Arthur C. Ramsey
It is fortunate for most men that Fate moves them but little from the rut of their existence. Prosperity and success are adverse influences to some natures and many men can not endure an elevation to a position above their fellows. In that fierce light which beats upon a throne the defects of character are accentuated, and the man who in ordinary life would have passed unnoticed becomes the victim of his own magnified weakness. The more credit is due, therefore, to the man who, when honored with a high ofRce as a reward for faithful service, is able to wear his laurels with grace and credit to himself.
The subject of this sketch is one of the younger of the second generation of yellow pine lumbermen of the South. He is entitled to be called a thorough lumberman, for experience has taught him the business in its different phases and he has a wide diversity of interests for a man who has not yet reached the thirty-second milepost of his career. He was destined to be a leader, rather than a plodder.
When Arthur Clark Ramsey was selected to fill the highest position within the gift of the order of Hoo-Hoo —snark of the universe—at the annual concatenation held at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, September 10, 1906, he reaped the returns of his tireless work on behalf of the order, receiving an honor that has been conferred upon but fourteen men before him, and one that represents the hearty good-will of the 13,000 Hoo-Hoo of the United States.
In the days before the Civil War Arthur Clark Ramsey, the grandfather of Mr. Ramsey, was a Methodist minister and a plantation owner in Alabama. His son, William King Ramsey, brought up in the South and bred to southern principles, was a gallant soldier of the Confederacy, serving four years under General Gordon and General Jackson. After the war he settled in Camden, Arkansas, where, three or four years later, he married Mary Vickers. To them, on December 11, 1874, was born a son, Arthur Clark Ramsey. When old enough the boy entered the public schools of Camden, continuing his studies there during his youth. He was industrious in his school work, and carried his industry outside of school. Not content to be unemployed during the long summer vacations at an early age he sought employment for his spare time.
During successive summers he worked as a clerk, timekeeper for a contractor and rodman for a civil engineer, holding these positions only two or three months until time to return to his studies, and accepting whatever wages he could get. At the end of his junior year in the Camden high school he took a place as clerk in the post office at Camden, remaining there a year. He found, however, that he needed a broader general education to equip him for his life work, and with this end in view he spent a year at Hendrix College, at Conway, Arkansas, going to Searcy, Arkansas, the following year, where he took a business course at Searcy College.
By making the best of these opportunities Mr. Ramsey found that he was well equipped for his entry into the business world. His first connection with the lumber business came about through his employment with the Camden Lumber Company, of Camden, Arkansas, as stenographer, July 5, 1891. This concern had several sawmills at various points between Camden and Eldorado, Arkansas, and a planing mill at Camden; but a short time after he entered its service the plants were moved and the business was concentrated at Elliott, Arkansas. Steady promotion was the reward of Mr. Ramsey's diligence, and he filled successively the positions of stenographer, shipping clerk, traveling salesman and manager of the sales department. The last named position he held until 1896, when he severed his connection with the Camden Lumber Company, and, with H. C. McDaniel, formed the McDaniel-Ramsey Lumber Company, establishing headquarters at Eldorado, Arkansas. The original plan of the promotors of this concern was to do a strictly wholesale business, specializing in implement stock and the factory trade. Within a short time, however, a mill to which the new company had made heavy advances found itself unable to pay, owing to the prevailing low prices and adverse market conditions, and it was taken over by the McDaniel- Ramsey concern, which now found itself with a fully equipped manufacturing plant. Mr. Ramsey was not sanguine of the success of this venture and gladly accepted Mr. McDaniel's offer to buy his interest in the business.
Desiring to get into a broader field, Mr. Ramsey moved to St. Louis, where he became sales manager of the South Arkansas Lumber Company. Unvarying success met his efforts in this direction, but he was anxious to get into a business where he could hold an interest and in 1900 he purchased a block of stock in the George W. Miles Timber & Lumber Company, of St. Louis, and was elected vice president and manager of the sales department. He opened the company's sales ofHce at St. Louis, and has held this position ever since.
While Mr. Ramsey concentrates his time and attention upon the business of the George W. Miles Timber & Lumber Company, he has extensive outside lumber interests. He is president of the Arcadia Lumber Company, Limited, of Arcadia, Louisiana, which operates a mill cutting about 50,000 feet a day. He is one of the incorporators of the Iron Mountain Lumber Company, of Elliott, Arkansas, which is building a planing mill at that point and will handle the product of several neighboring sawmills, turning out from 40,000 to 50,000 feet a day. In these enterprises he is associated with W. W. Brown, J. C. Ritchie and John T. Burkett.
In connection with C. C. Henderson, W. K. Ramsey, W. W. Brown and Charles Dodson, Mr. Ramsey recently incorporated the Nashville Lumber Company, which will erect saw and planing mills at Nashville, Arkansas. This will be a modern plant, its equipment to consist of two single band saws and a gang edger with a capacity of 80,000 feet a day, complete planing mill, brick dry kilns, etc. A very high grade of shortleaf yellow pine and white oak timber, of which the company now (September, 1906) owns about 250,000,000 feet, will keep this mill supplied for many years. To facilitate the logging operations a railroad has been incorporated under the name of the Memphis, Paris & Gulf Railway, and active work on the roadbed has begun. The road will be constructed from Nashville, on the St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railway, to Ashdown, where it will connect with the Kansas City Southern and the St. Louis and San Francisco roads.
While Mr. Ramsey's business career has been a brilliant one, his home life has been most happy. He married Miss Verna Sanderson, at Carrollton, Illinois, March 10, 1897. One son has been born to Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey—William Francis Ramsey, now eight years of age.
In the field of politics Mr. Ramsey is not particularly active, but votes the Democratic national ticket. He is much interested in lodge work and is a member of Pythagoras Lodge, No. 89, Knights of Pythias, of Eldorado, and of Rose Hill Lodge, No. 550, Ancient Free & Accepted Masons, of St. Louis. He was one of the earliest members of the Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo, having been initiated at Camden in January, 1893. He goes by the number 233, which testifies to the antiquity of his membership. As steps to the high position which he now occupies, he was vicegerent of Missouri in 1902-3, was elected junior Hoo-Hoo in 1904 and senior Hoo-Hoo in 1905. He is a member of the Mercantile Club, of St. Louis.