John Muir and His Canadian Friends

by Bruce Cox

On June 13, 1998 more than two hundred people assembled to walk a seven kilometre stretch of the Big Head River leading into Meaford, Ontario. The event was organized by a group of enthusiasts for history, nature and conservation who called themselves the Canadian Friends of John Muir. The focal point of the walk was some ruins, the scant remains of a mill and cabin where John Muir, explorer, naturalist, author and first President of the Sierra Club, had lived and worked from 1864 to 1866.
Trout Hollow, as the site is called, is different now. The old-growth forest has been cut down. The river bank bears the scars of many attempts to harness the waterpower in order to saw lumber, grind grain or produce electricity. But at this date the river has shouldered its way through all the obstacles and found its natural course again, as it sweeps through the Algonquin beach gravels toward Georgian Bay. No roads reach the Hollow now, and the place as much as ever is a world apart from the farms and rural concessions. It remains essentially an oasis of natural beauty, evocative of the memory of John Muir and of the enterprise of the pioneers.
The walkers gathered in groups by the ruins while the leaders explained the natural history of the area and what was known of the mill and its origins, and of the Trout and Jay partners who were the first Canadian friends of John Muir. In the afternoon the walkers returned to the Meaford Opera House to learn about John Muir, his sojourn in Meaford, and why this long neglected period of his life was important to Muir scholars.
Muir was born in Scotland in 1838 and came out to Wisconsin with his family at the age of eleven. He was recognized as a talented inventor. He was the creator of intricate hand-made devices, such as the alarm clock bed that dumped its occupant at the prescribed hour, and the desk that automatically changed the text for the student sitting in front of it. Muir attended the University of Wisconsin where his scientific interest developed, especially in the study of botany. He left the United States during the Civil War and made his way to Canada.
John Muir arrived in Trout Hollow knowing that the host family, like his own, were members of the Disciples of Christ congregation. This sect, formed during a religious revival, reflected in its non-conformity the democratic spirit of the frontier. Like the Quaker Church, members generally took a stand against military service. It is therefore probable that Muir left the U.S. to avoid the draft. Muir was able to settle comfortably with the Trout family, joining them for work and worship.
The Trouts in their turn were captivated by Muir's wit and intelligence. William H. Trout, author of the Trout Family History, remembered that in John Muir's presence "our log house in the mill hollow might modestly claim the same dignity as a university."1 Later the Trouts had other reasons to be impressed by the celebrity of the man who had worked with them in humble circumstances. John Muir became an advisor of President Theodore Roosevelt, a friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and an activist for American wilderness preservation.
For nearly two years John Muir worked alongside the Trouts as their employee and family friend. He helped the hard-pressed family to make their mill more productive, and John in this task won plaudits for his technical innovations. Thus began a lifetime of correspondence and contact between Muir and the Trout family. On exhibit for the first time in Meaford in June were five Muir letters discovered in the Meaford Museum, earlier donated by Harriet Trout's grand-daughter Marion (Dow) Dean, and published for this occasion 2. These letters addressed to Trout family members and friends fill a gap in the correspondence already in the possession of the Muir Center in Stockton, California. They help to complete the picture of Muir's development during this period shortly before his commitment to a lifetime of exploration and discovery.
"John Muir and his Canadian Friends" is about the Trout family, John Muir, the mill and Meaford. It begins with the mill under construction in 1855 and ends with the consequences of the disastrous fire on February 21, 1866. The mill in Trout Hollow was not alone among mills serving the needs of settlers in the pioneer environment, but the presence of John Muir and the records of his involvement there, in the words of Professor James Butler, "provide an important historic footprint".3

