Logging Camps and My Next Novel


The harvest of virgin Minnesota white pine occurred in the later half of the 19th Century and early 20th Century. Everyone thought the supply of timber would never end. My Danish grandfather worked as a logger in the Bemidji area in the 1890s. It was dangerous work, but available to immigrants needing to get established in America.

Bemidji Pine Forest circa 1890

I’m working on a new novel set in a logging camp in 1893. In my research I found a completely horrible statistic. Only white pine were taken in the first harvest, some close to one hundred feet tall. This prime timber was measured into 16-foot logs that were sold to sawmills. Any leftover logs measuring less than 16 feet in length were tossed aside as refuse. Oh the beautiful wood that rotted on the forest floor. The waste sickens me.

I’m giving my grandfather, Nels Jenson, a main role in the new book. At least I’m using his name for one of the main characters. I’ve felt very close to him while doing my research for this project and writing the story. I wish he were still alive to ask him what it was like to work in the camps and see the demolition of Minnesota forests. He planted pine seedlings on his farm in Otter Tail County that were full grown by the time that I came along. Perhaps he was trying to make amends.

Learn more about Minnesota Logging and the LOST FORTY HERE
My other historical novels about Scandinavian immigrants to Minnesota and North Dakota contain other family stories.

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5 Responses

  1. We are eagerly waiting for the “Lost 40” novel. Each one of your books is a good read! The Kuntz’s.

  2. We are eagerly waiting for “The Lost Forty” Novel. Each one of the books by Candace Simar is a very good read!
    The Kuntz’s

  3. My dad also planted thousands of trees on his farm in Dudley Country by Leonard Minnesota. Dad, as you know was a lumberjack, in northern Minnesota. He planted trees every year in the cow pasture which had been cut over in the early 1900’s, as kids we played along a logging road that ran through the pasture, we marveled ar the giant rocks that had been dynamited to clear the road. I’m awaiting this book. Stay safe, you are my favorite Minnesota writer, edging out Lorna Lanvick.

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