Lumbering in the Ottawa and Gatineau Valleys
Ontario and Quebec, Canada



July 11, 2010:
A Beautiful Painting of a Lumber Raft on the Ottawa River by Frances Ann Hopkins Source: Our Times: A Pictorial Memoir of Ottawa's Past, page 10 Painting by Frances Ann Hopkins
February 2, 2005: Fur trading was the first major staple industry in the Ottawa Valley. The second major staple product was lumber for export -- square timber at first, then sawn lumber then pulpwood (for paper making). Square timber was first rafted down the Ottawa River to Quebec City by Philemon Wright (PW) in the first decade of the nineteenth century. Later, the Gilmour company took over major operations along the Gatineau River. October 28, 2009:
Image Source: Selections from Picturesque Canada, An affectionate Look Back, Sketch number 40, from the Original Illustrations and Text of 1882-85 Pandora Publishing Company, Victoria, B.C., 1975 (no ISBN)
The lumber industry took place all along the Ottawa River. It's tributaries on the Ontario side, the Nation, Rideau, Mississippi, Madawaska and Bonnechere were all important sources. On the Quebec side, the Lievre, Gatineau, Quyon, Black, Coulonge and Dumoine Rivers were all important for the lumber trade. The lumber industry had tremendous effects on the Algonquin First Nation peoples. The Ottawa and its tributaries were their traditional hunting and trapping grounds. Competition for hunting by new settlers in the Gatineau Valley and the Bonnechere and Madawaska Valleys caused great hardship to the Algonquins and led, in part, to the formation of reserves at Maniwaki and at Golden Lake under the Indian Act. The white pioneers, before their farms became self-sufficient, hunted deer and rabbits in the beginning putting great stress on the animal population. For the white settlers, the lumber industry provided jobs, especially in the winter time when men who farmed for half the year would head to the shanty with their teams of horses and make some cash income for their families. The lumber industry, as well as being an important local employer, also attracted immigrants to the area such as Felix McGrath, married to Mary Barrett. Pat McGrath is looking for info regarding Gilmour Lumber Company. _________ Hi Pat: You should get your hands on a book called "Hurling Down the Pine" written by Courtney C. J. Bond. It's all about lumbering on the Gatineau River and has lots of old maps and pictures, including one of the housing used by the workers in the area of Chelsea. It's mostly about the Gilmour company and it's operations in that area, including Farmer's Rapids. Real good book. It should be at the Ottawa Public Library. They also have what is called the "Ottawa Room" - all about history and genealogy in the Ottawa area, in the downtown branch. I'll try and set up a new page tomorrow on lumbering and Felix McGrath. Thanks again, ... Al
February 16, 2005: Hi Al I was digging through my piles of books yesterday looking for a reference when I happened on a book I had forgotten about long ago. It's by Charlotte Whitton (former Mayor of Ottawa) and is titled "One Hundred Years A Felling" the history of the first hundred years of the Gillies Co. Lots of good stuff for anyone interested in early lumbering, the Lanark area, the Gillies family or key employees of the company. I didn't see it in your reference section or find it with a site search so I thought I would mention it to you. I checked and its available at most OPL branches. Regards Al Craig
February 22, 2005: Hi again, 3 McGraths came to Old Chelsea from Gaspe, Quebec to work namely Felix, William and Charles. I believe they all worked at Gilmour's Mills which I have been told is where the Quebec Hydro is today on the Gatineau River. William subsequently went to upper New York state, USA, Charles who was a blacksmith returned to Gaspe and died in Haldimand East in 1932. Felix remained and brought up his family in Old Chelsea. Three of his sons left - Dominik for Hamilton, Ontario, David to Peterboro and George to New Brunswick and then Timmins. I would am interested in any information about Gilmour Mills employees, the Island where it is said he had residences for his employees. (if this is true) This info was passed to me orally from an Aunt who is now deceased. Pat __________________ Pat: The book "Hurling Down the Pine" by John Hughson and Courtney C.J. Bond, written for the Historical Society of the Gatineau in 1964, contains photos of the workers barracks. There are two pictures on page 49. ... Al
February 23, 2005: Thanks to Taylor Kennedy for the following: Taken from the Business Directory of 1851, page 263
Principal Lumber Merchants for the Ottawa River and the Tributaries, 1851
Alexander McAuley David Moore Jr. Allumette Island Samuel Adams C.E. (Canada East) Allumette Island J.R. Poupore C.E. Allumette Island George Stubbs C.E. Aylmer John Coghlan C.E. Aylmer Michael Coghlan C.E. Aylmer Robert Conroy C.E. Aylmer John Egan (founder of Eganville, Ontario) C.E. Aylmer D.A. Ingles / (Inglis?) C.E. Aylmer Roderick Ryan C.E. Aylmer James Wadesworth (Wadsworth?) C.E. Bytown Joseph Aumond C.W. (Canada West) Bytown Gilmour & Co. C.W. Bytown Edward McGillvray C.W. Bytown Honourable Thomas McKay C.W. Bytown Daniel McLaughlin C.W. Bytown James Skead C.W. Bytown Joseph Smith C.W. Bytown John Thompson C.W. Fort Coulonge George Bryson C.E. Gatineau Peter Patterson Quebec Gatineau Alonzo Wright C.E. Gatineau Thomas McGoey (Maniwaki area) C.E. Gatineau Mills Hugh Carmichael C.E. Hawkesbury Mills Hamilton Bros. C.E. Hull L.M. Coutleo (Coutlee?) C.E. Hull Samuel Grimes C.E. Hull Benjamin McConnell C.E. Hull Richard McConnell C.E. Hull McConnell & Co. C.E. Hull Rinaldo McConnell C.E. Hull Ruggles Wright C.E. Lanark John Hall