A story of Michael’s Bay pioneers

A sojourn through the archives of the Michael’s Bay archives

To the Expositor:

The following was written in 1969 by Grace McDougall who, along with her father Ronald McIntyre, was born in Michael’s Bay in 1870.

The first settlers were the Wilmans, who settled in Michael’s Bay. At one time Michael’s Bay was the largest village on Manitoulin Island devoted to the saw mill industry. The first council meeting was held in 1881. The first school was made of logs and built in 1874. Some of the teachers were J.R. Thompson, Miss Florence Hammond, Miss Pearl Lewis, Miss Nora Clarke, Miss Mary Jane Turnball and Miss Annie Martin. The first hotel was owned by Hiram Tinkus, another by Edward Snow and Edward Leach. There were two stores, one owned by Ed Leach and Company and the other by the Michael’s Bay Lumber Company.

There were two boarding houses, one blacksmith shop, a bakeshop and a lath mill, shingle mill and a sawmill. The mills were operated at different times by the Michael’s Bay Lumber Company, the Toronto Lumber Company, Playfair and White, Kilgore Brothers and the Rathburn Company.

The lighthouse was built out on the point to guide ships in to pick up lumber. There was a tram running from the mills to the dock. There are two cemeteries, one on the east side of the Manitou River and the other where the school stood. There was a fire in 1914 and it destroyed nearly everything in the village. By this time, however, nearly everyone had moved away to other places brought on by the demise of the town’s only industry. Ned Martin was about the last to leave.

From the files of, Michael’s Bay Historical Society and Manitoulin Family Trees and Through the Years.

Doug Tracy

Little Current

For more information email dtracy3@vianet.ca