"Tennessee Trails" through Bedford County

Bedford County TN Biographies


One of the vice presidents of the National Hardwood Lumber Association, and a man whose name and ability are recognized with admiration and esteem among lumber circles, not only in the south, but throughout the country, Mr. Card has been identified with his business in east Tennessee and Chattanooga for about twelve years, and he is president of the J. M. Card Lumber Co., one of the largest corporations of its kind in the south. James Madison Card was born November 15,1868, in the old Holland homestead near Scottsboro, Ala., which has been in his mother's family since 1818. His father was Benjamin Card, a native of Bedford county, Tennessee, served through the Confederate army and spent all of his active career from the close of the Civil war in farming and contracting at Scottsboro, Ala. His death occurred at the age of fifty-four, in 1904. His grandfather, Samuel Hughes Card, was born in Cumberland, Md., in 1800, and moved to Bedford county, Tennessee, in 1906. He was married, in 1821, to Peggy Story Neal, daughter of Jos. Neal and Polly Thompson Neal, of South Carolina, who was a great-aunt of General Waddy Thompson. His great-grandfather, William Card, was born in Cumberland, Md., in 1774. He was married to Miss Sally Hughes, daughter of Samuel Hughes of Virginia.

The mother of J. M. Card was Maria Holland, who was born in Alabama and is now living in Hollywood in that state. Newton Holland, her father, was a farmer near Scottsboro, Alabama, and married a daughter of Major Thomas A. Wilson. Thos. A. Wilson was born in Virginia and moved to Alabama when quite a young man and was prominent in the early history of Alabama and was state senator for a number of years. Newton Holland was a son of James Holland. James Hollands father was William Holland, who immigrated from Virginia to Tennessee about 1780, locating near Elizabethton. He served in the War of 1812, and was also a veteran of the Revolution. The Holland family in this branch is descended from one of seven brothers who came from England, about 1710, and made their homes in Virginia. Mr. Card's ancestors on both sides participated in the Revolution and the War of 1812. J. M. Card was the oldest of three brothers and four sisters. His brother Samuel H. Card is in the insurance business in Birmingham, Alabama, and his brother William is in the lumber business at Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

James Madison Card grew up at Scottsboro, received his education in the college and grammar schools, where he was graduated in the class of 1893. He has been engaged in the lumber business since 1894. He has had a very interesting career and at every step of the way has proved his manhood in a fashion that has won him the admiration of all who know him. He started in the cedar lumber business when he was yet a boy, and earned the money which enabled him to pay his expenseswhen he went through school. There is no business man in eastern Tennessee who has made a harder struggle to reach his present position in the business world than the man whom his friends love to call "Jim" Card. A southern gentleman in every sense of the word is Mr. Card; square in all his dealings; warm-hearted, clear-headed and a lover of his kind. "While he is an aggressive business man he has a heart of great gentleness, and -one of the pleasing incidents connected with his career is that after he had got his start in business, his first investment was in the old home place in the neighborhood of Scottsboro, the Holland farm, which he presented as a gift to his mother.

At Scottsboro, Mr. Card established a sawmill with H. M. Cunningham, and the partners for some time had to stop the operation of the little mill every third day in order to allow the crew to stack the lumber which had been sawed. In 1896, Mr. Card bought out his partner, Cunningham, and his own energy and industry were responsible for the subsequent steady growth and enlargement of the business. Finally a buying and wholesale department was added, and a general office established in Scottsboro, and on the retirement of Mr. Cunningham the business became known as J. M. Card & Company

In 1900 owing to the increased prosperity of the business, which now included a considerable share of export trade, Mr. Card made a change of location to Chattanooga. In 1901 his business was reorganized as the J. M. Card Lumber Company, with Mr. Card as president and Fred Arn as secretary-treasurer. This is a close corporation. On transferring the headquarters to Chattanooga, a wholesale yard was established in the city, and since then it has been necessary to add manufacturing operations. The company now owns and operates three mills, one in Chattanooga, one on the Southern Railway between this city and Memphis and one at Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The company to some extent also handles the output of other mills and ships its product all over the world. The mill at Tuscaloosa was organized under the name of the Crabtree Lumber Company, and has been working up both pine and hardwood lumber. The Oak Lumber Company of Paint Rock has specialized in the manufacture of poplar and oak from the mountains in north Alabama. The company has been constantly adding to its facilities for manufacture and has been raising its grade, so that its product has a reputation at home and abroad, resulting in a steady increase of the export trade.

The career of Mr. Card has been especially noteworthy outside of his individual accomplishments in building up the J. M. Card Lumber Company for his relations with the lumber organizations of the south and of the entire country. In June, 1912, at the fifteenth annual convention of the National Hardwood Lumber Association in Chicago, Mr. Card was honored with the office of vice-president, a position in which he is now serving. For the past twelve years he has been a member of the rules committee of that association, that being the most important committee of the organization. Mr. Card is a member of the National Export Association, of which his partner is president. He is a member of the National Wholesale Lumber Association and is a delegate from the National Hardwood Association to the American Lumberman's Organization. He belongs to the Tennessee and the Chattanooga Manufacturers Association, the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce and Commercial Club, and has membership in the Mountain City and the Golf and Country Club. Fraternally he is affiliated with the Hoo Hoos, is a Mason and member of the Mystic Shrine, and belongs to the Knights of Pythias. His family are members of the Episcopal church, which he attends.

At Scottsboro, Alabama, February 22, 1904, Mr. Card married Miss Anita Arn, a daughter of Guff Arn of that place. They have one daughter, Anita, aged seven years. The home of Mr. Card and family is at 14 Chamberlain Avenue in Chattanooga, but he spends his summers largely in the hotel on Lookout Mountain. His business requires extensive travel both in this country and abroad.

A history of Tennessee and Tennesseans: the leaders and representative men in commerce, industry and modern activities. By Will T. Hale Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1913

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