Perth & District Historical Society

Latest News

New Mystery Added and One Solved

Our last mystery about the location of a home pictured in a painting has been solved. A new mystery about heritage apples has been posted. See the Mysteries Page

New Mystery Added

A reader asked us if a painting he acquired was of a local home (the painting was framed in Perth). See the Mysteries Page

New Mystery Added

Was there an oil field discovered in Elmsley? See the Mysteries Page

New Documents Posted

First Woman at The Polls, Klan Gathering Yonder, and One Knight Girt With Sword

These articles by Ron W. Shaw have been added to the Perth History Page

New Documents Posted

Indigenous Use of the Rideau Waterway

A short article about Indigenous use of the Rideau waterway has been added to the First Nations Page

New Documents Posted

Story of the Great War - Scott Family; Traffic Control - Lanark's Evan John McIlraith; and When Lyon Fell by Wilson's Hand

These articles by Ron W. Shaw have been added to the Neighbouring Townships Page

New Documents Posted

Trails and Tree Markers

Articles about our area's early First Nations's trails and about the use of bent tree markers on trails has been added to the First Nations Page

New Mystery Added

Readers are invited to contribute information on an important part of our area history that has been lost, or overlooked, in time - the location of the early trails of the First Nations peoples in this area. See the Mysteries Page

New Documents Posted

E.J. Robertson - Man of Fleet Street; Knight of the Realm; God Bless our Land; and Snow Birds, Waddell Brothers

These articles by Ron W. Shaw have been added to the Perth History Page and the Neighbouring Townships Page

New Videos Posted

Early Log Drives

Links to two videos about early log drives has been posted to the Neighbouring Townships Page

New Document Posted

The Perth Railway Station (1859-1979)

An article about the Perth Railway station by Eugene Kirkham has been posted on the Perth History Page

Mills of the Tay and Area Booklet

The booklet 'Mills of the Tay and Area' has been updated (November 2017) - you can view/download it (PDF file) from the Tay Canal & River Page

New Section Added - First Nations

We've added a new section dealing with First Nations' history. See the First Nations Page

More New Documents Posted

Two new research papers by Ron W. Shaw: Canada First - Charles Adam Mair (1831-1927) and Aristocrats in the Wilderness - Jean-Louis Viscomte de Chalus and Burgess Township C-10/L-19 & 20 - have been posted on the Neighbouring Townships History Page (see bottom of page)

New Documents Posted

Last Fatal Duel Location

A new report "Locating the Site of Upper Canada's Last Fatal Duel", by Ron W. Shaw has been posted on the Perth History Page

New Research

Several new documents by historian Ron W. Shaw have been posted. These include, James Shaw (1798-1878), Livingstones of Lanark, Lumber Baron Peter McLaren, and Thomas Scott - Opening the North-West. Look for in the History Section under Town of Perth', or 'Neighbouring Townships'

Mystery Solved

Mystery of the unknown mill solved - the Caldwell Mill at Lanark - see the Answer to the Unknown Mill on the Mysteries Page (near the bottom)

Walking Tour and Map of Historic Glen Tay

A walking tour and map will introduce you to the historic hamlet of Glen Tay. See the Documents section on the Townships History Page

New History Research

We are pleased to announce a large new collection of documents by historian Ron W. Shaw: look for in the History Section under 'Military', 'Town of Perth', and 'Neighbouring Townships'

New Mystery

Do you know the person or persons who created our mystery 'WW II Victory Quilt? See the Mysteries Page.

The 1816 Routes to Perth

We've posted a new section to this website, all about the routes the first settlers took to Perth in 1816. See The 1816 Routes to Perth

2016 Talks

Posted the full 2016 listing of PDHS Talks. See the Events Page.

Postcards of Perth and Area III

Another gallery of old postcards of Perth and District has been added to the photos page.

New Perth History Books

Three recent books on local history:

1. "The Slippers' Keeper", by Ian Wallace (the story of the Purdon Conservation Area);
2. "First We Were Soldiers; the Long March to Perth", by Ron W. Shaw;
3. "Tales of the Hare; a Prequel and Sequel to the Last Fatal Duel", by Ron W. Shaw.

Key Dates in the Founding of the Perth Military Settlement

A document describing key dates in the founding of the Perth Military Settlement can be viewed/downloaded (PDF file) from the Military History Page

?? Mysteries ??

We've opened up a new page on the website devoted to local history mysteries. These mysteries often come to us from our website readers, or just pop up from old photos and documents, such as postcards. Have a look at the Mysteries Page.

