About Bass Pecan
Mr. I.E. Bass and family came to Lumberton, Mississippi in 1899. Shortly thereafter, he planted his first pecan trees and it wasn't long until he was selling pecan trees and other farm products. In 1909, the first catalog was distributed by the I.E. Bass & Sons Pecan Company.
One son, I.H. Bass, had a special interest in pecans. He learned how to graft and improve the seedling pecan trees. After graduating from Tulane University in 1910, he returned to Lumberton and took an active role in the management and operation of the I.E. Bass & Sons Pecan Company.
During the years immediately following World War I, I.H. Bass bought several pecan nurseries along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Mississippi Gulf Coast was the birthplace of many of the best known pecan varieties in the industry. The Stuart variety, which has become synonymous with papershell or improved variety pecans, came from this area. Mr. Bass parlayed the varieties from these nurseries into what would become the largest pecan tree nursery in the world for the next several decades. In about 1925, I.H. Bass purchased his fathers' interest in the company and changed its name to Bass Pecan Company.
From its first catalog in 1909, Bass had been continuously increasing catalog distribution and the mail order business. In 1928, Bass Pecan Company mailed 1.5 million catalogs. By 1930, the catalogs and shipping had grown to such a volume that Lumberton got a new post office as a direct result.
The 1930's were a difficult time for the Lumberton area. In addition to the Depression, the vast tracts of virgin pine timber had been clear cut and sawmills that the towns economy had been built on left for the west coast. Mr. Bass understood the seriousness of the situation and expanded his business in every possible way to create jobs and thereby was in large part responsible for saving the town from economic ruin. Mr. Bass purchased large tracts of the cutover land, eventually amassing over 20,000 acres with 2,000 planted in pecan orchards. His philanthropy carried into future decades as well. He donated land for the local airport and 360 acres of his choicest land for the campus of Bass Memorial Academy, a boarding school.
I.H. Bass retired in 1960 after being involved in the founding and leadership of Bass Pecan Company for over 50 years. Members of the Bass family guided the company until the mid 1990s. In 1996, Stanley Kemp, a longtime employee, purchased the company. Mr. Kemp lead the company through the 1990s but suffered two major setbacks during his tenure. A fire during the busy season in November 2004 affected the company’s ability to service its customers. The very next year in August 2005 Hurricane Katrina devastated much of south Mississippi and Louisiana not only effecting much of the production for Bass Pecan but also displacing much of its customer base.
The current owners, Max Draughn and Andrew Copeland, acquired Bass Pecan in 2006. The original store in Lumberton has been remodeled and new locations have opened in Natchez and Canton, Mississippi. In 2009, Bass Pecan partnered with Smith Pecans of Raymond, Mississippi combining over 210 years of pecan history and experience to its loyal customers. We look forward to expanding, not only into other locales, but the product line as well. More of the fine delicacies that have made Southern food famous have been added to the Bass line. Even with the rapid growth, we remain ever faithful to the uncompromising quality that has made Bass Pecan Company successful since 1906.