Potlatch Forests, Inc. Records, 1910-1938

Overview of the Collection

Potlatch Forests, Inc.
Potlatch Forests, Inc. Records
1910-1938 (inclusive)
13 linear feet
Collection Number
MG096 (collection)
Correspondence and financial records of companies predecessor and subsidiary to Potlatch Forests, Inc.
University of Idaho Library, Special Collections and Archives
Special Collections and Archives
University of Idaho Library
875 Perimeter Drive
MS 2350
Moscow, ID
Telephone: 2088850845
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The material contained in this collection includes correspondence and financial records from some of the companies comprising the Potlatch Forests, inc. These companies include Bonners Ferry Lumber, Washington, Idaho, & Montana Railway, Red Collar Line, St. Joe Boom, Edward Rutledge Timber and several smaller subsidiaries. There is also one box of material relating to the Kootenai County Defense Council.

Much of the material in this collection complements the material in the George Frederick Jewett, Sr. papers, Manuscript Group MG043. A descriptive inventory of these papers was completed by Barbara Richards in 1969. A researcher in this area should consult both inventories in order to make maximum use of the material in these two collections.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


The items in this collection have been grouped by individual company within the Weyerhaeuser owned Potlatch Forests, Inc. Correspondence is arranged alphabetically under the name of the person or company from whom the letter was received or to whom it was sent. The letters from each individual are then arranged chronologically. Any variation in this order is noted in the appropriate place in this inventory. Other reports, tax returns, annual statements, etc., are in chronological order.

File cards have been prepared for each division of this inventory.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series I. Bonners Ferry Lumber Company Return to Top

The Bonners Ferry Lumber Company, a Weyerhaeuser enterprise, was formed in Wisconsin late in 1902 to take over some 13,000 acres of timberland, logging contracts, a mill site, sawmill machinery and riparian rights located on the Kootenai River at Bonners Ferry, Idaho. The company was beset by problems from the beginning. Driving logs down the Kootenai was difficult; the Great Northern Railway could not carry logs through tunnels; the facilities for holding logs once they arrived at Bonners Ferry were inadequate; and at times flood waters inundated the drying yard. The dry kiln was not large enough to handle the out-put of the mill; but even after the mill burned and was rebuilt in 1909, earnings never measured up to expenses.

Although production continued to rise from 1904, eventually peaking in 1913, it then tapered off. At various times after 1913 members of the Weyerhaeuser family considered taking their loss and discontinuing operations, but on each occasion either a director or the general manager, R.H. McCoy, pointed to favorable future prospects. Strikes in 1917 and 1919 which closed logging camps in northern Idaho severely crippled operations at the company. By the mid twenties the accounts were showing more red ink than black; the reasons include not only heavy taxes and high transportation charges, but exposure to fire and insects, high logging costs due to the rugged terrain, and severe weather conditions. Operations at Bonners Ferry Lumber Company were finally terminated in 1926, but it was not until 1937 that the Montana holdings of the company were sold to the J. Neills Lumber Company of Libby for $185,000. George F. Jewett and his associates at Potlatch Forests, Inc. salvaged a little more.

The Bonners Ferry Lumber Company papers in this collection are contained in two file boxes.

