Richard Birdsall Rogers - 1908-09 Diary

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During the Year...

Richard was 51 years old and 52 for the second part of the diary. He found contract work on other projects this year. Difficulties pursued him as inspectors of his recent works found reasons to delay his work.


Headlines in the Papers...

  • The Water Commissioner's Case (Mar. 5, 1909, The Review)
  • The Water Commissioners and Proposed New By-Law. Letter to the Editor of the Review (Mar. 25, 1909, The Review)
  • The Water Works By-law and Why It Should Be Carried . The Position of the Water Commissioners in the Matter Carefully Set Forth in an Interesting Article that Every Ratepayer Should Read. The Need of the New Dam and Pumping Station and How the Cost Will be Looked After (Mar. 30, 1909, Unknown)



1908-9 Diary

Period covered: May 21, 1908 - October 2, 1909

Dimensions: 20.9 cm X 13.4 cm (l x w)

No. of Pages: 290

Note: The diary contains some entries for 1908 and one entry for 1909. Most of the pages are blank. This Diary is different from others in that the entries are more detailed and did not pertain to individual days, but are rather a synopsis of Rogers' activities over varying periods of time.


[Note: This is the second diary in which RBR made entries for the year of 1908.

[April, 1908. As noted in the previous Diary, Rogers was moving between Peterborough, Bobcaygeon, Frankford and Toronto trying to raise money on loan]



May 21st 1908 Thursday

Started work on Contract for Section No. 2. Ontario-Rice Lake Division of Trent Canal. About six men went to No. 5 with Cliff Dennon and started clearing. Raining in the morning. I have had trouble in raising my deposit security for ($15,470). Tried all [kinds] of methods [from] private individuals, from guarantee companies, from BK of Montreal, then Molson’s then Bk of Montreal. As soon as I laid the matter before the Farmer’s bank the local Mg’r said he was sure the Head office would accept it. This was Thursday May 1st. The G’l Mgr was absent from home & I waited day after day expecting him but he had not turned up by Saturday 10th so I phoned to him at Toronto & he answered  & I made an appointment for Monday & I phoned to Frane who was to have found out when the G’l Mg’r arrived that I had got him & made appt for Monday. I went to Toronto expecting to hear by ‘phone from Frane but did not hear till evening & he said that he had conversation with Gen’l Mg’r and that the matter was alright. On Tuesday I met Gen’l Mgr & in a very few minutes the whole matter was arranged. Dennon arrived on Wednesday and we went together to see Gl. Mgr in order to introduce him. Had genial talk about work. I gave the Gl Mgr a statement which I offered to assign our monthly estimates to bank and give him joint note by Ed, Mina & self which was satisfactory - also agreed to deposit $10,000 in cash in bank at once. I agreed to go to Ottawa & try & get consent to a deposit receipt instead of marked check. Took letter to Calvert (whip). Went to Ottawa on Thursday 14th & saw Depty who said it could not be done - also gave letter to Calvert. Went to Toronto on Saturday 16th & met Genl Mg’r at 5 pm - said that he was just leaving for Cobalt but would arrange to give me marked check on Tuesday. Stayed till Sunday when got message James was so ill. Went home. Ret’d on Tuesday. Dennon arrived Monday. Went to bank and he said he would instruct Frane to mark check if we deposited $10,000 in name of firm. Saw Ed who signed note & we left for Trenton at 5:10 pm. Wednesday 20th. Saw Frane & got check marked & we opened our acc’t. Dennon deposited $10,000 to credit of firm & we got our bank books. All were pleased. Wrote news to Mina & boys. The Bk of M were disappointed & Siddell I think was sure we would go back to them. We came up to Frankford at noon and Cliff Dennon hire [sic] some men.

