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History of the Lumber Industry of America
By James Elliott Defebaugh (1906)

Editors Note:  This is a publication in 2 volumes about the lumber industry in America including both Canada and the United States. Here we are providing the Canadian chapters which is around half of the first volume. You can also download this part of the book here in pdf format.


Industry and commerce have received in the past but incidental recognition from the historian. He has sought to trace the history of peoples in the political movements in which they have been involved. The successful prosecution of war has appeared to him more notable than the continued preservation of peace. The achievements of diplomats and warriors have appeared more vital than the successes of men of business. The growing respect engendered abroad by a nation’s army and navy has seemed a more attractive theme for discourse than the increase of its trade in the markets of the world.

Despite this neglect, commerce always has been a controlling factor in making the world’s history. It always has been more important that men should live than that they should live under any particular government or at any particular place. The search for livelihood has guided the migrations of races and been the inciting cause of discovery, settlement and conquest. Encouragement, protection and control of trade have been the most frequent subjects of legislation.

It has been within recent years only that the world at large has accorded the manufacturer and the merchant a position coordinate with that of the warrior and the statesman. Out of this new appreciation have come histories of particular industrial movements and of numerous branches of industry; but, notwithstanding the influence of the forests on New World development and the importance of the present lumber industry of the United States, Canada and the Latin countries to the south, no comprehensive history of the lumber industry of America ever has been compiled.

The early explorers were in search of gold, but they found trees; and the earliest exports from the New World to the Old World were products of the forest. Such products have continued for more than four hundred years to be of conspicuous importance. In even the Twentieth Century the value of forest manufactures exported from British America is exceeded only by the value of the combined products of agriculture, grazing and allied pursuits. Some of the Central American countries derive the larger share of their incomes from their forest .products.

While a history of the lumber business is justified fully by its importance, records are meager and its compilation is, therefore, difficult.

In the preparation of this work the sources drawn upon have been so multitudinous as to render impracticable individual acknowledgment or complete reference to authority. Government reports and records of the United States and other American countries have been read diligently and every important fact concerning the industry has been extracted; thousands of individuals have been interviewed; the files of the American Lumberman and its predecessors, the Northwestern Lumberman and The Timberman, which have been the most fertile sources of information, have been carefully examined, and the files of other lumber journals—American, Canadian and English—have yielded their share of information.

Grateful acknowledgment is extended by the editor to the many individuals in private and public life who have interested themselves in this work and who have assisted in supplying many of the facts that go to make up this history. The compilation of the matter incorporated in this work has involved the expenditure of a vast amount of labor and a large sum of money; but, if it shall prove to be of interest and value to lumbermen and students of lumbering and shall supply a missing link in the industrial and commercial history of the world, its aim will have been fully attained and the ambition of its editor and its publishers will have been realized.

J. E. Defebaugh.


Chapter I. Discovery and Early Settlement.
Forests Essential to Human Existence (1)—Wooded Shores of America Invited Settlement (2)—The First Settler the First Lumberman (2)—Discovery and Early Explorations (3)—Papal Division of Undiscovered Countries (4)—The First Colonies (5)—Belize Timber Rights an Early Subject of Dispute (6)—Colonization of South America (6) — Dates on Which Important American Cities Were Founded (7)—Forest Conditions Found by the Discoverers of America (7)—Forested Areas of Canada and the United States (8)—Forestal Condition of South America (9)—Summary of Total Area and Forested Area of the Americas (9).

Chapter II. North American Forest Geography.
Tree Distribution (11)—Influence Governing Tree Distribution (13)—Conditions Governing Tree Growth (14)—Geological Influences (15)—Influence of Climatic Changes (16)—Present Influences (19)—Forested and Nonforested Areas (22)—Commercial Tree Species of America (25).

Chapter III. Labrador and Newfoundland.
History and Physical Features of Labrador (46)—History of Newfoundland (48)—Physical Features of Newfoundland (49)—Tree Species of Newfoundland (50)—Lumber Industry of Newfoundland (53)—Crown Land Timber Regulations (53).

Chapter IV. Canada—Its Commercial Forests.
Timbered Regions and Tree Species (56)—Hardwood Resources (57) —White Pine (57) —Spruce (58) — Leading Lumber Districts (59)—Water Transportation System (59)—Forest Area by Provinces (61)—Timber Stumpage of Canada (64).

Chapter V. Canada—Forestry and Forest Reserves.
Canadian Forestry Association (66)—Forest Fire Legislation (67)—Officers of Canadian Forestry Association (69)— Schools of Forestry (69)—Federal Forest Reserves (71) —Ontario Forest Reserves (75)—Laurentides National Park (76)—List of Forest Reserves (77.)

Chapter VI. Canada—Production and Trade.
Forest Products of Canada in 1881 and 1891 (78)—Census of 1901 (79)—Area of Forests and Woodlands (83)—Exports of Forest Products (84)—Exports to the United States (88)—Wood_Pulp Production (88)—Exports to the United Kingdom (88)—Imports of Hardwoods (89).

