In 1954 the International St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project was undertaken. This project would provide hydroelectric power to Ontario Hydro's power grid, which was already seeing an increased demand for supply.
The shores of the St. Lawrence River contained a handful of villages that were settled between the 1600s and 1700s. Many of the original settlers had been British loyalist's who arrived in Canada in support of the British during the American Revolution. Britain provided the settlers with land as well as provisions to begin their new lives.
When the time came for the St. Lawrence to be flooded, the villages were occupied with Canadian settlers as well as direct descendants of the loyalists. The 311 villagers that occupied Moulinette would be required to leave their home as the village would be submerged in water.
Moulinette was first settled by Adam Dixon who arrived and took occupation of land that belonged to a relative of his, Sir John Johnson. Dixon began construction on a dam that ran from Sheek Island to the mainland. Once the power of the water had been harnessed, Dixon began construction on his next project – the first grist mill.
Some of the original loyalist settlers of Moulinette were James Forsyth, Jacob Summers, Barnabus Spencer, John Connolly and Sir John Johnson.
The origin of the name Moulinette is not known for certain. It is a French word meaning “little mill” and may have been referring to the mills located along the community. The name may have been in reference to “moulinet” which translates to”winch”. The French used windlasses as they winched their boats along the St. Lawrence River.
Dixon became quite wealthy due to his mill and mercantile. In 1810 he began construction on a mansion for his family. In 1837, Dixon again used his financial wealth to finance the construction of Christ Anglican Church. He also contributed the design plans for the church. Adam Dixon would not live to see the completion of his church as he died on May 9, 1837. His funeral was held in the partially completed church with Reverend G. Archbold conducting the service.
In 1834, construction began on the Moulinette Methodist Church, on land that was donated by Reverend Stephen Brownell. Starting in 1871, the church underwent alterations including adding a steeple. When the church joined with the United Church in 1925, it was renamed to St. Andrew's United Church.
The two churches became important gathering places not only for mass but for the community to hold social services and meetings.
By the 1840s Moulinette had well over 100 residents. Businesses included a grist and saw mill, Lion's Hotel, tavern, carding machine, foundry, cabinet-maker and a blacksmith. Other businesses were A. Wright's Pool Hall, T.A. Brown's General Store, Mrs. Forsythes Candy Store, and the Zina Hill Barber Shop. Children attended school at “S.S. No. 5, Cornwall Township School”.
A brewery was built in 1840 but burned down three and a half years later.
Around 1910, loyalist and Member of Parliament John G. Snetsinger, lobbied for a railway station to be built in Moulinette. He succeeded in having a station built along the Grand Trunk Railway. This station now sits at the Lost Villages Museum. Snetsinger also owned a merchant business in the middle of Moulinette right up until the flooding that ended the village.
Residents were moved to Long Sault before the flooding commenced on Inundation Day, July 1, 1958. Some of the buildings were sold off for approximately ten dollars each.
For more information on Moulinette visit Lostvillages.ca