Guide to the The Union Lumber Company Records, 1854-1960

Processed by The Bancroft Library staff
The Bancroft Library.
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
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© 1996
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.


History --History, California --History, Northern California Biological and Medical Sciences --Agriculture --Forestry Geographical (By Place) --California --Northern California

Guide to the The Union Lumber Company Records, 1854-1960 1854-1960

Collection number: BANC MSS 68/21 c

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California
Processed by:
John Hawk
Supervised by:
Mary Morganti
Date Completed
April 1993
Encoded by:
Tim Hoyer
© 1996 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Union Lumber Company Records,
Date (inclusive): 1854-1960
Collection Number: BANC MSS 68/21 c
Creator: Union Lumber Company
Extent: Number of Containers: 1 box, 16 cartons, 1 oversize folder, 547 volumes Linear feet: 157.4
Repository: The Bancroft Library
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Abstract: The collection contains correspondence, office files, and financial records. The bulk of the collection is composed of stock and financial records, 1854-1952, including such items as lists of stockholders, financial statements, invoices, various ledgers, and payroll sheets. Another substantial portion of the collection is correspondence, found in series 1 through 5, with the greatest concentration of letters in the Union Lumber's daily files of outgoing correspondence, 1928-1936, including correspondence of company officers Charles Russell Johnson, Otis W. Johnson and Otis R. Johnson. Of note in the series Strike files, 1943-1947, are a set of strike posters and other publicity materials. Includes records of the Glen Blair Lumber Company, Mendocino Lumber Company, Pacific States Lumber Company, Acme Lumber Company, Fort Bragg Electric Company, Fort Bragg Redwood Company, Atlas Tank Manufacture, National Steamship Company, and statements of the Coos Bay Lumber Company. Also included are files of the California Redwood Association, 1933-1849, and correspondence of E.C. (Edwards C. Williams), founder of the Mendocino Lumber Company.
Languages Represented: English

Information for Researchers


Collection is open for research

Publication Rights


Original finding aid indicated copyright has been assigned to The Bancroft Library.
Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Sevices .Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Union Lumber Company Records, BANC MSS 68/21 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Materials Cataloged Separately

Photographs have been transferred to Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

The Union Lumber Company Records were given to The Bancroft Library by Union Lumber Company via Russell Johnson in 1967, with additions made in April 1991

Corporate History

UNION LUMBER COMPANY -In December, 1882, Charles Russell Johnson, youthful, energetic and determined, age 23, and recently from Michigan and Wisconsin, bought into the Mill Creek (Ten Mile River) operations of Calvin Stewart and James Hunter. From this partnership of Stewart, Hunter, and Johnson has grown Union Lumber Company. C.R., as Mr. Johnson would be known throughout his long and eventful career, brought perseverance, integrity, and a basic feeling of worth and dignity of the individual from his ancestral inheritance. On this concept he established an enterprise that would strongly influence the history of the redwood industry. From its inconspicuous beginnings at Mill Creek, Union Lumber Company has pioneered enlightened forest practice policies and developed plant and product innovations that have insured the stability of the community through continuous employment through all the business ups and downs since its founding. C.R.'s initial step was forming the Fort Bragg Redwood Company and moving to the site of the old abandoned army post at Fort Bragg. This move provided an abundance of land for plant site and harbor where boats could load alongside a wharf. The new Fort Bragg mill commenced operations November 16, 1885. The first shipment of lumber left the new wharf on board the steam schooner West Coast. The need for additional timber saw the incorporation on August 17, 1891, of Union Lumber Company. This brought the property and assets of White and Plummer along the Noyo River into the new venture with W.P. Plummer becoming the General Manager. In 1905, the Little Valley Lumber Company was purchased and part interest in the Glen Blair Lumber Company and the Mendocino Lumber Company was acquired. Through the years other Mendocino County properties have been added to allow for planned growth programs. The latest, being he properties of the Pacific Coast Company in 1960, including timber and mills at Willits and Leggett. To ship forest products to market and bring merchandise to Fort Bragg, the National Steamship Company was founded in June, 1901, as a subsidiary of Union Lumber Company. The company operated a fleet of ships along the Pacific Coast until the late 1930's. Some ships owned were the National City, Brunswick, Coquelle River, Arctic, and three named Noyo. Another subsidiary, California Western Railroad was incorporated June 30, 1905, taking over the logging railroad of Union Lumber Company. In December, 1911, the first through-train reached Willits thus giving Fort Bragg and Western Mendocino County direct rail connection with the rest of the continent. To assure perpetuity of its natural resources, Union Lumber Company pioneered a reforestation program and established its own nursery in the 1920's. The program showed that natural reforestation from sprouts and seedlings would do a better job and the nursery project was abandoned. Union Lumber Company now subscribes to the principles of Tree Farming and was an early Redwood Region leader in the movement, dedicating the C.R. Johnson Tree Farms on May 19, 1951. Today, all Company forest land has been placed under the Tree Farm program. This is an assurance that the forest products industry will always be a major influence on the economy of Mendocino County. A strong research facility exists to develop new products from redwood bark, tanoak, and certain common grades of lumber. Through research and development, new products and new techniques will continue to evolve. These, in turn, will bring new jobs and career opportunities to Union Lumber Company people. Although not a company town, Fort Bragg has always been considered in the Company's plans since C.R. Johnson laid out the town site and was elected its first mayor in 1889. In 1965, and excess of $8,000,000 was paid out in wages and local purchase of services and materials; 27% of County taxes were paid by Union Lumber Company.
from History of Mendocino County, California, Mendocino County Historical Society, 1967 (pp 798-799).

