Tag Archives: allans mills

Allan’s Mills— Lanark County Ghost Town




Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  19 Jun 1971, Sat,  Page 49



Allan’s Mills, named for William Allan, was a small milling hamlet located just west of the town of Perth in Lanark County. The community got its start after Allan built saw and grist mills, followed by a general store and blacksmith shop. A post office was opened in 1872.

At its height, Allan’s Mills included a wagon maker, shoemaker, carpenter and two blacksmiths. The surrounding area was dotted with other small mills that included the McCabe Mill, the Ritchie Mill and the Bowes Mill. A school located on the Scotch Line was shared by all the surrounding settlements.

By the late 1890s, business was beginning to slip. Timber supplies had become depleted and farmers were making a gradual transition from wheat to dairy farming. Many of the mills did not survive the upheaval.


AllansMills small (1).jpg


“William Allan’s grist mill on the Tay.  Allan was a prominent citizen of North Burgess in the 19th century.

Farmer, mill owner, storekeeper, postmaster, councillor and Township treasurer.”

Picture supplied by Pat Allan – 13 Aug, 2011

Screenshot 2017-08-03 at 13.jpg


The Scotch Line bordered the former townships of Bathurst and North Burgess. Nearby Grant’s Creek flowed directly into the Tay River, which provided more than ample water power resources. Before long the countryside was dotted with grist and sawmills that were kept busy by the burgeoning lumber and farming industries.

William Allan was the son of one the early Scottish immigrants. Born in Ontario in 1833, he purchased a large piece of land just south of the Scotch Line and built a sawmill and a stone grist mill. He then added a grocery and dry goods store, along with a blacksmith shop. Just north of the shops, he built a beautiful, stately home to raise his growing family. Allan’s Mills gained official status in 1872 when he opened a post office. As busy as he was, Allan also found time to become active in local affairs and served as both a councillor and township treasurer.

A small town site popped up around William Allan’s mills that included Pat Fagan, a wagon maker, Ed Murphy, a shoemaker and William Steele, a carpenter. Henry Harper and George Murphy worked as blacksmiths as did, for a time, William’s son, James. Many of the surrounding mill owners, such as George Oliver, T. and J. Scott and George Ritchie, also chose to make Allan’s Mills their home. The school was located on the Scotch Line and shared by all the surrounding settlements. Other prominent residents included John Armour, who owned a large plot just south of Allan’s Mills. The number of villagers ranged from about 50 to 75.

George Oliver owned the first parcel of land just behind the Allan mills, where he also operated a grist mill. John Ritchie’s sawmill was located north of the Scotch Line on Concession 1, Lot 12, along the Tay River in Bathurst Township. The Scott brothers’ sawmill was located in North Burgess Township on lot 17, five lots west of Allan’s Mills. Their grist mill could be found in Bathurst Township on Concession 1, Lot 17. At the foot of road, right at the Scotch Line leading to the mill was a tollgate, blacksmith and cheese factory. Just to the west of the Scott grist mill on Lot 15, were the Wilson saw and grist mills.

By the late 1890s things were beginning to slip. Both the wheat and timber supplies had become depleted and farmers were making a gradual transition from wheat to dairy farming. This was not good news for the mill owners and many of the mills did not survive the upheaval.

The Wilson mills and the Scott sawmill have both disappeared. The Scott grist mill was purchased by the Bowes family and renamed Bowes Mills. Later on, it was converted to an electrical power plant that provided power to the town of Perth up until the 1920s. The old mill has been well preserved but the dam has deteriorated badly. The Ritchie sawmill still exists but is derelict and in a serious state of disrepair. The McCabe mill, across the road, has been renovated and is now a private home. Oliver’s mill survived the carnage and is presently being used as a barn.

