Tag Archives: tannery

Charles McNeil Tanner in Clayton

Charles McNeil Tanner in Clayton
Photo from-Almonte Gazette Fake News- Rosemary Sarsfield Sets it Straight

On Thursday, November 13, death claimed one of the oldest and most esteemed citizens of the village of Clayton, in the person of Mr. Charles McNeil, aged 87 years. He was the eldest son of George and Jane McNeil of Arbroath, Scotland, and was born in the year 1813. He came to Canada with his parents when he was a lad of 12 years of age. They settled in Quebec for some years, later moving to Renfrew where Mr. McNeil received his education. During his early manhood years he went to Kingston where he learned the trade of a tanner and currier. At the age of 21, he with his parents came to Clayton and purchased the property on which he resided during the remainder of his life, from the Jno. Sutherland, of Union Hall. –Almonte Gazette, 1930

From Rosemary’s book-Almonte Gazette Fake News- Rosemary Sarsfield Sets it Straight

George McNeil bought the Tannery property on 2879 Tatlock Road from John Sutherland Sr on June 4, 1866 and was a widower. In the 1871 census it states he was born in Scotland as was his son Charles , age 27. Charles was also a tanner and this was a long established business by the McNeil famil in Clayton. By 1882 only Charles is listed as George is now an elder in his 70s. Charles advertised The Tannery for sale in 1882 which included 2 acres of land. For some reason the Tannery was never sold and the McNeil family lived on the property until the 1950s.

Charles’s wife’s name was Anne and they had 10 children: George, Archibald, William, Thomas, Charley, Mary, Ann, James, Agnes,and Robertson. By the time Charles died 6 of his children had predeased him. Charles was also heavily involved with the Presbyterian Church involved with the selling of the old one and building of the new one. He was a strong man of temperance and when Union Chirch came he joined it without question. He was secretary treasurer of the Guthrie Unied Church for 27 years and served as the janitor for 52 years. He worked on providing sidewalks along with others for the village of Clayton and was instrumental in securing telephones for the hamlet.

Related reading-

George Sadler — Clayton Doctor

Do You Remember Yoshiba’s Retreat? Clayton

Clifford Stanley May 4 1933 — Rescued Photos from Clayton Hall

Silas Shane Shoemaker Lanark, Clayton, Almonte

J. Paul’s Store in Clayton –Putting Together a Story — Joseph Paul and Margaret Rath Paul

Brice McNeely, a Tannery and Eggs Benedict

Brice McNeely, a Tannery and Eggs Benedict
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
17 Jun 1989, Sat  •  Page 109

Here in Carleton Place can park their cars and eat great food, including breakfast, beside the Mississippi River. The building was constructed in 1861, although a tannery was first operated on the site in 1852.

Joe Scott took a poor calf skin to Brice McNeely who had a tannery on the banks of the Mississippi on Bell Street and asked what he was paying for hides. Brice told him 60 cents each with ten cents off for every hole in the hide.

You’d better take it, Mr. McNeely, and I think I owe you something for it,” was the startled reply from J. Scott as Brice looked at the hide with more holes than Swiss Cheese.

Carleton Place Herald 1900

Farmers may have driven their animals to Carleton Place, where John Murdoch’s tannery at “Morphy’s Ford” turned hides into leather. It’s now The Gastro Pub, still with the beautiful patio.

Brice McNeely bought the business in 1860 and left the building to his son, who turned it into a summer home at the turn of the century. It first became a restaurant in 1981, and a dining lounge was built from a local log barn. The lounge is named “Henry’s” after a friendly ghost who’s rumoured to haunt the premises. Now it is called The Waterfront Gastro Pub

12 Bell Street (0.08 mi)
Carleton Place, ON, Canada K7C 1V9-(613) 257-5755

Read more about the history of Brice McNeely here:

You Would Never Find Warm Leatherette at the Local Carleton Place Tannery

The Moore Legacy — Frances Moore — Genealogy

The McNeely Family Saga– Part 3

The McNeely Family Saga– Part 1 and 2

The Carleton Place House with the Coffin Door

“This day twenty years ago I came to Carleton Place, near the close of the Civil War.  At that time property was of little value.  I took charge of the railway station as station master.  The only industries in the place were the grist mill, run by Mr. Bolton, Allan McDonald’s carding mill, Brice McNeely’s tannery and the saw mill run by Robert Gray, with one circular saw.  David Findlay’s foundry was just starting.

