Temple, Thomas Lewis Latane (1859–1935)

By: Bob Bowman

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: August 4, 2016

T. L. L. Temple, pioneer Texas lumberman and industrialist, was born in Essex County, Virginia, on March 18, 1859, the son of Henry W. L. and Susan (Jones) Temple. His father was an Episcopalian priest. Temple attended Aberdeen Academy in Essex County, Virginia. He was orphaned at the age of eleven and went in 1876 to Arkansas, where he farmed and worked as a deputy court clerk. In Texarkana he was introduced to the lumber business, and in 1887 he became a member of Grisby, Scott, and Temple, a large sawmill operation in Wayne, Texas. In 1893 Temple organized the Southern Pine Lumber Company for the second time (after an attempt in 1891) and incorporated it in Texas with himself as president and manager. At Diboll, in Angelina County, he built a sawmill with a daily capacity of about 75,000 board feet after acquiring some 7,000 acres of timberland from J. C. Diboll, for whom the young sawmill community was named. Southern Pine Lumber Company eventually became the principal one of many business interests operated by Temple and his family successors. Temple also organized the Lufkin Land and Lumber Company with E. W. and E. A. Frost and G. A. Kelley in 1900 and built a sawmill at Lufkin with a daily capacity of 100,000 board feet. Three years later he disposed of his interest in the company. Temple founded the Texas South-Eastern Railroad at Diboll and the Temple Lumber Company at Pineland; he purchased several other lumber companies and merged them into his family operations. He married Georgia D. Fowlkes on December 2, 1880, and they had five children, including Arthur Temple, Sr. At the time of his death in Texarkana, on October 2, 1935, Temple's 278,000 acres of timberland in East Texas was providing raw materials for two large pine and hardwood sawmills at Diboll and Pineland. See also TEMPLE INDUSTRIES.

Angelina County Historical Survey Committee, Land of the Little Angel: A History of Angelina County, Texas, ed. Bob Bowman (Lufkin, Texas, 1976). Biographical Souvenir of the State of Texas (Chicago: Battey, 1889; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). Paul Burka, "The King of the Forest," Texas Monthly, August 1982. Gulf Coast Lumberman, October 15, 1935. Robert S. Maxwell and Robert D. Baker, Sawdust Empire: The Texas Lumber Industry, 1830–1940 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1983). Temple Industries Papers, Forest History Collections, Stephen F. Austin State University Library, Nacogdoches. Temple-Inland, Incorporated, Archives, Diboll, Texas. Laurence C. Walker, Axes, Oxen, and Men: A Pictorial History of the Southern Pine Lumber Company (Diboll, Texas: Angelina Free Press, 1975).

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

Bob Bowman, “Temple, Thomas Lewis Latane,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 19, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/temple-thomas-lewis-latane.

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August 4, 2016