Two Early Views of Smith

Two Early Views of Smith’s Falls

Bathurst Courier, October 19, 1849

Letters From the Editor From the Kingston Whig 3rd October, 1849

Leaving home yesterday morning on the Rideau Canal by the Beaver I got to Smith’s Falls late last night and after doing what little business I had to do in that small but thriving village, I took buggy and arrived here this afternoon and when I have mailed this letter I shall return to Smith’s Falls to be ready for the Bytown steamer in the morning.  So much for my whereabouts—now for what I have noticed.

The village of Smith ’s Falls appears to me to remain status quo.  With the exception of a very neat Episcopalian Church I see no new buildings put up since my last annual visit.  The place suffers in general with the rest of Canada from the universal depression in prices of agricultural products.  The late rise in the value of potash has given a slight fill up to business in this new and uncleared country and the coming into the sawed lumber market of the New Yorkers has given it another lift.  But on the whole trade is uncommonly dull.  The population of the village is 1,060(?) souls.

The country between Smith’s Falls and Perth, a distance of 14 miles, is new and very wild with the exception of a distance of three miles on the Perth side.  The land in general is swampy and where it is not swampy the soil consists of sandy loam with occasional stones.  Smith’s Falls is in the township of North Elmsley and Perth is in the township of Drummond.  A very marked difference between the two townships is seen on leaving the one and entering the second.  Smiling farms, good orchards, excellent roads are met with every step in Drummond whereas North Elmsley is almost a wilderness as rough and uncultivated as if it were 100 miles in the interior yet they lay along side each other.  The River Tay and its attendant canal are passed on the road.  The canal was made by a private company in Perth on the Rideau principle viz., by damming up the waters over the rapids and other impediments and forming locks; but the expense of keeping this experimental kind of thing up was too great for the pockets of the company in not having mother country to supply and pony up the dust the works have been suffered to decay and the canal is useless. 

Perth, the district town of the Bathurst District, is a place of some 2,000 inhabitants.  It covers a very large surface and at a distance looks like a city as big as Kingston.  The streets are spacious and the houses and shops are handsomely built of stone.  I see more than the usual variety of church and other public buildings but I have no time to examine them or even ask their names.  I am unfortunate in my visit to Perth being literally “one day after the fair” on Monday, the annual cattle show was held and yesterday the annual fair for the sale of fat and lean steers took place.  The road between this and Smith’s Falls was today filled with various droves of oxen and fat cows destined for the Montreal and Kingston markets and judging only from what I met on the road the quantity for same must have been immense.

Bathurst Courier, March 8, 1850

Smith’s Falls is situated on the margin of the main street of the Rideau River and in spite of the particular circumstances in which it has for many years been placed in consequence of the land on which it is built the village has increased rapidly.  In 1830 there were only two houses at the Falls whereas at the present time there are over 200, many of them built in the most handsome style.  Indeed, the situation of the place is such from the plentiful supply of water for milling and other purposes and the intercourse by steamboat between the upper and lower portions of the Province, that in the course of a few more years it cannot fail to become a town of considerable note.

Smith’s Falls is distant from Brockville about 36 miles.  For 12 miles of distance there is a macadamized road but were a good leading road constructed for the whole distance which we trust there may be, the advantages both to Brockville and the Falls will be considerable as well as to the people settled along the whole line of the road

Smith’s Falls contains three sleigh and wagon factories, 7 blacksmith’s shops, 6 tailoring establishments, 8 shoe shops, 1 tinsmith, 2 axe factories, 7 stores, 4 taverns or hotels.  There are also saddler’s shops and tanners.  Mr. S. Korchen(?) has been engaged in the manufacture of harness leather for the last 14 years and Mr. F. Holt(?) in the same business as well as shoemaking for the last five years.

There are also grist, oatmeal, saw, carding, and folding mills in active operation belonging to Mr. Ward; a grist mill belonging to Mr. J. Gould; a saw mill and shingle factory belonging to Mr. Beckwith.  Messrs. Frost and Woods have also a foundry of full work where a large number of plough and stoves are made.  There are also several cabinet shops but the principal one is that of Mr. Bartlett’s in which we were assured by parties competent to form an opinion, articles in the line are made which cannot be surpassed in the colony.

Besides the above, Smith’s Falls possesses two schools, a district and a common one and five churches:  United Secession, Methodist, Catholic, Church of Scotland, Church of England, as well as a division of the Sons of Temperance, Oddfellows, Freemasons Lodge and Orange Lodge. 

Brockville Recorder

Posted: 15 July, 2004