Twin carriage shops in Eastons Corners, Wolford township. The first one (right) was built about 1870 by Mr. Watts whose name can still be seen on the building; the second one was added a few years later to cope with the expanding trade. Credit: Parks Canada (North Grenville Times)
“The carriages built in these factories were necessary to fill the need for horse drawn buggies that were being used for moving freight goods, delivering mail, visiting neighbours, picking up supplies, and dating. By 1840, carriages had become an integral part of everyday life in the pioneering community.
The carriage not only supported trade in the area, but also the growth of “carriage works”, as it was called, which included foundry and wood processing industries. As these trades were already alive and well in Merrickville-Wolford, carriage-making was a natural next step. Throughout the late 19th and early 20th century, horse-drawn carriages reigned supreme and became a source of family pride, much like cars today.
The carriage factory in Eastons Corners, that is now up for sale, was started by Robert G. Eastman in the 1850s. When he moved to Merrickville to start up another carriage-making business, the factory was taken over by John Watts and Sons, who continued to operate into the 20th century.” (North Grenville Times)
John Watts & Sons Carriage Factory building, Easton’s Corners (not far from Merrickville). The business was established in about 1837.
“By the 1850s There were carriage works all along the Rideau corridor. Larger communities such as Ottawa and Kingston had several but even smaller communities along the Rideau had carriage shops to service local demand. Merrickville was no exception. One of the more prominent carriage and wagon-makers in Merrickville was Obadiah Read, who was operating as a wheelwright in town as early as 1848. And by 1860 he was building carriages as well. Highly respected as a man of business Obadiah Read had a street named for him when, following the death of William Merrick, the land north of the River was sub-divided. The District Health Centre, the Merrickville Community Centre and the L’ecole Ste. Marguerite Bourgeoys are located on Read Street .
Another name famous in the area was Robert G. Eastman who started off at Easton’s Corners in the 1850s, but soon moved to Merrickville and by 1871 was running a shop employing five men to make wagons, buggies, cutters, sleighs and the like products. His carriage factory in Easton’s Corners was taken over by John Watts and Sons who continued to operate into the 20th century. Their carriage shop was recently restored as an antiques shop and is now the only physically remaining carriage works in the district.” (Merrickville Historical Society)
Jim Hands Auction Photos 2018
Auction to take place on Saturday, April 21st at 10am onsite at 88 Main Street, Easton’s Corners!
John Watts & Son’s Carriage Factory This 1850’s property features a glimpse into the past, when carriage works lined the Rideau Corridor. It is now the only physically remaining carriage works structure in the district. Appears to be a structurally sound, 2 storey building. Some restoration has been done. Enterprising developers should swoop up & juxtapose old & new for a spectacular residence. Having an historic facade w/ exposed brick walls, beams, wood floors & giant windows, all that hint at the building’s past. Alternatively a clever storage facility. Dug well. Electrical services at road. No septic. Lot size 50 ft frontage x 160 ft depth (+/-). Zoned; Commercial. Taxes; $ 1750.00 (+/-). This property will be sold w/ a very reasonable reserve bid. For private viewing, terms & conditions please call our office @ 613-267-6027. Jim Hands Auction
“J. Baird, Painter and Carriage-maker, c. 1907”.
John Baird (1867 – 1939) ran his carriage shop at the north west corner of Bridge and Charlotte Streets. The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum is lucky to have a wheelbarrow made by John in our collection thanks his Grandson Denzil Baird for the donation. —John Baird the Carriage Maker
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 andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)