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Sunday, May 11, 2014

A History of Sugarland Industries - Part 8: Before The Beginning

I've noted before that the Sugarland Industries were incorporated in 1919.  The document below, which I found in an old scrapbook, is the very brief minutes of an Imperial Sugar Company board meeting, convened in Sugar Land on September 17, 1909.

Although the Industries is not mentioned by name in the minutes, the subsidiaries are covered in discussion.  The minutes say Imperial Sugar and the other 5 companies (the core of Sugarland Industries) will pay W. T. Eldridge, Sr. $12,000 per year.  He will also receive 5% of the net corporate profits, AND living expenses including a residence.  (Click here for a photo of the house.)

It all sounds very informal.  A handful of men met in Eldridge's office, ran through the election of officers quickly (because they had decided all that long before the meeting), and then had a quick vote on points of discussion before adjourning.

I know from other documents filed in the 1920s that Eldridge's compensation package didn't change much over the years.  That part of the board's business was probably 'rubber-stamped' in the annual meetings.

Also note that I. H. Kempner, Sr. was not Imperial's president.  His younger brother Dan served as president during the early years.  I. H., Sr. became president a few years later when the family decided Dan should oversee other interests in Galveston.

Notice the minutes mention Jonathan Lane.  He and Eldridge became business associates back when Eldridge was creating his empire in Eagle Lake.  Lane is an interesting man in his own right.  Here's a photo and short bio I found in a Houston business directory published in 1915.