The Mules of the Number 1 Mill?

The Mules of the Number 1 Mill?



Photo from

Almonte Gazette 1871


You will obliged by inserting the following in the Almonte Gazette. Having seen a letter by Mr. “O” of the Carleton Place Herald— first to the employers of the No. 1 Mill  and secondly in the interest of the workpeople. I think it should not pass unnoticed.


Mr. “O” says that girls have been placed to work as mules in one of the mills, and undoubtedly-he means instead of the boys, to save expense. This is positively an untruth, but suppose it had been true, where is the wrong; every man is justifiable in running any business as cheap as he can, as long as his proceedings are just and honest.

Again Mr. “O” says in the Herald— the girls have been worked nearly 14 hours per day. This only occurred once, and then by the girls’ request, and if this had not been the case, we think it quite out of place at this time when shortness of water has caused such delay, to mention the working of one quarter of a day overtime as a means used by the employers to find a living out of the poor.

Again Mr. “O”  refers to the fine of one dollar, deducted from the boys’ wages for absenting themselves from work without permission, and says that in some cases it amounted to nearly three day’s pay-(including the half day’s time lost).

This of course is another way whereby the rich live at the expense of the poor. Does Mr. ‘‘O” suppose that if a lad neglects his work for one half day, that three days’ pay makes up the loss, if the machine he runs stops one-half day, is not invariably the next process injured, and the third and fourth and so on; through the whole mill the delay is felt and the goods late in market and perhaps thrown on the sellers hands.

Where is the common reason of the thing, or the foolish parent who would encourage his children to pursue such a course?  Nothing but ‘‘ill will,” I think, could have induced M r. “O ” to. write such a letter. First, he tried the editor of the Almonte Gazette, but with an invisible success, and then came out in his true colours, manifesting a fair share of the avaricious spirit he speaks so much about, and resembling, in a slight degree, the principles of the Societe Internationale, as mentioned in the Almonte Gazette and injurious to the working classes of Almonte, generally.

How can the employees attempt to ask any favours of their employers, when such treatment is practised upon them, as to be publicly exposed and to have statements made in reference to them-which- is wholly untrue in a public newspaper, it is unnecessary. to ask to which side does the avaricious spirit belong, but does it not rather suggest to us how liable we are to err, and how many of us are there who have not committed actions and found the silent rebuke of conscience a sufficient punishment, and what we have done in haste we, have grieved over at our leisure.

Much more might be said, but we would be sorry to lie too personal or severe in our remarks: rather let us examine ourselves and see first if there is not a beam in our own eye to be removed, before we attempt to”take the note from our brother’s eye”, and if not let us so walk that the light reflected from our good deeds which shall show others the way wherein they should go.

“The D”

Author’s Note- So why was there such a furor? Why was Mr. O’s letter printed in the Carleton Place Herald and not the Almonte Gazette?  Did Carleton Place still had bitter grapes about Rosamond leaving Carleton Place in 1866 for Almonte? Towards the close of their lease with  Mr. Boulton in Carleton Place Rosamond wanted to buy or rent the water power. The owner Mr. McLaren of Beckwith would do neither and the town council of Carleton Place was on the side of McLaren. Rosamond left Carleton Place in a huff for Almonte and it appears the media battle began. This letter was  obviously written by someone with great education and an instigator to be sure.





The Mississippi Valley Textile Museum (MVTM) is located in the annex of the former Rosamond Woolen Company in Almonte, Ontario. History click here

August 11 1871– Almonte Gazette- The employees of No. 1 mill had a gala day, on Saturday, their employers giving them a free trip to Ottawa. Two years ago they were treated with a trip to Brockville ; and last year they were taken up ‘the Ottawa as far as Portage-du-Fort. The excursion party consisted of about 350 persons, and was composed principally of the operatives of the firm, their relatives and a few invited guests.

Upon arriving in Ottawa they walked from the railway station to the Parliament buildings, and here, through the kindness of the Hon. Alex. Morris, they were shown every attention, and were taken through the chamber of the House of Commons, the Speaker’s Room, Library, Senate Chamber, and other places of interest about the buildings. Many of the excursionists visited the Chaudiere, the mills, factories, and other sights worth seeing in the capital, and altogether a most pleasant day was spent in ‘‘ doing” Ottawa. All present enjoyed themselves with the trip; and nothing occurred to mar the general pleasure.


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


Related reading:

Was Working in One of Our Local Mills Like Working in a Coal Mine?

Babies in the Textile Mills

The Drought of 1871 and the Mills on the Mississippi River

What Do You Know About the Burnt Lands?

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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