Charlie Herbison, Lyn Blacksmith

Memories of her father by Mrs. Hilda Rehberg

Charlie Herbison, Blacksmith

I remember my dad came home for supper one night and announced that he had purchased the Blacksmith Shop. His wife, my mother, commented that “Now I’ll have to stay in Lyn all my life”. This was around 1922.

Charlie Herbison was the son of John Herbison, a pioneer Caintown area farmer, originally from Ireland. He married Rachel White. Charlie grew up in Caintown and wed Mable Van Attan, daughter of Sidney Van Attan and his wife the former Alzina Edgley.

In 1904 at the age of 16, Charlie came to Lyn to apprentice under the village blacksmith, Bob Tennant. Young Herbison learned his trade well, for within a few years he was able to take over the business from Tennant. Tennant went on to become a bailiff. In his early years as a blacksmith Charlie boarded with the Tennants.

Charlie married Mabel Van Attan in 1912 and they had two children, both girls. The first daughter Mildred died in 1916 and a year later Hilda was born. Hilda was about five when Charlie bought the blacksmith shop, and she vividly remembers him pounding out the horseshoes at the forge and anvil.

My mother used to tell me that when they got married they had nothing new in the house. They used to go around to auction sales to buy what they needed. All the money my dad could earn went back into the business.”

For awhile Charlie was assisted in his business by his brother, Alec, who finally left to go farming. He bought a homestead on Purvis Street and settled down there.

In addition to horseshoeing, Charlie Herbison was a good farm mechanic sharpening plow shares, fashioning wagon wheels and axles, and forging new parts for farm machinery. He drew his raw steel from Hamilton and got other supplies from Kingston.

After 40 years at the forge, Charlie had to slow down because of heart trouble and he died in February 1959, Mable lived for another 12 years dying in 1971.

The blacksmith shop closed after Charlie’s death, and the building, which is believed to date from the 1840’s has had a succession of owners, including Dorothy and Fred Dempsey who operated a grocery store. In recent years it was the local post office, and now a private home.

Charlie’s daughter Hilda was educated in the old Lyn Public School, and then went on to Brockville Collegiate Institute. For her first three years there, Hilda went to BCI on the old Brockville and Westport ‘Jitney’, boarding the train in the morning and coming back late afternoon. Later she went to and from BCI by car, as the railway cut down on their service. The train ran only three times a week in her final year at BCI.

In 1935 Hilda married a Cape Breton Islander, Leo Rehberg. She recalls that as a child Lyn’s mills were still grinding. She remembers the grain wagons arriving at the grist mill beside the canal opposite her fathers smithy, and skating on the mill pond as a girl. The pond has long since gone and the canal is overgrown with trees and no longer carries the rushing water that ran the mills.

Hilda remembers the drowning of a 12 year old boy in the canal. She saw rescuers carry the lad’s body from the water. The boy was visiting Lyn with his family from Hamilton, Ontario.

I remember the old Post Office too it was in Walter Billings’ General Store. On cold nights when we went skating on the mill pond, we used to leave our shoes there. Walter Billings would tell us that we had to have our shoes out by 10 p.m. when he closed, or he would have to leave them outside. That happened one real cold night, and sure enough when we came for our shoes they were sitting out in the cold. I didn’t have far to walk, so I didn’t bother to change my skates. I just walked home down the middle of the road om my skates.

The others weren’t so lucky; they had to put on cold shoes to walk home.

(from the Recorder TV Travel Times, date of publication is unknown)

Chas. Herbison Blacksmith Shop
View of the back of the shop from the Lyn pond
The building dates back to the 1840’s

 

The Old Blacksmith Shop on Main Street Lyn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Billings Family Photos

The Billings Families were prominent in the village of Lyn. Water and his sister grew up on a house on the Lyn Road, which is now across from Burnbrae Farms and part of their property. Murray Billings was a cousin of Walter’s and operated a new and used car sales business in Lyn. Walter wrote of his growing up in and around the village, his stories are featured on our website under “Stories by Walter Billings”.

These are photos we have that were donated by the Billing’s Family. Some photos don’t have names, if you know who they are, please email us and let us know.

 

 

Billings Family Home c1945

 

Walter and Bessie Billings at their cottage at Five Mile Light

 

Billings Cottage at Five Mile Light

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bishop/ Billings General Store, Main St. Lyn.

 

Mary Dunster in front of Billings Grocery Store

 

 

 

 

Walter standing next to his car in front of his store
In front of the store in winter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alice Leeder with her bicycle in front of Billings Motors, Main Street, Lyn

 

Billings Car Lot
Billings Car Lot
Billings Car Lot
Billings Car Lot
Billings Car Lot
Billings Car Lot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ira Billings
Unknown Photo #1
Unknown Photo # 2
Unknown Photo #3

 

Unknown Photo #4
Unknown Photo #5
Unknown Photo #6

 

Unknown Photo #7

 

Unknown Photo #9
Unknown Photo #8

 

Unknown Photo #10
Unknown Group on Road Roller
Unknown woman in front of car

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Murray Billings and his car
One of Murray’s cars

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of Murray’s Cars
One of Murray’s cars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of Murray’s cars
One of Murray’s Cars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Murray Billing’s 1917 Buick, now on display at the Automotive Museum in Oshawa, Ontario

 

 

Lyn – November 19th, 1859

The Brockville Recorder, David Wylie

We paid a visit to Lyn a few days ago, and were agreeably surprised at the rapid evidences of advance made in that very thriving village. We found the Messrs. Coleman, to whom Lyn is indebted for, we may say, all its real prosperity, just completing a splendid stone grist and flouring mill, capable of working four run of stones. – The mill is being fitted up with all the latest improvements in machinery, and will, in everything connected with it, be not only a powerful, but a model grist and flouring mill. The machinery will be drive by water power, and here, too, the intelligence and progressive character of the Messrs Coleman are conspicuous. A canal and basin has been cut and built up at great expense, at the mouth of which large wrought iron tubes are attached, through which the water will be carried in sufficient quantity and force to set all the machinery at work, not only of the grist and flouring mill, but also of the extensive tan work belonging to the above named gentlemen. Tubes of the same description as those mentioned are also to be used to carry water for propelling purposes to all the other factories in the village, including the saw mill and last factory of Mr. Hallowell. So much progress and energy deserve the greatest amount of success.

Mr. Baxter has also erected a very splendid new store, built with white brick, and having quite a city appearance. A near and commodious new Wesleyan Methodist church has also just been opened. Several new houses have lately been erected and new nursery grounds opened by Mr. Nicol, everything betokening rapid advance, and, we sincerely hope continued prosperity; and we have faith in the Messrs. Coleman, that if prosperity does not follow in their wake as heretofore, the fault will not lie at their door.

Richard Coleman

The Late Richard Coleman

taken from

The Brockville Recorder – April 30, 1868

Last week we had only time to announce that the above named gentleman had been shot dead, but how, the particulars had not reached us. We may now briefly state that he put an end to his existence by his own hand, while labouring under a temporary fit of insanity. He took his rifle from his own residence and carried it to a shed only a very short distance from his house. He applied the muzzle of the rifle to his forehead and pulled the trigger with his foot. The ball entered his brow and passed out at the back of his head. These are the facts and we have no desire to dwell on minor particulars. No man who knew Mr. Coleman but sincerely regrets his death. The writer has known him for nearly twenty years, and knew him only to respect and esteem him. Some time ago it is well known he became, with his brother, peculiarly embarrassed. His whole property went from him and we know how these unfortunate circumstances weighed upon his mind. He had taken special pains to render his house and grounds a most pleasant locality, where he expected to look out, as from a secure loophole, upon the world and its joys and sorrows. But, alas, how deceitful and fleeting are all earth’s treasures – They take unto themselves wings and flee away and the soul-now take-thy-ease-spirit which has been nursed is often rudely shaken and shattered, and hopes, like the sandy-foundation house, falls, and sometimes, as in the case of our respected and departed friend, great is the fall thereof.

Lyn was very much to the deceased Richard Coleman. His energy and enterprise —- the village and it has not the character of a most important manufacturing locality – His whole mind was often engrossed with the progress of Lyn, which, for many years, was known as Coleman’s Corners, his father having settled in the locality, and from whose resident the corners derived their name.

As we have stated, the first financial difficulty of the firm and the loss of property severely affected Mr. Coleman’s mind but it was hoped that the dark cloud had begun to show its silver lining and that ere long all would again be well. It was, however, so ordered that those hopes were to be dashed to pieces, gloom enshrouded him once again on the failure of the Messrs Chaffey, who, we are led to believe, had kindly aided him in his struggles to free himself from his former embarrassments. There was nothing in the failure, however, which should have caused him alarm, but his mind was not what it once had been, and a slight shock, even where the evils anticipated were imaginary, prostrated him. His intellect gave way, and thus, under a dread of coming earthly evils, aberration of mind followed and the recorded sealed the earthly sojourn o f one whom we had ever esteemed as a brother, and as a most consistent Christian. Peace be to his ashes, and may God give his promised consolation to the bereaved family.

We have been requested to state that the Rev. Mr. Burton will preach a funeral sermon in the Wesleyan Methodist Church, Lyn, at three o-clock on Sunday afternoon next. We have no doubt there will be a large turn out.

R. Coleman Shot

taken from the

Brockville Recorder – Thursday, April 30, 1868.

Just as we were preparing for press, the melancholy intelligence reached us that R. Coleman, Esq., of Lyn, was found in a tool house adjoining his residence dead, with a bullet hole through his head. Whether shot accidentally or otherwise he have not learned.

Christ United Church, Lyn

Christ Church Lyn…Now The United Church, by Walter K. Billings

The Presbyterians of the Lyn district held their first service in the ball-room of the Brownton Hotel. It was conducted by the Rev. William Smart, who was one of the pioneers of religion. A Sunday school was organized by Mr. Smart and Adiel Sherwood, who was sheriff of Brockville. Services were held occasionally in the Methodist Church and later in Pergau’s Hall, until a church was built.

Pergau Building c1975

Lyn congregation was only a mission until 1855. Rev. William Smart arrived in Brockville in October 1811 and commenced his ministerial labours there, extending them to Yonge and Augusta. After Mr. Smart left, the ministerial services were conducted by the Rev. Mr. McMurray and later by Rev. J.K. Smith of Brockville. The first minister of Lyn was the Rev. Robert McKenzie, who remained from July 5, 1859 until 1862. He was succeeded by the Rev. John Burton, who was called to Prescott February 4, 1868, and later to the Northern Congregational Church in Toronto. Then for six years the Presbyterians were without a settled minister, until the year 1874, when the Rev. Archibald Brown was called and settled here.

The Lyn section of the Presbyterian congregation resolved in the autumn of 1874 tom build a church, the work being started in April, 1875. The donor of the building site to the Presbyterian Church was James Cassels, M.D. of Quebec. Robert Cassels was chairman. The building committee was composed of James Cumming, Chairman, Robert Bryson, Treasurer, John Halliday, James Bulloch, James Hamilton, Archie Davidson, Peter Purvis and John McNish. The architect was W.G.Thomas of Montreal, contractors were Hugh McKay and Joshua Franklin, the mason and plasterer William Whitton and carpenter Edwin Bagg. The building was to be of stone in Gothic Style. The auditorium was to be sixty by thirty-four feet, the vestry in the rear was to be ten by sixteen feet, and the tower fourteen by fourteen feet. The total cost was to be about four thousand dollars.

On Friday, May 7, 1875, the cornerstone was laid by the Rev. William Smart, assisted by the Rev. Archibald Brown Rev. James Hastie of Prescott and the Rev. John Burton of Belleville. Copies of “The Brockville Recorder”, “The Weekly Monitor”, Montreal and Toronto newspapers and the current coins of the Dominion were deposited in the stone.

The tower, at first, was about the height of the main roof, but later was completed to its present height by Joseph Hudson, a stone mason of Lyn. At first, the choir seats were arranged just inside the church, with a space in the centre for the small organ then in use. My first recollection of the interior of the church was the choir seats. These with the little organ placed directly below the stained glass window and the organist facing the entrance met your gaze as you entered the church. The aisle behind the pews separated the choir from the congregation. These seats are still there, but the space taken by the organ has been filled in. Sometimes when there was an evening service, the younger boys occupying these were a disturbing element to the minister.

The congregation was seated facing the pulpit, with their backs to the choir. The pulpit, a wonderful piece of cabinet making, was built by Mr. John McNish, an uncle of the late George A. McNish, and brother of his father, James McNish. Some years later the choir was moved to chairs behind the pulpit and another organ was installed. Then the Board of Managers decided that a pipe organ should be bought. This always seemed an unwise move to many of the Presbyterian congregation. A second-hand organ filled the choir loft completely, except fora narrow passage at one side, where the pumper could squeeze in to the long lever at the back of the organ, get off his coat and work the twelve foot shaft up ad down until the bellows was full of air. If you got too much pressure, one of the pipes would whistle. This disturbed the congregation, and did not ad to the solemnity of the service. Later the bellows would start leaking air; then someone would have to take off the front panels, crawl in and try to locate the leak.

It was a hard job to pump the organ. A pumper was usually hired to do this work but after a few services he would quit. Then one of the younger members of the congregation would volunteer to do the next pumping, but usually that member was not on hand the next Sunday and another was asked to pump. An amusing incident happened one night, when a special meeting of the congregation had been called for some purpose or other. At the end of the meeting the minister announced a closing hymn. The organist, Mrs. Ernest Cumming, pressed on the keys, but no sound came. She tried again. Still no air. Then she slid off the stool, walked to the end of the organ and looked back into the narrow passage. There sat the pumper, braced with his back to the wall and fast asleep! The congregation, by this time very quiet, heard her, in a stage whisper call. “Tommy! Tommy! Give us some air!” Tommy woke and grasping the lever, pumped. Each stroke of the lever hit the side and bottom of the slot that the lever worked in. The pumper explained that he had been at a party the night before, to account for his condition. He writer did his share of pumping, and felt a great relief when the old organ was removed and an electric organ installed.

During the pastorate of the Rev. C.E.A. Pocock, new acetylene lights were secured These gave a splendid light, except for an occasional whistle when a bit of an obstruction in the burner meant getting out the stepladder, placing it under the offending light and turning off the valve in the pipe. Meanwhile the minister waited.

After the passing of Mrs. Cumming, first wife of Mr. James Cumming, he presented a marble baptismal fount to the church in memory of his wife. The minister at that time, Rev. J.J. Wright, boarded with the caretaker of the church, Mrs. John Armstrong. Her two youngest boys, Allan and Robert, had, a few Sundays previously witnessed a baptism. They had just been presented with a lovely collie pup, and decided that it should be baptized. Securing some water, they poured it into the font and were just about in the act of immersing the pup’s head when the church door opened and the minister walked in and stood looking, as they thought, directly at them. Keeping quiet, they finally got down behind the font and waited. The pup whined a little but evidently the visitor did not hear him. He finally turned and walked out to the street. That night the boys were late for tea, having decided to keep out of sight until Mr. Wright had left to make a call. Expecting to get a lecture from their mother they walked in, but no mention of the incident was made. They decided Mr. Wright was a good sport and would not tell or else he had not seen them. I asked the lads many years later what they were going to name their pup. They said, “Lucky”.

Presbyterian Church, Perth St. Lyn c1905

The seats in the church at first were built in lengths that extended from the aisles at each side. Usually two and sometimes three families occupied one seat. If you were late for church you had to push past the family occupying the end of the seat. Later on it was decided that the seats should be rearranged. Messrs. Archie and James Greer did this work. Some of the seats were cut in two, the end cut at a bevel, new ends of ash put on, each seat given additional lip to make it wider, and the aisles moved to their present location. Each short pew was fastened to the side wall. This provided a splendid arrangement, as a small family could use one of these. Then the members drew lots to get their pew.

During Mr. Pocock’s pastorate the Board of Managers decided a furnace was necessary, as the old chimneys built in the walls of the church were leaking and the stoves in use did not give enough heat. A furnace man who was consulted advised making a passage from the back of the cellar, removing earth enough to go through with wheelbarrows and excavating for the furnace room a space ten feet square and ten feet deep. Also, at this time, an outside chimney was built from the ground. A cement floor was laid in the furnace room with a three foot cement wall enclosing it. When the furnace was put in it proved very satisfactory except that there was no drainage, and one day after a heavy rain we found some water on the floor.

The Managers arranged to have a ditch dug from the pond to this spot, but some said the cellar was too deep and was lower than the pond itself. We finally put a level on, and having proved that we had six feet of fall, we started to dig the ditch. It was Saturday night, the men were now under the building, and the work went more slowly. It started to rain, but at six o’clock quitting time the men were about five feet from the furnace room. When I went into the cellar about seven o’clock there was a foot of water on the floor. After consulting the minister, as I knew we could have no fire if we could not get rid of the water, I went out to see one of the men who had been working on the ditch, but he would not come back. Then I again went back to the basement. There in the water stood our minister, Mr. Pocock, with a pair of rubber boots on! He had made a trough reaching to the unfinished ditch. There, dipping with a pail and pouring the water into the trough, he declared that it was not going to beat him, and he would have a fire in that furnace before the morning. I hastened down the street, called Mr. James Cumming on the telephone and told him what our minister was doing. He called back. “I’ll tend to that!” and in half and hour he had four of his men with rubber boots on finishing the drain. Then he ordered Mr. Peacock to go home and prepare his sermon, while he stayed to see what the men started. Of course we had a service the next day.

Fourteen years after Church Union in 1939, it was decided to excavate and put a Sunday School room under the main floor. A contract was let and the work started. Six or seven feet of earth had to be removed by wheelbarrow before anything else could be done, then the basement walls were found to extend just four feet below the floors. A bit of skilful engineering then was started. Workmen would measure off eight feet in length of the basement wall, then remove all the earth under the wall for four feet, build in the stone and cement foundation, and pass on eight feet further, taking out another four feet of earth. This was continued all around the foundation. Every precaution was taken not to disturb the upper walls, with such success that not a crack developed. After hundreds of tile had been laid from wall to wall and connected with the original drain to the pond, cinders were spread over the cleared ground. A cement top was laid over this and finally wooden floors were put down. The furnace was rebuilt, another entrance opened behind the tower into the Sunday school room and the work was all completed in the stipulated time. I have seen many difficult contracts executed, but the building of the walls under the old foundation was a feat worthy of mention.

For a small village church our United Church in Lyn has unusually beautiful windows. The largest one, the Cassels memorial window, was installed when the church was built. Representing Jesus, the Light of the World, it is a beautiful piece of work in an arched opening, about twelve feet high and eight feet wide. The McDonald window, behind the pulpit, over the choir seats, also distinctive for its rich, glowing colours was likewise installed when the church was built in 1875. No more memorial windows were given until February, 1944, Mr. T.J. Storey put in a window in memory of his wife. In May, 1945 another was given to the church in memory of Mr. Clayton Taylor by Mrs. Taylor and her daughter, Mrs. Josephine Taylor Macdonald. In June, 1945, two more were given; one in memory of James Cumming by his family and another in memory of the Stewart and Morrison families by Hon. H.A. Stewart, KC of Brockville. After the death of Mr. T.J. Storey, a window in his memory was given by his daughter Mrs. Douglas Cole and her husband in May 1949. Following this in February, 1952, Mrs. F.W. Moffatt gave another stained glass window in memory of her parents Mr. And Mrs. James McNish.

Other valuable and beautiful gifts have been made to Christ Church in Lyn at various times. A communion table was given in 1920 by Mrs. Horton Rowsom and her brothers and sisters in memory of their father and mother, Mr. And Mrs. David Thompson. In January 1950, the children of Mr. And Mrs. James Neilson gave silver offering plates in memory of their parents. In 1939 when the church was renovated, new electric fixtures were presented by Dr. Gordon Richards of Toronto in memory of his father and mother, Rev. J.J. and Mrs. Richards.

Now I shall close with a final word about the ministers who have served our church over the years. After Rev. Archibald Brown, already mentioned, came Rev. J.J. Richardss, Rev. J.J. Wright, Rev. Charles Daly, Rev. C.E.A. Pocock, Rev. D.M. McLeod, Rev. A.W. Gardiner and Rev. W.T. McCree. In 1925 with Church Union it was decided that the United congregation should worship in the former Methodist Church, and this plan was followed until 1939. During those year our minister were Rev. F.G. Robinson, Rev. R.A. Delve and Rev. A.S. Doggett, under whose leadership the congregation in 1939 moved back to Christ Church which was redecorated and renovated. The large bell from the Methodist Church was brought over and placed in position in the tower where it still calls the congregation to worship. In 11940 Rev. H.B. Herrington succeeded Mr. Doggett and in July 1942, Rev. C.K. Mathewson came to the congregation where he and his sister, Miss Nan Mathewson, still ably minister.

 

Interior of the Presbyterian Church c1905

 

Rev. Charles Daly

 

Original Methodist Church, Main St. West, Lyn

 

 

 

Christ United Church, Lyn

Now The United Church

by Walter Billings

Pergau Building Lyn c1975

The Presbyterians of the Lyn district held their first service in the ball-room of the Brownton Hotel. It was conducted by the Rev. William Smart, who was one of the pioneers of religion. A Sunday school was organized by Mr. Smart and Adiel Sherwood, who was sheriff of Brockville. Services were held occasionally in the Methodist Church and later in Pergau’s Hall, until a church was built.

Lyn congregation was only a mission until 1855. Rev. William Smart arrived in Brockville in October 1811 and commenced his ministerial labours there, extending them to Yonge and Augusta. After Mr. Smart left, the ministerial services were conducted by the Rev. Mr. McMurray and later by Rev. J.K. Smith of Brockville. The first minister of Lyn was the Rev. Robert McKenzie, who remained from July 5, 1859 until 1862. He was succeeded by the Rev. John Burton, who was called to Prescott February 4, 1868, and later to the Northern Congregational Church in Toronto. Then for six years the Presbyterians were without a settled minister, until the year 1874, when the Rev. Archibald Brown was called and settled here.

The Lyn section of the Presbyterian congregation resolved in the autumn of 1874 tom build a church, the work being started in April, 1875. The donor of the building site to the Presbyterian Church was James Cassels, M.D. of Quebec. Robert Cassels was chairman. The building committee was composed of James Cumming, Chairman, Robert Bryson, Treasurer, John Halliday, James Bulloch, James Hamilton, Archie Davidson, Peter Purvis and John McNish. The architect was W.G.Thomas of Montreal, contractors were Hugh McKay and Joshua Franklin, the mason and plasterer William Whitton and carpenter Edwin Bagg. The building was to be of stone in Gothic Style. The auditorium was to be sixty by thirty-four feet, the vestry in the rear was to be ten by sixteen feet, and the tower fourteen by fourteen feet. The total cost was to be about four thousand dollars.

On Friday, May 7, 1875, the cornerstone was laid by the Rev. William Smart, assisted by the Rev. Archibald Brown Rev. James Hastie of Prescott and the Rev. John Burton of Belleville. Copies of “The Brockville Recorder”, “The Weekly Monitor”, Montreal and Toronto newspapers and the current coins of the Dominion were deposited in the stone.

Presbyterian Church Lyn c1905

The tower, at first, was about the height of the main roof, but later was completed to its present height by Joseph Hudson, a stone mason of Lyn. At first, the choir seats were arranged just inside the church, with a space in the centre for the small organ then in use. My first recollection of the interior of the church was the choir seats. These with the little organ placed directly below the stained glass window and the organist facing the entrance met your gaze as you entered the church. The aisle behind the pews separated the choir from the congregation. These seats are still there, but the space taken by the organ has been filled in. Sometimes when there was an evening service, the younger boys occupying these were a disturbing element to the minister.

The congregation was seated facing the pulpit, with their backs to the choir. The pulpit, a wonderful piece of cabinet making, was built by Mr. John McNish, an uncle of the late George A. McNish, and brother of his father, James McNish. Some years later the choir was moved to chairs behind the pulpit and another organ was installed. Then the Board of Managers decided that a pipe organ should be bought. This always seemed an unwise move to many of the Presbyterian congregation. A second-hand organ filled the choir loft completely, except fora narrow passage at one side, where the pumper could squeeze in to the long lever at the back of the organ, get off his coat and work the twelve foot shaft up ad down until the bellows was full of air. If you got too much pressure, one of the pipes would whistle. This disturbed the congregation, and did not ad to the solemnity of the service. Later the bellows would start leaking air; then someone would have to take off the front panels, crawl in and try to locate the leak.

It was a hard job to pump the organ. A pumper was usually hired to do this work but after a few services he would quit. Then one of the younger members of the congregation would volunteer to do the next pumping, but usually that member was not on hand the next Sunday and another was asked to pump. An amusing incident happened one night, when a special meeting of the congregation had been called for some purpose or other. At the end of the meeting the minister announced a closing hymn. The organist, Mrs. Ernest Cumming, pressed on the keys, but no sound came. She tried again. Still no air. Then she slid off the stool, walked to the end of the organ and looked back into the narrow passage. There sat the pumper, braced with his back to the wall and fast asleep! The congregation, by this time very quiet, heard her, in a stage whisper call. “Tommy! Tommy! Give us some air!” Tommy woke and grasping the lever, pumped. Each stroke of the lever hit the side and bottom of the slot that the lever worked in. The pumper explained that he had been at a party the night before, to account for his condition. He writer did his share of pumping, and felt a great relief when the old organ was removed and an electric organ installed.

During the pastorate of the Rev. C.E.A. Pocock, new acetylene lights were secured These gave a splendid light, except for an occasional whistle when a bit of an obstruction in the burner meant getting out the stepladder, placing it under the offending light and turning off the valve in the pipe. Meanwhile the minister waited.

After the passing of Mrs. Cumming, first wife of Mr. James Cumming, he presented a marble baptismal fount to the church in memory of his wife. The minister at that time, Rev. J.J. Wright, boarded with the caretaker of the church, Mrs. John Armstrong. Her two youngest boys, Allan and Robert, had, a few Sundays previously witnessed a baptism. They had just been presented with a lovely collie pup, and decided that it should be baptized. Securing some water, they poured it into the font and were just about in the act of immersing the pup’s head when the church door opened and the minister walked in and stood looking, as they thought, directly at them. Keeping quiet, they finally got down behind the font and waited. The pup whined a little but evidently the visitor did not hear him. He finally turned and walked out to the street. That night the boys were late for tea, having decided to keep out of sight until Mr. Wright had left to make a call. Expecting to get a lecture from their mother they walked in, but no mention of the incident was made. They decided Mr. Wright was a good sport and would not tell or else he had not seen them. I asked the lads many years later what they were going to name their pup. They said, “Lucky”.

The seats in the church at first were built in lengths that extended from the aisles at each side. Usually two and sometimes three families occupied one seat. If you were late for church you had to push past the family occupying the end of the seat. Later on it was decided that the seats should be rearranged. Messrs. Archie and James Greer did this work. Some of the seats were cut in two, the end cut at a bevel, new ends of ash put on, each seat given additional lip to make it wider, and the aisles moved to their present location. Each short pew was fastened to the side wall. This provided a splendid arrangement, as a small family could use one of these. Then the members drew lots to get their pew.

During Mr. Pocock’s pastorate the Board of Managers decided a furnace was necessary, as the old chimneys built in the walls of the church were leaking and the stoves in use did not give enough heat. A furnace man who was consulted advised making a passage from the back of the cellar, removing earth enough to go through with wheelbarrows and excavating for the furnace room a space ten feet square and ten feet deep. Also, at this time, an outside chimney was built from the ground. A cement floor was laid in the furnace room with a three foot cement wall enclosing it. When the furnace was put in it proved very satisfactory except that there was no drainage, and one day after a heavy rain we found some water on the floor.

The Managers arranged to have a ditch dug from the pond to this spot, but some said the cellar was too deep and was lower than the pond itself. We finally put a level on, and having proved that we had six feet of fall, we started to dig the ditch. It was Saturday night, the men were now under the building, and the work went more slowly. It started to rain, but at six o’clock quitting time the men were about five feet from the furnace room. When I went into the cellar about seven o’clock there was a foot of water on the floor. After consulting the minister, as I knew we could have no fire if we could not get rid of the water, I went out to see one of the men who had been working on the ditch, but he would not come back. Then I again went back to the basement. There in the water stood our minister, Mr. Pocock, with a pair of rubber boots on! He had made a trough reaching to the unfinished ditch. There, dipping with a pail and pouring the water into the trough, he declared that it was not going to beat him, and he would have a fire in that furnace before the morning. I hastened down the street, called Mr. James Cumming on the telephone and told him what our minister was doing. He called back. “I’ll tend to that!” and in half and hour he had four of his men with rubber boots on finishing the drain. Then he ordered Mr. Peacock to go home and prepare his sermon, while he stayed to see what the men started. Of course we had a service the next day.

Fourteen years after Church Union in 1939, it was decided to excavate and put a Sunday School room under the main floor. A contract was let and the work started. Six or seven feet of earth had to be removed by wheelbarrow before anything else could be done, then the basement walls were found to extend just four feet below the floors. A bit of skilful engineering then was started. Workmen would measure off eight feet in length of the basement wall, then remove all the earth under the wall for four feet, build in the stone and cement foundation, and pass on eight feet further, taking out another four feet of earth. This was continued all around the foundation. Every precaution was taken not to disturb the upper walls, with such success that not a crack developed. After hundreds of tile had been laid from wall to wall and connected with the original drain to the pond, cinders were spread over the cleared ground. A cement top was laid over this and finally wooden floors were put down. The furnace was rebuilt, another entrance opened behind the tower into the Sunday school room and the work was all completed in the stipulated time. I have seen many difficult contracts executed, but the building of the walls under the old foundation was a feat worthy of mention.

For a small village church our United Church in Lyn has unusually beautiful windows. The largest one, the Cassels memorial window, was installed when the church was built. Representing Jesus, the Light of the World, it is a beautiful piece of work in an arched opening, about twelve feet high and eight feet wide. The McDonald window, behind the pulpit, over the choir seats, also distinctive for its rich, glowing colours was likewise installed when the church was built in 1875. No more memorial windows were given until February, 1944, Mr. T.J. Storey put in a window in memory of his wife. In May, 1945 another was given to the church in memory of Mr. Clayton Taylor by Mrs. Taylor and her daughter, Mrs. Josephine Taylor Macdonald. In June, 1945, two more were given; one in memory of James Cumming by his family and another in memory of the Stewart and Morrison families by Hon. H.A. Stewart, KC of Brockville. After the death of Mr. T.J. Storey, a window in his memory was given by his daughter Mrs. Douglas Cole and her husband in May 1949. Following this in February, 1952, Mrs. F.W. Moffatt gave another stained glass window in memory of her parents Mr. And Mrs. James McNish.

Other valuable and beautiful gifts have been made to Christ Church in Lyn at various times. A communion table was given in 1920 by Mrs. Horton Rowsom and her brothers and sisters in memory of their father and mother, Mr. And Mrs. David Thompson. In January 1950, the children of Mr. And Mrs. James Neilson gave silver offering plates in memory of their parents. In 1939 when the church was renovated, new electric fixtures were presented by Dr. Gordon Richards of Toronto in memory of his father and mother, Rev. J.J. and Mrs. Richards.

