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Special Stories of Genealogy and Historical Interest

Looking Back ( at Lumber Camp Life in Elk County)
By Louise Herzing
St Marys Historical Society and The Daily Express
January 30, 1985

One night in 1923 when our family lived in Kane Pa a man names Lyly Ely came to our house to ask my mother Mrs William T (Elsie) Brown to be the cook at the Lew Josnick and John Goochee camp. The camp was located in the north section of Elk County on Twin Run near an area called the Owl's Nest.

At first Mother was dubious about going back in the woods to cook for eithy men. My Ely assured her that there was another lady helper sho turned out to be Rosie Shuster a half-sister of the late Joe Frtiz's wife. In addition he offered ehr waht at that time was a very high salary. He offered my father the cookee's job as another incentive.

The reason that he desperately needed a cook was the the lumbermjacks had threatened to walk out if the former cook did not leave. They could not drink the coffee, they wanted more meat, andthefood was too greasy.

Mother and Father agree to go, and she liked to boast later that it was th eonly time she ever made more money than he. When they were introduced to the men in the lobby of the camp as the new cook and cookee, my mother got the clear message that they wanted some changes. She promised that she would do her best and that she would make sure that they were fed enough meat.

The next morning she made the coffee in her usual way but was very disappointed with the taste. There was no mistaking the grmbling at the talbels. She went in to admit that the coffee was poor and asked them to give her a chance to check the spring in the daylight, at the spring she found nothing but good water. She used a flashlight to look down in the resorvier sitting at one end of the kitchen stove. the bottom and sides showed a green, slimy buildup of algae. After the tank was cleaned, there were no more complaints.

Herman Goochee, son of the one jobber, John Goochee, gave me some information about the workings of the different jobs at the camp and in the woods. We compared memories and even though he came to the camp years later than I, some of those memories were surprisingly similar. My sisterRuby, Mrs Russel Andrews of Emorium and I sent to stay with our parents as soon as school ended in the summer of 1924.

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