C.W. Madawaska River Thomas B. Hyde C.W. Pembroke J & D Bell C.W. Pembroke A.H. Dunlop C.W. Pembroke Alexander Moffat C.W. Pembroke William Moffat C.W. Pembroke Daniel O'Meara C.W. Pembroke John Supple C.W. Perth Alexander Richey (Ritchie ?) C.W. Richmond William Byers C.W. Sand Point Alexander McDonell Sand Point Duncan McDonell Snows Samuel McDonell C.E. Stafford Abraham Curry C.W. Stafford Alexander McLaren C.E. Templeton Anthony Cullen C.E. Torbolton James Grierson C.W. Torbolton Andrew Hawley C.W. Twsp. Bagot Duncan McFarlane C.W. Township of Blithfield in Renfrew County John Donnelly C.W. Twsp. Blithfield Gerrard McCrea C.W. Twsp. Eardley J.W. McLean C.E. Twsp. Litchfield Louis Brossard C.E. Twsp. McNabb Peter Morris & Co. C.W. Twsp. McNabb William Morris C.W. Twsp. McNabb Peter Robertson C.W. Twsp. Pakenham John Browne C.W. Twsp. Pakenham Sanuel Dickson C.W. Twsp. Pakenham William Forbes C.W. Twsp. Pakenham Arthur McArthur C.W. Twsp. Pakenham Alexander Snedden C.W. Twsp. Westmeath C.G. Bellows C.W. Twsp. Westmeath John Dunlop C.E. Twsp. Westmeath Hugh Hamilton C.W. Waltham Hiram Colton C.E.
February 24, 2005:
Pulp and Paper - Kazabazua in the Gatineau River Valley
The following article is from the Ottawa Citizen. We're still trying to track down the date. Probable author is Fred Inglis, who took the picture. The names mentioned in the article are Evan Pritchard, Joe Wiggins and Fred Wilson. Square timber was exported from this area by Philomen Wright starting about 1805. Sawn Lumber (boards) were exported to the United States after about 1850. Pulp and paper were produced in the twentieth century. Thanks to David Smith for this great photo, dated c. 1950. See also posting dated May 8, 2005 for more information.



March 3, 2005: Hi, Your website mentioned you were trying to find information on the GIlmour Lumber Company. A fellow named Basil Quaile from Otter Lake, Quebec, published a small tract on the history of the village in 1976 - the centennial of Otter Lake. He discusses a local landmark called The Depot, an old log building (where my family used to stay in the late '50's / early 60's). If I can trust my memory, Philemon Wright built The Depot about 1839 and it was later acquired by the Gilmour Lumber Company. Interestingly, in 1872, Prince Arthur (later Duke of Connaught & Governor General) was hosted by the Gilmour Lumber Company and he reputedly stayed at The Depot. There is a photo of him in a hunting party during his visit. Another person in this photograph is "Bob Farrell, agent for the Gilmour Lumber Company". I believe this to be the same Robert Farrell (Farrelton) who built a nearby farm, which was acquired by my grandparents about 1940. (Otter Lake is actually built beside Farm Lake / Lac de la ferme, named for this farm.) There were actually additional buildings on it - I think there was a blacksmith shop and (at least according to the tract) the original Otter Lake Post Office. I recently did a little research at the National Air Photo Library and obtained photocopies of a pair of aerial photos of Otter Lake Village / Farm Lake from 1931 that show The Depot and The Farm, if you squint. I am pretty certain that a digital version of this would reveal a fair amount of detail, based on my experience with aerial photos of The Farm from 1928. Now, if your own research turns up any more on The Depot or The Farm or Robert Farrell, I would be keen on learning more. I'd also be interested in knowing more about Prince Arthur's trip to Otter Lake. I made a couple of casual inquiries but I'm hardly a historian. Maybe you'd be more successful. Regards, Roy Wheeler
March 11, 2005: Hi. My name is Bill Gambriel. I am a retired History teacher who collects hammers as a hobby. Recently I obtained a double head log marking hammer with "G" as the mark. This one is very similar to another log marker that I had - a single marker with "G". This single one was described as being from the Gilmour & Co. at Gatineau Mills, P.Q. I am trying to find some information about this company, and especially an example of their log marking, if possible. Do you have any information where I could obtain such material? I certainly would appreciate any information that you might have about this request. Thanks. Bill Gambriel ___________________ also posted on March 11, 2005: Bill: The Gilmour Lumber Company evolved into the large international? company known as Canadian International Paper (CIP). They still have large mills in the Gatineau area. The "G" mark used by the Gilmour Company was also used by CIP. Both the single and double-headed marking hammer were made locally by blacksmiths. In the book "Hurling Down the Pine", there are pictures of lumbermen making "bark marks" which were ciphered into the wood of the log after slicing off a section of the bark. These bark marks were used to help sort the logs of different companies while the logs were in the river. The "hammer mark" was applied to each end of a log after the ends were cut with a cross-cut saw. Log piracy was widespread on the rivers. The hammer mark was about two inches deep in the ends of the logs, and helped to discourage piracy. The book has a picture of a man using a marking hammer. ... Al _____________________________ and from David Smith: Good morning from Sunny Florida Al I know that the Alan Gilmour family was related to the John Manuel family who were lumbermen and started the Ottawa Curling Club (see curling). There are some wonderful portraits of these people in the lobby of the OCC on Oconnor Street. The Manuels came from Scotland and lived on Vittoria Street site of the Supreme Court. This family has never been recognized as far as I can tell for their contribution to the City of Ottawa. I think Glmour was a nephew. There is a picture of Allan Gilmour, (1816-1895) in the book "Hurling Down the Pine", page 46. He curled with Prime Minister Alexander MacKenzie. Hope all is well; DAS
