Tag Archives: mica

Memories of Local Mica

Memories of Local Mica
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
26 Oct 1909, Tue  •  Page 1

Mica seems to have been a big industry … much of the work seems to have been done by women — except for all the men working in the mica mines.I expect General Electric used mica as insulation material as well as sight lenses in fuses due to its transparency.

Storeroom Stories: General Electric D-12 Toaster

25 years ago the late Miss Lillian Smith of Perth donated a now century old six ledger book to the Perth Museum. The ledger was originally part of the American Mica Mining Company operating in North Burgess Township during 1864-65. This pay roll lists the names of many well known district families. To say nothing of showing the differences in wages paid miners 100 years ago and today.The first name entered in the ledger is that of Thomas Stapleton, a blaster.

For the week ending September 24, 1864, Thomas received $5 for four days work at $1.25 per day. Thomas McPharland, pitman, was paid $4.80 for a six day stint at 80 cents a day. John McPharland, a dresser, worked one day that week for 30 cents. For the week ending October 1, Owen Powers, foreman, was reimbursed to the tune of $7.50 ($1.25 per day). G.N. Randall, superintendent of the cutting and directing, was paid $3.21 per day, definitely “top brass” earnings. But he was still far from the class of engineer F. Poole (F. Poole and Associates) whose salary was $6 per day. A. Castle, described as a “superintendent” was paid $1 per day and granted $8.35 in “expenses” from Montreal to the mines. It may be that Mr. Castle was some sort of supervisor whose duties were dignified with a fine sounding title somewhat like discreetly referring to today’s garbage men as “sanitary engineers”.One hundred years ago the company paid out an average of $219 per week in wages and salaries for 104 days work and a work day was ten hours long. This means that the hourly rates were as follows: blaster, twelve and a half cents; pitman, eight cents; dresser, three cents; foreman, twelve and a half cents; superintendent of cutting and dressing, thirty two cents; engineer, sixty cents.In the interests of genealogy, a reproduction of the names in the list on the ledger is given:Foremen: Owen Powers and Peter PowersBalster: Bernard BernsPitmen: Pat White, Peter White, Michael McPharland (#1), Michael McPharland (#2), Thomas McPharland, Francis McPharland, Lawrence Russell, Thomas Stapleton, Thomas Darcy, Michael Darcy, Owen McCann, Michael Carrens, John McNamee, T. Queen, Alexander Parks, Thomas Burns, Arthur Donnelly, Hugh McShane, Hugh Kelly, Michael White, John Ryan, William Whitelaw, James McLade (this could have been McGlade).Striker: Peter MartinBalsters: John Donnelly, Thomas Donnelly, Pat K. Morgan, Arthur Fagan, Thomas Drennan, Michael Hanley, Joseph Bennett, Henry Miles, Pat Quinn, Lawrence Russell, Owen Loy

Joann Voyce My parents never mentioned that. I do remember the Mica mine on the extension of Bridge St when we picked berries where all those houses are now

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
01 Feb 1907, Fri  •  Page 10

1906-A mica-splitting industry of the General Electric Company was being carried on in J. R. McDiarmid’s Newman Hall at the corner of Bridge and William Streets. Gardiner’s Creamery was built on Mill Street. Concrete sidewalks were being laid on many town streets.

If you are a game of thrones fan you will look at this and say “dragon glass!” Nope.. as you know we had many mica mines around here and here is proof..Carly England found a real cool chunk of mica in the garden wall.. An homage to those of days gone by.

Linda Gallipeau-Johnston They used mica as windows in wood stoves back in the 40’s and I read the contents to an eye shadow and mica was on the list of ingredients – you just never know!!

 ‘We used to roam around among the hills hunting for this mica, which we knew as Isinglass. The hills seemed full of it. We’d make large collections of it for our playhouses. We’d make windows of it never once thinking that one day it would become the great value it now is. People don’t know the vast wealth that is hidden away in these mountains. They have not even begun to scrape the edges of the wealth’. –1880

Carleton Place genealogy.. Mica Factory partner which was on Bridge Street–Clipped from The Ottawa Journal, 27 Mar 1899, Mon, Page 6

This woman (and tractor) are posing in front of the stone building at the corner of Bridge and William Streets – once the Opera House, a mica factory, and later, Brewer’s Retail in Carleton Place.

