Tag Archives: portland

O.E. Rothwell Lumber Co. Lanark Village by Elaine Rothwell Hanna

O.E. Rothwell Lumber Co. Lanark Village by Elaine Rothwell Hanna

Prestonvale Baseball Team 1934
Back row: Bob McEwen, Mansell Horricks, Henry McFarlane, Tobias ‘Tib’ Stafford, Roy McEwen, Dawson Horricks
Front row: Ossie Rothwell, Billy Tullis, Lloyd Horricks, John Dickenson from Arlene Stafford

Hello Linda

I really enjoy your articles on Facebook.  With regards to the article about O.E. Rothwell Lumber Co. Ltd. I am attaching information about the lumber mill in Lanark which operated from 1946 to 2003 in the Village employing many local people over the years.

Hope some of this information will be helpful.

Elaine Rothwell Hanna

O.E. Rothwell’s introduction to the Forest Industry started by cutting cordwood in the winter and driving it to Carleton Place by horse and sleigh. In the summer months he was hired out as a farm hand to farms in the area of Ferguson Falls.

In 1936, Ossie, as he was known, hired four private sawmills known as Custom Mills. Two were situated in the Ferguson Falls area, one at Boyd’s Settlement and one at Brightside.

With the onset of World War II, Ossie in 1940 applied to join the Army. As a result of being in the lumber business he was refused entry because he was deemed too important to the war effort at home.

In 1942 Ossie purchased Christie Donaldson’s mill which he set up on the 9ft Concession of Lanark Township. This mill operated there for two years, then was moved to Clydesville for another two years.

In 1944 he purchased Waites Brothers mill with a Crown Timber Licence of 1600 Acres in the Ompah area of Mosque Lake and along with his own mill made one large mill from the two.

This mill was set up in 1946 on South Street in Lanark adjacent to the Clyde River. This was a seasonal mill and operated from April to the end of October. In the winter months a bush camp was set up on the Crown Licence which with logs cut there and private logs purchased locally supplied the mill during the summer period.

1956 saw the business being incorporated and becoming the O.E. Rothwell Lumber Co. Ltd. A planing mill was started in 1959 with equipment from Rothwell-Perrin Lumber Co. Ltd. in Portland, a Company which Ossie and Frank Perrin purchased in 1948 which was formerly Portland Lumber Co.

photo-Elaine Rothwell Hanna

Ossie was President of this Company until 1959 when he sold his shares to Mr. Perrin and some staff members when they started to build Pre-Fabricated houses. Construction of a new sawmill was started on the same site in Lanark in 1966 and started producing Lumber on August 28th, 1967. This automated mill used less labour and the average production was 3,000,000 board feet of lumber per year.

Two Dehumidification Dry Kilns with a capacity of 40,000 board feet were built in L976. This allowed some of the lumber being kiln dried to a moisture content allowing it to be used directly in the manufacturing of furniture.

Ossie retired in 1983 and the business was purchased by Don and Jeff Rothwell. Ossie passed away June 23d, 1985. A new planing mill was started in 1987, 20% of the production was company lumber and the remaining 80% was lumber from companies in Ontario and Quebec needing their lumber planed.

The 1990’s saw a boom in the hardwood lumber industry resulting in many companies building new mills with far larger capacities of production. As a result, in 2001,, with a surplus of hardwood lumber being produced in Canada and the United States and an offshore influence many mills were forced out of business. July 2003 saw the O.E. Rothwell Lumber Co. Ltd.being forced to close their doors.

