Details of Railway Incidents in the Ottawa Area

1892, July 19 - Turning of the First Sod on the Ottawa, Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway

There is a little confusion in the press between the first shovel going into the ground and the formal ceremony.  These exerpts from six localpapers tell the full story, although there is some overlapping. The Almonte Gazette of 29 July gives the most complete account of the actual ceremony.

Ottawa Free Press 11 July 1892

The first sod was turned today, at Arnprior, in the construction of the Ottawa and Parry Sound railway.  There were no formalities observed, work along the line being simply begun in real earnest.  It is understood that the contracts for the construction were signed this afternoon.

Renfrew Mercury 15 July 1892

Mr. Fauquier, one of the contractors for the building of the Ottawa & Parry Sound railway, in speaking to the Journal this morning said that the work of construciton would probably commence the last of this week, but undoubtedly the beginning of next.  The country being cleared and comparatively level between here and Arnprior will not be difficult of constructionand the chief part of the work will be done with horses and scrapers.  Mr. Fauquier says that in all probabilitythe first sod will be turned next Monday.  He says the road will be ready for the iron between Ottawa and Arnprior, a distance of 39 miles, by November 1, if everything goes as well as anticipated.  The building will be rushed as fast as the right of way can be secured.  He says the firm are fully prepared to get to work as soon as the engineers who are now working above the Carp get the survey completed. - Ottawa Journal

Ottawa Journal 16 July 1892

Mr. Fauquier will start work at the Carp on Tuesday (19th July)

Ottawa Journal 18 July 1892

Men and Teams Sent up.
Mr. Fauquier, the contractor for the Parry Sound Railway, this morning sent off a number of men and teams for starting the consruction of the new railway from the Carp.

Ottawa Journal 19 July 1892

Forty teams and rigs were to have gone to work on the construction of the Parry Sound Road at the Carp this morning, according to a gentleman who was in from there today.

Ottawa Free Press 19 July 1892

The work of the construction of the Ottawa and Parry Sound railway commenced at the Carp yesterday.  The work between Ottawa and the Carp will not be commenced for some time, the full title to the right of way not having been acquired yet.

Ottawa Free Press 20 July 1892

The Ottawa and Parry Sound railway have purchased the gravel pit of Mr. Jas. Rivington at Carp from which point the railway starts.  The price paid is stated to be $4,000.  Another company of men will leave the city tomorrow morning to begin work on the new road.

Ottawa Citizen 21 July 1892

Railway construction.
Another gang of about 50 men left the city yesterday for the Carp to work on the construction of the Ottawa, Arnprior and Parry Sound railway. Some 300 men altogether are now employed on the work. From the Carp as a center, construction is being carried on westwards towards Arnprior, and eastwards towards Ottawa. William Remington, a farmer living near the Carp has obtained over $3,000 for gravel on his farm which was purchased by the railway company for ballasting purposes.

Almonte Gazette 22 July 1892

(Received too late for our last issue)
Great excitement prevails in Carp over our railway. On Friday, 8th, engineers arrived and made the usual preparations for commencing to locate, securing the necessary axemen and making Carp the basis of operations. The engineers in charge Messrs. Bruce Bros. and Simpson, with an efficient staff, have already made fast friends of our citizens.
On the 11th the first location picket was placed in position, Messrs. McElroy and Carruthers, of the village having the honor of driving it down. It is, we understand, customary with parties having this distinguished privilege conferred upon them to acknowledge the compliment by tendering the genial and gentlemanly staff a spread in which "green seat" should play a very prominent part.
The Messrs. Fauquier, contractors for the line from Ottawa to Arnprior, came on Saturday, and intend for some time to make Carp their headquarters. Saturday afternoon, Monday and Tuesday was spent in examining the line, and Wednesday they proceeded to rent suitable offices and fit them up. The agents are out in the township hiring teams and men. We understand that work will be given to any number of teams at $3 per day. We are informed that they will furnish constant work for two hundred men.


At 7 a.m. on the 19th inst ground was formally broken for the Ottawa and Parry Sound Railway about half-a-mile east of Carp village, and were at that early hour a large number of our prominent villagers turned out to witness the unusual event. The warden of the county and Reeve of Huntley, George N. Kidd, Esq., had the honor of turning the first sod. Rousing cheers will given for J.R. Booth, president of the road, and Warden Kidd. In concluding, Mr. Mountain, engineer-in-chief, presented Warden Kidd with the shovel used in the ceremony, which will no doubt be preserved for generations as a souvenir of this very interesting event.
At the Carleton House in the evening Warden Kidd entertained those who had been directly associated with him on the various delegations that have so materially assisted in having the line located through Huntley township. About thirty, including the engineering staff and contractors, sat down to a champagne supper. Around the table we noticed some prominent representatives of Fitzroy. In reply to toasts excellent speeches were given by Messrs. Mountain, Bruce and Simpson, engineers, the Messrs. Fauquier contractors, Warden Kidd, Mr Adam Hodgins, Deputy Reeve of Huntley, Dr.. Groves, Mr. McElroy, Mr. John Argus, clerk of the municipality, and others. The speeches were interspersed with choruses. The party broke up about to midnight, after spending a very pleasant and agreeable evening - one that will long be remembered by those enjoying the warden's hospitality.
(Above two paragraphs repeated verbatim in the Ottawa Journal of 25 July 1892)

