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A month later, the same newspaper recorded that “the Centennial mill of Olive and Sternenberg ‘chaws’ up logs at the rate of 40,000 feet a day and employs 20 hands.”4 For the year ending in August, 1878, the six Beaumont sawmills shipped a total of 21.1 million feet of lumber, of which more than two-fifths (8.85 million) was shipped by the Centennial mill.5

In September, 1878, the Galveston Daily News observed:

Another firm, Olive and Sternenberg of the Centennial mills, are among the prominent and reliable lumber manufacturers of Beau­mont. They turn out nearly 10 million feet annually. Their planing mills are located in Houston, and the dealings of this firm are always prompt. Their mills in Beaumont turn out 34,000 feet a day at present.6

The 1880 Products of Industry census schedule added a great deal of information about Beaumont’s principal lumber facility of 1879, as follows:

Olive and Sternenberg’s Centennial Sawmill, Beaumont, Texas. Capitalization, $56,000. Employees, maximum, 160; average, 60 men and 6 boys as shingle bundlers. Work hours, daily, 11 winter and summer. Daily wages, skilled, $3.00 daily; unskilled, $1.50. Annual wages paid, $22,000. Months mill in operation, 10; shut down for logging, 2. Equipment: one 5-gang saw, 2 circular saws, two 75-horsepower steam engine, 3 boilers. Raw materials: saw logs worth $50,000; mill supplies worth $3,400. Products: lumber, 9,000,000 feet; shingles, 4,000,000. Value of products, $88,000. Origin of logs: Neches River and its tributaries mill did 80% of its own logging.7

One Jefferson County archival document, indeed, reveals that the Centennial mill was rafting logs down the Neches River as early as 1879. Because saw logs in the river belonged to different owners, the lumberjacks and raftsmen branded logs in the same manner that ranchers branded cattle, and upon reaching Beaumont, the logs were ‘corralled’ and sorted out for each owner.

4Galveston Weekly News, January 14, 1878; Daily News, January 8, 1878.

5Galveston Weekly News, September 23, 1878; Daily News, September 20, 1878.

6Galveston Daily News, September 15, 1878.

7Tenth Census of the United States, 1880, Jefferson County, Texas, Schedule v, Products of Industry, Microfilm Reel No. 48, Texas State Archives, and recorded by the author in Texas Gulf Historical and Biographical Record, IX (November, 1973), p. 56.

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