Ontario's Historical Plaques 

Discover Ontario's history as told through its plaques

2004 - Now in our 15th Year - 2019

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The John Backhouse Mill

The John Backhouse Mill

Photos by Alan L Brown - Posted August, 2004

The John Backhouse Mill

Plaque Location

The County of Norfolk
At the mill in Backus Heritage Conservation Area
3.7 km north of Port Rowan via Road 42 and Backus Mill Road

Coordinates: N 42 39.215 W 80 28.092


Click here for a larger map

Plaque Text

John Backhouse emigrated from Yorkshire to the United States in 1791 but shortly thereafter, moved to Upper Canada. He served as a Major of the 1st Norfolk Militia in the War of 1812 and became a chairman of the Quarter Sessions, then the chief instrument of local government. He is believed to have erected this mill 1798. It remained in the possession of his descendants until its purchase 1955 by the Big Creek Region Conservation Authority having been in continuous operation for a longer period than any mill in this province.

Another plaque at this location
Backhouse Grist Mill

Related Ontario plaque
The District Capital 1815-1825



Norfolk County Plaques

Here are the visitors' comments for this page.

> Posted November 20, 2018
Really enjoyed the Mill itself. Being from a mechanical career found the technology so interesting. I am originally from Yorkshire UK and know Backhouse is an old Yorkshire name so VERY glad to see his name changed back from "Backus"!!
Derek Barker, Port Dover. derekb.1928@gmail.com

> Posted June 27, 2015
I am looking for a picture of a mill owned by Eboneezer Edmonds. My great great grandmother Mary Charlotte Madden (she married John North in 1891) was a BHC child, and adopted and raised by the Edmonds family. Any information would be appreciated.
Shari sharimarie1964@gmail.com

> Posted July 17, 2013
John Backhouse was my fifth great grandfather. Family history has it that upon hearing that the Americans were coming along the shoreline burning mills in an attempt to destroy Upper Canada's infrastructure, he put together a huge bonfire on a nearby hill visible from the lake. This tricked the Americans into thinking they had already set fire to the Backhouse Mill and they continued on down the shoreline. As a result the Backhouse Mill is the sole surviving mill on Lake Erie built prior to 1812.

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