Burr's Ferry, Browndel and Chester Railway

By: Robert Wooster

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: June 1, 1995

John Henry Kirby, John S. Bonner, and other associates chartered the Burr's Ferry, Browndel and Chester Railway Company on January 2, 1906, to build from Burr's Ferry on the Sabine River west to Peach Tree Village and a junction with the Trinity and Sabine Division of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway Company of Texas. The capital was $80,000, and the business office was located at Browndel. Members of the first board of directors included Nathaniel D. Silsbee of Boston, E. I. Kellie of Jasper, John W. Link of Orange, William Wiess of Beaumont, James L. Kirby of Kountze, James Irvine of New York, and Bonner, Kirby, and K. H. Cawthon, all of Houston. Both the Kirby Lumber Company and the Aldridge Lumber Company owned extensive timber rights in the area around Aldridge in northwestern Jasper County, and the Aldridge firm also operated a sawmill there. The BFB&C was built as a rail outlet for these rich timber holdings from Rockland on the Texas and New Orleans Railroad in northeastern Tyler County to Aldridge in 1907. The line built further east in 1908, giving the railroad eleven miles of track and linking it to the new turpentine camp at Turpentine in northern Jasper County. The company also graded nearly seventeen miles from Turpentine to Browndel, but never laid track on this extension. The Texas and New Orleans acquired the BFB&C on July 1, 1914, and by 1920 had extended the line another nine miles eastward to the Angelina River. This extension was leased to the P. E. Hamons Company, which operated over the track until August 1922. The new extension was taken up in 1924 and 1925. By 1927, with the timber cut out and expenses ten times greater than income on this spur, the entire line was abandoned. In spite of its name and although its headquarters were in Browndel, the BFB&C did not pass through Burr's Ferry, Browndel, or Chester.

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Robert Wooster, “Burr's Ferry, Browndel and Chester Railway,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 20, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/burrs-ferry-browndel-and-chester-railway.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995