Richard Birdsall Rogers - 1885 Diary

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During the Year...

Richard was 28 years of age. During the month of February his father died though this was not mentioned in the diary. He described details of his day-to-day business and made notes and lists of measurements. The diary contains sketches and diagrams of structures he was working on. He also wrote about the falls, lakes and other places which he visited during his supervision of the area. One of the sketches is that of the Lindsay Fish Pass.


Headlines in the Papers...

  • The Trent Valley Navigation (Mar. 8, [Daily Review])
  • Inland Navigation (Mar. 13, Daily Evening Review)



1885 Diary

Period covered: January 1, 1885 - December 18, 1885

Dimensions: 14.3 cm X 7.2 cm (l x w)

No. of Pages: 172

Note: The identification page at the start of the diary reads: "R. B. Rogers, Superintending Engineer, Trent Canal Works, Peterboro, Ontario." The diary contains notes and sketches in memoranda pages at the back of the diary. Both inside covers contain notes and lists written by R.B. Rogers.

Several entries have been made in which RBR has written his own dates rather than using the journal in the usual way by entering daily events under pre-printed dates. We have noted the actual diary pages/dates on which Rogers has put his own dates and made entries. The majority of the entries are work related and this "Diary" is really better described as a notebook. There are very few actual "Diary" entries in this disjointed notebook. Rogers often drew a wavy line through the notes to himself, presumably after he had taken care of the task described.

January Thursday 1: July 10th Chisholm. The lock chamber halls leak very badly also the wickets. Water will have to be shut out at head of canal. Ought to be stop logs, wicks put in at head of locks.

January Friday 2: Chisholms. Aug. 31st. The two small sluices should be repaired. Will have to be entirely rebuilt. The big slide should be made flat dam. A pier or two should be built at the boom.

[No entry for January 3]

[Diary pages for January 4 - January 6 are covered with a list of figures]

[No entries for January 7 - January 8]

Januray Friday 9: opposite first clump of ties above bridge on north side

[January 10 - January 24 are covered with lists of numbers and unconnected notations regarding unidentified works. For example, January Thursday 15, "I finished about 200 feet above first pier."]

January Sunday 25: See McDonald about long tie skiff. See if Mongomeryhas left. If so, was he culling all the men. Ask about voting day. How many away.

January Monday 26: Ask [---] about Dod’s crib about price etc. See about men for Buckhorn.

January Tuesday 27: 4.18 Henry Sharp.

[Entries for January 28 - January 30 relate to Buckhorn and consist of list of numbers; bridge calculations, etc.]

[Two pages have been torn out of the diary for the dates of January 31 to February 11]

February Thursday 12 - February Sunday 15: Ask for scow at Bobcaygeon for Buckhorn or ask Kelly.

Bobcaygeon Oct. 9th

Deed - lock house - look for it (Boyd). Ought to have large derrick as I don't think small derrick (ours) is powerful enough to lift these large stones. Get all old work removed, then we can lay out the line of work - must shut [---] in front of upper breast work. Do this at once.

[---] out of old gate for pm.

See Kelly about plank.

Get rake for weeds at Lakefield.

Write Boyd about shutting off water in canal re shutting his grist mill down.

See about Rathburn's skiff re Katchewanooka.

February Monday 16: Chisholms, Oct. 11th. Send [----] form. See about acc't of Armstrong's for scow, 5.00, chain & lumber.

February Tuesday 17: Ask Croly or Pierce about some order with Campbell's name on it. Send for Bell. See Boyd about letting water

February Wednesday 18 - February Thursday 19: Ask Dept. for instructions. Write them full particular. Be down soon. Chisholms, Oct. 15th. Gilmour & Co. asked to have water shut off here for few days till they get their work in shape & prepare for flood. Told Armstrong to shut D.F. Sager, Trenton, Box 110, catalogue came.

