Lumberjack Stories

Discussion in 'Logging, Mining and Industrial Railroads' started by jon-monon, Jan 21, 2003.

  1. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Paul Bunyan and the Great Poetry Contest

    Everyone has heard of Paul Bunyan and his many adventures and marvelous deeds. You probably know about his birth and how when he was three weeks old he rolled around so much in his sleep that he knocked down five square miles of standing timber. I’m sure you’ve heard of the time he killed the giant mosquitos that were stealing his cattle and how he and Babe the Blue Ox dug a few ponds for drinking water that today we call the Great Lakes. Certainly you’ve heard of his pancake griddle that was greased by six boys skating across it with slabs of bacon on their feet.

    What most people don’t know is that Paul wasn't only a giant of a lumberjack, but he was also a fine poet. In fact, he probably was the best lumberjack poet who ever lived. He proved it in the poetry contest he had one day with Big Cecil, the couplet spouting logger from over in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Here’s the story of that famous battle of words that some old timers still talk about when they talk about Paul.

    Paul loved to sit around the campfire after a long day in the woods and recite poetry to his fellow loggers. Often they would join in and add a few of their own. There were some good ones in Paul’s crew too. Johnny Inkslinger could bring a tear to the eye of the most grizzled ax man with one of his poems about his dying mother. Springheels Conley, an old boomer from around Duluth, knew by heart many poems he had learned while working over in Wisconsin. And Ole Olson would recite poems in Norwegian that none of the loggers understood but liked anyway for the sound.

    But Paul was different. He could sit in front of the fire with a poking stick and compose long poems from scratch. He never said the same one twice. Oh, when I think of all the great poetry that was lost because no one ever bothered to write it down! Paul never did; he simply made up one new one after another. I guess if we had all of the poetry that Paul said in the woods for those many years we’d have a book two or three feet thick.

    Paul’s reputation as a poet spread throughout the country and throughout the logging camps in Canada. Sometimes men would even sneak away from their own crews to spend a few days listening to Paul recite in the evening. Everybody agreed that he was the best, that is, until one day he received a challenge from a tree topper on the Onion River cut near what today is called the Porcupine Mountain Wilderness. That topper’s name was Big Cecil.

    Cecil was an Englishman who had somehow found his way to the North Woods of the United States. He was a huge man, just a little under seven feet tall and about four hundred pounds of solid muscle. He was a dandy too: he shaved every morning and splashed a sweet-smelling lotion on his face. He changed his underwear once a month, whether they needed changing or not. And unlike most lumberjacks he owned two pairs of woolen socks. It was his love of poetry and his elegant, English way of saying it that made him special, however. He sounded like a prince when he recited one of Shakespeare’s sonnets or one of his own works.

    Big Cecil had heard of Paul’s reputation and scoffed. “A poet? A backwoods bumpkin who fancies himself a poet? Does he know how to read, much less write? Ah, the delusions of these colonials” he laughed with the air of superiority that some English express towards Americans.

    But Cecil decided to put Paul in his place, that is, put him down as a poet. He sent a challenge with one of his men and dared Paul to face him in a spontaneous composition contest. They would meet at Paul’s lumber camp up near Whitefish Lake on a Sunday in August. That way Cecil believed he could best humiliate Paul in front of the largest group of loggers and townspeople. Paul readily accepted.

    It was a warm August evening when they gathered at Paul’s camp. Loggers came from all parts of Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Canada. Local folks from Pequot Lakes and Pine River arrived on horseback, and city people from St. Paul came by train and then horse drawn carriages. There must have been a thousand or more men, women, and children gathered that day.

    They brought picnic baskets full of fried chicken, potato salad, fresh bread, and apple and cherry pies. The men carried jugs of homemade whiskey, and the owner of a saloon in Ideal Corners brought barrels of beer that he sold by the mug. Almost all of the people, with the exception of the men from Big Cecil’s own crew and some English-loving Canadians, were rooting for Paul. He was the local hero, and they didn’t like Cecil’s snobbery.

    The crowd formed a circle around Paul and Big Cecil (who didn’t look very big next to Paul!), and they discussed the rules of the contest. They would compose on the spot two-line poems, first one man and then in response, the other. Cecil who was English to the marrow of his bones loved Alexander Pope and said he would use only the “proper” form for poetry, and that was the rhymed couplet. Paul on the other hand was American to the core. He was a lover of Walt Whitman and kept a copy of Leaves of Grass next to his bed in the bunkhouse. He said that he would use two unrhymed lines in the contest. The loggers shook hands, and the world’s first poetry slam began.

