William Cameron Company, American Lumberman profile c. 1900
[American Lumberman magazine]
  Source: “The Story of William Cameron and of Wm. Cameron & Co., Incorporated, Waco, Texas”, American Lumberman, Nov. 17, 1900, pp. 43-59. Chicago: American Lumberman, 1900.  
  The Story of William Cameron and of Wm. Cameron & Co., Incorporated, Waco, Texas  
The Story of William Cameron and of Wm. Cameron & Co., Incorporated, Waco, Texas The Largest Mill Owners and Manufacturers of Yellow Pine and Cypress Lumber, Cypress Shingles and Piling and Ties West of Mississippi River – Seven Great Saw Mills – Large Tie and Piling Interests – Heavy Owners in Woolen Mills, Pecan Orchards, Banks, Timber Lands and Other Diversified Industries.
  The Largest Mill Owners and Manufacturers of Yellow Pine and Cypress Lumber, Cypress Shingles and Piling and Ties West of Mississippi River – Seven Great Saw Mills – Large Tie and Piling Interests – Heavy Owners in Woolen Mills, Pecan Orchards, Banks, Timber Lands and Other Diversified Industries.  
  The Story of the Founder.  

The closing years of the present century have been marked by wealth-producing of vast extent. In hundreds of instances during the past twenty years the “man with the hoe has raised himself through his own exertions from poverty to affluence and, despite the utterances of the professional politician whose trade it is to stir up strife between the rich and the poor, wealth-producing continues by those who can see opportunities and grasp them. The wonderful development of the country during the closing quarter of the century has been made almost entirely by men who started with practically nothing. They have been pioneers in the sections not pierced by railroads not touched by steamboats. They have undergone the hardships and the privations. They have toiled ahead of their fellow man where the brambles were thick and the thorns were sharp and where discouragements met them at every turn. They have experienced the scoffs of the envious and the sneers that stab like knives, but with keen foresight they have not faltered, and that success and wealth have crowned their work is but scant justice for the years they spent in building.

Such developers deserve something better than the harsh criticism frequently given them, for through their work great states have been made, filled with a prosperous and contented people. But often the irony of fate gives such men justice only long after the clods have rattled on their coffin lids. To be successfully in this age is to court criticism, and the greater the success attained the harsher the criticism becomes, until death brings out the virtues of the man. And so the successful pioneer must taste the bitterness of the world’s envy when he has achieved his ambition and placed himself and his family beyond the reach of want.

There are exceptions, of course, to every rule, and a notable one is in the case of the late William Cameron, whose great lumber properties and other varied interests are the subjects of this article. Here was a man who, although accumulating an estate in excess of $4,000,000, was beloved through his whole life and mourned by all who knew him when he died. The voice of criticism was hushed when the name of the this genial man, living or dead, was mentioned, for his virtues were many, his faults few. His dealings were upright, and when he had occasion to differ from this fellow man he did it openly and fearlessly, throwing the gauntlet down and battling for what he deemed was right until he was the victor of the vanquished. The world admires a fair, aggressive man, and such was William Cameron, first last and always. It is quite natural, therefore, that he held the esteem of the world while he lived and built up a great business, for his methods were above criticism and they commanded the respect of everybody who ever knew him.

The story of the career of William Cameron reads more like a romance than that of a man who merely accumulated great wealth. Many men acquire riches through no special effort of their own, but Mr. Cameron’s history is replete with early struggles, disappointments, a resolve to seize opportunities in the lumber business in the great southwest, with no capital save a stout heart and rugged integrity, and the gradual rise from obscurity to the position of one of the most prosperous and richest men in Texas. What he would have accomplished had he lived ten years longer is of course problematical. As it was, he passed away with his life work unfinished, although at his death he was the largest lumber operator west of the Mississippi river, his operations, involving the handling of 200,000,000 feet of lumber annually.

  An Apt Comparison.  

In reviewing the business career of Mr. Cameron the comparison of his life with that of his fellow Scotchman, Andrew Carnegie, is almost irresistible. Mr. Carnegie started his career as a poor and unknown telegraph operator on the Pennsylvania railroad. He saw the great oil fields of Pennsylvania in their undeveloped state and by shrewd investments he accumulated $90,000. Then he perceived the possibilities of the growing iron and steel trade and, taking the opportunity with a firm grasp he became eventually the largest iron and steel manufacturer in the United States. William Cameron, also a poor and unknown railroad man just after the civil war, saw the opportunities in lumber in the great southwest and he, too, seized the opportunity and became one of the greatest operators in lumber in the country. Here are two Scotchmen, one king of the iron and steel business, and the other of the lumber business, America’s two greatest industries. And both Carnegie and Cameron are names synonymous with liberality and charity toward their fellow man. It speaks well for the blood of the Scot.

Before entering into the details of a full and complete story of the rise of the Cameron estate and descriptive matter about each individual property of the present company, which succeeded Mr. Cameron’s death, it is both right and proper to mention something about the life and career of the man who made the present great corporation possible. Until October, 1900, the property was operated by the estate of William Cameron, under the firm name of Wm. Cameron & Co., Waco, Tex., the widow and all of the children, married and unmarried, being in a partnership. In October, 1900, however, a company was incorporated with capital of $2,400,000, succeeding this partnership, and which will be more fully described in another part of this article. So the life story of the central figure of these columns is given herewith.

William Cameron was essentially a pioneer; a man who had to do with primitive things and comparatively crude conditions of society and commercial organization, and so a man who, by his force of character and by his keen foresight, had much to do with shaping the development of the southwest.

William Cameron was born in Perthshire, Scotland, January 11, 1834. He received a common school education such as is given the children of the common people of Scotland and at the age of 14 was apprenticed to an attorney in Edinburgh. In 1852, at the age of 18, he came to this country, landing in New York with barely enough money to carry him from that port to Illinois, where he had relatives. He worked on a farm for a while and then engaged himself with a relative who was in the grain business in that state. Later on he went to Missouri and was for some time a section boss on the Missouri Pacific railway as it was extended west from St. Louis. When the war broke out he was at Sedalia, Mo., and helped organize the “home guards” of that town. He was captured at the battle of Springfield, carried to St. Louis and paroled. When he was captured he had $150 and a silver watch, which he turned over to a locomotive engineer of the Missouri Pacific to be sent to his sweetheart in case of his death during the war. This lady subsequently became his first wife.

After being paroled he returned to St. Louis and went into government contracting, supplying hay and feed of various kinds, and about the same time entered into the lumber business in a small way. His contracts were profitable, and a short time afterward he opened a lumber business at Warrensburg and Sedalia in that state. From Sedalia he extended his operations south, following the extension of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas railway, establishing yards at Clinton, Nevada and other small towns in Missouri, and also in Fort Scott, Kan. He also started a pork packing establishment at Clinton, Mo., of which he made only an indifferent success, closing it out after a few years. He followed the Missouri, Kansas & Texas into Texas and opened yards in Denison, Sherman and Dallas. His identity with the lumber interests of Texas extended over a quarter of a century. William Cameron & Co.’s north and south divisions were formed in 1882, but were consolidated four years later with headquarters at Waco, Tex., which was his place of residence. The retail yards of the concern were at Waco, Lott, Rosebud, Galesville, San Antonio, McKinney, Brownwood, San Angelo, Dublin, Stephenville, Granbury, Weatherford, Paradise, Bridgeport, Chico, Decatur, Wichita Falls, Vernon and Quanah, Tex.; Terrell, Ryan, Comanche, Duncan, Marlow, Rush Springs, Chicasha and Minco, Ind. Ter.; El Reno, Okarche, Kingfisher, Enid, Waukomis and Hennessy, O. T.

The wholesale business of William Cameron dates from 1884. In 1886 he acquired with a partner a saw mill business at Saron, Tex., of which he was later sole owner. Among other interest of which he was a part or sole proprietor are the Texas Land & Timber Company, a timber land concern; the Whitecastle Lumber & Shingle Company, at Whitecastle, La.; the Cameron Lumber Mills Company, Carmona, Tex.; the William Cameron cypress manufacturing plant at Bowie, La.; the Tyler Car & Lumber Company, Michelli, Tex. In addition Wm. Cameron & Co. control the cut of a number of heavy manufacturing concerns, and the concern is among the heaviest owners of timber land in the south and southwest.

