Caddo, Oklahoma...
Saturday, September 23, 2017
The antique town on a buffalo trail.

Edward Lingo and Walton Leeper

 

 
A History of Texas and Texans, Volume 3
By Francis White Johnson, Ernest William Winkler
 
     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. 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 organized 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 these 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 generation" 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 a generous service to the world which knows him.
 
     Walton J. Leeper takes his place among the successful business men of Denison as a member of the firm known as the Lingo-Leeper Lumber Company, which he personally organized in 1895. He had been for some years previous to that identified with the lumber business, so that he was well qualified to manage a concern of his own, and he has experienced a pleasing degree of success in this enterprise in the years that have passed. The firm named above is one of the most progressive and modern in the city, and operates branch yards in Pottsboro, Texas, Sadler, Texas, and in Kemp City, Achille, Woodville, Kingston, Caddo, Caney, Tushka, Coleman, Clarita and Allen, all in Oklahoma.
     In all these cities the Lingo-Leeper Lumber Company handle a general line of building material and the trade is constantly increasing as the new country develops.
     Walton J. Leeper was born on July 26, 1862, in Independence, Missouri, and he is a son of Daniel Ashby and Jute M. (Walton) Leeper. The father was a native Kentuckian while the mother was a Missourian. For years Daniel Ashby Leeper was a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and was prominently known in the Methodist Episcopal Conference of the state of Missouri. He died in March, 1868, and the mother died in 1905. They were the parents of two sons and four daughters, and Walton J. Leeper was the fourth born child of his parents.
     Walton J. Leeper had his early education in the public schools of Missouri. When he was still quite a young boy he left school and clerked for a while in a dry goods store of his native town, and after a time he went to Fayette, Missouri, where he attended Central College. At that time Bishop E. B. Hendrix was president of the college, and Mr. Leeper gained much from his indirect association with that worthy gentleman. He was twenty-two years of age when he left Central College, and in 1886 he came to Texas, locating almost immediately in Denison, where he has since been established.
     Mr. Leeper's first business association in this city was in his capacity of book-keeper for the Waples Brothers Lumber Company, and he was several years in their employ. It was there that he gained much of the knowledge of lumber operations that he brought to bear upon the business he organized himself in later years, thus proving himself something more than a mere hireling, even in his youth. In 1892 he engaged in the lumber business in Denison on his own responsibility, and three years later he organized the Lingo-Leeper Lumber Company, which has grown constantly in its operations, as has already been set forth in a previous paragraph. This concern is recognized today as being one of the foremost of its kind in this section of the state, and much of the credit for its extensions if indeed, all of it, may be laid with accuracy at the door of Mr. Leeper, who has been the leading spirit in the firm since its inception.
     Mr. Leeper has always been a staunch Democrat, and he has displayed a high order of citizenship in his years of residence in Denison. He is a member of the Woodmen of the World and of the Elks, and in his church relations is affiliated with the Methodist Episcopal Church South. He is also a member of the Chamber of Commerce in Denison, and a director of the body.
     On May 10, 1894, Mr. Leeper was married in Grayson county, Texas, to Miss Clara E. Chiles, a daughter of W. B. Chiles, long a farmer and stockman of Grayson county and one who had migrated to the state from Missouri just after the Civil war. He was a Confederate veteran, having served throughout the war, and he died in 1905.
     To Mr. and Mrs. Leeper one child has been born—a son, who is now eighteen years of age, and who is attending the Northwestern Military Academy at Highland Park, Illinois.
     Mr. Leeper has witnessed the growth of Denison from a town of about eight thousand population to eighteen thousand, and he regards the city as being yet in its infancy in point of growth and development. He is, on the whole, content with his location and is devoted to the state in many ways.