April 21, 2005: Good Afternoon All, I am doing research on the white pine lumber industry in the late 1800’s. I have located lots of data on volumes of timber but very little information with regards to lumber prices or logging costs. In your experience have you seen any such information? Many thanks for your assistance. ... Bruce Byford E-mail: b.byford@arbex.ca _____________________________ Hello, Mr. Byford: Thanks for your e-mail. I'm reading a book called "The Upper Ottawa Valley to 1855", edited by Richard Reid. It has a lot of information on the white pine and red pine operations, including fluctuations in lumber prices. This material is a little prior to your interests in the 1870's but it does contain a lot of interesting information regarding the lumber industry and the fluctuations in lumber prices. It contains transcriptions of original correspondence between some of the lumber barons, account records of some shanties, and sources of some of the papers of the lumber barons -- documents which are held in the Library and Archives collections or at the Ontario Archives. Some of the correspondence is with the government regarding allocation of timber rights in the Ottawa area, the tariffs on lumber, etc. It also has information regarding the transition from exporting logs to exporting sawn lumber. A lot of very good information, but as I say, a bit before the 1870's. I'm also interested in this subject and will keep an eye out for further info. I believe that a period of recession/stagnation of about 20 years began about 1874. I'll try and see if I have anything here regarding lumber prices from that time period. Do you mind if I add your e-mail and e-mail address to our page at www.bytown.net/lumbering.htm as a contact for other researchers? Please let me know. Thanks again. ... Al Lewis ___________________ Good Afternoon Al, Many thanks for your insights. I will definitely take a look at the book. With respect to the web posting I have no objection. Regards, Bruce Byford
April 27, 2005:
Allan Gilmour
Hi Al I am researching Allan Gilmour owner of the Gilmour Company. I read everything you had on him at your website, but am still looking for the answer to two questions: 1. Was Allan born in Scotland. I know his family travelled from Scotland to New Brunswick and then settled in Montreal. I also know he was born in 1816. I am wondering if he was born before his family left Scotland, or after they landed here in Canada? 2. Whereabouts did Allan live in Bytown/Ottawa. I assuming he lived here because he was the founder of the Bytown Curling club, right? I thought maybe some of your readers would know the answers. Thank you Karen Prytula karenprytula33@gmail.com ___________________ Karen: Gilmour Street, downtown, is named after Allan Gilmour, 1806-1895. According to Courtney Bond (City on the Ottawa) he worked in the lumber trade for 40 years beginning in 1833. His portrait is in the Ottawa Curling Club. ... Al
May 8, 2005: Thanks to Alexa Pritchard for the following: re an article dated February 24, 2005: My guess is that it was an article in the Ottawa Journal. I believe the village was Kazubazua in 1950. When W.A. Kenney opened his new store, about 1952, the post office sent a new sign "Kazabazua". It was a pretty and prosperous village at the time. Evan (not Even) Pritchard opened a machine shop in the village after the war and hired Joe Wiggins for odd jobs. Fred, a skilled carpenter, provided the handles from his sash and frame shop next door, for the Gilmour logging hammers manufactured by Evan. I was lucky enough to buy one of these hammers at a garage sale in the area recently. There should be thousands more out there somewhere. ... Alexa Pritchard
July 6, 2005:
History of the Gilmour Lumbering operations in Scotland, Canada and the USA
Here's a very interesting web site regarding the Gilmours and their major contribution to the lumber industries of three countries. Dear Interested Parties, Please go to my Gilmour family website for all sorts of information about the Gilmour family, lumber and shipping interests, and other books related to their affairs. http://homepages.luc.edu/~pgilmou/genes.htm Regards, Peter Allan Gilmour Peter Gilmour Associate Professor of Pastoral Studies Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois, USA E-mail: PGILMOU@luc.edu
October 24, 2005: Hi All, Would anyone know any information/history about Davidson Lumber in Ottawa? Also what lumber companies were around Rochesterville (Ottawa) in the 1860's + ? Thanks Shannon McKnight _____________________ Hi Shannon: Thanks for your e-mail regarding the Davidson Lumber Company. Many of the lumber barons lived in Rochesterville and their mills were at Chaudiere Falls, which was within walking distance. I'll have a look and see if I have anything here on the Davidson Company. There is a village called Davidson on the Quebec side. It's had (maybe still does have), a sawmill. Likely related to the Davidson family who lived in Rochesterville. Rochesterville was west of Bronson Avenue, north of Carling Avenue and extended west to the Civic Hospital area. The old Department of Mines buildings are at Booth and Carling. Neighbouring Rochester Street was named after John Rochester. Do you mind if I add your e-mail to our page at www.bytown.net/lumbering.htm? Maybe someone will have some further information for us. Please let me know. Thanks again for this, ... Al Lewis
November 4, 2005: Cathy Cummings is researching Joshua Ellard ("King of the Gatineau") and the B. Hall Lumber Company. Does anyone have any info regarding the Hall Company?
