IMA Source Catalog

Gathering all the sources for historical Irish martial culture in one place.

Ottawa Valley Stickfighters

This incredible photo was dug up and shared by John Sullivan of the MSP

Here is the info he has given…

Unfortunately there is not much known about the men in the photo. The museum
where that photo sits is kind of on the boundary between the Shiner territory
and Walter Beckwith’s crew which would mean that there is a very very good
chance that these guys were Shiners. Beckwith’s faction was immediately down
river of ours and there was a close relation between the two that seemed fairly
civil. Beckwith (a Roman Catholic) was the man to hire Shiners exclusively as
the muscle for his interests on the river known as The Madawaske Roarers. There
were other factions in the area but as you noted there seems to be some pride in
those sticks which leads me to believe that these boys might be part of our old
crew. The fighting stick was very much part of our identity.

That being said you might put this quote by a media observer took a trip along
the “Whiskey Road” from Ottawa to Pembroke, as far as Foresters Falls where this
photo is from. If you google map “RocherFendu Ontario” you will see Foresters
Falls as well as Sullivan Island sitting in the river immediately to the east of
the town. not five miles further up the road was one of our hotels build by my
Great uncle Thomas in 1867
Taken from The Perth Courier Nov.29 1872 describing his observations of that
notorious road .
“A lumbering village of some twenty houses eight of which are hotels. No church
or meeting house but red rum in great abundance..murder is the business of the

Or maybe this one , but I cant find who wrote this, Memory says it was taken
from a court transcript as evidence given in court.

“In those days the only patent to a timber limit was a gang of fighting men, and
the operator who had the most formidable men got the timber. It was in 1836
that the Shiners became the terror of all the lumbermen.”

This image has been cropped. Please see the Modern Shillelagh Project page for the full image and to find out other information.


July 8, 2010 - Posted by | description of sticks, Historical descriptions

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