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Mossom Martin Boyd
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Birth: Dec. 7, 1814
Ontario, Canada
Death: Jul. 24, 1883
Ontario, Canada

He was ‘a member of the Anglo-Irish gentry,' who, upon moving to Canada, quickly became the lumber king of the Trent.[1]

* 1 Biography
o 1.1 Early life
o 1.2 Life in Canada
* 2 Lumbering
o 2.1 Quebec
o 2.2 Expansion
* 3 Legacy
* 4 References
* 5 External links

[edit] Biography

[edit] Early life

Mossom Boyd was born in India to Captain Gardiner Boyd, ‘a North of Ireland officer of the Bengal Army,' and his wife Arabella Chadwick.[2] Both of his parents died in 1829 during the cholera epidemic, after which, Mossom Boyd and his sister Anne were sent to live with guardians in London.[3] This unfortunate transition must have had an ill effect on the children; their behaviour was considered ‘difficult' and they were promptly relocated to Ireland's Derry district to live with an aunt.[4] Boyd began to spend an increasing amount of time in the local pubs while waiting to be called upon by the British Army. After the Napoleonic Wars there were decreasing opportunities for new military recruits, and immigration to Britain's North American colonies began to increase in response to a decline in the workforce necessary for modern production.[5] Boyd's choice to relocate to Canada was heavily influenced by his accomplice in pub-crawling, John Darcus.

[edit] Life in Canada

Landing in Canada in 1834, Boyd made the long trek towards his newly acquired 100 acres (0.40 km2) of land in Verulam Township.[6] Upon arrival, Boyd eventually fell in with some of the ‘gentleman farmers, including members of the Need, Langton, and Dunsford families. [7] The connections made with these members of the local gentry aided Boyd greatly, and allowed for his transition from working hand to an entrepreneurial giant. Anne Langton described him as a ‘most resolute home-stayer and a very industrious settler,' who ‘has chopped all his own land himself.'[8] She seemed to quite admire his simple hard working nature: ‘he is a favourite of mine; he is not brilliant or animated, but has much goodness and kindness, and simplicity of character, and is an example to all our young men for industry, attention to business, and study of economy.'[9] In 1844 Boyd solidified his connections with John Langton and the Dunsford family by marrying Caroline Dunsford. This friendship precipitated a short-lived partnership between Boyd and John Langton.[10] In 1845 Mossom and Caroline's first son, Gardiner Boyd, was born. Caroline and Mossom had six children altogether: Gardiner, Anne, Mary Arabella, Caroline, Mossom Martin, and Emma Blackall.[11] Boyd's wife Caroline died a year after the birth of her last child, Emma, in 1857 from an unknown cause. Boyd was left with six children under twelve; this was extremely difficult for him due to the tremendous amount of energy and time necessary to maintain his business. He was concerned about the children living in Peterborough, and in great need of help Boyd contacted Letitia Magee Cust, a childhood friend from Derry.[12] . He wrote to her knowing she was still unmarried, warning her that she ‘may not find me at all what you imagine or be able to conceive what effects such a rough life may have had on me, both in appearance and in all other respects.'[13] Letitia agreed to undertake the long journey alone to Bobcaygeon. Upon her arrival she married Boyd and took control over house and children, eventually adding to the brood with three of her own, one of which died.[14] The Boyd children were provided with a thorough education. Mossom Martin attended school until age six-teen when his father decided that he was needed to help with the lumbering business. One of Boyd's other sons, William (W.T.C.) from his marriage with Letitia, was also inducted into the family business.[15] In 1880 an addition was built over the south wing of the Boyd home; these new rooms were for Boyd's private use during his illness.[16] Mossom Boyd died on the evening of July 24, 1883, and was buried in the Peterborough cemetery on July 27, 1883.[17]

[edit] Lumbering

Boyd was a very industrious worker, clearing all of his own land upon arrival in Verulam Township. After a few years Boyd began to realize that creating a productive farm was not as profitable as he initially thought, and the demand for surplus crops was minimal. As Boyd was a bachelor, he was an excellent candidate to mind Thomas Need's sawmill and store, on the site, which is now Bobcaygeon, while Need returned to England for business.[18] This provided Boyd with some cash, and opportunity for future advancement. Need increasingly relied on Boyd to look after his property and mill as he made more and more frequent trips to England. On March 15, 1843 Need began leasing ‘part of lot 15 in Concession X, Verulam, the mill reserve, with "gristmill, sawmill and tenement thereon", for a term of seven years,' costing £40 per annum to Boyd.[19] The same year as Boyd's marriage to Caroline (1844) Need received his inheritance, which enabled him to permanently return to England. Boyd's early introduction into the lumbering trade, and partnership with John Langton in 1849 allowed for much needed financial aid and advice. Langton writes about Boyd:

‘Boyd is an Irishman whose blood got an extra boiling by being born in India… Boyd is admirably adapted in many respects for the work he is at. When a raft is once started almost everything must yield to dispatch, and a restless being who can keep himself and everything that comes in contact with him in a state of excitement for two or three months at a time is just the man to drive a river." [20]

