The Angelina County Lumber Company was founded in 1890 by Joseph H. Kurth, Sr., Simon W. Henderson, Sr., and Sam Wiener. In 1888 Kurth, a German immigrant, purchased a sawmill on the outskirts of Lufkin from Charles L. Kelty. Needing additional capital to expand the operation, he formed a partnership with Corrigan merchant Simon W. Henderson, and in 1890 the two organized a corporation with Wiener under the name Angelina County Lumber Company. Kurth served as president. Eli Wiener, Sam's brother, later became a partner. The company had grown into a million-dollar corporation with several thousand acres of timberland by 1912. It was centered at Keltys. In addition to a large sawmill and mill pond, the factory complex included a company-run commissary, a community doctor and dentist, a power plant, employee housing, recreational facilities, and garden plots. To transport the timber to the mill the company built a tram railroad. In 1900 Kurth and his partners chartered the railroad as a common carrier under the name Angelina and Neches River Railroad and extended the line to Chireno in Nacogdoches County.
During the early 1900s the company had some 1,200 employees, including some of the first occupational foresters in East Texas. In 1916 Kurth, Henderson, and the Wieners organized a new corporation, the San Augustine Lumber Company, and purchased the mill. The original Angelina County Lumber Company was dissolved in 1923, and the San Augustine Lumber Company charter was changed to assume the name of the former. The company continued to operate until 1966, when the plant and remaining timber reserves were sold to Owens-Illinois, Incorporated. Owens-Illinois closed the sawmill and replaced it with a plywood plant constructed jointly by Angelina and Southland Paper Mills, Incorporated.
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Angelina County Historical Survey Committee, Land of the Little Angel: A History of Angelina County, Texas, ed. Bob Bowman (Lufkin, Texas: Lufkin Printing, 1976). Angelina County Lumber Company Papers, Forest History Collections, Stephen F. Austin State University Library. Robert S. Maxwell and Robert D. Baker, Sawdust Empire: The Texas Lumber Industry, 1830–1940 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1983).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Angelina County Lumber Company,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 21, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
November 1, 1994