Top Left Edge Main Banner Top Right Edge

Villages & Entrepreneurs (1840-1860)

Emerging Communities & Enterprises

The earliest entrepreneurs in the county were exporters who took advantage of Britain's need for wood, potash, and wheat. The Napoleonic Wars (1796-1815) had secured a demand for wood in Britain's shipyards and potash in the textile industry. Anxious to clear their land, the pioneers cut timber, hauling some logs to mills but burning hundreds of trees to sell the ashes to middlemen who exported potash to the British market.

In 1792, Richard Cartwright, a Kingston based merchant, bought the government owned grist mill at Napanee, originally built for the Loyalist settlers. By the turn of the 18th century, he was shipping wheat, flour, lumber and potash to Montreal in barrels made at his Kingston cooperage. He sold imported goods back to the farmers who had supplied him with their harvest.

By the 1800s, money earned through these enterprises allowed farmers to purchase farm equipment and household items. Foundries, distilleries, breweries, and tanneries were established in small villages to serve a local market. Villages and hamlets clustered around mills.

By 1840, the cluster of small homes near the mill site at Napanee had expanded to become a stable settlement with a new covered bridge over the river. In the next decade, merchants and entrepreneurs were attracted to the expanding village. Progressing from a police village in 1852 to an incorporated village by 1855, Napanee laid the cornerstone for its town hall in 1856.

Also, across the county, other mill sites such as Newburgh, Bath, Mill Creek and Clark's Mills were maturing from small hamlets to villages.

Back in Timeline 1784-1799 : 1800-1820 : 1820-1840 : 1840-1860 : 1860-1880 : 1880-1900 : 1900-1920 : 1920-1940 : 1940-- Forward on Timeline
Bottom Left Edge Bottom Edge Bottom Right