bank of which he is the manager.


Mr. C.A. Mulvihill immediately entered a plea for clemency. He stressed the fact that bank branch managers are low salaried. “His client,” he said, “[is] the father of eight children, whose mother is at the present time on the verge of death.”


At this point, defence counsel broke into tears but did not falter otherwise in his eloquent plea. “Your Worship,” he said, “if the accused is placed in prison, think of these eight children and their mother who now lies critically ill. If she dies, these children would be orphans with their father behind bars. Surely, for the sake of these children and their mother, you will not send this man to jail. At least, suspend sentence upon him.”


Crown Attorney [H.B.] Johnson said he could not consider a suspension of sentence, as the accused had been a man in a position of trust. He realized the delicate position of the children and their mother and declared that he would be satisfied with a remand for one month in order to ascertain at the end of that time whether or not the condition of Mrs. Keaney warranted passing sentence upon accused.


He then asked that bail be increased from $2,000 to $5,000….


Magistrate [David] Craig understood fully the position of accused regarding his wife and children but said that was no excuse why he had committed the crime, which has created a feeling of distrust among the public.


He remanded Keaney until March 22 for sentence. (Ottawa Citizen, 23 February 1927, p. 13)


Unreported in accounts of this hearing was information to the effect that Keaney had also been charged with embezzlement “in connection with shortages in the bank’s accounts to the extent of $20,000 …. Keaney’s operations covered a period of years, it is alleged” (Ottawa Journal, 24 March 1927, p. 5)


A month later, just before the sentencing, Mulvihill “filed a certificate with the court clerk to the effect that Mrs. Keaney was in poor health” (Ottawa Journal, 24 March 1927, p. 5). Fortunately, Mary Keaney lived another thirty years. And at the sentencing, the Crown Attorney “said that the Crown would be satisfied with suspended sentence” (Ottawa Journal, 24 March 1927, p. 5). But the Magistrate would have none of it:


Judge David Craig, of Arnprior, in sentencing Keaney, stated that while there were extenuating circumstances in the case, he found it impossible to allow suspended sentence and at the same time satisfy his own and public feeling.


He declared that Keaney had failed to live up to the position of trust which he had held. (Ottawa Journal, 24 March 1927, p. 5)


And so, Ernest Patrick Keaney “was sentenced to one year in Burwash Industrial Prison Farm” (Ottawa Journal, 24 March 1927, p. 5).


Operating from 1914 to 1974, the “Prison Farm,” as it was known, was the result of changes in thinking about the incarceration of minimum- to medium-security prisoners. The massive property of the correctional facility located south of Sudbury on Highway 69 included a farm, a sawmill, and a variety of shops and services, with the dual purpose of, on the one hand, teaching the inmates skills to be used when released from prison and, on the other hand, making the remote facility virtually self-sufficient.

Figure 30 Burwash Industrial Prison Farm (1914-1974), circa 1930.

Only people sentenced to less than two years of imprisonment were sent to Burwash.


Ironically, the immediate stimulus to the 1914 construction of the “prison farm” where Ernest Keaney would serve his sentence was “the congestion at the local jail” in Sudbury, which was run by his father, Governor Terence Keaney. Since “Keaney’s Castle” was full to the point of overflowing in 1914, he sent “the first contingent of prisoners” to the Crown Land where the prison farm would be built just a week after the government announced its plans for the site: the prisoners would live in tents as they constructed the prison buildings (Ottawa Citizen, 22 September 1914, p. 6).


Governor Keaney died in 1917, never to know that his son became an inmate at Burwash.


After destroying his banking career, Keaney “entered the construction industry and for many years was an accountant with the Dominion Construction Company” (Gazette [Montreal], 21 June 1937, p. 13). Keaney’s family remained in Arnprior, but “during his time with the Dominion Construction co., he had lived in London for two years and two years in Orillia” (North Bay Nugget, 21 June 1937).


The Keaney children thrived at school in Arnprior, and reports of their scholarly and athletic accomplishments appeared regularly in the Arnprior Chronicle from the late 1920s to the mid-1930s. In 1935, however, Ernest and Mary and their youngest children moved to Sudbury, where Ernest worked as manager of the Balmoral Hotel and became increasingly “well-known throughout the north” (Windsor Star, 21 June 1937, p. 13).

But less than two years later, Ernest died suddenly and without warning of heart failure at fifty-eight years of age.

Figure 31 LaSalle Roman Catholic Cemetery, Sudbury, Ontario.

His death was reported widely in Canadian newspapers, but in none of them was there any reference made to his twenty-seven-year banking career, let alone to his conviction for fraud and embezzlement. It seems that those who remembered him did not want to remember that part of his life.

In his Globe and Mail sports column in June of 1937, M.J. Rodden noted Keaney’s passing:

On the Highways of Sport ….


Northen sportsmen, particularly those in Sudbury, mourn the passing of Mr. Ernest Keaney, who was suddenly stricken with heart failure early on Saturday morning.


Mr. Keaney’s friends were legion.


God rest him. (Globe and Mail [Toronto], 21 June 1937, p. 22).


Keaney had undoubtedly played an important part in the founding of the Arnprior Golf Club: when the fledgling club needed people to step up and buy a share in Arnprior Golf Club, Limited, Keaney did so.


But perhaps now that we know the story of his financial improprieties in the mid-1920s, we might wonder how the strapped-for-cash father of eight children and husband of an ailing wife managed to come up with $100 to buy his share of the club in 1923-24.


Hmmm ….

John Campbell Yule

In 1955, thirty-one years after the founding of the club, Harold Short (the secretary for the provisional directorate of 1923 and the secretary-treasurer on the first elected board of directors in 1924) “presented a very interesting background history of the organization” to club members, and he singled out three of the founders for special mention: “He gave credit to the late Messrs. R.A. Jeffery, Yuill, and Weed for their early efforts” (Arnprior Chronicle, 26 May 1955, p. 1).


We are familiar with Weed and Jeffery. Who was “Yuill”?


“Yuill” was actually John Campbell Yule (1872-1943).

Figure 32 John Campbell Yule (1872-1943), Kenwood Mills, Arnprior, 1933.

He is not named in the Canadian Golfer item above as having served on the first board of directors in 1924, and he is not mentioned as a provisional director of 1923, but he certainly served on all the club’s most important committees over the years. Perhaps surprisingly, however, he did not become president until 1938 (serving the usual two-year term of the club presidents).


In 1934, he donated the Yule Trophy for annual competition between the Arnprior Golf Club and the Tecumseh Golf Club, and even after he no longer played in the competitions himself, he attended the banquets afterward and presented the trophy to the winners.


“Jack” Yule had come to Arnprior in 1919, at the same time as W.W. Weed and Harold Short, and for the same purpose: to help manage Kenwood Mills. Arnprior became his new home, and the Yule family soon acquired a cottage on Marshall Bay.

Born in Holland Landing north of Toronto in 1872, and educated in nearby Aurora, Yule found employment in the 1890s in Wisconsin with the Wisconsin Central Railway.

He was hired in Wisconsin by the First National Bank and soon transferred to a branch in Dallas, Texas., where “he became associated with the Western Newspaper Union” (Arnprior Chronicle, 9 December 1943, p. 1). In the early 1900s, he moved to Alexandria, Indiana, where “he became an executive of the Alexandria Paper company” (Arnprior Chronicle, 9 December 1943, p. 1). His many years of experience in the paper-making industry led to his hiring by F.C. Huyck and Sons, Limited:


When Kenwood Mills, Limited, of Albany, N.Y., established their industry in Arnprior in 1919, Mr. Yule came here as sales manager and in that capacity and as a director of the company he remained to the end….


He travelled extensively from coast to coast, and to Newfoundland, and much of the phenomenal success of the industry now grown to many times its size is attributed to his organizing ability and business genius. (Ottawa Citizen, 6 December 1943, p. 6).


From the moment he arrived in Arnprior, Yule promoted the development of local sports as a way of improving the life of Kenwood employees in particular and the life of the community in general. He supported local hockey teams, and he was one of the best skips for the curling club. He and W.W. Weed were key supporters of the construction a new Arnprior curling rink in the mid-1930s, and when Kenwood Mills was thanked at the opening of the new rink in 1936 for its “financial assistance and leadership … in the completion of the enterprise,” Yule responded on behalf of the company: “If Kenwood could exert any influence to foster and assist a community spirit in such enterprises which would make for greater contentment on the part of its employees and of the town in general, then Kenwood would feel amply repaid for anything it had done” (Ottawa Journal, 20 February 1936, p. 11).


In the summer of 1943, Jack Yule played his last round of golf at the Arnprior Golf Club in a charity match to raise money for the Canadian Red Cross during World War II: the Ottawa Journal reported that at this event, a “pleasing feature was the presence of J.C. Yule, former president of the club, whose health of late has not been satisfactory” (Ottawa Journal, 27 July 1943, p. 15).


Yule died before the end of the year:


Arnprior lost one of its most distinguished citizens and foremost businessmen early this morning in the death of J.C. Yule, who during all his quarter of a century residence here has been held in highest esteem as a progressive, public-spirited citizen, a gentleman whose kindly attributes and generous impulses endeared him to everyone, old and young, one whose name in the paper-making industry was a familiar one across the continent.


Mr. Yule had been in failing health for months.


Among industrialists, his name was familiar, and in golfing, curling, and social circles, few men hereabouts were more favorably known….


One of the early presidents of the Arnprior Golf Club, he was also a charter member of the club. He was president of the Arnprior Curling Club, and up to the time of his death, he was a director of these organizations, as well as of Arnprior Sports, Limited.

In fact, there was no worthwhile community activity toward which he was not willing always to give of his time and unusual talents. (Ottawa Citizen, 6 December 1943, p. 6)


Reference to Jack Yule as “a charter member of the club” refers to his participation in the process by which Arnprior Golf Club, Limited, received “letters patent” through an act of the Ontario legislature chartering backers of the golf club as “a body corporate with the right to hold property and develop it along the lines usually followed by such clubs” (I quote language from the summer of 1922 about the incorporation of the Pembroke Golf Club in the Pembroke Observer, cited in the North Bay Nugget, 8 August 1922, p. 5). The club received its charter as of 9 November 1923.


Arnprior, Golf Club, Limited, was incorporated with an authorized capital of $10,000 comprising 100 shares at $100 each (“History” [Arnprior Golf Club], op. cit.). Initially, “The rules were that everyone must own a share of stock, and 40 subscribed at first” (Arnprior Chronicle, 26 May 1955, p. 4).


The provisional directorate of 1923 (Moir, Johnson, Weed, Short, and Reid) were implicitly charter members, and they were all fervent devotees of the royal and ancient game. Yet not everyone who became a charter member of the club was interested in playing golf.


Consider the example of Charles Edwin Pell (1864-1927).


Born in Liverpool, England, but for fifty-five years a resident of Arnprior, and for decades the town’s best barber (before he became a wholesaler and retailer of tobacco), Pell “was also a charter member of the Arnprior Golf Club, Limited” (Arnprior Chronicle, 15 April 1927, p. 1). But he never seems to have played golf at the club. His interest may simply have been to invest in a company whose stock was likely to appreciate.


Note that golf and country clubs had become hot properties by the mid-1920s. As the Telegraph-Journal of St. John, New Brunswick, observed in 1924:


With so many golf clubs being organized there has sprung up a class of professional promoters of golf clubs who … organize joint stock companies to own the club and sell stock….


With the incessant broadening out of golf, shares of stock in the various clubs have been in keen demand and market values of the shares have enhanced considerably.


During the past few years most golf club shares have been good investments. (Telegraph-Journal [St. John, New Brunswick], re-published in the Ottawa Journal, 28 May 1924, p. 5)

By the summer of 1924, when play commenced at the Arnprior Golf Club, Pell was one of forty shareholders in Arnprior Golf Club, Limited, each of whom had purchased at least one share. By the end of 1925, there were “seventy-three playing members,” each of whom had purchased at least one share, and there were several non-playing members who also held shares (British Daily Whig [Kingston], 23 December 1925, p. 13). In 1926, “upward of twenty new stockholders were added to the club,” and so, “the club’s entire allotment of authorized shares – one hundred – were sold” (Arnprior Chronicle, 28 January 1927, p. 1).

Figure 33 Arnprior Chronicle, 19 July 1929, p. 5.

Shares immediately began to appreciate. The secretary-treasurer announced at the annual shareholders meeting in January of 1927 that “the value of the shares is placed at $125” (Arnprior Chronicle, 28 January 1927, p. 1). Shortly afterwards, we begin to find shares being advertised for sale in the local newspapers, as in the example shown to the left in which Arnprior Real Estate and Insurance Agent Neil Campbell offers a share for sale: “Golf season is here. Sooner or later, you will require one share of stock in the Arnprior Golf Club. To wind up certain business, I will sell you one share at a price that will save you money” (Arnprior Chronicle, 19 July 1929, p. 5).


Although this man’s son, Neil Allan Campbell, was a keen golfer (as well as a curler and badminton player), I have found no evidence that Neil Campbell himself ever played golf, but we can see that he recognized from the beginning the value of the Arnprior Golf Club to the local economy, for the very week that the Sand Point golf course opened for play, he advertised a nearby property for sale, emphasizing that it was close to the course: “$800 will purchase a 6-roomed dwelling in Sand Point. This would make a fine summer home. It is only a stone’s throw to a fine beach on the Ottawa River and but a short distance from the Arnprior Golf Links” (Ottawa Citizen, 5 July 1924, p. 1).

Figure 34 Francis (“Frank") Conklin Huyck (1874-1938), circa 1906.

Another of the earliest purchasers of stock was Francis Conklin Huyck (1874- 1938), a son of the Francis C. Huyck who had founded F.C. Huyck & Sons, the company that owned Arnprior’s Kenwood Mills. The three sons of F.C. Huyck had run the company after their father’s death in 1907. The youngest of the three sons, Frank Huyck, had been vice-president since his older brother John’s death in 1914 and as such bought stock in Arnprior Golf Club, Limited, but he did so less as a personal financial investment and more as a public investment in what he regarded as an important recreational resource for employees of Kenwood Mills and for members of the local community in general.


In the dead of winter, he traveled up to Arnprior from company headquarters in Albany, New York, to attend the annual shareholders’ meeting of 1927.

He was so impressed by the bonhomie amongst the club members at that meeting that “he promised to return in the summer to meet the men on the fairways” (Arnprior Chronicle, 28 January 1927, p. 1).

It is not clear that he actually did so.

Figure 35 Thomas Andrew Low (1871-1931), circa 1914.

The local Member of Parliament was also among the first to buy stock. While golf enthusiasts in Arnprior were still confined to the practice room in the Moir hardware store, the Arnprior Golf Club announced that the Minister of Trade and Commerce in William Lyon Mackenzie King’s Liberal Government had joined the club: “Hon. T.A. Low has joined the Arnprior Golf Club as a stockholder and playing member” (Daily British Whig [Kingston], 18 March 1924, p. 5).


Born and educated in Pembroke, Low had come to Renfrew to work for a prominent lumberman.

He soon created joint stock companies to promote a variety of industries, as well as power development on the Bonnechere River, and by the 1920s he had become the head of Renfrew Industries, Limited (which included a flour mill, a planing mill, and an electric factory, as well as a refrigerator factory). After a career in municipal politics, he first won election to parliament in 1908. His endorsement of the Arnprior Golf Club no doubt carried great weight amongst Renfrew County businessmen.


Whether Low ever played golf at Sand Point is not clear, but he was certainly eager to support the development of a golf club in his riding. In fact, when the Renfrew Golf Club was founded in the spring of 1929, Low outright donated $1,000 to the new venture.

Figure 36 T.H. Grout, circa 1932.

Other “charter members” of the golf club were keen golfers and dedicated club officers and committee members.


Another of the “charter members” mentioned in a newspaper obituary from the mid-1930s was Trevor Hugo Grout (1871-1936). He was a lawyer with a practice in Arnprior, served as the town clerk for twenty years, and then left for Brampton in 1932 when he was appointed the judge of Peel County. He served as a club director during the 1920s, served on many club committees, and played regularly in club competitions.

Cornelius (“Con”) Anthony Mulvihill (1892-1950) was also a “charter member.” He was an Arnprior native who interrupted his law studies in 1916 to serve overseas in the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

Figure 37 C.A. Mulvihill, circa 1933.

In 1918, Bombardier Mulvihill (53rd Battery, 13th Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery) was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for gallantry in the field near Parvillers, France, in the face of the enemy: “after an attack, the location of the line held was not known. He volunteered to accompany the infantry observer, and in two hours they handed in a report showing the front line” (London Gazette, 3 June 1919). Mulvihill’s war ended a month later when he was shot in the face. Returning to Canada, he completed his law studies and set up practice in Arnprior in 1923 – just in time to become involved in the founding of the Arnprior Golf Club. He became a club director, served as the club’s solicitor, and played in club competitions.

On many occasions in the late 1920s and early 1930s, he served as the town’s mayor.

When William A. Keith died in 1946, this owner of a local fuel oil business (formerly a representative of the Imperial Oil Company in Arnprior) was also remembered as “a charter member of the Arnprior Golf Club” (Arnprior Chronicle, 28 November 1946, p. 3). Born in 1900, he was just twenty-three years old in 1923 and must have been one of the youngest of the Arnprior Golf Club’s founders. Arnprior Golf Club, Limited, endured until it was replaced by Arnprior Golf Club, Incorporated, in 1955 (Arnprior Chronicle, 26 May 1955, p. 1).

The Property

It was in November of 1923 that the Almonte Gazette reported that “The Ballantyne property at Sand Point has been finally acquired by the Arnprior Golf Club” (Almonte Gazette, 9 November 1923, p. 7).


The east side of this property is seen along the horizon of the 1907 photograph of Sand Point below.

Figure 38 Sand Point, 1907. Arnprior and McNab/Braeside Archives.

Showing a view of Sand Point from the Ottawa River, with the Norway Belle ferry docked at the Sand Point wharf, the photograph shows along the horizon the main buildings of the Ballantyne farm on the left (just above the peak of the roof of Young’s Hotel) as well as the trees marking the eastern edge of the 188 acres that the Arnprior Golf Club purchased in 1923.


The owner of this property up to November of 1923 was James Ballantyne (1877-1961).


Ballantyne had been born in Galt, Ontario, the son of teamster Andrew Ballantyne who was a lime burner at a lime kiln – the one established by his father Thomas Ballantyne as soon as he arrived in Galt from Scotland in the 1830s. It was run for the next forty years after his death in the mid-1850s by his wife Margaret. Her grandson James also became a teamster like his father, probably working alongside him at the family’s lime kiln. Shortly after his father sold this lime kiln in 1904, James moved to Sand Point to become manager of the lime kiln opened there by Renfrew’s Jamieson Lime Company in 1906.

In 1912, this “large plant” was sold to “the Western Lime Co. of Kingston” which planned to “operate the Sand Point kiln on a very large scale” (Arnprior Chronicle, 8 November 1912, p. 1). Nonetheless, the kiln closed in 1916.


Ballantyne acquired his 188-acre farm at Sand Point from the Canada Lime Company (wo quarries had been opened on it), and he and his family operated it for another seven years. But their heart may not have been in it. In 1923, Ballantyne and his wife, Jennie Dunlop (Edgar) Ballantyne (1878-1946), decided to sell this property to the new Arnprior Golf Club and move back home to Galt with their sons William and Andrew.


For their 188 acres of land, Arnprior Golf Club, Limited, had agreed in November of 1923 to pay them $2,300 (Arnprior Chronicle, 26 May 1955, p. 1). One of the first items of business at the first meeting of shareholders on 25 January 1925 was to approve this purchase.


Still, although they were gone, the Ballantynes were long remembered at Sand Point, such that when James died in Galt at eighty-four years of age in 1961, although he had been gone from Sand Point for almost forty years, his death was noticed in the Arnprior Chronicle by the newspaper’s Sand Point correspondent, who recalled that “While in Sand Point, Mr. Ballantyne was manager of the lime kiln and owned and operated a farm, which is now owned by Arnprior Golf Club, Incorporated” (Arnprior Chronicle, 2 March 1961, p. 1).


Most of the Ballantyne property had been cleared of trees and may have been pastureland, but at least some areas on the farm – apparently, for instance, the part where the eighth and ninth holes were laid out—was a cornfield.


In 1927, the original farmland was remembered as “fields of stone and corn stubble” (Arnprior Chronicle, 28 January 1927, p. 1)

Renfrew Backers

However much of a draw the name of the Minister of Trade and Commerce, Thomas A. Low, might have been in attracting Renfrew businessmen to the Arnprior Golf Club, it was Renfrew’s former hockey star, Herbert A. Jordan (1884-1973), who proved to be the most enthusiastic backer of the club. Invited to the organizational meetings from which the Arnprior Golf Club emerged in 1923, he was a fixture at the club for the next eight years.

Figure 39 Herbert A. Jordan (1884-1973), circa 1909.

