Bayfield County Log Cut – 1887

Drawing by Bayfield Artist - Bessie Nourse

Drawing by Bayfield Artist – Bessie Nourse

Bayfield Counties Log Cut

Bayfield County Press

December 3, 1887 

“It’s rather early in the season to make a reliable estimate of the amount of logs that will be banked in this section this winter, but if the winter produces favorable for logging operations the following figures will be found very near, and if so that cut will be largely in excess of that of any previous years.

The operators are Frank V. Holston in Pike’s Bay at 1,500,000 feet; Frank Boutin Sr. at Siskowit, 5,000,000; Frank Boutin Jr. at Pike’s Bay at 600,000 feet; Brigham and Mussell at Sand River 2,500,000 feet; Fischer and Wing at Pike’s Bay at 4,000,000 feet; Mowat and Case at Sioux River 1,200,000 feet and Vilas and Riley at Sioux River 7,000,000 feet. William King was cutting in section 10-4-Township 50, at 300,000 feet. The total amount of timber estimated before northwest Wisconsin from the Montréal River to Iron River accrued to a total of 113,200,000 feet.

In addition to the above, Ashland County will contribute in the neighborhood of 80 to 90,000,000 feet.

Captain R. D. Pike’s Mill, “Little Daisy” at Bayfield, runs day and night a goodly portion of the season and up to date has cut 12,533,880 feet and is still running.

The Washburn Mills, notwithstanding the numerous drawbacks incident to all new enterprises, more especially sawmills, have made a goodly showing, the Bigelow and Walker mill having turned out, in round numbers, 25,000,000 feet. The Rood and Maxwell plants – two mills – turned out 21,000,000 feet, which would have been much larger but for “that unfortunate failure.”

The White River Lumber Company at Mason, this County, has probably one of the finest manufacturing plants in the Northwest. There cut for the past season amounted in round numbers to 24,500,000. They estimate their winters cut of logs at 25,000,000 feet.

The Rust Owen Lumber Company, at Drummond, this County, will cut at least 26,000,000 feet, all of which will be manufactured at their mill in Drummond. The cut of their mill during the past season amounted to, lumber, 23,722,793 feet; shingles 13,731,000; lath, 5,896,000; pickets, 121,960. The company is erecting at that point a large elevator and feed mill and will add an electric lighting plant and have his operation early next season.

The winter cutting season of 1888 unfurled and yielded a high production from the valuable pinaries, the majority of which was shipped eastward through the Sault Saint Marie locks to build many a great lakes city. 

On 12-08-1888 the Press noted that Captain R. D. Pike’s mill at this place closed for the season on Thursday, December 6, “having been favored with the most successful season’s operation in its history”. “The mill ran just 180 days, only 11 hours each, and turned out 11,090,656 feet of merchantable lumber with one circular saw, averaging a fraction over 61,600 feet per day. Of this cut about 5,000,000 feet remains in the yard, the remainder having been shipped to Milwaukee and Chicago by boat. This winter the mill will be rebuilt, more new and improved machinery will be put in and next season will be running night and day, cutting 20 odd million feet. The Captain’s output of logs this winter is estimated at 18,000,000 feet and are said to be as fine as any ever put in on this lake. Although Bayfield’s mill is not a “mammoth” concern in comparison with other institutions of this kind located on the “Bay” [Chequamegon] it has long maintained a reputation of being the smartest one – circular mill in the country and is product always ranks first class. It is an institution of which every Bayfield has reason to feel proud.

Given by the News, the total cut of the Ashland mills amounted to 80,490,890 feet, much of which remained in the yards.   

Sawmill Post Card BHA 80.1.519

Sawmill Post Card
BHA 80.1.519

This history brief was written by Robert J. Nelson. Generously sharing our local history through his research and writing.