Welcome to our Interactive Dictionary!

This page lists words and terms used in our materials. The list below is a printable version of all our terms. We also have a Flash version of the dictionary which offers point-and-click navigation.

We've divided this list into two sections:

Core Democratic Values Terms

Assembly – A group of people gathered together, usually for a reason

Character – Qualities that make up a person

Citizen – A person who lives in a country

Civil Liberty – A citizen’s right to say what they think

Common Good – A good thing shared equally by all. Something that will benefit all.

Constitution – The document listing the laws of the United States

Core – The center, or most important part of anything

Democracy – A government that is run by the people who live in it

Demonstrate – To take part in a public meeting to show feelings about a matter.

Diversity – Differences or varieties in people

Equality – Having the same rights and duties as everyone else

Fair – According to the rules

Flag – A piece of cloth with different colors and designs, used as a symbol of a country

Freedom – Being able to move or act without being held back

Government – The group of people in charge of managing a country, city, or state

Honesty - Truthfulness. Telling someone the real reason for an event, viewpoint or feeling.

Justice – Fair or right treatment or action

Law – A rule made by a government for all of the people who live there

Majority – The larger number or part of something

Minority – The smaller number or part of something

Negotiate – To talk over and arrange the terms of an agreement

People – All of the persons making up a nation

Petition – A formal request made to a person in authority

Pledge - A serious promise

Press – Newspapers and the people who write them

Private – Not meant to be shared with others

Process – A series of actions needed to complete something

Property – Anything owned by a person or organization

Protest – An complaint against something

Public – With or for all of the people

Pursuit of Happiness – Looking for contentment or gladness

Religion – Belief in or worship of God, or gods

Republic – A government in which the authority belongs to the people

Responsibility – Making sure a job or duty is done

Rights – A just, moral, or lawful claim

Rule – Control or government

Tolerance – Respect of customs, ideas, or beliefs of others

Truths – Something that is true

Vote – An expression of ones wishes or choices

Lumbering Terms

adze - an ax-like tool with a curved blade at right angles to the handle, used for scraping wood.

American Red Cross - started by Clara Barton of Dansville, New York, only weeks before the terrible Michigan fires of October 1881. The Red Cross sent 8 boxes of clothing and a small amount of money to help the people of Michigan who had lost their homes in the fires.

bark- spud - a short tool that resembles a spade and is used to dig bark off logs and knots.

big wheels - Invented by Silas Overpack of Manistee, MI, big wheels were used to drag logs out of the forests.

board foot - a measurement for lumber that equals a board one inch thick and twelve inches square.

boom - a barrier composed of a chain( or rope ) and floating logs that enclose other free-floating logs.

cant hook - lumberman's lever tool with a pivoting, hooked arm and metal spike at one end that is used for river-logging. Also called a peavey.

caulked boots - heavy-soled boots with spikes worn by lumberjacks.

Civil War - sometimes called the War Between the States. It began on April 12, 1861 and lasted until May 26, 1865. It was a war fought between the United States of America (the Union) and the Confederate States of America (the Confederacy). The war took more than 600,000 lives and destroyed property valued at more than $5 billion.

clear- cut - to cut down every tree in a forest no matter what size or kind.

conifer - evergreen trees and shrubs with true cones.

cooper - one who makes or repairs wooden tubs or casks, and barrels.

deacon - a shanty boy who sang ballads, told stories, recited verses, and played the harmonica, "squeeze box" (accordion), fiddle, guitar, dulcimer, or Jew's harp. Deacons usually performed for the men in the bunkhouse on Saturday night while sitting or standing on the "deacon's bench."

deciduous - shedding seasonally or at certain life stages. Deciduous trees (i.e., oak, maple).

diameter - a straight line passing through the center of a circle or any round object.

entrepreneur - the person who assumes the risk to organize and manage a new business in a successful way.

fell - to knock or cut down a tree.

folklore - local stories, sayings, songs and dances told from one generation to the next.

gabriel - a long (sometimes eight-foot), tin horn which "cookee" blew to call the shanty boys to their "hash."

gauge (railroad) - the distance between the two rails of a railroad track.

grayback - lice or bedbugs.

ink slinger - the clerk who kept time and production records in the logging camp and who sometimes doubled as a scaler.

jobber's sets - kerosene torches used for night work in the woods.

loggers' smallpox - marks left by the riverhogs'caulked boots; a common malady during the logging era. Sawmill towns’ wood plank sidewalks, saloon and dance hall floors, and the faces of victims of barroom brawls were often afflicted with "loggers'smallpox."

keg - a small cask or barrel.

land boom - a sudden increase in the sale of land.

lath - a thin strip of wood or metal used especially in making a supporting structure for plaster, shingles, slates, and tiles.

log mark - a mark or brand at the end of a log that tells who owns it.

logging crews - men who worked together to cut down the trees and get them to the mills. Each man had his own special job and working together, they got the job done much faster.

mill - building or group of buildings equipped with machinery for processing raw materials into finished or industrial products.

narrow gauge railroads - a smaller system of railroads used to haul flatcars of logs from the woods to the banks of the rivers.

navigable - waterways that can be traveled on by boat.

parallel - two or more straight lines that do not intersect.

peavey - the riverman's favorite tool, invented by Joseph Peavey of Maine in 1858. The peavey was a stout, tapered, wooden pole, five to six feet long, with a steel or iron point on its end and a large, dangling hook that opened to eight or ten inches. It was used for turning, rolling, jabbing, and hooking logs piled on top of each other and for freeing them from obstacles or riverbanks.

pike pole - lumber tool with pointed edge used for separating logs on the river.

pin whacker. - a light-weight man or boy who worked in the sorting pens at the booming grounds. He stood on each log as it floated into the pen, and with a wooden mallet, drove a staple-like hardwood rafting pin over a length of rope, pinning it to the center of the log. Each log was pinned, roped, and drawn up to its neighbor, creating a raft to be towed to the sawmill.

pusher - the foreman or boss of the logging camp, sometimes called the "push" or "bull-of-the-woods."

rafting pins - triangular-shaped stakes used with rope for tying logs together.

riverhogs - agile, skilled, fearless men who drove the logs on the rivers from the rollways to the booming grounds.

road monkey - road builder in the logging camp.

sash - a frame where the windows and doors are set.

sawmill - a plant where lumber is machine-cut into boards; also a large machine used to saw lumber.

settlers - people who came to new lands and made permanent homes and towns.

shanty boys - men who lived and worked in the logging camps, chopping down and sawing the white pine trees into logs, swamping, skidding, and loading the logs on sleighs and piling them high at rollways. Also called lumberjacks.

speculators - men and women who bought timberland at great risk in the hope of making a larger than normal profit later.

tongs - Used for dragging logs from the forests.

wanigan - scow or raft with a raised deck and a pine slab shack, log cabin, or canvas tent perched on top which served as kitchen, office, dining shack, and camp store during the spring river drives.

widow maker - a long limb on a tree which could fall on a man and kill him.

Lumber Mill Facade

kerosene - a thin oil derived from petroleum shale oil used as a fuel or alcohol denaturant.

marking hammer - a hammer used to make the log mark. This was done after the log had softened in the water so the mark would penetrate.

quinine - a bitter, colorless powder or crystalline alkaline used to treat malaria. Also any various compounds or salts of quinine.

These materials were made possible by a Technology Literacy Challenge Grant from the Michigan Dept. of Education