The Brown family arrived in Carleton Place in 1870 when Roy’s grandfather, Horace Brown (1829-1891) moved to town from nearby Lanark Village. He bought and expanded the old Boulton Mill into a four-story structure using the new roller process to grind flour.
The year 1870 saw the settlement of Carleton Place incorporated as a village. An industrial and housing boom was underway, aided by the new Gillies and McLaren sawmill just across the Mississippi river from Brown’s flour mill.
Horace’s son James Morton (1863-1926) later took over operation of the flour mill and began to generate electricity using the water power of the river, a power generation business that ran for over 30 years.
James Morton was a prominent figure in Carleton Place, serving as a town councillor, public school trustee, Zion Presbyterian church treasurer and public utilities commissioner.
James Morton married Mary Elizabeth Flett in 1886 and together they had five children: Margaret, Elizabeth, Roy, Horace and Howard.