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Accession Number: 82-006

George Cobb tapes
82-006

Tape 47
Transcription

This transcription is available to researchers for private research purposes only.
All responsibility for issues of copyright is assumed by the researcher.

The following digitized transcription was made from a typed transcription located in the Kenneth Kidd fonds (93-011 Box 1), Trent University Archives. Sections appearing to have been offered as explanation by the interviewer have been italicized by Archives staff.

(Short) Tom Taylor, Curve Lake, recorded by George Cobb, May 29 1966

When you get 88 years old you can't do an awful lot. I've always lived here. I was born in the log house next door. (It has no hydro so he lives next door with his son and family). My whole family was born there. There were 9 of us and all except one went over 70. All the rest of them went over 80. My father had a trap line. He did lots of trapping, lots of fishing and everything in the hunting line. I went out with my father when I was young. He showed me how to hold a bamboo pole (fishing). We caught muskrat and mink, fox and the likes of that. Otter, beaver. We trapped them out in the marsh. We had to buy the traps. They were steel traps. Once in a while, off and on we did it in the winter. Cold job, too. We usually went out for the day. We did not live out. There were times we used to camp out all winter in tents, way up towards Lindsay, and stay there all winter, making baskets, and fishing and hunting and every other thing. Anything to make a living. It was hard making a living in them days. The whole family went up, all of us. I was 12 years old then, and I was the youngest of the bunch. Of course, we had tent stoves. We caught most of the meat we ate. Deer and rats and the likes of that, fish, porcupines, groundhogs, everything like that. We would live on anything we could get hold of. We could keep the meat easily in the winter.

I don't remember anything that my grandfather was doing. I remember him alright but not how he made his living. Everyone used to have their own trapping area. We trapped from here right up Lindsay. The other families went all over, different routes. We sold the skins in Peterborough when we lived up this side of Lindsay, when I was 12 years old. Muskrats were only 10 cents a piece at that time. (I told him I had seen in the paper that they were now $5). I don't know if they went that high or not, but they did go up to $5 one spring, yes - I've got $5 a piece for them.

We wore the same sort of clothes that we wear now. We did not wear leather jackets.

(I asked him if he remembered any herbs or plants that were used for healing. He did not quite understand but after a talk with his daughter in Indian and the use of the word "medicine," he remembered). We used to make our own medicine in them days. We used to get the pine gum, that's what we used on cuts, all kinds of roots for medicine. There was no doctor. I don't remember the medicines we used in them days. My mother used to make them up. We used pepper root for colds and the likes of that. We boiled it up and we used to get the roots out of the water. We called it Sweet Flag. We used to use that for colds, sore throats and the likes of that.

But when the white man came along, it was whiskey he give us. It would put you to sleep anyway (laughs). I don't think my old grandfather ever seen the likes. There wasn't any in his time. When he died he was 120 years old and he's been dead about 75 years ago. And on my mother's side, she was a white woman, you know. Her father lived to 120. She was from Ireland. She came from way up on Scugog Lake. That's where her parents were. I never heard from my father or grandfather what it was like before the white man came. I never heard him talk about it.

I used to hear him talk about when him and the Mohawks had a war years ago. I know they had battles out here on these big islands. You can see their trenches there yet. The islands out here, Fox Island. If you dig around you will find skulls and every other thing there. They are in the clay, you know, and we used to find some arrowheads there, what they used. There were other places, all over, where they had battles, but I don't know where exactly.

I don't know about the Ojibwas painting on bark, but I do know they used to make pots and the likes of that, cups. I don't know what they used. It used to be clay like a brick. I don't remember them using them. We used to find pieces of them. We never bothered picking them up.

Up on Pigeon Lake, there's a big rock, about 6 feet across, and there is a place on top of that rock. I don't know what they were used for, but the place is right there, about a dozen of them, on that one stone, round holes, as smooth as anything. I've seen that one. I think my people dug them out, but it was before my time. It's on the main land, on Harvey shore.

When they used to light fires, they used to split cedar and they used to rub it together as hard as they could and that's how they lit their fires. My grandfather used to tell us about that. He has done it quite often. We had lots of berries, potatoes and everything. The way they used to cook their pork - take a stick, take off the bark and sharpen it up, and shove it through the pork, and put it up agin a fire. That's the way they used to cook. They did not cook it in a pot.