Now I shall close with a final word about the ministers who have served our church over the years. After Rev. Archibald Brown, already mentioned, came Rev. J.J. Richardss, Rev. J.J. Wright, Rev. Charles Daly, Rev. C.E.A. Pocock, Rev. D.M. McLeod, Rev. A.W. Gardiner and Rev. W.T. McCree. In 1925 with Church Union it was decided that the United congregation should worship in the former Methodist Church, and this plan was followed until 1939. During those year our minister were Rev. F.G. Robinson, Rev. R.A. Delve and Rev. A.S. Doggett, under whose leadership the congregation in 1939 moved back to Christ Church which was redecorated and renovated. The large bell from the Methodist Church was brought over and placed in position in the tower where it still calls the congregation to worship. In 11940 Rev. H.B. Herrington succeeded Mr. Doggett and in July 1942, Rev. C.K. Mathewson came to the congregation where he and his sister, Miss Nan Mathewson, still ably minister.

 

Interior of the Presbyterian Church c1905

 

Rev. Charles Daly

 

Original Methodist Church, Main St. West Lyn

 

 

 

Our Village – A short history of Lyn

by Walter K. Billings

My first recollection of Lyn was about the year 1876. Word had come to the farm that the many cords of tanbark piled on what was afterwards the ball grounds was on fire. I was too young to go to Lyn that night and could only stand in our yard and see the smoke and tongues of flame shooting skyward. Tanbark was used in the tanneries in the village, and the loss of this bark was a serious blow. It was ground and placed in vats, the hides were thrown in, and water poured on them. However, the burning of the bark compelled the tanneries to close down and I do not remember that they ever operated again.

Lyn Mill Pond

Lyn about that time was a thriving village. A saw mill, fed from the pond behind the stores and through the by-wash besides the post office, consisted of an upright saw driven by an over-shot water wheel and was managed by men by the name of Armstrong, Jerry and Robert. Another mill near the flour mill was operated by a Mr. Weeks and Norman Field, who operated a cheese factory in the summer.

There was a woolen mill under the hill also, which a Mr. Burris had charge of, and carriage and paint shop behind the building that housed the fire engine. The latter was in charge of Henry Storey, and the former run by a Mr. Wilson. Before I was fifteen, these firms were all out of business, largely because of the failure of the water power.

My school days, divided between the Howard school and later the Lyn school, where I had as chums Maurice Brown, Ernie Gardiner, Jack Halliday, Trevor Grout and Byron Haskin, were very pleasant memories. The teachers were anxious that we get through the Entrance and on to the Brockville High School, and I think we all did our best at the examinations. But the Horton School (in Brockville) at that time was no place to go to write. I remember I was so cold at this December examination that I could hardly hold my pen, much less do anything worth while at answering the questions. I think Trevor Gout, my desk-mate at school, later judge Grout of Brampton, was the only one who passed.

The next summer I was working hard to try again when I had to leave school and go to work on the farm. A Business College course later gave my sister Lou and me some knowledge of book keeping, which we found very useful in after years.

Marketing the produce of the farm gave me a break from the usual routine. Apples, potatoes, green corn and even pumpkins were in demand, and one summer we had a wonderful crop of Strawberries, Father had contracted with a fruit firm in Montreal to take all the berries. I think the price was eight cents a box delivered at Lyn station. However, at the height of the season this firm wired to send no more berries as they were going bankrupt. They had paid all they owed us up to this time, so Father said we would have to sell them on the streets of Brockville.

One day I had disposed of one fifty-four box crate on the street and had just opened the other. I remember I was on a street just east of William and running at right angles with this street when an engine came puffing along on the C.P.R. tracks. My horse started to run but he was headed east, and I knew he could only go around that block and would come back on to William street. So I turned back, ran over to this street and met him. The crate of berries by this time was standing nearly on its end, but as I had fastened down the lid, I found a lot of the boxes empty and the contents piled there, and pretty well mussed up. A woman had wanted to buy my whole crate previously, so I went back to her, told her what had happened and offered her all I had at five cents a box – we could count the empty ones. She agreed, and produced a large dish-pan, a bread pan, and a wash boiler. When I went back next day she was still picking over the strawberries.

Lee’s Pond Dam

But to get back to memories of the village. One day in the spring of 1884, March 28th to be exact, a farmer living at Seeley’s, John W. Booth, came in on horseback, another Paul Revere, rode up to the door of the Post Office, and called out, “Mr. Mallory, get ready! The dam at Lee Pond has gone out and the water is coming. I am telling you to get ready!” Then he went through the village and down to the grist mill to warn them there. At first it was thought it was all a hoax, but going to the pond at the back of the store the men saw muddy water coming down. With boards and bags the doors were barricaded, and in a few minutes the rush of water two feet deep came, tearing up the stone of the street and washing everything movable down to the valley below. The bridge at the foot of the mill hill was carried away, floated across the flats to about where the B&W station now stands, and lodged against a couple of trees.

I remember when the waters subsided, Tom Hudson came for my father, and together they managed to get the bridge and with long poles floated it back to the side of the road, and next day with moving jacks drew it back on its foundations. The village stores were in a sorry mess. Water and mud had gone over the top of the barricade and into the interiors. At the blacksmith shop, wagon wheels, parts of milk wagons and the various collection of machines had been left outside; later some of those were found on the flats below the mill; others were never recovered.

Lyn’s Blacksmith Shop

The blacksmith shop was the usual gathering place for the farmers on a rainy day, each one bringing a horse to be shod or wagon wheel to be repaired, and many a story was told to the amusement of the village loafers. In front of the old box stove there was always a long bench and it was usually occupied. Sometimes a checker board was produced and a couple of the old men started a game. One player, more skillful than the other, near the end of the game would seem to have his opponent all bottled up. Then someone would draw his attention to someone passing along the street, and with a piece of stick would move one of the checkers, so that when the players looked back at their game it had a different aspect. Another, a habitual loafer, usually was on this bench, and the boys, securing some thumb tacks, would put them through the tail of his coat and into the edge of the bench, so that when he would be called to the door by one of these same boys, the bench went with him, tipping over the checkers and players at the other end. Other times they would fill his overcoat pockets with small iron scraps, heavy enough that when he attempted to move he would drop back again on the bench.

Lyn, like many other villages, had its usual number of characters. One couple I remember particularly. The husband was a small man, not too industrious. The wife was tall, angular and quite masculine. One day the husband had bought a load of wood from a farmer, who was unloading it at the side of the house when the wife appeared. Standing there with her hands on her hips she said “My man how much did you pay for that wood?” He replied, “Three dollars.” “Well” she said “it ain’t worth it” and went into the house. The farmer, looking at the husband said “Well?” The husband said. “Yes, guess you will have to do as she says.” In a few minutes he walked over and looked up in the farmers face. “Say, its awful provoking, ain’t it?” he said.

Years later while I was carrying on my work in the village, a farmer from Caintown, whom we will call Jack, came in one afternoon, saying that they were boiling sap that day in his bush. He invited the four lads in the shop u that night to have sugar. Of course they went, taking a lunch with them. During the early part of the night, when the sugar was about ready, one of the boy’s said it would be great if they just had some fried chicken to eat with their lunch. Jack at once spoke up and said “You know my neighbour has a dandy lot of Rock chickens, nearly full size now, and if a couple of you lads go out to the road and into John M’s hen house, just pick one off the roost and I will clean and fry it for you. I have lots of butter and some corn meal here to sprinkle over the frying pan.” Away they went and soon back with a four pound bird. Jack had a kettle of hot water ready and he doused it in, then proceeded to pluck off the feathers, saying as he did so. “My! won’t John M. be mad when he misses this chicken!”

But,” he sad, “maybe we had better burn these feathers for fear someone should come in and see them.” The fried chicken was just right. When the boys were no longer hungry and the syrup was ready to be taken off they cleaned up the chicken bones, burned them and went home,

Next morning Jack watched for his neighbour, John M. to go to his hen house. He came out with a pan of feed, went in to his chickens, and finally came out and went into the house. Jack thought “Well, he has not missed the fowl or he doesn’t care,” and at last he decided to feed his own flock. Walking over to his hen house he noticed some footprints in the dirt, then going to the door and stepping inside he noticed that his hens were making a fuss as though they had been scared. Looking around then he saw why John M. Had gone so quietly into his house again. The chicken that he had beheaded and plucked was not John M’s! It was one of his own!

It was nearly a month before Jack came into the village, and the first greeting he got as he tied his horse was from across the street. It was one of those boys who had helped to eat the chicken, and he said “Hello Jack! When are we going to get some more fried chicken?”

Chapter II

Lyn’s Flour Mill

The flour mills built in 1857 by the Coleman Company when Lyn was a flourishing manufacturing centre, later went into bankruptcy and were taken over in 1876 by James Cumming acting for the bank. He later purchased the whole property and carried on the business successfully doing custom grinding, manufacturing several popular bands of flour and furnishing employment for about twenty men.

James Cumming’s son Gordon, associated with him until the former’s tragic death in 1916, carried on the business until 1933 when severe competition from larger manufactures compelled the Lyn flour mills to close.

In the first chapter I mentioned the fact that the loss of the tan bark by fire caused the two tanneries to close down. However, another custom tannery located west of the village, at the foot of a lane running down across the line of the Brockville and Westport Railway, past the home of Nathan Purvis, was in operation for a considerable period after the larger tanneries closed.

Henry Booth, the proprietor, lived in an ancient frame house just across the lane from the Purvis home. He used hemlock bark for tanning, and the mill for grinding the bark was powered by a long wooden shaft similar to the ones on horse powers of that time. That is, one horse was used to turn the mill, by being hitched to the end of the shaft and walking in a circle round and round. Mr. Booth was considered an expert at tanning calf-skins and cowhides. The finished leather was taken to the shoe shop of Peter Pergau, who fashioned it into boots for his customers. The walls of this tannery are still standing, a reminder of an industry long since gone.

Harness Shop, Main Street, Lyn

Harness leather was also manufactured in two flourishing shops, one, Norman Coleman’s and the other Sels Orton, who had a shop across the street from the present blacksmith shop.

Another industry, and undertaking establishment, did a good business. Edward Bagg had a workshop on the corner behind the home of Mrs. Blake Mott, and furnished caskets of his own manufacture.

The old tannery at the foot of the hill below the upright sawmill was leased to the G.F.C. Eyre Mfg. Co. About the year 1901. This firm did a good business manufacturing wooden dry measures, cheese boxes, hub blocks for carriage wheels, and wheel barrows. They also had a saw mill for custom sawing and cut cedar shingles. This carried on for five or six years, employing twelve or fifteen men, but financial difficulties looked and the firm went out of business. N.R. Gardiner bought the machinery and did business for a few years, but a dispute over the lease compelled the closing of the factory, and Mr. Gardiner removed the machinery and sold it.

The Last Factory

The Lyn Last Works, started by Bulloch and Coleman, manufactured boot lasts, boot trees to form the long boots then worn, and dies for cutting the soles for the shoes. Mr. Coleman passed away and James Cumming carried on with Mr. Bulloch for several years finally selling out to his son, A.E.Cumming, who overhauled the building and machinery. For many years it provided paying employment as a lot of men did piecework and became very skillful at their job.

Logs were purchased during the winter and later cut into short lengths, then split in sizes to be turned into lasts. These blocks were stored in an airy dry barn to season for three or four months, then carried to the factory. But the maple was fast being used up locally and blocks had to be purchased from Quebec. This difficulty finally compelled the factory to close, and threw ten or more men out of employment. The building was later sold to the Brundige family of Frankville, who conducted a custom saw mill until the building burned on March 29th,1924.

At one time a stave factory was located just below the last factory. They manufactured staves for all types of barrels. This building burned on May 7th 1862.

McNish Foundry

Another industry which had been doing a good business from about 1890 to 1920 was the Lyn Foundry, owned by George P. McNish. He manufactured land rollers, hand cultivators, plows, root cutters and feed cookers, but competition by larger concerns finally compelled the closing of this business. For a few years Alba Root carried on a business in a red building at the edge of the canal finally moving his cheese box equipment to Greenbush about the year 1902. Henry Graham, who owned a portable saw mill and tractor engine, leased the building formerly used by N.R. Gardiner and in 1912 did custom sawing.

After the spring cutting was finished, the traction engine was driven up the hill past the old shoe factory, burning slabs for fuel and emitting sparks from the smoke stack along the way. On one of these trips sparks ignited the roof of the shoe factory, but a heavy shower coming at just the right time saved the building. However on a later moving, May 11, 1914, the shoe factory was not so fortunate. Long vacant, it burned fiercely, a strong east wind carrying sparks over the village. The old carriage shop, later a cheese factory, next caught fire, then Stack’s ice-house and across the street the George Hensby house occupied by William Young, caught fire and burned. The roughcast house on Main Street next to the canal was on fire but was saved. R.F. Tennant’s verandah started burning and the steps were destroyed. Sparks carried by the gale set fire to the barn and stable of John Serviss behind the residence now occupied by James Manhard and Florence Roberts Next went the house and shed of Dave McCrady. The fire engine from Brockville arrived in time to save only the kitchen of the McCrady house.

But to turn to pleasanter things. I have many memories of the concerts given by local talent, when John Square, our painter and decorator would impersonate Harry Lauder and give some of his very popular Scotch songs. During spring cleaning, john Squire was a most unpopular man among many housewives, who had been promised immediate work by John, and then waited in vain. But all was forgiven him at our annual library concerts, when his Scotch songs delighted us!

I can still remember him with Cora Morrison, now Mrs. Burnham, and Catherine Neilson Gray, doing a pretty piece of work together.

The Minstrels in black face comprised the following boys: Arthur Hudson, Frank Stafford, Willie Clow, Willie McNish, Lorne Cumming, Jack Cumming, John Square and one or two others. What nights! What fun at the preceding practices! Mrs. Ern Cumming was always our pianist, and her home was always open house to those boys.

Many stories are told of practical jokes played on the local inhabitants. One of these was at a time many years ago when there was a very hotly contested election in the offing. Mr. Armstrong, a prominent Liberal, was waiting at the Post Office for his daily paper, The Globe, then strongly Liberal, whose editor, George Brown, wrote many campaign editorials.

Thee Mail and Empire was tossed to Mr. Armstrong. Not looking to see what paper it was he started reading, and seeing a bitter article condemning the Liberal organization, he threw down the paper, turned to his companion, and said, “Did you see this? My God! Has George Brown gone crazy?”

A Democrat Wagon

One story that Father enjoyed telling was the following: One summer a number of residents of the vicinity decided that a trip to Charleston Lake would be in order. Securing a three seated democrat wagon and team, eight or nine farmers left for the lake, and enjoyed a week’s holiday camping. On their trip home they decided to go around by Farmersville, now Athens, and have a picture taken of the group. I do not remember all of the group but my father was one of the ringleaders.

Mr. Kenneth Morrison, a prominent Scotsman and a wonderful athlete, said. “Well, boys, if we are going to have our pictures taken I am going to change into a clean pair of trousers.” Stopping the team, Mr. Morrison climbed out and took off his trousers, handed them up to his seat mate and reached for another pair. The driver, watching the performance, struck the horses with the whip and away they went, leaving the Scotchman paint-less. Well, he started running after the wagon, and the driver would almost stop to let him in, and away they would go again. Naturally, Mr. Morrison got mad, and threatened to exterminate the whole crowd when he got hold of them. Then someone called out, “Oh here comes a buggy with a woman in it.” “What will I do?” said the victim, and they advised him to get behind the rail fence, which he did. They finally let him have his trousers, after making him promise not to wreak his wrath on the driver!

Mills of Elizabethtown Kitley Township

LEADING GRISTMILLS AND SAWMILLS IN NINETEENTH CENTURY

ELIZABETHTOWN AND KITLEY TOWNSHIPS

(Author Unknown)

published app 2005

INTRODUCTION

The earliest mill builders in Elizabethtown and Kitley were United Empire Loyalists who brought at least some “know how” with them from the former Thirteen Colonies.[1] Daniel Jones Sr. and Joseph Jessup, for example, had built and operated mills in the Colony of New York. Abel Coleman, a tanner from the Colony of New York, was familiar with gristmill construction, at least in principle. Tanners built and operated similar if smaller mills, in order to grind hemlock bark to make the liquid they needed to treat hides.

Elizabethtown and Kitley were not as well watered as some neighbouring townships.[2] Lacking rivers, millers had to make do with small creeks with seasonal flow. Lacking deep, steep sided creeks for high dams, flumes, and overshot waterwheels, most millers had to make do with low dams, millraces, and less efficient undershot wheels. [3] Duncan Livingston, an early Kitley mill builder, met the challenge of a wide, shallow creek bed with a dam 12′ high and 100′ wide, a slanting flume, and a horizontal “tub wheel” attached directly to the upper or “runner” millstone above it.

The earliest gristmills in Elizabethtown and Kitley had only a single run of stones, with no mechanized, labour saving “conveyors,” horizontal and vertical, for continuous milling.[4] They required much fetching and carrying, and other handwork. The earliest sawmills had only a reciprocating (“up and down”) blade.[5] Logs had to be ratcheted into it by hand, and the last cut had to be made with an axe. Between the 1820’s and the 1840’s, however, local gristmills began acquiring “conveyors,” and local sawmills began shifting from reciprocating blades to band saws and circular saws with a semi mechanized feed and “take away,” over wooden rollers.

Mechanized milling made the lack of sufficient, reliable power a bigger problem than ever. In and after the 1850’s, millers in Elizabethtown and Kitley began replacing waterwheels with turbines [6] (which used water flow more efficiently) or steam engines.[7] In 1851, for example, William Olds and Hiram Blanchard at Greenbush, with an adequate supply of wood for fuel, opted for a steam engine for their new gristmill. [8] (Steam engines would power three subsequent sawmills at the village.) In 1859 the Colemans at Lyn, with an adequate water supply, opted for turbines, five “Tyler wheels.”

But transportation had greatly improved in the province,[10] and small scale rural focused mills were already losing markets to large scale urban focused mills. Few Elizabethtown and Kitley mills prospered for long in the second half of the 19th century. One exception was the big Cumming flour mill at Lyn, connected to the outside world by the Grand Trunk Railway, via a tramway a mile and a half long and eventually connected to its hinterland by the Brockville & Westport Railway. Another exception was the much [12] smaller Bellamy gristmill near Toledo, which served a still rather isolated area. For very different reasons, these two mills were among the few in our area that prospered into the 20th century.

The last, factory like mills in Elizabethtown and Kitley were neither as visually intelligible nor as picturesque as the earliest waterwheel driven ones. The latter, unfortunately, were the first to vanish.

SELECTED MILLS

R. Coleman and Co. Mills, Lyn, Elizabethtown

Location: con. 3, lot 27.

Abel Coleman built the first mill in either Elizabethtown or Kitley around 1787, a stone gristmill on what would be known as Lyn Creek, just back from where it plunged into a ravine. [13] An undershot water wheel powered its single run of stones (local granite). Crops failed in 1787, however, and so did the mill. Coleman bought back his mill c.1800, had it operating by 1805, and prospered despite rivalry from Joseph Jessup’s gristmill southeast at Lyn Falls. [14] Abel’s son Richard 1 built two successive wood frame mills on the old site (1820, 1838) on the Main Street of Lyn, and began eyeing water north of Lyn. [15] The Coleman’s were the only millers in Elizabethtown or Kitley who made a decisive shift from “custom milling” to “merchant milling”, from serving nearby farmers to manufacturing for sale to wholesalers. In 1859 Richard 1 and son Richard 11 erected a very large, five story stone mill down in the ravine, powered by five turbines (fed by an elevated sealed flume). It housed four runs of stones, a bark mill, and Canada’s first mechanized barrel stave factory (powered by a small steam engine). [16] The Coleman’s created extensive water reserves to the north, and built a tramway south to the Grand Trunk Railway. But the Coleman’s were financially overextended, and shortly after the death of Richard 1 (1861), lawsuits by owners of “drowned lands” precipitated Richard 11’s bankruptcy.

Early Brockville Mills, Elizabethtown

Location: various (see text).

Brockville was politically part of Elizabethtown Township until 1832.[17] The village’s first mill, a wood frame sawmill, was built at the mouth of Buell’s Creek by Daniel Jones Sr. and William Buell Sr. in the early 1790’s.[18] The village’s first gristmill was built somewhere farther up the creek by Buell in 1796.[19] The second gristmill was built at the headwaters of the creek by Jones c.1805, his dam creating the earliest form of what became known as the Back Pond. [20] All three mills had undershot waterwheels. [21] Later gristmills would be built on the creek by, among others, Dr. Elnathan Hubbell (1830’s; mill bought in late 1840s by James L. Schofield, who replaced overshot waterwheel with steam engine c.1850) and Robert Shepherd 1852). The only survivor among these mills is Shepherd’s, which has housed a well known Brockville restaurant for many years.

Livingston Gristmill, near Toledo, Kitley

Location: con. 7, lot 26.

John Livingston built the first mill in Kitley, west of future Toledo, in 1798. A tall gristmill (probably of stone) on the bed of Marshall’s Creek, in a steep sided ravine. [22] The mill seems to have had a high dam, elevated flume, and overshot waterwheel. Customers had to cross a stone bridge to reach the upper, milling level. The mill operated until c.1820, and was eventually destroyed by a fire in the 1840’s. John H. Dayton built a woolen mill on the site in 1866; it burned in 1883. Mill ruins are thus copious but rather ambiguous in origin and date. The site is now closed to visitors.

Livingston / Soper Gristmill / Sawmill, near Frankville, Kitley

Location: con. 8, lot 17.

John’s brother Duncan built a stone gristmill a mile west of future Frankville, on the bed of a shallow creek tributary to Irish Lake, c.1804. [23] It had a very low dam 12′ high, slanting flume, and horizontal “tub wheel”, an ancient forerunner of the water turbine, common in France and the Thirteen Colonies, but unusual in our area. At some point Livingston seems to have converted his gristmill into a sawmill, with a reciprocating blade. The sawmill passed to Timothy Soper c.1814. It was probably a later Soper who equipped the mill with what is said to have been one of the earliest circular saws in Eastern Ontario. Local legend says the mill operated until the 1880’s (likely only from time to time). Most of the ruins were used to make crushed stone in the 1930’s. [24]

Kilborn Mills, near Toledo, Kitley

Location: con. 9, lot 26.

Kilbom’s sawmill was one of the most important in Kitley, if only because it operated continuously for a very long time. About 1823, Abel Kilbom built a wood frame sawmill and wood frame gristmill on Marshall’s Creek, some distance west of John Livingston’s by then abandoned gristmill. The sawmill had a single reciprocating blade, the gristmill a single run of stones. [26] They were likely powered by overshot wheels since Kilbom’s dam seems to have been a high one, high enough to create “Kilbom’s Mill Pond,” the earliest form of “Bellamy’s Pond” and modem Bellamy Lake. [27] The gristmill would eventually close. Kilbom died in 1853, and in 1855 the sawmill was sold to Chauncey Bellamy Jr., who operated it until 1890 (see below). There are no remains.

Pearson / Maud / Astleford Mills, near New Dublin, Elizabethtown

Location: con. 7, lot 17.

In their heyday, these two mills were very important to farmers in central Elizabethtown. [28] In the mid 1820’s Mr. Pearson, an Irishman, built a dam and stone gristmill northeast of future New Dublin, on a tributary of Mud Creek, and soon afterward a stone sawmill. Both mills were powered by undershot wheels, [29] the gristmill with a single run of millstones, the sawmill with a single reciprocating blade. It is said some equipment (millstones?) was imported from Ireland. Pearson sold his mills to Henry Maud in 1843. Maud sold his mills to James Astleford c.1850. Astleford closed the sawmill some years before 1873, when he finally closed the gristmill. Both mills fell to ruins, most of which had disappeared by the 1960’s.

Mott’s Mills, near Hutton, Kitley

Location: con. 1, lot 00.

In 1826 Abel and Hiram Mott bought a site on what would be known as Hutton’s Creek, in isolated but well wooded north central Kitley, and shortly built a stone sawmill.[30] The shallow creek permitted only an undershot waterwheel, to drive a single reciprocating blade. [31] There may also have been a gristmill at the site early on (hence the plural “Mott’s Mills”); if so, it cannot have operated very long. In any case, the sawmill had many later owners, from Samuel Booth (1835), through Richard Olmstead, John and Abial Marshall, and George Nash, to Stephen Robinson (1860’s). Apparently at some early point, the reciprocating saw was replaced by a circular saw.[32] At least by 1860 George Nash and Charles Blancher were operating a shingle mill nearby.[33] The sawmill seems to have been closed in the 1870’s by Stephen Robinson’s son William. [34] The ruins of the sawmill were recently leveled as a hazard to children playing in the area. There is much stone rubble above and below the 1952 floodgates, likely the remains of the dam, millrace, and mill. The modem Hutton Creek Wetland behind the floodgates is very picturesque from spring to autumn.

Greenbush Mills, Elizabethtown

Location: various (see text).

Greenbush was in a rather isolated area with enough trees to supply a long succession of sawmills.[35] James Olds built the first sawmill in 1834 (undershot wheel, reciprocating blade), southeast of the village, on a tributary of Mud Creek. He may have operated it with sons Samuel and William. It passed to Daniel Blanchard in 1862, and then to Thomas Smith, before shortly closing. In 1851 Hiram Blanchard and William Olds built a wood frame (?) steam powered flour mill (single run of stones, conveyors) to the north of the village. It soon closed because of costly mechanical problems. Amos Blanchard and Andrew and Thomas Cook (father and son) bought this flour mill in 1872 and seem to have converted it into a sawmill (circular saw). This sawmill soon passed to Samuel and William Olds, who operated it until it burned c.1900. John Edgely built a wood frame steam sawmill (circular saw) in 1903, on the site of the James Olds sawmill of 1834. It passed to John Hanna and Pearson White, burned in 1906, but was rebuilt by Hanna and eventually passed to L.B. Kerr. Alba Root built a wood frame steam sawmill (circular saw) in 1904, on the site of the Blanchard & Cook mill of 1872. Root’s mill burned in 1906, was rebuilt, and soon burned again. The dangers of operating steam engines in or near a sawdust laden atmosphere are readily apparent. There are no significant remains of any of these mills.

Bellamy’s Mills, near Toledo, Kitley

Location: con. 7, lot 27.

Chauncey Bellamy Jr. bought property on Marshall’s Creek, west of Toledo, from [36] William Brown in 1855, and also acquired the old wood frame Kilbom sawmill. Bellamy built a three story stone gristmill some yards below the dam and sawmill, with a wooden box flume on trestles to carry water from the dam to the gristmill’s overshot wheel (in the weather proof “wheel house” traditional in Canada and the northern United States), which drove a single run of stones. Bellamy gave the sawmill a new lease on life by replacing its reciprocating saw with a circular one. Eventually, he raised the water level behind his dam two or three feet to assure his mills’ summer operation, compensating at least one neighbour whose lands he “drowned” in the process. Well before Bellamy’s death (1908), his son George became general manager of both mills. Chauncey’s sawyer son James operated the aging sawmill until it closed ca 1890, while Chauncey’s son Warren carted finished lumber to customers as far away as Kingston. Around 1915, George Bellamy replaced the gristmill’s waterwheel and leaky box flume with a turbine and round water tight stone and concrete flume (bound with steel hoops). He sold the mill to Omer Arnold in the 1920’s. There were several subsequent owners, starting with Albert Drummond. The mill burned in 1955. All that now remains on site is the stone basin once behind the dam. [37]

Lyn Flour Mills, Lyn, Elizabethtown

Location: con. 3, lot 27.

This “merchant mill” began as the R. Coleman and Co. mill of 1859 under a new name. [38] When the Bank of Upper Canada seized the Coleman mill for debt in 1862, it appointed Richard Coleman II son in law and former employee, James Cumming, as interim manager. Messrs. Chassels and Rivers bought the mill in 1867, and continued Cumming as manager. Around 1875, he addressed the lingering deficiency in water power by supplementing the mill’s turbines with a large steam engine, separately housed. He finally bought the mill for himself in 1880, and shortly modernized all its machinery, most notably replacing the old fashioned millstones with an up to date roller mill for cost effective, high volume flour output. At least by 1893, steam had displaced all but two water turbines as the mill’s “prime mover.[39] James and then his son Gordon operated the mill until its closure in 1933, during the Great Depression. What remained of the Cumming mills was dismantled in 2004, and the site was leveled in 2005. The Heritage Place Museum in Lyn has a rich collection of documents and images covering most of the mills’ history.

NOTES

There were several types of mills in 19thcentury Elizabethtown and Kitley, but this account treats only gristmills and sawmills, the socio economically most important ones. At that, it treats only the earliest, most strategically located, and longest lasting of these mills. Its extensive notes provide a framework for future, more detailed studies.

The account is largely based on secondary sources. No apology is necessary for a reliance on Lockwood’s well researched Kitley, 1785‑1975 pub 1975. Unfortunately there is no equivalent for Elizabethtown. Goldie Connell’s Augusta pub.1985 contains much information about 19th century milling in Augusta Township that is applicable to adjacent Elizabethtown with little or no adjustment. But for basic information about Elizabethtown mills, one must still rely on the Elizabethtown Land Book Abstracts and Township Papers at the Leeds and Grenville Genealogical Society in the Brockville Museum and of course on documents in the Leeds Registry Office. This said, many important details about Elizabethtown and Kitley mills have been lost forever. We are lucky if we know mills were, say, wood frame rather than stone. Somerville’s knowledgeable description of the Coleman mills in the 1860 Montreal Gazette, and Loverin’s knowledgeable description of the Cumming mills in 1893 (Athens Reporter) are very unusual.

Abbreviations of main sources:

Beacock Fryer = Mary Beacock Fryer, A Pictorial History of Brockville (Brockville: Besacourt Press, 1986).

Blanchard = H.D. Blanchard, “History of Old Greenbush,” Brockville Recorder and Times, March 14,1930.

Clout = Karen Clout, Greenbush and Addison Villages: A Look at the History and Homes (New Dublin, Ontario: Heritage Elizabethtown, Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee, 1994; repr. 1995).

Connell = Goldie A. Connell, Augusta: Royal Township Number Seven (Prescott: Augusta Township Council, 1985).

Leavitt = Thad. W.H. Leavitt, History of Leeds and Grenville, Ontario, From 1749 to.1879, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some Prominent Men and Pioneers (Brockville: Recorder Press, 1879; repr. Belleville, Mika, 1980, 3rd printing).

Leung = Felicity L. Leung, Grist and Flour Mills in Ontario: From Millstones to Rollers, 1 780’s to1880’s (Ottawa: Ministry of Public Works and Government Services Canada, Parks Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, National Historic Parks and Sites Branch, 1981).

Lockwood = Glenn J. Lockwood et al., Kitley, 1785 to1975 (Prescott: Kitley Township Council, 1975).

McKenzie = Ruth McKenzie, Leeds and Grenville: Their First Two Hundred Years (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Ltd., 1967).

