Our log drivers were part of the silent heroes who contributed to the development of our forestry resources by their dedication and hard work.
When the American Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars cut off timber supplies for ship masts from New England and the Baltic Countries, Great Britain turned her attention to Canada as a source to supply timber. In 1800, Philemon Wright came from Boston to Ottawa and sent the first Canadian squared timber raft down the Ottawa River to Quebec City.
Mr. George Bryson Sr. and his family were largely responsible for developing the timber industry in the Pontiac. Born in 1813, Mr. Bryson was 8 years old when he came to Canada from Paisley Scotland. He met Robina Cobb on this voyage to Canada and in 1845 they married.
In the late 1830’s and early 1840’s large timber firms began to take over from private producers. Around this time, Mr. Bryson left Lanark County and made his way to the Pontiac to make his fortune. He settled near the mouth of the Coulonge River and acquired thousands of acres of timber surrounding the Coulonge Falls. This was the era of square timber and the huge white pines found at the Coulonge Falls and along the Coulonge River were in great demand. The enormous white pines were cut in 60ft (18m) lengths and squared off with board axes. The Coulonge waterfall was a huge obstacle in the transportation of this precious timber. George Bryson constructed a wooden slide along the rock wall of the waterfall that measured 3000ft (915m).