NEWS FROM THE HOUSE
BCCHS thanks the following for their contributions: Ray Daigle, Walter Nadeau, Paul Croteau, Shawn Costello, Brad and Sue Wyman, Scott Halvorson, Lucien and Melinda Laflamme, John and Jean Roccio, Vaughn and Elizabeth Roy, Andrea Philbrook, Bob Lafrance, Normand Head, Ann Marie Bills, Martha Taylor, Bryant Funeral Home, Kenneth White, Barry Kelley, Jerry Riendeau, Fleury-Patry Funeral Home, Northway Bank and Service Credit Union
The Walling map will soon be available for study on our web site: www.berlinnhhistoricalsociety.org
The Log Jam
The following is a short story written by Edward White for Outing Magazine in 1907.
Log jams are not an abnormal part of the riverman’s work as most people suppose, but a regular incident in the day’s business. In the breaking of a log jam the jam crew must be quick and sure. There is no finer sight than the going out of a tall log jam. The men pry, heave and tug sometimes for hours, Then, all at once the apparently solid surface begins to creak and settle. The men zig-zag quickly to shore. A crash and spout of waters mark where the first tier is already toppling into the current. The front melts like sugar. A vast formidable movement agitates the brown tangle as far as you can see, and then with another sudden and mighty crash, the whole river bursts into a torrent of motion.
If everything has gone well, the men are all safe ashore, leaning on their peavies, but ready at any instant to hasten out for the purpose of discouraging by quick, hard work any tendency to plug on the part of the moving timbers. I have seen men out of bravado jump from the breast of a jam just as it was breaking down to a floating log ahead, thus, to be carried in the sweep and rush far down the river. A single slip meant death.
Note: during this time period, the Berlin Mills Company, later Brown Company, employed 4,000 plus lumberjacks and rivermen to get wood to its saw mills and paper mills in Berlin and Gorham. At the time the “Company” owned/managed 3.5 million acres of land and owned almost 1000 work horses.
During the February meeting the BCCHS board of directors voted to purchase a stairlift for the Moffett House Museum. There have been many occasions when physically challenged individuals were not able to visit the second floor of the Moffett House Museum because of a disability. This meant that they were not able to partake of all the historical and genealogical material that is located on the second floor. Many times, volunteers would bring items down to the first floor for them to read and enjoy. BCCHS received a $5,000 grant from the Frank Stanley Beveridge Foundation toward the installation of the stairlift. Many thanks to that foundation.
The stairlift is a commercial grade lift with a 400 pound capacity and will bring an individual to the second floor in about one minute. A representative from the company recently took measurements and photos of each step. This information is downloaded into a computer with software that will compute a digital blueprint used to guide a machine that manufactures the rail that will be installed in the Moffett House stairway which has a left turn halfway to the second floor. The chair is attached to this rail which is powered by electricity with a battery back-up. The stairlift will be installed sometime in the next two to three months and will be a welcome improvement to the Museum, making our archives readily accessible to everyone.
BCCHS WEB SITE
There is a lot of activity on our web site. The Brown Bulletins have been especially very popular. It’s a great way to research relatives’s activitiies who worked in the mills. Some articles are very amusing while others are informative. You can now explore the many Berlin Neighborhoods. By clicking on a particular neighborhood, you read about its history. Check out our website at www.berlinnhhistoricalsociety.org.