Born in Quebec City in 1884, son of the editor of the Quebec Telegraph, Jordan starred in the Eastern Canadian Hockey Association for the Quebec Bulldogs from 1903 to 1909 (scoring thirty goals in twelve games in 1909), but he was then lured away by fabulously wealthy M.J. O’Brien (a cobalt mining millionaire) to play for the Renfrew Creamery Kings: “Herb Jordan, of Quebec, one of the finest and most conscientious players on the Quebec team, as well as in this part of the country, has finally signed a contract with Renfrew and will report there this evening” (Montreal Star, 20 December 1909, p. 2).

Employing future Hall of Famers such as Lester Patrick, Newsy Lalond, Fred “Cyclone” Taylor and goaltender Bert Lindsay (father of Detroit Red Wing captain Ted Lindsay), O’Brien paid salaries so much higher than the norm that his team was nicknamed the “Renfrew Millionaires.” With the addition of Jordan, the Millionaires set out to win the Stanley Cup in 1910.

Figure 40 At a 1958 reunion in Renfrew of the 1910 "Millionaires," from left to right, Fred "Cyclone" Taylor, Lester Patrick, Bert Lindsay, Newsy Lalonde, and Herb Taylor inspect the official photograph of their 1910 team.

Alas, the Millionaires’ quest for the Cup was unsuccessful, and the team disbanded after the 1911 season, but Jordan had insisted when he came to Renfrew that O’Brien give him a job in one of his many enterprises, and so he retired from hockey in 1911 (at just twenty-seven years of age) and stayed on in Renfrew, where he spent the rest of his life: on the one hand, he developed a number of successful businesses; on the other hand, he was instrumental in founding both the Arnprior Golf Club and the Renfrew Golf Club.

Early in 1929, Jordan decided that the time was ripe for a golf club to be established in Renfrew:

Herbert A. Jordan, a former hockey star, now plays golf in the summer and is desirous of seeing a club organized here [Renfrew]. After a canvas, he has secured the signature of 100 citizens willing to take shares at $100 per share.


Thus the formation of a golf club is assured in Renfrew…. An expert will advise as to the purchase of suitable land. (Ottawa Journal, 12 April 1929, p. 35)


Jordan used the same game plan that had been devised at Arnprior: 100 shares at $100 each.


He also prevailed upon his old hockey boss, M.J. O’Brien, owner of the Renfrew “Millionaires,” to make an extraordinary $5,000 donation to the new club. Furthermore, he managed to get a $1,000 donation to the new club from T.A. Low, whom Jordan later remembered as essential to the formation of that famous “Millionaires” team (Ottawa Citizen, 4 March 1947, p. 16).


Jordan and several other Renfrew members of the Arnprior Golf Club continued to support their original club well after they had established their own club in Renfrew. As he was canvassing in April of 1929 for commitments to buy shares in the new Renfrew club, for instance, Jordan agreed to serve on that year’s tournament committee at the Arnprior Golf Club. Six weeks later, at the club’s annual season-opening dinner, Jordan was one of the members called upon to speak, and he assured Arnprior members that “although Renfrew is to have a golf course soon, it is the intention of the members still to patronize the club here [at Sand Point]” (Ottawa Citizen, 18 May 1929, p. 33).


A few weeks later, Jordan scored the first hole-in-one on the Sand Point golf course:


Herb Jordan Has Hole in One on Arnprior Course


First Time Feat Has Ever Been Accomplished Here


Mr. H.A. Jordan has the unique experience of being the first member of the Arnprior Golf Club to make a hole in one on the local course, the ambition of all golfers. Mr. Jordan is a consistent golfer at any time, but on Wednesday afternoon of this week he was a little better than usual.

He was playing with Mr. Steele of Renfrew and drove from the sixth tee, a distance of 188 yards. Dr. McNaughton and Mr. Alex Reid, who were playing ahead, had just walked off the sixth green and were watching Mr. Jordan drive; they saw the ball land squarely on the green and roll into the cup. Thus does Mr. Jordan join the select few in golf’s roll of honour. (Arnprior Chronicle, 27 September 1929, p. 1)


This accomplishment turns out to have been an instance of life imitating art, for more than two years before, Arnprior Chronicle editor, R.A. Jeffery, who was also that time president of the Arnprior Golf Club, had written an article teasingly naming Jordan as the first club member to have made a hole in one – of sorts:


The First Hole In One


There is no more ambitious golfer in the local club than Mr. Herb A. Jordan of Renfrew. In fact, more than one tournament trophy won on the local golf links grace his office, and his success is due largely to his persistence and his ambition.


But even where there is excessive and laudable ambition, danger may be lurking just around the corner.


With the first real breath of spring last week, Herb brushed the dust off his club bag and hauled out his favorite driver and getting out on a nice quiet part of a secluded street, he placed two young caddies about two hundred yards down the avenue, teed up the ball neatly, assumed a nice, impressive stance, and then, whew!


How that old apple did sail!


Had it proceeded on a straight line, the street would probably not have been long enough, but, unfortunately, it developed a cantankerous slice, flew through an outside and inside window, frightening the lady of the house half to death, and then did the seemingly impossible by dropping fairly into a milk bottle on the table.


Mr. Jordan is thus the first to establish the season’s record of a “hole in one.”


But it may be necessary to change the constitution of the club to permit of players carrying around a couple of glaziers instead of the time-honored caddie. (Arnprior Chronicle, 22 April 1927, p. 1)


Jordan finished the 1929 real “hole-in-one” season playing for the Arnprior team in a victory over the Carleton Place team.


Still, it was inevitable that Renfrew members at Arnprior would play more often at their new course in Renfrew than at their old course at Sand Point, and so we find a report in the summer of 1930, after a match between the men’s teams of Renfrew and Arnprior at Sand Point, that “Until this year, many of the players of the Renfrew club were members of the Arnprior Golf Club,” but since the “Renfrew members now have a golf links of their own,” they “do not play here so often” (Ottawa Journal, 15 July  1930, p. 19). Jordan henceforth played most of his golf at Renfrew and played for Renfrew teams, but he maintained his Arnprior membership and played in club competitions until the end of the 1931 season.

Figure 41 Top: J.F. Carswell, 1903 team photo, Renfrew Junior hockey club. Bottom: J.F. Carswell, 1945 member of Renfrew Curling Club, Ottawa Citizen, 9 February 1945, p. 14.

Another Renfrew supporter of the Arnprior Golf Club from the very beginning was farmer John Francis Carswell (1885-1960). Like Jordan, he became well-known in Arnprior for his hockey exploits. He was a key member of the Renfrew Junior Hockey Club from the time of his original selection to the team in 1900 as a fifteen-year-old to the club’s championship season of 1902-1903. The following year, as a nineteen-year-old, he was promoted to the town’s senior team, the Renfrew Creamery Kings. After the 1904 season, however, Carswell returned to the farm and so missed the emergence of the team’s “Millionaires” phase a few years later.


Carswell did not play hockey with Jordan, but they knew each other well. They served together in 1911, for instance, on the executive committee of the Renfrew Amateur Hockey Club.


Like Jordan, Carswell had been invited to the organizational meetings in 1923 that produced the Arnprior Golf Club. Like Jordan, he became a club stalwart for the next eight years, playing regularly in club competitions and playing for Arnprior against other clubs. And like Jordan again, while the Renfrew Golf Club was being organized during the 1929 season, Carswell continued to serve on Arnprior committees (in Carswell’s case, the house and entertainment committees)

Many of the biggest backers of the Arnprior Golf Club from Renfrew were women. Mary Grace (Ritchie) Carswell (1893-1973), for instance, who was married to J.F. Carswell, won the low gross competition at the ladies’ Field Day in October of 1926. She was a regular member of the Arnprior women’s team.


By 1931, however, Mary Carswell, J.F. Carswell, and Herb Jordan no longer played for Arnprior teams: they had become the backbone of Renfrew teams.


Perhaps as an acknowledgement of the importance of the Renfrew contingent amongst the membership of the Arnprior Golf Club, we find that at the club’s year-end meeting in 1925, there were special appointments of Renfrew members to club committees:

Elected a Director


Guy M. French, Renfrew, was elected as a director at the annual meeting of the Arnprior Golf Club, which has links at Sand Point. Mr. French was also made a member of the membership committee, as was also W.P. Derham, Renfrew. (British Daily Whig [Kingston, 23 December 1925, p. 13)


French and Derham were considerable figures in Renfrew.

Figure 42 Ottawa Citizen, 5 June 1937, p. 4.

A good friend of J.F. Carswell, Guy Merrifield French (1890-1938) was the owner of the Guy M. French Lumber Company, which he re-located in 1932 to lumber yards in Ottawa.


Born in Deseronto, Ontario, he moved with his family to Ottawa when he was quite young. After attending public school in Ottawa, he attended Upper Canada College and shortly after graduation moved to Renfrew and entered the lumber business.


The Guy M. French Lumber Company acquired large stands of timber in Algonquin Park, which were often sold to other lumber companies at considerable profit.


After World War I, French became a prominent member of the Renfrew Board of Trade and was appointed to its membership committee when this organization sought to expand in 1919. In 1922, French sought and won election as a town councillor, and he was immediately appointed Chairman of the Assessment Committee. He was re-elected in 1924.

Although the Renfrew backers of the Arnprior Golf Club discussed above left the club for the Renfrew Golf Club in the early 1930s, the case of Renfrew resident William P.J. Derham is different: he became more deeply and deeply committed to the Arnprior Golf Club with each year that passed.


Born in 1886, Derham was an Ottawa native, the son of Patrick Henry Derham (a member of the Patent Office of the Department of Agriculture) and Mary Catherine Kehoe, daughter of Governor William Kehoe of the County Jail (with whom William and his mother lived after the death of his father).


William was from the beginning an outstanding student with a penchant for science. After winning several academic awards at St. Joseph’s School, he attended the University of Ottawa, graduating in 1906, having served as treasurer of the university’s Scientific Society and as secretary of its Literary and Debating Society. Graduating with a B.A., he was the valedictorian at the commencement exercises in the spring of 1906, delivering “a touching farewell to the university” (Gazette [Montreal], 21 June 1906, p. 16). In 1909, he graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Applied Science and Engineering. His focus was Mechanical and Electrical Engineering.

Figure 43 Edith (Van Lone) Derham and William P.J. Derham, Arnprior Chronicle, 7 February 1952, p. 1).

In 1916, he married Edith Van Lone of Batavia, New York, a future member of the Arnprior Golf Club. For many years, he and Edith lived in an apartment at the Hotel Renfrew while Derham worked locally for M.J. O’Brien, Ltd.


Appointed to the Arnprior Golf Club’s membership committee in 1926, Derham was made a director of the club the next year, and he was also appointed to the house committee.

Rather than moving to the Renfrew golf club when it was founded in 1929, Derham moved to the Arnprior area to work as an engineer at the Galetta Electric Power Company.

He was then “acquired” by Ontario Hydro in 1929 when this public utility company acquired the Galetta company; it was later said that “Bill Derham was one of the most noteworthy assets that came to the Ontario Hydro when it acquired the holdings of the Galetta Power Company” (Arnprior Chronicle, 7 February 1952, p. 1).


At this point, Derham was required to move to Ottawa for a year or two, and so, he left the Arnprior Golf Club, but not for long: after a year as a member of the Chaudière Golf Club, he was back in Arnprior, where he was appointed Ontario Hydro’s local Superintendent Hydro Engineer (in charge of extending electrical service up the Ottawa Valley). And so, he resumed his membership of the golf club. (He also joined the Arnprior curling club and agreed to serve on the executive committee of a revived junior hockey club.)

A columnist for the Ottawa Citizen remarked at this time on how important a figure Derham had become in the hydro industry and how comfortable his life had become:


We need not tell you who “Bill” Derham is: he is one of the big-wigs of hydro who seems to know all there is to know about curling, golfing, and the mysteries of cycles and kilowatts.


He is far removed from the ice and snow and parliamentary oratory that fills his native district of the Upper Ottawa: he is reclining among the sand dunes, the golfing-greens, and the flowerstrewn paddocks on Florida’s coast. (Ottawa Citizen, 13 March 1937, p. 21)


In 1934 and 1937, Derham won the B-Class championship of the Arnprior Golf Club (he scored from the low-100s to the mid-90s on the Sand Point course).


When the increasing disruption of club membership and diminishment of club activities caused by World War II led at the end of the 1943 season to “the suggestion … that it might close for the duration,” Derham was one of those who responded with “a real rush to the colors,” accepting appointment as a director and as a member of the tournament committee in an effort to revive the club’s fortunes (Ottawa Citizen, 18 May 1944, p. 14). With the war ending in 1945, and with “the boys who gave up a mashie for a machine gun” returning to the club, the prospects were bright: at that spring’s annual meeting, every committee report was so promising that all were primed for “community singing” led by “a couple of ‘Bills’ in the persons of Bill Derham and Bill Moe” (Ottawa Citizen, 31 May 1945, p. 17).


Edith did her part in the revival of the club, too, for the same day as the above meeting occurred, “the ladies held their first tournament and tea under the direction of the lady president, Mrs. W.P.J. Derham” (Ottawa Citizen, 31 May 1945, p. 17).


The next year, Bill Derham was nominated to serve alongside Herb Jordan, among others, on a committee to explore the possibility of creating a Gordon Cup competition for the Upper Ottawa Valley Senior Golfers’ Association. In 1948, it was announced by the association that “the new president is W.P.J. Derham, of Arnprior, one of the original organizers of the seniors” (Ottawa Citizen, 10 September 1948, p. 21).


When Bill Derham retired in 1952, one of the gifts bestowed by staff of the Ontario Hydro Eastern Region was “a golf caddie cart” (Ottawa Journal, 2 February 1952, p. 4).

Architect Karl Keffer

When he laid out the Arnprior Golf Club’s nine-hole course, Karl Keffer (1882-1955) was in many ways the golf king of the Ottawa Valley. Head pro at the Royal Ottawa Golf club since 1911, he had by 1923 laid out half a dozen golf courses in the area and he was placing his apprentices as resident golf professionals at golf clubs from Pembroke to Rivermead.

Figure 44 Karl Keffer, Toronto Golf Club, 1896.

Keffer’s life in golf had involved the typical journey from caddie to apprentice to golf professional.


The only aspect of his story that was unusual was the fact that he had been born in Canada, as opposed to most of his peers at the beginning of the twentieth century, who had followed the path from caddie to apprentice to golf professional in their native Scotland or England.


Living on the doorstep of the Toronto Golf Club in the mid-1890s, Keffer had become a caddie as a teenager to help with the family finances after his father’s death.

After his creditable performance in the Canadian Open of 1905, Keffer agreed to work as an assistant professional under the Toronto Golf Club’s head pro George Cumming, who taught Keffer how to make golf clubs, how to teach the golf swing, how to maintain a golf course, and how to design one.

Keffer won the Canadian Open in 1909 when still an assistant pro, and then he won it again in 1914, by which time he had been appointed head pro both at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club (where he served in the summers from 1911 to 1943) and at the Jekyll Island Club in Georgia (where he served in the winters from 1910 to 1942).


Before his work at Arnprior, and since his apprenticeship under Cumming, Keffer had gained a good deal of experience regarding golf course design and construction. He oversaw the introduction to play at Jekyll Island of the club’s nine-hole Donald Ross course in 1910. In 1911, he supervised the creation of the Ottawa Golf Club’s nine-hole course. Two years later, in 1913, he accompanied Harry S. Colt (regarded by many as the greatest golf architect of all time) around the Royal Ottawa property as Colt staked out his redesign plans for a new championship course. In 1919, on his return from three years of service overseas with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, he laid out (with Rivermead’s head pro Davie Black) the temporary course of the Ottawa Hunt Club. In 1921, he laid out a nine-hole course at Blue Sea Lake. In 1922-23, he laid out a nine-hole course for the Pembroke Golf Club.

Figure 45 Karl Keffer putts on a sand green on the Donald Ross course at Jekyll Island circa 1914. Spalding Official golf guide (New York: 1915), p. 172.

And from 1913 to 1922 at Jekyll Island, where the members of what was known as “the millionaires’ club” were said to own 1/6th of the world’s wealth, Keffer laid out a new nine-hole course to be added to the nine-hole Ross course to create the Jekyll Island Club’s first 18-hole championship course (opened with much fanfare in the spring of 1923).


In the 1920s, before purchasing property for development as a golf course, the businessmen organizing a golf club generally consulted a golf professional like Keffer for advice as to the kind of property that would be suitable for the laying out of a proper golf course.

And so, in the summer of 1923, the provisional directors of the Arnprior Golf Club invited Keffer to visit the Arnprior area to inspect the properties that they had identified as likely candidates for purchase and development.

Like other golf architects of the day, Keffer would have presented a written report on his findings regarding these properties’ suitability for golf: commenting on the size of the property, the nature of the soil, the presence of suitable natural hazards, the accessibility of the location, and so on. But Keffer did more than this, as Harold Short explained to club members in 1955: “Keffer … picked the site” (Arnprior Chronicle, 26 May 1955, pp 1, 4).


Whether he staked out the nine-hole layout in the fall of 1923 or spring of 1924 is not clear.

Keffer's Sand Point Course

At Sand Point, the nine holes that golfers play first changes from time to time.


The Keffer design comprises the first and last holes of the nine-hole circuit on the northwest half of the property (the other seven of which were designed in 1986 by Graham Cooke), and the rest of the Keffer design comprises the first four and the last three holes of the nine-hole circuit on the southeast half of the property (the fifth and sixth of these holes were designed by Graham Cooke in 1986).


The total length of the original Keffer course was 3,000 yards (as reported in the American Annual Golf Guide for 1930-31), which is about the same as the length of each of the nine-hole circuits today.


But there have changes to a few of Keffer’s original holes.


For instance, the original ninth green seems to have been located approximately where today’s clubhouse stands: when the latter was built in 1973, factored into its costs was “the renewal of the ninth green” (Ottawa Journal, 5 April 1973, p. 73). Consider the photograph below.

Figure 46 A view of the clubhouse and ninth green from the eighth fairway, circa 1941.

The photograph above shows the original clubhouse on the left (at the end of what would become the ninth fairway of the nine-hole circuit on northwest side of today’s eighteen-hole course). The original ninth green appears to the right of the clubhouse. The left edge of the ninth green corresponds with the position of the automobile that appears on the left side of the parking lot in the background; the right edge of the green stretches to the right past the automobile that can be seen on the right side of the parking lot. (The Ottawa River appears through the trees left of the clubhouse, which is perched on the edge of the steep hill that descends to the village of Sand Point, which parallels the golf course property as the buildings in the village hug the shoreline of the river.)

Figure 47 An annotated aerial photograph dating from 2012-2013.

The third hole of Keffer’s original design has also been changed.


The par score of five is the same, but the green is substantially different. Its location is the same, but the green of the original hole was considerably smaller than the green that exists today (as can be seen in the aerial photograph to the left).


The relatively small size of the Keffer-designed green was typical of par-five greens from the first half of the twentieth century.


The small size protected the par score of five, for a green of that size was easy to hit and hold with the short iron used in making the expected third shot to the green.


But the small green was difficult to hit and hold with the three-wood that would probably be the club used in an attempt to reach the green in two shots. (A perfect shot with a three-wood might yield an eagle putt, but a less-than-perfect shot would leave a tricky up-and-down from the rough or from the sand trap to the right of the green).

Superintendent Steve Williams undertook to redesign the entire green complex in 2012-2013. Visible in the photograph above is an area around the original green where turf has been scraped away. This is the area into which the green would be expanded and where mounding would be developed.

Seven Holes in 1924

During the first season of play, there would be just seven greens: “The course is almost ready for play; the sodding of the seven greens to be used this season has been completed, the seventh being finished last Saturday [June 14th]” (Daily British Whig [Kingston], 19 June 1924, p. 5).


Sodding was the way to produce greens that would be ready for play as quickly as possible.


For seeded greens to have been ready for play by the summer of 1924, seed would have had to have been sown in the fall of 1923. It would have taken six to nine months after such a seeding for turf strong enough for regular play to have been formed. Yet the purchase of the 188 acres of the Ballantyne farm had not closed before the beginning of November. There was no way to seed greens at that point in the year and have them ready for play the following spring.


So, in the spring of 1924, sod it was.


If the priority was to get a golf course ready for play as quickly as possible, my suspicion is that the original greens were laid out on natural sites identified as relatively ready for play: level areas that could be prepared as greens without moving any soil. All that was needed was sod.


In support of this hypothesis, I note that during the first five golf seasons, the greens were the last part of the course to dry: “The fairways of the Arnprior Golf Club are about ready for the inauguration of the season’s activities; the greens are still a trifle soft, but the rest of the course is pretty fair” (Arnprior Chronicle, 26 April 1929, p. 1). The next year was similar: “The course of the Arnprior Golf Club came through the winter in excellent shape. The grounds are fairly dry, and it is anticipated that play will be started on temporary greens about May 1st” (Arnprior Chronicle, 18 April 1930, p. 1).


“Temporary greens” – that is, golf holes placed at the end of fairways just in front of greens – were necessary because the greens were still too wet to be played on. One supposes that these greens (which remained the wettest areas of the golf course after everything else had dried up) had not been built up above the level of the fairway.


By the end of the 1920s, one hears of important work on the greens.


