Document 11: A Logger Writes Home, 1873

Rutherford Byrne to his brother, 19 October 1873, Rutherford Byrne Papers, accession 4628,
Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries.

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[postmarked Port Gamble, Washington Territory]
October 19, 1873

Dear Brother,

I am still working in the woods. It is not so bad as you might suppose loging without snow. They take biger loads here with six oxen than they do east. They grade their roads and lay skids across every ten or twelve feet and hich the logs together with chains and dogs [wire ropes] driven into every log. They string on sometimes eight or ten and they use oil on the skids and the load runs verry easy. I am sawing alone. One man saws all over. It does not go so bad when you get used to it and a good sawyer gets big pay if I work at it next summer. I can get sixty but I don't think I shall. Men in the woods here get a great deal more pay than millmen. If you ever come to this country you won't want to go into a mill after you see how things is done. They work from six to six and no time at noon, only eat and run. They have a large cook house and diningroom together. They get Chinamen to cook and they have no washroom or anything in the house. If you want to wash you must go to your own house and find your own soap and towels and everything you want. [The mill companies provide] only just what you eat, still it does verry well. When one gets used to it lumber is not near so high [expensive] here as east. They often sell the very best kinde of demension on the warf for eight dollars per thousand though sometimes it is higher but men who put in logs think they are doing well if they get five and a half for them in the watter and there is good pay in it. At them figures you don't have to cut many trees to make a thousand and they grow just as thick as they can stand in somplaces. I have cut some that aren't eight thousand to a tree and only four logs at that. We cut more logs 24 ft. long than any other length. If you don't get my other letter I might mention in this I wrote you a few days ago to send one hundred and thirty five dollars to Steele and Levy to pay a claim on my land. . . . I have got money enough to pay it now but can't get no Greenbacks here and no express office or anything else.


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