Toothaker Letters 1890-92, Magalloway Logging Camp

Exhibit: Toothaker Letters from Logging Camp, Magalloway, Maine 1890-92

2003: New this year is Becky Ellis Martineau’s major donation of letters her great-grandfather Lincoln Toothaker, son of John R. Toothaker, wrote to his new wife, Idella Keith Toothaker, from 1890 to 1892 when he was working near Magalloway in the Toothaker & Herrick “Black Cat” logging camps as a camp clerk and a driver of one of the five teams of working Percheron horses.

Included in the 100 letters in the Toothaker exhibit are Idella’s letters to Lincoln about life in Rangeley and about the child she was expecting. Among many details, Lincoln writes of his devastating accident in April 1892 which resulted in the loss of one of his legs. Apparently, a logging chain broke, and he was unable to jump clear of the falling logs. He was carried to his father’s house in Rangeley by buckboard, but his injuries proved too serious. Transported two or three days later by train to Portland hospital, he remained in the area for over three months.

“I never realized how difficult a life it was until I read these letters,” Becky Martineau, daughter of Rangeley’s Percy K. Ellis, admits. Edwin Hamilton, Mrs. Martineau’s cousin, loaned her the letters so she could copy and retype them in this labor of love.

— Peggy Yocom, Folklorist and Curator, Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum, 2003.

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