Calvin Company

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Type of entity

Corporate body

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Calvin Company

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Description area

Dates of existence



The Calvin Company of Garden Island, which operated under a variety of names from 1836 to 1914, was a family business created by Delano Dexter Calvin. In 1826, Calvin discovered there was more money to be made in the timber export business than in farming when, with the help of a neighbour, he cut square timber from his property and rafted it to Quebec. He and his partner, Hiram Cook, began rafting from Quebec Head at the foot of Wolfe Island and, in 1836, from Garden Island. The first Garden Island partnership was well established by 1838 and the firm was called Calvin, Cook and Counter, the latter being John Counter. In 1843 Counter withdrew from the partnership and the company became Calvin, Cook and Company with a seperate branch at Quebec under the name D.D. Calvin and Company. In 1843, Timothy H. Dunn joined the partnership at Quebec and the firm there was then known as Dunn, Calvin and Company until 1850 when Dunn withdrew and the Quebec name again became D.D. Calvin and Company. A third branch was established in Hamilton, called Hiram Cook and Company but, in 1854, Cook withdrew from the company, seperating the Hamilton branch which continued under the same name but independent of the Garden Island firm. The company also had agencies in Liverpool and Glasgow, and along the St. Lawrence waterway as far west as Defiance, Ohio and Sault Ste. Marie. In 1855 the Island firm became Calvin and Breck with the addition of Calvin's brother-in-law. The name continued until 1880 when Breck retired and the firm became Calvin and Son (D.D. and his son Hiram). After Calvin's death in 1886 the last change was made with the company's name becoming Calvin Company, Limited. The Quebec branch remained D.D. Calvin until 1887 when it became a branch office of the Calvin Company.

Although rafting was always the mainstay of the company's activities, other activities grew out of the rafting business. As early as 1841 the company had a shipyard, smiths' shops, and a sail loft and a planing mill, picket machine and withe machine followed. The Island was a self-contained community with company houses for the employees, a company general store, a school house and a hall. In 1861 it had a population of 761 and became an incorporated village. Hiram Calvin was reeve of Garden Island from 1884 to 1892, and member of parliament for the Countyof Frontenac in 1892. He was re-elected in 1900 and retired from politics in 1904. He died in 1932.


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Authority record identifier

CA QUA00646

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  • English



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  • Clipboard

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  • EAC

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