Tiller, Charles C.
The Tiller Photographs depict logging operations and camp life at William M. Ritter Lumber Company, a logging and lumber operation incorporated in 1901 in West Virginia. Ritter began his career in lumber in 1890 when he established a sawmill at Oakdale, Mercer County, West Virginia. He quickly expanded his operations into McDowell and Mingo Counties, West Virginia, Buchanan County, Virginia, and Pike County, Kentucky. After incorporation, Ritter vastly expanded his operations by moving into Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina, as well as additional counties in Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky. Ritter's operation focused on hardwood timber, which in the 1920s Ritter realized would be depleted in the near future. He, therefore, expanded his business interests into the coal fields of the Appalachian Mountains, acquiring a number of coal and coke companies. Ritter's coal operations were quite successful, so that by the early 1950s Ritter's coal production averaged five million tons annually. In 1957, however, the coal stores were sold, and coal leased to Island Creek Coal Company. Ritter Lumber Company as a separate company ceased to exist on October 1, 1960 when it was taken over by Georgia-Pacific Corporation.