Somerville = Alexander Somerville, “Travels in Canada West,” Montreal Gazette, October 10, 1860, repr. in Brockville Recorder, November 8, 1860

Ten Cate = Adrian Ten Cate and H. Christina MacNaughton, eds., Brockville: A Pictorial History (Brockville, privately printed, 1972).

Footnotes

1. Local historians have often seemed more interested in the UELs’ military exploits than in their civilian occupations. Even with a professional millwright in charge, men building a mill had to have a working knowledge of mechanics as well as sophisticated carpentry skills, especially when constructing a wooden waterwheel and wooden power train. There is a hint of a significant local “talent pool” in Leavitt’s terse comment “when the first [grist] mill was raised at Ogdensburg [New York], the Canadian settlers of Augusta and Elizabethtown went to that place en masse to assist.” (p. 155). Twelve miles east of modem Brockville, this gristmill was the first convenient alternative to the government built gristmill at Kingston Mills (1784), well over 50 miles southwest of modem Brockville. According to Franklin B. Hough, History of St. Lawrence and Franklin Counties, New York, from the Earliest Period to the Present Time (Albany, N.Y.: Little & Co., 1853, p. 385), Nathan Ford, then of New Jersey, hired “about forty men” from Elizabethtown and Augusta to build a dam and a stone sawmill at future Ogdensburg in 1796. This sawmill then produced lumber to build the wood frame gristmill of 1797, which was also erected by men from Elizabethtown and Augusta. Ford was short of money by 1797, so the building of the waterfront gristmill may, as Leavitt seems to imply, have been a special sort of “bee.” I am grateful to Shirley McDonald of Morristown, New York, for information about both mills. I am also grateful to Doug Grant of Brockville for much information about Daniel Jones Sr. as a miller. At the National Archives, Ottawa, Mr. Grant discovered details about the large scale sawmill, with 14 reciprocating saws, that Daniel Jones Sr. built and operated with his father in law, a Mr. Wing, at Kingsbury, Charlotte County, New York, in the 1770’s; about Jones’s association (as millwright?) with Sir John Johnson and Joel Stone in applications for mill sites at future Gananoque, Upper Canada, in the 1780’s; and about Jones’s own applications for mill sites on the Rideau and Ottawa Rivers in the 1790’s (tel. con., October 27, 2005). For Coleman’s and Jessup’s milling backgrounds, see notes 13 and 14, below. Further in depth research will likely reveal that other UEL’s in the two townships had a milling background in the Thirteen Colonies. Dr. Elnathan Hubbell, for example, may have come from the eponymous milling family at Hubbell’s Falls, Vermont (now Essex Junction).

2. The building of nearby mills in immediately adjacent townships very likely limited the erection (or at least the long term prospects) of mills in neighbouring areas of Elizabethtown and Kitley (see note 10, below, and Appendix). But there were more immediate obstacles to the building of early mills in the two townships, lack of capital, transportation difficulties, lack of settlers to supply grain and timber for milling and to consume the resulting products. These problems were remedied as population increased (more rapidly in riverfront Elizabethtown than in inland, landlocked Kitley). But the lack of sufficient water power could be remedied only by new power sources. The latter lay some time in the future (see notes 6 and 7, below), especially in Upper Canada, which lagged the United States in socio economic development by well over a century.

3. Millers had long thought that overshot waterwheels produced more torque than undershot ones, but this superiority was not scientifically demonstrated until the Englishman John Smeaton, the “father of civil engineering” published his prizewinning comparison of power sources for mills (including windmills) in 1759 (Leung, p. 47). Smeaton proved that “gravity wheels” of his day (overshot, with buckets) used about 60% of available water power, while “impulse wheels” (undershot, with “floats” or vanes) used about 30%. The vertical breast wheel (with an angled flume projecting water at the side floats of a wheel) fell somewhere between the two in efficiency. Millers in Elizabethtown and Kitley Townships had to rely mostly on undershot wheels, because of the shallowness of the average creek bed. No example of a breast wheel has been documented for Elizabethtown or Kitley. The only documented example of a tub wheel in the two townships was at Duncan Livingston’s gristmill & sawmill in Kitley of c.1804 (see note 23, below). In general, torque increased directly with wheel diameter. Adapting diameter (and float or bucket width) to available water flow was one of the millwright’s main tasks, based more on an ancient tradition of trial and error and rules of thumb (“molinology,” from mola, the Latin word for mill) than on science and mathematics.

4. “Conveyor” systems for gristmills (horizontal screws, bucket or “cup” elevators, etc.) were invented by Oliver Evans of Maryland c.1782, and were becoming common in the American South even as UEL’s were settling in Canada (1780’s-1790’s). Leung (pp. 56-69) gives an exhaustive account of Evans’s innovations. His conveyors cut labour costs by half, and made very efficient use of brief spring and autumn “spates” because of continuous milling round the clock. But they also required extra power and were complicated and expensive to build, install, and maintain. The latter fact William Olds and Hiram Blanchard of Greenbush discovered to their cost as late as 1851 (see note 8, below). Evans’s system was adopted only slowly in Canada after 1800, but for various reasons it was not adopted at all in Britain until after about 1850 (Leung, p. 56). Cost apart, the main drawback of speedy Evan’s style continuous grist milling was excess capacity, which (given the money tied up in machinery) all but forced a shift from “custom milling” to “merchant milling,” from a service to farmers to manufacture for wholesalers. Such a shift would have brought rural millers into direct competition with their farmer customers to that point. It was not a shift that most rural millers seem to have been willing or financially able to make.

5. Water powered reciprocating (up and down) saws are much younger than water powered millstones. Primitive versions first appeared at Augsburg, Germany, in the 14th century. Although they required much handwork, they were a great advance over the laborious two man pit sawing that had for a long time been the only way to produce finished lumber. Somewhat more sophisticated sawmills reached North America early in the 17th century and proliferated in the Thirteen Colonies in the 18th. But being costly and sometimes inconveniently located, they did not entirely displace pit sawing. By the end of the 18th century, saw milling was ripe for “industrialization” (e.g., Daniel Jones Sr.’s 14 blade mill in New York in the 1770’s; see note 1, above). The key was a blade faster and more efficient than a reciprocating saw. William Newberry of London, England, patented the first band saw in 1808. Shaker Sister Tabitha Babbitt of Harvard, Massachusetts, is said to have invented the first circular saw for a sawmill c.1813. As band saws and circular saws were introduced in sawmills (1820’s), semi-mechanized feed (log chains) and “take away,” both over rollers, were introduced as a matter of course. Continuous saw milling was common in Canada by the 1840’s. The drawbacks of continuous saw milling were analogous to those of continuous grist milling, among them the high costs of building, installing, and maintaining the new equipment (partly but not wholly offset by reduced labour costs); and the excess capacity that all but forced a shift from custom milling to merchant milling (especially when steam engines freed millers to locate near a good road or railway rather than a good seasonal water supply).

6. The first practical water turbine was perfected in France by Benoit Fourneyron in 1827 (Leung, pp. 86-88). American inventors produced various versions in the 1840’s and 1850’s, some manufactured in Canada. One example was the “Outward Pressure” turbine patented by engineer John Tyler of Claremont, New Hampshire, c.1850, and soon manufactured under license at Gananoque (Somerville). In 1859, while the Coleman’s were installing their first five Tylers, five Tylers manufactured under license in Ottawa were installed in the Dickinson‑Currier

mills at Manotick (Leung, p. 86). A Tyler turbine that Orval Ladd recently rescued from the ruins of the Coleman mills is on display at the Heritage Place Museum, Lyn. Somerville’s vague description can to some extent be supplemented by direct observation, though the wheel has not yet been fully

cleaned. According to Somerville, water was led down from a sealed flume into a slowly draining water tank by a pipe slanting at a 450 angle and tapering from 20″ in diameter to 3.5″. Water jetting at a pressure of 22.5 pounds per square inch struck and turned curbed propeller blades affixed toward the lower end of the immersed vertical “spindle.” Atop the spindle was a large horizontal conical gear

that turned a large vertical conical gear. The meshing “teeth” were small hardwood slabs set into slots in the otherwise smooth gear faces, to eliminate metal on metal sparking in a highly flammable flour and sawdust laden atmosphere. Further gearing transmitted the now horizontal torque up to overhead axles and belt wheels that powered machines throughout the mill.

7. Leung notes (pp. 88-89) that “Steam powered flour mills were first established in Great Britain in 1783, in the United States in 1808 and, it is reported, in Upper Canada in 1823…. Available evidence points to the United States as the source of the first steam engines used to power grist and flour mills (and sawmills) in Upper Canada…. Up to the 1860’s the majority of mills were run by water power…. Lillie reported 41 grist mills (in Ontario) were impelled by steam and 569 by water in 1854.” Both McKenzie (p. 173) and Connell (p. 242) assert that George Longley of Maitland, a few miles east of Brockville, was the first miller in Upper Canada to use steam power, importing his engine from England c.1837. It is clear from Leung’s account, however, that Longley was by no means the first in Upper Canada, although he was perhaps the first in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville. Most millers here and elsewhere in Canada were reluctant to shift to steam because the engines were expensive to buy and import, expensive to operate, and prone to various problems (see note 9, below). Even the “merchant mills” at Lyn did not receive a large steam engine as a “prime mover” to supplement its water turbines until c.1875 (Orval Ladd, conversation, Heritage Place Museum, Lyn, October 20, 2005).

8. See Blanchard. According to Clout (p.1) and Loma Johnston (tel. con., September 14, 2005), the high cost of maintaining conveyors as well as a steam engine and a power train (gearing, axles, belt wheels, etc.) forced early closure of the Olds Blanchard gristmill.

9. Somerville plays up the cheapness of turbines as against steam engines, but he plays down the significant capital cost of installing them. A turbine required a relatively high head of water (high dam), a water tight “hydraulic” flume, and special housing and gearing. This said, Somerville’s arguments against waterwheels at mid century, when compared with turbines and steam engines, were unanswerable:

The price of the (Tyler turbine) is $80 at Gananoque (where it was manufactured under license), or $100 if imported from the States. It is hardly liable to accident, and will last fifty years. A steam engine of the same power costs over $1,500, is liable to many accidents (e.g., breakdowns, boiler explosions, and fires), to premature decay, and has a large appetite for so many cords of wood a day. The latest, that is, the most recent, overshot (wooden water) wheel in use at Lyn cost $800, and was calculated to be worn out in eight years. When grinding bark, to make tanning liquid, it sometimes groaned and stood still, unequal to the weight of resistance (inertial friction of the stones themselves, and of the intervening gear train that translated horizontal torque into vertical torque), though its diameter was twenty four feet and its water force ample. The little merry going Tyler wheel drives the same bark mill, and has never indicated to the feeder in of the bark that it has had enough Economy of space, and absence of splashing and moisture within the walls of the flour mill, are other merits. The little Tyler, with its tank to preserve it from Canadian frost, occupies a square of ten or twelve feet… The overshot (wooden) wheel required a space equal to about half the new mill, and rotted itself and adjacent timber even then…. The Coleman barrel stave factory would have been supplied by a Tyler motion, had not a steam engine of 25 horsepower fallen in the way of the company at a low price.

10. Partly because inland transportation was difficult early in the 19th century, many mills in Elizabethtown and Kitley faced competition from nearby mills in adjacent townships. To the west, for example, were mills at Graham Lake (McIntosh), Temperance Lake (Judson), and Dickens / Glen Elbe (Bellamy Sr.), all in Yonge Township. To the east were mills at Maitland (Lemon, Longley) and North Augusta (Bellamy brothers) in Augusta, and at future Jasper (Haskins / Olmstead) and Merrickville (Merrick) in Wolford. But by mid century, c.1850, millers in Elizabethtown and Kitley faced an even greater challenge. Improvements in transportation, better roads and bridges, the advent of steamboats and especially railways had reduced the isolation that had long been the raison d’e^tre of many a small rural mill and were now exposing rural millers to competition from products of better capitalized, better equipped, and larger scale mills in or near major urban centers. (Local gristmills, for example, could not produce flour as cheaply as the big Ogilvie “merchant mills” in Montreal.) Contributing specifically to the decline of sawmills in Elizabethtown and Kitley were the exhaustion of the virgin forests of Eastern Ontario and the consequent shift of commercial lumbering to forests north of Lake Erie, both in the 1830’s (Connell, p. 85). Contributing specifically to the decline of gristmills were the loss of the Imperial trade preference for Canadian flour and crop devastation by the wheat midge (“Hessian Fly”), both in the 1840’s (Connell, p. 85). Later, when cheap Prairie grain began flowing eastward (1870’s), Leeds and Grenville had no large grain elevators (or associated port and rail facilities) to handle any significant “break in bulk” in this largely water borne traffic. With their forests long gone and their focus now shifting from grain growing to dairying and mixed farming, the inhabitants of Elizabethtown and Kitley (the latter with a population declining since 1851) no longer needed the great number of saw and grist mills that had dotted the landscape in the first half of the 19th century. Some gristmills very likely survived by increasing their production of livestock feed (Leung, p. 230). One of the few new flour mills in Elizabethtown and Kitley in the early 20th century, A. E. Cameron’s steam powered Island City Mills in Brockville, opened c.1903 and focused on grinding feed. The mill passed to H.T. Murray (under whom the mill shifted from steam to electrical power), then to G.D. Atkinson, and was finally closed in 1966. Several such mills opened and closed during the period; one or two continue to operate.

11. In 1853 the Brockville Recorder opined that a locally owned railway would greatly increase (local) production of sawed lumber for the United States market” (“The Brockville and Ottawa Railroad,” February 3, 1853). The possibility of importing timber was one reason why many Leeds and Grenville saw millers supported the Brockville & Ottawa Railway in the 1850’s, and the Brockville, Westport & Sault Ste. Marie Railway (the last leg intended to access forests north and west of Lake Superior) in the 1880’s. The B&O never got beyond Carleton Place (c.1860), and the B.W. & SSM never got beyond Westport (1888). But the crucial importance of railways to all mills is evident in Somerville’s account of the Coleman tramway between Lyn and Lyn Station “A branch line of rails, length one mile and a half brings railway cars all the way from Boston now that the Victoria Bridge at Montreal is opened (in 1859)…. A car from Boston brings a load of hides (for the Coleman tannery)…. The same car is loaded with one hundred barrels of flour (for Boston) at the mill door…. It is drawn over the branch, that is, over the tramway, to the Grand Trunk station, Lyn Station, by horses…. Whereas, before the Grand Trunk (that is, before 1856)… the barrels of flour were conveyed to Brockville, six miles, by carts on the common road, shipped there for Prescott by river, transshipped at Prescott for Ogdensburg, landed at that place, and sent by various routes, with several more changes of conveyance and stoppage…. The price of transit was much more than at present….

According to Orval Ladd (tel.con.October 13, 2005), the Brockville & Westport Railway bought the old Coleman tramway from James Cumming c.1890, and used the rails as part of the link the B&W built between its new station actually in Lyn and the old Lyn Station on the Grand Trunk to the south.

The Bellamy mills in North Augusta were equally reliant on Bellamy Station, which was on the B&O line in Elizabethtown, but there was only a well travelled “common road” between the mills and the depot.

12. The sawmills at Greenbush and Mott’s Mills were also among the rural mills that thrived on a measure of isolation, in pockets of remaining forest.

13. This account is based on David Wylie, “Lyn,” Brockville Recorder, November 10, 1859; Somerville; W. Jarvis, “Recalls Early Days of Nearby Village When It Was Thriving Community,” Brockville Recorder and Times, March 24, 1965; and McKenzie, pp. 25-26,168-169. Wylie and Somerville toured the new mills and seem to have interviewed the Coleman’s themselves. McKenzie (p.23) cites Somerville’s article as one of her sources. Orval Ladd of the Heritage Place Museum, Lyn, kindly provided valuable supplementary information (tel. con.October 13, 2005).

14. Joseph Jessup, who came from a prominent milling family in the Colony of New York, had a gristmill just above Lyn Falls by c.1805, and had added a sawmill and combing and carding mill there by 1815 (McKenzie, pp. 26, 168). But like many other mills in Elizabethtown and Kitley, Jessup’s lasted only a few decades.

15. For the wood frame mills of 1820 and 1838, see W. Jarvis, and photos at Heritage Place Museum, Lyn. In describing the Coleman’s very extensive waterworks north of their mill in the late 1850’s, Somerville, evidently charmed by his Coleman hosts, too casually dismissed a major factor in their downfall:

Until quite recently c.1855, the water power at Lyn could not be relied on more than three months in twelve. To redress this disadvantage the Coleman family, as a company of flour millers, tanners, saw millers and lumberers, purchased wild land running from Lyn, six, ten, and twelve miles inland. It was chiefly marsh and shallow lakes…. In the Spring freshets, the melted snow is gathered into those lakes, rising ten feet above the summer level, apparently to the distress of neighbouring farmers, and is drawn out during the year as required. At one of the sluices a two mile long canal was hand dug to conduct the stream towards Lyn, which otherwise would have found the St. Lawrence at Gananoque, where there are plentiful streams without it, a self acting (automatic) register records how much water has passed within any stated time. Lyn is provided with a working supply of water equal to the steam machinery of a hundred and fifty horsepower….

The Coleman’s in fact bought the mills at Temperance Lake and Graham Lake in Yonge Township (W. Jarvis, cited above). These mills had long been the focus of villages and were hardly “wild land.” Unfortunately for Richard Coleman II, several owners of lands he then “drowned” north of Lyn obtained sizable legal judgments against him and hastened his bankruptcy (McKenzie, p. 168). He committed suicide in 1868 (“R. Coleman Shot,” Brockville Recorder,“The Late Richard Coleman,” Brockville Recorder May 7, 1868).

16. Wylie mentions the four runs of stones. For other details, see Somerville.

17. The Brockville Incorporation Act of January 28, 1832 (reproduced in Beacock Fryer, p. 43) says only that St. Andrew Street divides the East and West Wards “until it intersects the rear or Northerly limits of the said Town” without specifying what the latter were. I am grateful to Doug Grant of Brockville for drawing my attention to the wording. The ambiguity of Brockville’s northern boundaries continued throughout the 1830’s, hence the mention here of the Hubbell gristmill, which operated in the 1830’s and 1840’s. Mr. Grant also provided information about J.P. Buell’s grist and saw mills on Buell’s Creek, near present day St. Lawrence College, and about D.B.O. Ford’s gristmill near the original site of Daniel Jones Sr.’s gristmill at the Back Pond (concession 3).

18. Leavitt, p. 188; Ten Cate, p. 18; and Beacock Fryer, pp. 25-26.

19. Leavitt, p. 197, Ten Cate, p. 18, Beacock Fryer, p. 26. Ten Cate cites a Buell letter of 1796: “I am going on with my grist mill as fast as I can and intend to get it going this fall.” Beacock Fryer tentatively suggests that this mill was northward on Buell’s property, at the head of William Street on Buell’s Creek. No mill appears on Buell’s maps of 1811 and 1816, but they show only the southern portion of his property. Favouring Beacock Fryer’s suggestion is the fact that Butler’s Creek flowed into Buell’s Creek just above the point she suggests, and would significantly have increased the seasonal flow in Buell’s Creek. Any trace of a mill at this spot would have vanished during extensive and intensive development of the area in the 1960s (bridges, culvert, Stewart Boulevard, houses, apartment buildings, etc.). However, there is another, perhaps stronger possibility. On September 21, 1961, Brockville Parks Commission employees engaged in “beautifying” Butler’s Creek between Central and Front Avenues unearthed some very old stone ruins, located in the ravine just below “Ferguson’s Falls” and not far above the point where Butler’s Creek flows into Buell’s Creek (“Stone Ruins Original Mill Serving District?” Brockville Recorder and Times, September 23, 1961, with photo). The ruins consisted of the lowest courses of a stone wall and what appeared to be a stone ramp. This site was originally on William Buell Sr.’s property. He may well have preferred the smaller Butler’s Creek to the larger Buell’s Creek for his gristmill of 1796 because its spring and autumn spates were easier to control, and less likely to damage his waterwheel and mill. But the very smallness of the seasonal flow of Butler’s Creek, and the site’s relative inaccessibility at the time, may also have doomed a mill at this point to early closure and abandomnent. In fact, Buell’s mill of 1796 seems not to have lasted very long. Whatever the case, the mysterious ruins at “Ferguson’s Falls” have long since disappeared.

20. Leavitt, p. 197, McKenzie, p. 26; Beacock Fryer, p. 26.

21. I visited the sites of the Jones-Buell sawmill, Buell gristmill (supposed site, north of the present day William Street Bridge, at Buell’s Creek), and Jones gristmill on October 20, 2005. All the sites seem too low lying to allow the building of a high dam and elevated flume for an overshot wheel. Only the Hubbell site, in a ravine on Buell’s Creek just west of the Perth Street Bridge, which I also visited on October 20, 2005, clearly would have permitted a high dam, elevated flume, and overshot wheel. We know Hubbell’s mill was water powered from the Census of 1851. James L. Schofield, who bought Hubbell’s mill c.1850, seems eventually to have replaced Hubbell’s waterwheel with a steam engine. In any case, a building designated “Engine House” appears on a map of the Schofield property in 1860 that Doug Grant of Brockville discovered in the Ontario Archives.

22. This account is based on Lockwood, pp. 150-152, with supplementary information from Myrtle Johnston (September 14, 2005). According to Lorna Johnston (conversation, Brockville Museum, October 5, 2005), the current owner of the site does not welcome visits. (John Livingston Gristmill)

23. This account is based on Lockwood, pp. 161-163, with supplementary information from Myrtle Johnston (September 14, 2005). The tub wheel, also called a “Norse mill,” was the main forerunner of the water turbine. The vertical axle of the wheel stood on a bearing, and the wheel itself was most often surrounded by a bottomless “tub” or high rim, to focus the water pouring down on it. With angled, propeller blade like floats, it did not need to be more than 6′ in diameter, and required only a low head of water (Leung, pp. 47-48). Another of the tub wheel’s virtues was that it could drive the upper millstone or “runnee’ above it directly, without a power stealing gear train to translate horizontal into vertical torque, thus to some extent offsetting its low power output. (Duncan Livingston / Soper Gristmill and Sawmill)

24. According to Lockwood, there are no significant remains.

25. This account is based on Leavitt, p. 117, and Lockwood, pp. 152-153.

26. Here as elsewhere, when guessing the equipment of early Upper Canadian mills, it is safer to err on the side of simplicity.

27. My guess that Kilbom’s mill originally had an overshot wheel is based on conjectured dam height, but also on the fact that the mill apparently had an overshot under its subsequent owner, Chauncey Bellamy Jr.

28. I am grateful for this account to Horton Astleford, descendant of the last owner of the mill, and the family genealogist and mill historian (tel. con., October 6. 2005). Pearson’s import of equipment from Ireland is mentioned in “Maud’s School Closes Down After Almost a Century,” Brockville Recorder and Times, July 14, 1965.

29. Even a cursory visit to the site on October 20, 2005 confirmed that only undershot wheels would have been possible there.

Mott’s Mills

30. This account is largely based on successive entries in the Kitley Land Book Abstracts, Registry Division Leeds # 28, Leeds and Grenville Genealogical Society, Brockville Museum. I am grateful to Lorna Johnston for her assistance.

31. A visit to the site on October 6, 2005, confirmed that the creek bed is too shallow to have accommodated a high dam and overshot wheel.

32. We know that there was a circular saw in Stephen Robinson’s mill by 1861, from an account of a grim accident that befell one of his mill hands, Mark Boyd, on April 4, 1861 (“Fatal Accident,” Brockville Recorder, May 2, 1861). As Boyd was brushing sawdust away from the circular saw while it was operating, the saw snagged his glove and yanked him down headfirst. The sawmill’s longevity suggests it had acquired a circular saw many years before 1861. I am grateful to Myrtle Johnson for drawing my attention to the Boyd incident (tel. con., September 14, 2005).

33. The Nash-Blancher shingle mill is noted on Walling’s map of 1860-1861 (repr. McKenzie, Illustrated Historical Atlas of the Counties of Leeds and Grenville, Belleville: Mika, 1973, p. 68). It was far enough from the creek to suggest it was steam powered. There are no significant remains of it today.

34. Genealogist Lorna Johnson informed me (conversation, Brockville Museum, October 5, 2005) that William Robinson left for Western Canada in the 1870’s.

Greenbush Mills

35. This account is based on Blanchard and on Clout, pp. 1-2, with important supplementary information from Lorna Johnson (tel. con., September 14, 2005). Writing in 1930, H.D. Blanchard said that “ninety years ago” (that is, in the 1840’s) Samuel and William Olds operated a sawmill that was “a water power affair,” sawing lumber “by an upright (reciprocating) saw.” This can only refer to their father James’s sawmill before its sale to Daniel Blanchard in 1862. It seems likely that the Blanchard Cook steam sawmill of 1872 had a circular saw, as the subsequent longevity of this mill under Samuel and William Olds suggests.

Bellamy’s Mills

36. This account is based on Leavitt, pp. 119-120, 164, McKenzie, pp. 170-17 1, and Lockwood, pp. 153-159, with important supplementary information from Lorna Johnson (tel. con., September 14, 2005) and Myrtle Johnson (tel. con., September 14, 2005).

37. Lonaa Johnson (tel. con., September 14, 2005) says there are no mill remains.

Lyn Flour Mills

38. This account is based on Leavitt, p.100; Loverin’s “Lyn’s Leading Industry,” Athens Reporter, January 10, 1893; and McKenzie, pp. 168-169, with important supplementary information from Orval Ladd (tel, con., October 13, 2005). From a technological point of view, Loverin’s account of the Cumming mill in 1893 is even more informative than Somerville’s account of the Coleman mill in 1860. It is virtually an advertisement, but such is the nature of journalism.

39. Cumming’s reduction of the number of turbines from five to two is noted in the Athens Reporter, which adds that the two that remained had a combined output of 90 hp.

40. A visit to the ravine site on October 19, 2005, confirmed there are no remaining ruins.

APPENDIX:

Other Mills Patronized by Elizabethtown and/or Kitley Farmers,

Outside the Political Boundaries of Their Townships

As mentioned in notes 2 and 10 above, early on in the 19th century, when the scattered mills in Elizabethtown and Kitley presented transportation difficulties, some Elizabethtown and Kitley farmers gave their custom to nearer mills in adjacent townships. The obvious alternatives were in Yonge to the west, and in Augusta and Wolford to the east.

The mills listed below are only some of the leading alternatives, but they were the larger, longer lasting ones. Lord’s mills were admittedly small and short lived, but they are included because of his experiment with an inland windmill. Some entries are lengthy because most modem readers will be unfamiliar with the mills and mill sites at issue.

Mention must be made of J.P. Buell’s gristmill and sawmill near what later became the Ontario Hospital Farm, and D.B.O. Ford’s gristmill at the Back Pond. Though both were technically in Elizabethtown Township, they were strongly associated with nearby Brockville, and postdate Brockville’s political separation from Elizabethtown in 1832.

The Bellamy brothers and John McIntosh (see below) came to Yonge Township from Vergennes, Vermont, at much the same time. The Bellamy’s came from a milling family prominent at Vergennes and in Connecticut. McIntosh seems to have had some milling experience at Vergennes. He may in fact have been a professional millwright, and may well have known the Bellamy’s in Yonge as well as Vergennes.

Haskins / Olmstead Mills, near Jasper, Wolford, 1806 / 1807

In 1806 or 1807 a man known only by his last name, Haskins, built a gristmill on Irish Creek on the Wolford side of future Jasper. It is likely he had a milling background in the former Thirteen Colonies (United States). The dam Haskins built in 1806/1807 was partly of stone and partly of timber. He is thought to have added a sawmill a few years later. The gristmill likely had a single run of stones and the sawmill likely had a single reciprocating blade. The later swamping of the dam suggests that it was relatively low, and thus that both mills were powered by undershot waterwheels. Haskins’s mills were patronized by farmers in Kitley (who used Marshall’s Creek / Irish Creek and Irish Lake as their east-west “highway”) as well as by farmers in western Wolford. Haskins sold out to Richard Olmstead in 1820. Olmstead operated the mills until c.1830, when rising water in the new Rideau Canal backed up Irish Creek and over topped his dam. Olmstead petitioned the government for damages and was eventually granted 11,200 Halifax currency. His subsequent attempt to start another mill using the broken head of water at or near his old site was thwarted by the government, which had his new dam removed. Olmstead then briefly owned Mott’s mills in north central Kitley. Source: Lockwood, pp. 192‑193.

McIntosh Mills, Yonge, ca 1822

John McIntosh came to Upper Canada from Vergennes, Vermont, c.1820. He may have been a millwright. In any case, he lived for a time on the Jessup farm south of Lyn and built some sort of mill near Lyn c1841. Meanwhile, he hired. a man named Graham to find and clear a suitable mill site. Graham found a good site on a creek northwest of Lyn, which McIntosh bought, but Graham shortly absconded. McIntosh moved to the new site, and built a log gristmill with a single run of stones (locally carved). He soon added a sawmill with a single reciprocating blade.. Both mills were powered by undershot waterwheels. McIntosh’s mills were patronized by nearby farmers in western Elizabethtown as well as by farmers in eastern Yonge. The large millpond formed by his dam became known, ironically, as Graham Lake, while the little village that sprang up at the site became known as “McIntosh Mills.” McIntosh’s sons Joseph and John took over from their father. They demolished the old log gristmill and replaced it with a three story stone “flouring mill,” with Evans style mechanization inside. The brothers sold out to Richard Coleman in the late 1850s. Coleman had little interest in the mills, and permitted only limited operation of them. What he really wanted was Graham Lake water to power the large mills he was building farther south at Lyn in Elizabethtown (1859). “McIntosh Mills” languished for quite some time. In 1872, ten years after Coleman’s bankruptcy, George Tennant bought the former McIntosh mills and associated water rights. He updated equipment in the flour mill, replaced the sawmill’s reciprocating blade with a circular one, added machinery for making shingles and cheese boxes, and built tenements and a store for the many workers he employed year round. Leavitt says Tennant “caused the once dilapidated looking place to be a cheerful, busy spot.” Tennant’s mills eventually passed to T.E. O’Brien. After a fire in the gristmill in 1904, O’Brien sold the shell to Peter Flood in 1905. Flood reconstructed the mill, and he and his descendants operated it until 1971. In that year, rising complaints from Graham Lake summer cottagers (water levels fell when the mill was operated) forced the Floods to sell the mill to the Federal Ministry of Natural Resources. Determined local attempts to persuade the Ministry to restore the mill as a tourist attraction delayed its demolition until 1982-1983. There are no significant remains.

Sources: Somerville [ 1860]; Leavitt, pp. 112-113 (with illustration of Tennant’s mills); “Lyn’s Leading Industry” [Coleman reference], Athens Reporter, January 10, 1893; “District News: Yonge Front,” BrockviIle Evening Recorder, March 10,1897; Athen’s Reporter [notice of fire], November 16, 1904; “Villagers Mourn Demolition of Mill,” Brockville Recorder and Times, July 11, 1974; “McIntosh Mill Gets Temporary Reprieve,” Brockville Recorder and Times, July 16, 1974; “Government Re-Assessing Future of McIntosh Mill,” Brockville Recorder and Times, July 17, 1974; “No Funds Available to Restore Old McIntosh Mill and Private Groups Aren’t Interested in Project,” Brockville Recorder and Times, April 12, 1982.

