Tag Archives: woolen mill

The Shoddy Mill

The Shoddy Mill

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
20 Mar 2004, Sat  •  Page 35

Regarding the piece on the Victoria Woollen Mill, AKA the Shoddy Mill, do you have a link to that article? It shows that the piece continues on Page D2. My Great Grandfather, John Blakeley, brought his family to Almonte a century ago in 1919 to run the Shoddy Mill, and did so until his death 10 years later– Frank Will Fix It

 A restored 19th-century textile mill at the mouth of Almonte’s main strip is on the block for $2.1 million. The property, known as the Victoria Woollen Mill, overlooks the Mississippi River at the foot of Mill Street. It has been designated a provincial heritage site for its architectural and historical significance. The original mill was built in 1863 by James Rosamond and churned out “shoddy,” a fabric made from wool waste, until about 1933. An older, adjoining mill burned down in 1923. Greg Smith and Stephen Brathwaite bought the property in 1993. They modernized wiring, plumbing and sprinkler systems, and added a three-level annex and other renovations.

shoddy mill almonte.com

Tenants include a restaurant, antique shop and three technology firms. Mr. Brathwaite said the building was a “derelict shell” when they bought it. He declined to say what they paid or how much they invested in the site. “It’s a pretty good price,” said Vicki Haydon, economic development officer for Mississippi Mills, the town into which Almonte was amalgamated in 1998. “The building’s completely finished and they pretty much have full tenancy there.” “Right now it’s an attractive time, with the growth that’s happening in Almonte, for the partners to sell.” Technology firms have recently been drawn to the “funky” office spaces in redeveloped mills, she added. A well-known glass sculptor in the area, Mr. Brathwaite is involved in redeveloping seven other sites around town, including an old post office on Mill Street. “Almonte is really being gen-trified,” he said. “We’re seeing people setting up business here where the principals don’t live in town. That’s a big change.” Mr. Smith and his wife also own the house in Almonte where the inventor of basketball, James Naismith, once lived.

Victoria Woolen Mill (1857)
  • Lot 22, 7 Mill St
  • Ramsay Woolen Cloth Manufacturing Company (Grenville, Menzies, Shipman and Rosamond among the shareholders) was a woolen mill running on this site from 1851 and 1852. It burned in July 1852 . James Rosamond of Carleton Place, a shareholder of the short lived Ramsay corporation, then moved his woolen mill operations, the first in Eastern Ontario, from Carleton Place to Almonte as the founding of Almonte’s leading manufacturing enterprise. He bought the site of the Ramsay Company’s mill and built a four story stone building, later known as No. 2 Mill, which he opened in 1857 James Rosamond, who lived until 1894, gave the management of his growing business in 1862 to his sons Bennett and William, who doubled its plant capacity and in 1866 admitted George Stephen, Montreal woolen manufacturer, as a partner. He became Baron Mount Stephen, president of the Bank of Montreal and first president of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company.
  • In 1868, the Rosamonds attempted to establish a joint stock company to run the factory but apparently was unsuccessful.
  • The mill was sold to Andrew Elliot in 1869. The firm of Elliot, Routh and Sheard was established in 1870 (1870 – 1873). The firm was subsequently Elliot and Sheard; Elliott, Shirreffs and Company; and Elliott and Company. The firm operated successfully until 1888 and the firm also controlled a shingle mill on lot 19 Mill St 1879 – 1887.
  • It was no longer running as a woolen mill and in the control of James A Cantley of Montreal; may have been used however, by Rolland and Brothers for shoddy manufacturing at least in 1888 and 1889.
  • The Mill was sold to Daniel Shaw in 1893 and the Almonte Blanket Mill with John B Wylie and Daniel Shaw as proprietors occupied part of the building from 1894 -1902. The other part of the building was occupied by John Elliott and David Shepherd (John Elliott was former manager of Elliott and Company until 1888), shoddy manufacturers from 1891 – 1895; and then by Francis Scantlion, shoddy manufacturer from 1895 – 1902.
  • The mill was sold in 1902 to Richard William Lee and Hirst Taylor, shoddy manufacturers and was still operating in 1911. MVTM
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
10 Sep 1907, Tue  •  Page 11
Ottawa Daily Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
22 Oct 1880, Fri  •  Page 4
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
30 Sep 1912, Mon  •  Page 1

Memories of Madeline Moir – Pinecraft Proberts and John Dunn 1978

Where Was Pinecraft?

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

We Need a Railroad says Ramsayville

We Need a Railroad says Ramsayville


Old Time Trains Photo


January 11, 1888 Almonte Gazette

The village of *Ramsayville, during the closing months of the year 1852, was perhaps in a more depressed condition than at any time during its previous history. The loss of capital sustained by the burning of the woolen factory and grist mill, at that time its two moat important industries, arrested all progress and prosperity, and hope had in a measure disappeared, and gloomy disappointment broods over the future.



