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Research: Sawmill Database

Alpha-Numeric Key: TY-36
Corporate Name: Yellow Pine Tram and Lumber Company
Local Name:
Owner Name: E.P. Cowan and Associates of Dallas; Royal A. Ferris from April 1891
Location: Colmesneil
County: Tyler
Years in Operation: 11 years
Start Year: 1883
End Year: 1893
Decades: 1880-1889,1890-1899
Period of Operation: About 1883 to April 17, 1893
Town: Colmesneil
Company Town: 1
Peak Town Size: 2200 in 1889
Mill Pond:
Type of Mill: All grades of finished and unfinished lumber and timbers
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: 75000: 1890
Capacity Comments: 75,000 feet daily in the sawmill, 100,000 feet in the planing mill, and 50,000 feet in the dry kilns
Rough Lumber Planed Lumber Crossties Timbers
Lathe Ceiling Unknown Beading
Flooring Paper Plywood Particle Board
Treated Other
Equipment: A complete lumber mill with a single circular and gang, including a saw mill proper, dry kilns, and planing mill.
Company Tram:
Associated Railroads: Texas & New Orleans. Trinity & Sabine.
Historicial Development: With the leadership of E. P. Cowan, Dallas investors organized the Yellow Pine Tram and Lumber Company sometime around 1883. At Colmesneil they built a large circular saw milling plant capable of cutting 75,000 feet daily, and soon operated a planer there which dressed around 100,000 feet per day. The sawmill's location at Colmesneil placed it not only in excellent stumpage, but most strategically positioned it to have convenient access to both the Texas & New Orleans and the Trinity & Sabine railroads. The mill employed 300 men in 1889, and although the town was barely seven years old, a population of 2200 was easily supported by the lumber company. Financial woes, however, fell upon this apparently prosperous lumber community, forcing the company into receivership and eventual sale in April 1891. Royal A. Ferris, also of Dallas, emerged as the new owner, but a devastating fire on April 17, 1893 destroyed not only the entire mill plant, yard, and many company houses, but any hopes of rebuilding the mill. Plus seven hotels, Colmesneil could also boast of twenty-three other businesses in 1889. In addition to Baptist and Methodist churches being active in Colmesneil's early history, it was reported in July 1889 that a Catholic church was being erected. At the same time it was reported that the Colmesneil High School had enrolled 137 pupils and owned an organ. It was also reported that the Colmesneil mill was the first industry in Texas to use a “steam lumber stacker” which replaced the labor of twelve men. In 1905 Colmesneil had no lumber mill, and it was then reported that the town had the only “fruit and truck (vegetable) growers' organization” between Beaumont and Nacogdoches.
Research Date: JKG 8-3-93, MCJ 02-21-96
Prepared By: J. Gerland, M. Johnson