Texarkana, in its heyday, was home to great wealth and powerful families and industries that influenced the economies of at least four states. The Temple family, led by patriarch Thomas Lewis Latane Temple, was one of the families that made their mark on the city and was, in turn, marked by the city and their neighbors. Southern Pine Lumber Company and Temple Lumber Company were run from offices in Texarkana for nearly 60 years and the family’s life revolved around business, church, family, and society, all located in Texarkana. Although the third generation of the family in 1951 moved the business, and therefore the family, to Angelina County, Texas – where the products were made and the majority of the employees worked and lived from the beginning--Texarkana would always be the place where the tone for business, family life, and philanthropy was set.
Thomas Louis Latane Temple (T. L. L. Temple) was born on March 18, 1859 at Wayland in Essex County, Virginia, one of ten children of Rev. Henry Waring Latane Temple and Susan Jones. Of the seven children to survive infancy, at least four of the sons – John Newton, Charles, T. L. L, and William made their way to southwestern Arkansas after the Civil War to collect a family inheritance or seek their fortune. T. L. L. tried farming and working in a government records office before deciding that the lumber industry was the place he would make his mark. Several failed attempts later, he started the Southern Pine Lumber Company using timber from Deep East Texas, milled in Diboll (in Angelina County), to fuel his Texarkana, Arkansas based company. This photograph of T. L. L. Temple shows the Southern Pine Lumber Company founder and owner in his corner office in the State National Bank Building. The companies run from this office would go on to own multiple mills, own millions of acres of land, employ thousands of people, and shape the economies and social structures of multiple East Texas counties.
Young T. L. L. Temple followed his brothers John Newton and Charles to Texarkana in 1876, bringing their youngest brother William with him. John and Charles had earlier inherited their great uncle’s cotton plantation lands along the Little and Red Rivers in Arkansas and it is likely the two younger brothers knew they could find a place with them. After Charles died without children, it seems his part of the inheritance was shared between all of the siblings, followed by T. L. L. beginning the first of his many lumber partnerships and William setting up his own mercantile business.This photo was made in about 1896 on the Red River at Fulton, Arkansas, just northeast of Texarkana, where the Little River joins the Red. The sons of John Newton Temple (1847-1899), Henry Gresham (1885-1948) and Charles Newton (1888- 1965), pose on the top deck of the steamboat Waukesha, standing closest to the starboard smokestack.
John William "Bill" Temple donated this photo of his ancestors. Read and listen to an interview with Bill here, where, among other things, he discusses his family's connections to Texarkana.
Texarkana, Arkansas, looking due north down State Line Avenue – the Temple family homes and offices were on the Arkansas side of the state line. The company’s headquarters was in the city from its beginning in 1893 until early 1952, when Arthur Temple, Jr., who was already residing in Angelina County, began moving offices and personnel to Diboll when he took charge of the company following his father’s death in November 1951.
As a prominent businessman and member of Texarkana's society, T. L. L. Temple contributed to philanthropic and social causes within the city. In May 1908, this article from the Daily Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock) announced the formation of a Civic Society for ladies in Texarkana to work towards "a cleaner and more attractive Texarkana." T. L. L. Temple pledged $500 to the cause, according to the article.
The T. L. L. Temple Family: After settling in Texarkana, T. L. L. married Georgie Fowlkes, daughter of one of Arkansas’ most prosperous antebellum families and a sister-in-law of his early business partner, Benjamin Whitaker. T. L. L. and Georgie had five children before her death in St. Louis in 1900: Gertrude (1881-1967), Thomas Lewis Latane, Jr. (1887-1947), Marguerite (1889-1968), Georgie (1891-1982), and Arthur (1894-1951). Although several spent years of schooling or after marriage out of the area, all five children considered Texarkana to be their home.
The State National Bank Building in Texarkana – located on the first block of Broad Street inside Arkansas, at State Line Ave, ca. 1907. The Southern Pine Lumber Company offices were located here even as all of the company’s money-making ventures were located elsewhere, especially far to the south. Company owners and executives kept track of operations in Angelina and surrounding East Texas counties but were not daily located near their laborers. One of the Webber family photographs labels the Diboll mills as the “fun factory” at this time.
