Footprints on the sand of time.
Written by Harold D. Sadler and Helen Beatrice (Mitchell) Goggans. Submitted by Wanda (Mitchell) Newton.
Since early childhood I have been intrigued with stories of the forests. I remember my grandparents telling of the huge trees they found in this section when they came to Arkansas from Georgia in the early 1850's.
Recently I was told about a huge tree which was cut in a logging operation in Cleveland county in 1922. This is perhaps the largest tree ever cut in the county, at least it is the largest I have heard about. The tree was a cowoak, a species of whiteoak. It was eight feet in diameter. Four 12-foot logs were cut before reaching the first limb of the tree. This tree was cut by Wallace Mitchell and Ray Cash, who were employed by the J. F. McIntyre & Sons Lumber Co., of Pine Bluff. The tree was located about half way between Gray's Lake and Saline river and almost nine miles north of Kingsland.
McIntyre & Sons had a camp at Radway, a mile west of Poole on Saline river. They operated a log tram road from Radway on the Cotton Belt Railroad. The tram was about 10 miles long and ran northwest for Radway traveling the route of Saline river.
For information concerning the tree I am indebted to Mrs. Helen Goggans, a daughter of Mr. Mitchell. Mrs. Goggans went to much effort to get these facts for me, even to calling Mr. Cash at Hendersonville, Tenn., for his version of the felling of this giant oak 54 years ago.
This tree presented quite a problem. Being eight feet across at the base, Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Cash tackled the job with a nine-foot crosscut saw. They had quite a task in notching the tree with doublebit axes and this was no little job. Methods and machinery and tools for handling such an operation 50 years ago and now were quite different. It was quite a task to cut the tree into 12-foot lengths. Mr. Cash recalls that it took eight men to get the tree down and cut up. They began early in the morning and it was four thirty o'clock in the afternoon before the tree was on the ground.
He also recalls that Dave Graves and "Dutch" Brown were among those who were engaged with him and Mr. Mitchell. He also stated that two men worked at either end of the saw and they used hammers and wedges galore. Messrs Harry and Roscoe McIntyre were also on hand to assist.
The first or butt cut of this giant tree contained 2,700 board feet and the entire tree produced 6,000 board feet of lumber. It was also a Herculean operation to get brought to the McIntyre Mill at Pine Bluff.
Mrs. Goggans tells me that Larkin Haynie and Wesley Lisemby, who live at Kingsland, were working that area and know about this huge tree. Such historical facts need to be in print and this is footprints on the sands of time.