Trout Hollow, 1855

One sunny morning in the last days of June 1855, William H. Trout arrived in Trout Hollow for the very first time. So pristine the setting, so glorious the season, that this event was vividly recollected in the Trout Family History many years later. "The leafy vegetation was at its height and every available space seemed filled, and the bird life with its music [was] in those days so abundant. What with hill and dale, river and fountain, birds and abounding vegetation, it would seem that my irrepressible love of nature would surely be satisfied. And measurably so it was."4 Trout had another reason for feeling satisfaction with his surroundings. His father had purchased 200 acres of heavily timbered land about a mile and a half up the river from Meaford, upon which there was very extensive waterpower. In this location, he, William Trout Senior, had taken the decision to build a sawmill and deed it in the name of his eldest son, William H.5

This was not an easy or comfortable location in which to undertake such a project. The Big Head River flowed here entrenched by the great gravel ridge that geologists describe as the Lake Algonquin shoreline, a natural barrier conquered long since by the river.6 Access to the mill would be from the 7th line of St. Vincent Township and east on the road allowance between lots 12 and 13. In order to reach the river bank at this location it was necessary to leave the surveyed line and deviate to the south down a steep bank.7 The 12/13 sideroad was in a primitive state and the river was unbridged. The temporary road the Trouts constructed to the site plunged down the hill and was held in place by logs on the outside. Later, under By-law no. 2, 1858, this road was improved with public funds over some objections that it really was a private responsibility to give access to the mill.8 The Trouts were perhaps the first to appreciate that the abundance of year-round water power here available was adequate compensation for the difficulty of access. Others followed in the same footsteps long after the Trout mill was gone. In the eighteen-seventies the Pleasant Valley Grist Mill stood on the same site. In 1904 The Georgian Bay Milling and Power Company built a large concrete dam nearby in order to provide the town of Meaford with hydro-electricity.9
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The Project
William H. Trout's visit to the family property that morning had a purpose other than nature study. He had been assigned the task of planning for the imminent construction of the mill. He had also been directed to build on site a log house for the comfort and convenience of the operators of the mill. He spent the remainder of that day sketching a layout of the cabin, the dam, the mill race, and the mill itself. Then over the summer, with the help of two assistants, he constructed "a fair log house with cobbled gables and an elm bark roof"10 that leaked.

The Trout family millwrights were in great demand and before he had quite finished the house William H. was called away to another job. Along with his father and brother Ed he was hired to build a gristmill near Inglis Falls. This was not a mill built in the usual fashion on a river. A plan had been developed by the McInnis family to harness a series of springs rising between the dolomite and the Queenston shale of the Niagara Escarpment. The water cascaded freely down the slope to the Sydenham River below. The modern day road from Owen Sound to Inglis Falls passes close to these springs. To capture the power a great waterwheel was constructed, 30 feet in diameter and 4 feet in breadth. The Trouts claimed this to be the largest vertical back-pitched waterwheel ever built in Canada.11 Such waterwheels were soon superseded by the invention of the turbine. William Trout Senior was in charge of the construction which he accompanied by suitable religious devotions at the end of each day. It was to be his last major project. For more than ten years Trout had played a leading part in mill construction and his name stood for quality in the trade. He was a master builder of the old school and was known to criticize his sons for their tendency to innovate, saying that what counted was the application of water to the wheel.

Meanwhile, at Trout Hollow, preparations for the Trout mill were being pushed forward by their hands. During the summer and fall of 1855 the mill race had been cleared out and the "head protecting dam and flume" built.12 Some remains, probably of these structures, can be seen. Since the millwrights themselves were otherwise occupied, the specialized work could not be undertaken until January of 1856. On a snowy morning a party of seven men with a team of horses negotiated with care the road to the riverbank. "Snow lay fully two feet deep over everything, and snow was falling on average at least every other day."13 The little group quickly dispersed to their various tasks. First a small log stable was built to shelter the teams of horses. During construction this also served as a place to do mechanical work out of the weather. Work continued every day, even during the snowstorms.
While the millwrights attended to the mechanical work, a party of labourers was assigned "to dig and fill for a dam" (that presumably crossed the river), but there is no detailed record of the location, size or shape of this structure and no trace remains.14 William H. had estimated the width of the river at 70 to 100 feet. The conventional method was to build a series of log cribs and to fill them with coarse gravel.15 It appears that the dam, however constructed, remained sound for the life of the mill. But piers and a frame for a bridge were swept away by an onslaught of ice the first spring.16 By April, however, the men had installed the machinery and were able to start the saw. The building itself remained unfinished. The first task was to saw lumber for its own roof and floor and a replacement for the leaky elm bark roof of the cabin. William H. put his stamp of approval on the work that had been done with these words:

