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Collections - MF 003 Argyle Boom Collection

Number of Interviews: 29
Dates when interviews were conducted: 1973, 1975
Time period covered: ca. 1900-1930
Principal interviewers: Susan Tibbetts, Ralph Cook, Mary Beth O’Connor, Dusty Carr, Mark LaFond, Kenneth Whitney, Edward D. “Sandy” Ives, Lucinda Lamb, Elizabeth Warner, Jack Beard, Ann Pierter, Bessie Dam
Finding Aides: brief indexes and full transcripts
Access Restrictions: none

Description: The Argyle Boom Collection consists of approximately seventy-five hours of tape-recorded interviews in twenty-nine accessions, most of which reflect interviews conducted by students in classes taught by Edward D. “Sandy” Ives at the University of Maine in 1973 and 1975. Argyle Boom was one of several locations at which logs that had been cut upriver and floated or “driven” down the Penobscot River were sorted before being sent on to the lumber mills in Old Town, Orono, Veazie, Bangor, and Brewer, Maine, from approximately 1900 to 1930. These interviews, along with associated photographs, maps, and diagrams, were the basis for “Argyle Boom” (Northeast Folklore, XVII:1976). Under Ives’ direction, the students consulted existing manuscript sources, sought out potential informants who had worked on the boom, conducted interviews, and wrote essays on various aspects of boom construction and operation and the daily lives of the workers. Ives then edited and rewrote these essays for publication. For more information see “Argyle Boom.”

780 Tibbetts, Susan & Ralph Cook. (FO 107 & AY 125) Fall 1973 & 1975. Maine: Orono (UMO Lambda Chi Alpha house). 171 pp. Tape: 4 hrs. w/ brief cat. & trans. Interviews with Leon Bussell conducted by Ralph Cook in October and November, 1973, and by Susan Tibbetts in October and November, 1975, for class projects. Topics covered include hanging and taking in the booms; his own work along the shore; making rafts of the logs; kinds of rafts; dropping off; equipment and clothing; Captain Kidd’s buried treasure; steamboats and their use in river drives; rescues and drownings; work of boom scalers; Pea Cove and other booms; and boom-related buildings on White Squaw Island. Photos, P416—P419, P425, P461, P490, P495, P508—P510, P524, P566 / T655-T661

781 O’Connor, Mary Beth. (FO 107) Fall 1973. Maine: Old Town. 198 pp. Tape: 3 hrs. w/ brief cat. & trans., diagram of boom, notes on boat trip to location of Argyle Boom. Interviews by O’Connor in October and November, 1973, with Alfonse Martin and David Seymour, conducted for a class project. Topics covered include river drives, Penobscot Lumber Association (PLA); logging company marks used for sorting logs at the boom; construction and operation of boom; various jobs related to sorting and rafting the logs; tool and equipment used; living conditions for workers; other booms such as Mexico, Pea Cove, and Nebraska. Photo, P425 / T662-T665

782 Carr, Dusty. (FO 107) Fall 1973. Maine: Bradley. 25 pp. Tape: 1 hr. w/ brief cat. & trans. Interview with Victor Shorette by Carr conducted in October, 1973, for a class project. Topics covered include logging companies; sorting long logs from pulp and spruce from hemlock and poplar, etc.; hanging and taking in booms. Photo, P425 / T666

783 LaFond, Mark. (FO 107) Fall 1973. Maine: Old Town. 29 pp. Tape: 1 hr. w/ brief cat. & trans. & 2 diagrams. Interview with Felix Cote by LaFond in October, 1973, for a class project. The interview focuses on log-sorting booms on the Penobscot River and is part of a project that led to an issue of Northeast Folklore, XVII: Argyle Boom. Topics covered include the Pea Cove and Argyle booms; marks logging companies put on their logs; prize or unmarked logs; the sorting operation; rafting logs; working conditions; Penobscot Lumber Association (PLA); living conditions and recreation; origins of boom names. Photos, P425, P619 / T667

784 Whitney, Kenneth & Susan Tibbetts. (FO 107 & AY 125) Fall 1973 & 1975. Maine: Tenants Harbor. 69 pp. inc. 1 map and 1 sketch. Tape: 3 hrs. w/ brief cat. & trans. Interviews with David S. Brown by Kenneth Whitney in October, 1973, and by Susan Tibbetts in November, 1975. Topics covered include Brown’s work on the boom in the summers of 1902-04 when he was 12 to 14 years old; the jobs of rafters, sorters, and runners; use of wedges to build rafts; meals; bosses; his marriage and work at Mt. Kineo; breaking up jams; daily pay; construction of boom and crib-work piers; buildings at Pea Cove; guiding; moose hunting; WWI enlistment and service. Photo, P425 / T668-T670

