verso: October 1st, 1942; Through the courtesy of Mr. F. Jacobi of Newaygo, Michigan, we are sending a picture of the Batteau Crew on Muskegon River, taken in 1888, near Newaygo. The Batteau crews started, one from Houghton Lake at the head of the Muskegon River and one from Big Rapids, in the Spring of the year and it was their job to keep the logs moving until they reached Muskegon and to prevent jams forming in the river. There were usually 125 to 150 men in each of the crews and they lived in canvass covered scows, shown in this picture. There were usually three scows for each crew, one for cooking and eating quarters and two for sleeping quarters. The scows were about three times as long as they were wide. The long boat pointed on both ends was known as the Batteau and was used by the river men. In the early days, they used dugout canoes but later on[,] the batteau boat was used altogether. The work on the river was hard and hazardous and the hours were long. Men had to be strong and very fast on their feet. Each crew worked the river until the logs were delivered at Muskegon. As near as we can learn, the first logs cut and put in Muskegon River was [sic] done by Merrill & Page and Loyd & Place at Mill Iron, Michigan in the winters of 1840 and 1841. The lumber cut by the mills on Muskegon Lake in 1887 was 660,568,834 ft. and shingles manufactured the same year was [sic] 492,277,000. The mills operated about eight months in the year; W. J. Brinen Lumber Company [Note: a recent newspaper article reveals that Muskegon's cut of over 1,000,000,000 ft. of lumber in a year was [a] world record until recently broken near Tecumseh (1887)]
This image is in the public domain and may be used without permission. Kindly provide attribution to the University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library.