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Research: Sawmill Database

Alpha-Numeric Key: JE-34
Corporate Name: Kirby Lumber Co - Mills V & W
Local Name:
Owner Name: Kirby Lumber Co. Keith Lumber Co. J. Frank Keith, president; E. A. Fletcher, vice-president; B. Rush Norvell, treasurer; L. E. Ingram, secretary. Sold to 1913 and repurchased from W. F. Ryder in 1915. Kirby Lumber Co.
Location: Voth, four miles northwest of Beaumont, south bank of Pine Island Bayou Pine Island, about nine miles north of Beaumont
County: Jefferson
Years in Operation: 50 years
Start Year: 1903
End Year: 1952
Decades: 1900-1909,1910-1919,1920-1929,1930-1939,1940-1949,1950-1959
Period of Operation: May 25, 1903 to 1952 when operations were transferred to new Silsbee plant
Town: Voth on south bank of Pine Island Bayou
Company Town: 1
Peak Town Size: About 1,000 in 1949
Mill Pond:
Type of Mill: Pine and hardwood lumber. 1915: 70% in board stock, remainder in timber and ties. 1928: Variety of hardwoods and pines; crossties, timbers.
Sawmill Pine Sawmill Hardwood Sawmill Cypress Sawmill
Planer Planer Only Shingle Paper
Plywood Cotton Grist Unknown
Power Source: Steam engines, boilers, and dry kilns
Horse Mule Oxen Water
Water Overshot Water Turbine Diesel Unknown
Pit Steam Steam Circular Steam Band
Gas Electricity Other
Maximum Capacity: 50000: 190475000: 190680000: 1915100000: 1928
Capacity Comments: In 1904, 75,000 feet daily on the planer and 50,000 feet on the sawmill; 1906, 75,000 feet daily; 80,000 feet of lumber in 1915 Kirby: 75,000 feet daily 1928: 100,000 feet daily
Rough Lumber Planed Lumber Crossties Timbers
Lathe Ceiling Unknown Beading
Flooring Paper Plywood Particle Board
Treated Other
Equipment: Kirby: Sawmill, planer, dry sheds, dry kilns. Keith: Sawmill only with no planers or kilns. 8' band, 8' resaw, 84' edger 1928: Double band sawmill, planing mill, edgers, trimmers, dry kilns, logging road, commissary.
Company Tram:
Associated Railroads: Texas & New Orleans, and Santa Fe, and the company tram (Beaumont & Saratoga Transportation Company)
Historicial Development: Keith Lumber Company mill built the Voth mill in 1902 and 1903, located on Pine Island Bayou, four miles above and northwest of Beaumont on the Texas & New Orleans, was was founded in 1902. This mill started operations on May 25, 1903. The company had a mill, a logging tram road, and a sawmill town with a post office. The logs were kept in the Bayou, and by June 1905, two dry kilns were added to the inventory at Pine Island, adding to the current drying capacity of 40,000 feet daily. The Keith tram road was expanded in 1906 and could carry 100,000 log scale feet daily. Keith Lumber sold the plant to W. F. Ryder in 1913 and repurchased it in 1915. The W.F. Ryder mill at Voth appeared in a 1915 directory of sawmills as having a daily cutting capacity of 80,000 feet. Seventy percent of the mill's output was in board stockthe remaining cut being in ties and timbers. The mill could furnish timber 32-ft by 16-ft by 16-ft and the largest size stock the mill could dress was 32-ft by 14-ft by 20-ft. After adding a new hardwood department, the plant suffered a $100,000 loss from a sawmill fire on December 20, 1916. The Gulf Coast Lumberman reported in May, 1917, that Keith Lumber was rebuilding the plant. By September, 1917, the plant was once again operating. Kirby Lumber Co purchased the mill in 1922. Another hardwood mill was added to the facility in 1924. On January 28, 1928, the Voth mill burned, with a loss of $50,000. The hardwood machinery from Gulf Lumber at Fullerton, Louisiana, was bought and shipped to Voth, including a band re-saw, planer, and dry kilns. The Kirby Lumber Company four hardwood mills at Voth, Call, and Merryville (LA) produced 350,000 feet daily. Kirby Lumber, according to The Gulf Coast Lumberman, sold its remaining commissaries, located at Voth, Bessmay, Call, and Honey Island, to H. C. Hopkins, of Silsbee, in September, 1952. Mills V and W closed toward the end of 1952, and these operations were transferred in 1954 to the new Silsbee plant.
Research Date: JKG 8-23-93, MCJ 03-12-96
Prepared By: J. Gerland, M. Johnson