Mr. Cameron was also an owner of flouring mill property in Texas, and at one time was considered one of the largest dealers in grain and one of the heaviest flour mill operators in that state. He was at the time of his death chief proprietor of the Cameron Mill & Elevator Company, of Fort Worth. His interests and investments were not confined, however, to the lumber or grain business, for he was a large stockholder in the Slayden Kirksey Woolen Mills at Waco. In addition to this manufacturing and commercial interests, he was heavily interested in banks, having been a prominent stockholder in the First National bank of Waco, the Hibernia National bank of New Orleans and the Southern National bank of New York.

In 1898 Mr. Cameron secured control of the Jeanerette Lumber & Shingle Company, Limited, of Jeanerette, La., at which place he put in a fine new saw mill equipped with a “telescopic” band. He also subsequently acquired the saw milling property at Rockland, Tex., formerly owned by W. H. Aldridge, and at the time of his death was erecting one of the finest saw mill plants in the south at that point, having closed contracts for all the machinery of every kind.

The will of William Cameron was probated on February 11, 1899 and the inventory showed a valuation of about $4,000,000. It made his widow, his son, William W. Cameron, and his sons-in-law, R. H. Downman and F. A. McDonald, his executors, and ordered that his business be continued as during his life.

Perhaps no other single individual in the southwest so thoroughly impressed his personality upon the lumber business and commercial interests generally as did Mr. Cameron. Energetic and forceful, enterprising to a high degree, nothing in the way of investments in timber or planning for manufacture was too great for him, and hence it was that in the yellow pine or cypress manufacturing industry he was a leader always; and as a wholesaler or retailer his interests were of greater volume than those of any other individual or any corporation in Texas or Louisiana. In all those interests Mr. Cameron’s personality dominated.

One of the marked characteristics of the man was the fact that he could make losses without their worrying him in the least. He went on the principle that a man who allowed himself to be worried by matters of his kind was incapacitated thereby to do business and to repair the loss which had been made, but that losses should simply lead one to put his shoulder to the wheel with so much the more energy and endeavor to make gains which would more than overcome the loss. He was also remarkable for his capacity for details. It was the small things he gave his closest attention to, believing thoroughly in the old Scotch adage of “many a mickle makes a muckle,” and that other one, “look after the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves.”

While Mr. Cameron had a good Scotch common school education, he was essentially a self made man who had acquired through his wide experience and his power of observation, which were developed to an unusual degree, a wide knowledge of men and affairs. He was a kindly man and though sometimes brusque in his manner he had after all a tender heart. It has been said by some that he was a hard man to work for, but that was the case only with those who did not understand him or whom he did not understand. From the employ of Mr. Cameron have come many men who have achieved prominence and wealth, and he was always ready to assist those in need of support or encouragement. His judgment of man was demonstrated by those who have filled and still fill responsible positions in connection with his various interest, some of them as managers of large investments and heavy manufacturing properties. They are not in all cases employees but, rather, business associates.

The outside world knew very little of Mr. Cameron’s charities of various kinds. They were extremely large and extended over the entire country. It was very seldom that he was approached by anyone worthy of assistance that he did not render it. One very close to Mr. Cameron, entirely familiar with his business, his ideas and his ambitions, says: “Mr. Cameron’s principal ambition was to give employment to his fellow men. His capital and energies at the time of his death were giving employment and a living to something like 12,000 people. It was his expressed desire not only that the business should be continued but that it should gradually grow in size through a process of conservative management.”

Mr. Cameron’s loyalty to and practical interest in association matters were illustrated by typical action at the annual meeting of the Lumbermen’s Association of Texas, at Beaumont, that state, in April, 1897. There arose a necessity for funds not then immediately available, and though he was not involved personally in the necessity, “Uncle Billy” Cameron, as the association affectionately and not disrespectfully called him, was the first to further what was termed a “love feast,” designed to raise the needed amount. He went at the work with characteristic will, with eloquent, insistent, personal pleas, starting the proposed fund with $100. He appealed to the best interest and the generosity of those present in a manner had bred an enthusiastic infection, and largely to his impassioned, loyal efforts was due the contribution of a sum that met the wishes of the association and placed it on an entirely solvent basis.

The esteem in which he was held by even his competitors in the lumber business is shown by the resolutions passed at a meeting of the Texas & Louisiana Lumber Manufacturers Association, held at Beaumont, Tex., which will be found elsewhere in this article.

Mr. Cameron left a widow and five children, Mrs. Sadie McDonald, wife of F. A. McDonald, of Fort Worth, Tex.; Mrs. Anna Downman, wife of Robert H. Downman, of Waco, Tex., and Miss Flora Cameron, William W. Cameron and Miss Marguerite Cameron.

The immense business owned in whole or in part by him, but in any event dominated by Mr. Cameron’s personality, will be continued unchanged, and with his son, William W. Cameron, at the head the name can appropriately remain the same. William W. Cameron, the younger, has just passed his majority, but is said to have many of his father’s characteristics and to have received a sever training to fit him for the responsibilities so unexpectedly thrust upon him.

The body of William Cameron was forwarded to Waco, Tex., on February 6, 1899, the day of his death, and was buried on February 8, with honors shared equally by the Grand Army of the Republic, the Confederate Veterans and various civic societies of which he had been an honored member.

The resolutions adopted by the Texas & Louisiana Association in connection with his death were as follows;

The lumber manufactures of Texas and Louisiana, in meeting at Beaumont, Tex., Tuesday, February 7, 1899, desiring to express their sorrow at the death of Mr. William Cameron and of the esteem in which he was held, hereby resolve –

First. That in the death of William Cameron the lumber manufacturing interest of Texas and Louisiana has lost one of its most active and extensive operators, one whose enterprise and energy had contributed largely to the development of the lumber business of these states and whose high standing in commercial and financial circles had, by reflection, been of value to all who are today engaged in this great industry.

Second. That we recognize in his painstaking prudence in business, his industrious life, his wonderful comprehension of details, his rugged honor and genial spirit the attributes of a superior man, whose career is well worthy of imitation.

Third. That though blessed with an ample fortune, the result of his individual effort, he was still at 65 a steadfast, sturdy worker who literally died in the harness.

Fourth. That to his family and sorrowing friends we extend sincere sympathy in their great loss, which may be described also as a loss to the financial and industrial interests of the states of Texas and Louisiana.

Here ends the personal story of the founder of the Cameron fortune.

  Wm. Cameron & Co., Waco, Tex., and the Estate of William Cameron, Louisiana.  

Upon the death of Mr. Cameron the estate, amounting to over $4,000,000, remained intact in the possession of his legal heirs, his widow and children. Of these, his son, W. W. Cameron, was the only male heir, the other children being daughters. The heirs formed a partnership to carry on the business, W. W. Cameron, Mrs. Flora B. Cameron, F. A. McDonald and Robert H. Downman being executors of the estate, and the partnership consisting of Mrs. Flora B. Cameron, two daughters, William W. Cameron, F. A. McDonald and R. H. Downman. This partnership was continued for nearly two years following Mr. Cameron’s demise. The great and varied interest were conducted on the lines laid out by the founder and the properties improved and enhanced in value during the period mentioned. It is gratifying to record this continuance of the marvelous success made by the deceased lumberman, and it is especially gratifying to add that the partnership of heirs, known commercially as Wm. Cameron & Co., Waco, Tex., and Estate of William Cameron, Louisiana, was carried on without the slightest jar or friction during its life.

The year 1899 was a prosperous one for the partnership. As sis well known, lumber of all kinds assumed great activity in that year and everybody engaged in its manufacture or the marketing of it made heavy profits. The partnership of Wm. Cameron & Co., was no exception, and although large outlays were made on the improvement of the various mill properties of the company the closing of the books at the end of the year showed an unusually good balance on the right side of the ledger. The company had been aggressively in the field during the entire year. It had taken the opportunity offered, by the phenomenal conditions of the year, and it marketed nearly 200,000,000 feet of lumber, ties and piling during that time.

Mr. Cameron died on February 6, 1899, so he did not see the great rise in lumber values of that year, nor the extraordinary demand for stock, which had been the dream of all manufacturers for eight or ten years. But his properties had been bequeathed to loving and safe heirs, who watched them zealously and conducted the business most satisfactorily.

During 1900 the partnership of Wm. Cameron & Co. continued its successful career. The conservative management of the business by Mrs. Flora B. Cameron, young William W. Cameron, F. A. McDonald and Robert H. Downman left nothing to be desired as to the safe conduct of the great and varied interests of the state. The lumber trade expanded, the elevator and cold storage properties increased in value, the woolen mill took on fresh life and in every department the concern flourished and increased as a financial power in the southwest. More improvements were made at the milling plants, new accession of timber lands were gained, expert woodsmen and managers watched the details of their various departments and the controlling management at Waco had good cause for self congratulation over the record.

