Research: Tram & Railroad Database

Code: 176
Corporate Name: Brown Lumber Company tram road
Folk Name:
Ownership: George Brown Lumber Company
Years of Operation: 1895 to 1905
Track Type:
Standard Gauge Wooden Rails
Track Length: Unknown
Locations Served: Near Orr's Switch Marion
Counties of Operation: Marion and Cass
Line Connections:
Track Information:
Tram Road Logging / Industrial Common Carrier Logging Camp
Equipment: Unknown
History: A Marion County Deed of Trust of 1895 reveals that George Brown Lumber Company was leasing ground along Alley Creek for building a tram road. The East Line Lumber Company of James Bemis operated a series of contracts mills along the tracks of its East Line & Red River railroad. One of the mills was located just south of Avinger, in Cass County, at Orr's Switch in 1889. By 1890, the company was in the hands of George W. Brown. A deed of trust to James Niblett, Jr., from Brown Lumber Company revealed that the sawmill plant was located two miles southwest of Avinger on five acres of the S. A. Orris farm. Brown integrated steam tram roads into logging operations by building a tram line into the pineries eleven miles west of Jefferson. Five years later the company was tramming along Alley Creek. In 1898, Brown Lumber Company contracted with W. E. Singletary, Jr., to have Singletary provide his cut to Brown Lumber. Very little of the social and material culture of this sawmill community has been researched. George W. Brown, the company president, lived in Avinger and served as its postmaster from 1898 to 1902. He also operated a large general store in town, which may have served as the primary branch of the company commissary. At the turn of the century, W. G. Ragley and Sam Bennett along with George Brown had sawmills operating at or near the Switch, which would have generated a population of several hundred. The Brown company plant was located next to that of the W. G. Ragley Lumber Company operation there. Brown proceeded Ragley in establishing a sawmill at Ragley, in Panola County.