Editor’s note: The following is reprinted, with permission, from Mary Keller Bowman’s “Reference Book of Wyoming County History,” published in 1965.
Fowles Brothers, in 1890, set up a circle sawmill on Little Huff near the mouth of Defeat Branch, sawing only poplar logs, averaging 300 to 400 feet per log, and averaging 24 to 30 logs per day, and employing 25 to 30 men.
Ten men worked with teams hauling lumber to the railroad two miles west of Iaeger, at $3 per thousand feet.
The company maintained a boarding house for workers.
Total output was 2,000,000 feet, all of which was exported.
The mill was dismantled in 1892.
Shipment was over N&W.
In 1898, the R.E. Wood Lumber Company set up a single band mill at the mouth of Sook Creek on Little Huff, near the home of Fred Riffe.
This company removed and sawed all the timber on Little Huff from Muzzle Creek up, the Ellis timber on Nelson Branch, the Morgan timber on Garden Gap Branch, and the H.F. Riffe timber on right-hand fork of Muzzle Creek, aggregating 5,000 acres.
Total output about 72,000,000 feet of lumber, some of which was exported.
Job was completed and mill dismantled in 1908.
Its capacity was 130 to 180 logs per day.
This job employed 125 men, about half of them natives and the remainder from other states.
Some 40 to 50 worked around the mill and yards and the remainder worked on the teams, dinkies, skidders, and in the mountains. Ten teams of horses and three dinkies hauled logs and lumber.
Two camps and two commissaries were maintained, one of each near the mill and one of each at Sandy Huff in McDowell County, shipping point on the N&W.
A 20-ton Climax engine hauled lumber from the mill on Sook, over wooden tracks, up Buffalo Creek and down Hensley Branch to Sandy Huff.
The mill sawed 130 to 160 logs per day into 40,000 feet of lumber. Total cut on this job, 72,000,000 feet.
E.H. Sudduth Company, 1902, set up a circle sawmill near Woosley (now Wolf Pen) on Indian Creek, employing 50 to 75 men, of whom 16 worked at the mill, lumberyard, boarding house, and stable and the remainder in the woods and handling teams.
Lumber was hauled up Bailey’s Branch to the top of the mountain by using a hoist, then down Brown’s Creek to N&W Railway.
The company maintained a boarding and bunkhouse for the men. The mill’s capacity was 140 to 180 logs per day, or about 4,000 feet.