Saturday, October 09, 2010


In the final installment of excerpts from a 1975 interview, GrandUncle
Clarence recalls more about his life as a logger in Oxford County, Maine.

Thanks once again to Alan Johnson for sharing this interview with me.
Alan is working on a book about the region in Maine my West ancestors
come from, entitled "Another Day in Paradise: History and Memories
of the Magalloway Settlements"
. I look forward to reading it when it's

A note here: part of this deals with how Clarence lost two fingers so
be warned:

“When I was 17 they wanted me to roll logs on the carriage and I 
did that all summer long. I loved it.

The next year I went to Stratford to haul logs for George Van Dyke, 

a lumber tycoon with the Connecticut Valley Lumber Co., and 
Holyoke Lumber Co., Holyoke, Mass. That was in the days before 
there were very many cars and Van Dyke used to ride around in 
one driven by a chauffeur. The chauffer drove him onto a high 
ledge over the dam so he could oversee the operation. The 
chauffer must have let the car out of gear because it rolled 
over the cliff and that was the end of both of them. I was just 
upriver working
“The equipment we used was capable of hauling 40 foot logs and 

about 7,000 feet of lumber a load. Our runners were hard wood, 
seven inches by nine and the roll was seven feet long. The bunks 
were 12” by 12” of hard wood and the rockers were 12 feet long. 
I’ve loaded many of them. Mister, drove many of them too.

Several times we hauled over the ice and lookout when she starts

to go under you. Just haul a chain around the horses’ collars and 
get them out. Let the sledge go. That happened more than once, 
I’ll tell you. But, many a driver could tell you that.
I remember the time I was monkeying around trying to make an
adjustment under the mill and hadn’t bothered to shut it off. Well,

she snipped off two of my fingers.

I come out from under her and went down to the doctor. He said 

he couldn’t help me, to go to the hospital. Well, I remember I 
hadn’t filed my report, so I come back here and wrote out my 
dam report.

After and hour or so I got it filed and I posted it, then my friend 

started to the hospital with me. I had my hand in a raincoat and it 
was filled with blood dripping onto the floor of the car. I said to 
my friend, ‘I think I’m going to take a little snooze,’ and then 
keeled right over.

They got me to Dr. Paul Brinkman and he fixed me up lovely.”
I’ve been a lumberjack, teamster, truck driver, mechanic and river

driver and dam tender. I’ve been here at this dam since 1924 tending 
it and next month they’re shipping me out. I might add that I don’t 
like that a bit.

What am I going to do? I’ll probably get my old sawmill into 

operation and saw some lumber.”


1 comment:

Les said...

Thanks so much for this series, I loved it! It brought us close to another time.