Chapter VII. Canada—Cooperage Stock Industry.
Exports of Staves and Stave Bolts (91)—Early Stave Industry (92)—Present Cooperage Stock Manufacture (93) — The Hoop Industry (95).

Chapter VIII. Quebec—Timber History, Administration.
Quebec and Ontario One Colony (97)—French Seigniorial System (98)—French Timber Cutting System (99)—Early English Regulations (100)—Effect of British Import Dues (101)—Trade Early in the Nineteenth Century (102) — Early Canadian Legislation (104)—First Cullers’ Act (105)—Origin of Crown Timber Dues (105)—Licenses to Cut Timber (106)—The First Crown Timber Act (108).

Chapter IX. Quebec—Present Conditions.
Area of Forest and Woodland (114)—Northern Quebec (115) —Timber Licenses and Dues (115)—Export Trade of the City of Quebec (116)—Export Trade of Montreal (117) — Shipping Interests (118)—Exports and Stocks on Hand (119)—Character of Quebec Product (122)—Statistics of White Pine Timber (123).

Chapter X. Quebec Culling.
Origin of Quebec Inspection (124)—Text of Cullers’ Act (125).

Chapter XI. Quebec—Personnel.

Chapter XII. Ontario—Early History.
Upper Canada from 1791 to 1867 (154)—Period of Settlement (155)—The Pioneer of the Ottawa Valley (155)—Settlement of the City of Ottawa (157)—Development in Southern Ontario (158)—The First Paper Mill (158) — Crown Timber Regulations (159)—Timber Dues System (160)—Causes of the Rebellion of 1837 (162)—The Mackenzie Rebellion of 1837 (164)—Union of 1841 and New Timber Regulations (166)—First Canadian Timber License Legislation (168)—Parliamentary Inquiry of 1854 (169) — Regulations of 1855 (171).

Chapter XIII. Ontario and the United States.
Reciprocity Treaty (172)—Trade During Reciprocity Period (173)—First Influx of American Lumbermen (173)—Provincial Confederation and Effect on Crown Lands Management (174)—Developments in Georgian Bay District (175)—Export Duties on Logs, etc. (176)—Free Trade Period (177)—The Dingley Bill and Prohibition of Log Export (177)—American Interests in Georgian Bay District (178).

Chapter XIV. Ontario—Revenues and Resources.
Timber Dues and Ground Rent (179)—Cut of Sawlogs from 1867 to 1877 (180)—Development in Northwestern Ontario (180)—Revenue from Timber Licenses (181)—Areas Under License from 1869 to 1903 (183)—Timber Cut from Crown Lands from 1868 to 1903 (184)—Record of Timber Sales (184)—Statistics of Production (185)—Production of the Ottawa Valley (186)—Production of Georgian Bay District (187)—Production of Pine (188)—Revenue from Crown Timber Lands from 1869 to 1903 (189).

Chapter XV. Ontario—Forest Reserves.
Algonquin National Park (190)—Forest Reserves Act (191) — Temagami Forest Reserve (191)—Provincial Forest Policy (192)—The Eastern Reserve (194)—The Sibley Reserve (194)—The Mississaga Reserve (195)—Timber Reproduction (195).

Chapter XVI. Ontario—Toronto Inspection.

Chapter XVII. Ontario—Personnel.

Chapter XVIII. New Brunswick—Timber History.
Settlement and Natural Features (219)—Timbered Area (219) —Tree Species (220)—Miramichi Fire (222)—Early Lumbering Methods (223).

Chapter XIX. New Brunswick—Forest Legislation.
The First Surveyor General (226)—Early Timber Policy (227) —Production and Trade Prior to 1850 (227)—Timber Revenues (228)—Timber Land Laws System (229)—Stumpagb Dues (231)—Timber Production 1879 to 1903 (231).

Chapter XX. New Brunswick—Recent Operations.
Present Lumbering Methods (232)—The St. John District (232) —The Miramichi District (234)—The Restigouche District (235)—Changes in Conditions (236)—Prices of Logs and Lumber (238)—Lumber Statistics (240).

Chapter XXI. Nova Scotia—Lumber History.
Settlement and Early Lumbering (244)—Timbered Area and Reproduction (246)—Timber Land Titles (247)—Personnel (249).

Chapter XXII. Nova Scotia—Exports, Statistics.
Shipping Facilities (251)—Trade Districts (252)—Leading Exporters (252)—Forest Products (253)—Exports (254).

Chapter XXIII. Prince Edward Island.

Chapter XXIV. The District of Ungava.
The Labrador Peninsula (258)—Creation of Ungava (258) — History of the Peninsula (259)—Natural Features (261) —Tree Species (262).

Chapter XXV. Canada—Its Lumber Industry in 1874.
Estimate of Timber Resources (264)—Description of Manufacturing Districts (265)—Prevailing Prices in 1874 (268) — List of Lumber Manufacturers (269)—Lumber Production and Trade of 1874 (271).

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