Those who are most familiar with the Cameron properties and who judge the success the concern has attained from an outside standpoint are firm in the belief that it has been good generalship which is responsible for the continuance of the prosperity of this company. That the conduct of such varied and heavy interests, involving an annual expense of millions of dollars, the employment of thousands of men, the selection of efficient managers and heads of departments, the cutting off of expenses, the handling of taxes and insurance features, the direction of new investments absolutely necessary in such a complex business, and the final marketing and collecting of the enormous output of the plants, are no easy task even for an experienced man cannot be gainsaid. In simple justice to the two controlling heads, William W. Cameron and R. H. Downman, both young men, it may be said that their management for the past two years of the partnership interests has been progressive and splendid from any point of view. It is but another of the many instances in America where the young man placed in a responsible position asserts himself and goes forward to the success he deserves.

The partnership of Wm. Cameron & Co., therefore, attained success during its life and continued on the lines originally mapped out by the founder. In October, 1900, it was dissolved and succeeded by an incorporated company, legally known as Wm. Cameron & Co., Incorporated. Some of the heirs retired from the lumber interests of the state, others remaining in the new corporation.

It may properly be added at this point that the irony of fate was again apparent in the demise of the founder. William Cameron foresaw as early as 1897 the coming advance and great demand for lumber and held his stock at many of his mills for the “bulge” which came soon after his death. He had predicted the phenomenal consumption of lumber of 1899 to his intimate friends, but he did not live to see it verified.

  Wm. Cameron & Co., Incorporated.

October 10, 1900, ushered in a new arrangement of the affairs of the Cameron properties. On that date a charter was granted by the state of Texas for the incorporation of a company to be known legally as Wm. Cameron & Co., Incorporated. The capital was placed at $2,400,000, and the corporation announced in its prayer for a charter that it would transact a manufacturing wholesale and retail lumber business. The incorporators were Mrs. Flora B. Cameron, William W. Cameron, Marguerite Cameron, R. H. Downman and W. S. Wilson.

The newly incorporated company will operate the yellow pine mills of the partnership, which are in the state of Texas – at Carmona, Saron, Angelina and Rockland; the cypress mil at Whitecastle, La., the tie and piling business at Beaumont, Tex., the wholesale and retail departments at Beaumont, Tex., the wholesale and retail departments for lumber at Waco, the Slayden Kirksey Woolen Mills at Waco, the Swinden Pecan Orchard Company and the banking interests of the Camerons. The new incorporation did not include the Texas Lumber Company or the Cameron Lumber Mills Company at Carmona, Tex., but these are separate corporations which are owned by the individuals who control Wm. Cameron & Co., Incorporated.

The Cameron Mill & Elevator Company property at Fort Worth, Tex., the Binyon Storage & Elevator Company property at Waco, the “Cypress King” cypress mill at Bowie, La., and the “Princess” cypress mill at Jeanerette, La., are not a part of the new corporation. These latter properties, however, are still in the hands of the Cameron family. It was aimed in the act of incorporating to minimize the multitudinous details of these widely varying interests as much as possible in order to achieve the best and most profitable results from each branch of the estate.

The active management of the new corporation is vested in William W. Cameron. Already plans have been discussed to continue operations on a scale as large as if not larger than before, and the new corporation will continue to be an aggressive factor in the lumber world. New improvements are in contemplation for the milling plants, and the tie and piling department is making rapid strides, particularly in hewn ties so much in demand. Capacity at the mills will be increased as rapidly as conditions shall warrant, and the corporation intends to market more lumber in the future than it ever did in the past.

C. R. Sherrill, at Waco, Tex., has charge of all the wholesale business of the company.

W. T. League, of Waco and Fort Worth, Tex., is general counsel for the new corporation.

  Brief Statistics on Lumber Output and Labor Employed by the Cameron People.  

Approximately the lumber interests of the Camerons are enormous when total figures are considered. The actual mill output of the yellow pine and cypress plants enumerated in this article is 166,000,000 feet annually, as follows:

Angelina, Tex. (yellow pine), 18,000,000 feet.
Carmona, Tex. (yellow pine), 18,000,000 feet.
Saron, Tex. (yellow pine), 25,000,000 feet.
Rockland, Tex. (yellow pine), 30,000,000 feet.
Whitecastle, La. (cypress), 15,000,000 feet.
Jeanerette, La. (cypress), 20,000,000 feet.
Bowie, La. (cypress), 40,000,000 feet.

Besides these the output includes at least 100,000,000 shingles annually. The lumber total is 166,000,000 feet annually, as stated. To this must be added the tie and piling department, handling 30,000,000 to 40,000,000 feet a year, making the annual total about 200,000,000 feet. At times the Cameron company has been a large purchaser on the general market, some years buying 50,000,000 to 60,000,000 feet in addition to its own mill output. These totals place the Cameron people among the foremost in the country.

As employers of labor the Camerons are equally important. The various interests owned employ in round numbers about 5,000 people – a heavy and constant outlay for pay roll – besides high salaried managers and heads of departments at the mills and at the general headquarters at Waco. The total pay roll of the Cameron interests reaches $50,000 weekly. The employees are distributed about as follows:

Angelina, Tex., mill plant, 400 men.
Carmona, Tex., mill plant, 400 men.
Saron, Tex., mill plant 500 men.
Rockland, Tex., mill plant, 600 men.
Whitecastle, La., mill plant, 400 men.
Jeanerette, La., mill plant, 400 men.
Bowie, La., mill plant, 700 men.
The piling and tie department, 500 men.
Cameron Mill & Elevator Company, Fort Worth, Tex., 300 men.

Binyon Storage & Elevator Company, Waco, Tex., 100 men.
Slayden Kirksey Woolen Mills, Waco, Tex., 600 employees.

It will therefore be seen that these figure, averaging four to a family, mean that about 20,000 souls are supported through the employment of the Camerons – an interesting fact to record.

The two items above mentioned regarding total output of lumber and the employment of labor need not be enlarged upon or statistics added to show the magnitude of Wm. Cameron & Company, Incorporated. The figures speak for themselves, and too many statistical details are wearying to the reader.

  Milling and Flouring Interests.  

The Cameron Mill & Elevator Company at Fort Worth, Tex., is the property of the estate, and no one else is interested in it in any way. This flour mill has a capacity of 2,000 barrels a day of as fine flour as can be produced anywhere, and it is sold in Texas, Louisiana, Mexico and Cuba. The mills are equipped in every particular with modern up-to-date flour mill machinery and are run by practical men who know how to make a grade of flour that the people want. Grain is bought for the mill’s consumption wherever convenient, but the principal source of supply is the Panhandle of Texas. In connection with this interest the company owns eleven elevators located at various points in Texas, Indian Territory and Oklahoma, and the business has been a paying venture from the start.

It may seem strange that a man like the late Mr. Cameron, with such heavy investments in lumber, should interest himself in the flour mill business, but this is only one of the numerous things that Mr. Cameron was interested in. No matter what the business was he had a knack for figuring out whether there was money in it or not by some occult process of his own, and if anything promised good returns he arranged to get an interest and sooner or later a controlling interest in it if he could. This is how this flour mill property was acquired.

  The Binyon Storage & Elevator Company, Waco.  

This is a cold storage plant of more than ordinary dimensions. It is in a large building which was formerly a mill but which has been remodeled and refitted to accommodate the new business. The company is capitalized for $50,000 and is practically owned by the Cameron estate, there being a small interest held outside. Strange as it may seem, the south was one of the last localities to take to cold storage and Mr. Cameron’s business foresight enabled him to start a business which is rapidly growing beyond the capacity of the present plant.

An inspection of this plant was interesting. Smooth working engines pumped the chemical solution through pipes to reduce the temperature to the desired point in any one of the departments of the great building. One room after another was entered where perishable products gathered from many climes were stored. In one room, with its glistening pipes covered with a coating of frost, rows and rows of quarters of beef hung from hooks that were placed on an overhead rack. Some of this meat is kept here for days, but it is all cold, firm and fresh, and it made one hungry to look at it. The air is cold – in fact it is like breaking into a little spot of winter after being in the balmy Texas outdoor air. One room is kept full of eggs in cases piled one on top of another, and the thermometer registered just enough cold to make it right for eggs. It seems to be one of the peculiarities of the cold storage business that the chemicals, pipes and other appliances can be so manipulated as to produce and maintain any required degree of cold just as long as it is wanted; and the different temperatures are very noticeable as one enters the rooms.

