AUMOND (Aumon), JOSEPH-IGNACE, lumber merchant; b. 21 March 1810 in L’Assomption, L.C., son of Ignace Aumon and Euphrosine Robichaud; m. Jane Gumming, 21 April 1833, by whom he had five sons and three daughters; d. 9 Nov. 1879, in Ottawa, Ont.
Joseph-Ignace Aumond went to Montreal as a clerk in the store of J. D. Bernard after having attended local schools. He then moved to the site of Bytown (Ottawa) as a storekeeper in a store opened by Bernard. A few years later he set up a general store of his own in Bytown.
Aumond entered the Ottawa valley timber trade about 1830. Within a few years he was a major figure in this trade, and in 1844 sent about 40 rafts annually to Quebec, representing nearly 2,000,000 feet of timber. He employed as many as 1,000 men and did business of more than £100,000 a year. The areas he exploited, mainly on his own account but also in conjunction with John Egan*, were along the upper Ottawa River and its tributaries. He held licences for cutting timber along the Madawaska, Petawawa, and Gatineau rivers, and in 1849 he acquired timber limits as distant from Bytown as Lake Timiskaming.
Although Aumond’s business was damaged in the late 1840s by the removal of imperial preference, he remained one of the most important producers in the Ottawa valley and constructed in these years one of the largest steam sawmills in Canada. Yet by the mid-1850s he was in severe financial difficulties, and claimed to have lost £40,000 and to have been “all but ruined.” However, he continued in the lumber trade, on a much smaller scale, until his death and saw his son Charles established in it at Ottawa.
Aumond played a prominent part in advancing the interests of the Ottawa valley lumber trade and its focal point of Bytown. He was a member of the Ottawa Valley Lumber Association when it was formed in 1836, and two years later he was promoting the construction of an iron suspension bridge across the Ottawa. In 1846, Aumond and Egan purchased two steamers at £10,000 from John Molson* of Montreal, one to ply Lake Deschênes, east of the Chats falls, and the other Lac des Chats, west of the falls, on the Ottawa River. The two routes were linked by a horse-drawn railway constructed by Aumond, Egan, and Ruggles Wright.
Aumond was the first president of the Bytown and Montreal Telegraph Company in 1849, and was director (Egan was president) of the Bytown and Aylmer Union Turnpike Company which completed the road between the two towns in 1850. He participated in the formation of the Bytown and Prescott Railway (later the St Lawrence and Ottawa) in 1851 and was on the first board of directors. He was also a trustee of the Consumers Gas Company formed in 1854, and a member of the first board of directors of the City Passenger Horse Railway in 1866.
As one of the principal industrialists in the community, Aumond participated actively in Ottawa’s civic life. He was one of the organizers of the first regular fire company in Bytown in 1838, was on the first board of school trustees in 1842, and was appointed to the original Board of Health in 1847. He was also prominent in the Mechanics’ Institute and the Board of Trade, as well as the Ottawa Association of Lumber Manufacturers. In 1874 he was persuaded to run along with J. M. Currier* in Ottawa City, a two member riding, as a Conservative supporting Sir John A. Macdonald*, but he was defeated. He had been appointed major in the 4th Battalion of Carleton militia in 1847, but was dismissed in 1850 after his name appeared, without his knowledge, on the Annexation Manifesto. He was reinstated as a major in 1856, and promoted lieutenant-colonel later that year and colonel in 1869.
The “reverses of fortune” which Aumond suffered in his long career only made it representative of the careers of many other early lumbermen in the Ottawa valley. His standing in the trade made him one of the “lumber kings,” and his activities in the development of Ottawa entitle him to be called one of the area’s most important founders.
PAC, MG 24, D8 (Wright papers), 12155, 12412, 12465, 17340–41, 17351; 19 (Hill collection), 8572–73, 8707; MG 30, D62 (Audet papers), 2, pp. 768–829. Ottawa Citizen, January 1874, 10 Nov. 1879. Ottawa Free Press, 25 Oct. 1878. Packet (Bytown), 1846–51. Canada, Province of, Legislative Assembly, Journals, 1844–45, app. O.O., “Report of the select committee to which were referred the petition of John P. Waterston and others . . . and various other petitions, for amendments to the lumber act . . .”; 1849, app. P.P.P.P., “First report of the select committee on the lumber trade”; 1850, app. P.P., “Return to an address of the Legislative Assembly . . . regarding the setting apart of a tract of land in the valley of the river Gatineau for the use of certain Indians.” [W. S. Hunter], Hunter’s Ottawa scenery, in the vicinity of Ottawa city, Canada West (Ottawa, 1855), 12–17. Dom. ann. reg., 1879, 383. A. H. D. Ross, Ottawa, past and present (Toronto, 1927), 49, 82, 99, 139, 155–56.