Scope and Content

The Union Lumber Company Records are incomplete and miscellaneous in nature, spanning the period from 1854 to 1960. The collection contains correspondence, miscellaneous office files, history and strike files, and stock and financial records, providing insight to the various aspects of the company's long history in Northern California. Included also is correspondence and records from Glen Blair, Mendocino, and Pacific States Lumber Companies, which were acquired, in whole or in part, by Union Lumber Company. Much of the collection is correspondence, found in Series 1 through 5, with the greatest concentration of letters in Union Lumber's daily files of outgoing correspondence, 1928-1936. The correspondence of Charles Russell Johnson, 1883 to 1934, documents some of the activities of C.R., who in 1882 bought into the Mill Creek operations which became Union Lumber Company. Johnson also founded Fort Bragg Redwood Company, which started operations at a new mill in 1885; he was elected Fort Bragg's first mayor in 1889.
Series 6: Miscellaneous Office Files, 1898-1954, are a scattered assortment of memoranda, minutes, agreements, reports, statements, contracts, and printed materials, that provide an additional glimpse of the timber industry. These include some records from the California Redwood Association, in addition to a brief run of minutes from the meetings of the Redwood Operators Committee.
Series 7: Strike Files, 1943-1947, record primarily the company's side of the strike. These contain preliminary strike correspondence and other materials documenting the start of the strike, through much of its duration. Of note is a set of strike posters and other publicity materials. The history files (in Series 8), though more limited, provide additional insight to the history of the area. They include the letterpress books of E.C. Williams, founder of Mendocino Lumber Company.
Series 9: Stock and Financial Records, 1854-1952 constitute the bulk of the collection and includes such items as lists of stockholders, financial statements, invoices, various ledgers, and payroll account sheets. The largest part of this series is the 547 volumes listed, by company, wherever possible. Minimal effort was made to further identify or arrange this group, which retains the volume numbers given upon receipt.

Container List

Cartons 1-5, Carton 6, folders 1-12.


Ctn. 1, folder 1-7

Daily files May-Dec. 1928

folder 8-13

Daily files Jan.-June 1929

folder 14-19

Daily files July-Dec. 1929

Ctn. 2, folder 1-6

Daily files Jan.-June 1930

folder 7-12

Daily files Jan.-June 1931

folder 13-18

Daily files July-Dec. 1931

Ctn. 3, folder 1-6

Daily files Jan.-June 1932

folder 7-12

Daily files July-Dec. 1932

folder 13-18

Daily files Jan.-June 1933

folder 19-24

Daily files July-Dec. 1933

Ctn. 4, folder 1-7

Daily files Jan.-June 1934

folder 8-12

Daily files July-Dec. 1934

folder 13-18

Daily files Jan.-June 1935

Ctn. 5, folder 1-6

Daily files July-Dec. 1935

folder 7-18

Daily files 1935

Ctn. 6, folder 1-6

Daily files Jan.-June 1936

folder 7-12

Daily files July-Dec. 1936

Carton 6, folders 13-18.


Ctn. 6, folder 13-17

Letters, A-Z 1931-41

folder 18

Letters, miscellaneous 1927-40

Cartons 7-8, Carton 9, folders 1-5.




