Bivins and Magnolia Mills

Just a half century ago, the Grogan boys started sawmilling in Texas. Today there aren’t many sawmill operators who have been engaged in the business that long in the Lone Star State. But even before that time how long before he would rather not say Will Grogan had been sawmilling in Louisiana and Arkansas. So he knew something about the business when he located at the town of Bivins, back there in 1888.

Bivins is in the very northeast corner of Texas, up there in Cass County, just a short step from the state line between Texas and Arkansas. In fact, so far as the class of timber in that section is concerned, it might be in Arkansas, for the forests are close enough to yield an excellent supply of soft pine.

In 1898, W. R. (Will) Grogan and his brothers organized the Grogan Manufacturing Company. But the present operation at Bivins is comparatively new. They had stepped out of the picture at that point, developed interests elsewhere, but five years ago went back to Bivins and are operating a modern, thoroughly equipped sawmill plant at that point. In the meantime, they located at Magnolia, Texas, where they are also manufacturing a high grade of lumber in a mill similar to Bivins. Of this, more will be said later.

The Bivins Mill

The Bivins plant consists of a circular mill with one rig and a complete up-to-date planning mill which embraces ball-bearing molder, ripsaw and resaw. They have the new type of Moore Cross-Circulation dry kilns. The mill has a daily capacity of 60,000 feet, all of which can be handled through the kiln in two 8-hour shifts.

But the unit of plant property of which they are most proud is the dressed shed, a great and spacious warehouse, which is partially shown in one of the views herewith. They have also just recently enlarged their rough shed and are now in position to put under cover all the rough lumber which they cut and kiln dry. In fact, there is no piece of equipment needed to produce a most satisfactory output of lumber which is missing at this plant.

As stated above, they are close enough to the Arkansas line so that they get a run of that slick bark timber, from which they produce all kinds of soft short leaf items for yard and shed stock and industrials, more particularly a fine line of finish and moulding. They truck their logs from the woods and they have a plentiful supply to run their mill for a number of years to come.

The Magnolia Mill

The sawmill at Magnolia, in Montgomery County, is operated under the name of the Grogan-Cochran Lumber Company, which was organized in 1917. This plant has been in operation a long time, and has a reputation for the excellent quality of its output of pine. This is a circular rig. Here, too, there is an up-to-date planing mill, with the newest fast-feeding machines, including ball-bearing moulder, ripsaw and resaw.

There are four Moore steam kilns. This plant, too, has a daily capacity of 60,000 feet, all of which can be put through the kilns in two 8-hour shifts. After their stock goes through the kilns it is stored in covered sheds where it is given every protection and care from the weather and elements. They carry in stock at all times from six to seven million feet of well-assorted items, and they have a good available and future potential supply of timber to keep them operating for many years to come.

Both of these mills cut a fine quality of Southern pine, the Bivins mill producing also Southern hardwoods, and this enables the company to give their trade a mixed selection of items.

The officers of both operating companies are the same: W. R. Grogan is president; Geo. L. Grogan, vice president; and J. E. Mounce, treasurer. The two other brothers interested in the companies are Henry M. Grogan and J. G. Grogan.

Henry Grogan is superintendent and manager of the Magnolia mill, where he is ably assisted by W. D. Deax, shipping clerk, and L. R. Moore, planer foreman. At Bivins, George Grogan is in charge, and there Robert Taylor is shipping clerk, and Bill Walden, planer foreman.