Though working under difficulties and hindrances, the mill was started in the month of April. Father having intimated that in time it would belong to us boys, I paid special attention to its construction, and the millwright work was excellent. Had the machinists' or general ironwork been as good, all would have been good. I introduced some automatic features in place of hand operations formerly used that saved exertion and time. It was a good mill; and during the first summer lumber was in good demand at a good price.17

In regard to the architecture and workings of the mill, we are left dissatisfied due to the lack of detail. Some brief comparisons with mills of the same period may be of assistance. Harding reports that Cyrus Sing, a competitor, was also building a mill on the Big Head a few hundred yards downstream.18 Sing's mill had a two storey arrangement, the lower floor fitted as a sawmill, and the upper storey a wool factory with carding and fulling machines. As the Trouts were also planning a wool factory, the Trout layout may have been similar.

The workings of a sawmill were a variation on a standard grist mill operation. The source of power was of course the waterwheel. The shaft of the waterwheel terminated in a cogwheel that meshed with a set of gears and set the operations in motion. In the case of a grist mill this power turned a mill stone, called a runner, against its partner, the bedding stone, at a speed of between 60 and 150 revolutions per minute to grind the grain.19 In sawmills of this period similar cast iron gearing was used to drive the saw and the log carriage mechanism. Various improvements in the nineteenth century included both conveyors and elevators to replace manual labour, all driven by refinements in the gearing and drive mechanisms. Later, especially in steam mills, some gearing was replaced by belt-drive machinery.
There is a detailed account of the construction of a sawmill on Centreville Creek in 1853 by the owner, the diarist Peter Fuller.20 He had struggled with a set of gears made locally by blacksmiths, and eventually discarded them for gears purchased in Toronto. He shipped them across the Georgian Bay on the Anne Jane which unfortunately went aground, but later managed to land its cargo at Cape Rich. Fuller suffered great anxiety because he feared the precious gearing would be lost. He was most concerned about the flywheel, the device that drove the saw. The type of saw in use in the early mills was called an upright saw, or an up-and-down saw. Marsh refers to it as a mechanical adaptation of pit sawing.21 This was most likely the type of saw employed by the Trouts, and they had also extended the drive mechanism to operate a wood lathe and other equipment on a factory floor.

It is hard to visualize the relatively small scale of this endeavour compared to what came later. Little more than a century ago these mills were a commonplace part of everyday life. In this pioneer era sources of waterpower were quickly developed to meet the basic needs of settlers for food and shelter. A search of township histories reveals a few accounts of what these mills were capable of doing. In Albermarle Township, Bruce County, a mill wheel was constructed on Colpoy's Creek to develop 15 horsepower. This was sufficient to cut 115,000 board feet of lumber in a season from a few hundred large trees.22 The 1861 census reported that the Trouts had an inventory of 66,000 board feet of hardwood lumber worth $460.23 This was not the type of operation that depleted the forest resources of Upper Canada. By contrast, an eight-foot circular saw installed in the Copeland forest near Orillia at the turn of the century cut up to 20,000 board feet of lumber in a day, and 800,000 board feet in one year.24

From Boom to Bust
The decade since the Trouts' arrival in St. Vincent had been a prosperous one. They had used the years to their advantage and worked together as a family and they had enjoyed full employment. In 1861 on the census, they claimed 500 acres of land,25 mostly in hardwood timber. Their business was in sawn lumber and custom cutting for the public. As a consequence, William Trout Senior was able to provide some measure of security for his family and had sent two of his older sons to formal education in the United States. Nevertheless there was competition aplenty from Purdy and Sing on the Big Head, Fuller and Cox on Centreville Creek, and from the early steam mills.

