A biographical sketch from W.E. Smallfield and Rev. Robert Campbell, The Story of Renfrew (Renfrew, Ontario: Smallfield and Son, 1919), vol. 1, pp. 74-75. Editorial notes added in brackets.
"The adjoining site to the north, was early built on by Robert C. Mills, who did quite a business there as a cabinet-maker [c. 1851], turning his attention at the same time to general carpentering and building, for always he was a pushing man who was on the outlook for opportunities for bettering his position. Thus, he became mail contractor for the route ending at Pakenham, which led him to add staging....Later he turned his attention to lumbering, when, about the middle of the [1860's] he bought a limit on the Black Donald creek, which he wrought for a short time, then selling to Jonathan Francis, of Pakenham. Towards the end of the [1860's], he entered into partnership with Robert Turner, of Eganville, a veteran woodsman--the firm working on the Kippewa, then a remote and difficult country. About the same time, he became a partner with J.L. McDougall, M.P., in working a limit on the Du Moine. He had also by this time built a store...where with Jos. Sleeman as partner, he carried on quite an extensive general business.
"All these undertakings flourished through some years of general prosperity but the terrible depression of the later [1870's] left little from the wreck to the members of these firms. Mr. Mills and his sons Robert and Archie then cultivated their fine farms near the Pinnacle, whilst James was with us as a valued assistant to John McAndrew and the loving watcher over his invalid mother in the village home. James went eventually to College, but his course was interrupted as his father, and in fact, the whole family, removed to Elsinore, Cal., when that town was being boomed. There Mr. Mills went to work with his accustomed energy, building houses for rental; there he still works on at the age of 85--not possible for him to rust out. Several of his children are comfortably settled there. James is at Riverside, superintendent of a large fruit company....Much they all owe to 'Grandma' McVicar, who when their mother's health failed, came to her daughter's help and trained her grandchildren well."
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