Bellamy Mills, North Augusta, Augusta, ca 1822

Early in 1811 Daniel Dunham built a sawmill on concession 8, lot 34, on Mud Creek Kemptville Creek. It had a single reciprocating saw powered by an undershot waterwheel. Later in 1811 Daniel sold the lot to his son James. In 1821 James Dunham sold the rear half of lot 34 to the brothers Chauncey Sr., Samuel, and Hiram Bellamy. Originally from Vergennes, Vennont, these three men, along with their brother Edward, had lived in Yonge Township for the previous four years (perhaps as mill hands). By 1834, they owned the whole of lot 34, had a new gristmill in operation along with the old Dunham sawmill, and had given rise to “Bellamyville” (soon to be known as North Augusta). They gave their new gristmill one run of stones (carved at Brockville), and shortly replaced the old sawmill’s reciprocating blade with a circular one. Both mills were patronized by nearby farmers in northeastern Elizabethtown as well as by farmers in western Augusta.

Meanwhile, Edward Bellamy had left Leeds and Grenville to build mills elsewhere, and in 1830 Chauncey Bellamy Sr. had returned to Yonge Township, where he built mills at Dickens (see Bellamy Mills, Dickens / Glen Elbe, Yonge, below). Of the two Bellamy brothers who remained at North Augusta Connell writes:

Samuel J. and Hiram, their sons and grandsons were influential citizens of North Augusta for decades to come. Family members were involved in pot and pearl ash works, cloth dressing, woolen and carding mills, a shingle mill, a tannery and a store as well as the saw and grist mills. Around these businesses gathered the blacksmiths, carpenters, coopers, tinsmiths and other tradesmen necessary to the operation of the mills [p. 257].”

The Bellamy mills in Augusta Township benefited indirectly but significantly from the building of the Brockville & Ottawa Railway (opened 1860). Bellamy Station was in Elizabethtown, and the road between it and the Augusta mills was an important lifeline to suppliers and clients. Various Bellamy mills burned in the second half of the 19th century, but they were always rebuilt. When the gristmill burned in 1863, the Bellamy’s used the opportunity to replace the mill’s waterwheel with a steam engine and to add more runs of stones. However, when the sawmill burned again in 1903, it was not replaced. The grist/flour mill passed to Edward and Thomas Eyre in 1877. Connell says: “With improved transportation, which brought unbeatable competition from the products of larger mills in urban centers, flour was no longer made and only custom milling of cattle feed was done. Harlow Place was the last miller to own the grist mill.” The mill closed in 1965. It would soon be dismantled and re-erected at Upper Canada Village.

Sources: Leavitt, p. 184; McKenzie, p. 170; Connell, pp. 256-258.

Lord’s Mills, Augusta, ca 1822

Charles Lord of Montreal bought land in west central Augusta in 1815 (concession 4, lot 24), but it was not until c.1822 that he settled on this property and built a gristmill and sawmill on the South Nation River that ran across it. He had a single run of stones and a single reciprocating saw, both powered by the same undershot waterwheel. For about five years, Lord’s mills served nearby farmers in east central Elizabethtown as well as farmers in central Augusta. But excessively high and low water levels on the South Nation be deviled his operations. Around 1827 Lord replaced his waterwheel as a power source with a wood frame windmill. His was not the first windmill powered mill in Augusta. Connell notes (p.86) that the first and perhaps only forerunner had been built by Ephraim Jones near the St. Lawrence at “New Oswegatchie” (Blue Church area) c.1786 and had ceased operation some time before 1805. In any case, once Charles Lord had installed the sails on his new windmill, they turned only long enough to grind about a bushel of corn and then stopped. Thinking the surrounding dense forest was blocking the wind, Lord cleared 500 acres of trees. The sails still refused to budge. It was now clear that the real problem was the height of the surrounding terrain. Running short of money, Lord abandoned his mills, sold his land, and moved to New York State. But the little community that had arisen in the area would always be called “Lord’s Mills.” Some years after Lord’s departure, when his mills were in ruins, John Hanna bought the site and erected a sawmill (circular saw) and shingle mill, powered by an undershot waterwheel. But he may not have solved the problem of the South Nation’s wildly fluctuating water levels. By 1870 the Hanna mill, its wheel developing 6.7 hp, was operating only half a month a year, to make wooden bowls. It closed shortly afterward. There are no significant remains.

Source: Connell, pp. 86, 239‑240.

Longley Mills, Maitland, Augusta, ca 1828

By 1828, two years after the English born George Longley had settled at future Maitland, he was operating a windmill powered stone gristmill (single run of stones) just west of the village, on the south side of the King’s Highway, near the St. Lawrence. To some extent it served farmers in southwestern Elizabethtown as well as farmers in south Augusta. But even this early it was primarily a “merchant mill,” grinding imported grain into flour for export to wholesalers elsewhere. Longley prospered, and expanded his mill’s capacity. However, while the sails of the stone windmill benefited from winds off the river, their operation was somewhat unreliable. Accordingly, around 1837 Longley imported a large 30 horsepower steam engine (likely from Britain or the United States) as the “prime mover” for the three storey stone flour mill he built south of the old windmill tower. The new riverside mill had four runs of stones for grinding wheat, two for grinding oats, and an elaborate Evans style power train and conveyor system. Said to have been the largest in eastern Upper Canada at the time, Longley’s mill was now almost exclusively a “merchant mill.” It had a large new wharf on the St. Lawrence to accommodate busy steamboat traffic in grain and flour. The old windmill tower was now used to store grain. After Longley died in 1842, a Mr. Hardy operated the mill under license from Longley’s estate, and then James and Robert Harvey. By 1854, the mill was in need of an extensive and expensive update. Instead, Longley’s executors closed it. Borst and Halladay purchased the mill building in 1863 and converted it into a distillery, but their business collapsed in financial scandal in 1865. Some distillery structures were dynamited in 1909. The windmill tower was reconstructed and stabilized in 1967. The remaining old outbuildings were removed in 1973.

Sources: Leavitt, pp. 75-76; McKenzie, pp. 173, 184; Connell, pp. 242-243; Dumbrille and Otto, Maitland: “A Very Neat Village Indeed” (Boston Mills: Boston Mills Press, 1985), pp. 37-41, 53-55, 63-64; Doug Grant, “Doug Grant’s History Album: Maitland Windmill,” Brockville Recorder and Times, December 11, 1999.

Lemon Mills, Maitland, Augusta, c.1830

Around 1823 Charles Lemon built a blacksmith’s shop and foundry on the King’s Highway, in what would become Maitland, a few miles east of Brockville. Around 1830 Lemon bought the remains of Hulbert’s burnt out sawmill and the still intact tannery on what soon became known as Lemon’s Creek, which flowed into the St. Lawrence just to the east of the village. Lemon shortly erected a sawmill of his own. Eventually he added a gristmill (undershot waterwheel, single run of stones) and carding mill. Unlike Longley’s “merchant gristmill” (see above), Lemon’s gristmill was primarily a “custom mill,” serving farmers in southeastern Elizabethtown as well as farmers in south Augusta. Lemon’s son, Charles Jr., took over the various businesses, and replaced the old gristmill on the creek with a large stone flour mill down by the river. A long flume running under the highway carried water from the old dam to power the overshot wheel of the new mill. Charles Jr. eventually sold out because of ill health. The flour mill had several subsequent owners, one of whom replaced the waterwheel with a steam engine. The mill seems to have operated past 1900, but was dismantled before the 1930’s. All utilitarian buildings associated with the Lemon family have long since vanished, except for the one in the village that once housed Charles Lemon’s original foundry.

Sources: Leavitt, p. 103; McKim, “Landmarks by the Riverside,” Brockville Recorder and Times, April 9, 193 5; McKenzie, p. 176; Connell, pp. 86, 242; Dumbrille and Otto, Maitland: “A Very Neat Village Indeed” (Boston Mills: Boston Mills Press, 1985), pp. 88‑89.

Temperance Mills, Yonge, ca 1830

Around 1830, as the Temperance movement was gathering strength in Leeds and Grenville, Rathiel Judson built a dam and gristmill just over the township line between Yonge and Elizabethtown, on a creek that fed what would become Centre Lake. Judson soon added a sawmill and a carding mill. His dam created a large millpond that would soon become known as Temperance Lake. Judson seems to have required all his employees to abstain from alcohol, as he did. Judson’s mills were used by nearby farmers in western Elizabethtown as well as by farmers in eastern Yonge. The village that arose in the area was first known as “Judson’s Mills” and then as “Temperance Mills.” Judson eventually sold his mills to a joint stock company that operated them as the Leeds Union Temperance Mill. In 1844 the company sold out to Henry Hagerman, who continued to require employees to be abstainers. Hagerman added a shingle mill and a cheese‑box factory. Around 1852 his mills were severely damaged by a heavy spring runoff. Hagerman repaired them, but when they burned two years later he was financially unable to rebuild them. Around 1855 Richard Coleman purchased the property. He had no interest in rebuilding the mills. What he wanted was Temperance Lake water to power the large mills he was planning to build at Lyn in Elizabethtown Township (18 5 9). “Temperance Mills” became a ghost town, and by 1879, according to Leavitt, the mills were “in a state of ruin.” All that remains is part of Judson’s original dam, now high and dry. Cottagers have dubbed two of the islands in the lake Whiskey and Soda.

Sources: Leavitt, p. 79; “Lyn’s Leading Industry” [Coleman reference], Athens Reporter,. January 10, 1893; McKenzie, p. 171; “Abstainers Gave Name to Temperance Mills,” Brockville Recorder and Times, March 26, 1982.

Bellamy Mills, Dickens / Glen Elbe, Yonge, c.1832

In 1830 Chauncey Bellamy Sr. left “Bellamyville” in Augusta Township (see above) and settled at Dickens in Yonge Township, two miles southeast of Athens. It seems to have been a return for him. As noted above, Chauncey and his brothers had lived and worked in Yonge between 1816 and 1820, before moving to Augusta. Chauncey’s son Chauncey Jr. had in fact been born at Dickens in 1818. In any case, by 1832 Chauncey had two mills operating on a creek near Dickens, a tributary of Wiltse Lake. His gristmill had a single run of stones, his sawmill had a single reciprocating blade, and both of them were powered by undershot waterwheels. Chauncey’s new “custom mills” prospered, patronized by nearby farmers in western Elizabethtown as well as by farmers in eastern Yonge. In 1835 he built himself a substantial stone house at Dickens (still extant, recently restored). Likely updating machinery from time to time, but still relying on waterwheels for power, Chauncey operated his mills until his death at Dickens in 1866. The inscription on his tombstone speaks of him as “emphatically a man of industry and toil.” His mills had several subsequent owners. In 1889 Dickens, by then renamed Glen Elbe, was given a station on the Brockville & Westport Railway, and the former Bellamy gristmill may have benefited to some extent. But by now, like most gristmills surviving in rural Ontario, it was focused on milling feed for livestock rather than milling flour for human consumption. Lorna Johnson, a Bellamy descendant and family historian, is certain that the gristmill, at least, operated into the 20th century. But she is uncertain of the precise date that it closed. There are now no significant remains of either the gristmill or the sawmill on site.

Sources: Leavitt, pp. 79, 164; McKenzie, pp. 170, 184; Connell, p. 257; Lorna Johnson, tel. con., November 23, 2005.

The General Store in Lyn

C.M. Taylor Drugs

The General Store in Lyn was located at 25 Main Street West and was first owned by A. T. Trickey. It was a drug store and also a general merchandise store. A.T. Trickey ran it until approximately 1890 when it was purchased by Mr. Gardiner. Mr. Gardiner did not have a druggist pharmacy license so he hired a fellow from Tamworth, Ontario by the name of C. M. Taylor. He went to work for Mr. Gardiner, later married Mr. Gardiner’s daughter and eventually took over the store. Mr. Taylor and his wife eventually took over the Gardiner house on Perth Street, which is north of the United Church. They lived there for many years and had one daughter who lived there until approximately the 1950’s. Next Eldon Coon took over that house and built a new house for Miss Taylor to live in. Originally the house was built by the Coleman Family and it was said that every brick in it had been wrapped in tissue paper and shipped from England and all the steel rims around the outside had been made in France by the same people who made the Eiffel Tower.

In 1919 the store was sold to John McCrady who worked part time for Mr. Taylor. When he took over the store it became more of a grocery store than anything. He sold ice from the ice house behind the store. The hotel that was next to it burned in 1928 and what was left of the walls remained there until the late 1940’s. He ran the store until the late 1940’s when he sold it to his son Dave McCrady.

J.C. McCrady General Store

Dave McCrady ran the store for a couple of years and then sold it to Frank McCrady, his brother. In 1947 Frank sold it to Earl “Dusty” and Cleta Miller. They took over the store, enlarged it, fixed the apartment upstairs and lived above the store. They built a piece beside the store from which they sold appliances. They ran it until 1985 when they sold it to the Pourier Brothers. Under their ownership the business didn’t survive and they left. The store was sold to a fellow from Hopetown. He started to renovate the inside but it caught fire and burned through the roof. The building was then torn down and an empty lot was left. The lot remained empty until Ursula Veltcamp bought it and built the little restaurant that is now there. The Stack hotel was right beside it on the western side.

C. M. Taylor Druggist c1908
C,M, Taylor Drugs with the Stack Hotel on the right c 1908
C. M. Taylor Drugs
J.C. McCrady Red and White Store c1950
D. R. McCrady Red and White Store

Miller’s General Store c1970
Millers Red and White Store c 1970
Calico Cat

Lyn – News from the Village – 1912 to 1942

The Athens Reporter- excerpts have been taken from this newspaper for the years- 1912-1942. The original newspapers are in the archives of the Heritage House Museum, Athens, Ontario

 Lyn, Sep 4, 1912

Killed on Track – While walking from Brockville to his home above Lyn, between twelve and one o’clock on Thursday afternoon, Nathan Purvis, a well known farmer, met his death on te tracks of the B.W.& N.W. Railway, at a point near Lyn Junction. An engine was a special freight train from Lyn to Brockville with D. Carty on the look-out. When nearing the place described he observed on the track what seemed to be a bundle of paper. As te train had almost reached the object and too late to give the signal Carty discovered that it was a man, who was run over and terribly mutilated. The body was sufficiently intact to permit identification by the train crew.

Lyn– June 27, 1925

Lyn Women’s Institute Holds Opening Meeting- membership comprises 41 residents of the village

The first regular meeting of the Lyn branch of the Women’s Institute was held on Tuesday afternoon in the Institute rooms. The president Mrs Stuart Booth, presided. After the singing of the Institute ode the roll call was responded to by the payment of fees, at the close of which the sectary reported a paid up membership of 41. Mrs. George McNish gave a splendid paper on “The value of co-operation”. Miss Julia Stafford collected suggestions for the yearly programmes from all present. Mrs. Helen Paul gave an interesting talk on the “Origin, Growth and Objects of Women’s Institutes,” which was followed by the nominations for the standing committees for the year. Refreshments were then served from a daintily decorated tea table, presided over by Ms. John Square and Mrs. Mazie Shipman. The social half hour was much enjoyed by all. The next meeting of the Institute will take place on the third Monday in July at 7:30 p.m.

Miss Bessie Billings has gone to New York to visit Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Bryson.

Miss Catherine Neilson is spending the summer at Ivy Lea.

Mr. and Mrs. C.J. Imerson and Omar Emerson motored to Delta on Sunday to visit friends. Mrs. Imerson is staying there for a few days.

Mrs. D. Leeder and baby, of Cartage, N.Y., were guests of Mr. and Mrs. C.J. Imerson last week for the Davis-Howard wedding.

In spite of the threatening weather the social held by the Anglican Church on the rectory grounds last Friday evening was quite a success. While the crowd was not so large as usual everyone seemed t enjoy themselves. Rev. L.E. Davis, Brockville, acted as chairman and a very interesting programme was given.

Miss Jean McFadyen, Kingston, is visiting Rev. and Mrs. W.F. McCree.

Miss Mary Cumming, Toronto, is home for the holidays.

Lyn, Sep 24, 1925

Women’s Institute of Lyn Increases its Membership- Seventy-Seven now on roll of the organization

The regular September meeting of the Ly branch of the Women’s Institute was held on Monday afternoon in the Institute rooms with the president, Mrs. Stuart Booth in the hair. There was a very large attendance of the members who had as their guests the older ladies of the community. Ten new members joined, making a total of 77 on the roll. “The First Recollections” given in response to the roll call, created much amusement. The treasurer, Mrs. J. Bolin, gave a splendid report showing a good balance on hand. Miss. J. Hamilton reported on the probability of having a class in basketry during the coming month. It was decided also to hold a sale at Thanksgiving time. During the programme antiques of china, pewter, linen and trinketry, all well over a hundred years old and carrying besides much of local interest, were on display. Mrs. John Square gave again by request a paper on the “Early History of Lyn.” Two splendid papers, one in favour of “Consolidated Schools” was read by Mrs. Wilson Burnham and one on “Christian Stewardship” read by Mrs. Herb Robins were much appreciated. An interesting summary of current events for the month was given by Mrs. Walace Gardiner in the absence of Miss. J. Taylor. Of interest to all was the very realistic demonstration, given by Mrs. M. Shipman and Mrs. R. Steacy, of the processes through which flax is passed in the preparation of home made linen. A vote of choice of the delegate from this branch to the annual astern Ontario convention in Ottawa was taken and resulted in the appointment of Mrs. Helen Paul, with Mrs. Joseph Bolin as alternate. Tea was then poured at a daintily spread tea table by Mrs. John McCready and Mrs. Norman Lee. The splendid programme and happy social hour following reflect much credit on Miss Julis Stafford, who with group three ladies was responsible for the meeting. The next regular meeting will be held in the evening on the third Monday in October.

Miss Bessie B. Billings has gone to St. John, N.B. where she will teach in a select girls’ school.

Misses Gladys Latimer and Mary Brown have gone to Ottawa to attend the Normal School.

Dr. and Mrs. F.M. Judson have been spending a few days at C.M. Taylor’s cottage, Lily Bay.

Miss Margaret McNish has returned from visiting relatives in Toronto and Weston.

Dr. Lloyd Hannah, Moosejaw, Sask. Who has been ill, is here on an extended visit to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Hannah.

Mr. and Mrs. Stuart Miller and family and father Norton Miller, of Prescott, spent the weekend with Mrs. John Stead.

Miss Taylor, who has been visiting relatives in England will spend a few days with Rev. and Mrs. W.T. McCree, on her way across Canada to her home in New Zealand.

Allan G. Cumming has returned to Boston, Mass., after having spent some weeks with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. G.C Cumming.

Mrs. James A. Davidson, who s visiting her cousin, Ms. R.F. Tennant, was taken seriously ill on Wednesday, but is reported better at this writing.

Mrs. James Sheridan, Brockville, spent the weekend with Mrs. Williamson.

Mr. and Mrs. Muirhead, Brockville, were week-end guests of Mr. and Mrs. John Square.

Miss Georgina Pergeau, Gananoque, has returned from visiting her sister Mrs. Moris Lee, in Detroit, and is spending a few days with her mother, Mrs. George Pergau. Little Miss Betty Lee accompanied her home.

Last Friday evening Rev. and Mrs. A.E. Smart entertained the members of the A.Y.P.A. at the rectory.

The annual harvest Thanksgiving festival services of the Anglican Church will be held on Sunday afternoon, September 27, at 3 o’clock.

Miss May Stafford and friends are spending this week with Mrs. William Stafford and family.

L.A. Glassford, Toledo, Ohio, is spending a holiday in the village with Mrs. Glassford and Miss Widdis.

The Misses Agnes and Estella Bulloch are closing their home here next week and will go to Montreal to spend the winter.

Lyn, Jan 25th, 1926

On Sunday evening last a delightful song service was held in the United church and was thoroughly enjoyed by the large congregation present. Six well known hymns were sung by the congregation, who seemed to enter into the spirit of them, “Onward Christian Soldiers”, “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name”, “I Need The every hour”, “I hear thy Welcome Voice”, “I am Thine, O Lord”, “Oh for a Thousand Tongues to Sing”’ and the closing hymn, “O Vanada”.

The choir under the efficient leadership of Stuart Booth, excelled itself. The following anthems were given in a manner that would have done credit to any city choir; “Sing, O Daughter of Zion”, “Guide Me, O Thu Grat ehovah”, and “Seek Ye the Lord”.

Miss Fern Robinson rendered a solo entitled “Hear Me Cry”, and Casper Booth gave “The Holy City”. Mrs. M. Cornell, Miss Fern Robinson and J.Bushfield contributed solos in the anthems. The accompanists were Mrs. Stuart Booth, Mill Louise Booth and Miss Margaret Booth. At the close of the service many expressions of appreciation were heard. It is the intention of the organist and choir to hold similar song service once each month during the winter. The minister, Rev. F.G. Robinson, conducted the service.

Lyn– April 11th , 1927

Miss Margaret McNish is visiting Mr. and Mrs. F.W. Moffatt and Miss Mary McNish at Weston, Ont.

Sidney G. Easton is home from Lethbridge, Alberta to spend Easter with his father E.H. Easton and his sister, Miss. W.R. Easton.

Dr. and Mrs. E.J. Bracken and the Missess Elinor, Jean and Lois Bracken motored from Gananoque on Sunday to spend the day with relatives and friends.

Mrs. R.G. Stewart spent the weekend with Mr. and Mrs. Thompson Weeks at Poole’s Resort.

James W. Cumming is home from Detroit, Mich.

Mrs. G.W. Judson will leave this week to spend Easter with friends in Ottawa.

The Misses Vera Armstrong and Helen Purvis have purchased Essex coaches from R.G. Stewart, the local automobile dealer.

Mrs. G.C. Cumming has returned from visiting relatives and friends in Toronto and Windsor.

The condition of the Rev. E. Teskey does not improve the way his many friends would wish.

Master Murray Billings will leave this week to spend Easter in Toroto with his sister, Miss Bessie Billings.

Miss Ruth MacNish, R.N., is home from New Rochelle, NY to care for her sister, Mrs. William Robinson, who still remains quite ill.

On Wednesday afternoon last a number of members of the Women’s Institute met in the Institute rooms and tendered Mrs. G.W. Judson  and Dr. and Mrs. F.M. Judson a shower of preserved fruit, pickles, etc., as well as other useful articles as they were unfortunate to lose all of such things in the fire which destroyed their home recently. Mrs. Maurice Brown read a short address to which Mrs. G.W. Judson replied very fittingly. Refreshments were served by the committee in charge.

The regular meeting of the Women’s Institute will be held on Wednesday evening April 20, with Mrs. Maurice Brown as Convenor.

Lyn– July 23rd, 1948

County Farmers to Meet Tuesday at Lyn Farm

An evening meeting for farmers will be held on the farm of H.H. McNish, Lyn, Tuesday evening, July 27th at seven o’clock in the evening, under the supervision of the Experimental Farm Ottawa. J.R. Ostler, Leeds County agricultural representative, informed The Reporter yesterday.

He starter the newer and up to date work of the Experimental Farms and Illustration Stations would be outlined and it is expected speakers from Ottawa will be present for the occasion. Mr. McNich’s farm is the illustration station for this area.

The grain varieties are now nearly ripe and ready for observation as well as other crops and experiments going on. Leeds County Crop Improvement Association is co-operating with the Experimental Farm, Ottawa, in this programme.

Leonard Quinn, World War II Veteran

Remembrance of my father by Barbara (Quinn) Dunster

While my story about World War II would pale to some, perhaps even right here at Parkview Place and as Remembrance Day draws near, I would like to share a few of my memories with you.

Leonard Quinn 1907-1980

My father, Leonard S. Quinn, (I always called him “Daddy”), was born in May 1907 and my mom Flora (MacNamara) Quinn, was born in July 1906. They were born and brought up in the Lyn area where they met and married in October 1932 and moved into the Village of Lyn.

They had three daughters, Beverly in 1933, Barbara in 1935 and Joan in 1937.

Daddy was a farmhand for several farmers in the area and worked for Simpson’s Sand and Gravel Shipping, hauling such from Wellesley Island in the St. Lawrence River to the mainland at Johnstown near Prescott, Ontario where the large grey structure still stands. He acquired a government job with the Dept. of Highways and was working on the rock cut at Rockport, Ontario, west of Brockville, Ontario for Highway #2, when the War broke out in September 1939. The construction of Hwy #2 ceased during the war years to allow money for war supplies etc.

When the Second World War was declared in the Fall of 1939, I was four and a half years old. My Dad was helping to build Highway #2 in the Brockville and Mallorytown area at the time, but his job ended immediately when the War broke out. Since work was hard to find and men were needed for service, Dad joined the Army with the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Highlanders. He trained in Kingston, Ontario and Truro, Nova Scotia before going overseas in April 1940. We didn’t see Daddy again for five years, “Snail Mail” was our only means of communication.

My Mother and two sisters spent the next 5 years coping with no Dad and many difficult times. Mom nursed us through all the Communicable Diseases and several surgeries, one which nearly claimed my life. At seven years old, I was stricken with Acute Appendicitis and required surgery immediately. I developed double pneumonia, went into a coma and was not expected to make it. They cabled overseas to tell my Dad, only to find he was in hospital with pneumonia, having just had a Mastoid operation. They never did tell him how ill I was, until he was well.

I remember the doctor coming to the house to witness the Ration Books being burned in the kitchen stove, after my sister and I had Scarlet Fever. Only then could we get new books issued. Of course we were quarantined for all those diseases then.

We lived for the days we’d receive a note or letter from “Overseas” with “Dear Wife and Kiddie” in it! We wrote many, many letters over the next five years and always begging him to come home. Same reply, “I’ll be home as soon as I can get there!”

My two sisters and I learned how to make “War Cake” early on. I still make it today and when you go by our door and smell cinnamon and cloves, I’m more than likely making War Cake*. We kept Daddy supplied with this cake because it keeps well and when he emptied his Kit Bag when he arrived home, there in the bottom was a small piece wrapped tightly in waxed paper along with a bent picture of his “Dear Wife and Kiddies”.

We helped gather the milk weed pods for making parachutes and were involved in the Concerts put on to raise money for War supplies. At these Concerts in the area, and at the Friday afternoon Sing-a-long at school, I would be asked to sing, accompanied by Don (now my husband of 51 years). The Song? “Bless Them All”. I cried! I remembered! We saved all our pennies to buy War Saving Stamps, thinking that would bring Daddy home sooner.

I was too young to understand fully the dangers of war, but I do remember us getting a letter that was covered with mud. They had become mired in it and didn’t think they would get out, so they scribbled notes to be sent home and threw them to the ones behind, until they reached solid ground.

It was difficult for my mother raising three little girls during that five year period. A monthly payment to Blue Cross was the only health plan. Mom received a cheque each month for $93.00 to cover food, home, clothing, medical needs etc. Sometimes those cheques arrived late making a more difficult situation, especially when they didn’t arrive until after Christmas.

Finally in June of ’45, the letter came that he would be home in August. I cannot tell you how excited I was! I literally grabbed the letter from Mom and raced down the hill to show my Aunt and Uncle. He would be sailing home on the “Isle de France”, docking in Montreal, taking the train to Brockville and driving the last four miles home to Lyn, where his “Dear Wife and Kiddies” were awaiting his arrival. He had done his Duty! My sister Beverly and I sang all night waiting for him to come home.

Daddy had fallen in a trench during a blackout in France and injured his shoulder to the extent that he was unable to return to highway construction. After waiting the required month upon receiving his honourable discharge in Kingston on August 31st he started work at the Brockville Ontario Hospital, beginning October 1st, 1945 as an Attendant, where he worked for the next 27 years until he retired at age 65. He received his training there and was known as a well respected, loyal, hard working male attendant.

After retirement they sold their home in Lyn and moved to the Churchill Apartments on Reynolds Drive in Brockville.

Daddy and Mom were totally devoted to we three girls, our husbands and our families. They waited every day for our phone calls, letters and our visits.

Although I never did get to know and understand my Dad well, after being separated from the time I was four and a half to ten years of age, I do know he was a quiet, hard working honest man, with a heart of gold, who loved me very, very much!

Daddy passed away February 21st, 1980 after a massive stroke. If he was here with us today, I would say “Thank You” for going to war, to help Our Country, and Really mean it, even though he left behind his “Dear Wife and Kiddies” for five and a half years.

My mother passed away on March 22, 1991

Daddy gave me his War Medals and I am so very proud of him!

Written by Barbara (Quinn) Dunster, July 2017. Barbara sadly passed away in August 2017.

Barbara (Quinn) Dunster 1935-2017

 

Leonard Quinn’s WWII Service Medals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barbara donated her father’s Service Metals to the Heritage Place Museum where they are on display. We are grateful to her for this gift.

*War Cake was an egg-less, almost fat-less, milk-less cake, very aptly named, it was easy to make and the ingredients were available during the wartime shortages.

Recipe for War Cake

2 cups castor sugar; 2 cups hot water; 2 Tbsp lard; 1 tsp salt; 1 tsp cinnamon; 1 tsp cloves; 1 package seedless raisins

Boil all together. After cold, add 2 cups of flour, 1 tsp of baking soda dissolved in 1 tsp hot water. Bake about one hour in a slow oven (300-325f) (Internet source for this recipe)

Captain William James MacNamara

Every once in awhile, a forgotten soldier from the past re-surfaces. Thanks to notes and photos received from the great niece of William James MacNamara, Barbara Dunster (nee Quinn), we can piece together his life and pay tribute to this forgotten soldier who gave his life in World War I.

 

Lt. William MacNamara 1892-1916

William James MacNamara was born in Lyn on January 10th 1892. He was the son of John T. MacNamara and Beatrice (Cook). John was a farmer and stone mason living in the Lyn area. The family consisted of thirteen children, with their youngest child dying shortly after birth and one daughter dying of consumption at the age of thirty-three.

 

Growing up in Lyn, William would have attended the two story, relatively new, Lyn Public School on the west side of the village. He would have enjoyed village life, fishing in the Lyn pond, and in the winter skating on that same pond.

 

As a young man he joined the “Boys Cadets” and spent two years with them. Later on in his late teens, he was a Lay Minister at the Presbyterian Church in Lyn. He worked in general construction in and around the Lyn area.

When the war in Europe broke out on July 28th, 1914, William, like all the other young men his age, wanted to do their service for King and Country. On September 23rd, 1914 William at the age of 22, joined the army at Valcartier Quebec, the primary training base for the First Canadian Contingent in 1914.

On August 10, 1914, the government established the strength of the First Canadian Contingent for overseas service at 25,000, the figure requested by London. Minister of Militia and Defence Sam Hughes, eager to lead and coordinate personally a speedy call-up, chose to forgo the established mobilization plan and issued a more direct call to arms. Men from all classes and ages rushed to enlist at armouries and militia bases across the country. They all traveled to a single, hastily prepared camp at Valcartier for equipment, training, and preparation for war. Eventually the camp held over 35,000 troops.

