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Research: Sawmill Database

Alpha-Numeric Key: PK-13
Corporate Name: Hilgard Lumber Company
Local Name:
Owner Name: Bender & Sons: Charles Bender; Charles Bender, Jr.; Albert Bender; Eugene Bender; Frank Bender. Hilgard Lumber: E. R. Wicks, president; G. A. Dascomb, secretary; George C. Vaughan, treasurer; J. E. Craddock, manager. Benford: Lynch Davidson
Location: Holohausen (Holshausen), later Laurelia: south side of Brushy Creek on Highway 59
County: Polk
Years in Operation: 31 years
Start Year: 1880
End Year: 1910
Decades: 1880-1889,1890-1899,1900-1909,1910-1919
Period of Operation: 1880 to 1910
Town: Holshausen, later Laurelia
Company Town: 1
Peak Town Size: Unknown
Mill Pond:
Type of Mill: Rough and finished 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: 30000: 189375000: 1906
Capacity Comments: 30,000 feet daily in 1893 to 75,000 in 1906
Rough Lumber Planed Lumber Crossties Timbers
Lathe Ceiling Unknown Beading
Flooring Paper Plywood Particle Board
Treated Other
Equipment: A complete lumber mill with planing mill and dry kilns.
Company Tram:
Associated Railroads: Houston East & West Texas (later Southern Pacific)
Historicial Development: Ruth Peebles notes in A Pictorial History of Polk County, Texas that the first sawmiller at Laurelia was Judge Claiborne Holshausen, who built one about 1880. He sold it thereafter to Bender & Sons of Houston. Holshausen's name was changed to Laurelia. The Bender operation was cutting 30,000 feet daily in 1893 and is mentioned briefly in a larger article on the Bender mill in Houston in 1894. In 1894, Charles Bender, Sr., and Eugene Bender supervised this operation. The mill was cutting 60,000 feet daily in 1900. Bender sold the mill to the Hilgard Lumber Company in 1902. Hilgard Lumber operations at Moscow and Holshausen may have been contract mills for Foster Lumber Company. The company operated a tram logging road with at least two steam locomotives, according to Strapac. The Hilgard Lumber Company upped the daily cut to 75,000 by 1906. G. Bedell Moore, a partner in Lutcher-Moore at Orange, soon supplanted Wicks and the others. The mill shut down at his death in 1908. After the Benford Lumber mill at Petersville was destroyed by fire in the fall of 1909, Benford Lumber bought the Hilgard Lumber Company mill at Laurelia “for the purpose,” said the Southern Industrial and Lumber Review in 1910, “of manufacturing there the timber that was to have been cut at Potomac.” The Benford company, using the Davis-Ingram Lumber Company name, had only operated the mill about sixty days, however, before it too was destroyed by fire on the night of January 17, 1910. It was not rebuilt. Bender's commissary took company tokens made of cardboard and metal. Bender's ranching brand was the brand for the sawmill token as well. The ad also noted that Bender & Sons “Keeps a full supply” of County Produce “at market price. Keeps a full supply of Family Groceries which will be sold at bottom prices.” Vaughan Lumber Company succeeded Hilgard that had been sold to Lynch Davidson's Benford Lumber Company in 1909 at Laurelia, about three miles from Corrigan. The planer burned in 1908, a loss of about $32,000.
Research Date: JKG 9-30-93, MCJ 04-11-96
Prepared By: J. Gerland, M. Johnson