THE ANGLIN FAMILY STORY
THE ANGLIN FAMILY STORY
The Third Generation:
The Third Generation: John's (11) Children
Robert Duke Anglin (111), 1838 - 1909
Robert Duke Anglin (111) arrived in Canada in 1860, preceding by three years the arrival of his father John (11), brother William (112) and sister Lizzie (114). His mother, with the remaining six children, ranging in age from seven to twenty-six, came to join them in 1869.
When William and Lizzie came with their father, John, they settled in Battersea where William took over the sawmill from his cousins William B. (124) and Samuel (127) who had been born in Canada and were sons of his uncle, Robert, who had been in Canada since 1829.
Robert D., the eldest son of John and Sally, taught for a time in a rural school at Dowsley's Corner. Later he moved to Kingston with his wife, Jennie (Brokenshire), where, in February of 1873, he secured a position as Chief Clerk in the federal Customs House. They lived the remainder of their lives in a brick house on Union Street West, about opposite Alfred Street (on the site now occupied by Queen's University's Faculty of Law). Also, in his after-hours time, he helped on the books for the W.B. and S. Anglin firm. Robert died in 1909 and his wife Jennie lived on until 1926.
William Anglin (112), 1840 - 1926
John's second son William J. Anglin (112), on arrival in Canada from Ireland in 1863 at age 23, went to Battersea where he took over the sawmill business from W.B. and S. Anglin when they moved to Kingston to establish a new lumber business.
William lived for a time with the Baker family who lived near their tannery, across the stream from the sawmill. A story is told of William, after lunch at the Baker's and a play with their big dog, making his way back across the river from log to log when he slipped and fell into the cold water. The dog, who had been watching through the open kitchen window of the Baker house, instantly sprang through the window to scramble out on the logs and rescue his friend by pushing against the logs to open a space for him to climb out.
In 1864 William married Sarah Thorne, a school mate of Fanny Baker who had married his cousin, William B. Anglin (124), in 1863. Sarah's brother, John Thorne, became the manager of the sawmill and, later, the two men became partners in the milling operation. By 1870 the mill was employing four men and two boys and producing $4400 worth of lumber annually.
In 1868 William hired a United States Civil War deserter to build him a combined home, store, telegraph and post office on the Battersea Main Street triangle for the sum of $100. He ran the telegraph and post office from 1868 until his death in 1926. In 1878 one part of the store was used as an arsenal and quarter master's store for the 47th Frontenac Battalion of Infantry of the Royal Canadian Rifles. There had been legislation in place since 1793, when Governor Simcoe was concerned about the possibility of a continuing war with the United States, which,
"... established that each county should form a militia unit with all able-bodied men between the ages of 16 and 50 turning out with their arms for a once-yearly inspection and drill."1
"A Wesleyan Methodist Church was erected in Battersea in 1858... It is on record that ladies from the Van Luven and Anglin families collected funds to support the mission work of the church."2
A strong worker for the church, in 1924, after 48 years as superintendent of the Sunday School, he retired from that position.
The third child of John and Sara was another boy, John (113), born in 1842 in Ireland and married in 1869, the year of his arrival in Canada, to his cousin Hester Anglin (126), who had been born in Canada in 1839.
They lived on the Pine Grove farm with John's parents, taking over the farm after his father's death in 1882. In 1884, John bought the Moore farm on the next concession south, working both farms until 1898 when he moved to the Birmingham farm in Leeds County. His eldest son, Edward, took over the Moore farm, finally buying it from John in 1918, two years after Hester's death.
Sarah (115), 1846 - 1932 and
Mary Ann Anglin (117), 1850 - 1918
John and Sara Anglin had six more children; Elizabeth (114), born 1844, died 1898; Sarah (115), born 1846, died 1932; Samuel (116) born 1848, died 1874; Mary Ann (117), born 1850, died 1918. None of these four married.
Samuel Anglin (116), 1848 - 1874
Walter Anglin (118), 1854 - 1942
Walter Anglin (118) married Elizabeth McCrae in 1900 and had one son Harold. After the death of his father in 1882 he and his brother, Thomas, took over the original log house and farm, buying two additional farms on the east side. Walter's mother and sister, Mary Ann, continued to live with them and he built the brick house in which pictures of the family were taken when they gathered in 1897 to celebrate Sally's 83rd and, as it turned out, last, birthday.
