CHARLES REDMOND CUMMINGS. A history of the lumber industry of the Lone Star State would be incomplete without mention of the name of Charles Redmond Cummings. veteran lumberman, and for many years a leader in the development of the timber resources of the State. A resident of Houston since 1895 until his death, in 1917, this sturdy pioneer was a leader in the lumber industry, many of the well known lumbermen of today receiving their training under him, and learning from his vast store of knowledge, covering every phase of this industry. He took a keen interest in Houston, contributing materially to its early growth, and was highly esteemed and honored by his associates.
Charles Redmond Cummings was born at Port Huron, Michigan, the second day of November, 1860, son of R. S. Cummings, a native of Maine, and a lumberman all his life. His mother before her marriage was Miss Martha Shepard. Mr. Cummings was educated in the public schools of Chicago, later attending Allen Academy. After finishing his education he went to work with the Hatch-Holbrook Lumber Company, of Chicago, remaining with this firm until going into business for himself. From the beginning of his business career Mr. Cummings applied himself diligently to the operation of the various phases of the lumber business, and with his keen insight and close application to detail he soon mastered all the intricacies of the industry. Having thus acquired a practical knowledge of the lumbering business he determined to make this his life work, and with this in view came to Fort Smith, Arkansas, with his brother, and launched out for himself, buying standing timber, cutting it, and shipping it to the mills. In 1895 Mr. Cummings came to Houston, and began buying East Texas timber, for the first two years in association with his brother, until 1897, at which time he began operating alone, as the C. R. Cummings Company. In a short time his name was known throughout the lumber districts as that of a man of expert knowledge of the industry. His business was constantly expanding, and included lumber yards and mills in East Texas and Houston, as well as his interest in forest lands. He came South to lumber black walnut and when this was gone he turned to the Southern pine. He was among the first to send the latter product to the Faber pencil manufacturers in Europe and practically all of his business was in exports. This required frequent trips to Europe. Six months before his death, on February 17, 1917, Mr. Cummings retired from active business life.
Mr. Cummings was married in Chicago, in 1882, to Miss Gertrude H. Wilson, a native of Michigan, and the daughter of Henry Wilson, whose birthplace was in Wisconsin, and Marietta Newell, a native of Vermont. Mr. and Mrs. Cummings had a family of four children, Hazel, wife of Dusten M. Filler; Newell, deceased; Helen, wife of J. M. Trahin, and who has one child, Helen Jeanette; and Robert C, a business man of Lufkin, Texas.
Mr. Cummings took an active interest in the various civic events of his time, and was one of the active promoters of all movements that had for their purpose the development of Houston. His part in the early growth of the city was no small one, and the success of many of the first civic movements were due in large part to his influence. Mr. Cummings had not only a practical knowledge of the lumber industry, but a deep insight into the more technical details. It gave him great pleasure to go out of his way to help some promising young lumberworker, and he made possible the advancement of many of those working under him. Mr. Cummings was a member of the Houston Club, a charter member of the Houston Country Club, the Elks Lodge and the Houston Lumbermen's Club, where he was one of the most popular and honored members. He was a man of striking personality and distinguished bearing, and had those qualities of leadership that made him a favorite in any gathering.