The Lumberjacks

By Donald MacKay

Short-listed for the 1978 Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction

The nineteenth century spawned a different breed of guys who took satisfaction of their woodsmen abilities and tough codes of behavior. They known as themselves lumberers, shantymen, bushes beasts, les bucherons – and, extra lately, lumberjacks, operating within the big forests of jap Canada and British Columbia.

around the kingdom, farm boys could visit the woods, lumbering being the single wintry weather paintings on hand. Immigrants – Swedes and Finns quite often – resumed the trades that they had discovered so good within the forests of northern Europe. They broke the chilly, challenging monotony of camp lifestyles with songs, tall stories and card video games.

inside those pages, writer Donald MacKay permits us a glimpse into that second in our history whilst males entered the virgin woodland to carve out an from the possible unending array of pine, spruce, maple and balsam fir discovered there.

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While the airborne dirt and dust started to settle they seemed out and observed the logs had stuffed the complete Dungarvon circulation and this animal, or creature, had pop out on these logs from the touchdown part. a protracted, brown animal, with a superb lengthy tail and a around head like a guy and brief horns. So it used to be the satan. while he bought to the opposite financial institution in really good leaps, 20 ft or extra, he disappeared into the woods they usually heard this lousy, blood curdling screech — which used to be this fellow’s loss of life whoop, you spot. The satan used to be taking him away. They by no means did locate him. So the satan had come and obtained him to have his breakfast in Hell. “This creature was once noticeable afterwards and heard repeatedly and it received so loads of these previous fellows wouldn't move in there. I take into account previous Bob Ross, he had 3 or 4 groups and used to portage stuff to the camps. He was once a good horseman — well-trained groups — and one time he went in and his horses ran away and broke his waggon all up. His tale was once, he got here down into this brook and stopped his horses to have a drink and by surprise the horses lifted their heads and commenced snortin’, jumpin’, and threshin’, and he appeared up and laying on a log used to be the Whooper. It took an exceptional lengthy leap up into the woods and let loose this screech and Bob couldn’t do something along with his horses, they went correct loopy. So he by no means might portage in there back. good, that outdated jeezler observed anything, boy, or they by no means could have stopped him for he had a very good factor goin’ for him and he didn’t scare effortless. ” might be, steered Tom Pond, it have been an japanese panther, sometimes called cougars, or mountain lions, which have been infrequent within the New Brunswick woods and unexpected to the previous woodsmen. They develop seven ft lengthy, are recognized for his or her chilling screams, and a minimum of 4 have been sighted round the Dungarvon within the years 1908–1923. In one other model, the Dungarvon Whooper was once the wandering ghost of a tender camp prepare dinner who have been murdered for his rate reductions. yet regardless of the explanation for the ghastly screams, humans have been so anxious that Father Edward Murdoch of Renous village got here in and skim a carrier of exorcism and, it used to be acknowledged, the unearthly whoops have been heard not more. 10 THE BULL OF THE WOODS The old-time foremen have been self-made males, labored up from the awl, by no means requested a guy to do anything they couldn’t do themselves. They didn’t combine with the lads a lot, they have been like regimental sergeant-majors. ” GEOFF RANDOLPH, ST. MAURICE RIVER jogging BOSS while a nineteenth century “fighting foreman” comparable to Larry Frost of Pontiac got here using down the Ottawa, it paid to get out of his approach. Frost was once employed not just simply because he may perhaps fell timber, holiday jams, and blaze roads larger than the following fellow but in addition simply because his fists may well cow a bunkhouse trouble-maker or a rival gang purpose on beating him out to industry within the spring log force. Foremen in these days needed to “run swifter, leap larger, and spit extra than any son of a whinge in camp” and Larry Frost in a playful temper used to be a sight to behold, leaping as much as imprint the spikes of his calk boots within the ceiling of the Lanark tavern.

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