Mary Ann Anglin stayed with them until the farm was sold to a neighbour, Alex Redmond, after which all of them moved to Iroquois, Ontario.
Thomas Anglin (119) was born in 1860. He married Elizabeth Atkinson in 1890 and at that time the farm lands were divided, with Walter keeping the west half on which the Church and cemetery were located.
Thomas was an energetic and successful farmer who owned three different cheese factories. Nearly all the milk produced on the farm was turned into cheese or butter which provided him with his chief source of income.
Thomas had a zeal for his church. One of his last acts, prior to his death in 1949, was the erection, in 1948, of a cairn on the site of the old Methodist Church at Pine Grove bearing the names of the pioneers of that community. He won remarkable devotion from his family and proved a shelter and source of courage to many.
A brief history3 of the Pine Grove Methodist Church on Brewers Mills Road, written in 2006 by Lawrence Lloyd, a grandson of Thomas Anglin, gives the following information:
Pine Grove Methodist Church
built in 1875, burned and replaced in 1926
"According to the Methodist Church paper of that time, the first meeting to consider a new church was held early in 1874.
"In just over a year it was completed, 'a frame building with tower and spire, stained windows, richly carpeted and hot air heated' with seating capacity for 300 and at a cost of a little over $2,000.
"Three services were held on the opening Sunday Feb. 21, 1875. The 10:30 morning service was taken by Rev. James Elliott, President of the Montreal Conference, the 3:00 p.m. service by Rev. William McCullough of Colborne and the 6:30 p.m. service by Rev. A. McCann.
"The church was again crowded the following evening for a tea meeting. The chair was filled by Wm Anglin of Kingston and the singing provided by the Leonard Family from Westbrook. The meeting was addressed by Rev. Chambers, Presbyterian and James Elliott, after which Mrs. William Anglin was tendered a vote of thanks for 'trimming the church windows'.
"The pastor of the church, Rev. W.S. McCullough and his father, Rev. William McCullough, again spoke urging that the debt of $1,000 by [sic] fully subscribed which it was, 'the Anglin family assisting nobly'.
"Then in 1926, just one year after celebrating its 50th anniversary, on a Sunday p.m. in early spring, the church was burned to the ground. Only the pews, piano and some furniture could be saved. Probably some live coals from a previous fire had been dumped too close to the church to prevent the sparks from spreading into the church basement where there had once been a furnace. This space had since been filled with straw to prevent heat loss from the new stove.
"My grandfather [Thomas, grandfather of Lawrence Lloyd] was the church custodian at that time and blamed himself for the fire, thus leading him to build the memorial cairn in 1948 on the steps of the old church. He died in 1949.
"Rev. H.M. Servage, my wife's father, was the minister for this church on the four point Pittsburg Circuit at the time of the fire."
restored Thomas Anglin Monument at
the Pine Grove Methodist Church,
fall of 2006
In the early fall of 2006, Peter Lloyd, a great-grandson of Thomas Anglin and 'project manager' received the go-ahead from the City of Kingston to 'reconstruct and restore' the badly deteriorated monument and relocate it further away from the existing road allowance in front of the church. The monument was dismantled, stone by stone, and each stone identified so that it could be put back in its original configuration in the rebuilt monument. In addition, a new pedestal was built as a support for the monument in its new location. The estimated cost for the complete restoration and relocation of the monument was $4,600. The Thomas Anglin family welcomed any contributions from others in the extended Anglin family to help defray these costs. The work was completed in the late fall of 2006, with the memorial once again standing proudly in the churchyard, with a 'Thank you' note from Lawrence to " . . . the grands (and now the great grands) and other family connections, for your generous support of the Thomas Anglin Monument Restoration Fund."
Peter is Lawrence's son and the others involved are Thomas's grandsons Graham Anglin and the three Lloyd brothers, Evan, Keith and Lawrence.
William (112), Walter (118), Thomas (119) and John (113) Anglin
photo circa 1920
A long-time member of the Thomas Anglin family, though never formally adopted by them, was Agnes McColl Richardson. The Kingston Whig Standard 4, on her death, in 1990, at age 96, gave the following background in her obituary:
wives of three of the four brothers: Sarah (Thorne) (112),
Elizabeth (Atkinson) (119) and Elizabeth (McCrae) (118)
photo circa 1925
"... A shipyard accident on the Clyde took her father's life when she was a young girl, after which she became a ward of the Bridge of Weir Homes in Glasgow.