Everything important to the businesses passed through the Texarkana offices – decisions, payments, sales, accounting, and legal. In this photo from November 1907 John E. Hintz, assistant sales manager, and Miss Nellie Ringo, stenographer, work in the Southern Pine Lumber Company offices in the State National Bank Building in Texarkana.
General Manager L. D. Gilbert was T. L. L. Temple’s right-hand man in Texarkana. After the death of Georgie Fowlkes Temple in 1900, T. L. L. spent more and more time away from home. He travelled often to Long Island, New York; Los Angeles, California; St. Louis, Missouri; and various points in between, sometimes conducting business and sometimes attending tennis and golf matches or enjoying vacations. He trusted Gilbert to run the businesses, which he did, quite successfully. Gilbert reported to his boss frequently and stood as a go-between when other company officers and even family members needed to consult Temple.
T. L. L. Temple loved to travel and he and his family held passes on multiple railroads as a benefit of being a railroad owner himself. Here he is pictured with sons T. L. L., Jr. and Arthur (standing in front of him) and brother William (far left) along with other family and friends on a private railroad car. Although Texarkana was Temple's home base, after 1900 he travelled for large parts of the year and avoided paying an Arkansas state income tax by not residing in the state at least six months annually. The family had a home at Quogue, in the Southamptons on Long Island and contacts all over the country.
In May 1907, the Daily Arkansas Gazette reported on one of T. L. L. Temple's trips in a borrowed railroad car, this one the "Catahoula" car owned by William Buchanan, president of the Louisiana and Arkansas Railway. Billed as a "veritable palace on wheels," Temple and his party traveled to "his country place near Diboll." The party included his brother William and his wife, L.D. Gilbert and his wife, and 5 ladies.
Thomas Louis Latane Temple (center), son Thomas Louis Latane Temple, Jr. (left), and Thomas Louis Latane Temple, III. Although T. L. L.'s oldest son worked in several capacities for his father's companies during his adult life, he did not go on to manage and control the largest companies. Latane, the third generation to carry the name, also worked in various Temple operations, including in Diboll and Houston, but found his true calling as an artist and gallery owner. He spent the majority of his adult life away from Texarkana.
Tennis was one of T. L. L. Temple’s passions. Here he is pictured with his youngest son, Arthur, ready for a match circa 1908. T. L. L. travelled all over the country for tennis matches and many of his family and business associates took up the sport and were quite talented, including Arthur’s son’s future in-laws, the MacQuistons, while his daughter Georgie and her husband Harry Munz were tri-state champions. The Temple family also helped found the Texarkana Country Club, a place they could practice their love of tennis and host numerous tri-state championship tournaments.
Members of the second and third generation of Temple family members in Texarkana. From left: T. L. L. Temple’s daughters Georgie Temple Munz and Marguerite Temple Keeler, Arthur Temple, Sr’s wife Katherine Sage Temple, Newman Gregory and T. L. L.’s daughter Gertrude Temple Gregory and her son W. Temple Webber with his wife Asa Love Webber. This second generation kept the company and family tied to Texarkana and it was not until the third generation took over that company headquarters were moved to Angelina County, Texas.
Temple Lumber Company’s directors in the late 1940’s. Standing from right to left: G. S. Smith, Arthur Temple Jr., A. J. Styles, E. G. Prud'homme, W. Temple Webber, and Latane Temple, with Arthur Temple, Sr. sitting in front. This company’s mills were in Pineland and Hemphill, in Sabine County, Texas with lumberyards all over the Lone Star State, "from the Red River to the Gulf," as the old slogan proclaimed.
Southern Pine Lumber Company directors circa 1948. W. Temple Webber, E. C. Durham, Arthur Temple, Jr., Latane Temple, E. A. Farley, and Arthur Temple, Sr. in front. Diboll’s mills and forest lands formed the majority of Southern Pine Lumber Company’s assets and labor force.
