Distillery

  • The Historical Atlas of Peel County suggests that local Bolton merchant and postmaster, Samuel Sterne, built a distillery in the late 1830s
    A ‘still’ is not surprising in a community with a grist mill in that it created a ready, and popular, use for inferior grades of grain 
  • This ‘still’ was probably a one-man operation and the timing is consistent with  Francis McDonald starting up his cooperage business in 1836 which would have provided the distillery with the necessary barrels or casks
  • Local lore has the ‘still’ located in a stone building across the river from where Samuel Sterne built his mud brick hotel around 1840
  • The lore is probably fact since ‘Distillery Street’ (now Hickman Street) is shown on a 1868 map drawn by provincial surveyor C.J. Wheelock. It is known that there was a stone shed-like building standing close to the riverbank at the rear of 24 Hickman Street
  • While it is a reasonable assumption that Samuel was using the ‘still’ to supply the bar of his hotel, it is not known if he also supplied bars in any of the other hotels operating in this time-frame.  This could have included Thomas Rodgers’ Inn,  George Evan’s Tavern which evolved into The Exchange Hotel and James Johnston’s Tavern 
  • Samuel Sterne died in 1850 and there are no records to suggest that the distillery continued operating after his death; in fact, his widow Ann Sterne took over the operation of his businesses and re-named the hotel ‘The Temperance Inn’
  • In the same vein, it is worth noting that Bolton’s Temperance Society came to be in the 1850s

    Tremaine’s Map County of Peel 1859 Source; PAMA