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Special Collections & Archives

Manuscript Group 96

Potlatch Forests, Inc.

Records, 1910-1938
13 linear feet

This descriptive inventory of the Potlatch Forests, Inc. papers in the University of Idaho Library was prepared by Judith Nielsen in April 1980.


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.


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 43. 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.


I. Bonners Ferry Lumber Company File Boxes 1-2

II. Washington, Idaho & Montana Railway Company File Box 3

III. Kootenai County Defense Council File Box 4

IV. P.F.I. and Smaller Subsidiaries File Boxes 5-8

Boise Payette Lumber Co.

Humbird Lumber Co.

Potlatch Timber Protective Assoc.

Clearwater Timber Co.

V. Red Collar Line File Boxes 8-9

VI. St. Joe Boom Company File Box 9

VII. Edward Rutledge Timber Company File Boxes 10-13


I. Bonners Ferry Lumber Company

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, the contents of which are described below.

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. May 17, 1937. Corporation, Foreign. $5.00

Montana. Secretary of State. June 16, 1937. Corporation, Foreign. $5.00

Idaho. Secretary of State. June 29, 1937. Annual License Tax. $75.00

Idaho. Annual License, Corporation. 1937/38

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.

II. Washington, Idaho, & Montana Railway Company

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.

The items relating to the W.I. & M. railway in this collection are:

Annual Statements



Monthly Statements

January - December 1936

January - November 1937

January 1938

III. Kootenai County Defense Council

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. Listed below are the folder headings with a selected list or brief description of the contents.

Minutes and Meeting Notes

December 24, 1917

January 21, 1918

February 27, 1918

August 26, 1918

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.

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 - 1918

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. The issues contained in the folder are as follows:

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. n.d. 10 p.

Miscellaneous mimeographed sheets.

Liberty Bonds

Fourth Liberty Loan, September 28 to October 19, 1918. Report of Amount of Subscription Quotas... in the Twelfth Federal Reserve District. (lst and 2d editions)

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, 1918

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, 1918. 6 p.

Keeping Fit to Fight. New York, American Social Hygiene Association, n.d. 16 p.

Letter to Businessmen from War Department Commission on Training Camp Activities. April 19, 1918. (Deals with venereal disease and includes informational material to be given to employees, especially those most likely to be drafted.)

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. 1918. 23 p.

"Register!" National Registration Day. Committee on Public Information, Division of Four Minute Men. Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 1918. 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, 1918. 7 p.

The War Department Commission on Training Camp Activities. Washington, D.C., 1917? 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, 1918


Extracts from the Espionage Act. Issued by Liberty Loan General Executive Board, San Francisco, 1918

Knights of Columbus War Camp Fund. n.d.

To the Household of the Disabled Soldier and Sailor. Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 1918. 18 p.

Work and Homes For Our Fighting Men. Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 1918. 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.

IV. Potlatch Forest Products & Subsidiaries

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.

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. 1936

Statement for two years ended December 31, 1935 & 1936

Condensed statements for 1937

Humbird Lumber Company

Annual Report. 1935

Statement. April 30, 1936

Potlatch Timber Protective Association

Annual Report. 1935

"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. 1959

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, November 30, 1936. This is a 385 page reporter's transcript of a trial dealing with violence connected with the IWW strike.

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, October 1, 1913 (This is possibly for the Edward Rutledge Company, but is not identified)

V. Red Collar Line

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. The two boxes of material in this collection include the following items:

Board of Investigation & Research. Tax Accruals, 1935-41

Corps of Engineers, Miscellaneous reports to. 1933-1935

Tax Statements. Benewah County, 1943, 1945

Tax Statements. Kootenai County, 1937-1945

Regulation of Water Carriers, Part III, Interstate Commerce Act, by Donald Macleay. Washington, D.C., F. Eugene Ackerman, 1940

Interstate Commerce Commission. Correspondence

State of Idaho. Corporation Tax Returns. 1931-1948

Annual Statements and Licenses. 1930, 1935-1954

Annual Reports. 1929-1953

Annual Statements. 1930-1944

Monthly Statements. 1930-1933 (incomplete)

Annual Reports to Interstate Commerce Commission. 1929-1940

Lumber and Sawmill Union material (International Woodworkers of America). 1943-1945

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, 1943

Employee Bonding Material

VI. St. Joe Boom Company

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. The boxed items include:

Inventory. 1923, 1924, 1930

Excise Tax records. 1953-1955

Insurance Notices. 1931-1932

Annual Statement. 1932

Correspondence. 1930-1932

There are two oversized items dealing with the St. Joe Boom Company which are unboxed. They are:

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

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

VII. Edward Rutledge Timber Company

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 the following items:

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

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