In 1852, Daniel McLachlin bought the water power at the mouth of the Madawaska and 400 acres of property at Arnprior where the Buchanan Brothers had once operated a grist mill and lumber mill. He rebuilt the mill and dam in 1853, had the village of Arnprior surveyed in 1854 and steadily expanded his operation. Prior to this, Daniel had been in partnership with his brother Hugh in Bytown (Ottawa), where they operated a store and grist mill. Early records also show that Daniel and his brother William delivered a raft of white pine timber to the firm of William Sharples and Sons (Quebec) in 1835.
McLachlin’s original mill in Arnprior was water-powered and contained one upright saw. McLachlin cut one board at a time from the square timber taken from the abundant supply of white pine and red pine along the banks of the Madawaska river. Eventually, a circular saw was added to the operation and when the Brockville and Ottawa Railway reached Arnprior in 1864, McLachlin was ready to supply the American market with sawn lumber.
In 1865, a new mill (No. 1) called “the big water mill” was built and the area around the mill was cleared for laying railway track and piling lumber. By June 1866, this new mill was in full operation and construction of Mill No. 2 called “the little mill” took place in 1867. McLachlin owned timber limits along the Coulonge, Petawawa, Kippewa, Black and Madawaska rivers. Annual output at this time was about twenty-five million feet of lumber and square timber, with an approximate value of half a million dollars.
In 1869, at the age of 59, Daniel McLachlin retired, leaving the business to his sons John H. McLachlin, Claude McLachlin and Hugh F. McLachlin. This is when the partnership known as McLachlin Brothers was formed. Daniel McLachlin and John H. McLachlin both died in 1872, leaving brothers Claude and Hugh Frederick to run the business. A year before Daniel McLachlin’s death, a steam-powered mill (No. 3) was built along the southern shore of the Ottawa river, east of the Madawaska. This mill burnt on September 10 1875 but was rebuilt and enlarged in 1882. Mill No. 4 was erected further east along the Ottawa river ten years later. By 1893, the Ottawa, Arnprior & Parry Sound railway came through Arnprior which ensured transport to the expanding southern market.
In 1897, with the decline of the world economy, McLachlin Bros. offered the mills and extensive timber limits for sale by public auction through Russell House in Ottawa. Apparently, there were no buyers and the firm survived. In 1912, Dan McLachlin (son of H. F and grandson of Daniel) was responsible for running the family business when his father passed away. Unfortunately, by the early 1920’s the firm was in decline and the mills ceased operation in 1929. Mill No. 2 operated again to saw logs for shipment to the J.R. Booth Company between 1936-1938. Dan McLachlin became involved with other business ventures including the Dye & Chemical Co. Ltd. and the Metallic Manganese Company until his death in 1954.
Various sources list the birth date of Daniel (christened Donhuil) McLachlin as 1810, while research by descendent Hugh F. McLachlin (b. 1907) lists 1809 as his date of birth. All sources agree that he was born in the Township of Rigaud, near Pointe-Fortune, Quebec to parents Hugh McLachlin and Janet McLean who emigrated from Kilmallie Parish, West Scotland in 1802. Daniel was one of 13 children (8 girls, 5 boys) born between 1795 and 1820.
Daniel began working with his younger brother William in the timber trade around Pointe-Fortune in the mid 1830’s. In 1837, he married Maria Harrington and moved to Bytown (Ottawa) which was the centre of lumbering activity on the Ottawa river. He bought extensive lumber limits along the Madawaska and Indian rivers. He was the first to erect a saw mill and grist mill at the Chaudiere falls. He was also a general merchant at this time with his brother Hugh until 1855. Daniel McLachlin changed his name from McLachlan at an early point in his life but the exact date in unknown. When Daniel McLachlin moved his family to Arnprior in 1857, they lived in a stone house called “the hill” which overlooked the Ottawa river. Early photographs in the Macnamara collection show intricate hedges, extensive lawns and decorative gardens surrounding the house.