In the room where the apples are stored – barrels and barrels of them – the air feels as it does in the winter cellar in the north; while in the next room, where the oranges and lemons are kept, the air was a good deal as it is in the early spring down in a cellar.

All the good things from the whole country find their way sooner or later to this cold storage plant and are held there for distribution as they are wanted at nearby points and sections.

The plant is equipped in duplicate with Ferd-Wolfe Company’s latest pattern cold storage machines, and sooner or later, if the business keep growing as it has in the past, two sets of machinery will have to be put into operation to take care of the business. There is also a upper floor in this building where the space could not be used for cold storage. This is partitioned off and used as dry storage – that is, it is used for the storage of household goods and similar articles that people want to put away until they may need them. Taken altogether the plant is a large and profitable part of the Cameron interests.

  Owns a Large Pecan Grove.  

The Swinden Pecan Orchard Company is also a part of the Cameron interests, the estate owning nine-tenths of this property. This interest consists of 780 acres of land situated in Brown county, Texas, adjoining the city of Brownwood, on the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe railway. Brownwood is the county seat of Brown county, 120 miles southwest of Fort Worth, and is a modern town of 5,000 inhabitants.

The raising of pecans for market is a new industry, comparatively speaking, and this orchard, which was started nine years ago, is now the largest pecan orchard in the world. Deep alluvial soil is what pecans need and in this valley it is twenty to thirty feet deep. The object of cultivating these trees is to raise a superior grade of pecan nuts, which sell readily on the market, and are used both as a nut and as a product from which to manufacture oil of a high grade, and also for the wood of the pecan tree, which is used in a great many industries, such as the making of tool handles and other implements.

In Florida, where the pecan is not native, it is coming to be largely cultivated. It responds readily to this treatment with an increased yield, while the size and flavor are enhanced and the shell becomes thinner, making the cultivated pecan a prized addition to the most elaborate menu – a sort of climax to the feast. The wild pecan is plentiful in Texas, and probably for that reason it rarely has been the subject of systematic cultivation there; but Mr. Cameron was quick to see its possibilities and prompt to take advantage of them.

The average yield of a pecan tree of eight or ten years of age is from one to one and a half bushels, the yield increasing with age, producing over twenty bushels to a tree when prime. The nut is worth about $5 a bushel in the open market. The wild nuts bring from 3 to 6 cents a pound, but those of the cultivated variety bring from 10 to 15 cents and are hard to procure even at these prices, as they are in good demand. If the business of raising pecans is carried on intelligently there should be very good profit in the orchard, and it should form one of the ready money resources of the Cameron estate.

  The Banking Interests of the Camerons.  

Considering the great versatility of the late William Cameron it is not surprising that he should have been heavily interested in banking properties. His was a mind to grasp financial matters with comparative ease, and in the largest of business transactions could not surprise him. He studied banking and he studied everything else he undertook, looking at its complex conditions and features just as he looked at everything he engaged in. While never actively at the head of any banking institution he was a heavy stockholder in no less than three national banks in Texas and Louisiana, and he was a valued counselor to the active managers and officials.

At one time he was engaged in the wholesale grocery business with J. W. Castles, under the firm name of Cameron & Castles. The firm continued business in both Texas and Louisiana -- in the latter state at New Orleans – for several years. Upon its dissolution Mr. Castles assumed the presidential helm of the Hibernia National bank of that city, with Mr. Cameron as his chief friend, stockholder and adviser in the conduct of the bank. This institution became strong in local financial circles and is till one of the leading banks of that city. The Cameron estate retains the stock interest in this bank.

In Texas the same is true as regards the Provident National bank of Waco and the First National bank of that city. Both these financial institutions enjoy heavy deposits and are profitable business ventures.

It is quite natural to assume that a man like William Cameron should have turned his attention largely to banking. He was a large employer of labor, having a heavy monthly pay roll; he was always on the lookout for profitable investments in timber lands; he was continually on the market for great quantities of lumber outside of his mill production, and his cash transactions ran into the thousands of dollars daily. He was therefore thrown constantly into touch with the financial world, for no man, however strong he may be financially, is always with ready cash to accomplish large trades, and whether as a borrower or a lender, as the case might be, Mr. Cameron studied banking as a science, knew its innermost details and eventually invested considerable of his profits in bank stock.

The estate is a large stockholder in the First National bank of Waco, the Provident National bank of Waco and the Hibernia National bank of New Orleans, so that the executors of the estate have to know something about banking as well as the lumber business.

  Large Owners in the Slayden Kirksey Woolen Mills of Waco.  

The Slayden Kirksey Woolen Mills of Waco are owned in part by the estate; in fact, a very large interest in this plant is owned by the heirs. Mr. Cameron became identified with it about fourteen years ago. The mill was started in 1884.

It is interesting to find a mill of this size and capacity in a western town like Waco, Tex. It smacks of New England, and if it were built of gray stone one could almost fancy oneself back in Connecticut or Massachusetts, where are head the buzz and roar that always seem to be a part of the atmosphere near a woolen mill. This one is a large concern, too, for it employs 500 people and twenty traveling men on the road.

The plant occupies about fifteen acres and is fitted in every department with the latest machinery. It handles this wool from its raw state through to the finished product, in both the bolt and “made up”, and it is something of a revelation to start in at the receiving room and go through a plant of this kind, following the wool practically from the receiving room to the finished product. The wool is received in bales and is dirty and greasy. From the receiving room it goes into a cleaning room, where it is all washed and dried and goes through several processes to separate the dirt and the grease from the wool itself. In fact, great is a by-product of the woolen mill, for the modern methods of cleaning it enable the company that operates the mill to save the grease and thereby gain back some of the price paid out for the extra weight when it buys the raw wool.

Some of the machinery in this plant is very expensive. Each piece of it does a certain thing and does it right. Some of it washed wool, some separates the grease from the wool, some rolls it up into balls, some combs it out again, and each piece has its part to play in the interior economy of the mill. When it is all dried and ready for use it goes to a dyeing room, where it is mixed – that is to say, the fibers of the different kinds of wool are mixed – and then it goes into a dyeing vat and it issues from this blue or green or yellow or whatever color is wanted. Thence it is taken into a drying room, where it is thoroughly dried out and stored for future use. The color of the thread is determined by the amount of the colored wool mixed with ordinary white wool, and there are operatives who do nothing but mix these different colored wools together as they are wanted.

All the different steps in making woolen yard before it gets ready to be used for the cloth are followed. It keeps traveling from one machine to another until it gets to a room filled with spinning machinery, where it is spun into thread and wound on bobbins ready for the loom. When the thread is made it is taken to the weaving room, and there the different colors are handled by people who understand their business; and all day long the busy double looms click and roar and rattle and throw their shuttles backward and forward and turn out a piece of a certain pattern of cloth at there other end of the machine. Girls do most of this work and they do it well.

When the wool comes from these machines it is a bolt of cloth which goes upstairs to a cutting room, where it is unrolled to its full length on a long table, and under the deft manipulation of the cutter it becomes part of a “pants” pattern. There is a trousers factory in connection with this mill which turns out the “S. K.” brand of trousers, which are sold all over the southern states to the extent of 1,200 pairs a day. To do this there must be a great army of employees, and the most modern machinery for sewing and all that sort of thing, which is installed and worked here in a modern way.

Each step of the work in this busy place has a department to itself and everything runs as smoothly as clock work. The lower floor is taken up by heavy machinery for weaving, spinning and the different steps of the business until the wool becomes cloth in the bolt. Then it goes upstairs and passes through the different stages from the cutter’s table on through the sewing machine part of the house, where each girl does just one thing on one part of a garment. After a while the garment becomes a finished product of the factory and goes from there to the tailor shop, where the basting threads are picked out by a lot of little girls and the finishing touches, including the pressing and folding, re done in a regular tailor shop which is a part of the establishment. From the tailor shop the garments go to a stock room, where they are sorted into their proper sizes and piles, and from there they go to a shipping room, where they are baled up and sent out to fill orders from the traveling men on the road. This shipping department is a long room in a wing of the building and it is used partly as a shipping room and partly as a receiving room. It is a shipping room in the sense that the order after being filled is brought here for shipment. But the order is really filled in the stock room, and it is only boxed here and hauled out to the depot. While this particular branch of the business has nothing in common to do with lumber, still it is an interesting place to visit.

  Large Owners of Retail Lumber Yards.  

The late William Cameron began the lumber business in a retail way in Missouri in 1862 and came to Waco, Tex., for his headquarters in 1875, operating in the latter city until his death. The estate now has a large number of yards scattered over the country. These are supplied mostly from their own mills, and they are doing a general retail yard business.

