Shanty, Forest and River Life.- 1884, Life in the backwoods of 1870’s Canada


Cat No.:   CA0244:

The title of this book actually continues, .. in the Backwoods of Canada and it was published in 1884, the year after the death of its author. The author seems to have had a preference for not mentioning names (at least not in full) so the book’s author credit is to “The author of Three Months Amongst the Moose.” It is clear however that the author was Joshua Fraser, a one time Presbyterian minister who lost his church standing through a fondness for alcohol.

This book is packed with reminiscences and anecdotes about backwoods life in the upper reaches of the Ottawa valley, then Upper Canada (now Ontario.) The main theme of the book is an examination of the life of the loggers engaged in harvesting timber in these un-populated backwoods but there are also plenty of excursions into other tales of the woods as well as several chapters about the spring “drive” to get the winters’ logs down to “Quebec.” In its time it would be an important text book for anyone (who could read) venturing into the backwoods. Today it provides a wonderful insight into the life of a “lumberman” working in the Ottawa river valley in a well defined period.

The author met an untimely death in a hotel fire in Sharbot Lake, Ontario, at the age of 25 years. Also the earliest reminiscence identified in the book took place when he was 12 years old, so that we can derive that all the events in the book were recounted, or occurred, in the span between 1870 and 1883, an unusually focused period of only 13 years.

The author’s reluctance to give names in full is unfortunate but from certain hints contained in the book, and given the limited time-span of his life, it seems certain that the identities of many of the people who he refers to by an initial, a nick-name or a given name and initial, can be found by a little determined detective work and some straightforward research.

We have made the book fully text searchable and enhanced the search with our FastFind technology although I would expect most readers to simply read the book for the pleasure of it. I say this because all the people who worked on making the reproduction of this book finished up reading it. Its stories are well told and it takes you back to a life we can only imagine now.

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No. of CDs is:  1 ;   Format is:  PDF ;   Searchable?:  YES;

FastFind:  YES;  ISBN No.:   1-897338-92-9;