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This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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

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)


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


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


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


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

© Musée McCord Museum