Abe Boehm, Ray Clark, and Don Leavers put on a demonstration of how timber was cut with the Old Parsons Mill for park visitors. Top photo: One of the many beautifully restored antique cars he owned.
This was written in 2004. Abe Boehm died in 2010)
Just being in the presence of Abe Boehm, you know he’s worked hard and lived life with gusto. It comes as no surprise to learn he’s worked as a choker setter for Shaw Bertram in Tionesta as a young man in the 30s, and then spent the majority of his life farming, mostly in the Tulelake area. Just one look at his still strong hands and you know you’re speaking to someone who can fix most any machine that has been used for farming or timbering in the last century. And, when the tone of his voice grows somber as he speaks of his four years as a Marine in the South Pacific during WWII, you know he is a man of courage.
Abe, Don Leavers, Harry Orem and Ray Clark were responsible for restoring the old Parson’s Mill engine to like-new condition for the Collier Logging Museum. It took them almost three years to do it. The mill, the second of two mills owned by the Parson family, was used extensively in Butte Valley from 1948 through the 1960’s. It was donated to the museum by Mary and Lewis Parson in an arrangement brokered by Friend’s Honorary Curator, Lowell Jones.
Abe became involved in the Parson’s Mill project because he had worked off and on through the years for Jones and he knew the mill had a lot of history. “I bet ol’ man Parson sawed half the lumber that went into the houses and potato cellars in Tulelake during the homestead era,” says Boehm.
“That old mill furnished a lot of lumber! Lowell and I used to work at the mill a little bit ourselves. When he asked me to work on the 1933-34 Cat engine for the mill, I couldn’t say no.” He continues, “I worked on it for two years at Don Leavers place. When it got too big, we moved it to Collier Park. There we tore the engine down and completely rebuilt it. Now she’s almost like new!”