In Texas the estate is interested in retail yards in Waco, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Hillsboro, Brownwood, San Angelo, Chico, Wichita Falls and Quanah. In Indian Territory it has yards at Ryan, Comanche, Rush Springs and Marlow, and in Oklahoma Territory at Mangum and Mountain View. The mills that supply the cut that is sold in the yards are located at Saron, Carmon, Rockland and Angelina, Tex., and Jeanerette, Bowie and Whitecastle, La., and there is a large tie and railroad timber plant at Nona, Hardin county, Texas, which was formerly located at Hook’s Switch, but which has recently been moved to Nona.

W. S. Wilson, of Fort Worth, is manager of all the retail yards of the company.

  The Tie and Timber Department.  

The tie and timber business is one which has not been overlooked by the Camerons. The steady and increasing demand by American railways for this class of material attracted the late William Cameron’s attention before his death and he gave a great deal of study to this branch of the business. He embarked in the manufacture of hewn and sawed ties, piling and poles and entered the field for his share of this particular trade, appreciating the great possibilities and the heavy annual consumption by the railroads. In the southwest railroad building and improvements have been going on at a heavy rate for the past ten years. The construction of new lines and the incidental and necessary annual repairs to these roads have brought about a great consumption of ties, piles and poles which shows a tendency to increase annually. With the shrewd foresight which has characterized all the late Mr. Cameron’s business undertakings he decided to embark in this branch of business in addition to his lumber interest, and the results have been highly satisfactory to the estate and its successor.

The tie and timber business is one requiring separate and distinct ability and knowledge from that of lumber. The most successful operators are individuals or corporations having ample capital to contract for the material and who can pile up stock and have it ready to take advantage of the market. Frequently railroads are on the market for immediate delivery and price is not so much a consideration as the prompt delivery of material. Wm. Cameron & Co., Incorporated, have this branch of the business well in hand. The supply of timber is large and constantly being increased. Expert woodmen and men understanding the details of making ties, piles and poles are actively at work at all times, getting out this material and piling it along the railroad tracks ready for loading. Full special trains are frequently loaded with railroad ties and the company has miles of ties piled ready for shipment. An idea of the magnitude of this part of the Wm. Cameron & Co., Incorporated, varied industries may be given in the statement that 500 men are employed to get out this class of stuff, and they are on the pay roll of the company or under contract to supply ties, poles or piling as the case may be.

This particular branch of the Cameron estate is managed by C. L. Nabers, of Beaumont, Tex. The estate has recently purchased 25,000 acres of timber suitable for making into hewn ties and timbers and piling, both peeled and unpeeled, and is prepared to take care of orders for such material in any quantity, the capacity being simply a question of order. Mr. Nabers, the manager, is an experienced tie and pile man. Any orders sent to him will be intelligently and quickly filled and handled with the same dispatch with which the Cameron interests are handled all over the country. As ties, railroad timbers and piling are rather out of the regular lumber line, this small mention will suffice for this part of the Cameron interests. Railroad men of course appreciate what this part of the plant means, and anybody who has dealt with the Cameron people in the past will understand that an order sent to them means an order filled, and yellow pine is in itself too well known and fills its place too well to need any further mention or description.

  Other Timber Investments.  

The Cameron estate is also sole owner of the stock of the Texas Lumber Company, an Illinois corporation founded in 1882 to acquire Texas timber lands, and under this title the estate now holds about 45,000 acres of the finest longleaf yellow pine lands in the state; this in addition to the other lands which are part of the holding of the different plants. There is little danger of the Cameron estate running out of timber for many years.

  The Saron (Tex.) Mills.  

J. A. Stewart, the manager at Saron, is an old lumberman with a wide experience in the west and in other parts of the country in the mill line, and he has proved himself a very valuable man to the Cameron estate. He had a rather hard time when he first went to Saron because the plant was somewhat run down, but he is energetic and a manager of men, and it did not take long to get the kinks out of this business and have it running in first class shape.

Saron is located in Trinity county on the same railroad that Carmona is on and only ten miles east of Trinity. It is in the longleaf yellow pine belt and the timber there is as good as any in the whole southern country.

The supply controlled by the Cameron people at Saron is sufficient to last them for at least twenty-five years. It is a fine growth; that is, it is clean and of good size and stands thick.

The woodsmen are working about fourteen miles from the mill and are cutting in a rolling country in some fine timber. All the logs are brought in from the woods by rail at Saron, as they are at the other Cameron mills. To do this requires fourteen miles of narrow gauge track with two locomotives and twenty-five cars. There is a repair shop there where ordinary repair work is done on the engines or cars if they get into a wreck.

This plant was started in 1882 by Anderson & Cameron. Mr. Cameron bought Mr. Anderson’s interest in 1898. At this time the mill was overhauled and thoroughly re-equipped and additional timber bought, and under the present management it is being put into better shape than ever. The Saron mill from being an ordinary producer has become a very large one in the yellow pine line.

A good stock is kept on hand, which is piled in the open to air-dry, and later any of it that is designed for dry lumber is hauled to the long dry shed shown in the birdseye view.

The manager thinks that good lumber is dry lumber and he handles his accordingly; and with this end in view a mammoth shed has been built for dry stock, which appears in the foreground of the birdseye view. Everything at Saron is constructed on a business basis, and the manger believes that every minute gained is a minute saved in handling a plant. Consequently things go on in a smooth way without loss of time or apparent rush. He was the idea that men will do better work if they are pushed to the limit without being overworked than they will under any other circumstances, and he handles his men accordingly. There is no friction between his men and the manger at the mill, which is something unusual in saw mill work.

A good commissary is at Saron, well stocked. The company office is situated near the store, as shown in the cut.

The Saron plant consists of mill, planer, dry kilns and lumber sheds, besides outdoor space and switching facilities, and the buildings that are needed to take care of the rolling stock of the concern. The equipment of the mill is a Filer & Stowell circular, with a capacity of 20,000,000 feet a year. Longleaf pine is cut entirely.

The stock usually in the yard is 8,000,000 feet. The dry lumber is run through the Andrews kiln, which is shown in the illustration.

  The Plant at Carmona, Tex.  

The official title of the Cameron interests at Carmona is the Cameron Lumber Mills Company, and the manager is P. C. Lipscomb. Capt. Thomas Waties, the general manager of all the yellow pine mills of the Cameron interests, also lives in Carmona.

This mill is No. 3 in the line of properties acquired by Mr. Cameron. He bought it in 1890, succeeding the Carmona Lumber Company. The equipment is an Allis circular with a capacity of 18,000,000 feet annually of longleaf yellow pine lumber. A photograph of the plant is given in our birdseye view. These is a good stock there at all times, so that orders are filled promptly. The location of Carmona is twenty miles east of Trinity, Tex., on a branch of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas railway, and while there is only one road to the town it is a connecting link between the International & Great Northern, the Southern Pacific and the Houston, East & West Texas railway. Shipping facilities are therefore good from this point.

The company has eighteen miles of narrow gage track there with three engines and thirty-five cars, and has a timber supply sufficient for twenty years to come. It carries about 8,000,000 feet of dry yard stock on hand at all times. Of course under conditions that have lately obtained it is a hard matter to carry this quantity of dry stock, but a glance at the birdseye view will show that there is usually a good stock on hand even under adverse conditions.

The dry stock is carried in a large dry shed – much of it is at least – which is well planned to take care of considerable lumber and handle it so as to keep it in first class condition always. In this connection attention is called to the Andrews dry kiln, which has just been completed. A very good picture of each of these buildings accompanies this article. The shed is a big one and will handle a large amount of lumber, a condition that will give this plant a very good capacity for dry stock. This dry kiln is connected with the mill by a tramway, also with the planer and with the yard, so that stock can be run into it from any point and run out to any other point without trouble or loss of time.

The plant at Carmona consists of the saw mill and an excellent planing mill, well equipped and conveniently modeled, and so situated that they are easy of access to the dry kilns and also to the railroad for shipping facilities.

A photograph of the interior of the planer accompanies this article and will give a good idea of what the people in the southwest use in machinery in planing mills.

There is one building in connection with the plant at Carmona which is not usual in a saw mill plant; that is a roomy and well equipped machine shop where work is done in repairing on the locomotives of the nearby Cameron plants, along the Trinity Valley railway. This machine shop is as big as shops in large towns, and the mechanics can practically rebuild an engine, except fro the castings, no matter how badly it may be wrecked or broken up by any accident which is liable to occur to a logging engine. It is rather a departure to do this kind of work in a saw mill town, but the Cameron people do this just as they do everything else. They do it properly and handle it as it should be done.

