19th century logging — Equine casualty at Finch, Pruyn camp

Maury Thompson
3 min readApr 18, 2024

There was an equine casualty at the logging camp.

“One of Finch, Pruyn & Co.’s teamsters returned yesterday from the firm’s lumber camp on the Boreas River to procure a horse to take the place of one which died there a few days ago,” The Morning Star of Glens Falls reported on Feb. 1, 1895. “There are thirty-five men at work in the Boreas River camp, and they are drawing to the river bank an immense number of logs, aided by good sleighing. The snow in that part of Essex County is about four feet at present.”

It wasn’t the only equine casualty in a lumber camp that season.

“One of the four teams sent out by Morgan Lumber Company on Wednesday to its lumber camp at Lake Pleasant in Hamilton County was driven by Henry Shaver,” The Morning Star reported on Jan. 4, 1895. “At Beecher Hollow, eight miles this side of Northville, one of Shaver’s horses was taken sick. The animal died within a half hour. Shaver returned to Glens Falls yesterday afternoon and will leave with another horse today.”

Other horses put in a hard season’s labor.

“Eight of Finch, Pruyn & Co.’s teams, in charge of four men, returned from the lumber camp on the Boreas River,” The Morning Star reported on Feb. 19. “The two gangs employed in that region will finish lumbering operations next week. They have skidded an immense number of logs on the banks of the stream during the past few weeks.”

All were back to Glens Falls by early March.

“The remainder of Finch, Pruyn & Co.’s lumbermen and teams arrived yesterday from the camp on the Boreas River. Twelve teams constituted yesterday’s caravan,” The Morning Star reported on March 5. “This completes the work of this form in the woods. Seven or eight of the Morgan Lumber Co.’s teams have arrived thus far from Arietta.”

Men and horses had been in camp since late December.

“Although the sleighing is very poor, the recent snowfall has given an impetus to operations in the lumber world. A considerable number of men and teams employed at the mills of the Morgan Lumber Company and at Finch, Pruyn & Co. during the sawing season will be dispatched to the Adirondack Forests immediately,” The Morning Star reported on Dec. 31, 1894. “Fourteen of Morgan Lumber Company’s teams, with twenty men, will leave Glens Falls this morning for the lumber camp at Lake Pleasant, Hamilton County. The company will send them additional teams tomorrow with a squad of men. At Northville five sleighs will be loaded with provisions for the winter’s subsistence in camp,” The Morning Star continued.

“Finch, Pruyn & Co, will dispatch ten teams and twenty men this morning to their new lumber camp on the Boreas River, Essex County. Three Finch, Pruyn teams, with a few men, will leave this afternoon for Indian Lake. On Wednesday, five of the same company’s teams will start for camp with provisions for the Boreas River camp.”

In other 19th century logging and lumber news collected from historic newspapers of the region:

  • “The Griffin Lumber Company has received an order for eight carloads of baled shavings from P.D. Armour Beef and Packing Company in New Jersey,” The Morning Star reported on Sept. 5, 1894.
  • “The engines of the new steam sawmill of the Morgan Lumber Company in South Glens Falls were tested Saturday afternoon. They worked like a charm,” The Morning Star reported on Oct. 1, 1894.
  • “Patrick Moyenhan, the well-known lumberman, says the lack of snow is seriously retarding operations in the woods at present,” The Morning Star reported on Dec. 27, 1894. “Mr. Moynehan is cutting for the Palmer Falls pulp mills. These logs to to be shipped to their destination by rail, but, owing to the absence of sleighing, they cannot be drawn from the woods to the Adirondack railroad at North Creek.”
  • “P. Moston of Wevertown is getting a good supply of logs to his mill. There is more coming in than he can buy or knowns what to do with,” the Johnsburg correspondent reported in The Morning Star on Feb. 13, 1895.
  • “The Big Boom was opened yesterday (Friday) morning, and the men on the sorting platforms began active operations in the afternoon,” The Morning Star reported on April 27, 1895. “All the mills, with the exception of the Morgan Lumber Company’s water mill, will start Monday.”

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Maury Thompson

Freelance history writer and documentary film producer from Ticonderoga, NY