road monkey (antedating 1885 Feb 24) brush monkey (1885 Feb 24)

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jan 22 03:00:18 UTC 2011

OED (Third edition, August 2010; online version November 2010)
contains an entry for "road monkey" with a first cite in 1891:

road monkey n. N. Amer. colloq. now hist. a person who repairs logging roads.

1891    Fort Wayne (Indiana) Sentinel 3 Jan.,  The road monkeys are
stationed at the steep inclines along the winter roadways over which
the heavy loads of logs are hauled.

An 1885 article in a Michigan newspaper discusses the vocabulary used
by loggers in lumber camps and includes the terms "road monkey" and
"brush monkey". I could not find "brush monkey" in the OED.  There is
a match for the term "road monkey" somewhere in the Random House
Historical Dictionary of American Slang according to Google Books, but
there is no preview, and I could not find it as a boldface term under
"monkey" in the paper H-O volume. Entries under "road" are of course

Cite: 1885 February 24, Muskegon Chronicle, Among the Loggers, Page 3,
Column 3, Muskegon, Michigan. (GenealogyBank)

It is about a mile and a half from the shanty to where the pine is now
being cut. One man notches a tree, and two others cut it down. It is
then cut into proper lengths. The "brush monkeys" make a road to the
logs, and the skidders roll the logs upon skids ready for hauling. ...

The "road monkey" is a curious individual whose business it is to keep
the road in good condition for travel.

The American Dialect Society -

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