Lewis Edward Wadsworth, Jr

Lewis Edward Wadsworth, Jr, born 21 Nov 1915, Hawthorne, Alachua CO, FL, died 14 Oct 1985, Jacksonville, Duval CO, FL, married 01 Jun 1936, St Augustine, St Johns CO, FL by Rev A E Calkins to Angela Agusta Carpenter, dau of Eugene Lee Carpenter and Lulu May Pipes, born 22 Jan 1915, Edna, Jackson CO, TX, died 19 Jan 1981, Baptist Hospital, Jacksonville, Duval CO, FL. Both buried Pellicer Creek Cemetery, St John's CO, FL.

Lewis began his career in the lumber business when he was 14 years old working with his father in the commissary at the St. Joseph Turpentine Still in present-day Palm Coast, selling rice, dried beans and sweet’ning (sugar) to the turpentine hands.

According to Linda DuPont, a correspondent for the Palm Coast News; after beginning his working days between 3 and 4 a.m. in the morning, Lewis asked his father why they had to get up so early every morning. “Son, nobody gets up before the bossman,” his father emphasized to him and he never forgot the example.

After graduating from Montverde High School in Lake CO, FL and attending the University of Florida for three months in 1933, he worked with his father, particularly while his father was in the state legislature, until the elder Wadsworth died on 21 Sep 1935.

He was 18 when his father died and according to Cynthia Parks, a staff writer for The Florida Times-Union out of Jacksonville, he took over the “commissary, a workforce of 35 families and their houses and the thousands of clay cups that caught the oozing resin from cat faces blazed on pines. It was up to him to manage his father’s 6,000 acres of pine lands and another 24,000 acres the crew worked.”

Lewis then worked for his mother and in 1938 was given a "working interest" in what was called the Wadsworth Company.

His interest turned to growing timber in 1937 and the following year, with the help of H. M. Wilson of Jacksonville, Wadsworth started protecting from fire and growing timber extensively in 1938.

Lewis was a conservationist before it became popular. He was among the first to adopt progressive conservation practices at the turpentine still, and in the woods through fire control, tree planting and good forest management.

Wadsworth and Wilson sold out to Rayonier in 1942. Lewis continued to manage the family operation until 1944 when he started his own pulpwood and sawmill business.

On 03 Jul 1953, with the help of John Alfred (Jack) Clegg and John Davis (Dave) Perryman, Lewis organized the Bunnell Timber Company which grew into one of the largest and most progressive timber brokerage firms in the state.

In 1954, Lewis and his wife Angela, purchased the Cutting Estate in northern Flagler County from Princess Angela Mills Scherbatoff, widow of Prince Boris Sherbatoff, dethroned by Bolsheviks but honored by local society.

When the Wadsworth purchased the estate, Angela had become more royal in demeanor than the late prince. The locals took to calling the Cutting Estate, the former Cherokee Grove, "the Princess' Place." It had an air, just as she did.

The retreat had been built in 1886 for Angela’s first husband, Henry Mason Cutting, a wealthy New England sportsman. It was built by the artisans who built the Ponce de Leon Hotel (now Flagler College) in St Augustine and it resembled a European hunting lodge, it’s porch overlooking Matanzas River.

On 11 Jan 1957, Wadsworth Lumber Company was founded and was, at the time, the state’s largest suppliers of lumber, cross ties for the railroads and wood chips. The wood chips were an important by-product of Flagler County’s lumber industry were taken by truck to near-by pulp mills and used in the production of paper.

The company prospered and consisted of two of the most modern computerized lumber manufacturing operations in the Southeast and was considered to be a showcase of efficiency and quality lumber products.

Lewis’ success wasn’t bad, considering, according to writer Cynthia Parks, that “Wadsworth’s family prophesied: ‘That boy will throw away everything his daddy got before he’s 30.’”

In 1974, Wadsworth Lumber Company was purchased by ITT and Wadsworth remained with the company as president until his retirement on 01 Feb 1976. The company became ITT-Wadsworth Lumber Division.

