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Most know that a house is only as good as its foundation, and for many years now, the Gleason Lumber Company has provided Gleason and the surrounding area with the necessities for building the community from the ground up. As soon as you walk in the door, this family owned and operated business greets its customers with a small town-tailored experience that no Lowe’s or Home Depot could provide, where the customers are treated like “home-folks,” and provides all the lumber supplies to make any big dream a reality. Whether it be lumber, insulation, shingles, paint, concrete, doors, or even a few screws, all of that and more can be found here and are sure to be accompanied with a smile of satisfaction as you leave with your purchase.

The Gleason Lumber Company began in 1922 with W.F. Trevathan erecting the first lumber shed at the present site. His son, Ellis, operated a welding shop next door and was not as interested in the lumber business as his father. Mr. Trevathan operated the business until 1932 at which time the Depression ushered in its closing, and no business was conducted there until 1948. In that year, Price McClain of McKenzie, Tennessee bought the building with sights of putting his son-in-law and daughter in business there; however, this venture only operated for three years. The gas company bought the building between 1948 and 1958 and installed gas lines. The rumblings of new business stirred when two Sharon contractors, O. R. Morris and Robert Overton, purchased the building and set up trade in 1958. They hired Tillman Smith to see to the daily labors of the lumber business and offered him a one-third interest as a result. Two Gleason businessmen, Bob Owen and Merle Finch, were enticed by Tillman Smith to buy the two Sharon contractors out, so they did. Mr. Smith was not particularly partial to the lumber business, nor was his son, and consequentially wanted out altogether. He just so happened to voice this to many a traveling salesman who came by his establishment.

            Word traveled quickly to Bells, Tennessee in Crockett County and reached the ear of R. A. Spellings. Mr. Spellings had been in the lumber business in Bells since 1922 and had cut railroad ties for the Illinois railroad that spanned from Milan to Martin when he was a young man. He saw the Gleason Lumber Company not only as a potential business venture but also as a way to bring his daughter and son-in-law, Harriet and Clay Wilson, closer to home as they were living out of state at the time. So, encouraging Harriet and Clay to get in the lumber business, Mr. Spellings acted as sponsor and helped them buy two-thirds interest of the Gleason Lumber Company. The Wilson’s moved to Gleason in 1962 to operate the company, and they have been the sole proprietors ever since. In 1990 the Wilson family expanded the business by establishing the Carroll County Lumber Company in McKenzie. For fifty-three years Harriet and Clay have worked full time in their finely-conducted business and devotedly still do.

            The Wilson’s truly believe in the family business with an emphasis on family. They have raised quite a few of their workers. All three of their sons have taken up the lumber business with Mike managing the Gleason Lumber Company and Tom and Andy running the Carroll County Lumber Company. Even their daughter Jenny has helped out in the store over the years and serves as the culinary “master” of the business. It is not a rare sight to see one of Harriet and Clay’s grandchildren working in one of the stores as well – a fact they are deeply proud of. Equally important are the countless friends made over the years through interactions in the store, and many they have made as a result of their fine service. They are staunch supporters of not only Gleason but of all Weakley and Carroll County endeavors, and their supplies have served to construct countless people’s homes and building around the area (Story by Ben Rollins).

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