In 1840, George Gale’s family settled in Stanstead when George was 16 years old. A few years later, he went to United States where he learned mill construction. He returned to Canada, settling in Barnston. In 1847, he met Dorothy Davis of Stanstead who became his wife and mother of their four children. However, only two of the infants survived, Aldebert and Francis, both of whom grew up to be businessmen of some substance. In 1848, the California Gold Rush took off. Gold fever spread throughout North America. Young George caught the fever. He became a ‘49er, setting out for California. Five years later, in 1854 he returned to Barnston and purchased some property in Smith’s Mills (as Waterville was then called). During the years 1868 and 1869, he constructed a number of bridges over the River Tomifobia, another in Waterville and did repair work on the bridge that linked Rock Island with Derby Line in Vermont.
He took to the real-estate business like a duck takes to water, buying houses and factories and turning them over. In 1890, together with his two sons, he bought a dam close to the US/Canada border.
At this time, he was also the owner of some 700 acres in the Waterville area.
George Gale passed away on 26th January 1892, at the age of 76. George’s son, Francis G., inherited the George Gale & Sons Company. In 1914, Francis sold the company to an American enterprise. The factory was taken over by the Johnson Woolen Mills’ Company, specializing in the carding of wool and weaving. The building burnt down in 1945 and was never rebuilt. Today, it is only the iconic water tower that remains as a reminder of where the George Gale & Sons Factory once stood.
Source : Leonard S. Channel; The History of Compton County, 1672-1896. Cookshire, 1896, 289 p. The writer was one of the first to write a history of Compton County, including Waterville. (Universté de Sherbrooke).