Valcartier, Quebec 1914

We are not sure of William’s training dates or when he left for England, but we do know that he was assigned as a Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force. The chances are very good that he met up with the 3rd Battalion as they were training at Camp Bustard in England.

Bustard Camp, Salisbury Plain, England

Before leaving for Europe, William became engaged to Ethel MacKenzie of Lyn.

Through the war diaries of the 3rd Battalion, we are given a look into what his life would have been like.

“On Sunday Feb. 7th, 1915 during a heavy rain storm the battalion was preparing to leave England and move to the front. On Feb 17th they reached Armentieries, France (Northern France, near Belgium) and were billeted there and given instructions on the trenches at the front.”

We are going to skip ahead to November 6th when the 3rd Battalion was moved to Dranoutre to relieve the 2nd Battalion. An 8PM entry, notes: “Relief completed. Mud very bad, dugouts fallen in. Parties of 4th C.M.R. attached for training, about 15 O.R. to each of our companies. 2nd Canadian Division on our left, 4th Battalion on our right.”

A November 16th entry finds them still in the trenches at Dranoutre.

3rd Battalion in the Trenches

9 a.m. Our guns opened on German line near PETITE DOUVE FME., and continued intermittently until dusk.
3:00 p.m. Heavily shelled by a 5.9” on a train, using A.P shells. Lt. H.C. JONES and 7 O.R. wounded by one. Our heavies retaliated. Two 9.2” shells landed in our own lines, fortunately causing no casualties.
6:00 p.m. 1 O.R. wounded in D4 by rifle grenade.
9-10p.m. Our heavies pounded PETITE DOUVE steadily

2 p.m. 5th and 7th Battalions raided German line near PETITE DOUVE, bayoneting some 20 or 30, bombing others, and returned with 12 prisoners. Germans failed to retaliate. D section profoundly peaceful throughout the night. Weather –unsettled.”

 

On Sunday, December 5, 1915, we see the first entry noting Lt. MacNamara: “Location: DRANOUTRE
10:30 a.m. Church parade, A & D Corp. REV. CAPT. GORDON took the service.
CAPT. COOPER, LT. MACNAMARA and 21 O.R. went on leave.
2:30 p.m. Band gave concert in the square. CAPT. VALIQUET went to 1st Bn. Weather—rain, later fair Mild.”

We know from other sources that Lt. MacNamara would go to London for leave and stay at the home of Mrs. J. Hueston. At the time, she lived at Isleworth Court, 22 Palace Rd., Streatham Hill, London, SW. It was very common for Londoners to open their homes to servicemen on leave.

An entry from December 19, 1915 gives an idea of what life was like for William MacManara:

THE CANADIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE ON THE WESTERN FRONT, 1915-1918  Canadian troops in the front line trenches at Ploegsteert, March 1916. Copyright: © IWM.

“Location: In Trenches
3:00 am Heavy rifle fire from YPRES salient.
5:25 am Heavy gun fire from YPRES salient. (Word received Germans had attempted a gas-attack , but were stopped by our guns.)
5:45 am Gas very noticeable in our trenches.
3-4pm Heavy gunfire from YPRES salient—Gas again very noticeable.”

 

The next two entries where we see Lt. MacManara’s name, is when he was promoted to Captain on Feb. 23rd, 1916.

 

Wednesday, January 19, 1916
Location: THIEUSHOUK
Entry: Capt
TROY, Lts. BURKE, MacDONALD and MacNAMARA  & 4 n.c.o.’s returned from Divisional Training School. Played the Highland Light Infantry at football, wining 3-2.
Weather fine.

 Wednesday, February 23, 1916
Location: DRAMOUTRE
Entry: Gas Alert. Working parties. Still cold, snow on the ground.
Dinner by Capt DYMOND and Capt. MacNAMARA to wet their stars.”

Life continued for the men of the 3rd Battalion and the next three entries can help to give to an idea of what the daily life would have been like for the now Capt. MacNamara.

Thursday, March 2, 1916
Location: BRIGADE RESERVE
Entry:
4:30 am – Field guns, heavies & hows all opened up. MGs opening indirect fire on approaches appalling now. Germans contributed a splendid display of rockets & flares. The strafe lasted violently for 30 minutes, then gradually died down. It was a demonstration to cover attack on International Trench in YPRES salient. Attack was successful. Little reply to our bombardment. Draft of 26 O.R. reported. Bathing & working parties. Gas Alert. Weather – snow.

 Monday, March 13, 1916
Location: TRENCHES
Entry: Our guns active all day. Meagre reply from enemy. Minenwerfer fairly active, wounding 1 O.R. Relieved by 2nd Bn, and moved to billets at DRAMOUTRE.

 Monday, March 27, 1916
Location: TRENCHES
Entry: Violent bombardment by our artillery from
4-5 am, trench mortars joining in. Little retaliation. Germans shelled us heavily but without effect about 12 noon and about 5 pm.”

The next mention of Captain MacNamara is on Sunday, April 2nd and Monday April 10th, 1916 when he went on leave, again presumably back to London.

“Location: SCOTTISH LINES
Entry: Church parade. Rev. Capt. GORDON took the service. Capt ALLEY, Capt MacNAMARA and Lt ANGLIN with R.S.M. and 6 n.c.o.s went up to check over Brigade Support positions.
Moved to Brigade Support. Owing to UPPER GORDON TERRACE and KINGSWAY having been badly smashed by shelling this afternoon, whole Battalion quartered in BEDFORD HOUSE. Sgt EVANS wounded near R.10. Weather fine.

Monday, April 10, 1916
Location:
BEDFORD HOUSE
Entry: Capt MacNAMARA and Lt. McLEAN and 15 O.R. went on leave. Lt.
KIDD wounded in leg in front trench. Moved to relieve 2nd Battalion. 2 O.R. wounded by shell at BEDFORD HOUSE. Relief complete 11.15 pm.


On Saturday, April 22, 1916 we see that he has returned from a 12 day leave.
Location: POPERINGHE
Entry: Rainy. Capt MacNAMARA and Lt McLEAN from leave. Lt McDONALD to be Brigade Wiring Officer.

On Monday, May 29, 1916, he was transferred to “D Company”
Location: TRENCHES
Weather: Fine
Entry: German and British aeroplane brought down. Capt McNamara to duty with D Coy.

On June 1, 1916, he was transferred back to “C Company”
Place: Dickebusch Huts
Entry: Arrived from trenches about
2 am. Colonel Allan, acting Brigadier General in absence of Brigadier General HUGHES. Capt DYMOND returned from leave. Capt. McNAMARA posted to C Company, Lieut SIMMIE to Grenadiers.”

Little did he know that 12 days later, at the age of 24, he would die in an attack on the German Lines. His wounds and death are recorded in the following entry on June 13th 1916.

Battlefield- 1916

“Place: TRENCHES
Entry: 12.45 am – 1.30 am Intense bombardment by our artillery. 1.30 am, artillery lifted to our original support lines, and front line, and C, A and D Coy’s, with bombers and M.G., rushed German front line from S.P. 11 to MACHINE GUN TRENCH. Right attack met little opposition and bayoneted the Germans in the trench. C and A Coy’s met rifle and M.G. fire, but pushed on, carried trench and bayoneted most of the occupants. Capt. MACNAMARA was hit in both legs in this attack. Capt DYMOND was wounded. 1.40 am B Coy left X TRENCH, and two platoons to consolidate German front line. From 12.45 am on, the German shell fire along X TRENCH, and in front of it was very heavy.

1.50 am our artillery lifted to original German line, and the attack pushed forward to the crest, two platoons of B Coy. supporting the right. The crest was carried with slight loss, many Germans being bayoneted before they could get away. Some 60 or 70 wounded and unwounded prisoners were sent back. The consolidation of the line was at once begun. Capt. COOPERS, Lt. WILLIS, Lt. HUTCHISON, Lt. SLOANE, Lt. HOBDAY, Lt. GRASSETT, Capt. MARANI, Lt. WEDD were all wounded in this stage of the fight. Major MASON, in charge of the forward lines, was hit in the head, and later in the foot, but carried on until noon when he had to come out. The 1st Canadian Battalion, in support, sent a company forward to 1st German line, and later sent two companies, and then the remaining companies forward to our regained front line to help consolidate and hold the position. Two of our Lewis guns became choked with mud, and Lt. CRAWFORD turned three captured German guns on the enemy.

From this time – 2.30 am – on, German artillery fire on our new positions, especially on MOUNT SORRELL and on X TRENCH, was heavy, and continuous throughout the day. The woods and trenches were searched with shrapnel and H.E. and many casualties were caused. The band under Sgt. YOUNG, displayed great devotion in carrying wounded to the rear. Lt. KIPPEN, Intelligence Officer, and his scouts, before and during the attack, gained at great risk much valuable information and got it to Battalion H.Q. The signalers’ efforts to keep communication with MOUNT SORRELL were excellent, but the heavy shelling cut lines as fast as they were laid. A party under Sigr BLACKHALL, which went forward with the attack, got communication for enough time to give Battalion H.Q. in X TRENCH, information as to our new positions, but the lines were soon cut. The lines to Brigade were also cut and pigeons proved most valuable. After Major MASON was forced to leave, Lt. Col. CREIGHTON of the 1st Canadian Battalion took over immediate command on MOUNT SORRELL. Lt. SIMMIE was wounded while endeavouring to get supplies of grenades forward.

During the afternoon the enemy’s artillery fire increased Lt. Grasett who though wounded had carried on, was killed, Lt. GORDON, badly wounded, started for the rear but up to the 16th inst has not been heard of Lt. Weston was killed. Capt. MacNamara was carried out, bleeding to death. He died on the 14th. A direct hit on the H.Q. dugout on MOUNT SORRELL killed Capt. Vandersmissen, and fatally wounded Lt. Col. Creighton, who died on 16th June. A hit at the door of Battalion H.Q. in X TRENCH wounded 2 O.R. inside and slightly wounded Lt. Col. Allan, who carried on.

11 PM, relieved by 8th Canadian Battalion, and moved to F Camp. Total casualties:- 3 officers killed, 1 officer died of wounds, 1 officer missing, 11 officers wounded. 40 O.R. Killed, 92 O.R. Missing, 207 O.R. wounded.”

From family notes we have learned that William, as we read above, was wounded in the field and left to die. A close comrade of William’s begged to stay with him, but William encouraged him to go and be safe. He related this story to William’s mother when he returned to Canada after the war.

William would have been removed to No.3 Causality Clearing Station where according to official notes, he died of his wounds on June 14th, 1916, one day after he was critically injured in an attack on the German lines.

There is a note on Captain MacNamara’s  record to indicate that he may have first been buried at Dickebush New Military Cemetery, Belgium, but another notes states that he was buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium Plot 6, Row A, Grave 20.

Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium
Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium
Grave Marker for Capt. MacNamara

 

 

 

 

 

Honour Roll at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery

 

 

 

 

 

Lijssenthoek, Military Cemetery, Original Graves 1916

On December 3rd, 1916, his mother Beatrice received a hand written letter from Mrs. H.F. Hueston.

“He was a dear, dear friend of mine, and has been my guest here at this house every time he was on leave in London. I have your dear Son’s best uniform in my possession, and ask if you would like to have it. Perhaps the sight of it may be altogether too painful for you, and that is the reason for writing to ask you about it before sending it. The uniform I speak of is one that he kept for best wear while in London and that is how it comes to be in my possession. I used to look after it for him while he was away at the front.

Dear mother of his, I am truly sorry to re-open your wound in this manner, He spoke of you so very often to me, and told me how proud you would be of him being a Captain. May God have mercy on the lad, and grant his dear soul eternal rest and peace. Hoping to hear from you and offering my sincere and heartfelt sympathy in your irreparable loss. Yours very Sincerely, J.Hueston”

Captain William MacNamara

 And so our story of William James MacNamara comes to an end. Remembered by only a few over the past 100 years, now his life has re-surfaced to be with us once more.

 

We owe our eternal gratitude to all those men like Captain MacNamara who gave their lives so we could live in freedom today.

 

 

 

 

 

For his service Captain MacNamara would have received the following two medals:

The Victory Medal

The Victory Medal (also called the Inter-Allied Victory Medal), is a United Kingdon and British Empire First World War Campaign medal.

 

The British War Medal is a campaign medal of the United Kingdom, which was awarded to officers and men of British and Imperial forces for service in the First World War.

British War Medal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the war, William’s family would have received:

The Memorial Plaque, which was issued after the First World War to the next-of-

Memorial Plaque

kin of all British and Empire service personnel who were killed as a result of the war.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scroll given to William’s parents to commemorate his service
Enlargement of the center of scroll
Highland Memorial, from scroll
Llissenthoek Military Cemetery, from scroll

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

William’s parents John T. MacNamara and Beatrice nee Cook

 

Note, for additional reading:

For the complete diary of the 3rd BN, it can be found at the following website:

3rd Bn War Diaries 1916

 

Lyn’s Flour Mill

from the The Athens Reporter – 1893

Flour making mill once was major industry of Lyn

In the year 1841 the late Richard Coleman of Lyn, conceived the idea of building up an industry in his native village that would give employment to a large number of mechanics, and make the village one of the manufacturing centres of Ontario. The only drawback was the lack of motive power, and as steam power in those days was too expensive, he decided to use the water trenches in the vicinity to furnish the power he required.

His knowledge of the watershed of the surrounding country enabled him to see at a glance how he could make the water supply running to Lyn almost inexhaustible. First of all he bought the Temperance Lake mill property, in order to be able to control the water flow from the lake and streams leading into it. Then he bought McIntosh Mills and erected a dam known as the “Marsh Ridge dam” at the head of Graham Lake (the natural water supply of McIntosh Mills) and thus he shut off the supply that formerly ran through the low swamp tract, between there and Temperance Lake.

By building the marsh bridge dam, all the water that formerly passed an through Graham Lake was held in a reservoir that covered several hundred acres. His next undertaking was to cut a canal from this reservoir to Lyn Pond, a distance of nearly one mile. This canal was 15 feet wide at the top and 9 feet at the bottom, with an average depth of 10 feet. It allowed the water to flow fro the reservoir referred to as the old Lyn Pond, or the Lee Pond as it was often called.

Lyn’s Mill Pond

The increased water in this pond made it necessary to build a long and massive dam at the lower end of this pond, and when all was completed he had one of the best inland water powers to e found in Ontario.

Following the curse of the old creek down from this dam to the small pond at the north western side of the village, it became necessary to enlarge and raise the old dam there, and by building a stone flume to the brow of the hill he had a clear fall of fifty feet.

While all the changes and improvements above mentioned were in progress, the master mind, who was the controlling factor in their promotion was busy in preparing plans for the erection of a flouring mill on a scale never before attempted in Eastern Ontario, and by the time the water was ready to be let out of the ponds, the mill was ready for it first grist.

The system of grinding was the old burr stone, and even that (which today would be called primitive) was such as to draw customers to the new mill from the whole country-side.

Of the factories projected and put into operation as a result of this extensive water power, obtained as above related; or of the sudden and tragic death of Richard Coleman, it is not our province to speak. Suffice it to say that the death of Richard Coleman caused the vast enterprise and properties to pass into other hands. It is truly said that Richard Coleman made Lyn a busy business centre, and his death made Lyn practically dear for many years, as far as business was concerned.

However during those years that Lyn had been lying dormant, so to speak, a young Scotch lad had been growing up in the village, who was ultimately to take front rank amongst the business men of the whole of Canada. James Cumming was, at the time of the first events of which we write, a mere lad. As a boy he was willing, careful and obliging, and as a young man he displayed a remarkable adaption for business, and the dream of his life was to see the Lyn Mills in operation again.

When things looked darkest for the village of Lyn, he never for a moment lost faith in the capabilities of the surroundings to make the Village of Lyn regain, if not surpass its former business activity.

In 1862 the owners of the mill appointed James Cumming manager, and he successfully conducted the business until 1867 when Messer’s Chassels and Rivers took the management into their own hands and sank $50,000 in the business in the next ten years. In 1878 James Cumming was again offered the job of manager and he made a proposal to purchase the whole estate, which was gladly assented to by those in charge.

After becoming the new owner, Mr. Cummings’ first move was to completely remodel the flouring mill. He commenced to make flour by what was known as the “New Process”, and still later on a new departure was made and by a combination of millstones, rolls and purifiers, the quality of flour turned out was much improved. Finally on 1890 the full roller mill was put in, which was most successful.

Five Story Mill with rail siding

At the present time, in 1893, the mill turns out flour for home and shipping trade in four brands A, B, C, and D grades, which lead all the fancy flours of the mills of the west, in Eastern markets.

The mill building is of stone five stories in height and presents a most imposing appearance from any direction. On the ground floor are situated the motors consisting of two giant 14- inch wheels, which develop 90 h.p. under a pressure of 50 feet. The water is carried from the brow of the hill to the wheels by a large wrought iron tubes.

On the second floor are the rollers, consisting of a line of six pairs of break rolls, and eight pairs of smooth reduction rolls, a four sided burr for middling, three large purifiers, one monitor feed mill for pre vender, and the heating apparatus which is a series of steam pipes.

The third floor contains the b….ing machinery, consisting of a large chest of double operating Lima separators, four hexagon scalpers, four flouring reels, two cylindrical flouring reels, two cylindrical flouring reels, two separating purifiers, one Cyclone dust collector, and required number of supply hoppers for breaks.

On the fourth floor are placed two Silver Creek Disintegrating centrifugals, one tailing reel, one place sifter, the first machine of its kind to be built in Canada. This is a recent Hungarian invention, and said to be the most important change made in the milling machinery since the adoption of the roller. It resembles a huge piano, hung up in mid air gyrating at the speed of 160 shakes a minute. It does the work of 6 reels, saves 50% in power and room, and makes a great improvement in the quality of the flour.

Inside the old mill

The fifth floor is where the wheel cleaners are run. They consisted of one Booth Separator, one Hercules Scourer, one Eureka Polisher, one Eureka Brush and one cockle machine and grader arranged and driven by a horizontal shaft from the shafting beneath. In another compartment on the fifth floor are the bran-duster, shorts – duster, official grader and air tanks.

The sixth floor lands one inside a garret, a distance of 74 feet from the ground. Here the shafting equipment and the ends are used in running the elevator and a few other pieces of machinery.

Owing to the favourable situation of the mills, and east access to the Grand Trunk, Canadian Pacific, B & W Railways, for receiving and delivering grain and flour, the tonnage enjoyed by this mill is second to none in Eastern Canada. This efficient steam plant has recently been added in an annex, to be used in case of accident to the water supply.

Mr. Cumming is assisted in this operation by his two sons, who also display marked ability for the management of extensive enterprises.

Carnival Held on Lyn Rink is a Great Success

From a local newspaper, date unknown:

 

Lyn, March 12 – A very successful carnival was held on the local ring on Friday evening which attracted a large number of skaters and spectators. Several contests were held and the valuable prizes which were donated by Brockville and Lyn stores were well worth trying for. The judges were Miss. Helen Purvis, Miss Anna Nelson, Mrs. J.C. McCready and Harris Hanna, who awarded the prizes to the following:

Oldest Skater- Walter Billings

Oldest skating couple – Mrs. Jock Stewart and Walter Billings.

Fastest skater, boy under 14 – Glen Darling

Fastest Skater boy over 14 – Ward Pettem, Louis Darling

Fastest skating girl – Miss Doris McNish

Best skating couple – Miss Rose Leader and Hurbert Leader

Best costume, girls – Mrs. Jock Stewart and Mrs. W. Coon

Best costume, men – Arthur Ladd

Best lady skater – Miss Esther Ladd

Fastest backward skating girl – Miss Dorothy Mott

Fastest backward skating boy – Cauley Ladd

Largest family on skates – Arthur Ladd

Fastest log sawyers – Donald Gibson and W. Smith completing the cut in three minutes and 55 seconds

Nail driving contest – Thomas McNish, six strokes

Prizes were donated by the following: C.E. Johnston Co., Arnold’s stationary store, J.H. Doyle, Smart’s hardware, Hugh Cameron, Cameron and Borthwick, Fullertons drug store, McDougal Brothers, Johnston’s Hardware, H.P. Conklin, H,B, Wright Co., J.C. McCrady, V.W. Coon’s bakery, Walter Billings, Walter Jarvis Gilmaur’s wholesale dealers. The valuable door prize has not yet been called for. The lucky ticket is 248 and the person holding this ticket should call at once at McCrady’s store and receive the prize.

(There was no indication of the newspaper or date of this article we would estimate that it was held in the 1920’s or 1930’s)

The Mills and Rills of Lyn

By Wallace Havelock Robb

(article published around 1890, publication unknown)

 If I were to go on a trip to Europe, and someone were to ask me if I had seen my own country, what answer would I give? A month ago, if I had been asked this question, my answer should have been “Why, of course, for I have been in every province of Canada, have camped and toured and worked from Victoria, B.C. to Halifax. Know my country? I should say I do!” That has been my song for many a day, that I have seen my own country. If I had gone to Europe last month, that should have been my answer. Not so now!

Listen my friends: I’ve been down to Lyn! Oh, what a bonnie place is Lyn! If I were to go to Europe, or some other country no matter what my answer and self-satisfied pride might have been, say, a month ago, I very much fear I could answer only this, that I thought I knew my Canada like a book, but I have seen Lyn, and all my confidence is shaken Lyn has awakened me to the simple fact that Canada has not yet been found by me. How many other Lyns are there, and to which I have never been? Quaint little villages, off the beaten highway, serene, pure, gentle and oh, what shall I say? Very lovely indeed.

No, if I were to venture abroad and be asked how much I know of my own land, well, my answer is going to be, henceforth. “I’m not very sure about my knowledge of Canada, not very sure, but I’ve been down to Lyn.”  And they will not know what I mean and they will ask me, and I shall answer them somewhat like this: Did you ever hear of the small river Afron, the “Sweet Afton” of the poet Robert Burns “How lofty, sweet Afton, thy neighbouring hills, Far marked with the courses of clear winding rills!” Or again, in another verse, “How peasant thy banks and green valleys below, Where wild in the woodlands the primroses blow.” You know these lines? Do you know, or can you picture the sweet and gentle scene of Burns’ day? Well, if Burns had passed through Lyn, Ontario, his poem, “Sweet Afton”, might have found its setting there.

Lyn is a quaint and lovely village near Brockville. But no! For shame! I am in error: Brockville is a town not far from the beautiful village of Lyn. But, perhaps, that is unfair to Brockville, for, after all, Brockville just hasn’t the natural endowment of beauty to be found at Lyn. The same thing is true, largely, of nearly all the lake or river front towns of Ontario, they haven’t the rolling countryside of the towns back a wee bit in the counties. And Lyn is a typical case, for it is set in a picturesque frame of hills and valleys and rhythmic watercourses. Lyn is an idyll ! It is a village unspoiled in an age of ruin through so-called improvement. It is a psalm in a world of noise and destruction. Its tranquil vales and placid, ambling waters are a rebuke to modern ways of men. It seems to have an atmosphere untouched by the rot and decay of modern hurry, and it knows not the panic of haste of today, that impatience with life which makes the builders poison their mortar so that disintegration starts in the foundation before the roof is finished. Lyn is a pastoral, a poem of peace and quaint beauty, a song of life, a melody in the wistful and yearning key of a shepherd piping ‘neath a tree in the meadow. Ah, yes, all this, and more: It is the soul of true life floating up from the valley on the wind, the fluting of Pan, as he muses on the rim of the river down in the glade where the stream meanders from the meadow over against the wooded hill.

Yes, we, Mrs. Robb and I, went down to Lyn. I gave a recital there. The trees are old, the houses look, each one, like home. There is a well-kept lawn, the tidy walk and friendly feeling. It is off the main route of travel.

And so, if I seem to have gone mad over Lyn, well, hold your horses a bit; don’t condemn me too hastily. Go down to Lyn yourself, and, I dare to say it, I’ll have company in my madness.

Lyn’s Local Factories

Lyn, October 21st, 1896 (The Recorder Newspaper)

Our industries seem to be running about full time. The Last Factory employing about ten hands in turning blocks of hard maple wood into lasts for the Quebec shoe factories to make their shoes on have been running steadily under A.E.Cumming, proprietor.

The Lyn Agricultural Works owned by Geo. P. McNish have established more than a county reputation among the farmers for his land rollers, cultivators, root cutters, etc. and his sales this season have been larger than ever.

The roller flour mills owned by Jas. Cumming are running night and day by water power with steam auxiliary turning out 300 bags of flour per day, taking a car load of wheat per day to keep them supplied. They have been running behind in their orders all summer and the present boom in wheat has increased that difficulty.

The Lyn Woollen Mills, run by steam power, have had an increase in their trade lately due, no doubt, to the excellent cloths and yarns turned out by Mr. R. Walker. “No Shoddy” is his motto and he is bound to win.

One of the latest industries to start here is that of Mr. Alba Root who manufactures wooden ware including Elm hub blocks, dry and liquid measures, curry combs, etc. Mr. Root started in a small way, and as he is a practical mechanic and oversees all his work, his business has increased. He sells his goods to the wholesale men of our Canadian cities.

The G. & C. Eyre Co. although mot actively manufacturing just now are still able t fill all orders for their several classes of wooden ware.

The Grandfather Clock

Grandfather clockalso called longcase clock, tall pendulum clock enclosed in a wooden case that stands upon the floor and is typically 1.8 to 2.3 metres (6 to 7.5 feet) in height. The name grandfather clock was adopted after the song “Grandfather’s Clock,” written in 1876 by Henry Clay Work, became popular. The first grandfather clocks featured a Classical architectural appearance, but a variety of styles have enjoyed popularity over the years. One form of early pendulum clock was wall-mounted but, because of its heavy lead weights, probably difficult to secure. It is believed that the grandfather clock was developed to support these heavier clock mechanisms. (Encyclopedia Britannica)

The history of our clock is somewhat interesting:

This Grandfather Clock was built by Brockville resident John Oscar Adams Fenton (1856-1949) in 1930. He built it for his second cousin Dorothy Hayes Fenton as a gift for her 16th Birthday. The wooden case of the clock was built from old wooden church pews and church organ parts.

Because of the Great Depression, money was in short supply, thus the works and Westminster Chimes were installed later in 1937. The works and chimes were supplied by local jeweller, Allan Hayes.

The Grandfather Clock was donated to the Heritage Place Museum in 2017 by Donald Ruston UE, son of Dorothy (Fenton) Ruston.

 

 

 

 

Tobogganing

 

From the book “How Dear to My Heart” by Walter Kilborn Billings

 

In my youth, Harper’s hill was all that could be desired as a spot to spend an afternoon on. At first the big hand sleigh at the farm was the only means of conveyance, but many times, unless the snow was pretty well packed and frozen, the runner would cut through and you usually got a tumble and a skinned nose in the bargain.

My first toboggan was a very crude affair – just three or four barrel staves laid flat and cleats nailed across at each end. This was very speedy but it was a problem, as it would turn around on the hill and carry you down backwards. Later on I secured a thin board about fourteen inches wide and four feet long. The front end was thinned down and the half of a cheese box band was nailed on the under side with a cleat across the other end of the board. Another cleat was nailed across the back. This toboggan proved very satisfactory and would carry two or three quite comfortably.

Through the winter, the road in front of our farm house would drift high with snow, and teams passing over it often got stuck or tipped their loads over, and we were called out to help them. On one occasion a team from MacIntosh Mills got stuck and we boys took shovels to help them out. The mills at that time were doing a big business making toboggans. After we had helped him through the banks. Tom Stevenson, the driver of the team said “Well boys, I have no money but if one of these toboggans happens to slide off my load I guess it will be yours.” And it slid off!

These toboggans were well constructed of narrow slats, steamed and bent to the proper shape, with cleats across the rawhide thongs binding the slats to the cleats. A little grove was cut underneath so that the cords would not be damaged when used. Our toboggan proved very satisfactory but was not big enough. Harper’s Hill by this time had become very popular and young folks gathered nightly to enjoy the sliding. As we had packed the snow and made a good track clear to the creek, we could cross over it and go up the bank, usually at a pretty good speed.

Sometimes, unfortunately the toboggan would leave the track and carry us to a point on the creek where the ice was not solid. On one occasion I was steering, at the back, when this happened. As we neared the edge of the ice, I fell off, the toboggan and the two in front passed over the creek, but did not go clear up the bank, and slid back with the end of the toboggan going through the ice. Of course the water was not deep and the girls waded to the shore. When they missed me they had thought I had gone under the ice and they started to yell. But I was safe and they were wet!

Te foundry man in Lyn, a very handy fellow who could do wood work, said he could make us a good strong toboggan. Instead of making his of narrow slats he made it in three sections, each seven inches wide. The cleats were securely with screws, countersunk in the boards, and the boards at the front as usual steamed and bent, and secured with wire to the first cleat. This proved a very satisfactory process and we gave the speedy new toboggan a good trial on Harper’s Hill.

One night a couple of my uncles came over with their families and decided to take a ride down the hill. I still have a vivid recollection of Uncle Bidwell Billings, who always wore a felt hat in the winter. As the toboggan gained speed his hat blew off, and I can still see his long hair and whiskers as he went past me down the hill. That same night my other uncle, Herb Billings, decided to have a ride. He was sitting up on the toboggan near the back, and as the toboggan gained speed down the steeper part of the hill he got scared and put his feet out to stop it. When they caught in the snow he was lifted clear and landed face downward and hands outstretched, the result being a skinned nose, forehead and chin. We had to take him to the doctor for repairs. About this time the boys decided to build a slide in Lyn, and in the fall of 1887, cedar posts and lumber were donated and the slide erected, on the hill just west of where the Storey barn now stands. It was a splendid structure and on down the hill the boards were put on their edge to form a channel for the toboggans and their surface was well ice. You could go up the steps at the back of the slide, assemble your load at the top, get a push from the starter and in a second you were down in the flat and across the pond, even to the edge of Cornell’s woods. Sometimes though after leaving the boarded side of the slide, your toboggan would jump the track and head for the cat-tails which covered you with the fluffy tops until you looked like as if you were in a feather bed. The foundry man did a big business making these toboggans for a while. Nearly every family in the neighbourhood secured one.

Another slide was erected on Schofield’s Hill, Brockville, just behind where a gasoline station now stands. This was a splendid structure with two slides; at night when it was lighted with torches beside the track it was a gorgeous sight to see boys dressed in blanket suits and toques, swiftly speeding down the hill and across the pond. I enjoyed one night on this hill, my cousin, Eck Kilborn, had a good toboggan and we four, my cousin Joe Clark, later a prominent politician in the West, Bob Geddes, and I had a wonderful evening. Another slide in Brockville was built on what was known as the Lacrosse Grounds.

Glen Buell Church photo 2015

The slide in Lyn did not last long. In 1889 this district was visited by a severe windstorm. Roofs were blown off barns, trees uprooted, and the Methodist Church, not then in use, was blown down and the slide a few rods from it, was levelled to the ground and never rebuilt. The posts and lumber afterwards were used to build sidewalks in the village of Lyn. The wrecked church was rebuilt at Glen Buell, with the brick and other material that was salvaged and fit for use. This church still stands, with a record over its door stating it was erected in 1890.