Maria and Daniel had 8 children; 2 girls and 6 boys between 1838 and 1854. Twins Jessie and William arrived in 1838. William died at the young age of 7 while Jessie lived until the age of 82. She married Jack Usborne, son of a successful lumberman from Fort Colounge, Quebec. Harriet Amelia McLachlin was born in 1840. She married Lindsey Andrew Russell, a McLachlin Bros. employee in 1862, and died in 1924.
Hugh Frederick was born in 1843. He and his wife Mary Champney married in 1879 and lived with their 11 children in the stone house his father had built. H. F. McLachlin died in 1912, leaving his first-born son Daniel (b. 1881 d. 1954) to run the McLachlin Bros. business and support a large, extended family.
John McLachlin lived between 1845 and 1876. Not much is known about his life or death. Daniel McLachlin (the younger) was born in 1848 but died one year after his brother at the age of 29. Claude, the last born son of Maria and Daniel McLachlin was born in 1854. He married two sisters, Norma and Mabel VanCortland and died in 1904.
Daniel McLachlin is acknowledged as the “founder” of Arnprior. He was responsible for its growth through the expansion of his mills and the hiring of hundreds of men to work in the bush and on the river drive each spring. A plan of the village by provincial land surveyor John A. Snow dated June 17th 1854, shows a timber slide and one mill on the east side of the Madawaska and lots laid out between Madawaska and Ottawa streets on the west side. Another plan done in 1885, shows the expansion of the village to twice the original size. McLachlin was known for his benevolence towards his employees and contributed to the social and political life of the town. He was elected as MPP for Bytown in 1851 but did not run again in 1854. He returned to politics in 1867 when he was acclaimed as Member of Parliament for South Renfrew. He retired from politics and the lumber business in 1869 and died February 6th, 1872.
In the summer of 2003, Clarence and Debbie Hodgins donated the records of the McLachlin Bros. to the Arnprior & District Archives. The Hodgins discovered them in a log shed when they purchased their farm property between Arnprior and Braeside. They understood that the previous owner of the property bought this material at a local auction.
The records were very dirty when they were brought into the archives after sitting in the shed for several years. They have been cleaned and those containing mould have been identified. Considering the age and previous storage facilities of these records, they are in fairly good condition. The biggest challenge facing the archives was to restore the loose textual records into chronological order and sort them by creator/household. This time consuming task was achieved by the assistance of several volunteers over the winter of 2003/2004.
Scope and Content
The McLachlin Bros. fonds consists of business records relating to the operation of the McLachlin Bros. lumber mills located in Arnprior, Ontario between 1854 – 1948.
The fonds also consists of H. F. McLachlin and Dan (son of Hugh Frederick) McLachlin’s household accounts and a small number of miscellaneous textual records relating to various other McLachlin family members.
Correspondence, statements, records and reports relating to the Dryden Paper Company, Dye & Chemical Co. of Canada Ltd., the Metallic Manganese Company and the Canada Northern Power Corporation are also included in the fonds as they relate to the outside business interests of Dan McLachlin.
McLACHLIN BROS. RECORDS
1854-1948 4m : textual records
The earliest financial record included in this series is an account ledger created by Daniel McLachlin in 1854, which was approximately two years after he arrived in Arnprior. The collection of cash books, day books, letter books, lumber shipping book etc. are an almost complete record of business activity of this family-run business over a 94 year period.
Material already described at the Archives of Ontario (timber licenses and contracts, invoices, bills of lading, correspondence and shanty records) will fill part of the gap in these records.
The records reveal accounts with local people when McLachlin built a flour mill in 1863. Other books show the growth in his business when he expanded operations from two mills to three in the mid 1870’s.
For years, many people have speculated about the reason for the closure of the McLachlin Bros. mills which at one time were a major supplier of sawn lumber in North America. The records contained in this series such as the Petty Cash Book and Day Books (1928–1948) as well as the trial balance of 1946-1948 will be of interest to certain researchers.
When H. F. McLachlin died in 1912, the estate was divided up amongst the various McLachlin family members. Six ledgers concerning these disbursements ending in 1929, are contained in this series.
