Jeff and Amanda will be working at the Blacksmith Shop at the rear of the Heritage Place Museum Lyn through the Summer of 2022.
They will be showing off their skills from 1pm to 4pm
Sunday, June 12
Sunday, July 10
Sunday, August 14
Jeff and Amanda will be working at the Blacksmith Shop at the rear of the Heritage Place Museum Lyn through the Summer of 2022.
They will be showing off their skills from 1pm to 4pm
Sunday, June 12
Sunday, July 10
Sunday, August 14
The Mallorytown Telephone Company was just one of hundreds small companies that dotted the rural landscape to serve local needs. It served both the Mallorytown and Lyn, Ontario phone requirements. The service connected with Bell Telephone at Mallorytown. In Lyn their exchange was located in the bottom floor of the Pergau Building on Main Street. The upper floor of the building was open and a place where local dances and events were held.
We are fortunate to have in our collection one of their telephone directories from November 1943. We have scanned and posted all of the pages here for your information.
Lynn was a busy place as seen in the year 1868
Revolved around activities of the Coleman Family
“The town of Lynn, six miles from Brockville, in the year 1868 was quite a stirring town according to Mr. David Halliday, whose father John Halliday, operated a general store there in that year. In 1869 Lynn was a place of about 750 population. At that time the village had one of the largest tanneries in Ontario. Lynn had originally been known as Coleman’s Corners, and had revolved around the activities of the Coleman family. Even in 1868 to a large extent the Colemans dominated the place. James Coleman ran a four-story grist mill and flour mill. Walter Coleman conducted a large tree and fruit nursery, and a Dr. Wm. F. Coleman looked after all the illnesses of Lyn and surrounding country. John Coleman was a harness maker and Edward Coleman was a flour merchant. There were several other Colemans. A large woolen mill was run by Erastus Cook. There were several sole leather factories in the town. There had been a boot and shoe factory, but in 1868 on its last legs.
In 1872 the tannery received a bad setback. One night a fire broke out in piles of stored tan bark and over a thousand cords were burned. The country surrounding Lynn was strong in dairying and fruit and Lynn benefited therefrom. A good many people came and went, sufficient to support five good hotels. These were kept by John Gilleland, George Ross, Edward Harvey and William Curtis.”
As written in the Brockville Recorder of 1850
The editor had been out to Coleman’s Corners, now known as Lyn, and in the issue of this date gives his impressions of the place as follows:–
“This place, to appearance, has little to attract the attention of a stranger, unless it be a feeling that there is something picturesque in the scenery around it. But let him follow that small rippling stream scarce deep enough to carry on its bosom the little rustic knife made boat of a happy urchin, and the stranger will be led to a building low enough in the front, but pretty deep in the rear, which thanks to the Messrs. Coleman, is the most celebrated and extensive tanning establishment in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville.
“The Messrs. Coleman commenced in 1938 with a small grist mill. In 1841 they built a sawmill, and soon after they began the business of tanning sole leather. In order to note the progress made in this department we may state that in 1844 they turned out 1,100 hides; in 1845 they turned out 1,200; in 1846, 2,000; in 1847, 2800; in 1848, 2,500; in 1849, 6,000; and for the present year they calculate manufacturing no less than 7,500, all of which is consumed within the province, the raw hides being what are termed Spanish, and imported from the United States, some of them weighing when manufactured and ready for market 45 lbs.
“To show the anxiety of the proprietors to improve this branch of their work, we man mention that for the purpose of heating the liquid they procured and fitted up three copper heaters at an expense of $300. each, in warming of which about 500 cords of wood are used in the course of the year. At present their stock of bark amounts to 3,500 cords, which they calculate will only serve for eighteen months.
“The establishment contains 80 vats and nearly one mile of pump log leading to and from the various places where it is required. There are two hide mills, and a bark grinding mill, capable of grinding from fifteen to twenty cords a day.
“There are employed by the Messrs. Coleman, one way and another, from thirty to forty men, whose wages amount in one year from £1,500. to £1,750.
“We have stated that the supply of water is small. It is led from an artificial pond, where, generally, the proprietors contrive to husband a three months supply, and was this supply to fail, the consequences would be disastrous to all interested. Great care is therefore required to ‘waste not’ in order that they may ‘want not’. For this purpose a small stream is made to work the rolling machine in the first instance; from there it is carried to the bark mill, which it drives, working two pumps at the same time when required. It is also used for cleaning out the leeches, which it does at less expense than by manual labor.
“Of the quality of the leather manufactured we need say nothing, the success attending their establishment being a sufficient evidence of its excellence, and we understand their sales last year amounted to £10,000.
“Were we to enter into an argument on the advantage of local manufacturing in the country, we would not ask a better starting point than Coleman’s Corners, and the following list of articles consumed by them in the course of the past year, the produce of the country, will show how much the farmer is interested in the establishment of manufactures throughout the province. Messrs. Coleman used during the last year:
2,500 cords bark at 12s6d – £1,562.10
500 cords wood at 5s – £125.00
500 barrels flour at 25s – £625.00
50 barrels pork at 50s £125.00
40 tons hay at 40s – £80.00
1,600 bushel oats at 1s,3d – £100.00
300 bushel corn at 2s,6d – £37.10
total – £2,655.00
This does not include the consumption of eggs, poultry, roots, vegetables, etc., which of themselves would amount to a considerable sum in the course of the year. People may tell of ‘ruin and decay’ and the progress of the United States, but we would advise all who doubt the fact of Canadian progress to ponder well what is contained in the notice, come and visit Messrs. Coleman’s establishment, and then ‘go and do likewise.”
Taken from the Recorder as published in the book “Landmarks of Leeds and Grenville”
The Heritage Place Museum is currently producing a 3-dimensional digital model of the Old Mill that once stood in the Village of Lyn. The purpose of this project is to preserve the structure before all memory of it is lost.
If you have old photos, memories or knowledge of the layout of the mill please let us know!
The digital model is being created with the following pictures:
(Author unknown) (Note: the photo is not of Mott’s Store, unfortunately no photos exist of his store)
Blake Mott and his wife Edith were the proprietors of a General Store in Lyn from about 1921 to 1931. Blake rented the ground floor of the building owned by the International Order of Oddfellows on the main street of Lyn, right next to the present museum.
This ‘Credit Ledger’ covers the time period of March 17th, 1925 to May 26th, 193. On the surface this Ledger records goods and services purchased on credit, but in fact it is a document depicting a social and economic way of life in that era. The 475 pages of purchases tell far more than what the customers bought; it relates how rural folk lived and managed to economically survive in increasingly difficult times. Interest centres not so much on what they bought and the prices, but on how they paid their bills, for that information indicated their financial fluidity and resourcefulness.
The decade of 1920 to 1930 has frequently been referred to as “The Roaring Twenties”, which immediately conjures up images of gay ‘Flappers’ and ‘Great Gatsby’ type figures of enormous wealth and high social standing, living the good life. Well, for the wealthy that might have been true but for the vast majority, especially the working class, which include rural folk, typically those who lived in the Lyn area, life in that decade was one of increasing hardship. There was a boom in the immediate post WW 1 period but as the decade wore on the good times became economically more difficult. The working class experienced ten years of declining income while the wealthy hardly noticed it at all, until the stock market crash of 1929, which caused chaos amongst the upper income group. The Market crash had a domino effect with disproportionate repercussions on the already cash strapped lower income group- which included most of the citizens of Lyn.
The era of the village store is all but gone; a few such stores still exist in outlying communities, but they have a finite life and their imminent demise is dependent upon the economics of transportation. It might be that the reader has a vague idea of what a general store is, and so to clarify, a brief description is in order. Where there was an established community, more likely than not remote, and mobility was restricted, or transportation was expensive, there arose a need for a store where goods, that could not be conveniently or economically produced locally, could be purchased to meet life’s needs. Thus emerged the general store. It was a phenomena that existed from time immemorial to mid 20th century. It was a shop where a vast selection of goods were available, not much variety perhaps, but the key factor was ‘availability’. It was the fore runner to today’s department store complex. The general store also served as a community hub with essential social services and communications being part of its stock in trade.. This tangible ‘other product’ illustrates that ‘Man does not live by bread alone’. Mott’s Store was probably typical of the era in which it existed with a mind boggling inventory roughly divided into ‘departments’ within a small shop. The Ledger records some, but by no means all, of his stock (refer to later pages for a list of items sold). For the average farm wife, living in relative isolation, Mott’s emporium might have seemed to be a material oasis from another planet.
People bought on credit for numerous reasons and not simply because they were short of money; they had small amounts of money but it might not have been available at any given time. Lyn was essentially a farming community where the ‘mill cheque’ was the major source of income and the cheques were issued by the milk factory once per month, meaning that there was no constant flow of money in the community. Like milk, it came in spurts, but at thirty day intervals. People lived from milk cheque to milk cheque, doing as best they could between times. Mott was probably the last link in the local financial chain.
A credit account with Mott was a matter of convenience for some folk who had other mid month priorities for their ready cash. Those people who did not have a steady income would have appreciated the easy credit on food until the next casual job came along. Mott did not charge interest on his accounts, which was the norm for general stores trying to attract and hold customers in a competitive market place. This mutual rust and faith worked well for the most part, with few failing to pay their bills. Payments to him were frequently of small amounts with 10 and 20 cents being common, although most paid off a goodly portion of their account, but rarely the whole lot. They were not able to get ahead of the game, they were in perpetual debt. Many of those in the Ledger obviously were not making a living wage. There is no evidence of how many of Mott’s customers paid in cash for this book is a Credit Ledger.
Mott provided several services aside from provender. He ran a type of taxi service; he also sub-contracted deliveries of heavier items to a truck owner; he was a money lender; he owned a telephone and charged for conveying messages (10¢ each!); he was a middle mn or ‘agent’ for watch repairs; he was a caterer for the Masons; he accepted, in lieu of cash payment on credit accounts, all manner of farm produce (refer to list on a later page), and in addition to all that he was the distributor of “Relief” to those too poor to survive without Township Assistance. In many ways Mott was an extraordinary businessman; astute, flexible, alert to opportunities, adaptable to change, multi-skilled, having an agile mind and being competent in risk assessment. He was an admirable performance given the difficult financial times in which he operated.
Mott became a significant person in the community because he provided so many services. This was probably Mott’s way of staying ahead of the competition, there were four other general stores in the village at that time and the struggle for survival was probably keen. In addition to those four competing stores there was a number of very small stores sprinkled about the countryside; one was run from the converted front parlour of a private house. The number of general stores in Lyn was justified because customers were drawn from approximately a ten mile radius. One of Mott’s customers habitually walked down Halleck’s Road from his house on Highway 2. It is well to bear in mind that Lyn rivalled Brockville for economic dominance at one time.
The Ledger records many times Mott billing church ministers, who did not own a car, for taxi services to funerals or Sunday church services in the distant charges of their respective parishes. A normal day labour rate was about $2.00 was in effect at the time and Mott charged between $2.00 and $2.50 for most trips, which was quite expensive.
