David Allan Diary & Transcription, 1866


David Allan Diary & Transcription, 1866


David Allan


Courtesy of Guelph Civic Museum and Archives of the University of Guelph


19th Century, Wellington South County, Guelph Township

Date Created


Is Part Of

David Allan Diary Collection


Scanned Manuscript & Typed Transcription


Friday 19.

The weather is mild to day and the little sleighing there has been wearing away, there has been a great many teams in town to day with pork and wheat

The level cogged wheel that drives the smutt machine has tripped of its coggs this morning and so crushed the collar of the laying shaft up against the bush or plumer block so as to burn it to a red heat and regularly char it to coal, and have set to work to put in (illegible) new set of cages and a bush with 2 inches wider bearing say 6 inches instead of four

Saturday 20.

At six this morning it was quite wet and rainy and had been blowing very hard all night, about 9 it began to freeze, and made the roads as slippery as glass, and together with the high wind makes very cold, the coggs (a set of which were ready on hand) are now fitted and keyed in, are now being turned (4pm) The rain last night has helped the water sufficient to enable us to drive 2 run of stones

January. Monday 22.

This has been a much milder day

Got the smutt machine wheel this evening and ready to start about 8, Oclock

Tuesday 23.

This has been a pleasant day Peter Laington here

Allen of Arthur was here this afternoon and I agreed to sell him the Mcguire lot for $800 he to pay me $200 about the first week in march and 5 years to pay the balance with interest.

Wednesday 24.

This has been a somewhat colder day yet a great deal more wheat came than did yesterday. There seems to be a greater demand for it in other parts below,

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Tuesday 8.

We are repairing the gate posts leading into the mill yard and have raised the arch two feet higher than it was

Wednesday 9.

Fine weather, but too dry Have begun to clear out remainder of the timbers in the wheel ark preparitory to building the walls for the steam engine.

Friday 11.

Warm weather and the ground exceedingly dry, and no moisture to start the full wheat which suffered so much from the unprotected state it was in all winter for want of sufficient snow

Saturday 12.

Fine weather to day Mr Saunders & Mr Lemon to compare the (ale?) against the cattle yard so as to lessen the labour of the arbitrator, every appearance of rain

May. Monday 14. 1866

This is a cold morning and considerable frost caused by the very copious rains that fell during Saturday night and yesterday morning which left large pools filled with water William is still confined to bed with a rhumatic attack. Old lip Hewatt died this afternoon

Tuesday 15.

A clear but not a warm day Began our arbitration this morning in Hewars case for balance due me for cattle yard William was rather better to day & has able to attend as the examination

Wednesday 16.

Weather to day much the same as yesterday Continued the arbitration to day until 6 PM and stands adjourned till this day week

Friday 18.

Fine weather, agreed to pay Ingles 3c a lb towards the cost of the engine shaft if it is ordered from Detroit for if made there to order it will cost them 10c a pound here, which they think too high, and feel rather inclined to wait the arrival of itonof the size from England, which I do not, and therefore bear my share of this extram price so as not to delay the work.

Saturday 19.

Very warm fine weather

Higinbotham returned home this forenoon at 9.50 only ten minutes after his son was born Old Iwan the Dutchman engaged to burn a pit of pure maple charcoal and deliver them here at 10c per bushel The men are out in the bush geting out a large oak beam for and of shaft for engine

Tuesday 22.

Fine weather but cold

Wednesday 23.

Cold this morning, there was a slight flurry of snow but it went soon of and turned into hail.

May. Thursday 24. 1866.

Hard frost durning the night and morning the ground was quite at 4 Oclock. it has destroyed a good many delicate flowers This being the Queens birth day all work is suspended, and the weather being fine all the games foot and boat races are going on, and closed with an illumination fireworks and a large bon fire A melancholly accident happened at Galt this day the large Russian cannon went off and 2 men were killed on the spot and some others wounded by splinters of the ramrod

Friday 25.

This is a fine warm day it looked very much like as if we were going to have a great shower of rain in the morning but only a few dropes fell and through the forenoon it cleared up and all appearance of it pissed off

Saturday 26.

Frost this morning again, have been putting a plank edging from the battery to the big stone to confine the gravel of the walk, the rain is seeming to come this afternoon, about finishing the planting of the potatoes next the glebe, have planted about two acres this year Also diging out the foundation for altering the gable of the granery preperatory to building it all up this summer.

May. Monday 28.1866.

