There’s been a lot of coverage in the media this week of 24 Sussex Drive, the Prime Minister’s official residence. Did you know that the history of 24 Sussex Drive is linked directly with Watson’s Mill here in Manotick?
The mill was built in 1860 by partners Moss Kent Dickinson and Joseph Currier. Shortly after it was built, Joseph Currier met his second bride-to-be, Anne Crosby, in Lake George, New York. She had never been to Manotick, and after their January 1861 wedding and month-long honeymoon, he brought her home to celebrate the Millâ€™s first year of operation. The very day she arrived, tragedy struck: as she was ascending the stairs to the second floor of the mill, her long, hooped crinoline got caught one of the turbines powered by the river, and she was flung against a support post and killed instantly. They say her spirit still haunts the mill.
Currier never set foot in the Mill nor Manotick again. He went on to become a Member of Parliament, and eight years later married his third wife, the granddaughter of Philemon Wright. He commissioned a house be built for her as a wedding gift, and called it Gorffwysfa, Welsh for â€œplace of rest.â€ The address? 24 Sussex Drive.