Tag Archives: hall’s mills

The Life and Times of Cora Yuill


July 26 1995-BY-Cora Yuill-Edited Text from the Almonte Gazette

Cora Yuill looks back on life as she turns· 90 

I was born on August 17, 1905 at Halls Mills, the third daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Munro. My sisters were older, and my brother was younger. Wilbert, who lives on the old farm at Halls Mills and my brother Earl, who used to deliver mail from the post office, drove for Eddie Munro for quite awhile.

My two sisters were both gone some years ago. Eva Fulton lived above Renfrew and Florence Watt at Galbraith. I started school at Halls Mills when I was six years old and had four teachers. There was Mary Gleeson,  Aggie Lett, Luella Thompson and Mildred Royce. I tried my entrance exams in Lanark but failed, so I stayed at home and helped on the farm.

I used to work in the fields and coiled bay and stooked grain, so I know what farm life is like. Those were the good old days. We had each other and our parents were good to us but we had to work hard. I thank God they were spared to take care of us and they always saw that we got to Sunday School and church on Sunday.

Eva was married on June 22, 1921 and moved to Admaston to start her married life with Jim Fulton. I was lonesome, but Florence and I had each other and always got along well. I don’t think we ever had a quarrel. I used to go to Eva’s for holidays sometimes. If they were down home, I would go back with them. When I was small I used to love staying around with Dad where he was working. One day I fell on a hand saw and cut the left side of my forehead. I am 90 and the mark is still there, so I guess I will be taking it with me when I go.

I never worked away from home, but I was always busy. I had pen pals  and I met some and some seemed nice. I didn’t mind spending money on postage but stamps were 3 cents then. Many a time we would go down to Dave Barr’s store and maybe get some candies. Mother would do the grocery shopping, but it didn’t take much money as she baked the bread, churned the butter and made her own pies.

When Florence and I went to Hall’s Mills school Ethel Valiant would go with us and many a time we would all play together. Sometimes we would stay home from school pretending that we were worse than we really were.

Arthur and I were married in November of 1931 and we had three daughters. They are all married but the children but are scattered. Grandchildren are a great part of my life. We used to have a Model T Ford and drive to town on Saturday nights. The children would get some little treats and we would come home about 10 pm at night. We would meet a lot of dear friends but now they are gone and are just precious memories.

Today I am in the Fairview Manor and that is likely where I will spend the last of my days. Thank God he has been good to me and I have my girls –all married with children of their own. God Bless Them all.

Cora Yuill


From the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page

Cora Yuill –-Cora Yuill made friends all over the world without leaving Lanark County. A prolific writer who at one time kept in contact with close to 100 pen pals, she enjoyed giving of herself while expecting nothing in return. It’s this warm and generous spirit friends and family now recall. Cora died peacefully at Almonte General Hospital with her family present Oct. 18, 1995. She was 90.
Born Aug. 17, 1905, at Halls Mills, Ont., Cora was the daughter of the late Robert Munro and his wife the late Ida Watchhorn. She attended Halls Mills Public School and then went to write her entrance exams in Lanark Village in 1920. On Nov. 18, 1931, she married the late Arthur Yuill. They farmed for many years in Darling Township before they moved with their family to Ramsay Township in 1947. It was during the early 1940s that Cora began reaching out to others through letter‑writing. A “friendship book” she sent to a friend made its way to Nova Scotia, initiating her first pen pal. An advertisement placed in the old Winnipeg Free Press sparked another 36 pen pals in 1948. From there, her hobby blossomed as more and more people contacted her. Until the early 1980s, she’d built up long-distance relationships with more than 100 people, most of them in North America but many in England, Ireland and even Australia. 
Cora also loved writing poetry. Her works were featured regularly in Gazette. She also had her favourites placed in booklets which she as she generously offered to friends. She often used her talent to look back with fondness on her life – her childhood, time spent at school in the one-room school house, growing up with her brothers and sisters, raising her own family. These were what she often referred to as “the best old days.” One person who knows Cora’s warm heart is Stephen Cotnam. He befriended her several years ago while visiting her brother-in-law on a church outreach program. Over the years, he said, they developed a friendship which just grew stronger. “She was a peaceful lady, a lady full of grace,” he said. She realized her dream of traveling “through her writing. I think that gave her some distant connections.” Cotnam said Cora was always generous with her time. “I found I enjoyed the visits as much did, maybe more,” he said.
During her eulogy, he referred to three of her poems. The third entitled “End of Summer” ends with the lines: We must make the best of the life we’ve been given And maybe some day we’ll have a place up in Heaven. “I had felt, in a sense, she’d been able to bring a little Heaven on earth,” Cotnam said. Cora was a devoted mother and loving friend. She was a member of the United Church in Clayton where she enjoyed singing in the church choir. Her last five years were spent in Fairview Manor after moving out of her log home on the Old Perth Road. Her daughter Dorothy Legree said she “truly enjoyed” singing in the choir and enjoyed many a happy day at the manor. Cora is survived by her five daughters Dorothy (Randolph Legree), Blanche (late Lawrence Desjardins), Alma (late Stuart Malloch), Eilleen (Dan Boothby) and Della (James Graham).
She is also survived by her brother, Wilbert (Florence) of Clayton, Ont., sister‑in‑law Olive, 14 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren. She was predeceased by her sisters Eva Fulton and Florence Watt and by her brother Earl Munro.—-Mary Cook.

