Historic Lonsdale Mills

The quaint, little Village of Lonsdale, Ontario with its former grist mill and the remnants of a woolen mill offer some amazing photo opportunities. The historic mill sites are located in the village, south on the Marysville Road to the rustic two bridges spanning the Salmon River. At the bottom of the deep gorge where the river splits into two streams you will find the restored former Lazier’s Grist Mill building at 1062 Marysville Road converted to an attractive B & B establishment. The Island Mill Getaway, the circa 1840 limestone building is a former grist and flour mill and is situated on a small island in the Salmon River. Take time to admire the mill dam and its waterfalls and the amazing lawn and gardens the owners have established here. On the other section of the river look for the beautiful cascade of water known to some as the Lonsdale Rapids flowing underneath the dam base beside the remains of the former J. Lazier Woolen Mill, destroyed by fire in 1904.

From the historical plaque on the bridge: “The steep sides of this narrow river valley provided excellent opportunities for damming the Salmon River. James Lazier built a woolen mill, flour mill and a lumber mill in the 1840’s at Lazier’s Mills, now Lonsdale. Stores and shops were quickly established attending to the needs of the surrounding farming community. Two churches cared for the spiritual concerns while a school provided valued education. Lonsdale contributed significantly to the development of Tyendinaga Township. Limestone from the river bed and its sides ensured well built, long lasting structures that grace this picturesque community.”

The Hastings County Heritage Society in 2018 erected a Salmon River Watershed sign near the bridge that says in part: “Our Natural Heritage: Passed down from the settlers and before them the First Peoples, It will one day be passed to our children.” The Salmon River flows 135 Kilometres (84 miles) south of Mazinaw Lake into Kennebec Lake near the community of Arden, part of Central Frontenac County, through a chain of small lakes and through part of Lennox and Adington County to the Bay of Quinte on Lake Ontario near the community of Shannonville, part of Tyendinaga, Hastings County. The watershed is about 227,579 acres of which 65,524 acres is forested.   (Wikipedia)

In 1853, the Public Lands Act encouraged settlers to establish a “wheat and mixed farming” culture in an area that the Canadian government described as having “excellent soil and a climate that can sustain a population of eight million people.” Included in this territory was the north portion of the Salmon River Watershed, which stretches from Cloyne in the north/west to Mountain Grove in the east and runs south through Erinsville and Tamworth in Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Counties. The Precambrian Shield, whose rocks and the soil precluded farming on anything but a subsistence basis.

“The Salmon River Watershed: Jewel of Eastern Ontario” high density farming and industrial development failed to take root along the River and its watershed, leaving the waters clean – a great place for canoeists and naturalists. The first humans to visit the area about 11,500 years ago didn’t stay because of the glacial ice. Later, the Algonkian occupied some of the northern territories and late in the 18th century, Mohawks settled around the Bay of Quinte. In the 19th century the settlers arrived here. Over logging along the watershed decimated what little soil there was along the northern part of the watershed. It was also because of the logging that caused the disappearance of the salmon from the southern area where they were abundant and gave the Salmon River its name.

The Lazier family came to Canada in 1791 after the American Revolution as United Empire Loyalists after their property was confiscated by the Americans after they refused to swear allegiance to the United States, losing much milling and farming properties in New York. James Lazier was born in Schraalenburg, Bergen, New York. Son of Nicholas Jacobus, he was married to Meribeth Dorland 18 Feb 1799 in Sophiasburgh, Prince Edward County. James established a grist mill on the Salmon River in Tyendinaga Township, Hastings County in the early 1830’s. By the mid-19th century, the family owned several mills on the river, Grandsons James & John and had built a woolen mill opposite their grist mill at Lazier Mills now called Lonesdale. The woolen mill was destroyed by fire in 1904 while the grist mill is now a private residence.

