In 1822 there was only one Ox in Ramsay owned by James Metcalf of the 9th line and, even worse, there was only one horse.
Mr. Robert Mansel had two cows and the clearings were small and the logging was all done by hand. The harvest was small those first few years and many families were almost reduced to complete distress. Word was in Beckwith those first few years things were not much better, and the deer became almost extinct as there was nothing else to eat.
Crude roads made the transporting of goods almost impossible and wheat had to be ground into flour, trees sawn into lumber — so they had to make sure there was suitability for the erection of a mill or close accessibility to one. Some women in Perth walked to Carleton Place to the Bolton Mill as there was no place else to grind grains for flour. They would walk all the way back to Perth and stop at trees that had been cut off and rest their flours bags on them.
In the 1850s the train was going to run through Leckie’s Corners but James Rosamond had moved from Carleton Place after an argument with the town council. He knew that to have a successful mill he needed the railroad to run through Almonte. Mr. Rosamond was a director of the Brockville and Ottawa Railway Company. By persuading the owners with the cold hard facts and of course a tasty business proposition he won his wish and expanded his new mill in Almonte.
One the railroad was established of course the business in the communities of Leckie’s Corners, Appleton and Blakeney was stunted for good. If the railway had not come through Almonte who knows what the town would have turned into and which other hamlet would have become a hub.
Mr. Rosamond of the Rosamond Knitting Mills would often got to Scotland to hire superintendents as they had great experience and were used to the conditions of a woollen mill. The Scots were willing to work for next to nothing with an average pay of 14 cents an hour-working from 6:30 am to 6 pm–six days a week- with only two unpaid holidays during the year.
James Patterson was one of the first tailors in Ramsay. There was only one sewing needle per area and thread was only obtained after a long trek to Brockville. It has been said he used ‘moose wood’ tree bark as a substitute.
At one time Leckie’s Corners was the centre of the township until the railroad bypassed them for Almonte. The first local newspaper was ran by Thomas Leckie himself and he ran it for 3 years out of Almonte and it was called “The Examiner”. It was then merged into “The Express” and run by Scott and Kennedy until Mr. Ned O’Donnell took over in 1867 and called it “The Almonte Gazette”.
If you let your cattle trespass within a quarter mile of mills, stores, taverns or churches on preaching days in 1841 it would cost you a shilling– same with a cow without a bell.
Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)