True Tales of the Clarion River

Front Cover
1 Review

What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

I encountered this collection of tales around 1990 while visiting friends in NW Pennsylvania.
If my memory is correct, a Pennsylvania Riverman's Association, somewhere around 1930, contacted
those who in the late 1880s had cut trees in the winter, tied them into rafts, and in the spring floated them down the Clarion to the Allegheny, downbound to Pittsburgh. The rafts were disassembled in that town, and the logs used for columns and beams in industrial facilities.
At some point, maybe 1895 or so, again operating from my memory of the book, the logging and rafting ceased, perhaps due to over harvesting and maybe due to dams for flood control. I cannot properly remember the reason for the cessation. It probably could be researched more accurately than my memory could possibly provide.
The fascinating aspect of this book, is the written recollection of old time rafters in the late 1800s. Much like myself, they were not particularly well educated. They did, however express themselves in clear terms, often endearing terms, concerning the perils of this logging and rafting work. It seemed to be hard duty by their reports, but there was a tenderness for the logging trade and for the river travel that is worth reading. The expressions simply state the hard work, the dangers, and the joy of that era. Some walked home from Pittsburgh, perhaps a three day walk,, to save the train fare, only to work again on the Clarion anticipating rafting the next spring.
There are elements of the recollections that speak well to the part of the pioneer women, as well as the spirit of the men. The rafts often had a shanty shack atop, from which women worked along with the men to survive the perils. And there were, along the Clarion river bank, women that managed the one or two "inns", to provide shelter and meals for those that could afford to pull out of the current for these comforts.
Wonderful reading of times gone by. Simply written by maybe 30 or 40 respondents to the Riverman's Association's invitation to record the thoughts of those that survived the experiences.

Bibliographic information