The Joshua Dodge Sargent Family, C 1899

Standing left to right:
Hannah, James and Jessie.
Seated left to right:
Mary Elizabeth, mother Mary,
father Joshua, and Robert.
Seated in the front
to the right is Jay.

The purpose of this site is to share Sargent family history through pictures, journals and letters starting with the family of Joshua and Mary Sargent of Alton, Maine and moving backward in time through prior generations.The descendants of Joshua and Mary Sargent are flung far and wide, and this is an easy way to share family history.

Mary Butman Sargent and Joshua Dodge Sargent

The Sargent Sawmill and Spool Bars

JGS notes on above picture
from Sargent family pictures:

The above picture appears to be
some kind of
portable steam sawmill,
judging from
the pile of sawdust in the back.

In the late 1800's and into the early 1900's the cutting of pieces of wood to be manufactured into wooden thread spools for the American Thread Company factory in Milo was an important part of the Sargent Bros. mill production. JGS says,
"Herbert Sargent said that lumber at the mill was sometimes sawn into square wooden bars four feet long that were called "spool bars". The bars were made of birch hardwood, and were sent to the big American Thread Company mill up in Milo. From there they were dried and then later fashioned into spools for thread. The spool bars on the sleds in the photo were probably heading to the nearby railroad siding for shipment to Milo by train. Herbert also said that bars were sometimes hauled to LaGrange for delivery by rail from there. Probably the productivity of the Sargent mill was greatly increased by the additional saw cuttings required for fashioning the bars, rather than ordinary lumber. The American Thread Company was a big (and only?) industry for Milo after the turn of the 20th Century."

Sargent Bros. Sawmill, circa 1911

Young Herbert Sargent, around five years old,
is seated on the bundle of spool bars
in the foreground in the above picture.

The above picture is another view of the Sargent sawmill.
Unfortunately, some tape was acquired sometime
over the years. The right side appears to have some fire
damage, something that happened
more than once over the years.

The following scans are excerpted from the book The History of the Lumber Industry in America, ©1907 (pages 99 - 101) They detail the prcoess of manufacturing spool bars from the cutting of the trees to the process of manufacturing them. The information was written about the time that the Sargent Bros. mill was in prime operation.

Click the scans to enlarge
them for readability

The picture above is of spool stock being hauled by the Philbrick farm in Alton, Maine. To the left of the barn can be seen smoke coming from the Sargent Bros. steam sawmill. In the distance and further to the left is the large set of farm buildings owned by the Sargents.
If you are hankering to know more about the lumber industry in Maine, particularly spool bars, the following links are of some interest to understanding the background of the Sargent Bros. Mill operation.

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Dixie Sargent Redmond