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Bonhomie & Hattiesburg Southern Railway

In 1923 W.S.F. Tatum, owner of the Tatum Lumber Company of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, established the Bonhomie & Hattiesburg Southern Railway Company in order to purchase the Hattiesburg branch from the Gulf, Mobile, & Ohio Railroad. This twenty-seven mile branchline connected the town of Hattiesburg to the GM&O main line at Beaumont, Mississippi. Using the branch, Tatum would be able to gain access to a new logging operation near Denco, Mississippi and transport lumber from Bonhomie, where Tatum owned a sawmill, to the GM&O junction at Beaumont and connections eastward.

The Interstate Commerce Commission approved the sale on January 5, 1925, and the Bonhomie & Hattiesburg Southern Railway went into operation less than a month later. The entire capital stock of $335,000 was sold to the Tatum family, and all equipment for the railroad was leased from the Tatum Lumber Company--including five locomotives, three of which were new Baldwin acquisitions. The B&HS showed a profit for several years, but eventually slipped into financial deficit as its profit from lumber traffic declined. Tatum's logging operation near Denco ended when the GM&O abandoned its Blodgett Branch, a dummy line from Denco to Piave, Mississippi. In 1953 Tatum sold the then unprofitable B&HS to the Fernwood, Columbia, & Gulf Railway.

See also our complete Bonhomie & Hattiesburg Southern shortline collection


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