The Knot Pine Raft of Guy Irvine
Old Time Tales of Warren County


The Knot Pine Raft of Guy Irvine

Guy Irvine ran millions of feet of logs and lumber down the river to Pittsburgh and beyond. But Irvine never ran a fleet so much talked of or so long remembered as the famous knot pine raft he sold at Pittsburgh.

Irvine had some wonderful big hemlock on his lands above Warren, trees one hundred feet high, and more, straight, solid, good sawing. The hemlock traces back to the same family tree as the pine, but the hemlock never had half the standing of the pine family. The first lumbermen went through the forests cutting only the pine, leaving hemlock and hardwood for those who cut later. But Guy Irvine thought he knew how to market his hemlock at a good price so he had it cut, sawed into boards and the boards built into a handsome big raft.

If you are not an expert, or if you have had a couple of drinks of Monongahela Rye, hemlock boards, lying in a raft look very much like the more valuable pine. Irvine rode his raft to Pittsburgh, tied up with a hundred other rafts near Sixth Street and went up town to find a buyer, not too experienced.

Irvine soon found his man and brought him aboard the raft.

"What kind of lumber is this?" inquired the buyer, who had not been in the business very long.

"It's knot pine," said Irvine," the very best quality,---cut it on my own land."

"Knot pine was something new to the lumber buyer, but he took the raft and paid for it,-at pine prices.

The next time Guy Irvine went to Pittsburgh that lumber buyer was waiting for him. "What in hell you mean by selling me a lot of hemlock and telling it was knot pine?" inquired the irate man.

"Wait a minute," said Irvine, raising a remonstrative hand, "wait a minute,---didn't I tell you plainly enough that raft was `not pine'."

SOURCE:  Page(s) 151-152: Old Time Tales of Warren County; Meadville, Pa.: Press of Tribune Pub. Co., 1932


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