This sub-series contains the accounting ledgers of the McLachlin Bros. from the time of Daniel McLachlin started his operations in Arnprior to the closing of the books in 1948 by his grandson, the “last Dan” McLachlin. Most of these books were kept by Richard Macnamara who moved to Arnprior from Montreal to work for the McLachlin family in 1880. His son Charles worked for the company for 46 years, first as a book keeper and later as secretary-treasurer. The letter books reveal that in addition to keeping track of the business he was responsible for the accounts of several McLachlin family members.
1854 – 1861 Accounts
1860 – 1866 Accounts Ledger
1861 – 1866 Accounts Ledger No. 1
1861 – 1872 Accounts Ledger No. 2
1863 – 1866 Flour Mill Day Book (plus other transactions outside flour mill)
1864 – 1868 Flour Mill Day Book
1865 – 1866 Petty Cash Ledger No. 2
1866 – 1883 Accounts Ledger No. 3
1866 – 1883 Index to Accounts Ledger No. 3
1866 – 1869 Day Book
1866 – 1867 Petty Cash Ledger
1867 – 1873 Daybook
1868 - 1876 Accounts Receivable/Accounts Payable
1868 – 1872 Petty Cash Ledger No. 2
1868 - 1872 Index to Petty Cash Ledger No. 2
1869 - 1875 Lumber Shipping Book
1870 – 1873 Daybook
1871 – 1872 D. McLachlin’s Quebec Bank-Ottawa bank book
1871 – 1872 Cash Book II
1872 – 1873 Cash Book III
1873 – 1884 Letter Book for the estate of Daniel McLachlin
1874 – 1884 Day Book
1874 - 1876 Petty Cash Book
1875 - 1876 Petty Cash Ledger
1885 – 1890 Cheque Book Register
1887 – 1897 Bank of Ottawa Cheque Stubs
1890 – 1893 Bank of Ottawa Cheque Stubs
1893 – 1896 Bank of Ottawa Cheque Stubs
1906 – 1934 Letters Patent, Bylaws etc.
1907 – 1947 Stock Transfer Book
1912 – 1915 General Ledger No. 1 for the Estate of H. F. McLachlin paged 1 – 502 and
1912 – 1913 Accounts with McLachlin Bros. Ltd.
1913 – 1920 General Ledger No. 2 for the Estate of H. F. McLachlin paged 503 – 1010
1915 – 1920 General Ledger No. 2 for the Estate of H. F. McLachlin paged 1011 – 1537
1918 – 1933 Letter Book for the estate of H. F. McLachlin
1920 – 1930 General Ledger No. B3 for the estate of H. F. McLachlin paged B1011 – B1510
1921 – 1929 General Ledger No. 3 for the Estate of H. F. McLachlin paged 1538 – 2037
1921 – 1936 Miscellaneous Accounts
1922 – 1938 Trustees for Mrs. Norma Hall
1924 – 1948 General Ledger No. 2
1925 – 1928 Personal Ledger No. 7 McLachlin Bros. Ltd.
1925 – 1928 Index to Personal Ledger No. 7 McLachlin Bros. Ltd.
1928 – 1948 Petty Cash Book (1928 – 1948) and Day Book (1943 – 1948)
1928 – 1938 General Ledger
1928 – 1946 Index to General Ledger (contains some account summaries)]
1936 – 1945 Trial Balance
1938 – 1948 Cheque Register (Bank of Nova Scotia)
1946 – 1948 Trial Balance
McLachlin Bros. Operational Records H 20
This sub-series contains two large textual files related to the operation and ownership of McLachlin Bros. mills, shanties, limits, tug boats etc. between 1902 and 1941. It includes correspondence, returns, reports, affidavits and estimates of logs cut at specific localities throughout the Ottawa Valley (Quebec and Ontario) primarily between 1902 and 1912 with some documentation between 1913 and 1941. These records are very detailed and document the species, number of pieces, location of cut and calculations of board feet. They appear as rough drafts as well as copies of final submissions to Public Works of Canada.
Also contained in this series are lumber orders for J. R. Booth’s retail outlet between 1936 and 1938. Records for shipments of white and red pine to W. C. Edwards & Company Ltd. on Somerset St. in Ottawa are arranged according to letterhead in two files, along with a small amount of correspondence.
