WM. CAMERON, founder of the firm of Wm. Cameron & Company, was born on Middle Drummie farm, on the Glen Ericht estate, near the town of Blairgowrie, Perthshire, Scotland, January 11, 1834. He was a descendant of some of the old Scottish clansmen of that name and as near as can be ascertained his ancestry belonged to the Clan Cameron of Lochiel. His immediate ancestor, on the paternal side, was John Cameron, who was the father of a family of two daughters and three sons, namely, Helen and Betsy Cameron, and John, James and William Cameron, the subject of this sketch.
Wm. Cameron left his native home early in life and came to America and he was followed, some years later, by his mother and two brothers, who located in Missouri. At the time of Wm. Cameron's death, in 1899, his brother, James Cameron, was still living in Warrensburg, Missouri, and his two sisters,
Mrs. Helen Harris and Mrs. Betsy Harris, were living in Scotland, but since then all of his immediate relatives have died, except some nieces and nephews, who are still living adjoining the old home place, near Blairgowrie.
Wm. Cameron's immediate family were people of only moderate means and were engaged principally in rural pursuits, but his parents had planned for him a professional vocation, preferably the law or the ministry; therefore, his early education and training were directed along those lines.
His early life was surrounded by religious influences, his parents and family being members of the established Church of Scotland, which stands for a strict and rigid interpretation of the Presbyterian faith; he, therefore, as a boy, attended church regularly, which fact, together with his mother's teachings and influence, resulted in the strong religious convictions which he carried through life.
Notwithstanding the early religious influences of his boyhood days, Wm. Cameron chose the law, instead of the ministry, and the ground work for his chosen career consisted of some elementary schooling in the town of Blairgowrie, then a term at college in Dundee, which was followed by three years apprenticeship in a barrister's office in that city; but he never completed the apprenticeship or his prescribed course of study for the legal profession. He had been reading about America. He had imagination and vision, he looked into the future and so he changed his mind, abandoned his legal studies and informed his parents that he was going to the United States.
Not being able to dissuade him, his family made up a purse of about fifty dollars with which he was to make the trip, and, accordingly, at the age of eighteen, he embarked for the United States, imbued with the idea that America was the promised land of opportunity, and with that characteristic vision, which contributed to his success in later life, he planned to build his fortune and cast his lot with the American people. He landed in New York, after a voyage of one month on the ocean, in the year 1852, and his capital consisted of eighteen dollars in money, a robust, healthy constitution, an indomitable will and the superb faculty of looking into the future with the vision of a financial seer.
After looking around a few days he decided that New York was not the field for his opportunities. He looked Westward and made his plans accordingly. But, having only a limited amount of ready cash, Mr. Cameron found the immediate necessity of obtaining some kind of work. He got a job, saved almost all he made, and as soon as he accumulated enough to pay his railroad fare he left New York and went to Illinois, where he had some distant relatives and worked on a farm, in that state, for several months, after which he went to Missouri, where he engaged in several different kinds of work.
Although Mr. Cameron possessed a good education, there is no record of his ever applying for or occupying a clerical or office position; he rather chose outside or open air jobs of various kinds. This partiality for work out in the air and sunlight, where he could mix shoulder to shoulder with his fellow man was one of his strong characteristics, which was evidenced throughout his career. He was a great lover of nature in its broad sense and chose to make his fortune by employing his physical and mental powers to work with the forces of nature. These characteristics naturally caused him to seek, in his early days, what might be termed laboring positions, and the history of his early life in America finds him first working on a farm and later in various kinds of railroad work, such as fireman, section boss, construction foreman, contractor and numerous other positions of that character.
After being in this country about eight years, he was employed by the Missouri Pacific Railroad, as construction foreman, on its line which was then being extended West out of Saint Louis. Soon after this the Civil War broke out and he enlisted on the Union side. He then organized a company of Militia in the city of Sedalia, Missouri. He was captured at the battle of Springfield on August 10, 1861, taken to Saint Louis and later paroled. At the time of his capture he had one hundred and fifty dollars in money and a gold watch in his pocket, which he turned over to a locomotive engineer to give to his sweetheart in case of his death. This lady, who was Miss Letitia Stewart, of Pleasantown, Missouri, subsequently became his first wife.
