Learn a little Ontario history as told through its plaques
The John Backhouse Mill
Photos by Alan L Brown - Posted August, 2004
The County of Norfolk
At the mill in Backus Heritage Conservation Area
3.7 km north of Port Rowan via Road 42 and Backus Mill Road
There is another plaque at this location called
Backhouse Grist Mill
Coordinates: N 42 39.215 W 80 28.092
John Backhouse emigrated from Yorkshire to the United States in 1791 but shortly thereafter, moved to Upper Canada. He served as a Major of the 1st Norfolk Militia in the War of 1812 and became a chairman of the Quarter Sessions, then the chief instrument of local government. He is believed to have erected this mill 1798. It remained in the possession of his descendants until its purchase 1955 by the Big Creek Region Conservation Authority having been in continuous operation for a longer period than any mill in this province.
Related Ontario plaque
The District Capital 1815-1825
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> Posted July 17, 2013
John Backhouse was my fifth great grandfather. Family history has it that upon hearing that the Americans were coming along the shoreline burning mills in an attempt to destroy Upper Canada's infrastructure, he put together a huge bonfire on a nearby hill visible from the lake. This tricked the Americans into thinking they had already set fire to the Backhouse Mill and they continued on down the shoreline. As a result the Backhouse Mill is the sole surviving mill on Lake Erie built prior to 1812.
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