Date of Graduation
The history of lumbering in Florida stretches from the small water-powered sawmills operated in Spanish Florida to the paper and pulp mills of the modern state. However, nothing captures the imagination more than the heyday of Florida's lumbering boom, which lasted from 1830 until approximately 1930. During this period vast tracts of land were stripped of their valuable timber under the "cut and get out" system and for the most part, these clear cut lands were left idle and either sold for as little as one dollar per acre, or returned to the state via delinquent taxes. Three themes underlie the entire study: the impact of changing technology on the lives of southern lumber workers; land concentration; and the development of company paternalism. The study is organized into six chapters. Chapters one and two are organized chronologically and examine the growth of the industry from 1830 to 1930. During this period control of the industry passed from the hands of local southern mill owners to northern corporations which developed huge modern lumber mills and company towns. Chapter three examines the technological changes affecting both logging and sawmills between 1880 and 1930, and its impact on the industry and workers. Chapter four examines the "social content of work" that developed along with a permanent pool of workers laboring in the lumber industry. Worker segregation, attempts at unionization, and drives for workman's compensation are all examined. Chapter five examines the use of forced labor in the lumber industry and the closely connected turpentine industry. Finally, chapter six analyzes the use of company paternalism and worker control through company towns, merchandise checks, and company stores. The intention of the study is to show that in their own particular time and place, the people of North Florida encountered industrialization in their own distinctive way. The broad similarities connecting their lives with those of other Americans, however, provides evidence that the gradual progression from an agricultural to an industrial order involved a collective set of circumstances. Such similarities suggest that the story of North Florida is of more than local importance, and that it can serve as a window through which we may view the full complexity of industrialization in the American South.
Drobney, Jeffrey Andrew, "Lumbermen and log sawyers: The transformation of life and labor in the north Florida timber industry, 1830-1930." (1995). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 8785.