A Haunting Manotick Mill

Mark Hogan Photography - Watsons Mill

I lived in Manotick Ontario for 11 years. It provided me a welcome respite from the daily trials and tribulations of working at Disneyland on the Rideau, lovingly referred to as the Department of National Defense.

Manotick is a lovely and quaint village located on the Rideau River. It is located about 20 minutes south of the Ottawa Airport. Its foundation is / or was the Mill, which became operational in 1860. Today Watson’s Mill has been restored to its original form and is a reflection of a slower more sedate and peaceful time. It is also haunted.

The following is a poem of that haunting:

The Lady Of The Stone


When the moon shines bright on a cold winter’s night

As the wind frost chills the bones

While life is asleep ‘cept for the spirit it keeps

Amid the cries and the wails and the moans


All alone in the night in the soft winter’s light

Runs a river that’s cries as it leaps

Over weir and some falls as if dancing it calls

For the lady of the stones on the wheat


There stands all alone from a structure of stone

A whisper of death and despair

A suffering soul who cries out for her beau

Lost, breathless, alone she will stare


A lady so pale in her death knell she wails

For her time that was so tragically brief

Her soulful spent mourns and her perpetual scorn

For her life that was wrought by a thief


Moss Dickensen came to this landscape whose name

Its mantle Ojibwayan speak

Of a land all alone in a river that roams

From Big Rideau to the Ottawa it seeks


Moss Dickensen possessed as Joe Currier confessed

Great insight and vision to spare

One thing that he knew from this river would brew

Great fortune, great wealth and great fare


A partnership grew with Joe Currier, Moss proved

That a mill would be true to their dreams

A town that would grow from the natural flow

From the Rideau and land in the stream


The building that grew, stonemason’s cuts true

Majestic with a Scottish-like ring

The millstones were laid, then dressed and well made

From the skill that Tom Langrell’s hands bring


From the weir and the falls as the water is culled

By the timbers the current it bleeds

Directed through stalls, turn turbines, run sloughs

For the seed that a town dearly needs


Like grist to the mill old Manotick filled

With millers and farmers and feed

Prosperity grew from raw powered hewn tools

From a river that flowed to their needs


Joe Currier was blessed with good fortune and zest

That he married the girl of his dreams

Ann Crosby did come from Lake George she did run

To the arms of her lover, she beamed


Yet fate has a way of having its say

When life is idyllic and sane

For the riches and fame for Joe Currier’s reign

Like the king of the Rideau in name


But one fateful day in March so they say

In eighteen sixty-one

The first anniversary of the town’s new prosperity

On a day that should have been fun


Joe Currier is seen with Ann Crosby they’d been

From their wedding just one month before

Brimming with pride, a new life and new bride

His fortune had come to fore


With their wives by their side the men went inside

The mill had just started to run

The stop logs removed and the water gushed through

The turbines they started to turn


The shafts all-awhirl, the millstones grind shrill

The walls and the floorboards did sing

A deafening roar as the water gushed forth

Was music to the ears of these men


A danger in sight but blind to their plight

The couples they walked up the stairs

On the second floor stage, they stood in a daze

As the music did play through the air


Ann walked out in time oblivious in kind

As she looked at the marvels unfold

But mechanical whirls will tear off the swirls

From loose coats and those crinoline folds


Quick as a flash Ann faltered and smashed

Her head to the pillar and shaft

For her crinoline caught in a running gear fraught

With danger and death as it laughed


Her cranium whacked like a walnut it cracked

‘Gainst the pillar and shaft and the gears

Her eyes all ablaze in a mad induced craze

Amidst the screams and the wails and her fear


The light of her soul dimmed slowly then cold

As the darkness had captured her being

Her spirit was lost to mortality’s cause

 Forever to mourn at this scene


As the years fell away and the memories fade

And life carried on as it will

The turbines still turn and the millstones still churn

Like time, like grist to the mill


Stranger be warned of a town that was born

From a river and land that was tamed

By men of such strength that they went to great lengths

For some profit, some glory, some fame


For a specter appears from a window so clear

For lost lovers, lost souls and lost tears

Poor Ann all alone in her death spell she roams

Amid the pillars, the shafts and the gears


For alone in the night in the soft winter’s light

Runs a river that’s cries as it leaps

Over weir and some falls as if dancing it calls

For the lady of the stones on the wheat.


© John Morrison, June 2005

Manotick, Ontario

Speak of the Devil: Don't Look Now, But The Ghost Of Countess Bathory ...


Watson's Mill in Manotick

Oh and today 28 May is Pentecost Sunday. Here is an appropriate and beautiful Christian song.

Have a nice day.

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