"In 1910, when just 15, she emigrated to Canada to the Thomas Anglin farm home at Brewer's Mills where she became for most purposes a member of that family.
"In 1946 she moved with Mr. and Mrs. Anglin to Newboro where they lived out their remaining years near their daughter, Mrs. Lester Lloyd. After that she went back to Brewer's Mills to live with Irene and Sam Anglin, then a few years later to 213 Garden Street, Gananoque, where she had an apartment, prior to her admission to Carveth [Retirement Home in Gananoque] in 1983. ..."
A letter to the editor of The Kingston Whig Standard of July 30, 1996 announced a reunion to be held in Kingston to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the work of William Quarrier with The Orphan Homes of Scotland (now known as Quarriers Homes), Bridge of Weir, Scotland. The letter asked for the help of The Whig Standard readers in contacting the children and their descendants who were sent to Canada between 1872 and 1938.
Bill Anglin sent an e-mail in response to the letter, identifying Agnes Richardson's background with the Thomas Anglin family. In response an e-mail5 was received from Dr Tony Williams, Director of Fundraising and Publicity, Quarriers, in which he said, in part,
"...I was very interested to receive the information about Agnes McColl Richardson, a former Quarriers girl who was placed with members of your family when she was sent to Canada as a child in 1910. I have checked our database of the Canadian children and confirm that Agnes Richardson is there (Record #5964) and is listed as having been sent to Canada in 1910..."
The e-mail also included a history of the Quarriers Bridge of Weir, which said, in part,
"Quarriers Homes, (formerly known as The Orphan Homes of Scotland), a Scottish charity which sent nearly 7,000 children to Canada between 1872 and 1938, is organising a reunion for its surviving children and descendants in Kingston, Ontario on 26-27th October,  to mark the 125th Anniversary of the charities work.
"Quarriers was originally established by a Scottish businessman and Christian philanthropist, William Quarrier, who is best remembered for establishing the children's village which bears his name near Bridge of Weir, some 15 miles west of Glasgow. This village offered a new life to the many children in the cities and towns of Scotland who were orphaned or living in extreme poverty, frequently in appalling slum conditions. Many were orphans due to the deaths of their parents from consumption (tuberculosis). Quarriers Village became the home of more than 30,000 children over the years.
"In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the countries of the British Empire were pursuing active immigration policies. Quarrier, among other child care pioneers, realised that his children might also benefit from a new life in a new country. The chances and opportunities this offered the children were considered to be far better than those available in the 'dark satanic mills' of Glasgow and other Scottish towns. Canada was chosen by Quarriers as the main destination for his children and he, himself, accompanied parties across the Atlantic on several occasions. Most of the children went initially to 'receiving homes' and were then fostered to families spread across Canada. Ontario became the focus of child immigration from The Orphan Homes of Scotland with receiving homes at Belleville and Brockville. Many of these families still live in Ontario, around Belleville, Brockville, Ottawa, Kingston and Toronto. Others are scattered across Canada from the Maritime Provinces to British Columbia and the North West Territories.
"Estimates made by projecting forward the numbers of children sent to Canada suggest that perhaps 200,000 or more present day Canadian citizens have roots in Quarriers Village, Bridge of Weir, Scotland. Some of these could be the great great great grandchildren of the original child migrants in the 1870's! The contribution made to the rich mosaic of Canadian history by Quarriers and other 'home children' and their descendants over the last century must be substantial and deserves recognition."
The Third Generation: Robert's (12) Children
There were eight children of Robert and Sally Anglin; Sarah (121), the oldest, and Mary (128), the youngest, born in 1832 and 1849, respectively, were the only ones that did not marry. As their father was an alderman in the city for several years, it seems certain that all eight children were born in Kingston, and most, if not all, moved with their parents to Brewer's Mills. After the break up of that home, following the death of their mother in 1881, Sarah and Mary lived with a married brother or sister. Sarah lived for a time with her brother William at Hedgewood on Union Street in Kingston and after his death in 1886, with her sister Jennie and her husband, W. W. Williams at their home in Seeley's Bay, where she died of cancer in 1889. William (15), her father's brother, offered a beautiful prayer at the funeral service.
Mary helped nurse her sister in her last years, remaining with sister Jennie for a time at Seeley's Bay and Smith's Falls, and spent her last years with another sister, Hester (126) at Pine Grove, where she died in 1913. Both these sisters were buried beside their parents in the large Anglin plot in Cataraqui Cemetery in Kingston.