We had a great deal of rain during the whole day yesterday with little or no interuption and it has continued all last night and now and then, a shower this morning

June. Friday 1.

Fine weather but very startling news that the Finians have crossed over to Fort Erie from about Black Rock between 1500 & 2000 strong and are throwing up earthworks with all possible speed the following troops have left Toronto. William is still improving but has a great difficulty in walking

Saturday 2.

This is another beeautiful morning and making for a very warm day The news this morning is that our men attacked the Finians at a place ridgeway east of Port Colborne miles but as they advanced they found themselves outnumbered and had to fall back on the Welland Canal Williams is much better to day & gone to Mr. Alexanders Again we hear that our troops rallied and drove the Finians before them

June. Monday 4. 1866.

This is somewhat of a wet morning, and do not feel well yet, having been much disturbed last night and this morning with my bowels and have kept the house the most of the day We have been much put about both yesterday and to day with very exciting intelligence about the Finians Later account say that about 800 of the Finians made their escape in scows tugged by proppellers from Buffalo who took them back to that city, and that the US steamer detained another scow with the commander Col O,neal on board & holds them now as prisoners

P.Laington & wife here

Tuesday 5.

There has been considerable rain during the night and this forenoon Had to attend court to day and was fined by the Mayor & Petterson in the sum of $20. and $2.10 for costs. For not removing the ding from cattle yards within the time ordered. Cosidereable excitement about Montreal and Cornwall, and Prescot. 2 cars siezed by the US Marshall with ammunition & stores on board were taken by the Finians.

Wednesday 6.

This has been a wet day at least frequent showers this was the monthly fair day William was a good deal better to day & attended a short time in the office & went to fishers Mills in the afternoon by cars

June. Thursday 7. 1866.

Very fine morning, I went down to Toronto to attend the synod Mrs. A accompanying me Notwithstanding the excitement and the number of ministers absent, they will continue their sittings and finish the buisiness of the court. It began yesterday.

Friday 8.

In Toronto. the weather fine

Saturday 9.

Fine all day

Tuesday 12.


Wednesday 13.

This has been somewhat of a sultry day a good of thunder & rain during last night and a heavy shower at noon Our Presbytery is in session to day was only a short time there, as I had a case in our quarter sessions now sitting, against William Maxwell for defrauding me in cordwood - but from some doubts in the minds of the jury they thought his brother was the most gilty and set him free -Raised

June. Thursday 14. 1866.

Fine weather, shipped a 100 bhels of No2 flour to Montreal Went down to Fishers Mills this afternoon

Saturday 23.

Fine warm weather, & a good deal of wheat came in John Stewart of Eramosa left $300 on loan a 9 per cent for annum if over a month. Took out of the large steam box (prepared for steaming all the planks for the new still and mash turn) the first charge and found it much lighter than when it went in, after being in about 4 days

June. Monday 25. 1866

This has been a very hot day, but cooled down in the evening after a light thunder shower. Thenews from Europe to day is still more war like

Wednesday 27.

Fine weather, this has been an exciting day in whisky. about 1/2 past twelve Oclock Mr Romain came down to inform me that he had a telegram from Otawa that, parliament had raised the duty om whisky from 30c to 60c and is now in full force, so up it went at once to 65c for gall

Saturday 30.

Fine weather, I went down to Brampton this morning to see what agreement Mr Haggart had about pumping water for the Grand Trunk company, had proposed some alterations in the one they had sent up for his signature, but as yet it had not been completed nor did he think that he would do for some time untill he saw how it would work

July. Monday 2. 1866

This is another fine day, and find that William is rather considered better to day. Both Herod & Hewitt examined him to day, and found nothing wrong with his inside

July. Thursday 19. 1866.

This has been the first dry day that we have had for a week

Friday 20.

This has been a fine moderately warm day and have been leading all the hay that could be got dry The Grand Trunk companys men have been working hard all day in laying the remainder of the pipes past the mill gate and down the race & along the bottom William came home from his trip to Sault-st Mary this evening by Toronto & is much better in health

Saturday 21.