And then they used to kill a beaver in camp and they had a big fire and they used to have a wire up on a stick, and the beaver would be twisting round there all night, cooking. (Voices of his family, "that's what we call a barbeque now").

When we used to make bread, I've seen that done. I used to eat lots of her. They would dig a hole in the sand after you'd built a big fire there, and, you know, the sand is hot. You would scrape off the coals and dig a hole in the ground and put their dough there. Cover it over again with sand. That's how they used to cook. That was made with wheat flour.

They used to do everything to cook their meals. Even fish, you split it down the back and you split a stick and put it on each side of the fish so the fish was spread out. Put it up agin the fire, not close to it and that's how they cooked their fish. I've done that, too, to keep food for the winter. We used to get groundhogs or anything like that. We didn't skin them, we scorched them, and then cut them up and put them in a bucket, and put salt all over it. We done that even with the fish. They were raw and when you were going to use them, you cooked them. We did not skin them. We just scorched the hair off. We cleaned them up good and took their heads off. We done that with everything. Just pickled them, the same as you pickle pork. Some put them in barrels, some put them in big buckets. We had to buy the buckets. We did not make them. I used to have a garden here in the summer. I grew corn, potatoes, onions, everything. We kept those for the winter, too. I used to farm when I was a young man. I had a horse. It was different. We could keep our garden a lot easier. I used to have a great big cellar. We used to fill that with potatoes and the likes of that, carrots, turnips. That's the way we kept them in the winter, when we want to eat.

There were 9 in the family; some of them were guides and they used to work out, trapping and doing every other thing. Around 1921, they stopped the trapping. It was a bad thing. They used to give us money instead and then they took that away from us. No sir, it wasn't so good. (Interruption from his son, mostly in Indian, that about all they get now is that the government pays their hospital bills). Before that we could trap anywhere, without a licence. Now, if want to go and trap, we've got to go and buy a licence - cost us $5 a piece. There's a little trapping left on the reserve. They took away everything.

We didn't have special names for the months. When we trapped, it was only from about the first of April till about the 20th, that's all, just that, and closed season the rest. And for mink and beaver and the likes of that, it would be in the fall, in November. They wouldn't allow you to set a trap in a beaver house or a rat house or any other place, so how could you get them when it's all froze over. The government set these regulations.

I don't remember any of the stories we used to tell. I've never seen them, but I used to hear about the war dances round the fire. I think they used to have them about once a year but I don't know when that was. There used to be great big brush houses and they'd make a big fire, and then they would dance all night there. My grandfather would have done that, and my father done that, too. He never bothered much telling stories like that. In fact, we were never interested in that. We wouldn't listen if he did tell us. It must have been a hard thing when you couldn't understand the white people and the likes of that. I've seen the ones that couldn't understand a thing when you talk in English to them. They wouldn't understand a word you say. You still find them today, those that use different languages.

We always speak Ojibwa at home. Only an odd one of the children speak it. It's only the odd one that would understand you speaking Indian. (I ask a young lad of 10, who has been curled up on the bed where we were talking if he understood, and he said, "just a little"). And I think it is a big mistake to forget your own language. (They don't teach them at school. They have to learn it at home). My mother, she never spoke any Indian and she was married to one. Funny, eh? She taught us English and my father used to speak to us in our own language. That's how we learnt.

There were no schools here in my time. Never bothered with schools. All hunting and camping out in them days. There was a little wee one. And the school teachers in them days would take you in the school and then they would go to sleep and you could do what you liked. That's how they teached in my time. The school was way down near the lake. By gosh, he'd ring his little bell and we'd go in and we'd all sit down and he'd lie over on his chair and he'd sleep there until about a quarter to twelve and tell us to go home and have our dinner.

But now they have all the chance in the world to learn. Three teachers right here, and a bus takes them into Lakefield, what we hadn't. They've got all the chance in the world to go to school. Yes, it's a great thing for them. They can earn good money over it now days.

I never saw any rock paintings around. (He had not seen any carvings like the petroglyphs). We used to make our own birch bark cups but we never kept any. We haven't got none right now. (He had no old bead work or anything, he said). They did not have the time now. It was too easy to earn money with their heads instead of with their hands. (His grandfather never had any bead leggings). I don't do nothing now - too old. (Small talk). .... and stockings out of sleeves, that's all we used to use. That was my Sunday outfit.

