1989.69.97 | Log Jam, Big Black River

Log Jam, Big Black River
1911, 20th century
13.4 x 29.8 cm
Gift of Sylvia Yeoman
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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Keys to History

The chief danger of the log drive lay in the formation of logjams in the narrower confines of the feeder river or brook. It took a brave man or group of men to confront and break a jam holding back thousands of gallons of water.

There were three types of jams: a centre jam which started in the middle of a river, a side jam which built out from a snag on shore, and a jam all the way across a river.

Source : All in a Day's Work: Lumbering in New Brunswick [Web tour], by New Brunswick Museum (see Links)

  • What

    Jams could be several meters high, not counting the logs driven into the river bed by the timber pressure from above.

  • Where

    Log jams were most frequent on narrow and shallow waterways, which usually had numerous obstacles to snag passing logs.

  • When

    The tip-off to those downriver that a jam was forming was the sudden disappearance of the log flow.

  • Who

    The foreman shouted orders and listened with his men for any shift or groan that might signal the movement of the jam.