The H. T. Hackney Company is an American wholesale grocery distribution firm headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee. Founded in 1891, the company has grown over the years to become one of the largest grocery wholesalers in the nation, with operations covering much of the Eastern United States. H. T. Hackney employs over 3,400 people, and distributes over 30,000 different items to over 20,000 locations in 21 states. Its current Chairman and CEO is William P. Sansom.HistoryThe H. T. Hackney Company is rooted in a feed and grain business established by Henry Tate Hackney and W. C. Everett in 1887, which operated out of a stall on Market Square in Knoxville. In 1891, Hackney bought Everett's stake, and overhauled the company into a full-scale jobbing house. The company thrived during the 1890s amidst Knoxville's late-19th century economic boom, which saw the city's wholesaling sector grow to become the third largest in the South. H. T. Hackney was just one of more than 50 wholesaling companies operating in the city during this period.The H. T. Hackney Company incorporated on October 1, 1897. Following Henry Tate Hackney's death in 1899, his brother-in-law, Benjamin Morton (1875 - 1952), became president of the company. In 1905, H. T. Hackney merged with a powerful Knoxville wholesaler, M. L. Ross and Company, which was then under control of William Cary Ross, the son of M. L. Ross and a friend of Morton. In subsequent years, Morton, Ross, and iron manufacturer Hugh Sanford formed an influential triumvirate known as "The Three Musketeers", which controlled a significant portion of the city's business activity in the 1910s and 1920s. Morton served as Mayor of Knoxville from 1923 to 1927.Under Morton's leadership, H. T. Hackney continued to expand its holdings. At one point, the company operated coal mines at Jellico and an automobile subsidiary, The H. T. Hackney Vehicle Company, and distributed products such as candy, blasting powder, industrial equipment, furniture, oil, produce, and saddles. This diversification helped the company survive the collapse of Knoxville's wholesaling sector, which brought the closures of numerous decades-old firms such as Cowan, McClung and Company.