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 the

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 published!

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.”

((Originally published at "West in New England" 9Oct 2010))

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