So How Much Time Do You Get for Stealing Wool?



Bates and Innes staff, 1936 from the  Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum


Three Carleton Place men named Josiah Evoy, Wesley Evoy and George Craig were arrested for stealing wool from the felt mill of Bates and Innes. They were brought before Police Magistrate McNeely one Friday morning and committed to Perth for trial. The wool in question had been washed and oiled in preparation for the cards.

Four parcels were found– three in Evoy’s cellar and one in Craig’s attic. When brought before Judge Senlkler on Tuesday, January 1902, the trio pleaded guilty. Josiah Evoy was sentenced to 23 months in central prison; the others got 2-4 months in gaol with hard labour.  — Almonte Gazette 1902

Of course it is wrong to steal, but you have to remember times were tough. There was a population explosion, immigration both foreign and domestic – added up and resulted in a scramble for any job available.

Large numbers of both skilled and unskilled people were looking for work, so wages were low, barely above subsistence level. If work dried up, or was seasonal, men were laid off, and because they had hardly enough to live on when they did work, they had no savings to fall back on. Long tedious hours working in our local woolen mills were harsh realities. In the case of Evoy, he had a barely year old daughter to support.

Henry Mayhew argued that:

“since crime was not caused by illiteracy, it could not be cured by education … the only certain effects being the emergence of a more skillful and sophisticated race of criminals.”

In those days the only solution to poverty was to put more family members, even children, to work in the mills, or in the Bates and Innes case- steal wool.



Photo of Bates and Innes calendar– Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Josiah Wm. Evoy

mentioned in the record of Elmira Evoy
Name Josiah Wm. Evoy
Gender Male
Wife Mary Ann Falls
Daughter Elmira Evoy
Other information in the record of Elmira Evoy
from Ontario Births
Name Elmira Evoy
Event Type Birth
Event Date 11 Apr 1901
Event Place Carleton Place, Lanark, Ontario, Canada
Gender Female
Father’s Name Josiah Wm. Evoy
Mother’s Name Mary Ann Falls
Certificate Number 021593


Historical Fact

1907 – Bates and Innes Co. Limited bought and equipped the former Gillies Woollen Mill in Carleton Place as a knitting mill.  A Quebec company, the Waterloo Knitting Co. Ltd., similarly re-opened the Hawthorne Woollen Mill.

Charles Bates

Charles Bates was born in 1873. He was a textile manufacturer and part owner of the Bates and Innes Woolen Mill. He died at the age of 90 in 1963.  Carleton Place Chamber of Commerce.



About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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