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The Penobscot Log Driving Company


The Penobscot Log Driving Company (PLD) was one of the companies controlling much of what was happening on the log drives in the early days on the West Branch of the Penobscot River. John E. McLeod, author of The Northern, the Way I Remember, gives some background. The PLD, in the mid-1800’s, handled the drives on the West Branch from Chesuncook Dam to Medway, and the delivery of those logs to the booms above Old Town. The logs would be turned into lumber in one of the numerous sawmills between there and Bangor. This company was in business through the long log era and into the four foot wood era well into the first half of the 20th century.

March 7, 1913 is the date on a Bangor Semi-Weekly newspaper brought to the museum by Doris Davis. It was hidden among other newspapers and old magazines. An article on the back page is titled “Log Driving on the Penobscot.” The article tells that the company’s annual meeting was held at their office in Bangor on Exchange Street. Directors and officers for the coming year were elected.


A detailed treasurer’s report from company treasurer Charles H. Adams was printed. Listed are receipts, expenditures, credits, liabilities, assets and more for the 1912 year. Here are some of the line items. In expenditures: Total cost of the drive - $13,572.57 (includes payment to GNP for labor and board of men, $715.67; labor and board of horses, $$169.00; boom chains $35.00; dynamite, $103.98; and bateau, oars, paddles, axes, etc., $62.75). Some PLD assets listed include: dam at foot of Millinocket Lake, $35,000.00; wangan, boats, canoes and scow, $1000.00; driving and tolls on logs now in boom, $500.00.

1864 –1954, these are the dates included in six ledgers from the Penobscot Log Driving Company in the collection at the Millinocket Historical Society Museum. Five of them are account books showing cash paid out for labor, materials and wood purchased. Some show each entity wood was purchased from, including the log stamp, number of pieces of wood passing a checkpoint and the person or company receiving the payment. Another volume is a record of annual meetings, 1932-1954.

A reminder that these ledgers and many other items in the collection are available to be used (at the museum) for research. We can set you up with a space where materials can be spread out and you can work. Photocopying is available for a fee.


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