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Research: Sawmill Database

Alpha-Numeric Key: NE-1
Corporate Name: Wier Long Leaf Lumber Company
Local Name: Wier Long Leaf Lumber Company
Owner Name: R.W. Wier, president; C.P. Myer, vice-president and general manager; T. P. Wier, B. F. Bonner, Mrs. Henry Lutcher, Miriam Lutcher Stark, William H. Stark, Carrie Lutcher Brown, and Dr. Edgar W. Brown
Location: Wiergate, on Little Cow Creek, southwest end of 1415
County: Newton
Years in Operation: 25 years
Start Year: 1918
End Year: 1942
Decades: 1910-1919,1920-1929,1930-1939,1940-1949
Period of Operation: Began operations in fall of 1918; closed December 25, 1942
Town: Wiergate
Company Town: 1
Peak Town Size: 4000 in 1928; 1521 in 1934
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
Other
Power Source: 750-horsepower steam engine
Horse Mule Oxen Water
Water Overshot Water Turbine Diesel Unknown
Pit Steam Steam Circular Steam Band
Gas Electricity Other
Maximum Capacity: 200000: 1920
Capacity Comments: 200,000 to 250,000 feet daily; 60 million board feet yearly
Produced:
Rough Lumber Planed Lumber Crossties Timbers
Lathe Ceiling Unknown Beading
Flooring Paper Plywood Particle Board
Treated Other
Equipment: A complete sawmill with a double band and singular circular, planing mill, and logging railroad
Company Tram:
Associated Railroads: The company shortline, known as the Gulf and Northern Railroad, connected with the Orange and Northwestern Railway at Newton.
Historicial Development: R. W. Wier, an experienced and successful Houston lumberman, was contracted by the Lutcher and Moore heirs in 1917 to build a large sawmill in order to harvest and manufacture into lumber nearly 86,000 acres of virgin long leaf pine in northern Newton, Jasper, and Sabine counties. Wier chose a mill site near the town of Burkeville, Newton County, and began building the large mill and town of Wiergate in 1917. In the fall of the next year, the mill began to saw its first logs and replaced the recently cut-out 4-C mill in Houston County as the largest single sawmill in Texas. It produced about 60 million board feet of lumber per year. The mill pond was ten acres, and its depth ranged from fifteen to eighteen feet. A log "tripping" device at the pond could unload sixteen cars of long leaf pine logs in under twenty minutes. Timbers as large as 30-inch by 60-feet were manufactured at Wiergate, and it can safely be said that the mill cut the last great stand of virgin longleaf pine in Texas. It leased Lutcher's and Moore's log reserve in Newton County in 1930. By contract, Wier was to clear-cut all merchantable timber over 10 inches at the butt. The mill ran steadily and had fulfilled the contract by late 1942. Logging was completed in November 1942, and the mill officially closed on Christmas day, December 25, 1942. The mill regularly employed 600 people. The town of Wiergate had swimming pools, libraries, “rooms for games,” an ice plant, two community houses racially segregated, hotel, two churches for Baptists, Methodists, and Pentecostals, radios, phonographs, and movie theaters. Wiergate also had one of the best amateur baseball teams in East Texas and West Louisiana. Effective, no-charge home lighting dated from 1937. The mill had a boy scout troop. The work force was mixed: white, black, and Hispanic, segregated into their own living sections, known as White Town, Darkey Town, and Mexico, each on it own hill.
Research Date: JKG 12-15-93, MCJ 12-08-95
Prepared By: J. Gerland, M. Johnson