On the one hand, the greens committee reported in March of 1929: “A quantity of bent grass seed has been ordered and it will be put on the tees and greens at once” (Arnprior Chronicle, 29 March 1929, p. 1, emphasis added). There were problems with the grass that required urgent attention, it seems.

On the other hand, by the fall of 1929, “two new greens were constructed” (Gazette [Montreal], 11 December 1929, p. 20). Certain greens were beyond salvaging.


As we shall see, new greens would be built regularly over the next decade.


Was it a case of building in haste in 1924, and repenting at leisure?


Or were the original greens never intended to be the final form of the greens?

Course Development

The golf course took many years to achieve the original vision of its architect. And so, Keffer continued to visit the course over the next decade to offer advice on improvements.


From the beginning, the question of securing a reliable source of water for greens and fairways was uppermost in the minds of the club’s directors. While there were areas of the golf course that remained wet for a long while in the spring and would therefore need to be drained, it was also the case that a large part of the golf course could dry up completely during the summer and become so parched that grass might die.


And so, one of the first orders of business was to arrange to pump water up to the golf course from the Ottawa River (known at Sand Point as Chats Lake): “The Arnprior Golf Club is building a power house in the old stone shed on the lakeshore at Sand Point for the purpose of housing an engine to pump water up the hill for the use of the golf clubhouse and for irrigation purposes” (Weekly British Whig [Kingston], 21 July 1924, p. 2). This project was completed by the beginning of August: “The engine is in working order, pumping water from the lake for irrigation and other purposes” (British Daily Whig [Kingston], 9 August 1925, p. 5).


The process of seeding all the fairways, and all parts of each fairway, took years. An announcement at the beginning of the 1927 reveals the kind of work still going on as the club set out on its fourth season:


the Greens Committee wish to call to the attention of members the following points:


Considerable filling and grading have been done and these bare patches have been seeded and are to be considered ground under repair till a sod has formed over them.


Some of these scars are marked with signs, but it is impossible to mark them all and members are requested to move their ball onto adjoining grass before playing.


Owing to the fact that most of the ditches have been cleared and widened, a certain amount of “cave in” is expected on the side of these. The falling-in of the sides will be lessened if players will please use the bridges provided instead of jumping from one bank to the other. (Arnprior Chronicle, 6 May 1927, p. 1).


One hundred years later, many are still jumping from one bank to the other of the same ditches.


Two seasons later, the process of draining the fairways continued, and there was news of success: “Some of the fairways have been drained; this has improved conditions a great deal and the grass has come along splendidly, so much so that all of the nine fairways already look fresh and inviting” (Arnprior Chronicle, 26 April 1929, p. 1).

Figure 48 The three-unit horse-drawn Worthington Gang Mower seen above was invented in 1914 for use on golf courses.

Fresh and inviting though they looked in their spring glory, the fairways needed to be cut regularly if they were to be truly inviting to the golfer, and so in August of 1924 the club purchased a Worthington Gang Mower, with three cutting units drawn behind a horse, managed by a driver seated amidst the mowers (as seen in the photograph on the left).

An ambition of the club in 1931 was “to pipe water to the greens and fairways which will do away with much unnecessary work of hauling water to different sections of the course” (Ottawa Citizen, 14 December 1931, p. 3). By the beginning of 1932, “Advanced to a semi-final stage was the matter of piping water to the greens. A suitable tank has been purchased and will be … placed on a high point on the 7th fairway just at the edge of the bush near the 7th tee” (Arnprior Chronicle, 7 April 1932, p. 1). By the end of the year, “The directors had taken advantage of the times to instal a very modern water system, around the course, capable of watering all greens and fairways where necessary. This had helped the greens a great deal during 1932 and allowed new greens to be built at a minimum of expense” (Arnprior Chronical, 16 March 1933, p. 1).


These were not the first “new greens” to have been built. In the fall of 1929, “two new greens were constructed” (Gazette [Montreal], 11 December 1929, p. 20). It would seem that the greens with which the course opened in 1924 were relatively basic and rudimentary and that the greens called for in the original design were built in stages as time and resources allowed.


By the end of 1932, at least four new greens had been built.


In 1933, Keffer returned to Sand Point for an inspection and evaluation of the work that had been accomplished: “Dr. J.H. Box, chairman of the green’s committee, reviewed the past year’s activities of that body and outlined a definite programme of work for future years as recommended, on a recent visit, by Karl Keffer of Ottawa” (Arnprior Chronicle, 14 December 1933, p. 1).


The “work for future years” that Keffer recommended seems to have focussed on greens, again. Another new green was built in the fall of 1935 (Arnprior Chronicle, 7 May 1936, p. 1). And note the report of the greens committee in the spring of 1936:


The course at present is in fine shape and under the direction of W.W. Weed, chairman of the greens committee ….


Some changes are being made to the greens by greenkeeper Edward Allen and his assistant.


New greens are being made as well as improvements to the course in general” (Ottawa Citizen, 12 June 1936, p. 3).


Furthermore, between the end of the 1937 season and the beginning of the 1938 season, a “new No. 1 green” was built, scheduled to be introduced to play in June of 1938 (Ottawa Citizen, 20 May 1938, p. 13).


What was so different about the new greens built between 1929 and 1938, on the one hand, and the original greens of 1924, on the other?

Push-Up Greens

The greens that Keffer’s 1923-24 design called for no doubt required push-up construction: raising the green above the level of the surrounding ground. To push the soil above the level of the surrounding ground, bulldozers became the machine of choice for golf architects after the 1930s, but in the 1920s, horses and ploughs were used at a golf course such as the one at Sand Point.


The soil used to elevate the green was from the green site on the golf course (whereas today, preferred materials – from sand to topsoil – tend to be trucked into the golf course site).


Elevated greens remain a common element in contemporary golf course architecture, with the elevation of the green above the level of the fairway varying from a mild rise of several feet to a dramatic rise of many feet onto a distinct plateau. The entire green complex might be raised on all sides, but in the 1920s, the soil was literally pushed from a front edge level with the fairway to a back edge raised several feet above the fairway and surrounding ground. The pitch of the green from front to back produced progressively steeper shoulders from front to back, producing the steepest drop-off at the back.


These kind of push-up greens are still found on the Keffer-designed holes of the Glenlea Golf and Country Club (laid out from 1929 to 1933) that remain part of the Champlain Golf Course in Gatineau, Quebec. The photograph below shows the green of the fourteenth hole, one of the oldest on the course.

Figure 49 The front edge of this push-up green on the left of the photograph is level with the fairway, but the green then rises steadily to the back edge, on the right side of the photograph, with a drop-off at the back of approximately three feet (or one meter). The photograph shows the 14th green of today’s Champlain Golf Course in Gatineau, Quebec. It was originally the 11th green of the Glenlea Golf and Country Club.

Today, a number of the oldest greens at the Pembroke Golf Club, which Keffer designed in 1922-23, are of this sort, an example of which can be seen in the photograph below.

Figure 50 Contemporary photograph of a push-up green at the Pembroke Golf club.

At today’s Sand Point course, classic greens of this push-up sort are today found on the second, fourth, seventh, and eighth holes of Keffer’s nine-hole design. A side view of the second green is shown below.

Figure 51 A side view of the second green of the Keffer nine at Sand Point.

Strategically, the push-up green is receptive to a shot played onto the surface (or bounced onto the surface) from directly in front. Balls played to the side or over the back leave players with difficult shots both because of the elevation change and because of the pronounced slope of the green. The place to miss the approach shot to a push-up green is short of the green and directly in front of it.

With no mechanized earth-moving equipment yet available for such golf-course construction work at Sand Point, horses and plows did this work by well-known, tried-and-trusted methods. The main instrument was a pull-plow called a Fresno Scraper, often operated by one person and pulled by one or two horses.

Figure 52 Drawing of early 20th-century Fresno Scraper.

Seen in the drawing to the left, the Fresno Scraper came in different widths, depending on how much soil the horse or team of horses could scrape and pull, which in turn depended on the nature of the soil (loam, sand, clay, topsoil, etc.).


Typical methods for the construction of golf greens in the 1920s are described by L.W. Sporlein, who explains construction strategies where greens and green-side traps were to be built with soils from the green site – which was presumably the situation at Sand Point.

Using a Fresno Scraper, one began by scraping away the turf and topsoil from the green site. According to Sporlein,


In cases where it is desirable or necessary to save the topsoil at the green site for replacement on the green after it has been roughly shaped up, the surface soil only is removed, and piled up as near as possible to the green. It is placed either directly in front of, or to the one side most convenient for, hauling back onto the green surface, after roughing in with the less fertile soils. (cited in Michael J. Hurdzan, Golf Greens: History, Design and Construction [Toronto: Wiley, 2004], pp. 23-26).


The “less fertile soils” in question were generally “obtained while building the trap” (Sporlein, cited in Hurdzan, pp. 23-26).


As one had done on the green site, one scraped the turf and topsoil away from the bunker sites that had been marked out around the sides of the green, adding this topsoil to the pile of such soil already waiting for re-spreading onto the top of the green built-up by the soil of inferior quality to be scraped out of the bunker sites.

Figure 53 Fresno Scraper teams building bunkers and greens. Harry S. Colt and C.H. Alison, Some Essays on Golf Course Architecture (London: Country Life, 1920).

The Fresno Scraper operator himself, or an assistant, led the horses around and around in a circle, with the scraper operator scooping rough soil out of the bunkers and depositing it on the green site to build up the green. Fresno Scraper teams might work together in sequence, going around and around, as seen in the photograph to the left.


The operator or assistant directed the horses to the location on the green site where the next deposit of soil was due. The operator would push up on the Fresno Scraper handle to make the scraper become vertical and thereby dump its load of soil over the spot chosen, as seen in the next photograph.

Figure 54 The operator has tilted the handle of the Fresno Scraper upright to empty the bucket. He holds a rope attached to the handle to pull it back down when the bucket is empty.

According to Sporlein,


in constructing the green, it is best first to build up the entire surface to a more or less uniform height and to place the high slopes or rolls in afterwards, when the approximate shape is obtained. By a single adjustment of the spreader bar on the Fresno, so as to cause the load to spread out to a uniform thickness instead of dumping in one spot, the topsoil when ready for placement can be evenly distributed over the green surface. After the surface has been … dragged with a spike tooth harrow, the hand work of raking into final shape is very much simplified. (Sporlein, cited in Hurdzan, pp. 23-26)

The construction crew would level out and smooth this built-up soil with a device called a “Railroad Plow” (or “sturdy plow”).

Figure 55 Fresno Scraper and Railway Plow operating in concert during green construction.

One can imaginatively transpose the image above onto the image below of Keffer’s eighth green at Sand Point and see with the mind’s eye a Fresno Scraper scooping out rough soil from the bunkers on either side of the green and depositing it on the green site to build up the green surface from front to back, with a Railway Plow going round and round to smooth it all out.

Figure 56 A contemporary photograph of the sixth green of the Keffer nine at Sand Point (the eighth hole today of the nine-hole circuit on the southeast side of the property).

Clubhouse (1924-1973)

The clubhouse, built by M. Sullivan & Son, Limited, was ready for its grand opening in August of 1924. It cost $4,000 (Arnprior Chronicle, 26 May 1955, p. 1). The lumber used in its construction was secured through demolition of the Ballantyne farm’s log buildings, after which the logs were cut into the required lengths and widths.


Seen below from the perspective of someone standing in what is today’s parking lot (looking from south to north), the 1924 clubhouse seems to have been located between this parking lot and the ninth green of the nine-hole Graham Cooke course laid out between 1985 and 1988 to create the present eighteenhole course (the Ottawa River is at the base of the hill that begins its descent on the east side of the clubhouse, which is on the right side of the photograph below).

Figure 57 An early photograph (circa 1941) of the clubhouse of the Arnprior Golf Club.

The chimney visible in the photograph above (issuing from a fireplace within the clubhouse) was matched on the other side of the building by an identical chimney (and fireplace). The fireplaces were at either end of a ballroom with a vaulted ceiling. In addition to the verandah seen above on the south and east side of the clubhouse, there was also a verandah on the north side, as can be seen in the 1947 photograph below which shows the clubhouse from the other side.

Figure 58 A golfer prepares to replace the flag on the 9th green. From "The Town and the Mill," Crawley Films, 1948.

The verandah on the north side of the clubhouse was a popular place for eating and drinking after a round of golf, for it afforded a view of both the river and the ninth green, which was on land considerably higher than the clubhouse, as can be seen by the way golfers descend from the green down a slope to the clubhouse below in the photograph above. (Notice also in the photograph above the boat making its way to the Sand Point wharf.)


In addition to the ballroom, a kitchen was located on the ground floor. On the second floor, above the kitchen, was the men’s locker room and storage area.


The original clubhouse lasted fifty years, replaced by a new building in 1973. The choice the shareholders faced was between expanding the course to eighteen holes or building a modern clubhouse. The state of the old clubhouse made the decision obvious, as Lloyd Armstrong, the club president at the time, explained: “The old place was kind of creaky, and when we held dances, the floor would go up and down like a yo-yo …. The shower areas weren’t the best … the drains were always plugged up and that sort of thing” (Ottawa Journal, 5 April 1973, p. 73).

Annie Riddell and the Lady Golfers

The Arnprior Golf Club had an active organization of women golfers from the beginning.


And from the beginning, “the ladies’ captain” was “Mrs. Arch. Riddell”; “she was a very capable official” (Arnprior Chronicle, 29 April 1927, p. 1).

Figure 59 Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute, mid-1890s.

Born in 1879 as Anne Maria Newton at Vankleek Hill, she was educated in the local public school and Collegiate Institute. Graduating after an exemplary performance at the latter, she studied at the Ottawa Normal School to train as a teacher. Upon graduation, she first returned to Vankleek Hill to teach, but then travelled “as Far west as Alberta” to teach in the new western provinces (Ottawa Journal, 24 January 1948, p. 6).

In 1911, Annie (as she signed her name) “was married at Vankleek Hill to … Archibald Riddell, whose forebears helped colonize the township of Fitzroy” (Ottawa Journal, 24 January 1948, p. 6). Archie (as he signed his name) was sixty-seven years of age when he married thirty-two-year-old Annie Newton, although he indicated on their marriage certificate that he was just sixty – perhaps the age he had told Annie he was.


Although born at Mohr’s Corners (also known as Riddell’s Corners) in Fitzroy Township in 1844, Archie “got most of his schooling in Pakenham” (Almonte Gazette, 4 May 1928, p. 5). He started work at seventeen years of age for the Bronson & Weston lumber firm of North Hastings and worked for this firm for thirty-seven years. He left to manage the Gilmour Lumber company at its headquarters in Trenton. And afterwards, “for a time, he was in business for himself” (Almonte Gazette, 4 May 1928, p. 5). By the time he married Annie, however, he was a farmer. For a while, the couple lived on the old Riddell homestead at Galetta, but Archie was getting too old for farming, so, shortly after Archie won prizes for horses in the “Carriage Horse” class and “General Purpose” class at the Fitzroy Fair in the fall of 1916, they moved into the town of Arnprior, living for the rest of their lives at 63 John Street North.


During the seventeen years of their marriage, they lived comfortably off the income produced by Archie’s success in business.


By the time the Arnprior Golf Club was formed, Annie Riddell had become used to organizing various activities amongst the local women of resource and influence. A few months after World War I broke out, for instance, a “very enthusiastic meeting of the ladies of Galetta and vicinity was held at the residence of Mrs. Arch. Riddell …, the purpose being to organize a branch of the Red Cross Society” (Arnprior Chronicle, 13 November 1914, p. 1). Her commitment to this organization was lifelong: “In Red Cross circles, she was much more than the secretary from the outset. She was frequently the driving force, and for her services she was awarded in Toronto by the Canadian Red Cross with a badge of merit” (Ottawa Journal, 24 January 1948, p. 6). In Arnprior, “she was a leader in the blood donor service” (Ottawa Journal, 24 January 1948, p. 6).


During World War I, “she also devoted much time to … the work of the Ration Board,” monitoring by means of ration books what people were allowed to have in the way of certain rationed goods such as eggs, meat, coffee, sugar, chocolate, and so on (Ottawa Journal, 24 January 1948, p. 6). She was appointed to a similar role during World War II:


Mrs. A. Riddell Named Local Liaison Officer


Mrs. A. Riddell of Arnprior has been appointed liaison officer for the Wartime Trades and Prices Board for Arnprior.


Books have been prepared by the board so that all women may keep a record of prices paid for everything purchased.


The books are being distributed by Mrs. Riddell. If any advance is found in prices, it is requested that they be reported.


The board stresses the name of the person making the complaint will not be made known. (Arnprior Chronicle, 4 June 1942, p. 1)


The Mayor of Arnprior soon afterwards also appointed her to the local “Rationing Board,” noting that “Mrs. A. Riddell has had considerable experience with the Wartime Prices and Trade Board so that she should be a valuable member” (Arnprior Chronicle, 5 November 1942, p. 2).


In 1918, she was elected to the house committee of the Arnprior branch of the Victorian Order of Nurses, and she continued to serve on the executive committee of this organization for more than twenty years (Arnprior Watchman, 18 January 1918, p. 5). One year later, the Lorne Sutherland Women’s Institute was formed in Galetta (a charitable community-service organization named after a local soldier who died in Europe in February of 1918), and “over the years, she was either a member or an executive of the Lorne Sutherland Women’s Institute” (which still exists today) (Ottawa Journal, 24 January 1948, p. 6).


Her time and her exceptional organizational skills were freely offered both to women golfers and to women curlers: “She was a member of the executive of both the Ladies’ Curling Club and the Lady golfers, and in these spheres, she became widely known both in the Lower and Upper Ottawa valleys” (Ottawa Journal, 24 January 1948, p. 6).


In 1927, after her two very successful years as captain of the ladies’ branch of the Arnprior golf Club, ill health during the winter led to the fear that Annie Riddell might not be able to serve as captain that season. It is not clear whether that fear was realized. The next year, her husband passed away. By 1929, however, we know that she was again playing golf competitively, for she was a member of the team when the “lady players from the Arnprior Golf Club paid a friendly visit to the Chaudière Golf Club … and enjoyed a friendly match in which the Chaudière was successful” (Arnprior Chronicle, 16 August 1929, p. 1).


Captain Annie Riddell was a more-than-competent golfer. In fact, she was the Arnprior Golf Club’s first woman champion: “[in 1925,] Mrs. A. Riddell was Arnprior’s champion lady golfer. She was captain of the ladies’ section of the club, and in a tournament with 14 contestants entered, reached the finals with Mrs. Alex. Reid as opponent. Mrs. Riddell won the cup by a close score” (Arnprior Chronicle, 11 October 1945, p. 2).


And she maintained a high level of play well into her fifties. In 1930 (at fifty-one years of age), she won “a silver spoon contest in the ladies’ branch” of the Arnprior Golf Club (Arnprior Chronicle, 7 August 1930, p. 1). Later that summer, at the ladies’ Field Day, the “approaching and putting contest” was “won by Mrs. A. Riddell,” a feat that earned her another spoon (Arnprior Chronicle, 4 September 1930, p. 1). In the long-driving competition involving twenty-four contestants at the 1931 ladies’ Field Day, only six of the seventy-two drives were longer than Riddell’s 140-yard hit. In October of 1931, “quite a number of lady members of the Arnprior Golf Club, Limited, participated in an eighteen-hole contest, Mrs. A. Riddell handing in the lowest score and [being] awarded a silver spoon” (Arnprior Chronicle, 1 October 1931, p. 1). She also recorded the lowest eighteen-hole gross score at the 1935 ladies’ Field Day (Arnprior Chronicle, 19 September 1935, p. 1).


When she died in 1948, her estate was auctioned off on the front lawn of the house she had shared with her husband on John Street North (“The auction sale of household effects of the estate of the late Anne Riddell … drew a large crowd of buyers…. Bidding was keen, especially for the Frigidaire, washing machine, vacuum cleaner, electric stove, and household furniture”): I wonder if anyone bid on what must by then have been her considerable collection of spoons (Arnprior Chronicle, 29 April 1948, p. 1).


For the better part of next two decades, Riddell continued to work in the interests of women’s golf in Arnprior. She served, for instance, as president “of the ladies’ section of the Arnprior Golf Club” both in 1931 and 1932, the latter season being one in which ‘the local club visited Carleton Place, Pembroke and Renfrew clubs, and these in turn visited the Arnprior Golf Club” (Arnprior Chronicle, 1 September 1932, p. 1). She continued to serve on the executive committee of the ladies’ branch of the Arnprior Golf Club (primarily as secretary) well into the 1940s, when she was distracted from golf, first, by her duties during World War II, and, second, by the onset of chronic poor health, which by 1946 required occasional hospitalization.


Her years as ladies’ club captain during the earliest years of the Arnprior Golf Club were essential to establishing a sound golf culture for women at Sand Point. During the club’s second year, there were more women than men among the membership: “The club has seventy-three [men] playing members and 120 lady members” (Weekly British Whig [Kingston], 24 December 1925, p. 6). But only a small portion of the women members (around fourteen) played golf.


