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Bellamy's Mill

History

Town site photo

Pioneer cemetery

©Copyright: Jeri Danyleyko

Able Stevens, a Baptist deacon from the state of Vermont, arrived in Kitley Township in 1796. Stevens was an energetic and adventurous soul who had served as a British agent during the American Revolution while at the same time serving as part of the rebel militia. Enticed by Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe's offer of free land, Stevens was also a colonizer who aimed to attract as many good Baptist families to the area as possible. His message was so successful that by 1798 roughly one hundred new families had arrived in Bastard and Kitley townships. Stevens became an ordained minister in 1804 and remained a church leader until his death in 1816.

Once the shores of what was later to become Bellamy Lake were cleared, John Livingstone built a water power site and erected a grist mill that lasted until 1840. Following the success of the grist mill, other mills began to spring up. First Abraham Kilborn added a sawmill and then a shingle mill that operated briefly in the 1840's. In 1855, Chauncey Bellamy, after whom the village was named, erected a sawmill, a grist mill and a three-storey cheese factory, the latter in partnership with Kilborn. The village also included a temperance hall, store and Roman Catholic Church. Rev. William McDonagh conducted the Catholic services.

Bypassed by the railways, Bellamy's Mill began to decline in the 1870s. By 1890, the decline was complete when the sawmill closed its doors forever. The church and cheese factory were moved. In 1955 the remains of the sawmill burnt to the ground.

Today there are very few ghostly remains of Bellamy's Mill. Although, the area surrounding the mill pond has been turned into a public park, the early founders and pioneers have not been forgotten. One small group of tombstones lies adjacent to the lake while another, which includes an historical plaque dedicated to Able Stevens, sits high up on a hill looking down over the former mill pond. A third cemetery sits on the other side of the road near the location of the former Catholic Church. A handful of residents still remain.