Immediately after being paroled in Saint Louis, Mr. Cameron engaged in the business of supplying grain and various kinds of feed to the government, which contracts proved to be remunerative, and as soon as the war was over, in 1864, he entered into some contracts with the M. K. & T. Railroad to furnish ties and other construction timber for that road as it extended its line Southwest from Saint Louis and it was through these contracts that Mr. Cameron was first drawn into the lumber business.
In this same year, 1864, Mr. Cameron and Miss Stewart were married and made Sedalia, Missouri, their home. By this marriage Mr., and Mrs. Cameron became the parents of two daughters, namely, Misses Sadie and Annie Cameron. After living in Sedalia a number of years Mr., and Mrs. Cameron changed their residence to other points in Missouri and Texas, as Mr. Cameron's business followed the line of the railroad Southwest into Texas, and it was at Denison, Texas, that his first wife, Mrs. Letitia Cameron, died in the year 1873.
A few years after Mr. Cameron had entered into the contract with the M. K. & T. Railroad, to furnish construction material for the Southwestern extension of that road, he established his first retail lumber yard at Warrensburg, Missouri, in partnership with an engineer of that system. This was probably in 1867 or 1868, and shortly thereafter Mr. Cameron established yards at Sedalia and Clinton, Missouri, which were followed by yards at some other points on the M. K. & T. line as it extended its line into Texas.
The first Texas yard was opened in Denison, Texas, in the year 1871, which was soon followed by yards in Sherman and Dallas. Mr. J. S. Mayfield, late of the firm of J. S. Mayfield Lumber Company, was Mr. Cameron's first Texas partner and was interested with him in the Denison yard and also the Dallas yard, the latter being established in 1872. In that same year Mr. Cameron established the yard at Sherman, in partnership with a Mr. Moore, but sold his interests shortly afterward. Mr. Mayfield was interested with Mr. Cameron in the Denison and Dallas yards until the year 1873 or 1874, at which time Mr. E. H. Lingo, later associated with Lingo-Leeper Lumber Company, bought the yard at Denison, and Mr. Cameron bought Mr. Mayfield's interest in the Dallas yard. The Dallas business was continued until the year 1878, when he sold it back to Mr. J. S. Mayfield, Mr. Cameron agreeing at the time not to re-engage in the lumber business in that city for a period of years.
In 1875 Mr. Cameron visited Waco and established his first retail yard in that city (in East Waco) by buying out the lumber business of Jno. F. Sedwick, but it was only operated a few months, when it was sold back to Mr. Sedwick.
In the same year, on September 1, 1875, Mr. Wm. Cameron was married to Miss Flora Ann Berry, of Little Rock, Arkansas, and this lady is, at the present time, known, esteemed and revered as Mrs. Flora B. Cameron, the widow of Wm. Cameron, deceased, and the mother of Mr. W. W. Cameron, Mrs. Frank B. Baird, nee Miss Flora M. Cameron, and Mrs. Edward R. Bolton, nee Miss Margaret Cameron. After Mr. Cameron's marriage to Miss Flora Berry, in 1875, he and Mrs. Cameron made Dallas their home.
In the spring of 1876 Mr., and Mrs. Cameron made a trip together looking up new locations for retail yards. On this trip they visited Waco and Mr. Cameron decided to re-open a yard in Waco, which was established on the corner of Fifth and Austin Streets, and a short time thereafter, about 1877, he purchased the lumber business of Jno. F. Sedwick a second time, paying him retail prices for same, which included the East Waco yard and a yard located on the corner of Seventh and Austin Streets in West Waco, which made three Wm. Cameron lumber yards in Waco in the spring of 1877. Mr. C. Evans became the local manager of the East Waco yard and Mr. C. L. Johnson was yard man. Capt. H. A. Smith was the manager of the Fifth and Austin Streets yard, and Mr. Will Sedwick was retained as manager of the Seventh and Austin Streets yard. Messrs. Johnson, Smith and Evans subsequently became partners in the firm of Wm. Cameron & Company.
