Lumberwoods – Introduction

by Eric Stringer, 2017


Clarence Jacobs (also known as “Toss”) of Little Heart’s Ease. He was a cook at this camp.

Bryan Marsh has published a series of quality articles on the operations relating to the Grand Falls paper mill. It provides an in-depth account of many of the aspects of life in lumber camps. We need not re-invent the wheel here. So we will defer to him for that aspect of the lumberwoods. Bearing in mind, of course, that his account relates to the Anglo-Development Company (A.N.D. Co.); he was not affiliated with the Bowaters operations.

Of all of those men from the South West Arm who have worked in the lumberwoods in Central Newfoundland over the years, as a percentage very few remain. And of those who do, their memory of the who’s and where’s are limited. After all, it has been close to a half century in many cases.

We are, however, most grateful to those who have offered up what information they could think of to help with this project.

Had this research been done a decade or more ago, considerably more data would have been available. But, as they say, lost time is never found again, and we must thankfully accept that which we have.

As may be seen in the information provided here, some communities had a large percentage of loggers, while others had less so.


Notes (in no particular order):

  • Each ‘camp’ had a quota of wood to cut each year. When its crew of loggers had that cordage cut, those who wanted to would look to find work at another camp, while others just chose to go home.
  • Most/many men would stay at a camp for a “scale”. Down through history, the duration of a scale varied .. at times, 18 days; at others, two weeks. At the end of the scale, having been paid for the previous scale, it was customary for men to go home for the weekend.
  • There were other logging operations in Central Newfoundland besides the ones referenced herein, but only those where the pulpwood went to either the Corner Brook (Bowaters) or Grand Falls (A.N.D. Co.) paper mills are referenced here.
  • There are no references in this paper to operations with Spracklin’s.
  • The information presented here is virtually 100% accurate; but, due to numerous factors, it is far from complete.
  • It is difficult to determine exactly, but it wouldn’t be far from correct to say that more than 90% of the Southwest Arm men who worked “in the woods” have passed away. And of the relatively small number still with us, it has been 40 or many more years since they were active there.
  • Regrettably, it was nigh impossible to find out the names of all men who worked “in the woods”. Many were identified (those who were known to have worked at certain camps with certain foremen) through face-to-face contact with those remaining. And through them, many others whom they knew were identified. We owe them our gratitude for the information they have provided.
  • More than a few of these “choppers” have said that working in the lumberwoods was the best job they ever had. No bosses; the more you cut, the more you get paid; ‘in their prime’.
  • With the A.N.D. Co., for wages over $300.00 earned, more than one cheque need to be issued. Observant choppers would not miss seeing which of their fellows received one cheque or two, thus getting an insight as to who the good cutters were.