The funeral took place Oct. 21 in the chapel of Alan Barker Funeral, Home, McArthur Avenue, Carleton Place, at 2 p.m. Rev. Eilleen Heppwhite officiated. Honourary pallbearers were Dave Cleary, Donald Miller, Eldon Munro, Delmer Munro, Bernard Fulton, and Logan More. Pallbearers were Cora’s grandson Richard Legree, Dale Boothby, Kelly Graham, Donald Malloch, Paul Desjardins and her great-grandson Daniel Boothby. I am going home to Heaven, To the many mansions there, Going home to be with Jesus, Free from sorrow, sin and care

Obituaries collected by the late Mrs. Isabel DRYNAN

Prepared & set up by: Keith Thompson

I found this poem today written by Cora Yuill in 1984.–Clayton Ontario History
I liked to sit in my rocking chair
And dream of days gone by
Sometimes my thoughts were happy
And often time I could cry.

When I was young and living at home
With my parents and younger brother
We had our chores and work to do
To help our Dad and Mother.

Oft times on summer evenings
And we had nothing else to do
We would take a drive to Clayton
And spend an hour or two.

The hall where the dances were held
People came from everywhere
They came in buggies or maybe a car
Without a worry or care.

We liked to hear Jack Drynan
And Clifford Stanley call
But they both are gone some years ago
With memories of the old Clayton Hall.


 Last two photos from Steve Evans book Heart and Soul

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

Related reading

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

The Ghost Towns of Eastern Ontario

Thanks to Glenda Mahoney–A cousins trip to Bracebridge this weekend to see cuz Cindy. Barb Nairn Deb Caluori Marie Desjardin Cindy Tub man Coralee Shuttien * and Shelly Mariner. Cora Yuill’s grandaughters

The Burning of Wylie’s Mill



from almonte.com

This is not the photo of the mill that burned. This is the mill on Water Street. The mill that burned in this story was at the bottom of Mill Street, approximately where the Brian Gallagher Power station is today.
Rose Mary Sarsfield

January 5 1877-Almonte Gazette

A full report of the burning of Wylie’s Mill was in the Free Press of Tuesday eve, which was published about one hour after the fire occurred. Shortly after supper time Almonte people were reading an account in an Ottawa paper of a fire they had witnessed that afternoon about four hours before. Such enterprise deserves recognition and is another proof of the sincerity of the press in being determined to supply the world with reliable news of passing events as soon as it possibly can be done.

At the usual hour the operatives of Wylie’s mill- stopped the dinner hour, and could not have been more than comfortably seated at their meal when the fire alarm aroused them. In short, rounded by hundreds of people, the smoke was so dense that very few dared to enter the mill, as a consequence very little stock was rescued from the flames. It was a dangerous undertaking for any outfit to have risked themselves in the mill at any length of time, even ten minutes after the alarm was first sounded.

The smoke became too thick and every now and again hid the burning building completely from view. The fire engine arrived quickly but there was difficulty getting a place for it to work. They used a hose from Baird’s hydrant, and another from Rosamond’s machine shop was brought into play and did good work. They were all too late, however, for in short time the top three stories were a mass of flames and any endeavours to aid the building were useless.

The firemen acted very wisely in turning their attention to confining the fire to the one building and protecting others around it. It seemed almost certain at one time that the building occupied by Mr. John O’Reilly would catch and that gentleman commenced moving out his valuables. The little wooden buildings surrounding it appeared ready to catch at any moment, and but for the careful watching of those who got on the roofs and kept them continually covered with snow,  or they assuredly  would have been destroyed. As the building burned from the top the danger from the fire spreading was soon over and all the hoses were turned again on the building.

By this change the boiler room and contents were saved. Besides this it was the only thing of any value that was saved was the safe. The building being all wooden and dry burned very fast, and in three hours was almost level with the ground. It is supposed that the fire originated by a nail running into a picker with the wool and by striking fire catching that easily illuminated the material which was spread all round it .

