Log train and loader, Raney Creek, Ouachita N.F., AR, Caddo River Lumber Company.
In 1845 there was one sawmill assessed in Montgomery County, Arkansas. By 1860 there were four sawmills valued at $8,700 which used raw materials valued at $6,500 employed six persons and paid wages wages totaling $1,260. Lumber produced was valued at $27,350. Small sawmills sprang up all over the county as pioneer homes were being replaced by homes of cut lumber. Cross ties were needed for the railroads so tie hackers came by the dozen. In 1897 the Missouri-Pacific Railroad Company built a line that ran from Gurdon through Clark, Pike and Montgomery counties to meet the needs of the booming timber industries in these areas.
There are 432,000 acres of forest land in Montgomery County, The timber is mostly shortleaf pine, shortleaf hardwood, and mixed upland hardwood. Practically the entire county is in the Ouachita National Forest 287,741 acres being government owned. In 1936 there were six sawmills in the county having the capacities of 1,000 to 19,000 board feet daily. One having the capacity of 20,000 board feet or over and one cooperage plant. 1942 Montgomery County Mt Ida AR WPA History
During the depression many men and youths left their farms and looked for work in the logging camps. Many farms went back to the forest service either being sold or for back taxes. One of the jobs of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was to reforest the abandoned farm land with pine seedlings. Today sixty-three percent of Montgomery Co. is Ouachita National Forest land. 334,455 acres national forest out of 487,110 acres in county. Total acreage in the county in forest: 432,000. In 1940 there was 287,741 acres in forest. The sawmills were numbered or named for the nearest point of identity. Mills were located near Owley, Gaston Settlement, Manfred and Number Four mill was located at Shady Grove near Mount Ida.
These three photographs were taken at Mill 4 which closed in 1926 and was the last to cut out. Sawmills were usually located near water and consisted of a saw floor and a log deck built about 10 or 12 feet up with a log slip. Ribbons of iron were fastened to the log slip, 'jackladder', and form the track upon which the log car would operate to get the logs up to the second story. The mill was on the Mt. Ida side of Buttermilk Springs with the boarding house right across the road from the mill. Those folks got their mail from Silver. George La Gasse ran the mill and his wife Lessie Awtrey La Gasse was in charge of the commissary there which required folks to pay as they received. There was a church built for interdenominational use. "One Baptist minister was so long winded on Sunday nights that a lot of the congregation would fall asleep and he was a good preacher". When the area was cut out the families would move to the next mill. A stave mill was started up in the same location when big Mill 4 closed.
William Marion Evans [d. Jan 27 1925] sitting with feet inside wagon. Next is Alex Evans son of William Marion. Next is Joseph Edgar "Ed" Evans son of William Marion Evans. Next is William Posey grandson of William Marion Evans and son of Frank Posey. Next with one foot over the side is Frank Posey son in law of William Marion Evans. Photographs of Mill 4 courtesy of Lois Evans. Posted May 3, 2000.
This photo was taken by stacks of the Barrel Staves at Mill Four. Fannie Meeks and Lee Meeks summer1927 with their son born in the summer, August 1926 in a Slab Mill Shack at a Barrel Stave Mill on what is now, Alamo Road, about six miles east of Mt. Ida, Arkansas. Mom said the shack did have a couple windows, but no glass in them, so that winter she soaked some white cloth in lard, or oil of some kind, to let the light through, and nailed the cloth over the windows. They had a wood burning cook stove, they used for heat, and cooking. Said she remembered it snowing, and blowing through the cracks in the walls. Of course she had a Kerosene Lamp, I think this was a one room shack, like so many mill employees built out of Slabs, the waste cut off from logs. Oh yes, water was carried from the near by, Creek, cleaner than any city water of today. There was no paved roads then, gravel all the way to Hot Springs, on the main Hi-way 270. All other roads were farm roads, or logging roads. H. M. Posted Feb. 2006 .
Bates Sawmill Pine Ridge
The Bates Sawmill was on the creek at the east edge of Pine Ridge, on the south side of the road. Marion Bates also had a cotton gin there. At other times there was a sawmill about a mile up Hole In The Ground Rd north of Pine Ridge, and another near the church and cemetery west of Pine Ridge. The wood to build the 1st church at that site was cut there. Marion Alexander Bates (1880-1955) married Missouri Jane "Zue" Smith (30 Jan 1883 - 24 Jun 1968) on 16 March, 1902. They are buried at Pine Ridge along with his parents Rev. Ambrose A. and Lucenda "Cindy" Bates and brother Clyde 1910 -1977.