Two files contain miscellaneous items such as an insurance policy for the Jean Macnamara alligator taken out for six months by the Upper Ottawa Improvement Co. in 1940, Daniel McLachlin’s desk calendar for 1945, McLachlin Bros. Ltd. cancelled cheques 1921, list of timber limits under license in the Upper Ottawa region, blank forms and miscellaneous account statements.
This series contains business records and correspondence related to Daniel McLachlin between 1935 and 1952. Daniel McLachlin invested in the Dye & Chemical Co. of Canada Ltd. and Metallic Manganese Company Ltd. through his association with Dr. Frederick Atack of Kingston Ontario.
Dye & Chemical Co. of Canada Ltd. H 20
This sub-series of correspondence, invoices, and other documents related to the Dye & Chemical Co. of Canada Ltd., located in Kingston Ontario. This company manufactured chemical products including liquid soaps, bleach and dye of use in the textile, leather, papers and cosmetics industries.
Dr. Frederick Atack, a chemist who was married to a Burwash from Arnprior, was president of the company while Daniel McLachlin was vice-president. The majority of correspondence in this series is between Atack and McLachlin. Of particular interest are the records related to the negotiations between the company and E. W. Croll for a contract to supply “Impregnate E” to the Department of Munitions and Supply in the spring of 1943. Later in 1944, correspondence reveals that the directors were trying to sell the company, but it is unknown if it was purchased by another company. A few invoices for soap dated in 1946 are included in the series but no records for 1945 exist.
2003-0164-2-1 Dye & Chemical Co. of Canada Ltd. 1935-1943
2003-0164-2-1 Dye & Chemical Co. of Canada Ltd. 1944 & 1946
Metallic Manganese Company Ltd. H 20
This sub-series consists of four files of correspondence, notes and reports relating to the Metallic Manganese Company of Kingston Ontario. Dr. Frederick Atack was president and Daniel McLachlin was a director and share holder of this company which manufactured metallic manganese.
Dr. Atack wrote to Daniel McLachlin in June 1940 on Industrial Processes Development Ltd. letterhead regarding the surrender of Charter of the Metallic Manganese Company Ltd. on May 25, 1940.
2003-0164-2-2 Metallic Manganese Co. Ltd. 1937
2003-0164-2-2 Metallic Manganese Co. Ltd 1938 Jan. – April
2003-0164-2-2 Metallic Manganese Co. Ltd 1938 May – Dec.
Canadian Northern Power Corporation was formed in Montreal in 1925. Known today as Power Corporation of Canada, it began as a major international holding and management corporation formed to acquire and develop steam and hydro plants serving industrial and residential development. In 1968, the focus of this company turned to developing the pulp and paper industry, the packaging industry, international financial services industry and the communications industry. Power Corporation also has a long-standing business relationship with banking and investment firms in the People’s Republic of China.
Contained in this sub-series are monthly reports (consolidated and not consolidated) for the Canadian Northern Power Corporation between January 1945 and July 1952. Two letters to Daniel McLachlin dated 1952, are included in the series.
The Dryden Timber & Power Co. began operations in 1908 as a water-driven paper mill run by the Gordon Brothers. The company replaced old dams on the Eagle and Wabigoon rivers in 1910 and began building a new mill that used electricity to drive production. It produced its first paper in 1913. The Dryden Timber & Power Co. was reincorporated as the Dryden Pulp and Paper Co. Ltd. in 1918. It began manufacturing Kraft paper in 1919. In 1920 the name changed again to the Dryden Paper Co. Ltd.
In 1941 a steam turbine was added to the mill to increase its electrical power capacity. Also in that year, the machine shop took on production of certain war materials. In July 2003, the parent company Weyerhaeser announced that because the Dryden sawmill was a small, older facility, with high costs and without sufficient wood supply etc., the sawmill would be closed permanently while the wood room would continue to supply chips to the pulp mill.
This sub-series consists of files containing financial statements arranged by year. Daniel McLachlin held stock in the company and received these records on a regular basis. Statements exist for 1937–1942 and 1944 with significant gaps.
