Early mills near Richmond Hill
List of early mills


1. The first saw mill in Vaughan built in 1801 by John Lyons on the main branch of the Don river near Thornhill. In 1802, Lyons constructed a grist mill with a dam 200 feet high. This pond was used to conceal articles during the war of 1812. In 1814 the mills were purchased by Wm. Purdy. Tannery and carding mill were added. Burned and rebuilt in 1830 by Thorne and Parsons.

2. Saw mill built on Lot 34, Con. 1, by Nicholas Cober in 1825. Sold in 1836 to John Barwick and later to George Wright. It was in operation in 1885.

3. Distillery built in 1820 by Henry White.

4. Saw mill built on Lot 36, Con. 1, by Barnabas Lyons, in 1839. It worked for 30 years.

5. Saw mill on Lot 37, Con. 1, built by Hiram Dexter in 1836.

6. Saw mill on Lot 38, Con. 1, built by John Dexter in 1830; it was in use until 1870.

7. Saw mill on Lot 16, Con. 2, now Carrville, built by Thos. Cook in 1850. It was in use until 1880.

8. Saw mill on Lot 17, Con. 2, built by Michael Fisher in 1820.

9. Grist mill on Lot 17, Con. 2, built by Michael Fisher in 1821. It was in operation in 1885.

10. Saw mill built by Messrs. Patterson in 1854 on Lot 21, Con. 2. Patterson expanded his business into extensive farm implement factory.

11. Saw mill built on Lot 4І, Соn. 1, by Reuben Burr in 1828; it worked for 20 years. Mr. Burr was an excellent mechanic. He built the first fanning mill in use north of Toronto. His son, Rowland Burr put up a flour or grist mill on the same lot, which was destroyed by fire in 1840.

12. Saw mill built on Lot 42, Con. 1, by C.E. Lawrence in 1834. In 1840, he built a carding and fulling mill and woollen factory.

13. A distillery built on Lot 43, Con. 1, by James Lymburner. He also built a small log grist mill in I8II. A grist mill was built on the same lot in 1840 by John Atkinson. In was in use in 1885.

14. Saw mill erected on Lots 45 & 46, Con. 1, by James Playter in 1848. It was in use in 1885. Later the facility was appropriated for an iron works where ploughshares were made. It was run by Washington Majer, who also owned a cider mill.

15. A distillery built by James McDavids in 1844 on Lot 47. 16. Saw mill built by James Langstaff in 1847, which was the nucleus of various other industries, including a foundry and edge tool factory. It was sold to L. Innis and Son in 1889. It was located at end of Richmond St. in Richmond Hill.

17. Saw mill on Lot 50, Con. 1, built by Hislop in 1842. It was also a tannery.

18. Saw mill on Lot 25, Con. 2, built by Peter Franklin in 1842. It was used for 20 years.

19. Tannery and stave factory at Elgin Mills, erected in 1854 by Jas. Newton.


In Markham Township


20. Saw mill erected on Lot 30, Con. 1, in 1820 by Sir Allan McNab. Grist mill was added later. Sold to Daniel Brooke. Rented to George Playter, who rebuilt both mills and called them Pomona Mills. On the same lot a carding and fulling mill was built in 1839 by Rowland Burr. Three distilleries were also built on this lot but they were short lived.

21. A distillery on Lot 32, Con. 1, built in 1828 and worked by Wm. Cruickshank for about 12 years. Another distillery built on the north half of the same lot by John Lyons in I810.

22. First flour mill in Markham on Lot 33, Con. 1, by Nicholas Miller in 1793.

23. Steam saw mill built on Lot 36, Con. 1, in 1856 by John Langstaff, who also built a shingle factory and planing mills. In 1866, a factory was built for making pails and other woodenware.

24. On Lot II, Con. 2, a carding and fulling mill built in 1825 by Benjamin Hosel. In 1848, a grist mill was erected by Thos. Shaw. It was burned almost as soon as it was completed. A pail factory built by John Amos, also burned, and a grist mill also by John Amos was in use in 1885.


Source: The information on early mills in Richmond Hill was obtained from the History of The County of York, Vol. I, published by C. Blackett Robinson, in Toronto in 1889, and from the materials found in the Richmond Hill Library.

Remains of water wheel at Mill St. mill south of waterworks pond.
Remains of water wheel at Mill St. mill south of waterworks pond. Details
Old Mill on Mill St. South on waterworks pond.
Old Mill on Mill St. South on waterworks pond. Details
Map of early mills near Richmond Hill
Map of early mills near Richmond Hill Details
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