Ctn. 7, folder 1

Letterpress book 1883-84

folder 2-3

Letterpress book 1903-06

folder 4

Letterpress book 1907-11

folder 5

Letterpress book 1911-13

folder 6

Letterpress book 1913-15

folder 7

Letterpress book 1915-16

Ctn. 8, folder 1

Letterpress book 1915-18

folder 2

Letterpress book 1916-17

folder 3

Letterpress book 1916-18

folder 4

Letterpress book 1920

folder 5

Letterpress book 1920-22



Ctn. 8, folder 6-7

Otis W. Johnson 1893-1919

Ctn. 9, folder 1

Otis R. Johnson 1933-34

folder 2-3

Clark L. Poole and Company 1912-13

folder 4

Coos Bay and Pacific States Lumber Company ca. 1910-26

folder 5

Coos Bay Lumber Company - Reorganization 1915-27

Carton 9, folders 6-17, Cartons 10-12.




Ctn. 9, folder 6

Letterpress book 1905-10

folder 7-10

Letters 1912-20



Ctn. 9, folder 11-18

Letters 1903-06

Ctn. 10, folder 1-5

Letters, A-Z 1905-07

folder 6

Letters, miscellaneous 1905-07

folder 7-11

Letters, A-Z 1907

folder 12-15

Letters, A-Z 1909-10

folder 16

Letters, miscellaneous 1909-10

folder 17-22

Letters, A-Z 1919



Ctn. 10, folder 23-29

Letters 1921

Ctn. 11, folder 1-6

Letters Jan.-June 1922

folder 7-10

Letters July-Dec. 1922

folder 11-15

Letters Jan.-June 1923

folder 16-20

Letters July-Dec. 1923

folder 21-25

Letters Jan.-Nov. 1924

Ctn. 12, folder 1-2

Letters Oct.-Nov. 1924

folder 3-7

Letters Jan.-July 1925

folder 8-11

Letters 1926-27

folder 12

Letters, miscellaneous 1926-27

folder 13-14

Letters, A-Z 1928

folder 15

Letters, miscellaneous 1928

folder 16-20

Advertisements for equipment ca. 1920

folder 21-29

Turner Letters, A-Z ca. 1920

.Carton 13, folders 1-2.


Ctn. 13, folder 1

J.C. Ford 1886-87

folder 2

Mendocino Lumber Company 1906

Cartons 13, folders 3-11, Carton 14; Oversize folder 1.



HARBOR, 1906-1940.

Ctn. 13, folder 3

National Steamship Company 1906-26 (cont.)

folder 4

Noyo and Ft. Bragg Harbors 1906-27

folder 5

Harbor 1926-40



Ctn. 13, folder 6

Timber estimates 1915-16

folder 7

Reports ca. 1915-17

folder 8

Consolidation agreements 1915-25

folder 9

First mortgage 1922

folder 10

Reports and statements ca. 1922-38

folder 11

Statements 1916-26

Ctn. 14, folder 1-2

Statements 1923-24


TIMBER AND LAND, 1920-1935.

Ctn. 14, folder 3-5

Miscellaneous 1920-35



Ctn. 14, folder 6-8

Lumber Code Authority 1933

folder 9

Lumber Code Authority - bulletins and miscellaneous 1933



Ctn. 14, folder 10-13

Redwood Lumber Cost Reports 1941-49

folder 14

Redwood memoranda 1933

folder 15

Miscellaneous 1943

folder 16

Chronology 1943-46

folder 17

HR 6201 1946

folder 18

Reforestation 1949



Ctn. 14, folder 19

Lumber Record Bureau, Domestic and Foreign Shipments 1898

folder 20

Redwood Operators Committee minutes 1947-48

folder 21

Miscellaneous 1900-54

folder 22

Contracts ca. 1906-24

Carton 15, Oversize folder 1.

SERIES 7: STRIKE FILES, 1943-1947.