Mr G.L. Graham (1858-1927) from Missouri moved to Mt Ida in 1910 and established a sawmill, planner and lumber company. Yellow pine was processed. Two years later his two sons moved to Mt. Ida. Oscar joined the business and the company was called G.L. Graham and Son. Oscar (1890-1979) ran the business and in 1927 his cousin Lee (1878-1944) became a partner and the business was called Graham Lumber Company. The mill closed in 1944 as the labor pool was non existent as the young men had joined the military and Lee died that year. The mill was on the South Fork north of the Mt Ida P.O. Oscar's son, G.L. Graham, enlisted in the US Army in Oct. 1940, commenced US Air Corps cadet training in August 1941 and got his pilot wings in 1943 and was sent to the European Theatre and became a pilot with the 15th Air Force flying from bases in North Africa and Italy. He was shot down by a German ME-109 on April 23 1944 while in a B-24 on his 21st bombing mission. He was a POW at Stalag Luft 3 and Stalag 7A where he was liberated by an American armoured unit. He returned to Mt Ida in 1945 had became a county judge for eight years. Gordon "G.L." died at the age of 84 in Mt Ida 30 Aug. 2003 and burial was with full military honours performed by Hot Springs VFW Post 2278. He was born Aug. 25 1919 in Montgomery Co. AR. He was the son of Oscar S. and Lela Graham. He worked in the family business while completing high school. "G.L. retired from his business, Graham Pulpwood Company in 1984. Reference: Montgomery County News 4 Sept. 2003.
Black Springs Lumber Company
The Black Springs Lumber Company built a mill at Womble (Norman) in 1907. Rough cut lumber was hauled by mules from the sawmills [sets] in the area to Womble where the planer was situated. This mill proved to be one of the biggest employers in southern Montgomery County until the early 1950s. The above two photographs are courtesy of Shirley A. Manning. Posted 9 May, 2000.
The photo above shows six men on the entrance to a part of the mill at Womble. Thomas Clifton Moore (Clifford) is standing, second from the right and sitting directly below him is William Robert Moore (Rob) who married Irma Lee Miller. Rob's father-in-law Joe Miller was at one time a foreman at the mill. Clifford's uncles Clinton (Clint) and Claude Moore worked at the mill. Some time in the late 30s and early 40s these families moved to California. Photo courtesy of Bill Humble. Posted August 23, 2000.
Jesse Lanier (born 1878) was listed as a sawmill laborer in the 1910 Census for Montgomery Co. AR in Womble.
Board Foot : A unit of lumber 1 inch thick and 1 foot in length and breadth or the equivalent
Cooperage : The art of making vessels of pieces of wood bound together by hoops.
Crew : Teams. Loggers, yard crew, sawmill crew, planer crew, shop crew.
Crosscut saw : Employed for cutting large trees and other large work. The blades are either curved or straight backs, but the toothed edge is always convex (bulging) and this is what differs them from pit saws which the toothed edge is always straight. The saw ranges from 4' to 10' in length and are operated by two men, one at each handle.
Hardwood : Classification of lumber by source. Hardwood from deciduous trees and softwood from evergreen trees.
Jackladder : Logs were raised to the second floor, log deck, of the mill by a slip.
Millpond : Logs delivered to the mill where stored in water. The fibres were softened, made handling easier and stopped further insect damage.
Millset : Folks who lived at the sawmill camps.
Muleskinners : A teamster. Worked a team of mules.
Skidding : Or yarding. Logs after they were cut to a standard size were hauled to an assembly point, skidway, by mules, oxen or horses. Until 1940 special railroads were used to transport logs from the skidways to the sawmills. Today it is done by truck.
Slab : side pieces of the log with the bark. Waste. Today sent to pulp mills.
Stave : The upright pieces for the sides of a barrel are staves.
Wedge : Or undercut is made on the side you want the tree to fall.