Riddell was determined to change that.


From the beginning, she had organized tournaments for women at the club, and she had therefore established a handicapping committee, as we can see from a 1926 newspaper report: “The ladies are shortly to hold a tournament for the lowest gross and net scores. For this tournament, new handicap [scores] will be required – probably three of them” (Arnprior Chronicle, 27 August 1926, p. 1). That new handicaps would be required for an August tournament may mean that the handicaps from 1925 had been used up till then.


These older handicaps would have been used when the Arnprior women hosted “the Pembroke Ladies’ Branch of the Golf Club” in “an inter-club friendly match” in June of 1926. The Pembroke ladies “who motored to Arnprior” were “welcomed by Mrs. Reddell [sic], captain” (Ottawa Citizen, 25 June 1926, p. 10). Pembroke “won from the Arnprior ladies by ten points” (Ottawa Citizen, 25 June 1926, p. 10). Only eleven matches were played; Pembroke players had dominated their Arnprior opponents.


Was Captain Riddell shocked or embarrassed by the one-sided results? After all, the Pembroke Golf Club had been formed just a year before the Arnprior Golf Club, and yet the Pembroke women were much better golfers than the Arnprior women. I believe that Riddell knew that her fellow Arnprior golfers were in for a drubbing, for she had already arranged that the day after the Pembroke match, there would be an exhibition of high-level women’s golf at Sand Point for instruction purposes.

Figure 60 Helen Paget, late 1920s.

Riddell had decided in the spring of 1926 that it would be a good idea to show her fellow women golfers what the game of golf looked like when played by expert women golfers, and so she arranged for a visit to Sand Point by the Royal Ottawa Golf Club’s best players: Helen Paget and Maude Ross. They were invited to play an exhibition match.


Ross and Paget were two of the best golfers in Canada. Ross, 1925 winner of the women’s Bermuda Championship, had just won the 1926 Ottawa City and District Championship. Her score of 89 on the golf course of the Rivermead Golf and Country Club (defeating Paget by one stroke) was lower than most of the male members were capable of shooting.

Paget had been the winner of the Ottawa and District Championship the previous four years, but any disappointment she might have felt in losing the title to Ross was tempered by the fact that earlier in 1926, Paget had staked a claim to being the best woman golfer in Canada by winning both the Quebec Amateur Championship and the Canadian Amateur Championship.

Fulfilling Riddell’s hopes for the event, a hundred spectators came out to observe both the main event, the match between the stars Paget and Ross, and other matches involving four other Royal Ottawa members that the two stars had brought with them:


Ottawa Lady Golfers Perform at Arnprior ….


With upwards of a hundred spectators, Miss Helen Paget, Canadian Closed [i.e. amateur] Champion, and Mrs. Maude Ross, District Champion, played an exhibition match over the course of the Arnprior Golf Club. The match was keenly watched.

Mrs. Ross and Miss Paget were accompanied by Miss Jessie McLachlan, Miss Matthews, Kathleen Ewart and Betty Cruikshank. The visiting team were guests of the club for lunch, playing a two-ball foursome in the morning and an eighteen-hole exhibition game in the afternoon. (Ottawa Citizen, 26 June 1926, p. 11)


Three weeks later, the Arnprior women’s team travelled to Pembroke for a re-match: “Pembroke defeated Arnprior 12 to 3 in a friendly inter-club match played on the course of the Pembroke club” (Ottawa Citizen, 16 July 1926, p. 11). Annie Riddell played in the lead-off match on a team that fielded four more players this time. And three of the players won their matches! The team was on its way.


The exhibition matches by the expert players from Royal Ottawa seem to have prompted a genuine enthusiasm for the game among women members of the Arnprior Golf Club: although just fourteen women played in the club championship of 1925, the “ladies’ final local golf tournament” of 1926 attracted twenty competitors (Ottawa Citizen, 5 October 1926).


And there was soon noticeable improvement amongst the women golfers. In July of 1927, about a year after the drubbing by Pembroke, the Arnprior women hosted the women’s team from Carleton Place. And the women of Arnprior administered a drubbing! The ten women of Arnprior defeated the ten women of Carleton Place by a score of 9 to 1 (Ottawa Citizen, 16 July 1927, p. 12).


But what about that formidable Pembroke team? In August of 1927, about a month after the Carleton Place match, Pembroke returned to Arnprior. The Pembroke team was still dominant, but the winning margin was reduced: the score was 12 to 5 (Ottawa Citizen, 20 August 1927, p. 12). Arnprior now had five winners!


Finally, in 1934, ten years after play was inaugurated in Arnprior, Riddell’s hopes for the ladies’ branch of the Arnprior Golf Club were gloriously fulfilled:


Arnprior Ladies Win Golf Trophy


Defeated Valley Clubs in Pembroke ….


Arnprior Golf Club won possession of the O’Brien Trophy, emblematic of the ladies’ golf championship of the Upper Ottawa Valley, when their team of eight players turned in a total score of 895 to lead representatives of the Pembroke, Carleton Place, and Renfrew clubs in the annual tournament in Pembroke ….


Arnprior had an advantage of 10 strokes over Pembroke, their closest rivals, for the 18-hole competition. Carleton Place totalled 909 strokes, while Renfrew was still another four strokes behind.


Miss Flo Baker, of Renfrew, had the low gross for the day, 96, and also had the low gross for the second nine, 44.

Mrs. A. Riddell, Arnprior, had a 48 for the first nine. (Arnprior Chronicle, 6 September 1934, p. 1)


Riddell’s 48, the second-lowest nine-hole score amongst the thirty-two competitors, was very good – and all the more remarkable for its having been shot by a fifty-five-year-old playing alongside many women less than half her age. With Riddell still playing on the team, Arnprior would win the O’Brien Trophy again in 1935 when the event was played on the Sand Point golf course, and it would finish second in the 1937 contest played at Renfrew.


I can find no photograph of Mrs. Archibald Riddell, alias Annie Riddell, alias Annie Newton, but the Arnprior Chronicle’s 1948 obituary item about her paints a picture of a much-admired community figure, who enjoyed widespread respect and affection:


Mrs. Archibald Riddell Arnprior had few more distinguished or singularly useful citizens that Mrs. Archibald Riddell ….


Over the past couple of years, her health had been failing, yet until the last she maintained her interest in people and events about her and, more particularly, within the spheres in which she had been often the motivating spirit for almost two score years….

Figure 61 Arnprior Cemetery, Albert Street, Arnprior, Ontario, Canada.

In [her] home, many a meeting took place that had for its purpose the betterment of the community, and Mrs. Riddell was usually the central figure…. She was most generous whenever and wherever her exceptional talents could be made use of.


In religion, Mrs. Riddell was an active member of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, and there the funeral service took place…. [with] a very large number of citizens in attendance. Interment was in the Arnprior Cemetery. (Arnprior Chronicle, 29 January 1948, p. 6).

The First Greenkeeper: James MacPherson

The Arnprior Golf Club’s first greenkeeper was James Abram Garfield Macpherson (1881-1960) of Sand Point, and he was accompanied during his tenure at the club by the first stewardess of the clubhouse, Marjorie Fenwick, (1896-1960), who was addressed publicly (according to the conventions of the day) as Mrs. James Macpherson.


As we can see from the newspaper’s announcement about the early end to the 1925 golf season, James and Marjorie were regarded as a team: “Mr. and Mrs. James MacPherson have finished their season’s work at the golf links. The cold weather setting in so early has made the season a short one” (Arnprior Chronicle, 30 October 1925, p. 8).


The fact that during their employment by the club from 1924 to 1929 the couple lived beside the golf course was as convenient for the couple as it was for the golf club. Their arrival at this place of residence, however, involved a long and circuitous journey.


James was born in the township of Clarendon in the County of Frontenac on 22 September 1881 to “yeoman” Angus Macpherson (1836-1912) and Marion Stringer (1847-1937). Marion, the daughter of a lumberman, taught school at Matawatchan where she met and married Angus Macpherson, the son of Scottish settlers. The couple ran a farm in Matawatchan and raised a family of three sons and three daughters. James had just entered his teenage years when his father died and his mother decided to give up the farm in 1897 and take a new husband, William MacLean.


They made their home at Sand Point.


James Macpherson was required to wander far from this home for his work as a bridge builder, sometimes describing himself as a “Bridgeman” or a “Bridge Foreman.” He pursued this line of work until the spring of 1915, sending varying amounts of money back home each month to support his mother at this time, whose bedridden husband was unable to work.


Then, on 20 May 1915, finding himself working in British Columbia, James Macpherson enlisted in Vancouver with the 11th Canadian Mounted Rifles (CMR) of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.


Formed in March of that year, the unit recruited across British Columbia, but it was selective in its recruitment: “It is well known that the officers of the C.M.R. are particularly desirous of obtaining men of the clean-cut, intelligent, and sportsmanlike type; to be not only soldiers but comrades and friends throughout and after all the trials of an active campaign” (Daily News Advertiser [Vancouver, B.C.], 27 June 1915, p. 13).


Macpherson had signed up early enough to be among the several hundred soldiers of all ranks of the 11th CMR who marched on parade behind their newly formed band for more than an hour through the streets of Vancouver on 31 May 1915 before they moved to the camp at Vernon, British Columbia.

Figure 62 A panoramic view of a parade by all units at Vernon, including James Macpherson and the 11th CMR. Victoria Daily Times, 22 October 1915, p. 11.

During his cavalry unit’s training at Vernon, Macpherson’s horse fell, throwing him violently into the “punmet” or pommel of his saddle, causing deep internal bruising near the bladder. The result for Macpherson was a long-term stricture of the urethra that plagued his entire army service. Riding a horse afterwards was painful and increasingly led both to the passing of blood in his urine and to a reduced flow of urine.


By the end of August of 1915, the 11th CMR draft was “virtually complete,” and all were “eagerly awaiting the … their journey to the front, from Vernon to Shorncliffe [England],” but the army suddenly decided it would not send this cavalry unit to Europe (Inland Sentinel [Kamloops, B.C.], 31 August 1915), p. 3).


The problem was that the stalemate produced by trench warfare across a muddy waste known as “No Man’s Land” had made clear by the end of 1915 “that mounted troops would not be needed in Europe” (Nanaimo Daily News, 22 March 1916, p. 2). As a consequence, “practically the entire [11th CMR] regiment – officers, non-coms, and men – clamored to be allowed to transfer to some other unit so that they might do that for which they had joined the colors, viz., fight for the Empire with as little delay as possible” (Nanaimo Daily News, 22 March 1916, p. 2).

Figure 63 Quesnel Cariboo Observer [British Columbia], 3 June 1916, p. A4.

The army decided instead that the 11th CMR would be reconstituted as an infantry battalion.


This decision meant that the 350 soldiers of the original cavalry unit would have to be supplemented by 550 more volunteers to reach the minimum strength of 800 men required by an infantry unit.


But as a special concession to the frustrated members of the 11th CMR, the army promised that the new infantry battalion would not have to stay in British Columbia for further training but would instead be sent to England as soon as the 800th soldier was recruited.


A vigorous province-wide recruiting campaign was immediately commenced by the CMR.

Then, in the spring of 1916, the goalposts shifted: the army declared that the 11th CMR would have to reach a strength of 1,000!


But finally, on the first day of summer in 1916, having stayed in Canada after its initial formation longer than almost any other unit of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, the 11th CMR left Victoria by ship:


When the C.M.R.’s left Victoria yesterday afternoon, they were accorded one of the most enthusiastic send-offs which has yet been extended to any body of troops leaving the Capital City.


Headed by their band, and with their trumpeters at the rear, they marched to the docks through densely crowded streets strewn with flowers, which were showered on the boys from the closely packed sidewalks.


So dense was the crowd to see them off that considerable delay was entailed in getting aboard. (The Province [Vancouver, B.C.], 21 June 1916, p. 2).

It was like a Stanley Cup victory parade!

Figure 64 James Macpherson and fellow members of the 11th CMR steam out of Victoria Harbour, 20 June 1916, on the Princess Charlotte on the first leg of a four-week sailing to Canada’s Shorncliffe military base in the south of England. Photograph from the City of Victoria Archives.

The 11th CMR arrived in England about four weeks later.


So many officers had been promoted from the original 350 volunteers of the cavalry regiment to command the 1,000 recruits of the new infantry formation that James MacPherson was himself promoted on 8 August 1916 to the rank of Acting Pioneer Sergeant.


In February of 1917, Macpherson was finally sent to France, having been transferred to the 5th Canadian Railway Troops. His civilian bridge building experience was probably a determining factor in his securing this transfer. At the end of February of 1918, just over a year after arriving in France, Macpherson was granted leave to visit England. While on leave, he entered hospital for treatment of the injury sustained at Vernon three years before.


Three things were happening in Macpherson’s life during the summer of 1918: first, his stricture of the urethra was getting worse; second, with the death of his stepfather, Macpherson was now his widowed mother’s primary means of support; third, thirty-six-year-old Macpherson had fallen in love with a twenty-two-year-old Englishwoman named Marjorie Fenwick.

In September, Macpherson was granted leave to marry Fenwick, who could not have imagined that six years later, she would become the first steward of the clubhouse of the Arnprior Golf Club.


In November, after three years and six months in the army, MacPherson was granted a discharge as medically unfit for general military service (because of urethral stricture).


The newlyweds returned to Canada in December of 1918, but lived initially lived in Manchester, New Hampshire, before moving to Sand Point in the early 1920s. James and Marjorie moved in with his seventy-three-year-old mother. She owned the house next to the farm of James Ballantyne. With the addition of James and Marjorie’s first child, they were all living together in Marion’s house when Ballantyne sold his farm to Arnprior Golf Club, Limited, in the fall of 1923. Although James was at that time working as a chauffeur, both he and Marion were immediately interested in the idea of working at the new golf club right next door to their home.


James Macpherson was the key figure in the sodding of greens, draining of fairways, seeding of greens and fairways, and building of new greens that occurred between 1924 and 1929. His success in building the sand Point golf course from scratch led to his move to “Gatineau Point” in the early 1930s, where he was asked to take charge of the new golf course that we know today as “Tecumseh”:


Mr. James G. MacPherson left on Monday for Gatineau Point, where he has been offered the position of superintendent of the private golf course at present being built by the International Pulp and Paper Company.


The course will be a nine-hole one and when completed will be in keeping with any of the clubs around.


Mr. MacPherson has had considerable experience along this line and no doubt will make a success of the work. (Arnprior Chronicle, 24 July 1930, p. 10)


For a while, he lived in Gatineau Point on his own, visiting Arnprior on weekends, but then Marjorie and three of their four boys also moved to Gatineau, where a fifth son was born to the couple. Their eldest son, however, stayed with his grandmother at Sand Point, where he continued to go to school. The family visited Marion MacLean in Sand Point as often as possible, with Marjorie and the boys spending the whole summer of 1932 with her.


But by the end of 1932, they had returned to Sand Point where they again looked after James’s mother, who was now in her late eighties, and where James worked in the bush:

Mr. James G. Macpherson has been nursing a rather sore foot of late. Engaged in hauling some stove wood with a team of horses, one of the animals in backing up stepped on Mr. MacPherson’s foot, crushing it considerably.


At first the injury did not prove to be at all sore, but as time went on, it was necessary for the patient to keep off the crushed foot and rest for a time. (Arnprior Chronicle, 1 October 1936, p. 4).


He used that team of horses when he was the first in the spring of 1932 to try to drive from Sand Point to Arnprior after the snow had melted: he had them tag along behind the car in case he got stuck.


After World War II, as a sixty-five-year-old, he went back to the bush: “Mr. James G. Macpherson, with a gang of men, has gone to Stonecliffe where a camp has been set up and where Mr. MacPherson will superintend the cutting of saw logs for a local lumber firm. Thousands of logs will be cut in this area, where several other camps are being set up” (Arnprior Chronicle, 7 November 1946, p. 2)


Both James and Marjorie became important figures in the management of local United Church, particularly Marjorie who regularly served as an officer of the Women’s Association and who also served as president of the church’s Woman’s Missionary Society in the mid-1930s.


And the couple remained on good terms with the golf club, such that when the English golf professional it had hired in 1936, Thomas Simpson, decided to host some of his new friends to a farewell party before his departure for Toronto (“where he will spend the winter and where he manages and owns a golf school”), the Macphersons opened their home to him: “Before his departure for Toronto, Mr. Simpson entertained a number of his friends to a card party at the home of Mr. and Mrs. J.G. MacPherson. A very enjoyable evening was spent. At midnight, refreshments were served by Mrs. MacPherson” (Arnprior Chronicle, 15 October 1936, p. 4).


The date of James MacPherson’s discharge from the Canadian army had been 6 November 1918, five days before the Armistice was signed. Armistice Day remained important to him. He regularly attended the November 11th Remembrance Day Ceremonies in Ottawa, as in 1928: “Mr. James G. Macpherson was in Ottawa on Sunday and Monday where he joined the ex-service men in their parade and celebration on Armistice Day” (Arnprior Chronicle, 16 November 1928, p. 1). Perhaps we should not be surprised by this fact, for he had responded in 1915 to a recruitment appeal for men who would “be not only soldiers but comrades and friends throughout and after all the trials of an active campaign.”


It seems unlikely that he attended the ceremonies in 1930, however, for he was in hospital at the beginning of November, apparently for treatment of that old war injury that continued to bother him in civilian life: “Mr. James G. MacPherson has been in Ottawa where he will receive medical treatment. Mr. Macpherson, who is a veteran of the Great War, has not been feeling the best for some time and hopes to benefit from this treatment he is about to take” (Arnprior Chronicle, 1 November 1934, p. 4).


Treatment was unsuccessful; he was back in hospital eight months later: “Mr. James G. MacPherson has been a patient in the Civic Hospital, Ottawa, where he is undergoing treatment for injuries received during the World War” (Arnprior Chronicle, 11 July 1935, p. 11).

Figure 65 Thompson Hill Cemetery, Renfrew, Ontario.

Sad to say, the experience of physical discomfort for the rest of his life was a legacy of James MacPherson’s experience of World War I. But the aging veteran does not seem to have been embittered by this unfortunate fact.


Rather, the experience of that time in uniform was so important to him that he felt it had defined him: other than his name, age, and date of death, there is just one word on his grave marker (seen in the photograph to the left), and that work indicates his army rank: “Sergeant”!


During World War II, moreover, he returned to service: he moved to Calabogie, Ontario, to serve as a guard at the High Falls hydro site.


James Angus Garfield MacPherson, builder of the Sand Point golf course and first greenkeeper of the Arnprior golf club, died in Renfrew in 1960.

The Second Greenkeeper: Edward Allan

Edward Allan (sometimes spelled Allen) was a greenkeeper at the Arnprior Golf Club for two decades, initially as assistant to James Macpherson for the first six years after the club’s founding, and then as head greenkeeper himself.


In working alongside James MacPherson for six years, he acquired the knowledge necessary to look after the golf course on his own. And so, when MacPherson informed the club in the spring of 1930 that he had accepted an offer from the International Paper Company to build its nine-hole course at Gatineau Point, the club immediately hired Allen as head greenkeeper and authorized him to take on an assistant: Clarke Storey (Arnprior Chronicle, 18 April 1930, p. 1).


Allan was used to the hard work under MacPherson of digging ditches to drain fairways and of using horses and Fresno scrapers to excavate bunkers and build up greens. But building greens and draining fairways in the late 1920s was no harder than some of the winter work that he undertook. He spent the winter of 1932 logging at Egan Estate; he spent the winter of 1933 working on construction of the Trans-Canada Highway. So it was for Eddie Allan during the winter months.


By 1932, Allan was building more new greens. The installation of a watering system servicing all green areas allowed “new greens to be built at a minimum of expense” (Arnprior Chronicle, 16 March 1933, p. 1). In the mid-1930s he continued to build greens in fulfilment of the plan provided by Karl Keffer in the fall of 1933. We learn in May of 1936 that “Edward Allen … has under construction a new putting green…. the second one made since last fall” (Arnprior Chronicle, 7 May 1936, p. 1). A month later, we read that “under the direction of W.W. Weed, chairman of the greens committee,” “some changes are being made to the greens by greenkeeper Edward Allen and his assistant” and also that “new greens are being made” (Ottawa Citizen, 12 June 1936, p. 3). Allan left his stamp on the golf course for many generations: it seems likely that a number of the greens he built endure to this day.


He was always on the course in March, as soon as the melting snow allowed, “in anticipation of the early golfist” who wanted to get started before the club’s official opening each year (Arnprior Chronicle, 9 April 1931, p. 1). And the club appreciated his dedication to his work, acknowledging him with a bonus at the end of the 1934 season: “there was the presentation of a purse of money to Eddie Allen given as a token of appreciation of his excellent services during the past year” (Arnprior Chronicle, 4 October 1934, p. 1).

Allan also contributed to the club’s golfing culture in other ways. The person achieving the low net score at the club’s closing field day in 1935 won not only “the Morrow and Beattie Cup” but also “a golf bag donated by Eddie Allan” (Ottawa Journal, 30 September 1935, p. 21). At a post-tournament banquet in the summer of 1945, “President [Stuart] Houston presided, prizes were presented by Mayor Reid, and the singsong was led by Maz Smolkin, with Eddie Allan at the piano” (Ottawa Citizen, 8 August 1945, p. 8).