Eliza (122), the second daughter, married Christopher Van Luven. They spent their lives on a 200 acre farm, given originally to Christopher by his father Henry, that straddled the road leading into the village of Battersea.
Henry Van Luven, Eliza's father-in-law, was the founder of the village of Battersea, originally called Rockland, then Van Luven's Mills, when he bought 1200 acres of crown land at the time of the development of the Rideau Canal. He gave 200 acres to each of his six sons and lots in the village of Battersea to his daughters. He was elected in 1850 as the first reeve of Storrington Township. Henry built the stone mill in Battersea which was later owned and operated by the Anglin family.
Christopher was a hard working father, but even with the help of his three sons he must have found the farming task heavy, as the equipment of that day was primitive and the land varied from the wooded slope at the north of the house and the low-lying meadow beyond leading towards the lake, to the more level acres on the south side of the road, some of it arable and some with shallow or rocky soil fit only for pasture.
Christopher was a great reader and found relaxation in his library. He became a local preacher, taking the alternate Sundays in the Battersea Church. Several professors from Queen's would come from their summer cottages on Loughborough Lake to hear him, though they were less likely to attend when the regular preacher took the service. Possibly his fine sense of humour was a determining feature of his popularity.
His one granddaughter, Dorothy Van Luven(12211), had fond memories of the Van Luven farm while her widowed grandmother, Eliza, was living: the long hard seat in the kitchen, where she preferred to kneel for family prayers, and the thrill of her first discovery of the waxen-petalled trilliums in the woods to the north. A nephew, Bert (1244), son of William B. (124), had fond memories of several summer visits: the rocky fields on the south side of the road, the big barn, the jenny wren's nest in the milk and pump house, and the many butternut trees, where one could gather a bagful to take home, sometimes robbing a squirrel's winter hoard. In the attic over the kitchen were stores of previous years spread out to dry and mature, which all were welcome to sample. Bert had a mental picture, also, of Christopher wielding a cradle-scythe mowing the hay or grain, and of Hannah milking the cows near the pump house. Relatives used to say that it had been a mistake for Hannah to learn to milk. The family seemed to leave it all to her. A niece, Amy Williams Cook (1252), also had fond memories of the Van Luven home. Hannah would give her a pan of butternuts and some salt and, sitting under the shade of a tree in the driveway, she would crack and eat the meaty nuts adding salt 'to aid digestion', then run to the pump house for a drink of cold water. Sunny Battersea was a cherished memory with her.
After a succession of two daughters, Robert and Sally had two sons, Robert, and William B.
Robert Anglin (123), 1836 - 1920
Robert Anglin (123), was born March 4, 1836, in the City of Kingston. He attended Kingston schools and served his apprenticeship there in the shoemaking trade.
When Robert was 20 he bought 200 acres at Brewer's Mills at the crossroads of Highway 15 and the South Lake Road. He erected a store with living quarters attached on the southwest corner from which he operated the Post Office and the Great West Telegraph office. When he was 21, in 1857, he was elected reeve of Pittsburgh Township. In 1962 his son, Robert (1233), wrote the following piece6 about this election.
"In 1857, when Robert Anglin of Brewer's Mills was elected reave of Pittsburgh Township, the ballot box and secret voting that are in use today were unknown and reaves and concillors were elected by two days open voting and, in the election of that date, Robert Anglin was opposing a Mr. Smith of Barriefield, who had been reave of the Township for several years, and [by] whom the voters of the Brewer's Mills section felt that they were not being fairly treated as the money set aside for roads was nearly all being spent in the vacinity of Barriefield and very little in the northern part of the Township and they, therefore persuaded Robert Anglin 'who lived in the northern section' to oppose Smith for the reaveship.
"Judging by the record of that election it is clearly shown that the interest taken in elections was much greater than at the present time for at the close of the first day's voting there were only three voters who had not registered their votes and at that date Smith was one vote ahead of Anglin.
"One of the men who had not voted was a Mr. McLean who lived in the vicinity of Woodburn and he was very ill, in fact, was on his death-bed and the others were two brothers who lived on the road between Brewer's Mills and Seeley's Bay. 'We will not mention any names.'