After re-establishing the yard in Waco in 1876, Mr., and Mrs. Cameron went to Fort Worth, and while there Mr. Cameron completed his arrangements to establish a yard in that city, which was opened for business in August, 1876, with Messrs. Willard Burton (who was transferred from the Dallas yard) and F. J. Tatum in charge, as local representatives. Mr. Burton and Mr. Tatum both, in later years, became partners of Mr. Cameron in the northern district partnership of Wm. Cameron & Company.
In the year 1878 Mr. Cameron sold his business in Dallas back to Mr. J. S. Mayfield, and Mr., and Mrs. Cameron then moved to Waco, making that city their permanent home and headquarters for the firm, and during that year the two West Waco yards were consolidated at the corner of Seventh and Austin Streets, on the identical location upon which the General Office of the company now stands. At that time, 1878, Mr. Cameron took charge of the Waco business, with Capt. C. L. Johnson as local manager in East Waco, Mr. C. Evans having been transferred to Fort Worth as office man, and Capt. H. A. Smith was then transferred to Morgan as the local representative for yards in that vicinity.
Between the years 1876 and 1881 Mr. Cameron had established a number of yards in Texas, and had already sold out a number which he had previously owned. Among the yards he. owned in 1881 were Waco, East Waco, Abilene, Weatherford, Morgan, Whitney, Dublin, Eastland, Belton, Brownwood and Comanche, Texas, and probably a few others, the record of which now being obscure.
About the same time, 1881, Mr. Cameron formed a partnership with Mr. T. C. Morgan and Mr. B. F. Holloway, and this partnership established yards at Hubbard City, Frost and Mt. Calm, Texas.
In 1881 the Texas & Pacific Road was pushing on West and had reached Abilene, and during that year Mr. Cameron also formed a co-partnership with Mr. Willard Burton, Mr. C. Evans and Mr. F. J. Tatum, with a view of establishing a line of yards on the western extension of the T. 6k P. Road, which subsequently was known as the Western Division of Wm. Cameron 6k Company, with headquarters at Abilene. Mr. G. M. Bowie, who subsequently became a partner in the firm, was then made local manager at Weatherford, and Messrs. Burton and Evans moved to Abilene, while Mr. Tatum remained at Fort Worth, as managing partner of the Fort Worth yard and the flour mill and elevator business, which latter had just been established in that city. This Western Division partnership took over the yards at Abilene and Weatherford, and during the following six years, (1881-1887) the duration of this partnership, new yards were established in the Western Division by Wm. Cameron 6k Company at Baird, Decatur, Colorado City, Bowie, Harrold, Vernon, Quanah, Tascosa, Sweetwater, Big Spring, El Paso and probably some other points on the Texas 6k Pacific and the Fort Worth 6k Denver roads west of Fort Worth.
In the following year, the first Southern Division partnership of Wm. Cameron 6k Company was formed, on March 1, 1882, between Messrs. Wm. Cameron, W. B. Brazelton, C. L. Johnson, H. A. Smith and A. L. Phillips, with headquarters at Waco. The retail yards which were taken over and operated by this first Southern Division partnership were Waco, East Waco, Whitney, Morgan, Dublin, Cleburne, Belton, Hico, Brownwood, Eastland and Comanche, Texas, and possibly a few others, the records of which are now obscure.
