Established in 1916 by George Mead, the Kingsport Pulp Corporation was destined to be one of the leading industries in Northeast Tennessee.
George H. Mead was born 5 November 1877 in Dayton, Ohio. He was the oldest child of Harry and Marianna Houk Phillips Mead. George graduated from Hobart College in Geneva, New York in 1897, and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1900. He had begun his career in the paper industry in 1897 in a mill that had been founded in 1846 by his grandfather, Col. Daniel E. Mead. In 1914, he intermarried with Elsie Louise Talbott, and six children were born to this union.
In 1916, George Mead purchased a share of Kingsport Pulp Corporation of Kingsport, Tennessee. One year later, the company was producing 55 tons of pulp per day. By 1923, more than 300 people were employed at the Kingsport mill known as Mead Fibre. Mead Fibre Corporation went through an evolution of name changes over the years, but it was most commonly referred to by locals as “The Mead” or “Mead Fibre” back in the day.
The Mead Corporation conglomerate was incorporated on February 17, 1930, and George Mead was appointed its first president. The overall corporation consisted of 1,000 employees and plants in four states. By 1935, Mead’s stock was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
George Mead held the position of president until 1942 when he was elected chairman of the board. He retired from the position in 1948, and the board elected him honorary chairman. George Meade died on January 1, 1963, and was laid to rest in Woodland Cemetery at Dayton, Ohio.
In 1995, the Kingsport mill was sold to Willamette Industries which merged with Weyerhaeuser in 2002. In 2007, Kingsport Mill became part of the Domtar family. In 2016, the mill celebrated its 100th anniversary, marking a century of operations and partnership in Kingsport.