We had a fine forenoon, but in the afternoon it rained very heavy Kept the mill standing all day to enable the workmen to finish the pipes but they could not do it for want of a bend,

July. Monday 23. 1866

We had a tremendous storm of wind & rain yesterday afternoon a little after five Oclock & it blew down a great many ornamented trees of some fruit trees, the roof of the G J. engine house for about 1/4 of it was lifted and the slates & sheeting thrown to the ground. the G westerns long wood shed was totally destroyed, and many barns lost their roofs and a great deal of fencing blown down, our blanch roof also was to some extent damaged & states removed, This has been a fine dry day though at times it was verry sultry

July. Monday 30. 1866

Fine dry weather and have begun to scaffold for the raising of my son Williams roof so as to admit of another story being built on it - by cutting holes in the walls under the plate for incerting 4 beams under the same, and the plate bound to these by irons to prevent the roof from shreading, and their planks checked along the top of these beams under the rafters so as to carry them all up equal without in any way breaking the roof.

Tuesday 31.

The Atlantic Cable is now complete.

August. Wednesday 1.

This has been fine weather. but warm for out door work Have got ready all the eight screws and have begun to raise it

August. Thursday 2. 1866.

Rather wet this morning but better about noon have been very busey for the most of the day finishing the raising of the roof of (illegible) house for the present to the height of the 6 feet from the floor to the under side of plate and is resting on the tresseks on one side and on 4 post on the other.

Friday 3.

very fine morning and Mrs A & I went down to Toronto so see William & little David, go off in the steam boat "Banshee" to Montreal at 1/2 past 2 PM, and after that had too little time to do any (business?) of consequence and left on our return at 3.45, PM, it rained heavy the whole way and even after 8 Oclock, but not quite so heavy.

Saturday 4.

Very wet morning and had rained havy during the night, the masons could not begin work till about 10 Oclock, and the weather has been dry since and the work on the house progressing very well The steam engine is also far advanced, and may be ready to bring down then and of next week, the boiler fire box and the main shell is put together but not riveted yet

August. Monday 6. 1866

This has been a very fine cool bracing day - and have been gettin on well with building I have determined to day the exact height the lying shaft of the steam engine and the main level wheel is now being keyed on its place Tomorrow is to be kept as a holy day in town and the works will be standing still

August. Monday13. 1866.

Rainey weather still continues and appearsto have been raining all night, it rained during part of the forenoon yesterday and then in the evening and very few in church. This morning we raised the roof as high as it will require and they have got the lintals on the windows, and the work is progressing well. though slow and exspensive, Mr A L Argo from stratford called, an agent inn town to day selling breach loading pistols & rifles

Tuesday 14.

This is another dull misty morning with fine drizzling rain which continued to about 10 oclock, our riffle company is again called out to the Niagara frontier for 8 days. The afternoon has been more settled but very sultry & close, and not unlike rain,

Wednesday 15.

We have had dry weather to day Considerable enquirey is now making for a better supply of wheat the new comes in so sparingly that those who require it must bid up for it I bought to day nearly 600 bushels from Thos Easterbrook a $1.25 bills 100 bush of (illegible) Dow a $1.26 silver, a car load at St Marys $1.20 there

August. Thursday 16. 1866.

This has been one of the dryest days we have had for some rime, it continued very cool for the most of the day I got the roof set down on its proper place on the walls of Williams house, But 162 bushels of full wheat of Geo Balkwoll at $1.30 bills

Friday 17.

This has been a charming day suffiently warm getting on well with the house the gables are about built up to the top. Flour has gone up in Montreal within the last day or two about 50c Our RIffle company left here by the G. W. Railway for the neighbourhood of Drummondville I am getting the foundation walls built to day for to rest the beam on that carries the inner end of the fly wheel shaft

Saturday 18.

This has been a fine warm day and have got on very well with the house this week. and also with the preparations for the engine was up at the peoples mill this afternoon and found Mr Goldie busey supperintending his men clearing out old walls & printing up the bottom main ones with water lime, and weredressing the beams full length acrop the building 14 X 13 of exellent pine from near Hespeller, delivered here for $12 per 100 feet running measure for what is 12 X 12 & over

August. Monday 20. 1866.

Fine weather, there had been during Saturday night and Sunday morning. and a heavy shower fell during yesterday afternoon between 3 & 4 oclock - But this day has been fine dry weather I have 2 masons working at foundation for engine also 3 at the granery walls,

Tuesday 21.

This is another fine day, men hard at work getting in the wheat on the Waterloo road The last of the peas was got in on Saturday from the back of the hill, This is the day for the Great Finian Pick Nick at Black Rock, but from all we hear, there is no disturbance

Saturday 25.

This has been a fine day, our Guelph Riffle Company returned this day at noon from Thorald - I have got on well with the foundation for the engine and have got the beams laid on the wall

August. Monday 27. 1866.