In March, 1887, the co-partnership which controlled the Western Division, consisting of Messrs. Cameron, Burton, Tatum and Evans, was dissolved; most of the yards which then comprised the Northern Division were taken over by, and merged with, the Southern Division, with headquarters at Waco. Mr. Evans retained the yard at Abilene; Mr. Burton retained an interest with Mr. Cameron in the yards at Colorado City, Big Spring, Sweetwater and El Paso, which were conducted under the name of Cameron and Burton, for about one year, until they were taken over by the Burton-Lingo Company, and Mr. Tatum retained an interest in the Fort Worth yard and flour mill, which were subsequently operated under the name of Cameron 6k Tatum.
A new co-partnership was then formed in March, 1887, at Waco, which took charge of the entire retail lumber interests of Wm. Cameron 6k Company, with the exception of Fort Worth. This co-partnership consisted of Wm. Cameron, W. B. Brazelton, C. L. Johnson and G. M. Bowie. Mr. A. L. Phillips and Capt. H. A. Smith withdrew, but Mr. Smith retained an interest in the yards at Dublin and Comanche, Texas, which were operated for a while under the name of Cameron &. Smith.
The yards which were then being operated and which were taken over by the new partnership of 1887, as near as can now be ascertained, were as follows: Waco, East Waco, Quanah, Hico, Decatur, Gordon, Baird, Temple, Lampasas, Bowie, Coleman, Goldthwaite, Brownwood, Ballinger, Gatesville, Corsicana,
Weatherford, Cleburne, Granbury, Vernon, Harrold and San Antonio. The active supervision of these yards being divided between Mr. W. B. Brazelton and Mr. G. M. Bowie, Mr. Bowie looking after the old Western Division on the T. & P., and Denver roads, and Mr. Brazelton looking after the rest, with the exception of Fort Worth, which was then (in 1887) being conducted by Mr. F. J. Tatum, under a separate partnership under the name of Cameron 6k Tatum.
About this time, 1886-1888, Mr. Cameron's two eldest daughters were married. Miss Sadie Cameron was married to Mr. F. A. McDonald in 1886, and Miss Annie Cameron was married to Mr. Robt. H. Downman in 1888, and both of these gentlemen were subsequently taken into the partnership of Wm. Cameron 6k Company.
In the year 1888 Mr. F. J. Tatum, who was the active partner of the Fort Worth yard and the mill and elevator business at Fort Worth, was accidentally killed. Upon his death Mr. Cameron acquired Mr. Tatum's entire interests in these two propositions and continued the mill and elevator under the name of the Cameron Mill & Elevator Company, and the Fort Worth yard under the name of Wm. Cameron & Company, but the Fort Worth business was not a part of the Waco partnership and was not connected with the retail line yards system. Mr. Scott Wilson, who had been employed by the firm as office man since the year 1881, first at Abilene and then at Fort Worth, was made manager of the Fort Worth lumber business when Mr. Tatum died; and Mr. F. A. McDonald then moved to Fort Worth and looked after the mill and elevator business.
During the following six years, 1889-1895, the retail line yards system of Wm. Cameron 6k Company was extended north into Oklahoma (then Indian Territory), and some additional yards were opened on the Rock Island and the Fort Worth & Denver roads in Texas, and in Central Texas south and west of Waco. Among the new points established, between 1889 and 1895, were Ryan, Comanche, Marlow, Duncan, Rush Springs, Chickasha, El Reno, Minco, Okarche, Enid, Kingfisher, Waukomis and Terral in Oklahoma, and at Chico, Paradise, Bridgeport, Jacksboro, Wichita Falls, Stephenville, Ballinger, San Angelo, Chilton, Lott and Rosebud, Texas.
During this period of time, about 1890 or 1891, the retail line yard system was again divided into two districts, and Mr. R. H. Downman took over the general management of all the yards located in the Northern and Western Districts (Oklahoma and Northwest Texas), with headquarters at Fort Worth, and Mr. W. B. Brazelton looked after the Southern District yards, in Central and West Central Texas, from Waco. About this same time, 1890, Mr. G. M. Bowie, who had been supervising the yards in the Western Division, from Weatherford, was transferred to Whitecastle, Louisiana, as manager of that mill.