786 Whitney, Kenneth, Susan Tibbetts, Elizabeth Warner & Cindy Lamb. (FO 107 & AY 125) Fall 1973 & 1975. Maine: Argyle. 135 pp. Tape: 3 hrs. w/ brief cat. & trans. Interviews with Ernest Kennedy by Ken Whitney, October and November, 1973; by Susan Tibbetts, November, 1975; by Elizabeth Warner and Cindy Lamb, October, 1975, for class projects. Topics covered include jobs such as checkers, runners; tools such as hookaroons, jiggers; method of tying joints to buoy; marks and prize (unmarked)logs; spring floods and jams; bosses Isaac Mann, Alonzo Mann, Wallace Drake, Walter Buzzell, Stephen Buzzell, and others; PLA; function of sorting gap, beats, joints, check line, swings, shear boom, buoys, dropping off; steamboats such as Toscah; cooks, cookees, and chambermaids; meals; description of kitchen and cooking methods; White Squaw Island boom house; pay; sleeping quarters; Indian and Irish workers; leisure activities such as gambling, music, dances, log rolling contests. Photos, P416, P425, P537 / T673 -T677

787 Cook, Ralph. (FO 107) Fall 1973. Maine: Hancock. 66 pp. Tape: 1 hr. w/ brief cat. & trans. Interview by Cook with Kenneth LaFlamme conducted on 10 October 1973 for a class project. Topics covered include his work at age 12 and 13 on the boom rafting logs; PLA; bosses; pay; lice and wet clothes; cook house and bunk house; music. Accession also includes correspondence and handwritten notes from LaFlamme. T678

788 LaFond, Mark (FO 107) Fall 1973. Maine: Old Town. 46 pp. Tape: 1 hr. w/ brief cat. & trans. Interview with Emile Leavitt conducted by Mark LaFond 25 October 1973 for a class project. Topics covered include construction of boom piers; checking, rafting, dropping off and other aspects of boom operation; use of wedges in assembling rafts; use of pickeroon; swings; the back way drive; meals and living conditions; Pea Cove and Nebraska booms; his work building dams for Great Northern Paper Co. Photo, P425 / T679 -T680

789 Ives, Edward D. (FO 107). Fall 1973. Maine: Old Town. 70 pp. Tape: 1 1/2 hrs. w/ brief cat. & trans. Interview with Stephen R. “Rex” Buzzell conducted by Ives on 23 October 1973. Topics covered include the spring flood and resulting log jam of 1923; construction of jam piers; Sunkhaze, Nebraska and Pea Cove booms; use of shear boom; buildings on White Squaw Island; living conditions and recreation; structure and operation of boom, gap, beats, jigger, marks, swings, stray raft, dropping off; tools. Photos, P425, P489, P491, P492, P511, P515, P518, P522, P534 / T681-T682

790 Carr, Dusty, Lucinda Lamb & Elizabeth Warner. (FO 107 & Ay 125) Fall 1973 & 1975. Maine: Greenbush. 101 pp. Tape: 4 hrs. w/ brief cat. & partial trans. Interviews with Harry Twitchell conducted by Carr (October 26, 29, November 27, 1973), and Lamb and Warner (November 14, 1975) for class projects. Topics covered include tools and techniques for rafting, checking, and sorting logs; dropping off; swings; Sunkhaze Rips; Pea Cove; Nebraska boom; Cow Island; White Squaw Island; Birch Island; building piers; hanging the boom; the boom house, meals and living conditions; bosses Gene Mann, Billy Mann, and Walter Drake; pickeroons, hookeroons; rear crew’s duties; jams. Photo, P425 / T683-T686