Lester Ladd was the owner of a truck and he carried bread and other products for Mott as a sub contractor.
As a money lender Mott was limited. He lent amounts from 20¢ to $100. and charged 7% interest. The normal interest rate at that time was about 4%, but it seems that Mott might have been the ‘lender of last resort’ and hence the extra 3% for the higher risk. He did not do it often but he did provide a financial service, be it ever so humble, for a community that had few alternatives.
The Ledger records many instances when Mott supplied coffee and snacks to the Masons (referred to in the ledger as A.F.& A.M.- and acronym for the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons) when they held their meetings in the rooms above the present day library in Lyn. He contracted to fill the il lamps, clean the meeting rooms, set fires in the winter, wash dishes, provide milk, butter, bread, cookies, fruit cakes and salmon with charges ranging from $4.65 t0 $8.15. Actually it was a local lady defraying her credit account who did the work, and Mott who supplied the goods and took responsibility for the service.
Prior to entering the grocery business Mott was a farmer and he retained ownership of the farm after he opened the store. The ledger records, in 1928, rent of $4.00 per month for the farm house being collected by Eli Mott, a distant relative. Eli must have vacated the house and another tenant moved in for in the back of the ledger a hand written note dated February 24th, 1932, giving two months notice of eviction to the new tenant (name withheld). The ownership of this farm was convenient for Mott because it was a place where customers could ‘trade’ day labour and farm supplies to reduce their credit amount at the store. All parties were happy; no cash changed hands, the credit account decreased and Mott had his farm in better order. Mott might have sold some farm produce to other farmers rather than use it himself. He did purchase a lot of hay and it probably was used for his own cattle. In 1927 Mott sold ‘a year’s pasture for two colts’ to one of his customers for $14.00, a Mr. M.Fodey.
Mott also ‘traded’ with suppliers. The Ledger relates that he exchanged the cost of automobile repairs ($70.33) for a grocery credit of the same amount, with the garage owner, G.R.Stewart. There is also an entry telling that Dr. G.W.Brown was credited $5.00, which was his grocery bill, for inoculating Mott’s daughters four times. Miss Addie McLean, and artist and music teacher, was credited 50¢ for music lessons for Mott’s daughters.
There are occasional entries where people, other than the account owner, paid some amount off an account. An assumption is being made that the account owner was owed money and an indirect payment was made. Two entries note that payments were ‘lent’ money, i.e. money was lent to the debtor but paid directly to Mott, thus relieving Mott of some of the debt.
Hard economic times fostered a system of ‘Relief to the Poor’, ‘Dole, or ‘welfare”. The Ledger shows that The Township of Elizabethtown paid for bread to be distributed by Mott to designated customers. There is no record of who the recipients were (preservation of the individual’s dignity, Mott was sensitive) but there is a record of how much bread was distributed, pages of it. Later on in the decade, as things got worse, bread was supplemented by other basic necessities, Rolled Oats, sugar, butter, milk, beef, soap, tea and bacon.
Mott was not wealthy enough to be immune to the failing economy and despite his various acts of nobleness oblige, he indulged in, what today would seem, a bizarre act. A local man recalls buying ice cream cones from Mott who would lift the ice cream fro the canister with a metal scoop and trim off the excess ice cream from the bottom of the scoop with his jack knife!
The lot of women was shown in the Ledger to be less than good. There seems to be unequal credit for labour in lieu of cash. Mrs. D. Lawson was credited a mere 75¢ for scrubbing the floor of the Masonic Lodge and yet was charged $2.50 for taxi service to visit her husband in the Brockville Hospital. She did other work on the Masonic room and was paid $1.05. A Mrs. LaRue demolished a barn and was credited only $6.00. The accounts that are obviously those of women are all very well managed, with frequent payments and never large sums owing. Life, then, for women, was tough. Edith Mott wife of Blake Mott, more than pulled her weight in the maintenance of the household. Not only was she wife, mother (of four girls), lover, house keeper, store keeper and Post Mistress, but also managed the dining room of Stack’s Hotel.
The amount of money owed on a credit account varied widely from $4.00 or less, to the highest at $186.98 (he did manage to pay it off). Most payments were irregular and small. A prime example of this was one church minister, who despite living quite frugally had an account that perpetually hovered around $73. The frequency of visits to the shop by customers ran from several times a month to three times a day and the purchases indicated that the regulars had poor planning skills. One person returned some ham, excess to their needs, for a 50¢ credit. A man who had an outstanding account of $1.12, ceased coming to the shop and then four years later returned and picked up where he had left off; no interest being charged and no comment recorded. Another man existed on little other than pork and beans, bread and tobacco. It was interesting to note that the boring fare for the average account holder, was spiced up from time to time by small luxury items, despite the lack of money: salmon, ice cram, tropical fruit, maple butter, coconut, ginger snaps, raisins, chocolate, cookies, herbs, spices, herrings and candies. Being typical boosts to the taste buds. An inordinate amount of tobacco was sold at 25¢ a pack; that being very expensive in relation to a day’s wage.
The list of tropical fruits suggested an efficient importing and distribution system was in operation. Fruit could have been shipped from Florida, or the Caribbean, to Montreal and thence by train to Brockville and truck to Lyn.
The listing of perishable items, ice cream in particular, indicates that Mott had a cooling system in the store, Refrigeration as we know it did not come into common use until much late and electricity to run a freezer came into the area only in 1947. A clue is found in the account of Albert (Ab) Cain, a maker of axe handles, where he traded 738 cakes of ice for $12.65 off of his account. The ice cakes, normally 16” square by approximately 12” thick, would have been used in a large wooden ice box type cooler. When awaiting use in the store cooler the cakes were held in a barn at the rear There was snow packed between the cakes of ice and a foot of sawdust all around the inside of the walls acted as insulation. Ice cutting was a difficult and heavy job that separated the men from the boys, meaning that it was a hard won credit.
Midway through 1930 it is evident that fewer customers are coming to the shop and they are buying fewer goods. More ‘trading’ is taking place, meaning less cash flow for Mott. Who has bills to pay in cash. By Christmas the position became intolerable and thus Mott wrote a brief note to his landlords, the IOOF Property Committee, informing them of his intent to quit the premises on January 1st, 1931. it must have been a very difficult note to write, despite its brevity, for it meant that eight years of his efforts, and those of his wife Edith, were in vain.
“Gentlemen, Owing to the drop in business and the depression of money, I hereby give you notice of my vacating your store as per agreement, notice taking effect from January 1, 1931.
Respectfully yours, (signature) E.B. Mott”
However there is an entry in the Ledger as late as June 24th, 1931, for goods and services rendered to the Masonic Lodge. So there is a question as to the date of the store closing.
When Mott was running his store in the IOOF building, his wife Edith Mott, who had a reputation as an excellent cook, was running the dinning room of Stack’s Hotel, it being just three doors west of the Mott’s Store. Since Mot had rented his farm house to Eli Mott, Blake was living with his wife Edith and four young girls in rooms above the hotel dining room. When Stack’s Hotel was destroyed by fire in 1928 Mott purchased a house on the corner of Main Street and Lyn Valley Road (39 Main Street). After his store closed Mott was employed by the owners of Billings’ General Store in Lyn. Mott then gained the contract for the Royal Mail in Lyn, the post office at that time was within Billing’s Store. Later the Mott’s left the employ of Billings and moved the Post Office into the IOOF building, in the same place as their old store.
In his obituary in the Recorder and Times, 1945, it was noted that Mott was in business in Lyn until 1937. According to family records, held by Mott’s grandson, Clark Dempsey, Mot was Christened Blake Edward Mott, but on two formal documents, perhaps of a legal nature, he signed his name as E.B. Mott.
Mott was born in Lyn on July 25th, 1881 and died aged 64 in Brockville on January 28th, 1945, he was buried in the Oakland Cemetery. He married Edith Danby in August 1911 and they had four children, Velma, Helen, and twins Doris and Dorothy. Mott was the son of Weldon B. Mott and Marticia Clark. Mott had two brothers, Clark P. Mott of Philadelphia and H.F. Mott, a judge, in Toronto. Mott had an aunt, Bessie Mott, born in Lillies on May 30th, 1853 who died in Brockville on December 5th, 1948, aged 95.
The Ledger used for this story starts as of March, 1925 and runs until May, 1931. Several times, at the beginning of the Ledger there is reference to accounts being “Carried from Book #1”, which must have covered the earlier period. That book is not available. The date of Mott opening his store is said to have been 1921, but that is not certain.
The Ledger itemizes a customer’s purchases made at any one time, except for “the weekly supplies” where it is simply listed as “groceries”, which on average, ran from $1.50 to $4.00. The described individual items shed light on a life style and local economy. Where prices are available they are in brackets beside the item. While some prices might appear to be low it ust be remembered that they are in 1925-30 dollars and should be adjusted to reflect the average rural labour’s wage for that era. The prices did not increase much, if at all, during the 1920’s, but real incomes declined, not because a day’s labour was any cheaper, but rather it was increasingly more difficult to find. The dollar value of a day’s labour varied on the task and if the labourer supplied machinery and horses, but simply for a man without machinery anywhere from $2.00 to $2.50 for an eight hour day seemed to be the norm, that’s about 31¢ per hour.
Mott’s general store was small and the number of items he carried must have been enormous, meaning that they probably were jammed in where ever a space was available. To give the reader the impression of the controlled chaos that must have existed the items have been listed in a random fashion.
Meat @ 30¢ a pound
Bread 10¢ a loaf
Sausages @ 20¢ a pound
Lemons 6 for 20¢
Corn Flakes 13¢ a box
Life Savers 5¢
Ice Cream 25¢
Peanut Butter 25¢
Hair net 10¢
Horse Blanket $4.00
Chick Feeds 4 lbs for 25¢
Glass Sealers 12 for $1.40
Caster Oil 20¢
Corn Starch 13¢
Packet of Seeds 10¢
Clothes pins 2 doz. 15¢
Laces 5¢ & 15¢
Nutmeg 6 for 5¢
Honey 5 lbs $1.00
Icing Sugar 1 lb for 10¢
Yeast Cakes 8¢ each
Coffee 1/2 lb 40¢
Corn Syrup 1 lb 10¢
Water Mellon 10¢
Skein of Yarn 25¢
Gillett Lye 15¢
Salt 100 lbs $1.40
Bugg Lantern $2.00
Fly Swatter 15¢
Berries 1 box 18¢
Fly Paper 10¢
Milk 1 pint 5¢
Easter Eggs 5¢ each
Sateen 2.75 yards 83¢
Flour 100 lbs $4.75
Dutch Cleanser 13¢
Bon Ami 15¢
O’Henry Bar 10¢
Macaroni 2 lbs 25¢
Talcum Powder 25¢
Sugar 100 lbs $7.50
Axle Grease 50¢
Axe Handle 50¢
Cookies 1 lb 30¢
Jam 1 jar 65¢
Eggs 1 doz 30¢
Jelly Rolls 20¢
Flash Light $2.00
Paint 1 Gal $5.00
Mott also accepted other items in lieu of cash as payment against credit accounts. Some examples are:
Day Labour was at various dollar values, depending upon the task and if a horse or equipment was supplied. Tom Pettem was credited $8.00 for 2 day’s labour and for that he supplied a machine and a team of horses. Eli Mott, a relative, was credited $2.00 for a days assistance in the store. Seymore Cromwell was credited $9.00 for three day’s labour at fencing. Ed Braut worked eight days for $10.00.