December 10, 2005: The following is part of an e-mail from Mr. Emerson McCallum who worked on the Ottawa River, west of Fitzroy Harbour. His original message, dated today was concerned with the lighthouses on the Ottawa River. In my reply to him, I mentioned the existence of a large, steel, rusted barge which has apparently been abandoned at Morris Island. Here is his reply: (... Al) _______________________________________ Good morning Mr. Lewis, Yes you may use the note I sent you if you like. Concerning the steel barge you mentioned. I do not know if this is the same thing or not but when I worked on the river they had what they referred to as “The Scow”. It was a fairly large, metal hulled, flat bottom barge on which there was a kitchen (for the cook to prepare meals), a dining room and some bunk-beds. This scow was used by the men who worked on the sweep. They went along the shore and recovered any logs or pulpwood which had gotten away from the boom while being towed etc. These logs would sometimes be quite far up on shore and had to be hauled back down to the river and collected in a crib which was then emptied into a boom to be taken to either Gillies or E.B. Eddy. Since the Ottawa River is very wide on Chats lake, this would have meant a lot of time wasted in travelling from the main boom camp near Castleford to whatever they were cleaning, so rather than do that, the sweep crew would tow the scow to various locations along the river and use that as their headquarters while sweeping that section of the shore. The Ottawa River was divided into sections by the ICO (Ottawa Improvement Company, later the Upper Ottawa Improvement Company). I know there was the Mountain Camp Section (Bryson power house to Chenaux Dam), Chenaux Boom (Chenaux Dam to Fitzroy Bridge), and Quyon Section (Fitzroy Bridge to below Quyon). Any many more. Each section had their own main camp for sorting and towing and sweep crew for cleaning up and repairs, which would have the “scow”. Hope this makes sense to you Al ... Emerson __________________________
The Scow
Hello, Emerson: (if I may) Thanks for your reply. I'm going to look into this a bit on the weekend. Hopefully I'll be able to get a picture of the scow one of these days and maybe you will recognize it as being the one you know. It is definitely flat-bottomed. We're getting snow here today, maybe enough to prevent getting a good picture of the scow. I have a picture dated about 1880. It's titled "Cookery of J. R. Booth on the Ottawa River". It shows a large square-timbered raft and about 20 men on the cook-house of J.R. Booth's raft. It shows a roofed-over area for cooking. This would be a predecessor of the steel scow. Interesting. I think that it was rowed by about eight men with ten-foot oars. Thanks again. ... Al Here's the picture of the J.R. Booth cookery raft from the National Archives Digital Collection. Source: William James Topley / Library and Archives Canada / C-008405

March 12, 2006: The following is continued from the John Rochester page, contributed by Dave Lemkay: With reference to the squared timber crib with the cookery upon it, this was a crib - each was 26 feet wide and was but one of up to many - records show up to even 200 cribs - that would be pinned together to be floated to Quebec City. This particular crib was called the "Camboose" and the hearth for cooking was a sand-filled enclosure where beans were cooked in the hot sand (as in the shanty) The crib(s) would occasionally be rowed with long "sweeps" but only in slow-moving waters of the Ottawa. Banded together, they would also be sailed with masts and sheets or tarps. The cribs would be attached in trains of 5 or 6 and run though the slides at rapids in the river. A large rafting spot was at Pembroke, another at the mouth of the Bonnechere near Renfrew. The cribs and rafts were in fact both the vehicle and the cargo, of course, floating the pine to Quebec, but also carrying hardwoods (that wouldn't float) to market). There is a very interesting book entitled "Registered Timber Marks of Eastern Canada - from 1870 to 1984" This shows every timber mark from that era with complete reference of history and location of the companies. Some Upper Ottawa Valley libraries have a copy on hand... I was able to donate these on behalf of the Canadian Forest Service back in the 1980s. For more history on our forest heritage please check the web site of the Canadian Forestry Association at: http://www.canadianforestry.com ... Dave Lemkay
August 11, 2006:
After reading the legend of Big Joe Mufferaw (Joe Montferrand) over the years, Sidney and I finally caught up with him this week in Mattawa, Ontario. This was Sidney's first trip north. In the photo, top to bottom: Joe, Al and Sidney. See also a drawing of Mufferaw Joe posted on this page on June 6, 2008:

August 13, 2006: The following plaque is located at the junction of the Mattawa River and the Ottawa River.



August 24, 2006: See some nice photos of the McCool Lumber Camp during the 1930's. Shelley McCool is researching the Francis McCool family from Ireland to the Pembroke and Petawawa area. James McCool had lumber and shipping interests across the Ottawa River at Fort William, Quebec.
October 31, 2007: The Quebec Heritage Society has some photos of logging on the Gatineau River between 1890 and 1980. See also the construction of the Paughan / Paugan Dam at Low, Quebec.

