|Logging in Mendocino, 1870. 15" x 72",
|Logging in Mendocino, 1870|
|This linoleum blockprint shows the method used to bring logs from the cutting site, down the mountain to the river or mill.
the bulls(oxen) were hitched together by short lengths of heavy chain between the yokes. Often seven or eight yoke of oxen were used, the last pair being hitched to the bridle or bull chain which pulled the log. Tthe biggest log came first, and if the bulls could move this one, its weight actually moved the rest of the log train, as the pull was always downhill.
The other chain you see was the drag chain. It was dogged in backwards, and hung loosely from a slip-knot. The suglar (origin of this word unknown) always rode the first log, and if the train started going too fast, he loosed the slip-knot, the drag-chain dropped and dragged under the first log, acting as a brake.
The logs were usually pulled on a "skid road" made of small tree trunks, and the water boy walked in front of the first log to pour water on the skids. A grease-boy greased the skids far ahead of the first team, and kegs of hot tallow were placed along the way for him.
The bullluncher carried a four-foot pole with a gouge on the end of it, and saw to keeping the bulls moving properly. This was dangerous work, and if all the men didn't watch their jobs carefully, the whole train of logs gained such momentum that they piled up on the oxen, causing a disasterous wreck, killing men and bulls.