792 Class of FO 107. Fall 1973. Maine: Orono (UMO). 236 pp. Tape: 3 1/2 hrs. w/ brief cat. & trans. Class interviews with Leon Bussell (November 8, 1973), Emile Leavitt (November 15, 1973), Ernest Kennedy (November 20, 1973), and Stephen “Rex” Buzzell (November 27, 1973). The interviews took place in Room B South Stevens Hall, UM. There was a model of Argyle Boom on the table, tools of the trade, maps, aerial photographs, and a number of Archives photographs available for the respondents to comment on. Topics covered include the construction and operation of piers, gaps, and headworks; tools and techniques for sorting, rafting, and dropping off logs; wedges and mallets; stray pen; prize logs; beats; joints; swings; jigger and trapeze line; endways rafts; backway drive; jail boom; jobbers marks; living conditions and meals; Pea Cove, Nebraska, and Cuba booms; Black Island; Freese Island; Foster Island; Sunkhaze; Old Town; Gene Mann and Billy Mann. Photo, P425 / T693-T698

793 LaFond, Mark. (FO 107) Fall 1973. Maine: Pea Cove. 36 pp. Tape: 2 hrs. w/ brief cat. & trans. Interview with Harry Kennedy (November 12, 1973) by LaFond for a class project. Topics covered include rafting and dropping off logs; stray rafts; jillpoking; checking; Pea Cove and Nebraska booms; Gene Mann and Billy Mann; Walter Buzzell; Irish workers; Greenville; endway rafts; the trip. Photo, P425 / T699

796 O’Connor, Mary Beth. (FO 107) Fall 1973. Maine: Old Town. 59 pp. Tape: 2 hrs. w/ brief cat. & trans. Interview with Alex Rouleau (November 30, 1973) by O’Connor for a class project. Topics covered include living conditions; leisure activities (gathering spruce gum, fishing, swimming, games); meals; stray logs; wages; Nebraska and Pea Cove booms; log jams; tools; rigging; beats; jobber’s marks; Rex Buzzell; Walter Buzzell; Gene Mann; Billy Mann. photo, P425 / T709-T710

804 LaFond, Mark & Lucinda Lamb. (FO 198 & AY 125) Spring 1974 & Fall 1975. Maine: Costigan. 80 pp. Tape: 2 hrs. w/ brief cat. & partial trans. Interviews with Wallace “Del” Soule conducted by LaFond (March 8, 1974, April 17, 1974) and Lamb (October 25, 1975) for class projects. Topics covered include the use of steam boats and bateaus in moving the rafts and swings that had been made up at the boom to the logging company’s designated stretch of shore or mill. Photo, P580; map; diagrams. T728-T731

836 LaFond, Mark. (FO 198) Spring 1974. Maine: Costigan. 13 pp. Tape: 1/2 hr. w/ brief cat. & summary. Interview with John Costigan conducted by Mark Lafond for a class project. Topics covered include shoring and sacking; diagrams. T757

1001 Warner, Elizabeth. (AY 125) Fall 1975. Maine: Old Town. 11 pp. Tape: 3/4 hr. w/ brief cat. Interview with William McLaughlin by Warner recorded on 22 November 1975 for a class project. Topics covered include dropping off and running crews; marks; sorting logs; rafting logs; Nebraska and Pea Cove booms; White Squaw Island; friends Darky Willet, Harvy Cutliff, Dave Seymour, Cody Martin, Harry Cutliff; living conditions and meals; construction of piers; use of steam boats; mills. Photo, P692 / T1013

1014 LaFond, Mark. (FO 198) Spring 1974. Maine: Old Town. 5 pp. Tape: 3/4 hr. w/ brief cat. Interview with Emile Leavitt conducted by Mark Lafond for a class project. Topics covered include shoring, mill drives, scaling, and the boom in general. T1025

1022 Lamb, Lucinda. (AY 198) Spring 1976. Maine: Costigan. 17 pp. Tape: 1 1/2 hrs. w/ brief cat. Interview with Wallace “Del” Soule conducted by Lucinda Lamb as part of a class project. The interview focuses on the Nebraska and Argyle log-sorting booms on the Penobscot River. Topics covered include running; rafting; shoring; hanging and taking in booms; the work of bateaux crews and steamboats. T1033

1024 Pierter, Ann. (AY 198) Spring 1976. Maine: Old Town. 11 pp. Tape: 1 hr. w/ brief cat. Interview with Alphonse Martin conducted by Ann Pierter on 13 March 1976 for a class project. Topics covered include the structure and operation of the sorting gap; scaling; log marks; wintering over; bosses Gene Mann, Billy Mann, Walter Drake, Harry Bowlee; diagrams of the gap. T1036

