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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Forks River - Summer 1932

Leon Schofield and his partner Annie lived year-round near where the Forks River Dam is today.  The photo above was taken in the summer of 1932, likely by the Reverand Guy Blakeney (2nd from the right) from Wolfville, father of biologist Dr. J. Sherman Blakeney.  Leon is seated on far left.  Others in the photo include Bill Dorman (father of Lloyd Dorman) and James W. Schofield of Weston, Massachusetts. 

Life at Forks River was good.  Leon and Annie had a few apple trees, a small garden, picked berries in summer, fished for trout spring through fall, harvested wild game year-round, notably rabbits, grouse, deer and moose.  Leon trapped in the winter, guided moose hunters in the fall and established early that the abundance of this mammal was related to age and condition of forest habitat in the wake of forest fires.  A forest fire that ravaged the west side of Black River Lake in the 1940's, and other smaller fires around the lake were rumored to have been started by Leon in hopes of bolstering the numbers of moose.  About a decade after this photo was taken, Merritt Gibson and Guy Blakeney's son, Sherman (both young lads from Wolfville) built a log camp not far from Leon and Annie's. 

Lloyd Dorman (then about 91) told me that during the winters in the 1930s and 40s, he and his brother would leave Newtonville in early morning for the west shore of Black River Lake with the horse and wood sled, near where I live today.  They would fell 2-3 large maples or birches, buck them into 8-10' ft. bolts, (usually 6 sticks) load them onto the sled and head for home.  Just getting the logs took all the winter day's light hours to accomplish.  Later they would saw the wood into stove sized bolts, splitting them with maul and wedges.

Lessons on using the 19th fret.

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