Man to Machine: Peninsula Logging

"Early Days at Pysht" by Harry C. Hall

In June or July of 1915, I boarded the steamer at Coleman Dock at night with a ticket for Pysht, Washington, where I had been sent by William Chisholm, the manager [for Merrill & Ring], who briefed me a little their new operation in the office of the White-Henry-Stuart Building.

The boat left at midnight and was either the Utopia, the Bellingham, or the Weialiealie or “Weary Willie”, so named and called by everyone whoever spent the weary hours traveling on her. I named the three, not recalling definitely which one it was. There were others that made the trip too. It made stops at, Port Townsend and at Port Angeles dispatching and loading freight and passengers.

The boat decked at Port Angeles in the morning and was there almost an hour before completing the loading and unloading. I was surprised to be greeted by Mr. Chisholm on the boat at Port", Angeles. He no doubt had taken. a bunk before I went aboard. What sleeping I did was on the wooden bench in the cabin along with the usual run of passengers on that run - mostly loggers and no women.

On our trip out the Straits small boats, mostly skiffs with oars for power, met the boat to get mail and some small freight. I believe these sma1l boats put out from Shadow, the Lyre River, and at Twin Rivers.

When we arrived at Pysht, a motor launch towing a scow was out to meet us. I think the launch was run by Rudolph Dimmel, the oldest Dimmel boy and sun of Old Man Dimmel, who operated the Merrill and Ring farm and lived in the old farm house on the beach across the Government trail from the Post Office house. This Government trail went along the Straits to Twin Rivers and was established by the US Coast Guard for cars and maintenance of the telephone line.

Cliff Johnson was in charge of the telephone line, and Earl Tuttle was the Post Master and in charge of the telegraph and telephone service. Earl lived in the government' house with his wife Rose, the oldest Dimmel girl and sister to Rudolph. They had several children.

The scow was finally loaded and most of the freight was tents and tarpaulins. Mr. Chisholm and I climbed aboard the launch along with a couple men on the scow, and we waved at the steamer, in answer to her whistle blast "goodbye".

Looking at the green black hills, I could see it was virgin timber, no sign of cutting or slash. We came into the mouth of the river and docked at a small dock on the sandspit side. Three weather beaten shacks squatted on the sand away from the river. One housed Pysht Tim and his squaw. The, other two belonged to Pysht Mike and another Mike. A few Indian children watched us curiously. They were Mikes. Pysht Tim and Sarah (his wife's name I believe) were too old to have any small children running around.

The tents were being unloaded at the dock and several young white men were unloading them. . I started to put some off when Mr. Chisholm (Bill, or The Old Man) was the name all knew that worked for Merrill and Ring, said to me, “Let them unload their own damned tents". So I helped no more.

Afterwards I learned the tents were to be the camp for a consulting engineer named Powell, who spent a month or so making soundings and maps of the area for the purpose of recommending a dumping ground for the logs. The recommendations were to cut out the swamp on the big bend of the river and with the railroad. This was ignored by Chisholm who followed the natural course of the river.

The west side of the mouth was a salt water swamp with two foot wide plank walk on two pole bents that crossed the swamp to the higher ground among the spruce trees almost a quarter mile away.

I do not recall that we walked the plank walk over the swamp with our bundles. Rather we must have been taken up river on the launch to the future camp site for the tents of the first brushing crew.

A few tents were already set up: one housed Claire Pope, the logging engineer, and a helper named Heilman, besides his drafting table. His tent was used by Bill Chisholm and any cruisers or officials from the head office. The other housed the old German foreman in charge of the brushing and burning. Then there was the cook house with its stove, table, and a couple bunks for the cook and helper.

Those tents were on the river bank with the county road' forming the eastern boundary. The county road remains where it is today starting from its source, the Post Office, and meandered along the east bank of the Pysht River, in and out between the big spruce trees that blotted the sun allowing vine maple, alder, and salmon berry to underbrush the river bank, a verdant green in summer; red and yellow in the fall; arid leafless in the winter.

It joined the Forks-Clallam Bay road and was the only land outlet from Pysht to the outside world of Clallam Bay, Forks, and to Lake Crescent at Fairholm where a ferry traversed the lake to  the Log cabin Inn [at Piedmont], from where one could continue to Port Angeles by way of Joyce.

