Tuesday, May 18, 2010


As we saw in the last post, my great great granduncle Hiram F. West
had abandoned farming in favor of operating a grist mill and a saw mill.
The images of the 1880 Federal Census Non-Population Schedules for
Maine at have provided me with a snapshot of Hiram's
two businesses that show him to be successful. Both mills were located
on the Cambridge River in Upton, Oxford, Maine, probably close-by
each other.

The saw-mill was the more profitable operation, especially when you
consider that it only operated full-time for five months. This probably
was due to a combination of winter weather(this was Maine, after all)
and harvest season when more time would be spent at the grist mill.
During those five months, Hiram employed five workers, the three who
boarded with him, another adult male and one "child or youth". I'm just
speculating here but those latter two could have been his brother Asa
and Hiram's ten year old son Hiram W. West.

Another fact revealed on this schedule is that half of the logs that went
through the saw mill had been cut by Hiram and his crew within the
boundaries of Upton. From visits over the years, I can tell you there's
still plenty of timber up there today!

So here's my transcription of the 1880 Federal Special Schedules of 
Manufactures-Nos 5 and 6 Lumber Mills and Saw-Mills --Brick Yards 
and Tile Works for Hanover and Upton:

Name of Corporation, Company, or Individual producing to value of $500 annually:
Hiram F. West

Capital(real or personal) invested in the business:3000
Greatest number of hands employed at any one time during the year:5
Average Number of Hands Employed:5
Males above 16 years: 4
Females above 15 years:
Children and Youth: 1

Wages and Hours of Labor :
Number of Hrs. In Your Ordinary Day of Labor:
May to Novemb'r: 12
Novemb'r to May: 10
Average day's wages for a skilled mechanic: 1.50
Average day's wages for an ordinary laborer: 1.00
Total amount paid in wages during year: 200(dollars)

Months in Operation:
On full time:5
On three-quarter time only:
On half time only:1
Idle time:6
Number of gangs: 1
Number of saws in gangs: 3
Number of circular saws:1
Number of muley saws: 1
Number of band-saws:

Value of logs: 2710
Value of mill supplies: 75
Total value of all materials (including value of logs): 2785

Proper Saw Mill Products:
Number of thousand feet of lumber: 325
Number of thousand laths:
Number of thousand shingles: 200
Number of thousand staves:
Number of thousand sets of headings:
Number of thousand feet of bobbin and spool stock:
Total value of all products heretofore named:
Total value of all other products: 3500

Do you remanufacture any sashes, doors, blinds, frames,
portion of your own cut into clapboards {Yes or No}: Yes
If so, give total value of such manufactures: 100
Give average number of hands employed in such remanufacture: 1

From what region do you procure your logs? :Upton
Do you do your own logging? {Yes or No} : Yes
If so, what proportion of your logs do you bring in?: One half
Do you ship your product in your own vessels? {Yes or No} : No

Power Used in Manufacture:
If Water-Power Is Used:
On what river or stream? (see note below): Cambridge River
Height of fall, in feet: 14
Wheels: 2
Kind: 1 Bradbury 1 Center Vent
Breadth,in feet: 4
Revolutions per minute:100
If Steam-Power Is Used:
Number of Bellows:
Number of Engines:

Next, we'll pay a return visit to Asa West's farm.

1 comment:

A rootdigger said...

Wow good job. I think I dont pay good enough attention to occupation.