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to: Sinker Cypress

Sinker Cypress History in Pearl River region of Mississippi and Louisiana

The University of Louisiana has a book containing the historical records of the brands the lumber men used to mark their timber as they rafted it down the rivers.
Many of these logs bear the brands of the loggers, who were great-great-great-grandfathers of many local citizens. We are researching these brands.

Some other brands | w | Z -- Circle BNX brand

Photos from one of the Sawmills where we find this old lumber - Hattiesburg, Mississippi

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The last of its kind... Felled by a September Storm, a hurricane, or it could have been felled by the Earthquake of 1811, which caused the Mississippi River to run backwards many days, and this old cypress must have sunk before many settlers had arrived.
The first know settler came to this part of the country in 1811 and settled in Picayune Mississippi. Legend as told by George Fitzgerald to his Grandson, Isaac Jarrell obtained a Georgia passport in Columbia County Tuesday November 13, 1810 to cross the Creek Indian Nation.
Andrew Jackson marched his army through this country on his way to New Orleans in January 1815, and dealt the British Army it's most staggering defeat. After his famous victory, many of his veterans with military bounty land warrants, settled in the virtually empty land on the lower Pearl. Many of these names are still prominent in the lower Pearl such as Smith, Bankston, Brumfield, Richardson, Mizell, Simmons, Hays, McGehee, Adams, Mitchell, Toney, Byrd, Burch, Burks, Tally, Stockstill and many more... The ancestors of many of these current citizens were logging these old trees.

Floating logs, kept under water.

The enterprise of the Goodyear interests of Buffalo, New York, established the lumber industry in Bogalusa Louisiana in 1906, and erected the Great Southern Lumber Company plant. This plant became the largest pine sawmill in the world and in a very few years, less than 10, the old growth forests were gone...


Source: PRCH, Lucy Beard, Canvasser, August 12, 1936

When the early settlers came into what is now Pearl River County, they found a wealth of long leaf pine timber. Vast acres were covered with this beautiful and valuable timber. They began to cut the trees and build their homes of the logs and to clear it away for their fields. So plentiful it seemed that these settlers thought nothing of caring for the trees at all. Log rollings were held and giant logs rolled together and burned. The owners did not dream they were destroying a gold mine.

The only people at that time who objected to this slaughter of trees were the Indians. How they grieved to see their beloved pines cut and destroyed. Very soon the northern capitalists saw the opportunity to make a great sum of money by buying the timber from the settlers at ridiculously low prices and holding it until they should see fit to make it into lumber for the market. Much of this fine timber sold to the northern man for $1.25 per acre. Very few of the people kept their timber.

About the time that the timber was being bought so rapidly by the companies, the settlers were cutting giant logs and floating them down Pearl River to Gainesville and the coast where they were made into ship timber. Many of the older men tell stirring tales of the dangers and thrills of the river men as they rode their rafts of logs to market.

One citizen told me that he had cut down giant pines with an ax, the desired length ready to haul for ten cents a tree. The means of transporting this timber to the mill was by water. The first logging was done with a two wheel cart, the wheels about six feet high pulled with three or four yoke of oxen. The cart had a long tongue and a windlass with a set of hooks that was used to pick up the logs about two feet high in order to clear any obstacle on the ground. With the high wheels they could drive over logs with the cart. In thosedays they had very crude tools compared to what they have now. There were no cross-cut saws, files, etc. The trees were cut down with an ax the desired length thirty to fifty feet depending on the order they had The axes were sharpened on a grinding stone.

The carts picked the logs up and carried them to the landing. They were hauled two or three miles sometimes and only one log at a time - they only made two or three trips a day on long hauls. These landings were places where they put the logs in the water to float them down to market. Some of these locations still bear the names of those old landings. Some of the logging men floated their logs loose in the river. The only raft was the one they built the kitchen on, it was carried behind the logs. Boards were put over the cracks in the legs and dirt put over the boards (the boards were hewn). On this a fire was built and they cooked their meals in Dutch ovens.

Some wonderful times and some good meals were had on those trips, for it took several days to run the logs to market. They had venison and wild game in abundance. When it was too wet to stop over and sleep on the banks of the river, they slept on the kitchen. They had a tent to stretch over the kitchen when it rained to keep their groceries dry. The crew usually consisted of about six or seven men, two in the front, two in the center and two in the back and often an extra man who was a pretty good cook. The crew was paid from $1.25 to $1.75 per day and their board. The drive consisted of from 300 to 500 logs, sometimes more. Very often the logs would get jammed together in the bend of the river and it would take lots of hard work to get them loose. Some of our citizens logged as far up on Pearl River as twenty miles southof Jackson. The logs were carried to Pearlington and other points on the Coast. There a boom was stretched across the river to catch the logs. An inspector then came and inspected and scaled the logs. The logging men received $5 and $6 per thousand for the choicest heart yellow pine logs.

After the railroad came through the county the saw mills began to locate here. Of the 20,000 people in the county in l921, l0,000 were employed in the lumber industry. In 1929, there were fifteen saw mills operating in Pearl River County. The camps that grew up around these saw mills were small towns and furnished excellent markets for the farmers produce. Among the larger mills in the county were Edward Hines, Weston, Goodyear and Williams Yellow Pine. There were numerous smaller ones.

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