Stewart & Hunter established a mill on Mill Creek, a tributary of Ten Mile River. The lumber produced in their mill was hauled by horse team to Newport from whence it was shipped. Hunter and Stewart were brothers-in-law.
The original mill, built by the Field Brothers, was destroyed by fire in 1877. Stewart and Hunter rebuilt the mill on its original site it started operations in 1878. The mill was about two miles east of Newport and had a capacity of 25,000 feet per day.
The lumber was hauled by sis-horse teams driven by a single line called a “jerk-line” At Newport the lumber was loaded onto schooners by a gravity chute, extending the shore to the ship below. Newport was exposed to the open sea and there was no wharf. The ships were made fast to several moorings located on rocks and on the shore. The lines were set in such a way that the schooner had a chance of running back and forth twenty or twenty-five feet with the waves.
The schooners carried from 75,000 to 150,000 feet of timber. No spot along the Mendocino Coast required more skill to maneuver among the rocks, tie up at the moorings and load with a full see running than Newport.
When C.R.Johnson became a partner with Stewart and Hunter in 1882 he concluded that there was neither room for a second mill at Mill Creek nor was the shipping point at Newport susceptible for shipping more lumber. C.R. Johnson decided that Soldiers Point in Fort Bragg, the site of the old army post, was sufficient to accommodate a mill of any size and better, the ocean cove off of the point could accommodate a wharf thereby eliminating the labour intensive and slow loading chute.
The mill on Mill Creek was moved and very quickly Newport declined into oblivion.
If you look closely at the picture below you can see a man at the end of the chute just to the right of the ship. The man’s job was to trap each piece of lumber that was sent down the chute to the schooner with the device in his hand called a “clapper”.