By 1892, William Allan had sold the grist mill to the Burgess Milling Company, who reportedly kept it going until the 1970s. Allan continued operating the store until his death in 1908. His son James took over the post office until the arrival of rural mail delivery in 1914. Allan’s stone grist mill was by far the most fortunate. The stately mill, along with the general store, the blacksmith shop and William Allan’s magnificent home, have all been restored and are now privately used. The schoolhouse, located next to the Scotch Line Cemetery at the north end of Allan’s Mills Road, is owned by the cemetery and remains in use. The area, which is located about 10 kilometres west of the historic town of Perth, remains busy and active and continues to support a large rural population.

Thanks to Robert Thomas for sharing the information on the schoolhouse.–Ontario Ghost Towns

Grant’s Creek doesn’t even make it on to the map (as a tributary of the Tay River) but, it rushes at full spring speed roaring past the former Allan’s Mill.  On Grant’s Creek which joins the Tay above “Roger’s Road” there were two power plants at Allan’s Mills, a mill was built by John Allan and later sold to Francis Allan as a saw mill.  This was replaced by a roller mill in 1890.

William Allan was born in Ontario in 1833. He purchased property south of the Upper Scotch Line on Grant’s Creek, (concession 10 lot 12, North Burgess) and built a saw and grist mill. The mill first began operation in 1878. A grocery and dry goods store, as well as a blacksmith shop and post office, were added to Allan’s Mill at a later date. William’s son, James, worked as the blacksmith at one point.

In 1892, the Burgess Milling Company purchased the mill from William Allan and it continued to run until the 1970’s. The grocery and dry goods store was run by William until his death in 1908, and James took over the post office until rural mail delivery was established in 1914.

John Matthews is responsible for the restoration of the mill, general store and blacksmith shop, and in 2010 it was bought by new owners. William Allan was a prominent man in the township and is remembered as being a farmer, mill owner, store keeper, post master, councillor and township treasurer.-Historic Mills Tay Valley

Scotch Line Cemetery

Location513 Scotch Line, Lot 12, Concession 10, Upper Scotch Line, North Burgess

Scotch Line Cemetery

Details: In 1886, a half-acre of land on the Upper Scotch Line passed hands from Gilbert Wilson and his wife Marian, to a group of men wishing to have a community cemetery. The cemetery trustees were John Wilson, Robert Allan and Robert Hendry. They purchased the half-acre for $75. Although the land was not officially a cemetery until 1886, around ten people had been buried there previous to the purchase. In the same year as its purchase, the Scotch Line Cemetery had its first official burial. The man’s name was Mr. George Oliver, a local mill owner, who died at the age of 49 on June 26, 1886. A fence was put up around the cemetery in 1887 and the cost of $40, as well as the purchase price of the land, was paid for by a group of 24 men in the area.

A piece of land 10 feet in size was added to the west side of the cemetery in 1920. Also added was a strip of land 40 feet wide fronting the Upper Scotch Line and 210 feet to the rear of the cemetery. The strip was purchased in 1941 from the Scotch Line School, which shared the same lot as the cemetery. In the same year, the land between the west side of the cemetery and Allan’s Side Road was purchased for $100 from Gilbert Wilson. The project of planting 200 pine seedlings was completed in May of 1942, with the trees being placed along the fence separating the cemetery from the school, as well as the fence by Allan’s Side Road. After its closure in 1968, the remaining school property was purchased for $1000 on July 12 th . This purchase would mark the final expansion of the cemetery. The Scotch Line School is still situated on the cemetery lot and is a beautiful addition to the land.

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

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.


The Ghost Towns of Eastern Ontario

Halls Mills Ghost Town- Another W. H. Wylie Connection

The Gillies Home in the Ghost Town of Herron’s Mills

The Ghost Ship of Brown’s Hill

The Ghost of the Lanark County Old Log Cabin

Paranormal Hauntings of the Rideau Canal and other Unsolved Ghost Stories

Photos thanks to Celeste Reisinger on Abandoned – Ottawa/Gatineau & The Valley

Allan’s Mills ghost town. All private property in the Tay Valley, ok’d by Admin

The Ghost Towns of Eastern Ontario






Read about all of the ghost towns here—Lanark County is in bold below– and lots of information below.


