Longview (Spl). The term "Progress" fits the East Texas Magazine's Man of the Month for August like a glove. But after you have known Thomas L. Carter for even a brief time, according to the monthly publication of the East Texas Chamber of Commerce, you can understand why.
Tom, as he is known to his thousands of friends, associates and employees in East Texas, is following a long established tradition in the Carter family, a tradition which had its beginning about a hundred years ago, when his great grandfather, J.J. Carter of Georgia, brought to Texas a load of sawmill machinery by boat and ox wagon, at considerable expense, immediately following the Civil War. He operated a mill for six years until lack of sufficient market for his product made it impossible for him to meet the payments on the machinery, which was subsequently sold at auction. But young men have always figured in the operations of W.T. Carter and Brother of Camden, Texas, and Tom's grandfather, W.T. Carter, borrowed $500 and bought the mill himself. He was twenty years old at the time.
Tom Carter was only 28 years old when he took over active management of the concern seven years ago, and already his dynamic personality and drive are making things hum.
W.T. Carter and Brother, one of the South's oldest and most respected LUMBER manufacturing companies, has a colorful history, including a disaster in 1897 when fire---caused by the sparks from the engine of a WBT&S train---destroyed the first mill, which had been established in Barnum, a village in Polk County, in 1884. Tom Carter's grandfather and his brother, E.A. Carter, moved to Camden in Polk County and started all over again. There was another fire in 1910, but the company continued to prosper, and today it owns 200,000 acres of prime timberland.
When growing up, Tom Carter divided his time between the City of Houston and the sawmill town of Camden. He attended public schools in Houston, the Lawrenceville Preparatory School in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, the University of Houston and the University of Texas. He continues to divide his time between Houston and Camden, spending about half his time in the Houston sales headquarters of Carter, which was established in 1907.
Tom Carter exemplifies the integrity of the Carter company and the Carter family, and in keeping with the tradition of his father, grand father and great grandfather, as well as other men in his family, he has made tremenduous strides in modernizing the Camden plant. He is well liked, even by his competitors. He is always ready to learn any "angle" of the LUMBER business. There is still plenty of building going on at the Carter mill. "There is not a single stack in all this 3-1/2 acres (of the hardwood yard) that we can't get to within a matter of seconds", Carter has said.
A hard-working young man, Carter finds time for industry affairs and civic service. He has been on the board of directors of the East Texas Chamber of Commerce and a director of the Polk County Chamber of Commerce. He was District Chairman of the former Yellow Pine District of the Boy Scouts of America.