Henry Usborne in Canada.                                                  
On the death of his uncle in 1840 (possibly before) young Henry became head of the family firm of timber importers.
His uncle Henry (1778-1840) had been the first English timber merchant to set up in Quebec in 1801. Trading as Usborne & Co., he was in partnership with young Henry's father John. They had a hugely successful business supplying oak and masts to the Navy thanks to the demands generated by the Napoleonic war.  Following an education at Eton and Balliol (Oxford) young Henry joined the family firm in Quebec City.  
Accessible stands of timber on the St Lawrence River were running out and the Usbornes had to seek new sources further up river.  They settled on the embryonic village of Portage du Fort on the Ottawa river which had convenient steam-boat access. There they bought a square mile of land on which was a failed saw-mill and potash enterprise. Henry had bought “timber limits” nearby on the Coulogne river. He built a three-storey depot on the river bank overlooking the Chenaux falls as a warehouse and administrative centre for the lumber enterprise. Between 1855 and 1860 Portage became Pontiac county’s first seat of Government. In 1869 a dispute arose and Henry made it clear that, if, following municipal elections, certain political decisions were made against his wishes he would sell up and leave Portage.  The vote went against him.  He sold most of his land to his cousin George who was struggling to recover from bankruptcy and decided to move across the river to a settlement called Braeside where, in partnership with his cousin Jack, he built a new sawmill.  Transport was the key to success in the timber industry.  By 1866 the Brockville and Ottawa railway had got as far as Sand Point, three miles up-stream from Braeside.  In 1869 Henry bought land, selling it on to the railway company so that rail transport could reach his new saw-mill. He built a substantial house half a mile up the hill with outstanding views of the river and Quebec in the distance.  Henry was over sixty years old, combining his entrepreneurial timber interests with a full time job as a country vicar near Southampton.  After two years (around 1873) he sold the timber mill to Asa Belknap Foster, manager of the railway company and returned to England.

What other people thought of the family:                        

"The Usbornes of Quebec, a family of venerable standing, brought prestige and progress to the country”. 
“At Portage du Fort (in the 1840’s) generally there was a ball given once a year and in those early times we came from far and near to meet our friends, really the only times we met them.  I was at a wedding given by the Usborne officials to one of their employees at the Usborne residence at which we enjoyed ourselves hugely.  We were entertained most magnificently and after a sumptuous repast, we tripped the light fantastic.”


One of Henry's log-camp buildings


The Usborne house at Braeside.
Built 1868


Henry's sawmill,  burned 1910.


Usborne St. named after Henry?


More logging photos