Eugene & Daisy Bordeaux

Interviewed in 1969

Comments on the Interview:

We first interviewed Eugene and Daisy French Bordeaux, Bill’s grandparents, two of only a few people then living in Reynoldston.  They were a good choice for our first interviews, as they were willing to be patient with us as we learned the ins and outs of interviewing.  During vacations over the next year we collected over 60 hours of tape from 17 people. 

Mr. Langlois often spent holidays with his grandparents, Eugene and Daisy Bordeaux. In the 1950′s and until the 1960′s, the house that they lived in did not have electricity or running water. They did have a telephone and mail service. In this period, the Eddy Road in Reynoldston was still gravel and the closest small store was in Skerry five miles away.

Tapes 11 and 12 were the first ones done in a series of extensive interviews with Daisy and Mr. Eugene Bordeaux. Thus tapes 1-10 were done following these. The numbers are out of sequence. Thus they are far ranging and pick up on themes and topics that were discussed in earlier interviews 

Transcript of Tapes 11 & 12:

TAPE 11                                                                            Page 8

Logging practices; life in logging camps, clothing, food and cleanliness, fights and entertainment in logging camps;  French Canadian traditions, funerals, religions, furniture, food, social life; farming; hunting and trapping; skinning animals; changes in wildlife from 1900 to 1970; searching for wild bee honey; road work and poll taxes; mass in Reynoldston and religious beliefs

Listen to interview:  Tape 11  Side 1

Listen to interview:  Tape 11  Side 2

Listen to interview:  Tape 12  Side 1

Listen to interview:  Tape 12  Side 2

Transcript of Tapes 1-10

Tape 1

Side 1                                                                      page  15

Interview with Eugene Bordeaux -Description of Working and life in the logging camps in Everton, a logging town in southern Franklin County in the early 20th Century, working for Reynolds Bros. Mill in Reynoldston NY,  How the logging camps and logging railroad operated.  Boys started working in logging camps at the age of 15 after going through the 8th grade at school, details of life in the camps, food and recreation, doing odd jobs such as farm hands in the summer to help make a living, many Native Indians from Hogansburg worked in the logging camps, description of logging methods in the early 20th Century, around fifty houses in Reynoldston at the beginning of the 20th century, Description of the Brooklyn Cooperage logging railroad from St. Regis Falls to Everton Tract.

Tape 1                                                                    

Side 2                                                                      page 27

Interview with Daisy Bordeaux – description of life as a housewife in Reynoldston around 1920, chores and looking after children, Description of food and diet, making quilts, difference between life in winter and summer and activities of life, summer spent picking berries and canning, gardening in the summer, description of diet and cooking, talk of pack peddlers supplying food and goods to Reynoldston, Catholic church services in private homesin Reynoldston once a month,

Listen to interview, Tape 1:

 Tape 2                                                              

Side 1                                                   page 34                

Interview with Daisy Bordeaux – family life in Reynoldston ca. 1920, description of homes in Reynoldston NY, description of life in Reynoldston in the first part of the 20th Century, men’s and women’s clothing, banking houses for winter protection, description o adultery in Reynoldston, trading of wives, Eugene Bordeaux describes the Reynolds Bros. Mill,

Tape 2

Side 2                                                            page 43

Eugene Bordeaux – description of Reynolds Bros. Mill operations, description of sawing logs, description of the water wheel that run the saws in the Reynolds Mill, description of mill saws, talk about the mill workers who lived in Reynoldston, accidents at the mill, description of the various buildings at the Reynolds Bros. logging camps, discussion of cutting trees and the dangers, description of trees that were cut for the mill, forest fires in the Adirondacks, discussion of the various sugar bushes in Reynoldston,

Listen to interview, Tape 2:

Tape 3

Side1                                                              page 55

Eugene Bordeaux – more description of logging and logging camps, discussion of wages and compensation as logger in the early 20th Century, more detailson compensation by the Reynolds Bros. Mill in Reynoldston, More details of how a logging camp and cutting trees, description of cutting hardwood vs. softwood trees, logging camp cleanliness and how they improved over time, discussion of how camps were built and abandoned as the trees were cut, Reynolds Bros. land-holdings, more on life in the logging camps, personal cleanliness in logging camps, worked six days a week, more on logging, description of teams of horses for drawing logs and teamsters, hunting while living in the logging camps, cooks in logging camps, personal cleanliness,

