Songs & Ballads Of The Maine Lumberjacks

A Collection Of Traditional & Folk Songs of the area with Lyrics & Commentaries -online book

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Sandy Stream Song
As printed in fhe Lewiston Journal, Maine, July 21, 1917; from the memory of Edwin A. Reed of Orono, Maine, who is the "em­ployer" referred to in the ballad. The Journal also gives a full account of the history of this song, and Mr. Reed's Sandy Stream lumber operation, an episode of which the ballad celebrates. I knew Mr. Reed and his family in Orono. Although the news­paper account is unsigned, I am confident that the facts have been authorized by the family, probably by Mr. Reed himself before his death in 1915, as he knew the song.was in request. The following excerpts give, in addition to the history of the ballad, an idea of the lumberjack's life. "'Sandy Stream Song' was sung on the streams of eastern Maine for twenty years. For another twenty years it was forgotten. It was in safe keeping, however, for it was locked in the memory of the late Edwin A. Reed of Orono. He was the first operator of Sandy Stream; it was his crew that was burned out on the shores of Millinocket lake and he was the brave employer who led his crew to safety. "The Sandy Stream operation was begun about 1874, if not in that year. At the fime, Edwin A. Reed, 31 years old, was en­gaged with his father in the manufacture of shingles and lumber in
Springfield, Maine___Those were the days of crude, hard labor
in lumbering. Sandy Stream had never been driven. For six miles at the upper end the stream was very rapid and it was a ten-mile stream into Millinocket lake. The telephone and dyna­mite were not then in use. With four oxen, some gunpowder and the old-fashioned fuse, the operators did what they could to clear the stream and build their dams. This lumbering opera­tion took three years and was a financial loss in the end. The first year a crew of 75 men drove 17 days without getting out a log. Yet for a mile and a half along the wood road the logs stood 40 tier deep. The prospects of the season were shattered when the new dam above the falls (Hersey Dam) went out. This hung the drive and was a great setback. The dam had to be re-

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