Tag Archives: wool


Unexpected Almonte
November 21, 2019  · 

This is a “general view of Almonte textile mills.”
From left to right, the mills include the Almonte Knitting Co., Rosamond Mill No. 2 (left of the tall building), Yorkshire Wool Stock Mill (tall building), J. M. Haskins’ Cataract Grist and Flouring Mills (foreground), and the 1858 timber slide on the right, used for moving timber from the upper level of the Mississippi River to “The Bay”.
Photo from the book, Lanark Legacy, no specific date given for this photo, but would be sometime circa 1863 (when Haskins had a grist mill) #Almonte #MillHeritage

During those years Almonte was known to travelers on the trains as The Woolen Town, because the Rosamond Woolen Company, the Old Red Knitting Company, the Penman Woolen Mill, Campbell’s Woolen Mill, the Yorkshire Wool Stock Mill and Wm. Thoburn’s Woolen Mills all made the flat metallic clacking of the looms as familiar a sound of Almonte as the whistle of the CPR steam locomotive. (from roots.org)



The buildings of the Yorkshire Wool Stock Company on Mill street were gutted in a fire which raged in the early hours of Tuesday morning in 1923. It was the most serious fire which has occurred in Almonte for many years. It had not been the first fire for the mill as it also had a fire in 1919 a few months after opening.The loss is probably about $ 200,0 0 0, partly covered by insurance. It is understood that over $ 100,000 worth of new machinery had been installed during the past fifteen months and further expansion was contemplated The Yorkshire Wool Stock Mill is owned by Julius Cohen.and Joseph with headquarters at Bradford, England, and branches in the United States.

Dr. A. Metcalfe, who lives across the river directly opposite the mill, rang the alarm a t 12.25 a.m. and immediately the fire bell started ringing. In quick time Mr. Hugh Martin and the fire brigade had the engines out, and were assisted by hoses from the adjacent garages and Penmans Limited. The flames were soon burning fiercely and the gravest anxiety prevailed as to the safety of the nearby buildings.

While the favourable elements contribute to this result, the work. of the local fire brigade cannot be too warmly commended. The new gasoline fire engine which the town council had the enterprise to purchase last year did splendid work, while the old steam engine broke down under the strain, Hour after hour  the new engine kept up a steady pressure of 125 pounds, at times forcing water from the river to a height of over 60 feet.

There were twenty-two men employed in the mill. Mr. N. H. Nicholson. is the local manager and Mr. John Blakeley, the mill superintendent.

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
09 Sep 1919, Tue  •  Page 8– first fire in 1919

The disastrous fire which destroyed the Yorkshire Wool Stock – Mill on Tuesday of last week, was not entirely quenched until Monday morning of this week. During the five days it smouldered, the conflagration broke out anew several times and there was danger with the heavy winds that prevailed at times that the disaster might assume larger proportions than it did. The municipal fire fighting equipment was withdrawn in the morning following the fire. Since that time the quenching of it was left to the Penmans.

Mr. N. H. Nicholson the local manager of the Wool Stock mills says: “We had great difficulty in fighting the fire after the municipal motor pump was taken away, and although several times we asked for protection we did n o t get it, and we had to rely on Penmans for putting out the fire. “Several times the conflagration broke out again*, and  there was grave danger of it spreading. We had finally to go to Penmans for protection and they took care of the subsequent conflagrations. We are grateful to Penmans for their assistance during the fire, particularly to Mr. B. K. Gunn, the manager, and Mr. M. N. Playfair, their engineer. “The town of Almonte is apparently a t the mercy of Penmans. Surely it is the duty of the town to take care of its fires instead of Penmans.”

–Penmans Mill Street– almonte.com

 Today the Gazette asked Mayor Thoburn if he had any statement to make regarding the foregoing and he replied that he might have something  to say later. It is not yet known if the Yorkshire Wool Stock Company will rebuild its property in Almonte, but  there is no doubt it will be a serious loss to the town if it moves elsewhere. It is understood that the company has received offers from many towns of good sites and good privileges to move the plant to these places. If the plant is taken away it will mean loss of work to about thirty people, affecting about one hundred and fifty persons.Mr. Nicholson states at a special meeting of the town council was to be called to consider the matter, but he has not heard that anything has been done. ” It is up to the people of Almonte to consider whether they wish to keep the town alive, by offering reasonable privileges to commercial enterprises to stay in the district, or whether they would rather see Almonte as one of the has beens.”

