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Collections - MF 012 Lumberman’s Life Collection

MF 012 Lumberman’s Life Series

Number of accessions: 54
Dates when interviews were conducted: 1969 – 1990
Time period covered: late 19th and 20th centuries
Principal interviewers: various
Finding aides: indexes and transcripts
Access restrictions: NA 0580
Description: This is an arbitrary series of accessions created in May 2002 to bring together interviews that focus on lumbering, woods work, and river drives that are not associated with specific projects. Many were previously assigned to the Maine/Maritime Folklore Collection, the General Collection, or those of individual interviewees or collectors.

0545 Charles W. Joy, Martha Davis, Maude Goggins, Frieda Hillgrove, Edward Murphy, and William Silsby, interviewed by Joy for Folklore 107, fall 1969, Ellsworth and Veazie, Maine. Joy, Davis, Goggins, Hillgrove, Murphy, Silsby talks about “key figures”: Roderick MacDonald, Joe Tosh, Dan Donovan, and Freeman Archer; shipping in Ellsworth; picnic as a child; origins of Cork Hill in Ellsworth; rivalry between Bar Harbor and Ellsworth; salmon in Union River; Larry Gorman; mills, wages; Protestant and Catholics; dining at lumber camps; poplar trees not used to build lumber camps because Christ was crucified on a poplar cross; Edgar “Dingbat” Prouty; Prouty family tree. Text: 41 pages transcript. Recording: T 0284 / PM 0104 1/4 hour.

0552 Mrs. James Shea, interviewed by David Currier, March 14, 1970, Bangor, Maine. Shea talks about going to her father’s lumber camp in Oxbow, Maine, as a little girl; riding in a pung to the camp; the wangan; ghost stories told by men in the camp; buying and selling spruce gum; the cook and cookee in the camp; lumbercamp songs; meeting up with her father’s river drive; superstitions; strange phenomena; and the poem or song, “The Preacher and the Bear.” Text: 15 pp. transcript. Recording: T 0285 1/2 hour.

0561 Grover Cleveland Field, Clyde Willard, Lester Cole, and Raymond Olmstead, interviewed by Dorothy Bodwell, spring 1970. The accession is a paper dealing with anecdotes about Maine lumber camps. Field discusses working with his dad near Caribou, Maine; women in lumber camps; his first woods job in 1912; and snub warps. Willard, talks about a day in the life of a lumberman; sleeping conditions; the American Thread camp; scalers; Clarence Arno, a man who died on the job; Polish saunas; mealtimes. Cole discusses being a river driver in the early 1900s; accidents; song lyrics for “Jam on Gerry’s Rock” and “Peter Amberly”; lice infestations. Olmsted talks about his father, Wendell Olmsted (b.1877), stories Wendell told about lumber camps; widow makers; Native Americans who worked in the camps; use of dynamite. Also included: photocopy of measurements of the Upper St. John Log Driving Co.’s limits from mouth of Allagash to listed place. Text: 32 pp. paper, 2 pp. photocopy. Recording: T 0285 (Open Reel Tape) 1 hour. Photos: P 1067 – P 1080.

0568 Harry Harold Dyer, interviewed by Jeanne Milton, April 1, 1970, Caribou, Maine. Dyer, retired lumberman, his life as recorded and written by his granddaughter, discusses woods work in the early twentieth century; working for the Fraser Lumber Company; description of a lumber camp; walking to work; progression of the cutting; ice carts to ice roads; his responsibilities at age 14; hauling yards; labor-saving techniques; making a gum book; salt pork for lunch; sings “Johnny Doyle” and “The Bloody Waterloo;” and plays harmonica and trots the feet, “Devil’s Dream,” “Money Musk,” “Casey Jones,” and “Yankee Doodle.” Text: 15 pp. transcript, plus 19 pp. biography and 5 pp. interviewer notes. Recording: T 0288, T 0289 / PM 0109.

