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~ Kathy

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tin Pot Valley Chapter XXV: "Strip Tease at the Sawmill"

 



Today's Sepia Saturday theme has to do with men in hats.  And those guys on the left seem to be on some sort of a team.  So, using this fine imagination of mine, I bring you a photo of a team of men (in hats) with a team of horses all posing in front of a c. 1900 sawmill.  (Previously, I did another post about folks wearing hats called Hedricks: Groups in Hats.)


 Source: Vermont Forrestry.org

Why an old sawmill?  Because I wanted to share with you this story about my Great-Great Aunt Jessie and her mishap at the family sawmill.  For those of you who have been following my Tin Pot Valley relatives, Aunt Jessie took care of her nephew Hobart Hedrick  after his mom, Clara Ward Hedrick, died shortly after he was born.  Hobart grew up to marry Flora Fletcher Hedrick and was Danny and Lyle's dad.  Danny was the one who died aboard ship during WWII, (click here to read about that).  Ben Hedrick, mentioned in the following story, is my Great-Grandfather.

Aunt Jessie is someone that I really want to get to know better.  I sure hope that someday I will find some pictures of her.  She sounds like such a great person.  Hey! I found one!  


Jessie C. Hedrick DeLauney, 1861 to 1916.  Her husband was Roger Jacob DeLaunay.

Here is an excerpt from our favorite little green book, written by my distant cousin, Wilfred Brown.  Wilfred's grandma was Aurilla Putnam, and she was my great-great aunt.



Tin Pot Valley Chapter XXV:

by
Wilfred Brown
 
"Strip Tease at the Saw Mill"

It was not until years later that I witnessed the performance of a young lady disrobing on the stage -- and personally I thought her act was nothing to compare with the one at the end of the edge of the woods in Pass Creek Canyon. 

On a pleasant summer day I accompanied Grandpa [Horace Greeley Putnam] and Grandma [Aurilla Hedrick Putnam] on a drive into Drain for a little shopping.  Then we drover up the canyon to have dinner and a brief visit with Uncle Roger and Aunt Jessie DeLaunay and their family.

Uncle Roger, Grandpa's brother-in-law by his marriage to Lucinda Putnam, and Grandma's by his marriage to Jessie Hedrick, had a small lumber mill.  A crew of three or four men helped him at times.  There once were many small mills scattered through the timber country of Oregon and other western states, but nearly all have now long gone the way of small enterprises in almost all other fields.


We found Aunt Jessie busy in the kitchen when Grandma and I entered the house, and Grandpa drove the horses to the barn.  Grandma and Aunt Jessie embraced.  Jessie was a few years the younger, and like her sister tall, slender and with dark hair showing a little gray.


Some would have though that Aunt Jess had a harder than average married life, but she never indicated that she felt so.  She had two lively young step-daughters, the children of Lucinda Putnam, at the start of her marriage.  She bore Uncle Roger six children of her own, two of whom died when small.  A motherless nephew, Hobart Hedrick, son of her brother Ben, lived most of his growing-up years at the DeLaunay home.  And she welcomed with enthusiasm the visits of any other relatives who happened by.


"Let's go find Roger," said Aunt Jess, "and tell him we've got company for dinner."


The DeLaunay lumber operation stood at the end of a path a few hundred yards from the house.  The machinery for bringing logs to the big circular saw and ripping of boards, one at a time, was driven by a series of belts and pulleys, powered by a steam engine fed with wood scraps.  Uncle Roger and two men helping him were tinkering with an adjustment of the saw when we walked up the steps to the rough plank platform of the mill.


"Roger,"  Aunt Jess called, "Roger!"


She led the way toward the men, stepping over a low, moving belt.


And then it happened -- so quickly and so surprisingly that neither Aunt Jess nor Grandma nor I had time to say a word.  There was a "whoosh," and a ripping sounds, and a second later Aunt Jess was standing in the middle of the small mill-platform stage, clad in her corset and black cotton stockings anchored by garters to her tightly-laced stays.


Uncle Roger looked up at that moment and saw us.  So did the men with him, who quickly turned their backs to the embarrassed lady.  Uncle Roger rushed to his wife's side with the coat he'd worn to work in the cool of the morning.  It covered as much of Aunt Jess as the total apparel worn by many ladies of later generations.


"I thought you knew better'n that," said Uncle Roger, as Aunt Jess pulled his coat around her.  "You might've gotten killed!"


"We can talk about that later," said Aunt Jess, "when I've got some more of my clothes on.  I'm going to the house!"


Uncle Roger pulled a lever that stopped all the belts in the mill, and pulled his wife's somewhat torn dress and petticoats out of a couple of pulleys.  "Women, women!" he said.


