Biographical or Historical Information
Thomas Lewis Latane Temple built his first sawmill at Diboll, Texas, in 1894. Temple, a native of Virginia, had previous experience in lumbering in Arkansas and Texarkana, and continued to maintain his interests in Northeast Texas throughout his life. The Southern Pine Lumber Company, as the Diboll venture was called, grew and expanded, adding additional mills, diversified wood using plants, and increased acreage of virgin pine timber. To facilitate transportation, the company built and continues to operate the Texas-Southeastern Railroad. The Temple family also were cofounders and pioneers in the development of the Southland Paper Mills which was the first manufacturer of newsprint from yellow pine fibers.
Three generations of the Temple family, T.L.L. Temple, Arthur Temple, Sr. and Arthur Temple, Jr., have provided strong leadership for the varied Temple Industries for more than three-quarters of a century. As of 1973 the Southern Pine Lumber Company is perhaps the oldest large lumber manufacturer still operating under the same family which founded it. The inactive papers of the Temple Industries have been deposited with the Forest History Archives of the Stephen F. Austin State University Library. It is a major collection containing approximately 70,000 items.