Research: Tram & Railroad Database

Code: 94
Corporate Name: Benford & Western Transportation Company
Folk Name:
Ownership: Mardez Lbr Co. Benford Lbr Man Co. West Lbr Co. Burkett & Barnes. Bennett & Stanford. Lynch Davidson & Co.
Years of Operation: 1889? to 1929?
Track Type:
Standard Gauge Wooden Rails
Track Length: Thirty
Locations Served: Benford (Polk)
Counties of Operation: Polk
Line Connections: Trinity & Sabine (Missouri Kansas & Texas) at Benford
Track Information:
Tram Road Logging / Industrial Common Carrier Logging Camp
Equipment: 1905: locomotive, ten cars. Strapac and Keeling: a Vulcan 1321 1928: 30-mile tram road.
History: George Bennet and George W. Stanford built a small sawmill about 1889 three miles east of Corrigan on the route of the Trinity & Sabine. The community became Benford, a combination of the owners names. The company probably used a small wooden tram road in logging the adjacent pineries. The mill passed to the firm of Burkett & Barnes. In April 1905, an article appeared in the Beaumont Enterprise reporting that the West Lumber Company (J.M. West) had acquired a mill at Benford mill from Burkett & Barnes on January 12, 1905. Jim West and his partner, Lynch Davidson, operated the mill for and under the names of West Lumber Company, Continental Lumber Company, Benford Lumber Company, and Mardez Lumber (all West-Davidson interests). The Benford Lumber Manufacturing Company's mill at Benford appeared in the U.S. Department of Commerce's 1915 directory of sawmills. It is believed this mill was the same as the West mill, since Lynch Davidson was interested in both firmsWest Lumber Company and Benford Lumber Company. The only Benford mill listed in a 1928 Southern Lumberman publication was that of W.G. Ragley. No mill at Benford was recorded in the Lumbermen's Credit Association's October 1934 records. Benford, according to W. T. Block, became a ghost town by 1937. West Lumber Company constructed a tram after it had logged out the nearer stumpage. In 1905, it possessed a half-mile tram to the Trinity & Sabine, a locomotive, and ten log cars. The log tram was extended as much as thirty miles as the stumpage was cut out. Keeling identifies the Benford Lumber Company at Benford as operating a logging tram road. Strapac identifies the line under Mardez Lumber Company, a successor to Benford Lumber Company, as the Benford and Western Transportation Company. The company used at least ten geared and rod locomotives at various times. The tracks may have been narrow gauge originally. The Vulcan 1321 was the former Benford & Western Transportation Company, Corrigan, Texas, #999. The engine was purchased in 1918 by Grogan interests from the Birmingham Rail and Locomotive works. The tram road was probably dismantled the year the mill cut out, about 1929.