John Guardhouse Era, 1860 – 1878

John Gardhouse Era  1860-1878

General Store built by John Gardhouse circa 1875,
Hannah Gardhouse
  • The 1861 census records describe John Gardhouse (written ‘Guardhouse’ in some documents) as miller and merchant. 
  • By 1870, the mill was producing 125 barrels of flour a day in addition to doing custom business.  Full flour barrels weighing 196 pounds each were transported by horse-drawn wagons or ‘teamed’, 10 barrels to a wagon. 
  • John Gardhouse also managed most of the incoming and outgoing freight needs of the Bolton community
  • All of this changed with the arrival of the Toronto Grey & Bruce Railway in December 1870.  By 1871, regular train service was scheduled twice daily to Toronto
  • This was a period of significant growth and prosperity, spawned by the productivity of the surrounding Albion Township agricultural sector.   
  • In 1875,  John contracted George Watson, Master builder, to first construct a magnificent brick general store on Queen Street and then  in 1876, to build a large brick home which backed onto the Humber River
  • But tragedy struck with John Gardhouse’s sudden death in 1878 at the age of 50
  • His wife Hannah was left to cope with the pressures of multiple businesses until 1881when she was able to sell the mill to Andrew McFall and the general store to James Clarke
  • John organized a leasehold arrangement with station master Bryan Dowling for a grain elevator which was built not far from the railway station  along Ellwood Drive. 
  • John had a multi-faceted career as miller and merchant as well as serving on the newly incorporated Village Council in 1873.