James Miller Steam Engine Man from Perth

James Miller Steam Engine Man from Perth




Clipped from The Ottawa Journal10 Jun 1961, SatPage 19


In 1961 all eyes were on James Miller as he drove his 1918 steam engine in the Little League Baseball parade. He was proud of that steam powered tractor and threshing machine that he had purchased a few years back. The last public appearance the old gal had done was she had been displayed at the Toronto Exhibition in 1918.

It’s not that the old gal had not had a good life. Thomas Cullen had initially bought her and she was later used sawing logs for O.P. Dowdall of Perth. After that her engine remained idle. In 1956 necessary renovations began and it cost Mr. Miller way more than the purchase price. All the boiler tubes were replaced and the machine received a complete overhaul. In order to keep the original wheel lugs Mr. Miller designed a special plate type rim to fit over them. He cut the tread portions from old automobile tires and fashioned them to the rims on the machine so  it could be driven over town streets.

At the time of the article in 1961 the steam engine fan’s new project was a horse drawn portable steam engine built in 1900 by the Robert Bell Engine and Thresher Co. Ltd. of Seaforth, Ontario. He purchased at an auction near Leitrum and she was soon to sit side by side with the 1918 steam powered tractor.


If you have any more  information about Mr. Miller and his steam engines, please leave comments so we can add to the story. Thank you!





Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)









PHOTO From Perth Remembered: Threshing Time at the farm of Robert Hendry on the Scotch Line in 1901. Notice the large portable steam engine. Present in the picture are Jim Dennison, Ormond Hossie, John Hendry, Frank Ritchie, Lorne Scott, Jim Steele, Bob Wilson, Jim Munro, Jim Wilson and Robert Hendry, also boys in front Ernie and Gilbert Munro.



From Perth Remembered–Grain Threshing Scene c.1916. This threshing mill was used by Henry Lewis and his son, Walter Lewis, who did custom threshing throughout Drummond Township for several years. The mill was powered by a large Waterloo 20 HP Steam Engine. Wood was used for fuel to fire in the boiler, and it would take about an hour each morning to get up steam pressure to run the threshing mill.




“Thresher Jack” Smithson and his steam engine. Photo courtesy Lanark Archives. (Perth Remembered)



From the Wanda Morrison Lee and Joan Kehoe Photo Collection Allan Stewart of Beckwith– Lorne McNeely collection



Steam engines!! From the Wanda Morrison Lee and Joan Kehoe Photo Collection Stewart Donald and Leonard McNeely



With the Steam Co. in France.

The following is a letter from Second Lieut. H. A. Powell, to his uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. S. H. Lowry, of Pakenham.1918

“At present I am in a very nice place and a good many miles behind the lines. We are busy building roads. My company is all steam so I am right at home. I have thirty steam wagons, fifteen Fodens non-trippers, 13 Sentinel Hydraulic tip and two Garret’s screw tippers. So you see I have a pick and choice. Their capacity is 5 to 8 tons, without trailers. The Sentinel wagons are 70 horse power poppet valve engines. Speed five to twenty miles an hour. Just now we are trying some plan to keep the frost away from the pumps but I think we will succeed. Yesterday I was at a steam conference and arguments were comical, mostly by men who only knew the difference between steam and petrol engines by seeing the smoke and steam.

The weather has been very wet for some time but now it is clear and cold, but not too cold for comfort. I have a very fine billet with a French count, his wife and daughter. They are extra well educated people and much different to most of the people I have met. Well, I suppose you have heard that I got married last 30th Oct. to a girl in London. We had a fine time at the wedding and went to Ventnor, Isle of Wight, for our short trip. We were married in St. Mary’s Cathedral, West Ealing, and then went to lunch at the Frocaden Hotel, supposed to be the finest place in London.

My best man was a Capt. Harry Driver, Bachelor of Science, D.S.O. and M.C., the two bridesmaids were Dimple and Winnie Middleton, daughter of a multi-millionaire. Their father is manager of the Universal Motor Co., Universal Insurance Co. (automobiles), and a large stockholder in the Phoenix Life Insurance Co. He gave us our lunch, also supplied all the cars to take us to church and back. Flo has been his secretary for ten years and two months. She still goes up two days a week to look after the paying of the men and do the banking. I expect to leave here some time soon to take over the duties of workshop officers at a base shop. I will be in charge of repairs to Caterpillar and Foster Daimler engines. I have passed all my tests as a work shop officer and the knowledge will be very useful in civil life. It is hard to say when we will finish up out here but I may be home in the fall of 1919. Fighting may finish next fall but it is hard to say.”



Photos!! Who is With These Steam Engines?

Glory Days of Carleton Place–So What Happened to the Moore Steam Engine?

The Old Steam Engine Tractor on Mullet Street

Hissing Steam, Parades and a 1930 Hearse–Pioneer Days Middleville

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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