The W.R. Pickering Lumber Company was first established in 1894 in Springfield, Missouri by William Russell Pickering. Mr. Pickering's first business venture was in the mining of lead at Joplin, Missouri. This business was later extended when he and his partner bought a tract of timber and extended their operations into Indian Territory. The growing scarcity of timber there forced the company to seek new stands and led to the purchase of 30,000 acres of virgin longleaf yellow pine in Vernon Parish, Louisiana which was located on the main line of the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad (now the Kansas City Southern).

A mill was built on the purchased property and the place became known as Pickering. Operations at the new mill began in December of 1898 and was soon producing 200,000 feet a day.

Soon, several more tracts were purchased in the southwestern section of Vernon Parish on the Kansas City Southern Railroad. A new mill was built and named Barham, in honor of T.M. Barham, the secretary of the company. In 1905, a third mill was added at Cravens, about twenty miles southeast of Pickering, on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway. At that time, it was estimated that the company owned tracts in Vernon Parish and East Texas totaling 1,500,000,000 feet of timber.

W.R. Pickering Biography