J.W. Reynolds of Houston, Texas, well known to the lumber folks of East Texas and Louisiana as "Uncle June", died in a Houston hospital Nov. 26, 1942 and was buried in Forest Park Cemetery, Houston, on Nov. 28, Bishop A. Frank Smith and Rev. Dawson C. Bryan officiating. He had been ill for many months and succumbed after a gallant fight.
He was born in Mississippi 72 years ago and is survived by his widow, two daughters, Mrs. C.F. Saunders of El Paso, and Mrs. Paul E. Wise of Houston, and by one son, J.W. Reynolds, Jr., of Fort Worth, as well as by a brother, John B. Reynolds of Mississippi and several grandchildren.
At the time of his death Mr. Reynolds was president of the Sabine Lumber Company of Houston; Vice-President of the Texas Long Leaf Lumber Company, New Willard; Vice-President of the Rock Creek Lumber Company, Trinity; President of the Meyer Realty Company. Houston; a steward since 1911 of St. Paul's Methodist Church in Houston; a member of many lodges and clubs in Houston. During the early years of the Houston Lumbermen's Club, then a very important organization, he served as President.
Mr. Reynolds started life as a logger in Louisiana and Arkansas, and became one of the most successful contract loggers in the early days of the limber manufacturing industry in those two states. He then graduated into the operation of large sawmills in Texas and Louisiana, and made signal successes of everything he undertook. He retired from active milling activities in 1929, and since that time has devoted himself to advisory capacities in the large Sabine lumber group, with which he first associated himself in 1898.
We first hear of J.W. Reynolds in the lumber business in the middle nineties, when two famous lumbermen, W.T. Ferguson and William Buchanan, built a mill at Spring Hill, Louisiana, and made a contract with two brothers, J.W, and H .D ("Buck") Reynolds to log it for them. These mill operators and loggers got along fine together, and in 1898, when W.T. Ferguson and his sons, J.W. Ferguson and J.D. Ferguson, built a mill at Kress City, Arkansas, they arranged to have the Reynolds brothers log it.
In 1901 the three Fergusons just named, together with N.P. Sanderson, J.P. Towery and Randall Moore, organized the Sabine Lumber Company, bought a big tract of Long Leaf Yellow Pine in Central Western Louisiana, and built a big sawmill to cut it at Zwolle, La. The following year J.W. Reynolds was invited to join this group as stockholder and logging manager, so he left Kress City and moved to Zwolle. His brother moved to Livingston, Texas, where he entered the sawmill business.
The Sabine Lumber Company prospered at Zwolle, and in 1906 they branched out. They bought a big stand of Long Leaf Pine and built a powerful sawmill to cut it at Colfax, La., and J.W. Reynolds was made president and manager of this operation, which they called the Big Pine Lumber Company. Zwolle cut out in 1922, and was dismantled. Colfax cut out in 1923. In 1907 the Sabine group bought out the Thompson-Ford Lumber Company which had just completed a new sawmill of large capacity at Sour Lake, Texas, and J.W. Reynolds was made president and manager of this company. This mill cut out in 1924, Mr. Reynolds having operated it all this time, as well as the Louisiana operations.
In 1911 J.W. Reynolds moved to Houston,opened his office in the new Carter Building,(now the Second National Bank Building, and continued there ever since. He has a splendid home in Houston, and soon became one of the most notable and popular of the lumber fraternity, taking a very active part in the business, civic and financial life of the city.
The Sabine lumber group, of which he was so central a part, kept branching out. In 1912 they bought from the Thompson interests the Texas Long Leaf Lumber Company, with a very big new sawmill located at New Willard, and added it to their string. In 1914 they bought the other Thompson mill, the Rock Creek Lumber Company, with a very large sawmill at Trinity. In 1920 they bought the R.A. Meyer Lumber Company, with a mill at Honey Island, and they operated the mill until 1928. In 1923 they bought a big stand of timber at Oakhurst, Texas, and rebuilt a mill there, which they operated for many years. They also operated hardwood mills at New Willard and Crockett for quite a number of years. These are no longer in operation.
Up to the year 1929 the original group still owned the control of the Sabine lumber interests. But in 1927 the patriarch and chief backer of the group, W.T. Ferguson, of St. Louis, died, and in 1929 a new and younger group consisting of Paul T. Sanderson, Mr. Ferguson's grandson, W.J. Yardley and F.D. Wherrit, veteran Sabine salesmen, and Joe and Ernest Kurth, of Keltys, joined together and bought out the old stockholders with the exception of J.W. Reynolds, who joined the new group in buying out his old associates. When this took place the general offices of the Sabine Lumber Company were moved from St. Louis to Houston. The active management of the Sabine interests fell to the capable hands of Paul Sanderson, who established himself and his headquarters at Trinity, Texas, and Mr. Reynolds then retired from the active operation of the companies, and began taking life easy after his long years of active service in mill and woods.
Mr. Reynolds was not a man of spectacular qualifications or ambitions. He was a citizen of the very best sort, friendly, generous, charitable, whose greatest joy in life was the association of his fellow man. In later years his name of Junius was changed to that of "Uncle June",by the fraternity that knew him. This quiet, kindly man will be long remembered where lumbermen gather together.