Geographic location: Lot 16, Conc. 7, Stanhope
Current address: Elvin Johnson Park on Halls Lake. 1221 Old Mill Rd on the east shore of Halls Lake
Date range: The Hawk River saw its last big drive in 1947, when the Hodgson-Jones Lumber Company ran six million board feet to Hall’s Lake.
Clayton Wesley Hodgson was a Progressive Conservative party member of the House of Commons of Canada. He was born in Burnt River, Ontario and became a lumber merchant by career. Source: Wikipedia
John Robert Coneybeare died in a sawmill accident here in 1947. Photo: Lloyd & John Robert Coneybeare
The Story of the Rug by Bev Coneybeare
In Haliburton County, Ontario, where I grew up, lumbering was a major industry in the nineteenth century and continuing into the twentieth. One of my grandfathers was a lumberjack who worked in the camps and later, in the sawmill. The sawmills had poor safety standards and there were no unions to address this. The large red shape in the middle of the rug represents a saw. I traced the shape from an actual saw from a sawmill where my grandfather worked.
My grandfather was killed by the blade of a saw while working in one of the mills. My uncle was working for the lumber company too, loading logs onto a truck, when the load broke its chains and he was crushed by falling logs. My father was working alongside him but was unable to do anything to save his brother. The jack pine on the right hand side of the rug commemorates my grandfather, Jack Coneybeare and I have hooked a small ‘J’ into its trunk.
The other part of the story of this rug is the loss of the old growth pine forest that once covered the county. Only two or three of these old giants remain. The rest were taken by wasteful, indiscriminate logging practices. The men of my family were happy to have jobs. The mill owners made fortunes. But it is a legacy of loss. I have hooked sadness and anger into this rug.
I remember the first morning we went up there to start tailing the Hawk river and I said I wonder how we’re gonna get them logs into the water. You see, I’d never done it before. When we come to the river, this old Sam Whittaker, he had the peavey over his shoulder and he was ahead of us and we were following him like a couple of pups.”
~ Logger, 1947 river drive for Hodgson’s Mill
Loggers use cant hooks and pike poles to push logs through a river in the Highlands ~ Photo: Haliburton Highlands Museum