PINERIES AND LOGGING

   The pineries of this portion of Wisconsin, speaking comprehensively, commence on Black River and extend to Iron Mountain, within twenty miles of Lake Superior, a large portion of the way alternating with hardwoods. The first pine down the river is gray pine and jack pine, with scattering trees of red, white and Norway pine. Proceeding up the river, gray pine diminishes and where a change of the sandy soil to a loam clay and in wet places to hard pan occurs, the red pine disappears and lofty groves of white pine alternate with splendid tracts of hard wood timber, composed of sugar-maples, ash, oak, etc. It is estimated that white pine covers fully one-fourth of the soil of Clark County, being located in Hixon, Thorp, Warner and Mentor towns, the "cut" from which is taken to the Mississippi River by way of Eau Claire River and Beef Slough, and in Colby, Mayville, Beaver, Weston, Loyal and Unity towns, whence the logs are run through Black River to LaCrosse. The pine is taken off by cutting trees near to Black and Eau Claire rivers and their tributaries, in the season which commences about the 1st of November and continues through the Winter, hauling the same to the streams, and "driving" them down to the mills at high water. The "drive" is accomplished by starting the logs into the stream and following them up to prevent jams or break them up when the logs lodge, which they at times do in such quantities that they dam up the river, and so remain until the increased volume of water seeeps it away with a terrible crash. the logs are run down untethered until they reach the mouths of the rivers, where they are caught in "booms" or harbors provided by the consignees, the balance being rafted and run below. The losses entailed by logs drifting into sloughs becoming stranded on the banks, and being stolen by river thieves, were much larger in an earlier day than now.
   Title to these lands is perfected by purchase and transfer, though in some cases lumber dealers contract for the lumber as it stands, and after a careful estimate is paid for at so much per 1,000 feet, the purchaser procuring its felling and delivery at the mouth of the river. The principal lumbermen operating in Clark County are: N.H.Withee, Bright & Withee, C.J.Spaulding, E.Sawyer, C.C.Washburn, the Eau Claire Lumber Company, Giles & Helloway, James Hewett, C.L.Coleman, A.&P.Colburn, Robert Schofield, Cullen Ayers and others who are engaged on the Black and Eau Claire rivers.
   It is estimated that 2,500 men are employed in the pineries on Black River, and 800 in those tributary to Eau Claire River. In early days, lumbering was not so extensively carried on. During the war, the price of lumber appreciated and an increased force became necessary to supply the demand. This of course brought a large immigration of laborers into Clark County, few of whom, if any, remaining, however, and by 1868, every point at which logs were accessible was peopled with the logger and his bands. The supply has gradually grown in dimensiouns, varying to some extent, some years being greater than others, but the average each year since 1868 is estimated at about 200,000,000 feet from the Black River, and 80,000,000 feet from the Eau Claire River district. All logs cut are described by a mark, the original of which has been duly claimed and the claim attested and recorded, as also with the owners' initials stamped upon either end of the log. The business is the mainstay of this portion of Wisconsin, and has been instrumental in the settlement and building up of villages and hamlets in Clark County.

Transcribed and Contributed to this site by Judy Groh

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Floral Bouquet © Copyright: All files on this site are copyrighted by their creator and/or contributor. They may be linked to but may not be reproduced on another site without specific permission from Clark County Coordinator Judy Groh, the State Coordinator, Tina Vickery and/or their contributor. My very special thanks to Holly Timm for the creation of the WIGenWeb Clark County graphic. The use of the Penny Postcard in the title graphic is used with permission of the Penny Post Cards a USGenWeb Archives Web Site.


This page was last updated on -- Friday, 01-Apr-2011 21:28:04 EDT

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