Edwin A. Frost
Of the most progressive type of southern business men--alert, ambitious, enterprising--is Edwin A. Frost, of Shreveport, Louisiana. Although still numbered among young men, he has attained a high position in the commercial circles of his native section. In the lumber business he is "to the manner born," for his father, E. W. Frost, is one of the patriarchs of the lumber industry, and to the son have been transmitted many of the sterling qualities of the parent.
Edwin Ambrose Frost was born in Miller County, Arkansas, October 25, 1869. The lad grew up into a youth of more than average intelligence, attending the public school near his home and working on the farm during the vacation period until he was fourteen years old. The next two winter seasons he was a student at the College Hill school, Columbia County, Arkansas, where he took a college preparatory course. In 1886 the family moved from the farm to Stamps, Lafayette County, where the father was interested in the Bodcaw Lumber Company. When young Frost returned from school he gave up the idea of securing a college education for the purpose of gaining a practical course in the sawmill of the Bodcaw company. His father humored him, convinced that the youthful mind would be changed after a trial, and for a year the young man trucked lumber about the sawmill. This experience was sufficient to bring the younger Frost to the realization that the chances of success would be greater if his mind were broadened and developed by a college course. His father sent him to the Southwestern Baptist University, at Jackson, Tennessee, one of the oldest sectarian colleges in the South. Matriculating in 1887, Mr. Frost in 1890 graduated with the degree of bachelor of philosophy. Later, he attended Draughan's Business College, at Texarkana, Arkansas.
The day after Mr. Frost left business college he became bookkeeper for C. T. Crowell, of Texarkana, who was interested in the Black Lake Lumber Company, which concern was building a mill two miles east of Dubberly, Louisiana.
He applied himself to the work before him in a manner that has characterized his later business affairs, and while he was an office employee he found time to study the operation of the mill in its various departments. At the end of nine months, when he resigned his position to become bookkeeper for the Red River Lumber Company, at New Lewisville, Lafayette County, Arkansas, he had a theoretical knowledge of the business. Beginning his labors there in the spring of 1891, Mr. Frost in less than a year was promoted to the position of shipping clerk, and the executive qualities shown by him subsequently led to his becoming manager of the company. When the Red River concern was sawed out in 1894, the mill was moved to Frostville, Arkansas, on the Shreveport branch of the Cotton Belt system, fifteen miles south of New Lewisville, Mr. Frost continuing as manager. In 1899 Mr. Frost became associated with his father as manager of the Lufkin Land & Lumber Company, in which organization E. W. Frost was the moving spirit. A mill with an annual capacity of 6o,000,000 feet of longleaf and shortleaf yellow pine was operated at Lufkin, Texas. In May, 1903, George A. Kelley succeeded to the management of the company, but Mr. Frost retained the positions of secretary and treasurer, to which he had been elected, until the sale of the property, in June, 1905, to the Long-Bell Lumber Company.
In the formation of the Union Saw Mill Company, of Huttig, Union County, Arkansas, Mr. Frost was most active. He made a preliminary examination of 90,000 acres of short-leaf yellow pine in Union County, Arkansas, and in Union Parish, Louisiana, and subsequently assisted C. D. Johnson, president of the company, in the transfer of the titles to this timber. Mr. Frost is vice president of the company, and vice president of the Little Rock & Monroe Railway Company, which road was built by Mr. Johnson and his associates not only to facilitate the handling of the timber, but to develop a large territory in Arkansas.
In the De Soto Land & Lumber Company, of Mansfield, Louisiana, Mr. Frost holds the position of president. The organization was perfected in December, 1904, though two years before that Mr. Frost bought 15o,000,000 feet of standing timber near Mansfield, these holdings having since been doubled. A single band mill is operated by the company south of Mansfield, near the junction of the Kansas City Southern and the Texas & Pacific railroads.
Most of Mr. Frost's time and energies are centered in the management of the Frost-Trigg Lumber Company's affairs at Shreveport, Louisiana, of which he took charge in the summer of 1903. As general manager of the company he has charge of its large manufacturing interests, the three mills operated having a combined capacity of i00,000,000 feet a year of long-leaf and shortleaf pine. One of these mills is located at Frostville, Arkansas, where shortleaf is manufactured for the yard trade. The second mill is at Mansfield, Louisiana. The other mill is at Noble, Louisiana, where longleaf is sawed particularly for the eastern trade.
In March, 1906, Mr. Frost was elected president of the Noble Lumber Company, of Noble, Louisiana. This concern in May, 1902, succeeded the R. L. Trigg Lumber Company, and in the following November Mr. Frost and C. D. Johnson reorganized its affairs and Mr. Frost was elected secretary and treasurer and general manager.
In February, 1906, Mr. Frost located the timber upon which was later based the operations of the Black Lake Lumber Company, of Campti, Louisiana, which he organized in the following March. The capital stock is $1,000,000 and the annual capacity is 30,000,000 feet. The officers are E. A Frost, president; F. T. Whited, vice president; H. H. Wheless, secretary, and G. S. Prestridge, treasurer.
Mr. Frost is a stockholder in the Kelley Land & Lumber Company, of Lufkin, Texas, and in the Carter-Kelley Lumber Company, of Manning, Texas.
In addition to his extended manufacturing interests in Arkansas and Louisiana, Mr. Frost is a stockholder and an officer in several financial institutions. He is president of the Lufkin National Bank and president and a director of the State National Bank, of Texarkana, Arkansas. He is also president and a director of the State Savings & Trust Company, of Texarkana, and a director of the De Soto Bank, of Mansfield, Louisiana.
Mr. Frost is a Royal Arch Mason and an Odd Fellow, affiliated with lodges at Lufkin. He is a member of the Caddo Club, of Shreveport. He is also a member of Hoo-Hoo and has served faithfully as vicegerent snark.
While located at New Lewisville, Arkansas, Mr. Frost married Miss Jennie Chappelle, November 3, 1892. Two daughters have gladdened the married life of the couple. The children are Mary, aged eleven years, and Elizabeth, aged ten years. Upon moving to Shreveport to make that city his home, Mr. Frost built a beautiful residence, where true southern hospitality is dispensed.
As stated before, Mr. Frost is a wide-awake, progressive business man. He is an excellent type of that class of southerners who are thoroughly alive to the possibilities and opportunities of that vast section of the country. Upon first meeting Mr. Frost, the stranger may receive an erroneous impression as to his character, because of his soft-spoken words and quiet demeanor. But by no means are these an indication of indifference or lack of force, for on acquaintance Mr. Frost impresses every one with his alertness and well-controlled energy. He does not seek nor desire commendation from the public, but modestly accepts from friends the merited praise which is given him. He is a scholar as well as a thorough business man, and is able to indulge his taste for the best in literature from his own fine library.