Men work to clear a logjam on Newfoundland’s Terra Nova River.
This photograph shows men working on a logjam at the “Bench” on the Terra Nova River at Glovertown, Newfoundland, in the late 1940s or early 1950s. I know that my dad, Nelson Sparkes, was there, and I believe one of the men is Max Blackwood, my dad’s right-hand man.
The logs and poles were cut upriver during the winter and were then hauled out by horse or, in later years, by tractor. In the high waters of the spring, they were floated some twelve to fifteen kilometres down to the mouth of the river.
Using pick poles and peaveys the men would gradually clear a jam and send the logs and poles on their way to the salt water of Alexander Bay, where they were captured in a boom and eventually towed to the nearby sawmill for processing into lumber.
Some of the longer poles were used for building wharves, and some went to mining companies as pit props used to support the roofs of tunnels. White pine poles were sometimes sold as schooner spars. Submitted by R. Wayne Sparkes of Glovertown, N.L., the son of Nelson Sparkes.