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Z 1343.000 S
CHICAGO MILL AND LUMBER COMPANY PAPERS
Hermann Paepcke was born in Mecklenburg, Germany, in 1851. He was the son of Wilhelm and Louise Paepcke. Hermann Paepcke moved to Texas in 1872, and he established an export business. After returning to Germany for a year, Paepcke moved back to Texas in 1878 and married Paula Wagner, who was also of German lineage. They had at least one son, Walter P. Paepcke. The Paepckes moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1881. Hermann Paepcke formed a partnership in a small lumber business and planing mill known as the Paepcke-Wagner Company. After a few years, Paepcke bought out his partner, added a Box-manufacturing division, and renamed the business Hermann Paepcke and Company. As the business grew, Paepcke formed other companies, including the Chicago Mill and Lumber Company, the Chicago Packing Box Company, and in 1893, the Paepcke-Leicht Lumber Company. The latter would become one of the largest lumber-distributing companies in Chicago at that time.
From J. H. Leavenworth, Paepcke purchased a sawmill and twenty-five thousand acres of standing timber near Lake Ferguson in Greenville, Washington County, Mississippi, in 1898, and there he established the Chicago Mill and Lumber Company. The company was apparently operated as the Paepcke-Leicht Lumber Company at least through the 1920s. Other subsidiaries of the Chicago Mill and Lumber Company were established in Blytheville and Helena, Arkansas, and in Cairo, Illinois. The company owned over one hundred twenty-five thousand acres of land by 1909.
After the death of Paula Paepcke in 1909, Hermann Paepcke married Elizabeth Julia Robertshaw Meade in Greenville in 1912. Hermann Paepcke died in 1922, and Walter P. Paepcke became company president. In 1928, four companies were merged into the Chicago Mill and Lumber Company: the Arkansas Oak Flooring Company of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and R. J. Darnell, Incorporated, the Hudson Hardwood Flooring Company, and the Penrod-Jurden Company, all of Memphis, Tennessee. As a result of the Great Depression, the Chicago Mill and Lumber Company consolidated and reorganized in 1933, and the company began contractual arrangements for its logging operations around that time.
Wilford H. Gonyea, a West Coast lumberman, tendered an offer to buy the company on June 29, 1965, and after the stockholders accepted, the Chicago Mill and Lumber Company ceased to exist as a corporation and continued operations as a partnership under the same name. The general offices were moved from Chicago to Greenville in September of 1965. The Chicago Mill and Lumber Company operated three sawmills and two Box factories, and it owned over two hundred thousand acres of timberland primarily in Louisiana and Mississippi by 1980.
Scope and Content:
The Chicago Mill and Lumber Company, formerly known as the Paepcke-Leicht Lumber Company, was established in Greenville, Mississippi, around 1881. The Paepcke-Leicht Lumber Company was a Chicago corporation. Herman Paepcke was its president; William Wilms its vice-president; and E. A. Leicht its treasurer. The corporate name was changed to Chicago Mill and Lumber Company in the 1920s. The company was located on Lake Ferguson, near Greenville.
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