April 12, 1937 from the Works Project Administration (W.P.A. Historical Research Project) and the State Forestry Commission:
There is a famous tree known as “The Lonesome Pine” located in the forks of Red and Flint Creeks, about 6 miles SE of Wiggins.
Circumference —– 17 feet 6 inches
Diameter—–5 feet 6 inches
Height ——- 114 feet
Height to first limbs ——– 50 feet
Limb spread —– 78 feet
Species —– yellow bark short leaf pine
“The inaccessibility of this tree and its immensity is why it has never been cut. During the life of Finkbine Lumber Company at Wiggins, one hundred dollars was offered to anyone who would deliver it to their mill. One man attempted, but found it too large to handle.”
Do you remember this tree? Do you remember what happened to it? If so, please contact the Old Firehouse Museum and let us know!
Finkbine Lumber Company, also referenced in some texts as Finkbine-Guild Lumber Company, purchased the two sawmills belonging to Niles City Lumber Company in 1901 for $13,300. W. E Guild , Treasurer of the company, became general manager of the Wiggins operation in 1903. Until the mills and timber lands were sold in 1929, Finkbine’s Wiggins mill capacity was over 175,000 board feet per day. The company also operated over 50 miles of track within the area of operation.
Primary timber processed was long leaf yellow pine. It was processed for both domestic and export (via Gulfport) purposes. Finkbine built a number of houses and other other structures in the growing town of Wiggins over this period. Some of those remain today especially along Pine Street.
Most Stone County folks know that Wiggins once was home to the largest pickle factory in the world. With the timber industry in decline, the Finkbine Lumber interests founded the American Pickle and Canning Company in 1912 in order to process crops produced from the cut-over timber lands.
While pickles were the primary product, in 1918-1919, sweet potatoes, beans and blackberries were canned and shipped from the Wiggins plant.
The Pickle Factory, under several different operators, remained a key component of Stone County’s industry until the 1980s.