Allan enjoyed the respect and fellowship of the leading businessmen, politicians, doctors and lawyers who were members of the Arnprior Golf Club. And more generally, “because of his long connection with the Arnprior golf Club as greenkeeper, Mr. Allen was widely known” in Sand Point, Braeside, Arnprior and Renfrew (Ottawa Journal, 21 June 1946, p. 24).


No one who had witnessed Eddie Allan banging out members’ favourite tunes at the Arnprior Golf Club’s singsong in 1945 could have imagined that the next spring he would shoot himself in the head. But as the shocking news of this event swept through Arnprior and surrounding communities on 21 June 1946, perhaps some of those who knew of the traumas that afflicted Eddie Allen’s childhood will have been less shocked than others by the report of the shot heard round Sand Point.


Born in Stittsville in 1884, Thomas Edward Allan was the first of three sons born to Michael Allan and Marguerite Primeau. His brother William (born 1890) would become Edward’s assistant at the Arnprior Golf Club in 1932. They were always close. In 1936, Eddie and William would travel together from Arnprior to Thessalon, Ontario, to attend the funeral of their brother Joseph Silas Allan, a night watchman at a local lumber company who had died at forty-eight years of age after having “been in poor health for some time” (Sault Star, Sault Ste Marie, Ontario], 10 October 1936, p. 3).


Circumstances had required that all three brothers support each other from their earliest days. On the one hand, their mother seems to have died giving birth to William, meaning that four-year-old Joseph Silas had few memories of her, and William, none. Thomas Edward was six years old when she died, meaning that he often faced a question from his younger brothers: “What was our mother like?” On the other hand, when the boys were aged twelve, ten, and six, their father was sent to prison for five years and did not emerge alive. They had known him long enough never to forget his alcoholism, quarrelsomeness, and propensity to bully people. Their stepmother, with whom they had lived for five years, abandoned them sometime after their father was sent to prison.

The story of Eddie’s family is clearly a sad one. Michael Allan was responsible for a sequence of events that left one person a victim of sexual assault and another person dead. And many others were scarred by his behaviour: all three of his sons, for a start, but also his second wife, his three stepsons, and both his brother-in-law and his sister-in-law. Thomas Edward and Joseph Silas eventually decided to be known not by their first names, but rather by their middle names, Edward and Silas, respectively. Perhaps they hoped to turn the page on their past and write the next chapter of their lives with new names as the foundation of more positive prospects, and maybe even new identities.


By the time Eddie was twelve, he was working in the Braeside lumber mills of Gillies Brothers.

Figure 66 The Gillies Brothers' mill and lumberyard at the edge of the village of Braeside, circa 1900.

Eddie and his father boarded at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Primeau, Eddie’s aunt and uncle – Louis Primeau being the brother of Eddie’s mother Marguerite Primeau, known as Maggie. As was the custom in the boarding houses of the day, the sleeping quarters were fitted with double beds, with the men sleeping two-to-a-bed (whether or not the men previously knew each other). Eddie often slept alongside his father, although generally he went to bed before him.


Primeau’s boarding house was 300 yards from the Gillies Brothers’ mill and lumberyard shown above. The walk to the town of Arnprior along the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks was just three miles: a distance regarded as a good stretch of the legs in those days. Until 1919, as can be seen in the photograph below, the Braeside train station was directly opposite the Gillies Brothers’ property on the edge of the village: two cars of a passenger train can be seen in the centre of the photograph, with passengers boarding the train on the Braeside side of the C.P.R. tracks.

Figure 67 Topley photo of Braeside in June of 1919.

The fence along the side of the main road descending Arthur’s Hill into Braeside can be seen above at the right side of the photograph, near the middle.

Figure 68 Topley photograph of Braeside circa 1905. A horse and cart and pedestrians make their way up Arthur Hill along the main road out of Braeside.

In the image shown to the left, this fence (and the boardwalk running alongside it) can be seen on the left side of the photograph, with the silo and smokestack to the left of the fence marking the location of the Gillies Brothers’ the mill and lumberyard in the photographs above. It was positioned between the Ottawa River and the C.P.R. tracks.

When Braeside’s original train station (located directly across the tracks from Gillies Brothers main buildings)

burned down in 1919, a new station was built at the bottom of Arthur’s Hill, as seen in the photograph below, which provides a sense of how the houses of the village were built up the hillside that rose above the C.P.R. tracks.

Figure 69 A photograph of the new train station in Braeside circa 1920.

The building that Eddie’s aunt and uncle operated as a boarding house for Gillies’ workers may well be one of the houses visible in the photograph above.


Eddie’s father Michael had been born to Irish immigrants Patrick and Mary Allan in 1861. At his birth, his father was sixty-three and his mother, thirty-eight. They ran a farm in Goulbourne Township in Carleton County. Although his two older brothers laboured on the farm, Michael became a “sawmill man” when he was still a teenager. He had received very little, if any, schooling: he never learned to read or write, but he learned to sign his name.


Michael Allan married Maggie Primeau in the early 1880s, and they had the three sons mentioned above: Thomas Edward (1884), Joseph Silas (1888), and William (1890). Maggie died in 1890, perhaps due to complications in the delivery of her last child, but she had already made sure that Eddie was educated: according to the 1891 census, he was reading by age six.


Several months after Maggie’s death, twenty-eight-year-old Michael Allan married thirty-four-year-old Annie McRae in March of 1891.

Annie was the widow of Alexander McRae, with whom she had three sons, the first two, Finley (1873) and Duncan (1876), born in Beckwith, Lanark County, and the last one, Norman (18851933), born in Carleton Place. These boys became stepsons of Michael Allan, and stepbrothers of the boys Eddie, Silas, and Willie. The 1891 census taker had initially indicated that none of the children in the Allan/McRae household could read or write, but then he corrected his entry for Eddie. I can see Annie telling the census taker that none of the children could read or write, only to have young Eddie speak up for himself: “I can read!” And so, the census was amended.


At census time in May of 1891, new-born William had not yet been incorporated into the new blended family. Perhaps in the first months of her new marriage Annie McRae was too busy establishing a new household to look after an infant. Perhaps she had no interest in doing so in any event. Since his mother Maggie’s death, the previous summer, William may have been living with Michael Allan’s sister, who also lived in Carleton Place – an arrangement Annie may have been happy to prolong as long as possible.


On 30 April 1896, when Eddie and his father were back from their Braeside boarding house to spend a few days at home in Carleton Place, Michael Allan began the train of events that would cause his family to disintegrate. On that day, in a barn near Carleton Place, he (and several other men) engaged in sexual intercourse with a thirteen-year-old girl named Elizabeth Scobie. It was statutory rape to have sexual intercourse with a girl under fourteen years of age. Eventually, the crime came to light, “Allan was arrested as one of the parties, given a preliminary hearing and then committed to stand trial” (Ottawa Journal, 24 July 1896, p. 7).


Also present in that barn was twenty-one-year-old William Robinson. He had not interacted with Scobie in any way, and so, he was in position to give evidence to the court about what Michael Allan had done. As the Ottawa Journal reported, “Robinson was a witness of the deed, and it is stated that he would give evidence against the guilty parties” (Ottawa Journal, 24 July 1896, p. 7).


Although William Robinson was said in newspaper reports to have been a recent immigrant from England, he seems actually to have born in Ontario in 1875, the son of Irish immigrants. His mother having died when he was about eight years old, he was living in Carleton Place from the 1880s to the 1890s with his widowed father and seven siblings, most of whom worked in a local woolen mill, in which William did the job of a “belt boy” (sorting material passing along a conveyor belt).


Until the spring of 1896, Robinson “lived in Carleton Place but about the 20th of June came to [Arnprior] a stranger. He obtained work in McLachlin Bros.’ lumber mills” (Ottawa Journal, 24 July 1896, p. 1)

The newspapers described him at this time as “a young man and unmarried” (Ottawa Journal, 24 July 1896, p. 1).

Figure 70 An early twentieth-century postcard showing two of the four mills run by McLachlin Brothers in Arnprior.

Furthermore, “He was known to be industrious and sober. He was of quiet habits and seldom left his boarding house or associated with anyone in the evenings” (Ottawa Journal, 24 July 1896, p. 1). He seems, in fact, to have been so quiet and retiring as to have quickly became lonely in his new abode, and so, after two weeks on his own in Arnprior, he spent the weekend from Saturday, July 4th, to Sunday, July 5th , visiting friends in Carleton Place (Ottawa Journal, 24 July 1896, p. 1).

Robinson returned to Arnprior and worked his shift at McLachlin Brothers mills on Monday, July 6th. He had changed for bed before the sun set that night when an acquaintance from Carleton Place called upon him at the boarding house where he resided. It was Michael Allan, accompanied by four others: his brother-in-law, Louis Primeau; his stepson, Duncan McRae; fifteen-year-old Napoleon Durocher (Primeau’s nephew, who would drown in Cedar Lake in 1905); and a young man named Paul Tario, whom everyone called “French Joe.”

All worked at Gillies Brothers’ three miles away in Braeside.

What happened later that night brought to town reporters from the Ottawa Journal who would spend a month in Arnprior and Braeside (as well as Perth) writing of a mysterious death, strange behaviour by those who had spent the night with the man who died, and a growing suspicion that Eddie’s father was a murderer. The reporting began with a simple observation: “It was while the authorities were seeking to arrest Allan … that he came to Arnprior and, with Primeau, who is Allan’s brother-in-law, and McRae, took Robinson out for a walk from which he never returned alive” (Ottawa Journal, 24 July 1896, p. 7).


Robinson died a violent death early in the morning of July 7th. When residents learned that “Robinson, if alive, could give important evidence” against Allan concerning the charge of rape, everyone was animated by one question: “had Allan, with the others mentioned, … taken Robinson out on the night of his death with the intention of doing away with him, because of the dangerous evidence he was expected to give at Allan’s trial” (Ottawa Journal, 24 July 1896, p. 7)?


Reporters quickly ascertained some of the basic facts of the matter:


Monday, July 6th, three friends of Robinson [there were actually five] called at the house of Cornelius Combe, … where he boarded. This was after eight o’clock in the evening when he was preparing to retire for the night, but he re-dressed and went out with them on the street.


A Fatal Orgy


One of the callers was Michael Allan, another Duncan McRae, and the third Louis Primeau. They took Robinson with them to McGregor’s Hotel [on Elgin Street], where they drank together. Primeau bought a bottle of liquor before they left.

Figure 71 Elgin Street, Arnprior, late 1890s.

The four next entered Cunningham’s Liquor Store [beside E.F. Kelly’s Grocery Store on Elgin Street, and opposite McGregor’s Hotel], where Allan bought a flask of rye whiskey.

By this time, all were affected with the liquor they had taken, and they began quarreling among themselves. Allan, Primeau, and McRae all worked in Gillies Bros.’ mills at Braeside. They insisted that Robinson should walk to Braeside. This Robinson refused to do. They urged him and, it is said, dragged him after them despite his unwillingness to go.


They reached Braeside about midnight and awakened the villagers with their loud talking and quarreling. The quarreling, the villagers say, was heard all through the night, until daybreak ….


The lifeless body of Robinson was found alongside the railway track, near the lumber yards adjoining the village, about half-past five in the morning by Arch Browning, a filer in the mills, who was at that hour going to work.


Browning’s Statement


Mr. Browning, speaking to The Journal … regarding the finding of the body, said that considering the horrible manner Robinson’s body was mutilated about the head and back, he was astonished at the small quantity of blood to be observed about the spot. The skull was, he said, crushed in and the brains dashed out over the side of the track. Disembowelment was almost caused by a long cut in the side of the body. He thinks it singular that the body was not cut in pieces if a train passed over it …. (Ottawa Journal, 24 July 1896, p. 1)


Others echoed Browning’s observations: “All who saw the body after it was discovered say there was scarcely any blood about where it lay …. Robinson’s brains were scattered along the track for a distance of thirty feet” (Ottawa Journal, 25 July 1896, p. 7).


Braeside resident Mary Leclaire “remembered the morning of July 7th when Robinson’s body was found on the C.P.R. track” that Michael Allan visited her house and that “It was Allan that told her Robinson was killed” and that Alan then, “after giving this information, went away” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 1).

Figure 72 John S. Gillies (1846-1914), early 1900s.

At this point, Allan visited the management offices of Gillies Brothers.


According to John S. Gillies, “secretary of Gillies Brothers, and a member of the firm,” “the morning after Robinson’s death, Michael Allan … came to him and sought his advice about how he should proceed to get the money of the deceased from McLachlin Bros. He said he was the only friend Robinson had…. Allan said he would use the money to properly bury Robinson” (Ottawa Journal, 25 July 1896, p. 7, and 13 August 1896, p. 1). Allan’s request astonished Gillies, who “told him he thought it strange for him to try and  procure Robinson’s money…. [and] declined to have anything to do with him” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 1).

Gillies later told a reporter from the Ottawa Journal that he “had nothing to say in favor of Allan’s character, as he knew but little of him”: “He stated that Allan was dismissed from their employ the morning of the accident. Allan, he said, was then so intoxicated after the previous night’s carousal that he was unable to turn up for work, and for this reason the firm decided it best to dispose of his services” (Ottawa Journal, 25 July 1896, p. 7).


It was presumably upon his return to the Primeau boarding house after this disastrous interview with John Gillies that the functionally illiterate Allan decided that he had need of Mary Leclaire’s skills at reading and writing. She said that “a short time” after he had stopped by her house to tell her the news of Robinson’s death, she “was asked to go to Mrs. Louis Primeau’s to write a letter for Allan” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6).

Figure 73 The office of McLachlin Brothers in Arnprior, circa 1894. Copyright Arnprior and McNab/Braeside Archives.

She wrote the letter, which soon became notorious: “It was addressed to McLachlin Bros., Arnprior, and worded just as Allan asked her to write it. The letter was a request on the firm for the money due Robinson in wages. After she had written the letter, Allan signed it and took it with him. Allan said he wanted Robinson’s money to buy a coffin for him” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6). Unlike John Gillies, Mary Leclaire said that Allan “did not appear to be intoxicated” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6).

Figure 74 Dr. James Goldie Cranston (1837-1909). In The Canadian Album: Men of Canada, by William Cochrane and J. Cranston Hopkins (Brantford, Ont.: Bradley, Garretson & Co., 1891-96), p. 215. His son of the same name became a director of the Arnprior golf club and served on the clubhouse building committee of 1924.

Off Allan went to Arnprior with his letter, retracing the steps along the C.P.R. tracks that he had taken to call on Robinson the previous night.


But before he went to the offices of McLachlin Brothers, he stopped at the home of the coroner for the County of Renfrew, Arnprior’s Dr. James Goldie Cranston:


Allan’s Remarkable Demand


Allan was the first to inform the coroner of Robinson’s death. He had no sooner told the news than he presented to Dr. Cranston a letter written by a lady and signed by himself setting forth a claim for all of the dead man’s clothing and also asking an order from the coroner upon McLachlin Bros.’ office to hand over to him eleven days’ pay due his dead companion. Allan made the claim on the plea that he was the only friend Robinson had in the world. (Ottawa Journal, 24 July 1896, p. 7)


The coroner thought that Allan’s behaviour was outrageous: “Dr. Cranston was naturally indignant at Allan’s boldness and … told Allan that he could not get Robinson’s clothing” (Ottawa Journal, 24 July 1896, p. 7).

Figure 75 Richard Macnamara, accountant, and secretary-treasurer for McLachlin Brothers, alongside his son Charles, bookkeeper, in the offices of McLachlin Brothers, October 1894. Copyright Arnprior and McNab/Braeside Archives.

In fact, when Allan left, Cranston “promptly telephoned Mr. MacNamara, head accountant of McLachlin Bros., asking him to decline to give Allan the money due Robinson at his death” (Ottawa Journal, 24 July 1896, p. 7).


Not knowing about this telephone call, Allan “went to McLachlan Bros.’ office believing that the firm would hand over the money to him as one of Robinson’s friends,” but “the money was not paid out when Allan asked for it” (Ottawa Journal, 25 July 1896, p. 7).

After this telephone call, Dr. Cranston apparently received a call from John Gillies also informing him that Robinson had been found dead “not three feet from the C.P.R. tracks” that ran through the Gillies Brothers’ mill and lumberyard (Ottawa Journal, 25 July 1896, p. 7).  Still, it was not until four hours after Robinson’s body was found that Cranston showed up at the scene to inspect it. And he decided almost immediately that there was no need for an inquest. He concluded that “Robinson was killed by a train” and speculated that “he suicided”: “Robinson must have lain down on the track in a drunken stupor or with the deliberate intention of committing suicide” (Ottawa Journal, 24 July 1896, p. 1). He “ordered the immediate burial of the body” (Ottawa Journal, 25 July 1896, p. 7). And so, “the body was buried nine hours after it was discovered” (Ottawa Journal, 24 July 1896, p. 1). As though the coroner were trying to spite Michael Allan, he had the body buried “without even changing the clothing upon it” (Ottawa Journal, 25 July 1896, p. 7).


But Dr. Cranston seems to have accepted another claim made by Allan for something that Robinson was wearing:


When Robinson’s body was found, there was a ring on a finger of his right hand. Allan wanted this ring, as well as Robinson’s clothing and wages. He told Dr. Cranston, the coroner, that the ring formerly belonged to him, but he had given it to Robinson in security for a watch, on the understanding that Robinson would return it as soon as he had paid for the timepiece. The ring was worth about ten dollars. Allan was given the ring upon the explanation made by him. (Ottawa Journal, 25 July 1896, p. 7).


Although he had been fired by Gillies Brothers, “Allen remained about Arnprior until the Saturday [11 July 1896] following Robinson’s death” (Ottawa Journal, 25 July 1896, p. 7). He may have been waiting to be given the ring. Allan “then left for Carleton Place and was arrested there on the charge of being one of the party of four who criminally assaulted a young girl named Elizabeth Scobie” (Ottawa Journal, 25 July 1896, p. 7). But Robinson’s ring did not languish with Allan in jail: Louis Primeau had the impression that the “ring was now in the possession of Allan’s sister, who lived near Carleton Place” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6).


At his preliminary hearing before the local magistrate, Allan had initially pleaded guilty to the charge of indecent assault against Elizabeth Scobie and was committed by the magistrate to stand summary trial before the county judge at the Assizes in Perth, but on his arrest after Robinson’s death, he “changed his mind and engaged counsel to defend him” (Ottawa Journal, 24 July 1896, p. 7). Word spread that “The prisoners expect to be able to prove that the girl [was] over 15 years old” (Lanark Era, 29 July 1896, p. 1). Or, at least, without Robinson to contradict them, they could claim that Scobie had told them she was fifteen! It would be the word of four against the word of one.


When word reached Braeside and Arnprior of Allan’s change of plea, speculation about how Robinson died began to intensify:


The conjecture that Robinson, who witnessed this assault and was expected to give evidence against the accused, might have been done away with, has gained some ground from the fact that Allan, when tried by the magistrate before Robinson’s death, pleaded “guilty,” and yesterday, when tried before the county judge at Perth, changed his plea to “not guilty.” (Ottawa Journal, 25 July 1896, p. 7)


Virtually everyone in Braeside was talking about the death of Robinson, and all seem to have united in fear and loathing of Michael Allan:


The village of Braeside, where Wm. Robinson met so mysterious a death a few weeks ago, was visited by a representative of The Journal yesterday [24 July 1896]. It is in that village that the excitement over Robinson’s death is at its height. No one can converse about the matter without breathing out a suspicion. These suspicions are directed toward Michael Allan, but facts in substantiating them are very lacking.


One thing, at least, that has a striking bearing on the case is the fact that no one in the whole neighbourhood has a good opinion of Allan. He is a man whom all say they would not care to class among their friends.


His character, if all that is said about him be true, is an unenviable one. Allan had a mania for quarreling that seemed unconquerable. He very frequently became intoxicated, and while in this state was annoyingly troublesome. The men about the mills speak of him as a “bully” and were cautious about saying anything to him that would court his displeasure. (Ottawa Journal, 25 July 1896, p. 7)


Poor Eddie.


However much people who were inclined to be considerate of Eddie’s feelings might have pulled their punches when referring to Michael Allan in his son’s presence, Eddie must nonetheless have perceived that his father was spoken of in a certain way by villagers and fellow mill workers. Moreover, there would have been people not at all considerate of the son’s feelings who would have said denigrating and disrespectful things about Michael Allan right in front of Eddie.


Reflecting on the way Robinson’s body was buried within nine hours of having been found, more and more people in Braeside and Arnprior began to suspect a cover-up. Some thought that the coroner had been “got at” by Gillies Brothers: “There was a story that the Messrs. Gillies were averse to [an inquest], as the death at first appeared as an accident, and an inquest might cause unnecessary trouble among the men” (Ottawa Journal, 24 July 1896, p. 1).


