Note: The following is one of a series of columns looking at the origins and growth of the agriculture industry in Southeast Georgia and Bulloch County.
The “Handbook of the State of Georgia” (1876), compiled by the Office of Agriculture for Georgia, recorded that there were “734 sawmills” operating in the state at that time.
In 1893, D.P. Averitt Sr. established a large sawmill and planing mill in Statesboro, and started the Statesboro Manufacturing Co. Fred W. Darby Co. set up their lumber mill in Statesboro.
On Nov. 12, 1901, the Statesboro News reported that Mess. W.J. Gooding Jr. and C.W. Parker, operating as the Statesboro Lumber Co., opened a large saw mill near Jimps.
In fact, the Statesboro News of Dec. 13, 1901 reported that Wyley & Gabbett “are putting down a large saw mill at Jimps about five miles south of this place.”
The March 14, 1902 Statesboro News listed the large mills in the county: Durden Lumber Co. at Parish; G.B. Johnson at Pulaski; B.B. Stokes at Gem; J.D. Lanier at Lon; J.N. Shearhouse at Shearwood; and Foy’s mill at Egypt.”
In the June and July 1902 Statesboro News, Arthur Howard advertised: “I am still running my portable saw mill, and my price is $4.50 per thousand (feet of lumber brought to the saw mill.)”
The Aug. 15, 1902 Statesboro News wrote that “Mr. John E. Foy, the E.E. Foy’s Co. Vice-President, is General Manager of the saw mill, railroads, and farms of the Foy Co.”
On Aug. 29, 1902, Statesboro News wrote that Foy and Williams Co. operated a large saw and planing mill here which employed about 125 persons.
The Statesboro News revealed in its Dec. 5, 1902 issue that “The Shearhouse Mfg. Co. was formed with John N. and Nesbit B. Shearhouse. (Their) saw mill (opened) at Shearwood on the S & S Railroad.”
The April 10, 1903 Statesboro News announced “Mr. W.C. Perkins of the Perkins Lumber Co. of Hagan (bought) 1,000 acres of the best timbered lands in Bulloch (and) extend their (tram) road down into that section.”
“Their mill at Hagan is perhaps the best equipped saw mill in Southeast Georgia, and gives employment to at least 300 men, (in what appears to be) a thriving young town.”
The Statesboro News edition of Jan. 5, 1904 reported that “Mr. Arthur Howard has moved his saw mill to Mr. Jack Brannen's, four miles south of Statesboro.”
The Sept. 1, 1911 issue of The Lumber Trade Journal announced “the Shearwood Lumber Company (has) purchased an additional tract of timber land (which) will mean that several new mills will be opened up.
Sawmills soon abounded: in Metter, the Sheridan and Perkins Companies; in Grimshaw, Nellwood Lumber; in Parrish, Durden Lumber; in Stilson, Zickgraf Lumber; in Lon, J.D. Lanier; and in Pulaski, Wylly and Gabbett.
Mills opened along Bulloch’s borders: W.J. Gooding Co. in Belfast; the Foy Mill in Egypt; the Blitch Lumber Co. near Blitchton; and both the Stokes and Perkins Mills across the Canoochie River.
The Bulloch Times-Statesboro News-Statesboro Eagle issue of May 15, 1947 disclosed Grady Howard (announced he would) “pull his portable saw mill right up to (any) pile of logs where 5,000 or more feet are assembled.”
“The frame of this mill is all metal, welded together and mounted on a two-wheeled trailer (pulled) behind a pickup truck, (with the) power unit mounted on a truck frame.”
Howard said (that) first grade lumber could be sawed with this small portable machine. (The) operator (sets) his own head blocks (and) operates the saw; and the other men (place and remove) logs on the machine.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail Roger at email@example.com.