MacVane's Mill


MacVane’s Mill, Bothwell (then North River)[i]

            The first mill erected on the property owned by the MacVane family was in the early 1830s.  This mill was a combination of grist and saw mill, in one building.  Alexander MacVane began by constructing a dam on the North River. This was done by carrying mud from the mouth of the river, the mud was then mixed with clay. All of this work was done by hand with the help of local friends. According to Mr. Earl Kennedy, the lumber mill was built to supply lumber to a ship building business which was located on the same river.

According to East Point Baptist Church Historical Sketch, the grist mill was driven by water power. It served the public for two generations. The stones used for grinding the grain were made out of Island sandstone. From a picture dated 1924the lumber mill was located at the back and the grist on the upper floor at the front.  Flour came out a door at the front (facing the River). Logs were rolled down the hill behind the mill and entered a back door.      

When Alexander was no longer in good health to look after the mill, his son Joseph took over the business. Joseph later built another mill further south of North River.  He continued to operate both lumber and grist in the same building, for the second mill.  The stones for Joseph’s mill were not sandstone, like his father’s, but were shipped from Scotland.  In the mill built by Joseph, oats were also ground before milling. A large kiln was built into the bank behind the mill for this purpose. Once Joseph died his son Stanley took over the business. He eventually stopped milling oats and flour, and produced lumber, lathes and shingles.  Mrs. S.J. MacVane salvaged the stone from Joseph’s mill before it was sold in 1967.

It is believed that Captain James Young, captained and built two ships that were sailed to the West Indies to bring back sugar and molasses to Prince Edward Island.  However, when leaving the Island, it most likely that he also had cargo on board. This cargo may have been flour that was ground at the MacVane mill.



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