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There was a code of honor among sawmillers that if a log were delivered to the wrong mill, the log would be sawn, but it would be measured and proper disbursement made to the rightful owner. The county’s Log Brand Book reveals that the Centennial mill registered its log brand ‘S’ on August 4, 1879. 8

Another news article recorded that the Centennial Sawmill had installed its own planing mill at Beaumont by 1881. Early in March of that year, A. P. Harris, editor of the Orange, Texas, newspaper, visited Beaumont and reported everything he had witnessed in the “Sawdust City,” as follows:

We visited next the great Centennial mill of S. C. Olive and J. A. Sternenberg, extensive indeed, and employing more machinery, we thought, than any other in the City of Beaumont making lumber, shingles, etc., and also running planers. We met Mr. Olive on the yard… We found the yard crowded, with material ready for shipment, and two circular saws, the 5-gang saw, the planers, and the other mass of machinery were in full operation.9

Generally, the decade of the 1880s presented an unprecedented demand for lumber, and mill men everywhere made handsome profits, whereas the subsequent decade saw years of financial depression and limited money for expansion, depressed lumber markets and curtailed profits. By 1881, a Centennial advertisement confirmed that the firm was branching out to other lumber manufactures, mainly fence pickets and cypress cisterns.10 During the early 1880s, however, periodic low water in the Neches River created perennial log shortages that adversely affected all of the Beaumont sawmills. In addition, the infant Texas and New Orleans Railroad, for many years, was unable to supply sufficient box ears to the Beaumont mills equal to their lumber output, and the railroad rationed available ears to the mills daily, each according to its lumber capacity. This was the principal cause for the organization of the East Texas and Louisiana Lumbermen’s Association, based at Beaumont, in 1881.

8Book of Log Brands, p. 5, 1879, Jefferson County, Texas Archives.

9“What the Tribune Man Saw in The Mill City,” Orange Tribune, March 5, 1881, and reprinted in Beaumont Enterprise, March 12, 1881.

10Beaumont Enterprise. May 7, 1881, Advertisement of Olive and Sternenberg.

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