EDWARD H. LINGO. A lumber veteran, the oldest and staunchest exponent of the industry in the state of Texas, and a man esteemed and admired by a nationwide following of friends —- is a suggestive manner of describing the position of Edward H. Lingo of Deni- son. Coming to Denison in 1872, more than forty years ago, partly to restore his health and partly in search of business opportunities, E. H. Lingo found an abundance of both as is attested by the fact that at the age of seventy-five he is as hale and rugged as many men twenty years his junior, and furthermore he stands and long has stood in the front rank of the lumber merchants of the southwest.
Edward H. Lingo was born October 12, 1838, at Millsboro, Delaware, a son of Levi and Jane (Waples) Lingo, both natives of Delaware. His father was a stock raiser, and died in 1846. In 1852 the widowed mother moved to Chillicothe, Missouri, when her son Edward was fourteen years of age. She died in 1863. Of the four children, three sons and a daughter, the only one living is now Mr. Lingo, of Denison. As the Lingo name is traced to French ancestry, the maternal stock is English. Mr. Lingo has no relatives of the name in Texas except his own family, but has a large relationship over the state including the prominent Waples and Platter families.
The early education of Mr. Lingo was acquired in the public schools of Missouri, with some higher studies in Central College at Fayette, Missouri. While a young man at Chillicothe, he worked in a dry goods store, and at the age of twenty-two went west, overland to California, and remained on the coast for about four years. He fell in with some sharpers, who left him with a bankrupt business while they took away most of his funds, and in a few weeks he was walking the streets of San Francisco in search of a job. The manufacturing company finally offered him seventy-five cents a day as a common laborer, and at the end of three years he had made himself worth a great deal more to the concern, and had a responsible position. In 1866, returning to Missouri, he began his career as a lumberman in that state in 1867. Again reverses met him, and consumed his resources, so that he started in to earn a living by the hard labor entailed in unloading lumber from cars at a lumber yard. This gave him at least an intimate contact with the real material, and he states a fact that is no doubt true, of the majority of men of practical affairs in whatever industry, that a large number of successful Texas lumbermen'at the present time started in the business in a similar manner.
When Mr. Lingo came to Texas in 1872, he located at Denison which had just become a railroad town, and a center of population and industry. There he organized a co-partnership to do a retail lumber business, the other member being J. P. Leeper of Richmond, Missouri. As J. P. Leeper & Company, the firm prospered, and later took a new title as Waples, Lingo & Company. In 1888 the great firm of Burton-Lingo Company was organized by Willard Burton and E. H. Lingo. This has grown and prospered and is now one of the great retail lumber firms of the southwest, its original owners still being more or less active. Mr. Lingo had in the meantime also organised the lime yard firm of Lingo-Leeper & Company, at Denison, and from that date began spreading yards all over North Texas and Oklahoma, until more than fifty cities and towns of those two states have had Burton-Lingo branches as important commercial concerns of the community. Mr. Lingo also organized the Lingo Lumber Company at Dallas, which is managed by his son William M., and which taken individually is one of the largest concerns of its kind in North Texas.
In the great industry which he has helped build up, Mr. Lingo now stands somewhat in the relation of president emeritus, actively interested in all its affairs, but no longer participating in any of the details. For more than forty years his regular home has been at Denison, which was his first love among Texas cities, and to it he has always remained loyal. He is prominent in local affairs, being a director of the State National Bank, a member of the Chamber of Commerce, served two terms as mayor, but has little taste for such practical politics, and keeps away from the worries and distractions of public life. He was a Democrat up to the time William J. Bryan was first nominated at Chicago in 1896, and since then has allied himself with the Republican party in theory at least. He is a member of the Episcopal church and for nearly forty years has been senior warden of that society.
In May, 1866, at Chillicothe, Missouri, Mr. Lingo married Miss Anna B. Platter, a daughter of Andrew Platter, a farmer, who died seven years ago. Mr., and Mrs. Lingo have two living children: W. M. Lingo, head of the Lingo Lumber Company at Dallas, and Mrs. Cora J. Kelly, whose husband, H. G. Kelly, is one of the vice presidents of the Grand Trunk Railway Company, and lives at Montreal, Canada. Mr. Lingo and his devoted wife and companion reside in a splendid home, which he recently built in Denison, located at 1131 West Sears Street.
An appreciation of Mr. Lingo as a lumberman and citizen was recently published in the Gulf Coast Lumberman, and as all his old associates and others who know anything about his career would readily confirm every statement of that sketch, it is appropriate to quote two or three paragraphs therefrom: "A remarkable man from a variety of viewpoints is Mr. Lingo, one of the original organizers of the Lumberman's Association of Texas, and one of the ex-presidents of the association, he has long been a strong adherent and abettor of that organization and a power in its councils. He is one of the most progressive men in the industry. The many years that have whitened his hair and beard have not yet made him an 'old-timer' from a standpoint of effectiveness. He is for everything that is modern and progressive. He is a favorite with both the young and the old—famous for the virile optimism that makes him a figure of natural prominence in any lumber gathering. A meeting of Texas retail lumberman is flat, stale and unpalatable without Mr. Lingo's presence. He is a leading spirit always, noted for his square dealings and splendid business judgment.
He has seen the Texas lumber industry develop from infancy and chaotic conditions to the third largest and most important industry of the commonwealth. If Mr. Lingo would write the lumber history of Texas it would be a most remarkable volume. He has seen two generations of lumbermen come and go in this state, has been called upon to weather the business and financial storms that have swept over the lumbering southwest during that time, and has merged from the fire with a fair competence and the best of physical and mental condition to enjoy the fruits of his labors. The average man who spends two generations of time in business and establishes a fortune finds himself incapable of enjoying the fruits of his labor. Not so with Mr. Lingo, who is enjoying life to its fullest and continues and will continue to give :i generous service to the world which knows him."