Thomas Lewis Latane Temple, Sr. was born in 1859 in Essex County Virginia to Reverend Henry W. L. Temple and Susan Jones Temple. He was orphaned in 1876 and made his way to Arkansas where he became involved in the lumber industry. It was there he met his wife, Georgie Fowlkes, whom he married in 1880. After several years in the timber trade, he set out to start an operation of his own. He founded and incorporated Southern Pine Lumber Company in 1893 in Texarkana. As president, he bought land in Angelina County, Texas in what is now Diboll and built a sawmill there. As his business continued to grow, he bought and merged other lumber companies into SPLCo and esablished the Texas South-Eastern Railroad Company. While managing a successful operation, he and his wife had 5 children, Thomas Lewis Latane Temple, Jr., Arthur Temple, Sr., Gertrude Temple (Webber), Marguerite Temple (Keeler), and Georgie Temple (Munz). When T. L. L. Temple passed away in 1935, he owned over a quarter of a million acres of Texas timber land.