Ctn. 15, folder 1-2

Preliminary Strike correspondence and start of Strike 1946

folder 3-4

Strike correspondence 1946

folder 5

Pre-Strike materials 1945-46

folder 6

Travel Time 1944-47

folder 7

Dolber and Carson Case--Travel Time 1945-47

folder 8

Wage Adjustments/Job Classification 1943-44

folder 9

Post-war Wage Adjustments 1945-46

folder 10

Strike File log 1945-46

folder 11

Legal statements, briefs, and miscellaneous 1943-44

folder 12

War Labor Board/ West Coast LumberCommission documents 1943-44

folder 13

National War Labor Board 1944-45

folder 14-15

Employers' statements 1943-44

folder 16

Employers' comments on Panel Report 1944-47

folder 17

Redwood Industrial Relations Committee Strike files ca. 1946

folder 18-19

Strike files of Kenneth Smith, California Redwood Association 1946-47

folder 20

Case files of Kenneth Smith, California Redwood Association 1944-45

folder 21

Miscellany 1943-47

folder 22

Strike advertisements and publicity 1946

folder 23

Strike scrapbook 1947

folder 24

Newspaper clippings 1946

folder 25

Job Classification, Study of the Small Industry Douglas Fir Region 1943

folder 26

Collective Bargaining [pamphlet] 1943

Carton 16, folders 1-11.


Ctn. 16, folder 1

General 1882-1959

folder 2-3

Redwood Region ca. 1931-53

folder 4

Correspondence re Memories of the Mendocino Coast ca. 1948-60

folder 5

Oral History Interviews 1953

folder 6

Redwood Industry brochures ca. 1960

folder 7

Field book (unidentified) n.d.

folder 8

E.C. Williams correspondence 1866-1954

folder 9

E.C. Williams letterpress book 1862-65; 1906-08

folder 10

E.C. Williams letterpress book 1908-10

folder 11

E.C. Williams letterpress book 1910-11

Carton 16, folders 12-17, Box 1, Vols. 1-548.


Ctn. 16, folder 12

List of stock holders and statements 1918-37

folder 13-15

Financial correspondence and statements 1893-1935

folder 16

Trust Mortgage, Union Lumber Company to Michigan Trust Company 1930

folder 17

Miscellaneous invoices 1881-1900

Box 1, folder 1

Wells and Johnson's Mill ledger 1854-57

folder 2

Account ledger/ C.R. Johnson journal 1892-1902

folder 3

Payroll account sheets 1914-35




Fort Bragg Office:

volume 6-30

Cash books 1892-1920

volume 88-90

Cash books 1885-88

volume 106-119

Cash received 1918-34

volume 133-141

Cash disbursements 1918-34

volume 143-195

Individual ledgers and balances 1892-1905

volume 247-254

General ledgers 1892-1922

volume 324-330

General Merchandise journals 1893-1908


San Francisco Office:

volume 31-64

Cash books 1886-1924

volume 91-92

Cash books 1890-92

volume 93-105

Cash received 1921-33

volume 121-132

Cash disbursements 1921-34

volume 205

Ledger 1893-96

volume 234-242

Journals 1917-22

volume 243-246

Journals 1906-12




volume 86-87

Yard Office, general cash books 1893-1902

volume 196-204

Individual ledgers and balances 1916-46

volume 255

Yard Office, general ledger 1893-99

volume 256

Storage Accounting (New York, etc.), general ledger 1921-23

volume 302-323

Merchandise sales journals 1894-1905

volume 338-348

Lumber shingle sales ledgers 1894-1910

volume 349

Lumber sales journal 1919-24

volume 354-358

Mill Rail sales 1914-35

volume 432

Notes receivable 1923-34

volume 523-526

Cash books, store 1910-31

volume 531

Transfer of Funds 1904-05



volume 84-85

Cash books--miscellany 1907-27

volume 227

Unidentified ledger 1860

volume 257

Department journal 1915-22

volume 281

Newport, ledger and balances 1883-85

volume 359-369

Operating costs and expense analyses 1910-52

volume 370-376

Time books 1893-1910

volume 377-379

Segregation Merchandise 1909-21

volume 388-398

Inventories 1911-1945

volume 399-401

Stock ledgers 1899-1903

volume 402-406

Transfer ledgers 1910-31

volume 407-410

Sales ledgers 1935-39

volume 413

Log scaling report 1904-06

volume 414-418

Mill scale book 1901-45

volume 419-427

Woods scale book 1918-41

volume 428

Merchandise supply bills 1911-12

volume 429

Order book, San Francisco Office 1906

volume 350

Cargo sales to yard 1903-04

volume 353

Unidentified sales ledger 1937

volume 522

Labor Earned Working Papers 1935-39

volume 544-548

Unidentified journals 1860-1924



volume 83

Cash book 1903-12

volume 290-301

General ledgers 1904-29

volume 435-439

Letter books, remittances 1903-19

volume 440-446

Order books 1903-17

volume 447-450

Cash books 1910-28

volume 451

Anglo Bank journal sheets 1906-09

volume 452-453

Time books and payroll 1906-09

volume 454-455

Transfer ledgers 1905-12

volume 456-459

Individual ledgers 1904-20

volume 460-463

Misc. ledgers 1903-28

volume 465

Voucher record 1920-22

volume 466-467

Scale records 1903-28

volume 468

Manifests 1908-09

volume 469

Account book (Fort Bragg) 1912-13

volume 470

Journal--company merchandise purchased 1903-05

volume 471

Journal 1916-23

volume 472

Register of insurance policies 1926-30



volume 75-82

Cash books 1887-1934

volume 142

Cash disbursements 1927-36

volume 206-213

Indiviual ledgers and balances 1859-1945

volume 228-233

General ledgers 1916-25

volume 258-278

Fort Bragg, general ledger 1860-1925

volume 279-280

San Francisco, general ledger 1909-15

volume 333

Merchandise sales journals 1907-09

volume 351-352

Miscellaneous sales ledgers 1906-21

volume 380-387

Day books 1874-1910

volume 411

Lumber order prices 1925

volume 433

Accounts receivable 1925-34

volume 516

Daily sawing and logging report 1882-1902

volume 521

River scale 1925

volume 528

Supplies distribution 1906-09

volume 529

Balance sheets 1902-03



volume 65-74

Cash books 1906-37

volume 287-289

General ledgers [see also: v. 531] 1908-23

volume 430-431

Sales record Jan.-July 1937

volume 434

Accounts receivable 1937-39

volume 530

Sales distribution 1933-37



volume 1-5

Cash book 1888-92

volume 214-225

Individual ledgers and balances 1883-91

volume 282-286

General ledgers 1886-92

volume 331-332

Merchandise sales journals 1888-92

volume 334-337

Lumber shingle sales journals 1886-1894

volume 412

Newport store 1892-93



volume 120

Cash received 1924

volume 538

General ledger 1913-15



volume 226

Ledger [ca. 1920s-1930s]

volume 473-475

Accounts 1910-18

volume 476

Inventory 1906

volume 477

Labor charges 1925-26

volume 478

Journal 1914-18

volume 479

Transfer ledger 1922-26

volume 480

Journal entries 1923-26

volume 481

Annual Report 1923



volume 482-486

Accounts 1921-38

volume 487

Account book, Union and Mendocino Rail 1934

volume 488-493

Cargo shipments 1902-26

volume 494

Statement book 1912-15

volume 495

Vessel shipments (Mendocino Lumber Company) 1935-37

volume 496

Manifest record 1934-36

volume 497

Steamer manifests 1923-37


volume 498

Statement of shipment and products 1907-08

volume 499-504

Cash books 1918-32

volume 505-508

Journal and cash books 1911-18

volume 509-511

Journals 1919-23

volume 512

Account book for steamers Alcatraz and Helen P. Drew 1916-17

volume 513-514

Manifest of steamer Noyo 1932-35

volume 515

Shipping register for Glen Blair Redwood Company 1903-04



volume 517

Sales ledger 1932-38

volume 518

Cash book 1928-39

volume 519

Accounts receivable 1938



volume 520

San Jose Lumber cash book 1936-37

volume 527

Irvine and Muir Lumber Company sales sheets 1910

volume 532-533

The Dean Reversible Window Company ledger 1909-14

volume 534

West Coast Timber Company ledger 1909-14

volume 535

Noyo Lumber Company ledger 1886-92

volume 536

Bay City Lumber and Supply Company ledger 1907-19

volume 537

Noyo Grape Packing Company ledger 1923-32

volume 539

Noyo Land and Cattle Company ledger 1920

volume 540

San Jose Lumber Company ledger 1934-40

volume 541

C.A. Perkins and Perkins Bros. ledger 1902-05

volume 542

A.R. Johnston Company ledger 1902-05

volume 543

Old Big River Lumber Company ledger 1864-67



oversize Folder 1

Coos Bay Lumber Company statements 1920


Facts About the Redwood Strike (posters issued by Redwood Industrial Relations Committee on behalf of struck companies) 1946