If you’re familiar with Apsey Brook, you know that Roy Smith operated a sawmill business for many years. What you may not know is that Uncle Luther, Dad and Uncle Hay used to operate one too.
It was mostly for personal use, but I do remember trucks coming occasionally and buying some lumber.
You’d be hard pressed to believe it now, but if you drive down the wharf road, behind Roy’s old place, where the road kinda curves towards the wharf, it also used to go straight, and there was a bridge across the brook, similar to the old wooden one on the main road.
When I was a kid, it was our wading pool too, underneath the bridge in the cool, a decently deep pool formed. And just up the brook, this little point, where you could catch a pasty white trout, that while edible, weren’t very good, but we caught and ate them anyway. Plus we’d usually get one in the same spot for the well. Do people still put trout in their wells?
But you could and we did drive a truck across it. And if you went further, Ross had a big wide gate there that you could also drive a truck, or horse and slide through, and could loop right around by the old house and the new and come out on the road by the old school.
The mill itself though was very much alike a lot of the old mills. Roy also had one down by the beach, on the left hand side of whats now the breakwater road. And they were all similar.
A push mill, with rollers, and a table. I big heavy material of some sort of thing hanging over the blade, to stop the sawdust. Big belt drive to an old diesel engine. (I assume it was diesel anyway).
Off to one side a planer to dress the lumber, would have to change the belt from the motor to power it when needed. A wide door/opening on one side to roll the logs in, I think we had a sliding door on it. All in all, it was pretty much just a slap dash of planks, with big chinks in the “walls”
The picture above will be familiar, though not mine.
Was only used in summer mostly, wasn’t made for comfort, nor were any of them, and many had them. Every community had one or two, maybe more.
Before my time, but the Smith family originally had a watermill. I remember stories told of the young boys having to hike in the brook to dam pond to open the dam to get water to run to drive it.
I wish I had pictures of it now, many a summer day was spent down there, playing with turpentine boats made from mill strips. And of course lugging up slabs as part of the winters wood and for splits.
Raised in outport Newfoundland in a town of 65 people, I pursued a post secondary diploma in Information Technology right out of High School.
I’ve always been a geek at heart, but yet I love the rural life I grew up with. Fishing, hunting, camping and the great outdoors are still loves of mine, even if I don’t pursue them as often as I once did. Sports were always a big part of our lives, and I played many (badly) and loved them all.
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