CLEARFIELD – The board of directors of the Clearfield County Historical Society is pleased to announce that it has republished 200 initial copies of the 1922 James Mitchell book, “Lumbering and Rafting” in Clearfield County, on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.
The book also tells of early logging and rafting operations along Clearfield and Chest Creeks.
Mitchell, born and raised in Lawrence Township, was engaged early in the life of the timber cutting and rafting industry that dominated the economy of Clearfield County in the decades before and following the Civil War.
Mitchell knew the lumbering and rafting business from top to bottom. His book is not so much a personal memoir, but rather a detailed description of the white pine and hemlock forests, the construction of spar rafts and the skillful means of navigating the rising spring-time flood waters of the Susquehanna to sawmills as far away as Marietta, Pa.
“Lumbering and Rafting” presents detailed stories of rafting days, but it never bores the reader with unfamiliar details.
It reads as a fond look back on a bygone era in Clearfield County by a man who was both a self-made success story and also projected a sense of modesty. His writing is a treasure trove of Clearfield County history.
Bob Eshelman, a CCHS board director, wrote an eloquent review of Mitchell’s book for the society’s spring bulletin, calling it “a wonderful look into that era.”
On Sunday, Aug. 9, from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., the CCHS will hold a book sale to promote Mitchell’s book on the large front porch of the Kerr House museum. Inside visitation will be permitted and masks will be required to be worn for entry into the building.
The book’s cost is $14. It is indeed worthwhile for those interested in local history and will make a splendid gift for families and friends.