A boy was running the picker at the time, and would have been able to have put the fire out had he had presence of mind to use a barrel of water which was available. Instead he ran downstairs for one of the extinguishers which belonged to the mill but could not make it work.  During this time the fire had made such sufficient headway it forced him to leave, and he had a hard time amidst the suffocating smoke to make his way out.

The mill belonged to Mr. Gilbert Cannon and was not insured. The loss on it will be about $2000. The machinery belonged to Mr. W. H.Wylie and was insured for $7,000, which will cover about one third of the loss.About sixty have been thrown out of employment, and in present circumstance the loss is indeed a great one.

Related reading–

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

The Almonte Fire– Bridge and Water Street 1903

People from the Potter-Bennett Block Fire– A Shocking Find

Ring Those Bells in Carleton Place– Wylie’s Woolen Mill

Fire at Thom and McNab’s 1903

The Almonte Fire of 1909

Turn on the Lights!

The Ice Cream Man–https://sites.rootsweb.com/~onlanark/scrapbook/IceCreamMan.htm


The Weekly British Whig

Kingston, Ontario, Canada • Thu, Nov 4, 1920Page 3


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

Come all my dear companions and listen to my song–Songs of Clayton




Grace Church, located in the Village of Clayton, which no longer exists.



Guthrie United Church, located in the Village of Clayton and is still in use today.


Dear Editor;

The church in the photo was Grace Church, Clayton, Ont. We understand it was originally an Orange Hall, that had got damaged by fire. The Anglicans bought it and restored it, built a belfry and added a bell. The picture was taken in 1900. It was then sold to Mr. George McMunn who used the material to build a house in Lanark Township near Hall’s Mills. The present church, known as St. George’s Church was built in 1901.

Mr. Robert Watchorn (grandfather of the writer) who was born a few miles south of the village, near Clayton Lake, which was then know as Lake Harmony, led the singing in the choir of the Grace Church for many years, and in addition to farming and church duties, he also conducted a number of singing schools in the district. The one in Clayton village was held in 1874.

There were no organs in the schools, so a tuning fork was used to start off the singing. One of Mr. Watchorn’s pupils a young fellow by the name of Johnny Murphy composed the following verses re the singing school, some ninety-nine years ago.


by E. Munro – Almonte.

Come all my dear companions and listen to my song

It is about the singing school in good old Clayton town

It really is the only place that pleasure can be found

Our school it meets for practice on every Monday night

And those who don’t belong had better not come around

And if they do disturb us, I guess they’ll go to jail

Where they will lie in misery their mischief to bewail

Our teacher he does lead us on as well as he knows how

If we do not pay attention there’s apt to be a row

And when the school’s half over, we have a short recess

And if the boys get a chance, they’re apt to steal a kiss

But kisses they are very scarce if I don’t mistake

Because the girls in singing school are always wide awake

And when the school is over we always start for home

The gents and their ladies, so pleasantly doth roam

Oh it would cheer your drooping hearts these couples for to see

As pleasantly they wend their way towards – Lake Sweet Harmony.

by E. Munro – Almonte.


Local Baptist and Anglican churches form partnership in Almonte

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

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


Halls Mills


Town site photo

Farm building next to Hall residence– From Hall’s Mills Ghost Town©Copyright: Yvan Charbonneau

Seems William Wiley  of Carleton Place had connections in everything around the area. From and Almonte woolen mills to mines and sawmills. When I did research I found out that he had was part of a mining venture also.

From Hall’s Mills Ghost Town

By the 1870s, Hall’s sawmill, located on Lot 1, Concession 10, was in full operation. In 1883, Hall opened a post office and gave the community his own name. A school, one of only four in Darling Township, was located on Lot 1, Concession 9. By 1884, Halls Mills had grown to around 50 people. These included, John Abraham, David Barr, Archibald Boyle, James Kilgore, Robert Lett, Thomas Murphy and the Munro and Robertson families. Daniel Munro was the blacksmith. Hall went on to form a partnership with William H. Wylie of Carlton Place to embark on a combination of mining and mineral lands dealing. Whether the venture was successful is unknown as Hall reportedly passed away in 1885 or 1886.– read the rest at Hall’s Mills Ghost Town

Dawn Jones added:

 Interesting story. My brothers and aunts and uncles attended public school at Hall’s Mills in the 50’s and 60’s. The teacher at the time was Ida Guthrie. The school house still stands and was renovated into a house. My grandparents bought their farm ( a large property that extended from the 8th concession to the 9th concession of Darling Township from David Caldwell in the early 50’s.