Days of the Kleinscroths
at Tamarack Island Mill
Stokes Bay, Ontario

“Henry Kleinschroth is foreman of our saw-mill and timbering business at Stokes Bay, in the Bruce Peninsula, the home fo the deer, the bear and the rattlesnake. He is thirty-eight years old, and as much at home in the bush as any Indian, a veritable child of the forest. He has had many years’ experience and id thoroughly up in miling, lumbering, timbering and rafting in all their branches. He has served us well for two years and we hope to hold him.”
Taken from “The Story of the Knechtel Furniture Company of Hanover.”

Bush Camp. Mr. K. (l) in fur coat.

Mr. an Mrs. Henry Kleinscroths
and family. Alex, Maud, Harry
(baby) about 1894.
     Henry Kleinschroth was in charge of the Tamarack Mill when it was owned by the Knechtel Furniture Company of Hanover 1901-1911.

     For years on the Bruce Peninsula the Kleinscroth family were well and favourable known in the timber business. From 1901 to 1911 they were in charge of the Tamarack Mill which was one of the bigger mills on the Peninsula at that time.

     The Henry Kleinschroth’s moved to Alberta when the mill ceased operations in 1911... Henry’s grandson, George, who lives at Sherwood Park, Alberta, is the informant on those days at Tamarack Island Mill.

     George remembers his grandfather Henry Kleinschroth in charge of the mill, and that his father, Alex, and his uncle, Sam, also were on the work force. Sam’s son, Ernie, lives in Woodstock today and can recall many stories about the days at the mill.

     George’s grandmother, the former Katherine Gross, as well as her sister Emma Gross, and others, cooked for the mill gangs who at times numbered as many as 60 workers. Another person who cooked there was Kitty (Murray) Morrison, when her husband Murdock Morrison, was a foreman at the mill.

     George’s aunt, Lyda Kleinscoth Bach, of Duffield, Alberta recently visited Tamarack Island in company with her daughter, Helen, and son-in-law, Rick Doupe of Edmonton, Alberta. Mrs. Bach is getting on in years but is bright, and chipper, with a great memory of her days on Tamarack Island. Among her recollections are of going to school at Stokes Bay, and that her teacher was a man with one leg. That was John J. Smith who taught there in 1910. The Doc McDonalds were in the store there, and Dr. McDonald who was a vet used to come to treat the horses at Tamarack when necessary. Other recalled include Gussy Hardman, Grahams’, Hayes’, and there was a Noble family who had a farm in the area. Her sister, Maude, Mrs. Will Mowatt, also lived on the Island and left there when the mill shut down. Will Mowatt’s father drowned in the sinking of a punt incident at Pine Tree Community in June 1893 – as described in the book “proud People” the Lindsay Township book.

Katherine & Henry Kleinscroths
and daughter Lyda, 1910.

     The next owners of Tamarack Island was the Tamarack Island Fishing and Shooting Club, incorporated under Letters Patent, dated June 12, 1913. The Island was purchased from the Knechtel Company, Hanover.

     Mr. And Mrs. George Kirk were the first stewards with the club until 1927. Mr. and Mrs. Allan McLay took over then until Mrs. McLay passed away in 1952. Mr. McLay and daughters carried on for some time after that. The club was eventually disbanded as members got older and interest waned. The Island is now being developed as a resort area with many beautiful cottages built along its shores facing Lake Huron.

     Part owners of the Island are Mr. and Mrs. Mel Matheson, who operate the old boarding house as a tourist lodge. The Mathesons have made many improvements, and have also built a number of tourist cabins. The Lodge has become famous for its good food, and hospitality, and they find each year brings more custom as the travelling public find it a good place to stay in beautiful and quiet surroundings.

     Tamarack Island is now a far cry from the days of the Kleinschroths, and other sturdy folk, who make their living in those early days with much hard work. It is hoped that there will still be many who will look back and remember all the wonderful stories of Tamarack Island and the people of the Mill.

