David Allan Diary & Transcription, 1862


David Allan Diary & Transcription, 1862

Date Created

July 4, 1862

Is Part Of

David Allan Diary Collection


Scanned Manuscript & Typed Transcription


{David Allan's diary is blank up until he begins editing the dates on July 14th}

{Note from transcriber: David Allan is recording 1862 entries in an 1860 diary / book; hence the changing of day numbers.]

July 1862

Tuesday, 22 Began to excavate in front of the old Mill for the foundation of the breaks or Pilasters for front doon {door?} to be carried up to stiffen the wall,

Wednesday 23 Rained heavy during the night, and a shower of hail fell about 5 a m ,Went down to Hamilton this morning . for , Belting , nuts, &c

Thursday, 24th Dry weather all day Began to put in the gudgeons in the new oak shaft Have got the excavation in front of the Mill down to the rock

Friday, 25th The weather very fine & lots of people are pouring in to see the show to day Bailed the water out of the quarry this morning .

Saturday, 26th {No entry}

MONDAY, 28th

At 7 this morning there was a slight shower not it was thought sufficient to retard the work & the masons began , but it went off and on till 8 o clock when it became heavy and a little past 9 it was heavier still , so that all outdoor work is suspended A great alarm of Fire aroused us at 12 last night , which fortunately was confined to John {Hewah , s} stables , had it not been for the supply of water from my Duck pond the Tavern which is of Stone could not have been saved , even although there was not a breath of wind to fann the flames

TUESDAY, 29th It rained very heavy last night , and the quarry had to be bailed out this morning The Cylinder plaining machine is now at work and preforms the work well I find I must take down the frame of the old Mill as it delays the masons to keep {?} any longer for the sake of making use of the good supply of water as it would throw the work late into the fall ,

WEDNESDAY, 30th {No entry made}










THURSDAY, July 31st

This is a very warm day yet a very good supply of water, have got the 2d lot of Corn {?elevated} & will finaly stop the old water wheel

Got the Bands or hoops on the gudgeon of the pit wheel and of the new shaft 3 of the others were found to be too slack , they would have been {?right ?tight} had the wood been left full enough , but must cut them & take them in

The masons are cutting the arch stones and dressing the coursers and header stones for the wheel house

FRIDAY, August – 1st 1862

Began this morning to take the old water wheel apart

The Bands of the Gudgeons are now finished and will be put on after the old wheel is removed to allow the masons to work –


The weather is very warm and the work of taken down the machinery goes on slow by what one might expect


This is a very warm day


Another close {humid} morning there has been a slighjt shower of rain , have put on more men to {?remove} the old wheel , must attend Old Mr John Ingles [?possibly Ingall's}, Funeral to day


Fine dry weather and very warm , have got all the wheel and ark out now , but part of shaft that is in the pit wheel .


The weather is so far very favourable.


{No entry made}


{No entry made}

MONDAY, 11th

Fine weather , and all hands busy taking down pulins with framing &c. which is more difficult to take down than I expected , and one of the men a John Herd got hurt by the falling of one of the {bents?} on him ,

I looked long for 3 cars of corn to arrive ere the shaft is taken down that drives the elevator but they did not , and had to remove it

A Fire broke out at Stewarts plaining MIll , and burnt 20 new fanning mills and 50 about half finished with about 30,000 feet of boards


Fine dry weather , and we are taking the remainder of the Fall wheat {home?} to the stack yard of which it will make two good ones ,

I regret now very much that I did not adhere to my original plan of allowing the old frame of the Mill to stand and build then in to the stone wall my idea was to cut the tennants of every beam and elevate them all to their proper heights and secure them there with straps and props untill the masons built up to them , but I allowed myself to be prevailed on to take it all down which I now very much regret ,


Went down to Toronto this morning this morning with Mrs A.and met {Maggie?} . the weather was very fine , I returned the same evening

I find they have not made much progress during my absence in taking doen the large bents , {being?} only and another half down it is slow work

{Doubtless Mr and Mrs Allan travelled to and from Toronto by way of the Grand Trunk Railway which reached Guelph in 1856. Allan's home and mill were but a 5-minute walk from the G.T.R. station.}

{Might Maggie be their daughter Margaret?}


Got down the hanging bent this forenoon, but the rain comming on rather heavy stopped the work and appears to continue this afternoon without inter=uption

This stops all outside work . the stone cutters are working in their sheds .

I gave Fredk Marcon notice this evening that I should want to have possession of the house by {the?} day month at least and have begun to lay down stones for building a Back Kitchen &c

I likewise began last Monday to lay down stones at the Wallace house ,



The weather fine and dry to day , and have manged to get down the last bent of the mill this afternoon ,

I again to day reminded both Marcon & his Wife that I could not allow them to have the house any longer then the 14 Sept= and if they can leave it sooner I will deduct the proportion of rent not due ,



{No entry}

MONDAY, 18th

Resolved to take down the back wall to the rock and start and make a new beginning

Had to get a new upright pole for the derrick a went out to the woods for a small elm of 40 feet long and got that fitted up for the purpose , which cost a day of 3 men and nearly another half day to put it up.