Unfortunately, owing to ill-health, Boyd and Langton's partnership did not last, and upon his recovery in 1851, Langton made a smooth transition from lumbering to politics.[21] On July 1, 1851, Need had a new lease contracted for 21 years with an annual rent of £15 a year for the first seven years, after five years Boyd would have the power to purchase for £500. By paying £100 a year Boyd was able to pay for the, roughly 8 acres (32,000 m2), and two mills by September 13, 1855.[22]

[edit] Quebec

The European market for white pine, oak, and elm offered great opportunities for Canadian Lumbermen. The Quebec City harbour was ideal for the lumber trade, with its gently sloping shore, and a very firm bottom. This allowed timbers and spars to be stocked on shore for shipment, and the incoming tide enabled them to be easily floated when necessary.[23] Local merchants were able to make a sizable profit from the space they rented in their coves for the logs, and rafts. At this point the logs would be measured, culled, and graded, as standardized by the Canadian government in 1808.[24] Driving the logs to Quebec was worth the time and effort, the American demand on Canadian timber forced competitive prices from Great Britain, keeping the price on the Quebec market high.[25] The superior quality of Boyd's pine logs gave Boyd a cutting edge in the vicious Quebec market. Boyd manned his first river driving expedition to Quebec City in 1848, with the help of a neighbour, Kelly.[26] Boyd was in need of some ready money, and he believed that he had gained the necessary skills to successfully make it to Quebec with the masts. He began his journey early in the spring, but the strong current caused by melting snow and heavy rainfall did not help their passage, and they did not reach Peterborough until July, three months after they began. At this point Kelly dropped out, but Boyd decided to stick it out, and although he did not reach Quebec until late in the season, he managed to sell all of the pine.[27] The following year, Boyd formed a partnership with John Langton and James Dunsford, but neither had the enthusiasm for the Quebec trade that Boyd did; both soon removed themselves from the business.[28] Langton remained involved with Boyd after he withdrew, often backing Boyd when his credit was low. After 1851 Boyd was on his own, facing many hardships during the years to come, but his determination outlasted his difficulties. Boyd was one of the last lumbermen to dabble in the Quebec market. Mossom Boyd continued, until the bitter end, to make the trip down to Quebec. He never tired of this journey mentioning that: ‘travelling on our own back lakes, one never tires of that.'[29]

[edit] Expansion

Around the 1850s Mossom Boyd realized the necessity of expanding his lumbering activities. He purchased Crown land ‘in the northern part of Verulam as well as in Somerville and Harvey townships.'[30] Boyd was able to clear these lands of their best pine, and later sell them to prospective settlers. These partially cleared lands were a more favourable purchase for the settlers, who often found clearing heavily forested areas too daunting a task. In the 1860s the Department of Crown lands began to realize the advantages of having land cleared before settlement commenced. The Crown auctioned rights to clear Snowdon, Glamorgan, and Monmouth townships, which Boyd was able to acquire.[31] The length of time these limits would remain available to Boyd was not guaranteed, so he was reluctant to expand without gaining a contract that would survive a minimum of ten years. The opportune moment came when The Canadian Land & Emigration Company decided to purchase the townships in 1861, in the area, which is now Haliburton. The Canadian Land and Emigration Company had very few families, less than eighty, move into the area they had purchased. They decided to sell one township to the lumbering company Thompson and Dodge, due to lack of interest, and poor land for farming.[32] The outright sale of the land angered member, C.R. Stewart, forcing him to resign, and to request his brother Hartley Stewart to intervene. ‘He advised that the company should get a reliable lumberman to harvest the large tress in the other nine townships in an orderly fashion.'[33] As it was primarily the Trent water system in this area, this contract was an excellent opportunity for Boyd to gain some capitol. Boyd was able to get the cutting rights on Canadian Land & Emigration Company Land for ten years. Boyd had expansive limits in Ottawa and Quebec, and by 1882 he had begun sending rangers to explore Nipissing, Manitoba, and Minnesota. A Gravenhurst firm cut the lumber from his land in Havelock, which was later, shipped into Buffalo.[34] At the time of his death, lumbering around northern Peterborough had come to a halt, as well as in Burnt River. His last timber raft went to Quebec in 1883.

[edit] Legacy

Mossom Boyd's humble beginnings in Bobcaygeon grew into unimagined success. The lumbering empire begun by Boyd was taken over by his two sons: Mossom Martin Boyd, and William Thornton Cust Boyd who expanded the empire, which lasted until the First World War. The Boyd family left a lasting legacy on the village of Bobcaygeon. 
Little Lake Cemetery
Peterborough County
Ontario, Canada
Plot: Section B
Created by: K
Record added: Jul 15, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 39483405
Mossom Martin Boyd
Added by: K
Mossom Martin Boyd
Added by: K
Mossom Martin Boyd
Added by: K
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