    Big Cecil was the challenger, so he went first. He stood with his hands on his hips and sang in his melodious baritone voice:

    “The ax handle firm in my hand
    Affirms my manhood where I stand.”

    The loggers cheered to Cecil’s praise of their occupation.

    Paul smiled and answered Cecil’s challenge:

    “Hob-nailed boots dancing on white pines in the rushing river
    Know the tune that the red-bearded logger is whistling”

    The crowd roared in approval, and Cecil lost some of his smile. He tried another tack:

    “The smell of white pine on my saw
    Lifts my soul in wonder and awe.”

    The women and church-going people in the audience appreciated the religious sentiment and clapped in approval.

    Paul looked hard at Cecil and said, “So you’re gonna bring in the church stuff, huh?” He looked up and boomed in a deep voice that seemed to stir the cones high in the treetops:

    “The taste of needles on my tongue and heavy kiss of sap on my lips
    Stirs my blood and lifts my manhood heavenward”

    This received modest applause because many in the crowd didn’t know if Paul was being religious or obscene. Cecil, however, now knew that he was in for a fight. He started attacking Paul with rapid couplets, and Paul responded just as quickly.

    “A bachelor logger’s lonely life
    Can’t be remedied with a wife.”

    “Broken nose, half torn ear, knuckles scabbed and raw
    Can never please the ladies with their their Sunday teas”

    “When Charley the tree topper fell
    Head first he sounded his own death knell.”

    “The cross-cut bucked and caught the cook’s new helper just above the knee,
    I took a hand saw and with his leg on a stump finished the job”

    “I’m grateful for scurrying mice,
    They help me forget my head lice.”

    “I set my plate of beans and beef on the bunkhouse floor just for a minute
    The roaches swarmed and helped me share my meager meal”

    “The bosses in New York City
    Have no care and show no pity.”

    “ In offices, at polished bars, and in parlors of plush velvet
    Soft and fat pale men plan the death of lumberjacks”

    The crowd roared in agreement with Paul and pressed toward him in gleeful solidarity. Big Cecil was reeling. Paul’s loose, long lines had him in serious trouble, and he knew it.

    Desperate, he tried once again:

    “The siskin’s call and the owl’s cry
    Brings a tear to the woodman’s eye.”

    The crowd was silent except for the hoots of some of the men who had drunk too much of the homemade whiskey and mugs of beer .

    Paul laughed, and his teeth shone in the blaze of the fire that someone had started in the gathering dusk. He knew that Cecil was finished. Before he answered the “siskin’s call” he strode around the fire looking at people and shaking hands with some well-wishers. Then in the light of the fire he answered Cecil:

    “The owl knows death, has seen death, and feeds on it,
    He knows more than I’ll ever know if I live for a hundred years”

    No one said a word; even the drunks were quiet. As if by magic a great horned owl flew over the gathering. Cecil slumped before the fire and whispered more to himself than others:

    “I try every morning to see
    What others around me don’t see.”

    Paul put his hand on Big Cecil’s shoulder and consoled him:

    “The sun struggles from its tomb and the barbs of thorny trees,
    It doesn’t care for its bloody wounds only for its resurrection”

    Big Cecil stood and grasped Paul’s hand. “You humble me, my rustic friend,” he smiled.

    Paul grabbed Cecil around the middle and lifted him high above his head. “Three cheers for the English poet!” he cried. “Three cheers for English poetry!”

    The crowd raised loud “Hurrahs!” for Paul the winner and Big Cecil the gracious loser. Some men brought out fiddles, guitars, and harmonicas and began to play jigs, Virginia reels, and other country dances. Children ran around the fire and through the legs of the adults while young men and women stepped lively to the music. Groups of drunken loggers and townspeople started to sing along, and another wagon load of beer arrived from Ideal Corners. Paul and Big Cecil linked arms, toasted each other, and then did a gavotte around the roaring fire.

    At last, however, a splendid young women with long auburn hair and glittering black eyes who stood as tall as Cecil stepped in between the two poets. She put one arm around Paul’s waist and the other around the neck.

