Photos from the book will be added later
Farmer, Lumberman, State Official
STARTING LIFE IN THE NEW COUNTRY
Next morning was one of the red letter days in my life. Elk Run, as fine a trout stream as ever graced any pioneer community, ran serenely past the house scarcely two rods away, covered nearly over with ice, yet visible enough so that its sparkling and pure water could be plainly seen. On the east and on the west, towering above the valley, were the hills, rising in majestic grandeur, covered with dense growth of the finest pine, hemlock and hardwood timber; while toward the south the Cedar Run Mountain closed off the entire view from that direction, towering above everything and forming the background of the most beautiful landscape I had ever seen, reminding me one of the grand painting by an old master, Then closer to the homestead, were two fruit orchards which added to the completeness of the picture. Then that grand old-fashioned farm house, with a stone fireplace—the first I had ever seen, with the fire just dancing with apparent joy as the flames curled and circled around those great logs of seasoned wood!
After a careful survey of everything inside and out of the delightful home and surroundings, we sat down for the first time to breakfast. With great feeling of reverence and unrestrained gratitude my father lifted his voice in the most fervent and prophetic prayer of mixed thanksgiving and promise to his God that I have ever heard in my life. In this appeal he asked God to prosper this new undertaking which had meant so much; to shower his little family with health, happiness and prosperity in this new land; to permit his daughters to grow up gracefully and virtuously; that his sons might grow up to be useful and sturdy like the great trees of the forest which surrounded that home; to be as firm and reliable as the hills themselves; to serve and trust God through adversity and prosperity throughout our sojourn in this the Promised Land, and that it should all be done to the honor and glory of Almighty God.
Although I was only four months past seven years of age, I was tremendously impressed with it all, and promised by all the rules of procedure that was mine to understand that I would never permit my father and mother to regret the day that I was born. This is Maxim Number Three, and my guiding star.
One of the first duties was to replenish the wood pile which had been nearly exhausted through the long, severe winter, and the amount of wood that it took to keep that fireplace going day and night was a caution.
A wood "bee" of several days’ duration was in order, and while this was going on several hundred maple trees were being tapped to make syrup and maple sugar.
Next was rail splitting time, and a real time it was, for in that period and in that community the cattle ran at large, and any fields that are cultivated had to be fenced. My father changed that order of business and fenced in the whole farm to keep out cattle belonging to others, and made cross fences through and around, wherever needed, to keep his own stock where they belonged.
We would not detract from the fame of our distinguished president who was accredited with being a champion rail splitter, but we do contend that we were in position to know, and by reason of experience could testify, that no one ever grew up in northern Pennsylvania with a better knowledge of that useful art than the members of our family had at that time.
Mention has been made of the delightful trout streams, for every tributary of Pine Creek was a trout stream, and, as I have since learned, none of them could in any way surpass our own Elk Run; yet up to this time I had never seen a trout. The ice had gone out of the stream and the spring flood had subsided, when along came John Mattison, a neighbor boy, with his paraphernalia for fishing and asked my brother Rupert and me to accompany him on this famous expedition which, as I remember, took us nearly forty rods from the house; but it served the purpose all right, for it was but a few minutes when John pulled out a fine specimen of the speckled beauty quality of brook trout.
I was so elated that I counted the spots over and over to make sure that I had missed none. Immediately I became a candidate for the Isaac Walton League and have been a constant member to this day, for there is no pastime that I have ever found that can compare with the pleasure of trout fishing.
The soil in that new country was deep and rich, made so by the falling of leaves for centuries, undisturbed, until they had enriched the earth many inches below the surface. Planting time was in order, and in a short time corn, potatoes, oats and other products were shooting forth their green blades as though released from long hidden confinement, and were nodding their thanksgiving for the call of sunshine and spring shower.
Getting acquainted with the people, fishing, riding horse to cultivate potatoes and corn, were among the pastimes of the first spring days I had in that new country.