January 5, 2008: Hello: I stumbled across your messages on the Internet re the history of Ottawa Valley lumbering, and the Felix McGrath family, in particular. I am wondering whether any of you may know of McGrath family connections or descendants in the Grosse Pointe area of Michigan, USA? I come by asking this in a rather circuitous manner which I will attempt to explain. I collect antique model canoes, 'salesman's samples' if you like. Recently, I acquired a very old piece made by John S. Stephenson, of Peterborough area fame, likely made back in the 1870's or '80's. It is of some historical interest, as old JS was one of the pioneers of modern cedar hull canoe building, beginning in the latter 1850's. Stephenson sold much of his canoe rights and patents about 1884, and moved to the Ottawa area, where he is said to have worked for the JR Booth lumber interests. In the 1890's, he apparently returned to Peterborough. Now for the McGrath connection. My little canoe is said to have come out of the estate of a chap named McGrath, who lived in the Grosse Pointe area of Michigan. This Mr. McGrath seems to have been closely connected with the lumbering industry, as I am told that within his estate there were a large number of old logging photos, samples of wooden trusses and other logging memorabilia. Much of it appears to date back to the late 1800's. There seems to be a connection to lumbering activities in Oregon, and possibly elsewhere. My search is to try to find some plausible explanation for a connection between JS Stephenson and Mr. McGrath, who somehow wound up owning one of Stephenson's canoe models. Of course, it could have been acquired in other, unexplainable ways but, since there are only a handful of these models known to exist, it could well be coincidental to their having met at some point through lumbering business connections. You folks seem to have done quite a bit of research, so I thought I'd throw out the question for your possible interest and conjecture as to how a McGrath in Grosse Pointe, MI, might have encountered old John S. Stephenson. I thank you for your thoughts and hope you don't mind the imposition of my question. One never learns unless one asks. Kind regards. ... Roger Young PS: I lived in Ottawa for 30 years before moving to the Kawartha and Haliburton areas, and much enjoyed travels through the upper Ottawa Valley towns on both sides of the river. Good luck in your genealogical pursuits. ________________________ Good morning Mr. Young. Thanks for your interesting e-mail regarding your model canoe, lumbering, etc. interests. I run the web site at www.bytown.net . With your permission, I'd like to add your e-mail to our web site at www.bytown.net/lumbering.htm . Please let me know if this is OK with you. We may hear from someone who sees a connection or can help in some way. In 1823, there were both Stevenson / Stephenson and McGrath families who arrived in the western part of the Ottawa area, in Huntley Township and Ramsay Township. These families were part of an organized migration from County Cork in Ireland to the Ottawa area. (the Peter Robinson Settlers). Many of these families were connected to another group who came from County Cork to the Peterborough area two years later, in 1825. There may well have been connections among these families. A lot of families migrated from the Ottawa area to Michigan, USA to work in the lumber industry, usually second generation of Irish migrants to this area, in search of work and farmland for growing families. Detroit was often their first destination and from there many went to different parts of Michigan although some of the lumbermen crossed over from Sault St. Marie, Ontario into northern Michigan and Wisconsin. This is interesting and hopefully we can find out more information. By the way, according to The Peter Robinson Settlers, 1823 1825 by Carol Bennett, the name Stevenson or Stephenson was also spelled "Stinson , Stanson, or Stenson" in the early days and here is a record from Bytown in 1834: 15 Aug 1834 (PR) Marriage of Walter Stanson / Stenson / Stinson (ML# 553 on the McCabe List) , native of the parish of Kilfintinan (Kilfinerty?), County Clare, and Catherine Dwire / Dwyer, native of the parish of Caher, County Tipperary. Thanks again for this. ... Al Lewis
January 9, 2008: The following is an excerpt from a posting by Elizabeth Bond regarding the McQuestion Lighthouse near Chalk River on the Ottawa River: The following was taken from Tamarack Magazine: Exploration of Valley History, Issue IV. Gerald Nadeau, born in the 1930s, tells Amy Mark and Neal Watts that: "Living by the Ottawa River is my first memory. We lived on a small farm. It was just a small clearing with a log house and two stables. McQuestion Point, where we lived, was a stopping place by the river. Teams of lumbermen used to come to the old house. I think there's only three logs left of it now. There were quite a few of these places used for overnight stops, what you would call keepovers. From Sheenborough up to our old house was one day's trip so people would come that far and stay the first night. Then they'd go as far as the Swisha (des Joachim), which was another day. All of these places were ports for travelling lumbermen. There was no hydro, telephone, or radio at the old house. The only furnishings in the house were six chairs at a table, a box stove for night firing, a cook stove, a cupboard, three beds, two or three water pails, and some pots and pans. We just lived season to season; nothing ever made you hurry, so it wasn't important if it was eight o'clock, nine o'clock, or ten o'clock. The closest house was about a mile and a half away and the roads were never ploughed. In those conditions, if you were able to do anything like chop wood, get water, or any of those other chores, you did them willingly. We used to look after McLeod's lighthouse which was on an island [McQuestion's Point]. The island was a beautiful spot. It was best in the springtime-the whole island would just be covered with dandelions as thick as they could grow and the grass would be cut down because of the cows grazing on it. You'd hear the ice come down the mountains. The gather of ice would melt in the spring and it would just keep flowing down the mountain until finally it got so heavy that it would break away with whatever trees would come with it and it would tumble down onto the ice on the river. It would almost be like thunder. Every