At First, The Appanea Falls (as it was known to the local natives) was nothing more than a mill site, one of only two in the Midland District, that attracted farmers from all along the Bay of Quinte. Surrounded by dense forest, there were few incentives other than the sawmill and gristmill to attract settlers.
The South bank of the river, in Fredericksburgh, was too steep, while the plain north in Richmond was too poorly drained and swampy to be used for Farming. the site did, however, capture the imagination of Richard Cartwright, a Loyalist merchant from Kingston, who used his influence to buy the gristmill from the government.
with the purchase of the gristmill in 1792, Cartwright, expanded his operation strategically. In so isolated a place, ther were no services and little competition, and within a few years, he has expanded (what is now called Napanee) operations with a tavern, a distillery, a sawmill and a fulling mill for processing of wool. His monopoly on the grist trade was safe until 1796, when Peter Van Alstine built a mill in Glenora. Shortly after buying the government mill, Cartwright tore it down and erected another one that had three runs of stone. Several Years later, he leased that one and built an even larger mill in attempt to keep up with local demand.
Tune in later to read more about what Napanee's original name was in Part 3....to be continued !