By Jean-François Beaulieu

In 1995 I prepared an article/ report on tobacco pipes found in Cumberland Township 20 years ago. The area was part of the Foubert trading post on lot 14 concession 1, founded in 1807. This was known as Foubert landing. Mr. Foubert came from a family of fur traders. He is the founder of Cumberland village. Some claim it was a Hudson Bay company trading post site, others say he was an independent trader. I gave the artefacts to the Cumberland Heritage village heritage museum.

Historical aspect:

Tobacco smoking, an old Indian tradition, was imported to Europe from North America in the 1500’s. It became a fashionable trend to smoke a pipe. So, pipe making was started in various countries such as England, The Netherlands, France, Germany, Switzerland, Scandinavia, finally reaching the United States and Canada. Glasgow was at the time an internationally renowned company of Scotland. There was a variety of material used in making the pipes such as wood, porcelain, clay and plaster. Each country developed its own designs. In Europe, where workshops first appeared, clay was found locally or imported. The early pipes were handmade but later they were made in moulds and fired in kilns. The companies used a stamp or a roulette to print their name on the pipe stems. So most of the pipes were mass produced while others showed an artistic touch.

During the second half of the nineteenth century, Montréal was considered the major centre in Canada in the pipe making business. Many companies were established in Montréal with several bearing the name “Henderson”.

The development of this new industry seems to have resulted from the coming of Irish immigrants to Montreal following the 1845 Great Famine and the following ones in 1846 and 1847. As mentioned by Walker:

“… The reason for this seems most likely to be that Montreal had little if any prior history of pipe making and that Irish immigrants were forced to make their own pipes. The first pipe maker recorded, a William Henderson, was said to have used a local clay, but at a later date English pipeclay was certainly imported by at least one business, that of Henderson and Lovelace which was the successor of one of the Henderson pipemaking firms.” (I. Walker, 1977, 355).

This company was known as The William Henderson Pipemaking Co. which was later bought out by the W.H. Dixon Pipemaking Company of Montreal in 1867. The Dixon company kept the Henderson name. This same company was also known as Canada Pipe Works Co. in the 1870’s. (Walker, 1977, 359). The company won several awards for its products. It closed in 1894. New research done by R.H. Smith in 1986 confirms the existence of another pipe company, the Henderson Pipe Works between 1846 and 1876.(Arthurs, 1995, 31).

An 1847 map indicates that a Mr. James Henderson had properties in Montreal near Lafontaine and Ontario Streets. In 1851, he started a pipe making company. By 1856, 100 people worked at this company. It produced annually 15,000 boxes of pipes which was eventually extended to 25,000. This company was later known as Henderson and Son. Their products were known as” Henderson’s Tobacco Pipes” and also as ” Henderson’s” in order to differentiate their products from the others bearing the name “Henderson”. This company was the most important one. Mr. James M. Henderson’s social status in Montreal is described by Walker:

” In dealing with the Glasgow industry it was noted that the owners of some of the biggest firms appeared able to afford houses in fashionable areas, and there is one example of something similar in Montreal involving one of the Henderson pipemakers. Already noted there were several Henderson pipemakers, and the distribution of Henderson-marked pipes suggests that one or more of these firms had a far more important business than the other Montreal makers. The firm has been that of James M. Henderson, who latterly associated in the business with his son “of the same name; one of these James M. Hendersons was also associated with an E.M. Lovelace in a firm which imported pipeclay from England…”
(Walker, 1977, 357)

In 1875, there were 18 pipemakers in Montreal. Most pipemakers were located on Colborne Avenue in Montreal, renamed De Lorimier Avenue in 1886. Mr. James M. Henderson lived beside his factory. Later, he moved further away on the same street, at 296 where he lived from 1866 to 1872, while his factory remained at 114 Colborne Avenue. In the 1879 Hopkins Atlas, James M. Henderson is mentionned as having a large property listed midway between Lafontaine and Ontario Streets.(Walker, 1977, 358)

Walker notes though that with the exception of the few big companies such as the James Henderson Company a large part of the industry was to be found amongst family businesses:

” … Occasional evidence for the C19 – for example in Glasgow and one case in Montreal – suggests that proprietors of large firms could live in residential districts or fashionable country areas, but this is the exception rather than the rule, for though there were large firms operating last century it is likely that most pipemakers worked in essentially family business and home industry. This probably explains why a number of pipemakers – and nearly all of those in Montreal – were able to move premises repeatedly and still stay in business: essentially they were moving a work-bench or two and a chest full of tools, and certainly in some cases the kiln used was so primitive that it was partially rebuilt for each firing and thus could be abandoned with minimal loss…”
(Walker 1977:391)

The Montreal pipe industry eventually declined. The author Walker mentions,

“… The introduction of the Brier pipes and the cigarette (the American cigarette industry becoming mechanized in 1880 ) must have contributed to the decline of Montreal industry…”
( Walker, 1977, 358)

The last Montreal pipe company closed in 1908.