    “Well,” she said, “what can you show me, Mr. Lumberjack poet?”

    The story goes that that was the first time Paul danced with his future bride.
  2. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    The Creation Of The 10,000 Lakes

    This is the tale of how Minnesota's 10,00 lakes came to be. One day Paul Bunyan had his blue ox Babe tied up because he had been bad. Paul went off to do some logging, and Babe tried to get free. Paul came back and Babe ripped himself free of the chains that he was being held by. Paul Bunyan chased Babe all over Minnesota, and the blue ox and Paul Bunyan left their footprints all over Minnesota. Then it began to start raining heavily, and all of the footprints filled with water. This is how the 10,000 lakes of Minnesota were created. This was the way I remember it being told to me.
  3. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    More Tall Tales

    As told by Paul Bunyan

    My lumber camp on the Onion River was so large that the men had to have a weeks supply of food when walking from one side of the camp to the other.

    The smokestack above the kitchen was so tall that it was hinged in the middle to allow the clouds to go by.

    When Hot Biscuit Slim made soup, he rowed out into the center of the kettle with boatloads of cabbages, turnips and potatoes.

    Big Ole, the blacksmith, made a griddle for hot cakes that was ten acres across. Hot Biscuit Slim strapped flat sides of bacon on the feet of the cookhouse boys. They skated back and forth over the huge griddle until it was well greased. When the griddle began to steam, it became so foggy that no one could see across it.

    Every Sunday morning for breakfast my lumberjacks had hot cakes. They were so large that it took five men to eat one. I usually ate twelve or fourteen depending on how hungry I was.

    My lumber camp was the largest camp in this country. The bunkhouses stretched for five miles in all directions and each had five tiers of bunks, one above the other.

    Wood ticks bothered my men during the summer months. It was pretty hard to keep them out of the bunkhouses. The ticks in Minnesota were quite smart. They would gather around the office when a new batch of loggers came into camp and even crawl down Johnnie Inkslinger's pen to see what bunk the newcomers had so they could be first to move in and enjoy it.

    Big Ole, the blacksmith, built a kettle for soup that covered five and a half acres and sent for a Mississippi stern wheeler. It was quite a sight with the fire burning under the soup kettle and the old steamer paddling around mixing up vegetable soup for dinner.

    The kitchen tables were so long that Tiny Tim, the chore boy, usually drove the length of the table with the salt and pepper wagon, stayed all night and drove back in the morning for a fresh load.

    One time while we were logging off Minnesota, we had such a big wind that Big Ole, the blacksmith, had to bolt iron bands over the logs in the cast-iron stove to keep them from being sucked up the chimney.

    When I asked Brimstone Bill whether the cook shanty had been damaged during the big wind, he told me he didn't know because he hadn't found it yet. Brimstone Bill was probably the most cantankerous person in my camp. He was so irreligious that he even spoke disrespectfully to the equator. He was so sontrary that every time he fell into the river, we had to look for him upstream.

    Near my Stony River Lumber Camp the white pines grew quite fast. In fact some of them grew so fast that my men couldn't cut them down because they couldn't chop in the same place twice.
  4. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Maybe not a story, but if a pictures worth a thousand words, it's a whole book :)

    Attached Files:

  5. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    And this one you have to look real close to see what makes her cling to the log rails:

    Attached Files:

  6. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    This is an interesting conversation I had today with our new friend Trainclown, reproduced with his permission. For once, I mostly kept my mouth shut:

    [flumeherder] a flumeherder works with the log flumes
    [flumeherder] fixes the boards broken by logs coming down the flume and unjams log jams

    [TrainClown] yes I know, I lived in the mouth of the Fraser River most of my life

    [flumeherder] cool, you should teach me then :)

    [TrainClown] one of my old friends works on a tug in the river pushin logs to the mill
    [TrainClown] his is the most dangerous job on the river

    [flumeherder] what does the winch in the pond do?