0571 Volney Roberts and Lee Roberts, interviewed by Linda Hubbard, March 31 – April 14, 1970, Greenville, Maine. V. Roberts discusses lumbering in the Moosehead Lake area in the early 1900s; how he got involved in lumbering in 1904; driving a six-oxen team; various jobs he had in the early 1900s; lumber camp food; a day’s schedule at a lumber camp in Soldier Town; camp furnishings; entertainment in the form of singing and pranks; getting to the site in Soldier Town and the path the logs took down river; purchasing food in bulk; his grandmother’s traditional medicines; process of moving felled trees; tools used in the woods; eating lunch in the woods; estimating how much timber a lot would produce; bringing supplies into camp in the winter; caulk shoes for river driving; his case of blood poisoning and the long trip to visit a doctor; a log-hauling tractor c. 1920; making roads with a tractor; Cooper Brook trestle; comparative hygiene of Pollacks [Poles] and Frenchmen; and the mechanization of logging with steam haulers and telephones to coordinate. L. Roberts discusses logging on Prong Pond Mountain beginning in 1935; use of par-buckles; setup of the camp; ethnic variety of workers; advantages of not shaving; lumber camp food; driving the tote-wagon; sleeping arrangements in the camp; lice and measures to avoid them; observations on Pollacks’ dealings with lice; responsibilities of a sled-tender; skidded yards versus piled logs; a fatal accident with a skidded yard; use of a snub-warp on steep roads; ram-downs and an accident on one; a day’s schedule; taking care of his horses; blacksmith work; pay; pranks; swinging a yard; icing roads; kinds of sleds – swing-dingles, tote-sleds, and woods pungs; britchen harnesses and belly-lifters for his horses; never touching another man’s equipment; troublemakers visiting camp; his horses falling through the ice; salted codfish; the old logging method as conserving and not wasteful; the new method of logging as wasteful and destructive; and his concern for the future of northern Maine. Text: 68 pp. transcript, plus catalogs and report by Hubbard. Recording: T 0290 / PM 0119, PM 0120 2 hours.

0575 Asa Flagg, inteviewed by Rhoda Mitchell for FO 107, October & November 1970, Carthage, Maine. Accession includes a cassette tape with the three interviews, a paper describing the fieldwork, and transcripts of the interviews. Flagg, a retired woodsman (b. 1898), talks about lumber camps; Sunday pastimes; cooks and cookees; getting hired; oxen and horses; singing and music; log jams; sorting; yarding; skidding; sluicing; meals; ax handles; Christmas; card playing and other entertainment; weather and frostbite; outhouses; the dingle; getting paid; camp facilities; hunting; nicknames; fighting; transportation; tools; the wangan; teams and teamsters; sleds and harnesses; swampers; marking logs; scalers and scaling; blacksmiths; scraping roads; conditions; fiddling; dancing; and sings “Guy Reed,” “Floyd Collins” and “Lumberman’s Alphabet.” Text: 118 pp. transcript (pp. 112 – 118 missing). Recording: T 0299 / PM 0189 2 hours.

0577 Carroll C. Noyes, interviewed by Lynn MacFarland for FO 107, October and November, 1970, Dixfield, Maine. Accession includes a cassette tape [missing in May, 1999], a paper describing the fieldwork, and transcripts of the three interviews. Noyes, a retired woodsman (b. 1890), talks about cooks and cookees; food; clothing; lumber camps; parbuckling; sorting logs with a sorting gap; gum books; wages; skidding; river camps; river driving; games; booms; road monkeys; sleds; the wangan; log marks; horses; and other topics. Also included are recipes for gingerbread and carrot cake, photos of the “True Corliss” engine in Stratton, words to a song “Charming Sally Anne,” a drawing and diagram of a lumber camp, a clipping about Mr. and Mrs. Noyes, and words and music notation for an untitled song about “the dirty old cook and the lousy cookee….” Text: 128 pp. paper and transcript. Recording: T 0303 / PM 0191 2 1/2 hours. Photos: P 0776 – P 0784.

0578 Dan Murray, interviewed by Susan McVetty for FO 191, spring 1970. Murray, an old woodsman, talks about folk hero anecdotes; Dan’s life style; old woodsmen’s operations. Text: 20 pp. paper.