second spring, you'd hear it and the next day if you went to the river you'd see all the trees out on the ice where the big icicles had broken. The lighthouse had a globe about 20 inches high and it burned about two quarts of oil in twelve hours. Each evening you had to clean out the lamp glasses, trim the wick and check the wick for length. The wick was about two inches wide and there were two of them in the globe which was housed in a square glass enclosure. The two wick adjusters were side by side. If one fire went out then you always had the second one. You had to light it and then turn the wicks up until the globe got warm and then you'd turn it down so that there was no smoke from it. The coal oil had to be carried down in the spring. It took three 45 gallon containers to fill the tanks in it. They used to give us twelve dollars a month for looking after the lighthouse. You had to go down every morning and blow the light out. I never went alone, because I was too young and the lightstand was quite high. You'd have to get up on something to reach it. The lighthouse was put there because the river is quite narrow in that spot. It was built some time after the 1850s for boats towing logs. The first big boats on the river were steam driven. There used to be a big red river boat, an old tow boat, thirty-five feet long with the engine taken out of it. It had been set adrift and had become wedged between the lighthouse island and the river shore. It stayed there until it had rotted away. The sides would be about three feet high and they got warm by the sun beating against them. The pike would lay against the side and sometimes you'd see eight or ten fish all beside the boat. Some of the pike were up to five feet long. We used to catch one fish each spring and that was enough for one week, as much fish as you wanted to eat." ~~~ On a seperate occasion, I learned that: "The lighthouse was situated on McQuestion's Point because it was such a narrow point in the river. The Marine Co. used to oversee the management of the lighthouse, and would pay a family $12.00 a month for keeping it, on 12 month leases. Each year, they would take four huge 45 gallon drums of coal oil down to the lighthouse on sleighs. The Marine Co. would also send a big wick and a huge pair of scissors; tar; a broom; paint for the boat; spare lamp glass; a shovel; a box of rags that you would go through first to see if there was anything you could wear; and a strong sharp axe that young Gerald was forever aching to get his hands on because he was always busy chopping stones." Please find attached a photo of the lighthouse taken last year. Also, the community museum in Deep River--The School House Museum--is operated by the McQuestion descendants, and they might have more information for you. I hope you find this information helpful, Elizabeth Bond
February 3, 2008: The Log-Driving Song, sung by Charlie Gardner and friends, describes the early log drives on the Upper Ottawa River / Pontiac area.
March 8, 2008:
Marriage of a Timber Baron
This marriage registration was found on National Archives of Canada Microfilm C2905, Page 197, Register of Saint Andrews East (Presbyterian), Saint Andre d'Argenteuil MG8, G27, Vol 8. 1837 Daniel McLachlin of Bytown, Upper Canada, Timber merchant and Maria Harrington of St. Andrews, Argenteuil, were married by License on the fifth day of January in the year of Our Lord One thousand eight hundred and thirty-seven by me Arch' Henderson, Minister in the presence of these witnesses, John Harrington M. Davis, George W. Davis. Signed by Daniel McLachlin, Maria Harrington, Arch' Henderson Minister This microfilm covers a lot of early baptisms and marriages from 1818 in the Lachute, Quebec area. The McLachlin family is not connected to my Byers, Burtch, Banning, Kier line but may be of interest to other researchers. ...Barb Byers Bradley
April 29, 2008: We usually associate the logging and timber trade with the PreCambrian Shield areas to the north and west of the city of Ottawa. However, beginning in the early 1800's, Glengarry Scots and French Canadians operated a profitable logging industry as the following photo shows. The Scotch River is a tributary of the Nation River which flows into the Ottawa River at Plantagenet. The Scotch River was written about in 1901 by Ralph Connor in his book The Man from Glengarry. Glengarry County was settled beginning in the 1770's by Scotch Emigrants.
Loggers on the Scotch River, 1890's Photo Source: Reflections of the South Nation Watershed, page 31 Scotch River Loggers



June 6, 2008:
Mufferaw Joe, again Source of Drawing: Where Rivers Meet: An Illustrated History of Ottawa, page 49 Joe Mufferaw / Joe Montferrand

August 27, 2008:
The steamer ALBERT at Quyon Photo Source: Hurling Down the Pine, page 107 The steamer ALBERT at Quyon, Quebec

August 28, 2008:
Samuel Bingham, Lumber Baron on the Gatineau River Mayor of Ottawa beginning in 1897 "King of the Cascades" Text Source: Hurling Down the Pine, pages 105-107 Samuel Bingham 1 Samuel Bingham 2 Samuel Bingham 3

June 19, 2009:
The following photograph shows men and horses working in a lumber camp in the Gatineau Valley. Photo Source: Historical Walks: The Gatineau Park Story, by Katharine Fletcher, page 7 Horses working in the Lumber Trade

October 19, 2009: Hi Al: I've transcribed the 1847 Diary of Hugh Falls, a Provincial Land Surveyor with his survey of Bennett's & Bissett's creeks. He refers to a few men he hired as well as a few he encountered during the survey. I thought these names might be of interest to anyone researching these families. Feel free to post any of the diary that might be of interest. I'm not certain that I've transcribed all of the place names correctly as I'm not too familiar with the geography of the area. Perhaps you can correct any mistakes I've made if you notice any. I was surprised that it only took Hugh Falls one day to travel from Bytown to Montreal-thought it would take longer than that. I think he was paid 114 pounds for this survey. Linda Falls
November 9, 2009:
Photo Source: Selections from Picturesque Canada: An Affectionate Look Back plate number 35. This sketch was made in the 1870's and shows a view from the back of the Parliament Buildings, overlooking the Ottawa River and Chaudiere Falls. Piles of sawn lumber, (most of it destined for export to the United States market), can be seen on the islands at Chaudiere Falls and across the River in Hull, Quebec.


