Mr. Speaker, way out west, Texas that is, where one can always find a back road and porch with a rocking chair, are towns like Spring, Texas and Laredo, Texas. Here, one could always find Mr. Bill Carter telling stories about how he grew up, sharing past hunting adventures, and explaining how he started Carter’s Country.
Ol’ Bill in his starched jeans, crisp shirt, and worn boots was a fine businessman, hunter, husband, father, and devoted family man. He spent his entire life building his family business, enjoying the outdoors, and serving his community. Spring, Texas and the entire state of Texas lost a legend of a man on October 2, 2018.
Bill was born in 1934, in a small town in North Carolina. As a child, his love for firearms began at the age of eleven when he bought a used Winchester 22 pump. During this time, his love of the outdoors grew. And at an early age he began delivering papers, he was an entrepreneur in the making.
During high school years, Bill joined the North Carolina National Guard. After graduation, he joined the United States Marine Corps. His lifelong passion for firearms deepened. He considered a career with the Marine Corps, but decided to leave in 1956 to continue his education.
After returning from the Korean War, Bill realized college was not for him. He became a seaman on a merchant ship. While sailing routes from Houston to New Jersey, he discovered a love for the Houston area. At the end of his shipping route, he met his future wife, Ellen, in New Jersey.
Bill and Ellen married and soon talked her into moving to Houston. He got a job as an ironworker, and Ellen worked in the emergency room as a registered nurse at Hermann Hospital. He soon started doing custom gun work in his garage for his ironworker friends. His wide-ranging knowledge of guns made him well known in the Houston area. Through Bill and Ellen’s hard work and dedication, they purchased 15 acres of land and a gun club on Aldine Westfield near FM 1960.
In 1969, business was booming so they purchased a larger piece of property off Treaschwig in Spring, Texas. This location is currently Carter’s Country headquarters. Ellen retired from nursing and helped with everyday business. They had two kids, Billy and Lori. Billy and Lori took over many Carter responsibilities and both play an important role in the Carter legacy.
Bill’s love of outdoors and passion for hunting brought him to ranching. In the late 70s, he purchased Sombrerito Ranch in South Texas. He treasured managing a 100% native South Texas deer herd. His bucks have the famous 10-point genes. His 11,000 acre ranch was originally part of the Spanish land grant, and now it is known for producing some of the best trophy bucks in North America.
Today, the Carter’s have four retail stores, a gun range, and elk and whitetail hunting ranches. It is my hope that Bill’s legacy will be remembered and folks will see if a humble southern boy with modest beginnings can achieve his American dream, they can too. Of course—with hard work, perseverance, passion and dedication. I consider it an honor to have known this true Texas cowboy and have him as a friend.
My thoughts are with the love of his life, Ellen, and their two children. They all share the same passion for the great Texas outdoors. His memory will live on, in the many lives he touched along the way. Texas will miss Ol’ Bill, Happy Trails.
And that’s just the way it is.