The lead mines were about closing down then.  Twenty years ago it may be said there was no such thing as employment here for anyone and, strange as it seems, no one seemed to wish for work.  Their wants were few, and those wants seemed to be soon supplied.–George Lowe, a seventy year old resident of Carleton Place: (July 1884)

Ad from Carleton Place newspaper 1873 from .. Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Brice McNeely’s tannery is one of the oldest in this part of the country. The proprietor manufactures leather of various kinds and is one of our substantial steady and increasingly prosperous men, with considerable real estate. John F. Cram, whose large wool-pulling establishment is well known in this section, manipulates a vast amount of sheep pelts in a year, his premises being one of the most extensive in Eastern Ontario. He also manufactures russet leather.

Did you know the library used to be in the town hall and Brice McNeely Jr was not only the superintendent for the St James Sunday School but also the town librarian. He picked out the books for you to read and you had no choice in the matter and had to take what was given to you.

Ottawa Daily Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
25 Feb 1896, Tue  •  Page 5
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
04 Jul 1903, Sat  •  Page 6
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
26 Dec 1942, Sat  •  Page 12

Donald Munro Wool Puller

Donald Munro Wool Puller


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File:Stamp Canada 1900



Brice McNeely’s tannery is one of the oldest in this part of the country. The proprietor manufactures leather of various kinds and is one of our substantial steady and increasingly prosperous men, with considerable real estate. John F. Cram, whose large wool-pulling establishment is well known in this section, manipulates a vast amount of sheep pelts in a year, his premises being one of the most extensive in Eastern Ontario. He also manufactures russet leather.

Donald Munro, having severed connection with the other large wool-pulling establishment in which he was a partner and started in the same business on his own account, has by untiring perseverance and good equipment worked up a remunerative business.

So what was a wool puller?

Job Description:

1) Removes wool from sheep pelts and sorts wool into bins: Holds pelt against angled table and pulls wool from pelt.

2) Examines and grades wool according to color, texture, and length.

3) Places wool in designated containers.

4) Scrapes remaining wool from pelt, using scraping stick.

5) Cuts off brand marks and wool around head and feet with shears.

6) Places stripped pelts on racks or truck.

7) May grade pelts before pulling.





Clipped from Democrat and Chronicle,  02 Feb 1874, Mon,  Page 4



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  02 Nov 1937, Tue,  Page 3


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

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.



You Would Never Find Warm Leatherette at the Local Carleton Place Tannery

Past Parables of the Penman Woollen Mill

Armchair Tourism in Carleton Place– Wooly Bully!!!! Part 6

So How Much Time Do You Get for Stealing Wool?

Before The Carleton Place Mews?

Carleton Place Wins Prizes for their Wool!

“Wear Your Woolens Ladies” — says The Carleton Place Canadian



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Dream a Little Dream About the Hemlock Tree




The Hemlock is a tree who, due to her longevity,  holds our histories and stories. The logging industry stimulated economic development in the 19th century, with white pine logs exported to Europe. Local forests were depleted of hemlock to provide bark for the leather tanning industry. The bark of eastern hemlock is rich in tannin and was once one of the main commercial sources for the leather industry.

Unfortunately, trees were often stripped of their bark and left to rot. Brice McNeely from the Carleton Place Tannery was always on the outlook for Hemlock bark. Now they use Chromium(III) sulfate to process the hides.


Ad from Carleton Place newspaper 1873 from .. Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum



Canadian Bark Works

drawing of Canadian Barks Works

The company started its operation in 1868 by a group of business men of Perth including Thomas Aspden, Alexander Morris, William J. Morris, Captain John Manion, John S Hart and a Boston Company. Located on Lot 2, Concession 3 of the Bathurst Township, the northern shore of Christie Lake on Gravely Bay was chosen as the location for the mill because it was thought there would be an adequate amount of hemlock trees to sustain business. The mill extracted tannin from hemlock bark, which was used in leather tanning. The tannin was exported as well as used locally at a tannery in Perth. The company closed in 1874, citing a lack of hemlock in the area.

Related reading: Did you know our Hackberry grove on Mill Street is quite possibly 5000 years old?


You Would Never Find Warm Leatherette at the Local Carleton Place Tannery


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Clipped from The Ottawa Journal, 27 Oct 1979

McNeely Tannery

Address: 12 Bell Street Carleton Place, Ontario

In 1861, Brice McNeely established a tannery in a simple stone building on the north shore of the Missisippi River. Mr. McNeely continued to run the tannery for 40 years.