{No entry}


{No entry}


This has been a fine warm day . had to get more assistance in the grass field some of it is almost ready for carrying in there is 6 men and a boy employed to day . the crop is good measured it from 20 to 26 inches long ,

The Oak water wheel shaft of the new mill is again loose and heating and had to stop her this afternoon for repairs, it is many years since it was got out

and was found after having been housed in for several years and previous to its being put in it was found a little defective but not of sufficient extent to condemn it , but after having been put in its place the machinery was several years of being finished and put in operation and that is a great cause of its rappid de=cay


It rained very heavy for a great part of last night & blew strong , the rain continued during the forenoon and put a stop to outdoor work

Began to take down the building of the furnace in the Distillery to get out the Boiler ,

Also began to lay the first stones in the back wall at the Pit wheel with water lime from Thorold

Burnt out the drift bolts out of the ends of the old shaft and made them 3 feet long and drove them in , which I think will have the effect of firming the gudgeon,

Also getting home more timber with two teams


{No entry}

MONDAY, 25th

Fine weather and getting on well now with the mason work

I went down to Galt this afternoon to obtain 2 inch oak plank for Spirit vats ,


Fine weather to day getting in timber with both teams this forenoon , after dinner {lunch} 1 team at stone from my own quarry the other carting hay on the farm

{According to a note at the top of an early page in this, his 1862 diary, Allan had a farm at Kenilworth which is adjacent to what is today Hwy 6, and some 50km north-west of Guelph.}


It rained very hard during the night and this forenoon that it has prevented any mason work being done


After a dreadfull night of rain and thunder with very bright flashes of lightning , it has again cleared of but continues sultry and warm and doubt much whither it will continue fair all day have this forenoon got the back wall up to the level for the joists which will be begun this afternoon , and the outer wall of the wheelhouse is to be founded also

FRIDAY, 29th

A fine dry day got well forward with the outer wall , all laid with massive stones from inches to and from 3 to 6 feet long . and all laid in best water lime

The Gudgeon of new mill at the pit-wheel end , was heating considerably to day

Got all the spring wheat at the back of the hill cut


Another fine morning for work ,

MONDAY, 1st September, 1862

This has been a play day for most of the people of the town and all my masons and carpenters , and only 5 labourers working , and the Mill going , This is a Great Excursion day to Toronto and to the Falls .

Startling news this afternoon arrived that the Confederates were only 3 miles from Washington.

The Oak tree cut down and hewed on 2 sides . 19 feet long 18 in thick and will stand 18 square , Another cut 14 feet long 20 x 15

1 Elm 10 feet in circumference over the Bark 1 do. 11 - 2 – 1 do 11 - 7 – thought of trying one for a shalft



Fine weather this morning but cool produced by a N. W. Wind . all the masons at work to day , but some are rather sleepy after the Excursion ,

laying the joists of millstone floor



Frost this morning and cold , but fine weather for working , busey finishing joists this afternoon

There is a difficulty in getting all to work right as some of the carpenters are not be trusted , and only few that are fit to joint the staves for the oak {Tuns?}


Fine weather for building , the Masons have started on the contract again , from the under side of the beams . and three feet higher next granery . Began to take out the Boiler to day & got the largest out this evening Wrote to Alex Laidlaw .. Millwright {,} Mono Centre P, O to come on


Fine weather all day . and got on well with the walls . and have got the wndow frames in front of the Millstone floor set . also the {illegible word} of the Buttresses Got Both Boilers out to-day .


This has been a very fine day notwithstanding the very heavy rain during the night and morning early

sent out the teams for timber from the Rocks

It began to rain at 4 P M and stopped the masons –


{No entry}


TUESDAY, 9th =

{No entry}



{No entry}


Very fine weather to day ,

FRIDAY, 12th

Weather keeping good which enables us to get on well with the the work , the Boiler is about finishd

I went down to Toronto this afternoon to get the pipes of the boiler ( blow off ones ) repaired and took a look at many chimney stalk's and found they did not differ much from what I had designed myself as to size

I orderd Rennie to order the slates for the roof of the mill as soon a possible

The price of Lehigh coal was $8 per ton on board cars


The weather was fone to day and after , doing business at various places in Toronto , started by Express and reached here at 12 a m .

