Today we're starting a two week exploration of our local lumber industry at the dawn of the last century, courtesy of a recently scanned souvenir album from the Oregon Lumber Company. The album includes spectacular photographs of their operation, along with informative (though very flowery) text. At that time they were operating a planing mill at Viento which produced finished lumber. It was fed by a flume from their Chenowith sawmill a few miles up the Little White Salmon River.
This was a period when logging involved lots of manpower, horse or oxen power, and steam. There was also an incredible amount of ingenuity required to turn a large tree far from any road into dimensioned lumber in a remote city. I hope you enjoy the journey.
You'll learn a lot more about their mills later this week, but your Monday Mystery starts with this nice pair of roster photos of the logging crew (bottom photo) which fed the Chenowith sawmill (upper photo). Each employees job title is recorded. Your task is to decipher those titles. This was an era when "greasing skids" was an entry level job instead of a metaphor.
I know what some of them are and some explain themselves, such as blacksmith, which a saw mill would have, the various foremen, teamsters would be hauling logs here and there. The nightwatchman would be on duty at night to see things were alright and always watching for fire, which was the biggest probably threat to a saw mill.
The Fall off and rachet has to do with sawing off the bark edges of a log to get to the good sawable lumber. I think.....A sawyer is in charge of moving the carriage with the log in it back and forth. A scaler gets the grade and measures the cut logs to get the volume. Timber feller's are the ones in the field that actually cut down the treas. The man Eccles would have been the man in charge of the logging process in the field. A turn down has to do with chokers. Naturally mill foreman would be the overall in the sawmill boss. Hook tender would be one that had do do with yarding and setting and releasing chokers. I think that the freighter would be the one hauling in things they needed, such as new parts, etc.
But then what do I know about logging?
charlott on 23rd September 2013 @ 7:24am
Sounds like you know quite a bit about logging charlott.
Some of the jobs are still familiar terms. Some of them like "cut off saw" are unfamiliar to me. I will have to ask some of the old loggers around here.
Where I live, Glenwood was the "woods crew" which fed the "mill crew" in Klickitat. So that concept is familiar.
Just recently I learned where the term "teamsters union" comes from. Although I should have been able to figure it out.
The teamsters, (freighters) were losing their freighting jobs to the locomotive and auto powered methods. They organized to try and protect their profession.
Many of the names are familiar, so the families must have stayed in the area.
Thanks Arthur. I will enjoy the journey.
l.e. on 23rd September 2013 @ 8:10am
I just noticed teamster C.W. Chapman. That's Cody Chapman. His family were early settlers in the Camas Prairie/Glenwood Valley.
Keith McCoy wrote a small book about Cody and his family. "Cody: Colorful Man of Color". His mother was Black.
This is part of his autobiography.
l.e. on 23rd September 2013 @ 8:20am
Could write a book. If logging with horses and oxen, were logging on comparatively flat ground. Today would be using "cats" and rubber tired log skidders. Manager generally called logging superintendant today. If big operation would have had assistants called "siderods" who would be over probably 3 or 4 crews or "sides". If remote area, superintendant would be over camp, cookhouse, maintenance shop, schoolhouse, fights--the whole shebang. Hooktenders were the boss of one "side" or crew. Head timber feller would be boss of cutting crew--today called a "bullbuck". When cutting by hand in old days fellers and crosscut sawyers were two separate operations. With power saws today one man does both and are generally called fellers or "bushelers" if they are paid by volume cut. Teamsters drove the horses and oxen. Oldtimers told me the horses and oxen were considered more valuable than men and were treated accordingly. In some cases, smarter too. Logs or rough cut timbers were laid crossways where the horses or oxen had a rough time yarding logs on the "skid road" Skid greasers did exactly that to help the horses or oxen. "Skid rows" in cities were derived from "skid roads" and were not where the upper classes resided. In my day "swampers" were general laborers and in old days were probably choker-setters, etc. Never heard of 'barkers" on a logging crew. Maybe they were "knot bumpers". Different areas of the country sometimes used different terminology. Quit logging in late 70's so some terminology may have changed from that time period.
Buzz on 23rd September 2013 @ 8:57am
This site pretty much covers all of it. http://www.puresimplicity.net/~heviarti/Logging_Terms.html
Some of these will make you smile.
Paul on 23rd September 2013 @ 9:34am
Different jobs, or different names for the same job?
The Log Driver may have been the person who moved the logs or boards around the storage pond.
longshot on 23rd September 2013 @ 9:36am
Cross-cutter in oldtime logging used hand saw to buck logs up into lengths in the woods. Crosscut sawyers run a bucking saw in the mill to cut logs or lumber into desired lengths for lumber. The head sawyer in a mill was very important as he surveyed the log and made first cuts in log so as to get the most value out of the finished lumber. For instance he may cut out a rotten area or get the longest boards he could that were free of knots.
Buzz on 23rd September 2013 @ 10:06am
Never spent much time around mills-didn't like them-and never heard the term log driver used except when log drives were used in the spring to drive stored up logs from the winter down the flooding rivers. Dangerous work. No hip boots.
Buzz on 23rd September 2013 @ 10:21am
I am wondering if this "souveniur album" is a unique effort by this company or something that was common to other companys at the time. As Buzz notes, horses and oxen were more valuable so I am wondering why all this effort as I'm relatively sure these guys didn't do a lot of pictures and the effort didn't get any lumber out the door.