"The workers for Anglin at Brewer's were of the opinion that these brothers were similar to the two darkies, who when they wakened up on election morning one of them said to the other, 'Jake, this is the day an honest man can make a good honest day's pay'.
"So after dusk two of them visited these brothers and after a bit they offered them five dollars if they would cast their votes for Anglin when the pole opened in the morning.
"The brothers confessed they would like to do so but they were in an awkard position as Smith's men had been to see them and had agreed to give them a little pig if they would vote for Smith and they were to deliver the pig at 12 o'clock that night, and they did not know what they could do when these men came with the pig.
"However, after talking it over with them they suggested that the brothers put on their hats and coats and come with them and they would hide them so Smith's men could not find them and, when the poles opened, [they could] march in and vote 'Anglin'. They agreed and they hid them in the toll gate house on the road at the Brewer's Mills corner and in the morning they registered their votes for Anglin. The result Anglin was elected by one vote.
"One of the men who had interviewed the brothers gave one of the brothers five dollars and told him to divide it with his brother, but, in a couple of days the brother came to Anglin and told him his brother would not divide it with him and unless Anglin gave him five dollars he would let the cat out so Anglin had to give him five dollars.
"P.S. While Father lived at Brewer's Mills he pointed these brothers out to me."
On different occasions afterwards Robert was a member and chairman of the school board. He was recording steward for several years for the Methodist Circuit in Pittsburgh Township which comprised six churches.
At that time Brewer's Mills was a very active place. The traffic on the Rideau Canal was very heavy and all kinds of boats carrying wood and logs were continually passing through the Brewer's Mills locks. Also, an American firm was operating a large sawmill on the water power at Brewer's Mills which they had leased from the government together with a certain acreage. The main supply of timber, of course, was brought to the mill by boat or raft up the Rideau but the settlers all around, in clearing their land, would haul all the logs they cut to the mill. Some of the very best white pine in the country was growing in this section.
When the government was building the parliament buildings in Ottawa, a white pine flagpole was required and Robert supplied it. It took three yoke of oxen (there were no horses at that time) to haul it from the Stuart See farm to the locks at Brewer's Mills where it was loaded on a flat scow for shipment to Ottawa.
After some years, timber became too scarce to make the operation of a large sawmill profitable and so the American company pulled out and Robert bought their plant and government lease. He pulled down the big mill and erected a smaller one which cost £2000 to construct and which used one monster gang saw with 48 upright saws in the frame, 3 circular saws and one run of stones. The mill was designed to run year round and employed 23 men. John Maxwell ran the mill for Robert and in 1850 it showed an income of £3700 and an annual payroll of £4800. Some of the settlers did not clear their land of timber and after Robert took over the mill, he bought some of these farms for their timber. One of the farms was the Stuart See farm. He had just finished clearing it of its timber when his uncle John (11) arrived with two of his children from Ireland in 1863 and, as Robert had no more use for the farm, they moved right into the log house which the settlers had erected. They lived there for many years.
During the 1870s the mill experienced problems but continued on a reduced scale into the 1890s. In 1939, the Gananoque Light and Power Company constructed a powerhouse with three generators, removing the old mill and Robert Anglin's two story frame residence. Also for some time, he operated a spool factory and shipped spools to England by the carload.
On the government leased land at the mill, the American company had erected several houses for the workmen and also a large frame house for the manager, Mr. Maxwell. It was into this house that Robert's father, mother and family moved, after they had a business failure in the city.
At that time all the mailboats calling at Kingston were wood burning vessels as coal had not yet come into use, and for several years Robert had the contract to supply them with wood at the Kingston port. He also had the contract to supply wood to the penitentiary and, as he found the sailing vessels were too slow and uncertain, he established a shipyard on the farm where Home's Bay entered the land and there, in 1869 his shipyard built a steam barge of 105 net tons, naming it 'R. Anglin' after his father. He also built a tow barge calling it after his infant daughter 'Minnie Frances' (1231), and with this outfit he was able to take care of his contracts. He also built another tow barge but, when on its maiden trip for a load of wood for W.B. and S. Anglin, it caught fire and was a total loss. When the main boats were changed to coal burning vessels, the wood business fell off and Robert sold his boats. However, they continued to ply the Rideau Canal from Ottawa to Kingston and across Lake Ontario to Oswego, New York for some years, still carrying the names 'R. Anglin' and 'Minnie Frances'.
