EAST CENTRAL MISSISSIPPI 265 timber harvest was a special event relished by all with log rollings being the main attraction. Lumber and cotton mills sprang up throughout the East Central region causing growth and wealth to even the smaller communities, such as Suqualena and Pine Springs where cotton and timber were abundant. Dummy lines connected to the main rails and ran from Meehan’s Cotton States Lumber Company into the woods around Collinsville and from Clarke County’s Long Bell Lumber Company into the southeastern corner of Lauderdale County to the communities of Whynot and Causeyville. Shubuta had become a lumber town, and company houses were built for sawmill workers. Kaupp Lumber Company handled large-scale timber cutting, hauling, and shipping from Shubuta. Benefiting from the timber industry were towns like the predominantly African American community Wilsondale, named for Professor Thomas Jefferson Wilson, and Chunky Station where McDonald and Company turpentine distillery operated along with several sawmills. The Sumter Lumber Company mills at Electric Mills had a daily capacity of 300,000 feet and was one of the first electrically powered operations in the south. In the early 1890s, the lumber industry moved into Chunky, bringing several large sawmills and the McDonald and Company turpentine distillery. By 1885, Enterprise had Peter Madsen’s Chickasawhay Cotton Mills. A. DeWeese opened his mill in Neshoba County in 1897 on land his father gave him about nine miles east of Philadelphia. In 1905, with the coming to the railroad, he moved his mill and mercantile store to town. Clarke County’s post-antebellum industry was still mainly cotton, but timber and textile industries were prosperous up to the Great Depression. Mississippi Lumber Company, consisting of mostly wealthy Chicago businessmen, located into Quitman and purchased all properties of the Wetherbee Lumber Company which included a sawmill, short logging railroad, and 1,240 acres of timber. On July 25, 1900, the Mississippi Lumber Company signed a contract with the Alabama Land and Development Company, a subsidiary of the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, for timber on 28,560 acres it owned that encompassed 24,880 acres in eastern Clarke County and 3,680 acres in southern Lauderdale County. In 1901, Governor Longino signed a charter for the City of Quitman. One-third of the land in the south came under the control of speculators who profited from harvesting timber. That harvesting stimulated the rise and expansion of the rail center in the East Central region but caused southern dependency to northern industry. An 1884 survey predicted that the Mississippi pine forests would survive for at least 150 years. Between 1880 and 1888, Northerners purchased 889,259 acres of federal timberlands as compared to the 134,270 acres purchased by Southerners. Industrial growth in the South, therefore, was minimal, and the unregulated techniques of timber harvesting reaped drastic consequences in the East Central region. The timber industry boom in 1904 created a source of wealth for East Central region and made Mississippi third in lumber production in the country through 1915. Because Meridian was linked to the nation by the rails, northern timber magnates were drawn to the area. Meridian became the state’s largest yellow pine and hardwood market. However, northern wood companies monopolized the timber market and set whatever prices they wanted without regard for replanting practices. The greed of absentee owners motivated by the quick profits from clear-cutting caused major erosion problems. Timber resources were soon exhausted, and timber companies laid off employees, pulled up stakes, and headed to the American Northwest. Between 1915 and 1920, the last of the forests were depleted and cotton was stymied by the blight of the boll weevil. Between 1910 and 1930, Mississippi lost 5,000 manufacturing employees. Meridian’s rail business slowed to a crawling pace and the East Central region’s golden years of the timber boom ended. A New Century With Ties to the Past (1900-1945) Textile mills of the East Central region provided wages and economic growth, even in small communities. By the 1900s, as many as forty mills were in Newton County. Meridian’s East Mississippi Cotton Mill, purchased and expanded in 1871 by local compress operator J. S. Solomon, became one of the largest industries in Meridian. The Wanita woolen mills outside of Enterprise were in operation in 1891. The Enterprise Knitting Mills, which made half-hose and suspenders, were running by 1895. In Shubuta, a cotton warehouse and The timber industry boom in 1904 created a source of wealth for East Central region and made Mississippi third in lumber production in the country through 1915.