Friday, September 9, 2016

Wm. Sutherland & Company

Researched and written by Debie Oeser Cox 

In 1894 Sutherland and Co. filed suit against the City of Nashville, for damages received at the company's lumber yard.  In 1888 the city had purchased a right of way through Sutherland's property to put a sewer line through.  The city promised to "have said sewer line so constructed with a suitable valve as will prevent in case of high rise of the river, the flowing of water back through said pipe or sewer into the lot or premises..."

The court decided that the City did not use proper methods and or materials to prevent the backflow.  The property had been safe from flooding before the sewer was put in and the City was found to be liable for the damage to the lumberyard and a judgement of $2000 was given.  On appeal the verdict was reversed and new trial ordered.

Because of the court case I believe this photo was made in March of 1890, likely to be used as proof of flooding. 

1890, Sutherland & Co. North Edgefield Remembered project, Bill McKee.  TSLA

The location of the company as given in the court record was, between Bridge Avenue (Woodland St.) and Main street, and First Street and the Cumberland River.

Each spring there was danger from flooding. By 1891, Sutherland and Co. had built a levy between their property and the river.  In June of 1893, there was a terrible fire along the river in East Nashville, with many companies suffering damage.  Sutherland and Co. had a loss of $15,000, but the planing mill was not damaged.

William Sutherland died in August of 1897.  It was announced that the lumber mill business would continue under the leadership of his wife Julia and son James Sutherland.  By 1900, the company had disappeared from Nashville City Directories.  


Sutherland & Co., 1888 Sanborn Map and Publishing Company


Standard Lumber Co.,  1908 Hopkins Atlas of Nashville

In 1903. the Standard Lumber and Box Co. was incorporated and began to conduct business at the site of the old Sutherland Lumber Co.

Wm Sutherland Company Supplement


  1. Excellent research on some of Nashville's history, Debie.

  2. Debbie, the Sutherland wood mill continued to be active at that location up until the time of my grandfather's death in 1980. I'm also fairly certain that photo is from much later than 1890, but I may be incorrect. If you're interested in additional info about it, feel free to shoot me an e-mail:

    1. See the supplement I added on Sutherland & Co.


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