This has been a fine dry day & have got in all the oats on the upper field on hill, have got the side all ready for the engine and expect to get it down tomorrow. The water in the river is getting very light & there is much need of the engine

August. Thursday 30. 1866.

This has been fine working weather with a slight shower in the forenoon, there is much need of it so far as the river is concerned as it is very low, and we had to stop this afternoon for want of it, We the steam engine planted on its place this afternoon, it is a pritty heavy affair to handle

Friday 31.

Very scarce of water, and consiquently of flour and had this afternoon to go to Armstrong mill in Eramosa to try buy some but could not I then went to Edin Mills and got 200 bags from Horton they also are scarce of water and wheat also. There is no old wheat to be got

September. Saturday 1.

This has been a warm day and some few drops of rain fell but not enough to stop work or do any good in helping fill the dam, We have been boring the holes and getting the bolts in to screw down the engine to the frame The mason work for the bed of the boiler is far advanced as well as the foundation walls of the boiler house. The engine for Mr Argo of Stratford & made by Robertson & Main was low on the cars to day, and went of before I went out to see it, it is about the same power as mine Mr Massie here, told me that it is generally talked of in Montreal that galts financial bill will do a great deal of harm among business men as all the Banks will curtail their Discounts, and that the Bk of Montreal has done that already

Wednesday 5.

This has been a fine day and warm. and have got well on with the building, the ash pit and the foundation for the engine boiler is ready and it is being set on its place, the fly wheel is troublesome to get true, Anders Anderson a suede came here from my sisters in Illinois, this afternoon on his way home to Sueden to see his parents

September. Thursday 6. 1866.

This is a fine warm day,

Friday 7.

This is a dull morning, it began to rain about 1/2 past 8 oclock, and got quite heavy at 1/4 to 9. and the men left of work I went out with Mr Anderson to the G. W. Station in time for the cars at 7.05. am & shortly before the rain began he went to see the Niagara falls & then to New York where he takes the steamer for Liverpool thence to Hull, where he gets the steam packet to Gothemburg

Saturday 8.

This is a fine working day, the rain yesterday has had a good effect on the river and enables us to grind with two run of stones.

September. Monday 10. 1866.

This has been a fine working day, I began to prepare for building a stone foundation for sheep house on the farm and adjoining the new barn 24 X 48 with pig house, & e below,

Tuesday 11.

It has rained some through the night, and this morning the clouds are heavy and a drizzling rain is falling, the masons & stonecutters did not begin nor could they do any thing to day for rain one the maine of spratt was here from Toronto in quest of bag flour, but went home by the 10 oclock train, It now rainst heavy 1/4 to mine, this night

Friday 14.

This has been rather a dull day at least after one oclock it became very dark and by two oclock began to blow a complete gale and heavy rain. it blew about 15 feet of roofing of the market shed, the men were stoped from working this afternoon,

Saturday 15.

There was strong frost this morning and has injured some garden stuffs Several companies left here this morning at 10 oclock for Thorald, The men, that is the masons did not work any this forenoon, and only 2 of them in the afternoon One boiler maker has been working at the distillery boils to day and are getting on slowly with it, (Rugles?) their master wentoff with the Guelph Artillery to Thorold

September. Monday 17. 1866.

This has been a partly cloudy day, it rained through the night and slightly this morning, yesterday it rained in the morning and also in the evening, and was cold all day the curch was rather thinly filled, only three masons are working at the engine house to dat and 2 labourers. Old Mr Dunbar and his son Wm called here to day on their way home from Buffalo we were engaged this afternoon preparing beaters for the merchant bolts & are pulling them in to night

Tuesday 18.

This is rather a more pleasant forenoon than we had lately, three gentlemen from St Johns N. B called here to day soliciting consignments of flour,

Wednesday 19.

There was not much pain of consequence to day got the funnel from the engine boiler put into the chimney, and is now in (ready?) for the fire

September. Thursday 20. 1866.

This has been another very wet day. The masons did not work an hour to day for the rain, but one boiler maker and two helpers came this afternoon The steam pipes for the engine are about finished and expect to have the boiler filled and steam up tomorrow, My son William and little David came home from his travels, Mr & Mrs Alexander likewise returned from Montreal by the same consequence they report having had wer weather all the time they have been gone

Friday 21.

