Millgrove’s industrial prosperity centred on the intersection of the present Millgrove Sideroad and the 5th Concession (Millgrove Road).
On the south-east corner, David Cummins had a turning mill and woodworking shop where he made furniture. Originally, the building had been located at the front of his property on the 5th Concession, with a lathe that was driven by an indoor windmill.
The business was moved to the village after it was the scene of a terrible accident, when one of David’s daughters, Sarah Elizabeth, was mortally injured when the strings of her bonnet became caught in the lathe.
After the little factory closed in the 1860s, it was replaced by a blacksmith’s shop, one of several that were established in the village before the arrival of the automobile.
Two other blacksmiths were located on the opposite side of the road. David Peters, owner of one of the shops, also operated a seasonal sawmill, powered by a steam engine and employing as many as eight men.
Clement Franks was the other village blacksmith. His little frame building was right on the north east corner, so close to the sidewalk that passersby could look right into the shop and watch the horses being fitted with new shoes. Upstairs in the same building was a carriage works and later a bicycle shop.
On the northwest corner was one of the first mills in the village, a shingle mill, operated by another Millgrove pioneer, Jacob Sylvester Rymal for Jacob Cummins.
About 1858, Charles Stuart Cummins purchased the mill from his father, Jacob and enlarged it to become the largest shingle mill in the area, with as many as eight men employed, working with a twenty-eight horsepower steam engine, which drove the shingle splitters.
When the supply of cedar logs became scarce, the mill was closed and moved to Dundalk by David Marr Cummins, a younger brother of the owner.
Just north of the shingle mill, Rev. John Wilkinson operated a small gristmill for the production of flour. Possibly the earliest mill in the village, it was destroyed by a fire about 1870 and was never rebuilt.
In 1874, the property was purchased from Shipman Cummins and the frame Chapel of the New Connexion Methodist Church, located at the northwest corner of Clappison’s Corners was moved to the site to become the Millgrove Village Hall.
The little single storey building was one of the earliest places of worship in the township, having been erected by John Cummins during the 1830s. It remained on the site for many years after the congregation abandoned it and with union of the various sects within the Methodist Church in 1874, it was declared surplus.
Sylvia Wray is the former archivist with the Flamborough Archives. She can be reached through the Archives at email@example.com.
This article was originally published in the Flamborough Review, 14 December 2007.