On the east side of the road just south of the first creek running into the Pysht, stood an old bleached one-room school where the Dimmel children and possibly some of the Indian children, Lizzie Mike and Bob Mike, and Lyda Butler, who lived with her parents on the west bank of Butler Creek where the salmon resort Butler Cove now is; and possibly Tony Fernandez’s children went to school.

I moved in with the old German foreman, and I was given two men and the job of building tent frames and putting up tents for the brushing crew soon to arrive. Tents were set up from the first bridge to the gravel pit to the first creek. We probably set up twenty to thirty tents for the thirty or forty swampers to arrive.

We also built two plank foot bridges across the river of the first creek. It was built of pole piling driven into the river bottom by hand, braced by battered poles upstream and down, two by eight planking nailed across were the bents, and two by twelve planks formed the walk.

This bridge was used by all crews doing work, brushing, clearing, and engineering, along the west side of the river where the main work was done. The swampers chopped and burned the underbrush from the camp site to the mouth of the river preparing for the railroad to follow.

Pope, the engineer, was doing' a lot of cruising and mapping with aneroid barometer, Chisholm was up nearly every, week going over Pope’s findings. And Bil1 Burnette, one of Merrill. & Ring’s cruisers came occasionally on timber checks.

The slashing and burning was finished in early fall of 1915. I went with Pope and the engineers running out preliminaries and locations for the main lines mostly. We also staked out the camp buildings drawn up by the architect, and the spur down the river. Tommy Irving a son of Joe Irving the logging operator on the Skagit also Gus Stange who lived up on the Pysht River, were added to the engineers.

About that time, station men were brought in to bid on station work. Among them were the Julian brothers, who were successful bidders for considerable work, and Filberg and McQuade, also successful bidders.

The Julians were Swedes who used wheelbarrows, peaveys, and picks and shovels for their grading, while Filberg and McQuade used a big team of Percherons to help in the chunking out along with the manpower.

The Julians accumulated a nest egg that eventually allowed them to retire in Sweden. Filberg left Merrill & Ring to superintend the logging operation at Comox, B.C., and is now the board chairman of Bloedel & McMillan who bought Comox Log.

A new superintendent named Frank Smith replaced the German who had bossed the clearing of M. & R. Smith assumed the duties of looking after the grading and falling.

About September 1, I was sent out with either Guy Decker and the Crawford or with Rudy Dimmel and the launch to meet the steamer. We waved at two girls on the railing. They waved back. They were teachers. Miss Eva Rhodes going to Clallam Bay and Bola Hicks going to Royal. Miss Rhodes became Mrs. Hall the following June.

About once a month, a dance was held at either Clallam Bay or Forks. The whole country side moved to town the night of the dances that started about eight or nine, paused an hour for a big dinner at midnight, and continued to three A.M. However, we could take a collection and hire the music until six A.M. At that time the breakfast bell rang at the hotel attached to the dance hall and owned by Rudicile, and we went to a regular camp breakfast with hotcakes, ham or bacon, and eggs and coffee. A fitting climax to the night of dancing.

The big general store at Clallam Bay was owned and run by Alston Fairservice and his wife with Clarence Keefauver, his right hand man. They also ran the post office that transferred all the mail coming in on the steamers to be distributed around the surrounding country.

Familiar faces at the dances were Civera Nord, bookkeeper at Goodyear’s Logging Company, whose headquarters were at Sekiu or West Clallam so called then. The Murray brothers, Bart and Stanley; Bill Nelson, the Konapaske sisters, Midge and Alice; Jimmy and Tom Mansfield from Forks, Bill Iverson - and many more drawn to the dance from all the wild country miles around.

The musicians were hired from Port Angeles and usually headed by Mulholland or Parks, usually five pieces.

The teachers rarely missed a dance. Miss Rhodes from Clallam was in her own backyard. Miss Hicks used to ride a horse over the Hoko trail from Royal, and Ozella Lameraux taught that year at the Pysht school and came with. the Pysht gang in Tony Fernandez's Model T.

