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FLORIDA RAILROADS....

seth h. bramson
 

….in Arcadia’s Postcard History Series just sent to publisher.  Don’t have publication date yet but will let you know soon as I do.

 

For those who have an interest in Florida’s railroads or streetcar lines (Chapter Nine is the street and electric railways chapter) I think you will enjoy this book greatly.

 

We will keep you posted.

 

All good wishes.

Seth

Tom Fetters
 

Last year about this time, the Southeast Chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society issued Newsletter #165 with a story about  the Mutual Crate Company of Avon Park, Florida by Don Hensley.  He used two color slides of locomotive #3 in service at Mutual Crate.  


The history of the locomotive came from Tom Lawson who listed the locomotive as Lima #1030, a 2-6-0 built in May or June of 1906.   It went to Mississippi, then to BR&L where it was changed from 3 foot gauge to Standard Gauge  and sold to an Alabama firm in 1916.  It was at SI&E in Atlanta in 1921 and went to Thayer Manufacturing of Thayer, SC in January of 1922.  Then went to the new Williams, SC location who sold it in 1931.  SI&E then sold it to Mutual Crate as #3 in 1933.  


All well and good.  I worked on this for the past year and have a book sized manuscript about ALL the railroads including phosphate and logging lines that operated in Colleton County over the years.  


Colleton County was settled by men from Barbados who had supported King Charles I before he was executed.  They fled to Barbados and King Charles II asked them to settle in the area south of Charleston by giving them 100 acres each to form an agricultural colony to raise Mediterranean crops that could not grow in England.   Sir John Colleton (1608-1666) had spent $40,000 pounds of his fortune to support King Charles I.  150 men from Barbados sailed to the land between the Ashley River and the Salkehatchie River by forming "New London" county with Willtown  on the Edisto River as prime settlement.  

By 1780, the colony was known as Colleton County with county seat at Jacksonborough, (now Jacksonboro) on the south bank of the Edisto River.  Malaria was rampant, and the colonists moved northwest  to form Walterboro up country away from the river.  This became Walterboro, the County Seat in 1817.  


The first railroad in South Carolina, the Charleston & Hamburg Rail Road, ran from just west of Summerville to just east of Orangeburg through Colleton County, but boundary changes years later moved the border southwest  away from the mainline, which is Norfolk Southern mainline in Dorchester County today.  


The Charleston & Savannah was built in 1860, but suffered during the War Between The States.  It came back as the Savannah & Charleston in 1869.   Henry Plant bought the Savannah & Charleston in 1880 and in 1887 built a branch line from Green Pond to Walterboro to reach the center of commerce for the county.  In 1902, the Plant lines became part of the Atlantic Coast Line.  


During my study, a photo was discovered and I identified it as a former Plant System Rogers 4-4-0 arriving at the Walterboro station with ACL lettering in post 1902.   You can see Green Pond, Walterboro and Branchville Railway #1 at Walterboro in 1887 in Logging Railroads of South Carolina on Page 153.  


Logging railroads thrived in Colleton County and more than fifty are documented in my new text.  


Thayer Lumber Company thrived from 1910 to 1920.  They built a sawmill at "Thayer" on the ACL line from Green Pond to Walterboro in 1910, a depot located three miles south of Walterboro.  The original 15 acre tract was joined by Tract 2, a 1060 acre tract east of the sawmill.      


H.S. Thayer joined with G. W. Fennel, former chief of police from Hampton, SC,  to form Thayer Manufacturing Co. in 1920.  Fennel left in 1924 to have his own G. W. Fennel Lumber Company in Walterboro in June of 1924.  


A Glover locomotive 0-6-0T  built in 1912 as #121611 was sold by SI&E to the G. W. Fennel Lumber Co. of Walterboro as #7.   It was sold back to SI&E, that then added a full 8 wheel tender.


Thayer Manufacturing moved from the original Walterboro location to Williams, SC, northwest of Walterboro to be closer to the active tracts being cut. 


The rebuilt Glover was sold to Thayer Manufacturing Co. of Williams, SC.  It was returned in January of 1922 for a restored 1906 Lima Locomotive 2-6-0 and the Glover was sold to the Roby & Northern Railroad as #3322 on August 25, 1922.  


The 1906 Lima Locomotive 2-6-0 was purchased on January 10, 1922 as SI&E #1706 and was used east of Thayer, SC on a network of logging lines that ran to the northeast of Walterboro and southeast to Ritter on the ACL branch to Walterboro.  It was sold back to SI&E as their #2470 in 1931 after nine hard years in the swamps to be sold to Mutual Crate at Avon Park, Florida. 


Thayer was far from being the biggest lumber company.  Wiggins, SC on the coast northeast of Beaufort, SC had a rich tract of forest and was operated over the years by five prominent companies. Utilizing logging lines into the swamp and high ground, they built two mainlines northwest to White Hall, SC and on to Hendersonville and northeast to Green Pond, SC to reach connections with the ACL mainline as well as utilizing two significant Seaboard Air Line branches built specifically for the Wiggins mill to reach rich uncut timber on the Atlantic coast.  


Phosphate was a significant mineral of great interest until the Governor of South Carolina doubled the royalty on the phosphate rock at the mines.   Florida, with no tarriff drew many of the mines south out of state which crippled the state income.  


Just a quick follow-up to the challenge of a year ago.  


Tom Fetters

Rail histories of South Carolina



On January 13, 2019 at 9:49 PM "seth h. bramson" <sbramson@...> wrote:

….in Arcadia’s Postcard History Series just sent to publisher.  Don’t have publication date yet but will let you know soon as I do.

 

For those who have an interest in Florida’s railroads or streetcar lines (Chapter Nine is the street and electric railways chapter) I think you will enjoy this book greatly.

 

We will keep you posted.

 

All good wishes.

Seth