Late 1800s – Early 1900s
Donated by Jim Lowry
Black and white photograph showing the Mississippi River at Appleton, Ontario. The woolen mill is featured on the left side of the photograph. The photo is from the late 19th century, early 20th century. The photo was definitely taken after 1880 when the three-storey addition was added to the woolen mill but before the construction of the dam in 1937.
For years Appleton was known as a rural centre and it was difficult to pinpoint just where the village began and finished. Way before Ramsay township was surveyed, and prior to the emigration of 1821, less than a dozen families had settled into what is known as Appleton. Before signs of a village appeared it was called Apple Tree Falls and the natives used the banks of the Mississippi River to pitch their wigwams as a camping ground.
Among the first settlers were John Teskey and his family, and once they arrived on the scene the name was changed to Teskeyville. Years later two of his sons erected a saw mill, one on each side of the river and in 1882 Robert Teskey built The Mississippi Woolen Mill. In 1889 both these mills fell into the hands of Mr. T. B. Caldwell of Perth (Caldwell Woolen Mills) and it wasn’t until 1937 that Mr. Collie purchased them.
Photo by Linda Seccaspina-Post Office in Appleton Ontario
1871 displayed in the North Lanark Regional Museum, Appleton Ontario.
Did you know there were two community halls prior to the one that was built in May of 1918? Like most villages and towns a fire consumed them both. A post office was opened in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ford before it opened in the local store and the name of the village was then changed to Appleton. Appleton once boasted two blacksmith shops owned by Thomas McNeely and Mike Sullivan. The harness makers were John Leith and Sons, and they even built wagons in the village of Appleton and Duncan Miller was the proprietor.
Photo by Linda Seccaspina
Across from where the General Store now sits was the original one owned by Thomas Arthur and the village shoemaker was Frank Hall.The jewel of the village was the private school for young girls presided over by Mrs. Martin Mann. However, the first school was opened in 1830 and government grants were paid in July of 1856. The teacher’s salary was 49 pounds 1 shilling- I assume for the year. In 1857 there were 30 families listed and 85 pupils on the school roll. That one room school suddeny became a two-room school house with the growth of the town, but in 1941 the school’s attendance was declining (34) and they closed one room. Did you know that in 1860 the population of Appleton was calculated at over 300?
Photo by Linda Seccaspina
Two churches, Presbyterian and Methodist were established, but when the church union came about in 1925 the Presbyterian church was sold and the Methodist became St. Andrew’s United Church.
One of the tragic accidents of the village was the collapsing of the bridge on April 17, 1899. Then there was the burning of the old Collie Mill in 1950 where evidence of ruins still stand today on a little island from a fire that burned for 3 days and 3 nights. Now the remains look ghostly and haunted on a foggy morning and all that remains are memories of once was.