In 1860, along the Rideau Canal, Moss Kent Dickinson and his partner, Joseph Currier, built the Long Island Flouring Mill in what is now know as the historic Dickinson Square in the picturesque village of Manotick, to which Dickinson founded and named after an Ojibwa word meaning “Island in the river”. The mill was constructed of limestone quarried from the riverbank of the western channel of the Rideau River and is older than Canada itself.
Moss Kent Dickinson was born in Denmark, New York in 1822, his family relocated to Cornwall, Ontario in 1827. Joseph Currier was born in North Troy, Vermont in 1820, his family moved to Canada in 1836. In 1858 he became partners with Dickinson to open the Long Island Mill. Both men were in the lumber business and teamed up for this new and exciting opportunity. They obtained the water rights to the head of water at the newly constructed dam on the back channel of the Rideau River. The Mill was officially opened on Valentine’s Day in 1860.
The saw and grist mill served as the economic basis for the formation of the village. Anna Elizabeth Crosby was born in Caldwell near Lake George, New York on May 29, 1841, her family owned a hotel called the Crosbyside Hotel and it was there that she met Joseph Currier, twenty-one years her senior. On January 25, 1861, Joseph and Anne were married, and after a month long honeymoon, Joseph brought his new bride back to Manotick to celebrate the first anniversary and success of the Mill. On March 11, 1861, in the early afternoon, Ann and other guests were descending the stairway from the third floor to the second (at the time, the staircase ran adjacent to where it is today) when Anne’s long dress became caught in the turbine flinging her against a wood pillar, striking her head, killing her instantly.
Anne was previously buried in Sandy Hills cemetery and in 1875 was moved to Beech Wood cemetery in Ottawa. Joseph Currier became so distraught over the death of his beloved wife that he sold his shares of the Mill to Dickinson and vowed to never return, it was a vow he would keep. He moved to Ottawa, remarried, and built a home for his new wife at 24 Sussex as a wedding gift. In 1950, the Government of Canada came into possession of the property, including the house, and is now the primary residence of elected Prime Ministers. Joseph Currier died of a heart attack in 1884. In 1882, Moss Kent Dickinson was elected in the riding of Russell and his residence, across from the Mill, served as campaign headquarters for Sir John A. MacDonald. Dickinson died peacefully at his home in Dickenson’s Square in 1897.
The first sign that the Mill may be haunted was in 1921 when a fisherman, caught in a rainstorm, entered through an open window seeking refuge. While drying off, he heard a woman’s unearthly cry and fled the premises immediately. In 1980, two boys crossing the dam told a frightful tale of hearing sounds emitting from the empty Mill. As they looked up at the second floor window, they were shocked to see the figure of a lady in a long dress peering back at them. As they rounded the corner towards the front of the building, it seemed the figure had followed as they could still see her gaze through another second story window. During a late night stroll in 1981, a couple passing by the Mill were suddenly startled by a noise that caught their attention. Upon looking up at a second floor window, they saw a woman dressed in white then she disappeared.
Over the course of a few years, H.O.P.S. has investigated the Mill a number of times. During these investigations, the most common phenomenon have been disembodied voices, knocking, footsteps, unidentified lights, high EMF readings, draining of batteries, changes in temperature, pokes or tugging on clothing and a number of EVP’s.
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