February Friday 20: Mr. Robinson re $50.00 for looking after dam [----]. Put notice in re closing Bobcay’n lock.

February Saturday 21: F.C. Crean, Joliette, P.Q. Lakefield 1.00 Croly re Campbell's board

February Sunday 22: [Random illegible notes at start of entry] Ask Burnett how it was that Croly & I Leplante were [marked] for voting day.

[No entry February 23]

February Tuesday 24: Chisholms Oct. 23. Water was shut off Thursday afternoon. Wicket’s open Saturday morning. Spikes 6" [----], washers 1 ¼ "

February Wednesday 25: Oct. 24th To A.P. Bradley, Sec'y R & C, Ottawa. Water has been shut off at Chisholms since Thursday last. RBR.

February Thursday 26: Get pay sheet from Burnet. Rake to be 2 1/2 feet longer ie 1' 3" on each side teeth to be 15" [---] long.

February Friday 27: See about Strickland's boat for [---] & raking. Clothes from cricket field. [Random illegible notes at end of entry]

February Saturday 28: Tell Whistlewing to call for scow.

March Sunday 1: Fix gallows frame in Middle Falls. Send Hall a time book

March Monday 2: See [----] re timber. See Belcher re Y.P. Bridge. Send Burnett money. Write Burnett re missing boom timber

March Tuesday 3: [Illegible notes at start of entry] Write [---]& [---] about water on Thanksgiving Day. Send Coughlin re detention of boat at Hastings.

March Wednesday 4: Write Rathburn. Chisholm Nov. 3d. Write Thurston about putting in skiff to stop water in far sluice. Get a rain gauge. Decide about windlasses or winch on wheels.

March Thursday 5: See Walker about washers. Send time book to Armstrong. Write Coughlin no to let off water till he hears from me

March Friday 6: Ask Burnett if they worked all day Thursday 29th. See about spikes for Bobcaygeon 425 Ask[---] about the wheels (Dominion)

March Saturday 7: McGregor rent for taking care of stuff. See about Insurance profits

March Sunday 8: Bob'n Nov. 10th See [---] price [---] [---] For breast work 10 x 5/8 = 400/2 = 100 spikes (round) canal 425/12 = 35 x 8 Theo [---] $50 cartage

March Monday 9: [---] [---] gas jet.

March Tuesday 10: Tell Burnet to take the best of Rathburn’s stuff. Pull's etc. Winch. Scraper. Bill Write Kelly. Tell Burnett [---] boom

March Wednesday 11: Get spikes & [---] Kennedy will be up tomorrow. Lengths of chains at Buckhorn. Measurements from centre of piece to upper edge of gate

March Thursday 12: [List of numbers]

March Friday 13: See about windlasses at Chisolms for Buckhorn. Plate for bolts. Washers 1/4 " get

March Saturday 14: Chains made see law Spike for chain plate 1/2" (7 gals) Look at Boyd's lease as to flume repair.

March Sunday 15: Write Sup't [---] Write [---] Also Irwin.

March Monday 16: See about sawn timber at Young’s Pt. See Kenedy about acct for postage

March Tuesday 17: Wire netting coffer Coffer - glass 8 x 10. See what height water at Bobcaygeon. Coffer. [---] [---] Pay Wainright.

[No entries March 18 - April 9]

April Friday 10: RHD 250, Note 250, Dr. 50, Mercer 40, Sanderson 10, Taylor 15, Bradshaw 32

[No entries April 11 - June 15]

June Tuesday 16: Drove Lakefield. Saw foreman (Rathburn) about boom timber. I am to send a man tomorrow or next day

June Wednesday 17: Played cricket Toronto vs. Peterboro, score 95 and 134 Peterboro and 120 Toronto. Made 20 & 24.

June Thursday 18: Poor little Arthur (James son) died at six this morning, Drove to Bobcaygeon. Took pay sheet. Went up to Hilliard’s Drive. Would not give them permission to run Big Bob. Sent Giroux to see about Rathburns boom timber.

