I finally connected with James Yule and this is his explanation:
Mr. Yule says that a flathead is/was a colloquial term used to describe the man who felled the trees and then "bucked" them up. Other terms for flathead were used in other parts of the country. In fact, according to Mr. Yule, out west felling and bucking were two different jobs. I had to have him explain bucking which is apparently cutting the tree into a link ...which is a standard sized piece. Mr. Yule says that the last he heard a link is currently 32 feet. He said that in the days of the flathead, they would pick a central, appropriate tree (or mount a pole if necessary) and then create a spider web of cables. This was called a choker system. Then the links or logs would be moved along the cables. A central person would communicate with the guys at the end of the cables through whistles of the steam engine. That person was called a whistle punk.
He also told me that the flathead would use a two man crosscut saw to create the 'links' but would take off one handle so easier to use by one man. (This was in the days before the chain saw).
Very interesting older gentleman who was thrilled to have someone call him for this information. He, too, has done extensive research of his family. Many apparently arrived as early as 1610. Has some connection to the Remingtons. He is going to send me his family story.
Forrest: I hope that you will add to your website and attribute to Mr. James E. Yule of Jena LA.
Doris Member Family Finders Yahoo Group