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
11 Sep 1923, Tue  •  Page 1

So what happened to the company? A few weeks later this appeared in the Gazette

The property of the Yorkshire Wool Stock Mill which was gutted by fire some weeks ago, has been sold, and the English company which owned it will leave Almonte. The purchasers are a company headed by Mr. P. J. Campbell, of the Campbell Woolen Company. The purchase price h;is not been stated, but the new company is capitalized at 100,000. This is the result of negotiations which have been under way for the past three weeks and only awaited the arrival of the principals of the Yorkshire Wool Stock Mill from England to complete.

Campbell and his business associates will make another change. It is no secret that he had intended to run for Mayor at the coming election. The Gazette asked him about this also, anti his reply was: “I had intended to run for Mayor, but I guess I can do more for the people of Almonte down at the mill than I can as mayor, meanwhile at any rate. I hope we have a good council next year.”

Related reading

Collie Mill Fire Almonte October 1, 1965

The Abandoned Appleton Mill

Almonte Fire 1903

1906 — Business Block is a Smouldering Block of Ruins– More Fires of Almonte

The Almonte Fire– Bridge and Water Street 1903

The Almonte Fire of 1909

The Almonte Fire 1909– Bank Manager Badly Injured

lmonte Fire of Nolan’s and Wylie’s Stable

The Almonte Fire 1955– Almonte United Church

The Almonte Fire– Bridge and Water Street 1903

Miss Eva Denault- Almonte 1911 Fire Heroine

Remember The Almonte Fire Truck Company?

Things About Bill Lowry 1998

Remnants of the Ramsay Woolen Mill

Remnants of the Ramsay Woolen Mill

The town’s woollen manufacturing had its start with the opening in 1851 of a mill with one set of machinery by the Ramsay Woollen Cloth Manufacturing Company, a company formed under the new Joint Stock Companies Act with capital raised in Ramsay and Beckwith among some forty shareholders.  The village of Ramsayville at this time had a population of little more than two hundred persons.  The next summer a fire destroyed the new woollen mill, gutted Daniel Shipman’s nearby unfinished and uninsured new gristmill and destroyed his old mill.  Disaster, however, struck a scant two months after the mill had been put into operation. Fire broke out. The mill was totally destroyed, and the company was forced by circumstances to close down. Two years later, in 1853, James Rosamond bought the site and prepared to rebuild on the same spot. Mr. Rosamond, however was from Ireland, and this time he resolved to build in stone.

The loss in this Mill Street fire, one of a number of similar fire losses of following years, was about 2,000 pounds  to the company and 2,000 pounds to Mr. Shipman.  Daniel Shipman at once rebuilt his mill within its standing stone walls.  The building, later owned by John Baird, finally was torn down in 1902.

The Ramsay Woollen Cloth Manufacturing Company opened in 1852 at
the bottom of Mill Street in a frame building with just one set of machinery.
This was the first local venture to process wool products for export, rather
than for local use. Shares were owned by 36 local residents, among
them Daniel Shipman (Ramsayville) and James Rosamond (Carleton

When the building was destroyed by fire the following summer,
Rosamond bought the site and water rights himself. By 1857 he had built a
3.5-storey stone building, known as the Victoria Woollen Mill, to produce
wool products for export. In 1862 James’ sons Bennett and William, who
had acquired management of their father’s textile business, doubled the
capacity of the Mill Street mill by adding a three-storey, five-sided building
adjacent to the earlier one. It is this second building which survives at 7
Mill Street.

