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Cutting Trees in Deerfield Lumber Co.'s Woods

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Cutting trees for lumber and firewood was traditionally done in the winter months. Slippery snow and frozen ground made snaking out logs easier than doing so on dry ground. Cut trees were sledded out on trails more easily than on wagons. Ideally, wood cut in the winter seasoned all year before it was used for fuel or building material. Much of southern New England was deforested by the 19th century, when an average family used as much as 20-30 cords of wood every year for heating and cooking. Most New England logging was done in northern New Hampshire and Maine. Cut logs were floated down rivers in "log drives" to lumber mills farther south. This postcard of men cutting wood for the Deerfield Lumber Company illustrates the cold and hazardous work of cutting trees.


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