A History of Snow Road & McLaren's Depot

Transcribed from the Perth Courier, Aug. 7, 1936, Page 6.

A paper prepared and read by Miss Maude Walker at the July (1936) meeting of the Snow Road Women's Institute:

This locality was known by the name of Palmerston in its early days, which is the name of the township unto the present day. The first white settler was Robert Wilson, who came in about the year 1835, but the Indians were hostile towards him and he didn't stay.

James Millar and his brother Thomas, were the next to come in 1840. James Millar traded his farm in Sherbrooke with Mr. Wilson, as he was friends with the Indians and they did not molest him. Mr. Millar's descendants lived on the same farm until the year 1914. James Lett is the present owner.

The Geddes families were also among the early settlers, living on farms now owned by J.E. Millar, J.D. Millar and John Closs.

In quick succession other settlers followed, namely, Sims, Gemmell, Riddell, Hossick and Bryce, all coming from Scotland, the voyage being made in sailing vessels, which took about six weeks to come across.

Roads in those days were little better than paths through the bush. About the year 1856 the government decided to build the settlers a road, so a government engineer was sent, a man by the name of John Snow, so the road was named for him, being called the Snow Road.

Perth was the nearest town and it took two or three days to make the return trip with oxen. Potash was sold there, and household supplies purchased.

The social side of life was not forgotten. Many were the bees and dances held in neighbours' homes. All shared in each others joys and sorrows.

Lumbering and the manufacture of potash were the chief industries of this time. A firm by the name of Skeads were the first lumberers of the district, then the Gilmours, Gillies and Mclaren, and the Canadian Lumber Company. Men were poorly paid, worked from daylight until dark and the food consisted mainly of bread, pork and beans, with tea.

The Mclarens did much to benefit the people. They built and operated the first store, and also kept the first post office, which was named McLaren's Depot, the mail being brought by stage from Perth three times a week. They were promoters of the first school and church.

The first school was opened in 1881. Miss B. Maxwell was the first teacher. A church was built in 1885, the first minister to preach in it being Rev. W. McCauley.

In the year 1876 the K. and P. Railroad was built to Mississippi. Five years later it was completed to Pembroke. A station was built in this vicinity and it was named Snow Road. With the event of the railroad going through, many new people came, one of them being Robert Wood, who operated a small saw mill, and his son Delbert built and operated a general store. A large saw mill was built beside the river and this was operated for many years, giving employment to many people. Also Mr. John Allan and his family were engaged in business at this time. Mr. Allan was superintendent of the first Sunday School. Many people have come and gone since, many of them helping to make the community what it is today.

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