Mills at Morpeth

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By Mrs. M. Thompson per Mrs. C. DeCook

Morpeth's early history is linked with the Port of Antrim at the mouth of Big Creek. Cutting through the Ridge, this deep creek crossed Talbot Road at the bottom of steep Morpeth Hill, thence south west to empty into Lake Erie. Its wide mouth formed a convenient harbor for sailing craft along the north shore.

Registry office records from 1826 show a family "Ruddles" bought 327 acres abutting on Lake Erie including the lower reaches of Big Creek and an excellent natural harbor. They opened a trading post first in Kent. A mill site was located just before the creek crossed Concession 12 road to enter lots north of Talbot Road. The mill farthest north of 4 on Big Creek 1821. The last operators of this mill were the Campbell Brothers, one the father of Hon. Issac Campbell of Winnipeg. The mill was used for grinding grain till destroyed by fire in 1880; but the dam was maintained by Howard Township 16 years longer because it formed part of Concession 12 Road. The Big Creek dam east of Morpeth formed part of Talbot Road; the dam south of Morpeth was used as part of the side road between lots 91 and 92 South Talbot Road. This saved the Township the outlay for cutting down the steep banks and building the bridge necessary to span the stream. These were 3 of the mills on Big Creek; the forth near the creeks mouth. This grist mill and trading post was at Antrim. The Lake Road, running close to the shore, carried over the creek on a lofty wooden bridge high enough over the stream to permit masts of small sailing vessels to enter the harbor north of the road. The harbor and village of Antrim handled heavy [ ] , with small sailing craft in the harbor and lines of wagons waiting, in season, to deliver grain at the warehouse.

Mrs. M. Thompson per Mrs. C. DeCook

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Transcribed from the records of Mrs. Geo. S. Brien, Rural Ridgetown Women's Institute.
2004-11-01