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Research: Sawmill Database

Alpha-Numeric Key: JE-63
Corporate Name: Spartan Mill Company
Local Name:
Owner Name: Spartan Mill Company. Judge David R. Wingate. David Bradbury, Orrin Brown, Isaiah Ketchum, and Benjamin Granger. Henry Hubbell. Sidney A. Street.
Location: Sabine Pass
County: Jefferson
Years in Operation: 17 years
Start Year: 1846
End Year: 1862
Decades: 1840-1849,1850-1859,1860-1869
Period of Operation: 1846 to 1862
Town: Sabine Pass
Company Town: 2
Peak Town Size: Unknown
Mill Pond:
Type of Mill: 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: 30000: 1860
Capacity Comments: 1,200,000 feet during the reporting period of the 1850 Census. 30,000 feet daily in 1860
Rough Lumber Planed Lumber Crossties Timbers
Lathe Ceiling Unknown Beading
Flooring Paper Plywood Particle Board
Treated Other
Equipment: A steam sash sawmill, sash and door millwork factory, shipyard. 1849- three circular saws
Company Tram:
Associated Railroads: Unknown
Historicial Development: Sidney Sweet chartered the Spartan Mill Company in 1846, bringing logs down the Sabine, across the lake, and cutting them at Sabine Pass. In 1848, Sweet sold the mill to Hubbell, who a year later sold the mill to Bradbury, Brown, Ketchum, and Granger. The mill was abandoned for a short time because of economic difficulties. In 1850, the mill had a $12,000 capital investment, and its raw materials included 4,000 logs and 200 cords of wood. It produced that census year 1,200,000 feet of lumber valued at $23,000. Fifteen men worked for a total monthly wage of $637. In 1858, Judge D. R. Wingate bought the mill, and worked it with a combination of white labor and thirteen slaves. In the census of 1860, the mill turned $11,980 worth of logs into a production value of $43,680. Ten men earned $300 total in monthly wages. In 1860, a boiler explosion killed and maimed several workers. The Gulf Coast Lumberman asserted that Wingate employed “whipsawing,” the use of two men working a pitsaw with human muscle, as the source of energy for the mill. Perhaps this occurred when steam power was not available during repairs. By 1860, Spartan Mill Company was the largest sawmill operations in Texas, capable of cutting 30,000 feet daily of lumber. Like his brother-in-law, Alfred Farr, of Farrsville, Newton County, Wingate operated a combination plantation/lumber mill operation. Unlike his Farr, Wingate expanded the mill's operations to provide milled lumber beyond the needs of local consumption. Wingate fled to the interior to Farr's mill and plantation when the Union Navy burned his mill.
Research Date: MCJ 03-12-96
Prepared By: M Johnson