Alexander McLAREN / McLAURIN
from Scotland to Glengarry County, Upper Canada in 1815
then on to Templeton, Quebec, Canada
Painting by Ruth McMillan in 1976
Shows the Head of the Rideau Canal Locks in Ottawa, Canada in 1893
January 19, 2013:
I have been researching my family for many years and I keep coming across Bytown or Bust, although I
have yet to find anything relating to my family on your site. I have to admit I haven't tried very
The original spelling of my family was McLaren. My g-g-g-grandfather Alexander emigrated from
Scotland to Glengarry County in 1815. His son John moved to Templeton in the Gatineau Valley and
started a sawmill, and later changed his surname to McLaurin. I believe McLaurin Bay on the
Ottawa River is named after him, and yet I find very little about the McLaurin sawmill. The name
changed several times. Perhaps you know where I can find this mill on the internet.
I have a lot of data about this family and would be happy to share it, if you are interested.
Some of my ancestors chose to spell their names MacLaurin, including my father.
The MacLaren mill in Buckingham was founded by James MacLaren (1818-1892), a cousin to my John McLaren
(1825-1905). The story goes that their mail from Britain was getting mixed because of the similarity of
their names, and they were in the same business. They met and flipped a coin to see who would change -
The James MacLaren mill was much more successful than John's sawmill, which started out as McLaurin's
mill (I think) in the 1850's. John partnered with Robert Blackburn about 1860 to 1870 and it became
McLaurin & Blackburn. When his oldest son Alexander was 26, he bought out Mr. Blackburn and changed
the mill name to McLaurin & Son (1878). Alex left to get in business with his 3 brothers in Montreal
(lumber merchants) and John sold his sawmill to retire. The sawmill became East Templeton Lumber
Company. It went up for auction in 1908.
I have a few more details, but that’s most of what I have of his sawmill. What I don't have are
photos of his mill, or in fact, of John himself. I feel confident there some out there, but where?
John is buried in East Templeton United Cemetery with his wife Clarissa Dunning, and his son Alex
and his wife Agnes Paterson.
I could go on and on - I have written 2 histories of this family - but really what I'm missing is that photo.
By the way, I live close to MacLaren's landing, (Fitzroy Township) and MacLaren's Side Road. The MacLarens
still live on this road. They are Jack MacLaren, MPP for Mississippi-Mills, and his family. I believe they
are descendants of the James MacLaren of Buckingham. I have a bit of their history also because it paralleled
closely to my own.
Of course I would be excited to have you start a web page for my family, and I welcome all queries.
Looking forward to your next email,
January 26, 2013:
Blair, you may have this already, but in case not, below is a map of
Templeton Township in 1836 which I obtained a few years ago from Archives
Canada. Some of the Cullen properties are highlighted in yellow. The McLaren properties
are outlined in red. The Ottawa River to the south is shown in blue.
The McLaren properties were in Concession 1 Lots 7 & 8 and also at C 3 & 4,
L 9. Were all these properties owned by Alexander McLaren? He is listed in
the 1842 census for Templeton.
More than half of Lots 7 & 8 form part of Lac McLaurin. Rue de Cheval Blanc
in Gatineau is the dividing line between the lots. In addition to the lake,
much of these lots would have been subject to spring flooding.
So they may not have been choice lots as water-bordering lots were normally.
My ancestor John Cullen was a neighbour (C 2 L8) along with his son Anthony
(C2 L7). John also owned C1 L11. This latter lot was given to John Jr. c1845
I have tramped this lot. The east end of Lac McLaurin encroaches on this
lot. The land slopes downward from Rue Notre Dame toward the Ottawa River.
This lot was subject to flooding. John Jr. had a farming operation there.
My Cullens were farmers and in the timber business. John was granted his
property in 1828 and probably moved there c1830.
Anthony was a medium sized timber merchant with good land position mostly in
Templeton Township throughout the 1835-1870 period.
He operated several shanties. His brothers Bernard, Michael and John Jr.
were also timber merchants, but smaller than Anthony. Son-in-law Thomas
Kennedy was also in timber.
Another son-in-law, James O'Hagan, was a successful merchant and local
politician in Templeton and Pointe-Gatineau over many years and postmaster
and operator of the ferry from Pointe-Gatineau to New Edinburgh.
You mention McLaurin & Blackburn. They apparently also operated an apatite
mine on C 11 L 10 in Templeton.
I have quite a lot of information about Templeton Township of the era. If I
can provide any additional information, please email me.
I am pleased to tell you that your search is over!
I found photos of the McLaurin Mill in East Templeton. They are included in the book "Le Village de Templeton
(1920/1950) et le grand Gatineau" authored by Yvette Theriault 1980. The photos were taken by Gabriel Paiement,
son of Jean-Baptiste Paiement, a blacksmith in East Templeton. They are part of the fonds of Jean-Baptiste
Paiement at the Gatineau office of the Bibliotheque et Archives Nationales Quebec office (Fonds Jean-Baptiste
Paiement file P75, D4).
The mill was located on the Ottawa River at the west end of McLaurin Bay at the site of today's purification
plant at the corner of Rue Campeau and Blvd Hurtubise in Gatineau. The photo of the mill is c1910. The two
buildings pictured c1925 were lodging for mill employees. The small locomotive was used by the company to
haul sawn lumber from the mill to the station at East Templeton. The east / west rail line was originally
that of the Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa and Occidental Railway and was acquired in 1882 by the CPR. There is
a statement in the concluding section of the book that the rail line connecting the mill to the station
posed a constant threat to the houses along the route due to the continual discharge of embers from the
The lists of mayors of Templeton include some of your family members.
You may be able to obtain a higher quality photo through BANQ in Gatineau.
In a later email I will list the data included in Alexander McLaren's 1842 census record. I have a copy
of all data for Templeton in that census. At that time Alexander owned 400 acres, the largest individual
land holding in the township.
E-mail Allan Lewis
also added on January 26, 2013:
Source below: A Hundred Years A'Fellin', by Charlotte Whitton, 1974, page 138
Keywords: Klock, Lake Expanse Lumber Company, George Lette (maybe Lett) at Campbell's Bay, John
Lumsden, John Mann, Munn Lumber Company, McCamus and McKelvie, McLachlin Brothers Ltd. at
Arnprior, James McLaren and Company at Buckingham, Quebec,
McClellan and Company, McLelland and York, McMaster Lumber Company at Aylmer / Deschenes,
McLaren and McLaurin Lumber Company, East Templeton McLaren's Landing.