Six hundred adults and children lived in Carleton Place an even one hundred years ago, as estimated for a Canada business directory of November, 1857. Among its business and professional listings of some forty names, the village’s small industrial plants were the sawmill of Bell and Rosamond, Hugh Bolton’s grist mill, Sam Fuller’s foundry and machine shop, and Allan McDonald’s carding mill.
In the woodworking trades were Wm. Bell’s cabinet shop, John Graham’s and George McPherson’s carriage shops, the cooperage works of Edmund Burke and of Francis Lavallee, and carpenters including James Dunlop, Robert McLaren, John McLauchlin and George McLean. Representing the leather trades here in 1857 were the shoemaking businesses of Joseph Bond, Horatio Nelson Dorcherty, Wm. Moore, James Morphy, Wm. Neelin, the saddlery of A. R. Cameron and a tannery.
Fellow tradesmen carrying on metalworking businesses were blacksmiths James Duncan, Richard Gilhully, Duncan McGregor, Nathanial McNeely and tinsmith David Ward. The general retail stores were those of Campbell & Morphy (in which the post office located, at the corner of Bridge and Bell Streets), John Dewar, Archibald McArthur (corner of Bridge and Mill Streets), Wm. Peden and Tennant & Struthers.
Carleton Place’s merchant tailors of a century ago were Patrick Galvin, Colin Sinclair and Walter Scott ; innkeepers were Napoleon Lavallee and Robert Metcalf, and James McDiarmid was an auctioneer. Robert Bell, M.P.P., among his other business interests, had agencies for fire and life insurance and for marriage licences. Editor of the weekly Herald, James Poole, also was Clerk of the Division Court. Clergymen of the local churches were the Revs. R. Gregory Cox, Church of England ; W. Denion, Baptist ; Peter Gray, Presbyterian Free Church ; and John Howes, Wesleyan Methodist. The physician and surgeon was Dr. Wm. Wilson.
The larger centres near Carleton Place and their populations of ten decades ago as estimated for Lovell’s Canada Directory of 1857, were Mirickville 1000, Smiths Falls 1,500 and Perth 2.500. Neighbouring villages with populations as estimated at the same centennial date included Appleton 75, Clayton 130, Franktown 150, Ashton 200, Ennisville 200, Arnprior 250, Pakenham 300, Lanarak 350 and Almonte 500.
In Almonte were three sawmills, Shipman’s and Wylie’s grist mills, and McIntosh’s and Rosamond’s Woollen Mills, the latter newly moved from Carleton Place.
At and near Lanark were the Caldwell sawmills, the grist, saw and carding mills of John Gillies and of W. Drummond, and the Dobbie foundry. At Ennisville the growth of factory operations was centred on the Code cloth factory and James Ennis’ saw and grist mill.
Ashton had two sawmills, Franktown two medical doctors. The grist and saw mills at Clayton were owned by Edward Bellamy and the carding mill by Timothy Blair. Appleton had Peter and John F. Cram’s tannery, Joseph Teskey’s grist mill and Robert Teskey’s sawmill.
In 1857 and continuing for many later decades, the manufacturing trades best represented in practically all centres of population in Lanark County, as elsewhere in the province, included also the blacksmiths, and the wagon makers, the tailors and shoemakers, the coopers and the cabinet makers. Payment for their goods and services might be made in produce or in cash. These classes of tradesmen and others all helped to provide locally for a great share of the average family needs.