There was the night of the dance at Forks I well remember. The engineers at Pysht hired Tony and the Model T to go to Clallam for Miss Rhodes and Miss Hicks to go to Forks for the dance. Tony stripped the gears as we came into Clallam. Miss Hicks couldn't get over the washed out trail. We thought it wasn't our night when Gus Stange and his dad drove into Clallam in their old Reo (I believe). We finally got Gus to take us and after leaving his dad at the ranch on the Pysht, we took Miss Rhodes to the dance at Forks. That, night a real gale littered the road with limbs and left a lot of the telephone line on the ground. We ate breakfast in Forks about noon. We really worked hard for our amusement those days.

A million dollar hotel, the Sol Duc, had been built by Mike Earles at the Sol Duc Hot Springs. The lumber hauled by mule team from Port Crescent to Lake Crescent, ferried to Fairholme and hauled on up the road by mules to the Hot Springs.

On Sundays chicken dinners were served in deluxe style to an elite crowd, dressed in suits and ties. We, the engineers and a Roy Harvey, the first bookkeeper at M. & R. Pysht Camp, decided we would like to go. We got Tony and the Model T. Tony had his first chance to tryout the speed of his demon T on the long seven mile straight-of-way on the Forks-Lake Crescent Road. He .kept stepping on her, too busy watching the blur of the road to read the speedometer and asking continua1ly, “What does she say now?"

He did get up to 29 miles, but never reached his goal of 30. We arrived at the hotel. Everybody was dressed in Sunday best except Tony adorned in his hickory shirt, blue overalls, a felt hat with trout flies dangling from it.

The management told Tony he couldn't go into the diner with us, but he could have dinner in the basement kitchen with the hired help. Tony went to the basement. Food was food with Tony.

We were through dinner sitting in the lobby smoking cigars trying to look and feel at home with the elite when Tony came up out of the basement. Spotting us clear across the lobby, he yelled in that penetrating voice seasoned by calling cows, "I bet I got a better dinner than you got for only fifty cent". He knew we were soaked a dollar. The bussing in the lobby stopped, all eyes turned to watch Tony walking across the lobby to us in his overalls, hickory shirt, and fly festooned felt hat still on his head.

Good old Tony! He brought all there out of their starched shirts, ties, and jewelry back to realities of life in that country of big trees, hard work, and long hours of sweat.

That was our only time we saw the original Sol Duc Hotel, a truly beautiful building that burned to the ground a year or so later, never to be replaced in its original grandeur.

At Pysht we had three mail days a week. The mail came by steamer to Clallam Bay: and was brought from there by Tony in his Model T.  The first time I saw Gertie Fernandez, Tony's wife, was one hot summer day in 1915 when she came up the road with a sack of potatoes on her back. I don't know how far she had carried them, maybe from a patch nearby.

Late in the fall of 1915, M. & R. had a costly fire at the Mukilteo operation that burned several donkeys and the buildings of Camp 1 run by Elmer Ronalds. Most of the work that fall, 1915, was engineering, blasting the stumps on the camp site, and I believe, Elmer Ronalds and Jack O’Leary, the man in charge of cutting operations for M. & R. came down to do some planning.

Tony Fernandez brought the mail from Clallam Bay three times a week. The engineering work continued every day in a dark, rainy fall. It was so dark in the woods, we used a small flashlight for the instrument man to sight to. The usual shutdown came at Christmas and lasted two weeks. We had barely got back to camp when it started snowing. That was in January 1916 and before long we had five feet of snow on the level, obliterating fences. Quite a few men came up and all the tents were filled and all had to be kept free of snow. So we eventually had paths that resembled tunnels along the row of tents to the cook tent and a tunneled path down the road to the beach providing access to the crabs and clams that literally choked the area. Each tent kept a lard can filled with what Elmer Ronalds termed "barnacle soup". Elmer made a habit of making the rounds checking each can to see who made the best.

During that snow, I made several trips to Clallam. Sometimes I walked the beach. Sometimes I took the twelve foot skiff and rowed. They had snow there that closed the school. Elmer took the steamer to Seattle and came back with a crew of five men. The sea was rough and the steamer landed the men at Clallam. Elmer phoned or wired the telegraph office that he would come by road and we were to meet him and the crew. Filberg, still on hand with the big team, asked me if I would hitch the team to a big sled and go with him to meet the men.

We left at noon, the snow was breast high on the horses, which meant they would go for twenty or fifty feet and stop for rest. We arrived at Doctor Bradley's at dark. I put the team in his barn, watered and fed them. Bradleys fed us and turned the living room over for a bedroom where all rolled in their blankets and slept.

