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Research: Sawmill Database

Alpha-Numeric Key: NA-134
Corporate Name: Hardeman Brothers
Local Name:
Owner Name: Hardeman brothers. Major Black Hardeman
Location: Rocky Branch, Beat number 2, 1860 Census, several miles south of Melrose
County: Nacogdoches
Years in Operation: 11 years
Start Year: 1850
End Year: 1860
Decades: 1850-1859,1860-1869
Period of Operation: Rocky Branch, Beat number 2, 1860 Census, several miles south of Melrose
Town: Probably near Etoile
Company Town: 2
Peak Town Size: Unknown
Mill Pond:
Type of Mill: Lumber and cornmeal
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: 8000: 1860
Capacity Comments: About 8,000 feet daily. 840,000 feet of lumber during the reporting period of the Census of 1860.
Rough Lumber Planed Lumber Crossties Timbers
Lathe Ceiling Unknown Beading
Flooring Paper Plywood Particle Board
Treated Other
Equipment: Sawmill and grist mill
Company Tram:
Associated Railroads: None
Historicial Development: Major Black Hardeman, according to Journal, in 1904, had a sawmill “in a splendid pinery on Rocky Branch. . .”. It was one of the first mills in the county. The Weekly Sentinel noted in 1907 some of the mill's history. B. M. Hall, for $100, hauled the old steam machinery to the mill site, located several miles south of Melrose, driving a four-yoke oxen team from Natchitoches, Louisiana. One man operated the carriage, which, like all of the machinery, was primitive. The old time iron pins known as ‘dogs' were used in holding the logs in place and keeping them from slipping. The sawyer started the engine by pulling a long lever which connected with the throttle. If the log to be sawed was very larger several running starts had to be taken in order to get the saw through the log. There were no such thing as an endless chain for conveying the slabs away, nor was there anything to take the sawdust out of the way. The slabs were picked by a mill helper and ‘totted' away, and the sawdust was shoveled into carts and hauled to a dumping place.” Weatherboarding consisted of sap lumber with some of the bark on it, selling for 35 cents a hundred. Boxing sold for 50 cents a hundred feet. “Major Hardeman's mill was operated for several years and served a useful purpose in the development of its locality. For miles and miles farmers came with old-time ox wagons and hauled home the lumber they needed. “In those days there were no dry kilns or planers, and when a customer bought his lumber he carried it home and dried it out by placing the material against a rude scaffold and building a fire on the ground beneath it.” Planing was done with a hand plane. Hardeman's mill was the largest in 1860. The sawmill and grist mill manufactured 840,000 feet of lumber (valued at $8400) and produced 17,550 bushels of meal (valued at $17,500) during the census year, working four to five men and one woman in the lumber business and two men in the meal business. Total wages paid during a month were about $215. Total capital invested in the entire plant was $6000.
Research Date: MCJ 04-22-96
Prepared By: M Johnson