a speech by Sam Lindsey, Jr.
Railroads in Laurel, MS page 1
Lindsey Wagon Speech page 1
Log Wagon Wallpapers
Logging Pages Index
Lindsey Eight Wheel Log Wagon
Lindsey Lumber Company
St. Marys Railroad
Story of Bogalusa
Gulf & Ship Island RR
Saratoga: A logging Town
Big Poplar Log
Tree that won a Loco
Trucks filled with poles, logs, pulpwood, chips, Masonite, plywood, and paper products fill the highways of Mississippi on any working day. More than half of the working Mississippians owe their jobs to the timber industry today. Forest products have been harvested in the state for about 100 years; truly, timber is a renewable resource.
This industry has a long and colorful history in the state. Return with me to the beginnings of the 20th Century when the timber industry began; when almost all the jobs in the state were timber related; when Laurel was the "Yellow Pine Capital of the World." The real beginnings of this industry in Mississippi, and Laurel in particular, are linked to a specific invention. This is the story of that invention.
Our story begins in Monroe County, Alabama in 1852. John Lindsey was born. During the Civil War, his parent's home was burned, so they moved to Claiborn, Mississippi; about three miles Southeast of Heidelberg to start life anew. John loved politics, and, at the age of 21, he was appointed Postmaster for Clairborn for one term. While attending a political rally in Sandersville, he met Carrie Winn from Enterprise. He fell in love with her, but her parents objected because she was too young. John waited and courted her until she was 21; then they were married. The wedding took place in her parent's home on December 14, 1884. In order to catch the train to Meridian for their honeymoon, they were married at 7:30 in the morning.
When they moved to Laurel, he built her a home on the corner of 5th Avenue and 7th Street. Because she was afraid of bad weather and fire, John built a home of concrete with railroad iron to reinforce it. He also had an elevator installed so she would not have to walk up the stairs. He treated her like a queen.
John became linked to the timber industry when he started a sawmill in Sandersville in the early 1890ís. This mill furnished timbers for the New Orleans/Northeastern Railroad being constructed between Meridian and New Orleans. Then, logs were hauled out of the forest by four-wheel wagons; unfortunately, they could not carry a very heavy load.
When one of these wagons had a wheel drop into a ditch or stump hole, the axle would break, and the wagon would have to be repaired -- a time-consuming task. Along with this problem, logging with these wagons could only be done during the dry season. They would become stuck in wet or swampy ground. However, most of the hardwood timber was located in the swamps, making the harvest of that timber difficult and costly.
John figured there had to be a better way of hauling logs to the mills. His idea was to build a wagon with two parts, each with two axles and four wheels, hinged in the middle. This would make it flexible enough so that when a wheel dropped into a ditch or stump hole, it would not break an axle. This also made the wagon strong enough to carry heavier loads. It was named THE LINDSEY EIGHT WHEEL WAGON.
This new concept of a wagon was so successful, John patented it on January 3, 1899. He and Sam William, a brother and Sandersville dentist, started manufacturing them in Sandersville. Both men played the violin, and their talents of business and innovation complimented each other. The first wagon had solid wheels made from gum logs. The solid gum wheel arrangement worked fine, but the wheels wore out too quickly. To compensate, John and Sam developed a spoked wheel with steel rims.
Long before the days of electric welding, they had to take rollers to round the steel; put the rounded steel on the forge; cut it to fit; pull it together; add flux to the joint; and pound the pieces into a solid circle. After they installed the spokes in the hubs and the fellys in the spokes, the partially made wheel was put in what I call a "Hugging Machine." This machine made the wood part round. Then the steel rim was put in the machine; extreme pressure was placed on the wheel until the steel and the wood were bonded together.
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