Most of the work had to be done by hand, as there were little machinery to be had, and the new fields were too rough to use machinery to advantage/ My elder brothers, James, Frank, and Rupert, were old enough to work as men in most of the various efforts about the farm, and it was up to me to carry water from one of the many pure and silvery springs with which the whole countryside was well provided, while the while the others were hoeing in the fields.
It was not long before long crops were growing in great profusion, and the natives would stop along the road and remark about this newcomer who knew how to do things on a farm. As I now look back upon that first season, I am convinced it was the kindly act of Providence to permit a master stroke to follow every honest effort, so that there would be no homesick moments for anyone, but rather a steadily increasing love and affection for the people, the community, the hills, the valleys, the farm and everything connected therewith.
The apple trees were first loaded with blossoms, and then with fruit, and such fruit it was! Free from pest such as we now have, with everything new, the Early Harvest, the August Sweet, the Strawberry and other early varieties began to show signs of ripening when the first haying time commenced.
With those new rail fences, the fast ripening grain towering above them, the clover and timothy waving in the zephyr breeze, the corn tasseling out, the cows marching up to the stile at eventide, following their leader with the cowbell tinkling a merry tune as the march proceeded, the old swimming hole under the great cherry tree, the ring of the supper bell as it called the proud father with his flock of sturdy, happy boys coming in from the field to a supper cooked exclusively by my own resourceful mother—all these with that unsurpassed setting all ‘round of forest and hill that I have so feebly described, constituted a farm home and household that has never been surpassed since the foundation of the world.
If you would have your boys and girls take an interest in rural life, you must teach them to love the country; to take an interest in all that belongs to it—its occupations, its sports, its pleasures, its improvements; to call the flocks around them and feed them by their own hands; to know the birds of the air and call them by their names; to rove over the verdant fields with a greater pleasure than they could have in carpeted halls of regal courts; to brush the dew from glittering fields as though their paths were strewn with diamonds. To reach this high pinnacle, all instinct with the presence of the Creator, and to feel amidst it all the heart swelling with just pride and holy joy, absolutely incapable of utterance, this is to love the country, and to make it not the home of the body only, but of the soul.
If any member of our family ever experienced a homesick day, they never made it known.
My two sisters, Julia and Anna, and our baby brother William, the latter just beginning to toddle about, would play from morning until night in the great out-of-doors, and grew as robust as cub bears.
My age was in my favor, for I was too small to work with the men and too large to play with the kiddies; so I just romped and played with every boy in the neighborhood, learned the name of every man, woman and child for miles around, and learned to know all the horse teams in the country. I climbed to the top of every hill, fished in every stream, occasionally would ride a horse for a neighbor to cultivate corn or potatoes; and it was a sad day, indeed for me when the schoolbell rang out for the first time in the new schoolhouse that must have been built to accommodate this large family.
School regulations at that time and place were somewhat elastic, for a farmer was expected to keep his big boys at home to help gather and harvest the crops, before starting in school.
The harvest time was a great event, and resulted in bulging barns and bins. The cellar was full of vegetables, and literally hundreds of bushels were "buried" outside in the garden.
Soon James, Frank, Rupert and I were off to school at the Knowlton Schoolhouse, which had just been completed. The teacher was Mary Tate, a local girl, who proved to be an excellent instructor.
All went well, and soon snow covered the ground. The streams were frozen over, and riding down hill, skating, etc., were much in evidence by everyone. I soon learned to skate, and to ride a jumper—a contrivance made by using a solid oaken barrel stave for the runner, with an upright post a little back of the center. Then a seat nailed on top of the post. This made a cheap sort of sled, and one that was rather more enjoyed than the common sled—probably because it took more dexterity to balance and manipulate a jumper with but one runner than a sled with two runners.
The arrival of snow was the signal for log hauling, an industry entirely new to the Dewey boys. Charles B. Watrous owned a large saw mill, about four miles down the stream, and all the farmers ‘round about commenced drawing logs to the mill. Custom sawing was the order of the day6, for there was little or no sale for logs or lumber at that time; but the farmers were made many fences of sawed boards, and all were building houses, barns and other buildings, so that the business was rather brisk and, apparently, much enjoyed by all.
