Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2022

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Interdisciplinary Program


Kreg Ettenger

Second Committee Member

Jennifer Pickard

Third Committee Member

Daniel Soucier


Nineteenth century reinsmen transported needed and scarce supplies, logs, people and mail in Northern Maine, on the few cut roads and rough trails before railroads arrived. Their work was the only land transportation method available to Northern Maine’s lumber camps and settlements between 1810-1860, making their labors critical to Aroostook County’s social, cultural and economic growth. Reinsmen drove teams of horses or oxen attached to a cart, wagon, dray, sleigh, sled or specialized log jumper into Maine’s forests or from Woodstock, New Brunswick and Bangor, Maine to Aroostook County. Reinsmen were once known and respected in Aroostook County for their hard work and daring, holding an esteemed place in society, but today are almost wholly forgotten and unknown. Untold numbers of men and some women were reinsmen in a sparsely settled and unforgiving environment of Northern Maine during the nineteenth century, yet few reinsmen stories survived. More is known about the roads they traveled, and equipment used than about the people themselves. One reinsman, Henry Allen, was not only unknown, but a mystery. Allen, a woman disguised as a man, performed the job successfully without revealing her gender. This research uncovers this early important, yet near forgotten occupation, by exploring reinsmen life stories, hazards and rewards, routes, equipment, and the people and businesses they encountered.

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