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Research: Sawmill Database

Alpha-Numeric Key: CH-4
Corporate Name: C. R. Cummings Export Company
Local Name:
Owner Name: C. R. Cummings Export Company
Location: Across the river from Wallisville
County: Chambers
Years in Operation: 18 years
Start Year: 1898
End Year: 1915
Decades: 1890-1899,1900-1909,1910-1919
Period of Operation: 1898 to 1915
Town: Wallisville
Company Town: 1
Peak Town Size: 128 in 1905
Mill Pond:
Type of Mill: Pine, cypress, white ash, and cottonwood (ninety percent of production was board stock in 1915); ties, shingles
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: 60000: 1915
Capacity Comments: 60,000 feet daily in 1915
Rough Lumber Planed Lumber Crossties Timbers
Lathe Ceiling Unknown Beading
Flooring Paper Plywood Particle Board
Treated Other
Equipment: Two small circular sawmills at first, then a band saw and a shingle mill about 1901, later adding a planing mill, dry sheds, and dry kilns.
Company Tram:
Associated Railroads: Exported production via the Trinity River and Galveston Bay
Historicial Development: The Wallisville mill of C. R. Cummings was a consolidation of his earlier mills at Liberty and Anahuac in 1898. The company began the move by constructing a river log boom and taking a twenty-year lease from J. J. Maye for a mill site on twenty-five acres on the west bank of the Trinity. The company bought the Horatio from the Liberty Lumber Company, after the latter's destruction during the great storm of 1897, for shipping lumber to the gulf for export, along with the steam tugs Helen and Dick. The business remained small through 1900: only 44 workers in the county were listed as lumberman. With the Stephens Mill, John Cook's mill, and the Kilgore & Beckwith mill competing for mill hands, all of the mills were small by necessity and certainly did not do their own logging until at least 1901. In 1905, Cumming Export bought 1,600 acres of pine forest and built a company tram from it to the mill at Wallisville, in order to meet a contract for manufacturing 30,000 ties for the Galveston market. Its tram road was known as the “Cummings Express,” which ran east to Turtle Bayou, then north to Spinks Creek and into south Liberty County. At its logging camp at Clark was located semi-permanent housing, a blacksmith shop, and a commissary. The company employed more than 200 men at busy peaks of operation. Cummings bought a thousand acres of timberlands in the B. M. Spinks and 1,600 acres in the T. Devers surveys. The mill employed a segregated work force of whites, African-Americans, and Mexicans. A boiler explosion killed a Mexican and three African-Americans in 1913. The great storm of 1915 destroyed the mill. More than thirty sawmills in Texas and Louisiana were damaged or destroyed by the hurricane.
Research Date: JKG 12-1-93, MCJ 04-02-96
Prepared By: J. Gerland, M. Johnson