Other woollen mills soon followed: Samuel Reid and John McIntosh established the Almonte Woollen Manufacturing Company on Shipman’s old sawmill site in 1854, operating there until 1865. Demand for woollen products was very good amongst the people on the farms in Ramsay and Huntley, the mill was the first woollen mill in the place, and the future looked good. Their venture marked the beginning of what was to become the major industry of the place for the next hundred years.



One day in the spring of 1851 Mr. Haskins and Mr. ———- (late in the employ of the Rosamond Woollen Co. of Carleton Place, called on my father,  John Gemmill who died the following year on the subject of establishing a mill at Almonte. This project was looked on favorably by Mr. Shipman. Mr. John Scott and Mr. Hugh Rae also favored it. The result was that a company was formed called “The Ramsay Woollen Cloth Manufacturing Company.” It ran a short time and was burned. This was the beginning of the industry in Almonte. Mr. John Gemmill was chairman of the Board in this firm. Shortly after the fire Mr. James Rosamond moved his machinery from Carleton Place to Almonte and launched the Rosamond Woollen Company which was for many years to enjoy an enviable prestige for turning out cloth of the highest quality. 

More History on the Almonte Knitting Mills — Wylie Milling Company

The Burning of Wylie’s Mill

The House on Thomas Street — Can You Help?

The Sad Saga of The Almonte Furniture Factory

Minute to Minute– The Almonte Flour Mill Explosion

Explosion at the Almonte Flour Mill–Rob Armstrong‎

The Mules of the Number 1 Mill?

Was Working in One of Our Local Mills Like Working in a Coal Mine?

Babies in the Textile Mills

The Drought of 1871 and the Mills on the Mississippi River

Shocking Murder in Almonte–Michigan Charlie

Mary Cook News Archives — The Wool Industry 1982

Mary Cook News Archives — The Wool Industry 1982

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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
01 Feb 1982, Mon  •  Page 7



Carleton Place Ladies Auxiliary — Chamber of Commerce 1987– Mary Cook Archives

It’s Hard for Women to get into Office in Carleton Place — 1974 –Mary Cook

Mary Cook Archives —Philip Mailey — January 25 1983

Carleton Place a place for Mad Scientists! Mary Cook News Archives 1983

Mary Cook Archives — Rifle Ranges and Nursery Schools — September 1980


The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 9- Code Family –“I had much trouble in saving myself from becoming a first class liar”

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 9- Code Family –“I had much trouble in saving myself from becoming a first class liar”


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In the Springtime of 1876, April 21, I came to town (Perth) having rented the McPherson carding mill as associate with my Uncle George. He was supposed to have the capital, but after a few days he got homesick and I decided to continue, feeling that to turn back would mean defeat and that I would never get anywhere.

The executors of the property trusted me to go ahead. I bought the yarn stock for 159 dollars and 60 cents on time. During the next two weeks business was good and I paid for this in full. As terms were cash I was enabled to finance. There was a shingle mill in connection. I bought the shingle stock and cut it into shingles, but I had much trouble in getting rid of the shingles.

I continued carding rolls for home spinning: charging four cents when oiled at home, and six cents per pound for spinning, deducting one pound in ten for loss; much of the wool was hand picked or semi washed.

Customers were strong on getting their own wool back in the yarn as each person thought that his wool was better than the others, but they did not always get it. I had much trouble in saving myself from becoming a first class liar as customers wanted to know when their work would be ready, and if not careful in promising trouble followed– sometimes with a severe chastisement.

In the autumn of 1876, together with a party, I went to *the Centennial at Philadelphia, Pa. We lodged in Germantown and had a rate one dollar a day. We were away 6 days in all, and altogether it cost me 28 dollars and a half. I was called the boy of the party, but I do not think it cost the others much more if anything. Of course we did not have Pullman accommodation.

When the custom season was over I was asked by the executors of the estate what I would give for the property where I was. I named 3000 dollars. Shortly after I was advised that the property had been sold to a *fellow elder at the figure that I had offered. I felt that I had been used, and naturally I was disappointed, however I resolved not to be outdone. I rented the small frame building at the south side of the stone flour mill and put in a water wheel. I installed carding and spinning machinery of a primitive character, and got into operation about the first of June 1877.