The talk was that “Robinson was either criminally placed on the track while drunk, or even murdered and his body then thrown on the track to be mutilated by a passing train, thus concealing the murder” (Ottawa Journal, 24 July 1896, p. 7).


Stung by the rumours that Gillies Brothers was responsible for the cover-up of a crime, John Gillies at first felt helpless. But then he was told that on July 19th , “twelve days after Robinson’s body had been found on the railway tracks, a pool of congealed blood was discovered behind the firm’s stables” (Ottawa Journal, 12 August 1896, p. 7). Gillies leapt into action. He directed an inspection of the property of the Gillies Brothers’ mill and lumberyard in search of a possible crime scene, and what was found deeply disturbed him:


There was sawdust about where the blood was discovered, and this sawdust was saturated with it. Mr. Gillies said he traced blood from that spot to the railway track. Drops of the blood could be seen dried on the grass and sawdust, and there was also a quantity of it on the rail of a fence that had to be crossed to reach the railway track where the body was found. (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 1)


In Gillies’ opinion, this fence “was covered with blood as if the body had been dragged over it” (Ottawa Journal, 12 August 1896, p. 7). And “a fence rail was found all splattered with blood,” leading to the “thought that Robinson was murdered behind the stables and carried on this rail to the track” (Ottawa Journal, 11 August 1896, p. 7). Convinced that he had discovered a crime scene, “he told his men not to disturb the spot where the congealed blood was found until he had told the authorities of the fact” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 1)


He next began a publicity campaign to reclaim the firm’s good name. He asked the Ottawa Journal to publish his assertion that the rumour of Gillies Brothers’ interference with the coroner “was utterly untrue”: “Messrs. Gillies … had themselves notified the coroner of the accident and had never objected directly or indirectly to an inquest” (Ottawa Journal, 24 July 1896, p. 1). The next day, he spoke to the reporter again: “He wishes it announced through The Journal that the firm demanded an inquest upon the body in case suspicions should arise” (Ottawa Journal, 25 July 1896, p. 7). 

In the same conversation, Gillies went on to throw the coroner under the bus: “Dr. Cranston, the coroner, who made an appearance four hours after he was notified, did not think an inquest necessary, and to the firm’s surprise, ordered the immediate burial of the body, the body being buried, Mr. Gillies says, without even changing the clothing upon it” (Ottawa Journal, 25 July 1896, p. 7).


With his judgement and decisions increasingly being criticized not just by the villagers of Braeside but also by the secretary-treasurer of Gillies Brothers, Dr. Cranston tried to justify himself to a reporter for the Ottawa Journal:


Dr. Cranston of Arnprior, coroner of Renfrew County, believes Robinson was killed by a train, but thinks he suicided ….


The legs of the body were not cut in any way, and this, he claims, is evidence that Robinson must have lain down on the track in a drunken stupor or with deliberate intention of committing suicide. Had he been standing when struck by a train, his legs would have been crushed and probably broken. (Ottawa Journal, 24 July 1896, p. 1)


But no one was buying what Cranston was selling, and so, exactly one month after Robinson’s battered and lacerated body was found and hurriedly buried, the coroner finally yielded to public pressure:


The death of Wm. Robinson, which occurred on the C.P.R. tracks at Braeside, three miles distant from this town early last month, concerning which there are suspicions of foul play, is to be investigated…. An inquest is being held in the town hall. (Ottawa Journal, 7 August 1896, p. 7)


The inquest ran from August 7 th to August 13th, with occasional adjournments, as subpoenas needed to be served to certain witnesses, such as Allan’s brother-in-law: “This morning [August 7th], chief of police Dodd went to Braeside to arrest Louis Primeau” (Ottawa Journal, 7 August 1896, p. 7). And Michael Allan himself would have to be compelled to testify.


He would not be hard to find, for even without Robinson’s testimony, Allan had been convicted of sexual assault upon Scobie: “Michael Allen was sentenced by [County Judge] Senkler, on Friday [7 August 1897], to five years’ imprisonment for rape,” the period of incarceration to be served in Kingston Penitentiary (Lanark Era, 12 August 1896, p. 1). On the day the inquest began, “prisoner Michael Allan” sat in the Perth jail awaiting transfer to Kingston (Ottawa Journal, 8 August 1896, p. 7). And so, “County Crown attorney Metcalfe and Provincial Detective Grier, who has been working up the case, … forwarded a request to the Attorney-General [of Ontario] to have Allan brought here [Arnprior] from Perth to give evidence at the inquest” (Ottawa Journal, 8 August 1896, p. 7).


Sitting at the front of the large council chamber in the Arnprior Town Hall where the inquest was conducted were the Renfrew County Coroner Dr. Cranston, Provincial Detective Grier, and Crown Attorney Metcalfe of Pembroke. The testimony proved extraordinarily inconsistent and contradictory, leading most observers “to the conclusion that there [were] certain ugly facts about the case … being concealed” (Ottawa Daily Citizen, 8 August 1896, p. 2).


To the coroner’s chagrin, Crown attorney Metcalfe presented “A chain of evidence … completed by Provincial Detective Grier strongly indicating that Wm. Robinson … came to his death by foul means” (Ottawa Journal, 12 August 1896, p. 7). Every day, a “large number of townspeople … crowded the council chamber of the town hall all day listening to the testimony …. [This is] evidence of the great interest that has been awakened, as to Robinson’s death, in this entire community” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 1). And this great interest actually increased day by day such that “Public interest … intensified into a general excitement as the murder theory developed in plausibility” (Ottawa Daily Citizen, 8 August 1896, p. 2).


Caught up in the midst of it all was Eddie Allan.


The Ottawa Journal reporters were sloppy in their references to him, one identifying him as “Joseph E. Allan, fifteen years old,” another referring to him as “Joseph Edward Allan, the twelve-year-old son of Michael Allan” (Ottawa Journal, 12 August 1896, p. 7; 13 August 1896, p. 6). They had mixed up his age with that of another young witness (Napoleon Duroche), and they had mixed up the names of Thomas Edward Allan and his younger brother Joseph Silas Allan.


Eddie Allan was twelve years old at the time of the inquest. Living with his father at his uncle Louis Primeau’s house in Braeside, regularly sharing his father’s bed, the young boy’s testimony would be important in establishing his father’s whereabouts during the night when Robinson died.


Many in Braeside had been kept awake all night by loud talk, quarreling, and fighting amongst a number of men. Most believed that these noisy men were the ones who brought Robinson from Arnprior. Villagers familiar with certain of the men no doubt recognized their voices. And so, many people in Braeside were sceptical about the claim that these men had ever gone to bed that night.


The representative of the Ottawa Journal who went to Braeside to interview these villagers reflected their scepticism in his report that “The scene of Robinson’s death is … not more than three hundred yards from the house of Louis Primeau where Primeau claims Robinson slept the night before the morning of his death” (Ottawa Journal, 25 July 1896, p. 7, emphasis added).

The same day, the Ottawa Journal also sent a reporter to interview Allan in the Perth jail (where he awaited trial at the Assizes) and to ask him about his whereabouts during the evening and or early morning when Robinson died. According to Allan,


At about half-past ten o’clock at night, the party arrived at Louis Primeau’s, where the Braeside men boarded, and went to bed …. There were two beds in the room, and Allan says he slept with French Joe, and he thinks Duncan McRae slept with Robinson.


Allan says he was asleep before these came up to bed and cannot be sure. The last he saw of Robinson was before he retired.


Allan quotes Mrs. Primeau as the authority for saying that Robinson arose about 4 a.m. and told Mrs. Primeau that he was going to return to his work at Arnprior. (Ottawa Journal, 24 July 1896, p. 7)


The reporter expressed a note of caution, observing that “Allan tells a very smooth story,” but the reporter also conceded that “if it is true that [Allan] went to bed and to sleep at 10:30, he could not have been one of those who were said to have disturbed people throughout Monday night” (Ottawa Journal, 24 July 1896, p. 7).


A reporter also interviewed Mrs. Louis Primeau on the same day: “While in Braeside yesterday [24 July 1896], The Journal called at the house of Louis Primeau …. Mrs. Primeau stated that her husband and the others reached Braeside about half past ten o’clock the night before Robinson’s death…. All went to bed shortly after their arrival. Allan, she says, slept with [French] “Joe” and McRae and Robinson slept together” (Ottawa Journal, 25 July 1896, p. 7).


What would Eddie have to say about the claim made by both his father and his aunt?


Edward Allan, the twelve-year-old son of Michael Allan, said he was awake when his father, Primeau, Robinson, McRae, Duroche and Joe Tario came home from Arnprior.


He had been accustomed to go to bed when it became dark, but this night he stayed up to keep his aunt, Mrs. Louis Primeau, company….


All except young Duroche stayed at Primeau’s house that night.


His father took off his shoes and asked him to go upstairs to bed with him. He started upstairs and saw his father come behind him. (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6)


And so, “He remembered his father preparing to go to bed but could not say whether her did so or not” (Ottawa Journal, 12 August 1896, p. 7).


Eddie also said that “He slept with ‘Joe’ Tario and his father with McRae” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6). Paul “French Joe” Tario, however, promptly contradicted Eddie’s testimony: “Paul Tario, alias ‘Joe,’ … said the story of Allan’s son that he (Tario) had slept with the boy that night was not correct” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6).


Would Tario confirm the claim made both by Eddie’s aunt and by his father that Tario had slept with Michael Allan. No! Tario said that “Robinson and he [Tario] went to bed together” (Ottawa Journal, 13 august 1896, p. 6).


Among all the witnesses associated with Michael Allan, it was only young Eddie who struck the Ottawa Journal reporter as truthful: “The boy gave his evidence in a clear, straightforward manner, as if really unconscious of the importance his evidence was to his father, to whom suspicion so strongly clings” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6).


Eddie thought that his father had been in the bed with Duncan McRae. What would the latter say?


The Ottawa Journal reporter labelled Eddie’s stepbrother “a first-class liar”: “Duncan McRae, a lad of about twenty, … was one of the strangest witnesses that gave evidence, and such evidence as he did give was deprecated very much through his efforts to evade telling a straightforward story” (Ottawa Journal, 13 august 1896, p. 6). In his first day on the witness stand, McRae had refused to sign a transcript of his testimony: “he said he couldn’t write, couldn’t spell, couldn’t read. He had never written anything in his life, and professed not to be able to sign his own name to the evidence he gave” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6). Apparently, the only thing that he would say about who slept with whom was that “He knew Robinson and the others went to bed that night” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6).


Napoleon Durocher had returned to his father’s home in Braeside and slept there. So, if Eddie was correct that he and Tario slept in the same bed, it is not clear when or whether Michael Allan, Duncan McRae, and William Robinson went to bed.


And then there is the question of what Mrs. Primeau said happened in the morning.


Louis Primeau’s neighbour, thirty-five-year-old Hannah Mosley, told the inquest that she had visited Mrs. Primeau “and talked about Robinson’s death” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6). According to Mosley, Mrs. Primeau “cried,” “acknowledged not having gone to bed before three o’clock on the morning Robinson’s corpse was found on the railway track,” and also told her “that Robinson came downstairs at three o’clock on the morning he was killed and asked for a lamp” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6). Mrs. Primeau, however, “denied the statements mentioned”: “‘All the neighbours have been making stories of us,’ exclaimed Mrs. Primeau” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896).


Well, it turns out that Mrs. Primeau may have been the one “making stories” – stories that she revised on retellings.


For instance, on the opening day of the inquest, “she stated to the jury that she had not been washing the day after Robinson’s death” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6). Five days later, the Crown Prosecutor recalled her to the stand, and she changed her story: “she now recollected she had washed that day…. The washing consisted of two bedsheets, two pillow covers, and two towels. The towels belonged to Allan. They were new and had a red stripe at either end of each of them” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6). And it turns out that “On Friday of the same week [that is, three days after Robinson’s death], she washed other clothes, including some shirts and a pair of pants. None of this clothing belonged to Allan” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6). She stated: “There was … no blood on the clothes she washed” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6).


Mrs. Primeau originally claimed that Robinson had got up at 4:00 am on the morning he died. To the Ottawa Journal reporter who interviewed him in Perth jail, Michael Allan “quote[d] Mrs. Primeau as his authority for saying that Robinson rose about four a.m. and told Mrs. Primeau that he was going to return to his work in Arnprior.” Mrs. Primeau rehearsed her early-morning conversation with Robinson for an Ottawa Journal reporter:


About four o’clock in the morning, she awoke to prepare the breakfast. Robinson got up a few minutes later.


He said he was going to Arnprior, and she asked him to remain for breakfast. Robinson said he would not, as he wished to be in Arnprior in time to begin work in McLachlin’s mill at seven o’clock.


Leaving the house, Robinson told her, she said, that he intended jumping a train that would be passing through Braeside.


Mrs. Primeau states she advised Robinson, as he was going away, not to do so, as he had plenty of time to walk to Arnprior, the distance being only three miles.


Robinson replied that he could jump the train safely and would then be in Arnprior in time to have a short sleep before the hour for beginning work in the mills. He then went down the hill from the house to the railway tracks. This was the last she seen of him alive.


Robinson told Mrs. Primeau that he was accustomed to jumping trains. Mrs. Primeau firmly believes that Robinson attempted to jump the train and was thrown beneath the wheels and crushed to death. She speaks of Robinson as a young man greatly respected by both her husband and herself. (Ottawa Journal, 25 July 1896, p. 7)


The conversation related by Mrs. Primeau dovetailed perfectly with the idea that Robinson had been run over by a train. Perhaps too perfectly. And was her gratuitous expression of great respect for Robinson a case, perhaps, of “she doth protest too much.”


In any event, a problem emerged for her story.


After midnight on the morning when Robinson died, just one train passed through Braeside heading east toward Arnprior, and the C.P.R. night operator at Arnprior recorded it going through at 3:00 a.m. How such a supposedly well-practised train jumper as Robinson could have thought he would find a train heading east sometime after 4:00 a.m. is a mystery. Furthermore, there were only three trains that morning passing to the west, and the night operator recorded them going through at “12:22 a.m., 2:20 a.m. and 3:39 a.m.” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 1). How anyone who left the Primeau’s house after 4:00 a.m. could have been run over by a train is a mystery.


So, perhaps we should not be surprised to find that the story told of when Robinson got up and left the house was revised.


On the last day of the inquest, Mrs. Primeau said that it was “half past three o’clock, when Robinson started for Arnprior” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6). That was just the right time to be run over by the last train passing through Braeside that morning. And “she said that she did not know whether Allan was out of the house between half-past three o’clock … and six o’clock” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6). Tario, however, who averred that he had slept not with Eddie but with Robinson, said that when “he (Tario) woke early next morning” and “washed himself,” “Allan desired to wash after him, but Tario had used all the water in the house, and Allan went out with a pail to get more. Tario did not see Allan return with the water” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6).


Eddie had come to the Town Hall from Braeside for the last day of the inquest. As he waited to be called by the Crown Attorney to give his evidence, Eddie heard the C.P.R. night operator’s testimony about the trains that passed through Braeside on the morning of July 7 th, and he heard John Gillies testifying about the pool of blood found behind the Gillies Brothers’ stables and the blood leading to the train tracks. And after giving his testimony, he heard his aunt recalled to the witness stand, where she retracted testimony that she had given earlier and then denied and contradicted the testimony of other witnesses. Eddie also waited in the council chambers after his testimony, in case he were recalled for further testimony, as so many of the other witnesses were.


What did he make of the direction of the Crown Attorney’s questioning, which relentlessly intimated that his father was suspected of having murdered Robinson? What did he make of the changes that his aunt had made to the stories she told? If, as so many people in the community suspected, his father, his aunt, and his uncle had coordinated and rehearsed the stories they would tell about that night, had Eddie overheard some of those conversations in the boarding house? Did he come to fear that his father was a murderer and that his relatives were lying to cover up this fact?


Michael Allan he did not appear at the inquest: “Michael Allan, who is suspected of implication in Robinson’s death, could not be got out of Perth gaol to give evidence before the jury” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6). And he was taken to the Kingston Penitentiary a day or two after the inquest concluded, so Eddie may never have heard his father speak further about the events that were the subject of the inquest.


Nothing would emerge from the jury’s verdict, or the reaction of spectators to it, to allay worries that Eddie might have developed that his father would be charged with murder.


Only Dr. Cranston offered Eddie a sliver of hope. He did his best to reinforce the conclusion he had reached after his brief inspection of the place where Robinson’s body was found: the man had been killed by a train. Cranston felt that the most important thing for him to address was the result of the autopsy performed on the exhumed body by two experts: “the results strongly favor the theory that Robinson was first killed and his body subsequently thrown upon the railway track. Not a drop of blood was found in the body, which would not have been its condition had the young man’s life been crushed out by the cars” (Ottawa Journal, 8 August 1896, p. 7). Cranston addressed the jury with confidence:


Coroner Cranston, before leaving the jury to find their verdict, instructed them on the case. He said that all witnesses convenient had been examined, and every bit of evidence available had been taken.


The evidence was very conflicting, and there was a remarkable absence of facts pointing to a particular individual.


Regarding the discovery of blood near where Robinson was killed, it is doubtful if it was human blood or not.


The most suspicious part of the whole evidence was the medical testimony that no blood was found in the heart of the deceased. This was remarkable but no absolute indication that murder had been committed.

He had observed that the body was badly crushed and the spinal column broken as if Robinson had been doubled up by the train. By the breaking of the spine, a large spinal vein would be broken whereby blood from the heart and other portions of the body might flow out and lie in the interior of the body.

Figure 76 The morning train passes out of Braeside Station on the C.P.R. track heading west, like the last train on the morning of 7 July 1896 at 3:39 a.m.

In the absence of evidence pointing to the fact that some individual caused Robinson’s death, he thought the jury could arrive at no other decision than that Robinson met his death on the C.P.R. track by a passing train going over him. (Ottawa Journal, 8 August 1896, p. 7)


But Cranston’s confidence may have been shaken by the time he concluded his summing up, for the crowd found its own scepticism of the coroner’s address reflected in the jury’s reaction to him: “It was very evident from the looks of some of the jurymen after the coroner’s remarks that they did not agree with him” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6).


Still, the crowd in the Town Hall council chamber worried that Cranston’s address to the jury might have persuaded at least one jury member to agree with him, leading to a hung jury:


The council chamber was cleared of the crowd that assembled, and the jury was left alone to find a verdict. They began their consideration upon a verdict shortly before five o’clock.


Fifteen minutes passed, and there was no verdict.


Half an hour sped away, and the jury were still closeted, and it was expected the jury would disagree.

But fifteen minutes later, after three quarters of an hour’s deliberation, the jury reached a verdict.

Figure 77 J. Tierney

The foreman of the jury, Mr. John Tierney, announced the jury was unanimous in their finding and called upon … [the] clerk of the jury to read the verdict.


The verdict was as follows:


“That from the evidence placed before us, we are of the opinion that William Robinson came to his death by being killed by some person, or persons, unknown on the morning of 7th July 1896 and that his body was afterwards placed on the railway track in order to cover up the crime.”


(Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6)

Crown attorney Metcalfe “thanked the jury on behalf of the Crown for the consideration they had given the case, and expressed himself satisfied with the verdict they had reached,” and in a remark that can only be interpreted as an upbraiding of the corner siting beside him, he added that “He did not see it was possible for the jury to arrive at any other verdict upon the evidence submitted” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6).


The crowd also agreed with the verdict – up to a point: “The finding of the jury gives general satisfaction, with the exception that it was expected that the man Allan would be indicted” (Ottawa Daily Citizen, 13 August 1896, p. 8). And upon being discharged, members of the jury made known their own frustration that they could not address the question of Michael Allan’s suspected role in Robinson’s death: “Much disappointment was expressed by the jurymen that Allan was not present to give evidence” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6).


The Crown Attorney’s sense of this widespread disappointment in Arnprior and Braeside that the matter was by no means resolved may have been the reason he later spoke to the press about what would happen next:


Crown attorney Metcalfe stated to a Journal reporter that he could not say whether any arrests would immediately follow the verdict.


He said he would submit the evidence taken before the jury, also the verdict, to the Attorney General at Toronto and ask him to recommend what course he should pursue.


It is not unlikely that Michael Allan will be charged with the crime…. Provincial Detective Grier … will return to Arnprior in a few weeks to look into the case further. (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6)

One wonders what Eddie would have made of the public’s expressions of happiness at the jury’s verdict, on the one hand, and disappointment, on the other, that the jury had not recommend the indictment of his father on a charge of murder?


And Michael Allan was never charged with the murder of William Robinson.


But his five-year sentence for raping Elizabeth Scobie unexpectedly turned into a life sentence, for Michael Allan did not leave the Kingston Penitentiary alive.


In the long run, the 1896 inquest into the mysterious death of William Robinson would have a surprising influence on Eddie’s greenkeeping career. It turns out that an important member of the coroner’s jury – which “was composed of the leading businessmen of the town” – was John Snedden Moir (Almonte Gazette, 21 August 1896, p. 6). He had watched with incredulity as Dr. Cranston summed up the evidence, and he had watched with growing respect as young Eddie Allan answered the Crown attorney’s questions. Twenty-eight years later, he would approve James MacPherson’s request to hire Eddie Allan as his assistant greenkeeper at the Arnprior Golf Club.


