Live and Let Live Hotel
South Gloucester, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
November 15, 2008:
I am interested to find out about a hotel in South Gloucester circa 1900 called "Live and Let Live".
The hotel keeper was William Thomas Odell / O'Dell, uncle of Louisa Bohn married to Patrick
Finn (b. 1862) son of Patrick Finn and Brigit Nolan.
Can you tell me anything about this hotel?
PS I have found baptism records for most of Patrick Finn and Brigit Nolan’s children, but
no record of their son Patrick’s baptism (b. 1862). He seems to be the elusive one in their
large family. Any ideas? I have found the record of his marriage and his death, but he
appears to be missing from several Canadian census lists.
Thanks for your e-mail regarding the Live and Let Live Hotel.
I was interested to hear that it was located at South Gloucester. I heard the term "Live
and Let Live" often while growing up in the 1950's. It was our family philosophy and as an
adult, I assumed that the phrase referred to relations between Irish Catholics and Irish
Protestants as tensions eased.
My ancestors lived in the South Gloucester neighbourhood for many generations and the
Live and Let Live Hotel would have been within walking distance / buggy ride from their
I know that the Last Chance Hotel (the Prescott Hotel on Preston Street) got it's nickname
because in the early 1900's it was the "last chance" to get a beer on your way out of town
towards Bells Corners.
It would be wonderful to get a photograph of the Live and Let Live Hotel. Would you happen
to have one?
... Al Lewis,
Thanks to David Nolan for the following:
Where was the ' Live and Let Live Hotel ' in South Gloucester located? Would it have been
on the south/east corner of the present day Rideau Road and Bank Street ( Highway 31 )?
There is a bar/restaurant and strip club on this site now. There have been other hotels on
this site. There was a hotel on this site that burned sometime in the 1870's and I believe
run by a man called O'Neil. (I will try to confirm this). The story goes that some whiskey
and such was saved, much to the enjoyment of the onlookers. Across the road where the now
abandoned service station is there was a blacksmith shop operated at one time by Frank Files.
Re - Patrick Finn
Taken from church records :
St. Joseph Church, Ottawa
Birth, Page 75
On the 23rd of January 1862 baptized Patrick Finn, born at eight o'clock in the evening on
January 22, 1862.
Son of Patrick Finn and Bridget Nolan.
Note : The above info about the hotel will have to be confirmed. I will see what I can find
(more from David):
Taken from the :
Ottawa Daily Free Press,
Saturday, August 26, 1899
Hotel For sale - on the Metcalfe Road, 10 miles from Ottawa. Good reasons for selling.
Apply on premises - W.T. O'Dell, Live and Let Live Hotel, South Gloucester, Ontario
Note - This was on the corner of Rideau Road and Bank Street. The hotel mentioned in my
previous e-mail, that burned in the 1870's was owned by Garrett O'Neil and was called the
"Hardscrabble Hotel". The South Gloucester post office was run out of here and Mr. O'Neil
was both the postmaster and bartender.
The blacksmith shop across the road - A log blacksmith shop, Frank Files worked under an
apple tree. He was an artist at his trade, he heated the shoes, set and caulked them, and
put them on for $2.00.
I believe the fire was in the 1870's but it should be confirmed.
Thanks, David Nolan
And more great information regarding this story from Michael Daley:
THE Ottawa Citizen dated September 30 ,1930
Crowd Saved the liquor from a burning hotel but drank it
Story of the burning of Phil McMahon’s Hotel on the Metcalfe Road in the year 1870.
and the free fight which accompanied it. A lively night.
In the fall of 1870 there was a lot of excitement on the Metcalfe road at the top of
Brian Doyle hill. One night at about 9.00 Phil McMahan’s hotel
took fire. There were a number of men in the bar at the time. The shouts of fire, and
the appearance of fire itself drew many from far and near.
One of the first to hear the cry of fire was Robert Goth who lived nearby. By the time
Mr. Goth arrived on the scene the men who had already came had taken the liquor from the
bar and carried to the fields across the road. Then all the men did what they could to save
the furniture, but the fire had gone too far to do much.
As soon as the fire had gone beyond control some of the men the road where the liquor was.
What followed can be easily be imagined. The thing ended in a free fight. Mr. Goth recalls
that one man had his jaw broken and a number were more or less badly hurt.
CAME GARRET O’NEILL
Later a new hotel building went up and Garret O’Neill from Nepean went in as landlord. He
ran it for many years and it became a famous wayside hostelry under his landlordship.
About eight years ago while Sid Gibson was landlord, the building was struck by lightning
and destroyed. It was not rebuilt, as a wayside inn was no longer required, the present day
fast traffic has made stopping places unnecessary. In the sixties, seventies and eighties,
when it took three hours to travel from Metcalfe to Ottawa, there were almost a dozen of
them spread along the road.
Years later, in researching family history, etc, in visiting , Patrick Kehoe , [first
cousin of my Father ] he told me about that fire,
In the 1940’s while working for the department of Highways, cutting the grass along
the Highways in the summer months, how one day he stopped in that area at noon, to
rest his horses and eat his lunch sitting along side a log fence he reached in to a
hollow log and discovered two bottles of liquor. Had somebody stashed them there the night
of Phil McMahon’s Hotel fire, and never came back to claim them ,?? What about the man
with the broken jaw. ?? I’m sure he would not feel up to it for a while.
... Michael Daley
Hi David and Michael:
Thanks for this terrific information -- it makes our history come alive.
I'll try and find Mr. O'Dell in the census records tomorrow. He may still be living at
South Gloucester in 1901 and 1911. Also, Garrett O'Neil who had the "Hardscrabble Hotel" in
the 1870's. That term "Hardscrabble" also rings a bell.
The origin of the name ' Hardscrabble '
When early South Gloucester pioneer James Johnston set out from Capt. Wilsons stopping
place on the Rideau River near Mooneys Bay to find his location there were no roads or
even blazed trails. This was 1830 -32. There is no record of how he got there but he made
it. Upon returning to Capt. Wilsons, Wilson asked how he made out, Johnston replied " it
was a damned hardscrabble to get there ". Thus the name ' Hardscrabble '. The area was
known as Hardscrabble for a number of years.
Johnstons farm was across the road from the hotel, 200 acres, and run from Bank Street
along Rideau Road to Albion Road.
Frank Files' blacksmith shop was taken off this property. In 1869 - 70 Johnston sold this
farm to Goth's who had come down from Malakoff.
E-mail David Nolan, Michael Daley, Anne Burgess and Al Lewis
Back to Bytown or Bust - History and Genealogy in the Ottawa area -- Gloucester Township