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Research: Sawmill Database

Alpha-Numeric Key: MA-24
Corporate Name: George Brown Lumber Company
Local Name:
Owner Name: George Brown Lumber Company with George Brown and Hugh Williams. Earlier, East Line & Red River Lumber Company of James Hervey Bemis.
Location: Near Orr's Switch
County: Marion
Years in Operation: 32 years
Start Year: 1873
End Year: 1904
Decades: 1870-1879,1880-1889,1890-1899,1900-1909
Period of Operation: About 1873 to 1904
Town: Near Orr's Switch, south of Avinger
Company Town: 1
Peak Town Size: Unknown
Mill Pond:
Type of Mill: Lumber
Sawmill Pine Sawmill Hardwood Sawmill Cypress Sawmill
Planer Planer Only Shingle Paper
Plywood Cotton Grist Unknown
Power Source: Steam
Horse Mule Oxen Water
Water Overshot Water Turbine Diesel Unknown
Pit Steam Steam Circular Steam Band
Gas Electricity Other
Maximum Capacity: 25000: 1900
Capacity Comments: Estimated 25,000 feet daily
Rough Lumber Planed Lumber Crossties Timbers
Lathe Ceiling Unknown Beading
Flooring Paper Plywood Particle Board
Treated Other
Equipment: Sawmill
Company Tram:
Associated Railroads: East Line & Red River: later the Sherman, Shreveport & Southern.
Historicial Development: The East Line Lumber Company of James Bemis operated a series of contracts mills along the tracks of its East Line & Red River railroad. One of the mills was located just south of Avinger, in Cass County, at Orr's Switch in 1889. By 1890, the company was in the hands of George W. Brown. A deed of trust to James Niblett, Jr., from Brown Lumber Company revealed that the sawmill plant was located two miles southwest of Avinger on five acres of the S. A. Orris farm. Brown integrated steam tram roads into logging operations by building a rail line into the pineries eleven miles west of Jefferson. Five years later the company was tramming along Alley Creek. In 1898, Brown Lumber Company contracted with W. E. Singletary, Jr., to have Singletary provide his cut to Brown Lumber. Very little of the social and material culture of this sawmill community has been researched. George W. Brown, the company president, lived in Avinger and served as its postmaster from 1898 to 1902. He also operated a large general store in town, which may have served as the primary branch of the company commissary. At the turn of the century, W. G. Ragley and Sam Bennett along with George Brown had sawmills operating at or near the Switch, which would have generated a population of several hundred. The Brown company plant was located next to that of the W. G. Ragley Lumber Company operation there. Brown proceeded Ragley in establishing a sawmill at Ragley, in Panola County.
Research Date: MCJ 05-04-96
Prepared By: M. Johnson