Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Workday Wednesday ~ William Henry Piggott, Lumber Merchant

This awesome page from gr-great-grandpa's lumber business  was included in grandma Hazel's ephemera.

W. H. Piggott was listed as a sawyer in the  E. L. Sloan & Co. 1874 Salt Lake City Directory. In the 1870 Salt Lake census he is listed as a sawmill hand, and in the 1800 Bloomington, Idaho census he is listed as a sawyer.

The following excerpts are from a history written by Claude and Elma Reay, Edited by Beatrice Cannon Evans and Janath russell Cannon, Cannon Family Historical Treasury George Cannon Family Association, 1967, Pages 295-298.

"...William worked in a mill and lumber yard in Salt Lake City.  His knowledge of timber and his ability in mathematics gave him the position of buyer.  He always went to work in a white linen suit, which was starched until it would stand alone.    He measured the logs that were brought to the mill and decided the kind of lumber to be cut from each log and the number of board feet that should be credited to the men delivering the load."
"...William was called by the church authorities to go to Liberty, Idaho and set up a saw  mill to furnish lumber for the people of the Bear Lake area. .....The Piggott family lived in Liberty, Idaho for three years, the William moved the saw mill to Bloomington Canyon and set it up at the foot of Paris Peak."
"The Piggott family had just become well established when William was called to the Leeds Mission in England.  Lumber from the Piggott mill was always in demand because of its high quality and even size.  William leased the mill with the understanding that enough money would be given to Elizabeth to keep the family and to help him on his mission.  He left for England with the feeling that his family was well cared for and that he would receive enough money to carry on his work in the mission field.  He didn't know until he returned twenty-two months later that the incompetent men who leased the mill found that boards one-half inch thick on one end and one-and-half inches thick on the other didn't sell; so they were soon out of business and there was no money to pay for the lease.  The loss of the income from the mill left the family without funds.  They had a cow, chickens, and a garden.  Elizabeth knew that if they were faithful, the Lord would provide for them.  She took in sewing and gave music lessons on her treasured melodeon."  
"...He re-established his lumber business, and it was very successful until he felt he was no longer able to work, when he sold the mill." 
In 1894 William was among other mill owners in who were arrested by the United States Marshal for "cutting timber on Uncle Sam's dominion". He gave bonds in $1,000 to appear before the United States commissioners for examination.

According to this newspaper article from The Salt Lake Herald, dated September 9, 1890, United States timber agent A. H. Tyner closed the mills and claimed all the lumber as Uncle Sam's.

And according to an October 1890 article in the Salt Lake Tribune, Mr. Tyner claimed to have proof that the owners of the sawmills in Bear Lake County were illegally shipping timber out of the territory.

Whether there is any truth to these allegations, I do not know. It would be interesting to know the outcome of these suits.

Thanks to Denise Spurlock for suggesting this prompt.

Leslie Ann

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