'Oldest Logger' for 2012 Zwolle Festival
Like all woods workers of "a certain age," O. Hosea Remedies, Jr., of Zwolle has seen the transition of logging from a muscle-powered operation done during "can till can't" hours, with hand tools that placed the worker in direct contact with the trees he felled, to today's fully mechanized logging, done from computerized cabins in air-conditioned vehicles that never sweat and require only fuel and maintenance to run round the clock if needed.
To be honored as "Oldest Logger" at the 18th annual Loggers and Forestry Festival in Zwolle on May 11-12, Hosea Remedies was born July 29, 1937, one of the 18 children born to his mother, Mrs. Sarah Ezernack Remedies. Hosea was 14th born of the 18 births, and ten children survived to adulthood. His mother lived to age 83, his father to 71.
Hosea, Jr., began working with his father at age 14, working with a buck saw, crosscut saw, and double-bit axe. He pulled the crosscut with his father, helped trim the logs with the buck saw and axe. Pay was $8 per day. He continued, as the industry became mechanized, logging for for Hunt Lumber Company, Sabine Lumber Company, Willamette, and Walsh Timber Company, with contractors Albert Ezernack, and Martinez Brothers.
His logging career ended at age 57, when he suffered an injury. While working for Walsh Timber, he was on the ground near a skidder, when the skidder hit a limb on a downed tree. The limb rebounded and hit Hosea, knocking him down. His hard hat protected him as he landed on his head, fracturing a bone in his neck. He elected not to have surgery, and ended his work in the woods.
He was married to Louella Brown of Converse, and later to Nelwyn Deason of Ft. Jesup. His second wife passed away a year ago.
With his first wife, they had three children, a son, James, deceased, and two daughters, Mary and Felicia. Mary is married to Sammy Procell, also a retired logger. Hosea Remedies is proud of his six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Mr. Remedies lives now at a place not far from where he grew up, abouyt a half mile from Toledo Bend Reservoir, down LA Highway 482 northwest of the Town of Zwolle. He enjoys gardening, raising tomatoes, peppers, and other tasty products. A niece lives nearby, and he sometimes walks over to his daughter Mary Procell's place on Hwy 482, up the road from Sunny Hill Park, where we met one recent afternoon.
He remembers as a child that his father took the family for the five-mile walk to St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Zwolle, where he has been a lifelong parishioner. Mr. Hosea recalls days when Msgr. Robert Friend was rector of the parish. Msgr. Friend kept a couple pairs of boxing gloves among his equipment. When rowdy young boys got belligerent among themselves, Msgr. Friend would call a half, put the gloves on the boys, and have the others stand in a ring around them while they made peace between them. It always seemed to work, he said. Msgr. Friend designed the present church and grounds, which serves a major parish congregation in the larger Zwolle community.
Of the 18 births in the Remedies family, several of whom died at or shortly after birth, four survive--Hosea, Jr., and three sisters. Three brothers died in their 40s and 50s with heart attacks. With better modern medical care, Hosea, Jr., is closing in on 75.
"I thank the good Lord to be here," he said.