    [TrainClown] I use to work at the Eburn Sawmill on Saterdays cleaning up all the sawdust
    [TrainClown] sounds like your talking about the winch that drags the chosen log to the flume pickup

    [flumeherder] probably, looks like a raft, on guy on it and a hand crank winch

    [TrainClown] soumds old

    [flumeherder] ya
    [flumeherder] looking for piccy

    [TrainClown] the opporation on the Fraser were prity much up to date
    [TrainClown] they have these realy cool log boats

    [flumeherder] probly been gone long ago, being human powered and slow

    [TrainClown] they are about ten feet long and have a draft of fifteen feet or so, a huge motor and a giant propeller

    [TrainClown] all made from allumineum
    [TrainClown] the prop revolves 360 degrees
    [TrainClown] they have a little cab , like a phone booth
    [TrainClown] the opporator stands up
    [TrainClown] there are huge teeth like thingys on all sides ot catch the logs to push them
    [TrainClown] funny to watch 'cause they bob around like a cork
    [TrainClown] usualy two of them feeding logs to the flume while the tugs push in the log booms and pick up stray logs
    [TrainClown] Lulu island, thats where Richmond is, is in the mouth of the Fraser.
    [TrainClown] we use to go down to the dyke and sit there and watch them move logs all afternoon
    [TrainClown] it was just like watching a giant train set
    [TrainClown] I love that river
  7. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    More on The Fraser River.

    A true storie.

    My friend, his name is Norman, got a job on the tugs when he was 16. His dad was (or is, as far a I know) a skipper on one of the tugs. Thats about the only way to get a job on them. Sort of, a closed shop. Like the railroad use to be. Jobs are passed down from father to son. Norman makes just over $500 a week spiking logs and sinching them. Seems he was always broke the day after pay day. You should see his toys.:rolleyes:

    I saw Norm one day after work and he was as quiet as could be. Not a loud mouth like he usually was. There was a group of us fellas sitting around drinking beer in Norm's cousin's body shop. Norm just sat there, not drinking, just moody.

    We were all laughing and carrying on like a bunch of lunaticks for a while. Finally his cousin, went over and gave him a slap in the head and said "What's your problem sad sack?"

    Then Norman told us what had happened on the tug that day. Seems his co-worker and he were grouping three or four logs together that had broke loose from a boom. The other fella lost his footing and just dropped right into the water. Norm said he laughed becaue it was his turn the last time someone went into the drink.

    The guy never surfaced. He just disapeared into the dark green water. They looked around for him and called the coast guard hovercraft, who came out with divers and sonar. They never found the guy. They figure he got caught by a strong under current and was washed out to sea. As if getting crushed by a log or cut in half or dismembered by a cable wasn't dangerous enough.

    Norman was prity shook up, but he never quit the tugs. He went down the next morning and bought a brand new pair of cork boots. I think he still gets a new pair every month.

    I haven't seen him in six years.
    I wonder how he's doing these days?
  8. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Great story TC, sad, but great. Thanks for punching that all in!
  9. jimmybeersa

    jimmybeersa Member

    A new One

    Wee Macintosh ... applied for a new job as a lumber Jack , "were have you worked" he was asked
    "Well lets see , the Gobi, the Sahara , the Kalahari, Western ,Death Valley"
    " But those are all deserts"
    "They are now" he replied:D :D :D
  10. Summit

    Summit Member

    Red River Lumber Company

    Something I didn't see in this thread (unless I wasn't looking hard enough...)

    Paul Bunyan and Babe were used heavily by the Red River Lumber Company to advertise their products. One of the marketing people in Red River came up with drawings for both, and Paul and Babe spent many years promoting Red River in trade publications and even a few booklets. Paul's face ended up on the side of many Red River Lumber Company locomotives at their operations out of Westwood, CA. Many of the stories repeated in this thread so far were actually first dreamed up by Red River marketing staffs and used in various Red River ads.

    Robert Hanft in his book The Red River Lumber Company, Paul Bunyan's Own Lumber Company and it's Railroads, devoted an entire chapter to the Paul Bunyon legend and how it was manipulated and used by Red River. Included are reproductions of advertisements. Very well worth checking out for any of you that have an interest.

    JD Moore
    Elko, NV
  11. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    A Narrow Escape

    One summer, long ago, when I was about 10, my dad was working in Barkerville Historic Park. Barkerville is an historic gold rush mining town from the 1860's. It's at the end of the road about 75 miles from Quesnel in B.C. Now there's a nice paved highway all the way into the park, but in those days the road was being built and the last 20 or 30 miles was just a dirt road. About a mile from Barkerville there's a left turn that takes you to the Boweren Lakes park and at the time there was quite the logging operation going on in that area. There's a town called Wells 5 miles from Barkerville, a relic of the gold strike in 1948.

