> 1868-9 Directory of Lumber Mills in Bay County, MI / BAY-journal
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1868-9 Lumber Mills in Bangor, Bay City, Portsmouth & Wenona.
  • Source: Bay City Directory. (Added Nov. 2007)
  • Each includes location, description of the mill's capacity and a brief history.


    Foot of Sophia street.

    Messrs. Taylor, Mouthrop & Co., own these extensive establishments. The mill, situated at the foot of Sophia street, was built by Whitney, Coite & Co., in 1852, when it started with a circular and two Mulay saws, giving it a capacity of 25,000 feet per day of 12 hours. The present proprietors took possession of it in 1860, and in 1867 increased its capacity to 12,000,000 feet per season, by putting in a Scotch gang, a new and larger circular, new engines and boilers; employing 50 men in and around the mill. The timber comes from rivers Pine and Cass, and the lumber goes east and west.

    Messrs. Taylor & Moulthrop are practical manufactures, and give their who attention to the business, being always “at home” in the mill.

    The Mills.

    The origin of the Keystone mill dates back to 1854, when it was built by Samuel Bolton & Co., of Philadelphia; its capacity then, was 25,000 per day of 12 hours, having two Mulay saws and a circular, and employing 35 men.

    In 1866, the Keystone L. & S. Mfg. Co., became proprietors of it – as well as the Salt Works, which were then about two years old – and the capacity of the mill was by them increased during the same year to 9,000,000 in the season, but substituting a large circular, for the one previously in use, and by putting in another at the same time. About 60 men find employment about the mill.

    The Company procures their timber near the Cass and Rifle rivers, and ship their lumber to both eastern and western markets – largely to Cleveland - where they have extensive wholesale lumber yards.

    Mill on Water Street

    This mill was built in 1854, by Moore, Vose & Co., at that time it had two uprights, a circular, and lath mill, with a season capacity of 1,000,000 or 35,000 per day of 12 hours. The present proprietors purchased it in 1858, and in 1862, enlarged its capacity, by extending the building, and putting in the following new machinery: one circular 5 ½ feet in diameter; one Mulay, a gang patent edger, common edger, lath mill, stave mill and two cut-off saws – which gives it a present capacity of 10,000,000 per season of 7 months, giving employment to 35 men in and around the establishment; there are four boilers of 48 inches in diameter in it, and three engines – such is the power required to drive the machinery.

    The timber is procured on the Cedar, Flint and Cass rivers, and on the Bay Shore. The lumber is shipped to both eastern and western markets.


    On Water Street, between Twenty-First and Twenty Second Streets.

    This mill was built in 1852 by Mr. James McCormick, the enterprising propriety, and son of the pioneer of that name. It was built in 1852, and when then but an humble sawyer; with an upright and edger it cut during the season 1,000,000 feet. In 1859 considerable improvements were made in the mill, which increased its capacity five fold: A new engine superseded the old, having a 14 inch cylinder with 30 inch stroke, requiring an addition of two boilers; the old upright got notice to quit, and a new improved one took its place; then followed a circular, edger, cut-off saw, lath works and all the appurtenances of a modern first-class mill, cutting five millions in a season leisurely, with the aid of twenty-two men.

    The lumber is sold partly at the mill and the balance shipped east.

    A. RUST & CO.
    Mill foot of Twentieth Street.

    The owners of this mill are one of the most extensive lumber manufacturing firms in the State. They have establishments in both the Saginaws, besides other points on the River, and contemplate extending their operations nearer the Bay. The mill here was built in 1861 by the firm of John F. Rust & Co. Which in 1865 became A. Rust & Co. It contains a gang, an upright, an edger, and lath mill, cutting 4,000,000 feet in a season, employing twenty-one men.

    The lumber is shipped partly to the Eastern markets and part to the Western, the balance being sent to Cleveland, where the firm have an extensive lumber yard. The do all their own forwarding, and own the steam barges Bay City, East Saginaw, and Geo. W. Bissell.