Bell Street even century ago had some twenty five buildings scattered along its present four blocks. William Street already had a similar number. The section from Bell Street north to the Town Line Road, as the first subdivision of the future town, had most of its streets laid out as at present, but north of William Street they held in all only five or six houses.

The block of Bell Street next to Bridge Street was the second early business section of the town. The first business there had been started about thirty-five years before this time by Robert Bell, together with his elder brother John and assisted for some years by his younger brother James, sons of the Rev. William Bell of Perth.

On the south side of this Bell Street block were several shops with living quarters, including buildings owned by Mrs. Morphy and William Muirhead. Down by the river side was an old tannery, once owned and possibly built in 1825 by Robert Bell. It had been owned for some years by William Morphy junior and was bought in 1861 by Brice McNeely, who built the present stone building there where he continued a leather tanning business for forty years or more. Local forests were depleted of hemlock to provide bark for the leather tanning industry

Brice McNeely’s tannery was one of the oldest in this part of the country. McNeely manufactured leather of various kinds and he was one of the town’s substantial steady and prosperous men, with considerable real estate. Brice ended up buying the house with the coffin door on High Street. More on that home this week. He was also one of the founding members of the Carleton Place Masonic Lodge when he began correspondence with Johnston Neilson of St. Frances Lodge in Smiths Falls.

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The fonds at the Archives of Ontario still contains the financial records from the Carleton Tannery. Included are ledgers noting financial transactions by client, between 1861-1901 and 1881; and four daybooks noting daily financial transactions, from 1861-1904. The fonds also contains a record of hides tanned from 1863 to 1894, which notes the name of the client who wanted tanning, the items tanned, and the date.

These records were donated to the Archives of Ontario by Henry Stanley of Nepean in 1984.


Brice ‘Tanner’ McNeely b: June 14, 1831 in Beckwith Twp.,
Ontario d: March 09, 1920 in Ramsay Twp., Ontario Burial: St. Fillan’s, United Cemeteries,
His wife, Mary McDowell.
Brice Jr.
Wm. McD. McNeely.
Elizabeth McNeely.

Photo of Bell Street in Carleton Place by The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Bell Street heading towards Bridge Street c.1870. The photograph features some of our first hotels in Carleton Place!
On Bridge Street facing the camera is the “Waterloo Hotel”, which was built in the late 1830s for innkeepers Robert and James Bell. Napoleon Lavellee took over in 1846, later renaming it the “Carleton House Hotel” after building a third floor in 1856. He operated until 1870. It was then renamed the “Leland Hotel” by Peter Salter in 1900. Finally in 1904 Michael Doyle operated the hotel and his son, Leo, took over in 1916.
On the right side of the street is “McCaffrey’s Hotel”, operated by Absolam McCaffrey from 1863 to 1870.



Obit.— Mrs. Brice McNeely, sen. On Wednesday afternoon last Mrs. Brice McNeely, sen., passed peacefully to rest at the family home in Ramsay, at the ripe old age of 82 years. The deceased lady was bora at Raboo, Ireland, July 31, 1837, her maiden name being Mary McDowell, daughter of James and Mary McDowell. She was educated in the national and church schools and when 20 years or age met her future husband in the person of Mr- Brice McNeely, who in. 1857 paid a visit to the home of his fathers in the old land and met his fate. On July 14th of that year -they were married’-and came to America, settling first in the United States, where they lived for four years, coming to Canada in 1861 and settling at Carleton Place, where for many years Mr. MpNeely conducted successfully a tanning’ business, and where most of their children, eleven in all, were born and educated, the family moving out to Ramsay some few years ago after the children were scattered. Eight of the children survive, three sons and five daughters. The sons are James Brice and William : the daughters Mrs. J. B.’ Houston, Mrs. Thos. James, Mrs. John Tait (Portland, Wash.), Mrs. Major Hooper and Miss Elizabeth at home. She was a conscientious member of the Anglican faith and a regular attendant at St. James church, especially at the early services, being of a very retired and reserved disposition. In July, 1907, the aged couple celebrated their golden wedding, and in 1917 their diamond anniversary, and one of the proudest moments of ‘her life was when she marked her first ballot at the last Dominion election, being then 80 years of age. The funeral took place on Friday afternoon last to St. Fillan’s cemetery, and was very largely attended, Rev. Canon Elliott conducted the services.— Herald.