Ranald McKinnon arrived on the scene in 1835 - he settles the North side of the Grand River in a little hamlet called Bryant's Corners - just two houses and a tavern where Argyle and Caithness Streets intersect today. McKinnon received the contract to build the dam at Oneida (Little Caledonia), the current one, in 1835.
He profited from it, but acquiring prime land on the north side of the river to build mills - he had a woolen mill and a saw mill by the 1840s and he received the contract to build the plank road through the town as well.
His home at 232 Caithness St. W. still stands.
He was a wealthy and leading citizen - as such he decided to enter politics. He ran for the MP in 1851 against William Lyon Mackenzie - he lost so he settled for local politics, becoming the towns first reeve, or mayor, in 1853 when the town was incorporated.
He had a very large family; he was widely known as "Squire McKinnon".