The Early Years
Samsill Corporation celebrated fifty years of business on April 1, 2003. The history of the company can be traced back to a cornfield south of Seymour, Texas, twelve years before it was officially formed as the dream of two young brothers, Cecil and Tirey Samsill. Although neither knew what their dream would mean on that hot July day in 1941, sixty-three years later, the employees and their families, suppliers and valued customers are grateful for their vision and commitment to success.
The Samsill brothers grew up on the family farm during the Depression years. Cecil, then sixteen years old, and his twelve year old brother, Tirey, were hard at work harvesting the corn and maize that would feed the family and livestock during the coming winter. Although neither was big enough to see over the stalks, they diligently followed the mule-drawn wagon down the rows, stripping the stalks and throwing the feed in the wagon.
After several trips back to the barn to unload, they found the shade of an old mesquite tree to enjoy an afternoon snack and a brief break from their labors. Cecil remembers it was there in the blistering heat of the Texas summer that they decided, “there must be a better way to make a living than farming”. He and Tirey made a solemn vow right then and there that when they grew up they would go into business together, “and it sure wouldn’t be farming in Seymour, Texas!”
In addition to the scorching heat of the summer harvest, times were economically difficult for the large family with twenty-three children. “We were poor, and when I say poor, I mean poor. But we were too poor to know the difference.” In spite of the hardships, life on the Samsill farm was rich in family values and strong work ethics. It was here the core values of the Samsill brothers were cemented.
On December 7, 1941, life changed for the Samsill brothers, as it did for all Americans, when the Japanese launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and America entered World War II. Cecil, at age 16 facing the draft after graduation, chose to leave school and see what the world was like beyond Seymour, Texas. Many years later, in 2002, the State of Texas honored its veterans who had served their country during World War II by conferring on them their high school diplomas, and so, sixty-one years after leaving home, Cecil received his diploma from Seymour High School.
Cecil moved to Burkburnett, Texas, where his older brothers, Ernest and Roy, gave him a job in their bakery. After bakery jobs in several Texas towns, Cecil witnessed an accident which resulted in an amputated arm and his decision to leave the baking business and join his friend Jack Rowland in California in April of 1943.
Once in California, Cecil received his induction notice from the Army. After basic training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and Paratrooper “Jump” School in Fort Benning, Georgia, he was granted a thirty-day furlough. He returned to Wichita Falls to see the “love of his life”, Miss Jean Cope, and Cecil and Jean were married on April 4, 1944, three days before his nineteenth birthday. Their marriage has been further blessed with four daughters, seven grandsons, a granddaughter, three great-grandsons and two great-granddaughters.