Mauldin - lumber company town
"The company even printed its own money called 'script' and paid much of its payroll in script which was only good in the company owned store and other business in the 'downtown' area of Mauldin"
Mauldin existed from about 1922 to 1933 and was once a thriving little company town with a company store called the 'Commissionary", business office, church, seven month one-room school, accommodation house, picture show and post office. Located between Pencil Bluff and Mt Ida it was established to house the workers and the mill. The Caddo River Lumber Company had acquired much land in western and northern Montgomery County so built a railroad in 1921 from Womble (Norman) through the Gaston Settlement on the upper South Fork to the future town of Mauldin. The loggers worked together in pairs using cross-cut saws. The logs were hauled the to the hardwood sawmill in Mauldin by teams of mules or by spur engines trains that traveled the railroad spurs that criss-crossed the hills that also hauled the men to the forest for a hard day's work. Pine logs where shipped by steam train to Glenwood and Rosboro mills in Pike County. The old Billy Mauldin house was used to house the first family that moved to the lumber camp. William W. MAULDIN born in ?Greer Co. TX. homesteaded 160 acres 15 October 1906. W 9 2S 25W [North west quarter of section nine in township two south of range twenty-five west of the fifth principal meridian]
"So on as they would get to the new mill site, a house would be started for them. By nightfall, the shanty would be ready for them to move in."
A few people remember living in Mauldin as a small child, swimming in the river, fishing and going to the movies where Willis Willhite was paid to play the banjo while the reels were being changed. Today the land is owned by the United States Forest Service. The mill ponds, that were used to float logs to the mill, were turned into a fish hatchery about 1940. Today the two ponds are a pleasant place to take the boys fishing. At the bottom of Mauldin Mountain, Mt Ida side turn left off Hwy 270 if traveling from Mt Ida on to Mauldin Road and go only two tenths of a mile. A short road leads to the ponds, two one acre ponds. Don't take the nearby forest service road, the ponds are not on that road. The vacant field to the left is were Mauldin use to be. Nothing remains except a few plugged water wells and a few concrete blocks in the forest where the mill stood. The larger buildings at Mauldin were torn down while the smaller houses where moved to Forester, Scott Co. Some Mauldin workers are buried in the Amerson Cemetery to the left of the entrance in unmarked graves. Why? There was only one accidental death at Mauldin. Map
There were superintendents, foremen, engineers and loader operators lived in two-three bedroom homes while the mill workers and loggers lived in smaller two roomed vertical striped pattern board homes built along the railroad and paid $5.00/month rental. The houses were built so they could be moved on flatbed cars. Larger families rented two homes and enclosed the area in between. The workers had no job security, health benefits, paid vacation or retirement benefits in the1920s but managed to support their families. After the land was cleared cut The Caddo River Lumber Company sold the majority of the land to the US Forest Service.
Mauldin at one time was the largest town in Montgomery County.
Census in 1930
Population in 1930
Mt. Ida: 512
"To name the many individuals who lived and worked at Mauldin would be a difficulty task"
Please email names of Mauldin residents. Thanks. Additional information, photographs, comments are welcome!
I invite you to offer further information on sawmilling in Montgomery County, AR.
Blackmon, Dee Climons & Ella "Veora" & family
Boyd, Hazel & Ras
Carter, William & Onetha nee Metcalf
Gardner, Bill & May
Gaston, Grady & Anna Fiddler Gaston -
& dau.'s Jean, Norma, Beth, Booth, & sons Inky, Darrel & Lynn
Jefferies, Jim & family
Jones, Charles "Bay" & Josie Postmistress
Jones, Ira & Ella nee O'Neal
Kimble, Nellie Postmistress
Lundry, George & Minnie and large family
McCullar, Joe & Dolly
McKinney, George & Lilly and family
Mullenix, Granville & Bessie
Qualls, Rufus & Lydia nee Willhite
Singleton, William and wife Jo. K. Daughter b. 1935 at Mauldin.
Smaling, David and wife Ethel M. nee Bates
Smalling, Roxie & Virgil
Smalling, Minnie & Fletcher
Smith, Dee E. & Mattie Lee and family
Story, Loetta, Postmistress
Welch, Lena & Gus
Willhite, Willis & Etna and family
Williams, Frank and Lillian. Frank was a machinist at the shop that was located just below the Big pond dam. The family across the road from the shop.