DANIEL McLACHLIN FAMILY RECORDS
1895 - 1945 3m : textual records
This series consists of three sub-series which contain household records from the following:
Hugh Frederick McLachlin, Daniel McLachlin and Other McLachlin Family members.
Hugh F. McLachlin Household H 18
This sub-series contains household accounts of Hugh F. McLachlin between 1883 and 1900 (with gaps). Hugh Frederick studied at Chambly private school in Montreal but returned to Arnprior due to medical problems with his eyes. H. F. McLachlin ran McLachlin Bros. along with his brother Claude after their father Daniel retired from the family business in 1869. Hugh Frederick married Mary Champney in Toronto in 1879.
The invoices, receipts and statements contained in this series are not part of the McLachlin Bros. business records, but reflect the busy social and family life of Hugh Frederick’s household. As such, they are a valuable source of social history which pertain to one of the most prominent households in Arnprior during the last part of the 19th century.
Daniel McLachlin Household H 18
Daniel McLachlin was the eldest son of H. F. McLachlin. He was born in 1881 and died in 1954 at the age of 73. He married Gertrude Mohr in 1906 in New York City. Hugh Frederick and Donald Macnamara were born in 1907 and 1909 respectively. Gertrude and her infant daughter Gertrude died during childbirth Jan 7, 1913. Dan remarried in 1915 to Rita Pinhey (b. 1888 d. 1966) and they had one daughter, Bette in 1916.
Daniel traveled extensively on business but managed to find time to hunt and golf and pursue photography as a hobby throughout his lifetime. He was also actively involved in establishing the Nopoming Game Preserve located just east of Arnprior in 1920, along with friends D. M. Finnie and Charles Macnamara. He served as president of the Canadian Lumberman’s Association and was mayor of Arnprior between 1908-1912.
Daniel McLachlin’s household accounts are arranged chronologically in 13 files. Separate files exist for Scardino’s Grocery invoices between 1937-1938 (unsorted) and Clubs & Memberships between 1910 and 1945 (sorted).
Other McLachlin Family Members H 18
This sub-series contains miscellaneous documents pertaining to various McLachlin family members including Claude, John Harrington, Jessie Maria, Kenneth and Norma McLachlin. A statement dated 1916 for the estate of Arthur Burwash is also included in the series.
The sub-series also contains assorted chemistry notebooks, and text books belonging to Donald Macnamara McLachlin. Donny lived from 1909 to 1969 and never married. The son younger son of Daniel and brother to Hugh Frederick (the 2nd), Donny studied chemistry at Queen’s University during the 1920’s. One of his text books is signed by the author Dr. F. Atack, who later became business partners with Daniel.
Other miscellaneous publications that accompanied the records described earlier in this finding aid are also contained in this sub-series.
2003-0164-F209 McLACHLIN BROS TRANSFERRED FROM ARCHIVES OF ONTARIO
This series contains all material transferred in 2017 from the ARCHIVES OF ONTARIO known as the Daniel McLachlin family fonds (F209). The papers were donated to the Archives of Ontario in 1961 by Mrs. Franklyn Cunningham (neice of Charles Macnamara of Arnprior). The papers in this series are largely commercial. The correspondence concerns business matters with occasional comments on affairs of the day. There are invoices, accounts, receipts, bills of lading, contracts and timber licences. The papers give detailed information concerning the operations of a large timber industry.
1. Shanty Accounts (F209-MU1958)
Ledger contains thousands of receipts, correspondence and notes related to expenses for various shanty operations including payments to employees working in the bush and supplies for each location. The paper documents have been pasted onto pages in a cascading manner (with several to each page) in chronological order from April 1890 to September 1891.NOTE: This document is fragile and can only be handled by the Archivist.