Description Dates
Annual Reports
The annual financial reports for 1910-1931 consist of paperbound volumes of preprinted ledger sheets; the figures are hand written, with an occasional typed page of additional figures. Beginning in 1931 all reports are typed. Included among the page headings are general balance sheet, statement of timber and timber lands, operating expenses, report of shipments for the year, report of production for the year, and report of lumber on hand. Annual reports are present for the years 1910-1916; 1918-1934; and 1936-1941.
License Taxes
Montana. Secretary of State. Corporation, Foreign. $5.00
May 17, 1937
Montana. Secretary of State. Corporation, Foreign. $5.00
June 16, 1937
Idaho. Secretary of State. Annual License Tax. $75.00
June 29, 1937
Idaho. Annual License, Corporation
Clearwater Timber Company Notes
This folder consists of twenty seven promissory notes from the Clearwater Timber Company dated between January 23, 1928 and October 17, 1929. A list of the notes and the interest paid, and several items of correspondence from Charles J. McGough of the Weyerhaeuser Corporation to the Bonners Ferry Lumber Company about the Clearwater notes, dated between November 15, 1930 and April 3, 1933 is also included.
In 1920 the General Appraisal Company completed an inventory of the Bonners Ferry Lumber Company. Their report is contained in a 485 page notebook; it includes a complete inventory of the company giving the replacement cost of each item, the depreciated value, and the insurable value. Seventeen photographs of the company, both interior and exterior views, are bound in at the end, as is a large scale hand drawn map of the property. (scale: 1 inch = 50 feet)
Income Tax Returns
The income tax returns filed by Bonners Ferry Lumber Company are in individual envelopes, each containing a copy of the return itself, the Forest Industries Schedule, work sheets, correspondence concerning the return, and statements of income and salaries over $1000 paid by the company. The envelope for 1937 contains details of the sale of property to the J. Neils Lumber Company of Libby, Montana. Returns are included for the years 1918-1940.

Series II. Washington, Idaho, & Montana Railway Company Return to Top

Prior to establishing this railroad in 1905, Weyerhaeuser had unsuccessfully attempted to get the Northern Pacific Railway which ran through Palouse, Washington to build it as a feeder line. It was not until the Milwaukee line extended its tracks into northern Idaho that the Northern Pacific offered to buy the line, but Weyerhaeuser would not sell as he had promised the Milwaukee line he would retain control of the W.I.&M. for ten years.

Construction on the 45 mile line began in 1905 and by 1907 trains were running. The line operated between Palouse, Washington and Bovill, Idaho. Rough logs were transported from Bovill to the mill at Potlatch; the finished lumber was then hauled to the Northern Pacific Line at Palouse. The construction of the railroad stimulated agriculture and even mining as well as lumbering. The Washington, Idaho, & Montana Railway was included in the 1931 incorporation of Potlatch Forests, Inc.

Description Dates
Annual Statements
1936, 1937
Monthly Statements
January - December 1936, January - November 1937, January 1938

Series III. Kootenai County Defense Council Return to Top

Huntington Taylor, who was chairman of the defense council for Kootenai county, was also the general manager of the Edward Rutledge Lumber Company. The defense councils were begun in 1917 and were responsible for coordinating the various war related fund drives.