0579 Ernest Kennedy, interviewed by Lillian Shirley for FO 191, fall 1970, Argyle, Maine. Kennedy, a retired woodsman, talks about his life. Text: 97 pp. transcript with personal manuscript. Recording: T 0304 2 hours. Photographs: P 1017 – P 1020.

0580 Arnold Hall, interviewed by William Bonsall for FO 107, October – December of 1970, Bangor, Maine. Hall, a retired lumberman, talks about his life; work as a lumberman; the camp social life; the Depression. RESTRICTED. Text: 67 pp. transcript. Recording: T 0305 2 hours.

0581 Harry Dyer, interviewed by Jeanne Milton for FO 107, October and November 1970, Caribou, Maine. Dyer, a retired lumberman, talks about his life. Text: 81 pp. transcript. Recording: T 0306, T 0307 / PM 0110 – PM 0112 4 hours. Photos: P 1014 – P 1016.

0593 Clyde Dickinson, mailed to Jeanne Milton, March 1971, Woodstock, New Brunswick. Paper titled: “Life in a Lumbercamp, 1880 – 1881,” and was sent to Milton by Dickinson in response to a request for information about lumbercamp life. Text: 15 pp. typed manuscript, 37 pp. handwritten manuscript.

0621 John Sharpe, interviewed by Lillian Shirley for FO 107, fall 1970, Old Town, Maine. Sharpe, a retired woodsman, talks about setting up camp; icing roads; meals; recreation; home remedies; river driving; wood carving; ghost stories. Text: 151 pp. transcript. Recording: T 0339, T 0340 / PM 0534 4 hours.

0626 Roland Snowman and Russell Nutting, interviewed by Lynn MacFarland for FO 197, spring of 1971, Weld and Farmington, Maine. Accession consists of two interviews with Snowman and one interview with Nutting. Snowman, a retired river driver, talks about his life. Nutting, a retired teamster, talks about his life. Text: 113 pp. transcript. Recording: T 0346 2 1/2 hours.

0639 By Paul Gauvin for FO 2, summer, 1971, Greenville, Maine. Paper deals with stories about boarding houses around Moosehead and the woodsmen who lived in them. Text: 13 pp. paper.

0697 Andrew Chase, interviewed by Linda Edgerly for FO 107, October and December 1971, Orono, Maine. Interviews with Andrew Chase about his life as a woodsman. Text: 97 pp. transcript with brief catalog. Recording: T 0412 – T 0413 2 hours.

0698 Frank Carey, interviewed by Rita Swidrowski for FO 107, fall 1971, Milford, Maine. Carey, 85, talks about his experiences as a woodsman. Text: 113 pp. partial transcript; 2 pp. catalog; 6 pp. fieldnotes; 3 pp. biography. Recording: T 0414 – T 0416 6 hours.

0702 Frederick Burke, interviewed by Norma Coates for FO 107, fall 1971, Bangor, Maine. Burke talks about his experiences as a woodsman. Text: 121 pp. transcript w/ brief catalog. Recording: T 0424 – T 0425 3 hours.

0704 Harold Tague and Kenneth Packard, interviewed by Jill Allen for FO 107, fall 1971, Stratton and Carrabassett, Maine. Tague, 85, and Packard, 60, talk about their experiences as woodsmen. Text: 96 pp. transcript with brief catalog. Recording: T 0428 – T 0430 2 1/2 hours.

0706 Harold Stuart, interviewed by Florence Ireland July 15, 1972, Machias, Maine. Stuart talks about working in the woods around 1900 – 1910 in the Ellsworth and Machias area. Text: 20 pp. transcript. Recording: T 0432 3/4 hour.

0707 William Hudson, interviewed by Florence Ireland, July 15, 1972, Machias, Maine. Hudson talks about the lumber industry in Maine during the early twentieth century; organization of labor, housing and regulations/restrictions of laborers; who (race, nationality, gender, etc.) was employed in the industry; and personal experiences of Hudson while employed in Maine. Text: 20 pp. transcript. Recording: T 0433 / CD 0632.

