Richard Birdsall Rogers - 1886 Diary

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During the Year...

Richard was 29 years of age. He compiled notes on Hastings work which he recorded on September 30 of this year. It recounted problems and observations with the construction of the coffer dam there, as well as specifications of measurements and location of the dam. Purdy’s claim was mentioned and various other locations were described. There are various sketches of his work included in the diary pages. RBR made estimates which were recorded at the end of this diary. His second son, George, was born during the year.


Headlines in the Papers...

  • Trent Valley Canal. An Enthusiastic Meeting of the Midland District Delegates. No Dissention in the Ranks. Government to be Urged to Lay Three Sections Under Contract. During the Present Year. A Delegation to Wait on the Ministers - The Importance of this Great Water Way (Feb. 12, Peterborough Review)
  • The Trent Valley Canal. Influential Deputation from the Midland Counties. Urge the Construction of the Canal. Dangerous Navigation Avoided and Distance Shortened. Second in Importance to the C.P.R. The Ministers Promise an Immediate Appropriation (Mar. 13, The Toronto Mail)
  • Trent Valley Canal. The Delegates and Ministers Hold Counsel Together. More Ministerial Promises (Mar. 18, Peterborough Examiner)
  • The T.V.C. Delegation. The Policy of Delay in Full Force. The Indifference of the Government. An Indignation Meeting of Delegates. The Apathy of the Member for the West Riding. (Mar. 18, Peterborough Examiner)



1886 Diary

Period covered: January 1, 1886 - December 28, 1886

Dimensions: 14.5 cm X 7.3 cm (l x w)

No. of Pages: 180

Note: The diary has an insert attached to the front inside cover. There are sketches and notes on both the inside covers as well as the pages next to them. RBR has entered notes and sketches in the Memoranda pages following the diary entries. Also, there are a cash account ledger, an estimates list for P.W. 1886-87, an estimates list for R.& C., lists of expenses, photograph ledgers and various other notes.

Some entries consist only of disjointed lists, notes and reminders rather than being actual journal entries. These have not been transcribed. Many pages are empty and the Diary does not reveal Rogers professional activities to any great extent. His personal life is revealed not at all.


January Friday 1: Capt. Clark Hamilton, customs, Kingston

January Saturday 2 and 3: Cobourg 1. Ray S., 2. Stirling, 3. Rogers, 4. Hammond, 5. Cooper, 6. Carter, 7. Hamilton, 8. Lees, 9. Mosgrove, 10. Rutherford, 11. Montgomery

January Monday 4: Rained very hard. Must have fallen 1 inch of rain. River & creeks full

January Tuesday 5: Water in river raised very fast, probably 1 ft. Mr. Hilliard complained about it & said that he had written Dunwoodie for the cause of it.

January Wednesday 6: Turned very cold last night. Down to zero to-night. Party at Maria’s.

January Thursday 7: Very, very cold. Fell much below zero last night.

January Friday 8: Very cold.

January Saturday 9: Snow storm. Very cold.

January Sunday 10: Anchor ice forming very fast in river. All flat, covered with water. Very cold.

January Monday 11: Very cold. 13 ° below zero at 9 a.m.

[Entries January 12 - January 15 consist of columns of numbers]

[Entries January 22 - January 23 consist of lists of names]

[No entries for January 24 - February 11]

February Friday 12: Has been very mild for some days & snow has almost all gone. Started for Bobcaygeon but had to turn back as sleighing was so bad.

February Saturday 13: Rained hard all day. The snow almost completely gone.

February Sunday 14: Snowed all day but very soft (5 in). Cold toward night.

February Monday 15: Took my first plates with camera. Took inside & outside China Hall. Cold & very blustery. Snowed a good deal. Burdette lectured here for St. Lukes church. Good.

February Tuesday 16: Snowed & blowing.

[No entries February 17 - February 23]

February Wednesday 24: Very mild.

[No entries February 25 - February 26]

February Saturday 27: Ask Hall re stoplogs. See about Hastings d'o.

[No entries February 28 - March 9]

March Wednesday 10: Ash Wednesday. A.J. Belcher from J. Rubidge called to ask if stop logs at Buckhorn were taken out when ordered (Feb'y 11) told him instructed Hall to do so but that he seemed to have mistaken the order & only taken out 3 logs altogether. He said

Note: [The continuation of this sentence is entered in March 11]

March Thursday 11: not to take any more out till he ordered it as he had some work to do at Lakefield.

[No entries March 12 - March 15]

March Tuesday 16: Hall called, instructed him to go on & make two & three stickbooms 480’ (3) x 750’ (2). He is to get 750’ ft @ 16¢ ready to be put in boom.

[No entries March 17 - March 19]

March Saturday 20: Had first singing lesson from Parker.

[No entries March 21 - April 5]

April Tuesday 6: Water in Indian River. Bottom of 2d cross log in second pier from north. Water To Bottom 3d stick upper Pier. Went to Chisholms but it was such an awful day did not go out. The worst blizzard I ever remember. Drove into Stirling in the worst of it.