The natural slide at the farm is gone. The demand for building sand has meant that trucks have been hauling for four or five years from he hillside, and now only mounds of earth show where we raced down on our toboggans many years ago.

 

 

 

Glenn Buell Church made from material from the Lyn Methodist Church photo 2016

Fishing

 

From the book “How Dear to My Heart” by Walter Kilborn Billings

 

I never seemed to have much luck at this sport. As a boy I could go down to the creek and over to the falls, where with a can of worms I could catch a dozen bullheads, which when cleaned and ready for the frying pan were about the size of sardines. In the spring, by walking along the bank of the creek, I could see nice big red-fin suckers basking in the sunlight, and once or twice, a two foot pike; but a bent pin on the end of a string was no way to catch them.

Ai Haffie of Lansdowne and his catch from the St. Lawrence River c 1930

I remember going with my Aunt Belle to the Brooks Farm just east of Butternut Bay, on the St. Lawrence River. As she wanted to go fishing we went down to the boathouse and got the boat into the water. I did not know much about rowing, but my aunt said we should not go fast to troll, and we didn’t. I usually bumped the oars together and pinched my fingers, but we got along very well. All at once she said, “Oh, I have a bite!” But it was a false alarm. In a few minutes she called again, “I have another bite,” but again no luck. It was hard for me to keep the boat on a straight course, but she warned me if she hooked a fish I was to keep on rowing.

 

Again she called, “I have got something this time!” I kept on rowing, but it was getting so exciting that I could hardly keep the boat out in deep water. All at once, about twenty feet behind the boat, the fish jumped and tried to shake the hook from its mouth, then went down under again. My aunt kept pulling in the line, and was just in the act of lifting the big fish over the edge of the boat when it gave a flop, its tail struck the side of the boat and the line broke. She leaned over the edge and saw the big fish swim away!

 

My aunt had become so excited that she was hysterical and just sat there and cried. We certainly had lost a big fish, as I had caught a glimpse of it as its head appeared above the water. As we had lost our tackle and our fish we went ashore and back to the house. For weeks she could hardly talk of anything but the big fish she had lost.

 

Mallorytown Landing 1904

Years later, my brother and I had a similar experience outside of Mallorytown Landing about the year 1933. We had hooked a big maskinonge, but just when we got it up beside the boat the line broke. This exciting event was witnessed by the occupants of another boat, and the item was printed in the local paper, where I found it among other articles a few weeks ago.

 

Jones’ Creek, below the old mill was the mecca of local fisherman, and many tales of big catches. Practical jokes played on unsuspecting fisherman always added zest to the stories told after one of these outings. One, as told by my cousin Burt Billings, seems worth repeating.

 

He and his cousin Herb Blair drove to the Mills one night, tramped along the bank to the big rock, where they proceeded to try their luck with worms for bait. Herb seemed the lucky one that night as he hauled in a dozen or more big bullheads. Burt’s luck was different. For an hour he sat there and did not get even a bite. Finally he called to Herb that he was going down near him, to try again. Of course Herb objected, saying if he came down there neither would get a bite, but Burt came just the same, and in a few minutes he hauled in a nice fish! A few minutes later he got another, while Herb’s luck changed. Burt kept on till he had a nice catch of fish and finally Herb said he was tired and was going home. Winding up his line and going back to gather up his fish, on a string, in the dark he could not find where he had placed them; finally he gave up and started for his horse. Burt, gathering up his catch, followed him and they drove home, Herb all the way bemoaning the loss of his fish.

 

Burt got out first and as Herb started on, Burt stopped him saying “Oh Herb I guess the joke is on you. It was your fish I was catching all the time and you can take them home. I just picked one from your lot each time I hauled that piece of stick from the water.”

 

Yonge Mills abt 1905

At one time at Yonge Mills there was a long channel or sluice-way; at the head of it you could take up the planks or gate and let the water pour down the passage to the pool below. In the spring the boys would go there, open the gate so that the fish would swim up this runway in droves; then, with a plank placed across this stream near the lower end and a large hoop net placed in the water and held by one of the boys, the rest of the fisherman would go up stream, shut off the water and catch the returning fish in the net.

 

One night my partner Bob, four other lads and I drove to the Mills. They had put the net in three or four times but as the season for suckers was about over had no luck. Finally they said “Bob, you hold the net and we will try again. We will take the poles and splash the water and surly some will go down.”

 

In the darkness with Bob squatting on the plank holding the hoop of the net the boys went up and started splashing. Finally they heard Bob yell, “Come on down quickly! The net must be full! I can hardly hold it. Hurry, Hurry” The lads rushed down, and all together they lifted the net from the water and dumped its contents on the grass but there was no sound of fish flopping. Bob lit a match and held it over the empty net. There were no fish there but the skeleton of a calf, which the boys had thrown into the stream above!

 

Yes we had fun in those days going fishing.

Mallorytown Landing Henry MacDonald’s Boat and Boat House c1910

 

Mallorytown Landing the front of Henry MacDonalds Boat House c1910

 

 

Jones Creek where it empties into the St. Lawrence River abt 1930

Taking the Calves to Market

 

From the book “How Dear to My Heart” by Walter Kilborn Billings

 

In the ordinary herd of cattle on the farm there were very few thoroughbreds and in the spring it was the custom to keep the offspring of only the best cows.

A neighbour, wishing a good calf to raise could usually get one for the asking; all others were fed for a few weeks for veal or slaughtered. At the present time many whole herds are thoroughbred animals and young calves not needed on the home farm are sold for prices ranging from twenty-five to fifty dollars each.

My job was to dispose of the unwanted calves, and rather than kill them I would try to feed them for a few days and sell them to a drover, who usually called about once a week. It was sometimes a difficult feat to teach a young calf to drink from a pail, as usually it would it would put its nose down to the bottom of the pail, give it a bunt and over would go the milk on the floor or on your clothes.

 

 

The C.P.R. Wharf located at Block House Island in Brockville
C.P.R. Wharf and sheds at Brockville

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One week when I had missed the drover he left word he would be at the C.P.R. dock the next day, and would take the two calves I had. As I did not care to kill them I decided to load them in the spring wagon and go to town with them. Tying their feet and then tying the caves themselves, I started.

King Street Brockville looking West from Market Square.

 

A cousin, Annie Slack of Lansdowne, who was visiting us, decided she would go along. It had been raining and the roads were muddy, but all went well until, passing along King St. (Brockville), just opposite Gilmour & Co. office, someone called from the sidewalk and pointed to the back of the wagon. Looking around I saw one calf, hanging, its body suspended behind the box and its feet tied to the other calf. I stopped the horse and handing the reins to the girl I jumped out and ran around behind. I was too late. The other calf had struggled and both had fallen to the street. Brockville streets in the spring were not the clean paved thoroughfares of the present day. Then they were covered with a couple of inches of mud and filth in which the calves were lying. A few years previously we had brought a long black fur coat. It had always been a couple or three inches too long for walking comfortably but I never had it shortened, and this day I had worn it, as the weather was still cold. The horse was a bit nervous as a crowd was beginning to gather to watch the fun.

I stooped over, gathered the calves in my arms, and was just straightening up to land them in the wagon when the horse made a step ahead. I attempted to move up also but my foot caught in the front of my coat and down I went full length, my arms still around the calves. My cap fell off, and finally freeing myself from the calves which were struggling and splashing in the mud, I saw that my driver was so convulsed with laughter that she could do nothing with the horse. Hailing a passing team I got the man to come and hold my horse. He backed the wagon nearer to me, and this time I managed to land my load in place.

It must have been a very amusing scene for those on the board side walk, but I did not see much fun in it and got away and down to the dock and rid of my load. When I got home and told my parents, I said “Never again! The calves can die of old age before I ever try that again.”

 

Holstein Sale at Avondale Farm in the 1930’s

Haying Time

From the book “How Dear to My Heart” by Walter Kilborn Billings

The modern way of caring for the hay crop seems a far cry from the old way in which the weather had a lot to do with curing and stacking.

The horse fork for unloading was a wonderful improvement, as before it was installed, one man passed the hay to a scaffold at the big beam of the barn and another passed it on up to the man in the hay mow. With the horse fork, when help was scarce and a horse was trained to draw the load, one man could unload his wagon alone, the hay being left to be spread around later.

My first memory of haying time was when we had the old wooden horse rake, which I have described in another article. I have heard Father say that for a couple of years after coming to the farm he cut the hay and grain by hand. However, for cutting the grain a cradle was used. This consisted of a scythe with extra prongs, nearly the length of the blade, one above the other, that caught the grain when it fell and laid it in neat shape the heads all pointing one way. Thus the one following to bind the sheaves could, with the aid of a wooden hand rake, draw it together, make a band of a handful of the straw and with a neat twist of the ends secure the sheaf and leave it to be stoked up.

1874 Advertisement for Cossitt Bros. Agricultural Machinery

About the year 1870 we purchased a new mowing machine. It was manufactured by Cossitt Bros., then of Smiths Falls, (later moved to Brockville) and sold by Edward Glazier. This was a great improvement on the hand cutting. The frame was made of oak, and for thirty-five years it did all the cutting of hay on the farm. A year later a reaper attachment was purchased. This consisted of a platform fitted to the cutting bar and bolted to the frame of the mower at the back; an iron wheel at the other side of the platform carried its weight, and a reel similar to the ones used on the binder of later years held the grain to the knives.  On the centre of the platform a post secured with a saddle and breast-plate, so that a man could stand and support himself in the saddle, rest his chest against the breast-plate and with a fork gather the grain from the knives, pass it over to his left until he had enough to make a sheaf, and then with his fork, place the bundle behind the mower, ready to be tied. This mower is now in the museum of the Experimental Farm at Ottawa, with a lot of other farm machinery of ancient manufacture.

Later a self-raking reaper was purchased, but the bundles of grain still had to be tied by hand. As binders were beginning to be used locally about the year 1892, a second had Chatham binder, a cumbersome machine, with a wooden frame, was secured and the three neighbours, Father, Horton Rowsom and Will Morrison, managed to get it in working order. It cut the grain on the three farms but the next season the knotter refused to work. The lever that started the tying part having been damaged, the result was that the grain would fill up the knotter and the lever would have to be pulled by hand.

Horton Rowsom had a hired man, Ed Haywood. He tied a strong chord to this lever, walked along beside the knotter and when enough grain was in place would pull this cord. So Ed had a job, and all through the harvest he walked around the field pulling the string. Ed was a war veteran from the British army, who had come to Canada One day he ran away with a woman, went over the river and they were married. Ed said afterwards, it was awful rough crossing the river and it had been rough ever since! His wife finally left him, and he made his home with the Rowsoms.

In 1894 I had a trip to Manitoba with Horton Rowsom and Stewart Morrison, on one of the Harvest Excursions. There I had a chance to see the new Massey-Harris and Deering binders in operation. The next year a Massey-Harris binder with sheaf carrier was purchased and this served the three of four farms cutting the grain for many years

But to get back to the haying…. A new steel horse rake was bought about the year 1875. It also was a Cossitt rake and we were all very proud of it. However, five years later the hired man took old Tom, one of our team, to the field to do some raking after supper. Finishing this he drove the horse to a windrow of hay and left him, while he went on to cock up the raked hay. Tom (the horse) was not used to being in the field without his team mate and decided to leave for home. He took a straight course, the wheel went over a stone pile, and the teeth dropped down making such a clatter that it scared Tom and started him running. We children were outside the fence of the lawn rolling on the slope at the side of the road when we heard Tom coming. The wheel struck the gate post as he came on the road, and the axle broke. Fortunately we knew enough to get inside the fence as he crossed the road and passed right over the place where we had been playing. Striking the rake against a telephone pole, he left the remains of the rake there and went on to the stable.

Later, the 14 acre field back of the woods had yielded a great crop of hay. Father had it all ready to stack and secured a couple of extra men and team. All that day I had been on the horse rake following the wagons to clean up the rakings. At four o’clock Father said “Walt, you hitch the horse on the spring wagon, go to the house and bring out our supper. Your mother will have it ready.” Driving across the woodlot and into the meadow I soon reached the house where mother gave me a couple of market baskets all covered with papers and a table cloth, and I drove carefully back to the field.

I will ever forget that supper. The men came in, sat round on the ground, the cloth was spread and the basket unloaded – warmed up potatoes, smoked ham, just fried and tender, eggs, fresh buns and in the end of the other basket a large dinner plate of pancakes, each one the size of the plate and covered with butter, then spread with soft maple sugar, to make a pile at least six inches high. Father cut into them as you would a layer cake, each serving the width of a piece of pie and half the depth of the pile! Again they came back for more until the plate was clean Then we finished with a pot of tea and a jug of coffee. It was pretty hard for the men to move very swiftly after such a supper. I think I had two helpings of the pancakes. But by dark the three stacks of hay were finished, the poles were placed on them and we were ready for home. Is it any wonder that the memory of that day and that supper has been with me all these years?

Cutting grain on the Johnston Farm on the Lyn Road c1930
John Johnston standing next to his team of horses c1930
John Johnston getting ready to cut, next to the main CNR line c1930
Cutting grain c1930
A field of cut and stacked grain on the Johnston Farm just north of the CNR tracks and east of the Lyn Road shown in this photo c1930

 

Drawing Milk to the Cheese Factory

 

From the book “How Dear to My Heart” by Walter Kilborn Billings

 

In Lyn the cheese factory was located at the foot of the Jarvis Hill, just across the creek from the tan-bark field where they used to play ball. One road led around the corner at the hotel (Stacks), down the mill hill, across a little bridge and along the ban of the creek. The other road turned at the schoolhouse, down the Jarvis hill, past the old barn and on to the factory. At first Father had made a cart with the two wheels of the old wooden horse rake, a wooden axle and long shafts running back to about the back of the wheels. A platform of boards was nailed to the shafts, and the springs taken from an old army wagon, and secured in the centre on the axle and the ends fastened underneath the shafts. For a seat an abandoned bee-hive was used, cleats were nailed on the inside and a loose board laid in. When I got groceries at the store, I could just lift up the board and drop the parcels into the box. There was room on the platform for only one large milk can, which was all that was needed at that time. The horse I was given to drive was one that was hard to make trot, for just as soon as she was stirred up a bit she would break into a canter, with the result that the shafts were bobbing up and down and your neck would get sore trying to keep your head steady.

 

The old Post Office on the right (white building), located on main street. At one time this was the site of the original Lyn Mill.

One morning going through the village I had my sister Lou along, and as we went past the post office the horse was doing the regular canter but with not much speed. As I came back up into the village and stopped for the mail, the constable, Tom Hudson, came over to the cart and said “My boy, if I see you going through the village as you went this morning, I will take you to jail!” So I always watched after that for Mr. Hudson.

 

It was fun to see the milk wagons coming along the gravel pit road, and then hurry along and up around the school-house and down the Jarvis hill, and to get in ahead of them at the factory. But one morning as I was going around that way, I saw ahead of me down near the foot of the hill another milk cart. The driver Bob King had been to the factory and unloaded his milk, and had gone up to the village for some bread, and was returning to the factory to get his whey, as he had come in on the gravel pit road. Hurrying along down the hill I yelled to the driver to get out of my way but he did not have time, and as I went by him the hub of my wheel caught the rim of his wheel and tipped his cart over on its side. I drove on down to the factory and got in line, then went back to help the lad whose cart I had tipped over. I do not think I have ever heard anyone use as many cuss words as he did that morning! I dare not go near him, but held the horse by the head while he straightened the cart up. For several days I kept out of his way.

 

The next year my father secured a spring wagon, took the box off and built a platform with room for three or four cans. I had been cautioned to drive carefully, as I was drawing a neighbour’s milk also. For some time I did very well, but one morning on arriving opposite the town pump a big load of milk came down the hill from Seeley’s and on to the main road ahead of me. This was too much! I stirred up my horse and caught up to the load, and was passing just before we came to the hotel on the corner when I was crowded to the sidewalk with both the front and hind wheels on the walk. As we neared the corner the road was lower and the wagon began to tip, with the result that it finally went over on its side and the cans fell to the ground. Fortunately the neighbour’s milk can went clear over and finally landed right end up, so that very little milk was lost from it. One of our own cans that had a very tight cover did the same, but the third can landed on its side and nearly all of its contents poured on to the ground.

Of course a crowd arrived on the scene at once and the wagon was righted. I watched for the constable, but he was not up yet, so I did not go to jail. However, I had to draw our neighbour’s milk nearly all summer for nothing, to pay Father for the can I had spilled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jarvis Street Hill leading down to the cheese factory. This is now Church St, Lyn.

 

Returning from the Lyn Cheese Factory (This is not a photo of Walter Billings, but an unknown driver)

 

Log Canoes

From the book “How Dear to My Heart” by Walter Kilborn Billings

 

The only log canoe that I can remember appeared first on the Lyn pond. An Indian had brought it down from the back lakes, portaging it from back of Temperance Lake, through the canals, over the dams, and finally pulled it up on the shore behind the Lyn post office. He later traded in the village for groceries, and one day when in the village the grocer asked me whether I would like to buy it. This I did, and drew it home to the farm on the milk wagon. As it was late in the fall I did not have a chance to try it our, but that winter I scraped and sandpapered the outside of the canoe. In the spring my mother gave me a collection of paint cans, each containing a small quantity of paint, which I poured all together and stirred well. The resulting colour did not prove very attractive, being a pinkish yellow. However, with great care I puttied all the cracks, then applied the paint, giving it two coats. I saved a small quantity of red paint and this I used to mark a band along the top edge. On the bow I painted the name “Daisy”, and it was ready for the water. One day when father was away I hitched the grey mare to the stone boat, loaded the canoe on and started to lead the horse down the hill to the creek. I had not put a bridle on her but was just leading her by the halter. As we went down around by the barn she got a glimpse of the canoe behind her, and started to run. I hung on as long as I could but finally had to let her go. She ran along the edge of the gravel pit and the canoe rolled off and over and over to the bottom of the hill. I finally caught the mare and got her back in the stable, then went down to examine my canoe. On its was down the hill it had struck a boulder which had opened up a crack in the bottom. Securing more putty I wedged and plastered the break as best I could, but had to wait for the putty to dry. When all was ready I dragged my canoe into the water and tried it. It did not leak very much, and another application of putty completed the job.

 

Anyone who has never tried to keep a log cane right side up would be surprised how easily it tips over; I got wet several times before mastering the art of paddling. I suggest that if you want to try you should get on a floating log, put your feet in the proper position sit down and see how long you can balance yourself ! We had a lot of fun that summer with the canoe. We could go swimming, get into the canoe, one of us at each end and then try to tip it over by leaning over the edge, the other boy leaning the opposite way, then the first one would straighten up and over would go the canoe before the other boy would have time to save himself, both usually getting wet.

 

That summer a few families of Indians came to the neighbourhood to pick strawberries for the farmers, one group living in the little house on our farm. One Sunday two young squaws from the house decided to go for a boat ride. One of them was soon to be married and had bought muslin for a dress. Mother had cut it out and sewed it on our machine, and it looked very neat on the Indian girl, but of course she must put it on for the trip in the canoe. There was only one paddle, and as we sat on the hill watching them, the girl with the paddle put the end of it towards the shore to push the canoe out; the end of it stuck in the mud and as she pulled to release it , it came loose sooner than she expected. Over the canoe went ! They were a sorry looking pair of squaws as they got on their feet and waded to shore, their long black hair hanging about their faces and down their shoulders ! They never tried the canoe again, and in a week or two went back to their homes in St. Regis.

 

The log canoe proved the source of a lot of fun that summer, and many children of the neighbourhood learned to handle it, which was of some benefit to them when later they paddled the lighter cedar canoes manufactured in the factories.

 

I do not remember what became of my canoe, but think it broke away and ws dashed to pieces by the flooded stream later that fall when it was carried down the lower rapids.

The Sunburn

 

From the book “How Dear to My Heart” by Walter Kilborn Billings

It was nearly the end of July 1881. The hay crop had been all taken care of when Father and Mother decided to take a holiday and drive to Gananoque, a town about thirty miles west, to visit her sister. It was a three hour trip with horse and carriage, and was undertaken only about once a year.

When returning they had brought with them a cousin, Vernon Taylor, a boy about my own age. As usual, the creek was the great attraction. A raft which I had constructed a few weeks previously was anchored in the shallow water, and next afternoon we played around with it for quite a while. Then we decided to build a wharf to moor the raft to it. Securing an axe from the barn we sharpened the end of a couple of sticks and drove them into the bed of the creek a couple of feet from the bank, put a board on its edge from one stake to the other and secured it with some stones. Next we took the raft, paddled it up the creek to a spot where a heavy bank of sods hung down to the water, the earth underneath having been washed away by the spring floods. We could break off a chunk, put it on the raft and continue till we had a load, then shove them to our wharf, pile them like stones on one another until we had a solid foundation above the water level.

The day was warm and sunny. Since I had been in the water nearly every day, I had a pretty good tan. My cousin, although he had to wear a bathing suit at home, also had a fairly brown skin, but as we were playing in a secluded part of the creek, we decided he also would not wear his suit; therefore before the end of the afternoon he had acquired a pretty good sunburn. Finally at the call for supper we climbed the hill to the house and soon afterwards were in bed.

Next day was a holiday. The Farmers’ Picnic was to be held at St. Lawrence Park, a short distance west of the Brockville cemetery. My cousin had complained in the morning of being uncomfortable from the sunburn he had received the day before, but went with us to the picnic.

Tablecloths were spread on the grass under the trees, and dinner was served, everyone sitting around tailor fashion and enjoying the many good things from the lunch baskets, all but my cousin, who protested he did not care to sit, but leaned against a tree to eat his lunch.

In the afternoon there were swimming races, boat races, and a lot of other fun, but Vernon would not even get in a boat, as it hurt him to sit down, he said. It was a wonderful afternoon. The men got a long rope; choosing sides till twelve men were selected for each team and then had a tug of war. It was a great day, but to soon we were loaded onto the wagons, all but the big boys and girls who were staying for the evening to enjoy a dance at the pavilion.

Next morning my cousin’s sunburn was hurting terribly and he had me examine him to see what was causing the trouble. When I found two water blisters nearly as large as his hand, I understood why he preferred to eat his lunch standing up the day before.

While we were playing around the yard one of us suggested we have a tug of war, the same as they had had at the picnic, but as there was no one to take hold of the rope we had found in the shed we tied one end to the top of the lath fence at the side of the house. Then we took hold of the other end and started pulling. My cousin was behind me and as the laths would bend we would brace ourselves and give another pull, the same as the men did….. Unfortunately, there was a limit to the strength of the laths, and all at once they broke and we sat down in the driveway, my cousin giving out a horrible yell as he struck the ground. The blisters had broken! In a couple of hours he felt quite comfortable, but after that he always wore his bathing suit when we went out on the raft.

St. Lawrence Park Picnic Party
St. Lawrence Park Picnic Party

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For information on St. Lawrence Park look under Along Hwy 2, St. Lawrence Park on this website

The Swimming Hole

From the book “How Dear to My Heart” by Walter Kilborn Billings

 

Our old farm house was situated on the south side of the Lyn road. It had been re-modelled about the year 1871, and with lots of apple trees around it was a very pleasant spot to be brought up in. South of the house and on the side hill were the barns; the hill below was quite steep, ending with the sandpits that dropped away sharply to the creek.

To stand near the house and look south across the valley was always a pleasure, and in the spring to the east of the barns you could hear the roar of the falls a quarter of a mile away. The water flowing down and across the flat below the sandpits was always cool, as Father said it was fed from the springs away below the gravel pit bordering its banks; and at one spot where there was a bend, our swimming hole was located.

It was the mecca for all the boys, and in the summer evenings you could run down the hill hide your clothes behind a bush, and for a half hour enjoy the clean fresh feeling of a good swim. Then, putting on only what was necessary, you made your way to the house, and with fresh clothing you were ready for anything. Sunday morning was usually the time that more of the boys gathered for a cooling dip. We always tried to get down there first, as we had to hurry to be ready for church, but a lot of the boys who had other views regarding this spent an hour or two in the water.

There was always another reason why we wanted to have our swim first; if these boys arrived before you were dressed, a handful of mud or sand tossed your way hit you with a splash and sent you back in to clean up again. But the tough guy who started this was usually the last one to get dressed, as repeated attempts were usually failures, and finally you saw him race over to where his clothes were, grab them and run for the woods, where nettles were most abundant.

It was a great spot in the spring when the snow was melting. The stream always overflowed its banks, and driftwood, pieces of boards, and fence rails were salvaged, pulled back from the shore and later were made into a raft. The pieces of boards we nailed crosswise with some nails we had secured from where an old barn had been torn down. These nails were nearly all made by hand and hammered out square, and the ends pounded to a point, with the head left a bit larger. It was not known when this barn had been built and no one could remember when it had ever been used.

The stream or creek, above our lot rambled and twisted its way for a quarter of a mile through the woods, having tumbled its waters over the falls, that at one time furnished power for a mill located below and at one side of the narrow flume. The flume had been cut through solid rock with the help of hand drills, blasting powder and chisel. In our boyhood it was a great place to spend an afternoon, fishing for bullheads below the falls, and playing around the few remaining timbers of the old mill that was still standing. I remember tracing an abandoned road from the mill to the bank of the stream above the falls, where at one time a bridge had crossed the water. The road then ran on to the main concession or street. Below our farm and on for a bit the creek wound its way around trees, protruding rocks and bushes to a deep gully worn through the rough rocky bed of the stream. In the spring you could stand on the bank and see large red fin suckers dashing through the running water to the quieter pools farther up, and many times were treated to a nice dinner of fish caught in these rapids.

As the flooded flats cleared and the stream went back to its natural course we built our raft, fastening a long rope on one end so that one of us could go aboard and pole across the creek, while the other boy hung onto the rope, fastened another rope in place and towed our raft from each side up as far as we could go. It was great fun! Reading David Harum and his experience driving horses or mules hitched to the end of a tow rope, hauling barges on the Erie Canal always reminded me of these days with the raft.

My sister’s birthday came in April, and Mother had a party for her. A few of the boys too were invited, but instead of staying at the house and playing there, they all wanted to go to the creek. My raft had been securely tied to a tree along the shore, and they all wanted to play with it. I had told them that it was not safe for more than two or three at once, but they would not listen, and four stepped on. They used with poles out from the shore and when the current caught it away they went down stream, laughing and yelling. All went well. It was always a tricky job to steer around the crooks and rocks on the bank, and they were nearly down to the lower log where they would have to stop, when the raft caught a rock, swung around and struck again and it was all over! I managed to salvage the broken boards and the rails, but the bys were wet right to their armpits! Their good clothes of course were soaked, so we went back to the house. One of the lads who did not live far away went home. I can see him yet plodding along with the water gushing from his boots at each step.

The three others, well, Mother found enough clothing for them and their garments were hung around the kitchen stove to dry. Mother told them she ought to make them put on the girls’ clothes as punishment, but it nearly broke up the party.

There was another swimming hole above the falls to which the big boys at noon would run from school, for a dip before one o’clock. One day I went with three or four of them, not to swim, but to play around on a flat rock at the edge of the deeper water. Getting too near the edge I slipped and down I went. I can still feel the weeds at the bottom of that hole at my feet I came to the top but down I went again. Next time, as I came up I heard one of the boys yell “he’s drowning!”  Well they dove in and got me out, laid me with my face down hill and was I sick! I went back to school that afternoon and had a horrible head-ache. A neighbour heard about it and told Father. He said. “All right boy, I am going to teach you to swim!”

Father in his younger days was an athlete; he could play ball, swim well and could do a perfect dive. I have heard him tell of going to the river, climbing up the high rock overlooking the swift water of the Needle’s Eye, and after diving into the swirling current he would swim down to the eddy below, then go back and do it all over again. He could turn cartwheels, do hand springs and walk all over the flat on his hands.

We were all in the water one day. (You could go back a couple of rods from the bank, take a run and jump, and land in two or three feet of water.) All at once I heard a loud splash, and looking round, saw Father in the water. I knew it was of no use for me to try to get away, he caught me and before I left the creek that day I could swim.

Years later when the family were all home for a holiday, we went down to the swimming hole, eighteen of us, enjoyed a swim and then sat on the bank and told others of the fun we had when as children, we took our bath in the swimming hole at the creek.

The Lyn Falls photo taken in 1910

 

Billings Home on the Lyn Road

 

Needles Eye west of Brockville from a 1906 postcard

 

 

More Bees

From the book “How Dear to My Heart” by Walter Kilborn Billings

 

It was nearly the last week of haying. Father and a neighbour, Chris Bateson, had done this work together on both farms, and I drove the rake.

1874 Advertisement for a Ithaca Steel Horse Rake

This day we were on our neighbour’s farm, and I was following the wagon, cleaning up the rakings.  I remember I had gone over a small clump of grass and had wondered why the mower had missed it, when all at once my horse started to switch his tail, kick and shake his head. I did not realize what was wrong until I felt a sting on my bare leg, and looking down, saw a swarm of bumble bees. My rake was about half-full of hay, which was rolling over and over in front of the teeth, and each time it came over, more bees came from it. I had raked into the nest, pulled it into the hay, and was rolling out more bees at each turning. By this time my horse had started to run away, so I dumped out the hay and away we went down the fields. Fortunately there was noting in the way, so I hung on and let him run guiding him enough that we finally came to a high rail fence, and I got him stopped. We had left the bees still flying around the hay, and next day I went over and burned or smoked them out.

The foundry man in Lyn was of an inventive mind. One day he had been out in the country delivering a cultivator, and in the deal had secured three hives of honey bees. Bringing them home, he had placed them on a long bench at the edge of the garden.

Later on he was called form the shop with the news that he bees were swarming, and going to the garden found the whole swarm had lodged on the limb of an elm tree about ten feet from the ground. Backing up his spring wagon under them and placing a couple of packing boxes in it, he fastened a market basket on a short pole, tied a cord to the end to the limb and climbed up on the boxes. He held the basket under the bees and started jerking the cord, the bees dropping in bunches into the basket. All went well until he made a misstep, tipped over the boxes and fell on the floor of the wagon, with the basket of bees tipping over on him. I was talking to his son a short time ago. He gave me a part of the story, but he said he ran from the scene as his father fell, so that he could not remember any remarks that came from the occupant of that wagon !

There always seemed to be a fascination for some people in keeping bees, and my partner decided he was going into the bee business. Procuring one hive to start with, he placed it in his garden, under a small apple tree, between the house and barn. The weather turned warm and one day his bees swarmed, and lit in a limb of the apple tree. He had prepared for this event, had a large straw hat fixed up, with a netting around the rim and a cord to tie it around the neck. He had tied cord around the legs of his trousers at his boot-tops, his wife had placed a pair of leather gauntlets on his hands, tying them tightly at his wrists, and he was ready to get the swarm into the new hive already placed in position.

Stepping up to the limb he proceeded to shake it gently, the bees dropping around the hive, and some, of course, dropping around his boots. He was careful not to step on them. All at once he started to yell, and ran for the house. In moving around he had stepped on one of the ends of the bow-knot of the cord tied around his trouser leg, loosened it, and the bees had crawled up inside stinging him around the waist-band. He was met at the door by his wife, who told him not to come in there as the baby was asleep in the kitchen.

