Olive Texas 12
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No information has been located concerning the Sunset Mill’s conversion from the obsolete circular saws to a double-cutting band sawmill, but the writer believes that probably occurred in 1898. The first band sawmill in Southeast Texas that the writer has knowledge of was installed in the new Cow Creek Lumber Company mill at Call, Texas, in 1895. The following article, although not specific in mechanical detail, describes the overhaul of Sunset mill during the summer of 1898, as follows:

Messrs. Olive, Sternenberg and Co., Olive, Texas, have started up their new sawmill after a shutdown of six weeks, and now have one of the best sawmills on the Sabine and East Texas railway. When they shut down on July 15 they put about thirty mechanics and laborers to work repairing and remodeling; in fact, they have almost built a new mill out and out… Old machinery has been overhauled, and modern machinery has been added. The capacity of the mill has been increased by about 30,000 feet daily… While the mill was being fitted up, a large force of men, under the management of J. S. Davis, ran some five or six miles of new tram road to their large tracts of long-leaf, yellow pine timber…27

By the fall of 1899, both Olive and J. A. Sternenberg decided to retire from the sawmill business. The latter sold his undivided one-quarter interest to his son, G. Adolph Sternenberg, for $1.00. Olive released to V. A. Petty his remaining one-quarter interest in the mill and in 6,670 acres of timber land owned in common, as well as individual tracts Olive owned outright. By 1901, Olive, Sternenberg and Company was appearing in deed records as “a corporation composed solely of V. A. Petty, president, and 0. A. Sternenberg, vice-president and general manager.”28

The 1900 decennial census of Olive, Texas, reveals that the town’s popula­tion was 976 persons, of whom 804 were White and 172 were Black. In both the 1880 and 1900 censuses, J. A. Sternenberg was enumerated separately from his wife Emilie, but his son 0. A. Sternenberg and daughter Emma, both single, were living in his household. J. A. Sternenberg had already retired in 1900, listed himself as a “capitalist,” and reported that he had been married for 37 years.29

27Doings at Olive,” Beaumont Enterprise, September 17, 1898.

28Volumes V, p. 586; X, pp. 28, 303; Y, pp. 45, 87; Volume I, P. 149; and 2, P. 63, Hardin County Deed Records.

29Twelfth Manuscript Census Returns of the United States, 1900, Town of Olive, Hardin County, Texas, Schedule I, Population, residences 110-112.

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