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Historical Dictionary

Modern society has lost the vocabulary of the pioneers Here are a few definitions of words used by your grandparents

Decking Line —long chain used to pile logs on skid-way prior to loading on sleighs to move to lake or river for spring log drive

Buzz Saw—Portable, circular sawing machine used to cut large quantities of wood for heatinghome                         Sawing Bee –Neighbours garthing at each farm to cut wood

Buck Rake –Farm Machinary
Large fork attached to the front of a tractor-A winch lifted and
lowered the fork- usually by cable which ran under the tractor

Felt  ????    laced to bottom of foot to protect the heel of wool socks from wearing out-

Stone boat–farm
Wooden skid hauled by horses to pick stone from fields —Saved lifting heavy stones onto wagon

Wind Bag- Joe McNamee’s definition of local women monopolizing
country party (phone) line– “That old wind bag is on there again”

Can Hook–Lumber men
Wooden handle with a large swivel hook –two feet ??from end
Used to rotate logs on to sleighs or saw mill carriage

Decking line–Lumber industry
Long (40 ft.) light chain with hook on one end–used to roll logs on to sleighs with horses–Hook was fastened to sleigh and chain was rolled around log in the pile, as horse moved forward log rolled up skids onto sleigh

Gee-Haw– driving horses
Gee told the horse to turn left —Haw told the horse to turn right or was it the other way– Oh— Go yell at a horse

At harvest time the farmer hooked a three horse team to the binder and started to cut grain.The grain was cut, then felled on to the deck by the reels,elevated to the knotters by the canvases .The knoters divided the grain into sheeves,tyed the sheeves and kicked the sheeves out into the sheeve carrier. The sheeves were dropped in lines called winnrows. The second man or boy (usually me) stood the sheeves back up in stooks to dry and finish riipen
Each farmer cut his grain individually and 4-6 weeks later the neighbers would gather at each farm for a “threshing bee”. Each farmer brought his best wagon,best team and as many sons that could do a full days work. You were expected to do a full days work at thirteen-ten hours.

Binder-farm machenery
Used to harvest grain–  as the grain was cut it fell onto a canvas elevater and was lifted up to the knotter platform where it was tided into bundles call sheaves

Bundles of grain bound by hand or machine during harvest

A Permenant ladder to get over a fence —Step up one side
turn—Back down the other

Scaned Wagon
The Woden spoked wagons didn’t have roller bearings like modern machinery.Thel end on the wooden  axle was a tapered casting and the  centre of the spoked wheel was another casting.THese castings were tappered in differant directions  The axle being small on the
outside the wheel being large on the inside. They were held together by a large nut that could fall off when backing up

Pike Pole–
Long pole Strong usually ash used to move logs around on     a river drive

Relative terminalogy


Your first cousins are the people in your family who have at least one of the same grandparents as you. In other words, they are the children of your aunts and uncles.


Your second cousins are the people in your family who share the same great-grandparent with you.


Your third cousins share at least one great-great-grandparent, fourth cousins share a great-great-great-grandparent, and so on.


When the word “removed” is used to describe a relationship, it indicates that the two people are from different generations. “Once removed” indicates a difference of one generation, “twice removed” indicates a difference of two generations, and so forth.


First cousins twice, once on your father’s side and once on your mother’s side, since your father’s sibling married your mother’s sibling


“Kith” are friends and acquaintances whereas “Kin” are blood relatives or someone treated like one.

*****To give an example, the child of your first cousin is your first cousin, once removed. That is, your cousin’s child would be “almost” your first cousin, except that he or she is one generation removed from that relationship. Likewise, the grandchild of your first cousin is your first cousin, twice removed (two generations removed from being a first cousin).
Many people confuse the term “first cousin, once removed” with “second cousin.” The two are not the same.

SO,my father’s first cousin is my first cousin once removed

My fathers first cousin’s children are my second cousins

Pleurisy which was an old term for Tuberculosis

Ginn Pole–
a secondary lifting device used at barn raisings or pulling stumps The “first lift” off the ground was the most difficult in a barn raiising–Or wind mills–a second pole was attacched to the lifting rope and the end stuck in the ground at aproximately forty-five degeress with the rope tight–when the lifting pull was applied to the rope the second pole “started ” the lift of the primary  beams .When the second pole passed vertical the primary beams were passed 45 degress and the rest of the lift was easy

Barn Frame terminology
Trimmer—main beam that runs under a barn–The sleepers sat on the trimmer
Sleepers —-Barn framers name for floor joists
Bent—best described as the arrangement of beams at the ends of a barn –other “bents” are arranged at equal distances across the length of the barn
The “King Post” was the longest bean in a “bent” It ran to the perline plate
Some barns had a “Queen Post”. It was the angled post that ran to the perline plate if the framer used a short “king Post”
Perline plate— the beam that runs the length of a  roof half way up the roof–if the barn had a “hip roof ” the change in angle occurred at the perline
Top plate –the lower end of the rafters sat on the top plate and ran up to the perline plate
Hip roof—a barn roof with two different angles –gives more room for storage
Gang way or tram way—the tappered ramp that leads from ground level to the second level
Thrash floor –the  floor on the upper deck– usually between the center bents— that the has been re-enforced for the weight of the thrashing machine or loads of hay Most thrash floers were of three inch planks The gang way leads to the thrash floor
When building a frame barn the logs were “saw cut” or hewn into square timber -A beam was marked for an intercepting beam and rectangular hole was cut in that beam–This hole was called a “mortis”. The intercepting beam had its end cut to a similar shape -.This end was called a “tenant” The tenant was fitted into the “mortis” and a hole was drilled thru both. Into this hole was driven a wooden peg. More beams were arranged into a pre-determined pattern called a “bent”
The two or more center bents were assembled on the floor while the two end “bents” were assembled with the bottom ends on the floor and their tops on the ground The connecting beams were laid on the barn floor in their correct position— all finished to length and their tenants cut to the proper size
Some framers assembled the end bents on the upper deck   itdepended on the lenth of the barn
At a “barn Raising” all the neighbours arrived early in the morning The bents were all assembled on the floor The first lift was off the floor onto saw horses –by hand. The second lift was with short poles up to about 45 degress
The last lift the men used long pike poles and stood the bent vertical At all times ropers were attached the the top beams to prevent the frame from falling over the other side
Sandy McNabb was kmow as the best barn framer in this area but their were others –Pat McGee—Joe Lee– Tom Kelly

Antique Tools and Machinery
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Lands–Forrows and the Art of Ploughing
A plough turns over the earth–Principly to loosen the earth and killl the grass—the grove left behind is a furrow A field is divided into smaller sections called “lands” so the farmer does’nt pack down his feshly tilled earth
A pioneer took great pride in his ability too plough his land “Straight and Deep”–It was a differant world –90% of the cultivated land was first ploughed by the single plow and a team of horses–day light to dark—six days a week

Persons who wanted to apply for Crown Land, would sumbit a Petition (application) to the Crown. If successful , the Crown would issue a land grant, to the petitioner, then called a settler. If the settler took up residence on the land and fulfilled certain settlement duties, like clearing and farming a portion of the land and building a house. Then the Crown issued a patent to the settler, indicating ownership of the land had passed from the Crown to the individual. In Dalton township this occured in the 1860’s to 1880   .


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