We soon learned that quite extensive pine lumbering operations were in progress on Cedar Run, Slate Run, Kettle Creek, Phoenix Creek, Johnson Brook, Marsh Creek and in various places on Pine Creek. The pine trees were mammoth, often reaching four or five feet in diameter. The logs were cut in twelve, fourteen, sixteen, eighteen and twenty foot lengths; the rough bark peeled off with axes specially made, resembling a broad or hewing axe, with a short and somewhat bent handle, to protect the hands from injury when being used.
The logs were skidded, in the fall of the year, in piles suitable to the number of logs or place to be skidded, then a slide was built from the river or mill or ultimate landing to the log piles, and, at the first sign of winter, water barrels were drawn over to the slide, so arranged that a fine spray of water would flow from one end, thus sprinkling the slide from one end to the other. Whenever a good coat of ice was thus frozen on the slide, and after a few smooth logs were run or drawn over, the slide was ready to use. The contour of the slide was made in such conformity to the log, i.e., the slide is concave while the log is convex, that no matter how small or large the log might be it would well fit the slide when rolled in lengthwise.
A trail of logs was made up by rolling in single logs; then, with usually a horse termed a jigger horse, the log is pulled along endwise to make room for another, and the process kept up until sufficient number is placed end to end to make a load or "trail" for a team of horses. The team is hitched to the last log and, by parting the logs a few inches apart, the trail is started in about the same manner in which a train of cars is started by the engine, except that the logs are not fastened together, and the power is applied from behind , pushing from the back of the trail instead of pulling from the front, as in the case of the engine and train. Sometimes, when the conditions were right and the trailing was good, there were a hundred or a hundred and fifty logs in a single trail.
It was a sight for the gods to see teams coming down a well regulated slide or trail track, as it was sometimes called, pushing a long trail of big white pine logs, which, when freshly peeled, had the appearance of great yellow roll of butter frozen into giant sticks, like candy; another team close behind with a similar sight, and all on their way down to the stream where the logs were rolled out of the slide, and into great skidways (log piles), ready for the spring flood; then to be rolled into the stream and floated down, first out of the smaller stream and dams, into Pine Creek; then down, and on down, into the Susquehanna River at or near Jersey Shore.
With this glimmer of the greatest and most romantic industry ever carried on within the confines of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I prefer to turn back to the Little White Schoolhouse for the present, and refer again, at more length, to the lumbering industry as I learned it by first-hand experience.
There were three farmsteads to pass on our way to school, and often the weather was so cold and blustery that we were compelled to stop in and get warm. The experience proved, as I learned later in life, to be a most valuable asset to the education that I was seeking. Each of these farmers, together with their entire families, were as different from the other as perhaps it is possible for neighbors to become.
The characteristics, the philoposphy, the customs, the likes and dislikes of these people were, to me, as fascinating as that of any course of study I have ever been permitted to take. I was very fond of them all, and often stopped on my way home from school to hear a bear story from one, or an admonition from another to save my pennies if I would ever become great, or to get a big round cookie from another. All this was very inspiring and somewhat alluring to a hungry, high strung boy who was trying every day to climb every tree in the community, or to slide down as many cellar doors as I could and still answer to the roll call at school.
On one occasion, when the snow drifts offered a most appealing chance to romp, I stretched out full length on the snow and rolled for nearly half a mile without stopping. Later in life, when I read of losers in a political bet rolling a peanut for a mile or so with their nose to pay the bet, I am not greatly impressed with their intelligence, nor do I pity them. They should have learned at least something during their school days, then by applying themselves to something more useful when they grew to manhood.
Finally the winter seemed to break. My father had finished hauling what logs he had to the mill, and sugar-making time had come. One year of life and adventure had gone by since the day we reached the new home.
One more son had been added to the family, and Solon is still our baby brother, although we were destined to have, some years later, a baby sister, who was named Sarah; thus making up a family of six sons and three daughters, all of whom lived to be married and had families of their own.
