Council Tool Company Records 1735-1999 (bulk 1930-1970)

Summary
Contents
Names/subjects
Using these materials
Creator
Council Tool Company
Size
489 linear feet (677 archival boxes, 74 legal boxes, 51 cartons, 2 halfboxes, 1 oversize box, 26 flat boxes, 10 flat folders, 1 tube)
Call number
MC 00297

The records of the Council Tool Company document the history and operation of the North Carolina-based company from its founding by John Pickett Council in 1886 to the end of the twentieth century. The collection contains the company’s correspondence, financial records, and materials relating to personnel, plant operations, and merchandise. This collection also contains papers of the Council family spanning several generations, beginning in the early 1800s and with a few items from the 18th century. Correspondence, invoices, order letters, bills of lading, and related materials relate to the company’s operations including manufacturing, sales, transportation, information requests, and clientele. Financial records include accounting records, tax records, correspondence with accountants, records from the fire of October 20, 1970, and records relating to stocks. Accounting records include account books (ledgers), day books, trial balances, annual reviews of the company, and payroll ledgers. Office Files contain various information about the Council Tool Company and its operations, including correspondence, personnel files, catalogs and product information, machinery and equipment, inventories, notes and memoranda, and information about labor unions, insurance, and board meetings. Also included with the business records are files on the pulpwood industry, test hacks with accompanying reports, and maps and drawings. The family papers contain correspondence, financial records, and legal documents belonging to family members, including K. K. Council, John Pickett Council, K. Clyde Council, Edward L. Council, and Louise Council and a poem by Kinchin B. Council. Deeds and land grants, as well as correspondence about estates and property, constitute a substantial portion of the family papers.

Council Tool Company is a family owned and operated business based in Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina. The company was founded in 1886 by John Pickett Council, a turpentine producer and farmer in Bladen County, North Carolina. The company’s earliest product line featured tools used in the naval stores industry. When the naval stores industry began to wane, the company reacted by diversifying its product line. The company grew during the early decades of the twentieth century, surviving the Great Depression, two World Wars, and a devastating fire that destroyed much of the manufacturing plant. As of 2015, the company's full line of professional products included axes, picks, mauls, mattocks, striking tools, shrubbing tools, digging tools, wood-splitting tools, forged bars, C-clamps and a variety of specialty tools. The company has always been headed by a Council, and as of 2015, the president is John M. Council III.

Language

English

Biographical/historical note

Council Tool Company is a family owned and operated business based in Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina. The company was founded in 1886 by John Pickett Council, a turpentine producer and farmer in Bladen County, North Carolina. The company’s earliest product line featured tools used in the naval stores industry. When the naval stores industry began to wane, the company reacted by diversifying its product line. The company grew during the early decades of the twentieth century, surviving the Great Depression, two World Wars, and a devastating fire that destroyed much of the manufacturing plant. As of 2015, the company's full line of professional products included axes, picks, mauls, mattocks, striking tools, shrubbing tools, digging tools, wood-splitting tools, forged bars, C-clamps and a variety of specialty tools. The company has always been headed by a Council, and as of 2015, the president is John M. Council III.

Council Tool Company was founded in 1886 by John Pickett Council, a turpentine producer in Bladen County, North Carolina. Dissatisfied with the quality of tools available, Council decided to make his own, and soon began selling them to his friends and neighbors. These tools were used for turpentine production, an important component in building and maintaining wooden ships. Council’s tools spread throughout the naval stores industry in the coastal regions of southeastern North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

The company grew during the early decades of the twentieth century. John Pickett Council died in 1929 and ownership of the business passed to his sons K. Clyde Council and John M. Council. In the 1930s a new manufacturing plant and offices were built and the company began to diversify its product line to include bush axes, ditch bank blades, single bit axes, and a line of specialized fire fighting tools. During World War II, the company provided tools to the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

In the 1950s the company began to focus more on hardware and drop forging markets due to the decline in use of gum naval stores and turpentine tools. In 1955 the company began modernizing its production equipment and machinery. In 1970 a fire destroyed most of the manufacturing facilities, however the company quickly recovered. Subsequently, Council Tool Company’s product line has included tools for forestry applications, fire fighting, law enforcement, landscaping, as well as custom built tools. Products have been shipped throughout the continental states and internationally. Customers included hardware wholesalers, contractor and industrial supply distributors, retail chains, specialty distributors, and the federal government.

Council Family Genealogy:

John Pickett Council (January 31, 1855–December 23, 1929), founder of Council Tool Co.

