Before electrical power, it was commonplace for rural villages to spring up around rivers where water power could be harnessed to support industry. By 1812, Peleg Spencer had built a sawmill which eventually became a flour and grist mill serving the community’s needs and then a feed mill serving local farmers and feed stores throughout south eastern Ontario.
After Peleg’s son David purchased the land in 1831, he became the official founder of Spencerville.
In 1912, Justin Fletcher Barnard purchased the mill beginning a family business which lasted for the next 60 years.
The Spencerville Mill was purchased by the South Nation Conservation Authority in 1985. Since then major restoration work has been completed and today the Mill is also a museum “where history lives and breathes.” Along with displays of original artifacts, new exhibits illustrate the history of the Mill and how it operated.
The Mill preserves an important aspect of the history of Edwardsburgh Cardinal Township and stands as a testament to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the business people and families who first developed a Spencerville community.