Francis Sandford was one of the most important manufacturers in the village. The 1871 census lists him as a 23 year-old, Ontario-born waggon maker. According to the 1904 Souvenir he arrived in the village in 1870 and set up business on the north-east corner of Francis and May Streets. His first appearance in the directories in July of 1871 would indicate that he had already formed a partnership with Blake Orr, but Sandford was back on his own by July 1873. By October 1874 his “well established waggon-making business and quarter acre lot on Francis Street East, on which are a shop 24 by 50 feet, two stories high, and a small comfortable frame dwelling house …” were up for sale [CP 27 Nov 1874; 12]. By 1875 his new blacksmith and wagon shop were “up” on Lindsay Street, just opposite the Royal Hotel [CP 12 Feb 1875; 3].
The business continued to grow and by 1882 Sandford was selling agricultural implements, adding new machinery, planning to build a 35 by 90 foot three-storey factory, and employing eight hands. In 1883 he advertised cutters, market sleighs, waggons, buggies, ploughs, all kinds of planing and moulding, blacksmithing, and “grain crushing” [FFG 22 Dec 1883; 3]. A new carriage shop and cheese factory was built in 1887 on the island between the canal and the river, alongside a woolen mill owned by William H. Welch [sic]1 [CP 7 Oct 1887; 1 : 11 Nov 1887; 1]. In 1889 preparations were underway to convert part of the large factory at the north end of the iron bridge into a grist and chop mill [FFG 15 Nov 1889; 5]. Other buildings were constructed and additions and improvements made to the existing factory and mills during the 1890’s. “With his carriage shop, planing mill, cheese factory, roller and grist mill, grain elevator and churn and washing machine factory, Mr. Sandford certainly has his hands full and ought to be making money” [FFG 5 August 1898; 4].
In the spring of 1903 Sandford built a large Woodenware factory south of the Railway station on the east side of Lindsay Street. This was known as the Fenelon Falls Furniture and Woodenware Company. The building was three stories high, and 60 by 115 feet. It lasted only three years, and was destroyed by fire on the 12th of March 1906 with a heavy loss to the shareholders2. Eighty five workers lost their jobs. The business never recovered. Sandford’s wife, Mary M. Inkster, died on October 31st, 1904 and was buried in the village cemetery, so Sandford may have retired at this point. He also soon remarried in Toronto.3 Francis Sandford died in Winter Haven, Florida, on September 28th, 1926, “after a lingering illness” and was buried there.
673 Variant name: Sandford, J.
674 Perhaps he set up the partnership with Orr in order to begin the business.
675 The ad was dated 15 October 1874. The differing locations (Francis and May Streets, and Francis Street East) cannot be reconciled with the information I have so far; either one is incorrect, or they indicate he moved sometime between 1871 and 1874.
676 See FFG 6 May 1882; 2 : 17 June 1882; 2 : 23 Sept 1882; 2 : 18 Nov 1882; 2 : 23 Dec 1882; 2.
677 The correct spelling is William H. Walsh.
678 For example see the FFG 3 Jan 1890; 4 : 9 Oct 1891; 4 : 12 Aug 1892; 4 : 24 Aug 1894; 4 : 15 Nov 1895; 4 : 8 Oct 1897; 5 : 15 Oct 1897; 5 : 5 Aug 1898; 4 : 16 Dec 1898; 4.
679 Accounts vary as to when this factory was built, but it was in operation by January 1904. There is an engraving of the factory in the 1904 Souvenir, along with Sanford’s photograph.
680 The shareholders included John Austin, F. McDougall, J. Twomey, Thos. Robson, George Martin, John Howie, F. Sandford and F.A. McDiarmid [LP 16 March 1906; 1]. “One thing happened years ago I’ve never forgot, I was watching out the upstairs window at the burning of the Sandford Furniture factory. The largest fire I ever saw. It lit the whole sky. That factory stood at the back of the Co-op and Esso tanks… “Memories of Long Ago, Bill Brokenshire [FFG 28 Dec 1983; 2]. See also LP 16 March 1906; 1
681 Married. On the 3rd of July in Holy Trinity ,Toronto, by the Rev. John Pearson, M.A., Rector, Mr. Francis Sandford of Fenelon Falls, Ont. to Mrs. Orpha Barker Fletcher of Cherry Valley, Ivy, Ont. [FFS 5:41 (July 6, 1904); 5]