Downstream on the Salmon River at Milltown in the township of Tyendinaga, near Shannonville the Salmon River also provided another great site for water privileges for a mill site. A mill listed as the Lazier (R.L.) and Lazier (S.A.) Millers was constructed. “The Grist Mill is owned and worked by Messer’s Lazier. The mill has 3 run of stone and will grind from 30-40,000 bushels a year. Grinding & cracking of all kinds done with despatch. Flour and feed of all descriptions on hand. The highest prices paid for grain.” A sawmill was also connected to the building. Another old mill site, the Lazier Dam in Belleville was built by a family member. The Lazier family were instrumental in shaping Tyeninaga Township and surrounding areas.

Early records of some prominent citizens of Lonsdale indicate: Bowen Aylesworth and James McGinnis as carpenters; William Dawson, Benjamin Haight and William West as blacksmiths; John Bruin and Patrick Casey as wagon makers; William Grant and Peter Kimmerly as coopers; John Whiteman and Miles Sweeny & Son, shoemakers and Misses Empey a milliner. William Doxee, John Lawrence and Richard Wildman (Post Master) as general merchants; R. Waldman bookseller & stationer; Patrick Nash a hotel keeper; William Randall a tailor; Edward McGivin a teacher; Rev. Robson (Wesleyan) and Rev. Turnbull (Presbyterian). Also listed were James A. Lazier, J.P. and proprietor Flouring Mill; J & J Ross, manufacturers of woolen goods and Morgan Sheward, dyer & scourer.

By the early 1900’s problems were beginning arise for the growth of the little village, including the loss of the woolen mill to fire and the farming land was no longer ideal because of the protruding limestone. The younger generations were leaving the area to find employment elsewhere. In searching for more history on Lonsdale, I came upon the interesting story of the ghost of Meager Mill situated on the Salmon River, on the road west of the village. “A young man was drowned in the mill pond, it being a sudden and violent death, the inhabitants believed that his soul would not rest because he had not been prepared to die. Nobody would work at the mill. At last they brought the (Catholic) priest to the spot. All the neighbors gathered and said the rosary, the litany and prayers for the dead. Henceforth the Ghost was laid to rest.”

Regards, Ranger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The quaint, little Village of Lonsdale, Ontario with its former grist mill and the remnants of a woolen mill offer some amazing photo opportunities. The historic mill sites are located in the village, south on the Marysville Road to the rustic two bridges spanning the Salmon River. At the bottom of the deep gorge where the river splits into two streams you will find the restored former Lazier’s Grist Mill building at 1062 Marysville Road converted to an attractive B & B establishment. The Island Mill Getaway, the circa 1840 limestone building is a former grist and flour mill and is situated on a small island in the Salmon River. Take time to admire the mill dam and its waterfalls and the amazing lawn and gardens the owners have established here. On the other section of the river look for the beautiful cascade of water known to some as the Lonsdale Rapids flowing underneath the dam base beside the remains of the former J. Lazier Woolen Mill, destroyed by fire in 1904.

From the historical plaque on the bridge: “The steep sides of this narrow river valley provided excellent opportunities for damming the Salmon River. James Lazier built a woolen mill, flour mill and a lumber mill in the 1840’s at Lazier’s Mills, now Lonsdale. Stores and shops were quickly established attending to the needs of the surrounding farming community. Two churches cared for the spiritual concerns while a school provided valued education. Lonsdale contributed significantly to the development of Tyendinaga Township. Limestone from the river bed and its sides ensured well built, long lasting structures that grace this picturesque community.”

The Hastings County Heritage Society in 2018 erected a Salmon River Watershed sign near the bridge that says in part: “Our Natural Heritage: Passed down from the settlers and before them the First Peoples, It will one day be passed to our children.” The Salmon River flows 135 Kilometres (84 miles) south of Mazinaw Lake into Kennebec Lake near the community of Arden, part of Central Frontenac County, through a chain of small lakes and through part of Lennox and Adington County to the Bay of Quinte on Lake Ontario near the community of Shannonville, part of Tyendinaga, Hastings County. The watershed is about 227,579 acres of which 65,524 acres is forested.   (Wikipedia)

In 1853, the Public Lands Act encouraged settlers to establish a “wheat and mixed farming” culture in an area that the Canadian government described as having “excellent soil and a climate that can sustain a population of eight million people.” Included in this territory was the north portion of the Salmon River Watershed, which stretches from Cloyne in the north/west to Mountain Grove in the east and runs south through Erinsville and Tamworth in Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Counties. The Precambrian Shield, whose rocks and the soil precluded farming on anything but a subsistence basis.

