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Research: Sawmill Database

Alpha-Numeric Key: PK-131
Corporate Name: W. T. Carter and Brother
Local Name:
Owner Name: William T. Carter, Ernest A. Carter, A. B. Caton
Location: Barnum: Barnum community on Highway 287
County: Polk
Years in Operation: 17 years
Start Year: 1881
End Year: 1897
Decades: 1880-1889,1890-1899
Period of Operation: 1881 to 1897
Town: Barnum
Company Town: 1
Peak Town Size: 350 in 1889
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: 50000: 1893
Capacity Comments: In 1893, 50,000 feet daily.
Rough Lumber Planed Lumber Crossties Timbers
Lathe Ceiling Unknown Beading
Flooring Paper Plywood Particle Board
Treated Other
Equipment: A circular saw mill, planing, mill, dry kilns,
Company Tram:
Associated Railroads: Trinity and Sabine (Missouri Kansas and Texas) and company tram road
Historicial Development: William T. Carter and Ernest Anderson Carter moved the family's Trinity County sawmill operations to Polk County in 1881. The move was precipitated by the construction of the Trinity & Sabine Railroad which opened up vast new stands of virgin forests between Trinity and Colmesneil. The sawmill site was situated about eleven miles east of Corrigan and eighteen miles west of Colmesneil. The town that soon surrounded the mill was named Barnum, possibly after P.T. Barnum, the circus showman. In 1883, the W.T. Carter and Brother partnership was established when Ernest Anderson Carter bought into the company and began selling Barnum's output in Kansas City. The mill was lost to a boiler explosion in late 1892, but by April 1893, the mill had been rebuilt and was cutting 50,000 board feet per day. A gang saw was being added at that time as well, which would increase the mill's efficiency, and plans were to be in full operation again on May 1, 1893. Sparks from a Trinity & Sabine locomotive caused another fire which burned the mill, along with the lumber inventory, commissary, and some houses in 1897. The Carters then decided to move operations six miles south to Camden, since the Barnum loss was complete and a new mill location would afford better access to the timber. W. T. Carter and Brother began experimental farming of cut over lands in 1893 by planting 200 acres in corn, rye, oats, barley, potatoes, peanuts, melons, pumpkins, squash, etc. The plan apparently was a failure, for hogs were raised instead by 1895. A Galveston newspaper noted in 1889 that the the company was using two locomotives to log 12,000 acres of yellow pine with an iron-rail seven-mile long tram road. The tram road was extended in 1891. Jones confuses Alf Morris's mill at Bowers with being at Barnum
Research Date: JKG 11-16-93, MCJ 02-27-96
Prepared By: J. Gerland, M. Johnson