Is Samuel Shaard Lying in the “Cement” of the Thoburn Mill?



Photo from


Perth Courier, May 6, 1881

Almonte Sensation

Missing—Why Did He Leave?

The town of Almonte was in a state of excitement Tuesday owing to the rather mysterious disappearance of Mr. Samuel Shaard of the woolen manufacturing firm of Shaard and Thoburn, running a #3 woolen factory.  Mr. Shaard was known as a steady and industrious man.  He was formerly of the firm Elliott, Shaard & Co. but a short time ago he withdrew and with Mr. W. Thoburn rented the factory known as #3 and continued in business.  Everything was progressing favorably so far as can be learned and no reason could be assigned for the absence of the gentleman.

It is thought he may have been drowned in the river and parties rowed along the banks of the river in search of some clue which might lead to the justification of this suspicion but nothing was found, yet preparations were about being made to dredge the bed of the stream when it was learned from Conductor Chapman, who arrived on the afternoon train that Mr. Shaard had crossed the river at Brockville, having taken the cars at Carleton Place the evening before.

Mr. Chapman stated that the mining man seemed to be in a depressed mental condition and that he sat alone in one of the cars and had the ticket pretty well rubbed to pieces by the time the conductor reached him.  It seems that Mr. Shaard walked from Almonte to Carleton Place, avoiding people on the way.  The belief is held that the man may have become insane, which would account for his departure.

July11-2010 - Thoburn Mill


Google image


The Millstone reported in 2012 that a rumour has long been whispered in Almonte that Shaard’s body lies somewhere in the cement work of the Thoburn Mill! So what do we know about the Thoburn Mill?

“In any event, a Chancery Sale was held in April,1882 resulting in William Thoburn acquiring full and sole ownership of all assets including “The uninterrupted use and flow of the water of the South Branch of the Mississippi River”


Fire again destroyed the mill in 1918 but Thoburn rebuilt, still relying on the Mississippi’s waterpower to continue to drive the turbines and machinery. The Mill continued to operate as a woollen manufacturer until 1956. It was particularly well-known for its grey flannel. While the turbines and other mechanisms for driving the machinery were removed from the mill in the 1950’s, some parts remain on view in the gardens of the Thoburn Mill building.

After its close as a woollen mill in 1956, the Thoburn building saw many incarnations from business centre to antique dealership to computer manufacture. Then in 2000, a group of local entrepreneurs recognized the opportunity to create a new, exciting and unique space and began the redevelopment of what is now the spectacular Thoburn Mill Condominium. The condominium was registered in 2009 and is now home to 23 apartment residences and small businesses”.Millstone News

I wonder if any of the condo owners have seen the ghost of one Samuel Shaard?


Perth Courier, June 3, 1881

There is no news yet of Mr. Shaard, who disappeared from Almonte a few weeks ago.  Mr. Shaard is number three who have disappeared from Almonte within a few years.  Number one had been a clerk in Greig’s Drug Store; and number 2 was a man named Shaw, a druggist, a brother of the present day deputy reeve of Drummond.



Historic Photo Album of Almonte

Read the Perth Courier here

Read the Almonte Gazette here

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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