T.R. Miller Mill organized in 1877

Published 11:32 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Staff
Lydia Grimes
Forgotten Trails
We are continuing with the history of Escambia County as written by Ethel Holmes. I believe I have been writing her name as Hoomes in earlier columns.
In 1906, the second sawmill was built for the purpose of cutting timber, the original mill being equipped only for sawing the timber. Five years later the veneer mill was added. In 1912 T.R. Miller purchased the mill and the name was changed to the one it now bears. In 1914, the box factory was installed and the crate and basket factory followed in 1916. A creosoting plant was added in 1927 and in the same year a generator was installed in order that the planning mill could be operated by electricity.
Today the T.R. Miller Mill Company is known over the entire south as one of this section’s industrial giants. From a cutting of 40,000 feet per day it has increased to 75,000 feet per day. It owns approximately 120,000 acres of land in fee simple in the counties of Escambia and Conecuh. The plant in Brewton covers about 100 acres and employs 500 persons. The weekly payroll amounts to $6,000. As manufactures, wholesale and retail shippers of yellow pine lumber and timber wire-bound boxes, fruit and vegetable containers, creosoted poles and other products, the T.R. Miller Mill Company carries the name of Brewton into nearly all parts of the United States as well as into foreign countries.
The square timber manufactured by T.R. Miller Mill Company goes directly from the mill to Murder Creek, where it is rafted and carried down the creek into Conecuh River (known as Escambia after it reaches Florida), and is floated down this river to the Pensacola Bay, where it is towed by tugs to shipside and loaded on vessels and exported to European markets. This timber is carried by water to shipside at Pensacola because it can be transported in this way much more economically than it can by rail. It is of great importance that the owner of the business realized the value of forest preservation is practiced in sections where nature will not re-seed. Look-outs are constantly on guard to prevent forest fires from laying waste in timberlands.
In the logging of the timber the company practices conservation, cutting no piece under 14 inches at the stump; and no pine tree is turpentined unless it is to be sold within three years from the time it is first turpentined. It is the plan and hope of the company that by doing selective logging—that is, cutting only the trees that are mature and ready to cut—it can have a perpetual operation.
W.T. Neal is president of T.R. Miller Mill Company and John R. Miller is vice-president, David B. Miller second vice-president, and Ed Leigh McMillan, secretary and treasurer. Among the directors and stockholders are some of the business men of Brewton and Escambia County, descendant of pioneers who first settled in this fertile farming section and who strived from the beginning to advance it from a section of canebreaks to its present advanced state.
I know this is long, but it has some great information that I have not seen in any other place.

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