Donor: Nelson Parlee
Lumber camps were once a way of life for many New Brunswickers during the long winter months. Men would crowd into small shacks, sleep side-by-side and eat meals on long wooden benches before beginning the day's logging. Young men just starting out and older farmers with families, looking to make money while fields were frozen over, would go off to the camps, returning home after the log drives down the river in time for spring planting.
Our 2 man chainsaw belonged to Nelson Parlee of Foxhill. It was bought in 1949 or 1950 and used in Anagance, N.B., where A.L. Parlee owned a large acreage of timber land. Nelson and his brother George used it as they had a mill and lumber camp in Anagance, and employed a large number of men. This land is now owned by Irving.
This 2 man gasoline chain saw is a model 6 from the Mall Tool Company based in Chicago. It is about 75 inches in length.
Follow this link to watch a 2 man chainsaw in action. True to conditions in NB lumber camps, these men are not wearing ear protection, hard hats, visors or chainsaw pants.
One of the most important jobs was the camp cook. As reported in a CBC news story (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/lumberjack-history-new-brunswick-1.5358006), lumberjacks would typically eat four meals and burn about 7,000 calories a day. Speaking was often not permitted at mealtime, when lumberjacks were encouraged to consume as much as possible in 10 to 15 minutes, then run out to work again. Foods like beans, salted meat and pancakes were basic and cheap, making them staples of the lumberjack breakfast. Sometimes, the wives or daughters of the lumbermen were employed as the cooks, having breakfast ready by 5 or 6am, and packing lunches for the men to take into the woods with them. They spent the afternoons preparing the evening meal and then cleaning up to start over the next morning.
If you are interested in more information about NB lumber camps, make plans to visit the Central New Brunswick Woodmen's Museum in Boisetown next summer.