Truck & Office in
The Almond family and
sawmills date all the way back to the time of the American Civil War. Green
Almond is earliest ancestor we can trace in the sawmill industry. He was the
first man to volunteer for the Confederate Army from Stanly County, North
Carolina and lost his right arm at Chancellorsville on the same day that
Stonewall Jackson lost his arm. When he was discharged due to medical
disability, Green returned home to his farm near Albemarle, North Carolina.
Unable to plow because the loss of his arm, he decided to give the sawmill
business a try. The first Almond sawmill was on a mountainside near the Pee Dee
River in North Carolina.
generation of Almond lumber men was Green's son, Richard Thomas Jackson Almond
(named for Stonewall Jackson). He learned the business from Green and followed
the South Carolina gold rush to Jefferson, South Carolina before the turn of the
century. There, his sawmill supplied lumber to the miners. In 1896, his
son, Reno Almond, was born.
leaving on a train from McBee, S.C., Richard moved his family to Coushatta,
Louisiana and bought several thousand acres of the land. Both he and Reno
established separate sawmills. Unfortunately, both mills were lost during
the Great Depression.
World War II, Laurie Almond, one of Reno's five sons, was able to buy back the
92 acre "home place" and return it to his parents. While serving in the army and
air corps, Reno Jr., W. T. Sr., and Cecil Sr. (Tonnie), saved money that would
later be used to start the 4th generation's business.
brothers returned from the war, Reno Jr., Tonnie, and Laurie decided to try the
lumber industry one more time. They bought a log truck and began producing
piling. In 1947, Reno Sr. was instrumental in making a deal on a used portable
sawmill. In 1948, they were able to put in a permanent mill. In the early
1950's, W.T. Sr. joined his brothers and Reno Jr. left to operate his own retail
lumber yard in Natchitoches. In 1956, the youngest of the 4th generation, Maxie,
joined the business after finishing college.
the business was getting off the ground in 1957, a devastating fire destroyed
the planner mill and almost all of the finished lumber. Suffering through a
great deal of hardship, they rebuilt and overcame
early 1970's, the 5th generation of Almonds began permanent duty with the
company after working summers from junior high through college. Laurie's sons,
Ardis and William, W.T.'s son, Tremmel, and Tonnie's son, Cecil Jr. make up the
In 1980, Cecil Sr. passed away. Laurie and W.T.
Sr. retired in 1982. The company was reorganized in 1983 and Maxie left the
company to pursue other interests. Laurie passed away in 1989. W.T. Sr. is still
occasionally called on for advice and
middle to late 1980's, the company went through a lot of changes toward
modernization. Band saws replaced circle saws and gang saws and a modern log
merchandising system was built. In 1990, the decision was made to concentrate on
the export lumber market in Europe and the Caribbean. In the early 1990's,
further modernization took place as a dry line sorter system was installed as
well as a sorter system at the sawmill. In 1994 and 1995, the new office
building was built and the ready mix concrete plant was re-located and
generation started working full-time with the company in 1996. Winn and Will,
Tremmell's sons began work on a permanent basis and William's son, Steven, began
college and working part-time. In 1997 and 1998, more modernization was done in
the form of scanning systems for the carriage and an optimizer system for the
edger. In August 1998, Ardis's son,
Vince started full-time with the company. Cecil Jr. took medical disability and
retired in late August 1998. In 2000, Cecil Jr. passed
Now in the 21st century and over 125 years in the lumber industry,
the Almonds always look toward the future but never forget the past. We are
proud of our ancestors and the dedication they had to their family and to
themselves to provide a way of life for so many generations. As the future
unfolds, we will continue to find new ways to preserve the tradition of good
family and good business and keep the Almond name in the lumber industry for
generations to come.