Kinmount Village in the 1880's

Not the least among Victoria County’s villages ranks Kinmount. It is a romantic village situated in the northeastern corner of Somerville township, within a few hundred yards of Peterborough county on the east, and Haliburton on the north. The Burnt River winds through it, and affords power for six splendid mills, the chief industry of the place.

It is on the Haliburton railway, 33 miles north of Lindsay, with which it is connected by two trains each way daily. A short distance north of the village the two branches of the Burnt River unite, and near there also is the junction of the Irondale, Bancroft and Ottawa railway with the Haliburton railway. As yet that road is running only to Irondale, ten miles.

Leading wagon roads radiate from Kinmount. It is traversed from north to south by the Bobcaygeon road, leading south to Bobcaygeon and Peterboro; and north to Minden and Trading lake or Lake of Bays.

East and west through Kinmount runs the Monck Road from Orillia to Ottawa, connecting on the west and south west with Norland, Coboconk and Fenelon Falls, and on the east with Gooderham or Pine Iske, Wilberforce, etc.

A traveler approaching suddenly finds himself in full view of the whole village. At the southern extremity is a fine dam and timber slide, and on this is Bryans and Mansfield’s large shingle and saw mill, of which Mr. Alex Moore is manager. This mill employs twenty men in the shingle industry and as many more in the lumber department. Logs for millions of shingles and of lumber are ready for cutting – a task being rapidly accomplished.

Within less than two miles lie the six mills, from the south as follows:-R. Bryans of Lindsay, lumber and shingles; Craig’s lumber and shingles; McIntosh’s shingles; Rowlison’s staves and headings; Mills Bros.’ shingles; and C. J. Smith and Co’s. of Toronto, lumber and shingles.

The chief places of business are:-

A. Hopkins, large general store; C. Wellstood, boots and shoes; W. C. Jewitt, drygoods, groceries, etc., and Mrs. Jewitt, millinery and dress making; A. Cadotte, dry goods; H. Graham, general store; James Watson of Lindsay, large general store; James Wilson, postmaster and dry goods store; S. G. Henry, late of Cartwright, blacksmith; W. T. Morrison, blacksmith and carriage works; W. Amberg, harness and saddlery; Geo. Lake, barbershop; Joseph Pollard, livery stables, and grain and produce dealer; and E. Williams, jeweler. Besides the above, Mr. R. World, well-known in the district is opening up a grocery and general produce store. Mr. Gilbert Scott is erecting a fine store to be occupied as general store by Mr. Roy of Minden.

There are three fine hotels, kept by G. Scott and sons, D. Bowie, and W. Dunbar. All afford good accommodation.

The Grand Trunk railway is there erecting a fine slide to load timber from the river to the cars. The work is being conducted by superintendent Cairns, D. Lack, John Hughes, E. Megraw and M. Mulhill, of Lindsay.

Kinmount though a fine business centre, yet does not neglect the educational wants of the community. There is a large public school ably presided over by Principal R. D. Irvine and an assistant. The building is not good, but a new one is spoken of. Owing to the demand for help in the various mills it is found somewhat difficult to keep the children at school until the advanced classes are passed.

The medical and surgical needs of the district are ably administered to by Dr. Frost, who resides in the village.

The spiritual wants of the district are well supplied by Methodist Church of England, Baptist and Presbyterian clergymen. Rev. H. Fusee has had charge of the Methodist church and has recently erected a neat parsonage. He will not however long enjoy its use, for this is his transfer year. Rev. J. Byam also resides in the village, though his circuit is adjoining. Rev. E. Soward ably supplies the spiritual needs of the episcopalians of the district, and has a very neat edifice; while students are supplied at times for the Presbyterian.

The Salvation Army are also in the village and have done a noble work. They occupy the fine orange hall for their services.

