Our Founder

Richard Hepburn Elliott

Richard Hepburn Elliott was born on June 5, 1921. He was the third of four children born to Pauline Morrison and Roderick Miles Elliott. Richie, as he was known to family and friends, spent his formative years in Summerton, SC, and graduated from Summerton High School. After graduation, he attended Clemson College, later transferring to the University of South Carolina. With WWII raging, Richie Elliott left school in order to fight for his country, thus becoming an important part of what we now call the “greatest generation”.

With a fascination with flying and a gift for all things mechanical, Richie chose the Navy and attended its cadet aviation program. Rigorous pre-flight training was endured at the University of Georgia before he was sent to Pensacola, Florida, where he earned his wings and a commission. Being a gifted pilot, Elliott was sent to San Diego, California, for training in carrier-based operations. He was taught the intricacies of day and night carrier landings and received extensive training in celestial navigation.

Elliott was then assigned as a dive-bomber pilot to the aircraft carrier “Bunker Hill” in the Pacific. He flew a number of combat missions against the Japanese fleet as well as raids over Tokyo, Okinawa, and Iwo Jima. In recognition of his bravery, he received eight air medals and two Distinguished Flying Crosses.

After the war, Richie joined the family business with his father, brother, and first cousin. The business interests included two cotton gins and a farm, but the primary business was lumber manufacturing at Elliott Lumber Co. based in Summerton.

Quickly becoming immersed in the business, 1946 become the defining year of Richie’s life. He met the love of his life, Alice Hilliard, a beautiful nursing student from Georgetown, SC and later that momentous year, he and his partners at Elliott Lumber Co. founded Elliott Sawmilling Co. with Richie as its manager and president. In February of 1947, he and Alice were married.

As Elliott Sawmilling Co. continued to grow, Alice became more involved balancing her favorite job of mothering sons Dickie, Miles, and Robert, and helping with the books and secretarial duties. The company moved numerous times in its early years, finally settling in Estill in 1958. In 1960, the business separated with Alice and Richie retaining Elliott Sawmilling.

All three sons are actively involved in the business with each having an area of expertise. The business now employs 175 full time employees and is recognized as one of the top 200 softwood mills in the country.

In addition to their three sons, Alice and Richie have four grandchildren: Elizabeth Queen, Erin Anthony, McCarten Elliott, and Nash Elliott. Of the grandchildren, Nash and McCarten are actively involved in the business.

On November 15, 2005, Richard Hepburn Elliott, Sr. died at home with his family at his side.