In this shop are found the tools and appliances that are employed in the repair shops of the great railway systems of the country, and the employees here know how to manipulate them with the best mechanical intelligence.

The commissary at Carmona is not so large as it is at some other places, but it has a well assorted stock and does a large business with the employees and the people of the surrounding country. The office is located in a separate building, or rather an addition to the commissary itself, and is very convenient to the whole plant.

All of the logs are hauled in from the woods on the company’s own track and switched to the log deck, and from there they are rolled into a car which is pulled up to the saw deck by a wire cable.

There is not water or mill pond at all at the Carmona plant, so everything has to be handled dry. A new set of boilers has just been put in and equipped for handling the sawdust and refuse, and the carrier is the usual kind that carries the refuse away to one of the burners.

  The Angelina (Tex.) Plant.  

At Angelina, Tex., 125 miles north of Houston, on the Houston, East & West Texas railway, is one of the big yellow pine mills purchased by Mr. Cameron and still owned by the company. It is managed by S. Wilkins. Sam Cobb acted as pilot and general encyclopedia of information for the LUMBERMAN correspondent, and he played his part well. It was raining and if the reader has ever been in Texas when it rains he knows what that means. It poured. But a little thing like that is taken by a correspondent as a part of life; consequently he went over to the commissary to find out “where he was at” when he landed in Angelina, and the gentleman in charge of the commissary sent him to the office, where he found Mr. Cobb, and together they started out to photograph and to look the plant over. There was a busy gang of men at the front getting out logs which were being brought in by rail to the mill.

To handle this end of the business properly the company has put in eighteen miles of broad gage track, and uses four locomotives and thirty cars. The logging equipment is modern and complete.

This plant was purchased in March, 1898, by Mr. Cameron, and has become a part of the estate. It stands No. 5 in the list of Cameron mill purchases, and before Mr. Cameron bought it was not a very promising mill property, not having been managed with any degree of success.

Mr. Cameron with his usual push, energy and business sagacity made it a good mill in every particular. He refitted it, overhauled it and made it a modern mill, and now it always has plenty of stock on hand to draw from instead of being run rather haphazard, as it was under the old management before Mr. Cameron’s time. This mill cuts both long and shortleaf yellow pine, and the equipment is an Allis circular with a capacity of 18,000,000 feet a year and the timber that is owned in connection with this plant is sufficient to supply the cut for ten years. It is rather scattered as to location. It covers considerable ground from the railroad down to the mill, which is situated on the river bank where the river can be used as a log pond by booming it in, and to avoid any possibility of loss of timber by flood the company has cut a canal across a bend and left the loop which is used for a mill pond as slack water by turning the channel of the Angelina river down through the canal across the neck of the bend.

The plant consists of a saw mill, a planing mill of good capacity and a good dry kiln and plenty of sheds. There is about 5,000,000 feet of lumber carried here in stock at all times, or as near this amount as can be kept, but of course under the conditions that lately have obtained the stocks all over the country are badly broken, though at Angelina the stock is not so badly broken as it is in many other places. There are some improvements that are still under way at Angelina and that are not yet in working order.

There is a railroad roundhouse here which is owned by the company, where the locomotives are taken care of when not in use, and in connection with this there is also a repair shop where repairs are made on the locomotives in case of breakage while in use. To look at, Angelina does not begin to compare with several of the other Cameron plants, but the amount of work that it does belies its looks, and the Cameron people with characteristic energy are fast overcoming the appearance of the plant. It is more than likely that in a short time those who have known the plant under the old management will scarcely recognize it under the improvements that are rapidly being put in.

The commissary is well equipped and carries a good stock to fill the needs of all of the people employed, and there are quite a number of men employed who are well quartered in good substantial buildings, which, though not fancy, are good homes for the class of men who follow the saw mills. In a word, any one who sends orders to the Cameron people and expects them to be filled at Angelina will not be disappointed.

The planing mill at Angelina is equipped with modern machinery and turns out perfect work.

The logging is done by horses, as is the rule at all the yellow pine mills of the Camerons; the large log wagons which carry the logs swung down between the wheels are shown in the illustrations, being modern and up to date.

This kind of logging requires good live stock and a deal of it, and at Angelina it is of the very best quality and well taken care of. The horses look like healthy city draft horses more than those used in the woods for logging operations.

The camp is supplied with good water, something rather hard to get in the Texas pine woods. The houses for the men are built in comfortable style, airy and sunny, the location being a good, healthy place and there is consequently very little sickness at this mill. The men at the Angelina plant are rough, rugged and honest woodsmen who enjoy their work and their camp life.

All of the mills in the Cameron “group” sawing yellow pine enjoy a just reputation for excellence of work.

The logs are carefully sawed, thoroughly dried and when put through the planing mill the final product is sought by the retail trade. This has been the case ever since the founder of these industries first put his shoulder to the wheel and entered the field as a yellow pine manufacturer. It remains the case today, for both the estate of William Cameron and the corporation succeeding it have enjoyed a flourishing trade in yellow pine lumber. The Angelina mill has had its full share of the Cameron prosperity ever since it has been one of the “group.”

Planing mill work is one of the chief features of the Angelina mill. The men in charge of this department are experts in their particular line. They watch for the best of results and they usually get them. From the foreman to the smallest boy at Angelina, carefulness is the watchword and the men take pride in turning out good lumber and plenty of it.

The shipping department is also very careful in filling orders. Men who understand every stick of lumber are in charge, and orders placed at the Angelina mill are always sure of being satisfactorily filled.

The plant is so planned that the lumber comes to the planer in the most expeditious manner and is run into the cars direct from the planer as soon as it is finished, if the order call for shipment at that time. The dry kiln is located between the mill and the planer, and also between the yard and the planer; the yard itself is at one side of the plant, and is roomy and has plenty of space for air drying lumber. Some photographs of the plant are presented which will give a good idea of what it really is.

  The Rockland (Tex.) Mill.  

The Rockland plant is one of the finest of the Cameron interests and is a splendid yellow pine mill situated in a good locality and has recently been rebuilt, as it burned down November 4, 1898. There is some very good timber at Rockland, enough of it to last about twenty-five years, so the Cameron estate will probably be busy at that point for at least that time. The timber here is longleaf yellow pine exclusively, and the exact location of the mill is on the Texas & New Orleans railroad branch of the Southern Pacific, seventy-five miles north of Beaumont. Charles Ball was found at the office in Rockland upon the arrival of the writer and showed him over the plant. There is plenty of room at Rockland and the whole property lies in a long, irregular parallelogram alongside the railroad track, as shown by the birdseye photograph of the plant, which was taken from a hill probably eighty or ninety feet above the valley where the plant itself is located. As it stands at present it is entirely new, having been rebuilt, and in fact had been running only a short time before the LUMBERMAN correspondent dropped in on the scene. This accounts for the small amount of lumber shown in the birdseye picture of the whole plant. It will not take long to stock this yard, as the timber supply is very good and accessible. The railroad equipment consists of fifteen miles of narrow gage track, four engines and forty cars. There is no reason why plenty of timber cannot be delivered to the mill at all times.

The equipment there is a McDonough friction power mill with one circular and one McDonough resawing rig. The total capacity is 125,000 feet a day or 30,000,000 feet annually. The plant proper consists of the mill, planer, Andrews dry kiln, dry sheds, etc.

The Rockland mill site at one time was unhealthy and there was more or less sickness among the men until recently. But the company has built a large and roomy boarding house on the high land, so that at present it has no trouble whatever with sickness. This hotel or boarding house is much better than one usually finds at a saw mill, and an illustration of it is given herewith.

After inspecting the plant thoroughly a ride on the logging locomotive was taken to look at the log cutting and the work a the camps. The camp at this point is portable; the houses resemble those that were built for making box cars, and were taken off the wheels and sidetracked there in the country. They are good houses, however, because they are light and comfortable and easily handled and transported from one place to another. They save time in establishing camp and afford better quarters than the ordinary house which is built in the woods. The illustration gives a very good idea of what these houses are and how they are built, and the people who live in them at the front are well satisfied and contented.

Did the reader ever take a ride on a logging engine over a logging railroad? If not he has missed a good deal in life, and if he wishes an experience in first class order he might go to the Rockland mill and try it. Before he has gone a quarter of a mile he will imagine that there are about eighteen crooks and bumps on each particular rail in the whole road, and he will also imagine that the engineer gives her just a little bit of extra speed whenever a bump comes in sight.

