Tag Archives: rosamond mill

The Rosamond Christmas Party 1863-or- When Billie Brown and I Slid Down Old Cram’s Cellar Door





Woollen Mill Party

In view of the claim that a people and its times often are best reflected in its songs, a Christmas Eve supper party given by the Rosamonds to their employees of 1863 may be worth recalling.  Its chairman was Thomas Watchorn, formerly of Carleton Place and later of Lanark and Merrickville.

A song by a member of the party was given between each toast after the supper, ending with the glee club’s Christmas carols at midnight.  The offerings of Mr. Hepworth, the principal performer, included: The Cottage by the Sea, Dearest Mary, Little Tailor, The Factory Bell, A Merry Ploughboy, A Kish of Black Turf, Young Ramble Away, Stunnin’ Pair o’Legs, and The Sailor’s Grave.

Mr. Lowe offered Hard Times Come Again No More ; Mr. Douglas gave I’ll Marry Both Girls Bye and Bye, and J. Dornegan The Wedding of Ballyporeen.  The Irish wit *George Bond contributed I’ll Never Get Drunk Again.   Did you know that George Bond, born in Carleton Place in 1837, was still singing in a celebration of his hundredth birthday by relatives and friends at his home in the Clyde Hotel in Lanark in 1937, when he “concluded the happy event by singing, in a fine clear tenor voice, When Billie Brown and I Slid Down Old Cram’s Cellar Door.”)

For the Christmas party of the men of the Almonte woollen mill, in the time of local recruiting and Canadian defense preparations which accompanied the progress of the United States Civil War, a fitting conclusion with the national anthem was guest Dr. William Mostyn’s The Banner of Old England.


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Within Almonte Rosamond behaved in the traditional manner of local patriarchs. He was active in municipal affairs, as a township councillor and reeve and in the 1880s as mayor of Almonte; in addition, he was chairman of the Board of Education. He donated to the town a hospital, named after himself, supported St Paul’s Church (Anglican), and was involved in a plan to conserve the upper waters of the Mississippi. Toward his factory workers he could be benign, treating them to Christmas parties, sponsoring a choir, and providing them with a “spacious croquet lawn.” In return, he expected and generally received their support for his ventures into politics.  Dictionary of Canadian Biography

*George Bond-

George Bond and Catherine Perritt were married at Carleton Place, April 15th., 1858 by
the late Rev. Mr. Holdcroft.   The groomsman was Mr. J. Griffith and the bridesmaid Miss
Mary McCallum, sister of Mrs. H. Wilson of this village.   The bridesmaid of that long ago
happy event is still living; she is now Mr. Wm Moore of Brockville.   The happy couple
went to reside in Perth, where they remained three years, proceeding to Almonte, Mr. Bond
taking a position with the Rosmond Woolen Co. which he filled for fifteen years.   All of
the family were born in Almonte, except the youngest (George), who first saw the light of day
in Pakenham, to which place they moved from Almonte, Mr. Bond to take charge of a woolen
mill for Hilliard, Dickson and Lorimer.   In July, 1870, the family came to Lanark, which
has been their home ever since, with the exception of a few years spent in Connecticut, U.S.A.
The family are: Mrs. James N. Dobbie and Mrs. R. R. Drysdale, Lanark; Wm.H. at Aitken,
Minn,; George in Spokane, Wash.; Joseph, deceased
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The Rosamond Woolen Company’s Constipation Blues



In the Rosamond Woolen Company’s offices, (now the home of the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum) there is an original office and managers washroom dating back to 1904. In 1900 a washroom called for the fixtures to be placed a dignified distance from each other. Undignified, were the many liquor bottles workers constantly found under the woolen mill’s plumbing renovations. Was the non-celebratory consuming of spirits caused from excessive office work?


Sigfried Gideon once said that the central space of the bathroom should be ample enough for moving around freely, or even exercising. However, the condensed size of that particular Almonte office bathroom became a fatality because of a certain plant manager’s girth. The gentleman was said to be a rather obese man and sadly died while contemplating his constitution on that very same commode. Were the stories from the voices of the Lanark wilderness true? Was there a great challenge to remove the man out of the washroom after his passing? One might say the poor man fatally spun his life away while the rest of the mill quietly wove wool tweed.

Am I trying to pull the wool over your eyes? You are just going to have to come and visit the Museum to see for yourself.


Mississippi Valley Textile Museum

3, Rosamond St. E.
Almonte, Ontario
K0A 1A0

October to March
Tuesday to Saturday: 10 am to 4 pm.

April to September
Tuesday to Saturday: 10 am to 4 pm.
Sunday: 1 pm to 4 pm.

Children under 12 are always free

Admission $5.00
Members admitted without charge