T. L. L. Temple’s brick Victorian home in Texarkana, Arkansas. Located on the corner of 5th and Walnut streets near the center of Texarkana, the Temple family lived in the home for many years and after T. L. L.’s death in 1935 it hosted some company offices. General Manager L. D. Gilbert and his wife Mary also lived in the home, where Mary served as Temple's housekeeper. After his wife’s death in 1900, Temple needed a woman to fulfil home management and hosting duties, and Mary Gilbert filled that role. Although this was his home, upon Temple's own death in 1935 his heirs claimed he had other residencies in two other states and had begun to vote in Angelina County, Texas, elections in 1932, claiming Diboll as his domicile and thus avoided the higher inheritance taxes of Arkansas, which were according to one family attorney, "the highest of any state in the Union." The family eventually donated the home to be used as a hospital and home for children with physcial disabilities.
The home of Gertrude Temple Webber (Gregory in the future) located next door to T. L. L. Temple’s home in Texarkana. Gertrude married George Webber, who died in 1919. Their son, Temple Webber, rose into the management of his grandfather’s company and became his cousin Arthur, Jr.’s important advisor and a go-between when the younger Temple wanted to move faster or farther than his aunts, who still owned a majority of the stock, wanted him to.
A young Gertrude Temple Webber Gregory, T. L. L. Temple and Georgie Fowlkes Temple’s oldest child.
George Webber as a United State Naval Academy cadet. He served in the Spanish American war following his time in the Academy.
An announcement from the Arkansas Democrat (Little Rock) newspaper celebrating the marriage of George Webber and Gertrude Temple in Asbury Park, New Jersey in August 1901. Both families lived in Texarkana and were members of the "best society" in the city.
William Temple Webber in Heidelberg, Germany during a tour of Europe in 1940. He would go on to rise high in his grandfather’s company, starting in Texarkana, moving to Diboll and Lufkin, and then Houston.
Read and listen to an interview with his son, W. Temple Webber Jr., here, where he discusses, among other things, his family's connections with Texarkana.
The home of T. L. L. Temple, Jr. in Texarkana when his children were small. He would move around the company and around the state during his adult life – working in Pineland and Houston and Nacogdoches and south Texas. His wife, Hal Crouch Temple, was also a native of Texarkana, although her parents moved to Nacogdoches in the last years of their lives. Listen and read to three interviews of their son, T. L. L. Temple, III, known as Latane, on our website. In this interview he speaks of his career and family business history, in this interview he discusses his wartime experiences, and in this interview he discusses family history and life in Texarkana.
T. L. L. Temple, Jr. served with the American Expeditionary Forces in France during World War I.
T. L. L. Temple, Jr. married Hal Crouch on Christmas Day, 1910. Texarkana's location caused some questions regarding the legality of a wedding across the state line from where the license was obtained, so they were married twice. Once on the Arkansas side, at the courthouse where they obtained the license, and later in a wedding at the Episcopal Church on the Texas side of the state line.
T. L. L. Temple’s third child, Marguerite Temple Keeler Payne.
Georgie Temple Munz, T. L. L. Temple’s fourth and last surviving child. Mrs. Munz is credited with the seed that started the T. L. L. Temple Foundation. In 1962, she created the foundation named for her father and upon her death in 1982 she left it $55 million. From that seed, the foundation has grown to be an important institution in East Texas and hundreds of hospitals, libraries, schools, museums, archives, and various non-profit organizations.
In July 1917, the Arkansas Democrat (Little Rock) announced the surprise wedding of Georgie Temple to businessman Harry Munz in Los Angeles, California.
The Munz home in Texarkana, photo by Jonathan Gerland in 2005. Harry and Georgie Temple Munz’s two daughters, Martha (1919-1975) and Mary (1923-2005) were born with intellectual and physical disabilities. Family trusts provided for their care at home until their deaths.
The youngest Temple child, Arthur Temple, Sr.. He followed his father’s footsteps, working his way through company positions in Pineland, Houston, and Texarkana before taking over upon his father’s death in 1935. Although he expressed fondness for Diboll and its people, he remained in Texarkana and raised his children there, keeping company offices within the city. His cousin, Henry Gresham Temple, managed the mill in Pineland and later Diboll. Upon Henry Gresham Temple’s death, Arthur Temple, Jr. took over in Diboll. Arthur Temple, Sr. and his wife Katherine Sage Temple were very involved in the Texarkana community, especially with the St. James Episcopal Church and School.