War of 1812 Veterans Graveside Marker Program

On October 2, 2013, four veterans of the War of 1812, buried in local cemeteries, were recognised with a dedication ceremony and the placing of memorial markers at their graves. This is expected to be the first of a number of such small ceremonies that will take place in this area, under the Government of Canada Graveside Marker program. The program is managed by the Historic Military Establishment of Upper Canada, an Ontario non-profit organisation, with funding from the Canadian Heritage Department. The purpose of the program is to recognise the contribution of War of 1812 veterans to the defense of Canada and their dedication in building the foundation of the Canada that we live in today.

In this first ceremony, which took place at Perth’s Old Burying Grounds, on Craig Street, plaques were unveiled for Roderick Matheson, Alexander Fraser, Michael Harris, and Alexander Thom, all of whom were buried in that ceremony. Also recognised at the event were Joshua Adams, Andrew Playfair and William Horricks, whose graves are located in other area cemeteries. The markers for these will be placed in future events. Joshua Adams is buried in the Old Methodist Burying Ground on Robinson Street (St. Pauls United Church); Andrew Playfair in Elmwood Cemetery; and William Horricks at the Prestonvale Cemetery.

Photos of those for whom markers were placed on October 2, 2013, and subsequent cermeonies, may be seen in the photo section of this website.

The research and application for the marker for these veterans has been carried out by the families of these veterans and by local historians in Perth and neighbouring municipalities.

Many veterans of the War of 1812 settled in the Perth Military Settlement and the immediate area, following its founding in 1816. An objective of this first ceremony was to raise awareness of the program, and encourage other nominations to the program for area veterans. Further information on the program is available at:

Perth & District Historical Society Facebook Page

We now have a Facebook page. Click the button: Find us on Facebook

Postcards of Perth and Area II

Another gallery of old postcards has been added to the photos page.

Maps of the Maberly and Bolingbroke hamlets

Maps of the Maberly and Bolingbroke hamlets showing early mills, homes and other structures can be found in the Townships History section

YAK Youth Centre History of Perth Video

On August 25, 2012, the YAK Youth Centre released their new video on the history of the Perth area - a project delivered under their Skills Link Program. Ten young people in YAK (Youth Action Kommittee of Perth & District), beginning with no experience in the sector, developed the video over a three month period in the summer of 2012 - including the researching, writing, acting, shooting, design and production. One of the on-site visits was to the site of the original Tay Canal - a central theme - at Port Elmsley, in cooperation with the Drummond/North Elmsley 200th Anniversary Committee. Assistance on the video was provided by several local organisations, including the Perth & District Historical Society.

The video may be viewed at:

Congratulations YAK!

YAK is a charitable organization working to provide opportunities, support, resources, information, training and encouragement to youth in Perth and the surrounding rural area. Further information is available at

Log House at 103 Peter Street

An old and interesting house left 103 Peter Street in downtown Perth recently to be resurrected at a new site on Rideau Lake. Photos of this log house, taken while it was being dismantled, may be seen in our photo gallery. Watch this spot for the upcoming story of this interesting house

Rideau Corridor Landscape Strategy

Rideau Corridor Landscape Strategy Workshop - August 15 in Perth. See the RCLS Workshop page

Tay Watershed Geology and Mining History

If you are interested in mining and geology, you might wish to review the following report by Don Sherwin - 'Geology and Mining Deposits and History of Mining in the Tay Watershed' - see:

Perth Regional Heritage Fair

The Perth Regional Heritage Fair, on May 17, 2012, again attracted a wide range of creative displays documenting our regional and national history, produced by area students. Examples of three of the displays are: 'Influence of the Caldwells' by Shayla Fisher of Stewart School; 'Burns Jewellers' by Owen Willows of Stewart School; 'The McParlan House and Lally Homestead' by Aidan Pierman of St. Johns School. Photos of those displays can be found on the Perth Regional Heritage Fair page.

Burgess Wood History

The community of Burgess Wood have produced an illustrated 60-page history of this unique area on Otty Lake in Tay Valley Township. The booklet may be seen at the Perth Museum and the Perth & District Union Library

Map of the Perth Military Settlement

Added a map showing the Town of Perth and the original six townships of the Perth Military Settlement Area. The early hamlets and sites around which the settlement gradually took place are also shown. See the Perth Military Settlement Map.

New 200th Anniversary Page

We are pleased to announce the addition of a new page to our website that will provide up-to-minute information on the preparations underway for the '200th Anniversary' celebration of the area's founding in 1816. Although it is five years away, the three local municipalities - Perth, Tay Valley Township and Drummond/North Elmsley Township - have started organising, including the formation of committees. See that page in the top bar for the latest news and how you might participate.

New Look to Website

The Perth & District Historical Society website has undergone a makeover. The content has been updated and the website has a new design that will make it easier to use.

Perth, the Capital of the District of Dalhousie; from the N-East bank of the River Tay - painting by Thomas Burrowes, 1828, Archives of Ontario, I0002141

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