Tears From the Old Gears of the Mills




Photo of interest taken by Lanark County Society Genealogical President Jayne Munroe-Ouimet– Photo took at the entrance to the Barley Mow in Almonte. Gears from one of the mills located nearby. Just not certain which mill. Anyone know?

Jeff Mills commented on the Lanark County Genealogical Society page yesterday

There used to be power generation in the Thoburn Mill. I’m thinking these gears came out of the mill at the time the boiler room was redeveloped. Stephen Brathwaite will know for certain. The rock garden was created by Ameila Ah you and Ed Lawrence.

Perth Courier, April 29, 1938

The Woolen Mills on the Mississippi

Reprint from the Ottawa Citizen “Old Time Stuff”

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, J. Sid Annabie(?) draws attention to the fact that 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 Gillis 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.  This historical plant is still running and is being operated by Bains(?) and Innis.

Three miles further down the Mississippi at Appleton another mill was operated by T.C. Caldwell of Lanark.

With reference to Almonte, Mr. Annable says:  “Almonte was the most natural spot for water development.  William Thoburn established, I believe, the first woolen mill at this point.  Then Bennett Rosamund built the largest broad loom on the river and brought expert weavers from Scotland to work init.  Later he built his #2 mill and still later absorbed the Thoburn interests.  In the 60’s and 70’s the village and thus it soon became known as the woolen mill center.”


Want to see more? Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News

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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