It seems that quite a crime spree took place in Kemptville in the summer of 1872, according to an Ottawa newspaper. There was no local newspaper here at the time, so these reports were sent by the Ottawa paper’s Kemptville correspondent.

From the Ottawa Free Press, August 9, 1872


During the time of the procession of O’Brien’s Circus troupe through Kemptville yesterday, two daring and clever robberies were committed. The store of Mr. McKeon was entered whilst the clerks were at the door looking at the long line of caravans, and the cash box, containing valuable papers, was carried off. A similar robbery was made at the store of Bower, Porter & Bower [the Oddfellows Hall]. The safe was entered and the cash box, containing money and papers, being taken under exactly the same circumstances. We do not know whether any trace has yet been discovered either of the robbers or the booty. Store keepers had better take warning.

From the Ottawa Free Press, August 14, 1872


A theft was committed here yesterday, by a man named Wilson, employed as stone mason by Mr. Fenton. He complained of being sick, and left work and went back to his boarding house, and ransacked his fellow boarders’ rooms, breaking open the trunks. He took a large amount of money and clothing, and decamped by the first train.

Most people in North Grenville have heard the story that claims a famous criminal resident here. But Al Capone is not the only such figure to feature in our colourful past, at least as far as rumour records.

Advance, July 8, 1948

Jesse James portrait – c1882

Cannot find any trace of Jesse James having resided in Kemptville The story that Jesse James, the famous outlaw and train robber of Oklahoma, had at one time resided in Kemptville and run a horse raising business, which appeared in an Ottawa paper on Tuesday, seems hard to trace to this town.

Enquiries of some older residents bring no information and the story is looked upon as most unlikely, although it is hardly expected that he would go under the name of “Jesse James” if he was in this locality

From the Ottawa Free Press, July 26, 1872


A Gold Excitement Raging

A short time ago a party of exploring Americans paid Kemptville a visit, but what their mission was they kept a profound secret. Yesterday, however, the news spread like wildfire, that gold had been discovered at Flint Hill, which is but a short distance from the village. A piece of rock, weighing 40 pounds, was sent to a celebrated assayist in New York, and found to contain 39 cranes of gold and 35 grains of silver, the value of which is $1.60. The excitement in the village yesterday was immense, and enormous prices had already been offered for the land.

The Independent Order of Good Templars belonging to this village made an excursion to Oxford Mills yesterday, where they held their annual picnic. The day, with the exception of a few showers in the afternoon, which slightly dumped their spirits and Dolly Vardens, was fine, and “all went Merry as a marriage bell”.


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