0716 Alfred Bernard, Sr., interviewed by Jayne Lello for FO 107, fall 1972, Howland, Maine. Series of interviews with Bernard, Sr. about woodswork. Text: 325 pp. transcript with brief catalog. Recording: T465 -T472 6 hours.

0717 Bean, Wayne. (FO 107) Fall 1972. Maine: Topsfield. 792 pp. Tape: 13 hrs. w/ brief cat. & trans. Series of interviews with Ralph Thornton, 87, about local history of Topsfield, woods work and river work, songs, stories; brief biographical sketch of Thornton; photos, P447—P449, P1812— P1847. See NF XIV: Me and Fannie. T473 — T501

0718 Emile Leavitt, interviewed by Sarah Burbank for FO 107, fall and winter 1972, Old Town, Maine. Series of interviews with Leavitt, 80, about his work in the woods. Text: 192 pp. transcript. Recording: T 0502 – T 0507 6 hours.

0719 Victor Bushey, interviewed by Sue Dauphinee for FO 107, October to December 1972, Bangor, Maine. Series of interviews with Bushey about work in the woods. Text: 110 pp. partial transcript with brief catalog. Recording: T 0508 – T 0510 3 hours.

0720 Benjamin Cole, interviewed by Larry Gallant for FO 107, October and November 1972, Glenburn, Maine. Series of interviews with Cole about work in the woods. Text: 98 pp. transcript with brief catalog. Recording: T 0511 – T 0514 4 hours. Photos: P 0380 – P 0387.

0721 John Colbath, interviewed by Beth Hartman for FO 107, winter 1972, Bangor, Maine. Series of interviews with Colbath about work in the woods. Text: 118 pp. partial transcript with brief catalog. Recording: T 0515 – T 0518 4 hours.

0722 Guy Kershner, interviewed by Scott MacDonald for FO 107, fall 1972, Farmington, Maine. 111 pp. Tape: 4 hrs. w/ brief cat. & trans. Series of interviews with Kershner about work in the woods. Text: 111 pp. transcript with brief catalog, personal paper. Recording: T 0519 – T 0522 4 hours. Photos: P 0392 – P 0393.

0723 William Briggs, interviewed by Lynn Ohlhorst for FO 107, October 19 and 28, 1972, Howland, Maine. Series of interviews with Briggs, 79, about his work in the woods. Text: 118 pp. transcript and brief catalog. Recording: T 0523 – T 0526 3 hours.

0724 Dan McCrae and Ed Oliver, interviewed by John Peck for FO 107, October and November 1972, Bangor, Maine. Oliver and McCrae talk about work in the woods. Text: 37 pp. partial transcript. Recording: T 0527 – T 0528 2 hours.

0738 Grover Swett, interviewed by Florence Ireland, August 21, 1970, Bangor, Maine. Swett talks about the early Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and woods work in Maine. Text: 17 pp. transcript with brief catalog. Recording: T 0555 1 hour.

0791 Walter Scott, interviewed by Ralph Cook for FO 107, November 5, 1973, Winn, Maine. Scott talks about the North Lincoln sorting gap. Text: 131 pp. partial transcript with brief catalog. Recording: T 0687- T 0692 4 hours. Photos: P 0488, P 0504.

0797 Lester Twist, interviewed by Ralph Cook, December 7, 1973, Medway, Maine. Twist talks about log driving around 1903. Also included: personal correspondence. Text: 2 pp. brief catalog. Recording: T 0711 / CD 0861, CD 1035 1 hour.

0800 Leo Poirier, interviewed by Bobbie Violette for FO 198, February 20 and 23, 1974, Madawaska, Maine. 57 pp. Tape: 1 1/2 hrs. w/ brief cat. (English) & trans. (French & English). Poirier talks about about family; life history; scaling in the woods. Text: brief catalog and English and French transcript. Recording: T 0718 – T 0719 1 1/2 hours French.

0801 Willard Jalbert, interviewed by Peggy Madore for FO 198, February 19 and 21, 1974, Van Buren, Maine. Jalbert talks about lumbering in the early 20th century; biography. Text: 105 pp. brief English catalog and French transcript. Recording: T 0720 – T 0721 4 hours French.