May 30th

Clearing has proceeded since 21st with 6 men. WD (W. Dennon) left for Montreal at noon to buy plant. I phoned to Vice Pres Bd Trade & arranged for a meeting tomorrow (22d). Phoned Geo Burnham to come to meeting. Went to Belleville on 22d Friday. G.B. came down on train. Got report typed. Went to meeting of Committee from Bd of Trade & City Council - about 30 in all. Read my report on cost of delivery of electric power from all dams from Heely’s to Trenton. They seemed pleased & I left report. The Chairman said that of course I would be remunerated. GB & I left Bel’e at 5:30 am Saturday. On Monday 25th Mr. [Short] telephoned over & He & his son Donald & I went up at 1:30 pm to see Houseboat. Arranged that D. was to get up party of boys from his school to take houseboat on June 22nd. I left home on Tuesday 1:50 for Campbellford. I went to bank & arranged to renew $1600. note. Got Mulholland to endorse it. They were anxious to have me stay. I stayed  & went over Alymer’s work on Tuesday a.m. Went down to Paper Mill at 2 and left at 3:14 for Anson Junction. Wheeled to Frank’d. Called at Chisholms to see Lehai & talked wages over with him. Wednesday wheeled down over works. Very warm. Thursday 28th. W.D. arrived home from Montreal at 6 p.m. He reports having purchased 2 travelling derricks, 2 locomotives, 18 cars, &c. Friday. Rained in a.m. Very warm.

Saturday 30th : W.D. & I drove to Trenton in a.m. Called to see Sangster - was not in. W.D. ‘phoned him. Went & saw R Weddell. We were undecided as to signing contract ie wages schedule but we decieded to do so as we were afraid to kick & any way the others would be in the same position as we were & the fact of R.W. getting his schedule altered from 1.75 to 1.50 & approved by the "fair wage officer" McNiven would be grounds for our giving 1.50. We called at Brophy’s office & signed contract without reading it over - came on to F’d. Fine. I will go home tonight on acc’t of James condition.                      

June 3d: Found James condition improved. On Sunday 2:30. went up to Houseboat to meet R Ritchie but he was not here. Rained in p.m. Fire at P. Cereal Mill. On Monday 1st was pallbearer for Harry T Strickland who died on Saturday last. Poor old Harry was another link of the past gone. Tea at Calcutt’s, went over to R. Ritchie’s & took him over & showed him what I wanted done to Yacht & Houseboat.

June 2d: "Left at 8:30 am for Stirling & wheeled to Frankford. Fine. Wednesday. Taking out quantities for work at Nos. 5 & 6. Men still clearing & making ties. Weather since Sunday fine & cool. We sent W. Jackson to Vaudreil to see about getting plant shipped.

June 10th: Left Saturday 6th at 5:30 pm & wheeled to Stirling. Took train to Pet’o. Met Alymer & Caddy on train. Sunday walked over to see Ry Ritchie but did not find him. Monday Robt Ritchie & I floated ‘Victoria’ & took her around to [boys]. Election day for Prov. of Ontario. Voted. At night went to town to hear results. Conservatives 86 Lib 18 Lab 1.

June 9th: Helped Ritchie to draw up Vic till 10:30. Went to town. Left at 1:50 for F’d. Very warm & fine since Friday.

Wednesday. Went down to No. 6 where they have been mucking since the 6th. Grant drove by on Thursday 4th but did not stop.  We were waiting at No. 6 to see him as Brophy phoned up to say he would stop at No. 6. I saw Grant at ‘Oriental’ on Monday 8th & complained about our not getting the excavation of bldg’s on right of way or not getting the use of these blg’s. He was very stiff & said we had no rights to expect these &c.

