The Drought of 1871 and the Mills on the Mississippi River

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The Drought of 1871 and the Mills on the Mississippi River

 

 

September 29, 1871 — written with files from the Almonte Gazettealmontegsmall

September 1871- with files from the Almonte Gazette

Dear father,

The water is getting very low in the Mississippi river, and although none of the Almonte mills have yet been short there is not much doubt they will be, soon, unless we have plenty of rain. All the mills, at Carleton Place are, we hear running within half time, or at very slow speed, and the large mills of Messrs. Gillies & McLaren are not doing half work.

We have not heard how the mills farther up or down the river are affected, but they must be all more or less short. Here, on Mondays, the supply of water is short, owing to the fact that no water is let down from Carleton Place Lake on Sundays. Something might be done to remedy this, were a tight dam made at the upper falls, so as to save the water on Sunday between here and Appleton. This would give sufficient to keep up the head of water until Tuesday, by which time the water used by the Carleton Place mills is down this far.

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Mississippi Mills

 

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What is wanted, however, and we are very much surprised that mill owners on the river have not already seen the necessity of it, is an organization with a view to improving the water supply of the Mississippi, by taking advantage of the numerous lakes on its head waters, in which, were suitable dams erected, a large supply of water might be stored, sufficient to keep every mill going at full speed the year round. The water powers on the Tay have been so much improved by the Government- dams erected for the purpose of storing water for the benefit of the Rideau Canal, that they have now an equal supply of water throughout the year, and logs, we learn, were last month, run through the slides at Perth as if it had been in June.

When such results have been accomplished on the insignificant Tay, there can be nothing to prevent those interested from doing the same on the Mississippi, which, with its numerous tributaries, drains a very large section of country admirably adapted, for the purpose of storing water for a supply in the fall. Messrs. Gillies & McLaren are now regretting they did not build their mills with a view to using steam power, and the Rosamond Woolen Co. are, we believe, already preparing to put in an engine to use when water is low.

This expense, and much annoyance and bother, might be saved were the surplus—water of spring stored up as we have suggested. Rivers no larger than this are utilized in the New England States in this way and to an extent very few of our mill owners have any conception of, and sums are paid per annum for a water supply which would astonish some of our slow going coaches. Were 2 or 4 of our mill owners on the river take such an initiative in a movement such as we have suggested—we have no doubt they would receive the support of the rest. I worry my job will be omitted tomorrow.

Have you read-What Do You Know About the Burnt Lands?

 

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Artwork by Ralph Wallace Burton, Flour Mill, Pakenham, Ontario, Made of Oil–MutualArt.com

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

historicalnotes

Low Water in Pakenham 1871– The mills at Pakenham are also idle, for a few days, from the scarcity of water in the Mississippi River. The water in the Mississippi is so low just now that most of our mills have been compelled to shut down.  If this was to continue for any length o f time it would have a serious effect on the business of the place ; but in all probability the scarcity of water will be but for a short time. If our millowners would only turn their attention to improving the water powers of Almonte, instead of disputing about their respective rights, we think that means could be devised whereby there would be sufficient water all the year round. Rosamond’s, Elliott, *Routh & Sheard’s, Forgie’s and Wylie’s mills, *Flett’s foundry and others, have all felt the effect, more or less, of low water. 1871

-*Andrew Elliot and his firm, Elliot, Routh and Sheard, purchased. Hill No. 2 from Bennett and William Rosamond Go. in 1870

-*Sawmills, machine shops and iron foundries followed, including among the latter the foundry operated for a few years by John Flett (1836-1900) Almonte

Guess Who’s Coming to Almonte 1871 ?

A Walk through Lanark Village in 1871

Fire at Pakenham Woollen Factory with Town Directory

What Do You Know About the Burnt Lands?

Just last year this happened–Where is Merle Bowes? The Plight of our Local Farmers

When Crops Failed — Lanark County Went Manitoba Dreamin’

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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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