For several years there seemed to be little to record that differed materially from the year just recorded. James had learned some things about lumbering, and Frank had taken to driving the horses and eventually became an expert horseman. Rupert was a rugged, sturdy lad, and was as dependable as the sun in any capacity which seemed to be best for the moment. And I was still climbing trees, picking chestnuts, fishing, driving horses Saturdays and holidays, and whenever there was no school to attend. I had learned much of the lumbering craft; all about the accustomed duties and chores on the farm; had learned to shoot fairly well; loved to play base ball, the violin, the cornet, and a little on the piano.
One day at school I was visited by a young friend, Eddie Barto by name, who attended another school two miles away. We were fast friends and would fight for each other if the occasion required. His legs were rather short, and just long enough so that he could straighten them out and place his feet against the seat in front. This he did, and soon his feet slipped and down they came, striking the floor with a tremendous loud bang. The teacher looked over in my direction and, no doubt, seeing a guilty expression upon my face, she promised me the licking of my life if this unpardonable offense was repeated. Without any hesitation Eddie placed his feet squarely against that seat again and, within the space of a minute or two, down they came again with a louder bang than before, if such were possible. Without a word and without hesitation, whatever, the teacher proceeded to carry out her promise.
She usually carried with her in all her teaching hours, a maple pointer about two feet long, with a good handle hold, and tapering straight to the point. It made about as wicked a weapon, as any one would need with which to punish a boy, whether he be guilty or innocent.
I thought too much of Eddie to squeal on him, so sat there without a murmur for whatever punishment the teacher might wish to bestow upon me, for there seemed to be no escape and the time was exceedingly short. I rather expected she would call me out front and proceed in the usual manner, but she had no such intention; for upon reaching my desk she brought that pointer down over my head three times in quick succession, drawing the blood from the top of my head to my collar each time she struck. Ridges as large as the pointer swelled up almost instantly. The blood flowed in great streams down over my clothes. The sensation was, to my mind, that of being stung by a thousand hornets all at one instant. Nothing ever happened in my life so startling, so stunning, so cruel and heartless as that beating for which I was as innocent as a babe in its mother’s arms.
Up to that time I had held the greatest admiration for that teacher; and now I was placed in a position where, under no condition or consideration, could I ever attend her school again.
My whole life was to be changed by this incident. Why it should have happened, God alone knows. I left the school forthwith and wandered home, never to return. Many years afterward, fate decreed that I should be present when this same teacher, then a wife and mother, died in great agony. While she was suffering on that last day of life here on earth, I found it in my heart to forgive her.
This incident at school was the means of fixing indelibly upon my very soul certain maxims that have lasted throughout my life; and one that is most outstanding is that in the training of my own children, punishment of any kind was limited to the minimum. And I never allowed myself to punish at all unless I was positive that there was no mistake in identity. As a juryman, the proof must be conclusive or I withhold my ballot; as a citizen, with the usual gossip floating through the community from time to time, I never allowed myself to be disturbed unless I had personal knowledge, and then only when the mature of the offense was so repulsive that the peace and protection of the community were endangered.
There was no law concerning attendance at school, and my parents shared with me in the belief that I had been the victim of an outrage too great to be easily overlooked.
I was pretty handy at driving horses, and was soon engaged in work of almost every kind, and never so happy as when I could hitch my team to a saw log and skid it over the ground.
A brass band was organized, called the Elk Run Band, with James Hurd leader. I was allowed to join this organization and, under the tutelage of our bandmaster, I soon became proficient enough to play a solo cornet. As long as that band existed I was never absent or tardy whenever there was band practice or an engagement. I had also became somewhat proficient with the violin, and played for parties and balls for miles around.
My absence from school at least gave me an opportunity to get a smattering of everything that took place in the community—barn raisings and logging bees for outdoor sport, apple cuts, and husking bees for indoor sports, we needed little else; although during the picnic season, a large swing, made by suspending a long rope between two elm trees at Marshfield, two and a half miles below, was a great attraction for all.