This has been a dry day and the masons worked from, one Oclock we got the steam engine started this afternoon and appeared so far to work fine & smooth but the geering for driving the pumps will require some alternation, I got 17 feet of 4 inch pipe to drive it

Saturday 22.

This has been a dry day and clear, there was very strong post this morning. even us at the will door step I saw, our profiteers came home to day at 1/2 past one We had the engine going again this afternoon and grinding with one run of stones

Tuesday 25.

This has been an extrordinary wet day it rained even on

September. Thursday 27. 1866.

Went down this morning to the exhibition in Toronto the weather was fine and the ground very much dried up, compared with what it had been the two previous days

Tuesday 2.

This is another fine day, a great deal of wheat in the market, and the prices quite stiff 1,43 to 1,45 and even &1.50 paid for large sound (midset roof?) One George Patterson called here with John gray and wanted a situation as packer and of any other work outdoor when, indoor work is done, he is to begin on Thursday at $12 per month & board,

Saturday 13.

Goodman finished the excavation for the hot air furnace under the (illegible)

Tuesday 16.

This has been a charming day, the masons are still busey building in the distillery boiler and the carpenters are about finished with the roof of Eugene boiler house, John & Elisa Allan left for Toleda at 1/2 past 5 this afternoon the train was over 2 hours late, he is to return after seeing her safe away from that town on her way to Illinois, Great fire in Duebee on Sunday from 18,000 to 20,000 people rendered houseles

Wednesday 17.

A splendid day again

Saturday 20.

Fine weather to day, we got the boiler in the distiller finished to day and put on the fire

October. Monday 22. 1866.

The weather has been dry to day but cold, and clearly shows that Autumn has begun, we are very busey taking up our potatoes and find the yeald very good, the chilis especially are sound, but the kidneys are doubtful and we are caying them in small heaps to try them Have begun to day to lath the roof of the Eugene house

Tuesday 23.

This has been a coldish day, (illegible) down to Toronto this morning to attend the review of the troops there, had a Mr Greenough here from, Boston wanting flour I went out to Arthur Hogges sale of thorough bred cattle, & was in want of a ramand bid as lush as $60 for a fine one & did not get it I went afterwards to Joseph Parkinsons & bought a this years ram lamb for $18. which will answer every purpose for this year I am advised strongly not to mix the cottonwooled, with the leicesters ewes, but rather improve from a.

Wednesday 14.

We did not start the distillery to day as I am going to put in large pipe on the crown of the new mouth peice attached to the large boiler, the two bottom pipes for supplying it with water, only does so when at a low temperature but as soon as steam is generated it expells the water and the crown gets red hot and has cracked the plate, A 3/4 pipe was placed on the top to convey the steam as it was formed to the large boiler, but that did not help it at all We have had some splendid weather of late but it now threatens to break up this evening with a light rain,

November. Thursday 15. 1866.

Hot morning, worked late last night to finish the joints of a new pipe 3 1/2 inches diameter I have been conmelting the new mouth peice with the large boiler

Tuesday 4.

Very wet morning, I went down to Toronto & returned in the evening, called on Cameron & Mr McHall about suit in Chancery against John Mc Atee

Friday 14.

Hard frost down to near zero The Grand Trunk men are making very little progress in laying the wooden pipes for overflow water, the ground is every day getting harder,

Saturday 15.

This has been a fine winter day clear with sunshine, but the frost was very keen in the morning only 2 above zero. Mr Brunel the revenue, or rather the excise inspector was down this morning, It appears that Halladys distillery is standing still the Chippawa was going for a short time & is again stopped, the one at Coburg is not going, the Kingston one (mortons) is still working finishing up some contracts, & will then stop they are working at a lofts, the one at prescott is again working & in fine order & has a fine improvement in their lock up at the mouth of the workm,

Tuesday 18.

a good deal of snow fell during the night but not enough to make good sleighing

Wednesday 19.

Moderate day but yet the ground is frozen pretty deep. the Grand Trunk workmen are making very slow progress in laying the worker pipes

December. Thursday 20. 1866.

Very cold this morning at 7a.m the thermometer stood 8 degrees below zero, very little wind The workmen are not working at the drain to day. I got Stevens to build in a grate in Williams, parlour to day

Transcription Progress



David Allan Diary, 1866.pdf
David Allan Diary Transcription 1866.pdf


David Allan, “David Allan Diary & Transcription, 1866,” Rural Diary Archive, accessed October 1, 2022, https://ruraldiaries.lib.uoguelph.ca/transcribe/items/show/158.