Woodard, Amy Postmistress
Geographic Names Information System
Today in the county the forest is an important resource for recreation and employment. The US Forest Service employees many in the county. There are still sawmills about and other related businesses. The C & D Post Co. Inc at Pencil Bluff began in 1992 and make posts from yellow pine.
- Montgomery County: Our Heritage
- Inventory of the County Archives of Montgomery County, AR (Mt Ida) prepared by the Arkansas Historical Records Survey, April 1942, Division of Community Services Programs, W.P.A.
- Montgomery County: Our Heritage Vol.1
Back in print. review
Sawmill by Kenneth L. Smith. Sawmill is a history of logging in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and Oklahoma from 1900 to 1950. It is a social history in its account of the lumbermen’s quest for the last virgin timber and the effects of its depletion. Kenneth L. Smith interviewed more than three hundred people to develop this history of the cutting of virgin shortleaf pine forests. The recollections included here provide insight into a population that lived through the Depression years in isolated mountain communities. Many photographs. The Caddo River Lumber Company and the Arkansas mill towns of Rosboro, Glenwood, and Forester provided jobs and homes for many during the brief heyday of the big sawmills. 246 pages, map. March 2006 (Originally published 1986, 246 pages) 260 pages, 100 wonderful collection of photographs of that lost way of life, index, 7" x 10" The University Press of Arkansas. The Heritage House Museum in Mt Ida is also selling this book for $18.00. A wonderful collection of photographs of that lost way of life. There is a section on the Mauldin sawmill with pictures and a foldout map of the Ouachita Mountains and an entire chapter devoted to Forester.
Smith, Kenneth, Timberrrr! Iron horses, iron men: the last of the red hot loggers
Abstract the timber industry in the Ouachita Mountains during the 1930s
Publication Arkansas Times 7(6):56-62, 64 Feb 1981
Subject Ouachita Mountains, Logging , Lumbermen
Location: Garland County ; Scott County ; Montgomery County
- The Mountain Signal April 1999 issue and several issues after that covered sawmills and railroads in Montgomery County
Every year in late September there is a circular in the "Glenwood Herald" informing the community about the upcoming 'Caddo River Sawmill Days Festival' and often includes a historical note. The 'Sawmill Days' event started in 1990 as a fund raiser to move an old train depot which at one time was in Glenwood but had been moved to a farm to be used as a hay barn. The owner gave it to the town if they would raise the money to get it moved. It was moved 1999, but is still under renovation for a possible museum. During the festival several logging demonstrations are held and timber equipment companies present displays. There is a chain saw contest and a log weight contest and a contest to guess the weight of a log truck in addition to the arts and crafts and the kiddy sawdust scramble. In the early 1900s the area was covered in forests. Sawmills came with A.L. Clark constructing a large mill that was later sold to T.W. Rosborough. A railroad and spurs were built to haul timber to the mill and boosted the growth of the region. Today the sawmill in Glenwood is still going full blast. Georgia-Pacific sold the mill and is now the Curt Bean Lumber Co. and is the largest employer in the area.
Woody, Velma B. Branscum: Bandits, Bears, and Backaches : A Collection of Short Stories Based on Arkansas History 2004 Butler Center Publication. Chapter IX Timber: Living and Working in an Arkansas Forest. This fictionalized account's setting is the Ouachita Mountain area in the 1930's. The short story's main characters are the sons of a logging family who worked for the Caddo River Lumber Company. The story describes the processes employed by the Caddo River Lumber Company for moving the families of their workers from one lumber camp to another.
Clear-cutting battle fought in Ouachita National Forest by Kenneth C. Danforth, Rural Arkansas 41(7):6-7 May 1987
Arkansas Business 22 November 1993
Pg. 38 The railroad with the most Arkansas short lines is the Arkansas Midland. The company has four branches around the state that connect with Union Pacific. The branches include Helena, Hot Springs and Norman (Montgomery County). Arkansas Midland is examining the idea of abandoning its Carlisle branch railroad because of low shipping demand.