Santa Claus, he come before my time. The only think I ever got from Santa Claus was a mouse trap! A round one. There were 5 holes in it. I thought the world of that, just because I'd catch a mouse. That's the only thing I got from Santa Claus.

Uncle Jack used to make his own boats. I used to go with him, and he would get a big tree and cut it the length of a boat, 16 feet. He had his brace and bit with him, a great big one, about that big around (indicating 3 or 4 inches). (His son says it was an auger). It's the same thing, it would go through. It was a dugout canoe. He would go right down so far. He would measure, you know, on each end of the tree, how thick it was, and he just knowed how far to go down so he wouldn't go down through the timber when he bored them holes. He'd get his adze, old axe, [ ] - that's what he used to use (difficult to hear, as it was garbled). He'd shape it up the same as any boat (canoe). I didn't help him. I was just a little gaffer. He used to peel a basswood tree as far as it would go up, tie a loop on it, and I would swing around that tree all day. That's all the good I was to him. He used cedar or pine and he made out of basswood. They did not use butternut. (His son says they made the best gunstocks from walnut). He never told me if he made birch bark canoes.

(Short) Tom Taylor, Curve Lake, 2nd tape, recorded by George Cobb, Sunday June 5th 1966

(There is a great deal of background noise on this tape, which was made in a 2-room log house. There was no door between the two rooms, and a family party was going on in the other room).

I remember one or two stories - years ago when we had a war between each other, the Indians and the Mohawks. The Indian boy got married to the Mohawk girl, and after a while they invited the Indian over to have dinner with them. So he went over and they had a head on the table or wherever they had it, and it was his son. They had killed him and cooked him and they had invited the old Indians over to eat. Well, the Indians knowed this boy, so, he eat it anyway. After a while he went home. After a while, later on, he killed a girl, the Mohawk girl, cooked her, so they invited the Mohawks over. That's a different party, the same ones that give them his son to eat. So, they set the table and they put the girl's head on the table, so, for the father and mother to eat. When he notice his daughter's hair, he start to cry and the old Indian took out his club, and he said, "I didn't cry when you done that to my son." Killed him, right there, hit him on the head with a stick, killed him. (Much laughter).

So that's what you call the war between the Indians and the Mohawks in them days. I don't know, they started anyway to have a war between each other and all they had was wooden sticks, clubs like, and bows and arrows. That's what they shoot each other with, and what they couldn't kill with the bows and arrows, they used these clubs them days, and fight with clubs. That must have been an awful war. (Here he laughs as he said the last sentence).

The Mohawks nowadays won't make up with us. They still hold us spite. Yes, they still hold us spite for it. That was - oh, long, I just forget, from my old grandfather, years ago.

Well, they won the war anyway. They only left one Mohawk man, you know, and a woman. That's all they left of the whole crew and those are the ones that bred up for today, them two. Too bad they didn't kill the whole of them, isn't it. (More laughter).

The name of our tribe is Chippawa. We don't understand the Mohawks. They talk different. Oh, yes, couldn't understand a word. They wouldn't understand us neither. We did not have an Indian name. It has always been Taylor.

My grandfather was telling me one time when a girl and a young man go with each other, you know, the same as we do now, getting a woman, he said it was altogether different. It didn't make any difference how old the man was, if he was 80 and the girl about 15 or 16, if he wanted to get married to her. I don't know how they got married them days, and this old man, who was about 70 or 75, he traveled about a hundred miles down to where there were 8 of a family, 8 families, I think. Christian, you know, and he seen a girl there - 16 years old and he was 70!

The way they used to do in them days, they take blankets and things to make dresses and hand them to the old people. "Give me your daughter."

"We do it."

"Then get that girl."

So anyway, she was only 16 and he was 70 or 75. He'd paddled down over a hundred miles. so he'd seen this girl and he wanted her in the worst way, so he always carried her clothes with him and he said to the two people who had this daughter, "give me your daughter and I will give her these clothes, blankets and the likes of that." So they give her to him, to get married to an old man like that. So she started to cry, but that was no good. So he stayed for a week and the young girl had a boyfriend before that and she was always seeing him and the old man got jealous. So he said that evening, "we'll go away from here in the morning. We'll go home."

