The history of the large part of Mississippi covered in pine forest in the last two decades of the 19th Century and the first four decades of the 20th was punctuated by whining saws, the bark of locomotive exhausts, and of course, the romantic wail of the steam whistle. In the area just north of the longleaf pine belt there existed a company with a unique marketing name whose large sawmill plant made history when originally built. It also brought into existence a little railroad whose small steam locomotives were the most beautifully maintained in the state. The line was immortalized by Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg in their pioneer work Mixed Train Daily.
The diminutive DeKalb & Western Railroad was a common-carrier road in the steam era based in DeKalb, Mississippi -- a small community north of Meridian. It was incorporated in 1916 for the purpose of acquiring the Sanoody Valley Railroad, later extended the eastern end to Sledge, AL The line extended from DeKalb, the county seat of Kemper County, to a connection with the Mobile & Ohio Railroad at Sucanochee and Electric Mills, then on to Sledge, AL, for a total of 28 miles. At Sucarnochee the railroad had joint use of the station and facilities of the Mobile & Ohio. The section from De Kalb to Sucarnochee, 11 miles, was purchased from the Sanoody Valley; the section from Electric Mills Junction to Electric Mills and Sledge, AL, 12 miles, was purchased from the Sumter Lumber Company in 1916. The entire pike was abandoned by the end of 1949.
DFW route map / Tony Howe / collection
Official Guide ad / collection
DeKalb, Ms / Jul 1937 / collection
DeKalb & Western #502
Electric Mills, Ms / unknown / Tony Howe collection
DeKalb & Western #504