lived in Steele's Tavern, Virginia, in the southern or "upper" end
of the Shenandoah Valley, and worked as a fireman for the Baltimore
& Ohio Railraod, in a feed and fertilizer store in Staunton, Virginia,
and as a traveling salesman for Armour Fertilizer Company.
From his travels
Wright understood farmer's need for fertilizer, especially in East
Texas. Texas used 235,000
tons of fertilizer annually, 12,000 tons in Nacogdoches
County alone, all of it shipped in at great expense. So Wright
decided to produce the fertilizer nearer to where it was used. Some
might have thought that the winter of 1929 -1930 was not the best
of times to start a new business, but Wright decided to do it anyway.
Wright and his eldest son, Steele, arrived in Nacogdoches
on January 1, 1930. Wright met with I.L. Sturdevant, president of
Fort Bank, who introduced him to a group who became the first
investors in the Texas Fertilizer Company, capatalized at $30,000.
Wright began as vice president and general manager. Over the years
he was able to acquire all the stock in the company from the original
investors and made it a family owned concern run by himself, and
sons Steele, Joe, Tom, and Dick Wright. The Texas Fertilzier Company
marketed its products under the Lone Star brand, and eventually
changed is name to Texas Farm Products. Since fertilizer was used
principally in the Spring, the company added new products to keep
employees working year round. First came a mill to produce cornmeal
and flour, then a cotton-oil and seed mill. They established experimental
farms that aided cattle raisers and helped develop the poultry industry
in East Texas.
By the 1980s the
company was a leading producer of pet food and veterinary medicine
products, and operated mills and other facilities in several states,
and remains one of the leading industries in Nacogdoches,
where the Lone Star Brand began in 1930. Now "Bud" Wright, grandson
of the founder of the fertilizer industry in East
Texas, manages the company.
All Things Historical
OCTOBER 8-14, 2000
Published by permission.