My brother, Rupert and I had become rather good ball players and formed the so-called "battery." He was the catcher and I did the pitching. The country was fast becoming populated and we had many engagements to play ball, many times bringing home the bacon.
Brother James was away from home in the lumber woods, peeling pine logs for Oliver Wolfe on the waters of Slate Run. He would write home occasionally and tell about starting out from camp long before daylight in the morning and not get back until long after dark. Soon after this a family council was held and it was decided that James should quit the lumber woods and attend the State Normal School at Mansfield. This was finally arranged and he started in school.
After about a year another family council was held, and it was decided that the farm should be rented and the family move to Mansfield, so that all the sons and daughters could have the benefit and advantage of the schools there.
A house was purchased and we moved to Mansfield—a family of nine children, the father in moderate circumstances with nothing in particular to do, and depending upon the farm to furnish most of the wherewith to keep things going. This was certainly a well-meant expedition, and was prompted by the earnest desire of a fond father and mother, who were ready to sacrifice their all that their children might receive an education.
All went fairly well for the first year; but during the second winter scarlet fever broke out and nearly every family in Mansfield was afflicted.
The school was closed for a time and every member of our family but father was sick with that dread disease. My father would go from bed to bed, giving food and medicine to the sick. What an experience that was! Doctors were tired out with the great task and could only visit at long intervals; and my father kept up the long vigil alone until, one by one, we were finally restored back to health once more.
This was enough. School or no school, the farm was the place for such a family as ours; and another family council was held, resulting on a return back to our farm on the waters of Elk Run.
We had spent two years away from the farm. A poor tenant had not made any improvements and, generally, it was like starting all over again to bring the farm up to par.
However, the dawn of a new era was breaking for that country, and we appeared on the scene just in time to take a hand in the development of the greatest industry that ever came to northern Pennsylvania.
The building of the Cedar Run tannery, the enlargement of the Manhattan tannery, the big saw-mills at Leetonia, the Galeton tannery and bid saw-mills , the New York Central Railroad running down Pine Creek, the Addison and Pennsylvania Railroad==from Addison to Gaines and later on to Galeton; the Clintons’, the Lees’, the Gales’, the Billings’ interest—all seemed to come at one time, destined to denude the forest of that massive growth of timber that had been waiting for centuries for the use of mankind.
Great interests at Williamsport were buying timber anywhere and everywhere, for the price of lumber for the first time had reached a point where it was profitable to lumber in hemlock. Pine had been the only timber considered worth placing on the market. Thousands of men were needed to carry on these tremendous operations. Towns sprang up like mushrooms over night, almost. Trainloads of workmen came from Canada and shiploads from Europe.
This new development started in 1882, with the coming of the two railroads above-mentioned. Manufacturing plants were erected for the making of tools for the kinds of use. Hotels and saloons were built at every advantageous point. The three breweries at Germania were compelled to run day and night to supply the trade. Gamblers and card sharks followed along in regular step with the development and progress in all lines of activity. Lumber was cheap and plenty, so everyone could build a house or barn who wanted to, and it seemed as though everybody did want to build.
D.K. Marsh, our genial storekeeper and postmaster, built a mansion house of mammoth proportions, in 1883, and others were erected on every side, until that little pioneer community looked like a western town. My father thought it best to follow along, and while our buildings seemed adequate, a new house and barn were erected in 1885.
The building operation alone furnished work for hundreds of workmen. Horsemen brought carloads of horses from the West to supply the lumber trade. Drovers came to buy cattle, sheep and hogs, and drove them on the hoof to the larger centers and to market. The Lees at Leetonia and the Gales at Galeton brought experienced lumbermen with them, and with hundreds of teams hauling bark to their tanneries, there was a call for better roads; and everything seemed to conspire together to make this the busiest and liveliest community in the country. Skating rinks were erected for the first time, and a great novelty they proved to be for a time. Our band was called into use, and almost every night we would play at one or another of these rinks.
I still found time to keep in practice on the violin, and responded to many invitations to play for house parties and barn dances.
