A few years ago there was a website by local school children who interviewed local seniors to learn and document the stories of their lives. Below is the story of Warren Leard, owner of this mill. The website doesn't appear to be still active - the information was collected by Kera Pineau & Michael Duquette.
owner of a grist mill
Warren Leard, born June 18, 1925 owned Leard’s Grist Mill in Coleman. He worked there most of his life since his father owned it before him. However in 1954 to 1964 he worked for CN in Summerside because it was good pay. He came back to the mill that he knew he would end up running someday.
Warren started working at the grist mill when he was 16 years old. It was first owned by Peter Warren Leard, then passed on to Robert Waldron Leard (Warren’s father) and Albert Leard. After this it was passed on one more generation to Warren. Warren decided to become owner of the mill because he was brought up in it. Albert’s two sons, Heith and Harry, helped run the Grist Mill as well.
The process of turning the wheat into flour would go as follows: the farmers first brought in 80-100 bushels of wheat to be weighed in. It would be dumped into something called a hopper. Below the hopper, the cleaner sieves, fans and scours the wheat. Following this, the wheat would go through another cleaner which would take out other grains, such as oats or barley. Next, the wheat would go through sets of rollers. While going through the first set of rollers the kernels of wheat would break. The second set of rollers takes out the bran which is the outer shell and continues on through the other rollers for granulation.
Once this is completed it is carried to the top of the building by small elevators that could almost fit in your hand (refer to picture). From here it goes through the sifter which has silks and screens on it. The silk used for the sifter came from Switzerland and its cost was about $45.00 per square yard. The end product then flows back itself by gravity to its different outlets as bran, middlings, shorts and white flour and would be stored in bags or if kept for a longer period of time it had to be shifted every so often. Some of the wheat germ (cream of wheat) was used for cereals. Otherwise it was put back into the flour to add to its value. Used to help operate the mill is 1200 feet of belting.
Warren worked at the mill approximately 8 hours a day or more depending on how much work had to be done and then the shift would change and somebody else would work at the mill. There were 2 or 3 people working at the mill and they were paid $1.00-$1.25 for an 8 hour day. The workers would have to have general knowledge of how the mill worked as well as some math skills when they calculated the weight and price of the wheat. The money received from customers was 50 cents per bushel. The season for milling started in June and July but the wheat was actually worked beginning in August when the harvest started.
Some of the big differences between the flour created today and the flour that was made in such a mill as Leard’s Grist Mill are that there were no additives and the wheat germ was used in the flour. Also flour was not bleached in older grist mills as it usually is today.
if he had any experiences to share with us about the grist mill and he told us the following story: His father was working on a 25 horsepower motor when it blew up breaking his father’s leg. He had to stay home with a broken leg until 8 a.m the next morning when he could board the train to Summerside as there was no hospital in O’Leary at the time. Warren
We thank Warren for his time. By Kera Pineau & Michael Duquette.
Leards Pond is Back
by Eric McCarthy November 17, 2011
Allan MacPhee, left, president of the Leard’s Pond (Coleman) Environmental Committee and Eric Shaw, secretary of the group, check the water flow over the stop logs in the dam. After being down for 11 years, the water level in the pond was recently put up again. Landscaping and other improvements are ongoing.
COLEMAN - After being down for 11 years, the water level in Leard's Pond, Coleman, has risen again. The stop logs were put back into the dam three weeks ago. The fish ladder is operational.
Excavation equipment dug out the main pond basin over the past four years and made it deeper than before.
"One of the things when we re-opened here," said Eric Shaw, secretary of the Leard's Pond (Coleman) Environmental Committee, "we had to go with a different operating level, a lower operating level."
The lower water level keeps areas upstream from being flooded. If the water level was allowed to rise, he explained, that would result in shallow water beyond the banks that could warm up quickly with the sun's rays
Although the water level itself is lower, the pond is narrower than before and dug deeper. The clay and silt removed from the pond's floor was piled onto the banks and leveled out the genesis of a new park.
The pond covers six to eight acres and the park will cover two.Trees have been planted near the water's edge and in the future park. Grade 4 students from O'Leary Elementary School had short work of planting 100 ash, birch and maple trees Wednesday. They acknowledged the trees, once they grow, will help provide shade for the pond. Landscaping and seeding will occur later, and a parking area will be developed.
The 12-member committee which consists of Allan MacPhee, president; John Rogers, vice-president, Jim Harris as Treasurer and Shaw as the executive and members Elton Ellis, Alton Silliker, Percy MacEachern, John Buchanan, Jimmy Baglole, Doug MacLeod, Randy Bridges and Warren Leard, has been overseeing the re-creation of the pond since 2005. During that period they raised over $12,000 through various fundraising initiatives. The provincial government provided $120,000 to assist with the work.
Fundraising activities to assist with further upgrades will continue.
O'Leary Elementary School Grade 4 student Tyler MacLean gets assistance from classmates, from left, Hayley Somers, Karrie Lee Veniot and Myranda Clements in planting a tree along the bank of Leard's Pond in Coleman. The bank of the pond was shaped with clay and silt taken from the floor of the pond.
By Kera Pineau and Michael Duquette