The Winter of Seventy-Three
1 All men who follow the lumber woods, attention pay to me,
To an interesting ditty, which I now sing unto thee.
I'll tell you what we do endure. both rain and sleet and cold.
And hardship that we undergo. most bitter to behold.
2 On the twentieth of October, in the year of seventy-three,
I left my native island and sailed for Miramichi;
I hired the day I landed there to work in Snowball's mill,
A large three-story building at the foot of Sawdust Hill.
3 Before I hired I asked the Boss, `What wages do you pay?'
He cleared his head and answered, saying, `Seven shillings per day.'
`Twas four weeks I stopped in hear, a-working with a will,
And soon became acquainted with the folks of Sawdust Hill.
4 At the close of navigation, the saw-mill was shut down
Which caused a general scatter, and the men went walking round.
I heard of folks which wanted men, which put me in good cheer,
I packed my kennebecker and for Indian Town did steer. (1)
5 When I arrived at Indian Town, much wearied from my tramp,
I fell in with two portash men bound for McCollom's camp. (2)
Bill Darrah and Tom Ingraham it was those two men's names,
Belonging to MeCullom's camp and drove two portash teams.
6 They said that I could ride with them a piece if I desired,
And if I'd go along with them they knew I would get hired.
They said: `It is a good concern, the man we both well know;
His name is Guy MeCullom, from the forks of Gaspereau.'
7 I rode along with Darrah and a verse for him I'll make;
He drove a pair of roan and grays, he brought from the Grand Lake;
The horse he weighed twelve hundred, was a noble beast to haul;
The mare she was a dandy, too, although she was but small.
8 When I came to McCuliom's Camp, both hungry, tired and cold,
The face of Billy Bryant was the first I did behold.
How proud I felt to meet with him! I asked who was their Boss,
He pointed to a little man, whose name was Charlie Cross.
9 I hired with him next morning and agreed awhile to stop;
Along with Joseph Faulkner he sent me for to chop.
And for a royal teamster John McInnis was his name;
He drove a gray and roan called 'McCullom`s family team.'
10 They were two noble animals, their ages nine years old:
They were so full of spirit he scarcely them could hold.
Pat Flannagan he tended them, their swamper's name was Wade, (3,4)
And Jim McKinnin was sent with him that he might have their trade.
11 The choppers for the other team were McCoughan and Bill;
`Twas John McPherson swamped for them and bobbed them down the hill;
`Twas Billy Ryan tended sled; the teamster was John Spear;
This Young man he drove a Span of liver-colored mares.
12 Then Guy McCul and Charlie Cross they cruised the woods all round; (5)
They thought they could do better upon McIneriney's ground.
On the second day of January we set out on a tramp
And shifted all our wangan up to McIneriney's camp. (6)
13 'Twas soon we got to work again, good lumber there we found;
The spruce stood round quite thick, both handsome, stout and sound;
But Guy, being discontented still, to Charlie Cross he said;
`There is no use in stopping where we cannot use two sleds.'
14 On the fifteenth day of January we did that ground forsake;
We moved onto another branch and camped upon a lake. (7)
Along with Beechie Woodworth, a silly young goo-gaw,
They sent me on the landing to drag a cross-cut saw. (8)
15 There was another Island man there, among all the rest,
Two feet across the shoulders, in proportion round the breast;
And though so big not very cute - Jim Whelan was his name;
On the seventh of March he cut his foot and started off down stream.
16 He shaved his jaws all round about, except a big mustache,
And said when he was going out he meant to cut a dash.
He took a stocking full of gum, the ladies' hearts to gain;
But all the thanks he got from them, they said that he was green.
17 On the twentieth day of March, my boys, the hauling then broke up.
The lake began to open and we could no longer stop.
We packed our duds and started for Bemis Taylor's camp,
Where I met with Pat McLaughlin and hired with him to swamp.
18 The work with Pat McLaughlin, `twas pretty hard I'd say;
With only three men to a team they went ten tarn a day.
I stopped with him for ten days with a discontented mind,
Thinking of my own dear crew and folks I'd left behind.
19 So now the men are all paid off to take their long portash;
There are some men bound for Frederickton and two bound for Pugwash;
More are for Salmon River bound, some live in Miramichi,
And they are all gone out to Indian Town to have a glorious spree.
20 They are all gone excepting me, I'm left to watch the camp.
To watch the squirrels and loupcervier all racing through the swamp;
The dreary winter past and gone, thank God I'm still alive,
And if the spring proves favorable, I mean to stay and drive.
(1) Kennebecker: carpet-bag, valise; so called because men from the
Kennebec River first took them into the woods
(2) Portash: portage, a Province term; In Maine, `a carry.'
(3) Tended them: not the horses, but the sled. The `tend-sled' helped in
loading on the logs; he was often called a `barker.'
(4) Swamper: a man who cleared out a road for hauling the tree to the
(5) Cruised the woods: the regular expression for looking for timber,
(6) Wangan here meaning the whole equipment of the camp.
(7) To camp upon a lake: to camp on its shores.
(8) A landing: the place where the logs were `yarded' and piled up
ready to roll them into the water.
from _Minstrelsy of Maine;_ F Eckstorm; 1927
Composed by Lawrence Gorman, of Brewer, Maine. From a copy loaned
by Mr. Franz H. Blanchard, the same text that, under the title of
`Lumberman's song' was printed in `The Northern.' July, 1923.