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Histoire illustrée du canton de Potton

The Economy of Potton Agriculture, Logging, Mills, Mining

Settlers on Frontier | Bartlett print

Dairy Farm

Agriculture

The land was cleared mainly pasture and dairy farming became the main agricultural activity: Butter and cheese were produced in Mansonville and Vale Perkins, respectively.

Milk was also exported to North Troy and Lyndon, in Vermont.

Farming peaked early in the 20th century, as did the population.

Log hauling | Place Manson 1920

Bobbin Mill | 1976

The first settlers arriving Potton had the daunting task to clear land for agriculture.

Logs were used to build their first homes and barns and Jogging became the first commercial activity followed by sawmills.

Both benefited from the waterpower available from the Ruiter Brook and the Missisquoi River.

2 000 000 ft of Logs

Fullerton Pound Dam

Logging

Major logging operations were widespread.

Nelson Boright built a dam at the head of the Ruiterbrook, which created Fullerton pond.

This facilitated floating logs down "the brook" to the Missisquoi River and on to Richford.

Upper Dam | 1910

Second Dam & Covered Bridge | 1910

Mills

The first saw mill was built in 1800 by one of the first settlers to arrive, Col. Ruiter, on the Ruiterbrook. Joseph Chandler & John Lewis built the next one in 1803 on land they bought from Col. Ruiter; it was located on the Missisquoi River where Mansonville Village is today.

By 1864 there were five mills on the Missisquoi River. James Manson had a carding mill and a tanning mill.

There were also two sawmills and a gristmill.

A riverside park, "Place du Moulin", where interpretation panels illustrate their history, commemorates the mill era.

Dillonton Mine

Mines

Other industries also aided the economy of the region; mining began to develop about 1860 particularly copper mining on Hogsback Mountain and lead and silver mining at Leadville.

The copper ore that included some gold was hauled elsewhere for further processing. Talc and soapstone mining began about 1871 and a crushing mil! was built in Highwater in 1938.

Today mining is no longer active.

Mansonville Plastics in construction
Fred Korman's father in the center

Other Industries

In the 20th century a number of new businesses developed, the major ones being the Space research laboratory, which began operating in 1964, Mansonville Plastics, and a kayak factory.

All, except Mansonville Plastics, now Nexkemia, have ceased operations.

Presently, the major commercial establishment in Potton is the Owl's Head Golf and Ski Resort and the local economy is largely driven by the recreational and secondary residences sector.

Traditional sugaring