Ontario's Historical Plaques
Learn a little Ontario history as told through its plaques
The John Backhouse Mill
Backhouse Grist Mill
These two plaques are at the same location.
Both can be seen on this page.
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
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.
Photos by contributor Wayne Adam - Posted September, 2010
This rare technological and architectural survivor of early grain milling in Upper Canada was built by John Backhouse in the 1790s. Typically found in frontier agricultural communities of the early 19th century, this heavy timber-framed structure used water power to mill grain. More contemporary machinery, added in the later 19th and early 20th centuries, was common in small-scale, commercial establishments in the countryside. These mills marked the beginning of what became one of Canada's major industries.
Related Ontario plaque
The District Capital 1815-1825
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