Fire Wood was credited by the cord, or the load. A. Bolton received $3.50 per cord and $4.00 a cord for Tom Pettem. In 1922 two cords were valued at $9.00. Orval Brundige supplied two cords of slab wood for $4.50. Harry Leader traded 5 gallons of syrup for $8.75 and $10.86 for an unknown quantity of fire wood.
J.Bolin traded milk for most of his purchases, 80¢ for 10 quarts was typical, in fact he traded so much milk he was oft times in a credit position.
Joseph Young benefited by 15¢ for fish
Lester Ladd was credited 25¢ for carting 50 loaves of bread.
Walter Jarvis profited by $1.50 for two loads of earth.
Vincent Mercier traded a calf skin for 65¢ and another for 80¢
A number of customers brought in eggs, 10¢ a cozen, and home made butter
In season berries were a popular trading commodity.
Potatoes by the bushel were recorded a number of times.
Joe Bolin was credited 10¢ a pound for 113 pounds of beef
Walter Gardiner was given 10¢ a pound for 115 pounds of beef.
Jos. Mott was credited $20.61 for a heifer
Bryce Moore provided five cedar posts for a credit of $12.50
Charles Herbison did some blacksmithing for $6.90
Albert Cain gained $12.65 for cutting 738 cakes of ice.
|A.F.&A.M.||Gardiner, G.W.||Mercier, Vincent|
|Andress, Chas||Gardiner, Stanley||Miller, Robert|
|Andress, S.||Gardiner, Walter||Molt, G.P.|
|Armstrong, Vera B.,Miss||Gibson, Roy||Moore, Curson|
|Beach, Ralph||Green, Clarence||Moore, Joel|
|Bolin, Joe||Hamilton, J.||Moorree, Bryce|
|Bolton, A.||Hamilton, J., Miss||Mott, Arnold|
|Booth, Ed||Heffernan, Edmund||Mott, Eli|
|Bowman, George||Hendry, Hilbert||Mott, Geo. P.|
|Brant, Ed.||Herbison, Charles||Mott, Geo. P.|
|Brown, G.W., Dr.||Herbison, Frank||Mott, Jos.|
|Brundige, Orval||Herbison, H.||Murphy, Lance|
|Bufelt, Ed.||Hodge, Kenneth||Neddo, W.|
|Bushfield, Archie||Hull, Mrs.||Nixon, Vfred|
|Cain, A.||Hunter, B.||Nunn, Clifford|
|Cain, Ernie||Imerson, O.||Nunn, Clifford|
|Cain, Ourine||Jackson, George||Pergau, Geo., Mrs.|
|Cain, Victor||Jarvis, Walter||Pergau, Helen, Mrs.|
|Cdonovan, Paddy||Jenkinson, James||Pettem, Harold|
|Chant, Frank||Johnston, William||Pettem, Leonard|
|Charlton, M.||Jowett, Arnold||Pettem, Luella|
|Chisamore, Willie||Ladd, Authur||Pettem, Tom|
|Clow W.J.||Ladd, Lester||Reid, George|
|Clow, John||LaRue., Mrs.||Robinson, Rev.|
|Clow, W.||Lawson, Bun||Runnett, Fred|
|Coby, James||Lawson, Harmon, Jr.||Russell, Lester|
|Comyn, William||Lee, N.||Seymore, Cromwell|
|Cromwell, R.||Leeder, John||Shane, Richard|
|Dailey, Mrs.||Lennox, Ernie||Simpson, Jas.|
|Darling, Ian||Lennox, Mrs.||Simpson, John|
|Darling, Sanford||Lowry, Mrs.||Slack, Frank|
|Davis, Ed||Mallory, Ira||Smith, Ambrose|
|Delve, Rev.||Marshall, Harry||Square, John|
|Dison, Dixon||Marshall, James||Stafford, Frank|
|Dollan, Gordon||May, William||Steacy, John|
|Dowdell, Rev.||McElroy, Stanley||Stewart, Jack|
|Dumont, Orval||McLean, Addie, Miss||Teskey, Rev.|
|Earle, Leland||McNamara, Hav.||Truesdale, C.|
|Edgley, James||McNamara, John, Sr.||Truesdale, William|
|Edgley, Mrs. Dar||McNish, Fred||Vanattan, Geo. & Sid|
|Edmunds, Mr.||McNish, Harris||Watson. Chas|
|Elizabethtown Twp.||Webster, Earl|
|Fodey, M.||Young, Jas. jr.|
|Young, Jos. Sr.|
|Young, William Sr.|
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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 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.
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.
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?”
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 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 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.
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?”
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
By an unknown author written around 1953
The village of Lyn is situated in the Pre-Cambrian Shield six miles west of Brockville and one hundred and forty one miles west of Montreal. In relation to the St. Lawrence it is three miles north of the point where the ship channel crosses from the Canadian side to the American side, called by the inhabitants “The Five Mile Light” or “Cole’s Ferry”
From the time of the first settlement on the rocky ledges covered with rough scraggy timber, the name of Coleman was connected with this place, in fact until the year 1837 it was known by the name of “Coleman’s Corners”. The Leavitt’s History of Leeds and Grenville says “Able Coleman, the man who caused two blades of grass to grow where before there was only one, is characterised as a public benefactor.” It would seem that he started his first mill in 1788, the date inscribed upon the first millstone, but when government rations were with held after the second year of the settlement’s establishment, he sold the village site to a Mr. Haleck for a small sum and then went to Montreal to work at his trade as a tanner. With his earnings he bought a cow, returned to Coleman’s Corners and became a miller, tanner and farmer.
The oldest inscription in the Lyn Cemetery reads: “In Memory of Able Coleman, who departed this life in Full Assurance of Eternal Life, April 25th, 1810”
Richard Coleman bought the town-site from Mr. Halleck for he conceived the idea that it would be a fine place for a manufacturing town. It was surveyed into lots in 1813. The first house was built in 1814 by Mr. Brownson for a hotel. The same house is now occupied by (Mrs. Stephen Boyce) Mr. Charlie Lewis, although it has been remodelled and changed hands many times since then. The house now occupied by Mr. Widdis. Mr. Mel Davidson was the second one built the original builder being Capt. Stuart, and army captain.
For the next score of years the village made rapid progress under the pushing energies of its owners, Messrs. Coleman.
In 1820 a frame grist mill was erected and although not conducted on the roller system it was a great boon to the countryside. In 1837 the question of the name of the village came to the fore. “Lowell” was its new designation, no doubt because many of the settlers were sons of U.E. Loyalists, and still had tender recollections of their native state of Massachusetts. It was soon discovered however that another village in Ontario bore the same name, and it was necessary to change the name again “Lyn” was thought an appropriate one, for the word, lin, being the Scotch name of a waterfall.
In 1838 a new grist mill, larger and of improved design, replaced the earlier one. This original mill is now the Post Office and store. In 1841 a saw mill was erected. Then a tannery for the manufacture of sole leather, as well as one for the manufacture of uppers. The manufacturing of the year 1844 was given as no less than $500., all of which was consumed within the province, the raw hides being what was termed “Spanish” and imported from the United States, some of them weighing when ready for market. 45 pounds.
The Recorder of 1850 says “Thanks to the Colemans, Lyn has the most celebrated and extensive tanning establishment in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville.” There were at this time employed by the Colemans between 30 and 40 men whose wage amounted in one year from $1500.- $1750. The majority of these men were transients, a number coming from Montreal. They lived in shacks – some on the mill road and others back of the pond. Other industries in Lyn about the same time were shoe, whip, comb and stave makers as well as a flax mill and a brickyard which made Lyn one of the best paying stations on the Grand Trunk Railway.
Lyn, although not celebrated as a seat of learning, has always had a good school. The first one was situated near where the lath factory stood and was used until it became too small for the fast increasing population. The house next used was situated near Mr. Halliday’s store. The brick one was then built and used until 1867 when the stone one now in use was built.
The social activities of the village were many. There were dances, a number of them formal, and the store being stocked with rich and expensive materials which were made up by local dressmakers. The dances and entertainment were held in the Buell and Pergan halls. There was a club called the Quintet Club, consisting of five young men-about-town who were the chief instigators of these affairs Skating on the Pond was the main sport in winter, and a game like hockey was played with sticks made from branches of trees.
The church played an important part in social the life of the village. There were parties for the children at New Year’s and the tea meetings were very popular, being like our church suppers with a program given by the local talent. In the summer there were picnics, people going by boat to Alexandra Bay, and later by the Brockville and Westport Railway to Westport.
In 1849 an Agricultural Society Fair was held, with prizes offered for horses and cattle and domestic manufactures, agricultural implements and ploughman ship with Charles Booth as Secretary. In June of the same year between 500 and 600 people attended a public meeting for the promotion of temperance. Speeches were given by Canadian and American speakers and the “Sons of Temperance” appeared in their regalia.
Until 1855 the Colemans had water for their mills from natural sources, but with the cutting of the forests, the supply was reduced. Then they bought the wild land running back from Lyn for six to eight miles, and converted marshes and shallow lakes into a series of reservoirs, canals being cut and dams erected.
In the Fellows’ Directory of 1866, we find Lyn described as a thriving and progressive village, a station of the Grand Trunk Railway. The prosperity was due to a large extent to the manufacturing’s, of which James Cumming was agent. The boot and show factory was the most recent addition to the business and was sufficiently extensive to require the services of between 40 and 50 men. The local stores were described as commodious and well stocked with merchandise of every description. The best example of this is given by an advertisement in the Fellows’ Directory which reads thus: “A.T. Trickey, druggist, general merchant, Main street, Lyn, manufactures of two conditioning powders for horses and cattle, has established correspondence with a reliable House in Montreal, receives direct from them in regular supplies which enables him to offer great advantages to the Counties’ trade.”
The Dominion Directory of 1871 gave Lyn a population of 750 and just ten years later the Lovell’s Business and Professional Directory of Ontario gave the population as only 300.
The Grand Trunk Railway (CNR) owned the sand pit but in 1940 Wells Simpson bought it from the railroad. The Brockville- Westport Railway was begun in 1885 and finished in 1888. Then on Saturday, August 30, 1952 the line was discontinued. Mr. Tobin was the last station master in Lyn.
The old red brick schoolhouse mentioned previously was burned down several years ago but was rebuilt using the same walls. It is just across the road from the present school and is now a private dwelling.
Just besides this building is another old landmark. It used to be an old rough-cast hotel by Mr. Gilleclain but is now occupied by Miss Florence Roberts. Beside this hotel there were four others – one just on the corner which was the Dr. Brown house, and one known as Stack’s Hotel, which was burned 26 years ago (1939). The double house owned by Charles Lewis and the rough-cast house where Jock Stewart lives were both very old hotels.
