HistoryThe Sawmill

William Ratcliff emigrated from England with his wife Sarah in 1846 and eventually settled in Markham Township on Lot 35, Concession 6. By 1851, the Ratcliff family were operating a water-powered sawmill from the head of the Little Rouge River on their property. The Ratcliff sawmill was passed on through the family generations, until it ceased operation in the 1970s. In 1936, this water-powered sawmill came to be powered by a massive diesel engine. The working components of the mill and this diesel engine were moved to the Museum for safekeeping after the mill closed down in the 1970s. Unfortunately, a fire destroyed the actual mill building structure in 1982. Ashmore Reesor donated a barn for the new mill on the Museum grounds and the original Ratcliff Mill mechanical equipment was installed and made operational. Also located in the mill is additional equipment, dating from the early 20th century, which was typically used in Markham in the production of wood.