The partnership and retail yards system continued, with about this line-up, until the year 1897, but during the period of time between 1885 and 1897 while Messrs. Brazelton, Downman, Johnson and others were looking after the retail yards, Mr. Cameron was devoting much of his time and attention to the saw mill and timber end of the business, which resulted in a tremendous increase to the firm's resources and activities in the lumber industry.
As far back as 1885 Mr. Cameron had organized the Texas Lumber Company, a corporation formed for the purpose of acquiring virgin timber lands in Texas, of which he subsequently became sole owner in 1899.
In 1886 he formed a partnership with Mr. A. T. Anderson, and they acquired large bodies of yellow pine timber lands and erected the saw mill at Saron, Texas, in 1887, which was operated under the name of Anderson 6k Cameron until Mr. Cameron became sole owner a few years later.
After the saw mill plant at Saron was put into operation, Wm. Cameron 6k Company ventured into the wholesale lumber business at Waco, which department began to function in a small way about the year 1888, with Mr. C. R. Sherrill as the first traveling salesman.
In 1889 the firm of Wm. Cameron 6k Company purchased the Whitecastle Lumber and Shingle Mill, together with large bodies of cypress timber lands in Louisiana.
In 1890 Mr. Cameron organized the Cameron Lumber Mills Company, which acquired additional timber lands and erected the saw mill at Carmona, Texas.
In 1893 the cypress saw mill plant at Jeanerette, Louisiana, was purchased, and in 1894 the cypress saw mill at Bowie, Louisiana, was erected, which was followed by the yellow pine saw mills established at Rockland, Angelina and Haysland at later dates, besides controlling the output of a number of small yellow pine mills.
In addition to the saw mill and timber land acquisitions, Mr. Cameron became actively engaged in the grain and flour mill business between 1885 and 1897, and besides the large mill plants located in Fort Worth and Waco he had established a line of elevators in Texas, notably on the Fort Worth 6k Denver Road west of Fort Worth.
In the year of 1897 the partnership which existed between Mr. Cameron and Messrs. Brazelton, Johnson and Bowie was dissolved, Messrs. Brazelton, Johnson and Bowie, retiring, and the business of Wm. Cameron 6k Company was continued by Mr. Wm. Cameron and Mr. R. H. Downman. The withdrawing partners retaining their interests in the Whitecastle Lumber and Shingle Mill and Messrs. Brazelton and Johnson retaining the retail yards at Gatesville and at East Waco—they forming a partnership and continuing same under the name of Brazelton 6k Johnson.
After the formation of the new partnership of 1897, Mr. R. H. Downman became the executive head of Wm. Cameron 6k Company at Waco, and Mr. Wm. Cameron then devoted a large portion of his attention to the cypress interests in Louisiana, and to the acquisition of virgin pine timber lands and saw mills in East Texas. During the following two years, 1897 to 1899, Capt. Thos. Waties, who had been employed at the Bowie, Louisiana, saw mill, was transferred to Waco, as assistant to Mr. Downman, and Mr. W. W. Cameron, then a lad in his teens, was initiated into the lumber industry at Waco General Office, occupying various positions in the routine work of the business, and a year or so later his father took him in as a partner in the yellow pine and flour mill interests.
With the exception of those just mentioned, there were very few changes made in the executive administration of the firm between 1897 and 1899.
During Mr. Cameron's lifetime, Wm. Cameron & Company had opened and sold a great many retail yards. There are very few towns of any consequence in Central, North and West Texas in which he did not, at one time or another, have a retail lumber yard; but it seemed to have been his policy to sell a yard quickly, if it did not prove to be a money maker. He did not have any time for a losing proposition or the patience to ascertain the cause of the losses and apply the proper remedies. Judging from the record of his business ventures he did not have much use for details. "Results" was the one essential thing by which he valued his business investments. Therefore, a number of the yards which were opened between 1894 and 1897 were closed out prior to 1899.