On one occasion where I was playing, and after the dance had broken up, I tucked the violin away in the case and looked around for a girl with whom I might be permitted to walk home. I espied just one girl that seemed not to be engaged. She was a fine, respectable girl, but was afflicted with a slight impediment in her speech, and was otherwise somewhat slow, which might have conspired to account for her loneliness.
I went over in her direction and said, "Kitty, I guess it’s you and me for tonight, isn’t it?"
She replied, "I guess tho."
So Kitty and I walked down to the gate together. Of course, we lingered at the gate for a time, and after we had bade each other good-night in the usual way, I turned back, realizing full well what would happen to me if it were known that I had walked home with Kitty, and said, " Kitty, for the love of Mike don’t tell anyone that I walked home with you, for if you do, they’ll razz the life out of us."
She shook her fist at me and, with unconcealed anger, replied without hesitation, "Don’t you worry ‘bout my tellin’ of ut; I’M just as ‘shamed of ut as you are."
This, of course broke up our courtship without further notice, and as I walked on home alone, four miles away, I had plenty of time to think of her exceedingly witty reply to my altogether selfish request.
One of the sidelights of all this great lumbering epidemic was the clearing out of all refuse in the various streams, that they might be used for driving logs and the building of splash dams across the streams at intervals and, where needed, for the making of artificial floods. One of these dams was being built across Elk Run and on my father’s farm.
Aside from a casual knowledge of log driving which must come to any young fellow brought up in a lumbering country, this was the first intimate opportunity I had ever had to learn how a dam must be constructed to stand the tremendous pressure of water and logs when filled with both.
Charles B. Watrous, owner of the mill and millions of feet of timber all around there and for miles above, was building the dam, and Captain June Swope was the mechanic.
I was at once inspired by the prospect of a great future, for through the use of this artificial dam the waters of my beloved stream were to be harnessed and turned into a means of transportation to carry away the logs from the trees I had watched growing for years, and to denude the forests I had roamed through so many times.
In helping to erect this dam I became well acquainted with Mr. Watrous, with whom I was destined to be closely associated in lumbering operations for many years; and, incidentally, learned everything about the mechanism of that dam.
Farming had become a somewhat tame occupation compared with the brisk, hustling, bustling business of lumbering. Peter Champaign, a Frenchman who had come from Canada when quite a young lad, and had learned all about the pine lumbering business, was one of the foremost and most successful of the lumbermen of that hour. In his lumber camp the cook would have breakfast ready for the crew of fifty or seventy-five men at four o’clock, or earlier, in the winter. This would seem to be a ridiculous hour to people of this day, and especially that of an earlier hour in winter than in summer. The reason is easily explained when we understand that the only way logs could be moved to advantage for any distance was by taking advantage of cold weather and the snow that seldom ever failed in those days.
There was a fascination in getting out on a log slide early in the morning, long before daylight, taking with us a flambeau, a French Canadian name for a tin can filled with kerosene oil, with a wick in the top which had a tapering topknot. This device was lighted and carried, ofttimes by a teamster or lever man, and more often placed on a pole and stuck in the snow, where several men could use the same light at one time.
The music of logs running in a slide and striking together when one or more logs would stop, and others would bump them against others that had come to a standstill, or, at least, were going at a slower rate of speed, was the sweetest music a lumberman ever heard, for it denoted action, and action denotes success, for the time at least. The roar of logs pounding together on a frosty night could be heard for many miles, and had a fascination that only a lumber hick could understand.
William Putnam and his sons Hank and John were among the early successful lumbermen of the day. John Engler, Sam Carson, Charles Rexford, Francis DeLoy, Oliver Wolfe, Tom Smith, Steel and Gilbert, Perry Smith, Sam Beach, Homer Hawley, Charles Wood, and many other successful lumbermen wielded a tremendous influence in the lumbering business on the waters of Pine Creek, Kettle Creek, Cedar Run, Slate Run, Black Forest, Sinnemahoning, and various other places in Tioga, Potter, McKean, Clinton and Lycoming Counties.
