Index Gurley Community & Town History
Gurley Lions Club serving the Gurley community since 1948

From Our Past IV

In January through March, 1892, The Gurley Record ran several articles about the manufacturing facilities existing in Gurley at the time. The most notable establishments were the Stave Factory, the Bucket Factory, and Eagle Pencil Mill. Following are quoted articles from the Record. This article is quoted from the January 21, 1872 issue and highlights the current Stave Factory.

Messrs. A Walton & Sons established their Stave factory last July. So it can be seen as a new enterprise. The firm, composed of A. Walton & Sons, established their stave factory here in July 1891. Heading up the firm is A. Walton, J. A. Walton, and F. C. Whittlesy. The first named gentleman resides in Wisconsin where they own a mill where staves and hoops are made besides doing a saw and planning mill business. Mr. J. A Walton lives at Winchester where they also own a stave factory.

The factory here is managed by its affable and pushing superintendent, Mr. F. C. Whittlesy.

They manufacture tight barrel sawed and bucked staves and headings. The capacity of the factory is 6,000 bucked staves, 7,000 sawed staves and, 7,000 heads. The products of the factory are shipped to New York, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Chattanooga. Part of these are exported to Europe. Last year a lot of 100,000 were shipped to Germany." (It should be noted, many items to include food stuffs, commodities, and export items, were shipped and sold in wooden barrels. This was a big business in the 1800s and early 1900s).

Captain Elijah. F. Walker
Capt. Elijah. F. Walker
Capt. Elijah. F. Walker was involved in the lumber and wood business in Gurley. In the late 1800s, Gurley and the Paint Rock valley had an abundance of cedar and hardwood trees. Among his many other enterprises, he was one of several contractors that helped supply cedar, oak, maple, and other timber to the Stave Factory, Barrel Factory, and Eagle Pencil Mill.

It requires about 12 hands at the stave factory and from 12 to 15 more hands in the woods to keep the mill running. Considerable amount of money is distributed by the payment of these hands and for timber. They have contracts for all their output for 1892 and much timber will be required to run the factory at full capacity throughout the year.
(Click on the picture to view it full size)

Those who would have timber available, and suitable for staves, would do well to see Mr. Whittlesy. We hope that this factory will remain one of the permanent institutions of Gurley for many years to come and always be prosperous.

Other interesting news events in the January 1892 issue of the Gurley Record.

Greed, Colorado - 1892:

Frank and Jesse James
Frank and Jesse James
There is not the least foundation for the report that Bob Ford, former member of the Jesse James gang, and the man who killed Jesse James, is dead. He is alive and well. How the report originated is unknown. Ford is keeping a saloon here, known as The Exchange. Although rows and fights frequently occur among miners in his house, as they do in any saloon, particularly in frontier districts, he is seldom a participant. Since his arrival here, he has conducted himself decorously and has gained the confidence of his neighbors. (Bob Ford shot Jesse James in the back of the head April 3, 1882.)

When it was first proposed to open the Panama Canal, the scheme was strongly opposed on the grounds that it would endanger millions of lives. It was asserted that the waters of the Pacific Ocean were more than 100 feet higher than the Atlantic and if they got headway in the ditch, it would drown the country on the Atlantic side. It now turns out that the Atlantic is the highest of the two and that the difference is about 6 1/2 feet.

Nashville, Tenn.:
A movement is a foot, by some of the ex-Confederate soldiers in Tennessee, to have the legislatures of Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee to make appropriation for the purpose of having tombstones placed at the heads of the Confederate heroes, who fell at Franklin, Tenn. Major George. L. Cowen, Nashville, is in Jackson, Miss. and Capt. John W. Morton of the same city, is in Montgomery, Ala., in the interest of this movement.

Personal Mentions: January 21, 1892
Mr. P. C. Puckett, who has been sick for some time with la grippe, is rapidly recovering.

Dr. D. H. MacLane of Maysville was in this place last Tuesday and spent the night with Capt. E. F. Walker.

Judge J. T. Taylor, of Huntsville, was on our streets this morning.

Mr. D. V. Vorenberg, Superintendent of the Alabama Lumber and Manufacturing Company, returned Tuesday after a successful business trip to northern cities in the interest of his company.

On last Friday, Mr. Thomas P. Gurley returned home after a lengthy visit to their beautiful and extensive estate in Florida. We are very glad to learn that his health has been considerably improved by his sojourn in that sunny climate. He is one of the promoters of our railway and intends joining the survey party this week.