The Burning of Wylie’s Mill





January 5 1877-Almonte Gazette


A full report of the burning of Wylie’s Mill was in the Free Press of Tuesday eve, which was published about one hour after the fire occurred. Shortly after supper time Almonte people were reading an account in an Ottawa paper of a fire they had witnessed that afternoon about four hours before. Such enterprise deserves recognition and is another proof of the sincerity of the press in being determined to supply the world with reliable news of passing events as soon as it possibly can be done.

At the usual hour the operatives of Wylie’s mill- stopped the dinner hour, and could not have been more than comfortably seated at their meal when the fire alarm aroused them. In short, rounded by hundreds of people, the smoke was so dense that very few dared to enter the mill, as a consequence very little stock was rescued from the flames. It was a dangerous undertaking for any outfit to have risked themselves in the mill at any length of time, even ten minutes after the alarm was first sounded.

The smoke became too thick and every now and again hid the burning building completely from view. The fire engine arrived quickly but there was difficulty getting a place for it to work. They used a hose from Baird’s hydrant, and another from Rosamond’s machine shop was brought into play and did good work. They were all too late, however, for in short time the top three stories were a mass of flames and any endeavours to aid the building were useless.

The firemen acted very wisely in turning their attention to confining the fire to the one building and protecting others around it. It seemed almost certain at one time that the building occupied by Mr. John O’Reilly would catch and that gentleman commenced moving out his valuables. The little wooden buildings surrounding it appeared ready to catch at any moment, and but for the careful watching of those who got on the roofs and kept them continually covered with snow,  or they assuredly  would have been destroyed. As the building burned from the top the danger from the fire spreading was soon over and all the hoses were turned again on the building.

By this change the boiler room and contents were saved. Besides this it was the only thing of any value that was saved was the safe. The building being all wooden and dry burned very fast, and in three hours was almost level with the ground. It is supposed that the fire originated by a nail running into a picker with the wool and by striking fire catching that easily illuminated the material which was spread all round it .

A boy was running the picker at the time, and would have been able to have put the fire out had he had presence of mind to use a barrel of water which was available. Instead he ran downstairs for one of the extinguishers which belonged to the mill but could not make it work.  During this time the fire had made such sufficient headway it forced him to leave, and he had a hard time amidst the suffocating smoke to make his way out.

The mill belonged to Mr. Gilbert Cannon and was not insured. The loss on it will be about $2000. The machinery belonged to Mr. W. H.Wylie and was insured for $7,000, which will cover about one third of the loss.About sixty have been thrown out of employment, and in present circumstance the loss is indeed a great one.


Related reading–

Halls Mills Ghost Town- Another W. H. Wylie Connection

The Almonte Fire– Bridge and Water Street 1903

People from the Potter-Bennett Block Fire– A Shocking Find

Ring Those Bells in Carleton Place– Wylie’s Woolen Mill

Fire at Thom and McNab’s 1903

The Almonte Fire of 1909

Turn on the Lights!

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 and now in The Townships Sun


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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