In the mid eighteen-fifties, the population was increasing rapidly, and there was business enough for all. The movement of people into the area and the extension of agriculture and commerce brought the first major influx of liquidity to the nearly self-sufficient settlers of St. Vincent. As a consequence of the Crimean War in Europe the price of wheat increased from 50 to 75 cents a bushel to a spot price of $2.35.26 The completion of The Ontario, Simcoe and Huron Union Railway to Collingwood in 1855 and improved steamship service brought the farmers within reach of major markets. This fostered a building boom and, important for the Trouts, a demand for both skilled labour and sawn lumber.

In a few months the economic situation turned from boom to bust.27 To begin with, in August, 1856 there was a sharp drop in financial markets. The trigger appeared to be the end of the Crimean War in January, 1856 and with it the end of European dependence on North American grain. There were other factors as well, including a credit crunch mainly attributed to the rapid extension of the railways. The global situation translated into local terms meant hardship for many. The demand for new grain storage facilities dried up. No further gristmills were needed to produce flour. Several new sawmills were nearing completion, but the demand for custom sawing collapsed because new construction was curtailed and there was very little outside work for the Trout family millwrights.

The Handle Factory
At the beginning of 1857, with no hope of meeting his cash requirements, William Trout Senior called a family council. The original construction of the mill had provided additional space for a factory floor and power was available for some type of manufacturing. It was proposed to adapt the wood lathe, already in use, to turn handles for agricultural tools. Soon experimentally, various wood products were being turned out, handles for rakes and brooms, yokes and whiffletrees.28 Since cash was in short supply, some of these products were bartered for blacksmith's work and the fabrication of special tools. Initially they also planned a wool manufacture. A few years earlier Cyrus Sing had imported from Britain the first carding and fulling machines to be used locally. Since then wool production had been seen as a profitable adjunct to operating a mill. The Trouts bought similar equipment and they hired a tradesman by the family name of Raymond to run it. They soon discovered in their case that wool production did not bring in even enough cash to feed the Raymond family.29 This placed an added draw on the Trout resources. Difficulties increased. When the fall of 1857 brought crop failure, for the first time flour was brought into Meaford from the Chicago area to ensure an adequate supply of food. Under these circumstances the woollen mill was shut down and the equipment sold. Now the effort focussed on the manufacture of agricultural tools. In 1858, 300 dozen rake handles were produced for sale at $1.75 per dozen.30 Some of them were bartered for goods including groceries and other necessities.

In 1861 the problems became more severe when insufficient funds were available to pay the mortgage on their land. As a result the property was repossessed by the Laycock family, who took over the operation of the sawmill.31 The Trouts were able to negotiate a right to carry on the handle factory with the limitation that they had only secondary access to the water power. Two years later the Laycocks had failed either to sell the land or to run the mill profitably. In 1863 the whole operation was back in Trout hands, redeemed with help from Ed, a brother who had obtained a job with the Toronto Leader newspaper.32 That was the situation when the brothers Dan and John Muir arrived at the mill looking for winter shelter and temporary employment.

John Muir to the Rescue
The Trout family under the direction of Father had faced their difficulties together. Within a year John Muir, the wandering botanist, and his younger brother, Dan had joined forces with the family enterprise. The Trouts took every opportunity to encourage their interesting, talented, and incredibly hard-working guests/employees. John Muir, who had originally planned only to pass the winter, soon found himself in a congenial relationship with the Trout brothers and their partner, Charles Jay. Perhaps, too, he was aware of the attraction of Harriet Trout, a younger sister, who was a frequent visitor to the mill. Secure in the relationship with the family and like them, a serious member of the Disciples of Christ Church, could he have felt the urge to settle down? A letter to his sister, Mary, captures the enjoyment he felt in their company.

