The European settlement of this overall area came as the result of a military plan of King George III of Great Britain to avert the threat of an American invasion. At the height of the War of 1812, the British Secretary of War, known as Lord Bathurst, promoted the idea of British emigration to Canada to prevent individuals emigrating from the United States to Canada, with who they were at war. This idea of emigrating to Canada caught on and in the summer of 1815, ships set sail from Greenock on the Clyde River in Scotland. Military settlements were found in Perth and Richmond and from there; Beckwith Township and Carleton Place were surveyed and settled.
Prior to the Europeans arriving in the early 1800's, the area was inhabited by the nomadic Algonquin Natives. There was, apparently, very little contact between the Natives and the settlers, and no accounts survive of any enmity between them. Compensation for the use of their land, however, was not obtained until a treaty was signed in Kingston in 1819, a few years after the area was surveyed and settlers had already begun to arrive.
Settlement rights for the first permanent residents of what is now Carleton Place were originally issued on September 19, 1819. The first to arrive were the Moore and the Morphy families, and the settlement became known as Morphy's Falls. Later the name of the village was changed by an influential businessman to "Carlton Place", named after a famous square in Glasgow, Scotland. When the government postal service was introduced, the "e" was soon added to correct an administrative error. However, it wasn't until 1890, that Carleton Place was formally incorporated into a town.
The village grew rapidly and new businesses opened to meet the needs of the growing population. By 1870, the Brockville and Ottawa railway had reached Carleton Place. After both railways were bought out by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, the locomotive repair shops continued to operate. The lumber industry developed and became very competitive in Carleton Place, so much so, that one dispute over river rights in 1884 ended up in the Supreme Court and the Privy Council in London, England.
The Town was well equipped with several woolen mills and machinery works, which provided excellent domestic products. The Findlay Stove Company opened in the early 1860's, producing agricultural and machinery pieces to sell locally, such as plough tips and machine joints. In the last years of the 19th century the company upgraded by building a vast foundry that became essential to the town's economy and employment. They continued until 1974, manufacturing a wide range of heating devices that were shipped worldwide.
Today the mill buildings house condominiums and high tech companies. Residents of the region and visitors enjoy nature trails, the oldest flat water Canoe Club in Canada, and other recreational activities on the Mississippi River and Lakes.
Image Credit to David Robertson
Visit the Carleton Place Public Library for more information, or access their Local History website. Visit Heritage Carleton Place for more local history, photos and stories!