7004 Longwoods Road. Sponsored by Lonely Pine Consulting.
Magnificent stands of Eastern White Pine gave the Delaware area its early name, ‘the Pinery’. The tallest conifer in eastern Canada yielded soft pale wood of great value to the local economy and the developing United States. Many of the magnificent eastern white pine ended up as masts on the Royal Navy.
It was this pine forest and its proximity to the Thames River that attracted entrepreneurs to the area in the 1790s. With the arrival of waterpowered sawmills, the boom times began. In 1804, the Delaware mill was producing 3000 feet of lumber daily. Rafts of freshly sawn lumber were skillfully guided down the Thames, supplying the needs of Detroit. The raftsmen returned every 10 to 14 days, bringing supplies back to Delaware. Settlers turned the lumber into houses, barns and places of business.
In 1805, Detroit was devastated by fire and the lumberjacks journeyed upriver to Delaware to spend the winter making planks and shingles to rebuild Detroit. This was no easy life: felling huge trees, delivering the logs to the mill, milling them, and rafting the final products downriver. No wonder Delaware had the reputation of a rough and tumble community!
Settlers and the neighbouring Chippewa carved the pine logs into huge canoes. They were vital for the transportation of all goods, especially transporting grain to the mill for grinding into flour. The Chippewa used canoes to transport their valuable trade goods and corn to local settlers and neighbours downstream.
Pine Tree, written by Frances Kilbourne:
Source: Glenn Stott, TRACINGS; An account of the settlement of early Delaware.