    It is proposed to increase the capacity of this mill next winter so that it will cut 6,000,000, and sink a shaft for salt, and erect works beside the mill. Such are the effects of Ruse in this Valley. Not until the name passes away will it become rusty.

    Mill located on S. Water Street, foot of Seventeenth Street.

    This mill was erected by Mr. James Watson in the fall of 1863, and commenced operations the following season with a circular saw, cutting capacity 3,000,00, for the season. In 1866 Mr. Watson joined by Mr. M. W. O’Brien, of Chicago, when the mill was enlarged and its capacity increased to about 7,000,000. It now contains two circulars, lath mill, patent gang and edger, employing 31 men.

    The logs are brought from rivers Kawkawlin, Rifle and Tittabawassee, and the lumber is mostly shipped to Chicago.

    N. B. BRADLEY & CO.
    Mill foot of Fourteenth Street.

    This mill was partly built by Herster, Carrington & Co., in 1854, who disposed of it the following winter to Frost & Bradley, of Chicago, by whom it was completed and started in 1855. Its capacity was then 4,000,000 for the season. In the winter of 1862 the present owners became possessed of it, and raised its capacity to about 8,000,000, employing about 36 men. It contains now two circular saws, one upright, edgers, lath mill and stave machine. The lumber is all sold at the mill to purchasers from both East and West.

    Messrs. N. B. Bradley & Co. intend putting a gang into their mill next winter.

    Their Salt Works.

    Are situated corner of Sixteenth and Water streets, and yield 50 bbls. a day. They are now boring another well beside their mill. When their new works are completed they expect to manufacture 100 bbls. daily between their two blocks. The old works were built in 1863, and employ 10 men. The depth of the well is about 1,100 feet. The salt is A No. 1, with strength 100, and is disposed of by the Saginaw & Bay Salt Co. The fuel used is slabs and saw dust from the mill. They begin to manufacture about the middle of April and discontinue first of December. Their barrels are all made by themselves, the staves being made at their mill and the headings at the salt works.

    Water Street.

    This mill was erected in 1852 by Wm. P. Doty, now deceased. It contained one circular and one upright saw. After his death it was purchased by the present proprietor, who put a gang of saws and an additional upright into it, giving a present capacity of 7,000,000 in the usual season. It gives about 30 men employment. The time for it is procured near the rivers Pine and Tittabawassee, and the lumbers goes to Toledo and the West. Mr. Perters came from Columbiavilla, Lapeer Co.

    Foot of Eleventh Street.

    The history of this mill begins in 1854, when the firm of Rodgers and Bros. laid out what now appears to have been only the found of a large concern. It had then only on upright saw, which cut 7,000 feet per day and employed 10 men. In 1856 Miller & Butterfield became its proprietors, who gave it an increased capacity by the introduction of a circular saw, bringing up the daily yield to 20,000 feet; this firm ran it for four years, and then Mr. Butterfield sold out to N. Barnard and Angus Mill, and they continued the business under the firm of Miller, Barnard & Co. They put in another circular saw, a new and larger engine, new boilers, and new energies, whereby they increase the capacity of the mill to 36,000 per day.

    In 1864 the present owners purchased it, and made further improvements in and around the establishment, make it the most important mill in the place. It now turns out 8,000,000 in the seven months season. The engine now in use by E. A. & Co., is a “thing of beauty and joy forever,” the pet of the house, the admired of all admirers, and was made by our enterprising Bay Citizens, McDowell & SonsM. Eddy, Avery & Co. employ upwards of 40 men, and are now building salt works in connection with their mill. They are enterprising gentlemen and favorably mentioned at home and abroad.

    Foot of Tenth Street.

    This was one of the first ventures in the mill line in Bay City, having been built by Elijah Stanton, in 1852. It ran first with a small engine, but which was replaced in 1863 by a larger one.