Lost Ottawa· July 29, 2019 ·  Mica seems to have been a big industry in Ottawa, Hull and the Valley, and much of the work seems to have been done by women. Workers for the mica division of the General Electric Company posing in front of their building in Masson, early 1900s.

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
28 Jul 1909, Wed  •  Page 4

David Dunlop 17 Beech Street off Preston (now 95 Beech) was a mica sorting plant in 1915/1916. Ottawa Citizen and Morning Journal advertised for young men and women to work in the plant. Now an industrial condo, I found pieces of mica in what is now the condo front garden.

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
28 Feb 1955, Mon  •  Page 10

From Dublin to Drummond- Mahon Family Reunion — The Series Part 7 — The Mica Mine

From Dublin to Drummond- Mahon Family Reunion — The Series Part 7 — The Mica Mine



Did you know…
John Mahon was the owner of a mica mine in the early 1900’s. Located just north of Murphy’s Point Park it was along the cross-country ski trail and called the Mahon Occurrence. Originally producing phosphate John took over in 1908 mining mica. According to government records nearly $4000 worth of mica was removed in just a few months. In today’s dollars that is the equivalent of $89,000. Give or take a penny or two.
The exact location will be on the self-driving tour map distributed during the Family Reunion.
On a personal note, I remember mum talking about family rowing across Rideau Lake to work the mine. I wonder if they sang “Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s off to work we go” during the crossing. —

Dublin to Drummond 200th Mahon Family Reunion






The merry men of the Mahon Mine Occurrence. I believe John Mahon is the fellow on the far left. Other faces look familiar but if anyone can provide names please do so. —

Dublin to Drummond 200th Mahon Family Reunion

Jo-Ann Rogers My Grampa, Joe Mahon used to bring me to the mica mine. I was fascinated with the ability to peel off the layers. Grampa was so proud of the mine and the family history that belonged with the mine!




Mahon Mine

Location: Lot 10, concession V, North Burgess township,

Lanark county.





Apatite, phlogopite, pyroxene, calcite.

An old phosphate producer the mine produced

mica in 1908 under the direction of J. Mahon of

Rideau Ferry and continued intermittently until

  1. The mica workings lie a few hundred feet

southwest of the old phosphate pits, on a small

gully which has been worn out by water along a line

of pockets in dark green pyroxenite. A shaft

was sunk to a depth of 30 feet.

The mica occurs in pink calcite bodies in

fissures and pods in green metamorphic

pyroxenite. The mica is of good quality, but

small in size, the average being 2 by 3 inches.

The lead strikes N75OE.

Reference: de Schmid (1912, p. 166)


This property belongs to Mr. J. Mahon, of Rideau Ferry, and 

lies about a fourth of a mile to the west of Mr. Smith’s mine on lot 9. 

Formerly an old phosphate producer, the mine lay idle until 1908, when the 

present owner commenced work with three men, and has continued inter- 

mittently up to the present time. The present workings lie a few hundred 

feet southwest of the old phosphate pits, on a small gully which has been 

worn out by water along a line of pockets in a dark green pyroxenite. These 

pockets or chimneys connect horizontally by narrow fissures and are filled 

out with large bodies of pink calcite in which the mica crystals are dis- 

seminated. The latter are of fine quality, dark mottled-amber in colour, 

and of rather small size, the average being 2″ X 3″. A depth of some 

30 feet has been reached in a small shaft sunk on the largest of the pockets, 

and several smaller openings have been made along the line of lead. The 

direction of the chain of pockets is W. 15° S.,and indications tend to show the 

existence of similar cavities to a considerable depth. The fact that water 

never accumulates in the workings, but sinks away at once, is a very favour- 

able sign. A little phosphate accompanies the mica. The present operator 

lias taken out mica to the value of $4,000 in the space of a few months, and 

there is little doubt that the mine would repay more extensive development.
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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
17 Oct 1899, Tue  •  Page 2

More tomorrow


Stay tuned for more as:

All are welcome, all are welcome,

All are welcome in this place.



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 and The Tales of Almonte

From Dublin to Drummond- Mahon Family Reunion — The Series –Part 1

From Dublin to Drummond- Mahon Family Reunion — The Series –Part 2

From Dublin to Drummond- Mahon Family Reunion — The Series –Part 3

From Dublin to Drummond- Mahon Family Reunion — The Series –Part 4 — The Family Photograph!!!!


From Dublin to Drummond- Mahon Family Reunion — The Series –Part 6– Do you Know These Unknown Folks?