But probably the most significant contemporary consequence for Eddie of the inquest was the disintegration of his family, for his stepmother decided to leave Ontario and to take only her own sons with her.


Although Michael Allan’s second wife Annie had been born a McCrimmon, she resumed her first married name, McRae, and moved with her three boys to the municipality of Gull Lake in the Maple Creek district of the Assiniboia region of the Northwest Territories (part of the province of Saskatchewan today), where she became a rancher. She indicated in the 1901 census that she was by that time a widow.


Sons Findley and Norman eventually left the ranch, got married, and started lives of their own – the former as a farmer in Saskatchewan, the latter as a worker in the hotel industry in British Columbia. Duncan, however, never left the ranch and never married. He lived with his mother for as long as she was alive.


I wonder if he needed looking after.


My curiosity about their relationship is aroused by the fact that during the inquest into the death of Robinson, someone provided the Crown Attorney with a postcard sent from Duncan McRae to Annie McRae so that the Crown Attorney could prove to the jury that twenty-year-old Duncan was “a firstclass liar” (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6).


The Crown Attorney used it to good effect:


A First-Class Liar


Duncan McRae, a lad of about twenty, who was with Robinson and Allan coming home from Arnprior, was recalled [to the witness stand].


He was one of the strangest witnesses that gave evidence and such evidence as he gave was deprecated very much through his efforts to evade telling a straightforward story.


At the last sitting of the inquest, he said he couldn’t write, couldn’t spell, couldn’t read. He had never written anything in his life, and professed not to be able to sign his own name to the evidence he gave.


County Crown Attorney Metcalfe produced a card which the witness had written to his mother. Witness was first told to examine the card closely. Questioned by the Crown Attorney, he said he could not tell who the card was addressed to, did not know the signature on the card, and could not read a word of it.


After some examination [by the Crown Attorney], he acknowledged that he had once written a card to his mother, and finally acknowledged this must be the card he sent.


Taking the card in his hand, he read the address and also all that was written on the card, without the slightest trouble.


The card had nothing important upon it but was produced to convince the jury that there was something wrong in McRae’s first evidence. (Ottawa Journal, 13 August 1896, p. 6).


Who but Duncan’s mother could have provided this postcard to the Crown Attorney? If she did give it to him, why did she do so?


Had she attended the inquest to see for herself what evidence there might be that her husband was not only a rapist, but also a murderer? And had she been shocked to discover the array of lies that her son was telling?


If so, she may have worried that his determination to lie about virtually everything he was asked about would draw attention to him as a potential suspect in the apparent murder of Robinson. She would have been loathe to see her son indicted for murder alongside her husband. Did she approach Metcalfe with proof of her son’s literacy to enable him to force her son to tell the truth and thereby provide him with an opportunity to save himself from suspicion of being an accomplice to murder?


The Ottawa Journal reporter thought Duncan McRae “one of the strangest witnesses that gave evidence.” Perhaps Duncan McRae was what we would today call a person with one or more “special needs.” The Crown Attorney wanted the jury to see that there was “something wrong” with the young man’s previous testimony; to save him, his mother may have wanted everyone to see that there was “something wrong” with her son.


Annie took Duncan and her other sons with her to work on her ranch out West. What became of the three boys of the deceased Michael Allan and Maggie Primeau is not clear.


When “Willie” Allan married Ida Bertrand of Masham, Quebec, in Ottawa in 1912, he indicated on the marriage certificate that he had lived in Ottawa “all my life.” He had been born in Carleton Place, of course, but he may have had few memories of those early years, for he was six years old when his father was sent to prison and his family disintegrated. It seems that his life in Ottawa was all that he remembered – or, perhaps, all that he wanted to remember. In 1921, living with Ida, their son (aged eight) and two daughters (aged six and four) on Lisgar Avenue in Ottawa, he was a truck driver for a brick yard. By 1932, he was working as Eddie’s assistant at the Arnprior golf Club. In 1934, he moved from Sand Point to Arnprior, but he continued to work at the golf course. He left at some point, but when the golf club was on the verge of closure in 1944, he was one of those who rallied to the cause of keeping it open: “‘Bill’ Allan, former greens-keeper, is back” (Arnprior Chronicle, 18 May 1944, p. 14). And when he was sixty-five years old, in 1955, we read in the Arnprior Chronicle that “Tommy O’Brien and Bill Allan were busy getting the course in shape” (Arnprior Chronicle, 26 May 1955, p. 4). How long he might have continued to work at the golf club beyond the conventional retirement age of those days is not clear.


In 1911, Joseph Silas Allan was also a driver for a company in Ottawa. In 1913, however, he married an Arnprior woman named Eva (or Elsie) Geneva Young, daughter of a sawmill worker who had moved at the end of the 1890s from Warren, Ontario, to St. Lawrence, New York, and then moved in the early 1900s to Arnprior. In 1921, the couple was living in Ottawa on Turner Street with their son (aged six), and two daughters (aged four and two). Silas was still working as a driver. He became a night watchman for the Crane Lumber Company in Thessalon, Ontario, where he died in 1936.


I suspect that Eddie stayed in Braeside after his stepmother and stepbrothers left and continued to work at Gillies Brothers.


The Arnprior Chronicle reported in 1902 that he was one of two “victims of accidents in the Braeside mill” (Arnprior Chronicle, 13 October 1932, p. 6). Perhaps he continued to board with his aunt and uncle at Braeside. And perhaps it was while visiting Eddie in the Arnprior area that Silas met his future wife, Eva. In 1915, an Arnprior newspaper mentioned Eddie’s return to Sand Point from the United States: “Mr. Edward Allan has returned to the village, having been absent since the fall, visiting friends in the United States” (Arnprior Watchman, 10 April 195, p. 8). Perhaps he visited St Lawrence, New York, where Silas and Eva probably had friends from the time that Eva’s family had lived there before moving to Arnprior. Eddie was certainly on hand at Sand Point in 1924 when Jim MacPherson looked for an assistant to help him build a golf course.


And in addition to Eddie’s focus on golf course work, his donation of gifts as prizes for club tournaments, and his piano accompaniment at clubhouse singalongs, he contributed to community life more generally, as when in 1937 he decided to improve the grounds of St. Alexander’s Cemetery.

Figure 78 Contemporary photograph of St. Alexander's Cemetery, Sand Point.

Although Eddie and his brothers were Presbyterians when in the household of stepmother Annie in the 1890s, they eventually became members of the Church of England, but Eddie could see the Roman Catholic cemetery from the grounds of the Arnprior Golf Club and knew that work needed to be done there:


Sand Point ….


Cemetery Improvements


Some improvements are being made to St. Alexander’s R.C. cemetery. A new fence has been erected by Mr. Edward Allan, and many of the plots are being set in order. The little cemetery placed high on the hill surrounded by evergreen trees presents a restful appearance, and the village in general will be glad to see the cemetery made even more beautiful. (Arnprior Chronicle, 11 November 1937, p. 4)


But exactly fifty years after the spring and summer when Eddie’s father was convicted of rape and suspected of murder, there were many people shocked by the sad news on the first day of summer in 1946:


Edward Allan …. lived alone in a cottage at Sand Point and in some manner the rifle he was handling yesterday morning discharged, the bullet entering his head just above the right cheek bone and coming out high on the left side of the head.


No person was with Mr. Allan at the time. Neighbors and passers-by were attracted by the shot.


They found Mr. Allan bleeding profusely, and in a state of semiconsciousness. He has been that way ever since and a clear statement of exactly what happened has not been obtainable. (Ottawa Journal, 21 June 1946, p. 24)


For at least a week, the prognosis was not clear: “Latest reports from the hospital here last night were that Edward Allan has an even chance for his life” (Ottawa Journal, 21 June 1946, p. 24); “Authorities are under the impression that even though he lives, it is doubtful if he will ever again have the use of his eyes” (Ottawa Journal, 21 June 1946, p. 24); “it is now hopeful he will again have the use of his eyes” (Arnprior Chronicle, 27 June 1946, p. 1).


Fortunately, Eddie was “under the care of Dr. J.H. Box” – the Dr. Box who was the president of the Arnprior Golf Club in the spring of 1930 when it was decided to hire Eddie as head greenkeeper (Arnprior Chronicle, 27 June 1946, p. 1).


Eddie passed away six years later:




Edward Allan, formerly of Sand Point, died on Monday, September 22, in hospital in Kingston, following a lengthy illness.


Funeral services and interment took place in Kingston on Tuesday.


Surviving is one brother, William Allan, Arnprior. (Arnprior Chronicle, 25 September 1952, p. 6)


What was this “lengthy illness”? And what had been its length?


Had Eddie been told in the spring of 1946 that he had a terminal illness?


Had Eddie tried to kill himself?


Had Eddie lost his greenkeeping job? 


The golf club had fallen on hard times during the early years of World War II. Just thirteen players participated in the opening tournament of 1942. By the spring of 1944, Eddie no longer worked as greenkeeper and the club was in need of revival: “Arnprior Golf Club met in the council chambers Monday evening and interest in the club was revived …. A man has been hired to look after the greens and is now busily engaged putting them into shape for the season’s activities” (Arnprior Chronicle, 18 May 1944, p. 1). This new greenkeeper was Eddie’s younger brother, and former assistant, Bill.


Eddie survived the gun-shot wound, but what of the devastation to his brain caused by the bullet passing through his head and emerging high on the left side of his skull? Did he ever return to more than the semi-consciousness that prevailed from the moment he was found through the initial period of his hospitalization? Was reference to a “lengthy illness” a euphemism for a debilitated existence in a facility for people with special needs? Had he ended up institutionalized in Kingston – like his father?


Although much at the beginning and end of Eddie Allan’s life was difficult, sad, and traumatic, he made much of the middle, both for himself and for others. He has an enduring place in the history of the Arnprior Golf Club.

Harry Yorke: The First Golf Professional

Important in the establishment of an interesting and enduring golf culture at the new club would be the hiring of a golf professional, whose first job would be to teach the basics of the game to dozens of men and women who had no practical experience or knowledge of golf. And so, at the beginning of the first full season, the newspapers reported: “At a recent meeting of the Arnprior Golf Club, Ltd., it was decided … to engage a professional player who will be at the clubhouse every third week for a week and whose services will be available to those members of the club desiring instruction in the finer points of the game at a reasonable fee” (Ottawa Citizen, 4 May 1925, p. 10).


The “professional player” in question was Harry Yorke. In 1925, he had come up with the creative idea of serving at four clubs simultaneously: he would work one week successively each month from the spring to the fall of 1925 at Arnprior, Pembroke (where he set the course record of 71), Carleton Place, and Perth.


Henry Adam John Yorke had been born in London, England, in 1900, but he immigrated with his family to Lachine (a suburb of Montreal, Quebec) in 1906. As a teenager, Harry Yorke was apprenticed to Charles Murray at the Royal Montreal Golf Club. But when World War I broke out in the summer of 1914, he began to dream of the day he would enlist and join what many young men thought would be a great adventure. In the fall of 1916, he could wait no longer and enlisted in the 79th Battery of the Canadian Field Artillery of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, giving his name as Harry Albert John Yorke and claiming, although he was just sixteen years of age, that he was eighteen.


He indicated that his profession was that of “Professional Golfer” (Harry Albert Yorke’s World War I personnel file, Library and Archives Canada).


By the spring of 1917, he was serving in the trenches of France. But then the suspicion arose that he was not, in fact, as old as he said he was. Near the end of the summer, the army finally discovered a correct statement of his birth – 4 March 1900 – and shipped him back to England “as a minor” (Harry Albert Yorke’s personnel file, Library and Archives Canada). He spent the rest of his war back in England at various depots of the Young Soldiers Battalion. He was discharged from the army at the rank of Gunner in Montreal on 30 December 1918. He was finally eighteen years of age – the age that he had claimed to be when he joined the army more than two years before.


When he returned to Canada, Yorke resumed the life of a golf professional.

In 1919, he spent a few months as an assistant professional once again under Charles Murray at Royal Montreal, representing the club in the assistant professional competition at the Quebec Golf Association championship that spring (Yorke finished second), but he was appointed golf professional at Murray Bay Golf Club that summer. He also spent 1920 at Murray Bay.

Figure 79  Gazette [Montreal], 8 December 1921, p. 5.

In the winter, he worked at an indoor golf school in Montreal’s Blumenthal Department Store:


At Blumenthal’s, Arthur Woodward of Outremont, Quebec Open champion in 1920, and Harry Yorke, pro at Murray Bay, are partners, and they have no reason to complain of the support that is being accorded them. They, too, have every device for the proper teaching and enjoyment of the Indoor Game, including a particularly elusive and well laid-out “putting green.” (Canadian Golfer, vol 7 no 9 [January 1922], p. 607).


In 1922, Yorke was appointed golf professional in the Laurentians at the nine-hole course of the Saint Margaret’s Golf and Winter Club.


In 1923, he became the golf professional at the new course designed by Willie Park, jr, for the Islesmere Golf and Country Club:

New Pro. At Islesmere


Harry Yorke Comes to Local Club From St. Margaret


Harry Yorke will be the professional at the Islesmere Golf and Country Club during the next season.


Yorke is now in town … at the [indoor winter golf school] courts in the Mount Royal Hotel.

Figure 80 Gazette [Montreal], 12 January 1923, p. 18.

During last season, he was at St. Margaret and previously had been at Murray Bay. He is a good player but has been rather handicapped in the past by lack of opportunities. Yorke is, however, spoken of as a very competent teacher. (Gazette [Montreal], 5 January 1923, p. 16)


During the ten years he worked at various Canadian golf clubs as a golf professional, Yorke played regularly in the Quebec Open, the Canadian Open and the Canadian P.G.A. Championship, his best finish in these big tournaments being his 7th place in the 1923 Canadian Open. In 1925, he played in the Canadian Open representing the four clubs he served that year, including Arnprior. He also entered the Canadian Open in 1929 when he was based in the United States.


Shortly after his return to Montreal after World War I, Yorke began dating a young Montrealer named Violet M. Foster. Alas, in 1922, she moved from Montreal to Troy, New York, to work as a domestic servant. Harry, however, would not be deterred by geographical separation, and maintained a longdistance relationship with her until, just before the start of the 1924 golf season, he married Violet in New York City.


During her husband’s creative but taxing four-club service schedule of 1925, it is not known whether Violet accompanied Harry from club to club to club to club.


After his stint at Arnprior, Yorke was appointed head pro in Gananoque, where he worked from 1926 to 1928. He remained close to his family in Montreal, visiting frequently, and hosting his mother and sister in Gananoque (at the Yorkes’ home called “Oakland Cottage”). In 1929, he was appointed head pro at a club in Ogdensburg, New York, from which base he engaged in match-play contests in 1929 and 1930 against the Brockville Golf and Country Club pro, Ernie Wakelam (the latter winning in 1929, the former winning in 1930). In 1932, he was appointed head pro at the Colonie Country Club in Albany, New York, perhaps his most prestigious appointment.

At the Colonie Country Club, Yorke was in charge of a mid-1930s renovation of the course and called in World Golf Hall of Fame architect A.W. Tillinghast to redesign part of it. Tillinghast wrote in his diary about with Yorke:


This morning I accompanied Harry Yorke over the nine-hole course of the Colonie Country Club and at his request located a new sixth green, provided a sketch showing contours and levels, and instructed him concerning preparation of compost.


I also did the same thing for a new fourth green. (“Golf Club Atlas”;wap2).


Yorke continued to play in Albany district P.G.A. tournaments, acquitting himself well, occasionally finishing in the money. He also played as a senior, finishing second in the tournament for pros over fifty in the 1954 pro-senior tournament of the Northeastern New York Senior Golf Association (Times Record [Troy, New York], 10 September 1954, p. 18). He also served on the tournament committee of the Northeastern New York P.G.A.


Yorke was the Colonie head pro for a total of 26 years and sought a way to stay in the game even after he retired as the club’s pro. The lessons about greenkeeping that he had learned from Tillinghast seem to have stuck, for we learn in 1956 that “Harry Yorke, pro at the Colonie club for the last 26 years …, has retired from the pro game but will continue as superintendent of the nine-hole course” (Times Record [Troy, New York], 4 February 1956, p. 11).


Alas, he served as superintendent for just two seasons, dying in 1957 at just fifty-seven years of age.

Figure 81 Memory Gardens Cemetery and Memorial Park, Colonie, Albany, New York.

David Hood: The Emperor's Instructor

At Sand Point in the fall of 1926, the instructor who placed his hands on those of the Arnprior members that he was teaching how to grip a golf club had done the same just months before for the Crown Prince of Japan: the future Emperor Hirohito, a living god.


The Arnprior Golf Club’s second golf professional was a man named David Hood. His journey to the Ottawa Valley had taken him as a golf professional not just to Japan, but also to South Africa, Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, the Philippines, China, and British Columbia. And after his work in the Ottawa Valley, he left for California in 1929.


Appropriately enough, David Hood was born in 1886 on Links Road, Inveresk, Musselburgh, a son of Hannah Peake and Thomas Hood, a golf club and golf ball maker. Not only was his father a golf professional, but so was his grandfather, and so were three brothers and two brothers-in-law. This family had become famous for its gutta-percha golf ball design called the “Hood Flyer” (The Province [Vancouver, British Columbia], 6 August 1938, p. 18). Hannah (Peake) Hood was as devoted to the game as the men in her family: “Mrs. Hood encouraged the golfing proclivities of the family, many years ago making golf balls by hand. She assisted her husband and sons to fame in every way” (Ottawa Citizen, 23 February 1932, p. 9).


“Davie” learned to play golf at the Braid Hill course in Edinburgh, where his father was the golf professional. He left Scotland in 1898, however, to serve as an apprentice under his elder brother Tom at Royal Dublin. He went on to continue his apprenticeship in England “with G. Coburn at Portsmouth and with Rowland Jones at Wimbledon” (Vancouver Sun, 14 September 1926, p. 10). He then worked as a golf professional at Portmarnock in Ireland and later at the Mid-Surrey Golf Club and the Raynes Park Golf Club in England.


In 1905, however, Davie followed his brother Fred to New Zealand and worked there as a club maker at Balmacewen Golf Club in the workshop of Jock McLaren (who had come out from North Berwick). In 1906 McLaren won the Professional Championship of New Zealand by one stroke over his employee, Davie Hood. Davie finished fourth in the 1907 New Zealand Open (second among the professionals, and one stroke ahead of brother Fred). He then became an assistant to Fred at Auckland before moving to Hagley Golf Club, Christchurch. In 1908, Davie was runner-up in the second New Zealand Open Championship. Later that year, he accepted the offer of the position of golf professional at Oamaru Golf Club. And so, he moved from club to club throughout the country, leading him later to say of his time in New Zealand that “he taught at nearly all the better-known clubs over a term of years, and also laid out several courses there” (Vancouver Sun, 14 September 1926, p. 10).


Apart from his good finishes in early New Zealand Opens, Hood left his mark on New Zealand golf with his participation in the establishment in 1913 of the country’s Professional Golfers Association: Davie and Fred were both elected to its first council.


Davie Hood left New Zealand in 1920, however, and travelled to the Philippines where he gave lessons at Manila Golf Club and scored “a new record of 66 for the course, a par 71” (Vancouver Sun, 14 September 1926, p. 10).


From there he sailed to Tokyo and “taught in every club in the flowery Kingdom” (Vancouver Sun, 14 September 1926, p. 10). And he gave lessons to various members of the Imperial Household, including the future Emperor, Hirohito:


By royal command, he presented himself at the palace in Tokyo to teach the then Crown Prince and present Emperor the intricacies of golf.

Figure 82 The Crown Prince holds his follow-through at the Tokyo Golf Club in 1926. (Perhaps the observer in the background is his instructor, David Hood.)

Teaching the [future] Emperor had its complications. David Hood could not speak Japanese and had to communicate his instructions via an interpreter. This proved a difficult procedure but sufficed until the pro picked up the Japanese equivalent for “Keep your head down” and “follow through.”


Motion pictures were taken of each lesson, and once a week Hood had to attend a showing of these in the Royal Palace, pointing out to His Majesty just where and how he had been right or wrong on any given shot.


This practice of learning golf by motion picture has spread in Japan, Hood says. (The Province [Vancouver, British Columbia], 6 August 1938, p. 18)

Accorded a personal interpreter, Hood gave instruction to all the leading Japanese golf clubs and laid out a number of golf courses. His lasting mark as an architect was the creation of the original design for the East Course at the famous Ibaraki County Club in 1923 (renovated by Charles H. Allison in 1930-31). In 1929, Hood's layout attracted Japan's inaugural professional event, the first Japan Open Championship.


Hood also lived in Shanghai, China, for part of a year, where he was “in attendance … every day for many months” at “a golf course” “laid out” in “one of the Parks in the International Settlement” (David Hood, letter to the editor, Ottawa Journal, 1 March 1927, p. 6).

Figure 83 The Province [Vancouver, British Columbia], 6 August 1938, p. 18).