Well, the girl didn't like it, but she had to go. So she went. He got ready in the morning. I don't know what kind of canoe he had, a boat, piled all their stuff in. He had a gun, one of these old timers, an axe, a great big knife, ready to fight any place. So he started out. She bid her parents goodbye. She did not know if she would ever see them again. So on their way, she said, "I'm not going to paddle. I'm going to sit down. You do the paddling."

He says, "alright."

So they kept going and every once in a while she would say, "oh gosh, this is a nice point to live on." But he would keep going. He was afraid that, as it was on main land, she might run home. So they got to where there was another island. She was watching the place they were going and she would say to him every once in a while, "here's another good place," and at the same time she was marking the way she was going and he didn't know.

Well, they went about 25 or 30 miles away. He says to her, "we'll get out to an island. There's an island out there. No one will bother us. We'll stay for tonight."

She said, "alright."

There was an island about a mile out. He said, "that's where we'll stay for tonight."

She said, "if I like it, we'll stay there for a week or ten days."

He says, "alright." So they went out and got ashore. He built up the tent or whatever it was, buckskin or something. She said, "you make the bed while I'm getting supper ready." She had wild meat or something. All they had in those days was corn meal and the likes of that and wild meat.

So he says, "alright."

And when they had their supper, "well," she says, "I'm tired." She says to the old man, "let's go to sleep."

He says, "alright." So he got a rope and he tied her arm and he tied his arm, so long, I suppose (about 3 feet) so if he'd move she'd move, and if she'd move, he'd move. "Now," he says to her, "if I want to turn over, if I get tired on one side, and want to turn over, I'll speak to you and waken you up and you turn, too." So the rope wouldn't be too tight.

So she says, "put away your gun first, stick it upon the tent, where you can get it handy, and get the axe," she said, "so what you can't kill with your gun, I'll chop them down," she said. That just suited him right, so he put the axe there and she piled that lunch they had to one side and they went to bed after he tied her. Oh, she lay there listening to hear when he would snore and fall asleep. By gosh, she got tired lying and she said to him, "wake up, I want to turn round." There was no move to him. He started to snore, and she said, "wake up, I want to turn round." No move! She says to herself, "here's my chance."

So she reached over to the knife, the big knife, and she cut the rope, and got loose. She got up easy, took the gun, took the axe and she took the lunch, ran to the boat, pushed it out, and turned it towards home. On her way out, she got hold of the gun, throwed it in the water, and the axe, she had that to back her. She was going, she went across where they had come out. She found that it was a moonlight night. She found that and she thought she was alright then. She kept going.

So when she was going, she wanted to sleep. "My gosh," she said to herself, "I'll sleep here, on this little island," so she slept there till daylight. Then she had her lunch. And she had left the old man there (on the other island) with nothing to eat.

She went, paddled all day. She noticed she was getting close to home, so there was a big bay there where they lived. She got to the point and when she went along, she could see her mother and her father sitting on shore watching the way their daughter went. She went right to them and he said to her, "what did you do with the old man?" She start to tell she had left him there to starve to death. (Here he laughs heartily). That's an awful thing, eh! She was single again.

You can't blame her, a girl 16 years old. Gee, I laughed at my old grandfather when he told me that. I thought that was pretty good. That's what they used to do years ago.

I know my father-in-law, when he was going to get married, his parents took clothes and give them to her parents. That's the way he got his wife, he used to tell me.

I got my wife, my 2nd wife, up at Christian Island, that's out from Parry Sound. I was up there lumbering. I was lumbering when I met her. She was more Indian than me! I never talked Indian until after my mother died. I never bothered. I talked English the whole time, the whole of us, the whole family. I had 4 sisters and 5 brothers. There are only 4 of us left, 2 brothers, that's [Court] and me and 2 sisters, and all went over 80, every one of us. My brother, that was, went 95, and my sister was, she lived after he did, she went to 94, I think. And my next sister, she lived after this one died. She lived to 93. My father was 106. Of course, my mother did not live that long. She had a stroke. That's what killed her.

But my mother's parents - on my mother's side, my grandfather, he lived 120. He was from Ireland. I don't know how long my grandmother lived.

