Sunday, October 7, 2012

In the Lumber Regions

I'm always on the lookout for articles and stories about logging.  Many of my ancestors were early residents of Michigan and any history of Michigan is not complete without a mention of logging.  I have a couple of photographs of my great grandfather, William Pratt taken in the northern woods of Michigan where he worked as a lumberjack during the long Michigan winters.
William Pratt in the middle.
As I mentioned in my last post, I purchased a bound collection of The American Agriculturalist for the year 1869.  Much to my pleasure the January issue has a great article entitled "In the Lumber Regions" which describes the typical lumbering operation.  In the case of the article, the editor Orange Judd, sent an artist to a logging camp in Maine to record the lumbering process.  

I copied the six etchings reproduced in the article:

The images produce such an evocative view of the logging life.  The journalist who wrote the article talks about the hard work required by the lumberjacks and the dangers involved, particularly by the drivers.  He also mentions the boom which was designed to catch all the logs floated down the river.  It was at this point where the logs would be separated by their owners marks and made ready for the sawmill.  This also made me think of my family.  I had another ancestor who lived on the Muskegon River in Mecosta County, Michigan.  There is a deed in which he sold access across his property for the construction of a log boom across the Muskegon River.  

Enjoy the images!