I got my share of the custom, and after two seasons, my opposition ceased to operate. The same executors came to me and asked me to buy the machinery. I told them I had no money, to which they replied that they would trust me. At the same moment one A. D. Disher– representing the McLaren Lumber Company at The Pache, province of Quebec– was on his way to buy the machinery. He was told that I had bought it so he came to me and asked if I would sell, and at what price. I named 1000 dollars for the cards, hand jack spinner, and the picker. He put his hand in his trouser pocket and produced one hundred 10 dollar bills. This happened without any banter whatsoever, and the deal was verbal.

I immediately went to the law office of F.A. Hall and paid off the claim. I had left a Judson roll card that had been operated by my Uncle Richard on the Haggart premises many years before, which together with some other equipment I had for 100 dollars. Without opposition the struggle was not so strenuous for a year or two, but the evolution had started from the homemade to the factory made.

Next- The Ryan Family and the Evolution of Socks




*In celebration of America’s one-hundredth anniversary of independence, the Centennial Exhibition took place on more than 285 acres of land in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park May 10-November 10, 1876. Close to ten million visitors (9,910,966) went to the fair via railroad, steamboat, carriage, and on foot. Thirty-seven nations participated in the event, officially named the International Exhibition of Arts, Manufactures, and Products of the Soil and Mine. The grounds contained five major buildings: the Main Exhibition Building, Memorial Hall (Art Gallery), Machinery Hall, Agricultural Hall, and Horticultural Hall. In addition to these buildings, approximately 250 smaller structures were constructed by states, countries, companies, and other Centennial bureaus that focused on particular displays or services.


*Of possible interest, a notice in the Courier in August 1872 announced that John Drysdale of Glen Tay had come to work in the carding mill of McPherson Wool in Perth. The Drysdales had a connection to the Adams family, and a man by the name of Drysdale was injured in the woolen mill fire of 1870




Photo- Perth Remembered

Note—When the post office opened in 1851 a clerical error resulted in the community being called Innisville. The error was never corrected.


The first industrial process on the site was operated by the Kilpatrick family beginning in 1842 and established as a tannery shortly thereafter.  In 1882 a new owner, Thomas Alfred Code, established Codes Custom Wool Mill with a range of processes, including: carding, spinning, fulling, shearing, pressing, and coloring of yarns. In 1896, its name was changed to the Tay Knitting Mill, and it produced yarn, hosiery, socks, gloves, sporting-goods, sweaters, and mitts. Another change came in 1899, when a felt-making process was introduced and the mill was renamed Code Felt. The company continued to operate until the closing of the factory in 1998.


51 Herriott – The Code Mill is actually a collage of five different buildings dating from 1842. T.A. Code moved to Perth in 1876, and bought this property by 1883. Code spent 60 years in business in Perth. The business started with a contract to supply the North West Mounted Police with socks, and continued for many years manufacturing felt for both industrial and commercial uses.

Code Felt Co today– Click here..


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In the 1883, Mr. T. A. Code established Codes Custom Wool Mill with a range of processes, including:  carding, spinning, fulling, shearing, pressing, and coloring of yarns. In 1896, its name was changed to the  Tay Knitting Mill, and it produced yarn, hosiery, socks, gloves, sporting-goods, sweaters, and mitts.  Another change came in 1899, when a felt-making process was introduced and the mill was renamed  Code Felt. The company continued to operate until the closing of the factory in 1998. The following year, John Stewart began a major restoration and introduced new uses for this landmark. This impressive limestone complex with its central atrium now has an interesting mix of commercial tenants.-Perth Remembered


How did I get this?

I purchased this journal online from a dealer in California. I made every attempt to make sure the journal came back to its rightful location. Every day I will be  putting up a new page so its contents are available to anyone. It is a well worn journal full of glued letters and newspaper clippings which I think belonged to Code’s son Allan at one point. Yes there is lots of genealogy in this journal. I am going to document it page by page. This journal was all handwritten and hand typed. Read-More Local Treasure Than Pirate’s Booty on Treasure Island

How did it get into the United States?  The book definitely belonged to Allan Code and he died in Ohio in 1969.