Weyerhaeuser is a name familiar in the area connected to the forestry and sawmill industry in Arkansas since 1956 when they began a sawmill in Arkansas. By 1969 they had acquired the Dierks Mill, a mill that had been operating since 1918. They began paper recycling in 1974. In 2004 the company planted 111 million trees, they reforest. They use the modern method of clear-cut to harvest. It allows sunlight to reach the newly planted seedlings. It results in stands of evenly-aged trees, requires fewer roads than selection harvest , is cost effective and efficient. They plan harvests to avoid breeding activities. They leave snags, logs and scattered live trees for the wildlife habitat. In 1834 Frederick Weyerhaeuser was born in Niedersaulheim, Germany, was known as the 'timber king'.
In Arkansas today, 2009, there is about 18.8 million acres of timberland mostly hardwood forest and hardwood-pine mixed forest where hardwood predominated, make up 73% of the total forest with the average pine plantation producing four tons per acre per year. The timber industry is the number one employer in south Arkansas. In the 18th century 9% of Arkansas was in forest. The Ouachita region had the short leaf pine and pine hardwood mixtures in drier sites. The settlers came and used the timber for homes, heating and other home and farmland uses. From 1887- 1909 Arkansas lumber production jumped twelve fold, railroads and sawmills were built. In 1909, 73% of all factory wage earners were employed by the lumber industry. Several mills closed after the 1920sand moved west. The Camden Paper and pulp Mill opened in 1928 by International Paper Company. A survey in 1929 found Arkansas devastated by the over-cutting but stated to recover in the 1930s. Companies started to replant and provide fire protection, selective logging and preservation of seed trees .The Arkansas Forestry Commission was established in 1930 to help preserve the forest. There was a growth in outdoor recreation Most of the timber land today is owned by individuals with less than one fifth of the forest in Arkansas as public. 17% of the forest is naturally seeded and 10% is in pure pine plantations in 1995.
In 2009 Arkansas is still the fourth largest producer of soft wood lumber in the States behind Oregon, Washington, California and Georgia. The timber industry is the logging sector, lumber /solid wood products, pulp and paper and furniture. Arkansas ships about $10 million annually in wood products. In 2009 only 32,000 are employed by the timber industry down from 44,000 ten years ago. Rain keeps loggers out of the woods but a logger still makes approximately $30,000. Land owners look for opportunities in "spot markets" e.g. by raising groves of ash and hickory.
The Montgomery County Heritage Museum. One of the first three focus areas will be logging activities / sawmills. The have a 3' photo of the pupils at the Mauldin school -all pupils unidentified. A story written by Julia E. Bigger about how Womble became a town includes a lot about the Caddo River Lumber Company has been donated to the museum.
Throughout the Montgomery County Courthouse Deed Books are hundreds of land transactions to the lumber companies. Deed books list the name of the purchaser (grantee) and the seller (grantor) also records the legal description of the land and the price paid.
A warranty deed is where the the grantor personally guarantees or warrants the title to be free of liens & encumbrances other than stated in the deed. The grantor convenants ( promises) to indemnity ( compensate) the grantee for any loss suffered because of the condition of the title other than disclosed encumbrances. The grantee will take the property free of any undisclosed claims of a third party.
Deed: That we, R.T. Putman and M.G. Putman, is wife, for and in consideration of the sum of Two Hundred Dollars, to us in hand paid by Black Springs Lumber Company, a corporation organized under and by virtue of the laws of the State of Arkansas, the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, do hereby grant, bargain and sell unto the said Black Springs Lumber Company, its successors and assigns, forever, all the pine timber which is standing, growing, lying or being on the following described lands.
Warranty Deed: That Reinhold Wenzig, junior, joined by his wife, Lillian G. Wenzig, in consideration of the sum of One Thousand Eight Hundred and No/100 Dollars, in hand paid, the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, hereby grant, bargain, sell and convey unto Black Springs Lumber Company, the following described real property and premises situated in Montgomery County, Arkansas, to wit; E½, NW¼ & SW¼ of the NW¼. All section 5 & SE¼ if the NE¼ of section 6 in Township 3 South, of Range 23 West of the Fifth Principal Meridian, Arkansas, containing 158.17 acres. Signed and delivered this 12 day of October, 1923. Filed for record on this 15th day of November, 1923 Goerge [sic] Watkins, Clerk. [This land is three miles SE of Denby Point (as the crow flies) at the intersection of Forest Route 177 and W26 and East Fork Creek. Rienhardt N. Wenzig SR 1848-1911 is buried there and his grave, marked, is now Ouachita National Forest land. His son found him dead so with the help of a neighbor buried him. A graveside funeral service was held a week later.] The family came to the area in 1904 to Silver.
