John Rudolphus Booth

John Rudolphus Booth

John Rudolphus Booth

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John Rudolphus Booth (April 5, 1827 – December 8, 1925) was a Canadian lumber and railway baron. He controlled logging rights for large tracts of forest land in central Ontario, and built a railway (the Canada Atlantic Railway from Ottawa through to Georgian Bay) to extract his logs; and from Ottawa through to Vermont to export lumber and grain to the United States and Europe.

Early life

J. R. Booth was born on a farm at Lowes near Waterloo (Shefford County) in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. His parents, John and Eleanor Rowley Booth, Irish immigrants, had a number of children (variously reported as 5, 6 and 8). J. R. Booth left the family farm at the age of 21 and got a job as a carpenter with the Central Vermont Railroad.Allan Bell, A Way to the West (Barrie, Ont.: privately published, 1991), p. 3.

In 1852 he married Rosalinda Cook and moved to the Ottawa valley. His first business venture was a machine shop in Hull, Quebec which later burned down. He then opened a successful shingle factory. Later he accumulated enough money to lease (then buy) a small sawmill near the Chaudière Falls. He established his own lumber company and won the contract to supply wood for the Parliament buildings at the new Canadian capital in Ottawa, Ontario, selected by Queen Victoria in 1858.

Harvesting timber from the upper Ottawa River and its tributaries, Booth expanded his timber limits into...
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