“The Salmon River Watershed: Jewel of Eastern Ontario” high density farming and industrial development failed to take root along the River and its watershed, leaving the waters clean – a great place for canoeists and naturalists. The first humans to visit the area about 11,500 years ago didn’t stay because of the glacial ice. Later, the Algonkian occupied some of the northern territories and late in the 18th century, Mohawks settled around the Bay of Quinte. In the 19th century the settlers arrived here. Over logging along the watershed decimated what little soil there was along the northern part of the watershed. It was also because of the logging that caused the disappearance of the salmon from the southern area where they were abundant and gave the Salmon River its name.

The Lazier family came to Canada in 1791 after the American Revolution as United Empire Loyalists after their property was confiscated by the Americans after they refused to swear allegiance to the United States, losing much milling and farming properties in New York. James Lazier was born in Schraalenburg, Bergen, New York. Son of Nicholas Jacobus, he was married to Meribeth Dorland 18 Feb 1799 in Sophiasburgh, Prince Edward County. James established a grist mill on the Salmon River in Tyendinaga Township, Hastings County in the early 1830’s. By the mid-19th century, the family owned several mills on the river, Grandsons James & John and had built a woolen mill opposite their grist mill at Lazier Mills now called Lonesdale. The woolen mill was destroyed by fire in 1904 while the grist mill is now a private residence.

Downstream on the Salmon River at Milltown in the township of Tyendinaga, near Shannonville the Salmon River also provided another great site for water privileges for a mill site. A mill listed as the Lazier (R.L.) and Lazier (S.A.) Millers was constructed. “The Grist Mill is owned and worked by Messer’s Lazier. The mill has 3 run of stone and will grind from 30-40,000 bushels a year. Grinding & cracking of all kinds done with despatch. Flour and feed of all descriptions on hand. The highest prices paid for grain.” A sawmill was also connected to the building. Another old mill site, the Lazier Dam in Belleville was built by a family member. The Lazier family were instrumental in shaping Tyeninaga Township and surrounding areas.

Early records of some prominent citizens of Lonsdale indicate: Bowen Aylesworth and James McGinnis as carpenters; William Dawson, Benjamin Haight and William West as blacksmiths; John Bruin and Patrick Casey as wagon makers; William Grant and Peter Kimmerly as coopers; John Whiteman and Miles Sweeny & Son, shoemakers and Misses Empey a milliner. William Doxee, John Lawrence and Richard Wildman (Post Master) as general merchants; R. Waldman bookseller & stationer; Patrick Nash a hotel keeper; William Randall a tailor; Edward McGivin a teacher; Rev. Robson (Wesleyan) and Rev. Turnbull (Presbyterian). Also listed were James A. Lazier, J.P. and proprietor Flouring Mill; J & J Ross, manufacturers of woolen goods and Morgan Sheward, dyer & scourer.

By the early 1900’s problems were beginning arise for the growth of the little village, including the loss of the woolen mill to fire and the farming land was no longer ideal because of the protruding limestone. The younger generations were leaving the area to find employment elsewhere. In searching for more history on Lonsdale, I came upon the interesting story of the ghost of Meager Mill situated on the Salmon River, on the road west of the village. “A young man was drowned in the mill pond, it being a sudden and violent death, the inhabitants believed that his soul would not rest because he had not been prepared to die. Nobody would work at the mill. At last they brought the (Catholic) priest to the spot. All the neighbors gathered and said the rosary, the litany and prayers for the dead. Henceforth the Ghost was laid to rest.”

Regards, Ranger

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