Thornburg Mill at Wallace
The Thornburgs, Tony, the father, and Pete and Patey, his sons, operated a portable lumber mill in Oklahoma. In 1946, they brought their mill out to California and landed at Granny Payton’s place, approximately 3 miles outside of Pine Grove. In 1955, Pete, who was a minister, bought out his father and brother (who then had a long career as a school teacher in Railroad Flat) and established a non-portable mill at Wallace, where he and his two sons operated the mill, using logs brought in by outside loggers, including Doc Linebaugh who was mainly associated with Blagen Mill in White Pines. Chief Walker, whose picture is in the Blagen Mill section was badly injured at Wallace while unloading a load of logs there.
In the early 1960’s, Pete automated the mill and in 1970 sold it to Snyder Lumber Company. David, Pete’s son, ran the mill for Snyder, and Mike ran the logging operation.
Pete created MDK (the first letter of Pete’s 3 children, Mike, David, and Kathy) and began logging and hauling the logs. Kathy, at 24 years old and female was the dispatcher for the operation and had to deal with the drivers who didn’t think they should be taking orders from a woman, a young cute one at that. Among other interesting adventures, MDK logged for a while out of the Grand Canyon.
Kathy finished her education, taught for a number of years, was Principal at Valley Springs for a while, and at the time of this writing (August 2012) is Calaveras County Superintendent of Schools.
In 1977, Pete and Mike went to Mansfield, Arkansas where they built a mill nearly identical to the automated mill that they had built in Wallace, but Pete died in 1980, by which time Mike was already home in the Wallace area. David had stayed in Wallace to run the Snyder mill.
The mill site now contains a stone sales yard, and no evidence remains of the mill.