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.
(Yours, John) 33
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
return to top
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Albemarle Township History. Albemarle Township Historical Society.
Canada West Census, 1861. Owen Sound and North Grey Union Public
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.
Harding, F.N. Alphabetical Index to Families in St. Vincent.
Unpublished. Meaford Public Library and Owen Sound and North
Grey Union Public Library.
Historical Atlas of Grey and Bruce Counties. H. Belden and Co.
Jones, Dewitt and Watkins, T.H. John Muir's America. Crown Publishers
Inc. New York, 1976.
Leung, Felicity L. Grist and Flour Mills in Ontario: From Millstones
to Rollers, 1780 to 1880. Canadian Government Publishing Centre.
Hull, P.Q. Parks Canada 1981.
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.
Marsh, E.L. History of Grey County. Fleming Publishing Co. Owen
Meaford Express Newspaper, especially Harding, F.N. Feb., 1942
to Aug., 1944.
Miller, Sally M., Ed. John Muir: Life and Work. University of
New Mexico Press. Albuquerque, N.M., 1993.
Owen Sound Comet Newspaper, 1858 to 1864. Owen Sound and North
Grey Union Public Library, microfilm.
Pictorial Meaford: An Illustrated History and Chronography of
the Town of Meaford. Stanley Knight Publishing. Meaford, 1991.
Priamo, Carl. Mills of Canada. McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1976.
Rinaldo, Peter M. Nature, Nurture and Chance: The Lives of William,
Edward and Peter Trout. DorPete Press. Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.
Smith, W.W. Gazeteer and Directory of the County of Grey, 1865
Theberge, G. and E. John Muir's Ontario Valley. Ontario Naturalist,
Vol 16, No 2. April, 1976.
Trout, Peter. What I Know About John Muir. Unpublished Memoir.
Trout, Peter. Unpublished Memoirs. 1915.
Trout, William H. Trout Family History. Rotier Printing Co.,
(Private publication). Milwaukee, 1917.
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.