This department is at present operated on a local or individual plan; that is, each mill has its own logging roads under separate management. In harmony with the improvements in other lines, however, the company has a great many changes in view which will tend to combine the individual into something like a general system. Surveyors are now at work staking out a line from Call to Camp Trotti, which will open up a line of communication from the Gulf, Beaumont & Kansas City junction to the Sabine river, a distance of nearly thirty miles. A part of this distance is now traversed by tram road. The line at Trotti extends ten miles in a northwesterly direction from the camp and there is now a good road bed for the greater part of the way. It is intended to connect the tram at Call with the Trotti road. Not only will this open up a large tract of timber lands that heretofore have been out of the reach of the separate mills but it will afford a means of communication and transportation for freight that will greatly reduce the high prices now paid (25 cents a hundred pounds) for hauling goods from the railroad to the camp. The country through which this line will pass is settled in a measure, and the additional facilities it will afford for transporting farming implements and supplies will tend to induce others to take up farms in that section. The main object, however, and the one for which the road is being constructed, is to enable the mill at Call to secure timber for cutting from the great stretch of forest lying to the east of that site, and in order to save the loss involved in sending logs by water from Trotti to the Orange mill, which amounts to 10 or 15 per cent in sunken and lost logs. The road will be a narrow gauge when completed, but the bed will be constructed with a view of widening it whenever desired and ties of a standard length will be used on the new part, which will enable the Kirby company to put in standard gauge tracks when desired.
It is also the intention of the company to connect Village with the lines of railroad centering in Silsbee. When this road shall be completed it will form a connecting link from Village to the Sabine river, a distance of seventy-five miles or more. The main object in building this is to avoid the charges made by the railroad in hauling loaded cars from points on the Gulf, Beaumont & Kansas City railway to Beaumont, where connection is made with the lines of roads centering there. In the shipment of a car of lumber destined for west or northwest Texas, it is necessary to pay freight both ways for a total distance aggregating 100 miles or more and this will be obviated when the road between the points mentioned shall have been constructed.
The detailed operations at the different camps are much on the same basis. The company has at present thirteen logging camps, which cut on an average monthly about as follows:
Camp & Feet Cut
Buna (ships to Beaumont) -- 4,000,000
Trotti (logs Orange mill) -- 3,500,000
Bancroft, La. (logs Orange mill) -- 2,500,000
Kirbyville, Texas Tram (ships Beaumont) -- 2,000,000
Call (at present logging to Call mill) -- 2,000,000
Village (supplies home mill) -- 2,000,000
Silsbee -- 2,000,000
Ariola -- 1,500,000
Mobile -- 1,250,000
Woodville -- 500,000
Roganville -- 1,000,000
Fuqua -- 1,150,000
Lillard -- 1,000,000
Total, log scale -- 24,400,000
This gives a total of about 24,400,000 feet of logs cut each month, which are furnished the various mills and by them reduced to lumber.
The logging camps are operated under a distinct head and are given numbers instead of letters as in the case of the mills. The commissary department comes under a still different head and separate figures are used to designate the various stores. Each store and camp has a local manager and superintendent who is answerable to the general superintendent at a certain point; the latter in turn reports to the head of his department.
. . .
AT THE TROTTI CAMP.
Trotti is perhaps one of the most picturesque of the logging camps operated. The camp site proper is located two miles west of the Sabine river. At the time the selection of a location was made it marked the western terminus of the logging operations then owned by the Newton County Tram Company. Since that time, however, the men of the saw have cut their way ten miles to the northwest, leaving in their wake a tangled mass of tree tops, with here and there the base of a tree protruding and an occasional lone pine tree to mourn the departed greatness
of its house. The feature of the timber in and around the camp is and has been the uniformity of the trees, most of which are of a size varying from eighteen to thirty inches. There are spots however, where the virgin growth has apparently been destroyed at some time during the past, and in such places the ground is thickly covered with young trees, varying from a few inches to a foot in diameter.
T. J. Trotti, the superintendent of the logging operations at this point, was the founder of the Trotti (otherwise known as the Klondike) camp. Mr. Trotti has been engaged in cutting timber and supplying mills with the trunks thereof for the past twenty-five years. At the beginning of his operations the logs were cut near the river and hauled to it by mule or ox teams. As the stand of timber in close proximity to the river disappeared it was found necessary to establish some other means of transportation. Mr. Trotti then secured a locomotive and track and began operations on a larger scale. In 1898 his interests were merged with those of Downs & Ellingston, the combination forming the Newton County Tram Company, which they operated until bought out by the Kirby interests, when he was retained as superintendent. Mr. Trotti is an all around timberman and by a casual inspection of a tree can judge to a nicety the amount and nature of its lumber contents.
. . .
MEN AND CAMP LIFE.
Quite a village has sprung up at Trotti, which is located about two miles west of the Sabine river. Here the headquarters of the logging operations are maintained and the majority of the men employed in getting out the logs are domiciled at this point, although some of the sawyers live closer to the scene of actual operations. The village nestles in its setting of evergreen pines, a picture of sylvan peace and prosperous activity.
The company owns forty of the shanties at Camp Klondike and there are nearly as many others which belong to those living in them. The ground rent on which they stand is given the owners of the houses free of charge, but those living in houses owned by the company are required to pay a light rental.
In all there are about 100 men on the company's pay roll, whose remuneration ranges from $1.50 to $3.50 a day. On an average they dump into the river 3,000,000 feet of logs each month, which after their hurried rail journey float leisurely to the Orange mills.
There has been no formal attempt to lay out a town site and the streets of the camp present a delightful confusion, winding in and out of the trees which shade the homes of the workers. The view given shows the home of the superintendent, which is a fair sample of the inviting looking homes of the loggers.
About half of the men employed at the camp are in a state of single blessedness, or otherwise left to shift for themselves, and to accommodate, these men the company has opened a boarding house where they can be supplied with table board at a low rate. The pictures of the interior of this adjunct to the camp show the cook and his wife preparing the noonday meal. Everything about the boarding house is clean and wholesome, though the men are more inclined to solid foods than to dainties. Nearby farms furnish a bountiful supply of delicious peaches, nectarines, pears, etc., which add materially to the comforts of the table.
There is a public school maintained by the state which has a rather unusual term, the holidays coming in March, April and May and the remaining nine months being devoted to studies. The pupils are bright, intelligent looking young Americans whose complexions have been tinted by the forest light, their eyes brightened by healthy bodies and healthy minds. The school has about seventy-five scholars and the daily attendance is much above the average. Through the kindness of their instructor a picture was secured of the scholars, taken immediately in front of the school house, and this will perhaps speak in better terms for the scholars than would a sea of words.