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Research: Sawmill Database

Alpha-Numeric Key: MO-223
Corporate Name: Roy L. Willis Lumber Company
Local Name:
Owner Name: L. Ledbetter. Roy L. Willis Lumber Company. H. C. Calfee.
Location: Office at Conroe, mill five miles west at Leonidas
County: Montgomery
Years in Operation: 4 years
Start Year: 1925
End Year: 1928
Decades: 1920-1929
Period of Operation: 1925 to 1975. Possibly closed between 1934 to 1948. Site moved after 1928 (see Roy L. Willis at Highway 75 South)
Town: Leonidas, west of Conroe
Company Town: 2
Peak Town Size: Unknown
Mill Pond:
Type of Mill: 1928: Pine and hardwoods. 1960s: Rough and manufactured products, pulpwood chips.
Sawmill Pine Sawmill Hardwood Sawmill Cypress Sawmill
Planer Planer Only Shingle Paper
Plywood Cotton Grist Unknown
Power Source: 1928: Steam. 1948: gasoline. 1975: all-electric
Horse Mule Oxen Water
Water Overshot Water Turbine Diesel Unknown
Pit Steam Steam Circular Steam Band
Gas Electricity Other
Maximum Capacity: 7000: 192820000: 1975
Capacity Comments: 7,000 feet daily in 1928. 600,000 board feet per month in 1975.
Rough Lumber Planed Lumber Crossties Timbers
Lathe Ceiling Unknown Beading
Flooring Paper Plywood Particle Board
Treated Other
Equipment: 1928: Circular sawmill edgers and trimmers. 1960S: Sawmill, chipper, planer, debarker, dry kiln.
Company Tram:
Associated Railroads: International & Great Northern at Conroe, and adjacent to the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe
Historicial Development: The Southern Lumberman's Directory of American Saw Mills and Planing Mills, 5th edition lists an H. C. Calfee operating a sawmill at Conroe in 1928. The mill was located near Leonidas, about five miles west of Conroe. Calfee either purchased or built a sawmill there in 1925. In May, 1927, Calfee manufactured more than 77,000 feet of lumber for two customers, the Foster-Buhmann Lumber Company and the First National Bank of Conroe. The mill have been closed during the Great Depression and World War II. H. C. Calfee sold the mill and site to Roy L. Willis Lumber Company for $10 on June 28, 1948. The sale of 1948 included assets of the sawmill, a 1944 truck, a 1947 truck, one trailer, two mules and a wagon, one rubber-tired wagon, saws, axes, two 55-horsepower International power plants, one 4-inch feed, two edgers, a mandrel, a carriage and track, a gas motor, a chain and slab conveyor, a dust blower, and a sawmill shed. Willis later moved it to Highway 75 North. By 1963, the company was making pulpwood chips with a debarker, a 3-knife chipper, and a chip screen. In 1973, Roy L. Willis Lumber Company produced four million feet of lumber. In 1975, Roy L. Willis retired and advertised his machinery for sale. The ad noted he had an all-electric sawmill that cut 600,000 board feet per month, which could be easily expanded, concrete and steel buildings, a 26-inch Cambio debarker, chippers, conveyors, a 28-separator sorter, a dry kiln, a planing mill, and storage shed, all located on twenty-four acres.
Research Date: MCJ 03-21-96
Prepared By: M. Johnson