"[History is] a cyclic poem written by time upon the memories of man." -Percy Bysshe Shelley

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Paul Brenner interview, continued

At the same time that these steam loaders and stuff came into the area the gasoline and diesel engines were developed. And a tractor was developed with tracks which was similar to what we have nowadays. In fact these Ten Ton Holt tractors which Brooks and Ross used eventually became part of the Caterpillar Tractor Company. And the advantage of these Ten Ton Holt tractors and some steam haulers was that instead of only one sleigh they could haul ten sometimes fifteen sleighs of logs. I guess I missed this one pair of pictures that shows horses hauling sleighs of logs. This one picture showing this tremendously large load was probably made mostly for the photographer. Even with maybe three teams on it it would be a hard job for them to pull it but occasionally I guess they could but these other pictures are showing more typical sleighs of logs. These are big logs on this one but it isn't that high. This happens to be cedar poles again for the Patterson Lumber Company. And this picture is probably very typical of what they hauled out of the woods. It shows a combination of fairly large logs and smaller logs and stuff. Because they didn't waste much. They always talk about how much they wasted but what little I could learn and see and stuff they took awful small logs out of the woods.

At the same time that the steam hoist came in to the woods the Phoenix steam hauler came in just about the same time as the Holt tractor. This was built in Eau Claire. I think they started building them in 1903. And there again, of course, the big advantage was that they could haul eight, ten, twelve sleighs in the right conditions.

Now getting back to the oldest logging, the stuff that was sleighed to along the lakes and the rivers in our area the Manitowish River and the Rest Lake Chain and stuff like that. The loggers built a series of dams to raise the water up considerably and they had one at Rest Lake which is where Manitowish Waters is now. They also had one below Boulder Lake which is near the junction of highway "H" and "K". And they also had one further up stream called the Fish Trap Dam which raised the water all the way up to High Lake. Now I think they raised the water up in the fall so that once they started getting ice they could put logs right on the ice if they could get to the lakes because of the banks. But if not then they decked them along the edges of the lakes and rivers and then when the ice went out in the spring they'd roll the logs into the water and they'd float down ever so slowly but they'd float down. At the Rest Lake Dam there is, I have a series of pictures here that show the Rest Lake Dam. Unfortunately not where we could see any logs going through it. This other picture is the Boulder Lake Dam. I'm sure this is when they were using it but they don't show any logs coming through it. So they'd keep the gates closed on the dam until they'd get a head of water and a load of logs behind it. And then they'd open up the dams and what that caused was raise the river down below the dam for quite a ways and it would sluice the logs down over maybe some bad spots. Then the rest of the water would be deep enough that the logs would float ever so slowly. They figured one log out of ten never made it to the mill because they either sank or they got stuck in places where they couldn't get them back into the main current.

Now at the time that all these dams were built there were many companies using the same rivers and lakes and they had to have a way of sorting the logs after they got down to where the mills were. In our case the logs went all the way down to Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls. This particular picture shows a man that was both scaling the log which means that he was measuring the board feet that were in the log and at his toe you can see a small hammer. These hammers have raised letters or numbers or all kinds of things. They could be anything. There were thousands of them registered just in this one lumber district and there were ten or twelve lumber districts in Wisconsin. Both ends of the logs were usually marked anywhere from one to ten times depending how big the logs were. By this method when the logs got down to the mills they were able to sort them out, each company having their own marks.

These particular marks we've got here "YB" was Yawkey Bissell down at Hazelhurst. This is a Dells lumber company mark from the year 1895. The "HK" mark here is the Chippewa Log and Boom which was a , Mr. Weyerhauser actually was one of the first in the men to log along the Manitowish River. And originally he had the Mississippi River Logging Company and maybe several others. But eventually he sold those to the Chippewa Log and Boom but he still was part of the Chippewa Log and Boom and so his marks were all registered by them. And so he actually controlled probably about seventyfive percent of the logs that went down the Manitowish River in our area. I don't know about other areas but in our area that was probably about seventy five percent.

Now in addition to the end mark which was put on with a heavy hammer, now these hammers were not hot, it was a brand but not heated like a horse or cattle brand. It was just the weight of the hammer that would put the mark in the log. They also occasionally would put a bark mark on the round side of the log. And these were always put on with an ax and so they had to be a mark that wouldn't have curved lines. So the bark marks were either a series of straight lines or in this case of these pictures the "HK" which is simple straight lines. Now in this bottom picture you can see an "HK" bark mark that's actually in the water yet. This was at the hoist that was on the southwest corner of Little Star Lake. The Northwestern Railroad had a railroad that went across the Powell Marsh and they had a big hoist at the southwest corner of Little Star Lake.

