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Sep 26

The Schumm Sawmill

The little village of Schumm once had a thriving sawmill that cut and processed some of the largest trees in Ohio at the time, and possibly ever. From the early 1920s through the 1950s they shipped their high-quality lumber all over the country. They specialized in hardwood and long timber.

They weren’t kidding when they said long timber.

The sawmill at Schumm was located east of Schumm Road, on a little “street” that was parallel to and south of the railroad track. The Nickel Plate Railroad used to run through and stop at Schumm years ago.

 

Schumm Sawmill, c1924.

Schumm Sawmill, c1924.

 

The sawmill was owned by W.P. Robinson, Decatur, and Fred Smith, Van Wert, and was named after Robinson.

Below is a photo of the largest bur oak tree ever sawed in Ohio. At least in 1934. Written on the door of the truck: W.P. Robinson Co., Manufacturers, Hardwood Lumber & Long Timber, Schumm, Ohio, Van Wert Co.

W.P. Robinson Co. with largest bur oak sawed in Ohio, 1934.

W.P. Robinson Co. with largest bur oak sawed in Ohio, 1934.

A History of a Bur Oak Tree
A feature of outstanding interest at the recent Van Wert County Fair at Van Wert, Ohio, was a large bur oak tree butt displayed on a GMC log truck and trailer by W.P. Robinson Co., manufacturers of hardwood lumber and long timbers at Schumm, Ohio, on Nickel Plate RR. This tree, along with other smaller oak in the same woods, were bought and cut down by this company and the T.W. Hinkle of Rockford, Ohio, has 2 circular cuts from the stump and writes the following interesting history:

Eighteen years before Columbus discovered America and 46 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, a bur oak seedling started to grow in the uncharted primeval forest now defined as Logan County, Ohio, on the old Garwood Farm, 12 miles northeast of Bellefontaine, Ohio, and now owned by T.F. Selck. In 1474 this little tree started from an acorn and for 460 years it grew, its history being plainly told by the rings in the stump of this venerable forest monarch, which was felled on 16 August 1934. This tree was seven feet in diameter at the ground, its branches towering aloft 160 feet, and at a height of 65 feet, 2 large branches were put out, having a spread of 85 feet. These branches were 36 feet long and from them spread 14 large limbs. Around this oak were 100 ridges of bark, some 3 and 4 inches thick and 13 spur roots. A check of the rings showed that the tree made the largest growth in 1600 and 1754 and apparently was struck by lightning in 1904. The body of this tree was cut into 4 logs that scaled 7,000 feet of lumber and 3,500 feet in the tops, with a total weight of over 63 tons.

This firm operates a heavy and up-to–date sawmill at Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio, specializing in Indiana and Ohio white oak lumber and long timbers for a high class trade in many parts of the United States. [1]

Below is another photo of a bur oak tree that was cut and hauled by lumbermen from Schumm. This tree was felled in Auglaize County in 1930.

Bur Oak from Auglaize County, Ohio, 1930.

Bur Oak from Auglaize County, Ohio, 1930.

Carl Weinman, son of Schumm postmaster George Weinman, worked at the Schumm sawmill. He is the third from the left, standing in the photo below.

W.P. Robinson Co. truck, Schumm, Ohio. Carl Weinman 3rd from left. Photo courtesy of Tom Reichard.

W.P. Robinson Co. truck, Schumm, Ohio. Carl Weinman 3rd from left. Photo courtesy of Tom Reichard, Carl’s grandson.

Carl Weinman by lumber. Photo courtesy of Tom Reichard, Carl's grandson.

Carl Weinman by lumber. Photo courtesy of Tom Reichard.

Robinson and Smith probably employed quite a few other local men. In addition to Carl Weinman, my mom recalls that Roy Painter worked there in the 1940s.

Saw-Mill at Schumm Dissolves Partnership
The firm of W.P. Robinson Co. of Schumm, a partnership of W.P Robinson of Decatur, Ind., and Fred A. Smith of Van Wert, announces a dissolution of partnership after 30 years together.

Mr. Smith has purchased Mr. Robinson’s half interest of the saw-mill and lumber business and will continue under the name “Fred A. Smith Lumber Co.” Being sole owner, Mr. Smith solicits your continued patronage and hopes to carry on the business, serving his many customers and friends in the same manner as in the past.

The mill caters to a large farm retail trade in Van Wert and adjoining Indiana and Ohio counties within 40 miles and buy timber and truck logs within a 150-mile radius and ship to many points.

J.E. Anderson will continue as office manager and accountant and Ben. H. Handwerk as mill and woods foreman, sawyer and millwright.

