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Nacogdoches and Southeastern Railroad Company Records

Identifier: B-0058

Scope and Contents

The types of materials in this collection include correspondence, legal documents, minutes book of Board of Directors and Stockholders meetings (1905-1930), payroll records, newspaper clippings, annual reports, schedules, and financial ledgers.


  • Creation: 1903-1965
  • Event: Donated 1934
  • Event: Addendum donated 3/31/1955
  • Event: Addendum donated 12/9/1992
  • Event: Addendum donated 2/1/1996

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Biographical or Historical Information

By Tom McKinney, September 2022.

The Nacogdoches and Southeastern (NSE) was created by the Hayward Lumber Company of Davenport, Iowa, to bring cut timber to its lumber mill in Nacogdoches County, Texas. The county signed a contract with the Hayward Lumber Company was on August 31, 1903 (1). The N and SE was incorporated under Texas law on December 28, 1903, and chartered as a common carrier by the Texas State Legislature on September 28, 1905, as confirmed by Texas Railroad Commission Circular number 2430 of November 1, 1905. Its first eleven miles were put into operation by November 30, 1905 (2). During its existence, the NSE hauled passengers and freight through the woods of East Texas.

W. H. Kimball, chief engineer for the Hayward Lumber Company, surveyed the mill grounds and ran lines for the railroad toward the southeast portion of Nacogdoches County in September of 1903 (3). The mill site was formally called Hayward, Texas, but to the population of Nacogdoches it would simply be called “mill town.” It was located about one mile southeast of the public square in Nacogdoches near the tracks of the Texas and New Orleans Railroad (TNO) and the Houston East and West Texas (HEWT), which would eventually join with the tracks of the Nacogdoches and Southeastern a mile southeast of the mill (4). This position would allow rail access not only to the southeast-northwest route of the TNO, but also to the southwest-northeast route of the HWT. Both the TNO and the HEWT were part of the Southern Pacific system at this time (5). The TNO joined the HEWT south of Nacogdoches and then separated north of town at the Banita Junction. The first mile of track was laid by May 23, 1904, from the site of the mill eastwards. The short line railroad would eventually reach 42.3 miles, extending from downtown Nacogdoches to Calgary, San Augustine County, Texas. At Calgary, the Nacogdoches and Southeastern connected with the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railroad. The NSE also connected with the Angelina and Neches River Railroad at La Cerda, a point outside of Chireno, Texas.

The NSE only owned those tracks which ran from Nacogdoches to Oil Springs, a distance of some 14 miles. The remaining track was owned by the lumber company, but agreements between the two allowing the use of each other’s tracks were made. Many spur lines also radiated off the NSE mainline so the lumber company could access and harvest its timber holdings in Nacogdoches and San Augustine Counties.

The locomotives of the NSE were turned around by the use of a wye, a triangle-shaped junction of three tracks. Locomotives were turned around by pulling on to one track, reversing the locomotive onto another, and then pulling forward onto the original track. There were several wyes at the mill and several of the stops had them as well.

The Hayward mill was bought by the Frost-Johnson Lumber Company of Texas, and Hayward’s control of the NSE was passed to the Frost-Johnson Lumber Company of Texas in special stockholders’ and directors’ meetings held on May 23, 1910 (6). This was due to financial troubles on the part of the Hayward Lumber Company. Frost would vastly expand the railroad. Eventually the timber which justified the expense of a railroad began to dwindle and the majestic stands of virgin pines gave way to cut over land. The development of a road system through the woods allowed trucks to supplant the supremacy of the locomotive steam engine as the preferred method to transport cut timber to the mill. Frost Lumber Industries reached an agreement with Olin Industries, Inc. on December 19, 1952, and Frost Lumber Industries dissolved. The NSE, which had been abandoning its tracks for years, ceased to exist on July 17, 1954.


(1) “We Get Big Mill,” Nacogdoches Weekly Sentinel, 1 September 1903, 1.

(2) Railroad Chairman Ernest O. Thompson, Austin, Texas, to Elmer Davis, Ft. Worth, Texas, 22 October, 1947, Texas Railroad Commission, Austin, Texas.

(3) Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel, 12 September 1903, p.1.

(4) East Texas Sawmill Database, Texas Forestry Museum, Lufkin, Texas.

(5) W. Kelso Woodward, 29 November 1995.

(6) Ibid., 40, 42.


16.50 Cubic Feet

2.00 Cubic Feet (Addendum of 25 folders and two oversize ledgers.)

Language of Materials



The first time this collection was sorted, it was arranged with all the documents in 6 clamshell boxes and all the company ledgers and annual reports as individual items shelved next to the boxes. The collection was rearranged in 2022 to conserve shelf space. Boxes 1-6 were consolidated into two banker's boxes. The original folder number for boxes 1-6 remains in place. Boxes 7-12 contain all the annual reports (now with box and folder numbers) and smaller ledgers from the collection. Medium-size ledgers are now housed in boxes 13-16 and oversize ledgers in boxes 17-19. An addendum to the collection, consisting of the research materials Tom McKinney used to write his master's thesis on the company, is in Box 11, folders 10-23, Box 12, folders 1-11, and Box 19 (oversize), items 3-4.

Related Materials

Tom Watson McKinney, "A history of the Nacogdoches and Southeastern Railroad, 1904-1954," master's thesis, (Stephen F. Austin State University, 1996). HE2791.N33 M34 1996X

Guide to the Nacogdoches and Southeastern Railroad Company Records
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the East Texas Research Center Repository