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Victoria County, Ontario Canada
As might be expected in a small inland town, the
leading industries of the past seventy years have been those, such
as lumbering, flouring, tanning, weaving, brewing, and brick making,
which have utilized the natural products of the neighboring
countryside. Iron founding and carriage making have also had success
up to the limit of the needs of the district.
The pioneer mill, both in gristing and in lumbering, was the Purdy
plant, with which were later associated the proprietary names of
Hiram Bigelow, Walker Needler, William Needier, Thomas Sadler, J. R.
Dundas, Wm. Flavelle, and J. D. Flavelle. In 1894, these mills had a
daily flour output of 600 bags; an annual lumber cut of 1,000,000
feet; a 90,000 bushel grain elevator; a river fleet of six barges
and a steamboat; and a staff of over 100 men. The depletion of our
forests and the dwindling of the county's cereal output through the
rise of mixed farming have resulted in the extinction of all this
business. Lumbering was relinquished by 1900 and in 1910 the
gristing interests, then controlled by Mr. J. D. Flavelle, were sunk
in a big milling merger, known as the Canadian Cereal and Milling
Company. Local operations were soon afterwards suspended.
Other local companies which have, during the past half century,
engaged in lumbering, planing, and wood
working have been the following:
(1) Hollis Bowen, succeeded on the same site by
Whitmore ("the Yankee mill"), Dunham and Kellogg, John Rodd, the
Rathbun Co.; Baker and Bryans, and the Baker Lumber Co.
(2) Thomas Fee
(3) Burke Bros
(4) George Ingle (Lindsay Planing Mill)
(5) John Dovey
(6) Robert Bryans, succeeded by Joseph Maunder
(7) Parkin Lumber Co., later the Digby Lumber Co.
(8) Killaby and Kennedy
(9) J. P. Ryley (Victoria Planing Mill)
(10) Kennedy, Davis, and Go.
(11) Rider and Kitchener
(12) John Carew Lumber Co.
(13) Gull River Lumber Co.
(14) Lindsay Woodworkers, Ltd
The last three are still active.
The only surviving flour mill is one founded in 1889 by Isaac Finley
'and since identified with G. E. Martin, Joseph Maunder, C. C.
Finley and W. H. Woods.
Tanneries have been conducted by P. H. O'Beirne, Alfred Lisle, the
Robson Brothers, and the R. M. Beal Leather Co.
Woollen mills have been carried on by Wm. Dundas, succeeded by J. W.
Wallace and, later, by Alex. and James Horne; and knitting factories
by Mallon and Hanlon and E. Hood and Son.
Major Thomas Murphy founded a distillery in 1835 on a stream north
of the town, still known as the Old Distillery Creek. The enterprise
fell through and he moved into town. A second distillery on William
Street only resulted in his developing delirium tremens from
drinking his own whiskey. Another distillery, begun by Benjamin
Stacey, and breweries set up by Thomas Clark and James Lenihan all
ended in bankruptcy. Greater success attended Calcutt's Brewery,
founded in 1872 and later run by Lloyd and Goldie, the Haslams
(father and son), and Fred Cornell. It, too, is now defunct.
Brick making was begun about 1856 by Francis Curtin on his farm
south of the town. The Foxes (father and son) took over the business
in 1877. It is now run by C. Wagstaff.
The leading iron foundries were long those of Mowry and of John
Makins. Makins sold out to John McCrae in 1899. The Sylvester Bros.
Mfg. Co., founded in 1882 by Richard and Robert Sylvester, was at
one time Lindsay's leading industry. Over 100 men were engaged in
manufacturing agricultural implements (binders, drills, presses,
etc.) of the proprietors' own invention. Ruined by speculation, the
business is today being revived by Sylvesters of the second
generation, who are manufacturing gasoline engines. Other metal
working firms have been the Madison Williams Co., the Canadian
Swensons, Ltd., the Boving Hydraulic and Engineering Co., and the
Cole Mfg. Co., Ltd.
Carriage manufacture has been chiefly in the hands of James
Hamilton, T. E. Cunningham (succeeded by Cain, Carley, and Curtin),
Richard Kylie, D. Sinclair, and D. J. McLean. Fitzsimmons, Ltd.,
which deals in automobile bodies, is a modern variant of the same
Among miscellaneous industries we may class
(1) the Lindsay Creamery Co., of M. J. Lewis, and the cold storage
business of Dundas and Flavelle Bros., now under one management as "Flavelles
(2) the Lindsay Marble Works (Robert Chambers) and the Victoria
Marble Works (W. H. Cresswell)
(3) the pork packing businesses of C. L. Baker and George Matthews,
no longer in local operation
(4) J. M. Squiers fancy seed business
(5) Hodgson Bros. Chemical Works
(6) the Dominion Arsenal shell works
(7) Allan and Hanbury's Ltd., baby food factory.
The imagination is appealed to somewhat by the evil fate which
pursued certain firms that once operated in the East Ward on the
present Beal tannery site. Here James Lenihan's brewery first went
bankrupt and then burned down. Then a Tanbark Extract Company, of
Montreal, managed locally by James Foley, erected an enormous plant
on the same spot. Mismanagement and a lack of hemlock bark brought
about collapse and a loss of $200,000. A Montreal wrapping paper
firm then took over and proposed to manufacture paper from wild rice
and from wheat straw. Bankruptcy intervened. Still another
enterprise, the Scugog Paper Mill Company, managed by J. C.
Patterson, made expensive preparations for making felt paper from
pea straw, cedar bark, and similar materials. The carelessness of a
French night watchman set the plant on fire. Destruction was
complete and the proprietors lost $75,000. The R. M. Beal tannery,
which followed next, has apparently been immune from the evil spell
of the place.
The prosperity of the town has been helped from time to time by the
civic enthusiasm of the local Board of Trade. The Board was first
organized on February 12, 1887; and fervent revival meetings have
been held in 1889, 1905, and 1921.
Town of Lindsay