We learned about this fascinating piece of Condie lore from Vaughn Condie, the sole survivor of the clan in Beachburg, Ontario.

The Conde who invented Ice Cream

The historical data in this feature on the Condie family was written by Mrs. E.M. Allan, Smiths Falls. She was the youngest of a family of 12 of the late David Alexander Condie and wrote the story as it was told to her by her mother, whose grandfather had related his experiences to her.

It was loaned in 1939 by a descendant of the family, Mrs. J.N. Lindberg of Beachburg to Mrs. Carl Price -- the local historian, who died about 10 years ago -- who compiled it for filing in the
Ottawa Valley Historical Society. She also wrote this article, which appeared in the Pembroke Observer, Pembroke, Ontario, around the end of 1959 or early 1960.

A trivial incident -- and a world-famous delicacy was originated.

Prince Conde, the famous Huguenot of France, was one of Louis XIV's famous generals, and to him the world owes one of its favorite desserts.

One day Prince Condie had a great feast prepared for the King. The piece de resistance was to be the dessert, pure sweet cream in a bowl of ice. By accident, salt was dropped into the ice. Sherry was poured on top of the cream and the whole served.

Louis XIV named it "Ice Cream" and from that time it became famous.

The Condes were Protestant leaders in the religious wars of France, even melting their treasures to make bullets to defend their faith. Not one of the name have deserted it; in fact they have propagated it in Asia and Africa.

When Scottish descendants emigrated to Canada, the name was spelled differently, with an "i" added and the acute accent dropped in order to anglicize the name.

Among the early Scottish settlers of Eastern Ontario was Alexander Melville Condie, a descendant of the famous Huguenot, Prince Condie, who was one of Louis XIV's greatest generals.

As a young man he crossed the Atlantic with visions of possessing great wheat fields. On his final trip he brought his wife, formerly Miss Barbara Grieg, and part of his family with him.


In all he crossed the Atlantic seven times. On the sixth trip he was going from Canada to Scotland when his vessel, loaded with square timber, ran into a violent storm and was wrecked in the darkness in mid-ocean. The square timber kept the ship from sinking and prevented the cabin from being immersed in the heavy seas. There were 12 people, including the Captain and the cabin boy, on the boat at the time of the wreck.

Mr. Condie distilled some of the salt water and issued a half-glass to each man and a full glass to every woman and child. Potatoes were the only food they had to eat for nine days. On the ninth day, crew members of "The Earl of Buckinghamshire," having seen their distress, rescued them and took them to Ireland.

Mr. Condie had retained only one boot and another man had only his underwear. The vessel was salvaged as a derelict. Later Mr. Condie proceeded to Scotland.

After seven years, he returned to Canada where he bought Crown land in the township of Montagne, near the tiny settlement of Smiths Falls, which became a village on April 23, 1858 (?).

It was officially incorporated as a town in 1882.

His family consisted of nine sons and three daughters. Land for his sons' farms was purchased on the Scotch Line, near Perth, and around Smiths Falls, Rosedale and Osgoode. Some of the sons, with their teams of horses, helped in the construction of the Rideau Canal.

At that time, a keg of money, from which the men were to paid their wages, was stolen and hidden in a secret place.Years later, it was recovered from its hiding place near the canal at Smiths Falls.

Alexander Condie had an artistic taste for clothing, having as many as seven vests at the one time, one in particular being fashioned of blue velvet.

He died in 1870 at the age of 75. Shortly afterwards, one of his sons, David Alexander Condie, living on the homestead, surveyed a portion of it into town lots. In 1888, several of the streets in Smiths Falls were named by him after members of the Condie family.


Another son, James Condie, was one of the first settlers in Beachburg. He secured 1,000 acres of land shortly after 1835. The pioneers of those days were not lacking in the spirit of competition, as David Beech established a mill and here he commenced operations. James Condie erected another mill, both powered by water from the "creek" and within 500 feet of each other.

In 1875 Condie's dam broke and the resultant flood swept away the mill and dam of David Beech, who did not rebuild, but sold the property to John Shaw of Lake Dore. He constructed the Westmeath Flour Mills in 1876.

Mrs. James Condie ws the first woman to be buried in what is now called the Union Cemetery at Beachburg.

There are several great-grandchildren of James Condie still living in and around Beachburg. Among the descendants across Canada are lawyers, druggists, teachers, missionaries and well-to-do farmers. Many fought and died for King and Country during World Wars I and II in France, the land of their ancestors. One of the great-great-grandsons visited the Conde areas near Falaise and close to the Belgian border.

There is a railroad station named Condie in Ontario and also in Western Canada.

The Condie of Canada have inherited the resourcefulness and courage of both their French and Scottish ancestors.