June Friday 19: Sent Stevenson (Jonathan) up to see about Rathburns boom timber at Lakefield. He came down at night. Arthur was buried today. Hazlett started running his logs thro’ at 6.30 am & was over at Big I'd by Saturday Night.

June Saturday 20: Drove to Lakefield with Stevenson to see about boom timber. Marked about 50 pieces. Little Jimmie [Nirley] was drowned about 7. He went over slide. Mr. Hilliard ran thro’ ‘Big Bob’ in one day 24hrs.

June Sunday 21: Spend morning looking for Jimmie [Nirley] with Cooper.

June Monday 22: Ullyott ran thro’ Little Bob in 10 hrs. 20 thousand logs. Very windy.

June Tuesday 23: Started for bobcaygeon. Got there at 3. Very windy. Kennedy not working.

June Wednesday 24: Arrived home.

[No entries June 25 - July 3]

July Saturday 4: Went to Lindsay & drove up to Cross creeks to see Ramsey re drowned land. There is no doubt but that brackets drown a good deal of land but whether it has been paid for or not? Also whether the statute regarding limitations does not affect it. Also went to see pier in...

Note: [The continuation of the sentence has been written in the next day of the diary]

July Sunday 5: ...river. There is no doubt that swing pier obstructs navigation to a certain extent but there are two openings 33 ft. (?). The swing is masonry & it will take considerable to remove it.

[No entries July 6 - July 8]

July Thursday 9: Went to Hastings. Examined Bridge. One of the nuts on the braces broken.

[No entries July 10 - July 12]

July Monday 13: Went to Chisholms. Examined lock. Water will have to be shut off at head of canal to fix lock.

[No entries July 14 - July 16]

July Friday 17: Went to Middle Falls. Instructed McCormick to put [----] of 3 pieces opposite gap a -

July Saturday 18: Went to Percy Boom.

No entries July 19 - July 22]

July Thursday 23: Went to Middle Falls. McCormick getting on satisfactorily.

[No entries July 24 - July 30]

July Friday 31: Went to Lindsay. Had such a toothache had to return.

[No entries August 1 - August 2]

August Monday 3: Went to Bobcaygeon. Paid men. Instructed Kennedy to fix balance beam on lock gate, also dam.

[No entries August 4 - August 14]

August Saturday 15: John McGuire [---] called to complain height water at Heeley’s Falls.

[No entry August 16]

August Monday 17: Went to Hastings on ‘Sunbeam’ from Idyl Wild. Examined swing bridge. Went on to Heeley’s Falls. Gave instructions to have water kept at crest of dam at north side.

[No entries August 18 - August 24]

August Tuesday 25: Went to Mt. Julian to examine some boom timber of Wynns. He has some very good stuff.

[No entries August 26 - August 30]

August Monday 31: Went to Chisholms. Took Croly with me more to find out what he knew about [irons] of gate. He came back with me.

[No entries Sepember 1 - December 17]

December Friday 18: Ordered stoplogs out today. Brackets have been off for some days.

Note: [The following has been written in the memoranda pages at the end of the diary]

Memoranda: Bobcaygeon June 18th. Would not tell Hilliard’s foreman that he could not run ‘Big Bob’ but from his position & the position of the two other drives, Hazlett & Ullyott, he would be the last one to go down. Which would necessitate having to allow the water to run at Little Bob so much longer & thereby losing so much of the surplus water coming down [a small sketch follows]

Wire Kennedy whether to take Ullyott’s water or not. See Allyott tomorrow morning re timber

Mrs. Edward Kelly's family 6 sons, 2 daughters all married except one daughter (26) - her full name is Margaret Kelly.

Note: [On the following Memoranda pages RBR has kept a list of annotations relating to his work containing measurements, costs, and people he has contacted, etc. At the end of the diary there is a ledger of accounts and expenses relating to his work]



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