Meaford (Canada) Oct. 23, (1864)
Dear Sis(ter) Mary:

I am well and hope that this, er, letter will find you ditto as much as possible. Danny and I have a pleasant home and do not work hard or long hours, so of course we are growing fatter and fatter, and perhaps we will soon be as big as Gog and Magog.
Our family here consists of first of all Me, a most good man and big boy. Second, Daniel, who is also mostly big, and three or four trifles funny. Third, Mr. William Trout, an unmarried boy of thirty summers, who, according to a multiplicity of common prognostications, is going to elect a lady mistress of Trout's Hollow some day. (Fourth) Charles Jay, a bird of twenty-five, who is said to coo to a Trout. He is created like a blue-jay, with bristly hair and good-natured and vociferous as any parrot. This Jay and last mentioned Trout are in partnership and are rulers of the two scotch heather Muirs. Fifth, Mary Trout of perhaps more than thirty years, an unmarried lady of great many good qualities. Sixth, Harriet Trout, a very happy and sportive fish who employs herself in giggling and making giggle for hours at a time, is about twenty years of age, 5½ ft. long and will perhaps sometime join affinity to the Jay who whistles and coos and gesticulates so funnily to her.
We all live happily together. Occasionally an extra Trout comes upstream or a brother Jay alights at our door, but they are not of our family.
I must now bid goodbye. Write soon.

(Yours, John) 33

In the spring of 1865, when, like his brother, Dan, he might have been leaving for home, John entered into a contract with Trout and Jay to produce 12,000 rakes and 30,000 broom handles.34 He also agreed to improve the production process. The Trouts offered this opportunity because they regarded Muir as a gifted inventor.

William H. had a high opinion of his own technical competence and rightly so. As a mill specialist he was far ahead of John Muir. He had served a long apprenticeship and had designed, built and operated various kinds of mills. He was to earn future recognition nationally in the United States for his patent designs while working for E.P. Allis Co., later Allis-Chalmers, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.35 These patents represented an important step in sawmill efficiency. They advanced the technology for the movement of logs through a mill on automated carriages. Yet in 1866 William H. conceded when he had done all he could to improve the tool manufacture, "Muir easily took it further".36 Peter Trout, in his unpublished memoirs, put it this way: "My brother William H. was an inventor, but for original ideas, he was nowhere with John Muir."37

To be specific, Muir succeeded in improving the machinery by paying close attention to the organization and sequence of all the steps in the production process. This is how it was arranged. Logs were elevated above the factory floor, slabbed and rounded, and cut into proper lengths for handles. Then in an assembly line they were fed down to be turned on a lathe and stacked in inventory. William H. recounts;

He began with our self-feeding lathe for turning rake, fork and broom handles and similar articles, which I considered nearly perfect; by rendering this more completely automatic he nearly doubled the output of broom handles. He placed one handle in position while the other was being turned. It required great activity for him to put away the turned handle and place the new one in position during the turning process. When he could do this there would be eight broom handles turned in a minute.38

Muir was also leading the way toward diversifying the production of the implement factory. He designed and started making several automatic machines for the manufacture of different parts of agricultural tools, for example a machine to make teeth for the rakes, and another to install them. The man who designed the alarm clock bed now had a number of ingenious new arrangements of gears, belts and pulleys to play with.