A letter7 from Robert in Brewer's Mills to one of his sisters, (perhaps Jane - it is not clear from the letter) in January, 1862 expresses concern over deteriorating relations between Canada and the United States. He says,
"In fact, everything American is looked down upon here in Canada. People seem to have no faith in what was formerly and never will be again called the United States. The insolence and contempt with which the American people ... have always shown to England and her government ever since Americans gained their independance has stirred up a feeling of hostility in England and Canada which will be the means causing a war between the two country's. The people on this side are all in arms, organizing companies, drilling day and night, strengthening their fortifications on a gigantic scale. Soldiers by thousand's arriving every week from England also guns and amunition in proportion."
After his parents' death, the selling of the Brewer's Mills property, and his appointment in 1891 as lockmaster, statistical officer and collector of canal tolls at Kingston Mills he moved his family to Kingston Mills, where he not only conducted his business well but served his community in administrative ways with imagination and efficiency.
At that time, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, extensive responsibilities were placed on the shoulders of the Lockmasters. They governed over the lock labourers, kept the station's accounts, were held accountable for the condition of the station and its works, and were responsible for the regulation of water levels and flow. Lockages were performed on demand at any time, Sundays excepted. Thus the Lockmaster was on call 24 hours a day, six days a week throughout the entire navigation season.
His hospitable home on the Kingston Mills property with its beautifully tended lawn and garden was well remembered by some of the younger cousins who used to visit there 'over Sunday' as the modern weekend was called, and be given rides on the boats as they went through the locks. The house was built in 1904, at Robert's request, and reflects the importance of the last set of locks on the Rideau system and the prominent social position held by the Lockmasters. He held the position of Lockmaster until his retirement in 1919, relinquishing it because of ill health and retiring to a home he had built in Kingston at 150 Collingwood St., where he passed away in 1920 and was buried in the family plot in Cataraqui Cemetery.
In 1869, he had married Mary Woods who was also of Irish descent, having come to this country as a little girl of two years. For several years she lived with her brother, Frank, in Picton, where he had a fur store. Before her marriage, she was a milliner in Cecilia Anglin's millinery shop in Kingston, which was considered the most aristocratic millinery shop in the city. She made him a good wife, was a splendid housekeeper and cook, and was always very thoughtful and kind to those in need. Bert (1244) clearly remembered many times he was sent by her with beef broth to some sick person who perhaps had not too much of this world's goods.
In the year 1923, three years after her husband's death, she passed away and was laid beside her husband in the family plot at Cataraqui.
On July 9, 1978 Parks Canada officially opened Lockmaster Anglin's Visitor Centre in the restored home on the Kingston Mills site. Officiating at the ribbon cutting for the opening was Robert Anglin (123322), great-grandson of Lockmaster Robert Anglin. Also attending the ceremonies were his granddaughter, Violet Anglin (12331); his grandson's wife, Kathleen (12332); and another great-grandson, William (123323). Also sharing in the day's activities in 1978 were Robert's and William's wives and five great-great-grandchildren of Lockmaster Anglin.
LOCKMASTER ANGLIN'S VISITOR CENTRE
Kingston Mills, photo 1978
Violet, in touring the Visitor Centre during its opening, went through the building, not looking at its displays, but reminiscing about the times she had spent in it as a young girl while it was her grandfather's home. While in the dining room she recalled coming at Christmas time and finding presents stacked under the tree placed by the window which overlooks the mill basin south of the house.
LOCKMASTER ANGLIN'S VISITOR CENTRE
Kingston Mills, photo 2009
The Kingston Whig Standard 8, in announcing the opening, provided some history of the Canal and its Lockmasters.
"... The military need for the canal was first recognized in the War of 1812, when the vulnerability of British North America's main shipping route, the St. Lawrence, became obvious. Of particular concern was the stretch that served as the international boundary; from Cornwall to Lake Ontario.
"That route also had a series of rapids that made the river almost unnavigable upstream.
"For a decade, the Colonial Office in London fiddled while the Americans fortified the St. Lawrence south shore, but in 1826, Lieutenant-Colonel John By of the Royal Engineers, arrived to hack out a canal from the wilderness between Ottawa and Kingston. Shipping would then be able to use the Ottawa River and the canal to travel from Montreal to Lake Ontario communities.
"Once the surveying was done, construction began simultaneously at most of the 27 lock stations, using numerous construction firms and thousands upon thousands of French Canadians and Irish immigrants.