Then he turned and started for the barn but remembering his horse was loose inside, he again turned, ran out to the street and across the canal. His hat by this time had come off and was hanging behind his head with the netting still over his face. At that time the steps to the work shop were outside the main building, and up these steps he ran and into the room above. Wondering what the mater was, I followed him. Then he yelled “Don’t come in here”

He found a wood chisel, cut the strings on his gauntlets and the one on the other pant leg and finally got those trousers off and beat off the bees that still insisted on staying with him. Finally he went home and to bed. There were over twenty stings around his waist ! His wife had to go to the druggist for a remedy, but he was quite ill for a day or two.

Later he decided that bee-keeping was not in his line, and made someone else happy with his bees.

Forgotten People from Our Past

In our various collections we have photos of people with no names attached, our forgotten people. Take a look and see if you recognize anyone, if you can put a name and date with a photo please let us know. There are a total of 150 photographs.

Perhaps you will discover a part of your past !

 

Photo No 1
Photo No 2
Photo No 3
Photo No 4
Photo no 5
Photo No 6
Photo No 7
Photo No 8
Photo No 9
Photo No 10
Photo No 11
Photo No 12 in Lyn
Photo No 13
Photo No. 14
Photo No 15
Photo No 16
Photo No.17
Photo No 18
Photo No 19
Photo No. 20
Photo No 21
Photo No 22
Photo No 23
Photo No 24
Photo No 25
Photo No 26
Photo No 27
Photo No. 28
Photo No.29
Photo No. 30
Photo No 31
Photo No. 32
Photo No. 33
Photo No 34
Photo No. 35
Photo No. 36
Photo No. 37
Photo No. 38
Photo No. 39
Photo No. 40
Photo No. 41
Photo No. 42
Photo No. 43
Photo No. 44
Photo No. 45
Photo No. 46
Photo No. 47
Photo No. 48
Photo No. 49 (maybe in Brockville)
Photo No. 50
Photo No. 51
Photo No. 52
Photo No. 53
Photo No. 54
Photo No 55
Photo No. 56
Photo No. 57
Photo No. 58
Photo No. 59
Photo No.60
Photo No. 61
Photo No.62
Photo No. 63
Photo No. 64
Photo No. 65
Photo No.66
Photo No. 67
Photo No. 68
Photo No. 69
Photo No. 70
Photo No. 71
Photo No. 72
Photo No. 73
Photo No. 74
Photo No. 75 in Lyn

 

Photo No. 76 in Lyn
Photo No. 77 in Lyn
Photo No. 78
Photo No. 79
Photo No.80
Photo No. 81
Photo No. 82
Photo No. 83
Photo No. 84
Photo No. 85
Photo No. 86
Photo No. 87
Photo No. 88
Photo No. 89
Photo No. 90
Photo No. 91
Photo No. 92
Photo No. 93
Photo No. 94
Photo No. 95
Photo No. 96
Photo No. 97
Photo No. 98
Photo No. 99
Photo No. 100
Photo No. 101
Photo No. 102
Photo No. 103
Photo No. 104
Photo No. 105
Photo No. 106
Photo No. 107
Photo No. 108
Photo No. 109
Photo No. 110
Photo No. 111
Photo No. 112
Photo No. 113
Photo No. 114 (Kingston Bridge Brockville ?)
Photo No 115
Photo No. 116
Photo No. 117
Photo No. 118
Photo No. 119
Photo No. 120
Photo No. 121
Photo No. 122
Photo No. 123 (Falkner Photographer,Athens)
Photo No. 124 (Gamble Photographer, Brockville)
Photo No. 125 (Joynt Photographers, Athens, Ontario)
Photo No. 126
Photo No. 127
Photo No. 128
Photo No. 129
Photo No. 130
Photo No. 131
Photo No. 132
Photo No. 133
Photo No. 134
Photo No. 135
Photo No. 136
Photo No. 137
Photo No. 138
Photo No. 139
Photo No. 140
Photo No. 141
Photo No. 142
Photo No. 143
Photo No 144
Photo No. 145
Photo No. 146
Photo No. 147
Photo No. 148
Photo No. 149
Photo No 150
Photo No 151
Photo No. 152 TinType
Photo No. 153 TinType
Photo No. 154 Tintype
Photo No. 155 Tintype

 

Photo No, 156
Photo No. 157
Photo No. 158
Photo No 159
Photo No. 160

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anson McNish – Photographs from around the area

Anson McNish was born in Lyn, Ontario, in 1878, the son of George McNish owner of the Lyn Agricultural Works and Almira Jane Fell.

Anson was a mechanic by trade, but also an Amateur Photographer. As an amateur photographer, Anson has given us some very fine detailed pictures with glimpses into his life and surroundings.

Anson married Antoinette (Nettie) Brookman, in Fultonville, NY on August 10, 1910. Together they had one daughter Florence Catherine who was born in 1913 and unfortunately died at the early age of 15 in 1928.

These photos are some of the very first photographs the Anson did. In these photos he shows us everyday life of his friends and family in and around the Lyn Area.

Thanks to Anson we have some great insight into this time period of the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.

 

1-Yonge Mills, a popular fishing area- 1905

 

2-Old Stone Church at Yonge Mills

 

3-Presbyterian Church at Caintown

 

4-Presbyterian Church at Mallorytown, Ontario

 

5-Nunn’s Falls (Lyn Falls)

 

6-Market Square, Brockville

 

7-Fullerton’s On King St. East, Brockville

 

8-Morristown, NY across the St.Lawrence from Brockville, ONtario

 

9-Grain Elevator at Prescott, Ontario

 

10-St. Lawrence Skiffs on the St. Lawrence River

 

11-The Steamer Kingston, on the St Lawrence River

 

12-Camp Jolly, Charleston Lake

 

13-Pic Nic at Charleston Lake

 

14-A good day’s catch

 

15-Cat and Kittens

 

 

16-Pic Nic at Hudson’s Point on the St. Lawrence

 

Anson McNish – The Early Years- Lyn

The Early Photography of Anson McNish

Anson McNish was born in Lyn, Ontario, in 1878, the son of George McNish owner of the Lyn Agricultural Works and Almira Jane Fell.

Anson was a mechanic by trade, but also an Amateur Photographer. As an amateur photographer, Anson has given us some very fine detailed pictures with glimpses into his life and surroundings.

Anson married Antoinette (Nettie) Brookman, in Fultonville, NY on August 10, 1910. Together they had one daughter Florence Catherine who was born in 1913 and unfortunately died at the early age of 15 in 1928.

These photos are some of the very first photographs the Anson did. In these photos he shows us everyday life of his friends and family in and around the Lyn Area.

Thanks to Anson we have some great insight into this time period of the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.

 

1-Henry and Addie McNish on Main Street Lyn in 1894

 

2-Main St West, Lyn with the Methodist Church on the right and the Lyn School next to it

 

3-Main Street, Lyn looking to the East, the Blacksmith shop is the first building on the left

 

4-Main Street Lyn looking west on the left are Coon’s Bakery, Stewart’s Garage, Stores,  Taylor’s Drug Store and Stack’s Hotel

 

5-Original dam for the Lyn Pond on Main Street, the original mill is the white building on the right

 

6-Presbyterian Church on Perth St, Lyn

 

7-Presbyterian Church, Lyn – Sanctuary

 

8-Rev. Daley, Minister of the Presbyterian Church, Lyn in 1903

 

9-Old Red Saw Mill, Lyn

 

10-Blacksmith Shop, Main St, Lyn

 

11-Lyn Agricultural Works, on Main Street. Owned by George McNish. Anso worked here while he lived in Lyn

 

 

12-Gerald Hanna hauling a log to the mill, Main St., Lyn

 

13-On Perth St. looking east to Bay Street, Lyn

The Following Three Photographs taken by Anson McNish are the earliest pictures we have of the Village of Lyn taken from the Valley

14-Looking up to Lyn from the Valley, the Methodist Church steeple is on the left, the five story Mill is on the right

 

15-Looking across the Lyn Valley the Anglican Church can been on the hill on the right

 

16-Across the Lyn Valley, the mill is on the left

 

17-The Five Story Lyn Flour Mill

 

 

18-The Lyn Public School built in 1867

 

19-Lyn School Play. The second floor of the school was left open as one big room for meetings, plays etc.

 

20-The Lyn Mill Pond

 

21-The Lyn Mill Pond

 

22-Skating Party on the Lyn Mill Pond

 

23-Ice Harvest on the Lyn Mill Pond 1911

 

24-George McNish and dog Ted watering cows at the Mill Pond, directly across from St. John’s Hall
25-George McNish- Anson’s Father
26-Almira Jane Fell, Anson’s Mother

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

27-Home of Henry McNish, west of Lyn

 

28-Henry and Stanley McNish

 

29-Inside of Henry McNish’s Home

 

30-Henry Manhard’s home, Lyn

 

31-Anson McNish family home on Perth Street, Lyn. Photo was taken by moonlight in December 1900 at 8 pm

 

32-Walking on Perth Street, Lyn

 

33-The McCready Farm Home, located on an abandoned side road west of the Lyn Road

 

34- Anglican Church Rectory across from the church in Lyn

 

35-Lyn Valley in the winter

 

36-Walking on the bridge over the creek on what is now the Lyn Valley Road

 

37-Gerald Hanna and Family

 

38-Gerald Hanna and Family

 

38-Gerald Hanna and Family

 

40-Harris, Stanley and Mabel Hanna

 

41-Mable Hanna

 

42-Harris Hanna 1894

 

43-Harris Hanna and Clarence Green

 

44-Edith and Sherwood Hanna 1894

 

45-Earnest Cumming

 

46-Boys with a dog sled, Main Street Lyn

 

47-Lloyd Hanna and Florence Boyd

 

 

48-James and Maggie Lee’s Home in Lyn

 

49-Albert and Alfred McCready, Lyn

 

50-Henry McNish-1905

 

51-McNish Family- 1905

 

52-Addie, Henry and Edith McNish

 

53-Pals in Lyn

 

54-Unfortunately this is a great photo without names

 

55-Another Group photo without names

 

56-Christmas at Elm Grove, Lyn in 1905

 

57-Christmas in 1906 at Springbrook, Lyn

 

58-Valentines Day Party, 1906 at the Cedars, Lyn

 

59-Friends on a fence

 

60-Farewell Gathering at G.A. Purvis, Lyn – 1907

 

61-Farewell Gathering at G.A.Purvis, Lyn- 1907

 

62-School Sled going to BCI in Brockville – 1906

Lyn – News from the Village

The Athens Reporter and County of Leeds Advertiser

Excerpts have been taken from this paper referencing the following hamlet for the years 1884, 1889, 1894, 1895 and 1924

March 28, 1884 – The Breaking of a Dam Floods the Village

The Village of Lyn situated five miles west of Brockville is today undergoing all the horrors of a flood, an experience seldom falling to the lot of dwellers in Eastern Ontario Towns. This morning at an early hour it was noticed that the small stream of water passing through the centre of the quite hamlet and partially held in check by a rotten looking dam, had assumed the proportions of a small river. A few more moments elapsed during which a roaring noise resembling the rapid approach of a furious thunder storm was heard and then with a boom and a crash a great body of water came rushing down the narrow gorge carrying everything before it. Hugh masses of thick ice were swirled about like corks and a few minutes after the first warning the water had reached the depth of two feet in some of the streets of Lyn and one Lady Mrs. Raymond, was obliged to gather her effects hurriedly together and vacate her dwelling which was soon flooded.

At latest accounts Purvis Store, Gardiner’s Store and a dwelling occupied by Mr. Peter Pergau were invaded by the watery element, while many other residences had banked their houses in hope of restricting the invasion. To add to the trouble large blocks of ice are floating about the streets and threatening damage to the buildings.

The trouble originated from the breakage of Coleman’s Dam erected between the two points of lakes by the Coleman Brothers about twenty five years ago. The dam is situated about three miles above the village and is supposed to have become weak through age.

Lyn, Tuesday March 26th,  1889

Spring has come, the voice of the blackbird and robin is heard in the land and the vendors of maple syrup are seen on our streets. Poor sap-weather they say.

March has been decidedly lamb-like all through, but lion may put in an appearance in April.

Heldon Brown, son of Ira Brown, has gone to Idaho to go into business with his brother, who has been out there for some years. Every body wishes “Shel” success.

Ms. James McLean, who has been an inmate of the lunatic asylum at Kingston for some time, died suddenly on Thursday, and was buried at Stone Church, Young on Saturday.

Rev. J.J. Richards being away on vacation, visiting friends in the North-West, his pulpit is supplied by students and others. Rev. Mr. Phillips  kindly officiates when called upon during the week.

The Methodist Church Ladies’ Aid Society intend holding a sugar social on April 3rd.

 

Lyn, Saturday April 27, 1889

The warm weather and rain of this week have started the grass, strawberries etc. which are looking well.

Farmers have commenced seeding somewhat earlier than for some time past.

As the corn fodder and ensilage subject is a very important one, why is it not expedient to have the next meeting of the Farmers’ Institute held at once, when the matter can be thoroughly discussed in time to be of benefit for this season ! A weeks notice, with through advertising, would bring a large gathering to Brockville on any Saturday.

 

Lyn– Saturday June 22nd   1889

The fine weather of this week has brought on the strawberry crop very rapidly. The yield promises to be very heavy and the appearance of the fruit magnificent. The Indian pickers have come and the next two weeks will be busy ones.

Mr. Wm. Bullock has been on a trip through the states of Pennsylvania and New York. He reports a pleasant time.

The License Commissioners have been fit to grant in Lyn the only license in the township, in the face of the petition of 49 ‘fanatics’ against it. As soon as the granting of the license became known the old stagers began to fall into line, and the old time scenes, so common before the passage of the Scott Act, are again frequently witnessed. The idiotic stare, boisterous hilarity and reeling stupidity were all to be seen at one time yesterday. But it is all right and according to Act of Parliament. But will the sighs and tears of the wives, sisters and mothers be less bitter ! Let them weep- it is their privilege; but they must be careful not to do anything to stay the cause of their tears, or they will overstep the bounds of propriety and be accused of fanaticism! Strange it is that men will pray on Sunday, “Lead us not into temptation.” And on Monday encourage the opening of a public bar to tempt the weak Is such Christianity real or burlesque !

 

Tuesday Oct 16, 1894 issue-

Lyn- Monday Oct 16

Mr. John DeCarle of Montana, US and Miss Maggie Wilson of Lyn were married on the 11th. They leave in a few days for the west. The loss of Miss. Wilson will be much felt, as she was one of the most popular young ladies.

Factories are all running now which makes things lively.

On Saturday one of the oldest inhabitants of Yonge Front passed away at the ripe old age of 86 years, viz.: Mr. Peter Purvis, familiarly know as “Aunt Keziah”. She will be buried today at the stone church.

 

Tuesday Nov 20, 1894 issue-   (date show is the date on the paper, not the correct date)

Lyn, Nov 26 –

Hunting and fish stories are the leading topic here just now, but none of them come up to N’s in last week’s Reporter

One of our clergymen put in a good word for life insurance yesterday.

A couple of farmers from the Front of Yonge had quite an experience coming from Westport on Saturday evening. What would travellers do if there were no houses of entertainment along the road ?

There has been quite a stir in real estate this fall. When there are no houses to rent people have to buy.

 

Tuesday Jan. 8, 1895 issue-

Lyn– Jan 7-

The holidays passed off very quietly. Christmas was dull for want of sleighing.

On New Year’s morning Presbyterian S.S. scholars were treated to candy and fruit, and in the afternoon the Methodist S.S. took a drive, followed by a social in the school room.

The sleighing is making things lively in the wood and log business.

The whistle at the saw mill sounds well after being silent for some time.

Miss Naomi McCormack has been engaged to take charge of the junior classes in our school. We were sorry to loose Miss. Clow

The Rev. Mr. Wright, being away for the holidays, his pulpit was filed on the 30th by a Mr. Thompson, divinity student of Princetown college. Those who staid at home on account of the storm lost a fine gospel sermon.

Mr. William Langdon and lady. of Lyn, spent New Year’s with friends in the village. (Addison)

 

Tuesday Jan. 22, 1895 issue-

Mr. Charles Hayes has severed his connection with the Model farm at Maple Grove and has taken a residence in Lyn. He will be missed very much as he was a general favourite with all. We wish him and his family success in their new home.

 

Lyn- Monday Jan 21-

One of the saddest drowning accidents occurred here on Saturday. Little Joey, youngest son of Joseph Miller, went out to play after dinner and got down on the ice in the canal that carries the water to the flour mill, got through and was carried under the ice to the grating at the walkb_a_d [sic] . Willing hands went to work to get him out, but it was half and hour before the body was recovered, and although every effort was made to resuscitate him, life was extinct. What makes this accident particularly sad is that Mr. Miller lost another son by drowning about seven years ago, and also that a little precaution in covering the canal would render such an accident impossible. Mr. Miller’s family has the sympathy of the whole community.

 

Tuesday Feb. 5, 1895 issue-

Lyn- Monday Feb 4

Much sympathy is felt for John Armstrong in his illness

Mr. Kilpatrick, our new school trustee is proving the right man in the right place. His knowledge of modern school methods makes him a great help to the teachers. It is hoped that our school will be raised out of the rut of old fogeyism and made what it should be. It is sheer nonsense that so many pupils should go to other places to do 5th class work that might be done here.

The annual Sunday School drive of the Presbyterian S.S. takes place on the 11th, in the afternoon, and the congregational meeting in the evening – a combined social and business meeting that is always looked forward to as a very enjoyable affair.

 

 

Feb. 12, 1895 issue-

Lyn– Feb 11-

Johnnie Armstrong is home on a flying visit, on account of his father’s illness and had a rough time making the trip. He was on the train that was run into west of Toronto, but escaped any injury except a shaking up. J. Armstrong, sr., is some better, able to go out driving.

Reports from woodsmen put the depth of snow on the level at from three to six feet. Surely the regularity of the train service on the B&W this winter should convince the back country folks of the reliability of a mail service on that route. At present it takes three days to get a return mail from Delta or west of this to Lyn, and the same from Addison or Greenbush.

Owing to the snow blockade, the S.S. dinner and annual meeting of the Presbyterian congregation has been postponed until Tuesday the 26th.

  1. B. Stack advertises his hotel for sale. The house has been much improved since he has occupied it and it is said to be one of the most comfortable country hotels on the road.

On Saturday evening the Liberal meeting was well attended, in spite of the storm, and was very enthusiastic, every one feeling that there were good grounds for expecting a Liberal victory at Dominion elections.

 

Tuesday March 5, 1895 issue

Lyn – Monday, Mar 4,-

The annual meeting of the congregation of Christ church (Presbyterian) came off on the 30th and was a very pleasant and successful one. Reports showed increased interest in missionary, S. school and other work. The meeting was a business and social one, and all seemed to enjoy themselves. A pleasing feature in the proceedings was the presentation of a number of interesting volumes to Miss. C. Willson as a token of appreciation of her services as sec-treasurer during past years. Miss. Willson was taken completely by surprise and replied briefly.

Quite a number of cases of lagrippe have developed during the last few days.

Mr. Theron Thrall, our oldest inhabitant, is very low.

Everybody is pleased to see John Armstrong out again and improving in health.

A very serious coasting accident occurred here on Saturday evening. A party of young people were enjoying themselves on the mountain near the G.T.R. station when a toboggan collided with a stump, resulting in Miss. Etta Stafford, daughter of Wm. Stafford, Esq., having her leg broken above the knee, besides other injuries.

 

Tuesday March 12, 1895 issue

Lyn- Monday Mar 11 –

During last week both Mr. and Mrs. Thrall, an aged couple, passed away. Mr. Thrall, who has been an invalid for a number of years, died on Tuesday and his aged wife followed on Thursday. Mr. Thrall aged 86, Mrs. Thrall 75.

The annual charity social came off on Friday and was quite a success. About $20. was realized.

Fred Lee has opened up an ag’l machine depot here, handling implements made in the country, and is now canvassing the western section with samplers. Fred is a hustler and it will pay parties to see him before placing orders.

The sleighing is good and large quantities of logs and wood are coming to the village.

 

Tuesday March 26, 1895 issue

Lyn – Mar 18 –

Mrs. N. R. Gardiner had the misfortune this morning to slip on the ice and break her arm and sprain her ankle.

Wm. Bullock left today for Montreal where he intends going into the grocery business.

Wm. Neilson & Sons bought four head of fat cattle through the village that they had purchased from the Stewart Brothers, Seeley’s Corners, which were a credit to them as feeders.

The serious results of over study in the case of Miss. Robins is another example of the evils of the cramming system carried on in our schools. To get an education they must go to the high schools where everything is run at high pressure. It is high time that something was done to make our common schools such as would provide a good common business education.

Tuesday, March 26-

The Rev. Mr. Patton, missionary of the Canadian Tract Society, occupied the pulpit of the Presbyterian church yesterday, giving an account of the society’s work among the lumberman and inland sailors, which was very interesting.

On Sunday next 31st, a mass meeting of the Lyn, Caintown and Mallorytown congregations will be held in the Presbyterian church, Lyn, at 3:30 p.m., when the ordination of the newly elected elders will take place. Rev. Mr. Cameron of St. John’s church, Brockville will preach.

A gloom was cast over the village when it became known that Mrs. Omar Mallory had passed away. She had been very ill for some days, but was thought to be better, but on Saturday became worse until about one a.m. this morning when she died. Much sympathy is felt for Mr. Mallory and family.

 

Yesterday (Monday), after a brief illness, Mrs. Omar Mallory of Lyn departed this life. Deceased was a daughter of Mr. Henry Judd, Mallorytown, and a sister of Mrs. I.C. Alguire, Athens. She was highly esteemed by all who knew her, and her sudden demise is a subject of sincere regret to a large circle of friends. The funeral takes place to-morrow and the remains will be interred at Mallorytown.

 

Tuesday April 9, 1895 issue

Mr. Wm. Stafford, of the Lyn stock yards, in his report to the Department of Agriculture for the year ending Oct. 31, 1894, says: Official regulations concerning the transportation of American stock have been strictly carried out. The yards have been always kept in a good state of repair. No Canadian cattle were allowed to come in contact with the yards. All animals dead on arrival here have been buried within the isolated yards under my direction. There were 835 cars, 13,855 head of cattle; 13 cars- 855 head of cattle; 13 cars, 261 horses; and 7 cars, 1,100 head of sheep, at the station this year, all of which were unloaded, fed and watered.

 

Rev. J.J. Wright of Lyn will occupy the pulpit of St. Paul’s Presbyterian church on Sabbath next, the pastor, Rev. J.J. Cameron taking his appointments on the Lyn Circuit.

 

Tuesday April 23, 1895 issue

Lyn,- Monday April 22,-

Another of our old residents passed away last week in the person of Mrs. Raymond. A year ago she had a paralytic stroke but recovered so far as to be able to go about, until on Monday evening last she had another and sank until Thursday noon when she died.

Wallace Nicholson and wife are visiting Mr. Robert Widdis, her father, who is very ill.

Mrs. Martin Hunt has returned after spending the winter with her son at Syracuse, NY

Miss Jennie Raymond is home from Chicago, on account of the death of her mother,

Peter Pergau has commenced building his new house on the Demming lot. Pity we did not have some more men like Peter.

James McNish of Elm Grove farm is very ill.

The death of Henry Robinson of Hallecks was quite a shock to the people of the village. His youngest son in now lying at the point of death.

 

Tuesday April 30, 1895 issue

Lyn– Monday, April 29-

W.Neilson & Sons have removed their meat market into the brick building near the P.O., having a fine roomy shop. The old premises are to be torn down. It was erected 49 years ago by H.E. McDonald for a shoe shop and is the oldest building on Main St., except the blacksmith shop and the Raymond house remaining as the first built. It is removing an old landmark.

Rev, Mr, Wright gave the report of the Liquor committee a pretty rough handling in his discourse yesterday.

 

Tuesday June 11, 1895 issue

Lyn– Monday June 10.-

Rev. A. Mallory filed the pulpit in the Methodist church yesterday, morning and evening

Everybody is pleased that Rev. Mr. Perley is to remain another year.

The Hornerite tent has been here since 29th May, but has attracted very few from this neighbourhood. On Friday quite a crowd from a distance gathered in convention. It is said that they are to remain another week.

Mr. Cumming is clearing away the ruins and debris of a part of the old tannery, where he intends building an addition to the Flouring Mill, to be need for grinding provender, & etc.

Our factories are all running full time.

The Ag’l Works are very busy sending off cultivators and horse shoes. Farmers appreciate the advantage of the reduction in prices.

Prospects are fair for a crop of strawberries, but they need rain badly.

 

Tuesday July 30, 1895 issue

McNish – At Brookfield, Missouri, aged 76, Lavina McNish, wife of Geo. McNish, formerly of Young Co. of Leeds, Ont mother of G.P. McNish, Lyn.

 

Tuesday Aug 13, 1895 issue

Lyn, Monday Aug. 12 –

The magnificent illumination at Union Park on the 8th was witnessed by a large number from here.

Our school board are over-hauling the school house and putting things in good shape – new seats, draining the basement, and putting in furnace for heating etc. The two school rooms are to be on the upper flat, leaving the lower room to be used as a town hall for the present.

The union S.S. excursion takes place next week to Gananoque.

The Hornerites have secured Buell’s hall as a place of worship.

The quarterly meeting in the Methodist church on the 4th was largely attended.

On Friday evening Mrs. Jas. Hall and her party of native Coreans [sic] drew a large audience at the Methodist church. Mrs. Hall’s description of the manners and customs of that country, and the singing and reading of the Coreans in their native tongue, were very interesting.

Peter Pergan has his new home finished

E.A.Cumming is putting a new boiler in his last factory

Mr. H. Coleman and family are visiting his brother-in-law, Jas. Cumming, Esq.

Mr. Meikle of Smith’s Falls took a spin on Sunday morning from Charleston to meet Rev. J.J. Wright, an old friend. He came by way of Athens 17 miles in 90 minutes.

 

Tuesday Aug 13, 1895 issue

Lyn

O.W.Weed and wife of Sandy Creek, N.Y. are spending a few week’s with Mrs. Weed’s sister, Mrs. G.P. McNish

Walker’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin has been here and gone carrying away some money and the ???? of a humbugged crowd.

 

Tuesday Aug 27, 1895 issue

Lyn– Monday Aug 28 –

The union S.S. excursion came off on Friday, 23rd, and was a very pleasant affair

School has opened and both scholars and teachers are much pleased with their new quarters

Wm Bulloch has retires to Kyn, having sold out his interest in the grocery business in Montreal.

M.Kilpatrick, our general Insurance agent, is receiving a visit from his brother from Rousa city, Mo. The visitor filled the pulpit of the Methodist church last evening very acceptably.

 

Tuesday Sep 3, 1895 issue

Mr. U.R. Lapoint of Elizabethtown is slightly demented and when under the influence of liquor is inclined to be dangerous. Last week he armed himself with a gun and an axe and drove into Brockville where he par took of refreshments and speedily qualified for police interference. He was arrested, adjudged insane, and will be confined in the new asylum.

A Lyn correspondent says: – An English sharper representing himself variously as “an expert butter maker” a commercial traveller with samples and horses at Brockville, a secret detective, etc., managed to skip a small bill at a boarding house here. He was seen afoot heading for Athens Tuesday morning. Pass him along.

 

Messer’s. Omer and John E. Brown of Delta and Wm Bullock of Lyn, and Geo Stanton of Canton, N.Y., were fishing in Red Horse lake last Wednesday and numbered among their catch two salmon weighing respectively 20 lbs and 12 lbs. The Red Horse has furnished fine sport this season and many big catches have been made, but this twenty pounder probably breaks the record.

Tuesday Sep 24, 1895 issue

Lyn– Saturday, Sept 21 –

One of the oldest inhabitants of this village passed away on Wednesday morning last in the person of Robert Widdis, aged 66, who has carried on the business of wagon making for over 35 years.

Everybody is much pleased at the success of our local thoroughbred stock men at the fairs this fall.

E.A.Cumming is placing a new steel boiler in the last factory and is overhauling and remodelling his machinery, getting ready for a busy time.

The whistle of the Eyre Mfg. Co. has been heard for the last few days signifying that business had been resumed after being shut down for a time.

The Ag’l Works are busy getting out plows, improved Giant root cutters, sugar arches and roller castings.

The W.C.T.U. are talking of getting up an entertainment to open the new hall, provided by putting both departments of the school on the upper flat. Everybody attends their entertainments, so they are sure of a full house.

The Unionville fair was voted a great success by the many who visited it from here. The “merry go round” was a great attraction to old and young, but centrifugal force was the strongest in the case of one of the “boys”.

 

March 29, 1924 – A Lyn Landmark Destroyed

The building destroyed was one of the landmark of Lyn Village. It was built many years ago by Richard Coleman and in 1854 was converted to a factory by Messer’s James Bullock and Walter Coleman. For a number of years it stood unoccupied. Early this year Mr. Drunige, who operates a saw mill at Jasper and portable sawing equipment at Maitland, purchased the building and equipped it with $2,500. worth of machinery. He had cut between 150,000 and 200,000 feet of umber since operations were started in February. Owing to limited yard space most of the lumber manufactured was drawn away daily and fortunately there was not much of the finished product on the grounds when the fire broke out. Close to 40 cords of slab wood were piled in the engine and boiled room of the plant and this gave the Brockville fireman their hardest battle in subduing the flames. The loss will be in the neighbourhood of $4,000. and although the owner of the property was away and could not be interviewed it was learned from a authoritative source that no insurance was carried on the building or contents which are a total loss

 

 

 

Elizabethtown-Kitley Fire Department

“Edna’s Scrapbook”

is a paperback book written by Edna B. Chant and was published in 1998. Edna Chant was a reported with the “Athens Reporter” for 23 years and she is the author of four books.

Her book, which is made up of news clippings from various sources, from which we have taken excerpts, gives us a glimpse into life in our area for over a hundred year period ending with stories from 1975.

While her book covers many areas of Leeds and Grenville we have only focused on the area within Elizabethtown-Kitley Township.

 

Elizabethtown Fire Department

The Eizabethtown Volunteer Fire Department based at Lyn has an interesting history showing what a group of citizens can do if they put their minds to it. The project of forming a fire department was proposed at a meeting of the Lyn Community Club and on March 18, 1963 a meeting was held at the home of Arnold Ladd at which five men were appointed to form a committee to be the future Fire Department slate of officers. They were Arnold Ladd, chairman; Ivan Cross, Herb Simpson, Gerald Coon, Elton Tennant. In April a public meeting was held in the Lyn School when 24 men signed up offering their services as firefighters. The Township Council accepted these names proposed and approved the appointment of David McCrady as Fire Chief. Meetings were held every two weeks and many ways to make money were used such as dances, raffles and an auction sale. The first item of equipment purchased was a pumper truck on June 10, 1963 and they also got a 1957 oil tank and converted it to a water tank truck holding 1,300 gallons of water. The Township Council gave $1000. to purchase equipment and Fire Chief McCrady donated the land, the Township Council bought the material and the fireman did the work and a fire hall was erected. In 1964 a panel truck was purchased and by 1967 they had a new station wagon, two Scott air packs, two portable pumps, 5000 feet of hose, extension ladders, coats, hats, rubber-boots, uniforms for 25 men and they sent 14 men to attend Fire College at Gravenhurst. On September 5, 1967 Fire Chef McCrady resigned and was replaced by Deputy Chief George Williams and Ivan Cross was appointed Deputy Chief. Elizabethtown Township is justly proud of their Fire Department which now has modern radio equipment and an enlarged fire hall with a kitchen.

