From the Archives
History of the Woodrow and Laurel Creek Areas
By Lloyd Woods
Published June 20, 1991
I am going to write about some of the things that happened in my younger days at Woodrow and on Laurel Creek.
I remember them talking about the Nathan and Shearer place. The first I remember about the place, Pat Gay owned it. James Gibson, on Elk, owned it a few years. Owen Kellison lived there as a caretaker when Mr. Gibson owned it. They lived in the old log house at that time. They came over from Elk to make hay in the summertime. Mr. Kellison got me to go over there to haul hay shocks for them.
Reid McNeill rode one of the horses. He was a good rider. We hauled hay shocks a long ways to be stacked. There were two big log barns there at the time, both in pretty bad shape, so they had to stack the hay outside.
After a time, Mr. Gay got the place back and had it for a few years. He rode horseback from his home at the fairgrounds, out and back in one day. Some days it was below zero. He wore a black overcoat and cap made out of cowhide.
Dr. Hamrick owned the place for a few years after that. He did a lot of liming and fertilizing, and made a lot of hay. He also set out a lot of little pine trees. They are great big trees now. He had caretakers out there. Henry Perkins was one of them. Then Sherman Hammons lived there on the place. He built up a small bunch of cattle and sheep. Charley Beverage lived there between Perkins and Hammons. Different people lived there for short periods of time after that.
To go back a little way, I don’t know who owned the Shearer place when Campbell Lumber was in that area. Mrs. Flossie Friel told me that Uriah Bird lived there at the time, and Bill Liptrap lived out in that area, too.
Liptrap, Summers Galford and Emmit Ervin married Bird’s daughters.
I have heard that there was a school house there on the place. I have often wondered where the young people got their education in those days. They told me that Georgie Shearer, who grew up there, was a real good teacher. That was probably the first school out in the Laurel Creek area.
There was also a cemetery on that place. James told me there were tombstones there with Shearer names on them.
Mrs. Friel told me that Edmond Hammons’ first wife was buried there. Some of the Hammons family lived on the Shearer place at different times.
John Roberts lived on the Taylor place at one time. Mrs. Friel told me that the Taylors never owned any property. They just lived there. I think Enoch Taylor grew up there.
Cherry Boom and Lumber Company was working in Little Laurel and Tea Creek in the thirties. There was a big fire on Tea Creek Mountain in 1930 – it burned for a week. On Sunday morning a rain came that mostly put it out.
The people at Woodrow who worked for Cherry River went through the Shearer place as it was the nearest way to go. I was working on Tea Creek. One Sunday, I stayed with my girlfriend until dark and then started on into the camp. I got over across Little Laurel and started up Tea Creek Mountain, and up came a thunder, lightning and wind storm. It didn’t rain so much but the wind blew trees down all around me. I was scared. But I just kept going. It was closer to the camp than it was to go back. I think that was in 1933.
The big fire burned on the top of Tea Creek Mountain and over to the main Tea Creek. It burned some camps, horse barns, and so on. It burned a big log landing for Albert Dyer. They said there was a million and a half feet of lumber in it. They had virgin timber to work with in those days. They tell me that nothing much ever grew back on Tea Creek Flats. They say it looks like a big field now. They cut the logs into four foot blocks and peeled them for pulp wood.
John Galford lived on Friel’s Run and raised a pretty large family. He had a small sawmill and cut a lot of lumber.
In 1924, Williams and Pifer bought a tract of land known as the Davis land. Mr. Davis lived in Elkins. It was a large tract of land and had the very best of timber on it. They set up a small mill to cut material to build a larger circular mill. They hauled a small dinky engine in by wagon to haul the logs down out of the mountains. Forrest Reynolds ran the engine for them. He pulled two small log cars. They were loaded by hand with cant hooks off of log landings. They had a pretty high trestle across one hollow. I remember one fellow who would get off of the train and walk around to the other end of the bridge, then get back on. They hauled their dinner up in the woods for them.
They moved the smaller mill on up in the hollow above the big mill to cut some timber on that side of the hollow. Charley Galford looked after that mill. He later sawed on the big mill. They had a pond to unload the logs into. That kept the logs from freezing. That way they could saw about as much lumber in winter as they could in the summer.
I trucked lumber there one winter from the mill out to the lumber stackers. This was a small truck pushed on the rails. There was a man at the trimmer to load lumber on five trucks. There were five rails at the trimmer. I trucked out as much as 22 thousand feet of lumber in one day. We worked 10 hour days then.
There was a big snow one night, and I couldn’t push the truck for the snow on the rails. The boss sent a man out to help me that morning. When we went into dinner, someone asked him how he liked to handle lumber. He said it wasn’t so bad – he had a board up in the air and when the whistle blew for dinner, he just left it hanging in the air. They all laughed.
They hauled their lumber from there into town to be shipped to its destination by rail.
This operation was from some time in 1924 until November 1926.
From there, I went into the head of Sugar Creek to work in the pulp woods. That was hard work, too.
This is to let the young people know how things were back in the early part of this century.
When we weren’t working away from home, we were clearing land to raise crops to live on. Times were hard then, but we still had pretty good times.
Note: Lloyd J. Woods was born February 28, 1907, near Woodrow, he was the son of the late William Edward and Lenora Hamrick Woods. He passed away February 15, 2009, just 13 days shy of his 102nd birthday.