Muir, the erstwhile botanist, became entirely possessed by his new interest. In his zeal Muir could be seen as the precursor of later time-and-motion experts in industrial efficiency. William H. Trout comments that, "He would make inroads on his time for sleep and recreation. In fact for the latter there was no time allowed. What fun we had was generally caught on the fly."39

The End of the Experience

On the night of February 21, 1866,40 the mill burned to the ground. All the work in progress was destroyed, including the inventory, and the notes and inventions of John Muir. A spark igniting the blaze had changed the direction of several lives. No one wanted to say goodbye, but everyone knew that the means to continue had vanished in the fire. Muir was paid some of the little cash available and departed from Trout Hollow with an I.O.U. for the rest. A rich and formative period for all had ended. Muir's example probably changed the lives of William H. and Peter Trout. In his memoirs, William H. remarked on Muir's zeal and faith, a scientist and a Christian, with a firm belief in the Creator, neither an agnostic nor a disciple of Darwin.41 Over the years letters flowed back and forth and reunions happened. Harriet did not marry Charles Jay, and Peter reminds us that for the longest time she kept up a correspondence with John Muir.42

The fire struck at the very heart of the Trout family enterprise and all the problems of cash flow that pre-existed the fire were now compounded. Evidence from the registry office shows their desperate struggle to keep the family property. Between 1855 and 1875 when Lot 12, Conc 6, St. Vincent finally passed out of their hands, there are twenty-three separate entries in the abstract involving mortgages and their discharge, repossession, and change of ownership.43 When the property returned to the Laycock family, Cyrus Sing held the mortgage. By 1877 William Trout Senior and his wife were dead and the family was widely dispersed.

William H. left quickly for a job in Owen Sound. This was the first of a long series of jobs which he regarded as having technical challenge. Eventually he was to achieve moderate wealth and recognition for his inventions in the U.S. Peter, who missed his chance for formal education due to the lack of family funds, had an interesting and varied life. He worked for a time without credentials as a teacher and on the fringe of the medical profession. Later following Muir's example, he went to California and Alaska, where he spent years prospecting for gold and failing at various business ventures. He wrote a book on prospecting and one called The True Story of the World and How Man Became What He Is.44 Charles Jay left to work at a mill job in Beaverton, but soon returned to Meaford to employment at the Georgian Foundry. Eventually, he joined a successful partnership with James Trout in real estate brokerage and the insurance business. He married Mary Trout. Harriet married a Disciples of Christ preacher, Duncan Sterling and followed the circuit as far west as Brandon, Manitoba.


In the history of the Trout mill we have a glimpse of economic conditions just before Confederation provided a stimulus for a rapidly expanding economy. The same year, (1855), that William H. returned from school in the U.S. to build the mill on the Big Head, the railway came to Collingwood. Daily service was available by steamer to Collingwood, Meaford, Owen Sound and for a short time, across the lakes to Chicago. Within twenty years of the pioneers national and international markets were within reach. After the Civil War vast new markets opened up in the United States, that could easily be served by the railways. In the timber trade, after Confederation forests were cut more rapidly to meet demand. Steam power enabled the placement of mills where trees were available. Automated sawmills fed circular saws, band saws, whole batteries of saws, making possible the kind of carnage that over a whole county or a river valley left only slash and stumps behind.

When Charles Jay went to work at the Georgian Foundry, the vital function of the waterwheel was already becoming obsolete. In the foundry at Meaford Charles Barber had begun to manufacture the Canadian Turbine Water Wheel that he had invented and patented. This was an adaptation of the conventional waterwheel turned on its side and fully immersed. A foundry product, not the result of home industry, it had machined steel blades replacing the old wooden floats or paddles. Smaller, lighter and more durable than the waterwheel, the turbine rotated at higher speeds and with central discharge, produced power by both action and reaction. Joseph Lindsey, who has catalogued the history of the Barber invention from its inception until its fall from favour, summarizes the benefits as follows:

In the coal-deficient inland communities of Ontario, where factory production appeared in the mid-nineteenth century, this producer good served as a practical and economical alternative to the steam engine; once installed in a plant and connected to machinery by direct drive connections such as belts, pulleys, and gears, it required comparatively little maintenance, could perform satisfactorily for decades, and used an energy source that was both abundant and cheap.45