Ottawa Journal 23 July 1892

The Ottawa and Parry Sound Railway.
The work of construction on the Ottawa and Parry Sound Railway is now in full swing, some three hundred men being employed in the various branches of the work. Stone for the bridge across the Mississippi is being quarried near Pakenham and floated down on scows to Galetta. The bridge across the Mississippi will be of iron with stone piers.
The working gangs started from Carp, one gang working towards Ottawa and the other towards Arnprior. Mr. Bruce, C.E., has charge of the construction west, while Mr. Hibbard C.E., looks after that part coming towards Ottawa. Mr. Mountain, C.E. has charge of the whole line and has a busy time of it just now looking after such a multiplicity of things. The contractors, Messrs. Fauchier [sic] Bros, will do their utmost to have the road between Ottawa and Arnprior ready for iron early in the fall. West of the Carp there is considerable rock cutting to be done.

Ottawa Free Press 23 July 1892

A gentleman from Carp village states that there are almost two hundred men working on the Ottawa and Parry Sound railway near that place.  The work is progressing rapidly.

Ottawa Free Press 25 July 1892

There were two miles of grading done on the Ottawa and Parry Sound railway in the first two days, Tuesday and Wednesday last week.

Eganville Enterprise 27 July 1892

Forty teams and lots of men are working at Carp on the OA & PS Ry. and more of both are being added every day.

Ottawa Journal 28 July 1892

Mr. Fauquier, contractor for the construction of the Ottawa and Parry Sound railway, was in the city to-day. In conversation with THE JOURNAL he says he expects to have all the grading completed by September 15. He has now 100 teams and about 150 men at work. He is building east and west of Carp.

Almonte Gazette 29 July 1892

The first sod. - on Tuesday, 19th inst., at 7 a.m., the first sod on the O.A. & P.S.R.R. was turned at Mr. Wm. Rivington's farm near this village. The ceremony was performed by G.N. Kidd, Esq., Warden of Carleton County, and was witnessed by a large concourse of the inhabitants, amongst whom were several gentlemen from Ottawa - Dr. G. Falls, Dr. Pearson, John Kidd, Esq., barrister, and F.O. Hirsch, Montreal. As the sod was duly placed in position in the center of the road the assembled crowd manifested their approbation by rounds of cheering and applause. The ceremony was witnessed by Geo. A. Mountain, C.E., A.H.N. Bruce, C.E., Robt. Bruce, C.E. Arthur Simpson, Esq., Messrs. Fauquier Bros., Dr. Groves, Messrs. D. McElroy, Thos. J. Armstrong, Wm. Barton, Thos. Hodgins, John Carruthers and others. In the evening the warden entertained the engineers, contractors and chief promoters of the railway scheme to supper. The table being cleared, Mr. Kidd, in proposing the health of Her Majesty, said he considered this the most important day Carp had witnessed for many a year. He was very pleased to have the privilege of thus meeting the chief engineer and his staff, together with the contractors and so many interested friends. Thereafter Dr. Groves proposed the health of the president of the road, John R. Booth, Esq. In the absence of Mr. Booth, Mr Charles Mohr, Reeve of Fitzroy, responded. Mr. Thomas J. Armstrong proposed the health of the engineering staff, to which Chief Engineer Mountain, Messrs. Bruce and Simpson replied. Mr. Sullivan, one of the staff, sang in fine style "Our Jack's Come Home Today." The toast of "The Contractors " was next given by Mr. David McElroy. Introducing the toast Mr. McElroy proposed a conundrum, "Why did the road not go via Tolbolton?" Answer: because it was too monotonous, had too much mohr (moor) and no Mountain nor Groves on that route!"  Messrs. Fauquier and Brennan replied. Mr. Mohr proposed the health of the chairman, to which Mr. Kidd responded in a lengthy speech. Auld Lang Syne and God Save the Queen brought the harmonious gathering to a close at an early hour.

Ottawa Citizen 9 August 1892

Work on the O.A.& P.S. Railway
A number of Itaians left the city yesterday to work on the Otawa, Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway. The work now extgends about five miles east and west of carp. Ninety teams and between two hundred and three hundred men are employed.

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