Elmer insisted he would go to camp that night, so he left the Filberg to follow the sled track to camp. Elmer had broken trail from the forks of Clallam, Forks, and Pysht roads through the five feet of snow and had packed the old bedmaker's roll besides his own, and still he plodded for Pysht that night. He was really an iron man.

After breakfast the next day, we wanted to pay Doc Bradley for his hospitality. He said if we would shovel the snow off his barn, he would consider he was paid well. We did that, and I hitched the team to the sled and we arrived at Pysht about four. Among the men was Jack Roy, one of Elmer's hook tenders at Camp 1 Mukilteo.

Spring came, the snow thawed, and the flood went down. A restless crew of men who had hibernated all winter were eager to get going. A scowload of wet ties, green with mold was towed up the river on a high tide to about where the first trestle from the shop across the river to the gravel bed later was built. Guy Decker maneuvered the scow up the river with the tug Crawford. He was assisted by Bill Chisholm barking orders from the bank and Elmer Ronald finally breaking. "Leave him alone. He knows what he's doing." Bill knew it too, I'm sure, but he really liked river work.

He once said, “Give me ten good teams and a river to haul the logs on, and I'll beat any donkey ever built."

Elmer took charge of unloading the scow and called all able-bodied men to work. I was among them. Elmer started and set the pace with one man to a tie. I think most of the section men used two or four men to those ties. Jack Roy was one of the men unloading ties. We finished and got the scow off on the next tide.

The first ties were laid on the spur from the shop to the first trestle, and Jack Roy and I drove the first spike. The spur down to the boom was laid. A piledriver came in and drove the trestle across the slough by the log dump, and then drove the gridiron where the scows with equipment were placed to transfer the equipment to the railroad.

One of the first pieces of machinery was a new 12 by l4 Willamette compound donkey. At that time the biggest M. & R. had. Jack Roy tended hook on it. Jack McQuinn was on the throttle. It was used to pull the big spruce logs from the campsite into the river for rafting, and a high lead tree was rigged for clearing the stumps about where the shop later stood. The next winter old George Hafey, a tie maker with another axeman split wood to keep the pile burning, and later another tree was rigged near the hill and the remainder of the chunks were piled there.

And that summer of 1916, the big suction dredge was brought into work day and night, three shifts of eight hours each at $600 per shift widening and deepening the river for the booming grounds. The sediment was, piped through two foot pipes and spewed over the salt water marsh that was crossed by the plank walk to make it into the fine grazing land it later became. Biz Gherke and his wife, Ann, newly wed, moved into a text and Biz was the timekeeper n the dredge while it was there.

Also built soon after the snow thaw was the first frame cookhouse built of 1 by 12 planking on end by loggers who used bucking saws to cut a stacked pile of the planking into lengths required. This cookhouse stood at the west end of the row of tents between the county road and the river. Chris Lohr was the first regular camp cook to arrive, and I believe he cooked in this temporary cook house until the regular cook house was finished along; with the other camp buildings in the fall.

Frank McGinnes was the superintendent having replaced Frank Smith about the time of the thaw. McGinnes seemed to be a favorite among loggers for opening up new camps.

The railroad spur in to the gridiron for unloading scows. Lumber was brought in for building the camp, and Kuppler Brothers, builders from Port Angeles, did the building, while the plumbing was done by Walt Harvey, father of the owner of Harvey's Plumbing shop still in Port Angeles.

The first locomotive was brought in from Mukilteo and to run it either Jack Armstrong or Bill Bush. There were lots of ties to haul and steel for railroads and piledrivers to move. The engine work being more or less finished around camp, Pope and the crew moved up Butler Creek about three miles on the trail that went from saltwater across the hills to Forks, I believe, in the early days. I was with the engineers. We worked from that camp all that year and were still using .it in 1917, it being so much closer to our work.

During the Fourth shutdown, I was married to Eva Rhodes, and our first home was a 12 x 14 tent on the beach west of the farm house about a hundred yards. The farm house was occupied at that time by tug operator, Guy Decker and his wife. I don't recall the Dimmel whereabouts at that time, but Deckers moved to the boom camp when it was built near the mouth of the river, and the Dimmels came back to the farm house. Rosie Lamaraux, the teacher in the one-room school boarded with the Dimmels who furnished most of the pupils, Herb Dimmel, now of Joyce, among them.

