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Research: Sawmill Database

Alpha-Numeric Key: WK-55
Corporate Name: I. F. (or J. F.) Kelley two mills
Local Name:
Owner Name: I. F. or J. F. Kelley. Two mills in his own name at or near Phelps.
Location: Phelps, “on Huntsville branch”
County: Walker
Years in Operation: 1 year
Start Year: 1880
End Year: 1880
Decades: 1880-1889
Period of Operation: 1880
Town: Phelps
Company Town: 2
Peak Town Size: Unknown
Mill Pond:
Type of Mill: Lumber and shingles
Sawmill Pine Sawmill Hardwood Sawmill Cypress Sawmill
Planer Planer Only Shingle Paper
Plywood Cotton Grist Unknown
Power Source: Unknown
Horse Mule Oxen Water
Water Overshot Water Turbine Diesel Unknown
Pit Steam Steam Circular Steam Band
Gas Electricity Other
Maximum Capacity: 
Capacity Comments: Unknown
Rough Lumber Planed Lumber Crossties Timbers
Lathe Ceiling Unknown Beading
Flooring Paper Plywood Particle Board
Treated Other
Equipment: Sawmill, shingle machine
Company Tram:
Associated Railroads: International & Great Northern
Historicial Development: A man by the name of J. F. (or I. F.) Kelley (or Kelly) was very prominent in Walker County sawmilling during the 1880s. W. T. Block has identified Kelley as J. F. Kelly (different spelling of last name), who was enumerated during 1880 in District 155, Precinct 4, residence 2. During 1880, he owned outright two sawmills and partnered two others (Kelley & Roberts and Kelley and Robbins) at Phelps, one at New Waverly (Kelley & Robinson), one at Riverside (another Kelley & Roberts), one five miles north of Riverside (Kelley & Grinstead), one in District 155, where he lived (Kelley & Johns), and one in District 157 (Kelley & Pace). The first seven are documented in Northwestern Lumberman listings and the last two in the Census of 1880. Block quoted from Walker County, Texas: A History: He built a sawmill near the International & Great Northern a few miles from Waverly. . . . The railroad built a switch across to the sawmill. . . . known as Kelly's Switch. Just a mile south was the community with store, school, and post office called Barado. One day the boiler of the mill blew up, resulting in Kelly's death a few days later (on November 5, 1888). As late as the 1930s, the old boiler and some equipment were still there, where the forest had grown up around them. . . ”. Block reasonably assumes that Kelly had either Houston or Galveston money behind him.
Research Date: JKG 11-11-93, MCJ 03-31-96
Prepared By: J. Gerland, M. Johnson