Watermills once dotted the PEI countryside, providing important economic and social benefits to communities. While water-powered lumber, flour, wool, and electricity mills have since disappeared on PEI, many millponds continue to be important historic and recreational sites. At least four mills are known to have harnessed the power of the Wheatley River, one of which formed Rackham’s Pond.
In 1892, resident farmer John White dammed the Wheatley River and built a grist mill. Four years later, in 1896, the White farm, the Mill, and the Pond were purchased by John Rackham. The grist mill and pond were a main focal point for social, recreational and commercial activity for the residents of Ebenezer, Bungay, Oyster Bed, Rustico and Wheatley River until 1978, when the pond breached its banks and the basin emptied.
The title of the farm and the pond, has remained in the Rackham family since 1896 and is now held by John Rackham’s great-great grandson, Steven Rackham. In 2008, this founding family joined forces with four neighbouring families, the Lings, Axeworthys, Moklers, and Weatherbees, to lease the pond and its riparian area to WRIG, continuing their legacy of sharing the pond with the local community for over a century.