Harvesting trees must be done where the trees grow and from where they can be transported to mills. Therefore we will look at logging in a greater area, but understanding men often traveled to other places in winter for employment.
According to the Calais Advertiser of September 6 and 20, 1860 as quoted by Harold Davis in An International Community on the St. Croix, “… Crawford, Cooper, Baileyville and Alexander were towns where farming took up four months, logging took up four months, and loafing around … the remainder of the year. The towns were cursed with enough timber to destroy thrifty farming, yet not enough to make prosperous lumbering. Young men grew up with an axe and pick pole in hand, and after trying the sociability of working in large crews, or on the rivers driving logs had no relish for picking up stones alone on a ten acre lot….”
This statement was true of all interior Washington County, even Hancock County. The land was and still is rocky. Farming in the nineteenth century did not produce much, if any, cash income. Logging did pay cash and the economy was changing from barter to cash. Cash also could buy a ticket out of here, to the pinewoods of the Middle West where the farms were quite rock free.
Twenty years later things had not changed much. The farms were still rocky and were just at the beginning of the era of cash production. These cash crops were cream (for butter), eggs, and apples, all shipped to city markets. In the woods, the big pine was running out, but spruce was becoming king.
The following quotes give a picture of the activity. But, they don’t mention the crews that went on ahead and built the camps and hovels, they don’t tell about all the leather boots and harnesses used, We won’t learn about all the food the men and animals ate and the job of getting that food to the woods camps. The cooks and cookees remain uncounted and unnamed. The choppers and teamsters are counted but are unnamed. We will learn about crew sizes, the number of men compared to draught animals, the number of horses compared to oxen. And with the help of a map, we can figure where the logging operations took place.
QUOTES FROM THE MACHIAS UNION COPIED BY AUSTIN GRAY
Thanks, Austin, for all the copying, and for sharing your work with all of us. jd
January 30, 1883
ON MACHIAS WATERS ~ The following are the principal operators on the river:
Township No. 36; C. B. Albee with 7 horses, 4 oxen, and 15 men; John R. Geary with 4 horses, 2 oxen, and 12 men; Harrison Smith with 6 horses, 6 oxen, and 14 men; John Perry with 5 horses, 2 oxen, 12 men; Thomas McReavey with 4 horses, 4 oxen, and 12 men; Leverett Albee with 2 horses, 2 oxen, and 9 men; Wm. Kilton with 5 horses and 10 men; and Gilbert Smith with 6 horses, 4 oxen, and 14 men.
Township No. 43; Stephen Smith with 2 horses, 2 oxen, and 10 men.
Township No. 37; G. L. Harmon with 8 horses, 4 oxen, and 18 men; Leonard and Ellis smith with 4 oxen and 9 men.
Township No. 42; Wm. McReavey with 4 horses, 4 oxen, and 14 men; Morris & Sullivan with 2 horses, 4 oxen, and 12 men; C. Sullivan with 4 horses, 2 oxen, and 10 men; and V. Dunning & Co. with 6 horses and 10 men.
Township No. 31; H. T. Gardner with 8 horses, and 15 men; Day & Co. 2 horses , and 8 men.
Township No. 30; Isaac Heaton with 5 horses and 10 men; Isaac Albee with 2 Horses, 2 oxen, and 10 men; Andrew Bridgham with 4 horses and 10 men; Isaac Leighton with 4 horses and 9 men; Otis Foss with 2 Horses, 2 oxen, and 10 men; and A. W. Bowker with 4 horses, 4 oxen, and 14 men.
Township No. 35; Wm. Albee with 3 horses, 2 oxen, and 10 men; Josiah Kilton with 2 horses, 2 oxen, and 10 men; James McLean with 6 horses, 4 oxen, and 16 men; Thomas McReavey with 4 horses and 10 men.
Township No. 4; James McReavey with 6 horses, 4 oxen, and 15 men; Robert McReavey, Jr. with 6 horses, 4 oxen, and 15 men.
Township No. 24; Charles Hadley with 4 horses and 10 men; John Heyward with 6 horses and 12 men; Hugh Dougherty with 2 oxen and 7 men; Hillman Allen & Sons with 2 horses, 2 oxen, and 10 men.
Township No. 25; L. S. & Zina Bridgham with 4 horses and 10 men; C. Bridghan & H. Palmer with 2 horses and 8 men; Frank McLaughlin with 5 horses and 12 men.
Township No. 24 on Maine River; W. H. Foss with 2 horses, 2 oxen, and 10 men; Charles Calor with 4 oxen and 10 men; Wm. Smith with 2 horses, 2 oxen, and 8 men.
The foregoing is substantially correct. A slight difference may exist in some crews but not enough to change the result. Whole numbers of men: 440; horses and oxen: 235. In addition about 100 men and 25 horses and oxen are employed drawing wood and timber to the mills at Machias, Marshfield, and Whitneyville.
Locations of Townships and Airline Road ( Rt. 9)
ON THE NARRAGUAGUS ~ The Courier gives the following teams on the river this winter.
G. R. Campbell & Co. have in their employ the present winter eight teams as follows; Ray & Adams with 20 men, 8 horses and 8 oxen; Thadeus Dunbar with 15 men, 6 horses, and 4 oxen; J. B. Allen & Co. 12 men, 5 horses, and 4 oxen; H. W. Flynn with 8 men, 4 horses, and 4 oxen; John & Seth Shoppie with 6 men, 2 horses , and 4 oxen; W. C. Farnsworth with 7 men, 3 horses, and 2 oxen; J. H. Farnsworth & Sons with 10 men, 3 horses, and 4 oxen; Davis & McLane with 8 men, 3 horses, and 2 oxen; C. & D. Schoppie with 8 men, 3 horses, and 4 oxen.
