Echoes from the Past

Articles on the history of the Gatineau from the Patrick Evans column "Echoes from the Past", originally printed in the "The Low Down to Hull and Back News" - reprinted with permission - and subsequently compiled by Jay Atherton and published in book form by the Gatineau Valley Historical Society (under its former name the Historical Society of the Gatineau) at Chelsea, Quebec, 1998.

Boys will be Boys on Hallowe'en

The following story came from George H. Wilson's OLD TIME STUFF in the Evening Citizen, Ottawa, 10 August 1929.

In Wakefield about the year 1864 there used to live a man named Seth Cates, who ran a strictly temperance hotel. Mr. Cates had come from New England and was from all accounts a most desirable citizen.

His house was not only "dry" to an extreme measure as he would not sell soft drinks. In addition he would not even sell tobacco.

Mr. R. N. Sully says that Mr. Cates's' strong objection to drink and tobacco at a time when strong drink was generally used made him a marked man in the community.


Echoes from the Past

One Hallowe'en the youths of the village played a prank of Seth Cates which he did not appreciate. They took down the swinging sign from another hotel which sold liquor and propped it up in front of Cates's building.

In the morning early, before Mr. Cates had seen the liquor sign a man who "took something" went into the Cates Hotel, by arrangement with the prank players and asked Mr. Cates for a glass of whiskey.

Echoes from the Past

Mr. Cates was furious. "You know very well, sir," he thundered, "that I do not sell liquor."

"But your sign says that you do", the other replied.

Mr. Cates walked out to the front of the house and saw the liquor sign. He did not laugh, however, not liking the joke at all.


It is told by Mr. Sully that a daughter of Seth Cates eloped one night with a young named John Reid, whom Mr. Cates had forbidden her to keep company with. The young lady tied her bedclothes together, and slid down to her waiting lover, who had a carriage ready.

Echoes from the Past

Mr. Cates heard the departure and he and his son pursued the pair to Ottawa, but were too late as the couple were man and wife when found.

P.S. The runaway daughter was a niece of R.N. Sully (above).

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