The Trout family business that ended in 1866 because of a major fire had already been handicapped by the occurrence of an economic slowdown within a long period of sustained growth. This failure illustrates a limitation on businesses in the smaller communities, with restrictions on capital and resources to see them through technological change and hard times. Charles Barber sold his turbine water wheel into a national market and over many years achieved success and recognition, while contributing to the prosperity of his community. Over time, however, he was unable to escape the problems of a small family enterprise, starved for capital, while needing to change and adapt. By the middle years of this century forces such as Ontario Hydro, with its huge generators, rendered the Barber family business obsolete.
In general, it appears that the struggle and failure of both Trout and Barber illustrate a trend. Ingenuity and creativity do not guarantee success. The scale of industry and the resources of labour, capital and materials needed for sustained competition tipped the balance against the smaller towns. Meaford, like other small towns, struggled against its limitations but lost the variety of skilled trades and manufactures to urbanization, and now has entered the post-industrial age.

Bruce Cox
December, 1998


1. Trout, William H., Trout Family History. Meyer-Rotier Printing Co., Milwaukee, U.S.A., 1917. Page 125.

2 . The John Muir Letters to his Meaford Friends, printed by Oliver Graphics and Printing for the Meaford Museum. 1998.

3. The Express Newspaper, Wednesday, June 17, 1998. Page 1.

4. Trout, William H., op. cit. Page 103.

5. Grey County Registry Office, records for Lot 12 Concession 6, St. Vincent Township. It was officially in the name of William H. Trout on May 15, 1860.

6. Chapman, L.J. an Putnam, D.F., The Physiography of Southern Ontario, Second Edition. University of Toronto Press, 1973. Page 195.

7. Historical Atlas of Grey and Bruce Counties, H. Beldon and Co. Toronto 1880. Page 29.

8. Owen Sound Comet, St. Vincent Council, Oct. 15, 1858.

9. Pictorial Meaford: An Illustrated History and Chronography of the Town of Meaford. Stanley Knight Publishing Meaford, 1991. Page 162.

10. Trout, William H. op. cit. Page 104.

11. Ibid. Page 108. The McInnis Mill.

12. Ibid. Page 108.

13. Ibid. Page 108.
14. Ibid. Page 108.
15. Leung Felicity L., Grist and Flour Mills in Ontario: From Millstones to Rollers, 1780 to 1880. Canadian Government Publishing Centre, Hull P.Q., 1981. Page 51
16. Trout, William H., op. cit. Page 109.
17. Ibid. Page 109.
18. The Meaford Express, Frank N. Harding, History of Meaford and St. Vincent, June 24, 1943. A typed collection of these articles is to be found in the Meaford Library and in the Owen Sound and North Grey Union Public Library under the title The Story of Meaford and St. Vincent.
19. Leung, op. cit. Page 43.
20. Peter Fuller's Diary. Unpublished. There are various references to mill construction in 1852 and 1853. Typed copy available in Owen Sound and North Grey Union Public Library, Ioleen Hawken Collection. Summary available from Meaford Express, June 1, 1943, Frank N. Harding, op.cit.
21. Marsh, E.L., History of Grey County. Fleming Publishing Co., Owen Sound, 1931. Page 250. Two men handsawing, one up, one down, on a log suspended over a pit.
22. Albemarle Township History. Albemarle Township Historical Society, Wiarton, 1991. Page 243.
23. Census, Canada West, 1861, St. Vincent.
24. Golas, Irene, The Copeland Forest, 1800 to 1981. East Georgian Bay Historical Journal, vol. 1, 1981. Page 92.
25. Census, op. cit.
26. Meaford Express, Harding, May 6, 1943.
27. Rinaldo, Peter M., Nature, Nurture and Chance: The Lives of William, Edward and Peter Trout. DorPete Press, Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. Pages 24-25. There is a discussion of the effects of the depression of 1856 on the Trout family fortunes.
28. Trout, William H., op. cit. Page 117.
29. Ibid. Page 119.
30. Ibid. Page 118.
31. Ibid. Page 121
32. Ibid. Page 117. Edward contributed $5000 to the family needs.
33. Thanks to Helene Weaver, Owen Sound Historical Society. Also Miller, Sally M., Editor, John Muir: Life and Work, University of New Mexico Press, 1993.
34. Trout, William H., op. cit. Page 126.
35. abRinaldo, Peter H., op. cit. Page 76.
36. abTrout, William H., op. cit. Page 125. "I could not by any means take rank with him."
37. Trout, Peter, What I Know about John Muir. Unpublished Memoir. Page 9.
38. Trout, William H., op. cit. Page 126.
39. Ibid. Page 127.
40. Rinaldo, Peter H., op. cit. Page 35. Other evidence exists to support this date, based on the report of a farmer who was to have his lumber cut at the Trout mill the next day.
41. Trout, William H., op. cit. Page 124. How Muir's religious thinking evolved later is a subject of much discussion. Seen Rinaldo, Peter H., op. cit. Page 47.
42. Trout, Peter, op. cit. Page 15.
43. Grey County Registry Office, op. cit.
44. Rinaldo, Peter M., op. cit. Page 109 and pages 80 to 100 contain a full discription of Peter Trout's colourful life.
45. Lindsey, Joseph D., Water and Blood: The Georgian Foundry Hydraulic Technology and the Rise and Fall of a Family Firm in a Small Ontario Town. Ontario History, Vol. 75. Sept. 1983. Page 245.

