Rathbun Co.

The Rathbun Lumber Company ran their logs over the slide at Fenelon Falls for many years (especially during the last decade of the century) and was continually blocking the river to steamboat traffic. Active in Haliburton County and points north [Reynolds; 60] Rathbun was a strong presence in the Kawarthas, hiring boats and men to drive their logs to their various mills2 (Tatley; 116) one of which was in Lindsay (Tatley; 124]. Rathbun had lumber camps all through the north; there was even a “camp” on Goose Lake in Fenelon Township [WP 6 March 1903; 5].

The Rathbun Company didn’t show any interest in operating a mill in the village until 1898. Rathbun agents met with several “property owners” in November 1898 and proposed that they would rent and run the mill and yard property south of the river, now operated by Mr. Wright, if the village would purchase the property and negotiate water power rights from the Smith estate [FFG 11 Nov 1898; 4], or alternatively grant a bonus of $8000.00. A large public meeting was held [FFG 18 Nov 1898; 4] and the bonus was passed by the village Council, but the Rathbun Co. afterwards declined the offer [FFG 25 Nov 1898; 4]. Attempts were made to revive the offer [FFG 9 Dec 1898; 4] but it too failed. Suggitt claims they “located” a sawmill on the southern side of the Fenelon River near the Green and Ellis Mill [Suggitt; 270] at this time, but I have found no evidence of this to date. Nonetheless, a mill was certainly in operation by 1903, when an ad for the Company appears in the Fenelon Falls Star [2 April 1903], and when the company appears in D&B (1903). Their mill was being “refitted” that April and was to start up “in a few days” [WP 10 April 1903; 5].

“The firm also has a mill at Fenelon Falls, but the capacity is little more than half that of the [Lindsay] mill…. Previous to putting the Fenelon Falls mill into operation a part of the firm’s drive of logs from Gull River waters was taken though to Deseronto. That has now been done away with, and instead all the timber coming from these limits is being manufactured at Fenelon Falls and Lindsay. … We understand that “altogether” there are over 120 men employed in these drives. The output of these two mills is about 140,000 shingles per day, nearly one carload and a half. Three shingle machines are operated at the local mill while two are used in the mill at the Cataract village [WP 1 May 1903; 9].

634 Variant spelling: Rathburn. The firm was often called Rathburn by the locals.

635 See the FFG 23 May 1890; 4 as an example.

636 Their main mill was at Deseronto.

637 “Lindsay’s Busy Mills.”

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