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Logs connected to Alpena business family

ALPENA, Mich. — Last week, we talked about the marked logs the bridge crew found during construction. Now we have information about who owned some of those logs.

After getting the artifacts back from a good cleaning, historians at the Besser Museum started identifying the company markings. These markings, usually symbols or initials, identify which company owned the wood.

Collections Manager Sarah Honeycutt said companies created these brands in response to people stealing logs that drifted away on the river.

“The companies were like, ‘okay, we need a way to claim these logs.’ So, then laws began to be passed that if marks were registered, and logs had those marks, then companies could go back and be able to claim them.”

The museum’s Collections Department is making use of brand registration records from the Alpena County Library.

Honeycutt said they’ve identified about six out of the 15 markings. One belonged to the Morse Company, a family business with a long–standing relationship with the city.

“Not only were they involved in the lumbering business, but they also started one of the first tanneries in Alpena, which was called Taper Tannery. So they were a very industrial family.”

You may recognize the name of one of their descendants: David Hinks, of Hinks Elementary.

Honeycutt said some logs will join their lumber exhibit, while they’ll use others for field trips and school visits.

In total, there are 21 logs from 15 companies.