Living on the beach and being one of the engineers meant a three mile walk before we started for work, and the same after we finished a day's work. I guess the jogging craze is nothing new. We just didn't brag about it those days.

By Christmas time in 1916, the new and most modern logging camp of M. & R. at Pysht was being used. That included the cook house, bunk house, shop, and office. I believe the guest house and the superintendent's and the movie house were added in 1917.

The first company house for camp personnel was built just south of the first creek, on east side of county 'road, about where the old school house stood. I was the first occupant of the first house. We moved from the tent on the beach just before Christmas. Elmer Ronalds drove the big Filberg team hauling our beach tent on a sled to be used for a woodshed at our new home. There was snow on the ground at the time to make good sledding.

With the camp buildings in operation, many of the men arrived from the Mukilteo operation. Among them, Bill MacPherson, bookkeeper, while Roy Harvey stayed as an assistant and storekeeper. Big Mike, the steel men, and his crew of gandy dancers to lay the miles of steel in the woods. Jack O'Leary and the cutting crews; Jim Benjamin, the Camp #2 foreman; George Oliver, the engineer for anything; and his family; Harold McGrath and wife, a timekeeper; Pete Francis, the blacksmith and family; Mike Korval, master mechanic and family; Bill McClure, the section foreman and family; Bill Lonsdale, locomotive engineer and family; Jack McQuinn, donkey puncher and family, and John McNulty, the old dam builder, who had been with M_ & R. from their Michigan-Minnesota days, took up residence in the new bunkhouse.

There were many more I will miss, suffice it to say, the Mukilteo family of M. & R. became the Pysht family of M. & R., a close knit, loyal group.
And about this time or maybe shortly after, the Pysht Elementary school that stood so many years, later used as a fire hall by Natural Resources, was built and many of the children of Pysht started their education there.

And in 1916 the machinery from Mukilteo kept arriving. Two Lidgerwood skidders, a 10 by 13 and a 11 by 13 Willamette donkey, and small pump donkeys for the steam pumps used in the early days. A temporary water system put in during the swamping days of 1915 was replaced by the permanent one piped from the South Fork of the Pysht River through a six-inch wooden pipe that ran along the county road.

The Pysht River was bridged for the mainline that ran east and formed the west end of the later Loop Road. The steel was laid to Butler Creek and the first logging highlead was rigged to log out the Butler Creek canyon before building the bridge across the creek. The new 12 by 14 Willamette did the yarding. A native of the Port Angeles area, Dave Graham was the hooktender; Jack McQuinn probably ran the yarder, and Tom Thompson ran the duplex. The logs were loaded on the old bunk cars M. & R. had at. Mukilteo and were dumped at the booming grounds to be rafted.

About this time Jim Benjamin replaced Frank McGinnes as superintendent. When the bridge was finished across Butler Creek, the steel was laid to the first Camp #1 site, up close to the head of Jim Creek, the foreman in charge, and the new camp on wheels was established. Elmer ran one Lidgerwood skidder side and one high lead. Jack McQuinn ran the skidder, and his brother Dick was the rigger. Elmer probably rigged the high leads and looked after the rigging on it. I had left the engineering and worked as a second rigger on the skidder; and when Dick McQuinn left, I took on the rigging on the skidder, a new job that I was green at.

Elmer brought his former cook Gustaffson to feed the men. Chris Lohr was cooking at headquarters. He quit and was replaced by Ed Wilmer, who later opened a restaurant in Port Angeles.

The Fourth of July shutdown, was barely over when the I.W.W. went on strike for the eight-hour day and furnished beds in the camps. They were tired of packing their bundles. About then the draft call came out, and Ed Wilmer and I walked over the trail to the Milwaukee station at Twin and caught the train to Port Angeles to be examined. All sorts of loggers were being drafted regardless of woods experience for the Army.

I was called up for the Army late in 1917, and Richardson had me exempted for industrial reasons. Said he couldn't get a rigger. In August 1918, Donald Hall, our son was ushered in at the old-fashioned home hospital about 8th and,Francis, Port Angeles, by Dr. McGillvary.

