Olive Texas 17
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It is now evident to the writer that the Olive sawmill’s demise came in March, 1912, with most of the people deserting the town within the next few weeks. The lone, abandoned building which survived the town by 55 years was burned as a high school athletic prank in 1968, and is supposed to have contained all of the Olive-Sternenberg Lumber Company books and records.

The writer likewise believes that Olive acquired its greatest population, probably as many as 1,200, about 1905 because a 100,000-foot mill would have required a work force of 250 or more men to log and operate it. He likewise believes that the mill operated at full capacity for the next three years, or at least until the death of U. A. Sternenberg in 1908. Certainly, by then the scarcity of available timber was growing critical, perhaps necessitating a reduction in the number of logs processed daily, and requiring the owners to allow the employees to seek other sawmill employment before their jobs were severed. Between 1908 and 1910, the proprietors bought up every available tree that was within reach of their sawmill tram road, either as timber rights or land bought outright. And certainly, one purchase of June, 1909, was to extend the mill’s existence for perhaps two additional years. The owners paid Creighton-McShane Oil Company of Nebraska $18,000 for timber rights on their 3,580 acres of land (5˝ square miles) and were also granted a five-year option, if needed, to complete the logging.38

The census of 1910 also confirms that life was fast ebbing from the old mill town of Olive. The census enumeration did not identify the town by name, as in 1900, but only as “Precinct No. 1,” making it’ somewhat more difficult to determine exactly where the town of Olive began and ended. However, the writer recognizes the names of many of the old-time Sunset mill employees, who were scattered out among the 120 houses left in Olive, and a census total of about 450 persons (nine pages).39

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38Volumes 50, p. 427; 52, p. 349, and 54, pp. 269, 378; also deed record, Creighton-McShane Oil to Olive-Sternenberg Lumber Co., Vol. 52, p. 346, Hardin County Deed Records.

39Thirteenth Manuscript Census Returns of the United States, 1910, Olive, Hardin County, Texas, Schedule I, Population, Precinct No. 1, residences 155-274.

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