You Don’t Waltz With Timber on a Windy Day




Lanark Loggers—I took a picture of this photo at an auction sale. I realized the price would be higher than I could afford- but it needed to be circulated. (Note the dog standing up on top of the log):)

There is no doubt that I have what one might say quite “an unhealthy” fascination with loggers sometimes. If the McLaren-Caldwell fight was going on now you might find me writing about their gang fights at the local Lanark taverns. These loggers were fighting champions, where fiddlers sang of their deeds, and some were buried by the rapids where they died.

Perth Courier, June 4, 1869

We regret very much to learn that a sad accident occurred on the River Clyde about two miles from Middleville at Taylor’s Saw Mill whereby a promising young man lost his life. Waddell McFarlane, 21, son of Mr. McFarlane, postmaster of Rosetta, was driving saw logs over the dam at Taylor’s where a jam occurred. Young McFarlane, in his efforts to release the logs, boldly stepped on the logs immediately at the head of the chute when the one on which he was standing became loose and was carried over the dam; McFarlane was carried along with it and when he arrived at the foot, the log struck him and before assistance could be rendered, he sank to rise no more.

This occurred on Thursday afternoon about 3:00. An immediate search was made for the body which was continued all night until next morning when about 7:00 the lifeless remains were found a short distance from the scene of the accident. We learn that the funeral took place on Sunday last and was attended by a large concourse of people. Young McFarlane was held in universal esteem by all who were acquainted with him and his loss in universally lamented. He was buried next to the river where he died.



Photo from the Perth Courier

 Perth Courier–1883

Hardship—Messrs Boyd Caldwell and Sons, Lanark, have 800,000 logs lying on the Upper Mississippi River and tributaries. They cannot get them down to the mill at Carleton Place on account of the decision in the McLaren versus Caldwell case and the mill is at present idle for want of stuff to cut.


Perth Courier–1908

Mississippi lumbering continued on a reduced scale. A Lanark Era spring report said: – The Nichols drive on the Clyde parted company here with Charlie Hollinger’s logs at the Caldwell booms, and swept its way over the dam to await the coming of the Mississippi sawlogs. The gang folded their tents and rolled away up to Dalhousie Lake where the rear of the drive floats. It will take about two weeks to wash the mouth of the Clyde, and then the whole bunch will nose away over the Red Rock and on to Carleton Place. While going through Lanark some of the expert drivers did a few stunts for Lanark sightseers. Joe Griffiths ran the rapids on a cedar pole just big enough to make a streak on the water. The Hollinger logs were retained at the Caldwell mill, where they are now being rapidly manufactured into lumber.

If you ask any girl from the parish around,

What pleases her most from her head to her toes;
She’ll say, “I’m not sure that it’s business of yours,

But I do like to waltz with a log driver.


Read the Perth Courier here at Archives Lanark

Related reading

Sandy Caldwell King of the River Boys

Your Mississippi River, Ontario Fact of the Day

About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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