Sunnyville Men’s Work

Archibald William Clyke was born in 1896.  He was a carpenter following the trade of his own father. They were very smart in doing things.  They hewed a lot of the stuff they used.  The sills and rafters and stuff.  They hewed them.  They’d go in the woods with the ox, they’d get a log, they’d come out and put it on two blocks.  Put the timber dog in it.  They had a broad axe.  They’d start hewing. It was a trade; a good trade.  They used to sell some of that stuff around the town.

Ainley Clyke worked in the woods all his life.

He’d  build a little camp in the woods.  And he would cut logs and cut pulpwood.  And they sold the logs to Mackeens mill and there were a couple of mills in Boylston; Robie Simpson and Edgar Shields.  He never drew an (un)employment cheque his my life.

William Pelly, father of 21 children, was another Sunnyville resident who worked in MacKeens mill in Guysborough and at the Sceles and Morrow mills in Boylston in the 1920’s.

Steve Pelly, one of William’s sons, also worked in the MacKeen mill in the 1940’s for $2 a day with a 10 hour work day.   At the age of 14 in 1940, he went to work in New Glasgow/Trenton at Eastern Tire.  In the mid-40’s Steve Pelly got a job with the power commission and worked on the Dickie Brook power plant.

One needed a birth certificate to go away to work- to prove that you were old enough to work.  Some people changed their birth certificates to work underage in the logging camps and mills (circa 1943).  Many men from the area went to work at Barney’s River in Antigonish County to work for Williams Brothers Ltd., a company that exists to date.    They often worked carrying deal, which was what they called the lumber and 2×4’s the mill produced.  Workers who carried deal earned 50 cents more than the mill workers because it was hard to get someone to do such back breaking work.  The Williams Brothers mill produced the following: 2×4’s, bridge plank, three inch plank, four inch plank, railway ties and railway switch ties.  The wage in the mid-1940’s was $5.00 per day and the men lived and ate at the camp for a month at a time.

Men from Sunnyville also went to work in New Glasgow at Cummings Foundry and at Eastern Car Works in Trenton, Nova Scotia

For more information on working away from home see: