LUMBER INDUSTRY VOCABULARY

The following words can be used when discussing any of the lumbering regions during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Many of the loggers who worked in Pennsylvania also worked in lumber camps and sawmills in other states throughout the United States. Vocabulary was taken from the book Cut & Run- Loggin' Off the Big Woods, which is available at the Warren County Historical Society.

1. Bateau- a stable vessel used on river drives from Canada and through the eastern states; carried men, tools, food, and everything else needed by the men on a log drive

2. Bridge pilings- groups of select, straight trees of the same diameter that were used to provide footings for bridges and other heavy structures

3. Cookees- young chore boys who helped the cooks; had to be up earliest to get the fires started for cooking and to wake up the men

4. Corked boots- leather boots with corks or nails in the soles used during the summer months, to keep balance on a slippery log

5. Deadhead- a log that would sink because it spent an entire season in the river; there are still "deadheads" found in the streams of the Great Lakes region from this time period

6. Decking logs- the process of piling loga high to fit as many logs in the space available

7. Goad stick- wooden rod-like device used to drive oxen that carried lumber out of the forest

8. Heading mill- a mill that specifically made the ends for barrels, which were used to ship everything from crackers to nails

9. Homesteader- person/family who moved with the lumber companies and made homes in the open land surrounding the forests occupied by the lumber companies

10. Hot pond- body of water near a sawmill that cleaned the sand and other grit off the logs, thawed out frozen timber, and served as a sorting device for difference species of logs

11. Lumberjack- man who worked in the lumber industry, cutting down trees or transporting them down river

12. Phoenix (snow snake)- a cross between a crawler tractor and a railroad steam engine; could pull great strings of sleighs loaded with heavy hardwood logs

13. Popple- another name for aspen wood, which is commonly used in chair seats today

14. River pigs- term used to describe a crew of men who transported the logs down river; did most of the heavy work, moving logs

15. Road monkey- a sleigh heaped with heavy logs that needed two to four horses to be pulled

16. Rollway- areas where logs were unloaded over the edge of a riverbank

17. Sawdust towns- towns that grew around sawmill sites, often built by the lumber companies; often died when the last tree was cut

18. Sawyers- men who cut trees down

19. Speedos- like bikes, but equipped with an arm and a third wheel, so as to ride on railroad tracks; used for person transportation and entertainment

20. Stagged pants- shortened pants that were worn because long trousers caught on brush and became wet and heavy in snow or water; shortened using an axe

21. Swampers- men who worked with axes and grub hoes to start sleigh roads (to continue transporting logs through the winter)

 

Courtesy of the Warren County Historical Society