1919 dawned on us with the war ended and soldiers leaving. Among the Spruce Division, soldiers who stayed was Dick Pursley, two Peterson boys, Red Grady, a pile driver man, who located in Port Angeles.

By the Fourth 1919, the woods were changing, many old loggers were coming back from their tour in Europe, and Spruce Division men were going back home or leaving the woods. Russell Richardson left PSM&T for Scotia as manager, taking Sam Stamm with him for superintendent. He wanted me to go to Scotia, but I chose to go back to M.&R. to run Camp #2 in place of Frank Hedlund, a .former Lidgerwood skidder rigger at Mulkilteo.

Camp #2 was then located in the spruce stand between Pysht and Clallam Bay, where, it had been established to get out airplane spruce, and M. & R. probably produced more spruce than any other company, for they had a marvelous stand.

Eric Hedlund, brother of Frank, the former foreman, stayed with me to rig on the Lidgerwood skidder. Joe Johnson, "highball" was running the big, almost new 13 by 18 Washington yarder, and Bill McGuire from Michigan days was running locomotive. McGuire and his wife were friends of Bill Chisholm since the horse-logging days.

The Lidgerwood tree was piled so high with logs that loading was difficult, and I had the loaders working overtime to try to get the pile down. Evidently, they hadn't had a top notch single-tong man who could get the logs loaded. The Lidgerwood skidder had two glaring faults. The engines 9 by 10 cylinders lacked power for the big timber at Pysht. Secondly, they were equipped with a single drum to load with, and the loading was done with a single jack and tong. And if the loading engineer or tong man wasn't an expert, your output was limited.

At that time, there were a few super tongmen. Among the best who at times worked for M. & R., were Victor Bill, Emil Maki, B. S. Erickson, and the smoothest and best, of all, Jack Sandstrum, who could seemingly handle a log with a magic wand, the tong. Since all stars are temperamental, they rarely stayed long, knowing someone would want them as soon as they were ready to leave town.
            The run of the mill single-tong men could work all day to load eight to ten loads, whereas, the men I mentioned could sit around half the time and load twenty cars or more. Evidently, Camp #2 hadn't had a good one.

The personnel at Pysht had settled into a stable, contented group of people with very few changes. Claire Pope, the original engineer had gone and was replaced by Hans Anderson. The boom was rafting lots of logs. The Barkausons, Dan - foreman, Bill and John – boom men, Guy Decker - running the tug, and Grant Lee was doing the scaling on the boom. Doc Brown was established as the doctor in charge of the hospital, built onto the bunk house. A movie house had been built and showed pictures on Saturday nights. Jim Benjamin and his wife, Blanche, daughter of Bill Chisholm, lived in the superintendent cottage on the river bank. Blanche and Jim were married in Seattle late in the fall of 1916, I believe.

Elmer Ronalds and his wife, Pearl, lived at Camp #1. They were married on the Fourth of July, 1918, I believe, for Elmer was in the Canadian Forces overseas during the war. Elmer said he chose the Fourth so he'd be sure he would never forget the date. The Hogginbottom boys, Lawrence, Jim, and Ted, brothers of Elmer's wife, Pearl, worked in Camp #1. Bill Vane; Tom Newton; the Miller brothers, Charley and Al, and Claude, and later Wynn and Ralph Miller, cousins of Charley and Al. Red Melville probably worked at Camp #1 for Elmer about that time. Harold Wilber later broke in second rigging for Tom Newton.

Hans Johnson had laid out the roads into the spruce stand, and soldiers had graded and put in the work to; get the spruce out.

I ran Camp #2 until the fall of 1919, cleaning up the spruce camp and moving to a site east of the river and south of the south fork of the river. Charley Miller replaced me, and a year or so later an accident invalided him and he was replaced by Al, his brother. Al in turn was in turn replaced by Harry Franklin along about 1922. All of these men chosen to run Camp #2 were former hooktenders for Elmer at Camp #1.

When I left M. & R. in 1919, Craig Spencer of Buckley Logging Company wanted me to come and rig a new system called the "North Bend.” I went to Buckley Logging and was there until the fall of 1920, and I came back to Camp #8 at Twin at that time to rig for Dave Maloney, who had taken the Camp #8 job when Camp #6 at Sadie Creek ran out of timber.He replaced Tom Cannon.