Fred A. Smith lived many years at Schumm. The past 42 years he and his family have resided at 729 Elsen Ave. in Van Wert. He is a member of the Ohio Forestry Ass’n, Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Ass’n and National Hardwood Lumber Ass’n and has a wide acquaintance.

Mr. Robinson has operated saw-mills at Decatur and Van Buren, Ind., and has been buying timber and in the lumber business the past 55 years. He is one of the best authorities on timber quality and values along with manufacturing of hardwood lumber and long oak timbers in Indiana and Ohio. [2]

It is interesting to note that the Schumms were known for their woodworking and carpentry skills, so it is no surprise that a sawmill with such capabilities, and with such a good reputation, once operated in the Schumm area.

 

[1] American Lumberman, 9 October 1934.

[2] The Willshire Herald, Willshire, Ohio, 15 January 1953, p.1.

 

 

11 comments

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  1. Deb Reichard

    Can’t imagine how they got those big logs on the trucks! Schumm was a thriving little place back in the day. Drove through there a couple weeks ago. Certainly has changed in the last 70 years or so. Grandma and Grandpa Weinman’s house is still there and owned/maintained by an Amish family. Their barn is gone as is most of Schumm of yesteryear.
    Thanks Karen for all you do with the history of our little hamlets.
    Deb Reichard

    1. Karen

      I wondered the same thing–how did they get those big logs on the truck? That is nice that the Weinman house is still there. The town has changed over the years but the history is so interesting.

  2. Deb Jones

    I remember our fathers (Don Caffee and Gene Reichard) taking Terry, Tom and Kathy Reichard and Kevin and me over to “explore” the sawmill long after it was closed and abandoned. I’m sure it wasn’t very big, but I remember it being enormous! The grain elevator next door was still operating and when Kathy and I would stay for a few days with Grandma & Grandpa Weinman we would go over and buy pop and candy bars. I think the manager was named Dallas and I remember him being a very nice man. We were watching on Grandma’s porch when they burned down the elevator building – it must have been in the late 1960’s.

    1. Karen

      That would be interesting to have seen the inside of the sawmill. I think the elevator was burned in the early 70s. I have some photos of that and I will post them sometime.

  3. Jane Suzuki

    Karen, I really enjoy all your posts! I liked reading about the sawmill. Have you ever written a story about the Secaur. Girl,who was murdered out byChatt? I have a lot of info on it. People might be interested in her story . I believe the man or men were caught and lynched inthe yard of one of the guys Mother. Sincerely , Jane Suzuki

    1. Karen

      Thanks, Jane. No, I have not written about her. I read the story some time ago but I may have to get some information from you and write about her sometime. Thanks for reading!

  4. terry reichard

    I also have great memories of Schumm. Walking down the railroad tracks picking up spikes and looking inside the cars when possible. Getting a pop at the elevator from the “nice man”, Dallas Kiracofe. Riding with Grandpa in the car to Willshire to the lumber yard–he had a big belly and seemed to be laying back in the driver’s seat going very fast. Staying overnight in the country in an upstairs bedroom, getting up with the chickens and gathering eggs as an unwanted visitor. Gettting my favorite meal at supper just about every time–fried chicken\livers, mashed potatoes, corn, and currants\sugar. Watching Big Time Wrestling with Wilbur Snyder, the good guy, against Dick the Bruiser, the bad guy. Watching Truth or Consequences with Bob Barker, a “pretty man”. Going to Grandma’s nearly every Sunday and seeing all the cousins–everybody brought snacks, and the families took turns bringing pop, which was a big treat that we all looked forward to. Grandma and Grandpa were usually swinging after their nap when we got there. Digging potatoes was fun (and still is today). Watching chickens get their heads cut off was exciting, too.
    I thank you, too, Karen for all your work!

    1. Karen

      Your family has so many memories of Schumm since your grandparents lived there. Those were the good old days. I remember Dick the Bruiser, too. And my Schumm grandparents also butchered chickens. Thanks for writing!

  5. Tom Reichard

    You can find more information about the history of the Schumm area by visiting the Schumm Zion Lutheran Church web site at:
    http://www.zionschumm.org Go to About Us tab and follow the link to the history of Schumm. There are more pictures of the community, the grain elevator and the railroad line. See History23 section.

  6. Colleen Schlickman

    Carl Weinman was my father, and George Weinman, my grandfather. I actually lived all those memories of the sawmill and post office. Thanks for sharing your research.

    Colleen

    1. Karen

      You must have many great stories and memories of Schumm and the area. I hope you share them with your family so they will not be forgotten. Thanks for reading, Colleen.

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