Hamilton, Ontario | Albion Falls - MAP

DARK TOWN OF ALBION MILLS

The darkest history of any town in Canada... if it still existed.

It's now King's Forest Park, but a century ago this was one of the darkest towns in the region. Wiped off the map by the progress of time. If still around, this would have been the pinnacle of dark tourism in Canada.

  • the ghost of a suicidal girl
  • mob graveyard
  • where Evelyn Dick got infamous

Just to name a few. This article is dedicated to the disappeared history of Albion Mills.

Lover's Leap

Alas, poor Jane Riley,
for Joseph she did die
By jumping off that dizzy brink,
full sixty cubits high" ~ Slater

This unknown poet perfectly sums up the tragic life of young Jane Riley.

About Jane Riley --
A girl living in the once prosperous Albion Mills.

At the age of marriage, she loved a dashing man named Joseph Rousseau. From a wealthy family, his courting of the impoverished Riley was frown upon by society, and more importantly, his own mother.

Joseph's mother despised Jane. She spread rumours around town, and to Joseph, pestering, pushing to break up with the lowly girl. We don't know if Joseph was a momma's boy, or maybe never loved the girl.

Most gentlemen would respectfully end the relationship, spare her feelings, but not Joseph. He became a playboy. Talking flirtatious with young ladies, and being seen in the town's church with a known prostitute.

The news made its way back to Jane.

On the outside she stood up for Joseph, "he would never do such things, not the man I loved". Deep down she had to know the truth. Jane Riley went insane.

Town's folk saw her wandering the woods alone, hair dishevelled, dirt smeared across her face, screaming at the sky and whispering to herself.

It disturbed them, but nobody helped poor Jane Riley.

The lover leaps --
Days later, men were stationed beneath the falls.

They saw, at the top, two shadows over the sun's glare. Shielding their eyes and looking up, two girls balanced at the edge.

One reached out, missing, as the other leant forward.

The men ran, splashing through the water, trying to see where she would land. They watched her fall feet first, leading to an action removing all doubt this was an accident. Her dress billowed out like a parachute which slowed her descent.

Her desire to die was evident as she brushed it down and sped to the rocks below.

They stayed with her. Jane Riley barely alive, as the men reassured she would be okay.

Jane Riley died an hour later without saying a word.

The strange death of Mrs Rousseau --
No one felt more guilt than Joseph's mother.

After Jane's death, she said to all, "Let the blame rest on my shoulders".

Years would pass. In seemingly good health, Mrs Rousseau was sitting with her family. She stood and yelled, "Jane's hand is on my shoulder", collapsed and died.

Don't walk the woods at night --
Jane Riley is still in those woods.

Many witness her walking among the trees. A quick glimpse as she passes, the dishevelled hair, dirt smeared across her face, and the whispers of love for the dashing Joseph Rousseau.

Lots of Dead Bodies

Hamilton mobsters are like no other in Canada.

This city was on par with Chicago in the 1920's. And like chi-town, we had our own famous bootlegger, Canada's Capone, aka Rocco Perri.

Rocco lived on Bay Street South. Working from the house with his common-law wife, a Jewish woman named Bessie Starkman.

Mob dumping ground --
Organised crime needs a body dumping ground.

Al Capone used a burial ground just outside of Chicago (Bremen Township). Known only as Bachelor's Grove, in the middle of nowhere. Remote, secret, and best of all, bodies already in the ground.

For Rocco Perri, it was Albion Mills.

In the 1920's, the town was sparsely populated. It had a small hotel, a tavern and the falls. Located on the escarpment with hills, woods and abandoned cabins.

The rats --
Two men, Joseph Boytowicz and Fred Genesee, were believed to be informants. They disappeared in 1924.

An investigation turned up a cabin in the Albion woods. Blood trails from the second floor, down into the living room, smeared over to a recently used fireplace. Burning the body was a failed task, as the blood moves out the front door disappearing into the snow.

In November, Boytowicz was found decomposing in some bushes by boy scouts. 8 days later, Genesee's body was found thrown down a hill. Both men had crushed skulls.

Rocco Perri and the mobsters is featured on
Hamilton's Dark History Tour

We're not done --
22 years later. Kids are playing in the Albion woods about a kilometre from the Falls. Running down the hills on a sunny afternoon, a boy notices it.

Looks like a dead animal on the fallen leaves, but something wasn't right. The kids got their parents, and they knew. This wasn't an animal... it was wearing a shirt.

It was the human torso of John Dick.

But why? --
Many ask, "Why dump the torso in the Albion woods?"

Look deep into the story of Mrs Dick and find that one moment which explains it all. The first time police officers visited the mysterious wife.

They knocked on the door and this little woman answered, took one look at the uniformed men and yelled, "I had nothing to do with my husband's murder!"

Evelyn said two Italian men in nice suits came to the house. They said to her, "Where's your husband?" They were big and scary. She told the police it must have been the mob who killed her husband.

The calculated woman planned such a ruse. Kill her husband, cut him up and burn his parts in the furnace, but the torso was too thick.

She had to dump it, but where?

Evelyn followed the famous Rocco Perri. Why not blame it on the thriving killers of Hamilton.

Too bad Evelyn lacked Rocco's calm, cool demeanour. If not, she might have gotten away with it.

Murderess Evelyn Dick is also featured on
Hamilton's Dark History Tour

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Albion Mills (Falls), Hamilton, Ontario, Canada