Allan’s Mills–read about Alan’s Mills here
Beales Mills
Bedford Mills
Bellamy’s Mill
CFB Picton
Clarendon Station
Cordova Mines


Farm building next to Hall residence– From Hall’s Mills Ghost Town–©Copyright: Yvan Charbonneau– see my story about Hall’s Mills in related reading



Herron’s Mills- read more about my story on Herron’s Mills in the related reading section below.

Halls Mills-read about Hall’s Mills here
Herron’s Mills-read about Herron’s Mills here

Millbridge Station
Mohr’s Corners
Munroe’s Mills
Murphy Corners
Point Anne
Port Milford
Robertsville: Read more about Robertsville here
Rokeby: Read more about Rokeby here
Vennachar and Glenfield
West Huntingdon
Wilbur: Read more about Wilbut here
Yonge Mill




Perth Courier, November 1, 1895

Rokeby:  Dancing parties are all the rage.  A very enjoyable evening was spent at the residence of the well known and highly respected Patrick Corley the dance being in honor of Miss Johanna Corley that young lady having been much missed in social circles during her year long absence.

Rokeby A reminiscence of old times was the stumping bee called by William Greer and a good day’s work was done on Wednesday.

Perth Courier, Nov. 15, 1895

Rokeby—We are sorry to report the illness of Isaac Duffy, with inflammation of the eye, the inflammation extending to the optic nerve making a very serious case.  Mrs. Joseph Milliken is progressing favorable.  Both patients are under the care of our smart young doctor Alexander Robinson, M.D., a graduate of Queen’s College, Kingston.  Last reports of Isaac Duffy’s case were very serious.  Monday night he was very low with inflammation extending to the cerebral nerves.

Perth Courier, January 6, 1899–The saddest news we have to record this week is the death of our old townsman Judge William Doran of North Burgess which occurred on Tuesday, Jan. 3 at his residence in that town.  His age was about 63(?) years.  Judge Doran was born in the town of Perth and was the son of John Doran, native of County Wexford, Ireland.  The family was a large one and the boys unusually strong, hearty and vigorous and it is sad and also strange to realize that not one of the list of stalwart youths and then grown up men who were so well known in town and country 20 to 50 years ago are alive today.  Of these men two of them, John and William, rose to prominence as public men; both were Liberal candidates at parliamentary elections and both became judges of the Nipissing District by appointment of the Ontario government.  The Doran family were cousins of Messrs. William, Alexander, and Patrick McGarry of Drummond and the late Rev. Father Stafford of Lindsay, Tobias of Renfrew, Thomas of Lanark Township, Henry of Almonte and John of Perth (the last two deceased).  Judge William Doran married Miss McRae of Wolfe Island and leaves behind him his widow and a family of sons and daughters.  He also leaves one sister Maggie who is a nun in Hotel Dieu, Kingston.  Deceased owned a saw mill in Rokeby, S. Sherbrooke for some years and gave up that business to accept the judgeship of Nipissing District, a position which he filled with efficiency.  About 1878 he was chosen the Liberal candidate for S. Lanark for the Ontario legislature and made the best fight any Liberal ever made in this Conservative hive going to within 169 of victory.  His opponent was the late Abraham Code.  Judge Doran was a genial, whole hearted man.  He was a member of the Roman Catholic Church.

St. John The Baptist Anglican Cemetery

Lot 19, Con 9, South Sherbrooke Twp., near Fagan Lake, Rokeby, Ont.

Burials 1881 to 1945

Perth Courier, March 29, 1889

Maberly News:  Last week Charles Strong was injured by digging stones with a crowbar and a short time after he died.  He was buried on Tuesday.  —  Mary Sargent was married to Mr. McDonald of Robertsville.  —  Word has reached Kingston that Miss Beatty, a graduate of the Women’s Medical College of that city and a resident of Perth for some time, who some time ago went as a missionary to Indore, India, has been obliged through ill health to cease her labors.  Fears are expressed that she will have to return to Canada.

