Logging in The Township of Brandon, Franklin County, New York





By Marion Delisle

My objective was to learn about logging in its traditional form as practised in the early years of 1900. Having lived on a farm near such wooded areas, logging has been not only a pastime but a means of livelihood. Logging camps with their crude exterior and strong, daring men have always fascinated me as a woman. Their methods were passed down by their forefathers. I visited four people who were actual participants in the early logging world. I discussed with them their part in logging and the methods they used at the time.
I found that logging was a hard and dangerous work and demanded long hours in the sometimes freezing weather. It required skill to cut a tree and escape injury. The skidders, the teamsters and the drivers with all concerned had to be alert at every moment to avert disaster. I also observed that everyone involved loved the woods and recalled it with nostalgia.
Logging seemed to be a story of man against nature and he appeared to like the challenge in that immense, majestic realm.


The people listed below aided me in my collection on Logging in Franklin County at the turn of the century. (1900)

1. Alice Bowen ( Mrs Barry Crooks)
52 Pearl St. Malone, New York
Retired mill owner (approximate 70 yrs.)

 2. Eugene Bordeaux, age 81
Reynoldston, New York
Retired woodsman and retired state road worker

 3. Edward Curtis, Age 80
Skerry, New York

 4. Thomas Campbell, Age 88
Reynoldston , New York
Farmer, woodsman and maple sugar maker

Interviewed by Marion Delisle in 1975
77 Webster Street
Malone, New York


Alice Bowen

Alice Bowen Crooks was an avid horsewoman

 Alice Bowen was born in Skerry which is a small town in Franklin County in the Township of Brandon, in New York State. She attended the little red schoolhouse in Skerry for the first eight years of her education.
She went to high school at Franklin Academy in Malone. At that time she had to room and board away from home to be able to attend high school. She went Sargant School for Physical Education at Cambridge Massachusetts. This was a three year program at that time. Sargant School is now part of Boston University. She was informed by letter that the title of Doctor had been conferred upon her. Her comment was that she did not know what she was a doctor of.
Alice married Barry Crooks when about twenty-four but insisted on keeping he own name. She was a liberated woman long before her time. They had no children.
Alice helper her father in the Bowen Lumber Co. after they sold the sawmill in Skerry (The Bowen Mill was purchased by Berton Reynolds, from Reynoldston who sold his share in the Malone Lumber Company to L. Cass Bowen) She eventually ran the mill herself and very efficiently. Her knowledge in this area was vast and her smiling cheerful personality never changed. It was easy to understand why this degree was conferred upon her. She was an excellent business woman and a great human being.
I visited Alice in her home on Pearl Street where I taped our conversation. She talked very easily and openly. He loves of the woods and the land is very evident as was her love of horses.

Click on link below for copy of partial transcript





Listen to Tape Recorded Interviews click on player below

[audio:http://www.reynoldstonnewyork.org/wp-content/Delisle-Tape3-SideA.mp3] [audio:http://www.reynoldstonnewyork.org/wp-content/Delisle-Tape1-SideA.mp3]

 See additional interviews and material on this site by clicking on the links below:

More on Alice Bowen 

More on Skerry and the Bowen Family

Eugene Bordeaux 

Eugene Bordeaux

  Eugene Bordeaux was born and lived in Reynoldston all his life. This was once a village (of more than 50 families) and quite a busy place when the Reynolds family had theirs sawmill (and logging operations) in the (late 19th) and early years of the 1900’s. Now it is a rather desolate in the wintertime as only a few families remain throughout the year. In the summer there are many camps in the area along the Deer River, which runs throughout the countryside. He attended the country schoolhouse there (in Reynoldston) and finished the eighth grade and from that point on worked mostly in the woods. He is 81 years of age and a very pleasant man.
I visited in his hope where I tape the conversation. He told mostly human interest facts that occurred throughou8t his life and work. I was able to visualize the job of logging from the layman’s point of view. He worked hard, saw his life realistically and still retained a great love and respect for the woods.


Click on link below for copy of partial transcript


Listen to Tape Recorded Interview click on audio player


More interviews with Eugens Bordeaux about Reynoldston & Logging

 Edward Curtis

Edward Curtis is a man 80 years of age who lives in Skerry. His wife is dead and he lives alone. Skerry is a small village in (Township of Brandon) in Franklin County that still has a small general store MR. Curtis lived all his life there and attended the little red school house. He has been a woodsman all of his life and still cut s wood to sell from the wood lot behind his house.

Click on link below for copy of partial transcript

Listen to Tape Recorded Interviews click on audio players

[audio:http://www.reynoldstonnewyork.org/wp-content/Delisle-Tape3-SideB.mp3] [audio:http://www.reynoldstonnewyork.org/wp-content/Delisle-Tape1-SideB.mp3]

 Thomas Campbell

Thomas and Joeseph Campbell Home 1969


 Thomas Campbell, aged 88, still lives in Reynoldston where he was born. His wife is ill and in a nursing home. Mr. Campbell also attended the small (one room) school in the area (Reynoldston) and after finishing went immediately to work. His chief work has been the woods and logging. (He also did a little farming and owned a sugar bush where he made maple syrup every spring. Cutting wood and selling it by the cord for burning has been one of his chief duties. He likes the other gentlemen and was proud of his honest hard labor.



Click on link below for copy of partial transcript

   Listen to Tape Recorded Interview Click on Audio link:


 More information interviews with Thomas Campbell



See additional interviews and material on logging on this site by clicking on the links below:

Logging Gallery

Logging Camps

Brooklyn Cooperage

Reynolds Logging Operations


Website Editor’s Comments on This Episodes in History

This material is one of the most amazing coincidences that I have experienced in my life. Marion Delisle’s interviews, partial transcripts and report she did for an academic course from 1975 on Logging in Franklin County, included 4 individuals, three of whom, Alice Bowen, Eugene Bordeaux and Thomas Campbell, we also interviewed and the fourth person Edward Curtis was a brother of Henry Curtis who we also had interviewed.
I remember being told by my grandparents Eugene and Daisy Bordeaux, that someone had interviewed him after our work from 1969-71, but I never knew who it was or where the material went. Thus it was a true delight to find out that this material existed and the Marion was more than willing to share it with us 37 years later. We truly appreciate her generosity and it just adds another dimension to the material on this site.
This work reinforces the importance of logging and milling in northern Franklin County in the Township of Brandon. In reading her material, please note that we have added comments that are contained in brackets to help link this material for you.
We want to thank Elizabeth Menke for making this connection for us. And again a big thanks to Marion Delisle.

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