Katherine Robson Sage Temple’s wedding photograph from 1916. Born in New York City, she was educated in New York, Paris, France, and Dresden, Germany and survived polio as a child. When she moved to Texarkana upon her marriage to Arthur Temple, she began her life-long work to help those she could. In addition to libraries and parks in Pineland and Diboll and the daycare center named for her in Diboll, she worked tirelessly for organizations in Texarkana. She was pivotal in helping start the St. Michael’s hospital, The T. L. L. Temple Memorial Treatment Center, and the St. James Day School. She was most well-known for her dedication to the local chapter of the Red Cross, where she volunteered regularly for 37 years. In 1991 she was posthumously honored for her work as a Red Cross Volunteer-Humanitarian.
Katherine Temple's charitable work in Texarkana started shortly after her marriage into the Temple family and subsequent move to the city. In April 1917, she headed up the local Belgian relief committee, raising $339 for Belgians suffering after the German invasion of their country at the beginning of World War I.
Arthur Temple, Jr. and Ann Temple outside their home in Texarkana at 1923 Beech Street, on the corner of Beech Street and E. 20th Street, ca. 1923.
Katherine Sage Temple with daughter Ann and son Arthur Temple, Jr. in a painting by Kallula Jones in 1928.
In February 2005, Jonathan Gerland took this photograph of the Temple home on Beech Street, still decked out in a patriotic paint scheme that was first painted by the Tennison family in 1989 to protest a Supreme Court decision to allow flag burning as a legitimate and protected form of free speech and protest.
On All Saints Day 1953, almost a year after his death, Texarkana's St. James Episcopal Church and Day School dedicated the Arthur Temple Memorial Building. The parish newsletter called it “a worthy monument to one of the finest Christians and churchmen St. James has ever had.”
The same month Katherine Temple raised money for Belgian relief efforts, she also helped start the local chapter of the American Red Cross. At its first meeting on April 7, 1917, the new group of almost 100 members elected her to be Vice-President. She would continue her dedicated work with the local chapter as long as she lived in Texarkana.
In 1960, dedicated Red Cross volunteer Katherine Sage Temple helped the 100th Anniversary drive as part of the “Special Gifts Division.” She spent 37 years as a Red Cross volunteer in Texarkana, serving without regard to race, color, or creed and worked tirelessly for full racial integration. After her death, fellow volunteers recalled that she had her own desk in the office and worked at it so often that visitors assumed she was a regular employee.
Though many of Katherine Sage Temple’s charitable causes were located in Texarkana, she also cared about the communities that were so important to her family company’s success. She was involved in making sure Diboll and Pineland had the resources they needed to make them towns where the workers could belong to a well-resourced community. In this May 1958 photograph, Mrs. Temple, accompanied by Calvin Lawrence, is ready to cut the ribbon at the dedication of the Whispering Pines Park swimming pool. She insisted that if the white citizens of Diboll received a park or pool in their neighborhoods that the town’s black citizens also have an equal park and pool and helped to raise the funds to make that happen.
During the early 1900s, the Temple family had a weekend retreat local to Texarkana – a working farm named Riverside Farm in nearby Bowie County, Texas. This photo is from circa 1921. The farm would go on to have a greater connection to the family – Mary MacQuiston, daughter of the farm manager, married Arthur Temple, Jr. in 1939.
A map of Riverside Farm in 1940 states that it was seven miles north of Texarkana, Texas and covered 1975 acres.
The entire Temple family enjoyed the wide-open spaces at Riverside Farm. On the bridge over McKinney Bayou, located on the farm property, Latane Temple (left), Louisa Ackerman, Skip, Marrison Maddox, Paul Ackerman, Tommy Kittrell, and Oscar High enjoy time together in the sunshine.
T. L. L. Temple, with son Arthur by his side, on their way to Riverside Farm with family and friends, ca. 1909. Not far from Texarkana, the farm was a place the family could go to when they wanted a break from city and business cares, but needed to be close enough to easily return.