November 22, 2009:
Pointer Boats on the Ottawa River in the 1880's Source: The Upper Ottawa Valley, by Clyde C. Kennedy, page 228
names for search engine: John Cockburn, Pembroke, Lake Temiskaming, Upper Ottawa Improvement Company.
December 18, 2009: If you go to our new web page for Bromley Township, Anne Burgess has sent along some interesting hand-written material from the 1851 census, giving us some details of early lumbering operations carried out by the Maclaren family. The Maclaren mills were a major employer in the Ottawa area for over 100 years. As late as the 1950's, the company bussed employees from Ottawa to Buckingham, Quebec so that men could work from Monday to Friday. They were then bused back to Ottawa for the weekends.
February 17, 2010:
Here is a nice photo, sent in by Clarissa, showing her ancestor, William Heaney at one of the J.R. Booth Lumber Camps in the year 1900. J.R. Booth Lumber Camp, 1900
From Clarissa: I am not sure, it may have been near the Black River, Pontiac County. There seems to be a lot of people from that area, Henry Mellon is in the picture along with some Sauriol and Denault family members, the others not sure. I will ask my Brother if he remembers where the camp was.
April 8, 2010: Taylor Kennedy has sent in two articles from the Ottawa Citizen: 1) Rivermen's Graves on the Madawaska River System and 2) Square Timber Rafting on the Ottawa River.
May 19, 2010:
Source for text below: Ottawa Citizen Digital Archives, Article dated December 11, 1895 Carleton Place Lumbering
Names for search engine -- Gillies, Braeside
June 17, 2010:
Source for material below: The Upper Ottawa Valley, by Clyde Kennedy, page 128 Picture of Lumber Barons, Daniel McLachlin and John Gillies

July 17, 2010: Hi Al, The book "Alligators of the North", published by Dundurn Group outlines the complex and intriguing history of the Alligator steam tug boats that were manufactured by West and Peachey of Simcoe, Ontario from 1889 through to the 1930s. Over two hundred of these unique amphibious scows were shipped all over eastern Canada, and from Minnesota to Maine, even South America. Many were used right here on the Ottawa River watershed from Lake Temiskaming and on down to the St. Maurice and Saguenay Rivers in Quebec. The Gillies Bothers enterprise is nicely captured in this book! Authors: Clarence Coons and Harry Barrett. Details at www.alligatorsofthenorth.blogspot.com ... Dave Lemkay Here is a photo of one of the Alligator Boats at Arnprior in 1907.
Photo Source: The Upper Canada Valley by Clyde Kennedy, page 160. Alligator Boat at Arnprior, Ontario, Canada, in 1907
December 10, 2010: (added the photo below)
Photo Source: Ottawa Waterway: Gateway to a Continent by Robert Legget, page 153. Alligator Boat at Arnprior, Ontario, Canada
New e-mail address for David Lemkay is dlemkay@bell.net (incorporated in the list below) June 8, 2011: The year 2011 is Renfrew County's 150th Anniversary. As part of the celebrations, a refurbished alligator boat will be part of a flotilla between Norway Bay, Quebec and Braeside, Ontario. See a picture of the boat and more details.
July 21, 2011: Hi Allan: I think I have the McCool bug, I can't stop looking for more info. My grandfather is John Patrick McCool his father is Frank or Francis (not sure) McCool and his wife Mae or May DeCurrie or Decurry he had a lumber camp in Pembroke. I came across this website about the McCool lumber camps in Ontario. http://books.google.ca/books?id=2FzWllpx3_cC&pg=PA53&lpg=PA53&dq=McCools'+Camp+on+the+Schyan&source=bl&ots=VGT6nuJ6M7&sig=a9Hc5YS-JNo1G-vecYQngkzZsWI&hl=en&ei=BccmTq7mD4zpgQf82rVc&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CB0Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false I will go buy the book to get more info, it has pictures!!! ... Theresa Note: The above link will take you to excerpts from Logging on the Schyan, by Vernon Price. This is one of the best books concerning the lumber operations in the Fort Coulonge / Dumoine River and Pembroke areas. Lots of gentle lumberjack stories from a time and place where men were both men and gentlemen. ... Al
September 14, 2011: Good morning, I recently purchased a scaling or barking hammer at a yard sale in Pontiac County marked "RW". The manufacturer or blacksmith is also marked as "E.E.Holt". Cristy Holt was a long time blacksmith in Ladysmith up until about 1960, could this be his father? I suspect the hammer is from Ruggles Wright from Hull but know nothing about their company. Can you help me identify the hammer and where I can find a little information on Ruggles & Wright? Respectfully, Brian McGowan ______________________________ Good morning, Brian: Thanks for your e-mail regarding your scaling hammer with the initials “RW” on it. The blacksmith who made this hammer may have been Emmett Eugene Holt who is listed above as living in Ladysmith until his death in 1926. If so, you have a nice provenance for your hammer. Moses Holt was one of the pioneer settlers in our area. He came here after Philomen Wright who was the founder of Hull, Quebec and would have known and dealt with Philomen Wright. Ruggles Wright was a son of Philomen Wright. We have a web page for Philomen Wright where you may find further information about Ruggles Wright. Also, here is a bit about Moses Holt. It comes from page 90 of the book Carleton Saga by Harry and Olive Walker: Note: For many years an upscale clothing store called "Holt Renfrew" existed in Ottawa. It will be closed in 2015. It began as part of the fur trade in the Ottawa Valley.