The Prestonvale ball team in 1932, Tobias ‘Tib’ Stafford seated 2nd from the end, wearing a tie.
(other players unknown, but may be some of the same players as the 1934 team above)-from Arlene Stafford

photo-Elaine Rothwell Hanna


Rathwells and Rothwells —— O.E. Rothwell Lanark

Rothwell and Sheppard Genealogy Ferguson Falls

Questions questions… Robert J. Stead — Boyd’s Settlement and Rathwell

Samuel Rathwell Geneaology– Looking for Information

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 26- Mary Rathwell and Eleanor Ennis

The Leland and Rathwell Hotels on Bridge Street

Perth Planing Mill –The Second Oldest Lumber Yard in Ontario

Six Women in Town but Lots of Logging

Six Women in Town but Lots of Logging

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Black and white photograph of women at Halladay Cemetery in Elgin, Ontario around 1910


When Mr. James Scannell, of Chelsea, went to Portland township with his parents in the year 1860, Portland was still almost a virgin wilderness. The township had not long been opened for settlement. Mr. Scannell’s father, John B. Scannell, had left the third line of Huntley and had gone into Portland to take advantage of the fine and cheap timber land which was there being offered to settlers.

Mr. James Scannell was fifteen years of age in 1860, and therefore old enough to be able to give an intelligent story of things as they were in Portland in 1860. At that time the roads were mere trails through the virgin forest and the settlers were few and far between. Over 85 per cent of the settlers were single men, who were “proving” their claims. Some of them were from Eastern Ontario, but most were from Western Ontario.

Mr. Scannell tells that in 1860 out of a total number of settlers of about 60 there were only six women. When a young settlers decided to take to himself a helpmate on his farm, he usually went back for a time to his old home and secured one. In Carleton Place they were missing men and had too many women.

The first settlers spent nearly all their time cutting the pine and oak off their farms and hauling them the nearest creeks, where the lumber jobbers took them off their hands. The creeks in question all fed into the Lievre river.

Mr. Scannell saw the beginnings and growth of the village of Portland. The start of the store and other enterprises of Wm. F. Bonsall and the erection of the churches. For fifteen years from 1860 Portland township did not know what a doctor looked like.

There was practically no ordinary illness, and when anyone happened to break their leg or arm there was always somebody in the settlement who could set the limb. If the injury happened to be serious the victim was hauled to Ottawa or Hull on a buck-board. In later years Mr. Scannell left Portland township and moved to Kirk’s Ferry, where he ran a grocery store. Still later he moved to Chelsea village, where he and Mrs. Scannell conducted a summer hotel for years.


Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and theSherbrooke Record and and Screamin’ Mamas (USACome 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. Tales of Almonte and Arnprior Then and Now.


There was No Shortage of Wives in Carleton Place

It Wasn’t Raining Men in Carleton Place!



Tales From Rocky Narrows

Tales From Rocky Narrows


Situated six miles from Portland from Oliver’s Ferry, on the Rideau Lakes, is a picturesque little spot known as the Rocky Narrows. It is little more than a memory now. It was a busy place back in the 1850s, when square timber rafting on the Rideau was at its height and the only reliable means of transportation between Ottawa and Kingston was by water.

The only passenger boats In that period were the John Stewart and the Bytown, but Innumerable tugs and barges plied up and down the river and the inhabitants of the Rocky Narrows, as well as those of other points along the river, made a living by supplying these boats with wood and provisions.

The land around the Rocky Narrows was first owned by the late Elias Chamberlain, whose forebears were U.E. Loyalist stock, but in the 1850s it was purchased by the late Patrick McCann, a highly respected gentleman who came from the county of Cavan, Ireland, and settled near Portland.

Later he moved to the Rocky Narrows where he made his living by selling cordwood to the steamboats and tugs: coal was an almost unheard of in quantity in those days. The place known as McCann’s Wharf  became the summer home of the descendant of the late Judge Cross, of Montreal, and the lower landing place was the summer home of the family of the late Dr. McCallum, of Smiths Falls.

In the fifties an Indian known as Little John lived in the neighbourhood by Rocky Narrows wharf. He appeared to be self-supporting but the inhabitants knew very little about his activities. One day he disappeared and was never heard of again. There were other natives from the St. Regis Reserve, who visited the place every spring. Here they trapped and fished and made baskets which they old to the neighbouring farmers.