J. W. Coffin & Co. have six teams as follows: John Monohan, Sr. with 21 men, 6 horses, and 6 oxen; D. & H. Longfellow with 16 men, 4 horses, and 4 oxen; Bantlette & Sproul with 15 men, 4 horses, and 6 oxen; Charles E. Tucker with 14 men, 6 horses, and 4 oxen; John Monohan, 2nd with 11 men, 2 horses, and 4 oxen; Wm. F. Schoppie with 9 men, 3 horses, and 4 oxen.
C. P Nickles has four teams as follows: Joseph Schoppie & Co. with 7 men and 4 oxen; Leighton & Torrey with 6 men, 2 horses, and 2 oxen; H. B. Willey with 10 men, 2 horses, and 4 oxen; A. B. Willey with 10 men, 2 horses, and 2 oxen.
The grand total of the above is 221
men, 70 horses, and 76 oxen. The intended cut was less than that of
last winter, and a smaller force is employed; but should the weather
continue favorable, the cut will equal or exceed last years.
LOGGING ON WHITING WATERS ~
Stephens & Smith have four teams; Ira K Ackley with 11 men, 6 horses, and 2 oxen at Rocky Lake; Jones & McFadden with 6 men and 6 oxen at Little lake; W. I. Crane with 9 men, 4 horses, and 2 oxen at Tide Mill; J. & J. McCurdy with 4 men and 4 oxen. They employ about 15 men, 9 horses and oxen on miscellaneous rift. The Tide Mill is turning out about 4000 long lumber and 10,000 laths per day.
W. S. Peavey has one team of 6 men and 4 oxen on lumber and one or more teams on spool wood.
G. & J. Bell have one team, 2 men and 2 oxen. Their mill is fully stocked for next season.
G. A. & N. Hall have two teams, by self with 5 men, 1 horse, and 2 oxen; D. F. Gardiner with 9 men and 5 horses.
N. & J. Hall have one team with 9 men and 3 horses.
The Messrs. Hall will put in about 700,000 long lumber, full stock for this year. Probably a dozen more teams are hauling miscellaneous rift to their different mills. Men are scarce and business is curtailed on that account.
Owing to the excessive drought, Mr. Geo. L. Bucknam has not been able to run his mill this winter. This is a winter mill only. None of the mills on these waters have run a clip this winter, a thing never known to occur before.
March 6, 1883
A VISIT TO A LOGGING CAMP
“Recently Rev. T. F. White of Ellsworth spent a night in a lumbermen’s camp far from the Union River. In a letter he says: The lumbermen’s life of today is not what it was a few years ago. The old camp with its covering of rifted slabs, its immense fire in the center, its square hole in the top for the chimney, is fast becoming a thing of the past. Now it is walls of hewn logs, a boarded and shingled roof, a tight floor of sawed or hewn timber, a cookstove, and an airtight. The Deacon’s seat remains, but the table has come to share its once double duties, “pork fat and molasses!” What memories ! Now it is the best products of the dairy and orchard, while yeast bread, canned beef, baked beans, mince pies, fish or meat hash, doughnuts and cookies are conspicuous in the bill of fare. To one thing, however, the woodsman must have bidden good-bye with regret.
“In the baked bean
department, Mr. G. W. Crabtree is a master, but it is the stove
against the hole in the ground. The result is an inferior product,
just why may not be plain, but the bean pot of the old regime
surpasses by large odds in odor and flavor that of today.
“There have been changes in the crew. Think of a man solemnly resolving in November not to wash himself till the middle of next March! Yet not twenty years ago men did that, even on a burnt township, from the first day of the season to the last, soap and water and a towel were seripticilously discarded, only the ends of the fingers from which the fat and molasses had been licked as a sweet morsel, gave any indication of the original complexion.
“The etiquette of the camp is easy. An ordinarily bright man can master it in a few lessons. Greenness in new recruits is readily condoned by the veterans, but there is one rule at the table that is like the laws of the metes and pensions which alloweth not no penance. No prayers can procure forgiveness for a man who asks for sugar.
“When a new man arrives it is devoutly hoped by the crew that he does not snore, but even this is a slight offence compared with calling for your neighbor to pass the sugar. When the molasses is passed use the spoon that you find in the bowl. There are no restrictions as to quantity; take as much as will suit your taste, but put the spoon back into the bowl after stirring the molasses into your tea.”
And on the Dennys River shed: The Dennysville Lumber Company has 26 crews of men and 65 horses in the woods at various camps during the 1899 -–1900 season.” Likely some of these camps were in #14 and in Cooper. DLC also cut wood in Alexander on lots adjoining Meddybemps Lake.
And on the Dennys River shed: The Dennysville Lumber Company has 26 crews of men and 65 horses in the woods at various camps during the 1899 -–1900 season.” Likely some of these camps were in #14 and in Cooper. DLC also cut wood
The following scenes were taken about 1900 at a logging operation at East Musquash Lake in Topsfield. Louis W. Eaton of Calais operated under the name of Eaton Land Company and owned considerable acreage north of Princeton, both in Maine and New Brunswick. Likely spruce was being cut here and would be driven down East Branch Musquash Stream to Big Lake and down the St. Croix River to the mills at Milltown. A couple of those mills may have belonged to H. F. Eaton.
When the paper mill started
running in Woodland, most of the pine lumber and spruce lumber barons sold their
land to the mill owners. Louis Eaton then purchased large blocks of woodland
along the Big Black River in northern Maine and Quebec. Louis authored two books
that might interest those interested in the history of logging: Pork,
Molasses and Timber and Salt Water, Fresh Water and Fire Water.
The horses in the top right picture are hitched to a watering tank. It spread water on the sled roads that froze. This aided in moving logs by sleds from the woods to the ice on the lake.