Headquarters: Hattiesburg, MS (Forrest Co.)
Years of Operation: 1897-1904
Predecessor Roads: J. J. Newman Lumber Co.
Successor Roads: Mississippi Central
See also: J. J. Newman
Click Map for Larger Version
by David Price and Tony Howe:
The J. J. Newman Lumber Co. bought an existing
mill in Hattiesburg near the Leaf River in October 1894. Newman had
previously operated sawmills in Pennsylvania before coming to Mississippi.
With the financial backing of wealthy Pennsylvania lumberman Fenwick L.
Peck, the mill at Hattiesburg was greatly expanded over the next several
years to become one of the largest in the state. In 1895, construction
started on a standard gauge logging railroad running west from the mill.
This railroad was incorporated as the Pearl & Leaf Rivers on November
20, 1897. At this time, the railroad was only 8 miles long, but by 1901
the line had reached 19 miles to the new town of Sumrall, and the lumber
company later built two more huge sawmills at that point in 1902-3 and
1905 respectively. As the railroad was expanded, the new goal to reach
Natchez was chosen and the railroad was renamed the Mississippi Central on
February 13, 1904.
Alco-Brooks built P&LR Number 12 in 1904. It became Mississippi
A P&LR passenger train at the Epley depot behind 0-4-2 Number 2,
while 3-truck Shay Number 5 waits nearby.