0803 Maxine Michaud, interviewed by Maxine Michaud (Maxine Michaud interviews his grandfather who has the same name) for HY 10, St. Agatha, Maine. Michaud talks about his life as a lumberman. Also included: personal correspondence. Text: 138 pp. French transcript, brief English catalog. Recording: T 0725 – T 0727 3 hours.

0837 Armand Dumond, interviewed by Peggy Madore for FO 198, September 2, 1974, Van Buren, Maine. Dumond, a lumberman, talks about woods work. Text: 3 pp. catalog in English, 33 pp. transcript in French. Recording: T 0758 / PM 0710 2 hours French.

0838 Leon St. Jean, interviewed by Bobbie Violette for FO 198, September 1, 1974, Van Buren, Maine. St. Jean talks about his experiences as a lumberman. Text: 3 pp. English catalog and 33 pp. French transcript. Recording: T 0759 2 hours.

1077 George Bagley, interviewed by Ronald Bean, July 15, 21, and 22, 1976, at the home of Earl Grass. Text: 15 pp. detailed catalog. Recordings: T 1098 – T 1100 / CD 1038 – CD 1042. July 15, 1976 Bagley talks about jobs he held when he was young; his first job working in the woods; learning how to drive horses; the horses he owned throughout his life; where horses could be sold when they became too old; where horses were purchased; horse medicine; and hauling logs as a teamster. Text: 6 pp. catalog. Recording: T 1098 3/4 hour. July 21, 1976 Bagley talks about local ghost stories; Oat Taylor, owner of the general store; bootleggers; hunting; transportation before the advent of automobiles; Sam Rubin, the local peddler; music and dances of his era; his family; what school was like when he was a boy; mortuary practices in the early 1900s; and dentistry in the early 1900s. Text: 6 pp. catalog. Recording: T 1099 1 hour. July 22, 1976 Bagley talks about Amos Noyes and his singing ability; Noyes’ friend, Matt Noble; and going to the motion picture theaters. Text: 3 pp. catalog. Recording: T 1100 1/4 hour.

1083 Thomas Hurd, interviewed by Bessie Dam, April 27, 1975, Burlington, Maine. Hurd talks about getting hired to do woods work by Rufe Page; having to walk to his first job; lugging huge lunches out into the woods for the men on the job; how lunch was served; the only woman in the camp; how often he was paid at those early jobs; the wangan; smoking tobacco; becoming a foreman subcontractor; having to fire workers for not cutting enough; what kind of men he looked for in hiring; tools Hurd used for woodcutting; river-driving; pick-poles; cant-dogs; yarding; using dynamite to break up log jams; and sleeping arrangements on the river-drive. Text: 29 pp. transcript. Recording: T 1106 .75 hours.

1102 Vernon Annis, interviewed by Marilyn Maffucci, fall 1976, Lucerne, Maine. 24 pp. No Tape. Brief cat. & trans. Annis talks about lumbercamp life in a camp near Princeton, Maine: 1921 – 1924. Text: brief catalog and transcript. Recording: no tape.

1104 Walter Scott, interviewed by Christine Gordon, August 12, 1976, at Scott’s home in Winn, Maine. 7 pp. Tape: 1 1/2 hrs. w/ brief cat. Scott, age 84, talks about river driving on the Mattawamkeag and Penobscot Rivers beginning around 1908; booming operations; anecdotes of woods work and lumber camp life; reference to gum books; “rips” (rough water and rocks) called the “Slewgundy Heaters;” Skaterrack Boom; Molunkus Brook; “sleepers” (sunken cedar logs used for railroad ties?); a suicide; river driver grave sites; the Rice Farm; French singers; Russell Stream; riding logs; Fay and Ascha Gordon (stole a violin from a burned schoolhouse); Penobscot County boundary dispute; Sunken Bridge; canp dogs; camp food; wages; Indian stories; Indian burials of disease (Diptheria) victims; bean hole beans; a woman camp cook, etc. Text: brief catalog. Recording: T 1128 – T 1129, C 1713 (Original) / CD 0025 – CD 0026 1 1/2 hours.

