OUR PURCHASE OF THE KITTEN SAW MILL

Content Tools

Rt. 2, Box 6 Slaton, Texas, 79364

On May 5th Joe Kitten, my uncle, came to tell us that the Kitten Saw Mill located at Lueken Lumber Company in Ferdinand, Indiana, would be sold. Like a dream come true Jerry has been waiting patiently for the Kitten Saw Mill to be up for sale. The Kitten Saw Mill was the saw mill that was run with the Kitten Steam Engine up until 1972. Jerry is the owner of the #224 Kitten Steam Engine the last traction steam engine built in the United States. So we set off on Thursday May 7th to Ferdinand, Indiana to purchase the Kitten Saw Mill. We arrived on Friday afternoon at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Meyers of Route 3, Ferdinand. We were shocked to hear our good friend Jackson Meyers had a heart attack but was doing well. Friday afternoon we arrived at Lueken Lumber Company. At first sight you would think that there would be no way that Jerry and I could take on this job of taking apart piece by piece by ourselves. After much deliberation and measuring we put on our working clothes and started the job. The first thing was to take out all the nails on the rails where the carriage slides forward and backwards. Second was to make a clear path where the front loader belonging to Lueken Lumber Company could drive and help pick up the front of the saw mill. The Kitten Saw Mill has been owned by Joe Lueken and put in the Lueken Lumber Company since the early 30's so there has been some dirt built up around it. The Kitten Saw Mill has not been used for the last two years. The saw mill was the original saw mill that was powered by the #224 Kitten Steam Engine until 1972. The big 5 foot saw blade was taken off and rolled out to be loaded later. And then piece by piece was put on the 18-wheeler by a Tow motor until the entire saw mill was on the truck by dark. This saw mill also has an edger and cutoff saw. This Kitten saw mill is one of four of its kind that is still together today. And we have two of the four in Texas. The other two are in Indiana.

I noticed in the May-June, 1958 issue of the Iron Men Album Magazine there is a picture of the Kitten running the Kitten Saw Mill. So after all these years the saw mill has finally moved. Of course some interesting parts that the Luekens saved they sold to us. There was an elevator for carrying the bark and small pieces away from the mill, a log puller that was powered by horses, a couple of jacks that belonged to the steam engine, and one more item that was upstairs in the barn in the box that it was shipped in. Inside was an overhauled Pickering governor dated 1945. So you can tell it was a memorable experience to find all of those parts that came from our ancestors. Now we have another small task to do and that is install and align the latest Kitten saw mill antique at Slaton. If you want to see the Kitten history come to our place, Kitten Fertilizer, Route 2, Slaton, Texas. Ask for Jerry.