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Research: Sawmill Database

Alpha-Numeric Key: JA-29
Corporate Name: Andrew Farney Smyth
Local Name:
Owner Name: Andrew F. Smyth (Smith)
Location: On Indian Creek
County: Jasper
Years in Operation: 27 years
Start Year: 1849
End Year: 1875
Decades: 1840-1849,1850-1859,1860-1869,1870-1879
Period of Operation: About 1849 to at least 1875
Town: On Indian Creek
Company Town: 2
Peak Town Size: Unknown
Mill Pond:
Type of Mill: Pine and oak lumber
Sawmill Pine Sawmill Hardwood Sawmill Cypress Sawmill
Planer Planer Only Shingle Paper
Plywood Cotton Grist Unknown
Other
Power Source: Water
Horse Mule Oxen Water
Water Overshot Water Turbine Diesel Unknown
Pit Steam Steam Circular Steam Band
Gas Electricity Other
Maximum Capacity: 
Capacity Comments: 150,000 feet of lumber during the reporting period of the 1850 Census and 150,000 feet of lumber during the reporting period of the 1860 Census
Produced:
Rough Lumber Planed Lumber Crossties Timbers
Lathe Ceiling Unknown Beading
Flooring Paper Plywood Particle Board
Treated Other
Equipment: Sawmill
Company Tram:
Associated Railroads: None
Historicial Development: Andrew F. Smyth, according to William Seale in Texas Riverman, built a sawmill on Indian Creek, in Jasper County, “shortly before the summer of 1847” above “an incline toward the Angelina River.” Much of the lumber was exported down the Angelina River on to Sabine Pass as well as for buildings in nearby Jasper. Smyth's water-powered mill is recorded in the census for both 1850 and 1860. In 1850, it was valued at $3,000. Smyth employed three men at an average each of $17 monthly. Raw materials included 2,000 pine logs worth $650. The mill cut 100,000 feet of lumber valued at $1,000. In 1860, the mill produced 150,000 feet of pine and oak lumber (valued at $1,500). Smyth employed three men, and paid around $60 in monthly wages. He still valued his capital investment at $3,000. Smyth used an early version of what would later become known as a “smoke” kiln. Seale wrote that the “lumber was . . . planed by hand and stacked upright, tepee style, to be seasoned over a smouldering fire. Depending upon the weather, the lumber was usually ready for sale in about three weeks. Andrew charged three dollars per hundred feet for pine and oak and from five to eight dollars for good cypress.” According to Seale, the mill's output dwindled constantly during the Civil War and never really recovered after the War's end. The mill was still operating in 1875 but no longer served as a major money-making operation for Smyth.
Research Date: JKG 9-22-93, MCJ 01-07-96
Prepared By: J. Gerland, M. Johnson