Bibliography *
Albemarle Township History. Albemarle Township Historical Society. Wiarton, 1991.

Canada West Census, 1861. Owen Sound and North Grey Union Public Library, microfilm.

Chapman, L.J. and Putnam, D.F. The Physiography of Southern Ontario, Second Edition. University of Toronto Press, 1973.

Cross, Michael S. The Lumber Community of Upper Canada. Ontario History, Vol LII, No. 4.

Fox, William, Brooks, B. and Tyrwhitt, Janice. The Mill. McClelland and Stewart. Toronto, 1976.

Fuller, Peter. Diary 1852 to 1871. Unpublished. Owen Sound and North Grey Union Library, Ioleen Hawken Collection.

Garrad, Charles. William Ross's Mill. East Georgian Bay Historical Journal, Vol. II.

Golas, Irene. The Copeland Forest, 1800 to 1981. East Georgian Bay Historical Journal, Vol. I.

Grey County Registry Office. Records for Concessions 6 and 7, St. Vincent Township.

Hamill, J.D. Early History of Meaford and District. Ontario Historical Society Papers and Records, Vol. 23, 1920.

Harding, F.N. History of Meaford and St. Vincent. Articles from the Meaford Express, Feb., 1942 to Aug., 1944. Owen Sound and North Grey Union Public Library, Ioleen Hawken Collection.

Harding, F.N. Miscellaneous Notes from an Early Meaford Newspaper. (Meaford Monitor and Meaford Mirror, 1870 to 1891). Owen Sound and North Grey Union Public Library, Ioleen Hawken Collection.

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Lindsey, Joseph D. Water and Blood: Hydraulic Technology and the Rise and Fall of a Family Firm in a Small Town in Ontario. Ontario History, Vol 66, No 3, 1988.

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Miller, Sally M., Ed. John Muir: Life and Work. University of New Mexico Press. Albuquerque, N.M., 1993.

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About the Author
Bruce Cox is a founding member of the Canadian Friends of John Muir. His family has deep links to the settlement of St. Vincent Township, Muir's Church, and The Trout family. Muir records in his herbarium that he visited the garden of J. Cox in 1865. Joe Cox was the great grand uncle of Bruce Cox. Mr. Cox is a former history teacher and secondary school principal.