On July 18, 1966 a circus sponsored by the Lyn Firefighters Association was greatly enjoyed by both adults and children alike. But they were given a thrill they will never forget when one of the trapeze artists fell 50 feet from a high bar to the ground below. No net was being used. Women screamed and men jumped to their feet when Carmen Del Molion, a Spanish artist was seen to fall. She lay motionless on the ground as circus attendants rushed to her aid. She was carried to her trailer where she was attended by a doctor. It was later announced that no bones were broken but she was badly bruised and shaken up.

 

Kitley Fire Department

A new Kitley Fire Hall at Frankville was officially opened on July 23, 1966. Reeve Charlie Sands was master of ceremonies. Present were Reeve Borden Hutchings of North Crosby; Reeve E.A. McGregor of Westport; Reeve Wally Heffernan of Rear of Younge and Escott and Reeve Edgar Bresse of Newboro as well as Warden Donald Ferguson, Reeve Ernest Miller, Front of Younge; Fire Chief Dave McCrady, Elizabethtown; Fire Chief Edgar Fagan, Smiths Falls; Fire Chief Robert Bell, Augusta, Fire Chief Gerald Wing, Westport; members of Kitley Fire Department are Fire Chief Gerald Moran, Deputy Fire Chief Gerald Sands, Captain’s Gerald Mercier and Ray Ireland.

 

Unknown House on fire, Lyn Ontario

 

 

 

lyns-1st-fire-hall
Lyn’s First Fire Hall

 

 

 

 

 

 

mack-stack-in-front-of-fire-hall-darling-bk1-p50
Mack Stack standing in front of Lyn’s first Fire Hall

 

 

 

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The end of Lyn’s first fire hall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

eliz-fire-dept-c1963-wi-bk3p194
Elizabethtown Fire Department Building in Lyn c1963
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Elizabethtown Fire Department building in Lyn c 1992

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

lyn-fire-trucks-1993
Fire Trucks c1993
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Elizabethtown Fire Truck 1971
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Elizabethtown Fire Truck 1963

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

d-white-g-williams-dmccrady
Chiefs D. White; G.Williams and D.McCrady
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Fire Hall Meeting April 1963
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Fire Extraction Team 2005
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Elizabethtown Fire Department Team 1993
lyn-fire-hall-1993
Lyn Fire Hall in 1993
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Chief George Williams
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Firefighters c1968, Reeve Don Ferguson in the middle

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Everything’s here except the phone number

 

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Elizabethtown Firefighters c 2000

 

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Miller’s Store Fire Sept 1990, Main St in Lyn
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Miller’s Store Fire
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Miller’s Store Fire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Norman and Sarah Mattice, house fire on Chemical Rd May 25, 1954
Chemical Road House Fire, Recorder and Times Newspaper May 25, 1954

 

 

 

 

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Vanlterson House Fire on the Howard Road 1974
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Watso Residence Fire, Lyn Jan 29, 1957
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Unknown Structure Fire
Fire of Ida Kane’s House at the Corner of Laura and Church Sts., Lyn. Pictured is Louis Kane, girl is unknown. Photo c1955

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our People, Our History

This part of our web site is dedicated to your stories – the stories of those people who helped shape our lives and make Lyn and Elizabethtown a great place to live and raise our families. Everyone has a story about themselves, a parent or grandparent who lived in this area.

This is a chance to share a part of your history to be preserved on our website. If you have an interesting story we would be glad to post it here in this section of our website.

You can post anonymously or under your own name. If we find the content of your story suitable we will publish it on our website.

You can send your stories to our email account at LynMuseum@gmail.com

We look forward to hearing from you and preserving a part of our heritage!

Lyn Historical Facts

Some Historical Facts for Lyn

 

Bark Flats

First School Fair Sep 21 1915 on the tan bark WI bk4p319
Lyn School Fair Sep 21, 1915 on the Bark Flats

When the tannery owned by Henry Booth was in operation, the flat south of the village was covered with hemlock bark brought in by the farmers in the winter. This bark was used in the tanning of hides and some of the residue was used in insulating homes. The soil on this flat is still made up of hemlock bark. (J.McCrady) (1)

 

 

 

Business

Bakery

The home now owned by Mr.& Mrs. Charles Cross was at one time a bake shop in which Mr. Serviss baked bread. Mr. Serviss was assisted in starting in business by Mr. James Cumming who gave him his first flour. Mr. Serviss’ son Dick peddled the bread around the village and surrounding area with a horse and wagon (sleigh in the winter). The bread was sold unwrapped.(1)

Coon's Bakery Lyn WB1
Coon’s Bakery on Main Street, Lyn

The next bake shop was owned by Wilfred Coon who baked in the shop where Mr.Serviss did, but sold the bread from a store under the Oddfellow’s Hall.(1)

 

 

 

 

Cheese Factories

There were several cheese factories in and around Lyn. One stone building, still standing is on the Centennial (Howard) Road on the Howard (Pietersma) Farm. It was one of the first. Two miles west of the village was the Union Cheese Factory.(2)

 

 

Mills

The first flour mill was located in a large building on Main St. East, which was burned. After closing this flour mill the building housed the Post Office and a store run by Omer Mallory, and later by Mr. Walter Billings. (1)

Main St Lyn WB4 Pond #24
The first mill was located to the right of the dam on the Lyn Pond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By 1860 R.Coleman & Co. had built the 5 story mill in the Lyn Valley. The Lyn Manufacturing Co. larger than anything ever attempted in Eastern Ontario. There was a 50’ drop from Lyn Mill Pond down to this facility where it powered 5 separate mill operations including Grist; Saw and Tanneries. The flour mill produced 300 bags a day of several different brands of flour.(3)

Mill at Lyn WB3 (1)
The Grist Mill was the five story building on the left, the other buildings composed the Tannery, Shoe Last Factory and Saw Mill

 

 

 

 

Shoe Factory, Tannery and other buildings were destroyed by fire in 1914(1)

 

 

 

General Store

The first store seems to have been run by a druggist named Mr. A.T.Trickey. Mr. Gardner bought the store from Mr. Trickey in 1885, he was not a druggist so he hired Mr. C.M.Taylor who later became his son-in-law. The store was then sold to the McCrady family. (2)

C.M.Taylor Drugs 1911 Darling Bk.1P12
C.M.Taylor Drugs c1911

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Businesses

Lowell’s Directory for 1871 listed the following businesses:

Bulloch Coleman- manufacture of lasts, boot trees, pegs and dies, decoy ducks etc.

James Coleman- Harness Maker

Erastus Cook- manufacture

J.Cooper & Co. sheepskin tannery

Ambrose Curtis – Miller

Horton & Taylor – Hub and spoke makers

Hover and Co- Vulcanite rubber comb works

Lyn Flour and Grist Mills

George McNish – Iron Foundry

Horace E.Rowe – Chinese Blood and Liver Syrups

William Thompson- Carriage Maker

Henry Lee- Butcher

S.B.William – Cheesemaker (2)

 

 

Cemeteries

Howard Cemetery: off of the Centennial (Howard) Road. At the Parslow Road. Early stones in this cemetery were made of marble as granite was not used until after 1810.

Fulford Pioneer Cemetery (Fulford Point Road): Dedicated approximately 1786. This cemetery is one of the earliest cemeteries in Leeds County; One of the earliest burial grounds of United Empire Loyalists in the Region.

The land was given by Jonathan Fulford, born in Wallingford, Connecticut and was a Sergeant in Jessup’s Corps.  He was granted 108 acres of land on Lot 28 in Concession 1, Elizabethtown.  John and Jacob Elliot shared Lot 29, Adam Cole had Lot 31 and Lot 30 went to Thomas Sparham.  Lots were drawn from a hat, not chosen.

The first grave in the burial ground was Jonathan’s infant son, on June 7th, 1786.  Families using this private burial ground have been descendants of Jonathan Fulford, and shared by the Cole family.  Jonathan’s sister, Thankful Fulford, married Adam Cole before the war, which suggests that Cole also came from Connecticut.  Cole was a private in Jessup’s Corps.  Through intermarriage, the families of John and Jacob Elliot also used the burial ground.  Robinsons are also buried there.

Lyn Cemetery: Located behind St.John’s Anglican Church, it was dedicated sometime around 1790. The oldest known stone in the cemetery marks Able Coleman’s grave and reads “In memory of Able Coleman who departed this life in full assurance of eternal life”(1765-1810)

Yonge Mills Cemetery: Surrounds the little stone church. It was built in 1837 on land donated by Peter Purvis. When the Grand Trunk Railway was built the tracks were laid right through the middle of the cemetery. (located west of Lyn)

Oakland Cemetery: Located on Hwy #2 just west of the Lyn Road is the main cemetery for this area.

Churches

Bricks from the Methodist Church blown down in a severe windstorm on Jan 21 1890 were used in the building of the GlenBuell Church in 1890. The old Methodist Church on the hill was blown away, all that is left is the spire, part of the church being carried across the road into Cumming’s orchard.(1)

The facts about the earliest church are unclear but there seems to have been a small log church called Union or perhaps St.Paul’s, just east of the present St.John the Baptist Church. Various denominations used this facility.(2)

The Methodists seem to have been the first to build a church. Eventually there were two Methodists Churches in Lyn, one a brick church at the top of the hill, and the other near the stone school house on Main St. The Episcopal Methodist Church blew down in a severe storm and the one still stands and was transferred to St. Andrews R.C. Church in 1965 (Now Closed) (cor of Church and Main Sts.)(2)

The Presbyterian congregation got under way in the early 1800’s. The first services were held in Brownson’s Hotel in Lyn. (2)

Anglican Church- a site was chosen in 1859 and the land obtained through the generosity of James Coleman. Construction began in 1860 but as halted due to financial problems. In 1869 it was completed and dedicated.

 

Electricity

Electricity was brought to Lyn in 1929. This meant the discarding of the old coal-oil lamps.(1)

 

Entertainment

Lyn Band- was a well know and popular band. They played at most affairs in and around Lyn but would go as far as Frankville, Mallorytown and to Morristown, NY. They had a band wagon pulled by two mules. The band seems to have disbanded sometime after 1911.(2)

Lyn Band 1914 WI Bk3P182
Lyn Band in 1914

 

Lyn Band Morristown NY 1911 WB1 (3)
Lyn Band performing in Morristown, NY 1911

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clows Band was another popular group who entertained at many gay functions (2)

 

Hotels

Mike Stack's Hotel Darling Bk.1P24
Stack’s Hotel

Stack’s Hotel on Main Street, a large three story brick and stone building.

 

It burned down and is no longer there.

 

 

 

 

The Coleman at 5&7 Main St across from the pump. Construction was started in 1911 and finished in 1912. It was used by commuters on the B&W RR. Charlie Lewis built the front porch from used cedar from a caboose. The stone part of the house (The back addition) was used as a kitchen. The stable which is now gone had a hired hands quarters for people arriving by horse. Which was included in their lodging as well as their meal. Know as the oldest building in Lyn 1814,

Coleman Hotel 1928 WB6 Streets
Coleman Hotel 1926

The Brownson’s which became the Glasford House which became the Willson Hotel cor. of Main and Perth St. (built in 1814)

 

Wilson Hotel WB2
Willson House Hotel

 

 

The Ross House location unknown, information from newspaper ad dated April 1874.

 

 

 

Lyn Village

A by-law passed in 1912 by the Counties Council elected Lyn into a Police Village (1)

The original name was “Coleman’s Corners”, this was changed in 1837 to Lowell because some of the early settlers came from Lowell, Mass. It was then discovered that there was another Lowell in Ontario. The name of “Lyn” was then chosen as descriptive of the natural setting. The clear streams of water used to drive the mill wheels suggested a Welsh or Scottish word “Linn” – a pool, a stream or cascade. (2)

 

Mines, Pyrite

The Billings Pyrite Mine on the Chemical Road (Old Red Road) was perhaps the largest. The Shipman Mine on Halleck’s Road was another producer of pyrite but it was short lived due to the high pyrrhotite content which was an undesirable mineral and the short mining season. The Brockville Chemical & Superphosphate Co. atShipman's Pyrite Mine WB#6 the foot of Ford St. in Brockville converted the pyrites into sulphuric acid, fertilizer and dynamite and was a pioneer in the “lead chamber process” for the distilling of sulphuric and hydrochloric acids. (c1850)

 

 

 

 

 

People

Dr. George W.Judson a physician who practiced at Westport, Lyn and Athens was born in Kitley in 1856. He died in 1924. (1)

Richard Coleman, who played a leading part in the development of Lyn died in 1861 at age 72 (1)

Walter K.Billings, a prominent Lyn Merchant and author of “How Dear to My Hear’ was born in 1871 (1)

Anson Andrew McNish  1878 to 1959  He was born in Lyn the only son of George Peter McNish (1838-1914) and Catherine E. Manhard (1843-1893). Anson married Antoinette “Nettie” Brookman (1874-1944) of Brooklyn, NYC. They had one daughter Florence Catherine born in 1913 in Weston, Ontario who unfortunately died at the age of 15 in 1928 in Fultonville, NY.

Anson is important to our history because he was an amateur photographer and through his lens has given us some of the earliest and best preserved photos of Lyn and the places he lived and visited. His attention to detail and the composition of his photos, considering the photographic equipment he had available to him, is incredible

Able Coleman died April 25, 1810 (3)

RCMP Const. Douglas Scott of Lyn was shot and killed in the Baffin Island hamlet of Kimmirut in 2007. The park and ball diamond on Main Street was named in his honour.

 

Post Office

The first post office was established in Lyn in 1851 (2)

 

Recreation

Centeen Park: Centennial Park Opened Nov 18 1967

With Solemn dedication followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony one of Elizabethtown’s two Centennial parks was officially opened Saturday. Prefaced by a grand parade and other carnival activities in the village of Lyn, the opening ceremony drew a large crowd.

Lyn Valley Conservation Area: What used to be an old sand and gravel quarry has been turned into an attractive and very functional swimming and recreation spot for everyone’s enjoyment. Featuring a swimming area, known locally as Lyn Pit, complete with sandy beach and changing facilities, the swimming area

Lyn Pit 1975- WI Bk5 p381
Lyn Conservation Swimming Area 1975

in the Lyn Valley Conservation Area is the perfect location for a day at the beach. Picnic facilities are available next to the water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roads

The toll gates on the Lyn Road were removed on January 1st, 1911(1)

The toll gate was located where Burnbrae Farms now stands. The charge at the toll gate was one way 3 cents and 5 cents return. (2)

Toll Gate Lyn Rd c1890 PAB 14 F3 #13
Lyn Road Toll Gate c1890

 

 

The Lyn Road which passes through Lyn as Main Street was important during the war of 1812 as the main artery between Brockville and Kingston (via Yonges Mills)

 

 

 

Waterways

A deed registered in 1852 showed that Richard Coleman had water rights on Lyn Pond (it bordered Main Street, where the ball park now resides). People owning land in the country leading to the pond had to give the Colemans the privilege of flooding the land to the high water mark. Temperance Lake which was the headwater was kept full by a dam. When opened the water flowed into Centre Lake and then to Lee Pond. There was another dam which when opened allowed the water to flow from Centre Lake into Graham  Lake. A gate at Lee Pond allowed the water level in the Lyn Pond to be controlled. A man made ditch was dug between Lee Pond and the Lyn Pond. (2)

 

Richard Coleman II was the mastermind behind buying up land and creating a watershed in the surrounding area to feed water to his mills. He started in the 1840’s by buying an existing mill on Temperance Lake, about 15 miles north which controlled the flow of water into the Gananoque River. Coleman did not purchase the mill to use, but to block the stream and reverseits’ current, he bought another mill at McIntosh Mills south of Athens, there he built what was officially called the March (or marsh) Bridge Dam, a half mile bridge of grass covered masonry.

 

This Marsh Bridge dam shut off the supply of water that ran between McIntosh Mills and Temperance Lake which created Graham Lake a large pond seven miles long and Centre Lake (also known as Stump Lake). The next undertaking was to cut a canal between them, 15’ wide and 10’ deep to create East Lake (Lee’s Pond) a 600 acre reservoir which would feed the millpond in the village of Lyn (Lyn Pond) (3)

Lee Pond WI bk4p318
Lee Pond
Lee Pond Dam WI bk4p318 (2)
Lee Pond Dam
Lyn Pond c1973 WI bk4p339 (1)
Lyn Pond c1950

 

Lyn Pond c1910 McNish Coll p27
Lyn Pond c1910

 

 

Area Facts

Temperance Lake is named after a group of temperance minded people who started and operated mills at the mouth of the lake previous to 1840.(1)

Centennial Park: A mill stone recovered from the original flour mill built in 1859 was incorporated in the wall in front of the Centennial Park built beside the old fire hall in Lyn in 1967 (D.R.McCrady)(1)

 

 

1- Taken from notes found in the Lyn Museum

2- Lyn 1784-1984 by Mary G.Robb

3- Elizabethtown: The Last of the Royal Townships by Alvyn Austin

Lyn Grist and Flour Mill

Lyn Grist and Four Mill

The original Lyn Mill was located on Main Street near the By-Wash. The original mill burned and was replaced by a second mill in the same location. This mill burned as well, and this time was not rebuilt, but a new mill was built below the village.

“In 1859 the Coleman’s rebuilt and improved their grist mill. James Coleman put up what was the tallest mill in Eastern Ontario, rising five floors above the valley floor at Lyn. It had more powerful yet simple machinery.

After the Coleman business was taken over by the Bank of Upper Canada, a Mr. J. Cumming, who had worked for the Coleman’s, bought it. He in turn, re-modelled the mill and it was said to be the latest thing in flour mill equipment. It turned out 300 bags of flour a day, of several different bands. In his advertisement he stated, ‘The popularity of my various brands for over 25 years is largely owing to the careful blending of the Hard wheat for strength, the Red winter for flavour, and the White fall for colour’. Mr. Cumming was an outstanding business man and a leading citizen of this community. He was killed in a train accident in 1916. His son, Gordon, ran the mill until its closure in 1933” (1)

Unfortunately there are no records of the business conducted at the mill. The only remaining artefacts from the mill are located within the Heritage Place Museum. Stones from the mill have been incorporated into the internal design of the museum in the front room.

(1) Lyn 1784-1984 by Mary G.Robb

Mill at Lyn WB3 (1)

 

 

Lyn Flour Mill (3) Lyn Flour Mill (4) Lyn Mill Ont Archives Photo copyrighted WB3 Mill at Lyn WB3 (3) Flour Mill Mills 1 WB3Lyn Mills 1881 Carson Bk1P18
Lyn Flour Mill (5) Lyn Flour Mill (2) Inside Old Mill WB3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lyn – Elizabethtown’s Largest School

Lyn School  

(School Section #7)

 

The first school house was located in the centre of the village by the creek. It was abandoned for a newer one room brick school at the west end of the Village, across from the present building. It was in use until 1867 when it burned down. The growth of the village led to a new two story, four room stone school house being built across from the one room brick structure.

The stone schoolhouse in Lyn was built in 1867 and served the children of the district until 1959/1960.  “The classrooms were on the ground floor and the second floor boasted a small stage so that concerts and plays could take place. Parties and dances were held there too”[1]

The Public School in Lyn was built in the year 1867. Although the first annual meeting of the school, on record, took place in 1876 there was undoubtedly meetings before that, as an entry in the old minute and account book shows that John Halliday was the Sect-Treasurer in 1871.  The first annual meeting of School Section No 7 was held in the school hall Wed, Jan 12, 1876 at 10 o’clock. Mr. Norman Coleman was appointed chairman and R.S.Hudson Sect. The school has to date had 60 teachers. The first school fair was held about 1914 on the old “Tan Bark Flats” with entries of cooking, vegetables, fancy work and collections of butterflies and insects. (Suzanne Coke, 1944) [2]

The “New” Lyn School opened its doors to 185 pupils on September 4, 1956. It was planned by architect Mr.Prus and built by contractor Mr.J.Saunders of Prescott for the cost of $92,000.  Miss. Anna Hudson was the prince[al of this new school. As the enrolment of the school increased with the closing of the Howard and Halleck’s School, it was found necessary to add four more room sto the original six room building. The addition was completed and ready for use in September 1963. The enrolment then was 263 pupils. Still the number increased and by 1965 all those pupils residing on the Howard Road were transferred to the Tincap School. In June 1965 the enrolment was 295. On June 29th, 1967 Miss Anna Hudson retired as Principal , Mr.J.Tallmire of Brockville became the new principal. (Anna Hudson, 1967) [3]

 

School Superintendents Report (Ontario Archives)

Shows the following information, which in some cases contradicts what we have already researched, and contradicts other filed School Superintendents Reports:

1850: no report only: condition: Good

1854: Brick building, first opened in 1850

 

The following information was extracted from the motion papers of the Elizabethtown Council 1855-1872

that the trustees of Lyn School Section No 7 be paid the amount due said section on account of debentures and the clerk order the same to be paid- 1871[4]

 

[1] Lyn 1784-1984 by Mary G.Robb

[2] Women’s Institute History Book 3 page 159

[3] Women’s Institute History Book 3 Pg 167

[4] Lyn Museum Archives

 

 

 

Lyn School SF2#3 (2)
Lyn School, notice the turn style at the gate to keep the cows out

 

Lyn School Cass 1920 - WI Bk 6 P85 (1)
Class of 1920
Lyn School 1931 Jr. Smith SF3#32
1931 and Jr.Smith at the back of the school

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lyn School 1916 SF2#15
Class of 1916

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lyn School Fair Parade c1918 SF2#8a
School Fair Parade c1918
First School Fair Sep 21 1915 on the tan bark WI bk4p319
1st School Fair held on the Tan Bark below the village Sep 21, 1915
Lyn School Play - Milk Maid c1900 SF2#30
School Play- ‘Milk Maids’ c1900
Lyn School Halloween Concert 1929 SF2#11
Hallowe’en Concert 1929

 

The Athens Reporter and County of Leeds Advertiser

Lyn School (S.S.#7) Elizabethtown

Tuesday Aug 13, 1895 issue

Lyn, Monday Aug. 12 –

Our school board are over-hauling the school house and putting things in good shape – new seats, draining the basement, and putting in furnace for heating etc. The two school rooms are to be on the upper flat, leaving the lower room to be used as a town hall for the present.

The union S.S. excursion takes place next week to Gananoque.

 

Tuesday Aug 27, 1895 issue

Lyn– Monday Aug 28 –

The union S.S. excursion came off on Friday, 23rd, and was a very pleasant affair

School has opened and both scholars and teachers are much pleased with their new quarters

 

Walking Tour of Lyn

 Cedar Lawn (18 Perth St.)Cedar Lawn, Perth St, Ltn (3)

 It is built of brick, unusual in Elizabethtown, with stone quoins defining the corners and semi circular windows in the attic. It was built in two stages: the main house in the 1840’s and two large wings added in the 1860’s. The house today has been restored and looks much like it did in the late 1800’s.

 

 

Lyn Presbyterian Church (12 Perth St.)

 

The Presbyterians Presbyterial Church c1900 WB5 Methodist (2)commenced holding services at Lyn, about the year 1811. The present church was erected in 1872. It is built of stone, the style of architecture being Gothic. The cost was about $5,000. The sittings number 200, and the society includes the congregation at Caintown, as well as Lyn.(1) Many years ago the church was transferred to the Methodists and today is known as Christ United Church.

(1) Leavitts Hstory of Leeds and Grenville pub 1879

 

 Willson House Hotel (1 Perth St.)

 Willson’s hotel was one of several hotels that served the various business travellersWilson Hotel WB2

who passed through Lyn in the mid to late 1800’s. The house still exists at 1 Perth St., however the front porch has been removed making the structure look much smaller. The top floor windows and roof peaks still give the look of the original hotel.

 

 

St.John the Baptist Anglican Church. (37 Main St. W)

Through the efforts of the late James Coleman, assisted by a few other churchmen, funds were secured for the organization of an English Church at Lyn. The erection of the present church was commenced in 1860, with Bishop Lewis, then Rector of Brockville, taking the deepest interest in the undertaking, the good work being continued by the Rev. JohnSt John Baptist Lyn 1962 WB5 (2) Strange, Rev. R.L.Jones, and the present Rector, the Rev. Henry Austin. The building is of stone, Gothic style of architecture, and contains about 300 sittings.  (Leavitts History of Leeds and Grenville pub 1879)

 

 

 

 

Lyn Cemetery (37 Main St. W)

 Lyn Cemetery is one of Ontario’s oldest continuously used cemeteries. It was dedicated sometime Lyn Cemetery WB2around 1790. The Cemetery is situated behind the Anglican Church on the ledge of a gently rolling ridge overlooking a picturesque glen. Above and around this are the granite outcroppings left exposed by the last Ice Age as part of the Pre-Cambrian Shield. (Lyn 1784-1984 by Mary Robb)

 

 

 

The Coleman Hotel (5&7 Main St. E)

 Located across from the pump at Main and Perth Streets, construction was started in 1811 and finished in 1812. It was used by commuters oColeman Hotel 1928 WB6 Streetsn the B&W R.R. Charlie Lewis built the front porch from used cedar from a caboose. The stone part of the house (the back addition), was used as a kitchen. The stable, now gone, had a hired hands’ quarter for people arriving by horse which was included in their lodging as well as their meal. Known as the oldest building in Lyn built in 1814.

 

St. John’s Hall (11 Main St. W)

 This was the church hall for St. John’s Anglican Church. It had hardwood floors and was the location for local dinners and dances.St John's Hall WB1

 

 

 

 

 

Stewart’s Garage (19 Main St. W)

 Jock and John Stewart ran a garage and gas station out of this building for many years. They also ran Stewart’s Bus Lines, providing local transportStewart's Garage WB5 Methodist (2)ation to and from Brockville, School Bus Services and operated Tour Buses. In 1999 this building was renovated and is now the home to Heritage Place Museum.


 

 

 

Lyn By-Wash (Across from 19 Main St W)

The original mill was located to the right (east) of the water fall. The small dam backed up the Lyn Pond and supplied water to the small mill. The dam was later blown up and the Lyn pond was drained.When the large grist mill was built below the village this dam and waterfall continued to supply power to Main St Lyn WB4 Pond #24several industries located across Main Street including the Last Factory and Saw Mill.


 

 

 

 

 The Blacksmiths Shop ( 30 Main St. W)

 The end of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century saw the development of the country blacksmith’s role. At that time, there was an average of one blacksmith for every 100 families, 3-5 blacksmiths per village. The blacksmith enabled the communBlacksmith Shop c1900 WB1ity to save money. Inhabitants paid a fixed price for the year and could have their horses shod as often as they wished. Clients used a barter system and paid in kind with farm or forest products. Sometimes the blacksmith lent money at interest; sometimes he resold grains, vegetables, meats and other produce that he received in payment.

 

 

 

 Root Manufacturing (31 Main St.W.)

This company made various types of wooden bowls, scoops and measuring cups. Items from tMain St, Root Mfg WB1his company are on display in the Heritage Place Museum. To the east of this building can be seen a concrete wall, which was part of the canal that took water from the Lyn Pond to the main grist mill below the village. There was a drop of 50 feet from here to the mill.

 

 

 

 

 Lyn Public School (School Section #7) (1 Church St.)

The first school house was located in the centre of the village by the creek. It was abandoned for a newer one- room brick school at the west end of the Village, across from the present building. It was in use until 1867 when it burned down. The stone schLyn School WI Bk3 p160ool house (seen here), was built in 1867 and served the children of the district until 1959/1960.  The classrooms were on the ground floor and the second floor boasted a small stage so that concerts and plays could take place. Parties and dances were held there too.

 

 

 

Methodist Church (cor. of Church and Main St W.)

 This church, built of brick, has an area of 60 x 84 feet, with a tower 112 feet square. It was erected in 1857 and is situated on part of Lot No.30 in the 3rd Concession. The original site was a gift from Richard Coleman Sr. The charge includes four congregations: those of Lyn, Caintown, Mallorytown, and Rockfield. The total membership wMethodist Ch Main St WI bk3p136as 300, of whom 80 belonged to the Lyn charge. (Leavitts History of Leeds and Grenville pub 1879)

In the 1980’s this church was reopened as St.Andrew Roman Catholic Church, it has since closed.

 

History of Lyn

 

Lyn was founded in 1784 by Able Coleman who came here from the United States.  They built their first mill in 1786 located on Main Street across from the museum and to the east of the water falls. The first mill burned and was replaced by a second mill in the same location which also burned. After this the five story stone structure you see depicted in the reception area was built south of the village.

During the 1830’s there was a general unrest with the United States and American names. It was then in 1836, that the name of Coleman’s Corners was changed to Lowell. The new name of Lowell only lasted one year, when after realizing there was another Lowell in Ontario, the name was changed in 1838 to Lyn, a Scottish word for waterfall (Linn).
In its heyday, Lyn had more industry and was busier than Brockville. With the introduction of electricity, Lyn unfortunately, slowly lost its manufacturing base and started to decline.

The Origins of the Lyn Heritage Place Museum

In 1997 the street commissioners of the village of Lyn heard that the old Stewart’s Garage on the Main Street was for sale and thought that it would be a good thing for the village to purchase it and fix it up as a museum for area artifacts and meeting rooms. After much researching of this possibility, it was turned down by the Township Council and the idea was dropped at that time.

Stewart's Garage Museum Photos 1 (2)Stewart's Garage Museum Photos 1 (1)The building, about 150 years old, was in very bad shape. Then came the ice storm of 1998 and the roof of the bus garage at the back fell in and the Township was putting pressure on the owner to tear the building down. About fifty pigeons had made their home in the main garage and most of the upper windows were broken.

In the spring of 1999, a Village Trustee talked to the owners of the building, Dale and Ron Howard of Howard Bus Lines, and was offered an exceptional deal on this property for the village.

2. Before renovations-2

This information was brought to the Lyn Days Committee, and everyone agreed that they should check into the possibility of the Lyn Days Committee acquiring the property.

 

The Lyn Days Committee talked to the owners and learned that there was a very involved title to the property to straighten out. The committee decided to acquire the property.

1. Before renovations-1

In early August the committee was assured the property would indeed be transferred. At a meeting in early August 1999 it was decided the property should be registered to a committee of five people in trust for Lyn Days and on August 25th, 1999 the title to the building was transferred to the committee.

 

On August 30th,1999 volunteers started cutting brush and clearing up the junk on the property. They were soon joined by several other volunteers, machines and trucks. Part of the old bus barn was demolished with a large area of the building being repaired. Work was then begun on the old main garage building to turn it into the main building of museum.

Fireman washing Bldg 1999 Museum Photos 1 (1)