Frank McGinnes was the superintendent at PSM&T Co., then having succeeded Russel Richardson when he went to Scotia Logging in mid 1919.

Twin had changed; the life sort of went out of the place with the soldiers.

Harry White's pool hall was inactive. Ben and Dave Maloney lived there, and Blacky Weisse and Ethel resided there still with Blackie doing the scaling, and Ethel running the post office. Her brother Van Welch was there at that time too. Camp #8 was about at the end of the line and folded in the spring of 1921.

I went to rig for Discovery Bay Logging and to Snow Creek, logging at Blyn about mid 1921. I remember Hughie McGillvary was the superintendent at Discovery Bay, and Orin-Addellman the superintendent at Snow Creek. I remember of breaking in a young, good looking kid to second rig at Snow Creek. He later was the fighter Dode Bercot, and I guess did some rigging before taking on the fight game. Maybe he thought that was easier money.

I left Snow Creek in 1922, went to Seattle and met Charley Leek, M. & R.’s man catcher (personnel man called today). He wanted to know if I'd go up to rig at Camp #2. Pysht was always like going home so I gladly went.

Harry Franklin was running camp, having succeeded Al Miller. Charley Hoffman and his wife, Bertha, and Tom Hoffman and wife Emma, and Joe Johnson and his wife lived in camp houses in camp, and we moved into a house too. Jim Benjamin was the superintendent and Elmer Ronalds ran Camp #1. Bill Bush was running one of the locomotives. Charley Abblit, Verne Nullin, and Francis Brennan were running locomotives then.

Slim McLaughlin was cutting wood for all the camps. Slim was a brakeman at Mukilteo and come with the gang when M. & R. finished at Mukilteo to brake at Pysht but given the contract to cut all the wood; he decided to make the extra money.

.When a new 12 by 17 Washington yarder was delivered in 1922 Joe “Highball” Johnson took the throttle, leaving the 13 by 18 to be run by Tom Hoffman. Charley Hoffman ran duplex, and Joe Bartlett ran the other duplex. Steve Bodie was the best known hooktender and he was on Joe Johnson's side.

At the Fourth shutdown in 1923, Pete Johnson, another of Elmer's hooktenders, succeeded Harry Franklin as foreman of Camp #2, and Pete stayed running camp until M. &R. had finished their regular steam, railroad logging.

I continued rigging for Pete until the camp shut down in early 1924 due to a slack market. Bloedel Donovan was opening up the Beaver operation at that time, and Charley Albion was the foreman in charge. I saw Albion and moved to Beaver to go tending hook on the first machine to haul logs at Beaver.

While at Beaver where we lived in a nice company house on Tyee Prairie alongside of Roscoe Murrow and his wife, the parents of Ed of T.V. fame, Dewey and Lacy, the engineer that put in the first Lake Washington bridge. On ,the other side lived Elmer Connor, their engineer and family. Elmer probably did more logging engineering around the northwest than any engineer I know.

Other men from Merrill & Ring that moved to Bloedel Donovan Beaver swamp during those slack times were Bill Vane, who loaded for Elmer Ronalds for year, and Joe Barlette, the duplex man at Camp #2. They moved into a house on Tyee Prairie with their wives.

Bloedel Donovan expanded to where they were running five highlead sides and the highest producer of logs on the Olympic Peninsula, putting out close to a million feet a day.

In 1927 an injury put me out of the woods into other work, and I didn't go back until 1932, the depression years when we moved back to our original homesite at M. & R. and into a house at headquarters.

Many changes had occurred at M. & R. and much remained the same since I first landed off the steamer. The county road, now Highway 112 was finished to Deep Creek along about 1920, and shortly after M. &R. induced the road to be finished to join the Pysht Road. From then on Mr. Chisholm kept his Cadillac or Buick car at the Gherky, Goodman, Hawkins garage in Port Angeles for his use, journeying from Port Angeles to Pysht.

So I had that road to move over when I came in in 1932. The houses were occupied by the Lawrence Higginbottoms, the Red Melvilles, the Pete Francis's, Anrud, the bookkeeper and his wife, & the Ernie Smith family. Ernie was the master mechanic at that time, and the Milo Wheelers. Milo was the speeder man who started with M. & R. about 1917; I had overlooked him. George Oliver and his wife were still there. George was making most of the grades with the gas shovel.