Perth Courier, March 3, 1899

Elphin:  Mrs. McDonnell (ne Alice Sergeant) widow of the late John McDonnell, of Robertsville, died on Saturday night of pneumonia after a short illness, aged 63.  She was a kind mother and neighbor.  Her husband died one year eleven months ago.  Her family, except for one son, are married and have moved away.

Mrs. John McDonnell of Robertsville aged 63, died at her residence on Feb. 25 and was buried on the 27th inst. In the Crawford Cemetery. 

McDougall – On Friday, Jan. 30th there passed to his reward one of the oldest residents of our Mississippi in the person of Mr. Allan McDougall. Mr. McDougall had been blessed with good health practically all his life and appeared about as usual when the end came. He was born in Bathurst Township on Feb. 2, 1830, and when he was quite young the family settled in Palmerston Township on the farm now owned by Mrs. Duncan McDougall. After his marriage to Miss Hannah McDonald of the same township, he purchased the farm on which Robertsville was afterwards built by the Bethlehem Steel Co. After many years of residence there he removed to Wilbur, where he was employed as foreman by the mining company, and where he continued to reside until the death of Mrs. McDougall ten years ago. Mr. McDougall was widely known and respected by all his acquaintances. He is survived by two sisters: Mrs. Hughes and Mrs. Lake of Palmerston, and six members of his family: Mrs. Miriam of Chatham, Mrs. Roche of Wilbur, Mrs. Sairs of Kingston, Alex of California and John and Daniel of Kisbey, Sask.

Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ McDougall was born in Robertsville on Aug. 4, 1860. In 1881 she was not living at home anymore. In 1901 she was 40 and living with her parents at Wilbur in Lavant Township, however the census says she was married, but didn’t give her married name. Also listed was a grandson, John McDougall age 10, who may be Elizabeth’s son.When her mother died in 1910, her death notice indicated that Elizabeth was married with the last name of Sairs, and was still living in Wilbur. I checked the 1881 census of Palmerston and found a George Sairs and wife Elizabeth, age 22, and I believe this is Elizabeth and she was married to George Sairs sometime between 1877 and 1881. George was listed as a Baker in 1881. In 1911 the Lavant census shows her as Elizabeth Sairs and she was living with her father, Allan McDougall, her husband was not in the census. When her father died in 1920, Elizabeth was living in Kingston, Ontario.

Hannah McDougall, born Jun 02, 1862 in Robertsville, Ontario, Canada; died Jan 28, 1914 in Wilbur.

The Wilbur mine operated until 1911. Since almost everyone in town worked for the mine, the community was abandoned after the mine shut down. The post office closed in 1913 and recent floods have obliterated almost all traces of the community. However, if you travel along the old KPR rail bed, you’ll find signs of Wilbur coming back to haunt you. The railway station sign, a building thought to be the rail station and a humorous sign post announcing your arrival in Wilbur still remain.

January 10, Halls Mills 1899 – Perth Courier

Miss Maggie Camelon is on a visit to her mother at Tatlock.

John White has removed to Jamieson and his brother Robert has already moved to the place vacated by him.

Miss Arnoldi, our popular teacher, is meeting with success in our school, and we expect she will leave a record hard to equal.

W e are sorry to state that two o f our most trustworthy farmers are leaving with their families for North Gower in the persons of Messrs. John Thomas and Daniel Rintoul.

La Grippe is gripping severely in this section. D . McIntyre has been confined to his house for nearly five weeks, but is now improving. Mrs. Arch. McGee, P. F. Barr, A . J. McKay, Mrs. Nora Whitten

Related Reading:

Halls Mills Ghost Town- Another W. H. Wylie Connection

The Gillies Home in the Ghost Town of Herron’s Mills

Photographer Finds Money in a Local Abandoned Home

Gold in Dem Dar Hills of Lanark

Have you Ever Heard about Doran? Here Come da’ Judge!

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