Moses Holt, Aylmer / Hull, Quebec Keywords: Aylmer, Quebec and Chats Falls (Fitzroy)
and here is presumably a son of Moses or Noah Holt in the 1851 census for Hull, Quebec. Moses Jr. was a tavern keeper: (Source: 1851 Census for Canada East, Public Archives of Canada, available from ancestry.ca
Moses Holt, Aylmer / Hull, Quebec, 1851 census
I'm cross-posting Brian's original e-mail to our Holt web page. ... Al
September 24, 2011: Many men from the Ottawa Valley and the Gatineau Valley were recruited into the Canadian Forestry Corps. These men were professional lumberjacks who were hired because of their expertise in forestry work. See the Canadian Forestry Corps web page, being researched by Bob Briggs. and, here's a story from Diane Moorhead: Mr. John Stephen Moorhead, 88, was born at Danford Lake, Quebec. He went overseas in the first World war with the Canadian Forestry Corps. He was in northern France and then in charge of a mill in southern France, in a forest planted by Napoleon's order. He recalled the timber was a fine white pine, 31 inches across cut to 16-foot lengths. He is enormously proud of the fact that his company produced more board feet than any other operating there ___ 30,000 board feet a day. Mr. Moorhead returned to Canada July 11, 1919 with the rank of sergeant. He went into business for himself and remembers losing $30,000 the second year. Mr. Moorhead figures he saw his first loom about 70 years ago when women carded wool and spun the yarn themselves. He also remembers the occasion, if not the date, when troops were sent to Low, Quebec, to collect the taxes due. ... Diane Moorhead (see more information and photos of Mr. Moorhead on our Carruthers, Moorhead and Begley web page.)
October 1, 2011: Even though my main interest is the WW2 CFC at this time my great grandfather was in the CFC in WW1 Here is something of interest to you folks in Ottawa from http://www.russiansinthecef.ca/forestry/index.shtml Canadian Forestry Corps, C.E.F. The Canadian Forestry Corps had particularly close associations with the Ottawa Valley. Many of the men came from that region; three of the corps' five senior officers, (Major-General Alexander McDougall, Brigadier-General John White, Colonel Gerald White) had been valley timber merchants and contractors before the war. Corps operations were compared favourably to the best mills in the Ottawa area. Cheers ... Bob Briggs
December 4, 2011: Thanks to Mary Quinn for sending in the links to an interesting article from the Ottawa Citizen regarding Terence McGuire, (born in Aylmer), and the early lumber trade there. Among other information, the article describes the four day annual trek made by the shantymen from Aylmer, Quebec up to the Perley and Pattee lumber camps up past Portage du Fort, Quebec. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=7lktAAAAIBAJ&sjid=atkFAAAAIBAJ&pg=6771,1294527&dq=the+british+hotel+aylmer&hl=en
January 23, 2013: Alexander McLaurin came from Scotland to Glengarry County then on to Templeton, Quebec where he ran a sawmill.
April 26, 2013: Here is a terrific paper called the Working Class Culture and the development of Hull, Quebec, 1800-1929. This book is written by Mr. Michel Martin, who is giving a talk on May 8, 2013 at the Worker's History Museum in Ottawa: Date: May 8th 2013 Time: 6pm reception / 7 pm talk. Admission: This is a free event open to the general public. Location: Workers’ History Museum office. 251 Bank Street, 2nd Floor (corner of Bank St. and Cooper St.), Ottawa About Michel Martin: Educated at Laurentian and Queen’s universities, Michel Martin is a retired freelance journalist and writer and a former federal public servant. He is the author of two books of local working class history, available free of charge at his website, http://web.ncf.ca/fn871/ . He is currently working on a third book tentatively titled "Resisting Domination: Popular Classes in the West Before 1492". Michel Martin has been active for years in union, community and party politics in the Ottawa-Gatineau region.
January 29, 2014: The Log Driver's Waltz, a short (3 minute) film from the National Film Board.
September 3, 2014: Al, I recently found some logs, while on a fishing trip, on a lake in the Pontiac region of Quebec, that were left behind by a lumber camp, probably ca. 1900. The camp is now deserted of course, but I have discovered it belonged to the McLachlin Brothers of Arnprior. The logs are stamped on the end that was out of water. The marks are an ‘M’ and an ‘L’ joined together as shown here, but there is also a ’superscript’ mark beside the ML. I searched a timber mark book by Diane Aldred and found the ML mark registered to McLachlin, but without the extra marks. Can any of your readers identify this anomaly? Feel free to send me comments by e-mail. Blair MacLaurin blair@maclaurin.ca descendant of Alexander MacLaurin
Timber Marks on logs of McLachlin Brothers of Arnprior, Ontario, Canada

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