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Watson’s Mills Family in Carleton Place –Erin McEwen

Watson’s Mills Family in Carleton Place –Erin McEwen



Did you know that you have two grandsons of the Watson’s Mill living here in Carleton Place? One of them is my husband 🙂 Not sure is this is too out of your boundary; however there is a fabulous ghost story involved!!!! Amelia loves visiting and seeing her GPa’s pix in the museum and visiting their old house.

In 1860, Moss Kent Dickinson and Joseph Merrill Currier founded Watson’s Mill in Manotick (at that time it was known as the Long Island Milling Enterprise). This same year, Joseph met Anne (Annie) Elizabeth Crosby. It was love at first sight and was not long before she became Joseph’s second wife (his first wife and children were deceased). After they were wed, during their mon-long honeymoon, the two attended a celebration to commemorate the Mill’s successful first year of operation. For the celebration, Annie was dressed in a beautiful white hooped dress. Unfortunately, the full crinoline hooped skirt, while fashionable, proved dangerous on this occasion. While descending the stairs from the attic to the second floor of the Mill, the skirt of Annie’s dress was caught in a revolving drive shaft. Allegedly, Annie turned to Joseph to utter an endearment. At this instant, Annie’s dress flared out and caught on one of the rotating shafts. Annie was pulled off her feet and thrown against a nearby support pillar. She was killed instantly. Joseph was so distraught by the death of his wife that he sold his shares in the Mill to his business partner and left Manotick. In 1868, Joseph remarried. Joseph’s third bride was Hannah Wright (the daughter of Ruggles Wright (the son of Philemon Wright, founder of Hull)). That same year, Joseph built a grand house in Ottawa for Hannah.

The address is 24 Sussex Drive. Yes, you read that correctly…it is now known at the house of the Prime Minister (the house was purchased by the Canadian government in 1943). Annie’s body was buried back in Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa; however, her spirit continues to live at Watson’s Mill. It is said that on dreary days and misty evening, Annie can still be seen staring out of the second floor windows of the Mill. Moreover, several people have claimed to hear “lady like” footsteps on the second floor – when no one is upstairs. Other have claimed that they have been “grabbed” on the stairs. Rumour has it, Ann wishes to ensure that no one else shares her fate. In 1946 Curtis’ grandfather Harry Watson, purchased the mill and renamed the Mill Watson’s Mill. Harry Watson was the last owner to operate the Mill at an industrial level. The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority purchased the Mill in 1972 and it was developed into a museum. Curtis’ father, Robert Watson spent many a Summer working in the Mill. Moreover, the Watson family lived onsite from 1946-1972.

To this day he claims that he has never seen the ghost of Annie; however, there have been many ghost investigation teams that beg to differ. For ourselves, we have never visited on a dreary day or a misty evening…perhaps we should? Here is a photo of Harry’s great-granddaughter Amelia looking out of the second floor window where Annie is said to stare out of…perhaps children are more in-tune with apparitions? Amelia is typically a very “go-go” child and yet she was very calm at this particular place…?

Erin McEwen