Even before there were towns it was necessary to establish a way of communication. Congress was given the power to establish post offices and post roads. Until post offices were established in rural areas, a line of posts was set up along a designated road. Moffett Rd known today as US 98 was a designated road Dependable deputies were appointed to be accountable for carrying the mail. James McCrary, a pioneer of Semmes, received mail at the 15 mile post.
Trains brought changes!
By the 1900's Semmes had two trains a day, One train in the morning and one in the afternoon. The Mail came by train. The center of the town moved close to the train station. There was a grocery market( McCrary’s store ), Post Office , the Funk Hotel and the 1902 Semmes School.
Trains brought train stations and the development of towns. Timber and timber production became big business. Men harvested the timber using ox carts. "Dummy" railroads, were set up to move the timber out of the woods to sawmills. Turpentine mills for the manufacturing of turpentine and other naval products were established. . These products were shipped by rail to Mobile where they were loaded on wooden shipped and sent all over the world.
Most dummy lines used a Shay Engine which was a steam engine with three vertical cylinders on the left side of the engine. It did well by burning waste wood.
Ran slow, but had good pulling torque. Had
a horizontal shaft which drove all the wheels at once. Steam "Jennys," steam engine driven winch cable reels were used to pull logs to the trains from local yards.
A yard arm was used to lift logs onto the flatcars. A dummy line ran from Mobile County to Waynesboro, MS. Rails were oak
lumber with only 1/4 inch steel plate on top.
Preserving our History