Foley’s Mill —– Water Street Almonte

Foley’s Mill  —– Water Street Almonte
The City of Foley traces its roots back to the 19th century lumber barons and the four Foley brothers who settled in Benton County in the late 1800s. The brothers originally came from Lanark in eastern Ontario, Canada. Their Irish immigrant family made Lanark their home during the second administration of President Andrew Jackson during the turbulent 1830s. CLICK here

1945 Almonte Gazette

Some time ago The Gazette published the gist of a letter received from E. T. Foley of Pasadena, Cal., asking about the location of a mill his uncle owned in the vicinity of Almonte and wondering if a picture of it could be procured. Elsewhere in this issue is a letter from one of our out-of-town subscribers dealing with the matter at some length. Dr. J. F. Dunn and Wm, Young also gave information in regard to the mill mentioned by Mr. Foley which coincides with what appears in the letter. Dr. Dunn states that the Foley home was the first ,on the left past Hall’s Mills.

The original Hall, who operated the mill there, was married to a Foley and the house where they lived is now occupied by Mr, Cameron. Mrs. Shane of Pakenham was another Foley. The brothers, Timothy and Michael, uncles of E. T. Foley of Pasadena, after selling out the sawmill here to the Caldwell interests, went to the United States and became wealthy as railroad contractors. Those who recall the old sawmill think it extremely unlikely that any photograph of it will be in existence. It stood approximately on the site where Dennis Galvin’s portable mill was located up to a few years ago. In those day’s the art of photography was not what it is now and a building had to be of great public importance to merit attention of that kind

This has been received from one of The Gazette’s subscribers who prefers to remain anonymous:

The Editor, Almonte Gazette, Almonte, Ont.

Dear Sir: A recent issue of The Gazette makes reference to a letter received from Mr. Edward T. Foley of Pasadena, California, asking information about a saw mill which was owned by his uncle in Almonte many years. I am not acquainted with Mr. Foley but I presume he is a nephew of one of members of the original firm of Messrs. T. & T. Foley of Almonte who later became the firm of Foley Brothers well known lumbermen and railway contractors of St. Paul, Minn.

The Foleys had left Almonte long before my time but I had often heard of them. I believe there were five brothers, Timothy, Thomas, Michael, John and George (Tim, Tom, Mike, John and George). There were also several sisters, one of whom was married to a Mr. Hall after whom Hall’s Mills was named. There was a mill at that place but I do not think it is the one Mr. Foley has in mind. In my boyhood days there was a saw mill at the far end of Water Street just beyond the N.L.A.S. fair grounds. At that time the mill was owned by one of the Caldwells of Lanark Village but I do not think he was the original owner. I think I would be correct in saying that the mill had been built and operated for a while by the Foleys but afterwards disposed of to Mr. Caldwell.

The Foley home was on W ater S treet not so very far from the mill. Their’s was a corner property directly across from the fair grounds. The house, a frame building of rather ornate design, faced on a street the name of which I cannot re ­ call, but it extended from the exhibition grounds towards the C.P. R. tracks. On the Water Street side there was a high closed fence but it was not a crude or ugly affair, it was constructed of dressed lumber and was of neat design. There was no open gate but a closed door, apparently designed to ensure privacy. The door was not flush wi|th the fence but rather inset somewhat like a casement. Different times when passing that way I noticed what appeared like lettering deeply penciled in black on the frame of the casement. Upon closer inspection in plain capital letters: the name T. & T. Foley was disclosed. This, I believe, answers Mr. Foley’s inquiry. I am quite sure the mill on Water Street is the one owned by his uncle, and the house was the one the family occupied.

When I remember this house first, it was the residence of the late Mr. Robert Pollock. It is has beenmany years since I passed that way but the last time I did so, it was still in existence. As for the mill, I am not in a position to say. It was not large but was well built and unless purposely destroyed, some trace of it will surely remain. To digress a little, I might say that at the mill there were three piers built in the river just above the mill and extending from pier to pier were booms of squared timber, the idea of course, being to harbour the logs to be sawed at the mill and to prevent them from floating down the river.

Among the younger fry, the piers were spoken of as first, second and third and were great favorite places for swimming and diving. I recall one experience when, in diving I struck my head with such force on a sunken log, that I was nearly stunned. I consider myself lucky that I was not drowned. But to return to the original topic, I think that my recollections are fairly accurate and I hope may be of interest. It is quite evident that Mr. Foley would like to know something of the early beginning of the Foley Bros, and properly so. They were among the many Canadians who won fame and fortune in the U.S.A.

Yours very truly, First, Second and Third Piers

Author’s Note-

I had written about Henry Lang’s Barn a few years ago and remembered something about the Caldwell Sawmill. Sure enough this is what happened to it.

Almonte Gazette July 22 1898—The old sawmill opposite “island” (save the mark !) at  the N.L.A.S. grounds has been torn down and towed across the river to the farm of  Mr. and Mrs. Lang, where the the bulk of the timbers, etc., will be used in the erection of a barn to replace the one destroyed by fire.

Almonte Gazette September 2, 1898–That barn of Mr. Henry Lang’s will be an interesting one from the fact that its material has been mostly furnished by two  landmarks Mr Caldwell’s old sawmill and Mr. Cannnon’s shingle mill on the shore of the bay below the town—both, as well as the timber slides, having become relics and reminders to the present generation that in bygone years Almonte was a live lumbering centre. Read- Henry Lang and His Lanark County Magic Barn?

History of Foley - Railroad

Also read

The City of Foley traces its roots back to the 19th century lumber barons and the four Foley brothers who settled in Benton County in the late 1800s. The brothers originally came from Lanark in eastern Ontario, Canada. Their Irish immigrant family made Lanark their home during the second administration of President Andrew Jackson during the turbulent 1830s. CLICK here


The Sad Tale of the Foley Family–Foley, Harper, Sly, Bowes & Elliott

Foley House

Foley Almonte — Genealogy

Foley Mountain Conservation Area History Information

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s