[No entries April 7 - April15]

April Friday 16: 1830. Gov't decreed that in future all grants made subject to flood from public works. McCarthy.

[No entries April 17 - April 28]

April Thursday 29: Wat[er] Indian River centre of 1st tie, 2nd pier from north. Hastings water 1/4 way up on 2nd stick from top upp. pier. Water level with top of bulkhead n. side slide.

April Friday 30: Strickland. 55 [---] 16 x 11, over 30 ft. long.

[No entries May 1 - May 5]

May Thursday 6: Buckhorn - boom av. 30 inches, 11" thick. Three sides sawn. Might have been a little thicker. Bolts 6 ft. apart. Note: [A diagram follows this entry].

[No entries May 7 - May 25]

May Wednesday 26: Went to Lindsay re claim McArthur (F. Falls) vs. Gov't. for lowering water at F’n Falls. Sept. ’85. A.F. Wood Com’n to investigate it. A.F.W. decided that any claim he had was against McDonald & Co.

[No entry May 27]

May Friday 28: Lot 24 & 25 I Con. Tp. Symour belongs to Jos. Dunkley.

[No entries May 29 - June 2]

June Thursday 3: Went to Y. Point. Went with Strickland’s boat to Burleigh to look at some of his boom stuff. Left Mahood there to pick it out.

[No entry May 4]

June Saturday 5: Went to Y Point to look at some of C. Young’s boom stuff. Told him to pick out some, say 1 to 2000 as soon as he could. Said he would have this by Monday next.

[No entries June 6 - June 14]

Note: [The following entry dated Sept. 30th has been written in the spaces for June Tuesday 15 to June Saturday 19]

Sept. 30: Notes on Hastings work.

The work that was done in 1880 consisted of throwing out the loose shale rock from the front of the dam for the distance of about 100 feet. This laid bare the top of the longitudinal mud sills. About 25 feet of this had some short pieces of plank put in between the mud sills & some puddle clay in front. This much work actually did more harm as far as the leakage of water was concerned that [sic] if left alone. There was also some two inch plank placed on the rafters & some inch on top of this for about 100 feet. This last will not be removed but will be covered with 2 inch. The booms were not removed from the piers as they should have been. There is a bar of flat rock across the channell at the upper entrance, part of which we removed. Above this there is quite a pond from 2 to 3 feet deep. We got our coffer dam in too high up. A coffer dam should run from the west tree of the group of elms on the South Side to the corner (South East) of the lot at present occupied by Patton (Stationmaster). Our present dam is about 200 feet on the South Side & 125 feet on the North Side west of these points.

[No entries June 20 - June 21]

June Tuesday 22: Jane went home sick. Mina engaged Kate Morisy to come in a month.

June Wednesday 23: Heavy rain 4 am to 12.

[No entries June 24 - July 2]

July Saturday 3: Chisholms - 5"-6" on sill of lock. Level cap of dam. Cap of dam very badly bored & eaten away by action of water. Stone piers at angle of dam ought to be rebuilt with timber. Action of ice sheresthe stone.

[No entries July 4 - July 7]

July Thursday 8: Locks. Required new glance boom above & below bridge. The present glances can be taken over for the slides. West Side (upper) & angle of slide timber require to be faced with plank.

[No entries July 9 - July 11]

July Monday 12: Youngs Point. Send 100 ft 1/2inch chain.

July Tuesday 13: Went to Port Hope to play in Past vs. Present cricket match.

July Wednesday 14: Speech day at T.C. School. Came home at 4 pm. Rained all day.

July Thursday 15: Patty & the children left for Hamilton to reside there. Went to train to see them off.

July Friday 16: 4 floats & 7 chairs Rathburn left at Lakefield. D Callaghan says that there are 4 or 5 large boulders at the end of Heeley’s Falls that obstruct the logs which if removed would be of great benefit. See where Gilmour is so as to start work at Heeleys Falls. Tell Simmons about windlasses.

[No entries July 17 - July 19]

July Tuesday 20: Bottom (Bob’n) telegraphed that Irwin was going to run ‘Big Bob’. Answered not to allow him. Irwin came to me and said that his drive had drifted into the channel and that he could not get out. He said if I allowed him to go through this time he....

Note: [The continuation of this entry has been entered in July Wednesday 21]

....would not ask it again. On these considerations allowed him to run B. Bob.

[The following notes span the Diary pages for July 22 to July 26]

Tp. Seymour E ½ lot 24 in 1st Con. Tp of Seymour containing 98 ½ +- granted by Crown to Joseph Green of Tp Sidney. Co Hastings, Mason, dated 23d March 1866. Also executors of Aaron Hoards to Joseph Dunkley.

That part of North half of lot no. 25 in 1st Con. Tp Seymour lying & being North of the North Channel of the River Trent containing by admeasurement 60 acres +-

Joseph Green conveyed E 1/2 Lot 24 in 1st Con. Tp. Seymour to Henry Green Dunkley 12th day Feby 1870.