Aunt Jess was in some other clothes when we sat down to dinner.  Grandpa Putnam had been putting the horses in the barn at the time of her mis-adventure.  He told her:


"I'm sure sorry I missed seeing that!  You know, Jess, some girls up at Portland are getting paid big money for doing that sort of thing on the stage.  But none of 'em are undressing with machinery yet -- so you might go up there and show them how."


"Horace!" said Grandma.


But she and Aunt Jess were both laughing.


(Pages 156 - 158)

Here are a few more pictures of old saw mills that were in operation near the turn of the century.  These were all in the Lane County Oregon area, which is about 45 minutes away from Tin Pot Valley: 


 Source: Lane County Historical Society

 Source: Lane County Historical Society

Source: Lane County Historical Society


So, there you are, my friends.  If you enjoyed this story, please visit my Sepia Saturday friends by "CLICKING HERE" to find other neat photos and stories.  To read more about my family and other stories featuring old photos, memories and more, please look for this picture of me and my dad on the left-hand sidebar and read whatever else catches your fancy.  Thanks so much for visiting! 
 

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews



At Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy, if you miss a day, you miss a lot!  All material on this post is copyrighted and not for use without my permission ...Please click here to go to my home page and see what is happening in Mayberry today.
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23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thats good, your blog is cool, i like it. Thanks for the efforts my friend.

Kat Mortensen said...

Oh my word! What a great story! This read like a scene from a movie. Really enjoyed it, Kathy!

Kat Mortensen said...

Is this YOUR Jessie Hedrick? http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=85655936

Peter said...

I am sorry to say that the photo's weren't half as exciting as the story was ;)

Postcardy said...

She really should have known "better'n that."

Mike Brubaker said...

A revealing story about old sawmills. The leather power belts also used a belt dressing to keep them in good condition.

Little Nell said...

Wonderful story Kathy. These Tin Pots are more than mere anecdotes, as they are told with such wit. I'm glad you found a picture of Jess too. it all adds to the story.

Titania said...

Kathy, really enjoyed your story again. Yes, this adventure could have ended badly, she was lucky. The sawmills look like they did here in Australia.

Kathy said...

I laughed out loud at Grandpa Putnam's response! Poor Aunt Jess! I bet that story was told all over town by those men who so graciously turned their backs.

Deb Gould said...

Oh, that's funny! She's probably lucky that only her dress and petticoat got swallowed up in the belt -- glad she was safe! Still, the mental image is comical!

Bob Scotney said...

Tin Pot Valley must have been a fun place to live with such events going on. A hard life maybe, but some fun nevertheless.

Pat transplanted to MN said...

What a fun meander from hurling, I suspect she was "internally hurled" and yes, the response of the day, "shoulda known better" is what would have been said. Very cute tale.

Liz Stratton said...

You are so lucky to have these stories preserved in Tin Pot Valley! SS is preserving stories for the future and spreading the joy with excerpts like this one - complete with illustrations! Thanks for sharing.

Helen Bauch McHargue said...

Fun story with a happy ending. Working in various food plants throughout my career, I came to see any loose clothing as a potential hazard near machinery. Petticoats and sawmills...not the best safety combination but makes a great tale.

Rob From Amersfoort said...

Funny story! I'm glad she had some laughs about it later. If something like this would happen today somebody would immediately snap a picture with a phone and post it on internet, that would not be so funny.

Karen S. said...

Kathy- It's always so enjoyable to pop into your lively fun filled romps- they read like a story book! Your great-great aunt Jessie was more than Great! Fantastic photos again, lucky you- they're all yours! I try not to check any of these posts out until I post mine- and I had no idea you were second in posting right after Kat! I think I may well be one of the last posting...like always! (But it was hard getting all the boys to sit down for pictures! Ha! Ha!)you'll know what I mean when you check out my post!

Jana Last said...

How mortifying for Aunt Jess! It does sound like she had a good sense of humor since she could laugh about it later. It must have been embarrassing to see the workers later though.

Prenter said...

A very enjoyable story! Must have been the talk of the day. I'm glad your aunt was safe and sound after this adventure.

(Queenmothermamaw) Peggy said...

Always enjoy your stories. Aunt Jess, hope you find some more photos.
QMM

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hi Everbody! I am so glad that you all have enjoyed this post. I did too. My computer is down, and I cant figure out how to post from my phone. I will be by to visit you as soon as I can.

Wendy said...

Grandpa Putnam wins the prize for this one! Stripping with machinery -- I can't stop laughing at that!

Warm Regards . . . said...

What a great post! I loved the photos of the saw mills. I have ancestors who owned a lumber mill in Oregon back in the day ~ Moore Mill & Lumber out of Portland. Thanks for such a fun post.

Liz

Tattered and Lost said...

Aunt Jess looks a lot like Jesse James. Perhaps she had a secret life robbin' trains.

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