1025 Beard, Jack. (AY 198) Spring 1976. Maine: Costigan. 15 pp. Tape: 1/2 hr. w/ brief cat. Interview with John Costigan conducted by Jack Beard on 14 April 1976 for a class project. . Topics covered include rafting; sacking; tools, especially sacking dogs; use of horses to sack or twitch logs; marks; the last drive on Sunkhaze Stream; operations around Chamberlain and Telos Lakes; diagrams of sacking dogs. T1037

1026 Beard, Jack. (AY 198) Spring 1976. Maine: Costigan. 8 pp. Tape: 1/2 hr. w/ brief cat. Interview with Leon Bussell conducted by Jack Beard on 14 April 1976 for a class project. Topics covered include building endways or hedgehog rafts; use of scull oar to propel rafts. T1038

1031 Warner, Elizabeth & Jack Beard. (AY 198) Spring 1976. Maine: Old Town. 8 pp. Tape: 1/2 hr. w/ brief cat. Interview with Alphonse Martin conducted by Elizabeth Warner and Jack Beard on 5 May 1976 for a class project. Topics covered include the backway drive, which was for logs going to the International and Dan Cassidy mills in Orono, and Grey Canoe Shop mill in Stillwater; contractor Frank Davis; bosses Gene Mann, Billy Mann, and Walter Drake; sluices at Gillman Falls; use of wedges for rafting; shoring; endways or hedgehog rafting; cookhouse at Pea Cove; leisure activities. T1044

1032 Warner, Elizabeth & Jack Beard. (AY 198) Spring 1976. Maine: Argyle. 8 pp. Tape: 1/4 hr. w/ brief cat. Interview with Ernest Kennedy conducted by Elizabeth Warner and Jack Beard on 5 May 1976 for a class project. Topics covered include lumber company marks; sorting and rafting; prize logs; sheer boom at Sunkhaze; trips at Sunkhaze; crib work and building endways rafts; mentions Barker and Jordan lumber companies, Pea Cove, Argyle, White Squaw Island Hoyt Brook, Hemlock Stream. T1045

1033 Beard, Jack & Elizabeth Warner. (AY 198) Spring 1976. Maine: Old Town. 14 pp. Tape: 1 hr. w/ brief cat. Interview with Stephen “Rex” Buzzell conducted by Jack Beard and Elizabeth Warner on 5 May 1976 as part of a class project. Topics covered include wangan and living conditions; his father business and crews; cook John Duplessis. T1046

1049 Ives, Edward D. & Susan Tibbetts. Spring 1976. Maine: Argyle. 9 pp. Tape: 1 hr. w/ brief cat. Interview with Ernest Kennedy conducted by Ives and Tibbetts on 10 May 1976. Topics covered include layout of boom related buildings on White Squaw Island; Costigan landing; the duties of the rear crew; points of origin of the drives; horse piers; fin booms; dropping off; swings; beats; and joints. T1055

1050 Ives, Edward D. & Susan Tibbetts. Spring 1976. Maine: Old Town. 9 pp. Tape: 1 hr. w/ brief cat. Interview with William McLaughlin conducted by Ives and Tibbetts on 26 April 1976. Topics covered include dropping off; rafting; sorting gap; Greenbush trip; Pea Cove; fin booms. T1056

1051 Pierter, Ann & Susan Tibbetts. (AY 198) Spring 1976. Maine: Old Town. 10 pp. Tape: 1 hr. w/ brief cat. Interview with Stephen “Rex” Buzzell conduced by Pierter and Tibbetts on 11 May 1976. Topics covered include marking and scaling logs; Argyle, Pea Cove, and Sheepshank (Greenbush) booms; wintering methods, diagrams. T1057

1056 Pierter, Ann & Bessie Dam. (AY 198) Spring 1976. Maine: Argyle. 15 pp. Tape: 1 1/4 hrs. w/ brief cat. Interview with Ernest Kennedy about Argyle Boom and related matters. T1066

1114
Ives, Edward D. Summer, 1977. 331 pp. Tape: 34 hrs. w/ cats. Series of interviews with Ernest Kennedy, 88, about his life working in the woods, on the river drives, and Argyle Boom. Kennedy built a number of models of the Argyle Boom and various other structures and tools used in woods work and river driving that he donated to the Maine Folklife Center and that he discussed in these interviews.  Diagrams. Photos, P1786 – P1808 / T1138-T1160

Tape 1138 River-driving, cutting timber, peeling hemlock,, family-siblings, tannery, switching from chopping to sawing trees down, schooling, Aunt Hat, family background, mother cooked for woods camp, rafting logs, father ran hotel for weavers.