Our trap line to Lindsay was just a straight line. We did not mark the trees. We used to live in tents them days. The same common tents we use right now, those were the kind we used to use, but used to cut cedar down or spruce and kinda make a shelter around them, and we had those wee little tent stoves. That's all we used to live in - all winter. It's no wonder we lived long, eh? Getting all that fresh air.

The first thing in the morning, he'd (father) say to us - of course, it was a free country them times, you could do as you like - he'd say to us, "let's go fishing." We'd go way out on the lake, you know, and get pig heads and the likes of that, flour, 'taters, instead of money. Always had lots to eat. We used snowshoes, that's when they were hunting in the woods. We bought them from another one (from other Indians who did make them), but used to make some, the ones who couldn't buy. Money was scarce them days. They used to make them out of a cedar about that long (4 feet), split it, whittle it down thin, put a couple of cross pieces so it wouldn't slip, make a hole for the rope, that's what they used to use. They used rope to lace it. You had to have everything to get along with.

If you see an otter in the water, or beaver any place, where there were signs, they'd go out. Take a quilt with them, when it was night if it was a moonlight night, you know. And then you'd go and stay there until that otter would come through the night to get out of the hole. That way they'd shoot 'em then. The whole night they'd be out, all for a living. The same with the beaver.

And you couldn't get one Indian to take up his gun or get in his boat on Sunday. They all Kept it.

One day, me and my father and two or three of my uncles, so we were sitting on the shore, and we could see the check in the crick [ ----------- garbled]. By gosh! We seen three otters jumping in, way up, so after a while the otters come down, right where we were, oh, close (about 20 feet). Well, sir, they never moved to get their guns. They let them go by. It was on Sunday. They wouldn't take a gun or any other thing.

The next day, I think it was, my old dad started out. He went to a place he used to call Goose Lake. He went there and he seen like an otter come up. It was playing on the ice. So he went that night. I stayed in the tent all alone. I was a little afraid, but I had to do it. So I stayed there and way about one o'clock in the night my old dad come along. By jink, he had the otter! We skinned it. Of course, we didn't eat the meat of it, but the skin, it was worth about $12, I guess. It was good money.

Rats were only about 12 cents a piece, but we were eating the meat. We used to skin them and then skin all the fat off so it wouldn't be on the skin, and dress it up and hang it (the meat) on stick, and let them dry, and that's what we used to take home, a whole bunch of rats, dried rat meat. That's how we used to make a living. We did not grind it up. It was in the spring, when it would dry, it wouldn't spoil.

When we were in the tent, in the evenings, we just sat around the stove after our supper, and when it was time to go to bed, we'd go to bed, not have any exercise not nothing.

And when my dad would go out, if he wouldn't take me hunting, he'd say, "get wood," and that's what I'd get. We'd have to have enough wood for the night or get a licking. We kept the fire going day and night, you bet, when my mother was there living with us.

My sisters used to make baskets and sell them to the farmers. We'd get a big black ash, a swamp ash, and you'd pound it right around and right along until you get to the end of it, and it would peel off like ribbons. Then they'd scrape that and make baskets. That's what they used to make a living on, and we used to make big ones. We used to call them ["markets"]. We'd get maybe 50 cents for one, but the little ones, we used to get only about 20 cents for one, and hard to sell, too. They decorated some of them, but it was a hard way to make a living.

One time, mother went out peddling fish and baskets. When she comes, she says to me, "I got a job for you." I was only 12 years old that time. She says, "go and work for a farmer up there." I was keen to go, you know, so I went. All I was using was cloth moccasins, no buckskin about them, what my mother made herself. I never had shoes.

So when I got there, he said, "are you the one?"

I said, "yes."

"Alright," he says, "you carry water for the house." Well, I carried that. "Now," he says, "carry me wood." I carried in the wood. After we had our dinner, he said, "let's go and clean grain." It was a farmer. I turned a crank of a fanning mill, you know, cleaning it, half a day. That were my jobs every day for one week, no, I worked 10 days.

After the 10 days is up, he handed me a dollar - 10 cents a day (much laughter). Pretty small, no. I thought that was a thousand dollars to me, though. By gosh, to make it worse, he said, "I'm going to Lindsay. What'll I fetch you for that dollar?"

Shoes were cheap them days. I said, "you can fetch me a pair of boots. High boots with a copper toe."

