Sunday, December 7, 2008

Have saw will travel

My wife Mary's Grandfather, Ivy Wilson Lawrence was born September 10, 1887 in the Foutch community of Smith County Tennessee .

It was a rugged place with too many hills and rocks to have a successful farm. He went into the lumber business and had a small sawmill that he would move around middle Tennessee. His family would move every year or so to wherever the sawmill was setup.

He would buy the virgin timber from the landowners and then move the sawmill to cut the lumber into sizes he could sell. During WWII he cut walnut trees into 2 1/4 inch thick pieces that were sold to the US Government to make rifle stocks. They also cut cedar trees into planks to build hope chests.

The sawmill was powered by a John Deere tractor. The tractor had a pulley coming off the engine and a 50 foot felt belt connected it to the sawmill. It looked like the one in these photos.

Ivy and his six sons would cut down the trees and use the sawmill to cut it into lengths. They would then haul the finished lumber by truck to the nearest rail yard. He would rent a train car to ship the lumber to the buyer.

His son Bob told me when they rented the train car it was by the day so they worked around the clock 24X7 until they had it loaded and on it's way.

Bob said working the sawmill for his father was all the motivation he and his brother John needed to go to college! It must have been hard work and effective motivation because Bob not only finished his bachelor's degree but got a PhD and became a college English professor.

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