The Reynolds Bros. Mill

06/08/2011

 

Postcard- Engraving of Reynolds Brothers Mill and Yard Reynolston, New York

 

During its peak  years the Reynolds mill complex consisted of the dam, main sawmill, planing mill, shingle mill, blacksmith shop, boiler room, store, and farm. While the mill produced a range of wood products over he years, inlcuding matched lumber, clapboard siding, shingles. the hey day of the mill was reached with two major contracts.  One was for hardwood logs for Brooklyn Cooperage (c. 1908-1918) that were processed in St. Regis Falls, and subsecquently a contract for pulp logs for the Malone paper mill about 1920  that went directly to Malone.  As the
last trees were cut, the Reynolds mill gradually lost its reason for being.


Beatrice Reynolds Beaman

The mill at first  ran entirely by water power. I know that  because when I was a little girl I was staying with my grandmother and she  got  up in the night and said I think I hear the water wheel  turning.   And she got up and took a lantern and went down to the  mill to see if the water wheel was turning.  An d of course it wasn’t. They ran  the mill by that power for quite a little while and then they raised the dam and  put in the steam and used to burned sawdust and waste lumber.

                                                                                                                  Beatrice Reynolds Beaman Tape 1p. 1
 
Pretty near every family up there  worked in the mill (also logging).   There might have been  50.  Then in winter when they were running the camps people on farms outside who had teams would come in with their teams and sleds and work through the winter and they would work …some of them lived down at the mill and some of them lived at the camps…The workers they’d been anybody I guess Scotch, Irish, English, French .  I  think the people who lived there were mainly of Canadian French extraction  weren’t they.  There were some Scotch I  know the Campbell were Scotch and there was a little bit of Indian blood with  some of them when you got up the hill, but not too much…I think Joe Bean, I  think they had  a little Indian blood and  John Drew of Jeandreau were pure English I would just say call them American as  they were just as American as anyone.  If  they had this Scotch or Irish blood it had been absorbed long  ago.I think most of the workers were Roman  Catholic and of course our people were Methodists.  We  kind of split and scattered around to you know,   I think my grandfather and grandmother were  Methodists.   My father was and my mother was when she married him.   We kind of  swung over to the Episcopal church after we came here  to Malone.I think the average ( worker) hadn’t  had more then 3 or 4 years ( education). They got balled out by my father if  they came up and could not write their names, because he said that is plain  laziness.  He said any man who has a  child or a brother or sister who can write his name for him he can practice that  until he can do it….I used to hear that lecture very often.Beatrice Reynolds

Beatrice Beamam
Tape 1 p.3 1970

Mrs. Frances (Spaulding) Ellis

This black horse that I speak  of…   It seems that they needed horses …. And they
heard that the pulling company in New York City was selling  horses.  So Billy Collins and I think, it must have been Berton  Reynolds, went down there to see if they could  get the horses.  They said when they got this big black one, he said right off “ why are  you selling him?”    They said “that is because he is going blind”
And they bought him and that was the last horse. He lived the  longest of any of the others.   

So many of them their legs were broken  in the woods.  And I can remember seeing him go by when I lived in  Bangor…The men go with their load of lumber in the morning and  back in the  afternoon.   This horse he always walked just the same.  Never hurried, never slowed up.  And Billy said  that in the woods “he never took a step that he wasn’t sure of being  safe.”  And that was why he lived so long.   And I
think I have a picture of that horse actually.

Mrs. Frances (Spaulding Ellis) tape oral historyinterview September 12, 1970

 

Description of Mill – Dan  Whitcomb

The Dry  Kiln

Yes there was a dry kiln. It was across the river from the big mill.   Blacksmith shop first and back into the dry kiln (Planeing Mill)  same  building.  It was a big  one…. Pile the lumber in there to dry it and  on one end they made boards….kinda of a flat .   They had to have  it good and warm you know, tight.   Steam came in from across the  river and the boiler…big pipe…two places…from the boiler and that is where they  got their heat right up there was made. Steam would come up from the floor  through little holes …square holes…heat would come up in there.

Planning Mill

There were small saws in there in the  planning mill …just cut off saws, small saws.  Some of them run by  water.  The big saws … that cut the lumber were run by steam.  And the water mill there too for the smaller ones ….button  saws…slab saw we called it…yah the slab saw we were cutting slabs on that…  Then they cut anything that was big enough to be good pulp.  Lots  of time there would be a big end and lop that off. Loweville  (saw) came from Loweville (near Watertown)

The Boiler  Room

The boiler room was built… At  one  time there was a shed in there for wagons in there and that is  where they painted their wagons and one thing or another.   I do not know what  they used that for except wagons in there…painted  them…Kimball a fellow by the name John Kimball used to be the  painter…..

The Blacksmith  Shop

That was  just before you crossed the bridge.   That was quite a big building  too… back end that they had tools…They made everything…sleds and everything you know.   Jeff Trimmer and Joe Lawson…but Alfred French worked in  there some and a fellow named Mike Connors, blacksmithed there some.  And I worked in there myself some.  Just one…(men working in the  blacksmith shop)  just the blacksmith, (had an  assistant)  different ones to hand him things…Joe Bombard used to  help in there.    The  blacksmithlive upstairs over the shop)… they did for a while, they did a  while..   They used to have dances up there …. Quite a good
place…actually.

Company Houses
Sometimes they run the  mill and  I worked in the woods too you know….quite a
little.  I had a good many house…I don’t know how many houses I had  (lived in Company houses)…I could tell..I can count them  off.  

Dan Whitcomb tape 1  p.2  oral history interview March 31, 1970

Beatrice Reynolds Beaman on the Mill from oral history interviews: 

“The logs  came out of Brandon the southern and western, the southwest  corner of Brandon.  They had hardwood and  softwood both. When they brought the softwood down that was put on the ice and when the ice  went out that went into the pond and  they drew it in to the mill after the ice melted. The hardwood they piled on land  and they just rolled that in as they wanted  to saw it Because…if they left the hardwood on  the ice it would go right to the bottom.  ecause I think they made  flooring and things like that they sold maple, birch, beech any of those
hardwood trees ..ash.  
I think they made flooring, probably  did not finish it at first although afterwards. Then you see my father came down here  to Malone and he and Welding had the Malone Lumber Company where Bowens had just  been and they did some of the finishing there. The would cut out some of the rough  lumber and they drew it down by teams There was no railroad up  there I seen loads of  12 to 15 logs …of course the hardwood logs  were heavy The could pile the pulp up as high as  they were wide They did when they drew the pulp…they  had loads after loads and they the got a tractor that drew them down but that  was the very last of the operation.”
 

Beatrice Reynolds Beaman,Tape 1 page  2 oral history interview June 1970

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