Began and got the Boiler into the distillery

Got in all the Beams into their places above the water wheel house

MONDAY, 15th

This morning was fair though not clear but continued so untill 11 when it began to rain , which stops the masons in the mean tme

I began to thrash out the wheat on the farm this morning and will not be retarded


{No entry)


{No entry)


{No entry}


{No entry}


{No entry}


{No entry}


{No entry}


Fine weather . I went down this morning to Toronto to see the Provincial Show. the Exhibition of cattle was very large , as well as that of Fruits and vegetables , but in the fine Arts it was not so good as I have formerly seen , and the same may be said of Machinery . there was 3 Steam Engines 2 in Motion – & a great many Ploughs .

The Governor General {Viscount Monck} was on the Show Ground

I returned home same night {SPACE} I heard he was going to pay a visit to Guelph in passing tomorrow

{Transcriber's note: And so it acame to pass that on September 25th, 1862 Lord Monck visited Guelph... The visit is detailed on pages 124 to 126 of the "The Annals of the Town of Guelph", published in 1877 to celebrate the town's 50th anniversary. At the bottom of page 125 we find mention of the Governor General making remarks to various gentlemen on the train platform before he left Guelph. Among these gentlemen was "Mr D. Allan" whom he, the G.G. "reognized as his fellow passenger from Liverpool, ..."}

{Transcriber's note: Be sure to read the next entry.}


This has been a fine morning and have got up our flags at the Priory {David Allan's residence, immediately south of what is now the River Run Centre} and Mill , and throughout the Town , and the Council have constructed a platform to receive his Excellency (Governor General Viscount Monck} on , at length the Car came in {sighy? ... sight?} which was announced by the firing of cannon about 12 o clock , when after the Mayor having read the address and his Excellency having made his reply the councell was [illegible word struck out} presented by the Mayor , but I was introducced by the Secretary to his Lordship who remembered me well as a fellow passenger on board the North Briton from Londonderry last year – and spoke of how fortunate we were in getting such a fine safe passage in the ill fated vessel , he was on his way to Dwight in Illinois to shoot ,

FRIDAY, 26th

{No entry}


The Boiler is now built up and finished and now waiting for the water wheel to be ready

MONDAY, 29th

The weather pretty fair but inclines to change

got up three beams on the 2d flat above the stone floor

The back wall of the wheel house is about its height now


Went down to Toronto with E Martin to consult with Cameron , it rained

through the night and was showrey during the day

Found that Lehigh coal had got uo to $9 and Brierhill house coal to $6½ I bought 5 tons of each




Very wet weather that the masons could not work

The Horticultural Show was held to day in the Town Hall , I took 24 prizes .

This being also the Monthly fair the Town was pretty throng , about 300 cattle entered the yard for sale


It rained heavy during the night and continued showrey during the day the builders did not work ,

The water wheel in the Distillery is far advanced

The arms and shrouding is completed for one ring of the new mill water wheel

  it is being fitted together in the new carpenter shop,   with holes bored and ready for the bolts ,



Considerable rain fell last night , and through the day it continued thick muggy weather with now and then a shower the masons made a start in the morning but were beat off.

We have now had a long continuation of wet weather which retards the work very much , having yet to complete the present and build another story {storey] before we can begin the roof .



A good deal of rain has fallen through the night , the morning looked as if it was going to become fair but 1/4 past seven it began to rain heavy and continued for some time but about noon it began to clear up that the masons began and worked all the afternoon , they made an attempt to put on the withering , of the Buttresses above door but broke one of them

Got the new water wheel in the Distillery finished today


This morning appeared like settled weather the {ground?} and my boards exposed were white with frost , but about noon it began to rain and about 2 pm a heavy shower fell , and after a second one the masons {dropped?} work, had to put in a new sluiss {sluice} for distillery wheel of pine{,} the oak one having worn very unequal and leaked very bad but this one stopes the wheel well, had up steam to day preparatory to mash but the pipes leaked steam and had to tighten them.



{No entry written}



{No entry written}


This day seems as if it were going to keep fair and so far the work has gone very well to day, Have begun to lay the sleepers or joist in the lower celler floor of the mill all of cedar

The hewing of the stones for the buttresses and window is behind with part of the front walls .

