Danger in Apostle Island Logging

Timber hauled to the railroad on logging cars BHA 1980.4.143

Timber hauled to the railroad on logging cars
BHA 1980.4.143

Danger in Apostle Island Logging

July 16, 1924: Young Man Killed at Presque Isle Camp; Hugh Perrin, the 21 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Perrin, Russell Crossing-Town of Russell was killed Friday when employed at the logging camp of Englund and Nelson on Presque Isle. He was engaged in cutting timber and was well doing this work when a large branch (widow maker) fell from one of the trees striking him on the head, fracturing his skull and killing him instantly.

August 20, 1924:  Woodsmen Were Hurt at Outer Island Camps; two woodsmen from the Schroeder camp at Outer island were treated at St. Joseph’s hospital in Ashland this week. Frank Thomas, 42, of Duluth, was working on one end of a crosscut saw cutting through a log. The log was cut through and fell on the other end of the saw, throwing the nearer and at Thomas. The teeth of the saw were embedded in his arm.

Martin Korkleut, 32, was injured by a chip that struck his eyes while he was chopping.

May 27, 1926: Woodsmen Instantly Killed near Camp; Archie Meadows, a woodsman about 60 years old, was killed instantly after a tree struck him in the head. Meadows was employed as a “swamper” and was waiting to trim the tree which the sawyers were cutting. He was working a short distance from the tree which killed him and started to run when the shout of “timber” was voiced. Losing his direction, apparently, he ran directly under the tree instead of away from. A large limb struck him on top of the head and caused his death instantly. He was crushed to the ground, according to Schroeder officials.

April 8, 1927: Man Badly Injured at Schroeder’s Camp; Charlie Supki of Racine, who was employed for some time at Schroeder lumber camp at Oak island, one of the Apostle group, had his neck broken Tuesday morning when a large tree which he was hoping to saw fell down upon him, pinning him underneath it. At the camp it was thought that to cross the lake to the mainland would be impossible owing to the terrible condition of floating ice, but after an earnest conference, Antoine Gordon, Martin Kane and Albert Vanderventer declared they were willing to try. Procuring a small rowboat, they set out making the injured man as comfortable as possible. Five hours they fought their way through the ice filled water landing at Frog Bay at nine o’clock that night. There being no road from there to the old government highway, they were obliged to stay in a camp at Frog Bay occupied by Frank and Ed Defoe. When they got to the government road they secured a farm team and brought Mr. Supki to Bayfield, arriving in time for the eight o’clock train to Ashland. Upon examination his neck was found to be broken. Reports from the hospital say that he has a chance for recovery.

September 8, 1927: Otter Island Man Is Badly Cut with Axe. Leo Markowski, a young man employed in lumbering operations at the Eli LaPointe camp at Otter Island (presently named Hardwood), was seriously and painfully cut on the back of the head with a double bitted axe Friday noon on last week. The accident occurred when he was walking along a woods road driving a team and carrying the axe over his shoulder. With the team lines in one hand and the ax handle in the other he stumbled on a root and fell to the ground. The axe was underneath him as he fell backwards upon it and cut a deep gash in the back of his head just above the nape of the neck. He went on to the camp where first aid attention was given his injury but without much result in the effort to stop the flow blog for some time. That afternoon he was brought to Bayfield in the motorboat and the ugly wound dressed and sewed up by a physician.

January 10, 1929: Broke Leg at Smith Camp Monday; Ed Mkei (sic for Maki), lumberjack at Smith’s lumber camp # 6, on Oak Island, knows something of the hardship of being isolated without a doctor’s attention for he broke his leg Monday evening while working in the island woods and did not reach a hospital until the next afternoon. He was driving down a steep hill with a load of logs on a sleigh; the sleigh jumped out of the rut and smashed into a stump throwing him off the load and under the following logs. The lake had been open for boat traffic between the island and Bayfield until Saturday of last week, but Sunday and Monday had frozen over with a thin sheet of ice. Tuesday morning, five men, including camp foreman C. W. Smith decided to make the attempt to cross the ice. The ice was barely an inch thick and contained many cracks that had not frozen over. A rope of some 200 feet in length, was tied about the body of one of the men went ahead of the party that distance to test the ice. If he went through, his companions would endeavor to pull him back to safety and then seeking safer route. By dint of much careful testing of the thin ice in this manner and taking the safe but shortest route to the shore the party finally brought the injured man to the city. Thereafter he was taken to an Ashland hospital.

This history brief was written by Robert J. Nelson. Generously sharing our local history through his research and writing.