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.
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.
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.
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.
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.