This was a Bank day (the board met) Old Mr Wm Dunbar of Pickering was here to day , and a grandson William.s

It began to rain lightly in the afternoon and of {if?} any thing increased and got heavy about 1/4 befor 6 ,

FRIDAY, 10th

It have rained through the night , but it was fair this morning so that the men that is the builders worked all the forenoon , but at noon it began to rain and has continued all this afternoon , The stone cutters are working , and the carpenters & millwrights have indoor work

This is the County Show day , and a bad day it is for it ,


{No entry written}

MONDAY, 13th

{No entry written}


{No entry written}


{No entry written}


This appears to be a wet day , and though light showers fell it did not {indecipherable word struck out} retard the work very long

Went out and bought some dry 2 inch Planks from Thompson on the Dundas road {now Gordon Street}

Red {Received} payment of a/c,s {accounts} from Mrs Hamilton ,



This is rather a dull day but no rain , through the forenoon it threatened a good deal but very little fell ,

I thought of going to Hamilton to day but found I could not leave work



This has been the finest day we have had this week and has enabled the men to get well on with the work . the front wall Gothic window was finished this forenoon and the front all but ready for the last of the uppermost beams

The breast beams forming the Throat for the water wheel is in to day

Bought 40 pigs to day on the farm of Mr Whitman , Boundary of Guelph and Waterloo for $ {no number given}

MONDAY, 20th

This has been a fine day for working though the wind was blowing sharp and cold



It rained a good del last night and it was wet this morning and most of the forenoon

But it got fair and the masons began at 1 o clock it soon got dark and a smart shower drove them home



Rather a wet forenoon , but yet the men worked the greater part of it

But in the afternoon they enjoyed themselves on account of my Son,s marriage this forenoon ,


This morning is dry but cold and raw the ground was whitish , but the men are all working .


FRIDAY, 24th

This morning was damp , yet it turned out a very fine day , I went down to Hamilton this morning and returned in the evening , made enquiry about copper pipes for distillery but found they must be made to order Trade has greatly improved of late {there?}



A good deal of rain fell during the {indecipherable word struck out} night and this morning the gangways were covered with frost , throughout the day it has been cold with a light drizzling snow which did not lay but melted as it fell All hands are employed at the roof and 3 bents of the purlin frame are up and the masons nearly done the {comie?} being nearly all laid and the Gable about up


{No entry made}


{No entry made}




{No entry made}


{No entry made}



{No entry made}



{No entry made}


Pretty hard frost putting gate posts as the carding Mill

My Sister Margaret (Mrs Fisher) died today at noon


{no entry)


{no entry)


This appears to have been the day on which my poor Nephew, William Cunningham died as Helena in {large space} while incamped


Went down this afternoon to Hamilton


Rather a cold raw day in Hamilton


Quite mild open weather, so that plowing might go on if the ground was dry enough

Have got water wheel shaft on the Bridge & ready to put in when the Brasses are bored out


{no entry}


{no entry}


{no entry}


This being Christmas day, only the Mill and Distillery are going for part of the day it most beautiful weather, as mild and free from snow as in May, the ice on the Dam is still sufficiently strong and good and frequented by Ladies as well as young men in great numbers

I went out and took a walk over the farm and pointed out what trees and bush I want cut down

Alex Glass mens up this morning to Minto to serve James Burnett with notice to attend, Heir & {Devisee?} court


There was a heavy fall of rain during the night and continued more or less during the day and late in the evening. I have rarely seen such a continuance of mild wet weather at this time of the Year

The greater part of the forenoon was taken up in ascertaining if the pillow blocks for the new gudgeons working in, were level and found them so, the pit wheel end about 1/8th of an inch the highest, in the afternoon began to get the shaft in untill the rain drove us off.


This morning is dry and cold. but are keeping busy in getting the shafts into its place, which goes on steadily

Have got the shaft in its place and all fits well.

Have just now read a letter from Illinois anouncing the death of William Cunningham on the 12th inst


Yesterday was a very fine day, the Sun shone out as in April or May. The New Church was opened for Divine service yesterday

The weather to day is still mild but dull and heavy & looking rain or snow


Fine weather and neither rain or snow fell


The same fine weather still continues, but freezing rather harder at night

Straightened up the high board fence next the railway back in the side yard


{card for Scottish Union & National Insurance Co}

{pamphlet for Foundries United - Brantford Engine Works (pg 1)}

{pamphlet for Foundries United - Brantford Engine Works (pg 2)}

{pamphlet for Foundries United - Brantford Engine Works (pg 3)}

{pamphlet for Foundries United - Brantford Engine Works (pg 4)}

{newspaper clippings regarding "The Episcolpal Parsonage at Galt" and "The Largest Mill in the World}

{note dated May 1st 1863}

Moyer & Co. of Waterloo

Has during the last winter shipped bag flour to Quebec through Mr David Birch

also some to Portland through Thos Raefield who made about 10c better of it than James & Oliver though he considers them very good agents

He has also sent to the copper Mines at Acton and has got rid of a great deal of ground middling and screenings and a good deal of poor wheat which neated in Waterloo over $2 for {1/2 lbs or 112 lbs?}

1st May 1863

Transcription Progress



David Allan 1862 Diary.pdf
David Allan Diary Transcription 1862.pdf


“David Allan Diary & Transcription, 1862,” Rural Diary Archive, accessed October 1, 2022, https://ruraldiaries.lib.uoguelph.ca/transcribe/items/show/141.