Songs & Ballads Of The Maine Lumberjacks

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

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3 2              Songs and Ballads
built the second year and this so delayed operations that it was necessary to return a third year to get the logs out. In the mean­time the price of lumber went down so that the Reeds were heavy losers. They were many times advised to save themselves by going into bankruptcy, but the singer's hero was made of different
metal:
'He fears no ills, he pays his bills,
And things go merrily on/
"The original crew consisted of 25 men. Later Mr. Reed came back to Springfield and hired 50 men additional. Of these 25 set out with Mr. Reed on the 20th day of April. The ad­ventures of this crew are what inspired the singer. The crew put up at a tavern in Medway where they incurred the wrath of an ill-natured landlord by knocking some of the banisters from his rickety stair-rail. The landlord tried to collect damages but his only pay was in song. From Medway the crew followed the upper shore of the West Branch, across Millinocket Stream, then up to the tote-road to the old supply camp on the west shore of Millinocket lake."
"As the camp had been used during the winter, its timbers were fairly dry. The Reed crew made itself comfortable by means of a roaring fire in the fireplace. It was an old fashioned camp with a fireplace at the centre of the shack and a hole in the roof for a chimney. While the men slept, the fire soared and the camp caught fire. Everything burned. In the morning these 25 men and their captain were 15 miles from the driving camp, hungry, without food, and five feet of April snow. The snow was so deep and soft that the men were obliged to crawl on their hands and knees. For four miles they found it easier to wade in the river than to crawl on the snow. It was all hard work. The men took turns leading the way and breaking the path. All the crew be­came fagged before the end of the trail was reached, so that Mr. Reed covered the last three miles alone. He was the only one who knew the way and the only one who had the pluck to keep going. As soon as he reached the driving camps, he sent men






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III