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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saw Mills and Dog Toupees

Last Thursday we took a short Time Travel Trip back to New Gretna on October 30, 1952. We found out that there were three fires that week  .    .    .

Three fires within a week have made extra work for our firemen. The Horton chicken houses last week Wednesday. On Saturday a brush fire demanded their atten tion at the home of Harry Cranmer on the New York Highway. Sun day evening the men were called out from homes and church services to help extinguish the fire in a barn on the property of Mrs. Emily Ware in Green Bank. As there were 1500 bales of dog hair stored in the barn the fire burned and smoldered all night and some of the men stayed on guard un til morning. [October 30, 1952 Tuckerton Beacon]

I was somewhat puzzled regarding Mrs. Emily Ware having 1,500 bales of dog hair in her barn and even considered starting up a business of selling doggie toupees for the dogs that must have been shaved to get so many bales of dog hair. 

Doggie toupees might be a big seller in Green Bank. (Photo courtesy of Google Images.)

Fortunately, Elaine Weber Mathis came to the rescue with an explanation of the dog hair  .    .    .

I was surprised to read that the "dog hair" that you mentioned was in Emily Ware's barn. Emily and Joe Ware had a sawmill in Green Bank for many years. Emily was the sister of my father (Charles Weber). She married Joe Ware who is the father of Howard Ware. Emily was Howard's step mother. "Dog hair" is a by-product of the cutting of wood blocks into shingles. It's a type of saw dust, but is really long stringy fibers that was used for bedding for dogs, horses, pigs, etc. It was also used for packing breakables such as dishes. 
Elaine Weber Mathis

Today, I thought I would post a few photos of Joe and Emily Ware and the Ware saw mill to further illustrate the production of dog hair as a saw mill by product. Nothing was wasted in the saw mill business.

Joe and Emily Weber Ware. Joe married Emily Weber after Sadie, his first wife, died of tuberculosis in 1928. (Photo courtesy of Howard Ware.)

Howard Ware with Emily Weber Ware, his step mother. It was Emily's barn that burned down in October 30, 1952. She was a widow at the time of the fire, as Joe Ware, Howard's father, died in 1948. Emily ran the saw mill for many years after Joe died. She was one tough and determined lady. (Photo courtesy of Howard Ware.)

Joe Ware cutting shingles with the help of Edward Weber, Emily Weber Ware's brother. Notice the "dog hair" on the floor and in the bin. It will be baled and sold as a byproduct of the saw mill. (Circa 1940 photo courtesy of the William Augustine Collection, Rutgers University Library.)

Joe Ware cutting slats for berry crates at his Wading River saw mill. Take notice of the "dog hair" in the floor. (Circa 1940 photo courtesy of the William Augustine Collection, Rutgers University Library.)
Pete S

PS- Anyone interested in purchasing a doggie toupee for your favorite canine, let me know. I've got a couple boxes of them in my closet that I sure would like to get rid of.


  1. Pete, The barn where the "dog hair" was stored and burned up was actually at the Charles Weber Sr. homestead on Rte. 542 in Lower Bank.
    The Weber home is still located there, but no more barn.
    Elaine M.

  2. Great photographs for the William Augustine Collection. Nice to know the stories behind them.

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