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The lost craft of building stone walls

Dear Editor.

This is a request for information on some trades which were once plied in this region and have now disappeared: Stone wall builders and the makers of stoned-in wells.
There are some fine examples of the stone wall builders’ work remaining. Many still exist in the Green Lane region. I heard a logger tell of finding the remains of walls buried under forest litter on abandoned Irish pioneer farms on the Quebec side of the river. I have seen but have no pictures of two similar horse powered machines which were used to lift, carry. and off-load large rocks, and have first hand knowledge of stone boats. But for the walls to have been so accurately laid and completed, I feel there must have been builders who took on the job.

Similar with the well makers. Most of the old wells have been filled in now and replaced by drilled; but in my time I have seen some deep, beautifully stoned wells. It always amazed me how those builders could complete that task. Dig the hole and control water, while creating the enclosure designed to take pressure from the outside; all done with man-power, ingenuity, and a lot of pride.

If someone has information of any type on these craftsmen of old and would be willing to share, I would like to hear.
Contact can be made by emailing me at [email protected] or leave items at The Review offices at 76 Main Street East, with thanks to Louise Sproule.

Gordon Fraser,
Champlain Township

 

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