In February, of the year 1899, the firm of Wm. Cameron & Company operated retail yards at Waco, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Brownwood, San Angelo, Weatherford, Paradise. Bridgeport, Chico, Decatur, Wichita Falls, Vernon, Hillsboro, Lancaster and Quanah, all in Texas; and at Ryan, Comanche, Duncan, Marlow, Rush Springs, Chickasha and Minco in Indian Territory; and at El Reno in Oklahoma Territory. In addition to these retail yard holdings the company was operating the cypress saw mills at Whitecastle, Jeanerette and Bowie, Louisiana, and yellow pine saw mills at Saron, Carmona, Haysland, Rockland and Angelina, Texas. In connection with these saw mills the firm had established a very extensive wholesale lumber business with headquarters at the General Office in Waco and controlled the output of a number of small saw mills in East Texas.
Besides these interests Mr. Cameron was extensively interested in numerous banks and manufacturing institutions, being an officer and director in the First National Bank of Waco, the Hibernia National Bank of New Orleans, the Southern National Bank of New York, and numerous other small banks throughout the country. He also was operating a large number of flour mills and elevators in various cities and towns, including Fort Worth, Waco and a number of towns on the Fort Worth 6k Denver Road.
He had accumulated considerably over a hundred thousand acres of virgin pine timber land; thousands of acres of cypress land, large bodies of land in Western Texas, and an estate which was estimated to be worth over four million dollars. At the time of his death it was estimated that his interests were giving employment to, and were the means of support of, approximately twenty-five hundred men.
With this fortune to his credit, all of which he accumulated by hard work and indomitable energy, within the brief period of about thirty years, Wm. Cameron died, suddenly from appoplexy, when boarding a train at Morgan City, Louisiana, on February 6, 1899.
Wm. Cameron was survived by his widow, Mrs. Flora B. Cameron, her two daughters, Misses Flora and Margaret Cameron, her son, Mr. W. W. Cameron, and by Mrs. R. H. Downman and Mrs. Sadie Cameron McDonald, daughters of Mrs. Letitia Cameron, Mr. Cameron's first wife, deceased.
Having enumerated the results of his energetic and eventful, busy life, it may now be fitting to enumerate some of his splendid personal and business characteristics which contributed to his wonderful success and made him such a predominant figure in the business world.
Foremost among these, the strongest characteristic of his nature, was his genius for work. By work is meant not only mental work, but actual physical, bodily labor, which brings the sweat of the brow and grows the sinews of strength. Every one who has ever spoken of Mr. Cameron mentions this outstanding fact. No physical task was too great for him, no work was too menial for him to undertake. He would often work shoulder to shoulder with his hired men—his laborers—in order to show them how it should be done in the quickest time and most effective way. He was always impatient at inefficiency wherever and whenever he saw it in his men; but to correct them he would show them the right way by doing the work himself.
He was a living embodiment of dynamic force from whom energy seemed to radiate and spread to those with whom he was associated or working. He was thus enabled to obtain the maximum amount of labor and results from those whom he employed—an executive quality which contributed largely to his success.
He had no patience with indecision. He wanted every man connected with his organization, to have an opinion and to express it. He frequently disagreed with his men, even to the point of heated argument, but he always thought more of a man who would contend for his views or rights. He rather liked a fighter—one who would fight back at him.
He could not tolerate details. He left that for his partners and his men. He was principally interested in results, not methods, and he gauged a man's worth by the results he obtained.
He was a great admirer of initiative in his men, and believed in them exercising their own judgment in the development of business ability. He would almost rather a man make a mistake than come to him for advice. When he placed a responsibility on a man to do a certain thing, he seldom told him how to do it. He expected every man to use his head as well as his hands.
He did not have much use for caste. He never judged a man by the clothes he wore or the pedigree of his ancestors. His three tests of manhood were Work, Honesty and Brains.