June 17th: Nothing eventful from Tuesday till Saturday. Men, 8 & 2 teams mucking at Lock No. 6. Saturday wheeled to Trenton. Saw Frane Mgr of Farmers bank & gave him a new note $15470.00 in lieu of original one which I left with him. Mr. D & I drove down on Friday & got money to pay men for last month. Inspector was in bank & Frane away. On Saturday 13th I wheeled to Sterling & took train for home. James a great deal better. On Sunday at 3 went to see ‘Victoria’ & met Rob. Ritchie there. He is making very slow progress. H.C. Rogers at dinner & Geo C. Burnham & wife at tea. Rain at night. On Monday left at 8:30 for F’d. Alymer on train. Discussed extra for [---] on [---]. On Tuesday Chas Godfrey arrived to work as Hoistman. On Saturday a.m. last the first 3 cars of plant Engine & cars  & scrapers arr’d. On Monday 1 car from Peterboro Hoist & tanks arr’d. On Tuesday 1 car engine & cars arr'd. Had considerable telegraphing re shipment & payments &c. Paid first draft to F Hopkins & Co tonight for 5 cars. Wednesday: Started to unload plant today - got nearly all dump cars unloaded. As we have no derricks or tackle it is very expensive. Two carpenters started yesterday (Tuesday) to make skips. Cool weather since Saturday.

June 25th Thursday

Thursday 18th: Unloaded balance of cars and Hoist & cars & one Dinkey. I rigged up a gin pole for placing boxes on car trucks. Friday. Unloaded second Dinky & got all the boxes on cars & most of them drawn to canal. 8 men & teams stripping site of No. 6 lock up to Wednesday. Saturday 20th. Balance of cars bro’t to canal. 8 teams started today to scrape north of Lock 6 & we are today really starting in earnest to push the work. I wheeled to Stirling at 5:30 & went home.

Monday: Went up to Houseboat in a.m. to see what men are doing. Told Ritchie to quit tonight & he said he would come down to Frankf’d tomorrow. Called to see Grant re renting buildings in Rt of Way. Tried to raise some money, did not succeed. Packed up Bedroom furniture to ship to Frankford. Tuesday 23d. Left at 8:30 for Fr’d. 12 teams scraping north of Lock. Wednesday. Drove to Trenton with WD. to see why Bank (Farmers) had included my loan $15,470. in the firm acc’t. Mg’r said it was a mistake. Came to Fr’d on train. Derricks (2) which arrived on Monday last are being erected today. I gave lines for derricks at No. 6 Lock. Mrs. W’m Dennon & Mrs. Cliff Dennon arrived today. W.D.  & I went up to see Miller in regard to Rt of way access his property. Nothing agreed. Thursday 25th. Fixed my wheel. We started on Tuesday last to build bunk house for Italians. Was in office & on work from 7 a.m. till 10 p.m. Started first drill tonight in puddle trench just north of West wall of lock. Fine & cool.

Friday 26th: 14 Italians (Ball’s Men) arrived last night. W.D. & I went up to see if could make arrangement with Miller re right of way into Dam. Was not at home. Mr. Fitzgibbon Inspector Farmer’s Bank saw me re starting. Branch Bank here took him over to see Furley & he arranged for an office. Men erecting derrick & drills started today. Bunk house for Italians about finished & they are in it tonight. Started ploughing north of 402 this am. Fine. Warm.

Sunday July 5th

On Sunday 28th. Went to ch. at 3 pm - Masonic Service. On Tuesday 30th WD & I went up to see Miller of P. Mill regarding an entrance to Dam No. 6. He was very agreeable & agreed to let us have free access for $100. Went home on Tuesday 5:45. On July 1st went up to Houseboat & arranged for going down river on yacht in pm. Left with Yacht at 1 pm & took party of [Serrardo], Woods, Hay, Marnie & children down river. TAS Picnic there. Arr’d home at 7 pm. Beautiful day. 2d. 1:40 pm left for F’d. F’d Miller had repudiated agreement & wanted us to pay him half of anything we thought we might save in using any privilege he might give us. I saw him & gave him a letter stating that he was not to be at any expense or damage in any privilege which he might give us & stated what we wanted in a letter. Saw him also & went over our rights & I wrote a long letter but I did not give it to him. He left on Wednesday 8th saying he was going to consult his solicitors before giving us any more privileges or statements. WD left on Tuesday 7th for Niagara Toronto &c to buy more plant. He arrived home on Saturday night 11th. Grant & Brophy (& Mrs. G) arrived about 4:30 p.m. from No. 3. They did not speak to me about anything in connection with the work. They evidently exam’d the materials from test pits. Then at 5 pm came on bank & said to stop making water-tight emb’t. 5 minutes after he came & back & said to me that this was not official & to go on. Grant never said a word to me about it. Grant & party went over to Hotel for supper & spent a pleasant evening together.

