Out of The Past

| July/August 1966

  • Bridge
    Courtesy of Mr. A. Thomas, 15 Oxford St., Winchester, Mass. All the pieces were replaced by Ed Clark just as they were removed, even the siding. It will take a critical eye to tell that this bridge was ever moved. All that vanished with the moving, says E
    A. Thomas

  • Bridge

Westminster Road Rochester, New York

(I am continuing my story that was in the Iron-Men Album entitled Out of the Past, Jan.-Feb. Issue 1966.)

After we got done threshing about Christmas there was a bad fire in Dalton that destroyed most of the business section. As they needed lumber to rebuild, Leon Parker and my brother formed a partnership to saw the lumber. Leon had a 60 hp Case Engine and my brother owned a Frick Mill disc feed with a 60 inch saw. Tom Mitchell, who lived in Weaver Settlement, had the logs. They were mostly red oak, basswood and ash. The weather was very cold - about zero and it took us nearly a whole day to get the husk and track loaded on two sets of sleighs. The following morning Tom Mitchell came to our place with two teams and two hired men, Amsley Vanblake and Charles Hurd. My memory is not bad to remember their names after all these years. One team was hitched to the sleighs that had the track on it and the other was hooked ahead of the engine to help steer as the snow was about 16 inches deep. They didn't clear the road then like they do today.

We got started about 9 A.M. and went about 4 miles the first day. We stayed that night with a farmer I think his name was Mr. Gray. The following day about dark we pulled into the Mitchell farm. We were all the next day getting the mill and engine back in woods next to the spring. That would furnish water for the engine. There was lots of shoveling to do and I nearly froze to death on the engine. There was no coal but there was a stump fence nearby, so we didn't have much trouble keeping up steam; although I had to drain the injector pipes after taking water. It took two days to set the mill up. We sawed enough hemlock and basswood to build our shack. It was 14 ft. long and 10 feet wide, tar paper on the outside and building paper on the interior. We got two stoves, one to cook on and the other for heat and did it seem good to get in out of the cold. We bought a side of beef and half of a hog, hung them outside the shack on a tree limb with a sheet wrapped around them. When we needed meat we just took the axe and cut off a piece. The bean .kettle simmered all the time on the stove and as we put lots of meat in it, there was always about an inch of grease on top. I'll never forget that bean kettle just go in after working in zero weather and have a good dish of bean sit sure pepped you up!

Our head sawyer hated to get up in the morning. One zero morning, we just couldn't get him out of bed. My brother filled the stoves with green hemlock, climbed up on the roof and laid a slab over the smoke pipe and in about three minutes, the sawyer rushed out with his clothes in his hand. We had no more trouble after that oh the job. We sawed 125,000 feet of lumber.

The following spring my brother ran a Buffalo-Pitts road roller in the town of Portage and his partner, Leon Packer and I sawed about 75,000 more. Leon later was killed in a sawmill at Arcada. A piece of slab came over the saw and hit him in the bust. He would always look back when he ran the carriage back and not watch the saw. I spoke to him many times not to do it. He left his wife and five kids.


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