Two rails set in the ground

Courtesy of David E. McDonald, R. R. 1, Georgetown, Penna. 15043

David E. McDonald

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R. 1, Pataskola, Ohio 43062

I read Mr. Cline's story in Jan.-Feb. Album and it was very interesting. I never saw a rail fence like he tells about on his grandfathers farm, with the two rails set in the ground, with the rails in between.

On my father's farm he had three different kinds of rail fencing. He had one with a post set in the ground and the ground and the rails wired on with No. 9 wire. Drive a spike in the post, tie the wire to it and come around the rail and drive another spike, tie wire to it by wrapping wire around it, then repeat the same thing on up the post with each rail.

He had another one where the rails were split thin, with the ends hewed down and spiked to the post. These two were known as post and rail fences.

The third kind was like the one in this picture. This is seven rails high and used two rails to lock the corners. This rail fence is a line fence between Issac Coverts farm and my own. It is about 1000 feet long and is made of all chestnut rails. I run my herd of beef cattle against this fence. It is located on the south side of Beaver Co. in Green Township about two miles south of the junction U. S. Route 30 and Pa. Route 168.

In regards to the rail fence in the January-February issue. The rail fence of that picture was called the worm fence and the proper way was three rails high and then two stakes at the bend and one rail between the stakes leading from the top crutch and under the second and the top rail on top, which was a five rail fence. I have split thousands of them at 1 cents a piece or $1.50 a hundred for chestnut and 2 cents for oak rails. They were 12 feet long and the stakes 7 feet long.

Now for the post and rail fence, the post was 7 long by 7 inches by 6 inches at the bottom and 3 by 7 at the top. They were tapered and then bored and mortised for five rails which was 14 feet land and a flat side post in the center or 7 feet apart. One mortised post and a flat side post and then another mortise post. The rails were nailed to the middle post which kept them from shifting. The rails were sawed on a sawmill so as to keep them straight and in balance. I got 5 cents for sawing posts and 3 cents for rails and I will say that I earned my money twice at that kind of sawing. I also have the auger and post ax and wedges and splitting ax with me and the old dog for holding posts that were hauled out.

As far as rails are concerned, I could beat old Abe in splitting rails, 225 in one day when I was 14 years young.