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Research: Sawmill Database

Alpha-Numeric Key: LI-104
Corporate Name: W. F. Blair and Company
Local Name:
Owner Name: W. F. Blair and John Blair
Location: Three miles north of Dayton, near the old Green's Ferry road.
County: Liberty
Years in Operation: 25 years
Start Year: 1891
End Year: 1915
Decades: 1890-1899,1900-1909,1910-1919
Period of Operation: About 1891 to Blair family moved to Oklahoma in 1915
Town: Dayton
Company Town: 1
Peak Town Size: 239 in 1905; 3000 in 1928; 1207 in 1934
Mill Pond:
Type of Mill: Hardwood 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: 10000: 1906
Capacity Comments: 10,000 feet of lumber in 1906
Rough Lumber Planed Lumber Crossties Timbers
Lathe Ceiling Unknown Beading
Flooring Paper Plywood Particle Board
Treated Other
Equipment: A circular sawmill, dry kilns, and possibly a planing mill
Company Tram:
Associated Railroads: Texas and New Orleans and, after 1906, Trinity Valley & Northern; Southern Pacific
Historicial Development: W. F. Blair moved from Ohio to Liberty County, Texas, in 1889. He soon built a small hardwood mill near the old Green's Ferry road, about three miles north of Dayton. By 1891, he was shipping lumber from that mill, possibly over a wooden rail tram line which connected with the Texas & New Orleans railroad at Dayton. The Blair and Company sawmill employed about twenty workers, and was rated at 10,000 board feet per day in the Southern Industrial and Lumber Review's 1906 listing of sawmills. The mill operated until at least late 1906 when it received a poor credit rating in the January 1907 published records of the Lumbermen's Credit Association. It may have operated as late as 1915. It is not known if the hurricane of 1915 contributed to the family moving to Oklahoma that year. W.F. Blair and his brother, John Blair, ran a limited commissary store near their sawmill, with many items had to still be bought in nearby Dayton. There were no dry goods, bread, or meat for the workers. They could get canned goods (tomatoes, corn, peaches, pears, green beans), and cheese, crackers, flour, and cornmeal. Brouchard Frazier, of Houston, supplied the mill with goods by train from Houston to Dayton, then by wagon to the mill. Blair supplied a school, grades one through eight, and a teacher for the Blairs' and workers' children. The county later paid the teacher. Teachers were Ira Davis, Pearl Tabb, Valeta Grimm, Minnie Guiher, and Kate Wells. J. C. Stewart, a Methodist circuit preacher, conducted services in the schoolhouse, rooming with the Blairs from Saturday to Monday. On the 1899 County Tax Roll, W. F. Blair and Company recorded a 1,053 acres, thirteen horses and mules, five wagons, and a steam engine and boiler worth $400.
Research Date: JKG 12-14-93, MCJ 03-14-96
Prepared By: J Gerland, M Johnson