Monday, December 05, 2005

John Barleycorn and Jack Frost

Here's a tragic but interesting account of life (and death) in the lumber camps that operated around Sand Creek in the 1890's. From the Pine County Courier, December 3rd, 1897:

John Barleycorn and Jack Frost conspired last Friday and took the life of Joe Fitzpatrick, a cook in McGraw’s lumber camp near Mansfield (Bruno). Joe had been to a neighboring camp where, in company with a few companions, he looked long up the bowl of cheers, the fiery liquid having been brought to camp by visitors. After spending some time at camp, he started back to his own quarters. About two miles from McGraw’s camp he laid down, or fell, and arose no more. He froze to death. He was found by the lumbermen the next day. To all appearances, the effect of the liquor made him drowsy and he laid down to sleep. His remains were sent to Stillwater for burial. He was well known in lumber circles in this district where he had been employed as cook for several winters by William O’Brien and other lumbermen.
Local newspapers must have been so much more entertaining to read in those days! I found this in a recently published local history: Courage in a Rugged Land: Bruno MN Old Settlers' Memories and Newspaper Stories, compiled by Edna Bjorkman and Robert David Olson.

4 comments:

Rexroth's Daughter said...

I love the line, " He looked long up the bowl of cheers..." It would be fantastic to have such poetics in our daily newspapers. Wonderful, but sad tale.

Deb said...

I think there's a song just waiting to be written here!

madcapmum said...

They don't write 'em like that anymore! It's prettty funny a hundred years on, but I wonder what his widow thought? Maybe he wasn't married.

peacebug said...

and wife or no, I bet the camp missed his cooking!
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