He said, "alright." He went. In the evening when I got through working, he got home. He handed me the boots. By gosh. I thank him for them, anyway. When I was going home to the tent, I thought I'd change my shoes. Of course, we'd never had shoes. I put my shoes on. By [treek], after I'd walked a little ways, about a mile, I guess, my shoes were starting to hurt me on my feet, both sides. So I got to the tent. I showed them to my mother, and she was glad for me to buy my own shoes. "But," I said, "they hurt me."

"But I don't blame them," she said. "You have them on wrong (wrong feet)." That's how much I knew about putting on boots. By Gee, that must be 75 years ago.

Shoes were cheap, but money was hard to make. To think that I worked one day for 10 cents! Ten days, one dollar!

There were many more animals in the woods than today. Oh, yes, lots of them. There were deer, bear, skunk, anything, them days - wolves. It wasn't safe to be out hardly. There is the odd bear around now, but they are not plentiful. And you could kill them any time. There was no season for it. Course there was for a white man, but for us, it was a free country. But after the government came here to buy the Indian trapping ground, hunting grounds, they were foolish enough to sell them, and the next thing, it was the law. Then we had not a thing, not a thing! If you went out in a boat, there was an inspector looking at you to see if you were going to catch a fish or something to eat. We couldn't do nothing when they stopped the trapping. And after a while, he'd come again and says, the money we used to get every month, he says we will now get it every three months.

That ran on for 5 or 6 years. He come again. "Your money's all gone!" Now we shall get nothing. He'd offered the village here 80 odd thousand for the hunting grounds. It didn't last 20 years till it was all gone. He promised to give us 25 dollars every three months, that's a head. He give it to us the first month, and that's the last we seen of that. Robbed us out of everything. We stand just the same as the white man today. Hunting, same rules, everything. There were other Indian villages. There's one up at Rama, but there are no old ones that have disappeared. And there is Christian Island southwest from Parry Sound, 4 miles out in the lake. Closest place to get ashore. There's nothing there. It's all taken off them. There are lots of them living there. And down here, there is Hiawatha, Alderville, Scugog, Georgiana, and all of them. They stand the same as we do today, every one of them.

Everyone used to put in a garden then, and the likes of that. Farm a little, but since the wages went up for labourers, by gosh, they've all forgot. Now they are all looking for that money, but they have lots of time to do it. But they have quit altogether. I always kept a garden till last summer and I said I wasn't going to raise no more stuff. I'm too old now to scrape the ground. Yes, always had a good garden.

They used to make the birch bark cups mostly in the summer. The bark is the same in summer and winter, but in the summer it all peels of. When the sap is in it, but it kills the tree in time, kills the tree in time. Cause this birch bark that they make these souvenirs with, it don't hurt them (the trees) any. They don't take the bark where the sap is.

The mosquitoes were bad them days, too. They bit badly. You'd be itchy for a couple of days where they bit you. We did not put anything on the bites, just the smoke. When the mosquitoes and the flies got really bad in the summer, like now, you know (early June). When we were going to sit on the banks along the lake, we'd build two fires and sit between them, and the smoke off this fire and that one, would sort of call the flies away. But if you went outside of that, you'd have to pay for it. (Roars with laughter).

They never had a sweat house here, no, never.

I did lumbering all over, French River, that's way up from Georgian Bay, right up north of [ ], anywhere you could get a job. I used to work in the camp for 20 dollars a month, hard pushing, from before daylight till black dark, rolling logs.

I did whatever the boss would give you. If he wanted you to [sub] on the trees, well, you had to do it. If he wanted you to roll them up, what you call skid ways where you pile up the logs, you had to do it. There were three to a gang, one chopper and two men with the saw. On the skid way the logs were in 16 foot, 12 foot, and 10 foot. Of course, we had the horses, you know, and a long chain, decking line they called it. We had to put a chain over there, where the skid way is, under that log, and the horses would pull the logs to where we wanted, and all we used were the hooks to stop them and keep them straight. [.......Garbled].

We used to pile logs as high as this house, straight down, from here to the road (50 yards). We put big skids on them and then we put a long long pole about 6 inches round, just on the front, and all the logs would stop there and then we could pile up.

When we were drawing them, we only chained one row on the sleighs and put on 100 logs, straight up, and the teamsters line would be like that, right down, he was so high up.

