Mastery of details with, at the same time, a grasp of general principles and possession of a breadth of view, ambition and enterprise seldom equaled, characterize the subject of this sketch, who in 1905 was the head, in fact as well as in name, of the largest lumber wholesaling institution in the United States, and probably in the world, and also one of the heaviest lumber producers of the country.
Edward Hines is a native of Buffalo, New York, where he was born July 31, 1863, being the oldest of seven children and the only son. In 1865 his parents moved to Chicago. There, as a boy, he attended the public school, after which he worked for about eighteen months in a grocery store at $10 a month. He then began his lumber training in the humble capacity of tally boy with the cargo commission firm of Peter Fish & Bro. In a few months he obtained a position with the wholesale lumber firm of S.K. Martin & Co., starting in as office boy at $4 a week.
During the time he was with Mr. Martin he was rapidly promoted, reaching the position of bookkeeper and general office man, and also serving four years on the road as traveling salesman. When the business was incorporated, in 1884, Mr. Hines, then only twenty-one years old, was made secretary and treasurer. All this was accomplished in less than seven years. From 1884 until 1892 he served most acceptably in this capacity, the S.K. Martin Lumber Company, during that time, attaining the highest rank in the Chicago lumber trade.
Deciding to engage in business on his own account, Mr. Hines organized and incorporated, in May, 1892, with a capital of $200,000, the Edward Hines Lumber Company, of which he was president and treasurer; L. L. Barth, vice-president, and C. F. Wiehe, secretary. Associated with him in this enterprise was the late Jesse Spalding, who at that time operated extensive mills in the Menominee (Michigan) district. As the company grew and prospered, which it did despite the years of financial stress that followed its organization, its capital was increased with the volume of business transacted.
Late in 1902 the Spalding interests in the company were transferred to Frederick Weyerhaeuser, Edward Rutledge, J.W. Cochran and Henry Cochran, and these gentlemen, with L.L. Earth, C.F. Wiehe and Edward Hines, comprise the stockholders of the company.
The rapid growth and the magnitude of the operations of this company under Mr. Hines' direction have been absolutely without a parallel in lumber history. During its first year it handled 93,200,066 feet of lumber and its business increased steadily each year, even during the dull time following the panic year of 1893. In 1901 the sales were approximately 300,000,000 feet; and in 1902, with new and extensive manufacturing connections, it handled a total of 472,746,411 feet of lumber, lath and shingles. Its 1905 record was 530,412,020 feet; probably by far the largest quantity of lumber ever handled by any one firm in a single year.
The passing years have wrought wondrous changes in the scope, character and resources of the Edward Hines Lumber Company. At the beginning of its career the company did a purely jobbing business, buying and distributing northern stocks. During the summer of 1892, the new concern accumulated some stock which it put into pile on its Blue Island Avenue yard in Chicago. Mr. Hines' first important deal in the purchase of lumber was negotiated during the first month of the company's existence, when he bought the entire Chicago stock of Thomas R. Lyon, Agent, a transaction which was regarded as immense for that time, aggregating in money as it did the sum of $200,000. The company then undertook a general wholesaling business, shipping to country dealers in car load lots.
Other purchases followed in rapid succession. In 1894 the stock of Arthur Gourley & Co. was bought for $150,000. The purchase of the S.K. Martin Lumber Company followed in April, 1895, t^ie P"ce being $400,000. The Hamilton & Merryman Company, which had operated a wholesale yard in Chicago since 1865, sold its business and 10,000,000 feet of stock to the Hines company, in 1897, for $150,000. In 1898 the I. Stephenson Company, which had been in business in Chicago for forty-five years, sold its stock to the Edward Hines Lumber Company for $200,000. The new Arthur Gourley Company, which had bought out Perley Lowe & Co., was bought by the Hines company, in 1901, for $175,000. The Edward Hines Lumber Company has, in the thirteen years of its existence, purchased six Chicago yards at a cost of $1,200,000.
The first notable purchase of timber lands and mills by this company occurred in 1897. In that year it bought 200,000,000 feet of standing timber near Ashland, Wisconsin, from Weyerhaeuser & Rutledge. In 1898 Mr. Hines bought the McCord & Co. sawmill at West Superior, Wisconsin, including 150,000,000 feec of timber. In 1900 he purchased for the company from Street, Chatfield & Co., Chicago, 60,000,000 feet of standing timber near Duluth.
In 1901 he acquired 150,000,000 feet of standing timber near Duluth owned by the Soper Lumber Company, of Chicago, and the Hall & Munson Company, of Bay Mills, Michigan. In the fall of 1901 he bought 300,000,000 feet of standing timber in Douglas County, Wisconsin, known as the Musser-Sauntry property. A new company was organized by some of the directors of the Edward Hines Lumber Company, to operate this tract, under the name of the North Wisconsin Lumber & Manufacturing Company.
In January, 1902, Mr. Hines bought from Bigelow Bros, their mills at Washburn, Wisconsin, and 200,000,000 feet of stumpage. This purchase included the largest sawmill on Lake Superior and a logging railroad fifty-one miles in length.
In June, 1905, he purchased the property of the White River Lumber Company, at and near Mason, Wisconsin. This deal involved a large sawmill, planing mill, 500,000,000 feet of timber and the entire town of Mason, the purchase price of which was about $3,000,000.
Upon the organization of the National Bank of North America, of Chicago, in the formation of which, in 1902, he was a prominent factor, Mr. Hines was made a director. His knowledge of credits and his good judgment in financial matters made him a valuable counselor in that capacity. When, early in 1905, the president of the bank became involved in a trouble threatening its stability, Mr. Hines was one of a committee which, in an all-night session, sold the bank, with deposits of over $13,000,000 obtained in less than two years' time, to the Continental National Bank and liquidating it at $146.50 a share. Mr. Hines then was made a director in the Continental National Bank, known as the "Armour" bank.
For years he was an active member of the Lumbermen's Association, of Chicago, and, while he was several times tendered the highest office in that body, he always insisted that others be given the honor. In 1904 he was the only candidate proposed, receiving a unanimous vote as a tribute to his eminence in the trade and also to the constant effort he had made in forwarding the work of the organization.
Through Mr. Hines' efforts his company became, in 1903, the owner of the largest lumber carrying fleet on the Great Lakes. In 1905 the company owned twenty steamers and barges, with a capacity of 15,000,000 feet of lumber a trip.
In 1904, witnessing a rapid decline in the northern timber supply, the company began the purchase of southern pine timber and, by the close of 1905, had accumulated 150,000 acres of timber practically in a solid body and comprising 2,000,000,000 feet of stumpage.
Mr. Hines was married June 12, 1895, to Miss Loretta O'Doud, of Chicago, and has four children three sons and a daughter. The oldest is Edward L., the next is Ralph, then Charles, the daughter, Loretta, being the youngest.