2. McLachlin Bros. Lumber Merchants Correspondence (F209-MU1957) USE DIGITAL COPIES ONLY
15 Envelopes of correspondence arranged chronologically. Subjects/people found in the correspondence include: Arnprior, Brockville and Ottawa Railroad, Bytown, Commercial Records, Jason Gould, Grand Trunk Railway, Hudson's Bay Company, William Knowles, Lanark and Renfrew Counties, Lumber Industry, Lumbering Contracts, Daniel McLachlin, Hugh McLachlin, William McLachlin, D. C. McNab, Charles MacNamara, Madawaska River, Marble Quarries at Arnprior, Wesleyan Methodists, Saw Mill, Grist Mill, Montreal Exhibition, John Morris, Ottawa and Brockville Railway, Neil Robertson, Lumber Shanties, Henry G. Sims, Timber Contracts, Timber Licence, Professor H. W. Thompson, University of Toronto.
Envelope containing two Xerox copies of a notebook entitled, "Record of supplies used and timber cut at lumber camps, 1897 - 1903." Donated by the Graham Family to the Archives of Ontario, Accession 9237, 10752.
3. McLachlin Bros. Lumber Co. Arnprior blueprint for alterations and additions 1920. (F209) Accession 6765 (Rolled document) Map Box 3 on top of Land Records Cabinet
Linen-backed blueprint identified as Drawing No. 9. Designed by George H. Johnson (Engineer), Drawn by Thomas H. Bacon. Drawing shows Mill #3 and Mill #4 with conveyor belts between mills and sorting table. Other features include areas of swamp & mixed bush, gravel pit, piers, booms and tugs in the Ottawa River, railway sidings and a locomotive.
4. Material used in McLachlin Bush Operations (F209-MU1959) Accession 6765
Tables for Reducing Saw-Log to the Various Standards in Use Showing also their Contents in Cubic Feet and Board Measure by Maxfield Sheppard published in Quebec, Printed by C. Darveau, No. 8, Mountain Hill 1863. This copy was purchased by McLachlin Bros. in April 19 1870.
The Shanty Companion - Le Compagnon du Chantier - by J. O. Laferriere; published in 1874 (2 copies)
3 piece fold-out Miller's Cubing Cards; undated
Madawaska Accounts of Men who are making Timber for D. McLachln for 1847-1848. Inscribed on front page: "It is the Rule for this season's business that every man is to pay two shillings and six pence per pound for the tea he may use" signed DM.
Names contained in the pocket notebook include: (names appear as written)
Series and Sub-series Arrangement
2003-0164-1 McLACHLIN BROS. RECORDS 1854-1948
2003-0164-1-1 McLachlin Bros. Financial Records
2003-0164-1-2 McLachlin Bros. Operational Records
2003-0164-2 DANIEL McLACHLIN’S BUSINESS INTERESTS 1935-1952
2003-0164-2-1 Dye & Chemical Co. of Canada Ltd. 1935-1946
2003-0164-2-2 Metallic Manganese Company Ltd. 1937-1939
2003-0164-2-3 Canadian Northern Power Corp. Ltd. 1945-1952
2003-0164-2-4 Dryden Paper Co. Ltd. 1937-1944
2003-0164-3 McLACHLIN FAMILY RECORDS 1895-1945
2003-0164-3-1 Hugh Frederick McLachlin 1883-1900
2003-0164-3-2 Daniel McLachlin 1934-1947
2003-0164-3-3 Other McLachlin Family Members 1888-1940
2003-0164-F209 McLACHLIN BROS TRANSFERRED FROM ARCHIVES OF ONTARIO 1834-1941
Hard copy of McLachlin Bros. finding aid available in Reading Room.
Accruals are not expected.
See also: Daniel McLachlin fonds 1993-0011
See also: Art McLean fonds 1996-0067
See also: Daniel McLachlin (Texas) fonds 1999-0157
See also: Arnprior & District Museum collection 1993-0005
- Miscellaneous Documents #25, #26, #27 (Crown land grants in McNab township with free access to Madawaska River) and others
- Miscellaneous Document #43 (Real estate book of Daniel McLachlin 1873)
- McLachlin Family Series (various documents)
- Lumbering In the Valley (1924 thesis of George H. Cole)
See also: Charles Macnamara fonds 2002-0154
See also: McLachlin Family History binder compiled by volunteer John Fisher in 2018, located in the reading room