    In 1857 Beebe & Atwood bought it, and after running it for two years, Mr. Stanton resumed possession and disposed of it to the present proprietors . It then contained two boilers, one engine with a 13 by 30 inch cylinder, one mulay saw and one “Kitten’s siding mill,” having a capacity of 2,000,000 feet of lumber annually. During the spring of 1860 the mill was thoroughly repaired, the side mill being replaced by a larger circular, and the following season it cut 3,200,000, furnishing employment for 17 men. In 1861 the production was increased nearly 200,000. In 1862 the size of the circular was increased, when the production reached nearly 4,000,000 feet. In 1863 another boiler was attached and an enlarged and improved circular was added, carrying a 66 inch saw, since which the amount of lumber manufactured has steadily increased, until the annual production has now reached 6,000,000 feet and 2,000,000 of lath, employing 28 men. The timber is procured from forests bordering on the Cass and Chippewa Rivers and their tributaries, and the lumber is shipped East and West.

    Water Street, between Eight and Ninth Streets.

    This venerable pile lays claim to some antiquity, being the oldest mill in Bay City; it was built in 1847 by Catlin & Fraser, and sequently is of age, being 21 years a mill. The young men of today who have reached their majority, were then the babes unborn of innocent reputation. The original owners ran it successfully for seven years. Mr. Jennison then bought out Mr. Fraser’s interest in it, and associated himself with Mr. Catlin; they continued together until 1866, when Mr. Catlin sold out to Mr. Rouse, one of the present proprietors. Its original capacity was about 6,000 feet daily. Catlin & Jennison in 1864, increased this to 30,000 at which it remains. Last season of seven months, it cut 4,300,000. It has one circular and one upright saw, giving 25 men employment.

    The timber is procured on the borders of the rivers Rifle and Pine, especially Pine.

    GATES & FAY.
    Mill foot of Sixth Street.

    In 1845-46 Messrs. Hopkins, Pomeroy & Fraser erected a mill on the site now occupied by Gates & Fay’s; it was the first mill put up in what then called Lower Saginaw, and its capacity was 15,000. It had two uprights. In the Spring of 1850, the addition of a circular saw of four feet in diameter increased its capacity to 20,000. For about a year and a half after that, its fortunes varied little from those of its few contemporaries about here. Subsequently it had some bought experiences and saw many changes. In the Fall of 1851, it was blown up, killing the fireman and landing one of its boilers on Water street. This was sent to Detroit to be repaired, friend O. Johnson not being here then, and in the Spring of 1852, the mill had been repaired and was running smoothly. Shortly after in the same year, Hugh Dunlap, of Chicago, purchased it, run it for two years and then sold out to Burns & Wheeler. In those days mills must have run through fortunes as well as longs, for we find that in 1859 it again changed hands, becoming the property of Grant & Fay, who enlarged its capacity by putting in a larger circular. Next year Mr. Grant retired from the scene, and Mr. Gates took his place, and seems to have liked it, for the firm of Gates and Fay flourishes to this day. Not so the poor old mill, for it took fire and was consumed with a lot of lumber on the 12th day of July, 1863.

    The new mill was built during the winters of 1863-4, and in the Spring of the latter year was running with a circular of 5 ½ feet diameter and one upright, giving a capacity of 5,000,000 annually, employing 19 men.

    North of First Street.

    The history of this mill dates its first chapter at Trenton, where it was reared and ran a few years, until its owner arrived at years of discretion, in 1851, when he moved to Bay City, where his mill followed him, on board of a schooner, arriving all right, after a good run. Mr. Raymond, associated with Mr. Jas. Watson planted it where is now stands, and run it for several years, when until the Spring of 1864 when he then sold it to its present owners, who added to its old power another engine, and by putting in a gang, raised its capacity to 9,000,000 feet per season. It gives employment to 42 hands. The lath manufactured in this mill is quite an item in its productions, averaging 2,225,000 annually. It contains two engines, gage, an upright saw, and a circular of 6 feet in diameter.