    So the road from Wells to Barkerville was quite winding with lots of potholes and ruts. One day, my dad was coming back from Wells in his brand new AMC station wagon. As he came around a blind curve, there was a loaded logging truck, doing about 60 mph on his side of the road!

    My dad swerved over to the right as far as he could, there was a sheer rock face to his right. The logging truck swerved too, but managed to drag his trailer wheels right down the side of my dad's car and scared the bejeebers out of him.

    He showed up back at B'ville and was white as a ghost. He told me what happened and he said that the logger stopped and my dad asked him "Why were you on my side of the road?" The logger said "Did you see the potholes on MY side of the road??"

    Since then, dad hasn't had much use for loggers.
  12. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Re: A Narrow Escape

    Good ones all of you.

    Why not? The fellow at least stopped and checked to see if daddy-o was OK :D

    I had almost the same thing happen to me in the Philippines. I was going fast, right curve, I was all the way right up against the side of hte mountain, about 75 degrees up that side, on a dirt bike. The truck coming the other way, cutting the corner short, also up against the mountain. When I saw hte truck, there was no way to steer left and go around the other way, no time to stop, and no space between the truck and the mountain side. I quickly discovered a dirt bike can climb a very steep incline, much steeper than I thought possible, at least for a short period of time. Before I knew it, the truck was gone, no he didn't stop to check me out, and I was unhurt beside the undamaged bike, in the middle of the road. I vagely recalled after steering up the mountain side at full throttle, climbing up the mountain side like a cat on a hot tin roof. I had dirt under all my fingernails afterwords.

    I had completeoly forgotton I had my own first hand logging story, until TC brought the memory back with his story. If we were to start a dirt bike story thread, I would have many more, but I think that would be off topic, and as far as I recall, that's my only logging encounter of interest.
  13. logsNtrains

    logsNtrains New Member

    Paul Bunyan

    I just have to respond to all the Paul Taul tales. I don't remember where they came from but they were some of the best memories of my childhood. I suppose I read some but I guess my Dad probably told a number of them. He was quite a story teller. Thank goodness TV didn't stop that. Logging has fascinated me all my life! Paul can probably take credit for a lot of it. Also I am from WI and lived solely to vacation in the WI Northwoods. I also remember my Mother telling about her summertime job while in high school, cooking for loggers at her uncle's farm. I could never talk her into making pancakes for me. She had made enough. Guess what my favorite breakfast is? We always want what we can't have.
    Is there a book with most of these tales or is it mostly oral history?
  14. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Hiya Marge and welcome to the gauge!!!

    I'm glad you liked the stories. Most of the stories I found were just from the internet. I found a Time/Life book on logging in the local library. I wonder what you would find there searching for Paul Bunyon?
  15. Summit

    Summit Member


    If you can find a copy, get The Red River Lumber Company, Paul Bunyan's Own Lumber Company and it's Railroads by Robert Hanft. Currently out of print, but should be available through used book websites (, a few others). The Red River operated for several years in Akely, MN before moving to Westwood, CA; this book does a reasonable job covering this operation and the Walker family that owned it. Red River latched onto the Paul Bunyan figure and name early on and used it to advertise their company; many of the stories told about Paul around the west were first printed in Red River advertisements. The company even put out periodical story books about Paul and his exploits as a means of spreading the Red River name. Mr. Hanft devotes an entire chapter in this book to where the Paul Bunyan legend came from and how it was used by Red River, including reproductions of many of the old ads.

    Hope this helps.

    -JD Moore
    Elko, NV
  16. lassenlogger

    lassenlogger Member

    Not Paul Bunyan's Ox.

    The huge skull of a pre-historic ox, discovered recently near Oregon City, Ore., has given rise to much speculation as to its origin. The Portland Oregonian states that P. Edwards of Oregon City, a paleontologist, has identified the original owner of the skull as bos latifons, or the "broadfaced ox," which lived about 50,000 years ago in the cenozoic era.

    The skull measures 18 inches between base of the horns, 39 inches tip to tip and the horns are 5 1/2 inches in diameter at the base. Some local authorities suggested that the skull had belonged to one of Paul Bunyan's big blue oxen and the matter was referred to Paul Bunyan, of The Red River Lumber Co., who sends the following reply:

    Westwood, Cal., November 1923.