Old Forester, Scott Co.
We watched and listened to a solitary beautiful belted kingfisher (female) chattering away as it swooped down from tree to tree making her way around the Old Forester Mill pond.
When Mauldin closed the company town moved to Forester, in Scott Co. AR. The larger buildings were torn down but the smaller candy cane homes were moved to Forester. Old Forester as it is now known does not exist but the three acres Forester mill pond stands alone, lying calm amid the forest and hills, with a few concrete slabs visible. The pond has not been stocked with fish in years. Species present: Largemouth bass, sunfish and catfish. Located about a half mile south of Hwy 28 on the Old Forester Road (33). It is just of the west side of the road on a dime trail. Another way to get to it is if you have a pickup truck turn north on to the gravel Old Forester Road forest service road 33 on the top of Blowout Mountain on Hwy 270. To get there from the Pencil Bluff side, take Hwy 270 and at the top of Blowout Mountain (near Big Brushy Recreational Area) go 10.5 miles NE on forest rd 33, the road is in good condition, past f rd 888 and 136 on the left. Turn on 776 on the right, 1/8 mile to Old Forester Park. I hear there is an old grave just down 776. Someone was hung there. There is also an old cemetery a little bit further on down Rd 33 toward Parks and another 4-acre pond just down the road that branches off 33 at the intersection to the left. That was the water reservoir for Old Forester - gravity fed to the town. Only a 3-acre millpond, large concrete piles and slabs remain and a large Dr Carter Picnic Pavilion are at Old Forester Park. You can tell they had some heavy machinery there. In October (Sunday Oct. 6, 2002) there is an Old Forester Annual Reunion potluck dinner at the pavilion. "No speaker, just good visitin'." In 2009 the reunion was held on Sunday October 4th and contributions accepted for maintenance of park etc. and can be sent to Mrs Sarah Jo Parker, 2409 Queenbury Way, Port Smith, AR 72908. I hear the Oden Ranger station has some photos of Old Forester when it was a town population 1,306, 1940 census. There was a school, a gas, station, a movie theater, a church, hotel, doctor's office, and houses. The sawmill and the town were abandoned in 1952. It is advisable to take a along a national forest map, available from the Ranger stations, if you plan to drive around on the forest roads and don't were white if it is whitetail deer season.
The photograph of the work crew is courtesy of Sandy Fischer.
The man in the lower left Lionel R. HOWARD of Montgomery Co. AR. married 1899.
Forest Route 177, Owley Rd. SE of Mt Ida.
A family tree can wither if nobody tends it.
REMEMBERING ARKANSAS : Arkansas' timber history
is rooted in pine forests by Tom W. Dillard
The Arkansas Democrat Gazette 1 December 2002 Stories by Tom Dillard
In 1939, the Arkansas General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring the "pine tree" as the official state tree. The legislation does not specify which pine species, so Arkansans must assume legislators were referring to the shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata), the most commercially valuable of the pines found in the state.
Of course, not all harvested timber was yellow pine. For many years the Arkansas Ozarks produced most of the cedar lumber from which pencils were made. Walnut trees were cut for furniture ; oaks provided lumber for everything from tool handles to barrel staves. Big-time commercial timbering did not get under way in Arkansas and the rest of the South until the exhaustion of the extensive Great Lakes white pine forests in the late 1870s. Large sawmills then began popping up all over Arkansas. Fordyce Lumber Co. began operations in 1888; the following year A.H. Gates opened a large sawmill in Wilmar, Drew County. E.S. Crossett and others founded the Crossett Lumber Co. in 1899, which owned timberlands in Ashley County and Morehouse Parish, La. In Huttig, Union County, the Union Saw Mill Co. operated soft and hardwood mills. These were large operations but hundreds of smaller "peckerwood" sawmills were found throughout the state.
After the turn of the century, lumbermen turned their attention to the Ouachita Mountains of west-central Arkansas, an area full of shortleaf pine but plagued with poor transportation and rugged terrain. In 1902, Herman Dierks moved to De Queen to manage the family sawmill, the beginning of a huge lumber empire. Two years later, the Fourche River Lumber Co. commenced operations on the eastern edge of the Ouachitas in Perry County.