But it frequently happens to nations and towns that the darkest hours of depression precede the DAWN OF PROSPERITY, And such was the experience of the village, for soon a rift appeared in the dark cloud, and the light of an unlooked-for prosperity began to shine and hope sprang up from an unexpected quarter. On the 10th of November that year Parliament passed and the GovernorGeneral assented to the Bill entitled “The Consolidated Loan Fond Act,” for Upper Canada, the provisions of which empowered municipal corporations to borrow money from the fund for specified improvements either within or without their boundaries, to be expended for the I good of the inhabitants. |

The need of a good road from Smith’s Falls to Carleton Place and Ramsayville had long been felt by all business men and farmers along the route, but the money to make such a road was not forthcoming. However, the passing of the Loan Fund Act OPENED U P A PROSPECT Of obtaining the needed funds for that purpose, and Messrs. Wylie, Bell and Shaw announced that a meeting would be held at Franktown for the purpose of organizing a company to build a macadamized road through the townships of Montague, Beckwith and Ramsay.







*First named Shepperd’s Falls and Shipman’s Mills, the town of Almonte, until its industrial growth which started in the eighteen fifties, was a small village which gained the name of Ramsayville.

Then, with the opening of its first woollen mills and  railway transportation, it grew in a period of about thirty years to take a place among the leading centres of the pioneering days of Canadian manufacture of woollen textiles.


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 and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)



Covered From Head to Toe with “The Beautiful” !! Almonte Train Station

One Night in Almonte or Was it Carleton Place?

What Went Wrong with the Code Mill Fire in Innisville?

What Went Wrong with the Code Mill Fire in Innisville?


Loggers at Innisville: Photo submitted to the Perth Courier 1984 by Mr. Crampton–Perth Remembered

Innisville had at one time two mills built by Abraham Code, George Code, and Thomas A. Code. Abraham Code who started his woollen mill in Innisville,  and was one of several entrepreneurs active in eastern Ontario’s woollen industry. He moved to Perth in 1876 and by 1883 he had acquired the old Kilpatrick tannery at Herriott and Wilson.


                                                               Abraham Code

November 10 1872

Another fire in Ennisville (Innisville)

There is saying that “ misfortunes never come singly” and that is exemplified in the case of Mr. Code. It is only the other day since his grist mill was burned. Last Friday his woollen factory at Ennisville took fire and a good deal of damage was done.

At one time I believe no hopes were entertained of saving the place, and the machinery even was being removed. While on the subject of fires I cannot refrain from making a few observations which I think are called for.

Whenever a fire breaks out you are sure to see a few prominent individuals—men who ought to know better—rushing from one engine to the other frantically telling the parties in charge, what they ought to do. Sometimes half a dozen are buzzing round the captain of an engine, shouting as many different orders and thoroughly confusing every one. Now the best thing for these men to do is to hold their tongues and work on the brakes.

They know nothing about the working of an engine, and the proper parties to give orders are the Captains and other officers. In their proper places they might really be of some use but as every one could at the fire not one of these officious people ever put a finger to the brakes, although, frequently hands were scarce and the men thoroughly tired out. However, I suppose if any of them do see my preaching they will forget it ail by the next fire, so I will proceed to another subject.


In an interesting pen picture of the many thriving woolen mills which dotted the Mississippi River from Innisville to Almonte in the 70’s and 80’s, J. Sid Annable draws attention to the fact that one of the pioneer industries was a blanket mill which operated above the bridge at Innisville by the late Abraham Code father of the late T.A. Code of Perth.

The initial purpose of this pioneer venture was the manufacture all wool blankets for the river travelers and shanty men on the upper Mississippi and its tributaries.  It was the largest industry in that district in the 60’s and 70’s and provided employment for many of the inhabitants.

Abraham Code was one of the leading figures in Lanark County.  He represented the county in the Ontario legislature.  After severing his connection with the industry some time in the 80’s he was appointed Inspector of Weights and Measures with headquarters in Ottawa.  He was a son of the late John Code who came to Canada from Ireland in the early ‘20’s of the last century and was one of the pioneer settlers of the Innisville district.

The Innisville blanket mill was destroyed by a fire in 1879 and in the following year Mr. Code moved to Carleton Place and commenced operation on the first steam mill on the Mississippi River at that point.  This old mill was constructed of stone and was five stories high, 70 feet wide, 100 feet long.  All of the looms and in fact all of the machinery was brought from Scotland as well as 20 families who were brought over to work in the mills and operate the complicated machinery.

Two years later, Mr. Code was obliged to sever his connection with the mill and it was taken over by W.W. Wylie of Almonte who continued the operation for many years.  Mr. Wylie took an active interest in the civic and military life of Carleton Place.  He was made captain and later colonel of the 41st Battalion of Volunteers and under him Capt. Joe McKay, Lt. Brown and Sgt. Jack Annable served.