A very old bakeshop was located behind the Coon Bake shop (now closed) in what was known as the Baxter Block. There was another bakeshop back of the Oddfellows’ building. Then J.C.Cumming built the stone building across from Herbison’s blacksmith’s shop. It is now a dwelling owned by Mr. Baillie, an old Irish sailor and his daughter Rhoda. Lyn also had its own blacksmith shop. One was located behind the Coon Bakery. It was first run by George Stratton and then Bill Yates. Charles Herbison bought it from the latter and then sold out to Bill Wiley. Charles Herbison bought the old carriage shop about 25 years ago (1940) from Bill Tennant who had it for years. The stores in Lyn were handed down from family to family. Joshua Lillie ran the post office and store, sold to Mort Gardiner, and then to Omar Mallory who shared with Walter Billings. The latter ran it after Mr. Mallory’s death. These were all relations. Then Kenneth Bolton bought it and sold it to B.H.Bishop. The post office was given to Blake Mott (after Mr. Billings) and located where the W.I. is now in the Oddfellows’ building. Then David McCrady had it in connection with his hardware store in the Mason’s building. Then last year it went to Earl Miller. The Buell store was owned first by Mills and McManus from Morrisburg, then George Buell, finally James Greer. Ray Stewart bought it and converted it into a garage. The Belsile store was first a harness shop owned by Stelton Horton, changed to grocery owned by R.P. Boyd. Then William Laverty converted it into a barbershop and sold to Robert Willey who operated a meat shop there. William Quinn and Heaslip ran it for a while and then changed it into a residence. It was a general store run by Belisle. The McCrady store was owned and operated by: first A.T.Trickey, second Mort Gardiner, third C.M.Taylor, fourth John McCrady. Then John’s son Dave took over and after him his brother Frank who sold it to Earl Miler. The old Pregau store was originally a shoe making store. Alex Pergau was the shoe maker and then Jim who did mostly repairing. The building is now just a dwelling.
There have been several attempts made to have an organized sports programme. Below the Green Hill, across from the Mill, was a Tan Bark, over 70 years ago. It was burned and for some time was a baseball diamond and in winter a boarded in skating rink. About 15 years ago (1950) a rink was built behind Miller’s Store and again a few years ago another attempt was made but both failed because it was too hard to get good ice. The Jr. Farmers had a ball team for a couple of years recently.
There is no Catholic Church in Lyn. They go in to their own church in Brockville but they have now purchased the old Methodist church and plan to have their own church here.
There are a number of Lodges, namely, the Masons, the Oddfellows, and the Rebecca’s. There is also a Women’s Institute and a Young Peoples’ Union.
The early settlers did not neglect the religious side of their life. Although they did not have a church, they held services in halls or houses. The first church was built by the Methodist body on the spot where the Church of England sheds now stand. It was the only church for miles around and people used to walk or ride long distances to attend a ‘quarterly meeting.” It would seem that this church was used by other denominations, who did not have a church of their own at that time, and it was sometimes spoken of as the “Union Church.” Maurice Brown in a letter states that he believed the first Methodist Conference to be held in Eastern Ontario of the Methodist Episcopal Church was held in it and most of the delegates were from New York State, and that a number of Bishops were in attendance. James Cumming told me when he first came to Lyn it was the only church in the village, that my grandmother used to sit in a rocking chair in front of the seats and rock and say “Amen” and “Bless the Lord.” The Methodist Episcopal Church for some unknown reason left this site and built a brick church on top of the hill above Lyn on the way to Lillie’s. The only ministers names which we can find associated with this church are Gifford, Perley, Brown (maybe also Mr. McDowell and Mr. Ainsworth). At the tie of union in 1884 of the Wesleyan Methodist and the Methodist Episcopal, to quote from Maurice Brown’s letter again “In Lyn the usual difficulty was experienced. As very often happens as to the choice of a church when they could not agree in Lyn, the Board of Wall St. Church was asked to come and make the choice. They did so and unanimously selected the one by the school which was a very fortunate decision as I will explain to you. There was a church funeral for a man who lived where Grant Hudson lives at present. A very severe windstorm came up and the Methodist Episcopal Church blew down. It was the bricks from that church that built the present Glen Buell edifice.”
The Presbyterians were the next to organize. Their first service was held in the ballroom of the Bronson Hotel and conducted by the Rev. William Smart, who was one of the pioneers of religion than whom no man did more for the moral and religious interests of the people for, as it is said “so long as the children of the original settlers maintain their memories. The name of Rev. William Smart will e held dear by them.” A Sabbath school was also organized in this same room by Mr. Smart and Adiel Sherwood, who was at one time Sheriff of Brockville. Services were held occasionally in the old Methodist Church and then in Pergau’s Hall until the church was built. It was only a mission station until the year 1855, when Rev. Robert McKenzie was given the charge. Rev. R.McKenzie was succeeded by Rev. John Burton who was later pastor of the Northern Congregational Church, Toronto. Then for six years the Presbyterians were without a settled minister until 1874 when Rev. Arch Brown was called and settled here.
The Lyn section of the Presbyterian congregation resolved in the autumn of 1874 to build a church and the work in connection therewith was commenced in April 1875. Donor of the building site was James M.Cassels, M.D., of Quebec, Robert Cassel was chairman. The building committee was composed of James Cumming, Chairman, Robert Bryson, treasurer, John Halliday and James Bulloch, James Hamilton, Archibald Davidson, Peter Purvis and John McNish. The architect was W.G. Thomas, Montreal, and the contractors Hugh McKay, Joshua Franklin and William Whitton, masonry and plastering, Edwin Bagg.
The building is stone, covered with slate, of the Gothic Order with an auditorium of 60 x 34. The vestry, in rear, is 10 x 16, and tower on side 14×14. Total cost was about $4000.
From “Evening Records” Brockville, Thursday, May 15, 1875 – “On Friday afternoon the 7th inst. The cornerstone of a new church for the Presbyterian congregation at Lyn was laid by the Rev. William Smart of Gananoque, assisted by the Rev. Archibald Brown, Rev. James Hastie of Prescott and the Rev John Burton of Belleville. The weather being favourable a large assembly gathered to witness the interesting ceremony. Copies of the Recorder (daily and weekly, Monitor, Montreal and Toronto newspapers and current coins of the Dominion were deposited in the stone, together with the engraved copy of the following: “Memorial –In the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost on the 7th day of May in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and seventy-five, in the thirty-eight year of the reign of Victoria, and while the Right Honorable the Earl of Dufferin was Governor-General of the Dominion of Canada and the Hon. John Crawford Lt. Governor of the Prov. Of Ont. This cornerstone of Christ Church, Lyn in connection with the Canadian Presbyterian Church was laid by the Rev. Wm. Smart of Gananoque.”
A few of the first settlers of Yonge, Elizabethtown and Augusta, deploring the want of religious ordinance, applied at the beginning of the present century to the London Missionary Society to have a missionary or minister to settle over them. The directors of the Society recommended Rev. Wm. Smart who had just completed his theological study at Gossport to accept the call implied in the petition, and offered to pay his passage and outfit. Mr. Smart, having acceded to the proposal, and having been ordained in the Scotch Church, Swallow St., London, arrived in Elizabethtown (no Brockville) in October 1811 and commenced his ministerial labours there extending them to Coleman’s Corners, Yonge and Augusta In 1812 the people under his care were formed into a regular ministerial charge. In 1846 he resigned the charge of Brockville, but continued to preach for some time to the rural part of the congregation. Coleman’s Corners (Lyn) was, after Mr. Smart left the district, supplied with preaching by the Rev. Mr. McMurray and the Rev.J.K.Smith who succeeded the charge of Brockville. The first minister of Lyn and Yonge was the Rev. Robt. McKenzie who remained from July 5th 1859 to 1862. He was succeeded by the Rev. John Burton, who was ordained on November 17, 1864. Under Mr. Burton’s pastorate the congregation of Fairfield was united with Lyn and Yonge. Mr. Burton accepted a call from the congregation at Prescott on Feb 4, 1868. After his departure the Fairfield congregation was separated from Lyn and Yonge and the charge remained vacant yill May 19, 1874 when the Rev. Archibald Brown was inducted. He office bearers being: Elders, Jas. Hamilton, John Halliday, James McNish, John Dickey, Jacob Warren and Wm. Forrester. Board of Managers: Robert Bryson, Treasurer: James Cumming, Archibald Davidson, John Armstrong, Peter Purvis and James Bulloch. Trustees of Church Property: Robt. Bryson, Peter Purvis, James Hamilton and James Cumming. The chief subscriber was James Cumming who promised twice the amount given by any other donor. All the pews were numbered on brass plates affixed to the pew. At the right and left of the pulpit are square pews which had a certain social distinction. The right one was occupied by the Manse family, and the one on the left by th Cassells family who gave the land to the church for one dollar. At the rear of the church is a magnificent memorial window placed by the Cassells family. It was imported from Belgium in 1875 and placed there when the church was dedicated. Underneath the centre panel of this window is their coat of arms.
The church was dedicated by Rev. Dr.MacVicar, the principal of the Presbyterian College, Montreal on Feb. 6, 1876 and was known as Christ Church and was so registered in the deed of the property. The offering at the opening amounted to $146.00. The proceeds of the tea meeting amounted to $240. The bill advertising this meeting is in good preservation at the Manse. The communion cloths used for the covering of the front pew are still in good condition and were used when the Presbytery met here in 1950. The Baptismal Font was presented by James Cumming in memory of his wife and is of Italian marble. It was placed in the church in 1893. The pulpit was hand made by the uncle of George A.McNish (elder for over 40 years) in 1876. It was a labor of love as it took over a year to make. The church bell was brought over the frozen St. Lawrence in 1870 and weighs half a ton. It was first put in the Wesleyan Methodist Church but when in 1939 the congregation moved from that church to Christ Church the bell was also moved. The cost of the bell today would be more than $1500.
In 1916 Anniversary Services were held. The following excerpt being taken from a paper owned by Miss Mary Cumming, Lyn, March 1, 1916: “The 40th Anniversary Services of Christ Church, Lyn, was conducted by the Rev. S.G. Brown of Almonte on 27th inst. The Methodist Church cancelled their service in the morning so that all could attend and commemorate the opening of Christ Church in Lyn 40 years ago. The Rev. Gentleman in the morning spoke on “Influence of the Hill” in furnishing inspirations to Christians in all ages. The first Pres. Missionary to Lyn came from the Hills of Scotland sent out by the London Missionary Society in 1811. He held his first service in the Court House in Brockville in the morning and preached in the upper room of a tavern in Lyn in the afternoon nearly 105 years ago. After 65 years of faithful services between Kingston and Cornwall the Rev. Wm. Smart gave his last public address at the opening of Christ Church, Lyn, 40 years ago. The old members who took art in the opening of the church 40 years ago, were taken to the Hilltop by Mr. Brown’s stirring sermon and with the presence of their Methodist brethren, notwithstanding the storm raging without, the uplifting power of God’s presence was felt in this Anniversary Service. At the evening meeting Mr. Brown spoke most touchingly of the Heroism of Canadians in the present crisis and craved the prayers of all for a new consecreation for God, King and Empire. Mr. Brown’s eldest son having given up his life as an offering for his country, with the Princess Patricia’s, gave point to his words of cheer and comfort for those whose friends are now fighting the battles of the Empire. His eloquent, uplifting discourses last Sabbath will linger in the memories of the worshippers of Christ Church.”
