Each month seems to have its full quota of deaths to record among the members of the lumber trade in Texas and vicinity, and now we are called upon to chronicle the demise of one whose name may be said to have been a household word everywhere. Dennis Call, of Beaumont, one of the best known lumbermen in east Texas, one of the young pioneers of the business, has passed away in the full prime of young manhood and at the height of his very useful life. He died at Beaumont, Texas, on the morning of December 30th, 1904.
While the sickness which finally overcame the deceased has been of long standing, it was not until very recently of sufficient force to remove him from the field of business activity. Activity with Denny Call meant strenuous business work for himself, for the lumber trade, and for the upbuilding of the city of his adoption, Beaumont. His work for years has been felt in the promotion of every movement for placing the Southwest country prominently before the world. He was a pure product of east Texas, a district which has produced very many of the foremost men of Texas, both in business, politics, and the professions. During his business life, most of the riches of east Texas have been developed, and he participated not only in the resulting wealth, but in all the hard work upon which that wealth was predicated. An enthusiast by nature, sanguine, even optimistic, he predicted success for himself and his section, and by the sheer force of the determination of himself and associates made it follow fawning. In his death the lumber trade has lost one of its brightest products, the business interests of his state have sustained a distinct loss, his friends have lost an ardent brother, and his family a devoted head.
In the past work of the lumber trade, in the upbuilding of its associations, in the work of Hoo-Hoo, Mr. Call has ever been in the forefront, and his passing will be deeply deplored all over our section by those who realize that such gaps are hard indeed to fill.
Below we give an excellent description of his life, written by a Beaumont correspondent and printed in many papers: “Dennis Call was born in Orange, Orange county, forty-nine years ago. Dennis 'Tramway' Call, as he was familiarly spoken of by his Hoo-Hoo friends, because, true to the customs of the order, he was without a middle name, and the requirements of the organization were that they should give him one, and it was 'Tramway.'
“He belongs strictly to that class known as self-made men, and grew from a stripling of a country boy to manhood in the home of his native town. Orange being strictly a lumber town at that time, it was but natural that the young man should follow, such a pursuit, and he became interested, first in the logging end of the business, where he made such a success in company with that stalwart old citizen, who has grieved at the bedside of the younger man through all his trials and ill health, George Adams, $r. These two men furnished a peculiar combination, but certainly a most successful one. They planned together, worked together and saved their hard-earned money together. One was young, energetic, keen and persistent. T he older man was as a safety valve in many respects, and a good man to handle men in their chosen calling.
“The two men accumulated a fortune, and then the younger one sold out after a fine modern mill had been built on the line of the old Gulf, Beaumont & Kansas City, near Call Station. This saw mill was for a long time the best in southeast Texas in cleanliness and convenient arrangement. Later on it was burned to the ground, but that was after Mr. Call had sold his interest in it.
"When he sold out to Mr. Adams he moved to Beaumont and organized the Beaumont National Bank. At that time the First National Bank was the only one in Beaumont. It had been healthy and prosperous. Mr. Call’s institution was also prosperous and rapidly rose to one of the leading financial institutions of Texas without interfering with the older concern. Mr. Call and Col. Davidson were always friendly and always worked to each other’s interests, and at the same time to Beaumont's interests. Mr. Call, although a busy man, was always ready to get out and push Beaumont. He would devote hours of time to details in any prospective enterprise, always subscribed liberally to stock in anything that would come this way, was a leading member of the Chamber of Commerce and conspicuously pushed the whole of southeast Texas forward in the business world.
He was a devoted member of the order of Hoo-Hoo, of which he was a pioneer member. He held the highest offices in the order, and would always be on hand at the Hoo-Hoo annuals on the ninth day of the ninth month (September) of each year, and promptly at the ninth second of the ninth minute of the ninth hour he would answer roll call. From one end of the United States to the other he is known in Hoo-Hoo and lumber circles.
"He married Miss Holland twenty-seven years ago, and she survives him. He has a brother in Orange, George Call. Mr. and Mrs. Call have in the past entertained extensively in both Beaumont and Orange. They always had a smile and a kind word both for rich and poor. For this reason Mrs. Call will today receive the sympathy of perhaps a larger number of mourners than ever suffered the pangs from the coming of the grim reaper of Death in any community.
“For two years or more Mr. Call has been a victim of the dreaded Bright’s disease. He has traveled all over the United States in search of relief, and but recently returned to Beaumont from Europe, where he tried the famous watering places of Switzerland. It was all to no avail. Only a short time since they took him to Marlin, thinking, perhaps, that the waters of Texas might bring back strength and vigor to this man who was so beloved. Again was disappointment in store for his friends and for himself, and they returned to Beaumont a few days ago, and since that time have awaited the coming of the inevitable. Death was expected, but it is none the less saddening to the lives of those who surrounded the man during his life. No words can sooth the aching hearts of his loving wife and kinsmen. Friends can only express sorrow, while a belief in God is the condolence for the softening of the arrow’s wound.”
In Houston the death of Mr. Call was especially felt. Orange, Beaumont and Houston were all home places to him. In these three cities perhaps his loss is more keenly deplored than elsewhere. Expressions made by local lumbermen all show that he was a man worthy of the wholesale friendship which he inspired.
