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Eau Claire Lumber Company advertisement c.1875 [1]  About The Eau Claire Lumber Company was founded by Joseph G Thorp and his brother-in-law...

Eau Claire Lumber Co

Eau Claire Lumber Company advertisement
c.1875 [1]


The Eau Claire Lumber Company was founded by Joseph G Thorp and his brother-in-law, N. C. Chapman, in 1866 [4]. Joseph Thorp had apprenticed with a merchant, Ira Wilcox, in New York from the ages of seventeen until he was twenty-one. After his apprenticeship, Wilcox brought Thorp on as a partner and they continued until 1846 when Wilcox retired and sold his interest to Thorp's brother-in-law, N. C. Chapman. Chapman and Thorp operated for another ten years before making the decision to leave New York and head West in search of prosperity. It was June of 1856 when Thorp first visited the new town of Eau Claire in Wisconsin and saw plentiful forests, strong rivers, and endless opportunity. Before leaving, he purchased 3,000 acres of land which included trees, a saw mill, and water to power it. This began a new leg for the partnership of Thorp & Chapman [3].


In 1858, N. Chapman travelled down the Mississippi to St Louis, leaving Thorp in charge at Eau Claire, to open a lumber yard in which to distribute the logs they floated. In 1866, they formally established the Eau Claire Lumber Company with a capital of $200,000 [3]. They primary dealt with Pine. In 1878, their shipping yard at the end of Salisbury Street received a shipment containing 800,000 feet of lumber, 500,000 shingles, 50,000 lath, and 300,000 pickets. Their office and yard appear to have been located at the northwest corner of Cass and 14th Streets [8]. In 1883, flooding from the Mississippi threatened much of downtown St Louis and the levees were being constantly maintained by Captain Christopher Smith, superintendent of the yard [9]. 

By 1887, the company sold their mills in Eau Claire as well as Standing Pine, Minnesota to the Mississippi River Logging Company [7]. Their remaining stock was to be floated down the Mississippi to be sold in St Louis. In 1888 or 1889, the firm dissolved and paid its shareholders handsomely [2].

"Eau Claire Lumber Board(?)"
Stamped on a rafter in an 1800s structure in St Charles, Missouri


[1] "Compiled Statement of the Lumber Trade and Manufacture for the Year 1874" Northwestern Lumberman, 1875
[2] "Annual Statement of the Trade and Commerce of Saint Louis for the Year" Merchants' Exchange of St Louis 1885
[5] "The Great Southwest" L. U. Reavis. Nixon-Jones Printing Company, 1882

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