Johnanna/Johnnie Anna Wooten Council (August 29, 1860–October 5, 1925), wife of John Pickett Council

Kinchin Kitchen Council (October 31, 1817–October 30, 1886), father of John Pickett Council

Catherine Sykes/Sikes Council (December 30, 1823–April 13, 1911), mother of John Pickett Council

Kinchen Bascom Council (July 2, 1864–January 5, 1931), brother of John Pickett Council

Sallie Gilliam Council (1871–1929), wife of Kinchen Bascom Council

(Arthur) Russell Council (1893–1981), son of Kinchen Bascom and Sallie Gilliam Council

Kinchin Kitchen Council (b. 1897), son of Kinchen Bascom and Sallie Gilliam Council

*Kinchen Clyde Council (August 9, 1885–June 9 (24?), 1951), son of John Pickett Council

Emma Herndon Cole Council (1892-1978), wife of Kinchen Clyde Council

Carolyn Wooten Council (1916-1973), daughter of Kinchen Clyde and Emma Council

Franklin M. Averitt (1911-1979), husband of Carolyn Wooten Council

Jane Cole Council (1924-1988), daughter of Kinchen Clyde and Emma Council

S. A. (Smilie Alexander) Gregg (1920-2009), husband of Jane Cole Council

John Monroe Council (September 13, 1889-December 7, 1962), son of John Pickett Council, brother of Kinchen Clyde Council

Louise Virginia Land Council (1897-1990), wife of John Monroe Council

*Edward L. (Ned) Council (1929- ), son of John Monroe Council

Sally Council, wife of Ned Council

*John Monroe Council Jr. (January 27, 1923–April 11, 2009), son of John M. Council

Marjorie Frances Moore Council (February 3, 1925- ), first wife of John M. Council Jr.; divorced 1969

Dorothy Sutherland Council, second wife of John Monroe Council Jr.

Susan Alston Council (June 24, 1946- ), daughter of John M. Council Jr. and Marjorie Council

Marjorie “Margo” Moore Council (June 2, 1950- ), daughter of John M. Council Jr. and Marjorie Council

*John Monroe Council III (October 1, 1956- ), son of John M. Council Jr. and Marjorie Council

*(Virginia) Pickett Council Ellis (January 17, 1965- ), daughter of John M. Council Jr. and Marjorie Council

Note: Both spellings of the name Kinchin/Kinchen appear to have been used by the Council family.

Note: Asterisks are used to indicate family members who attended North Carolina State University.

Scope/content

The records of the Council Tool Company document the history and operation of the North Carolina based company from its founding by John Pickett Council in 1886 to the end of the twentieth century. The collection contains the company's correspondence, financial records, and materials relating to personnel, plant operations, and merchandise. This collection also contains papers of the Council family spanning several generations, beginning in the early 1800s, with a few items from the eighteenth century.

Correspondence, invoices, order letters, bills of lading, and related materials doument the company’s operations including manufacturing, sales, transportation, information requests, and clientele. Financial records include accounting records, tax records, correspondence with accountants, records from the fire of October 20, 1970, and records relating to stocks. Accounting records include account books (ledgers), day books, trial balances, annual reviews of the company, and payroll ledgers. Office Files contain various information about the Council Tool Company and its operations, including correspondence, personnel files, catalogs and product information, machinery and equipment, inventories, notes and memoranda, and information about labor unions, insurance, and board meetings. Also included with the business records are files on the pulpwood industry, test hacks with accompanying reports, and maps and drawings.

The family papers contain correspondence, financial records, and legal documents belonging to family members, including K. K. Council, John Pickett Council, K. Clyde Council, Edward L. Council, and Louise Council. Deeds and land grants, as well as correspondence about estates and property, constitute a substantial portion of the family papers.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in eight series:

  • 1. Company Correspondence
  • 2. Family Papers
  • 3. Pulpwood Files
  • 4. Office Files
  • 5. Photographs
  • 6. Maps and Drawings
  • 7. Financial Records
  • 8. Hack Test Records

Access to the collection

Portions of this collection have restricted access; the remainder of this collection is open for research; access requires at least 48 hours advance notice.

Use of these materials

The nature of the NC State University Libraries' Special Collections means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The NC State University Libraries claims only physical ownership of most Special Collections materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

This collection may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which North Carolina State University assumes no responsibility.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Council Tool Company Records, MC 00297, Special Collections Research Center, NC State University Libraries, Raleigh, NC

Source of acquisition

Donated by the Council Tool Company, 2008 (Accession no. 2008.0137)