Dates and Mention of Mills
Bruce Peninsula

March 1899
     Malcolm Gillies of Spry engaged in timbering at Pine Tree is said to have drawn a load of hemlock logs to the dump from the camp which measures 4,583 log feet. He was using two horses at a time. In another load he hauled 4,200 feet of logs to the shore in one load. J. Fox of Keppel drew a load of logs from his farm in Keppel to J.P. Newman’s mill year which was reported to be the largest load ever drawn into town. The load measured 3,200 feet of lumber.

September 1899
     Wm. Gawley’s shanty and timber to $1,000 and Albert Sadler’s barns were destroyed by a bush fire at Miller Lake.

     J.W. Jermymn of town has his Barrow Bay mill going and is currently cutting come 500 ties a day. James Shouldice is currently cutting timber in Eastnor for Barrow Bay company and is looking for 50 men to work in the bush. February 1899.

     This same winter... a scarcity of snow on the ground this winter has hampered lumbering work on the peninsula. Cupled with the fact that lumber prices are as low as possible, a good number of men are out of work on the Peninsula.

October 1899
     Mr. E. Colby from Hepworth is rafting logs from Pine Tree Harbour to Southampton this week, a pretty risky business but we wish him luck.

     Bushworkers were getting thirty dollars a month and board. A generous wage.

August 1908
     Tamarack Mill is running longer this year and three houses are being built, so things are booming at Stokes Bay.

     The McVicar Tmber Limits are to be sold in Wiarton on February 20th. There are some 90 lots comprising about 800 acres.

     Robert Hilditch has purchased the timber rights owned at Gillies Lake, from John Hilditch and will start work immediately.

Boarding House Tamarack. Still there now Tamarac Lodge. Much has changed.

     Plenty of timbering in Albermarle. George Vogt, Robert Forbes and the Newman Company all have gangs at work cutting.

April 1909
     As soon as navigation opens Dyer’s Bay will lose its sawmill owned by Seamen and Kent Company and it will be moved to Meaford.

May 1909
     Albert Pacey, manager of Johnson’s, Hunter’s and Crawford’s drive, completed the contract this week. He is the only man to ever run the drive from start to finish without a jam.

June 19th, 1909
     E.P. Ebert has about 20 man working at his mill at Berford Lake.

September 1909

Piling logs in Tamarack Bay.
     D. Proctor of Kennan Bros informed the Echo this week that the mill at Pike Bay will be removed to Miller Lake, and the company will employ about 35 men this year.

December 1909
     There will be extensive lumbering operating on the Peninsula this year. H. Kleinscroth, Stokes Bay will contract for 2 million feet and Lemcke and Pedwell will cost as much as usual.

     Mr. Ryndall of Dyer’s Bay is doing a rushing business in tan bark this year.

July 1911
     A raft of logs totalling 2 million feet of lumber arrived last week at the Kastner and Newman Lumber Companies. The logs arrived from the North Shore where they can be secured as cheaply as on the Peninsula.

Tamarack Island Mill with two stacks in 1908.
     Andrew Holler of Purple Valley has taken a contract of cutting, skidding and drawing one hundred thousand feet of timber for George Howe.

     George Vogt and son of Adamsville have erected a new sawmill at Adamsville and are looking for work.

February 1914
     Lumbermen on the Peninsula offering three dollars per day for men and team, for skidding logs.

July 1914
     Mr. George Howe has let the contract to Fred Urbshot of taking out all the timber in the oak flats near McIver. There’s about 500,000 feet of timber there.

December 1914
     The Kastner Lumber Co. will get out a cut of logs this winter and consequently will operate their mill next summer.

Most of these items are no doubt taken from Wiarton Echo.

Pages 69 - 75 of Old Timers’ Tales
A History of Stokes Bay and Area
(Bruce Peninsula)
By Helene Scott