Across the river, Sam Stamm and family occupied the superintendent house. The much loved Jim Benjamin died in the-early thirties. Elmer Ronalds succeeded Jim for a short time and decided to go gyppo logging for himself, so left. Bill Chisholm was still the manager, but came less often. I believe now that Art Anrud had gone to the Seattle office, and Nels Nelson was keeping books. Since then Nels succeeded Chisholm as manager.

Sam. Stamm had come back from his Scotia, California, job to take the superintendent job. Pete Johnson was still the foreman at Camp #2.

M. & R. had purchased the biggest slack line skidder made about 1929 or 30, and Steve Bodie was the hooktender, his pride and joy and headache, when he was fighting the carriage around the stumps. Mike Williams was the rigger on the skidder and Louie Young was rigging highleads. The engineers on the slack line were Elmer Smith doing the yarding, and Bill Coffey did the loading with the duplex.

M. & R. had purchased a 60 horse power Caterpillar tractor, equipped with two drums, a haulback and mainline, and no blade to be used for clearing right-of-ways by hauling the stumps and logs to high leads rigged along the right-of-ways. I was given the Job o£ rigging and tending hook on this tractor to see if it was practical. We did a lot of clearing that way, and I'm sure one man with a blade would have done the work for a tenth of the cost. At that time bulldozers were not too well known in the northwest.

M. & R. purchased three big diesel yarders for colddecking for the track sides to swing to the track. Columbus Cogburn tended hook on the biggest, an 8 cylinder. I ended my career with M. & R. in 1933 when they shutdown due to a surplus of logs. Ernie Cogburn later hooked on a diesel as did Lawrence Higginbottom. Pete Johnson was with M. & R. to finish their logging, and Sam Stamm superintended to the last.

The M. & R. tree farm remains. Chuck Tullock is the forester.They do some truck logging and reseeding. Never again will the trees stand so big and formidable as they stood in 1915, for man will never let them grow for five hundred years as they had the chance to do then.

Two men who were institutions at the headquarters camp almost from the time it was first occupied are Emil Peterson, the groundkeeper, who kept the grounds like a well cropped head of hair with his lawnmower and clippers always on the job. The other was MacDonald, the camp bedmaker and barber, with a line any barber can envy.

A funny incident happened one night in the ‘20s. Hans Anderson, the old logging engineer, bought a new Studebaker. He came home from town late one night. The door of his garage stood on the bank of the Pysht River just below the camp bridge. He got into the car, threw in the clutch, went through the wall, and ended in the river on a high tide. His cries for help woke the loggers who came out-and helped him up the muddy bank. The next noon Pete Johnson got a long two rop2 attached and the car was pulled out by the gang of loggers.

In 1919 a gruesome happening occurred. Jack O'Leary came into camp #2 in the spruce and told me a boat had been found by the fish trap with three bodies in it. The sheriff was called. The details unfolded of an old beach comber living on the beach near the fish trap. He was being razzed by the three men on the trap. They went too far, and one day getting them in a boat together, he got all three with a high-powered rifle. The old beach comber was never found, and I never read anything about it in the paper.

Conclusion.

These notes were written from memory since I kept no diary or notes. I may be disputed about details of time in some of these memories for after fifty-odd years, I had to do some thinking about dates. So I will not argue with details too much if someone has different ideas.

Thank you,
Harry C. Hall


A brief note about the author:
Harry C. Hall was born March 28, 1891, in Saginaw Michigan.  He graduated from Michigan State University in 1914, with a degree in forestry. Mr. Hall moved to Washington in 1915, where he worked for Merrill & Ring and other logging companies.  He lived in Joyce from 1931 until 1966, operating a family farm. After 1966, he lived on Lopez Island, until his death in 1972.

 

Hobi family logging history from the late 1800's through the days of steam donkeys and locomotives.
Windows Media Video stream. 28 minutes. Movie will begin several seconds after you click play button.

Clark Kinsey Logging Photographs
Items about Pysht Clark Kinsey Logging Photos
Items about Pysht

© University of Washington. All rights reserved.
The Community Museum is a project of community organizations and Tribes across the Olympic Peninsula and the University of Washington.
Support for the project comes from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Preston, Gates and Ellis, LLP.