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Research: Sawmill Database

Alpha-Numeric Key: RU-57
Corporate Name: J. M. & W. W. Thompson with Henry Tucker.
Local Name:
Owner Name: J. M. and W. W. Thompson, and their father, B. F. Thompson. Later joined by Henry Tucker.
Location: Three miles south of Kilgore
County: Rusk
Years in Operation: 30 years
Start Year: 1852
End Year: 1881
Decades: 1850-1859,1860-1869,1870-1879,1880-1889
Period of Operation: 1852 to 1861, 1865 to 1881
Town: South of Kilgore
Company Town: 1
Peak Town Size: Unknown
Mill Pond:
Type of Mill: Lumber and cornmeal
Sawmill Pine Sawmill Hardwood Sawmill Cypress Sawmill
Planer Planer Only Shingle Paper
Plywood Cotton Grist Unknown
Power Source: Water then steam
Horse Mule Oxen Water
Water Overshot Water Turbine Diesel Unknown
Pit Steam Steam Circular Steam Band
Gas Electricity Other
Maximum Capacity: 4000: 18538000: 186110000: 1881
Capacity Comments: 4,000 to 5,000 feet daily in 1853; 8,000 in 1861; 10,000 feet in 1881
Rough Lumber Planed Lumber Crossties Timbers
Lathe Ceiling Unknown Beading
Flooring Paper Plywood Particle Board
Treated Other
Equipment: Saw and grist mills. First, a sash saw, then a circular later.
Company Tram:
Associated Railroads: Unknown
Historicial Development: According to Southern Industrial and Lumber Review, the first sawmill south of the Kilgore area in 1852 by J. M. and W. W. Thompson was the beginning of the Thompson-Tucker and Thompson Family lumber interests. Henry Tucker joined the company some years later. Several mills were built on the same spot through the years from 1852 to 1881, when the Thompson-Tucker Lumber Company moved to Trinity County. The first mill was a sash saw water-powered operation, which burned down a year later. The second mill introduced the area's first circular saw, which cut 4,000 to 5,000 feet a day. By 1860, the third mill was cutting 8,000 feet daily. This sawmill ran on a steam engine and was d a capital value in the 1860 Census of $12,400 and the grist mill $3,500. Seven men in the sawmill and one man in the grist mill were paid a total monthly wage of $200 and $30, respectively. The value of production 800,000 feet of lumber and 100,000 feet of sheathing was $8,500. The value of the cornmeal was illegible. The sawmill closed during the Civil War. It was rebuilt in 1865 and 1879. By 1874, a commissary was attached to the mill, indicating the presence of a company town. This sawmill was listed in an 1880 Chicago lumberman directory . The Thompsons and Tuckers relocated their operations to Trinity County in 1881. John Martin Thompson and Henry Tucker, according to Gregg County records, contracted with J. H. Florence to haul sawtimber to the site of their old Civil War sawmill, which was located near where the Camp Ferry Road passed the John A. Goforth house. This operation was closed and moved to the Trinity County area in 1882.
Research Date: MCJ 02-12-96
Prepared By: M Johnson