At the time of Union in 1925 the Presbyterians and the Methodists decided to use the Methodist church, but as the years went by it was decided to move back to the Presbyterian Christ Church, for the costs of repairs became so extensive to the Methodist church when it was hit by lightening twice. In keeping with this decision renovation of Christ Church was begun. This included digging and extension of a cellar in order to have a Sunday School room and kitchen. Following this renovation, which cost over $4000. which was paid off in two years, Dr. Kent of Queen’s University re-opened and dedicated Christ Church in October 1939. Since this time six memorial windows have been installed adding greatly to the atmosphere of worship with God’s house.
The membership of this Church has altered since 1940 from a rural congregation to a suburban one since so many of the congregation work in the different plants in Brockville and live in Lyn.
The list of ministers which has served Christ Church is as follows: (Before the building of the church) Rev. Wm. Smart 1811-1846; Rev. Mr. McMurray, Rev. J.K. Smith, Rev. Robert McKenzie 1859-1862, Rev. John Burton 1864-1868, Rev. Archibald Brown 1874- ?; Rev. J.J. Richardson; who was the first minister called after the church was built in Rev. A. Brown’s term of office. Rev. J.J Wright; Rev. Chas. Daly, Rev C.E.A.Pocock 1916-?, Dr. D.M.McLeod, Rev Mr. Gardiner, Rev Mr. McCrea till Union in 1925. Rev R.A. Delve 1929-35, Rev A.S. Doggett 1935-40 when Chrisy Church was reopened. Rev H.B. Herrington 1940-42, Rev C.K. Mathewson 1942-59 (the present)
Records in connection with the early history of Lyn congregation are scarce and we have to rely on the memory of those who knew in their early years or learned from the lips of the older generation, the facts connected with the origin of St. John the Baptist Church.
The first trace of an Anglican service in this locality is found in connection with a “United Church” which stood where the Anglican church sheds now stand (these have been removed, but position would be about one hundred yards east of the church). There are in St. John’s Church at present a pair of wooden collection plates with “St. Paul’s Church, Lyn” written on them. Whether we take this as evidence that the Union Church was called St. Paul’s or not does not alter the fact that tradition states that it was the first in these parts, several denominations, including the Quakers, using this old “Union Church” as a place of worship. The Church of England Services there were conducted by Rev John Stannage, who came from New Dublin to officiate. The fate of this building is not known to those who supplied the previous information, but for some reason the Anglican services were transferred to Pergau’s Hall in the present Pergau bock in Lyn. There Dr. Lewis, Rev. Stannage and Rev. Mr. Jones held services while the present church was in the course of construction.
The construction did not proceed very rapidly as the Brockville Recorder points out in its article on the subject “That the number of people holding Anglican views in this community were few.” In the course of ten years from 1858 to 1869, the work lingered for some time only the basement being finished, i.e. foundation. Then renewed efforts completed the task in August 1869. On Sept. 1, 1869 it was opened by Bishop Lewis.
In the period of construction James Coleman of Coleman Brothers, the millers of Lyn, were particularly active. It is reported that Peter Pergau supplied the lime for the building, that the rough stone was quarried on the B.C. Brown place now owned by Joseph Bolin, while the dressed stone came from Hector Bradfield pace east of Brockville and was dressed by a stone cutter named Dyer, and was teamed to Lyn by the men of the congregation. Also, that Edwin Bagg who lived where C. Imerson now lives had the contract for the carpentry work. The stone fence in front of the church was built by George Monteith, who lived in Lyn and is buried here.
At the opening service in 1869, Dr. Lewis, former rector of St. Peter’s Brockville, and then the Bishop of the Diocese of Ontario, was present and confirmed a large class. Other clergy present included Rev. John Carroll of Gananoque, Rev. G.J. Low of Delta, Mr. Denroche of Arnprior and Mr Cook of North Augusta.
The following clergy have given of their services to the church during the past years: Kearney L. Jones, Henry Auston, G.W.G. Grout 1881, T.A. Smith 1901, J.D.P. Wright 1912, John Lyons 1917, T.F. Dowdell 1925, A.E.U. Smart 192, Ernest Teskey 1926-33, F.O. Ware 1933-41, R.M. Savory 1941-42, R.S. Foreman 1942-44, A.B. Caldwel 1944, E. LeGrow 1944-45, J.B. Hall 1945-47, F. Payne 1947-50, J.M.Cameron 1950 –
Lyn has become a residential village for the people who work in Brockville and commute every day by car or bus. Lyn has lost its importance as a manufacturing village and it can never hope to be the site of large factories for it has no waterfront nor railway terminal. Its future lies in its growth as a village for workers who wish to live in the quiet of the country, when the St. Lawrence Seaway is finished which will bring with it the extension of manufacturing sites along the shores of the river.
The Church has a vital function to perform in such an industrial residential area for it must bring to those people who do a monotonous factory job a wider vision of life, its worth and its meaning, for this is the only institution which cares for other than material values in the lives of these people. The sad part is that many of these people have become so busy with the material on every day and all days that they do not take the interest in the church which the first hardy founders of this village did. It thus provides the church with an opportunity and a challenge which I am sure the Spirit of God will use for the furthering of God’s Kingdom.
A story about growing up in the 1950’s By Ellery Edgeley
It could never be said, we kids were ever bored, or, had nothing to do! Regardless of the fact we lived in a smallvillage in the country, some activity or interesting diversion could always be found, to entertain ourselves, and occupy our recreational time. Typical of young children, we discovered a new and very different way of having fun, spending a few hours just relaxing, and, at the same time, touring the country side. Each day, Monday through Friday, the mail had to be delivered to the surrounding rural areas of Lyn, and this particular job belonged to a man named Mr. Ladd. Early every morning he would pick up the mail from the post office at Miller’s General Store, load his truck and head out to the back areas to deliver it. During the summer holidays one of the kids, who happened to be hanging around the store, asked Mr. Ladd, if he could go along, and assist him with the mail, and he agreed. This, as it turned out would be of great help, because now, if the mail box was located on the right hand side of the road, the truck pulled over and the helper could put the mail into the box, thus saving Mr. Ladd, from having to put the truck out of gear, hold the brake, lean over and place it in himself. The truck he drove was an old dark blue 1930’s Chevrolet with a square cab designed to hold two people, and on the back it had a large platform enclosed by front and side racks, probably used at one time to haul cans of milk. Having this helper along became a daily practice. Some of the other kids found out about these little jaunts their friend was making, so they asked Mr. Ladd if it would be all right if they could come along too, and being the good soul he was agreed. It wasn’t long before word spread, and soon the back of that old truck was beginning to fill up with anywhere from six to over a dozen kids. I honestly believe, even it there had been twenty or more kids, wanting to climb aboard and ride along, Mr. Ladd would have found some way of piling every one on. And the group was not all boys. This was one activity in which boys and girls joined together and shared the fun.
Mr. Ladd usually departed from the general store around 9:30 a.m. so everyone would have to be there shortly before then. As a rue, most kids our age are not early risers and hate to get out of bed in the morning, especially during the summer holidays, but there was always a couple who would be there at 8:00 anxious to get underway. One, by one, each of us would saunter up to the gathering place, some still half asleep, and wait, as Mr. Ladd sorted his load of mail.
There was one particular chap, named Dickie, who on many a day managed to just barely make it on time. Everyone would begin yelling for him to hurry up, and he would come running down the street, still munching away on his peanut butter and toast. His hair would be uncombed, sticking straight up, and he appeared as though he had slept in his clothes all night. Just as the truck started up, Dickie would jump up onto the back with the help of many hands.
The entire rural route usually took about three hours to complete. The long duration of time it took was probably due to the fact that very road travelled was dirt, with the exception of about half a mile. On hot, dry summer days a long cloud of dust trailed the mail truck as it journeyed along with its cargo of mail and kids. Leaving the village, we headed west into the country which contained some of the most beautiful dairy farms to be seen anywhere. In their lush green pastures, large herds of Holstein cows, along with a sprinkling of Jerseys could be seen grazing, while other fields contained clover and sprouts of corn. There were fields of uncut hay and its tall strands flowed like waves in a sea of green, as gentle summer breezes blew across them. The air had what we called, “that farm smell”, a combination of hay, silage and manure. Farmers were always busy working, whether on a tractor or driving a team of horses, but sometimes if they were near the road, they would often stop and come over for a short visit with Mr. Ladd and we kids. It didn’t take long, and after a few trips, we got to know everyone on the mail route. Not all of the homes on the route belonged to farmers; countless others were owned by people who were employed in the Town of Brockville. Besides travelling by farms the route also wound its way through heavily wooded areas, and in some places ran parallel to a couple of beautiful lakes.
During those long, hot summer days, only one thing ever stopped us group of kids from making the daily trip. Rain! On these days, only a helper went. But the rest of the time, the number always varied. As the days passed, we all became closer, like a family. We’d tell stories, make up games to play, and sing all kinds of songs. Riding in the open air with the wind blowing in our faces was thrilling and refreshing. There were a couple of spots o the route, where apple trees grew next to the road, and late in the summer they would start to bear apples. Mr. Ladd would sometimes pull off to the side of the road under them, and let us pick a few to eat. At this time of year, they were still quite green so we didn’t eat that many. No one wanted to get a stomach ache or worse. Most times, we’d just use them for target practice, throwing at a tree of large boulder in a field.
As I mentioned, the mail route ran through several heavy wooded areas, and one particular road on it was called ‘The Devil’s Door’ road. Located in the Yonge Mills area about five miles west of Lyn, it derived its name from the fact that it possessed a secret doorway to the bowels of the earth, and Devil himself. A short distance from the road an entrance to a passage-way could be seen, running between towering, deep crevice, rock edges on each side. Tall trees and a heavy concentration of thick brush shrouded the entire area in darkness, giving it a frightening, foreboding look, as if to warn any curious or daring soul, they should proceed no further. Should one be foolish enough to do so, they could be in grave, perilous danger. Wild stories were abound, of individuals, who had dared fate to enter ‘The Devil’s Door’ never to be seen again. It had been said to, that young children in particular should stay far away from the area, and never, never, venture too close, because the Devil would get them, and take them back to the centre of the earth. Each morning that old mail truck full of kids, had to pass by ‘The Devil’s Door’!