H.G. Dunkley conveyed to Joseph Dunkley on 4th January 1872.

Coppied [sic] this from Joseph Dunkley’s deeds. Want survey made of dry land in Dunkley two lots also the levels taken say every 1 or 2 hundred feet apart. Get the Crown deed to Hoard - See if there are any plans showing the drownd land on this lot. See if lumbermen are going to do as they like. Have bored all the stop logs.

July Tuesday 27: Water just about one inch below level of top of a tie that projects about 12 or 15 inches to the north of center pier of bridge at Hoards [----].

July Wednesday 28: Bobcaygeon. About 8 or 10 brackets of the lower dam should be fixed at once.

[No entry July 29]

July Friday 30: Chisholms. Must get windlasses for sluices. Canal 51 ft. W. end of Morgans Bridge. Piers on stand 8 ft to mud, 16 ½ ft - South Pier. Water 3 1/2 " below tie.

[No entries July 31 - September 6]

September Tuesday 7: Went to Heeleys Falls. Brought Kennedy up to boss job at Hastings.

September Wednesday 8: Hastings. Started work here. Commenced getting out bents for coffer dam.

[No entries September 9 - September 13]

September Tuesday 14: Commenced putting in coffer dam. Very cold & west wind.

[No entry September 15]

September Thursday 16: Got all coffer dam in & commenced caulking with pea straw.

[No entries September 17 - September 19]

September Monday 20: Got Burnets tug & scow to draw gravel from Margrits island. Got one load down by night.

No entry September 21]

September Wednesday 22: Must have a new cap piece all along the dam & wants gravelling very badly.

[No entries September 23 - September 24]

September Saturday 25: Let water run from Saturday night till Monday morning - about 8 inches for 100 ft wide.

[No entries September 26 - September 27]

September Tuesday 28: Started to put in mud sill at Hastings.

September Wednesday 29: Must send diving bell to Campbellford to look at the lower gates.

[No entries September 30 - October 1]

October Saturday 2: Boyd 108., Kennedy 6.30, Potter 22.50, Fox [----] 8.00. Started for Ottawa at 11 PM.

October Sunday 3: Arrived in Ottawa at 5 am. Went to Christs Ch. Met CH Badgely, to dinner with him. Walked to Chaudiere Falls. Went to St. Georges, met Mr. Packenham.

October Monday 4: Went to Depts. at 10.30, did business & went & saw [----]. Got to Montreal at 9 PM Stayed at St. Lawrence Hal.l

October Tuesday 5: Took coffer dam partly out at Hastings. Went to see Mrs. Grant at 3-6. Went to McGill at 6. Dinner at Badgely’s then to Metropolitan Club & stayed at St. Lawrence Hall.

October Wednesday 6: Started for home at 9 am from Montreal.

October Thursday 7: Finished at Hastings. All men except Burnet (clerk) discharged. F. Burnet gravelling dam.

[No entries October 8 - November 3]

November Thursday 4: Went to Lindsay on case of Sadler Dundas & Co. Came back at 4. Went back again & stayed overnight at the Sootherans.

November Friday 5: Came home.

[No entries November 6 - November 10]

November Thursday 11: William Burnham (Marias youngest child) aged 4 months died this morning.

November Friday 12: May Logan died this morning after a long & weary illness of two years. William Burnham buried today.

November Saturday 13: May burried today.

[No entries November 14 - November 16]

November Wednesday 17: Went to Lindsay re Purdy’s claim.

[No entries November 18 - December 7]

December Wednesday 8: Mr. Rubidge sent (Newbold) asking if I had received any word from Goodwin to let off the water. I told him that Goodwins foreman had sent me word to that effect but that as I was holding the water there at his request if the water was to be let off....

[Note: the diarist has continued the sentence in the space allotted to Dec. 9]

December Thursday 9: ....I would require a written order from Mr. Rubidge.

[No entries December 10 - December 23. December 18, 19 and 20 have random notes on them]

December Friday 24: [The words ‘Saturday 25’ have been crossed out] Mr. Rubidge [wrote] saying that Goodwin complained that water was not coming down as fast as usual. Hall happened to come in & he said that the short piece of mug dam at South Side had been shut tight to allow of a pier being put in (without my consent) & that the slide had been shut off to allow them to work at pier below.

December 25: [the words ‘Sunday 26’ have been crossed out] (Most perfect day) Early service. Mina & children went up to her father’s before church. I went to church Dinner at Coldblow. At 4.30 took Harry up to Maria’s for 1 hr. Christmas tree at Coldblow. Mina & children home. I went up to Maria’s.

[No entry December 27]

December Tuesday 28: Told McLennan that I could give Dormen work. Dormen came to my house & said that McLennan had sent him over. I told him (D) that I would give him work sometime but that I had none of any consequence just now but when I had I would give him some. This was all that was said - nothing whatever about voting.

Note: [Also, following the diary entries are many lists relating to Richard’s work, as well as, details about the people that worked with him and the assignments that were carried out]



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