Salesmanship, the gift to dispose of any salable thing to advantage, and the power to organize, are characteristic of the younger generation of Americans. The salesmen of the country, individually and collectively, get business on the merits of their goods and because they will accept and execute orders for special work or material while their opponents are considering the advisability of accepting them, and also by reason of their self-confidence inspired by the resources backing them. As a salesman, an organizer and an operator Samuel Park, of Beaumont, Texas, is widely and favorably known and has created for himself an enviable position in the lumber trade of two countries.
Sam "Diaz" Park was born July 3, 1857, near Bedford, Taylor County, Iowa. Joseph Park, his father, was one of the early settlers and the first white man who was married in Taylor County. He was a captain in the northern army and acquitted himself with credit during the war, returning, after peace was restored, to Taylor County, where he resumed his work as a woolen mill operator.
As a boy, Sam Park received a common school education in Bedford, and until twenty years of age his life differed little from that of the average country boy with a healthy, happy disposition. A small place like his native town did not afford him an opportunity for the employment of his energies in a manner such as he desired, so, in 1877, he migrated to Kansas in search of employment, in which quest he was successful. The nature of the task which first fell to his lot was such as possibly would discourage the average seeker of fortune even at that time. He accepted with patience the difficult conditions surrounding his new sphere of activity and set about to improve them with all the energy which characterizes him.
His first work was with the Chicago Lumber Company, which was operating a line of yards in Kansas, and young Park's daily duty was to help pile the lumber in the yards. From this lowly station he rose rapidly, his first advancement being an appointment as assistant foreman, then foreman, a little later being made assistant manager and then manager of different yards operated by that concern. He was associated with this company for four or five years, being identified successively with its yards at Washington, Concordia, Beloit, Osborne, Bull City (now Alton) and Kirwin, Kansas.
In 1882, having accumulated what seemed at that time a snug sum, he determined to embark in the lumber business himself and opened a yard at Washington, Kansas. This venture did not prove very remunerative, however, as the depressed condition of commercial affairs at that time rendered the demand for lumber very light. His interests at Washington were finally disposed of and in 1884 he secured a position as traveling salesman for the Bohn Manufacturing Company, of St. Paul, a sash and door institution. His territory was in the Southwest and as far west as southern California.
Included in his field was Texas, where he became acquainted with several large operators of the early days, among them being M. T. Jones. The latter took a liking to the young man and offered him a position, which was accepted. Recognizing the ability of Mr. Park as a salesman, Mr. Jones proposed to establish a branch office and yard at Denver, but this location was vetoed by Mr. Park, who recommended Mexico as a country in which a large amount of lumber could be sold. Laredo was finally settled upon as the point at which a yard should be established, and Mr. Park assumed charge.
This connection did not last long, as the ability shown by Mr. Park to dispose of large amounts of lumber was recognized in other quarters and a proposition was made by the Texas Tram & Lumber Company to the effect that Mr. Park should sever his relations with the M. T. Jones company and assume a position as sales agent in Mexico for the former concern.
This offer was accepted in 1888, but it was not until 1890 that Mr. Park invaded that country. He spent about eight years in establishing a lumber trade in Mexico, and is said to have been the first American to open up a business of this kind across the border. Mr. Park not only had to sell lumber in his new territory, but, in effect, had to create a market for it. The lumber consumption in Mexico at that time was of a very limited character, the great majority of the inhabitants living in adobe houses and some of the better class of dwellings being constructed of the same material. The Government and the railroads used considerable lumber, and this, at first, was about the only class of business that could be secured.
As a result of Mr. Park's experience in Mexico, he finally organized a company and entered into business on his own account in order to handle the trade to better advantage. This company is known as the Cai. de Madras Industrial and is still in operation. Previous to forming this company Mr. Park acted as general sales agent for the Beaumont Lumber Company, the Nona Mills Company, the Texas Tram & Lumber Company and the Village Mills Company, and before these associations were broken up he had secured a business in Mexico which amounted to about 25,000,000 feet annually. The general offices of the Cai. de Madras Industrial are at Monterey, Mexico, from which city traveling men cover the entire country. The company is capitalized for $50,000.
Having firmly established his selling company in Mexico in 1898, Mr. Park went to Beaumont, where he organized the Industrial Lumber Company. The business has grown to such an extent that at present the company has a capital stock of $1,000,000 and a surplus of $900,000. The company owns three mills, one at Oakdale, another at Calcasieu, and a third at Vinton and has a controlling interest in another mill at Seale, all in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana. These mills have a combined capacity of about 100,000,000 feet a year and all are operated by the Industrial company except the one at Seale, which ostensibly is operated by the Midway Lumber Company.
An important timber deal was consummated by Mr. Park for the Industrial Lumber Company late in 1905. In Rapides and Vernon parishes, Louisiana, 90,000 acres of longleaf pine was bought from the Wright-Blodgett Company, of Saginaw, Michigan, and the Blodgett Company, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and others, at a cost of $3,200,000. The newly acquired tracts adjoin the former holdings in the northeastern part of Calcasieu Parish, and it is estimated the company now owns title to 3,000,000,000 feet of longleaf yellow pine.
Mr. Park always has taken an active interest in the affairs of his adopted city and has been honored many times by positions of trust and responsibility. When the Beaumont Board of Trade & Oil Exchange was organized, during the early days of the oil excitement, Mr. Park was chosen as its first president and did much toward placing the oil business on an assured footing. When the organization was disbanded and the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce was organized in its stead, Mr. Park was elected president, and held the office for several years. With the establishment of many new enterprises, following the discovery of oil, a heavy demand for construction material led Mr. Park to form the Beaumont Brick Company, which since it was started has turned out 40,000,000 brick and has proved a paying investment in every particular.
Mr. Park married Miss Marion Lintner, of Chicago, Illinois, June 28, 1904. They have a little daughter Elizabeth. Mr. Park is a Hoo-Hoo, a thirty-second degree Mason and a Shriner. He is president of the Beaumont Brick Company, director of the Lake Charles National Bank, Lake Charles, Louisiana, and served as a commissioner to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition and helped to raise a considerable sum of money in order to carry out the work of the Texas world's fair commission.