Friday, June 3, 2016

Channel Cat Tales: H M Fink Steamboat and Barge

Channel Cat Tales: H M Fink Steamboat and Barge

Last week we published an article from the annual report of Chief of Engineers of the U.S. Army to the Secretary of War for the year 1893, In it was a mention about the H G Fink Manufacturing Company of Lawrenceville: The commerce above Lawrenceville is however considerable, but it is all done in the interest of one or two sawmills owned by the HG Fink Manufacturing Company. This firm has constructed a small steamboat and a barge which they operate between the dam of Lawrenceville and points above and bring down rafts of logs and sawed lumber from their upper mill when stage of water is suitable. The lumber is then shipped by rail to Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis, and even to England. Mr. Ward was noted as the manager of the company who reported that they could run their boat six months a year. 8 million staves and 3 million feet of lumber were handled by the firm  in 1892.

Thanks to research by John K we now know more about this company, and even have a photo.  (Well, we had the photo before, but we didn’t know anything about it.)

 (July 21, 1888 American Machinist magazine)
The HG Fink Manufacturing Company of Lawrenceville Illinois has been incorporated for the manufacture of all kinds of lumber, carriage and wagon wheel stock; incorporators Harry G Fink, JH Ward, and Philip W Barnes.

 And from the Vincennes Sunday Commercial November 8,1891

JH Ward, the efficient and gentlemanly superintendent of this company’s works at Lawrenceville, is a pushing and energetic gentleman, and makes one of Lawrenceville’s best citizens. This company manufactures all kinds of lumber, carriage and wagon wheel stock and flour barrel staves in great quantity. The plant is one of the largest and best equipped in the state. They employ 65 men at the mill and 100 men are busily engaged getting out logs which are rafted down the Embarras River to the mill. They also own a steamboat which plies  the upper Embarras and is employed in hauling stave and spoke timber from the heavy forest above down to the mill where it is rapidly transformed into the desired material, which is soon dried in kilns and prepared for shipment. This enterprise is of untold advantage to Lawrenceville, as it gives employment to an average of 150 men the year round with a payroll of $500 per week, which amount is expended in Lawrenceville, and is the means of adding new homes almost daily to the place. Several substantial business firms are principally the outgrowth of this manufacturing. It is an incorporated company. They manufacture six carloads of lumber per week. We cheerfully recommend Mr. Ward and Mr. Adams, his efficient clerk, to anyone having dealings with this company as gentlemen of high order.