"Tennessee Trails" through Bedford County

Bedford County TN Biographies


John Bostick Ransom, late of Nashville, was for many years one of the most prominent and esteemed business "men of the city, and his death, which occurred January 5, 1910, was deeply deplored throughout the community. He was born, March 14, 1861, in Fayetteville, Tennessee, a son of George and Elizabeth (Bostick) Ransom, of whom further notice may be found elsewhere in this biographical volume. From the Nashville Banner of January 5, 1910, we quote the following brief sketch of Mr. Ransom: "Mr. John Bostick Ransom died to-day at 6.50 o'clock. In his death Nashville has lost one of her most progressive, charitable, and likeable citizens. He was a captain of industry; a self-made man of the strongest type to be found anywhere; and the entire community in which he has been such a factor for good is impoverished and saddened by his death, in the very prime of his manhood. He was the head of the John B. Ransom Lumber Company, probably the largest hardwood lumber company in the South. He was the son of George and Elizabeth (Bostick) Ransom, his mother being a member of one of the most prominent families of Triune, Williamson county, and of Scotch lineage, and his father of English ancestry. The Ransoms were among'the first settlers of middle Tennessee, moving there from South Carolina.

"Mr. Ransom received his education in the rural schools, and at the age of seventeen went to Murfreesboro, where he later entered the lumber business. The business expanded rapidly, and in 1889 the head- quarters was removed to Nashville. A few years later his brother, Arthur B. Ransom, was admitted as a partner. From a modest beginning the firm of John B. Ransom & Company has grown to enormous proportions. . For the last year or two the company has handled between fifty and sixty millions feet of hard wood timber per annum, a busi- ness of something over $1,500,000, its operations extending from the Allegheny mountains to midway of the Mississippi delta.

"Mr. Ransom was a man of large affairs, and splendid executive ability. In addition to building up the largest hard wood lumber business in the South, he devoted much time to other enterprises. He was president of the Nashville Hardwood Flooring Company, of "West Nashville, which is the largest and most perfectly equipped plant of its kind in the southern states. He was president of the Conasauga Lumber Company, at Conasauga, Tennessee, and of the Gayoso Lumber Company, of Memphis. He was vice-president, and a large stockholder, of the "W. J. Cude Land and Lumber Company, which maintains branches at Kimmins, Tennessee, and at Cude, Mississippi. He was a director in the American National Bank, and in the Nashville Tie and Cedar Company. He was president of the Nashville Transportation Company, which operates a line of barges and tow-boats on the Cumberland river. He was president of the Tennessee Realty and Warehouse Company of Chattanooga, which owns a number of warehouses in that city.

"Mr. Ransom was also largely interested in a large block of yellow pine timber in the state of Durango, Mexico. He took an active interest in promoting and placing on a high plane the lumber interests of the country, being a member of several associations, and, in 1908, was president of the Hardwood Manufacturers Association of the United States, the largest organization of lumbermen in the hardwood trade in America.

"Mr. Ransom had ever conducted his affairs on the highest plane, which won for him the confidence, respect, and admiration of those with whom he had business dealings, and with whom he was associated. His far-reaching popularity is more clearly realized when it is known that he was several times elected president of the Hardwood Manufacturers Association, and for a number of years had been president of the Nashville Lumbermen's Association. His splendid ability obtained recogni- tion in many fields other than that of commerce. He was a member of the Vanderbilt Board of Trust, and of the Book Committee of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. He was a member of the committee having in charge the erection of the buildings of the Hermitage Hotel; the Young Men's Christian Association;'and the Young Women's Christian Association.

"Mr. Ransom's advice and judgment were eagerly sought on all occasions when large interests were involved. He was a tremendous success, having from an humble beginning accumulated a large fortune without having in any way changed his nature. He was at all times generous and charitable, giving liberally to every w*orthy cause within his notice. He is said to have had more friends than any other business man in Nashville.

"While Mr. Ransom was a prominent figure in lumber circles, both of this country and of Europe, he was a man of simple habits, loving home and friends, and caring little for show. He had never sought honors, but accepted many, more as a matter of duty than because he was ambitious. He was a man of broad Christianity, exemplifying in his life the truest type of manhood the country has ever known. He was a leading member of the West End Methodist Episcopal church, and was for several years chairman of its board of stewards, being a member at the time of his death.

"Mr. Ransom was a man of deep affections, and his home life was beautiful. He was to the immediate family the soul of generosity and tender consideration. Democratic in his tastes, he disliked ostentation. He treated rich and poor, the powerful and the humble, with equal consideration, and the hospitality he extended in his home was wholesome and beautiful. Generous in the extreme, though modest in his charity, to many of the poor people of this community and others he was a kind friend and benefactor. The Old Women's Home is one of the numerous local benevolent organizations which will miss his wise counsel and benevolence. Sometime ago he endowed a memorial room in the home, and at the time of his death was chairman of the advisory board of the home, and as chairman of the building committee he directed the erection of the beautiful new home on West End avenue. He was likewise a director in the United Charities. "Mr. Ransom married, in 1832, Miss Mary M. Perkins, daughter of Mr. D. P. Perkins, of Murfreesboro. Mrs. Ransom and four children survive. They are Mrs. Richard T. Wilson; John B. Ransom, Jr.; Mary; and Elizabeth."

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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