"The death toll was grievous. Workers perished from malarial fevers contracted in the swamps and in numerous explosions caused by the dangerous use of gunpowder for excavations. The Kingston Mills lock station was blasted out of pure granite, and 500 men died there in the four years of construction from the twin dangers.
"The lake above the lock was formed by the construction, and the work crews built a 30 foot embankment by hand around the border of the enlarged lake, that still stretches for several miles.
"Hundreds died at the Newboro station from malaria, and construction was abandoned there for two years when the construction companies simply ran out of men to do the work.
"The canal was ready for use by 1831, but the opening was delayed a year when William Merrick, in a fit of pique, let all the water out in the reach between Kilmarnock lock and Merrickville lock to repair his mill.
"When the canal finally opened in 1832, Lt.-Col. By began a triumphal procession in a steamboat at Kingston Mills, and travelled the whole route. At Smiths Falls, the townspeople had presumably been celebrating all night when By arrived in the morning. In error, the welcoming cannon was double-charged and instead of booming a greeting, the cannon exploded.
"The original canal was relatively unfortified, but as the Americans continued their sabre rattling, guard houses were constructed, and occupied for brief periods, and lockmasters' houses were reinforced and made defensible.
"But after the American civil war, the U.S. and Canada settled their differences and the canal became a military anachronism.
"By that time, Kingston Mills had had its brief fling with glory. Founded in 1784 when a sawmill was built, for a time it was on a main road linking Upper and Lower Canada (now Kingston Mills Road), the main rail connection (now the CNR mainline), and also at the terminus of the main shipping route, the canal.
"However, other mills closer to Cataraqui (Kingston) proved more competitive, and the sawmill closed in 1861. The St. Lawrence was entirely navigable by then, so the use of the canal decreased, and a shorter road connection east and west, using a bridge at the present LaSalle Causeway, signalled Kingston Mills' genteel decline.
"The lockmaster's house, now to be known as Lockmaster Anglin's Visitor Centre, was built in 1904 for Robert Anglin III, lockmaster from 1892 to 1919. Mr. Anglin was a prosperous businessman when, at age 56, he apparently retired to operate the lock and collect the tolls, for northbound traffic, a fairly prestigious position.
"Mr. Day [Robert Day, Chief Interpretive Officer, Parks Canada, Smiths Falls] said the house is much more substantial than the typical staff residence along the canal. He said Mr. Anglin complained regularly about his 'crummy little house', and in 1904 a cousin, a Queen's medical prof, condemned it and the large residence was constructed.
"He said Mr. Anglin no doubt lived the life of a country squire there, on the well-manicured lawns, until he retired at the age of 83.
"Successive lockmasters continued to live in it until the 1960s when the federal government, concerned that the men were too dependent on the free accommodation as they approached retirement age and had to move out, stopped the practice all along the canal. ... "
Commemorative Plaque at the entrance to the
LOCKMASTER ANGLIN'S VISITOR CENTRE
Kingston Mills, photo 2009
An extensive history of the construction, layout and management of the Kingston Mills locks 46-49 can be found within the website of the Rideau Canal Waterway, created and maintained by Ken Watson, author of the 120-page book "A History of the Rideau Lockstations", in which brief reference is made to Robert Anglin's time as Lockmaster at Kingston Mills. The book is published by, and is available for purchase through, the Friends of the Rideau, with all proceeds from sales going to Friends of the Rideau.
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1. pps 19-20, A History of Storrington Township, Alita F. Battey-Pratt, Kingston, 1983.
2. ibid, pg 31.
3. "A Short History of the Pine Grove Methodist Church on the Pittsburg Circuit, Brewers Mills, Ontario" by Lawrence Lloyd, dated August 2006, was sent to Bill Anglin by Lawrence Lloyd.
4. The Kingston Whig Standard, October 19, 1990.
5. A hard copy of the e-mail, dated 08/16/96, from Dr Tony Williams, Director of Fundraising and Publicity, Quarriers, Caring for People, is in the possession of Bill Anglin.
6. Story of a Pittsburgh Township Election Over 100 Years Ago, Robert W. Anglin (1233), unpublished, circa 1962. The original is in the possession of Bill Anglin.
7. The original letter, dated January 5, 1862, from Robert to one of his sisters is in the possession of Bill Anglin.
8. The Kingston Whig Standard, July 8, 1978.