Every day, as we approached and passed by, everyone on the truck would stare at that entrance in fear, and pray that the old truck wouldn’t break down or quit right there. Once by we all breathed a little easier. Sometimes as we neared the door Mr. Ladd would slow down the truck, and holler ot and ask, if anyone wanted to get off and see the Devil. There was never any response; there were no brave takers on that truck. Still we were curious. Deep down inside, we all knew we wanted to see what was hiding beyond that entrance. The question was, were we brave enough!
Finally after much deliberation, we had all decided that the time had come. We should enter ‘The Devil’s Door’! The next morning we all gathered at Miller’s General Store, excited and ready to follow through with our planned escapade. With new found courage, we asked Mr. Ladd, if he would stop at ‘The Devil’s Door’, and take us in. He paused for a few seconds, glanced around at the dozen wide eyed kids and asked. “Are you sure you want to go in there? The Devil might get all of you kids!” At the moment we were still in village and everyone was brave, so without hesitation, a chorus of voices hollered out. “We’re not afraid of the devil, we’ll go in! There’s no devil there anyway.” With a twinkle in his eyes, Mr. Ladd agreed. “OK, I’ll stop and take you in, but remember, I warned you.” Everyone piled onto the back of the old mail truck and in boisterous, wild chatter we all began saying what we’d do when we got to the door and came face to face with the devil. As we pulled away, we secretly wondered if we’d ever see the village again.
A short distance from Lyn, we began making our first mail drops. ‘The Devil’s Door’ was still about a half hours drive yet, but the closer we got the more silent everyone became. There was no more brave talk or singing. Each person was quietly wrapped up in their own thoughts. As the truck turned onto ‘Devil’s Door’ road, all the bravery suddenly seem to dissipate. Everyone’s mind went into high emotional gear, conjuring up all kinds of wild notions and scenarios, about what may lie in waiting ahead. With intent eyes, we scanned the woods, expecting at any moment now, for a red man with horns, goatee and long sharp pointed tail, to leap out and pounce on all of us defenceless children. With his three pronged spear, he would force us deep into the bowels of the earth. The old truck rounded a slight bend in the road and came to a stop. There it was! The ‘Devil’s Door’! Now, as we stood in the safety of the truck, it looked more foreboding and sinister than ever before. Mr. Ladd turned the motor off, and got out of the truck. The silence was deafening. What if it wouldn’t start up again? Maybe we should leave while there was still time. Besides, I don’t recall seeing a rural mail box here on the side of the road with the name ‘Satan’ emblazoned on it, indicating a stop. “All right, who’s coming”, Mr. Ladd invited us. For a few second, no one spoke or moved. “I’ll go” came a voice, not exactly exuding a tone of courage. One by one, individuals climbed down from the truck, until a meagre total of seven brave soles gathered beside Mr. Ladd. Four boys and three girls. “What’s the mater?”. He asked, “Doesn’t anybody else want to come?” As the rest of us cowered in the back of the truck, I said “No Thanks, I can se it fine from right here.” No sense in chancing fate, I thought; all of those stories we heard, might just be true. I wasn’t about to be taken by the devil, down into the dark abyss of the earth, and hell below, sentenced to an eternity of stoking furnaces or worse. I was almost certain I hadn’t committed and sins recently, but then, maybe I had. Just to be on the safe side, I’d better not go. Better safe than sorry. As I looked around, it was relieving to see, that I was not the only smart person on board that truck. Or should I say, coward! Someone should stay behind anyway, in case something terrible did happen, we could go for help or let relatives know what had happened, when the others failed to return. All we could do now was watch, as Mr. Ladd, led the seven foolhardy, ‘would be’ adventures, into ‘The Devil’s Door’, and beyond. Slowly, they moved ever so carefully along the front of the towering stone walled ledge which ran up to the door and disappeared into the darkness beyond. This was probably, the last time we would ever see our friends again. We waited for what seemed an eternity. “Maybe we should holler and see if they’re OK!” someone peeped up. “No! Keep quiet! Do you want the Devil to know we’re here?” So we waited. Sitting there I knew that I had made the right decision not to go. Suddenly, screams came from somewhere deep in ‘The Devil’s Door’. Now, the screams verified I had been right. “What are we going to do?” Somebody yelled “Let’s get out of here!” All eyes were focused on the door entrance. “No. We have to wait for them.” The terrified screams continued, and before we could move someone came bolting out from the entrance. It’s always been said that boys can run faster than girls, this day proved it. For boys came blasting for dear life, out from the darkness and towards the safety of the truck and their waiting comrades. “Where’s everyone else?” Then came the three screaming girls, scrambling like the devil himself were chasing them. “What happened?” we demanded. Everyone was trembling with excitement! Still huffing and puffing to catch their breath, they quickly related their horrifying experience beyond the door way. Once they were deep inside the dark passage-way, surrounded by hugh trees, someone though they had seen what might have been the Devil himself. Mr. Ladd had seen the person or object first and warned the rest and, it was then that everyone began to scream and run for their lives and safety. “Oh no!” someone shouted. “Where’s Mr. Ladd? The Devil got him!” Now we were all doomed for sure we thought. Suddenly a relieved voice cried out. “There he comes, he’s OK! The devil didn’t get him.” Funny but Mr. Ladd didn’t seem to have the same urgency to run fro the entrance that the others did. As we watched him walk toward the truck, everyone was wishing he would hurry faster so we could get as far away from that spot as quickly as possible. “Where’d everybody go?” he asked.” I though you wanted to see the Devil and his passage-way.” No one spoke a word. We just stood in the back of the truck and stared at the entrance, waiting to see if the Devil was coming after us. As Mr. Ladd opened the door, and climbed into his truck, I could not help but notice a wide mischievous grin on his face. It was then that I began to wonder, just who the real devil might be. Much to our relief, the old mail truck fired up and slowly we crept away from “The Devil’s Door”.
We kids continued to ride along on that mail route for the rest of the summer, but every day when we passed by ‘The Devil’s Door’, everyone fell silent. To compound our fears, and apprehension, every so often, Mr. Ladd would slow down as if he were going to stop, and then ever so slowly drive on. The subject of ‘The Devil’s Door’ was never brought up again.
It had been a fun and mist unforgettable summer, but it came to an end. September meant we kids had to return to school, leaving Mr. Ladd to drive the rural mail route alone, without our help and company. In some ways it was probably a relief for him, not to have a bunch of noisy kids along, but then, being the kind of man he
was, I think he truly missed us. And now, the dark old blue mail truck, with its load of carefree children and our eerie, creepy visit to ‘The Devil’s Door’, are happy memories, from a time long ago.
By Jessie Kilpatrick
My first drive in Eastern Ontario was on a June afternoon. My Mother, my two brothers, Herbert and Roy, and myself had arrived at Brockville only that morning and had been met by my father who had several months before accepted a position of district manager of the present Mutual Life Assurance Co. of Canada. We were the guests of his old time friend, John Elliott, on the staff of the Brockville Collegiate. It happened to be Circus day and so that morning I stood on Pearl St. and witnessed my first Circus parade, and shuddered with terror and delight as I saw the huge lumbering elephants and the cages with ions and other wild animals.
In the Early afternoon we had our first drive out to our new home in Lyn. I can still remember the exclamations of my mother over the beauty of the winding creek near the Billings’ home which always attracts my attention today.
When we reached the stucco covered old stone house that father had rented from Mr. Nelson Shipman we found that it was still in the process of being painted by Mr. Shipman’s nephew, Horace Gardiner. And the cute little front porch was all wet paint. It was only a little while before my brother Herbert had gotten his nice new suit covered with wet paint, much to the annoyance of my mother.
It was not until the following fall that I started to school. My first teacher was Miss. Ena Williamson, who had charge of the junior room which then occupied all of the lower floor. She became the wife of Dr. George Judson at the end of the year and my next teacher was a Mrs. Knapp. When I was promoted to the Senior room, my teacher was Miss Christina Wilson for the four years I spent there. When the Entrance examinations were tried, out of a class of eight pupils only one failed. The required marks for passing were 422 and I had the honor of heading the class with a total of 581 marks. Later on when I became a student in the Brockville Collegiate, it was found that I had obtained the highest marks of any student in the newly formed first form.
At that time the Lyn students travelled to Brockville on the Grand Trunk Railway. The station was about a mile distant from the village and the students usually walked to catch the 8 a.m. mixed train which was very irregular in its time, sometimes not reaching town until nine o’clock. However we were not late very often. We would proceed to the school via the William Street crossing and return the same way to board one of the passenger cars awaiting us. Our evening train left at 5 p.m., so by the time we had reached home it was usually six o’clock. As we had left home by 7:30 a.m. it made a long day. On the train we met other collegiate pupils from Mallorytown and Landsdowne. I remember the three Fairlie Boys fro Lansdowne They were the sons of the Presbyterian Minister there and have since become leading Canadian citizens.
Before the year was over the Grand Trunk ceased to operate that nice little train and it was necessary for the Lyn pupils to obtain other transportation, several ‘loads’ were organized. The driver of the largest load was Howard Everts who later became a Public School Inspector in Saskatchewan. The son of our Methodist Minister, Milton Perley, was the driver of another load which included his sister Aleda, Lucy Cumming and myself. I well remember on one occasion when we were returning home right near Nigger Hill , Milton stopped to get a few nice apples from a near bye orchard. But I would not partake of any of these apples as I said they were ‘stolen’. It is interesting to note that Milton became a Methodist Missionary to China in later years!
Concerts in these days were few and far between and sometimes were held in conjunction with a sugar social or a strawberry festival. At one of these held in Buell’s Hall I can recall Mr. James Cumming as chairman introducing a young lady ‘who had come all the way from Scotland to sing the song “Green Grow the Rashes O!”. She shortly after became Mrs. Gordon Cumming. On another occasion in the school hall (the former junior room downstairs) I remember the Billings boys, Horace and Tom, amusing us greatly by the song “Johnny was the One I Wanted”. Horace died at an early age, but Tom is now Dr.T.H.Billings, in charge of an important city church in the U.S. Another performer on that programme was Frank Fulford who captivated us with his violin solos. He later became a wealthy man and lived in a castle in England.
One great event in our lives was the time our Sunday School ran an excursion. We were transported from the B&W station to the C.P.R. dock in Brockville on flat cars, furnished with crude board seats and decorated with evergreen trees which however did not afford protection from the flying cinders. Next we boarded the steamer “John Haggart” for a wonderful trip among the Thousand Islands and I expect had our picnic lunch baskets with us. My mother was busy chatting to Dr. Jusdon when she was interrupted by her small daughter dashing up and exclaiming “Herbie’s lost his cap. It fell into the ‘crik’! That remark nearly finished Dr. Judson, I thought he would never stop laughing at one for calling the might St. Lawrence – a ‘crik’!
During the general elections of 1896 the boys and girls of Lyn Public School became keenly interested in politics and wore red or blue bans of ribbon to indicate their arty as ‘Grits’ and ‘Tories’. I think Mr. James Cumming was the Liberal candidate on that occasion but did not succeed in winning. However when Wilfred Laurier became the new Prime Minister, the village had a big celebration and Sir Charles Tupper was burned in effigy.