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal30 Jun 1937, WedPage 5

Jane Moody

I am a great granddaughter of “A. B.” (Abe) Code owner of the woollen mill in Innisville that burned. I just want to point out a small correction in your very valuable history of the area. I believe “A. B.” was the cousin (and contemporary) of T. A. Code of Perth. T. A.’s father was William and my great grandfather’s father was John Code. These two brothers came with two other brothers from the Fitzwilliam Estate in Co Wicklow in Ireland. Alice Munro is a notable descendent of one of the other brothers. Thank you for writing this very valuable history which fills in so many gaps

Abraham Code

Hawthorn Mill–The Early Years– 1874 -1930

Hawthorn Mill–The Early Years– 1874 -1930


Church Choir Picnic – 1885 just in front of the Hawthorne Mill Emily Street-Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

An Invitation to the Old Hawthorne Mill

I realized I had the early history of the Hawthorne Mill all over the place in my files– so decided to document it here for once and for all. Please note that Hawthorne should be spelled without an e as Mr Code who built it spelled it that way

The larger industrial plants opened in Carleton Place in the 1870s were the McArthur and Hawthorne Woollen Mills and the Gillies Machine Works.

img - 2019-12-03T074817.439

Ottawa Daily Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
13 May 1871, Sat  •  Page 2

1874--In the first stages of a five year business depression two new industries were started here.  They came with the building of the three storey stone structure of the Gillies Machine Works on the north side of the river at the lower falls, and the opening of the four storey stone woollen factory of Abraham Code, M.P.P., later known as the Hawthorne Woollen Mill.

1879-With two local woollen mills remaining in operation, the closed Hawthorne Woollen Mill was offered for sale by Abraham Code.

1881- W. H. Wylie, lessee of the McArthur mill, bought the Hawthorne woollen mill from its new owner James Gillies at a price reported as $19,000.

1907 – A Quebec company, the Waterloo Knitting Co. Ltd., similarly re-opened the Hawthorne Woollen Mill.

1910- The Hawthorne woollen mill was reopened by its new owner, the Carleton Knitting Co., Ltd.

1917–The Hawthorne Mills Limited was incorporated with a capital stock authorization of $200,000. In the first world war they supplied serge for British army uniforms and the Canada Woollen Mills expanded its operations here at the Gillies and Hawthorne mills.

1918- The Hawthorne woollen mill, with two hundred employees, was enlarged.

1927- According to this list the Hawthorne Mill was closed down again with a lot of other woolen mills


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal10 Mar 1928, SatPage 21

Llew Lloyd– In the summer of 1960 or 61 I worked for my father cleaning and painting the original stone structure to get it ready for Leigh instruments to move in . Amazing that the building was abandoned all that time and managed to be put back into service .


Photo- Linda Seccaspina



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  17 Jul 1937, Sat,  Page 1


We love comments, we love stories and we love photos.. Thanks goes to Joyce MacKenȝie for this sheet of writing paper from the Hawthorne Mill in Carleton Place-


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  16 Jan 1915, Sat,  Page 19

20258095_10155096058121886_3182181607285464606_n (1).jpg

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal, 21 Feb 1948, Sat, Page 17 Louella Shail at the Renfrew Knitting Mills.. (Hawthorne)–


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal, 21 Feb 1948, Sat, –Colourful Spring plaids from the Renfrew Woolen Mill (Hawthorne) being displayed by Mrs Zephyr Bennett


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  16 Sep 1904, Fri,  Page 1


Wanda Tysich of Carleton Place at the Renfrew/ Hawthorne Mill

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  21 Feb 1948, Sat,  Page 17


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  11 Apr 1924, Fri,  Page 16


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  04 Sep 1907, Wed,  Page 6


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  03 Mar 1908, Tue,  Page 7


B.J. Ritza assistant designer for the Renfrew Woolen Mill/Hawthorne

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  21 Feb 1948, Sat,  Page 17


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  17 Jul 1959, Fri,  Page 5


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  13 Oct 1955, Thu,  Page 2


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  31 Oct 1930, Fri,  Page 17


More Hawthorne Mills history… this place was sold a lot..:(
Clipped from The Ottawa Journal, 25 Oct 1932, Tue, Page 15

Did You Want to Work For DRS? 1999

10 year Leigh Instrument Reunion Photos– Donna Mcfarlane

Chimneys and Black Boxes —Leigh Instruments

Remembering Industry in Carleton Place- Digital and Leigh Instruments

Bomb Scare in Carleton Place

Looking for Information on the Mann Family of Blacks Corners

Hawthorn Mill reads

Hawthorn Mill Houses on Emily Street ????– Erin Mills

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”

Hawthorn Mill–The Early Years– 1874 -1930

The Mills of Carleton Place -Victoria Woolen Factory to the Hawthorn

The Revolutions of the Hawthorne Mill

The Rencraft Fire Dept Photo Brings Back a Familiar Name

The Case of the Bell that Disappeared

Shenanigans at the Hawthorne Mill?