Russell’s Engine, 

Oldest in Florida in 1893!

Russell's Engine

        Built in April of 1839 by Rogers with 12x22 inch cylinders and with a 54 inch driver, this early 4-2-0 with a four wheel tender was their twelve locomotive built. Built for the Montgomery Railroad in Alabama and named Abner McGehee after an important stockholder, this teakettle survived until 1856 when they sold the old engine to the budding Florida Railroad as a construction engine. The engine barely survived the chaos of the Civil War, after re-building she became the switcher at Baldwin, handling the many sawmills located there. She was sold to Eppinger & Russell in the early 1880’s, a well known New York Lumbering firm which had setup a sawmill in Olustee. Below is a print of a typical Rogers 4-2-0, the Bativia, construction number 5. 


        The Olustee mill was a Yellow Pine sawmill producing 40,000 feet per day. Operating a 15 mile standard guage logging railroad with 45 lb rails, they not only owned this ancient Rogers as their # 1 engine, they also had at # 2, a brand new Porter (c/n 640) 2-6-0 built in May of 1884. The logging railroad  operated with 18 cars, hauling a 1500 feet load per car, an average of 1.5 miles. An unuasual fact is that the logging railroad was standard guage in 1884, but the connecting railroad was still five foot guage! But a logging railroad need not connect with the mother road, as the logs were dumped into the log pond, milled into lumber which would be loaded onto the five foot guage cars for shipment to the docks at Fernandina and Jacksonville on their way to keep the hungry construction business of New York fed.

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