Among the more colorful lumbermen to cut the yellow pine forests of the Ouachitas was Thomas W. Rosborough, who established the Caddo River Lumber Co. in Pike County in 1907. He was the brother-in-law of William N. Bemis, scion of an old family of Prescott timber men and owners of the Ozan Lumber Co. Rosborough created a company town, Rosboro, in northern Pike County near Glenwood, to provide all the support needed by his sawmill. When local whites objected to Rosborough's hiring black workers, the strong willed owner built a wall around the black quarters and posted guards.
Rosborough pushed his logging operations deeply into the Ouachitas. He built a large company town at Mauldin, in Montgomery County, where the buildings were painted in bright red and white stripes. It was not long before the company town had a larger population than Mount Ida, the county seat. In neighboring Scott County, Rosborough established the sawmill town of Forester, which soon grew to have schools, a theater, company stores and even a pharmacy. Many of these early lumber operators practiced what became known as the "cut out and get out" procedure, whereby they bought land cheaply, cut the timber, and then abandoned the site.
By the end of the first decade of the 20th century it was clear that the old system could not continue. In 1917 the Southern Pine Association, a powerful industry group, sponsored a conference to discuss how timber companies could dispose of their cutover lands. Gradually timber men came to realize that forests could be managed to provide sustained harvesting. Sixty years ago the first certified Arkansas Tree Farm was created in Dallas County, allowing private citizens to engage in the sustained yield movement.
During the 1950s and '60s a great consolidation occurred in the lumber business, with the Caddo Valley Lumber Co. being bought by Dierks, one of the pioneers in sustained forest management. International Paper came on the scene and bought vast tracts of forests, and in the 1950s opened its second paper mill in Pine Bluff. Potlatch opened paper mills in Pine Bluff and McGehee. Georgia-Pacific bought out the Crossett and Fordyce Lumber companies. Deltic Timber Corp. acquired land from several struggling companies; some of the land in recent years has been developed into upscale neighborhoods in far-western Little Rock. The consolidation was essentially completed in 1969 when the giant Weyerhaeuser Co. bought Dierks Forests Inc., just about the last of the large family-owned timber firms. The Dierks sale included about 1.8 million acres of timberland in Arkansas and Oklahoma, the largest family-controlled landholding in the nation.
Today only a few examples of virgin forest remain in Arkansas. The best example of a surviving remnant of virgin shortleaf pine forest is the 400-acre Lake Winona Research Natural Area, a National Park Service project in northwest Saline County, where 250-year-old trees can still be seen.
REMEMBERING ARKANSAS: Company town seemed immune to world’s turmoil
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette August 17, 2008 Travel, Pages 89 By Tom Dillard
Last week I told you of a recent article in the Arkansas Historical Quarterly about the early years of Crossett Lumber Co., the founding of the town of Crossett, and the gradual transition from relying on railroads and trucks to transport logs from the forests to the sawmill....
Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle,
9 September 1865, Page 3
" Fact, gentlemen," said a traveller who was giving a crowd of gaping listeners an account of the strange things he had seen during his peregrinations in the far West, " the trees are so close together in Arkansas that you may travel for days together without finding them more than three feet apart ; and then the game such vast numbers of buffalo, and bears, and wild cats, but in all the world I never saw such deer!"— " What of the deer?" asked a sharp-eyed descendant of Nimrod. " Oh, the biggest, bouncing bucks you ever saw," was the reply. " Why, my dear sir, the woods are perfectly alive with them, charging about with great, branching horns full four feet apart." " Well, but if the trees are only three feet apart, and the deer's horns four, I want you to tell me how they get through ?" said Nimrod. " Oh, well, that's their look out," said the traveller ; " I have nothing to do with that."
Trees usually grow one ring a year. Wide rings denote wet weather. In a dry year
a narrow ring is produced. Tree ring data can be retrieved from original timbers
found in historic structure, and cross sections from dead logs. Log cabin
at the museum.
The log below had approx. 100 rings.
Though man can make a poem, "only God can make a tree."
Montgomery County ARGenWeb Project