Skip to main content

SAW AND GRIST MILLS IN CLARENDON

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

The "planer house" at Findlay's Mills in the 1930s. Seated on the porch are Mrs. Paul Favreau and an unidentified child.The saw and grist mills were the first commercial ventures in Clarendon. They were established mainly as a means of fulfilling the basic needs of the early settlers since they needed lumber for houses and farm buildings, and the grain needed to be ground to make flour and animal feed. James Prendergast opened the Municipality’s first sawmill in 1826 and then the first grist mill in 1827 on his land along the Ottawa River at Lot 10, Range 1. The building of these two mills established this riverside property as an important centre for the early pioneers and it soon came to be known as “Clarendon Mills.”

When Prendergast died, Edmund Heath, the next Crown Land Agent, took over Clarendon Mills and its name later changed to Heath’s Landing. The first post office in Clarendon opened in 1837 at Heath’s Landing. Clarendon’s second grist and sawmills were established around 1850 on Wilson’s Creek, Lot 23, Range 7, by Captain Walter Radford. This enterprise later developed into the Clarendon Roller Mill which still stands today. Other water-powered mills were established in the ensuing years, including a woollen mill in 1884, by Andrew Hodgins, on Lot 9, Range 5. Around 1890, North Clarendon also saw the establishment of its first sawmill and grist mill, known as Findlay’s Mills, located on parts of Lots 1 and 2, Range 12. Miles Cowley established this water-powered sawmill along a creek which runs out of Thorne Lake and empties into the Quyon River. “Hodgins Brothers” from Yarm built the two-storey mill, and the chief millwright was John Sammy Armstrong. Later proprietors of the mill were Bill Hodgins and then Jim Findlay. The bottom level of the mill had a grist that ground grain into animal feed, while the second level housed the sawmill. The mill closed in the early 1940s and was dismantled shortly afterwards. Today, the stone foundation is all that remains of this once prosperous industry.