Remains of the dam©Copyright: Jeri Danyleyko
In 1843, Rufus and Silas Andrews built a shingle mill on the Rideau River, named the settlement after themselves, and gradually began to establish a small industrial village. In 1861 the brothers added a grist mill, with the capability of grinding 500 bushels of wheat per diem. The mill produced exceptionally high quality flour and was an instant success. Over a period of several years, flour from the Andrewsville mill regularly won top prizes at local fairs and competitions.
In 1869 the Andrews brothers sold the entire milling operation, lock stock and barrel, to Benjamin and Thomas Cook, two Ontario-born millers from nearby Kemptville. Since Andrewsville was located close to the Nicholson Locks where there an abundant source of waterpower, its industries grew rapidly.
By the 1870s, Andrewsville was really humming. Stagecoaches rattled in and out daily to the little hamlet which now boasted a population of about 100. In addition to the Cook mills, there was a carding mill and a second sawmill, run by Henry Watts. Michael Kelly ran the general store, John and Thomas Newman manned the locks and Allan and Rueben Davis ran the blacksmith shop. The Cook brothers were active in township affairs. Benjamin Cook served as a deputy-reeve of Montague Township in 1878 and Thomas Cook served as a representative in the Counties Council.
Artemus Berry and Charles Henry Tate continued running the mills throughout the 1890s. Berry, who by then also ran the general store, established a post office in 1890. By that time the little community had acquired a public school. Other small businesses included a carriage factory, run by blacksmith William Quinn and an apiary owned by Alonzo Whoople. Telephones had arrived by 1895.
Unfortunately by the 1890s, Andrewsville was clearly on the decline and its population had dropped to around 75. Like many similar mill towns, Andrewsville had the misfortune of being bypassed by the railways. Without transportation, Andrewsville's industries were doomed. By the beginning of the 20th century, the mills were closed and it was all over for Andrewsville. The post office closed in 1912.
To look at Andrewsville now, you would never guess it had once been a sizable village. A few of Andrewsville's original houses are still occupied and the remains of the Andrewsville dam still lie close by the Nicholson's locks. The surrounding area contains a few newer homes but for now it remains just a quiet rural spot, where people go for horseback or bicycle rides or to fish in the Rideau River, close to the new dam.