This plaque commemorating the Great Russell Fire was added to the Historical Plaque Program in 2019, in partnership with the Russell and District Historical Society.

This plaque is located at the parking lot entrance of Duncanville Park, at 1141 Concession Street, Russell.

Carscadden Bridge and Carscadden Family

Carscadden Farm on Wade Road painted by Shirley VanDusen The Thomas Carscadden family were among the first settlers in Russell Township, coming from County Donegal, Ireland in 1846. They cleared the land with one cow and two oxen on Lot 6, Concession 4 on Wade Road near Route 400. They had a large family three sons and seven daughters. Their son John R. Carscadden became one of the best-known citizens in Russell County. With his brother Thomas, he operated a woolen mill at 71 Mill Street near Parallel Street just upstream of the bridge from 1881 to 1910.

The Woolen Mill

The woolen mill was constructed at this site was built by Sam Doran and Charlie Stark in 1875 and used waterpower from a timber and plank dam. The woolen mill dam, as it was called, was approximately six feet high and was used as a foot bridge to cross the river. By 1908 the mill was run by a wood burning (40 horsepower) steam engine.Woolen Mill in 1907

The mill was a large 3-storey wooden building with a basement which only operated in the summer months. Inside the basement was used for finishing, the first floor for carding and spinning, the second floor for weaving and the third for drying. A small shop was in the front of the building where blankets, yarn and other items, made in the mill, could be purchased.

For many years this was only woolen mill in Russell County with the farmers from far and wide would bring in their raw wool and return home with blankets and yarn. By the time World War 1 broke out, many farmers were no longer raising sheep and raw wool was becoming scarce. It was difficult to compete against the larger and more efficient mills.

The Carscadden Family

John Rae CarscaddenThomas Carscadden

There have been Carscadden family members living and working in Russell from 1846 until today. The Carscadden brothers, John Rae Carscadden (1849-1927) and Thomas Carscadden (1844-1916), operated the woolen mill from 1881 to 1910.

John Rae Carscadden was the only man from the Township of Russell to make the pages of a Canadian album published in 1896 entitled “Men of Canada or Success by Example”.

Family of John Rae CarscaddenIn his family photo from left to right, (back) Arthur, Eliza, from his marriage in 1873 to Susan Morrow (1848-1874) and (Front) from his second marriage to in 1880 Susan Fitzpatrick (1851-1916), Sadie, Harry (front), John.

The younger son of John Rae Carscadden, Harry Fraser Carscadden (1887-1958) stayed on the farm and married Ethel Kemp (1886-1973). They had three children: Willis, Gertrude and Frederick.

Harry Fraser Carscadden and Ethel Kemp on the bank of the Castor River in 1909

John's son, Frederick Lloyd Carscadden (1918-2011), remained on the family farm and married Mildred Audrey McKeown (1922-2011). They had four children: Nancy, Barry, Robert and Dale, as pictured below in the recent family photo.

Recent Carscadden Family Photo

Barry Carscadden farmed the old homestead until 1982 when he sold it, moved into Russell, and purchased the local hardware store from Ted Lehowski at the corner of Concession St. and Mill St. Below is an artwork of Barry's first hardware store, painted by Paul Schibli.Barry's first hardware store, painted by Paul Schibli

Barry married Heather Twiname and had two boys, Ken and Brian (photo below). Ken Carscadden is the current owner of Home Hardware stores in Russell and Embrun.

Submit a Plaque Suggestion

If you know of a person, place, event or object that you think may be of historical significance to the Township of Russell, please let us know!


The plaque is intended for commemorative purposes and has no legal implications. It is not a designation under the Ontario Heritage Act.