Mills to saw lumber and grind grain were an asset in the Rawdon settlement. Rivers running along each side of the Township allowed several mills to be built to cater to the needs of the community.
Two of the earliest mills, circa 1916, were those of Philemon Dugas and Roderick McKenzie’s with David Manchester as manager. Bouchette’s 1824 reports the presence of these 3 mills in Rawdon.
Archambault Mill Built in 1836
The Archambeault Mill was built in 1836 on lots 15 and 16 on the 5th range. Although it was not the oldest mill, it is the oldest photo I have been able to find. The mill was in use until the river was dammed circa 1912 to create hydro power.
Ownership of the mill was passed down through the family, and finally known as Magnan’s Mill. At one time it was called the Rheaume – Morin Mill.
The 1861 census identified Charles Magnon as a miller.
The 1901 census Mederic Magnan was listed as miller.
The Mason Lumber Mill
Edward Mason purchased the mill from the original owner (identity still to be verified) and it became known as Mason’s mill. Here there was both a grist mill and a saw mill. Evidence of the sawmill can still be found at the top of the falls. Edward owned bush lots, a logging camp, and saw mill in Chertsey as well.
Misael Neveu was the last one to run the mill. A group of investors convinced the village authorities to create a dam on the Red River to encourage settlement along the shores of the resulting lake. The dam compromised the water power to run the mill resulting in the mill being abandoned.
This grist mill, known as Boyce’s Mill, on the Ouareau River, below the Magnan Mill, was purchased in 1866 by William Smith from the estate of Charles Grant. After William’s death in 1872, his widow, Ann Boyce, ran the mill until the mortgage was paid. In 1891 the census lists the farm and mill as being operated by Richard Boyce, Ann Boyce’s nephew. This family photo, circa 1890, shows the bridge, (built by Richard) the mill, farm buildings and house.
Massue Sawmill on the Red River at the corner of 4th and Metcalfe Streets where the Cenotaph now stands.
Sawdust from the mill was sent over the steep embankment behind the mill. A fire caught in the sawdust and it is said the fire burnt for 3 years.
In 1916 the river was damned and the water level reached the now huge sawdust pile.
Over time the water eroded the sawdust and caves were formed. Youth, ever adventurous and foolhardy, defined their parents warnings to stay away from the caves. Exploring the caves this great adventure. Sadly at least one boy drowned as a result of his misadventures.
When this his photo was given to me in the early years of 1980, it was identified as being the last mill built in Rawdon built near the beach. I have found no further information for this one. I would appreciate hearing from anyone who can contribute to the history of this mill.
Painting of Selwyn Copping’s Mill
This mill, built on the hill on Queen Street in the late 1930’s, was the first steam powered mill in Rawdon. Its operation ceased at his death in 1963.
There were 12 mills in Rawdon at one time, early on Dorwin had one, in 1945 Latter had a sawmill on the Oureau behind what became Arnoldware Rogers.
Robinson had a mill on the hill on Albert Street supposedly powered with a diesel motor.
Near Les Cascades Jones also had a mill on the Oureau.
Dugas’ and MacKenzie’s mills were originlly in Rawdon. Later the area was annexed to St. Ligouri.