Originally the logs were all floated down through the dam. But by 1903 or 1904 or 1905 when the railroads got here a number of hoists were put in at different places. The one that I was just telling you about. There was also one on Rest Lake . I know there was one on Boulder Lake and I'm sure there was many many others that I don't know about . And then the logs were floated to the hoist rather than to the dam.

Just to jump ahead a little bit on my pictures, in order to get the logs to the Rest Lake chain which was a series, I think, of ten lakes or whatever it was, they had to, there wasn't enough current that went through the lakes so they had to have booms where ever the main rivers came in to the lakes. And at these booms then they'd make the logs into rafts. And then they had a steam boat which would haul these rafts to the quiet water. First to the dam and then later on to these different hoists. I'm not sure how much sorting, originally they didn't do any sorting when they went through the dam, but I suppose after they were going to the different hoists they may have been sorted, the logs may have been sorted at these booms.

Now here's some more log marks. This "B7R" is Brooks and Ross Camp 7. This plain circle is a mark from Weyerhauser and Dinkman, that was Mr. Weyerhauser's brotherinlaw. And there's just all kinds of these logs down near where Tommy Newcomb lives on Rice Creek flowage. This other bark mark here I'm not sure what it represents but it looks like two "V's". That was the bark mark from the Mississippi River Logging Company which was again one of the outfits that was controlled by Weyerhauser.

And so here's a picture, we're skipping around a little bit, of log decks that were along the edges of the lakes and rivers . This shows a man tailing down the logs which means they were just rolling them into the water after the ice went out. Now here are some pictures after they got the logs floating in the water they didn't want any problems. They had a lot of men they were on the logs themselves with their caulk boots and a long pole. And what they were trying to do was prevent logs from piling up on rock bars and along the edges and stuff like that. Here's a series of four pictures that show the men trying to keep things from jamming up. Even with these men out there a lot of the logs got stuck on the sides and on the rock bars in the center and so as the log drive progressed they would have other men coming with cant hooks and pry bar poles and stuff like that to roll the logs that were stuck on the sides, roll them back into the current so they'd float downstream. They even occasionally, in some of the areas where they had large flats, they would have teams of horses that would pull the logs back out into the current. Again as I said, they figured one log out of ten never made it to the mill. Now this picture, I'm not sure if this is a picture of a log jam or if it's just a picture of a river full of logs. It looks like just a picture full of logs. I have a couple pictures coming of a log jam but I don't have them in the book yet.

Now these next pictures show the steamboats. These two here on the right are the same steamboat that was used on the Rest Lake chain. And then this shows a picture of a tug that was used on Lower Trout Lake. The nickname for it was the "Hardly Able" and it would haul rafts over to the hoist. The Milwaukee Road had a track along the east shore of both Upper and Lower Trout and apparently they had at least one hoist on the southeast corner of Lower Trout Lake. They also had one just above the narrows where they had a spur going into it.

Now as far as the pictures, we're getting into when the railroads actually got here. The first mainline into Boulder Junction was 1903. By 1905 the mainlines had gotten as far west as Rest Lake and up to Presque Isle and Winchester and pretty well the whole country was covered by 1905. A lot of the logging companies then built their spur lines off of the mainlines. The mainlines would haul the logs to the mill but they had contacts with the companies and these companies had their own steam engines and rail cars. They were all standard gauge in our area. Some areas, a few areas in the state had narrow gauge railroads but in our area everything was standard gauge meaning the width of the rails was the same distance apart on the logging rails as it was on the mainlines. Here shows a picture near Sayner that shows a typical logging grade going through the woods and again it shows how small a lot of the trees were. Here again another one is near, we always called it Risto Flowage but the game division calls it Whitney Lake Flowage. Here you show the typical spur line. They didn't even saw the ties, they didn't even flatten them off. They just used birch and popple and whatever else was available just as round logs and they nailed the rails to it. Most of these spurs were only used one or two years and so that's why they didn't have to have better ties. On the mainlines they had pretty good ties but on the spur lines they just had whatever was available.

Those three aren't really important. It just shows the hand cars that were used. Different companies had different kinds, I suppose depending on what crews they had. This one happens to be down at Valesco which was the junction of the Milwaukee Road track that went to Star Lake and the Milwauee Road tract that went to Boulder. This one is just north of Boulder it's probably a Brooks and Ross hand car. This is down here at Trout Lake I'm not sure who's car it was, maybe the Wright Lumber Company and Dan Cardinal is the man on the right there.

