While on the second floor of Watson’s Mill in Manotick, have you ever felt the presence of someone else in the room, even if it seemed like you were the only person there?
If you answered yes, then you are not alone.
This is the story about how, within seconds, a man’s pride and joy can turn into regret, sorrow and distaste.
Many people today don’t believe in love at first sight but that’s apparently how prominent businessman Joseph Merrill Currier felt when he met Anne Crosby while staying at the Crosbyside Hotel in Lake George, New York. The two started courting immediately, quickly became engaged and were married on Jan. 25, 1861.
Meeting Anne seemed like a dream come true for Joseph having been no stranger to tragedy in his past. Joseph was previously married to Christina Wilson and together the two had four children.
The marriage was considered by many to be a happy one until disaster struck when three of Joseph’s children died of scarlet fever in 1855. Christina then followed with her death a mere three years later.
So, Joseph wanted to do everything in his power to make his new wife as happy as can be, starting with a month-long honeymoon travelling through the northern U.S. It would seem that things were starting to look up for him.
Near the end of the newlyweds’ honeymoon, Joseph wanted to bring Anne, to the place he called his pride and joy, the new stone mill in Manotick.
In 1859, Joseph, along with his partner Moss Kent Dickinson, had obtained the water rights to a property on the west channel of the Rideau River. Moss is even credited with naming the location, Manotick.
Soon after, they began construction on a stone mill that officially opened in February of 1860.
When Joseph brought Anne to the mill, they were celebrating their one-year anniversary of being in business successfully and he wanted to show off this achievement to his new wife.
While visiting the mill, Anne wore a fashionable white-hooped dress. The outfit may have looked beautiful on her but the swish and sway of the wide petticoat would be her undoing.
When Anne entered the mill, she was amazed by everything her husband had accomplished. The machinery that filled the mill, cutting wood, grinding stone; she was in complete awe of the whole operation.
The couple began ascending to the second floor and just as Anne turned to her loving husband with a smile, her dress caught on a rotating shaft. Before she knew what was going on, she was flung against a support post and instantly killed.
Workers rushed to the scene but nothing could be done to help poor Anne. All they could do was escort a distraught Joseph out of the building.
Joseph, traumatized by the events of that fateful day, left Manotick, never to return again. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about his sweet Anne.
Residents of Manotick claim that Anne’s spirit never really left Watson’s Mill. Rumour has it that on dreary days, she can be seen staring out the second floor windows.
Others say that they’ve heard lady-like footsteps coming from the second floor even though no one is above. Others even swear that they have been grabbed by unseen hands on the very stairs that took Anne.
You can still visit the mill today, if you feel brave enough. The address is 5525 Dickinson Street. See if you can encounter the spirit of Anne Crosby, but be warned, it’s still unknown if she is merely a wandering soul or a restless spirit.
Check back each week of October to read another harrowing haunted tale from eastern Ontario and check off your list by visiting each site this month, if you dare.
Reporter/Photographer for Chesterville Record and Eastern Ontario Agrinews. Currently working on Record segment, “Chilling Tales from Beyond”