Recognition of Territory
Watson’s Mill, Dickinson House, and the Carriage Shed are built on un-ceded Algonquin Anishinabe territory.
The peoples of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation have lived on this territory for millennia. Their culture and presence have nurtured and continue to nurture this land.
Watson’s Mill Manotick Inc. honours the peoples and land of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation.
Watson’s Mill Manotick Inc. honours all First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and their valuable past and present contributions to this land.
Watson’s Mill was built in 1860 by Moss Kent Dickinson and Joseph Currier. They leased the water rights to the control dam built in present day Manotick in 1858 with the idea to build a milling complex and a new community. At its height the milling complex included a sawmill, flour mill, carding mill, and bung plug and spile mill.
Dickinson House was built in 1867 by Moss Kent Dickinson and originally served as the mills’ office, as well as a general store and post office for the village. The Dickinson Family would eventually make this building their home in 1870. The family’s arrival in Manotick also brought about the construction of two carriage sheds beside the home. While the Dickinson Family lived in the Manotick house it continued to operate as the post office and general store.
The Dickinson Family sold the flour mill and their family home to Alexander Spratt in 1928. Spratt operated the flour mill until his death in 1935. His family continued operations until 1946 when they sold the mill and the Dickinson’s house to Harry Watson, who had worked for the Spratt Family as the mill’s manager.
Under Watson’s ownership the mill was renamed “Watson’s Mill” and celebrated it’s 100th year of operation in 1960. However, by 1963 commercial flour grinding at the mill had stopped. It was at this time that Watson entered into partnerships with the National Capital Commission, and later the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority. Major restoration projects were undertaken to convert Watson’s Mill into a heritage site.
Watson’s Mill Manotick Incorporated (WMMI) was formed in 1997. This group included local volunteers who were passionate about the Mill. For ten years, WMMI maintained and operated Watson’s Mill under a long-term management agreement with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority.
With the assistance of the City of Ottawa in 2008 full ownership of Watson’s Mill was transferred to Watson’s Mill Manotick Incorporated and management of the Dickinson House was transferred to the Rideau Township Historical Society.
In 2021 management of Dickinson House, and effectively all of Dickinson Square, was transferred to WMMI.
WMMI continues to operate Watson’s Mill, Dickinson House and the Carriage Shed (WMMI’s Offices and Used Book Store) today by working in partnership with the City of Ottawa and other community partners.
The information found within the History section of our website is based on primary documents and secondary sources. Watson’s Mill acknowledges that the sources available to us do not fully represent the true depth, breadth, diversity, and personal variation of experiences tied to our site and community.
We continue to work at including more diverse stories.
If you have any stories, personal experiences, or information about our site that you would like to share please feel free to contact us at 613-692-6455 or firstname.lastname@example.org.