The seven-member company formed to develop the town of Nicodemus in 1877. S. P. Roundtree, the company's secretary, was an African American minister from Kentucky; he was branded on one cheek when a boy because the master's son had taught him how to read. W. R. Hill, the company's treasurer, was a white man from Indiana who had experience developing towns. W. H. Smith, the company's president, was an African American born in Tennessee. Ben Carr, vice president, was an African American. The others were Jerry Allsap, Jeff Lenze and William Edmona, all from Kentucky. W. R. Hill and W. H. Smith later became business associates in the development of the Hill City Town Company. For more see The Origins and Early Promotion of Nicodemus, by K. M. Hamilton.