Christmas in the Log Camps
Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!
By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Society Museum
Christmas Dinner in the Maine Woods, Umbazookskus Operation, Don Brean Camp, the crew was served roast pork, a la Umbazookskus roast chicken, sage dressing and mustard pickles The cook Farrar also provided mashed potatoes, string beans, green peas and cinnamon rolls. Desserts available were pumpkin and mince pie, chocolate cake and walnut cake. Coffee and cocoa were the beverages and mixed candy, chocolates and peanuts were available too! This is one example of Christmas dinner provide in the Great Northern Paper Company woods camps. Information from The Northern magazine, 1921-26.
At the Rainbow Operation chef Peter McDuffy offered the men soup a la Paree, roast pork, brown gravy with dressing mashed potatoes, turnips, stewed onions, pickled beets, peas and corn. For dessert there was cottage pudding with cream sauce, hot mince pie a la McDuffy, pumpkin pie, hermit cookies and chocolate angel cake.
The 1925 meal at the Spencer Pond Operation was a bit different as Fred Gilbert (head of the GNP Spruce Wood Dept), his wife and other invited guests were present. Cook Leo Fournier and his wife prepared the Christmas meal. The dinner consisted of roast turkey with stuffing, carrot sauce, pork chops, sliced beets, catsup, cranberry and strawberry sauce, grapefruit, Christmas cake, sponge cake, jelly roll, cream pie, chocolate pie with whipped cream, tarts, rondells, candy, nuts & cigars.
At the Musquacook Operation on Christmas day, “the boys at the depot camp were treated to a chicken dinner with all the fixin’s, through the generosity of Mr. Spearin, the genial and energetic contractor who is the operator of the camp and cook -room. A great deal of credit is also due our cook, Archie Scott, for the appetizing manner in which the dinner was served. Moving pictures and Victrola music provided by the Social Service Division were enjoyed in the evening.”
A very enjoyable Christmas dinner was served at Murphy and Burr’s camp by Augustus Quirk. “Gus certainly outdid himself, and the cookees, Wm. (“Shorty”) McGregor and Tom (“Rosie”) Campbell wore holes in their shoes keeping the tables filled. Gus, by the way, is raising a moustache, along with six pigs.”
Different camps meant different menus for Christmas dinner and also during the rest of the year. Much depended on the individual cooks at the camps and it appears the workers did not go hungry!
***Get your own copy of The Northern magazine! Published by the Spruce Wood Dept. of Great Northern Paper Co. from April 1921 through Oct. 1928. A complete searchable scan of all issues (91 issues, 1300+ pages and includes indexes of authors, illustrations and subjects) is now available from the Millinocket Historical Society to download to your computer. Send payment by check of $50.00 Millinocket Historical Society, PO Box 11, Millinocket, ME 04462 along with an email address and your own copy of The Northern will be emailed to you.