Arthur: What is the date this album was published? Looking forward to more scans from this album!!!!
Arlen Sheldrake on 23rd September 2013 @ 10:39am
Hey, Buzz do you know what a barber chair and a stag head are? I do....
charlott on 23rd September 2013 @ 1:46pm
I know what happens when a tree "barber chairs"... and it ain't pretty!
spinsur on 23rd September 2013 @ 2:51pm
Staghead is just a tree with a dead top. Barber chair is what happens when a tree splits vertically up the grain when being cut down. Couple things can cause it. Rotten in the butt or sometimes if you don't have big enough of a face cut in it and a strong gust of wind knocks it over too soon it will barber chair. Helped scrape what was left of a day faller off a rock bluff that got rode into it by the back side of a barber chair once. When a logger got killed in Alaska we took the rest of the day off then went back at it the next morning.
Buzz on 23rd September 2013 @ 4:37pm
Ogden Standard Examiner, 8/27/1900
Death of Samuel Eccles
Remains Will Arrive in Ogden Tomorrow Morning
Samuel Eccles, a brother of David Eccles, died at Viento, Oregon of pneumonia, last Friday night at 11 o'clock. The remains will reach Ogden tomorrow morning for burial, and will be accompanied by his wife and children.
The deceased was a son of William and Sarah Eccles, residents of Ogden, and was born in Scotland in February, 1862. He was married and a wife and five children survive him. His brother, Hon. David Eccles, was notified at Belding, Mich of his death this morning and will be home in time for the funeral. Notice of funeral services will be given later.
Jeffrey Bryant on 23rd September 2013 @ 8:34pm
I suspect that the value of a man to beast of burden varied a whole lot from business to business. Some companies probably cared more for the health and well being of their employees than other companies did. Chenowith Lumber certainly gave these men a chance to spiff up a bit. Wonder is there was anything like a dance or picnic going on at the same time?
longshot on 23rd September 2013 @ 8:46pm
Didn't mean to imply that men were mistreated worse than animals. Was told that some horses got so smart they didn't need teamsters to drive them. They knew the trail to the log yard and returned to their crew in the woods and backed up to the next "turn" on their own. These animals were not mistreated. It is also true that I heard stories about logging during the depression where the welfare of the men was not always the No. 1 priority of mill owners. I am sure there was a great deal of variety in this respect.
Buzz on 24th September 2013 @ 7:13am
According to Jeffrey's information, this poster would have been pre-1900.
I think it is after 1892
There is a little history book about the Willard/ Cook area that is online.
"Soon after the road to Cook was built, the Oregon Lumber Company moved in their Sawmill A, built a flume to Drano Lake and from there rafted lumber to Viento, which was shipping point on the OWR & N Co. railroad. The OWR & N was owned principally by David Eccles and. C. S. Nibley (Mormons).
Logging to Mill A was over a couple of miles of railroad while logging to Mill B, the east side mill, was done with horses over skid roads. The timber was mostly red fir and could be bought for 25¢ to 50¢ per thousand board feet. When sawed into lumber, the price was $8.00 to $10.00 per thousand. Mill A was destroyed by fire and was never rebuilt."
l.e. on 24th September 2013 @ 9:03am
The album has a date "1897..." on the cover, which I believe corresponds with OLC commencing operations at Viento. I think we have a date between 1897 and 1900 for this picture.
Arthur on 24th September 2013 @ 2:09pm
Commercial logging was restricted in Utah while it was a territory, so lumber for Utah had to come from Oregon and Washington States.
Jeffrey Bryant on 24th September 2013 @ 8:50pm
Know the wood for the Mormon temple in St. George, Utah came out of what is now the Kaibab Forest in Arizona. Do you know the reason for the logging restriction?
Buzz on 25th September 2013 @ 6:16am
Love to read the job titles of the workers. Haven't thought of them in years. Takes me back to the Oregon Lumber Co. at Dee
Bill P. on 1st October 2013 @ 1:47pm
My sister directed me to this site and these pictures. It's interesting to see pictures of our family members here. Marcus William Robertson went on to win the Medal of Honor in the Spanish American War in the Philippines, with Young's Scouts. His father, William Henry Robertson, Charles Keys, W. Earl Keys, Chester Nelson Sears and Wilde Homer Sears. All family from there in Hood River. I loved the pictures, and have stopped at the local museums when ever we are up there to visit.
Patricia Hill on 22nd January 2014 @ 5:04pm
So happy to have found this site with info about the Oregon Lumber Co. My great grand aunt Jeanette Hiatt was married to Samuel Eccles, brother of David Eccles. Samuel died in Viento in 1900 from pneumonia. She went back to Ogden, Utah and later married a man named William Ingles. I don't know if it's the same William Ingles in this photo. They moved to Los Angeles in 1932 where Jeanette died in 1940.
Thanks to everyone who has shared info and photos on this site. It's great.
Teri Hiatt on 1st October 2014 @ 4:44pm
Just found this site...I am the great granddaughter of Samuel Hutchinson Eccles & Jeanette Hiatt. My dad ( turning 90 this year!) remembers his grandmother Jeanette as an amazing woman. I cannot wait to show him this picture of his grandfather and these amazing men of the Oregon Lumber Company.
Linda Wilcox Sopo on 1st November 2014 @ 11:26pm