 Located on the Lyn Road app. ½ km south-east of the intersection with the Howard Road. So called because a black family, Mr. and Mrs White lived there.
Long ago, the death of an unidentified tramp led to a merry wake by the farmers of the region west of Lyn.
In the early 1800’s, two farmers found the body of a transient in a field north of Jones Creek. While they were discussing their find and wondering whether or not they should send a rider into Brockville to fetch a coroner, Charles Jones, the pioneer merchant and miller of Elizabethtown, rode up.
Jones, who had mills in Brockville, Jones Creek and Yonge Mills, as well as a general store in Brockville, told the farmers that Brockville had no coroner, and in fact the nearest medical examiner resided in Gananoque.
He also ventured the opinion that it was not necessary to incur needless expense and that the best thing to do under the circumstances was to give the victim a decent burial.
He suggested a cheap coffin be purchased and the unknown tramp laid to rest. He contributed $2.00 towards the cost.
After his departure, the farmers proceeded to search the pockets of the corpse, finding another $2.50. Neighbours were notified, and since there was no minister in the area, one of the best educated and influential settlers was chosen to conduct the service. The coffin was made in Lyn and the tramp duly placed in it.
The funeral service was held at a log house at Yonge Mills. The tramp was interred at an area graveyard, and after the service, the mourners discovered they still had $1.50 unexpended.
The question immediately arose, as to how it should be spent. By Universal consent, the mourners decided that the fund should be invested in spirits. In those days $1.50 bought quite a quantity of liquor. In fact, the gathering was supplied with a pail full of the best whisky available in the district. Every man present had several cups, until the pail was empty. Then they went home happy. Nothing was thought of the matter, the custom of ‘drinking’ being almost universal.
The tramp’s grave was never marked and the exact location is unknown today.
By Mamie (Stillwell) Robinson
I have been reliving those old days and getting a great deal of pleasure in doing so. We didn’t know it then, but those were very happy days, with loads of fun and very little responsibility. Our main worry was to make the grade and do as little work as possible.
My first year at Brockville Collegiate Institute (BCI) we went in with Milton Perley. He had remained behind when his father moved and was staying with Dr. Sharpe. Jessie and Herb Kilpatrick, Gertrude, Milton and I made up that load. He drove a sorrel horse called “Katrina”. I can still hear him say “You’re not pullin’ together thar, Kit”. After Milton left Lyn, we went in with Alfred McCready. It was a three seated democrat and quite a load for one horse. The occupants were changing now and again as they graduated or were satisfied with a short term. I am a little hazy about this load, but Mabel Greer, Sam McCormick, Harford Steed, Ed, Pettem, Fred and Helen Barlow, and always Gertrude and I. It seems to me that Arthur Judson was along too. The last two years we went with Howard Everts with and old white horse that used to take blind staggers and try to climb trees. Quite frequently something would break, and no matter how near we were to Brockville we always ‘turned tail’ and walked home in order to enjoy a day’s skating, snow shoeing or tobogganing on Billings’ Hill. We thought the fresh air would do us good, and Tommy Marquis (BCI Teacher) always took our excuses. He had a soft spot for the Lyn kids.
Occasionally we used to buy bottles of soft drinks and each have a straw in the same bottle, to see who could get the most. I remember one night the girls bought a basket of peaches, and the boys took the same notion that same night. Of course we thought we ought to eat them before we got home. I am ashamed to say that Gertrude and I each ate 24, but Helen being smaller, and of smaller capacity, could only manage 20. Of course the peaches were not of the large variety. It is a wonder we didn’t burst, but nothing happened. Some contest!
(This note was dated Feb, 24, 1952, from Prescott, Route 2)
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.
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
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
By Walter K. Billings
It was about the middle of January. We had been nearly snowed under from a week’s storm – snow, then rain that flooded the flats along the creek, and a sudden change to a very cold weather that froze the snow, making a glare sheet of ice from the Lyn Road down across the creek that was still level with its banks.
Sunday afternoon my cousin with his parents came up for a visit. We two were out in the yard, playing on the crust with the big hand sleigh and, looking across to Harper’s Hill, decided it would be a good chance to try a ride there. We walked up the road climbed the fence and got the sleigh in position then I lay down on my stomach and my cousin lay on my back Away we went ! The hill at the top was very steep, the sleigh gained speed and in seconds we were on the glare ice of the flat, then across the creek, up the bank and …. Woods. My cousin seeing the danger had thrown himself clear but I had no chance; the force of the collision had knocked me out for a minute or two. We finally got back across the creek, where my cousin laid me on the sleigh and began the long pull back to the house. We finally got to the warmth of the barn where I lay down on the straw in the feed floor, in front of the cattle for an hour. When I returned to the house, where my uncle was waiting to go home, I complained of a headache and got sent to bed. Next morning I felt better but never told mother what had happened to me, as I knew that she would say it was good enough for me, when I had gone sleigh riding on Sunday.
Driving along the Lyn Road I often look down the hill. The line fence has been moved and passes closed to the clump of trees we hit that Sunday long ago. The sand and gravel have been taken away to the city so that there is no more fun on Harper’s Hill. But the memory of the boyhood escapade still lives.
This story is taken from the book “How Dear to My Heart” by Walter Kilborn Billings, published in 1954.
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.
The body of a German Frederick Thuenbeer was found on the farm of William Brown two miles west of Lyn on Dec 3, 1859.
An old man of Lyn who had been living alone since the death of his wife had lately been showing signs of insanity, but was considered harmless. On July 21, 1890 he donned his old army uniform and carrying his musket he stopped every rig that came down the road, and made them turn around and go back. But finally, Mr. Stack of the Lyn House came along and he took the loaded gun away from him and took him into Brockville when he turned him over to the police. He was found to be hopelessly insane and could easily have killed someone.
The worst storm to hit the Leeds and Grenville area in many years took place on January 13, 1890. A great deal of damage was done and it seemed like a miracle that no lives were lost. The Lyn area was hit the hardest. The huge chimney on the woollen mill went down with a crash; the Methodist church blew down, all being left was the spire; roofs were carried away from 12 barns; the roofs blew off the Masonic Hall, the Oddfellows Hall and Taylor’s drug store, and over 50 large trees blew down.
The Eyre Manufacturing Co. at Lyn began operation on March 4, 1890 They have contracted to buy logs from area farmers, and arranged for the B&W to pick them up along the line They will make cheese boxes, hollow ware and measures. This will help farmers and also the railroad.
On January 19, 1895, little Joey Miller, son of Joseph Miller of Lyn, was drowned. He was paying on the ice near the flour mill and got into the flume and was carried underneath the ice. He was rescued in 30 minutes, but could not be revived. Mr. Miller lost another son by drowning seven years ago.
A shocking accident occurred on October 8th 1897 near Lyn. Charlie Moore was walking on the road carrying a double barrelled shotgun, when a neighbour Mr. DeWolfe stopped his rig and offered him a ride. He told Charlie to put the gun between them, but he said the gun was loaded and he might better put it in the back of the rig, which he did. When they reached Charlie’s home, he got out and attempted to remove the gun by pulling it out by the barrel. The gun discharged, blowing off Charlie’s arm. Mr. DeWolfe drove him three and a half miles to the office of Dr. Judson at Lyn with the stump of his arm hanging in shreds The doctor amputated the are at the shoulder at the hospital in Brockville after giving him first aid at the office. Charlie was very brave throughout the ordeal.
Albert Edgely of Lyn vouches for the truth of the following: In June 1898, he was planting corn when his wife called him for dinner. He folded the top of the bag of seeds over, and left it in the field while he ate. When he returned, two crows were holding the bag open, while a third crow ate the corn.
Benjamin Blake long resident of Lyn, who was working on the farm of David Condie near Smiths Falls, was gored to death by a bull on July 2, 1898.
A ten year old Lyn girl, Carrie McNish, was instantly killed by lightning on July 24, 1900. She was lying on a couch in the kitchen of her home, when the end of the house was struck. Her brother was knocked senseless for a time. Her mother had both her boots torn off. A sister, aged six threw water on the couch and her mother’s dress which were burning, and then ran through the rain to the butter factory to get her father. Dr. Judson was sent for to treat mother and son, but there was nothing he could do for Carrie.
Bernard Slack aged five years was drowned at Lyn on March 13, 1902.
On July 3, 1907 a sharp electric storm passed over the area. A large barn owned by Walter Lee of Lyn was struck and burned.
On April 23, 1910, Mrs. John Livingstone of Lyn met her death in an unusual manner. She had been enjoying good health and cooked dinner at noon. About 1pm her husband went to the village on business returning at 4 pm He found the door locked and the key under the mat. He unlocked the door and went in, and when he found that his wife had not come by five o’clock he went to the barn to look for her. Then he noticed the milk pail was gone and he had thought that she had gone to milk the cow. He later found the cow which had not been milked so he drove to the barn. Then he heard their collie dog barking near a small stream in another field. Here he found his wife laying face down in a couple of inches of water, the milk pail beside her. He carried her to a grassy knoll, but she appeared to be dead. An autopsy later revealed she had not drowned, but had apparently dropped dead when she stopped to dip up some water.
On November 20, 1910 William Neilson of Lyn, while deer hunting near Madawaska District, fell on a rocky shore and broke his leg. He lay for several hours until the hunting party found him. A splint was made out of saplings for his leg and he was carried more than two miles to the railroad. Here they flagged down the train and sent him to Brockville and the hospital there. It was a harrowing experience for all concerned.
A well known Lyn farmer Nathan Purvis was killed while walking on the tracks near the Lyn Junction. The body was badly mutilated. The accident happened August 29, 1912.
Joseph Robinson Reeve of Elizabethtown Township died at his home in Lyn on December 8, 1915. He was a valued member of Counties Council and highly regarded in the Township. He was born November 27, 1847 in the house where he died and was 68 years of age. His father John Robinson came to Canada from Yorkshire, England and established a valuable farm out of the virgin forest on what is now called Halleck’s Road. Joseph Robinson married Mary A. Davidson and they had four children, George, William, Nellie and May. For his second wife he married Rebecca Davidson who died 14 years ago. Joseph was buried in Fulford’s Cemetery on the river front.
On March 29, 1916 James Cummings of Lyn was killed by a train near Avondale Farm. (note this caused the now underpass on the Lyn Road to be built)
On January 12, 1918 Mr. William Struk was struck and killed by a snow plow on the Grand Trunk Railroad near Lyn. He was an Australian by birth and had been working as a section man for the past five years there was a blizzard at the time and visibility was very poor. He left a wife and family in Australia.
The old Last Factory at Lyn burned March 24 1924
Wilfred Parslow, 21, of Lyn was electrocuted on June 19, 1930 while digging a well in Athens. He was assisting Jack Brown and G. Adrian in sinking a well at the corner of Elgin and Wellington Streets and was holding an iron rod when it touched overhead hydro wires. He died instantly.
R.K.Kilmurry of Lyn was killed at Addison in a car crash.