He was a man of strong opinions and convictions and he usually impressed these upon all with whom he was associated in life and business and, while it is not generally known, he also possessed strong religious convictions, born of the rigid Scotch-Presbyterian faith, which he formed in his early years. He could quote from memory whole chapters from the Psalms of David and other books of Scripture, which he learned at his mother's side in Scotland. He carried the prayer book she gave him continuously, on all of his trips and travels. On one occasion he forgot to put it in his grip and wired back home for it. He was a member of the Episcopal Church when he died, but he did not join the church until he was about fifty years of age.
While he demanded, and saw to it, that every man in his employ should put in full time and be "on the job" from daylight until dark if necessary, he considered Sunday as a day of rest and on several occasions he said to the executive heads of the business, "If the men can't get through with their work without working on Sunday, get more men."
He loved animals, especially horses and dogs, and he never allowed any of his men to abuse any of his work stock. He once owned a coach dog, named "Guess," for which he had the greatest affection. He was never so much engrossed in business to prevent him from giving a kind word and a caress to his dog.
He believed every man honest until he found him otherwise. He placed the utmost confidence in the men to whom he gave positions of trust and responsibility. If they once violated that confidence he had no further use for them.
He was a man of indomitable will, which faculty enabled him to push his plans to success. He believed in every man being master of himself in order to be master or leader of others. He had been an inveterate smoker. To test his own will power he gave up smoking entirely when in the prime of his life.
He was a man of remarkable executive ability. He had the faculty of keeping dozens of propositions going at the same time. He could work half a dozen gangs of men at the same time and keep them all busy. He planned his work ahead. He once said, in explanation of his methods of handling men: "I do my work an hour and a half to two hours before daylight. I know in advance, every morning, where every gang is to work and almost where every man shall stand during the day."
He was a man of wonderful vision and foresight. He always saw Opportunity when it passed his way. He laid his plans long in advance of their accomplishment. He had planned great things, and at the time of his death, seeing the ultimate possibilities and future of the yellow pine lumber industry he was negotiating for the acquisition and control of several hundred thousand acres of virgin yellow pine timber, which deal, had it been consummated, would have extended the life of his saw mills for fifty years. Through his wonderful vision he had already accomplished much, but he had planned much greater things, and if, at the time of his untimely death, any one had asked him if he had accomplished all he had planned, his answer undoubtedly would have been, "I had just started."
It has been said that he was a hard task master—perhaps he was; and that he had his faults, and perhaps that is also true; but, regardless of these facts there are hundreds who can bear witness that with all his firmness there was kindness; with his great physical and mental strength there was gentleness; and with his dominating will there was also charity, charity in thought and action, which he frequently bestowed upon those who were subservient to his rigid policy, and there are hundreds and hundreds of prominent business men who can testify that Wm. Cameron, educated and is responsible for the success of more good lumber men than any other man who has ever been in business in the great Southwest. Therefore, to have worked for him, or with him, was an enviable privilege, exceeded only by the inspiration which his example and success in life affords, and the pleasure and privilege which the present organization has in carrying on the great business which he founded, to the goal he had planned.
After Mr. Cameron's death in February, 1899, the business was continued as a partnership by the heirs until October 10, 1900, at which time it was dissolved, and the estate was divided. The yard at San Antonio, the cypress mill interests in Louisiana and the flour mills and elevators in Texas were taken over by Mr. R.H. Downman and Mr. Cameron's two eldest daughters, Mrs. Downman and Mrs. McDonald. The yellow pine mills and timber lands and most of the retail yards, and miscellaneous real estate in Texas, were acquired by Mr. W. W. Cameron, his mother, Mrs. Flora B. Cameron, and her two daughters, now Mrs. E. R. Bolton and Mrs. F. B. Baird, and these four, viz. Mr. W. W. Cameron, Mrs. Flora B. Cameron, Mrs. F. B. Baird and Mrs. E. R. Bolton, comprise the personnel of the present firm of Wm. Cameron & Co., Inc., which was incorporated on October 10, 1900, with Mr. W. W. Cameron as President.