The Handbook of Texas is free-to-use thanks to the support of readers like you. Support the Handbook today.

Font size: A / A reset

Support Texas History Now

Join TSHA to support quality Texas history programs and receive exclusive benefits.

Become a TSHA Member Today »

Quinn, Frank David (1894–1971)

Alice J. Rhoades Biography Entry

Frank David Quinn, businessman and park promoter, son of David Houston and May (Tims) Quinn, was born on October 21, 1894, in Ackerman, Mississippi. Before completing business college in 1913 in Memphis, Tennessee, he worked for his brother, Tims B. Quinn, at the Alford Lumber Company in 1911–12 and was employed briefly by the May Brothers Lumber Company in 1913. Later that year he went to work as stenographer and bookkeeper for L. K. Salsbury, cotton-plantation operator for the Delta Pine and Land Company, at his headquarters in Scott, Mississippi; Quinn eventually became manager of what some called the "world's largest cotton plantation." He married Margaret Montgomery of Greenville, Mississippi, on October 27, 1915. In 1931 he moved to Tyler, Texas, where he helped organize the Sal-Mar Oil Corporation and was involved in extensive drilling operations in East Texas and Guadalupe County. He was manager of the Seguin and Guadalupe County Chamber of Commerce from 1934 to 1939, during which time he promoted the construction of Max Starcke Park.

In 1939 he was appointed executive secretary and director of the State Parks Board, and he and his wife moved to Austin. In 1941–42 he was in charge of the land purchase for Big Bend National Park. He resigned as executive director in 1945 to enter private business, but continued as a member of the board through 1961. In 1946 he was president and general manager of the Austin Motor Truck Company, and in 1947 he organized Superior Stone Products of Round Rock and Austin, a company that processed local minerals for feed, fertilizer, and chemical industries. Quinn continued to promote state and city parks and the Texas tourist industry as a member of the State Parks Board from 1945 to 1961 and of the Parks and Recreation Board of the city of Austin from 1947 to 1965. He fostered the development of Bastrop and Buescher state parks, among others, and opposed the sale of parts of the Hancock Recreation Center in Austin in 1954. He helped organize the Austin Chamber of Commerce insurance commission to attract insurance-company headquarters to Austin, and attempted to attract major baseball teams to the city, where he arranged for the Pittsburgh Pirates to hold spring training in 1954. From 1950 to 1952 he was president of the National Conference on State Parks. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the state Senate in 1952.

Even after moving to Texas, Quinn continued managing the Salsbury estate in Mississippi and the lumber firm owned by his brothers in Tennessee. He spent one month of every year in Memphis. He was a Presbyterian, a Mason, a member of the Salvation Army advisory board, and a participant in the Red Cross. He planned to write a biography detailing his experiences working in the cotton-plantation industry in the South during the early twentieth century. His papers are located in the Barker Texas History Center in Austin. Quinn and his wife had no children; they took his nephew LeRoy Kennedy of Mississippi as their ward. Quinn died on July 15, 1971, in Austin.

Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Alice J. Rhoades, “Quinn, Frank David,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed March 06, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.