On November 20, 1954 Mrs. Ernest Hanna of Lyn 51, died at a square dance at Delta.
Miss. Altha Pettem of Lyn killed at Toledo in a car accident March 2, 1955
On February 22, 1956 Nancy Ann Moore, 19, of Lyn District and Gerald Walker of Addison district were found dead in a car.
On June 18, 1957 two residents of Lyn were killed in a highway crash near Pickering. Cecil Wilfred Chant, age 39, and his niece Doris Helen Chant, age 18, were killed instantly. A double funeral was held with interment in Lyn Cemetery.
On January 8, 1958 the home of Peter Grendel near Lyn was burned in the early hours of the morning. The family was awakened by the roar of the flames and escaped in their night attire. The boys of the family aged 26, 18, 16 and 12 ran in and out several times and saved most of the furniture downstairs, but many valuable antiques from Holland were lost. Neighbours helped to save the outbuildings, 24 cows and 5 calves.
The farmhouse near Lyn known as the Casper Booth place was destroyed by fire on January 8, 1958. Tenants were Mr. and Mrs. Peter Grendel and their four children.
Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Jones of Lyn observed their 65th wedding anniversary o May 25, 1961. They were married on May 25, 1896 in Lyn where they have spent most of their life. Mrs. Jones is the former Maude Latimer. They had three children: their son Carman died overseas during World War I, a daughter Edna died in 1954 and one daughter Muriel Chisamore lives at Young Mills.
The home of Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Ladd of Lyn was badly damaged by fire on August 12, 1962
On March 28, 1963 Charles Wilfred Hendry, 61, Lyn farmer, suffered a heart attack and died in a field after chasing a run away tractor from which he had fallen.
The home of Mr and Mrs Claude Wilson of Lyn was burned with all its contents on January 31, 1964. Mr. Wilson was at work at Armstrong Motors and Mrs. Wilson was at work at Wrightway Laundry, four children were at school and two were at their grandmother’s when the fire broke out. The Lyn Volunteer Department fought the flames.
A seven year old boy Allan Davis son of Mrs. Eileen Davis of Kilkenny Street, near Lyn lost his life when fire destroyed their home on March 10, 1964. Mrs. Davis was awakened by smoke about 1:30 am and called her two sons Allan and Louis and then ran to awaken her three daughters Betty, 15, Gloria 13, and Barbara 9. By this time the smoke was so thick they couldn’t find the stairs and they were helped out by a border, Charles Kane who slept downstairs. It wasn’t until they were all out that they missed Allan, but it was too late to go back in as the roof collapsed. They made their way to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Kavanaugh who owned the house. They cared for the shivering family and called the Lyn Fire Department. The pumper became stuck in the deep snow on the way, but they couldn’t have rescued the child anyway as the house was an inferno. It is thought that the fire started from a wood burning stove.
A well known Bellamy Construction worker, 52 year old Gordon Percy Campbell was crushed to death under tons of sand at the Lyn Gravel Pit on September 9, 1964. He had been employed by the Cardinal Construction Co. for the past two years. His fellow workmen thought he had gone home, but when they discovered his lunch pail was still full they called police. Digging was started immediately and his body was found. He was unmarried and is survived by one sister and six brothers.
On January 17, 1965 a young Lyn boy, Maxwell Hubert Kelly, age seven years, was accidentally hanged when the hood of his parka caught on the branches of a tree near his home. Three men driving by saw the boy and stopped to investigate. The child was hanging eight feet above the ground. They lifted the boy down and took him home where his parents called an ambulance, the child’s father applying mouth to mouth resuscitation. A team of three doctors tried in vain to save him. He was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Kelly.
Fire destroyed an old Lyn landmark on September 19, 1965 when the old grist mill built in 1838 was burned. At the time it was built, Lyn was known as Coleman’s Corners. In later years it became the post office and store owned by Joshua Lillie and still later by Mort Gardiner, Omar Mallory and Walter Billings. It was later sold to Ken Bolton and again by Blake Mott. At the time of the fire the owner was Charles Short. (Note this is the original mill on Main Street next to the bywash)
On October 25, 1965 damage totalling $15,000. was done by a fire to an old stone house near Lyn. The house was a landmark over 100 years old known as “The Darling Place”. It was owned by Jack Darling and had always been in the Darling family. The fire started from a woodstove and pipes in the kitchen. The fire touched off a series of events long to be remembered by Lyn Firefighters. Hey were called at 3pm and on arrival found the kitchen on fire and the garage also half burned. Under mutual aid they called Augusta to send a tank truck as they were short of water. Augusta sent a truck driven by Deputy Fire Chief Theo Baas and on the 3rd Concession Road the vehicle went out of control, rolled over several times and ended up wrecked in a deep rocky ditch. It was carrying 1,000 gallons of water. Members of Front of Yonge Fire Department were called and Brockville sent 500 gallons of water. By the time the fire was out, upwards of 50 men had been involved including area farmers who drew water in milk cans. There were no injuries. Mr. and Mrs. Darling and two young children were in Brockville at the time.
A young resident of Forthton, Ronald Chant, 21, was drowned in Lyn quarry on August 7, 1967. He had been swimming with other friends across the quarry when he seemed to tire suddenly and called for help. When friends reached him he disappeared. It took firemen and police almost an hour to recover the body. He was the only son of Mrs. Hazel Chant and the late Cecil Chant. He was employed at the Johnston Shoe Company in Brockville.
A disastrous fire at Lyn on May 11, 1968 destroyed the barns of Harry Anderson with 41 head of choice Holstein cows, equipment and 2000 bales of hay.
Mrs. George A. Wright of Brockville entertained 100 guests at her home, 22 Sherwood St., Brockville on April 20, 1969 on the occasion of her 95th birthday. She was the former Lillian Billings, a daughter of the late Marble Billings and his wife Ruth Kilbourn and was born at Lyn April 20, 1874. She had been known as “Aunt Lil” to countless friends through the years. She was married in 1897 to George A. Wright whose family operated the Robert Wright Company in Brockville. He later became Magistrate Wright presiding over local courts for many years. He died on August 10, 1954 aged 80. Although “Aunt Lil” appeared in excellent health for her birthday, she died less that five months later on September 6, 1969.
On July 13, 1970 a triple drowning at the Lyn pool shocked the area. Drowned were Gary Irvine Davis, 26 of RR4, Brockville; David Robert McKay, 20, of RR4, Brockville and Barbara Lee McKay, 18, of 18 Delhi Street, Brockville. Katherine McClintock, 12, saw the drowning and said the three were on a raft about 35 feet from the shore when they jumped off and started to swim to shore. One man grabbed the girl, the girl called out for help and the other man stopped to help and then all three disappeared. An inquest was held and a five man jury ruled the drowning accidental. It is believed that Miss. McKay got into difficulty and the two boys were drowned trying to help her.
Louis Pilon, aged 16 of Lyn was killed and five other youths injured on December 9, 1967, when their car crashed on the icy Howard Road as they were returning from a hockey match in Brockville. Pilon’s death was instant and the car was reduced to a piece of junk. The other five boys, David Pilon, 21, the driver; Alvin Massey, 15; Wayne Massey, 17; Larry and Lorne O’Toole were sent to hospital with cuts and fractures.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Shoe Factory, Tannery and other buildings were destroyed by fire in 1914(1)
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)
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)
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.
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 was brought to Lyn in 1929. This meant the discarding of the old coal-oil lamps.(1)
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)
Clows Band was another popular group who entertained at many gay functions (2)
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,
The Brownson’s which became the Glasford House which became the Willson Hotel cor. of Main and Perth St. (built in 1814)
The Ross House location unknown, information from newspaper ad dated April 1874.
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)
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. at 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)
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.
The first post office was established in Lyn in 1851 (2)
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
in the Lyn Valley Conservation Area is the perfect location for a day at the beach. Picnic facilities are available next to the water.
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)
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)
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)
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 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
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” (Lyn 1784-1984 by Mary G.Robb)
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 were 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) Women’s Institute History Book 3 page 159
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 principal of this new school. As the enrollment of the school increased with the closing of the Howard and Halleck’s Schools, it was found necessary to add four more rooms to the original six room building. The addition was completed and ready for use in September 1963. The enrollment 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 enrollment was 295. On June 29th, 1967 Miss Anna Hudson retired as Principal , Mr.J.Tallmire of Brockville became the new principal. (Anna Hudson, 1967) (Women’s Institute History Book 3 Pg 167)
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
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(Lyn Museum Archives)
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
The follow photographs represent our entire collection. We have estimated the dates as best we can. The names that accompany some of the photos have been copied from the photos or attached papers. We know that the names are not 100% correct, in some cases the same names have been repeated on the photos, and the name spelling could be incorrect. Since we are not certain who the individuals are we have left the names exactly as they have been presented to us. If you know of any corrections that should be made regarding dates and names, please let us know. If you have any additional photographs we would appreciate you sending them to us so we can include them.
“The Ontario Department of Agriculture and Home Economics sponsored a four week course in 1926 teaching young men the fine points of farming and the young girls the arts of home making and millinery. E.F. Neff the ag-rep for Leeds was in charge of this course.
1926 Lyn Short Course Classes in Agriculture and Home Economics
The teachers who taught at the school. Over the years there were many teachers who tried to educate and mold the minds of the children who passed through the doors, here are but a few. The complete list of teachers is at the end of this post.
reman (photo #92)
1865 Thomas Gray
1866-67 William H. Relyea
1868 J.G. Graham
1869 Peter Dowey
1870-72 Rufus Hudson
1873-74 J.W. Narraway
1925-27 Helen Purvis
1929 Mary Brown
1930-32 Helen Robinson
1932-33 Leland Earle
1933-35 Helen Purvis
1936 Margaret Robinson
1937-42 Helen Purvis
1942-46 Phyllis Stinson
1946-51 Kathleen Sager
1952 Ina Blanchard
1952-53 Lois Brundige
1953-57 Mrs. T. Chamberlin
1957 Ella May Wilson
1958-59 Mrs. Thelma Chamberlin
1959 Hubert Earle
1953 Gr. 3-5 Mary Finn
1954-55 Gr. 3-5 Mary Joyce
1955-56 Gr 3-5 Myrtle Stainer
1956-59 Gr 4 Myrtle Stainer
1957-58 Gr 3-4 J. Baker
1959 Gr. 3 Sylvia Sayers
1959-60 Gr. 1 Mrs. Thelma Chamberlin
1960 Gr. 1 Melba Howe
Senior Room Grades 5 to 8
1923-26 Vera Armstrong
1926 Helen Purvis
1927 Vera Armstrong
1927-30 Helen Purvis
1930-31 Irene Chant
1932 Helen Robinson
1933-34 Leland Earle
1935-37 Herb Hollingsworth
1937 Gordon Ringer
1938-42 Lawrence Davidson
1942-43 Mary Lou Morrison
1944-47 Gladys Withers
1948 Alexander Gordon
1948 I. Roseberry
1949-50 Gladys Withers
1951-52 Kathleen Sagar
1952-58 Anna Hudson
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.