I had learned something from nearly all of these older lumbermen, in one way or another. It had been my lot to work directly for certain of these contractors, and I had come in contact with them in other ways , so that I was developing a rather keen interest in all phases of the industry.
I hired out to work on the log drive at the age of fourteen years, and each spring would go down on the drive, so that I was not only familiar with every detail of that exciting, dangerous and extraordinary method of log transportation ever yet devised, but was taking a keen interest in the development of any new means or method of improvement.
Evidently, I had attracted the attention of others, for one day, while working on the drive for George and Sam Champaign, sons of Peter Champaign, of whom former mention had been made, George called me out on the bank and asked me to take charge of the crew in his absence, for he had been suddenly called away. I was but eighteen years of age and there were men working there at that very time fifty-two years of age.
This was a red-letter day in my life. The entire crew was called together and made acquainted with my promotion. The wonder of it all is that it did not turn my head so that a dominating disposition would spoil my whole career. I looked upon the whole thing as a huge joke, and commenced to sing a familiar song. The refrain was caught up by every one, both old and young, down one side of the stream and up the other. Lustily that song was caught up by every little squad, until the stream fairly swelled with admiration at the genuine sport and actual pleasure that had so suddenly been transposed from a rather drab, sober and, sometimes almost repulsive spirit of drudgery into an admirable picnic and pastime.
I was not long in discovering the psychology, and another and perhaps the governing maxim of my life was born.
Now, I have never taken a vacation in my life, for I have never felt the need of one. My work has been my hobby, my pleasure and my aim in life. Along with my work I have always tried to get for myself, and for others associated with me, the very best life held in store. I have endeavored to derive the most of the pleasures of life’s problems, and to share them to the fullest extent with those who worked hardest with me, or for me, in the accomplishment of whatever task we were called upon to perform.
The singing of that song was but the forerunner of many other songs or stunts, much after the manner of the cheer leader of the present day, who has found out that a happy mood will speed up any kind of work, whether agreeable or objectionable, almost fifty percent. The almost superhuman strength exercised by those hard working men on that log drive, encouraged and speeded by the application of a jovial and happy attitude toward their work, accomplished many things that day, some of which are still manifest in no small manner in the big affairs of Pennsylvania even unto this day. The water was high and the weather was fine, and with a spirit of strife instilled in the crew on either side of the stream the songs became more spirited, the tempo jigged up, until the stream became a veritable inferno of logs tumbling from either side and floating away down toward their destination.
The distance covered in the balance of that memorable day and the work accomplished were almost unbelievable. My reputation as a foreman on the log drive was established. When George Champaign came back next day he was do amazed and so pleased with what had happened that I was made superintendent of the operations, and for many years was closely associated with the Champaign Brothers, who developed into one of the most successful and outstanding firms in the business.
A peculiar situation existed so far as Elk Run lumbering was concerned. The great lumbering interests at Williamsport owned large tracts of timberland in that watershed; also, Charles B. Watrous owned large tracts of timber and a big sawmill at the mouth of the run. This necessitated two log drives in that small stream each spring. Accordingly, the Williamsport firms would start their drive first; and after their logs were driven below the second dam (there were five dams on that stream), then the Watrous drive would start from the upper dam—using a strong boom at the second dam to catch and hold the logs so they would not get mixed with the first drive. After the first drive was through the last dam and into Pine Creek, then the Watrous drive would begin in earnest: His logs, of course, were stopped at his mill, and filled the stream until they were sawed out during the summer.
The Champaign Brothers drove the logs for the Williamsport parties and Watrous drove their own. Many times it would so happen that log drivers could work on the first drive until it was in Pine Creek, then go back and drive on the Watrous drive until that was finished, and then go on the Pine Creek drive through to the Susquehanna River and to the boom at Williamsport.
It will be understood that many other small streams were being used in much the same manner as was Elk Run, except that, to my knowledge, Elk Run was the only stream that had two drives on at one and the same time.
After this introduction to some of my early exploits in lumbering, I will turn to another important epoch in my career.
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