TEXAS AND TEXANS
Published 1941, Pgs. 1746-1747
Hon. Edwin J. Mantooth.
It is rare indeed that nature, in the distribution of her gifts, favors an individual with so many and varied talents as are possessed by Judge Edwin J. Mantooth, of Lufkin. Well know in financial affairs as vice-president of the Lufkin National Bank, prominent in industrial and commercial concerns of this city and at times the incumbent of high official position, he is one of his community's men of power and influence. Also for many years he has been known as one of this section's most distinguished legistais dean of all the attorneys of Angelina county, and because of his long connection with the bar and with those movements and measures which have had a direct bearing upon the welfare and upbuilding of this region, it would be difficult to find an individual who has a more intimate knowledge of the events which have shaped its history and the men who have promoted its progress. He has been a resident of Texas since 1857, and is a son of Thomas Mantooth who brought his family hither from Tennessee, made the journey by wagon, crossed the Mississippi river at Natches and located first on the Neches river in Angelina county. He was a cattle man and small farmer and soon located at Homer, the county seat of Angelina, where he died in 1865.
Thomas Mantooth was born in North Carolina February, 1811, and was a son of Thomas Mantooth, who died in the Old North state. He acquired little more than the elemental principles of an education, rather shunned public appearance, but was induced to accept the office of probate judge. He opposed secession and Texas left the Union, when he lent his moral aid to the cause of the South. He possessed strong personal convictions, expressed them rather decidedly but with consideration for the feelings of others and was a man of wide popularity. He was of Scotch blood and was or is believed, of colonial ancestry. In his family relations, Thomas Mantooth, Jr., married first Mary Sisk, and they became the parents of the following children: Albert, who died in Lufkin in 1899 and left a family; Eveline, who married Austin Vinson and died here in 1893; John, who passed away in 1859, unmarried; and Calvin, who is a retired merchant and an ex-Confederate soldier and resides at Lufkin. For his second wife Mr. Mantooth was married to Miss Lydia Dillon, a Tennessee woman and of Irish Blood. She was born in 1829 and she and her husband and a young daughter passed away at the same time as a result of poison administered to them by a quack doctor of the community, who, however, had no intention of committing a crime. Of their eight children, seven grew up, namely: Lafayette, a prominent physician and surgeon, who died in 1911, at Lufkin, leaving a family: Edwin J., of this review; W. Blackburn, who passed away here in 1901 and left children; Florence, who is Mrs. W.H. Bonner, of Lufkin; Hester, who married B.L. McPherson, of Lufkin; and Thomas C., ex-sheriff of Angelina county, who also is a resident of this community.
Edwin J. Mantooth was born in Cocke county, Tennessee, April 10, 1852, and was educated in the rural schools. His youth was passed as a farmer and at eighteen years of age he took a clerkship at Homer with a dry goods house. As a further preparation for life he subsequently attended an academy at Pennington, Trinity county, Texas, and made his law preparation in Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tennessee, where he was graduated with the class of 1879.
Mr. Mantooth was admitted to the bar at Homer during that same year by Judge Wood, and upon the recommendation of his examining committee, composed of Judge R.H. Guinn, Judge Sam A. Wilson, H.H. Lane and R.E. Bordon. He was elected county attorney immediately and tried his first, important case in court as the incumbent of that position. He declined a second term and entered the practice alone, and, save for his present professional association, and his partnership with W.J. Townsend, he was practiced his calling alone. He is now a senior member of the law firm of Mantooth & Collins, and his practice for years has been largely in land and corporations and in closing up estates of deceased persons, several of which he has handled as executor without bond and which have involved property worth from one hundred and fifty thousand to two and one-half millions of dollars.
Mr. Mantooth's business connections are extensive and varied. He owns a majority of the stock of the Lufkin Telephone Company, which he promoted; was one of the organizers of the Lufkin National Bank, and has been its vice-president and a member of its directing board ever since; is a stockholder of several lumber mills of the county and is general counsel for all of them, and his contributions to the building interests of Lufkin have been large, including his personal residence on Raguet street. Here his grounds are the largest of any private home in Lufkin, and in addition he holds much other valuable real estate in the city.
Among his early appearances in politics was as a delegate in the convention that named Horace Chilton over W.B. Herndon for delegate to the National Democratic Convention. He was also a delegate to the state convention that nominated Hogg for attorney general, and to the convention that nominated Throckmorton, Hubbard and Hogg for governor and supported the latter all through his political campaigns. In the state-wide movement of 1887, Judge Mantooth was in the campaign for prohibition and has been more or less connected with the battles for temperance in the state ever since. He is not connected with any fraternal order, but is a member of the Christian church, and has been liberal in its support.
On May 31, 1874, Judge Mantooth was married at Lufkin to Miss Callie Watson, a daughter of David and Jean (Clark) Watson. Mr. Watson came to Texas before the outbreak of the war between the South and the North, from Mississippi. He spent his life as a farmer, and reared only one child. Judge and Mrs. Mantooth have had these children: Louis P., who died at the age of thirty years, leaving four children by his wife, who had been Lela Bonner; Edwin Wood, M.D., a graduate of Tulane University, who died in 1910, at the age of twenty-eight years; Dell, who is the wife of W.E. Lanter, of Orange, Texas; Winnie, now Mrs. G.W. Shotwell, a merchant of Lufkin; Milton, of this city; Chloe, the wife of C.B. Collins, law partner of Judge Mantooth; Cleo, who married Kester Denman, a successful practicing lawyer of Lufkin; Winifred, who died at the age of thirteen years; and Misses Robbie and Mollie, who make their home with their parents.