Location of the finds:

The artifacts brought to my attention were discovered on a property where once nearby stood a Hudson Bay Company trading post. As you know this post was owned by Mr. Amable Foubert on a lot #14 bought from the Dunnings in 1807. ” The old long house which served as trading post burned in 1900.” (Dunning, 1947, p .8) The Hudson Bay Company used a different manufacturer than the Henderson pipes.”…East London pipes were used by the Hudson’s Bay Company in North America last century and pipes from the same manufacturers appear to have reached Ghana, Ascension Island, and Australia.” (Walker 1977: 392) New archaeological evidence indicate that the Hudson Bay Company also sold the ” Henderson” pipes as some were found during the 1984 to 1986 archaeological excavation by S. Hamilton ,B. Hamilton, A.E. Glidon and C.F. Ritchie at the site of the Red Rock House, a Fur trade post built by the Hudson Bay Company near the Nipigon River in 1859 and used until 1890.( David Arthurs 1995, 25) ” Henderson’s” pipes found at the Cumberland site could have been bought from the Hudson Bay Company trading post or from one of the many general stores such as Cameron’s, the Wilson’s or the Dunning stores in Cumberland or from somewhere else.

The pipes packed in wooden boxes with straws were shipped by the manufacturer using one of the Steamship Companies of the time such as the Ottawa and Montreal Forwarding Co., The Ottawa and Rideau Forwarding Co., The Ottawa Steamboat Co. The Ottawa Steamers which became the ORN (The Ottawa River Navigation Co.), The Ottawa Forwarding Co., The Ottawa Transport and others. They were active from the 1830’s to the 1940’s and carried people and freight along the Ottawa River. These ships did daily trips from Ottawa to Montreal. Most of these ships stopped at the McLeod and later at the Cameron and Wilson wharfs located in Cumberland in the second half of the nineteenth century. (Beaulieu, 1996, p. 46)

The Tobacco pipes were used by all social strata including : soldiers, voyageurs, men, women and even children. This is shown by many pipes found on archaeological digs.

In 1968, the archaeological report from Fort Ingall near Cabano reveals the presence of some complete pipes of Henderson’s Pipes amongst the finds dating from the years 1860 – 1861. (Gilles Samson et al. 1969) Also, in 1971, several Henderson’s pipes were found at archaeological excavations done at Fort Lennox and at Fort Coteau du Lac. (Walker, 1977, 359)

More examples of the Henderson’s pipes were found on different digs such as the ones at Fort Laramie (1834-1890) and Fetterman (1867-1882) in the United States. The two sites were dug by R.L. Wilson in 1971. (David Arthurs 1995 : 25-33)

In 1968, an archaeological report from Fort Wellington, a National Park reveals that 17 examples of Henderson pipes were found. ( Walker 1977: 359)

The pipe fragments:

The pipe bowl fragment measuring 2.4 cm X 4 cm found on lot # 14, Concession 1, Cumberland Township, represents a male figure. The stem of the pipe bowl is missing.

One of the two pipe stem fragments measuring 5.5 cm X .9 cm clearly indicates on one side “Henderson’s” and on the other side “Montreal “. The other stem fragment measuring 2.9 cm X .9 cm shows ” Hende…”and “…real” the missing words seem to indicate that they were made by the same Henderson’s company.

The fourth artifact found on the property is a small brownish artefact of 2.5 cm X. 6 cm; it is possibly a section of a mouthpiece of a pipe. It could also be a tubular trade bead. They were used by the Hudson Bay Co for trading with the natives.


As for the pipe bowl found on the property it bears no identification of its manufacturer. It could come from another pipe. So it is impossible to determine is provenance.

As for the stem fragments found on the property, they were made by the Henderson’s Co. pipes of Montreal. which operated between the 1840’s and 1880’s.

The small brownish artifact bears no identification and one can guess that it was possibly a section of a mouthpiece of a pipe or a tubular trade bead.

Reference cited:
  • Arthurs, David, Late 19th Century Clay Pipes from Red Rock House, Arch Notes OAS, March 1995 95 p. 25-33)
  • Beaulieu ,J.F., Ancient wharfs in the United Counties of Prescott- Russell, 56 pages, 1996
  • Dunning, M., Tweedsmuir History of Cumberland, the Woman Institute of Cumberland, p.8, 1947
  • Oswald, Adrian Clay Pipes for the Archaeologist, British Archaeological Reports 14,Oxford, 1975
  • Samson, Gilles et al. Fouilles Archéologique Fort Ingall Lac Temiscouata Cabano, 1968

Editor’s comments

Recent research in 2016 and 2017 with regards to Cumberland Township history indicates that some of the facts with regards to property and trading posts that were accepted in 1995 have since been questioned.

Antoine Amable Foubert’s father, Gabriel Foubert, was a fur trader, a merchant and a lumberer at different times in his life. We are still not sure if Antoine Amable actually ran a post in Cumberland. We do know that he was promised lot 14, Concession 1 (Old Survey) in 1811 by the then owner, Alexander McKindlay of Montreal. The legal documents of sale followed later, in the 1820’s. The Hudson’s Bay Company did not control the fur trade along the Ottawa River until it amalgamated with the North West company in 1821. Finally, Antoine Amable Foubert and his wife Matilda Dunning were amongst the earliest founding members of what later became Cumberland Village.

Gérard Boyer

  • Reply

    Gregory Barr

    08 06 2020

    I found a part of a Henderson clay pipe stem in a river park in Hawkesbury Ontario.
    (June 8, 2020) Gregory Barr

    • Reply

      Kimberly Ann Hill

      29 04 2021

      Hello yesterday I was out and found and old place where a hose must be burned. I found tons of antique glass and I think I found a mostly whole Henderson clay pipe with only maybe a bit of the stem missing. I would love to send some pics

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