1108 McKenna, Peter. April 1975. Maine: Weld. 30 pp. No Tape. Partial trans. Interview with Thomas Skolfield about working on the log drives on the Swift River and Webb River at the turn of the century. P937 — P968

1110 By John Lynn, 1976. 14 pp. ms. Accession includes a copy of an article by Lynn, “Reconstructing a Maine Lumbercamp of 1900: The Diorama as a Historical Medium,” Forest History, 20 (October, 1976), 191 – 202; slides of lumbercamp diorama he constructed. Text: 14 pp. article. Slides: S 100.12 – S 100.l6 / S l01.9 – S 101.12 / S 102.8 – S 102.12 / S 104.9 / S 106.5 / S 107.8.

1177 Brooks, Joan. Spring 1978. Maine: Aurora / Amherst. 12 pp. Tape: 1 1/2 hrs w/ brief cat. Comments on woods operation run by John D. Faulkner, lunch conversation with crew, work sounds. T1239

1384 Richard, Stephen. (AY 198) Summer 1980. Maine: Rangeley. 167 pp. Tape: 5 hrs. w/ cats. Series of interviews with Erroll “John” Haley about early logging; booming logs on Rangeley Lake; working for Brown Co.; recollections of the Kempton Lumber Co.; camp life; cooking and foodways. 31 pp. of handwritten logging camp recipes. T1518 — T1520, T1527 — T1528

1387 Richard, Stephen. (AY 198) Summer 1980. Maine: Phillips. 24 pp. Tape: 1 hr. w/ cat. Interview with William Richard about his work in the woods; early years in Canada; Henry Meilleux stories. T1525

1388 Richard, Stephen. (AY 198) Summer 1980. Maine: Rangeley. 25 pp. Tape: 1 hr. w/ cat. Interview with Rodney Richard, Sr. about his work in the woods and logging from 1940’s to the present. T1526

1971 Trefethen, Christina. (AY 322) Spring 1987. Maine: Chester. 40 pp. Tape: 1 hr. approx. w/ trans. Interview with Tina and Ivan Daigle regarding Tina’s daily living experiences while her husband worked in the woods during the winter, and what it was like for women living in woods camps that consisted primarily of men. Includes several photocopied photographs. C466

1972 Trefethen, Christina. (AY 322) Spring 1987. Maine: Chester. 33 pp. Tape: 45 min. approx. w/ trans. Interview with Gladys Morrison reguarding her experiences as a wife and mother, married to a woods working man. Also, she describes what it was like being a woman living in woods camps. C467

1987 Coleman, Joseph. (AY 322) Spring 1987. Maine: Augusta. 12 pp. ms. Tape: 1/2 hr. approx. Paper based on an interview with Louis Coleman about his life as a logger, hunter and all around woodsman. C470

2141 Sarna, Red. Fall 1979. Maine: Augusta. Trans. only. 18 pp. Morris Wings talks in 1979 before the American Pulpwood Association staff meeting in which he talks about working on drives as a clerk for the Augusta Lumber Company, typical camp life, recreation, first use of chain saws to cut wood for the A.L.C., etc.

2142 Svedberg, Roger W. Fall 1989. Trans only. 18 pp. A model of a river pier made by Arthur A. York of Howland, who had been employed as a river driver.

2195 Chaney, Michael. Summer 1990. Maine: Old Orchard Beach. 8pp. Tape: 30 minutes with catalog. Interview with Alan Coker about his work as a mananger for the Biddeford Diamond Match Company lumber yard and retail store, beginning the mid-1950’s. See NA 2194. P4873 – 4908 / P5024 – P5026 / P5029 – P5032 / C746

2225 Black, Joseph. Spring 1988. Nova Scotia: Victoria County. 65pp. Manuscript. Paper entitled, “Pulpwood Operations at Murray, Victoria County, Cape Breton” which documents the history of the North River Lumber Company at Murray.

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