Shannon & Waterman Blog
Company Perspectives

The Shannon Legacy

As a young boy, Shannon recalls frequenting his family’s sawmills with an excitement and enthusiasm he still carries with him to this day. The music of the steam engines that would run the mill created the underlying rhythm that was the soundtrack of his youth. “I fondly think of all those times I rode on the carriages that held the freshly harvested logs from the forest,” says Shannon. “Every log was a new story – each ring, layer, knot, and variation of shading told a distinct history – a history I am proud to be a part of.”

S&W patriarch JT Shannon and his driver, Napoleon, inspect a tract of beautiful Shannon family white oak timber in Missouri (circa 1938)

Continuing a Legacy

Shannon has always been proud of his involvement in the family business.  He worked summers pulling lumber, riding the log cars and learning all aspects of the business.  The work was hard and the days were long, but he would never trade that experience for anything – it taught me our family’s values and a true appreciation for our craft. I learned about sacrifice, pride and integrity – all of these values set me on a path that led me to venture out on my own.

Jack Shannon started J.T. Shannon Lumber Company in 1982 with a modest group of seven employees. Since then, the business has grown to over 450 employees, while still staying true to the values that were instilled in Jack Shannon at such a young age.

Current CEO Jack T. Shannon Jr.

“Each board stands as a testament to our time-honored traditions of foresting, harvesting and milling,” says Shannon. “The craftsman hip that goes into every piece serves to honor the past and continue the sacred tradition into the future. I hope our flooring can enrich the lives of others just as much as my family’s history has enriched mine.”

Amelia & James – Six Generations of Family Tradition

Jack Shannon’s noble maternal great-great-grandfather was James Lusk Alcorn – the “James” in Shannon & Waterman’s Amelia & James Wood Flooring Collection. James was a young, ambitious attorney from Illinois who relocated to Coahoma County, Mississippi.  He married the lovely Amelia Glover from the Rosemont Cotton Plantation of Alabama.  Together they raised a large family and resided near Friars Point, Mississippi.  Over time, their home became known as the Eagle’s Nest, derived from an eagle’s nest built in a large cottonwood tree in a field near the house.

James Lusk Alcorn (Photo Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photograph Division)

As the fields were being cleared to make it larger, axmen were ordered to leave the tree untouched because it was home to a family of eagles.  Because of this, the Alcorn family became known as early pioneers in conservation. In the spirit of conservation, Shannon & Waterman makes it their responsibility to maintain their forests by selectively choosing which trees to keep and which to cut down. This selective cutting of older growth trees is a practice the company continues to this day.  They use old-world sawing techniques to promote greater stability in the manufacturing of the product, to create a wood flooring that has beauty and rich character.

Samuel Lee – Architect of the Shannon Sawmills

In the late 1800’s Jack Shannon’s paternal great-grandfather, Samuel Lee Shannon founded Samuel Shannon Lumber & Stave. He went on to have several sons and a daughter. Two of the sons, Thomas Lee Shannon and James Egbert Shannon, continued the family business of lumber and started Shannon Brothers Lumber Company in Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis was the hardwood capital of the world at the time. This area, rich in timer, was more of interest to Thomas and James, while most folks traveled west for expansion.

Over the next several years, the brothers purchase various lumber mills along the Mississippi River Basin, an environment with rich soil that produces some of the best hardwoods. When the World Wars broke out in 1910, the company secured large contracts with the government to supply wood for the truck beds, ammunition boxes and more, all to support the war efforts. These contracts made the business successful during a difficult time in our country’s history. Keeping a business going throughout the Depression and the Wars instilled a strong work ethic in the Shannon family that is infused in the company today.

The legacy of hard work and determination through five generations of the Shannon family has led the company to today’s successes. By providing a century of experience in sustainable forestry with expert craftsmanship to create high quality, American-made wide plank floors, the Shannon Group continues to be one of the most innovative and trusted suppliers of North American hardwood products in the world. The company offers buyers one of the widest selections of hardwood products available from a single North American supplier, and their unwavering dedication to customer service and superior product quality is unparalleled in the lumber industry.

Every newly crafted Shannon & Waterman wide plank floor has its beginnings in our family-owned, old growth forests. For generations, we’ve masterfully managed our forests for true sustainability—ensuring that we always have the mature trees necessary to supply the densely grown, stable, and generously proportioned wood to create the floors of your dreams. In addition, many of our products are FSC® certified.

The complete Shannon & Waterman line of products can be viewed on our website here: S&W Floors. Give us a call at (844)-315-2520 for more information.