Dairyland Driftings


| September/October 1962



It was quite a 'rat-race', getting lined up for the trip - got plane reservations for June 8, getting the passports made out, small pox shots, luggage, films and not to mention all the phone calls and then too she took 'all o-money', but I still got my steamer and stuff. Thus, after 25 years of marriage, Alice left me to shift for myself, temporarily. I recall what GEORGE LUNDIN was telling about some wild rabbits his daughter, Lennea, had rescued from a hay field. Come late in the fall George says, 'We gotta let them out, we can't keep them over the winter, no barn to put them in and sure don't want them in the house'. Upon turning them loose, they gave a few big jumps around and then wanted to get back in the cage.

Permit me to touch on an interesting era that occupied Louis Johnson from 1902 - 1907 prior to his marriage. Having contact with some relative, he landed in Duluth, June 1, 1902. At that time, saw-milling was a major enterprise in Twin Ports, there being 23 mills, 5 of which were in Superior. This was probably the peak years, as by 1910, only one of the smaller mills was left in Duluth, that of Scott and Graft Logging Co. Louis, immediately landed a job as lumber piler for Alger & Smith Logging Co. located on Garfield Ave. starting at $1.50 and finally up to $2.50 per day. They employed some 45 men at the mill till in 1907 when they shut down, turning out from 75M to 100M per 10 hour day, mostly one inch lumber, pine, birch and tamarack that was shipped out on boats, and lath was sawed out of the slabs. He does not recall the engines used for power, but recalls the four big boilers and the band saws. Lumber was piled 25 to 30 feet high in different grades. Louis, with his partner, AUGUST HEMMING, a snuce chewing Swede piled an average of 25M per day. Louis was 26 and August was 56 at the time the picture was taken. He recalls August chewed 2 boxes of snuff a day - bought snuce by the gallon jugs (cheaper that way) and smoked a pipe morning and nite. Their bunk house floor was covered with matches, the air inside, a tobacco blue. They were given used leather belting inch thick and 24 inches wide to make their own aprons. On rainy days, the lumber pilers (6 gangs) would not work and the mill would shut down. Louis had the desire to go out West and work in the big mills but he had to stick around Duluth to get his citizenship papers and by that time seems he had met my mother-in law and ended up farming adjacent to her home place 3 miles south west of Grantsburg.

'Say, Ole, does your wife know you're bringing me home for dinner?' 'Does she know it, we'd argued about it half an hour this morning.'

Am writing this as haying gets into full swing. The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few. Still using my 42 year old Indiana to cut hay. It's a semi-mounted articulation mowing machine, tricky thing to drive, but really gets around. Cut a patch of hay and in so doing, a pair of meadowlarks sadly terminated their hopeful efforts to hatch 5 eggs, and almost as sad to me to think this ill deed could not be undone.

Was over to STANLEY PETERSON'S sawmill near Shell Lake, love that place, the smell of fresh sawed lumber, the towering sawdust pile, trilliams were in full bloom, birds continually singing and now and then a cot-ten tail (not to mention a few mosquitoes). Well, we ventured thru a few pages of history by hiking thru the timber where once was a narrow gauge railroad that hauled the logs to the big mill in Shell Lake at the turn of the century. On returning to the mill site, we then oiled, watered and gassed up his 18-36 Hart Parr and made some elegant tracks in his yard, then back to the farm for lunch.

JERRY ERICKSON stopped in one week end to renew his Album and to change his address. He is now employed at the Steel County Implt. Co. at Owatanna, Minn. Guess what, he had a certain JUDY SPITZACK with him and she was wearing a sparkler. Congratulations! Says he's gonna bring her over for a ride on the Case 50 come July 4th.