A thickly settles farming district one mile above the Rocky Narrows was inhabited 150  years ago by a Scots family, and this locality naturally enough received the name of Scots Point. In later years it was inhabited by six families, noted for their intelligence and charitableness. They were the McEwens, Readys, McMeans, Willis,Wills and Polks, all natives of Ireland. A few of their descendants occupied the old homesteads and it’s said that these people maintain the friendly tradition of their ancestors and are held in high esteem throughout the district.


Map of Rocky Narrows, Tay Valley, ON

The Setting
Originally known as the Upper Narrows (to distinguish it from the Lower Narrows, the area now known as Rocky Narrows), this was a shallow, narrow section of Rideau Lake. At this time, Rideau Lake was one lake, stretching from the Westport area to First Rapids (Poonamalie). Samuel Clowes’ 1824 survey indicated that the width of open water separating the north and south shores was 363 feet (111 m), however surveys in 1827 reported widths of only 100 to 150 feet (30 – 45 m). The depth of water in summer was about one foot (0.3 m), and it was commonly used as a ford. The length (along the line of the lake) of the shallows at Upper Narrows was estimated to be 250 feet (76 m) by MacTaggart, and 1,000 feet (305 m) during a later survey by Lt. Frome. The discrepancy in those numbers is likely simply due to the naturally fluctuating water levels of Rideau Lake. Read more here.. CLICK

 - Played Trick on a Balky Horse Animal Went Up...

 - Portland - On Rideau as Was Known Back in Year...


Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and theSherbrooke Record and and Screamin’ Mamas (USACome 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. Tales of Almonte and Arnprior Then and Now.


Tales from Oliver’s Ferry

Rideau Ferry Road– Black Snakes Bridges and SS#6

The Tragic Tale of the Rideau Ferry Swing Bridge

The Coutts House- Rideau Ferry Inn

Did the Germans Start the Fire at the Portland School in 1915?

Did the Germans Start the Fire at the Portland School in 1915?

When the white wooden schoolhouse in Newboyne and the Harlem schoolhouse were both burned to the ground in 1915, it was rumoured the Germans were behind the arson. The brick schoolhouse was erected on County Road 5 in 1918. It closed in 1936 due to a lack of students, and the few who remained went to S.S. No. 1 Newboyne. In 1956, S.S. No. 1 closed and the students were transported to S.S. No. 2 Newboyne, which finally closed its doors in 1966 when Rideau Centennial School opened. Shortly afterwards, the old schoolhouse was sold to the Anglican Church Women (ACW) for $1 and became St. Peter’s Anglican Church Hall.

The Germans burned down the school? 1915 was a busy year for things being done the Germans in our area it seems.  In February 1915 it was said that some of the folks in Brockville and the surrounding area were returning from church and spotted something lit in the sky on February 15, 1915.  When the mayor of Brockville and three constables also witnessed this alledged incident word quickly spread up and down the valley that the Germans were invading Canada.  Read more here: Was it the Germans Or UFO’s that Invaded the Ottawa Valley in 1915?

There were many phantom German air raids and war hysteria in Quebec and Ontario during the First World War. During the Great War vivid imaginations and wild rumours were the order of the day, and local politicians did little to ease fears. Nobody knows what started the fire at the Portland schools which totally destroyed tho building, doing damage to the extent of about $1500. No coal was put in the furnace after noon on the day before– so was it the Germans, or just schools needing much needed improvements finally succumbing to fire?\


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Black and white photograph of school group in front of Portland School in 1895. The school was built in 1888. Photo Our Ontario


Black and white photograph of Portland School group in 1897. Teachers identified as Hattie Donovan and Rebecca Edwards with 47 pupils. Photo Our Ontario


Black and white photograph of Portland School group in 1902. Identified as Miss Cawley, Mina Bell, and 37 pupils. Photo Our Ontario


