Lamar County, Mississippi Genealogy and History
Pamela J. Gibbs, County Coordinator
|TATUM LUMBER COMPANY
The photographs on this page were taken in and around the Tatum Lumber Camp which was located in Lamar County between Okahola and Richburg. Lamar County history is inextricably intertwined with the history of the timber industry in south Mississippi. As part of the huge longleaf yellow pine forest known as the Piney Woods in Southeast Mississippi, the area that is now Lamar County had only a few isolated settlements before the Civil War and remained largely unsettled until the lumber mills began to appear in the late 1870s and early1880s. With the lumber mills came people from all over the country, all looking for a better life and a taste of the prosperity brought to the area by the timber industry.
In his book Steam Whistles in the Piney Woods , Gilbert H. Hoffman wrote about the larger sawmills which operated in this area. The book details operations of the mills from the 1880s, when the first large mills with logging railroads were built, until 1938, when the last mill closed for good. In his book Mr. Hoffman devotes a great deal of attention to the Tatum Lumber Company, which was the most long lasting single owner mill in either Forest or Lamar Counties. The Tatum family lived in Hattiesburg and were actively involved in their community, unlike the owners of some of the other mills. As a family partnership the Tatum Lumber Company was not subject to interference by a Board of Directors or stockholders and so was able to actively pursue goals virtually ignored by the other lumber mill concerns. The Tatums were pioneers in such ventures as timber conservation, reforestation, and preservation of natural resources. The Tatum family continues today to have a significant role in many aspects of local business and civic life and continues to be a vital part of the local economy.
The photographs on this page were submitted by Mr. Ken Slade. They are not dated, but were taken during the early 1900s. Identification of the individuals pictured is difficult due to the size and condition of the photographs. Thank you Mr. Slade!
Copyright 2003 by Pamela J. Gibbs except where otherwise noted.
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