Organization of the Staple Cotton Co-operative Association was completed yesterday afternoon at a meeting of 40 or 50 planters and business men in Hotel Gayoso and the organization is now ready to do business as a co-operative selling agency, handling long staple cotton exclusively.
Oscar F. Bledsoe, Jr., of Greenwood, Miss., was elected president of the organization without contest. The election of two vice presidents, a secretary and treasurer was postponed until the next meeting of the board of directors, which will be held in Memphis on June 29.
The association is organized and chartered under Tennessee laws, although is membership is made up entirely of Mississippi Delta planters, growers of the greater part of all the long staple cotton produce in the United States. Organization was perfected under the act of the Legislature of 1917, authorizing the forming of co-operative associations for marketing purposes. The act was intended primarily to authorize the organization of a selling association among dairymen of the state, but was found broad enough to permit the organization of a selling agency for cotton.
Although its object is to finance and sell the enormous amount of staple cotton produced in the Mississippi Delta, the organization has no capital stock. Financial arrangements will be made through banks, the paper used by the agency being secured by the cotton held in pools in its name and pledged by the members of the association. The association will be operated under the co-operative system promulgated by Aaron Sapiro of California. Mr. Bledsoe said yesterday that the present membership of the association represents a production of more than 200,000 bales of staple cotton annually, and it is hoped to increase the membership until the organization will control the marketing of more than 300,000 bales by the time the present crop is harvested. Members of the association have signed five year contracts, agreeing to sell their entire product for the next five years through the organization. This gives a pool of fully 1,500,000 bales of high grade staple cotton during the next five years and the planters are confident that this fact will have considerable influence upon the market in the future.
Mr. Bledsoe says that the association will control more than one-half of all staple cotton produced in the United States this year, and even a larger percentage is expected to be pledged in 1922 and the years following. The directorate of the organization is comprised of some of the most substantial cotton men in the south. Members of the board were selected by primary ballot and by districts. The delta cotton section has been divided into six districts, and three directors are elected from each, making 17 to be elected by ballot of the membership. The president is chairman of the board, and the bankers' organizations of the territory affected will select three members as representatives of the public. This gives the association a board of directors consisting of 21 members. Formal election of the directors was held yesterday, but they had already been selected by primary ballot in Mississippi. In this particular, the meeting here was similar to an electoral college, since delegates from each of the six districts were instructed how to vote for directors.
The board is comprised of the following: Oscar F. Bledsoe, Jr., Greenwood, chairman; Leroy Percy, Greenville; Alf H. Stone, Dunleath; Alex Scott, Rosedale; Oscar Johnston, Clarksdale; J. H. Sherard, Sherard; M. P. Sturdivant, Glendora; Ben F. Saunders, Swan Lake; Will Dockery, Dockery; C.C. Moore, Itta Bena; J. M. Yerger, Drew; D. L. Bingham, Indianola; A. M. Pepper, Lexington; R. L. Pillow, Greenwood; G. G. Council, Greenville; L. H. Gaines, Boyle; L. G. Dean, Shaw; J. G. McGehee, Gunnison; F. N. Robertshaw, Greenville; E. P. Peacock, Clarksdale; and T. R. Henderson, Greenwood.
The three last named directors represent the public and are named by the bankers' organization in the territory comprising the six districts.
The executive committee is composed of the following: Oscar F. Bledsoe, Jr., chairman; Leroy Percy, Oscar Johnston, Alex Scott and Ben F. Saunders.
From the Greenwood Commonwealth, June 15, 1921
Shelby S. Steele has secured the entire lower floor of the old First National Bank Building on Howard Street, formerly occupied by the Staple Cotton Cooperative Association, and will remove his insurance office to his new location on January 16. The interior of the building has been remodeled for the insurance offices.
From the Greenwood Commonwealth, January 8, 1924
The Staple Cotton Cooperative Association offices are being moved from the old Greenwood Bank Building on Howard Street into the new . office building erected for the Association by W. M. Kimbrough on the corner of Market and Fulton Streets.
The entire new Kimbrough Building, which is 100 x 125 feet and is two stories in height, will be occupied by the Association under a three year lease.
From the Greenwood Commonwealth, August 29,1923
H. A. Hankins, who for several years has been employed by Jitney Jungle, has purchased the stock and fixtures of Stein Grocery Company, and will open a new grocery store in the building formerly occupied by the Staple Cotton Association at the corner of Fulton and Market streets.
The new store, which will be known as Needam's Grocery, will be ready for business about the tenth of January, Mr. Hankins announced this morning.
Assisting Mr. Hankins in dispensing all kinds of staple and fancy groceries and meats will be Messrs. Charles Neely and Sam Killebrew.
From The Greenwood Commonwealth, December 31, 1934
The three story building on Market Street occupied for the past twenty years by the Henderson & Baird Hardware Company was purchased yesterday from the Hardware firm by the Staple Cotton Cooperative Association. The Cotton Association will move into their new quarters on July 1.
The building will afford to the Staple Cotton Association twenty per cent more floor space than its present quarters, and at the rent paid for the past five years, the entire cost of the new building will be amortized in ten years.
T. H. Baird, president of Henderson & Baird Hardware Company, informed the Commonwealth this morning that a recent called meeting of the stockholders of this company, the president and secretary were voted authority to accept the proposal of the Staple Cotton Association to purchase the building.
The Henderson & Baird hardware Company will continue to operate their business as heretofore, maintaining a spacious showroom and their offices in the business district of the city. The company has several proposals for rental of buildings suitable for conducting their showroom and offices.
More of the heavy merchandise will be carried in their railroad warehouse, thus enabling them to operate more economically. The saving in the cost of merchandise by being located adjacent to the railroad tracks will be substantial and the management feels that the saving in operating costs will enable them to sell their merchandise at lower resale prices, which will result in a saving to their customers.
The firm of Henderson & Baird was originally organized as a partnership but was reorganized and incorporated in 1909, and the name changed to Henderson & Baird Hardware Company. The company is among the oldest mercantile firms in Greenwood.
From the Greenwood Commonwealth, February 18, 1931