I left at 5:45 Saturday 11th for home. Mina arranging to go up to lakes. [---] Macklin at St. Lukes. Mr. L. at Stoney Lake. Monday 13th. Orangemen had a very large parade. Saw about notes at Bank &c. Saw D Shook about houseboat & yacht. I left for F’d at 8:30 Tuesday 14th & arrvd at 12:30. Tire of wheel gave out & had to get it repaired at Stirling & it gave out on way & Rev. Byers gave me ride to Fd. Gt many men leaving, only 4 at Dam. Work progressing very slowly with exception of lock exca’n.

Friday 17th

On Thursday 16th. Called to see Miller who arrived home last night. He wrote us on 9th from Guelph saying if we would not come to terms that he would stop us altogether going on his property. I called to see him yesterday & he refused to grant us any permission at all to pass over his land or the use of the siding. I tried to get him to grant us access but he lost his temper & would acceed to nothing. About 24 Italians arrived yesterday. On Friday, 14 Italians started at concrete core trench at Dam & 7 at Lock - but rain started about 8:30 am. & kept up all day.

Saturday 25th

On Saturday 18th. Rained in a.m. Worked at Dam in p.m. Sunday 19. Went to Service in a.m. Rained in pm. Monday 20th. Very hot. WD. saw Miller & arranged for [---] entrance thr’o his property [---] gravel (10¢ per load) & siding.

Tuesday: Rained all day. W.D. went to Montreal to buy mixer. 2 Hoists arrived from Niagara Falls.

Wednesday: Fine. Started excavation on side hill between Stn 315 & 324 with 8 teams.

Thursday 23d: Started excavation in Dam No. 3 Pit at noon with 4 teams. [Nel-] McDonald foreman. Drove down in pm to look at forming on wall on No. 3 Larkin & Sangsters work. Mrs. D with me. Brophy & his wife called. B complained about slowness of progress.

Friday 24: Looking for gravel pits. Drove down for WD. to Trenton at 4 pm. 18 Italians struck yesterday on acct of two of them being discharged.

Saturday: It has been very hot all week but fine since Tuesday. W.D. & I looking for gravel near Station. Boiler from McAlister arrived last night & was unloaded & taken to dam.

[Note: The following entry inserted in the Diary at this point is for the next calendar year, 1909]

Jany 18th ’09

We shut down our work at the dam on Friday last 15th and it was a great relief to me. Between being stopped at our concrete on acc’t of cold, keeping steam on the work at night, our pumps freezing up, the night gang not doing their work (getting drunk &c) it was a great relief to shut down. It is a mistake to do such work during cold weather. See also p. 13 Blk Book re claims.

[1908 resumes]

Aug 26th: At Dam till 2. Drove to Trenton to discuss pro rata am’t for rock allowed for last month. Was convinced he did not do it. He advised me to see Grant. Went to T. but it was a half holiday.

Aug 26th [on reverse page of above entry]: At Dam in a.m. & till 2. Drove W.D’s horse to Trenton to see Brophy. Discussed.

