If the Falls Could Talk

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No. 2 Falls-Photo from Mississippi Valley Textile Museum

Excerpt From The Almonte GazetteThe Volunteer  — by John Dunn

James Rosamond, a director of the company, and a local entrepreneur, resolved to venture additional capital to erect a woolen mill on a site beside No. 2 Falls.  It was a stone structure, five stories in height, and was the start of the Rosamond Woollen Company. Only a few years later it gave way to the great undertaking called No.1, the head office and manufacturing center for the next ninety years of the Rosamond Woollen Company at the end of Coleman’s Island.

And all during those years Almonte was known to travelers on the trains as The Woollen Town, because the Rosamond Woollen Company, the Old Red Knitting Company, the Penman Woollen Mill, Campbell’s Woollen Mill, the Yorkshire Wool Stock Mill and Wm. Thoburn’s Woollen Mills all made the flat metallic clacking of the looms as familiar a sound of Almonte as the whistle of the CPR steam locomotive.

 

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Penman Wollen Mill-Photo from Mississippi Valley Textile Museum      

 

Down on Coleman’s Island, right at the end where the island abuts against the No. 1 Falls of the river, Alex Rosamond, a son of Almonte, and scion of one of the largest woolen manufacturing firms, succeeded to the office of managing Director of No. 1. It was a big undertaking, and his responsibilities affected the lives and the livelihoods of hundreds of working men and women in the town. For throughout the town, on Mill Street, in the post office, at the drive sheds outside West’s Store, the talk was always No.1. No. 1, timeless and unchanging.

     Any day, Alex Rosamond could look out his window in the front office and watch Tom Leishman’s team of big chestnut horses, glistening with health and light perspiration, their harness all polished leather marvellously offset by gleaming brass buckles and fittings, bringing yet another wagon load of bales of raw Australian wool down the hill to the loading ramp at the back of the mill. Tom held a steady hand on the lines, but the team seemed to know what was to be expected of them.

      Steadiness. That’s what it was. Everyone called it a steady town of 2200 people, spinners, weavers, dyers, loom-fixers, millwrights, carpenters, masons, stationary engineers, and all the rest.

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Photo from Mississippi Valley Textile Museum     

Take Mick McKevitt for example, way down there in the boiler room beside the loading ramp. When it came to feeding steam to the big turbine power wheel resting there in its cradle as finely balanced as the works of a fine Swiss watch, Mick was like a master magician, feeling rather than knowing the right moment and the correct amount of steam to give the wheel. Steady. That was Mick all right. Real steady with live steam.

     On the way back to the freight sheds Tom Leishman’s team pulled a load of bales of another kind, and usually the full of the wagon, all wrapped in heavy kraft paper, addressed to places in the Old Country, to be shipped by CPR to Montreal and forwarding to England. And all of them bore the label:

                         Rosamond Woollen Company

                                            Almonte, Ontario

                             Makers of Fine Woollens

                                             And Worsteds

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Photo from Mississippi Valley Textile Museum

 

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

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About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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