The Last Horses in the Lumberwoods.

Somewhere in the forests of Central Newfoundland on a day late in the winter of 1964 or 1965 the last Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company horses walked out of the woods.

After considerable research and seeking some expert advice I have not been able to pinpoint the exact date. It appears to have happened with little fanfare, and it is very likely it was a result of decisions made between hauling seasons.

There is something incongruous and out of place to see a man with a hard hat teaming a horse. It happened and there are pictures. Below is one of them.

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Horses were still used until the mid 1960’s in woods operations in Central Newfoundland, as evident from the picture from December of 1962. Contrary to the statement that: “Horses still play an important part in the AND’s woods operations, and because of Newfoundland’s terrain, will probably continue to do so for some years,” four years later horses had been phased out. As suggested by the caption on the lower picture foreman Wesley Kinden had 8 horses in operation in the winter of 1962-63.

 

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Impressive track record for this old horse in Terra Nova Division. Circa 1962.

In 1959 it was noted that the Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company still owned 300 horses. Even two years before those fine beasts were finally replaced, it was said there would be a place for them for many years to come. By 1966 it was noted that Price (Newfoundland) no longer owned a single horse. Despite scouring the News-Log from that period of time, there was no reference to the last use of horses in a Anglo-Newfoundland/Price camp, they just seem to fade away.

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Horses cross over from Badger to the Sandy Motor Road, Circa 1960. In 1960 there were 65 horses operating in the Sandy area of Badger Division. By 1966 both the horses and the scow were eliminated from woods operations. (News Log).

Though it is impossible to know if there were still jobbers and private contractors supplying the company with wood that still used horses. In fact, the collective agreement for loggers still had provisions for teamsters and horses in the late 1960’s. Some outport sawmillers were still using horses well into the 1970’s. There very well might have been a few cords of wood feeding the Grand Falls Mill in the 1970’s that had been hauled by a horse, but these weren’t company horses.

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Horse in a woods camp, date unknown. (Andy Barker/Abitibi-Price)

It had taken the tractor over forty years for the Caterpillar Tractor to replace the horse for hauling wood, even then THEY never completely did. There was a niche that even the smallest and nimblest Caterpillars couldn’t fill in hard to reach places. This niche was filled, starting in the late 1950’s by two machines from Bombardier, the J-5 and Muskeg. Developments during the 1960’s eclipsed these machines, although there appears to have been a fairly large number of them used for a brief period of time. The almost parallel introduction of the wheeled skidder led to the elimination of the horse and eventually the J-5 and even the Caterpillar tractors.

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The introduction of the skidder to AND/Price operations would fundamentally change how logging was done. (News-Log)

In 1959 wood was being hauled by horses, tractors, J-5’s, Muskegs, and increasingly by trucks. Ten years later almost all wood was hauled out of the woods by skidders, then loaded onto trucks, which bought the wood either directly to the mill or to water. The pulpwood logging industry of 1969 was an industry vastly different than that of 1959.

-Bryan Marsh

 

 

2 comments

  1. My recollection in Terra Nova after the horses weren’t need for the season they were free for the summer. There was a gate on the road to keep them coming in to town. Had a great story about that if you are interested.

    On Fri, Nov 1, 2019 at 12:40 PM Anglo Newfoundland Development Company wrote:

    > Bryan Marsh posted: “Somewhere in the forests of Central Newfoundland on a > day late in the winter of 1964 or 1965 the last Anglo-Newfoundland > Development Company horses walked out of the woods. After considerable > research and seeking some expert advice I have not been able t” >

    Like

  2. In 1963 I hauled pulpwood out of the woods in Glenwood with a D2 Cat tractor. That’s where I was in November of 63 when President Kennedy was shot.

    Like

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