Tape 3

Side 2                                                            page 67

Eugene Bordeaux – fighting in logging camps, singing in logging camps and while they were cutting trees, Some of the singing was in French, town constables, discussion of trapping, talk of bees for building, clearing land and picking stones etc., discussion of the various types of trees, more details of cutting trees, using dogs for hunting, discussion of types of dogs used for hunting, details of hunting in Reynoldston NY,

Listen to interview, Tape 3:

Tape 4

Side 1                                                            page 77

Discussion of working and the operation of the Reynolds Bros. Mill, fires at the mill, discussion of family life and disagreements, Descriptions of people living in Reynoldston NY, discussion of illegitimate children and adultery, fights between lumberjacks at logging camps, World War 1, serving in the US Army in World War 1, talking about sex education for the children, dating and courtship, Description of the proximity of woods in Reynoldston and lack of cleared land,

Tape 4

Side 2                                                            page 86

Reynolds Bros. sold “slab wood” for firewood, Christmas trees, pumpkins and Halloween, Votive candles in the homes, Sprinkled Holy water during thunderstorms and put up palms for protection, Religious beliefs, discussion of changes in Catholic Church in their life time, picking stones and building stone walls, talk of land that could be used for farming, houseplants they had in the early part of the 20th Century, house fires were rare, planting flowers and bushes was not common, Description of “straw tick” mattresses, bedroom.

Listen to interview, Tape 4:

Tape 5

Side 1                                                            page 95

Description of sheds and storing wood and other unwanted items, hang meat in sheds in winter for freezing, no refrigerators, Everyone butchered their own pigs etc., stealing chickens, “story about chicken thief Jock, discussion of cellars for storage, in the early 20th century people just through their garbage and refuse out-doors in winter and clean it up in the spring, no village dump,  Eugene reminisces that Reynoldston was a good place to live 75 years ago because there were no laws or law enforcement, Description of the various sugar-bushes in Reynoldston, parties in sugar bushes, more on the various sugar bushes, discussion of Reynolds Bros Mill and flooring,

Tape 5

Side 2                                                                      Page 105

Description of the house Frank Reynolds lived in, Discussion of when the Reynolds Bros. had the Brooklyn Cooperage Contract, The logging railroad and logging camps, Few from Reynoldston went on to college or higher education, Catholic went to catechism in Bangor once a year and then were confirmed, widows did not live in Reynoldston because it was too hard to get along, families took care of their elder parents, people used to make their own shoe laces and belts and suspenders, description of the various pipes that were available including Meerschaum, false teeth, most children went barefoot in the summertime,

Listen to interview, Tape 5:

Tape 6

Side 1                                                                      page 114

Shortage of women for men to marry, description of the large lumber storage areas at the Reynolds Bros. Mill, used a car engine and then a diesel engine to run a temporary mill in the 1930’s  after the main mill had been dismantled, description of the so called diesel mill, discussion of the Reynolds Bros. Store,comparing wool clothing the loggers wore, Reynoldston baseball team, description of the Bordeaux Dance hall in Reynoldston, The store in the Bordeaux Hall, Eugene reminisces about his grandmother and grandfather Bordeaux,

Tape 6

Side2                                                                       page 123

More on Eugene Bordeaux’s grandmother Julia Bordeaux, lack of reforestation in the early part of the 20th century, Stories about Newton Reynolds, description of the waterwheels at the Reynolds Bros. Mill, The blacksmith shop at the Bordeaux Hall, sharpening saws at the Reynolds Mill, description of saw operation at the mill, sharpening crosscut saws in the woods, more on sharpening circular mill saws, sharpening axes, use of Emory stones to sharpen axes, story about learning how to best sharpen saws, the use of water and steam to operate the various saws and tools at the Reynolds Mill,

Listen to interview, Tape 6:

Tape 7

sides 1 & 2                                                                       page  131

use of salt licks to kill deer, killing deer out of season, Eugene loved hunting and also used a bow and arrow for small game, using dogs for hunting, Eugene Bordeaux was certified as a guide and operating a hunting camp for this business, discussion of trapping animals, discussion of fishing, in the early part of the 20th century you did not need hunting or fishing licenses, Description of Eugene Bordeaux’s farm and crops, crop disease such as oat smut, only 3 farms in Reynoldston raised sheep, some of the early farmers used oxen, oxen were also used in the logging woods in the late 19th century,  farmers years ago did not use any fertilizers, description of smoking meat, and salting meat, Eugene had his own ice house, growing turnips to feed cows, there were only a few farmers in Reynoldston, farming practices and beliefs, only a few people owned cars in the early days, discussion of mill houses built by the Reynolds Bros. for their workers, detailed description of the Bordeaux Hall and the various parts of it, The hall sold alcohol, both legally and illegally, places young people met and went on dates, elections and voting and campaigning, fighting in Reynoldston was quite common,

Listen to interview, Tape 7:

Tape 8

Side 1                                                                      page 151

Discussion of various saws at the Reynolds Bros Mill and the Webster Mill, breakdowns of equipment at the mill, need to replace the cogs of the waterwheel all the time, mill pond and river flooded regularly, more on the Reynolds Bros mill and logging operations, drinking in the logging camps, Water sprinklers to create ice roads for drawing logs out of the woods, detailed description of the hand built sprinklers used at create the ice roads at night, ice roads allowed for larger loads of logs to be dawn out of the woods, Allen Bordeaux liked to drink, more on the lives of the Bordeaux family in Reynoldston, more background on Allen Bordeaux,

Tape 8

Side 2                                                                                page 159

Eugene made his own compound to grease his leather shoes and equipment, description of outhouses in Reynoldston, cleaning outhouses, outhouses and bathrooms at the Reynolds houses in Reynoldston, Various of the Reynolds lived in the two houses in Reynoldston over time, more on outhouses, description of fastening logs to a sled for drawing, description of sleds, They used the “Wilson sled for drawing logs, description of drawing logs, accidents with sleds and drawing logs, They called the bad of hay that they put on the sleds for the driver “a dry ass”, skids for rolling logs off of the sleds into the mill pond and on land, needed 30 to 40 cords of wood for most homes for each winter,

Listen to interview, Tape 8:

Tape 9

Side 1                                                                      page 167

Interview with Daisy Bordeaux – doing laundry in the early part of the 20th century, nor running water in Reynoldston until the 1950’s when electricity was put through on the Eddy Road, spring cleaning was a big event, and included painting and papering, raising children before World War II, mending clothes, worked all the time as a housewife, description of the various household chores a housewife did in the first half of the 20th Century, Discussion of expectations around cleanliness now and in the past, description of the homes of the poor people in Reynoldston, lack of personal cleanliness by many of the poorer people of Reynoldston,  some lived in log cabins, most houses in Reynoldston were not painted, either log cabins of rough lumber, used kerosene lamps for lighting, only a few house fires in Reynoldston, school house burned and was replaced by moving the car garage from Reynolds Bros. to the school site, Catholic religious beliefs, a lot of gossiping when Reynoldston had around 50 homes, small community, everyone knew everyone else,

Tape 9

Side 2                                                                      page 175

Community feelings about the Reynolds family, Daisy Bordeaux worked for the Reynolds and handled the switchboard for the telephone company that the Frank Reynolds owned, home remedies, men and their clothing returning from the logging camps were dirty, some men returning had long hair, not the same focus as today on male grooming, description of her cook stove, ironing was a lengthy chore, baking was a daily chore, starched a lot of the clothing in those days, description of cooking pans and dishes, washing up and bathing, recipe for making mincemeat, recipe for head’s cheese, boys clothing,

Listen to interview, Tape 9:

Tape 10

side 1                                                                      page  183

Daisy and Eugene Bordeaux discuss the houses in Reynoldston and the fact that most people did not have money to maintain or fix them up, many houses had trash around them, and never cut lawns, cattle were around the houses, description of stoves, The Brasher Stove made in Brasher Falls NY was very common, When Allen Bordeaux moved to the Eddy road it was solid wood and he had to clear his land for farming, Description  of Allen Bordeaux’s house, Eugene’s run  in with Herbert Reynolds, 

Tape 10

Side2                                                                       page 192

Issues with the Reynolds Bros., people used to go and take lumber off of state land, more about houses and log cabins in Reynoldston, Eugene thought that half of the house in Reynoldston were log cabins, Description of Julia Bordeaux, and his Campbell grandparents. There was a lot of running around in Reynoldston, Reynoldston was a wild place when Eugene was young,

Listen to interview, Tape 10:

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