Andrew McFall Era, 1881 – 1894

Andrew McFall Era 1881-1894

  • The McFall era extended for 60 years, through three generations, from 1881 until 1941. Andrew, the first of the McFall family millers, grew up just east of Bolton in King Township
  • He apprenticed with H.S. Howland at his grist mill in Kleinburg, trained as an accountant and ran the grist mill in Thornhill prior to buying the Bolton mill in 1881.  The mill had been advertised as a ‘Grist and Flouring Mill having a 4 storey frame on a stone foundation along with a 4 storey storehouse’ 1   
  • At the time of the purchase, Andrew was 42 years old, married to Mary McNeill and together they had six children: Margaret, Anne, Arthur, Louise, William and Henry.  Charles was born later 2
  • The McFall family initially lived in the c.1843 seasonal cottage built by James Bolton Jr. to house mill workers.  Andrew expanded the house by co-joining it to a separate half-house purchased from Hannah Gardhouse 3
  • The mill ran 24 hours a day, 6 days a week, starting at midnight Sunday and shutting down at midnight on Saturday
  • Andrew initiated change with the installation of a full roller system to process grain, the purchase of a new water wheel as well as the acquisition of a small steam plant to supplement the water power from the river 4
  • The steam plant typically ran during the night and the transition from water power to steam power required precise synchronization between the miller and the mill engineer [McFall Family documents [/note]
  • The roller system allowed different grades of flour to be produced by taking flour off the rollers at different times.  Andrew branded his grades of flour with decorative barrel heads. ‘Good Loaf’ was the basic grade, ‘Albion Pride’ was first grade and ‘Pure Gold’ was the finest flour ground 5
  • By the mid-1880s, Andrew also purchased the grain elevator at the station
  • He was instrumental in the formation of the Laurel Hill Cemetery Company in 1894.  Ironically, Andrew passed away later that same year and was one of the first burials in the new cemetery 6


And the buildings?

  • Andrew McFall purchased the mill owner’s home from Hannah Gardhouse in 1884.  Prior to that the family lived in Mill Cottage, at what is now 97 King Street East.  Andrew installed running water which was gravity feed through a pipe from a spring on the north hill
  • The grain elevator Andrew purchased was redundant after CPR moved the railway tracks about 850 meters west in 1906
  1. McFall Family documents
  2. McFall Family documents
  3. Details contained in the Town of Caledon Heritage Designation Report, complied by Heather G. Broadbent in 1982
  4. W.I. Bolton, Tweedsmuir Book, section on the grist mill, by Collena Wilson
  5. ibid.
  6. A History of Laurel Hill Cemetery 1893-1988, published by the Laurel Hill Cemetery Company