Tape 1139 Kennedy cooked, father ran hotel for woodsmen and boarding houses, worked as a teamster in woods, building camp, skidding and yarding, cribbing and rafting, hewing boards from logs, rafting camp, woods-work techniques.

Tape 1140 Putting in telephone line, breaking in landings, dynamiting jams, booms, jobbing, road conditions, farm animals, daily transport, Argyle schools, social events, haunted places.

Tape 1141 Explains the Argyle Boom model, gardening, butchering meat, hunting game, smoke-pot for mosquitoes, smoking meat, jacking deer, recalls the families that lived in Argyle.

Tape 1142 Types of hunting guns, hunting and camping, getting lost in the woods, exploring and estimating land, Kennedy recalls more families that lived in Argyle, how he met his wife-to be, his portable mill, his children.

Tape 1143 Recalls seeing the first car, Kittyhawk and the Zeppelin, story of a plane, playing baseball, explains the batteau model, greenhorns.

Tape 1144 Discussion of Northeast Archives photos of batteau being used, socializing and helping neighbors, barn-building, country doctors and mid-wives, typhoid fever, herbal medicine, Kennedy explains his camp model.

Tape 1145 A tour through Kennedy’s home in Argyle, recalls getting modern conveniences, family reunion preparations, discussion of material concerning Pentecostal faith.

Tape 1146 Spring log drive, Kennedy describes footwear that was used, the types and ages of the woodsmen he knew, recalls other loggers.

Tape 1147 Kennedy demonstrates the scoot sled model, discusses types of binds and hooks, types of tobacco used, reviews how he began his logging career, demonstrates a parbuckle model, shows a dam model.

Tape 1148 Recalls cutting logs for I. M. Pierce, explains using a rule and scale, recalls celebrating Christmas as a child, learning French, dancing, another discussion of Pentecostal material, remembers owning several mills, trapping and raising muskrats, Hoyt Brook Dam, gap and crib, fishing for pickerel.

Tape 1149 Kennedy recalls childhood activities in the Winter, skating and sledding, swimming in the Summer, bike riding, children in the family, types of log jams, running on logs, more family history, working with horses and oxen.

Tape 1150 Born in 1889 in Kingman, Maine, Kennedy recounts the places he has lived and more about his life as a lumberman, sired 13 children, joined Pentecostal Church in 1926, had a stroke ca.1939, he retired from active lumbering when he was 78.

Tape 1151 More about lumbering, Kennedy is still cutting his own wood and tending his large garden, Kennedy recalls canning, selling Christmas trees, naming his children, 4th of July celebrations, price of salmon, bears, dealing with insects.

Tape 1152 Recalls game wardens he knew, dogging deer, poaching deer, gives more information about families in Argyle, Dingbat Prouty, Aunt Hat, prostitution, Veazie ‘Lemons’ .

Tape1153 Kennedy continues recounting the different families in Argyle, batteau oars, more deer stories, people getting shot and shot at, Kennedy had a Maine Guide license, camp entertainment, swampers, father’s boarding house.

Tape 1154 Kennedy looks at some photos and describes the people and places in them, recalls relatives, dance hall fights, brawling in general and boxing.

Tape1155 Kennedy recounts how death was dealt with in his day, shenikers, funerals, ‘whiskey bears’, his friend Dudley Smith who drowned, vandalism at cemeteries, and illegal activities in general.

Tape 1156 Family information, Kennedy explains “Fox and Geese” board game, lengthy recollection of his Pentecostal life and interpretations of his beliefs.

Tape 1157 Halloween, bird-hunting, more about log drives, star-gazing, quotes and his interpretations from the Bible.

Tape 1158 Continuation of Kennedy’s interpretations of the Bible.

Tape 1159 Kennedy recalls town meetings in Argyle, political affiliation, effects of the Depression in 1939, woods work and different ways of cutting timber.

Tape 1160 Recalls what Winter was like, Spring thaw and floods, transportation during those seasons, Kennedy demonstrates the parbuckle model he has made, recalls dealing with house and buildings fires in town of Argyle, more information on running logs in the river, Kennedy ends the interview with more scripture and interpretation.


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