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River-Boy: 1913

River-Boy: 1913

November 1913. Beaumont, Texas. "Hard work and dangerous. River-boy Lyman Frugia poles the heavy logs into the incline that takes them up to the mill. It is not only hard work, but he is exposed to all kinds of weather and is dangerous too. Said he is 14 years old, has worked here several months, gets one dollar a day. Miller & Vidor Lumber Company." View full size. Photo by Lewis Wickes Hine.


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River-Boy: 1913

This is Joe Manning, of the Lewis Hine Project. I interviewed Lyman's son. Among other things, he told me: "My father grew up doing hard work and did it all of his life. That was the way of the times. He was just trying to survive." See my story of this boy at:


I grew up in Beaumont in the 50s and 60s, and spent as much time on the muddy Neches River as possible in a homemade 11-foot boat with an old 10-hp Johnson. Lots of history on that river.

Dollar a day

According to one of the inflation calculators, a dollar in 1913 is equivalent to $21 and a bit more today.

River-Boy: 1913

This is Joe Manning, of the Lewis Hine Project. Lyman Frugia died in Beaumont, Texas, on June 29, 1980. I talked to his 83-year-old son today. I emailed him the photo, and he had never seen it before. He said his father told him lots of stories about working as a boy. I will be interviewing him soon.


Somehow, that is one job I never expected to see kids doing. You expect river drivers to be big burly men like lumberjacks, not scrawny kids. On the other hand, a dollar a day in 1913 probably was a lot a money for a 14 year old.

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