The LUMBERMAN correspondent felt that his time had come when riding that engine down through the pine woods at Rockland. Never in his life had he had quite such an experience and perhaps the young man who pulled the throttle on the engine that day took a sort of malicious delight in shaking up the whole outfit to the limit. He was particularly careful to tell of where in times gone by the engine had jumped the track or struck a bump or curve or some other obstruction and caused general trouble. However, the correspondent was there to stay, and did so, securing the photographs which appear in this article illustrating the Rockland plant.

Probably a finer or more complete yellow pine mill in Texas does not exist than the Rockland plant. It was Mr. Cameron’s particular pride. He intended making it a model mill, and he did so. It stands today a monument to him, and it is a mill of great earning capacity. The lumber manufactured there is of the finest quality. The timber holdings are Mr. Cameron’s latest acquisitions before his death and the mill is a splendid property. Under the direct management of Mr. Hubbard, assisted by Mr. Ball, there is no reason why Rockland should not continue to enjoy the reputation it has always held as a yellow pine saw mill. It is in good hands and it is flourishing. Wm. Cameron & Co., Incorporated, have made some recent improvements at this place which have already been noted in this article, and the Rockland managers are paying strict attention to every detail of the mill work, thus insuring good lumber and prompt shipments from there. It is perhaps the model mill of the Cameron yellow pine “group.”

The Cameron estate prides itself on the live stock it uses in the woods in general, and it probably has at Rockland the finest collection of horses of any mill in the south. They are all heavy draft horses and the men who take care of and handle them take a great deal of pride in having their individual teams look a little better than the other. The stock look more like a horse show than they do like ordinary work horses used in the rough work of getting logs in the pine woods.

J. B. Hubbard is manager of the Rockland plant of the company.

  The “Cypress Queen” Mill at Whitecastle.  

The official title of the concern under whose management this mill is operated is the Whitecastle Lumber & Mill Company, Limited. The mill is managed by Capt. G. M. Bowie, an old and well known lumberman in the southern country. He has been vice president and general manager of this concern since 1892 and has made this plant a great success.

Capt. George M. Bowie is a Scot about 53 years of age. He became identified with the lumber business in 1880, starting to work for Mr. Cameron, then at Fort Worth, as clerk in the lumber yard, subsequently becoming partner with Mr. Cameron in the retail business at various points in Texas where they were interested in the line of yards. He is a very popular man throughout the southern country. He has shown strong executive ability and capability for managing the plant, which is located seventy-five miles northwest of New Orleans on the Mississippi river and on the Texas & Pacific railway. Shipments are made by either water or rail. W. J. Alexander and H. L. Baker are Capt. Bowie’s experienced and efficient assistants in the Bowie operation.

The plant is well situated and is rather compact, as is shown in the birdseye view given herewith. It consists of a saw mill and a large planing mill with dry kilns and dry sheds and the usual attachments that go to make up a modern saw mill plant. The mill is equipped with an Allis single band with capacity of 15,000,000 feet a year, and a shingle mill with capacity of 20,000,000 shingles, the shingle mill being a separate part of the plant. The equipment is modern in every particular. The company was capitalized at $200,000 and the mill has been in operation, practically as it is at present, since it was started in 1890 by Mr. Cameron, with the exception of the sash and door factory, which was added in 1893. This mill is known among the Cameron group as the “Cypress Queen” and it is a splendid plant in every particular. The logging equipment consists of eight miles of narrow gage tracks, three locomotives, thirty cars and the usual paraphernalia required in running a saw mill road.

The illustration of the mill is a birds’-eye view of its size and situation. A large quantity of shingles are turned out there. There is a large yard at the south of the mill which is entirely covered with shingles and the mill boasts of a fine stock.

Logs are delivered to the “Cypress Queen” mill on a ramp at the end of the track. This is a very convenient and quick way of handling the trains and getting the logs on the log deck. A great deal of time might be lost in handling this end of the business, but by the arrangement of the switches which make a Y shaped pair of tracks is accomplished by making a flying switch and running the engine behind, pulling the cars out on the track next to the log deck. The log track ends against the mill and when the logs are dumped they can be rolled on the log deck, remaining until the carrier picks them up and brings them to the boot of the haul up. An illustration is given of this end of the mill which shows the arrangement there. It shows the logs lying on the deck and also loaded there, as well as loaded on the cars, besides those going up the chute into the mill to the saws.

The space for air drying lumber here is not cramped. It enables the company to get lumber out as it may be needed. A spur track runs through the town and ends at the Mississippi river, where lumber can be run directly from the mill and loaded on to the barges without extra handling. A great deal of the product goes out this way. The planing mill and sash and door factory are large and they turn out a great deal of cypress.

It is one of the busiest places in the southern country.

  The “Cypress King” Mill at Bowie, La.  

This sterling cypress mill was organized in May, 1895, by the late William Cameron. It was his sole property until his death and is now the sole property of his estate.

T. Gordon Reddy, Jr., took charge soon after the plant was organized and he has been in charge ever since. The plant consists of a double McDonough band with a daily capacity of 150,000 feet of cypress.

The mill is well planned and well built and is strictly up to date. Cypress shingles and lath are also manufactured there, the capacity being 400,000 shingles and 75,000 lath a day.

A planer is a part of the plant and is fitted with modern machinery for fine cypress work. Four large kilns are connected with the mill by tramway in a convenient manner and the combined kilns have a daily output of 50,000 feet of dry lumber, so it does not require much time to pile a good supply of this kind of stock. The mill has good piling space also for stock to be air dried.

The yard is neatly piled and lumber can be run on to the shipping tracks without extra handling or trouble. The switch comes from the Southern Pacific road and is conveniently placed in the yard running the full length of it, so that cars can be handled with dispatch.

This mill carries in stock 15,000,000 feet of cypress lumber, 10,000,000 shingles and 2,000,000 lath. There are two miles of Southern Pacific tracks in the yard. The shipments for 1899 were 962 carloads of lumber, shingles and lath. The plant owns about 40,000 acres of swamp land. There is therefore little likelihood of running out of timber for years.

The logging equipment consists of four steam skidders, four standard gage locomotives and sixty logging cars. The logs are hauled from the front and dumped into the pond at the end of the mill. The pond has a large capacity and the method in which logs are handled makes it possible to run from four to six trains a day. An illustration of the logging train is given herewith.

The Bowie plant is known under the official name of the Estate of William Cameron. It is the property of the Cameron heirs. It has never had another owner. It is run as a separate business of the estate and is managed by Mr. Reddy at Bowie. It stands high in Louisiana as a financial success and has been so regarded from its inception, which goes far to make a contented man in the cypress brakes. Mr. Reddy has always recognized this and he is very careful of how he takes care of his men.

Four or five miles out on the other side of the swamp are found the skidders at work, and a crew of men getting out cypress logs. The skidder is described elsewhere in this article and it is merely alluded to because of a photograph showing the logs piled up after they are brought in from the brake, as well as the method of loading the logs on the cars by its use. It brings them 1500 feet from the swamp. This is all done as easily as an ordinary man would handle a bucket of coal.

Railroad building in the swamp is a peculiar operation and if the illustrations given herewith are closely scanned a very good idea of what it means will be seen. The cutters slash out the right of way; that is, they cut a gash through the timber where the line is to go. The logs are then thrown to one side, or sawed up and cut out, and stumps are leveled off until the right of way where the track is to be laid presents a practically level surface. It is under water from six inches to two or three feet. It will be seen that the railroad cannot be built on the surface of the water; consequently a corduroy road is built running crosswise. All kinds of timber that will hold up the ties are put in and the ties are laid on the top of this mass of lumber and timber and the rails are spiked down on the ties. The track is then ready for the sawdust car. The dust, shavings and refuse from the mill are loaded into a car and several of these cars are run out ahead of every train that comes from the woods to the mill. They are switched at the various switch tracks wherever it is convenient between the swamp high land and the workings, and the switch engine carries them out to the end of the track where they are dumped. The sticks, sawdust and shavings are worked under the ties just the same as dirt in an ordinary railroad. This makes a comparatively solid road, perfectly safe and high and dry enough to run the cypress logging cars without fear of accident. The illustration shows the end of the track with the men putting down ties and building a piece of track into the cypress woods, and the right of way may plainly be seen opening straight ahead of the bunch of ties and showing the proposed route of the new road. The timber which is still standing in the picture is tupelo gum. This timber is not at present being cut, though it makes a good pulp wood and a better lumber than cottonwood. It is an excellent future asset.