One year ago Kinmount was without a brass band. Today she boasts of the finest yearling in Canada. Indeed competent judges pronounce it superior to many pretentious town bands. It is ably led by Archy Stewart, and his is ably supported by H. Change, P. F. Rowlison, Geo. Train, R. Cottingham, A. Morrison, Geo. Pollard, A. Train, E. Williams, C. Rowlison, D. MacDougall, W. Morrison, John Moore, R. D. Irvine, A. Woodstock, F. Morrison, and R. Ross; in all, seventeen smart looking young men. They are neatly uniformed and are a great addition and attraction to Kinmount.

As stated, Kinmount lies in the valley of Burnt River. Towering aloft on each side stand high hills. On the east these are steep, precipitous rocks, forming a bold flank. On the other sides the hills here and there expose the rolling knoll of bare rock, but are chiefly covered with soil bearing trees. But over the hills and a few miles into the country the land is very fair, and many well to do farmers weekly visit Kinmount market. Nearby is a German settlement, whose members are remarkably thrifty. Trading in the village the visitor meets many well to do farmers originally from Durham county. But all are possessed of that open hearted simple honesty which makes one feel that, after all, friendship is more than mere name.


Alex. Moore, Joe Pollard, J. Watson and Son, R. Byam, E. Williams and many others are old Lindsay citizens.

Messrs. E. Tully, R. Cottingham, S. Scott and J. Burke are recognized as worthy ex-members of the 45th Battalion.

The Messrs. Rowlison formerly resided at Leskard in Clarke township. They are doing remarkably well in Kinmount, and are universally respected.

Mr. D. G. Henry was formerly one of Cartwright’s most worthy citizens. He makes as worthy a Victorian.

Twenty-two years ago, Rev. Mr. Byam was stationed at Frankford on the Trent. His son, Dr. J. Wesley Byam, died some year or two ago at Campbellford. Another son, William Jesse, is a barrister-at-law in Caledonia, N. Y.; while a third is chief clerk in Mr. Hopkins’ large store at Kinmount.

One of the most prominent citizens of the district is F. Train Esq. He is largely interested in the lumber and timber business generally.

Mr. G. Scott is a former Cavan boy. He preserves the old time vigor; and has raised a fine family.

Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Jewitt are not many years resident in Canada. They come from Maine, and have imported some genuine Yankee enterprise. The Misses Jewett are accomplished musicians and a great boon to the music loving people of Kinmount. Mr. Jewitt recently returned from a trip to his native state.

For seven years Rev. Mr. Byam has resided in Kinmount. During that period Miss Byam has proven herself an invaluable help in musical and literary circles. She will be much missed on her departure, for Methodist clergymen’s families have to move with the heads of the homes. Miss Wells, grand daughter of Mr. Byam, is on a visit from Michigan.

Ten new houses are going up in Kinmount.

Miss W. Wallace of Millbrook, teaches a few miles west of the village, and like the people more than well.

Mr. Argue is one of Somerville’s most worty citizens. He is an ex-Manves farmer. He has a fine family growing up.

Messrs. Cooper and McBride, are types of honest, straightforward north country farmers. A few miles in a good cause is nothing to them.

On Tuesday 5th June, the Methodists held a picnic in the beautiful grove in rear of the village, the object being to clear the parsonage of debt. There was a very good attendance. Mr. Martin was most energetic and active in having swings erected, and everything enjoyable. He is a fair type of a superior north country farmer. Others also helped Rev. Mr. Fusee in the preliminaries. Several drove in seven or eight miles to attend. After the eatables had been disposed of in orthodox fashion, the brass band played a few airs; the choir, Misses Byam, Jewett, Beckett, Wells, and Messrs. Morrison and Kowlison sung appropriate songs. Sam Hughs of The Warder, gave a brief address; music from the choir and the band followed. Rev. Mr. Tucker of Minden, then delivered a stirring address on Home and Home Influences. It was full of good thoughts and cannot fail to do good. Rev. Mr. Byam also spoke words of christian encouragement to the audience. Then after music from both choir and band, a most enjoyable afternoon’s pleasure and profit terminated. The band afterwards played select airs in the village in front of Scott’s hotel.

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