Research: Tram & Railroad Database

Code: 9
Corporate Name: Burr's Ferry, Browndell, & Chester Railway Company
Folk Name:
Ownership: Kirby Lumber Company. Texas and New Orleans (Southern Pacific)
Years of Operation: 1907 to 1927
Track Type:
Standard Gauge Wooden Rails
Track Length: Eleven
Locations Served: Browndell Tyler
Counties of Operation: Tyler
Line Connections: Missouri Kansas and Texas at Chester
Track Information:
Tram Road Logging / Industrial Common Carrier Logging Camp
Equipment: 1906 and 1907: four locomotives Keeling: two geared and two rod locomotives
History: The Burr's Ferry, Browndell & Chester Railway Company was constructed to give the Kirby Lumber Company and Aldridge Lumber Company an outlet for their sawmill and timberland holdings in Jasper County. Although the Kirby Lumber and Aldridge Lumber relations always seem confusing, this tram road was a Kirby operation from the beginning. An American Lumberman article of January, 1906, mentions the “new Kirby road running from Burrs Ferry, on the Sabine River, to a point on the” Missouri, Kansas, & Texas tracks “near Chester.” The officers were John H. Kirby, president; John S. Bonner, vice president; J. Randolph Burns, secretary-treasurer; and Philip G. Omohundro, general superintendent. The Burr's Ferry, Browndell, & Chester was chartered on January 2, 1908 (Reed states 1906), with its later headquarters, after Kirby took over, in Browndell. Zlatkovich notes that the first seven miles from Aldridge to Rockland, where it connected with the Texas & New Orleans, had been completed in 1907. Strapnac's work notes that the Burr's Ferry, Browndell and Chester Railway bought four locomotives in 1906 and 1907. Keeling lists four locomotives also. In 1908, E. L. Kellie rendered taxes on a d valuation of $24,000 for six miles of tram road in Jasper County. Kellie also rendered taxes for the Aldridge Lumber Company tram road at Rockland that year. Kellie was obviously a “Kirby” man, for the Jasper County Assessment Rolls of Property in Jasper County reveal he rendered taxes for various Kirby land holdings. In 1909, the tax rolls reveal an increase of tram roads to 8.3 miles and a value of $78,600. Another four miles past Aldridge to Milepost 11.12, or Turpentine, had been completed in 1909. Turpentine was the site of a sawmill that was turpentine extraction for the U. S. Naval Department. It would be an expensive operation in order to cross the Angelina River to the east, but sixteen miles were graded on the eastern side of the river. The additional roadbed was not built, for Kirby eventually sold the Burr's Ferry, Browndell & Chester to the Texas & New Orleans in 1915. The road was eventually abandoned in 1927.