With Grogan at Bivins and Magnolia (Gulf Coast Lumberman, 1939)  
  Source: "With Grogan at Bivins and Magnolia", Gulf Coast Lumberman, January 15, 1939. Bound in a scrapbook in the collection of Lester Haines.  
  The Bivins mill from across the log pond.  

With Grogan at Bivins and Magnolia: Two Fine Texas Sawmill Units Whose Product is Sold by the Trinity River Lumber Company.


Just a half century ago, the Grogan boys started sawmilling in Texas. Today there aren't many sawmill operators who have been engaged in the business that long in the Lone Star State. But even before that time how long before he would rather not say Will Grogan had been sawmilling in Louisiana and Arkansas. So he knew something about the business when he located at the town of Bivins, back there in 1888.

Bivins is in the very northeast corner of Texas, up there in Cass County, just a short step from the state line between Texas and Arkansas. In fact, so far as the class of timber in that section is concerned, it might be in Arkansas, for the forests are close enough to yield an excellent supply of soft pine.

In 1898, W. R. (Will) Grogan and his brothers organized the Grogan Manufacturing Company. But the present operation at Bivins is comparatively new. They had stepped out of the picture at that point, developed interests elsewhere, but five years ago went back to Bivins and are operating a modern, thoroughly equipped sawmill plant at that point. In the meantime, they located at Magnolia, Texas, where they are also manufacturing a high grade of lumber in a mill similar to Bivins. Of this, more will be said later.

The Bivins Mill
The Bivins plant consists of a circular mill with one rig and a complete up-to-date planing mill which embraces ball-bearing moulder, ripsaw and resaw. They have the new type of Moore Cross-Circulation dry kilns. The mill has a daily capacity of 60,000 feet, all of which can be handled through the kiln in two 8-hour shifts.

But the unit of plant property of which they are most proud is the dressed shed, a great and spacious warehouse, which is partially shown in one of the views herewith. They have also just recently enlarged their rough shed and are now in position to put under cover all the rough lumber which they cut and kiln dry. In fact, there is no piece of equipment needed to produce a most satisfactory output of lumber which is missing at this plant.

As stated above, they are close enough to the Arkansas line so that they get a run of that slick bark timber, from which they produce all kinds of soft short leaf items for yard and shed stock and industrials, more particularly a fine line of finish and moulding. They truck their logs from the woods and they have a plentiful supply to run their mill for a number of years to come.

The Magnolia Mill
The sawmill at Magnolia, in Montgomery County, is operated under the name of the Grogan-Cochran Lumber Company, which was organized in 1917. This plant has been in operation a long time, and has a reputation for the excellent quality of its output of pine. This is a circular rig. Here, too, there is an up-to-date planing mill, with the newest fast-feeding machines, including ball-bearing moulder, ripsaw and resaw.

There are four Moore steam kilns. This plant, too, has a daily capacity of 60,000 feet, all of which can be put through the kilns in two 8-hour shifts. After their stock goes through the kilns it is stored in covered sheds where it is given every protection and care from the weather and elements. They carry in stock at all times from six to seven million feet of well-assorted items, and they have a good available and future potential supply of timber to keep them operating for many years to come.

Both of these mills cut a fine quality of Southern pine, the Bivins mill producing also Southern hardwoods, and this enables the company to give their trade a mixed selection of items.

The officers of both operating companies are the same: W. R. Grogan is president; Geo. L. Grogan, vice president; and J. E. Mounce, treasurer. The two other brothers interested in the companies are Henry M. Grogan and J. G. Grogan.

Henry Grogan is superintendent and manager of the Magnolia mill, where he is ably assisted by W. D. Deax, shipping clerk, and L. R. Moore, planer foreman. At Bivins, George Grogan is in charge, and there Robert Taylor is shipping clerk, and Bill Walden, planer foreman.

Fast Truck Delivery
Both mills are in a position to make delivery by truck. The Bivins mill is excellently situated to serve North Texas territory, including Dallas, Fort Worth and the East Texas oil fields; whereas the Magnolia plant is in a position to serve all points in Central Texas and South Texas, including Waco, Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Houston.

Among their specialties are flooring, ceiling, siding, including 1x8-105 siding, moulding, casing, base, and general yard stock items, as well as oil field timbers. In fact, the Grogans boast that they can manufacture anything that can be made out of lumber the design for which can be drawn with a pencil.

But the Grogans are not given to boasting. In fact, they have been rather shy and modest in telling the trade about their ability to serve the dealer. However, the customers whom they have supplied with lumber over a period of many years, know that they can get satisfaction on their requirements. Because, after all, the Bivins-Magnolia operation is no small-time enterprise.

Both mills are members of the Southern Pine Association and are in position to furnish SPA grademarked lumber.

Servicing the Product
As important as the plant and the product, so also is the selling medium, and recognizing this angle, the Grogans have undoubtedly one of the best service units in the lumber field. The production of both mills is marketed by the experienced sales organization of the Trinity River Lumber Company, with headquarters in Houston, where the veteran Harry Dean is sales manager.

This sales organization needs no introduction to the trade. They have been handling the output of the Grogan mills for many years. So they are thoroughly familiar with both the Grogan products and the manufacturing policies, and the two organizations work in close harmony with each other. It is an excellent combination fine timber, lumber properly manufactured into quality lumber, efficiently serviced to the trade.

Text and images were digitized and proofread from the original source documents by Murry Hammond. Contact Murry for all corrections, additions, and contributions of new material.