From the Glengarry News, Alexandria, Ontario, Thursday, May 19, 1966, p.5 col. 5-7
DORNIE ONCE THRIVEDKenyon Twp 4th concession Map
St. Laurent, Que.
click photo for more dornie views
The mention of Dornie in the Rambling Reporter's column last week set this writer's thoughts in motion trying to picture that section of Glengarry as a bustling scene of industry in the past. Memory serves back to early school age when our parents spent the summer holidays on the old homestead and the only activity in Dornie was the cheese factory, the blacksmith shop and the store that was operated by a man named Sauve.
Not knowing if your Rambling Reporter was merely filling in space with tongue in cheek happened to pick on Dornie as a historical site, I decided to attempt a little research and was more than surprised to learn that indeed this deserted section today was a hive of activity 75 or more years ago.
The following is what I was able to glean from some of Glengarry's senior citizens:
`A lumber mill was erected and operated by Schell, one of many in the surrounding countryside; landmarks today are still identified as Schell's Mill! It is located on the East side of the road just north of today's railway bridge. A rail siding off the main line came into the mill site to transport the lumber and roof shingles that were produced. There were from 20 to 25 men employed in the mill; they were paid $1.12 per day.
A large boarding house was located at the top of the hill on the west side of the road. It was operated by Duncie John (McCramish) McDonald. He also operated a small general store in the same building. A small hall or meeting place was located on the road between the bridge that spans the Delisle River and the 4th Concession road. A regular Friday night feature was a debate, the subjects ranged far and wide. Some of the ,more eloquent speakers of the day were Angus (Mary Paul) Cameron, Blind Angus Cameron, A Father MacDougall, brother of Archie MacDougall of the 4th Concession.
After the mill operated for about 16 years, Schell sold it to a man named O'Hearn (Scaphcan) (Gaelic for herring). O'Hearn wished to establish a post - office, but as the mill site had no name, which was a requisite, he christened the are Dornie, a name like so many others in the county borrowed from the homeland, Scotland.
A man named McLeod built and operated a cheese factory; and the farmers became disillusioned and unhappy at the returns they were receiving for their milk so they banded together, and bought McLeod out, hired their own cheesemaker, hence the name patron cheese factory.
O'Hearn operated the lumber mill for three or four years then sold it to Duncan Curly (Postmaster) Macdonald, who moved the mill to the station in Alexandria. Duncan Curly must have used help from the town. As their travelling was less, he paid $1.00 per day wages. After operating the mill six or seven years he sold to a man named Lacombe who added broom handles to the lumber and shingle production.
So, Mr. Editor whether you should encourage or chastise your Rambling Reporter for mentioning names like Dornie, even in jest, I'll let you be the judge.
page created Feb 2001, updated 9/12