    Foot of Washington Street.

    The original proprietors of this mill were Messrs. Baughman & Partridge. It was built in the fall of 1853 and commenced running in the following spring with a siding mill, two uprights and an edger, giving it a daily capacity of 30,000 feet. In March, 1885, the junior member withdrew from the firm, leaving Mr. Baughman in possession, who disposed of it in October following, to Mr. Hubbard, of Detroit, who in turn sold out to the late Samuel Pitts, in 1856. In 1857 the capacity of this mill was very much increased by addition of a gang, which brought it up to a season yield of 4,000,000, and the introduction of a second gang in 1864, gave it its present capacity of 10,000,000 feet.

    Under the firm of Samuel Pitts & Co. This mill flourished for 11 years, giving employment to about 50 men. Most of the timber cut by it was procured on the Rivers Cass, Flint and Chippewa, and the lumber shipped directly to Chicago.

    By the death of the head of the firm in April last, the name of the firm was changed to Thos. Pitts & Co., of which Mr. Thomas Cranage is a member. They have a second mill and a large retail lumber yard in Detroit, where they keep every description of dressed lumber, and enjoy the esteem and confidence of the people. Their retail lumber yard in this city is also well stocked with every kind of lumber, and is well patronized.

    Foot of Belinda Street.

    This saw mill was erected by the late John Fraser, during the winters of 1865-6, and commenced operations with one circular saw, cutting about 3,500,000 in a season, employing 16 men.

    At the death of Mr. Fraser in the fall following, Mr. Fay purchased the mill, but disposed of it again in May, 1867, to the present owners, who increased it capacity to 5,000,000 by the addition of an upright saw; 21 men now find employment in and around the mill. Their timber is procured mostly from the head waters of the Saginaw River and its tributaries.

    Foot of Dolsen Street.

    This mill was erected by Messrs. Dolsen & Walker, in 1864, with a capacity of 4,000,000 in a season of seven months, having a circular saw and edger. It gives employment to 15 hands. The timber is procured chiefly from the lands on the Tittabawassee and Cass Rivers and their tributaries, and the lumber is shipped to Chicago and Eastern ports.

    The firm was unfortunate enough to lose their first mill by fire, which also destroyed a valuable lot of lumber. The present mill now stands as a monument to the memory of an energy and enterprise which has by no means departed.

    Mr. Fay has lately become a partner in this firm, and the mill is to be extended and fitted with a gang, which will give it a capacity equal to any on this side of the river.

    J. & W. McEWANS’S MILL.

    This mill is situated on the left bank of the river, about a mile and a half below the bridge. It was built by McIntyre and McEwan during the winter of 1850 and 51, and fitted with two upright saws and edger, which gave a capacity of 2,500,000, and employment to 12 men. It has been enlarged at different times since, and has now a cutting capacity of about 10,000,000 feet in the season; cut by a six foot circular saw, an upright and a gang, giving employment to 37 men. It is stocked with logs from the various tributaries of the Saginaw River and Bay, and the lumber is nearly all shipped to Chicago. This establishment turns out as much lumber as any other on this side of the River.


    This mill is located about two miles below Bay City Bridge, on the east side of the River; was built in the fall of 1867, and began operations in May, 1868. It is a large and substantial frame building of which its owners and operatives are justly proud, containing all the latest improvements in machinery, arranged after the most approved plans. It has three engines and three boilers now, and the firm intend putting in another boiler soon. It is fitted with a gang of 36 saws, a circular, an edger and an upright, giving a cutting capacity of 8,000,000 feet in a season, and employing about 30 men.

    Two miles below the City.

    This mill, situate on the east side of the River, below the bridge, was erected during the winter of 1866-7, containing an upright and a circular saw, with a season capacity of 5,000,000. It gives employment to 16 men. The fuel used is slabs and refuse from cutting and saw dust.

