Photo of the former steeple from McArthur Woolen Mill from Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum
1872– Carleton Place
A n o th er B e ll. ~ By far the most pleasant feature in our busy town of Carleton Place is the number of bells, which at stated periods, ring out their various calls. A new one was this week placed in the steeple of Mr. Wm. H. Wylie’s woolen mill by. Mr. Bond, of Carleton Place.
John Gillies of Carleton Place bought the McArthur Woollen mill at the present Bates & Innes site from its first owner Archibald McArthur. The reported price was $40,000. W. H. Wylie, lessee of the McArthur mill, bought the Hawthorne Woollen Mill from its new owner James Gillies at a price reported as $19,000. At one point over 500 people worked at the Hawthorne Woolen Mill.
Photo- Linda Seccaspina
Perth Courier, April 29, 1938
The Woolen Mills on the Mississippi
In an interesting pen picture of the many thriving woolen mills which dotted the Mississippi River from Innisville to Almonte in the 70’s and 80’s, one of the pioneer industries was a blanket mill which operated above the bridge at Innisville by the late Abraham Code father of the late T.A. Code of Perth.
The initial purpose of this pioneer venture was the manufacture all wool blankets for the river travelers and shanty men on the upper Mississippi and its tributaries. It was the largest industry in that district in the 60’s and 70’s and provided employment for many of the inhabitants.
Abraham Code was one of the leading figures in Lanark County. He represented the county in the Ontario legislature. After severing his connection with the industry some time in the 80’s he was appointed Inspector of Weights and Measures with headquarters in Ottawa. He was a son of the late John Code who came to Canada from Ireland in the early ‘20’s of the last century and was one of the pioneer settlers of the Innisville district.
The Innisville blanket mill was destroyed by a fire in 1879 and in the following year Mr. Code moved to Carleton Place and commenced operation on the first steam mill on the Mississippi River at that point. This old mill was constructed of stone and was five stories high, 70 feet wide, 100 feet long. All of the looms and in fact all of the machinery was brought from Scotland as well as 20 families who were brought over to work in the mills and operate the complicated machinery.
Two years later, Mr. Code was obliged to sever his connection with the mill and it was taken over by W.W. Wylie of Almonte who continued the operation for many years. Mr. Wylie took an active interest in the civic and military life of Carleton Place. He was made captain and later colonel of the 41st Battalion of Volunteers and under him Capt. Joe McKay, Lt. Brown and Sgt. Jack Annable served.
In 1880, James Gillies built a stone woolen mill below the railroad bridge, taking the lower waters by flume for his power. The factory was a success from the start and brought to Carleton Place many skilled workers. Bob McGregor was boom weaver, Sam Berryman was head of the finishing department and the drying house was under the supervision of Jack Clark. Their high grade of worsteds were in great demand all over Canada.
Three miles further down the Mississippi at Appleton another mill was operated by T.C. Caldwell of Lanark.
You can read the Perth Courier at Archives Lanark