The post office©Copyright: Andrew Beaudin
During the late 18th century several waves of Scottish settlers began arriving in what is now eastern Ontario. A large number arrived directly from Scotland but a few groups moved northward from the United States. Many settled in Glengarry County, the most easterly county bordered on the east by the province of Quebec and on the west by Stormont County. By the early 19th century, Glengarry's population was almost exclusively Scottish. For the most part the newcomers farmed in the summer and worked in lumbering and the logging camps during the winter.
The Munroe family acquired a large plot of land just north east of Martintown. During the mid nineteenth century, Thomas Munroe built a group of mills along the banks of the Beaudette River. This ambitious undertaking included a saw and planing mill, a shingle mill, flour and grist mills and a store. The area was named Munroe's Mills after the founding family. Malcolm Munroe added a post office in 1874. Other residents in the nearby area included William Smith, a carpenter and Dr. Darcy Bergin, a physician, who later became an MP and was instrumental in the expansion of the Cornwall Canal.
During the 1880s and 90s the milling facilities continued to grow. By 1884 Donald McLennan had taken over the mills that he later expanded to include an oatmeal mill. Malcolm Munroe continued to look after the store and post office. A school was opened in the mid 1880s. Other residents included a livestock dealer, Hugh Corbett and long-time millwright, Thomas Carlyle.
Munroe's Mills was never large and its population hovered at around 50. It continued to prosper into the early 20th century until a fire destroyed two of the three mills. The remaining mill was converted into a combination grist, saw and shingle mill. In 1915, Malcolm Munroe, who by then was in his late seventies, closed the post office and things began to wind down in the little community. The post office and general store still stand attached to the original Munroe home. Many other remnants including the bridge and bridge pylons still remain.
Many thanks to Andrew Beaudin for the research and photos of Munroe's Mills.