    Salt Works.

    This firm have also, in connection with their saw mill, extensive salt works, in which they use kettles. They were erected in 1863, and have a capacity of 8,000 bbls. In a season. This branch of the business employs 6 men. They make all their own barrels, making states and headings from slabs, employing two coopers.



    This mill is on Water street. It was built by the present proprietors in 1851-2, with a capacity of 10,000 feet per day of 12 hours, with two upright saws. In 1865 this was increased to 28,000 feet daily by the introduction of a circular. Season capacity, 3,000,000. It gives employment to 18 men.

    A. STEVENS & CO.
    Shingle Mill.

    Is situated on Water street, and was built by Watrous & Wright in 1853 with a capacity of 4,000,000, employing 12 men. In 1856 G. M. Denison bought it and ran it for a year, and then sold it to Stevens, Pratt & Co., who disposed of it to the present proprietors. In 1850 they increase its capacity to 9,000,000, giving employment to 25 men.

    Saw Mill.

    This mill was built by B. F. Partridge, in 1854, and run by him for two years. In 1856 it became the property of the late James Fraser, who leased it for a term of years to H. A. Braddock & Co. The present owners bought it in December, 1863.

    Its capacity is 5,000,000 with a mulay saw and an upright, employing 22 men. This is the only mill that speaks of misfortunes; it ruined its builder, burst it first boiler – killing a man by the accident, – cut up man one day – instead of a log, and note of its proprietors have made a fortune out of it. This must be the mill the people have been put through.

    Saw Mill.

    Is situated on Water street, foot of Brunnet, and was built in 1856, by H. D. Braddock & Co.; its capacity then was 1,500,000 per season, employing 10 men; it had two upright saws. That firm ran it until 1865, and then sold out to H. C. Young, who continued the business for two seasons, and disposed of it to J. R. Hitchcock; he carried it on alone until the spring of 1868 when he took his present partner, J. A. Dunham, into the concern, and the present firm increased the capacity of the mill, by putting in a circular saw, to 3,500,000 per season, employing 18 men.

    The largest amount of lumber ever got out of one log in the Saginaw Valley was cut on the 22d of August at Hitchcock’s mill, for A. Stevens & Co.

    • The fist plank was 38 in. wide, 10 in. thick - 506 3/4 feet
    • The second 26 in. wide, 8 in. thick - 384 feet
    • The third 36 in. wide, 5 in. thick - 250 feet
    • Total – 1,130 3/4
    • out of one log, all perfectly clear, without sap, knot or rot – leaving still a balance.

    C. S. BRADDOCK & CO.
    Planing Mill

    This mill was built during the winter of 1862-3 by the present owners, and does an extensive business. The company dress all kinds of lumber, flooring, siding, & c., and employ four men.

    C. T. MARSTON & CO.
    Saw Mill

    This mill was erected on what is called middle-ground, or a small island at Portsmouth, and was the first so built. It was erected by H. A. Braddock & Co., in 1863-64; its capacity is 3,000,000, with a six feet circular saw and edgers, employing 15 men. In 1867 the present proprietors purchased it.

    Shingle Mill.

    Situate on Water street, and built in 1864; employs 15 hands and manufactures 5,000,000 in a season of seven months. Timber procured from the tributaries of the Saginaw and Kaw-kaw-lin rivers. The shingles are sent to Hartford, Conn.

    A. & A. MILLER’S.
    Saw Mill.

    Is situated on Water street, foot of Tuscola, and was built by the proprietors in 1867. It is the largest mill in this vicinity, its season capacity reaching 12,000,000. The owners have invested over $50,000 in the mill and machinery; it has a gang, a circular, an upright, and a lath mill, and can turn out 2,000,000 lath in a season. Fifty men find employment in this big establishment. They procure their timber from the rivers of Cass, Tittabawassee, and those emptying into the Bay. Lumber shipped east and west. On the 11th of September, 1868 the cut was 120,335 feet in 10 hours and 40 minutes.