Allan Leslie Code

1896–1969 — BIRTH 27 MAR 1896  Ontario—DEATH JUN 1969  Mentor, Lake, Ohio, USA


Andrew Haydon.jpgAndrew Haydon–He was the author of Pioneer Sketches of The District of Bathurst (Lanark and Renfrew Counties, Ontario) (The Ryerson Press, 1925) and Mackenzie King and the Liberal Party (Allen, 1930).


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)


The Original Thomas Alfred Code and Andrew Haydon Letters – —Part 1

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 2– Perth Mill

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 3– Genealogy Ennis

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 4a – Innisville the Beginning

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 4b – Innisville — Coopers and “Whipping the Cat” 1860-1870

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 4c – Innisville — Henry York and Johnny Code

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 4d – Innisville — “How We did Hoe it Down”!

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 4e – Innisville — ‘Neighbours Furnished one Another with Fire’

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 5- Code Family– “Hawthorn Mill was a Failure, and the Same Bad Luck has Followed for at Least 50 Years”

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 6- Code Family– “Almost everything of an industry trial character had vanished in Innisville in 1882”

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 7- Code Family–“Thank God, no member of my family has disgraced me or the name!

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 8- Code Family– “We got a wool sack and put him inside and took him to the bridge”

When Newspapers Gossiped–David Kerr Innisville

Kerr or Ennis? More about the Innisville Scoundrel

What Went Wrong with the Code Mill Fire in Innisville?

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



Please play while listening..


Photo- the gals and a gent on the Carleton Place Chamber of Commerce tour of Carleton Place– come along with us today to see the Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers 





Photo Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum



Have you ever visited the Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers company in Carlton Place?  It is an amazing place located in the old Canadian Pacific Railway workshop and roundhouse, which was used  by the railway from 1890 till 1939. The WoolGrowers Co-operative moved into the building in 1940. They process over three million pounds of wool every year and we should be proud that we as the town of Carleton Place are the only people that process wool in Canada. That’s right-all the wool come here!




For more than 70 years, 142 Franktown Road in Carleton Place has been the go-to place for wool! In 1940 the Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers Limited purchased a large, limestone building from the Canadian Pacific Railway.












The quality check man. He is the lone wolf for quality control. Can you imagine examining raw wool all day long?



Right next door is the The Real Wool Shop

Real Wool Shop supplies the discerning consumer with wool related products for men and women of all ages, from wool underwear to sheepskin slippers to coats. Seasonal fashion clothing is also available year round. The yarn department is a treat for all knitters from beginners to experienced.






The Real Wool Shop Facebook page

Wool Shop Contact

Contact Information

Phone: 613-257-2714
Email: woolshop @ wool.ca
Location: 142 Franktown Rd, Carleton Place, ON K7C 3P3

Store Hours

Weekdays: 9:30 to 6:00
Saturday: 9:30 to 5:00
Sunday: 11:00 to 5:00


Today’s photo is of workers taking a break at the CPR Engine Repair Shops. Built in 1890 as a round house and repair shop for the Canadian Pacific Railway, it employed about 200 workers. After operations were moved to Smiths Falls, the building was purchased by the Canadian Cooperative Woolgrowers. Iron tracks from the turntable in the roundhouse were sold as scrap to help the war effort in 1940. Can you help us identify any of these men?–Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum


Armchair Tourism in Carleton Place –Part 1–Bud’s Taxi

Armchair Tourism in Carleton Place –Part 2–A Snack and a View

Armchair Tourism in Carleton Place–I Threw Away my Candy at The Ginger Cafe Part 3

Armchair Tourism in Carleton Place –Part 4–Stepping Back in Time

Armchair Tourism in Carleton Place –Part 5–Fly Me to the Moon


Related Wool Reading

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


Jennifer Fenwick Irwin–second photo
This photo shows the water tower located near the corner of the engine repair shops (now the Woolgrowers building). Photo from the collection of The Museum of Science and Technolog

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