Description Dates
Minutes and Meeting Notes
In addition to the above meeting minutes there are also several lists of people who refused to contribute to Liberty Loan Drives and who were under investigation by the council for pro-German sentiments.
December 24, 1917, January 21, 1918, February 27, 1918, August 26, 1918
Bank Statements
George H. Friedlander was treasurer of the Kootenai County Defense Council and the statements from the American Trust Company are addressed to him. The statements are for the periods February to June 1918 and February to December 1919.
Financial Records
Included in this folder are Red Cross financial statements for the Coeur d'Alene branch for the period April to November 1917 plus scattered reports from other branches, some duplicate deposit slips from various banks for the Kootenai County Defense Council accounts, and several lists of contributors to the fund raising drives.
War Drives
This folder contains receipt books and pledge cards.
Spirit Lake Census
Before the drive quotas for each district were assigned a census was taken. The 21 pages of the Spirit Lake Census give the name and age of the head of the household, the number of people over 18 and under 18; the last column gives the total number of people in the household.
The correspondence in this series is in chronological order. Although the years included span the period 1915-1920, most of the letters are from 1918. A majority of the letters are routine letters concerning the drives and collections. Also included are many letters from precinct chairmen reporting the amounts raised in their area. There are also several notarized statements concerning un-American sentiments of specific individuals. The defence councils coordinated the fund raising drives of the Red Cross, YMCA, YWCA, and the Salvation Army and therefore letters from these organizations are prominent.
Council of National Defense
Miscellaneous mimeographed circular letters including a special report of the Woman's Committee dated September 14, 1918. Printed reports which include: Community Council Work During the Period of Demobilization and Readjustment; Community Councils and Permanent Community Organization; The Development of Community Councils; The Further Development of Community Councils; Important State Council Work; State Councils Section
Idaho State Council of Defense. Official Press Bulletin
This is a multi-paged mimeographed circular.
v.1, no.3 - v.1, no.9
December 10, 1917 - January 21, 1918
v.1, no.17 - v.1, no.19
March 18 - April 1, 1918
v.1, no.22 - v.1, no.27
April 22 - May 27, 1918
v.1, no.31 - v.1, no.53
June 24 - November 25, 1918
v.2, no.1 - v.2, no.7
December 2 - January 13, 1919
Defense Councils, Miscellaneous Material
Department of Interior Press Release. "Secretary Lane to Continue Efforts For Soldier-Settlement Legislation"
March 13, 1919
Speech Delivered at Hotel Astor, New York, by Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior. 10 p.
Miscellaneous mimeographed sheets.
Liberty Bonds
Fourth Liberty Loan
Report of Amount of Subscription Quotas... in the Twelfth Federal Reserve District. (1st and 2nd editions)
September 28 to October 19, 1918
Government Bond Letter. No. 26, 31, 33, 73
Liberty Loan bulletins for various drives
Methods of Selling War Savings Stamps Through Retail Stores. Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office
Tax Exemption of Fourth Liberty Loan Bonds.
Boards of Instruction to be Appointed by Selective Service Boards. Outline of Scope and Methods. Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office
6 p.
Keeping Fit to Fight. New York, American Social Hygiene Association
16 p.
Letter to Businessmen from War Department Commission on Training Camp Activities
Deals with venereal disease and includes informational material to be given to employees, especially those most likely to be drafted.
April 19, 1918
Next Steps: A Program of Activities Against Prostitution and Venereal Diseases for Communities Which Have Closed Their "Red Light" Districts, by Major Bascom Johnson. Washington, D.C., War Department Commission on Training Camp Activities
23 p.
"Register!" National Registration Day. Committee on Public Information, Division of Four Minute Men. Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office
12 p.
Syllabus of an Address to Assist in the Instruction of Drafted Men in the Knowledge and Avoidance of Venereal Disease. Issued by the Surgeon General. Washington, D.C., War Department
7 p.
The War Department Commission on Training Camp Activities. Washington, D.C.
29 p.
Newspapers and Clippings
2 pages of miscellaneous mounted clippings
Fourth Liberty Loan. (A series of advertising layouts on newsprint) The Idaho Leader. Boise
May 18, May 25, 1918
Key to Universal Peace on Earth, by I.G. Egbert. Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
May 1918
Kingdom News. New York
May 1918
Labor World. Spokane, Washington
May 17, 1918
The Pine Knot. Cloquet, Minnesota
May 17, 1918
World Republic: Bulletin of the Rising Labor Commonwealths. New York
Extracts from the Espionage Act. Issued by Liberty Loan General Executive Board, San Francisco
Knights of Columbus War Camp Fund
To the Household of the Disabled Soldier and Sailor. Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office
18 p.
Work and Homes For Our Fighting Men. Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office
23 p.
United War Work Campaign
This folder contains mimeographed bulletins concerning the drive held from November 11th to the 18th, 1918, lists of county managers, publicity directors, directors of the Victory Boys & Girls, representatives of the YWCA and Salvation Army, and a pamphlet entitled Organization in the County, issued by the Office of the Director General in 1918.
Y.W.C.A. Y.M.C.A. Red Cross
This folder contains pamphlets and typed or mimeographed material dealing with the war work of these three organizations.
Victory Liberty Loan Flags
This envelope contains two flags awarded to industry by the United States Treasury Department.

Series IV. Potlatch Forest Products & Subsidiaries Return to Top

These four boxes contain miscellaneous material relating to the corporation and several of its many subsidiaries. A complete list of the contents is given below.