    Gents: This here ox skull is not Bear Little Blue Ox which ate hisself to death with pancakes and was buried where the Black bears are now. It aint Babe the Big Blue Ox which is still doin' good work haulin sugar pine. I have tried a lot of times to raise another ox for logging, but never had mutch luck. They were all but puny and wuddent grow enuf. From that you say this here skull is, I think it must been one of them little calfs which died from lack of nourishment.

    Hoping you are the same,

    Paul Bunyan

    Anonymous, "Not Paul Bunyan's Ox." The Timberman; Dec, 1923 - P 28;2.
  17. lassenlogger

    lassenlogger Member

    Logging Tales


    Thought you'd get a "TOOT" out of this:

    Of course many of us have heard of World War Two’s “Rosey-the-Rivetter,” but did you know that during World War One, women also filled in for men that went to the front?

    Well to preface this logging tidbit, for many years the commands of the steam logging donkies were signaled by a long cord tied to a whistle. During the mid teens, an outfit designed a battery powered connection to the steam whistle, branded the “Toots-E Signal.”

    With a few women operating these signals during WWI the company decided to christen a name for these female whistle punks. This gleaned from the Timberman, a trade publication of the period:

    "What's a Girl Whistle Punk Called?"

    Girl whistle punks, operating the Toots-E signal, are now employed in several logging camps. They have been appropriately christened "signalettes."

    Anonymous, "Toots-E Goes And Gets 'Em." The Timberman, November 1918 - P 49:1.
  18. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Gooduns LL, and welcome to the-gauge!!!!:wave:
  19. lassenlogger

    lassenlogger Member

    J-M said the following:

    "Gooduns LL, and welcome to the-gauge!!!!"

    It is good to be here, still learning the ropes of posting and stuff. I think I've found a home place.


  20. lassenlogger

    lassenlogger Member

    Logging Stories

    A Run For His Money

    Dick Pershing was employed at the Red River Lumber Company, at Westwood, California, from 1922-1927. He was like many other young men of that time, who came to Westwood and Susanville seeking employment, working his way through college.

    The following is a remembrance of Dicks' tenure with the Red River Lumber Company, at Westwood, and a chance meeting between him and that company's founder, T. B. Walker.

    "I do remember a story about a conversation I once had with Mr. T. B. Walker (the head of all the Walkers' and the Red River Lumber Company). When I was first at Westwood I tried to take advantage of any spare time I had to learn about the business, but the work day was 10 hours long and the work week was 6 days long, so the only time off was Sunday."

    "Bright and early one Sunday morning I headed down to the gates and spotted an elderly gentleman standing in front looking as though he might be lost, so I asked him if I could be of any help to him."

    "He said he was looking for the run-back tracks, where they made the daily pull-out of freight from Red River. I told him if he would follow me, I would show him. As we walked along he seemed nice and nearly friendly so I introduced myself. He shook my hand and said he was 'Thomas Barlow Walker of Minneapolis.'"

    "It just so happened that the old American Magazine was running stories each month of prominent Americans and that month it had covered 'T. B. Walker' - little known but who was thought to be the tenth richest man in the world."

    "Since I was relatively young, and not to smart - I told him I knew of him, had read the American Magazine story - and was it true that he was the 'tenth richest man' and how did it feel to be so? But, my question didn't seem to phase him, his reply was 'Well I truly can't say - I have never gotten around to count all my money, but I have enough to do the things I want to, and that suits me!'"

    "I don't remember ever seeing or talking to 'TB' again but his son, Mr. Fletcher Walker, told me that his father had mentioned talking to someone named 'Dick,' and the question he'd been asked and that he's gotten quite a kick out of it. Mr. Fletcher Walker said when his father mentioned talking to someone named 'Dick,' he guessed who the questioner had been."

    "One more thing I recall -- when he and I reached the make-up yard we ran across quite a few Great Northern boxcars with the white mountain goat insignia painted on the outside. Mr. Walker stopped and pointed to one of the cars and said 'They call that Jim Hill's goat, I'll bet if I had chosen railroads instead of lumber, I would have given Jim a run for his money!' I must have gasped for Red River Lumber Company was worth over $30 million at that time when a million was a lot of money -- from what I heard later of 'TB,' he probably would have!"

    Dick Pershing, former Red River Lumber Company employee, as told to me in a letter.


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