One can imagine what this kind of railroad building means when the cypress knees are noticed which stick up everywhere and which are usually thicker in most parts of the cypress woods than they show in this picture. In this picture the cypress has all been cut and the logs are ready for pulling and loading on to the cars.

Another illustration gives a good idea of what the actual conditions are in the cypress swamps when the cutters are at work. These men are cutting along the right of way; that is, they are following up the right of way, felling the cypress trees and cutting them into lengths ready for the skidder as soon as the railroad is built to that point. This is a rather unenviable job, for a man must work in water continually from morning until night, most of the time knee deep. Nobody but a negro or a “Cajin” can stand it; an ordinary white man would probably die. But these hardy men born and raised in these cypress brakes pay no attention to it. They go right ahead and do their cutting as happily and just as contentedly as though they were on dry land.

One of the other illustrations is an exceptionally good one of the virgin cypress swamp, even to the alligator in the foreground. It shows nothing but the right of way. The timber on both sides is cypress and tupelo gum, which grows intermixed in the cypress country.

  The Jeanerette Lumber & Shingle Company, Ltd., Jeanerette, La.  

The official title of this plant, which is a part of the Cameron group of cypress mills, is the Jeanerette Lumber & Shingle Company, Limited, and the officers are J. W. Stokee, president; H. B. Hewes, vice presidents, and R. H. Downman, treasurer. The plant was established in 1884 and incorporated in 1894. It was established by B. Milme and John W. Stokee. Mr. Hewes bought an interest in 1887 and continued in partnership until the incorporation in 1894. The concern is now a stock company, and Wm. Cameron & Co. bought the Milme interest in 1898. The original mill was lost by fire on May 1, 1898, but it was rebuilt immediately and the new mill began operating in March, 1899, and has a daily capacity as follows: Saw mills, 70,000 feet; planing mills, 50,000 feet; shingle mills, 200,000 shingles.

The equipment of the present mill is an Allis latest double cutting band mill, being the second mill of its kind ever run in the south. The whole plant is equipped with the latest known devices for economical handling of the product.

The mill is strictly modern in every respect and employs 425 men. The illustration shows practically the whole of the plant as far as the buildings are concerned; of the lumber yard is shown only a small corner.

Operating in a cypress swamp is a very odd sort of business and there are many things which seem to e diametrically opposed to each other yet which, strange to say, work hand in hand. Railroads are built out in the swamps, while tow boats also operate in the same lagoon.

The illustration shows a locomotive apparently running around in a field of high grass. In reality this locomotive is on a track built of slabs or anything that can be put under the rails to hold them from sinking into the mud, and the road is built through the swamp country. A better view of what this really means may be seen in the Bowie plant and the railroad operations there. This locomotive at Jeanerette gives a very good view of what railroading means in a cypress swamp.

The railroad equipment there is a standard gage track of 40-pound rails, one locomotive and twelve cars. This road is operated in the Bayou Sorrel swamps.

The log supply comes by tow boats to the mills, up the Bayou Teche from the Grand Lake swamps where the logging outfit consists of the Lidgerwood latest improved “skidders” and “pullboats.” The railroad connection with this plant and 25,000 acres of cypress timber lands will give a steady run for many years.

A very peculiar device in operating cypress logging is the skidder; indeed, cypress logs could scarcely be gotten out in any other way except by a pullboat, which is the same mechanism afloat instead of mounted on rails. The skidder consists of a car carrying an engine like the ordinary piledriver; that is, having rotary drums and wind up cables.

Logging operations in a cypress brake are considerably different from those in vogue in any other class of timber. The timber has to be deadened about a year before it is cut; consequently there is a gang that goes into the swamp before there is anything done in the way of cutting. Their business is simply to girdle the trees. An illustration shows a gang at work, and they will this year deaden all the timber which it is expected will be cut next year. This peculiarity of the cypress business is one where a man who is used to operating in other kinds of wood would probably fail. There is some excellent timber in the woods tributary to the Jeanerette mills and the workmen are nearly all negroes, because a white man, unless a Louisiana Frenchman or some other person accustomed to the swamps, does not care to work in the continual damp of the cypress brake. A negro, however, does not care provided he can keep out of the way of the alligators.

A large cypress log that has been run through the Jeanerette mill is shown in the illustration.

There are cypress brakes in the south where the ordinary skidder operations cannot be carried on, but where the water is deep enough to float a good sized, flat bottom pull boat. A pull boat can run out a cable and handle logs from the timber where the skidder does not handle them at all, being out of reach entirely. The whole country in a cypress swamp or brake is, of course, under water more or less and there is little or no dry land on which to build dry houses; consequently the men who work in these swamps must be provided with floating houses. One of the illustrations shows a floating house as well as one of the pull boats.

A sash and door factory is operated in connection with the Jeanerette plant. The company makes a specialty of interior finish, bar and store fixtures etc. It works on orders entirely. It turns out a fine grade of interior finish and has bout all it cares to handle in this line.

Vice president Hewes has been putting in some improvements in the Jeanerette plant and has recently built new sheds, 90x200 feet, and a shingle shed with a capacity of about 3,000,000 shingles. The Jeanerette plant occupies about ten acres and has thirty acres annexed which can be used for piling lumber.

Three large kilns are running constantly and furnish about 15,000 feet of dry lumber daily. Mr. Hewes has the Allis double cutting mill, as stated, and he has been very successful with this band saw. He says there is an increase in the cut of about 40 percent, and that it is satisfactory in every particular.

The Jeanerette mill is called the “Princess” to distinguish it from the Bowie mill, which is called the “Cypress King,” and the Whitecastle mill, which is called the “Cypress Queen,” these three cypress mills completing the Cameron group in Louisiana.

  The Slayden Kirksey Woolen Mills, Waco, Texas.  

A view of the Slayden Kirksey Woolen Mills at Waco, Texas, part of the property of Wm. Cameron & Co., Incorporated, appears on page 59. A full description of these mills appears elsewhere in this article with appropriate illustrations showing the operatives of the woolen mill at work in the different departments. As stated, the Slayden Kirksey plant is one of the largest woolen mills in the southwest.

  End of the Narrative.  

When one pauses to think of the foregoing description of all these great lumber properties left by the late William Cameron; the succession by the heirs and the final incorporation of a company with $2,400,000 capital; the widely different interests of the company and estate and multitudinous details necessary for the successful conduct of such properties, and thinks that all of this is the story of the life of one man and his work, the pen falters in attempting to pay proper tribute to this genius who could manage so many things and could make all of them profitable. It seems more like a tale from Arabian Nights, when mighty genii could summon untold riches at the wave of a wand. The romance of Mr. Cameron’s career should be left to a pen eloquently accustomed to the task of depicting such a man as, through his own efforts, could accumulate so great a store of worldly possessions and still be so close to the ordinary people that they would allude affectionately to him as “Uncle Billy” Cameron. The affection and esteem of man’s fellow man exceed in worth any written or hewn or wrought memorial, and it may be recorded without useless words that Mr. Cameron possessed both that affection and esteem.

So much for the founder.

And when is considered the career of William Cameron & Co. – that partnership of mother, brother, and sister succeeding the father with great work left on their hands to compete; when is considered the young William W. Cameron, but just from college, possessed of the ability and business acumen of this father and the mentorship of his co-worker, Robert H. Downman, but unused to the fierce competition of trade; when the record of this partnership is shown, as it has been in this story of the Camerons, can anything but admiration e expressed for the splendid business record it has made? It is no child’s play to assume the responsibility of an estate of $4,000,000 and successfully carry on the plans and ideas of the man who built it. Yet it cannot be denied that the progress of the Cameron estate has been sure; that it will be lasting cannot be doubted. It is almost marvelous to reflect upon the unfailing onward march of this concern, and in closing this narrative it is but scant justice to say that the manager of the partnership are responsible for that success.

What the future will bring no man can say; but if precedents amount to anything the new concern of William Cameron & Co., Incorporated, will grow and expand and add fresh laurels to the proud record of this great lumber name. Its destinies are in good hands – the hands of those loyal to the memories of the founder and determined and ambitious for still greater triumphs as lumber operators.

With its vast resources, now possessed or that in the nature of things undoubtedly will be acquired, the operations of the big Cameron concern will not unlikely exceed in extent and importance those that the significance of this article will indicate. Those resources have been entrusted to a corporation that is controlled by long years of the best experience in lines with which the controlling interests are most and intimately familiar. A probably not over sanguine prophecy would depict in the not distant years, almost the dominating influence in its lines in southern lumber handling centered in Wm. Cameron & Co., Incorporated.

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