Description Dates
Boise Payette Lumber Company
Annual report submitted at the annual meeting of stockholders and directors
May 22, 1936; May 17, 1937
Retail distributing years annual report
Statement for two years ended December 31
1935 & 1936
Condensed statements
Humbird Lumber Company
Annual Report
April 30, 1936
Potlatch Timber Protective Association
Annual Report
"Potlatch Timber Protective Association"
This 39 page carbon typescript appears to be a history, but it is very difficult to read.
Legislative Reporting Service Notebook
Clearwater Timber Company
Account books of office salaries
September 1929 to October 1932
State of Idaho vs. Clark Finkle, et al. in the Probate Court of Clearwater County, Idaho. Orofino, Idaho
This is a 385 page reporter's transcript of a trial dealing with violence connected with the IWW strike.
November 30, 1936
Potlatch Forests, Incorporated
Comparative (Monthly) Operating Statements
July - November 1931; February - November 1932; March - November 1933
Report to Stockholders
December 31, 1936
General Manager's annual report to Directors Headquarters, Idaho
May 22, 1935
General Manager's production recommendations and 1936 budget. Lewiston
May 21, 1936
The Timber and Timber Land Account of the Potlatch Forests, Inc.
State Forester's Land Status Records. 4 ledgers, corrected to 1924
Timber Holdings
(This is possibly for the Edward Rutledge Company, but is not identified)
October 1, 1913

Series V. Red Collar Line Return to Top

The Red Collar Line, organized in October 1929, was a tugboat company which carried logs across Lake Coeur d'Alene to the Rutledge Sawmill. It was included in the 1931 incorporation of Potlatch Forests, Inc.

Description Dates
Board of Investigation & Research. Tax Accruals
Corps of Engineers, Miscellaneous reports
Tax Statements. Benewah County
1943, 1945
Tax Statements. Kootenai County
Regulation of Water Carriers, Part III, Interstate Commerce Act, by Donald Macleay. Washington, D.C., F. Eugene Ackerman
Interstate Commerce Commission. Correspondence
State of Idaho. Corporation Tax Returns
Annual Statements and Licenses
1930, 1935-1954
Annual Reports
Annual Statements
Monthly Statements (incomplete)
Annual Reports to Interstate Commerce Commission
Lumber and Sawmill Union material (International Woodworkers of America)
Contracts: Land rental, Office machine maintenance, Medical and hospitalization, Workmen's compensation
Social Security Information
State of Idaho, Unemployment Compensation information
Insurance policies and related correspondence: Blanket Liability Policies, 1941-1953; Tug Boat "Eagle"; Annual Insurance Statement, 1941
Interstate Commerce Commission. Reports and forms
Employee Bonding Material

Series VI. St. Joe Boom Company Return to Top

Another of the Weyerhaeuser - PFI enterprises, the St. Joe Boom Company was responsible for sorting logs before they were towed across the lake by the Red Collar Line.

The correspondence in this series is arranged by year, then alphabetically within each year. It is mainly concerned with charges for work done and the obtaining of equipment.

Two oversized items dealing with the St. Joe Boom Company are unboxed:

Insurance Record (15" x 101/2" ledger, ca. 1931)

Expenses, Revnues (sic) Properties (18" x 12" ledger) 1932

Description Dates
1923, 1924, 1930
Excise Tax records
Insurance Notices
Annual Statement

Series VII. Edward Rutledge Timber Company Return to Top

Based in Coeur d'Alene, the Rutledge Timber Company was organized in 1902 with Edward Rutledge as president. In 1917 Huntington Taylor became general manager. The company owned shares in both the St. Joe Boom Company and Red Collar lines. Never very profitable, the company paid no dividends from its founding in 1902 until its merger with the Clearwater and Potlatch companies in 1931.

The first of the three boxes contains correspondence, both incoming and outgoing. Since the content concerns business matters, including invoices and inquiries about equipment, the correspondence is strictly alphabetical with no concern for dates except within sections for individual correspondents. Although the majority of the letters were written in 1935, the inclusive dates are 1929-1942. In a few cases, due to the amount of correspondence, separate folders have been maintained for individuals or divisions of Potlatch Forests, Inc.