Photograph of the Portland Public School in 1936. Left to right (front row): Donald Hull, Wilbert Dowsett, Edwin Baxter, Janet Biggs, Betty Seward, Cyril Hull, Howard Atwood, Gerald Hull, ? Broadbent, Alvin Seward,
Second row: Ms. Lovina Cameron (teacher), Bertha Simpson, Gwenyth McKenney, Mary Simpson, Joyce Gilmour, June Biggs, Mary Polk, Sylvia Stevens, Mr. Thrasher (music teacher)
Back row: Arnold Rogers, Donald Byington, Everett Hanna, Gerald Hanna, Tom Strickland, Orville Seward.-Photo Our Ontario


 - I ; I Portland' School Dispute Flarers Into...

Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Journal,
  2. 16 Aug 1960, Tue,
  3. Page 4

Portland is one of the early settlements along the Rideau. Although land was granted in the area of Portland in 1801, it was not until the early 1820s that a community started to grow in the location of the present day town. An 1818 map shows a trail leading to the location which is named “Old Landing.” An 1828 map also shows it as “Old Landing” with more of a substantial road leading to it (a road built in 1816). Local history credits the first settler on the village site as being Ami Chipman (b.1807, son of Heman Chipman). An 1830 map shows a “small settlement” in this location. The name of the small community was changed to Portland in 1833, in honour of William Henry Cavendish Bentinck, the 3rd Duke of Portland. The name Portland comes from the Isle of Portland, which lies off shore from Weymouth in Dorset, England.

Portland remained a centre of commerce through the 1800s, serving the commercial boat traffic that plied the Rideau. The business directory for 1866-67 listed coopers, hotel keepers, store keepers, blacksmiths, wagon makers, mitten makers, a watch maker, a miller, and a dentist. When commercial activity along the Rideau slowed down in the early 1900s, the main activity in Portland became a service centre for local residents, including the many people starting to cottage on Big Rideau Lake. This remains Portland’s raison d’être to this day.

There are several interesting buildings to see in Portland. These include the Emmanuel Anglican Church located on the height of land at the south end of town which was built in 1862. It was expanded in 1885 and in 1897 a tower with bell was added.  Rideau Canal Info

The Smith’s Falls News in 1837 reported a case of smallpox at *Oliver’s Ferry in 1837.  In that year an Irish woman with two daughters aged 12 and 13 were put off at the ferry from a steam boat.   Many settlers came as far as Brockvile, then walked north about twelve miles and then west to Portland where they were transported on the Rideau to Oliver’s Ferry, coming thence to Pert
#006032-86 (Lanark Co): David WILSON, 23, blacksmith, Almonte, same, s/o Hugh & Mary, married Lizzie CHURCHILL, 23, Portland – Leeds Co., Perth, d/o William & Melissa, witness was Albert LANG of Almonte, Nov. 2, 1886 at Perth.

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.

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


Was it the Germans Or UFO’s that Invaded the Ottawa Valley in 1915?

Tales from Oliver’s Ferry

Did you Know About the Wedding Cake Cottage?

Did you Know About the Wedding Cake Cottage?



One thing about researching history– when you are looking for something you find something else that is interesting. If  you travel along the east shore of Big Rideau Lake from Lands End to Fancy Free, you’ll be sure to notice the Wedding Cake Cottage, built about 1880.

This historic summer home is called the “Wedding Cake” cottage because of its white, three-tiered facade. It was one of two of this unique style of building built on Rideau Lake, the second one used to be at Rideau Ferry, but it was destroyed (either burned or taken down) in the early 2000s, so this building remains as the only example of this style of architecture on the lake.

Wedding Cake cottage sits on its own private island, also known as Gould’s Island, on the Rideau System which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some time in 2014-2016 for the first time in 60 years, this landmark cottage on Big Rideau Lake was sold–asking price was $525,000.



Wedding Cake 1950









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.

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




Before the View Master — Found in a Crosby Lake Cottage

What do You Know About the Hawthorne Cottage?

The Cottages of Mississippi Lake — Carleton Place Ontario


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