    Saw Mill.

    This establishment is on the middle-grounds, and was built by the proprietors in 1867. Its capacity is 3,000,000 per season. The machinery consists of a six feet circular saw and a lath mill; the daily cut of lath is 10,000. Fifteen men are employed by R. & Son.



    The “Drake Mill” was built in 1851-2 by Drake Bros., – three brothers from Canada. It was sold to the firm of Kibbee, Whitemore & Co., in the fall of 1853, who, at the same time, bought the “Bangor Mill,” and held large tracts of pine land, but were not very successful. It passed into the hands of N. P. Stewart, in 1858, and is now ostensibly held by Elisha P. Litchfield. The mill was thoroughly rebuilt and enlarged in 1863, and is capable of cutting about 5,000,000 during the season. It is one of the most convenient and beautiful sites on the river, having eighty three rods water front. The boom is completely land-locked and will contain four million feet of logs, and the land adjoining the village of Wenona, consisting of 44 acres, is now very valuable.

    H. W. SAGE & CO.
    Foot of river south of Midland.

    The mill – if not the largest in the world – has cut more lumber than any other during the same space of time; it is one of the sights of the Valley; the very head of the mill family; a monster of the woods, with more sets of teeth than a wholesale dentist, and with an appetite for forests, which no statistic purveyor can satisfy and which puts all calculations astray. It commenced operations in May, 1865, and cut during the season 9,048,000 feet.

    • In 1866 it cut - 20,225,000
    • In 1867 it cut - 22, 952,957
    • In 1868 the cut will reach - 35,000,000
    • Its capacity for one season is really - 40,000,000

    In 12 hours it has cut 370,797 feet, and since it commenced has cut 80,500,000 feet of lumber. The number of men employed about the mill is 210. The size of the main building is 80x140 feet; it contains two pairs of gangs, and upright, a large circular, and seven edgers. The driving power consists of five engines, of an aggregate of 250 horse power – requiring six boilers 30 feet long and four feet diameter. Its owners have docks upon which they can pile 18,000,000 feet of lumber, and one of the largest and most powerful tugs known for towing logs and vessels. They have a lumber yard at Toledo, Ohio, two at Albany, N. Y., and one at New York City; also, a mill at Bell Ewart, in Canada, with a capacity of 15,000,000 a year. Until July last the firm was Sage & McGraw, but on that date Mr. Sage purchased the interests of Mr. McGraw, since which the business has been carried on under the name of H. W. Sage & Co., with Mr. Carrington as local Agent.

    Mills Listing
  • Bangor MIlls & Salt Works.
  • Keystone Lumber & Salt Works.
  • Moore, Smith & Co.
  • A. Rust & Co.
  • Carrier & Co.
  • Dolsen & Walker's Mill.
  • Eddy, Avery & Co.'s Mill.
  • Folsom & Arnold's Mill.
  • Gates & Fay.
  • H.M. Bradley & Co.'s Mill.
  • J. & W. McEwan's Mill.
  • James McCormick Mill.
  • James Shearer & Co.'s Mil.
  • Jennison & Rouse's Mill.
  • N.B. Bradley & Co.
  • Smith & Hart's Saw Mill.
  • Thomas Pitts & Co., Mill.
  • Watson & O'Brien.
  • Wm. Peter's Mill.
  • A.A. Miller's.
  • A. Stevens & Co.
  • C.S. Braddock & Co.
  • C.T. Marston.
  • Hitchcock & Dunham's.
  • Peter & Lewis.
  • Rorison & Son.
  • Watrous Bros.
  • Watrous, Southworth & Co.
  • Drake Mill.
  • H.W. Sage & Co.

    Related Resources
    Pictorial Library/

    Sage & McGraw Mill
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