And here show some typical company steam engines. Locomotives that were used to haul the log trains out of the woods. This first one is, I'm not sure of the name of the railroad but it was used to haul the logs into the Yawkey Bissell mill down at Hazelhurst. I'm sure they had a name for that railroad but I don't know what it is right now. The other three are all up at the Vilas County Lumber Company up at Fosterville. Almost all their logs, I think all their logs probably went out by rail, I don't think they did any driving at all. And here shows some typical logging trains. This one is at Trout Lake and again you can a McGiffert Loader up at the head of the engine that they were moving both the loader and. The loader, the McGiffert could run under its own power but I suppose when they were going long distances they just hooked them to the logging train. These two are loads of logs somewhere along the edge of Trout Lake or in around that area someplace.

The mainline of the Milwaukee road that went to Boulder and then on to both Rest Lake and Buswell was a combination passenger and logging. They'd haul passengers and freight and logs. Here shows apparently the log car jumping the rail and the passengers either walking back to Boulder or forward to if they were far enough south down to Woodruff. I guess this was fairly common, it wasn't unusual even at slow speeds for the cars to jump the tracks.

Now we're getting into, these three pictures here, three. The first logging just took the white pine. That was the ones that floated the best and was the most valuable. But after the railroad got here they took the white, and they took the norway , they took the cedar, they took the hemlock, and they also took the hardwood. These three pictures show in the case of the hemlock they would go into the hemlock stands and they'd cut them down first thing in the spring and peel the bark off and pile the bark in piles. And then later on they'd haul the bark out to the railroads where it was put on railroad cars and hauled down to the tanneries where eventually it was ground up and soaked in water and the tannin that was in the bark was extracted and was used in the tanning process. This one sleigh here is probably not very typical. I've got another picture coming that's going to fit in this other thing which is a much smaller sleigh. But this one is probably piled twelve feet high. Now there was really no weight involved so if they had a real long haul I suppose they could make sleighs that would be maybe I suppose that sleigh is twelve feet long or longer and twelve feet high. They could pile the stuff so that they could make it pay to haul a long ways.

Now we're getting in to a series of pictures on the camps in our area. The first one here is Camp Three which was the main Brooks and Ross camp on Wolf Lake. As I said earlier, the logs, a lot of the logs were sleighed into this camp by Ten Ton Holt tractors and then eventually were loaded on to railroad cars at Camp Three. Brooks and Ross also had other camps further north where they loaded logs out. But Camp Three probably most of the stuff around Round Lake and up to Crab Lake and Sanford, a few of them others were all probably hauled down to Camp Three on Wolf Lake.

This next picture is Camp Five at Sanford Lake. I don't know if all the Brooks and Ross marks, logs were marked with a hammer but in the case of Camp Five on Sanford they apparently stored the logs in the water there and then must have had a hoist going to the lake because I found a "B5R" log in the water which had been the mark for Brooks and Ross in Camp Five. Now they weren't always that simple, the marks. Now this is Camp Six up near Round Lake. The interesting thing about this particular camp is I talked to a young lady, not a young lady, a lady one day last summer and her grandfather shown on this picture here was either working in the camp or was caretaker in the summer months. He probably did both. And during the summer months this lady's mother would come up and stay in this camp with her grandfather and the one year she was here which must have been 1910, I don't know how many years she stayed here, but at least in 1910 she was here and that was the year there was a big fire that came in from the west somewhere and burnt the town of Buswell and the mill at Buswell. It continued north along the north side of Big Lake and eventually went past this particular camp. When she got back to school that fall she wrote an essay for whatever grade she was in and she describes both the camp in some detail plus the fact that she and her grandfather was alone there for a while the night that the fire came through and they were pouring water on the roofs. And then a little later Brooks and Ross apparently sent more men up and helped save the camp.

Then this next one is Camp Seven up at Eagle Lake which is just north of Beal a little ways. It is now called Buck and Doe Lake. That was another major camp where they logs to load on railroad cars.

This next series shows some of the Vilas County Lumber Camps that were adjacent to their railroad lines. I'm not real familiar on where this one that's called Camp Six, I've no idea where the camp was.

In addition to putting permanent camps up both the Vilas County Lumber Company and the Turtle Lake Lumber Company, which was at Winchester, had what they called car camps which were camp buildings put on railroad cars. The bunkhouses the mess hall the barns and no doubt the blacksmith shop and maybe others. Whenever they got to wherever they were going to log they put in an extra spur and then the camp was set up for whatever length of time that they were going to log in that area. This picture here shows a good picture of a car camp on some lake. Again I don't know where it was. And this is the car barns from the Turtle Lake Lumber Company. Again I don't know quite where.

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