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A Great Industry (Davison Lumber Company)

An account of the Davison Lumber Company operations during the period after it was sold by E.D. Davison & Sons - (the new company was renamed the "Davison Lumer Company, Limited".) Supmitted by Rev. Dr. Morton and published in the Halifax Herald. Includes excerpts from the Bridgewater Bulletin, September 25, 1906

A Great Industry:
Rev. Dr. Morton Writes to the Halifax Herald About It.

Hastings, Crossburn and the Camps.

Where is Hastings and where is Crossburn? Not many can tell - they are not found in the geographies. Some two years ago, or perhaps a little more, some capitalists from Pittsburg came down to Nova Scotia and purchased the extensive timber areas owned by the late E. D. Davison and Sons, of Bridgewater.

These areas are situate in the counties of Lunenburg, Annapolis and Kings. They are drained by the LaHave River and its headwater. No sooner were the negotiations completed then the new company, known as Davison Lumber Company, limited, commenced vigorous operations. The land on the opposite side of the lake from Springfield station, Annapolis County, was cleared and a huge mill erected. This mill is perhaps the finest in Canada. It has an output capacity of 220,000 feet actually cutting at the present time 170,000 feet per day. The place was named Hastings after the president of the company. In addition to the blacksmith and machine shop attached to the mill, there is a large boarding house for the employees, also a number of cottages; some completed and occupied, others in course of erection, in all thirty-one. In the beginning of the operations, the company entered upon railway construction and now have upwards of thirty miles of road over which trains run daily.

The road starts at a point a little to the southward of Springfield Station on the Halifax and South-Western known as Hastings Junction and is completed and in working order up to Camp Three, a distance of about twenty miles. Over this road are brought at the present time some four train loads of logs daily from the lumber regions.

THE HEAD CENTRE OF THE LUMBERING OPERATIONS has grown into the proportions of a town and is known as Crossburn, so designated after J. W. Cross, the resident manager. This place is about ten miles distant from Hastings, and is a centre of many and varying industries. Here are to be found large warehouses, residences for he manager and heads of departments, also for many of the employees. Shacks for the unmarried men and men without families, machine shop, round house, blacksmith's shop and saddlery. There are extensive stables (the company has now about 160 horses on the roads), and other buildings serving various purposes. The latest erection is a building for religious services and school purposes. This is a very neat structure and reflects great credit upon all who have had to do with its erection and furnishing. J. W. Cross, the efficient manage, is a thoroughly competent man for his work, of great enterprise and executive ability, and is not only respected, but BELOVED BY THE HUNDREDS OF MEN under his authority. Lying along the line of railway and radiating at different points from Crossburn, are some ten camps, to which four others are presently to be added. The number of men at these camps varies considerably especially during the summer months, for they are coming and going continually. Last winter the number of men in the employ of the Davison Lumber Company was about 800. At present there are not quite so many but as the season advances the number is likely to be greatly increased. They come from all parts of the Dominion; from the old country and the United States. The men are altogether a fine and orderly lot. A strict and wholesome discipline is maintained and intoxicants are rigidly excluded. The writer of this article has had a sojourn of three months in the camps, has come into close touch with the men, and has yet to see the first indication of drunkenness. At Hastings, owing to its contiguity to surrounding settlements, some difficulty has been experienced in excluding illicit vendors.

THE CHIEF OFFENDER HAS BEEN A WOMAN, which, I suppose, confirms the old saying that, "When a woman is good, she is very, very good, but when she is bad she is horrid." The industry opened by the Davison Lumber Company gives employment to a large number of men, and circulates monthly a very large amount of money, stimulating trade over a wide reach of country and creating an area of general prosperity. The chief representative of the company since the initiation of this enterprise has been M. W. Tuefel resident of Bridgewater. He is now returning to the States, his place is to be taken by Mr. Forsman, who has recently come to Nova Scotia. Not only does this company pay their employees liberally and regularly, but they are devising measures for the intellectual and moral enjoyment and improvement of the men,. The camps are regularly visited by the clergyman who gives his whole time to this work and holds service, not only at Crossburn, but at the outlying camps. Social entertainment is not overlooked. In this connection once and again, OPPORTUNITY HAS BEEN GIVEN TO OUTSIDERS to visit Crossburn; and presently as many as desire will have an opportunity of going quite up into the woods on trains furnished by the company and the Halifax and South-Western. Arrangements are presently in progress looking towards a gigantic picnic to be held on the 29th instant, in the neighbourhood of Camp Nine, at a point known as Chain Lake. As many families are represented by husbands and sons, and many others have a healthy curiosity to see more of an enterprise of which they have heard so much, the day, if favourable, will witness the assemblage of a vast multitude of people. Provision will be made for their entertainment, not only in the way of eatables, but also by the various sports, which are being arranged for. Those who attend will find ample material for wonder and admiration, and will be furnished with staple for interesting conversation for many a day.

A.D. Morton

Linked toMargaret Helen Hastings

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