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Research: Sawmill Database

Alpha-Numeric Key: PK-109
Corporate Name: Sam Allen and Company
Local Name:
Owner Name: Sam C. Allen. John K. Allen. Augustus C. Allen. John Donovan, and, later, McDouglad.
Location: Asia, three miles west of Corrigan on Highway 287
County: Polk
Years in Operation: 23 years
Start Year: 1882
End Year: 1904
Decades: 1880-1889,1890-1899,1900-1909
Period of Operation: About 1882 to no later than 1904. Closed from 1895 to 1897.
Town: Asia
Company Town: 1
Peak Town Size: 200 in 1889
Mill Pond:
Type of Mill: Rough and finished pine 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: 40000: 188950000: 1900
Capacity Comments: 40,000 feet of lumber cut & 50,000 feet planed daily in 1893; 50,000 feet cut daily in 1900; planer 30,000 in 1893
Rough Lumber Planed Lumber Crossties Timbers
Lathe Ceiling Unknown Beading
Flooring Paper Plywood Particle Board
Treated Other
Equipment: A complete sawmill with a circular, planing mill, and possibly dry kilns of the “Arkansas” type
Company Tram:
Associated Railroads: Trinity and Sabine (Missouri Kansas & Texas) connecting to the company tram line at Asia.
Historicial Development: The Asia sawmill was built about three miles west of Corrigan, on the new T&S RR, around 1882. The plant included a sawmill, planing mill, and commissary. Asia was a mill town with a commissary. According to Peebles, a number of the workers had Italian surnames. Dry kilns of the “Arkansas” type may have been used. A newspaper reported that the mill expected to produce ten million feet of lumber in 1889. In 1891, the mill was reconstructed, with operations conducted in a new two-story building. The sawmill cut around 30,000 to 40,000 board feet per day until 1895, when it was closed down because of poor economic conditions. When the mill resumed operations in September 1897, it was probably rebuilt, for, by 1900, the sawmill's capacity was 50,000 feet per day. The planer's capacity was sufficient to finish the lumber at Asia as well as that of the company's sawmill at Mulvey, a short distance away. The Asia sawmill possibly cut out in 1904 or earlier. The mill appeared in the Galveston Daily News on January 1, 1900 as cutting 50,000 feet per day. The mill did not appear, however, in the January 1905 reference book of the Lumbermen's Credit Association. In 1889, logging was done over a tram road with the “Donovan,” a steam locomotive named after John Donovan, an Allen partner and manager of the Asia lumber facility. “Arkansas” dry kilns were a primitive means of drying lumber. An open box of about 18 square feet was placed on a platform eight feet above the ground. Green lumber was stacked within this box, and a fire was built underneath. Heat, smoke, and sparks passed through the stacks, slowly drying the green lumber. Discoloration was generally removed by planing. This type of dry kiln, because of its incendiary nature, was a constant danger to the entire mill plant. Joseph H. Kurth, Sr., the primary mover in the creation of Angelina County Lumber Company, worked for Sam Allen as a bookkeeper from 1879 to 1880, probably at this mill. Sam Allen's lumber yard at Houston was listed in a railroad directory in 1884.
Research Date: JKG 11-16-93, MCJ 02-27-96
Prepared By: J. Gerland, M. Johnson