All the J. Peery Miller Memoirs blog entries can be found by clicking the “Blog Multi-Part Series” tab above and scrolling down.
Don’t forget you’ll have a chance to hear more stories of our own artifacts and also to share your own this coming Sunday, November 17, at 2:00 pm at the Senior Center.
General Farm Equipment and My Association Therewith
During my time my father’s farm was well equipped with all the necessary wagons and carriages used at that period. A two-horse carriage and a one-horse rock-a-way were housed in a special building called the carriage house. Special carriage and buggie harness were hung up in this building as they were to be used for these purposes only, and under no condition were they to be confused with the plow ad wagon gears (harness) that were hung in the barn at the rear of the horse stalls.
One heavy four-horse wagon was termed the log-wagon because it was made with low hind wheels, only a little higher than the front wheels. The front and back bolsters were built up to the height of the wheels as that a log could be rolled on these bolsters on a level, over skids about 12 or 15 feet long. Theses skids were made the proper length from hickory or oak saplings of sufficient thickness to sustain the weight of the logs to be loaded. One end of the skids was placed on the top rim or tire of the front wheel and another in the same manner on the rear wheel of the wagon, being anchored to the wheel by resting in a half-rounded iron ring, of horse-shoe’s shape, clamped over the tire. The other end of the skids were placed on the ground under the log to be loaded by being rolled up the inclined plane thus formed. A log chain was now hooked to the coupling pole of the wagon midway between the front and rear axis, and then passed back and under the log, thence over and back to the other side of the wagon. To this end of this chain a singletree was attached to which was hitched a steady pulling horse. As the chain was pulled the log would commence to roll. Of course it would take the direction of the skids, up the incline plane and over the wheels, on top of the log bolsters.
Strong standard were placed through staples driven into the sides of the bolsters to prevent the log from going clear over the wagon, if, perchance the pull was too vigorous at the time the log reached the bolsters, its supposed stopping place.
This was the method of loading saw-logs in my time. I learned it well when a small boy as I watched my father engineer the job. Later on I went to the woods by myself with a trusty team and successfully performed this work unaided. This was an achievement of which I was very proud.
Much depended on the steadiness of the horse when rolling the log up the skids. Stops must be made at times to adjust the direction of the movement if one end of the log should be of much greater diameter than the other. Any school boy knows that the big end would gain distance over the little end in its progress up the incline, which, if not corrected by sliding it back on the skid once or twice on its upward journey, disastrous results would follow. Both ends of the log must meet the wagon bolsters at the same time, therefore it was necessary for the loader to stand behind the log in order to watch the rolling, and the horse must be driven carefully and stopped suddenly at the loader’;s call of “get up” or “whoa”.