Aug 27: Started shelter dam of rock fill for wall East of E. abutment yesterday. Finished it at 3pm today & started rock fill for a road south of above dam. Boilers from Williams arrived  about 3 days ago but could not be had on acct of blunder re draft. Got one boiler at dam to run mixers this afternoon. At dam about 4 hrs. Started to make benches yesterday for coffer dam at lower entrance of Lock 6. In pm went to Lock 6 with W.D. to look over work at lower Entrance. [---] X [sectioning] it. Lehai & Beaudry called about 9 to say that they intended retuning parts of engines [---] tomorrow. Having beautiful weather.

Sept. 3rd: On Saturday last 29th. I wheeled from Anson to Campbellford. I arranged note at Standard Bk ($1600) end'd by AA Mulholland. Supper at M’s. Wheeled over Alymers work. Left for Peterboro’ by train. Mina & children at lake & George down river. Slept at home. Went to 8 service, breakfast at Rev’d L’s. Dinner at C’s and supper at J.Z.R.’s. Monday 31st. Called to see Grant re estimate and pro rata price on rock. He said he had sanction of Depty Min & intended to carry it out. Saw Pet’o Lumber Coy re acct &c. George arrived home at 4:30 & went up to lake to pack up. Edna, Lillian & Heber arrived home at noon today.

Tuesday Sept 1st: Left at 8:30 am for F’d. Wheeled from Anson. Called at Glen Ross & went over work & exam’d Concrete plant. Very good. Saw Lehai & Beaudry. Grant passed thr’o on Inspection (Coultry with him). G had nothing particular to say. G told me yesterday that all below Highwater mark would be classed as Submarine. (Re Submarine excavation). Hugh O’Donnel started on Friday 28th to put in a protection bench dam at line entrance of Lock 6. It was finished Sept 2d (4 men). Started filling in a low bank from excavation behind protection dam on Sept 1st at 3 pm it will be completed about Sept 4th. The gang at excavating Dam pit stopped at 10 pm. Sept 1st. There are a few holes yet to drill. McNamara arrvd on Monday 31st Aug. He started to work Sept 4th.

Oct 2d: We have had a most exceptionally favorable season so far. Hardly missed an hour. The dam proper has for the most part been put in, i.e. 3d, 4th, 5th & 6th piers and 2d & 8th under way, all sluices are in with exception of 1. West half of Spillway is in up to 3 ft above stop log sill. Fren stopped us concreting in East side of spillway. This after bottom has been unwatered for 3 wks. His excuse was that he had not seen bottom unwatered. Real reason was that a new Inspector (O’Rourke) came on Sept 30th & expressed opinion that center should come out as it was shally. Fren w’d not let us remove this as he said it was about right level. He also made us leave a lot of loose rock in West end of No. 2 sluice. On Oct 2d: He stopped work on No. 6 Pier because the forming was not completed, i.e. the sides were up & traced & plumb for a height of 6 or 7 ft. The end (back) was not in as he ordered carpenters to put new 4 x 6 studding on upper side of W. half of spillway because one point at bottom was 2'' out & the other end was ½ inch out. He had them push the forming out & thereby make a big crack in which concrete will be slobbered all over face. Fren has acted like a fool today - there is no reason in him. He seems to be afraid of his own shadow. He made a mistake in giving me lines for surface of spillway & this afternoon he ordered it to be picked away again - a large quantity.

I got the main (bench) coffer dam in in good shape & it works so far fine. It has diverted the water to the N side so it has allowed us to put in clay coffer dams for the E end of stop log piers & about 60 ft of face wall & about 100 ft of wall to the East of spillway. These coffer dams are very tight (fairly) & require little pumping. Everything was most favorable to get in the whole dam in about 3 or 4 weeks time if we had not been stopped on Oct 1st at noon from continuing the stop log pier & wall inside of the East coffer dam. We had about 50 ft of it out, most of it to rock or drilled to rock & blasted. All north of bridge was cleared off to have pan ready for blasting & drillers would have had it all drilled by Oct 2d (noon). When ordered to be stopped I moved all hands over to coffer dam East of spillway.

[End of entries in this Diary]



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