The funeral occurred at Orange, Texas, on the last day of the old year, in the old city cemetery, around whose borders he played as a boy and within which so many of his friends and relatives have been laid. His body was met at the depot by a vast concourse of people. The business of the city was entirely suspended for this sorrowful home coming. Sadly the citizens of Orange mingled with the friends who composed the funeral escort, friends from Beaumont, Houston and all through the piney woods district. The body was surrounded by seventy members of the Beaumont lodge of Masons, which included a large contingent from the Beaumont commandery of Knights Templars in full uniform. More than a hundred members of Madison lodge No. 126, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, of this city were in waiting, and, headed by the Beaumont brass band, followed by the hearse, the procession started from the corner of Fifth and Front streets. The Masonic bodies, the Woodmen of the World, the Elks and a host of mourning friends were in the long march to Evergreen cemetery, where the Masonic rites were first rendered, then a religious service by Rev. V. A. Godby, pastor of the Methodist church at Beaumont, followed by the Knights Templars and the Woodmen of the World.
The pall bearers who marched beside the hearse were John B. Goodhue, J. D. Campbell, Judge D. P. Wheat, R. M. Mothner, W. A. Davis, D. M. Marshall, Fred Gann and Judge Robert A. Greer.
Many old citizens gave it as their recollection that never had they seen so many mourners at a funeral in this The train was two hours late in reaching the city, but the weather was pleasant and the throng that had been waiting showed not the least impatient. Beautiful flowers were banked about and above the grave, and the entire ceremony was most solemn and impressive.
Friends From Galveston.
The Galveston party which attended the funeral of Mr. Call was composed of the following: Messrs. W. B. Lockhart, E. C. Pitkin, Frank H. Miller, Thomas Webster, F. C. Cole, Camille Reidrich, S. Parker Wilson, Albert Shafer and C. F. J. Artz.
The ceremonies at Beaumont those known as the Kadosh rites, and such as are administered at rare intervals in the life of any local chapter. Mr. Call was a Mason of the thirty-second degree and stood high in the esteem of his bothers in the order.
The Kadosh funeral rites, administered in the present instance by Mr. E. C. Pitkin, of this city, as venerable master are very unusual ones, being observed at the midnight hour, and with lighted candles at special stations as the only illumination.
The last will and testament of Dennis Call has been filed for record in the County Probate Court. The original will is dated July 24, 1901, and a codicil is attached, dated October 24, 1904.
The will makes numerous bequests of the property, and shows the estate to be worth from $300,000 to $400,000. No inventory of the estate is contained in the will, and it is the desire of the deceased that such an inventory of all of his real and personal property should be made and filed within sixty days after the date of his death.
Mrs. Ella C. Call, wife of the deceased is appointed sole executrix without bond and a large part of the estate is willed to her separately.
The following bequests are made: Mrs. W. C. Call, mother, $2,000; George Call, of Orange, brother, $2,000; Lena Buell, sister, $2,000; Hildegarde Haggerty, only child of Eliza Haggerty, deceased sister of Dennis Call, $6,000; four children of Lena Buell, $8,ooo; Mrs. Ida Shepard, of Waco, $2,000; two children of Mrs. Ida Shepard, $4,000; Mrs. Annie Johnson, of Bryan, $2,000; four children of Mrs. Annie Johnson, $5,000.
To R. E. Russell, of Orange, the sum of $1,000 is bequeathed if he is alive at the end of three months after the death of Mr. Call. If he is not alive, the sum shall remain in the estate of Dennis Call.
The will directs that all of his lands in Jasper, Newton and Orange counties are to be sold as soon as practicable, also the city property at Orange. The will recites that the deceased owned one-half interest in 25,000,000 feet of pine timber in Jasper county with Mark Wiess, of Beaumont, and that he is the owner of one-half an interest in the lands. This property is left to his heirs-at-law, according to the terms of the will.
Stock in the Beaumont National Bank of the par value of $25,000 is willed to his beloved wife, Ella C. Call, and it is suggested that she retain this stock, as it is a good investment. To his wife is also willed the property on Calder avenue and also the place purchased this year from Dr. W. C. Ray for $7,500.
The instrument recites that Dennis Call owned notes of the aggregate amount of $200,000, most of which are well secured by mortgages. These are willed, one half to his wife, Mrs. Ella C. Call, and the other half to the legal heirs.
Life insurance policies in the sum of $25,000 are also made payable to Mrs. Ella C. Call.
In a codicil to the will, executed October 25, 1904, the bequest of $2,000 to Lena Buell is revoked and it is directed that the sum be turned over to the guardian of her four children for their use and benefit. A separate bequest of $255 made in the codicil in favor of Lena Buell. Stock in the T. S. Reed Grocery Company, of the par value of $25,300, is bequeathed to Mrs. Ella C. Call, also stock of the par value of $25,300 in the International Creosoting and Construction Company, of Galveston, is made payable to her. Six notes of the value of $12,000 are also left to Mrs. Ella C. Call.
Mrs. Ella C. Call, through her attorneys, has applied to the County Probate Court for administration on the will and to be named as sole executrix and for matters testamentary. The matter will be acted upon by Judge Wheat at the April term of court.