At the end of the summer of 1926, Hood came to Canada to visit his mother and sister in Ottawa.


He had apparently visited the city before in 1902, probably to visit his sister. Based on that fact, the Ottawa Citizen was happy to refer to him as “a former Ottawa man” (Ottawa Citizen, 26 April 1927, p. 11). And the Almonte Gazette followed suit: “David Hood … has followed the life of a pro in Japan, China, the Philippines and the states”; he “is a former Ottawa man” (Almonte Gazette, 29 April 1927, p. 3).


When Hood arrived in Ottawa to visit his family in September of 1926, he was thinking of settling in British Columbia where golf could be played all year round. But his plans soon changed.


Upon arriving in the city, he had immediately “inquired after Karl Keffer whom he [knew] by repute” (24 September 1926, p. 16). Perhaps Hood was familiar with Keffer as the winner of the Canadian Open in 1909 and 1914, but that was distant history by 1926. It may be that Hood was familiar with Keffer as a maker of golf clubs, for Keffer was among the first golf professionals to ship golf clubs to Japan, where Hood was of course the “emperor” of golf. Or it may be that Hood had heard of the Ottawa golf professional through John Black, a golf professional that Hood had come to know well in Japan, for John Black was the brother of golf professional Davie Black, one of Keffer’s best friends.

Hood was looking for employment in Canada after suffering a devastating reverse in Japan: “I started out with only the clothes I wore … and have golfed pretty well around the world. And I am not broke, … although I lost everything I possessed, including some wonderful gifts from Japanese friends, in the earthquake at Yokohama in 1923” (Vancouver Sun, 14 September 1926, p. 10).


He was not optimistic that he could make a living in the Ottawa Valley. As he explained to a reporter in British Columbia: “Golf … is my business. I don’t imagine there is much golf played in the Canadian East during the winter. I should be idle there” (Vancouver Sun, 14 September 1926, p. 10). But despite the fact that the golf season was near its end when he arrived in Ottawa late in September of 1926, it would seem that Hood asked Keffer whether there might still be gainful employment available for him locally. And Keffer, always mindful of the progress of the Arnprior Golf Club, seems to have sent him to Sand Point, for we learn in the spring of 1927 that “Mr. David Hood … was instructor for the Arnprior Golf Club for a few weeks late last fall” (Arnprior Chronicle, 29 April 1927, p. 1).


Similarly, in the spring of 1927, it was presumably Keffer who steered Hood to the Ottawa Valley course that Keffer had laid out one year before his work at Arnprior:


New Professional at Pembroke Club


David Hood, whose career in golf has extended to the Orient, has left for Pembroke, where he will take up duties as professional at the Pembroke Golf Club this summer.


Hood wintered here [in Ottawa] and is quite enthusiastic over golfing prospects in the Upper Ottawa Valley town, where he will be in charge at the popular Pembroke course. (Ottawa Journal, 15 April 1927, p. 12)


Although he was now nicely set up in Pembroke, Hood had not forgotten his time at Arnprior. He had become friends with greenkeeper MacPherson in the fall of 1926 and visited him at Sand Point during the winter: “Mr. David Hood, Ottawa, who spent part of the summer here as instructor at the golf club, spent the weekend the guest of Mr. and Mrs. James G. MacPherson” (Arnprior Chronicle, 7 January 1927, p. 12). And so, we read in the Arnprior Chronicle in April of 1927 that although “Mr. David Hood … has been engaged by the Pembroke Golf club this summer …. it is possible that Mr. Hood may spend part of the time with the local club” (Arnprior Chronicle, 29 April 1927, p. 1). A week later, arrangements toward this end seem to have been well-advanced: “There is every likelihood that Mr. David Hood, the pro, who was here for a few weeks last fall, and who is now in Pembroke, may visit the local club one week in each month. There are a good many players who would be glad of the opportunity for instruction of the kind and it should be worth-while all around” (Arnprior Chronicle, 6 May 1927, p. 1). In fact, he managed to visit Sand Point one day per week during the 1927 golf season.

Hood also spent the 1928 season at the Pembroke Golf Club (setting the nine-hole record at 31). It seems that “Mr. Hood was a very popular pro. at the Club house last season” (Almonte Gazette, 6 April 1928, p. 3). And he seems to have been well thought-of at Sand Point, too, for in the “news from The [Arnprior] Chronicle’s Sand Point correspondent” in 1932 there was an item about “the death in Ottawa of Mrs. Hannah Hood, mother of David Hood, who was professional at the Arnprior Golf Club a few years” (Arnprior Chronicle, 25 February 1932, p. 5, emphasis added).


Hood was fondly remembered, but he was long gone, for in 1929, he had left for San Francisco, California, where he had arranged to be joined by a young woman he had met in Pembroke, twenty-three-year-old Elizabeth Jean Gordon, his fiancée: “Miss Gordon was one of the most popular members of the younger set in both Toronto and Pembroke, and she was well-known in north bay. She is a niece of Senator George Gordon” (Ottawa Citizen, 28 September 1929, p. 37). She would become the forty-three-year-old divorced man’s second wife.

Figure 84 Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto, Ontario.

In September of 1929, Jean Gordon was brought to San Francisco by her mother, who was the only witness at her daughter’s wedding to Hood on 17 September 1929 (Jean’s father was deceased). Jean and David are buried together in Toronto’s Mount Pleasant Cemetery. David died in 1952, and Jean waited thirty-five years to join him.

The couple initially took up residence for several months at the Franciscan Hotel in San Francisco, and then they began together the itinerant life of the 1930s golf professional. Hood first established himself as a golf professional in Vallejo, California, giving lessons there, and then offering lessons on nearby Mare Island. He expanded his instruction to the Napa Valley Country Club. He then was appointed head pro at Crystal Springs.

Eventually, however, Hood grew tired of California and moved to British Columbia in 1938:


Mr. Hood is newly arrived in Vancouver. He hopes to settle here, work here, perhaps, and most certainly play golf here. It’s one of the few places where he hasn’t done much golfing. He has golfed in South Africa, Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Indochina and Japan, to end up, prosaically enough, curing the hooks and slices of the tired businessman at Crystal Springs, just outside of San Francisco. (The Province [Vancouver, British Columbia], 6 August 1938, p. 18)


Hood played golf in several British Columbia tournaments as a professional golfer in 1938 and 1939 (including the BC Open), but he always finished well down in the standings. He was a senior golfer, after all, playing against young men.


I find no more references to his golf career. It is likely that the disruption to Canadian golf clubs cause by World War II (from 1939 to 1945) caused Hood’s opportunities to play golf (not to mention his opportunities to work at a golf club) to dry up. We recall that at the end of the 1943 season, the Arnprior Golf Club nearly folded.


David Hood died in Toronto in 1952.

Anrprior's Mulligans

After Harry Yorke and David Hood, the Arnprior Golf Club hired two protégés of Karl Keffer: first, Harry Mulligan in 1929, and then Harry’s older brother Willie for the 1930-32 seasons.

Figure 85 Ten of the Ottawa Golf Club’s very young caddies seen in the background of a photograph taken at a 1907 women's tournament at the club.

The Mulligan brothers had been with Keffer virtually from the moment he arrived at the Ottawa Golf Club in the spring of 1911.


One of the first things that Keffer did when he set up his pro shop was to advertise in local newspapers for caddies: “Wanted – A number of respectable, well-mannered boys, ten to fifteen years old, with references, to act as caddies (carrying clubs) afternoons during season at the Ottawa Golf Club, Aylmer Road. Take Hull electric car and apply Karl Keffer, Club House” (Ottawa Journal, 28 April 1911, p. 1).


Michael and Ida Mulligan had boys who fit this description.


In the early 1900s, they had brought their young family from Montreal to Hull. When Keffer published his caddie call, William was fifteen and already working in a store. Harry was ten, already expecting to work “during the summer holidays,” he recalled (Ottawa Citizen, 3 May 1955, p. 9).

Someone in the family had seen the advertisement for respectable boys with good manners: it ran for several days in the big Ottawa newspapers. Michael and Ida had raised their children to be “well-mannered,” no doubt, and as for “respectable” – well, that went without saying. Their father would have given the boys the fare for the electric car so that they could call on this Mr. Keffer, who was described in the newspapers as a “champion” golfer that the Ottawa Golf Club was fortunate to employ. An opportunity for boys like Willie and Harry to meet the Ottawa Golf Club members who were the lawyers, doctors, judges, captains of industry, ministers of government, and foreign diplomats at the top of Canadian society did not come along every day.

When Willie and Harry took the electric railway to the Ottawa Golf Club, Willie was presumably armed with a letter of reference from the owner of the store where he worked; perhaps the priest had written one for Harry.




The Mulligan brothers proved to be two of the best caddies that Keffer ever had. Willie was with Keffer for the long term. He caddied for five years and then was taken on as an apprentice clubmaker for five more years (Montgomery Advertiser, 14 December 1922, p. 3). Harry started with Keffer, but during World War I he moved a short way down the Aylmer Road to the relatively new Rivermead Golf and Country Club where he worked for Keffer’s good friend Davie Black: first, as a caddie; then, as an apprentice club maker. Keffer may well have “loaned” Harry to Black to help the latter with staffing as the war led to shortages of golf course workers. A few years later, Harry was welcomed back to Royal Ottawa to finish his apprenticeship under Keffer when Black moved to British Columbia in 1920. And back with Keffer is where Harry ultimately wanted to be, it seems, for, as he recalled thirty-five years later, “Keffer was the king pin of Canadian golf in those days, winning just about everything in sight” (Ottawa Citizen, 3 May 1955, p. 9).


Of course, Keffer taught the Mulligan boys how to play golf. In 1920, Willie was described in the Ottawa Journal as “a student of the Ottawa expert [Keffer] who taught him all the fine points of the game” (Ottawa Journal, 26 March 1920, p. 20). Keffer encouraged his two apprentices to play competitive golf. And so, in 1920, Willie entered the competition for assistant professionals at the Quebec Golf Association championships:


William Mulligan, the crack assistant to the Royal Ottawa professional, was far too swift for the other assistants in the competition for apprentices, and the honours fell easily to him. On one occasion, he is said to have pushed out a tee shot for 305 yards, which gives some idea of his great length and how he would outclass his rivals. (Ottawa Journal, 19 June 1920, p. 26)


Later that summer, both brothers entered the 1920 Canadian Open held at Rivermead, each finishing well back of the winner. In 1921, Harry entered the assistants’ competition at the Quebec Golf Association championships, finishing third.


Keffer also taught them how to instruct golfers in the art of the golf swing. And he put them in charge of teaching some of the highest and mightiest people to be found in Canada and the United States in those days. At Royal Ottawa, Harry gave lessons to the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) and two of Canada’s Governors-General: the Duke of Devonshire and Viscount Byng of Vimy. And he caddied for Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden and for Winston Churchill. Willie had a similar list of celebrity students at Royal Ottawa: “Mr. Mulligan has had the honor of teaching golf to the Prince of Wales, Princess Patricia, Lord Neville, Earl Minto, Japanese Consul Furya ….” (Charlotte Observer, 5 May 1929, p. 30). At Jekyll Island, Keffer put Willie in charge of giving “golf lessons to sons of such notables as William Rockefeller, George F. Baker, Ed. Gould and Vincent Astor” (Montgomery Advertiser, 14 December 1922, p. 3).


To the day he died in January of 1981, Harry carried the letter of reference that he had received from Governor-General Viscount Byng of Vimy (who had led the Canadian Army at the Battle of Vimy Ridge in France in 1917):

Figure 86 Lord Byng of Vimy, Governor General of Canada, 1921-26.

I have known Harry Mulligan for the past two years as a Professional and club maker at the Royal Ottawa Club. I have always found him extremely obliging and helpful in any matter connected with the game and the care of golf clubs.


I believe him to be a first-rate instructor and a fine player.


I have pleasure in recommending him, and I have confidence he will give others the same satisfaction that I have received.




Byng of Vimy (Ottawa Citizen, 3 May 1955, p. 9)


Alas, Harry had somehow come to lose an even more valuable letter of reference that he had flashed about in the late 1920s and early 1930s: “Mr. Mulligan holds a letter of appreciation testifying as to his ability as a professional golfer from H.R.H. the Prince of Wales to whom he gave a series of lessons” (Ottawa Citizen, 18 March 1930, p. 21).

Harry and Willie were not reluctant to drop the names of the people they had taught at Royal Ottawa and Jekyll Island. When Willie was interviewed by Ida Belle Williams of the Charlotte Observer as he was giving her golf lessons in the late 1920s, for instance, she decided to punctuate the lesson with questions about his teaching:


Just to get a rest from strenuous swinging, without acknowledging the wish, I asked my teacher if he had taught any celebrities.

Unassumingly, he answered, “The Prince of Wales”!


“The Prince of Wales!” I exclaimed. Excitement! My next ball was a slice.!


Later, after learning that Mr. Mulligan had taught a 90-year-old American multi-millionaire [that is, John D. Rockefeller], I immediately knocked a bald eagle – in other words, I topped it. (Charlotte Observer, 5 May 1929, p. 30).


But I have never found that either of the Mulligans told tales about their famous students.


They seem to have taken the lead of Keffer in this regard. A reporter who had come to know Keffer well at Royal Ottawa told of the habitual “reticence” of “the kindly Karl” and how he occasionally “seemed on the verge of a story,” but always held back:


As a young professional in 1911 he had taken over a professional’s post at the Jekyll Island course off the coast of Georgia. It was one of America’s most exclusive golf clubs and Karl had taught golf [to] and enjoyed the friendship of scores of leading men there just as he did at Royal Ottawa. He taught J.P. Morgan, the Rockefellers, W.K. Vanderbilt, Vincent Astor, G.F. Baker and many others at Jekyll Island.


On one occasion while chatting, J.P. Morgan’s name came up. Karl mentioned an incident with the late industrialist and then stopped. He never finished it. It was one of the very rare breaks when Karl discussed anything having to do with one of his members. It was not in his code to do that even though it was years afterwards and Karl himself had retired. (Ottawa Journal, 26 October 1955, p. 28)


In his own old age, Harry Mulligan showed the same reticence when he was interviewed by Ottawa Citizen sports columnist Eddie MacCabe:


All through the twenties, when the Rockefellers and people of enormous wealth were taking their winter refuge at Jekyll Island in Georgia, Harry Mulligan used to go down there with Keffer to teach.


But he carefully guarded the teacher-pupil relationship and so his dealings with such as John D. Rockefeller were sacred. Once I asked him what kind of player John D. had been, and Mulligan answered:


“He was a very strong man … strong hands.”


But could he play?


“Usually, people with strong hands make good golfers.”


Yes, but could he play?


“Well, he wasn’t too bad, you know. He had a lot of other things on his mind.” (Ottawa Citizen, 20 January 1981, p. 17)

The Mulligans’ pupils in Arnprior, then, probably learned from their instructors that they had taught princes, prime ministers, bank owners and industrial titans, but they were not to hear personal stories about any of them.


Still, there would have been Arnprior students of the Mulligans who went home from a lesson at Sand Point eager to tell friends and family members that one or the other Mulligan had told them that they had “strong hands” like Rockefeller, the richest man in the world.

Harry G. Mulligan

Keffer launched Harry Mulligan on his career as golf professional by placing him at the new Chaudière Golf Club. Laid out by Keffer’s Toronto mentor George Cumming in the spring of 1923, the Chaudière had opened for play on a limited number of holes late in June. As more holes and proper greens were opened throughout the summer, more and more members joined the club and there was need for instruction, so the club borrowed Mulligan:


Golf Pro. Assists at Chaudière


Announcement was made last night by officers of the Chaudière Golf Club that Mr. H.G. Mulligan would act as pro at the Chaudière club during the month of September.


Mr. Mulligan has been acting as assistant to Karl Keffer, of the Royal Ottawa Golf Club, during the past season, and his appointment will be welcome news to the new members of the Chaudière Club to whom he will give special attention. (Ottawa Journal, 14 September 1923, p. 16)


The Chaudière hired Mulligan full-time for the 1924 season, dating his contract from 1 January 1924 – an unusual thing to do at a time when most golf professional contracts were for only the golf months from the beginning of May to the end of October. The club liked what it saw in September.


Harry Mulligan served as the Chaudière’s golf professional for the 1924 and 1925 golf seasons.

Figure 87 Crane Estate, Ipswich, Massachusetts, circa 1926. The Atlantic Ocean is seen top left. What was called the Grand Allée runs half a mile through the woods from the main house to the ocean.

But during the winter season at Jekyll Island, Harry was made an offer he could not refuse: Jekyll Island Club member Richard T. Crane (Chicago plumbing magnate) invited him to spend the 1926 season as instructor at Crane’s private golf course on his “Castle Hill” estate in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

Mulligan stayed on the estate with the superintendent, Robert Cameron (past president of the National Association of Gardeners), whom Mulligan regarded as a “friend.”

The 165-acre property included a deer preserve, an elaborate Italian garden and a rose garden, a bowling green, a tennis court, a hedge maze, a log-cabin playhouse, and several substantial beaches on Ipswich Bay. The bathroom fixtures, of course, were top of the Crane line, something that must have impressed Mulligan, the son of a plumber.

When he travelled down to the Crane estate in the spring of 1926, Mulligan told immigration authorities that he would stay in the United States permanently. But he was back in Ottawa for the 1927 golf season, working as the golf professional of the Fairmont Golf Club. At the end of his second season at Fairmont, he learned through Keffer that there was going to be a new golf club founded along the Aylmer Road: Keffer had been asked to design an eighteen-hole championship layout on land adjacent to Royal Ottawa’s golf course. Founded in mid-February of 1929, the Glenlea Golf and Country Club had already secured Harry Mulligan as its first golf professional by then, his term to begin on 1 May 1929.

Figure 88 Harry Mulligan demonstrates “the right positions” when chipping. Le droit, 25 May 1968, p. 22.

Throughout the spring and summer of 1929, Mulligan was extraordinarily busy at the new Glenlea Golf and Country Club as he stocked his new pro shop, undertook a full schedule of instruction, and made himself available to club directors when they needed advice on course improvements, but he nonetheless agreed to visit the Arnprior Golf Club regularly during the season to offer instruction at the Sand Point golf course.


And when he came to Sand Point, the clamour for lessons seems to have made him even busier than he was at Glenlea: “Harry Mulligan, the Ottawa pro., has his days full when he comes to the Arnprior course. It’s a good sign when everybody has a desire to improve their game” (Arnprior Chronicle, 12 July 1929, p. 1).


Of Mulligan as a teacher, Eddie MacCabe observed:


He never won any major tournaments because his emphasis was on teaching. He taught the high and the mighty … and also the legions of common hackers who sought him out for ‘a tune-up,’ as he used to say…. Harry loved to teach the hackers. He was a stickler for the right positions. (Ottawa Citizen, 20 January 1981, p. 17).

Figure 89 The backswing and follow-through of the "fluid, picture swing" that Harry Mulligan taught. Left: Ottawa Citizen, 27 May 1950, p. 22. Right: Ottawa Journal, 4 May 1946, p. 18.

MacCabe also described Mulligan as “a fine player with a fluid, picture swing” – the start and finish of which can be seen in the photographs to the left (Ottawa Citizen, 20 January 1981, p. 17).


Harry Mulligan would make the Glenlea Golf and Country Club his life’s work. He served two long terms as Glenlea’s head pro: the first, from 1929 to 1943; the second, from 1950 to 1973. (In the interim, he served at the Gatineau Golf and Country Club from 1944 to 1945 and the Links o’ Tay Golf Club in Perth, Ontario, from 1946 to 1948). In 1974, he was promoted to the position of Glenlea’s “golf director.”

When Glenlea was sold to the National Capital Commission in 1975, Mulligan moved to Glenlea owner Lyn Stewart’s other golf course, Kingsway Park Golf and Country Club, where he worked as director of golf until his death in 1981.


Mulligan’s contributions to the development and promotion of golf in Canada were recognized in October of 1974 when a lifetime membership of the Canadian Professional Golfers Association was bestowed upon him.

Willie Mulligan

Known to family members as “Bill,” but known to golfers as “Willie,” William John Mulligan (1896-1978) was the Arnprior Golf Club’s first full-time, resident golf professional.


He had been with Karl Keffer at Royal Ottawa eleven years as caddie, apprentice, and assistant professional. Keffer particularly appreciated the way Willie had handled instruction duties at Royal Ottawa when Evelyn (Freeman) Keffer (Karl’s wife) took over the other duties of the golf professional during the 1917 and 1918 seasons while her husband was serving in France during World War I with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. And Willie had also gone down to Jekyll Island with Keffer’s senior assistant professional, Jimmy Clay, to cover for Keffer during the winter season of 1918-19. Ever after, Keffer looked out for Willie’s interests and backed him with strong recommendations wherever he applied for a job.

Figure 90 William John Mulligan (1896- 1978), Charlotte Observer, 5 May 1929, p. 30.

And Willie had applied for jobs everywhere before he came to Sand Point. In the fall of 1928, he told his new employers in South Carolina that by then he had “given lessons at more than 25 clubs” (Herald [Rock Hill, South Carolina], 27 October 1928, p. 1).