Thursday, January 7, 2016

Michigan Lumberjacks

Today's picture shows a group of lumberjacks preparing a large log for transport. The picture was taken in Michigan in the late 1800's. This looks like a fit, hard working group of men.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting picture and caption, reminding me of some of my reading. In the 1880s and later, in Wisconsin and probably other similar states like Michigan, most farmers had less work to do in winter than summer. One reason was that the soil froze solid, as did most slow-moving rivers. Some farm maintenance was needed, and of course cows needed to be milked. Many farmers couldn't afford to stay idle, and had sons old enough to leave at home to do the chores. Some of these farmers, or their young-adult sons, went Up North to the logging camps, where they could earn cash income. There, the frozen ground was an advantage, as the trees could be cut and processed without having to deal with mud (or mosquitoes). The logs were dragged to the nearest river, where they were dumped on the ice. When breakup came in spring, those with the log rolling skills we saw in an earlier picture would help take the logs downriver to sawmills. So far as I know, none of my ancestors went to the lumber camps, but I've read old newspaper articles about the practice, and found online old letters from men, often new immigrants, who did.