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Graham Forgie and 65 Mill Street

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Graham Forgie and 65 Mill Street

 

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On the last day of December in 1894 on Saturday afternoon Mr. and Mrs. Graham Forgie that lived on the 11th line of Ramsay, were driving home from Almonte. The team became unmanageable as they began their journey and finally ran away when they were on the outskirts of the town.

During the latter half of the 1800s, Ontario roads were in a serious state of neglect and deterioration. Historians call this the “dark age of the road” where roads were being uploaded and downloaded among levels of government. Roads were opened, roads were abandoned. But this would begin to change in the 1890s—when the first automobiles appeared

Mr. and Mrs. Forgie were thrown out of the buggy on a fence. Mr. Forgie escaped with a few bruises, but Mrs. Forgie was injured badly. Her breast bone and several ribs were fractured, and she was unconscious for some time. She is still in a serious state, and suffers so much that the poor woman was kept almost constantly under the influence of morphine. Dr. Hanley, who is attending Mrs. Forgie, says she is seriously injured, but is doing as well as could be expected They were also members of the The Ramsay Free Church and the congregation is praying for her.

Did you know the Forgies also owned 65 Mill Street? See below.

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historicalnotes

THE RAMSAY FREE CHURCH OR CANADA PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.

These people seceded from the Church of Scotland, the Auld Kirk in 1845 and in 1846 built the Free Church, a large frame plaster cast Church on Lot 15 West Concession 8, across the corner from the Auld Kirk. The church was destroyed by fire in 1926. It had been used as a barn. The manse, a white frame house still stands and was long used as a farm dwelling. In it Dr. Robert Tait McKENZIE was born and later it was the dwelling of Mr. & Mrs. Wm. ALLEN, Mr. David WILSON and Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth McGREGOR

 

 

65 Mill Street Almonte

(Report prepared by Linda Hamilton for the Mississippi Mill Heritage Committee in May 2016)

 

Commercial with some residential. Commercial includes Kentfield Kids, Century

21, and Doree’s Habit. The second story currently houses BH Photography’s reception, office, and studio space.

 

History: This building was built in 1873 By James Graham Shaw Forgie (b1833 d1916). The Forgies were a prominent Almonte family at the time. James was the fourth of thirteen children born to Graham and Ann Forgie, both of whom had emigrated from Scotland. James G. S. Forgie married Isabella Thomlinson (his cousin) on May 7, 1855. Isabella passed away in 1907. He married his second wife, Georgina Gray Smith in 1911. James G. S. Forgie bought Pt Lot 19A on which 65 Mill street stands, in 1867 for $3240.

 

There is evidence to suggest that the building was built in two parts. The recent renovations revealed bricked-in doors and windows (the arched bricks that would have gone over the tops are visible) and the foundation is also at a different level. The

western most half was built first. Evidence also suggests that at the time that it was built, the western most wall was an exterior wall which is true because the adjacent building, 61-63 Mill was built in 1875. James G. S. Forgie owned several other properties, among them the old Penman woolen mill on Mill St.

 

In 1869 Rosamond employees were criminally prosecuted for destroying 60 ft of the Almonte Chancery dam in a case that became known as Rosamond vs. Forgie. (see story

below). James Forgie died at age 83 in 1916. That year his widow, Georgina and son John Graham Forgie (a lawyer, born 1862 in Almonte) sold the property to the Nontells.

 

In the twenties, 65 Mill Street was part of the “Nontell Block”, referring to the family who owned it. Isaac Nontell (b1865) and his wife Hattie had three daughters: Pearl, Iva, and Olive. Pearl was born in 1894.

 

In his essay Almonte in the Twenties, Almonte historian Earl Munro wrote that the building contained a cafe and a store run by O’Kilman’s (subsequent owners of that cafe were George Blickman and later Mr. Evoy). Apparently the Nontells lived in one of the two second floor apartments. On the top story a long hall ran the length of the building with a row of rooms facing the street and another at the back, mostly rented by millworkers at a cost of $1.50 per week. Louis Peterson, the renowned Almonte ice cream maker, rented there too. In 1956 The Nontell’s heirs sold 65 Mill street to Lloyd North and his wife for $14300. Lloyd North was a town councillor. He died in 1968. There were various subsequent owners in the later part of the 20th century. Stephen Brathwaite, Marc Lefebvre and Peter Egan bought it from the Lefebvre family who owned V&S. (Stedmans)

 

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CLIPPED FROM

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
02 Jan 1906, Tue  •  Page 9

 

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