The three miscellaneous folders contain the following items:

1. U.S. Forest Service Vouchers, 1932-1935

2. Wood Conversion Company stock purchase correspondence. 1937

3. Legal document: General Conveyance between Edward Rutledge Timber Co. and Potlatch Forests, inc. 1931. Carbon typescript.

Legal document: State of South Dakota. In the matter of the dissolution and receivership of Siberz Bros. & Craig. Feb. 14, 1939. Carbon typescript.

Miscellaneous production records, 1931, 1932.

The final two boxes include Payroll and Tax and other records.

Description Dates
Payroll Records
Records for December 1932 to December 1935 are included. These contain figures for plant payroll distribution, payroll deductions, compensation insurance, public liability, and medical costs.
The information includes tax receipts and lists of personal property for the years 1925 and 1926.
Timber Holdings
This item is a ledger containing the Edward Rutledge timber holdings as of May 29, 1913.
Edward Rutledge Timber Company owned horses which they rented to other timber companies, haulers and logging companies. The information in this folder includes an inventory of the horses for 1922, 1923, and 1924, and copies of contracts for rentals in 1924.
Workmen's Compensation Exchange
This folder contains various items of correspondence, miscellaneous reports and forms from 1920 to 1928.
Annual Report
The 38 page annual report for 1930 is the only report in this collection.
McGoldrick Lumber Co. and Rutledge Timber Co. Lands
The blueprint of lands for sale June 10, 1912 is the only item in this folder.
Edward Rutledge Timber Company Appraisement
This 465 page appraisement, completed in 1919, includes replacement value, depreciated value, and insurable value of each inventoried item at the company. There are also 16 photographs of various sections of the company.
Clearwater Engineering Project, by Earnest J. Brigham
This is an unpaged carbon typescript which includes a small section on the Rutledge Timber Company Railroad project. There are several photographs of Potlatch logging operations and a chart of comparative logging costs in 1919.
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad Co.
Included in this folder are correspondence and the agreement concerning the contract at Clarkia. The correspondence spans the years 1925-1942.
Annual Meetings of Stockholders and Trustees
The material in this folder includes the announcements of the meetings, lists of stockholders, with amount of stock held and its value, attending the meetings, either in person or by proxy, the minutes of the meetings, and occasionally the financial statements. The years represented by minutes are 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1942, and 1943. For several years the minutes of the meetings of the Board of Trustees are also included.
Inspection Reports
These inspections were performed for insurance purposes by the following companies: Epperson-Rankin-National Exchanges. 1931 Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection & Insurance Company. 1935 Idaho Surveying and Rating Bureau. 1935 U.S. Epperson Underwriting Company. 1935 Western Pine Association. Mill Grade Inspection Report. 1935
Weyerhaeuser Sales Company Publications
Each of the items in this collection is a single page mimeographed newsletter.
Cedar Facts. P26 - P36
March 6 - November 7, 1936
Fir Items no. 1-2
July 20 - July 29, 1935
Pine Notes. no. 1-4, 6-7
June 21 - July 24, September 6 - October 11, 1935
Insurance Agencies
These folders, arranged alphabetically by company, contain miscellaneous correspondence and occasionally financial statements of the insurance company. The following companies were utilized by the Edward Rutledge Timber Company: American Insurance Agency. 1927, 1930, 1931 American Investment Company. 1930, 1931 At Lumbermen's Lloyd's. 1925, 1926, 1927 Consolidated Insurance Agency. 1931 Epperson-Rankin-National Exchange. 1927, 1931 General Insurance Company. 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931 Indiana Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Company. 1926 Lumbermen's Underwriting Alliance. 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1929 Manufacturing Lumbermen's Underwriters. 1925, 1926, 1927, 1930, 1931 Martin General Agency. 1925, 1926, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931 Mill Owners Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Iowa. 1926, 1927 National Association of Manufacturers. 1925, 1926, 1927, 1929 Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual Fire Insurance Company. 1925, 1926 Rankin-Benedict Underwriting Company. 1931 Sexton, Charles W., Company. 1931

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Lumber trade -- Idaho -- History -- Sources

Other Creators

  • Corporate Names
    • Potlatch Forests, inc. -- Records