That's the time you earn the money. I used to work 4 months and 10 or 20 days till winter. They paid us at the end, but whenever we wanted money we could get it. That was hard work, you bet. I went to a camp, the 2nd last time, I went up to Moon River, that's the other side of Parry Island, way over. I went in the fall, about the 15th of October, by jumping. He used to turn us out before daylight and we came in at dark. So we worked there till one day, we were going to sleigh haul, draw them to the lake off these skid ways. By Gosh, he came in one Sunday and he said to me, "you'd better go and get one of these double-bit axes, sharp on both sides, with a handle in, and get a shovel, you'll go working on the road," he said to me. I said, "alright." I know that was a good job. I would have to be a [kyper], they called him. I was just following the road, you know, the ice road, and wherever a horse shit, I'd throw it off the road, that's all I had to do.

By Gosh! Monday morning, he come early. I think it was about 2 o'clock, he said, "crawl out of it." By jeez, we all got up and had our breakfast and we had to go about 2 miles to work, where we were going to start to draw.

Well sir, we had 4 big loads, over 300 logs, drawn before daylight. Holy jumping, and that kept up for one month. We had the torch lights, you know, to find the road in the morning. The torch lights were a great big wick, like a lamp and we had it on a stick. You could see 50 or 100 yards ahead of you. When we went to work, we would stick them in the snow, a couple of them. It was just like day. They ran on kerosene.

I tell you what, I went through the [ ] War and I'm still going. I did not do any squaring. There was a certain man done that. Yes, I drove the logs. We had horses on the cribs and a great big capsule. The horses were going round all night, drawing the booms down. You had to keep on till you got to a place that you would not blow away. Then another gang would go on for the day. You'd sleep all day. There was a day shift and a night shift on the crib. We had 60 men. Anyway, on the crib you could see them walking on them logs all night, way out in the lake. The booms would be a mile long, coming down from French River through Georgian Bay.

When you'd get to a river, if there was a dam there, we'd let the boom sticks go over, so the logs went over loose, and we'd make a bag way down the river, and then we'd open out that [ ] and you'd stand there with the water flowing and you did not know if you would fall in or not, pushing the logs with your pole, getting them all down so that they could get out. Then you would close up that and go down and make another one further on. We took the cribs through the locks.

We got storms coming down through Georgian Bay and some of the storms would break the booms and the logs would scatter out. It would take months to gather them all up. They would be all over that bay. We never lost any buildings off the crib. If the boom broke, we did not have to collect the logs. They used another gang. There were a couple of fellows who would go round the booms all night seeing if any of them were loose or not, walking on them logs, cause they were caught, you know. They had spikes on their boots. They'd have to walk on logs.

Yes, it was the life. This was about 40 years ago. That was getting to the end of that kind of logging. Nowadays it's truck business. Never hear tell of anyone running the river now. I think we brought the logs to Barrie. We just brought the one drive down and took a long time, too. (To make more money). Then we came home in the fall, get another job some other place, and then you go back and lumber all winter again.

We spent about a couple of months or three back in the village. My wife looked after everything and the children while I was gone. Send her some money once in a while. I lumbered for 35 years anyway. Well, that's all you could do, there were no other jobs. You had to do that or starve. There was nothing much in hunting, just enough to live on, and hardly that.

I started to guide when I finished lumbering. That was only from July to October, and all we used to get them days was $2.50 and paddle all day. I used to leave the house here and paddle 4 miles go to work and 4 miles back. That's some work, and besides I'm paddling all day. Two dollars and a half. Now you can't get a man to go and guide under $10 a day and he's got to have a motor boat to push him, no paddling. There must have been good stuff in the old timers or they wouldn't last so long.

By jeez, I used to pitch hay for a farmer from about 6:30 in the morning until black dark, for $1 a day. They'd curse you if you offered them $3 today. That's the hardest job going.

Gosh, I used to do it. I used to paddle across the lake here and be there in time to work at a farm house. Come back after dark, have your sleep, for $1 a day. Cause things have changed since them days. If you want peanuts, you got to pay 20 cents for it, and meat is pretty near $1 a pound. Now, you couldn't live on a dollar a day, no! You couldn't live on a dollar a day.

 

 

 

 

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