From its beginning in 1875, the Houston, East and West Texas Railway was Paul Bremond's individualistic and personal enterprise. Many of the railroads in the country were built by local people of limited means and experience. Small independent companies, without significant financial resources and without affiliation with the large trunk lines, frequently sought to build into isolated rural areas, to open new sections to commercial opportunity, and to link inland towns with the larger port cities. Such a man was Paul Bremond, who built his railroad through the Piney Woods of East Texas and opened that region to the outside world. Whistle in the Piney Woods is the story of the railroad's symbiotic relationship with the lumber industry and its role in the development of East Texas. The man and his railroad provide a significant case study of the development of short lines in the United States. The story is a worthy addition to the history of American railroads as well as to the history of the East Texas region.
The late Robert S. Maxwell, with degrees from Kentucky Wesleyan, the University of Cincinnati, and the University of Wisconsin, was a Distinguished Professor and the first Regent's Professor at Stephen F. Austin State University, where he also chaired the Department of History and served as a director of the national Forest History Society. Archie P. McDonald is Director of the East Texas Historical Association and Professor of History at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.