The civic-minded Wadsworth served on the Flagler County Board of County Commissioners for several terms, was president of the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce in 1967, 1968, 1969, was president of the Flagler County Farm Bureau and was a named Honorary Director for the Florida Chamber of Commerce in 1997.

He served as president of the Florida Forestry Association from 1965-1968 and was a driving force in revitalizing the association, which is now a thriving and influential statewide organization.

He was also a director of the Atlantic Bank of St Augustine and the Florida Power and Light Company. He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Bunnell.

Lewis was called the Baron of Bunnell, which may not sound like royalty unless you hail from Flagler County where the Wadsworth holdings once represented our largest payroll.

In an interview in 1985 with Cynthia Parks, he talked about the trademarks of a turpentine recruiter: “a draft book for borrowing money against the resin output, a quart of whiskey and a .38, all packed in a black satchel.” Lewis said that he had dealt with pinhookers - - swamp rats looking for a fast buck - - and others who knew how to spend a dollar three times instead of twice. She wrote that Wadsworth’s favorite book was Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and if he had to be quoted, it would be: “I worked too hard, played too hard and drank too much liquor, but I enjoyed all of it.”

Parks’ story was posted on 05 Sep 1985 , Lewis died 39 days later. Issue;

1. Virginia Elizabeth Wadsworth, born 23 Mar 1937, Flagler Hospital, St Augustine, St Johns CO, FL

2. Lewis Edward Wadsworth III, born 12 Dec 1939, St Augustine, St Johns CO, FL, died 15 Feb 2012, St. Augustine, St. Johns CO, FL, married 03 Aug 1963, Westminister Presby Church, Atlanta, Fulton CO, GA, Donna Celeste Lassiter, dau of William G (Bill) Lassiter and Hazel Bernice Burnette, born 18 Jun 1942 (Div).

A 1959 graduate of Bunnell High School, he was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity at the University of Georgia and received his BBA degree in March 1964.

She received her BA degree in English from the University of Georgia (UGA) in Jun 1964. At UGA she served as 1st VP of Alpha Chi Omega and as secretary of the Panhellenic league. She was a member of the Angel Flight Honorary Drill Team, Military Ball Queen's Court, Miss Typical Freshman's Court, Alpha Tau Omega Sweetheart Court and Alpha Tau Omega’s Little Sisters of the Maltese Cross. Issue;

(1) Lewis Edward Wadsworth, IV, born 28 Oct 1967, St Augustine, St Johns CO, FL

(2) Britt Eden Wadsworth, born 28 Jul 1969, St Augustine, St Johns CO, FL, married 28 Nov 1998, Putnam CO, FL, Michael Edward Mulligan

Lewis Edward Wadsworth III, married 2nd, 14 Apr 1984, St Augustine, St Johns CO, FL, Lynnette Felicia Walls, born 18 May 1953, St Augustine, St Johns CO, FL

Donna Celeste Lassiter Wadsworth married 2nd 31 May 1985, Barry P. Katz

3. Chloe Wadsworth, born and died 30 Jun 1945, St Augustine, St Johns CO, FL, buried Hawthorne Cemetery, Hawthorne, Alachua CO, FL

Lewis Edward Wadsworth, Jr, married 2nd, Sonia Dianne Martin, born, Gilchrist CO, FL

 

Sources:

Delayed Certificate of Birth No. 20723, Florida State Board of Health, dated 01 Dec 1940; Delayed Standard Certificate of Birth File No. 63, Texas Department of Health, dated 31 Oct 1942; Florida Marriage Collection, 1927-2001;

Florida Power & Light Company Biographical Form, 07 Jul 1975; Autobiography for the Florida Forestry Association, 29 Dec 1975; Florida Chamber of Commerce Letter, Parke Wright, President, 11 Aug 1977;

Ancestors and Descendants of Lewis E Wadsworth and Lotta Mary Littledale by Joseph Brady Wadsworth, 01 Aug 1998;

The Daytona Beach News Journal, Daytona Beach, Florida, 22 Jul 1962; The Flagler Tribune, Bunnell, Florida, 25 Mar 1937, 01 Aug 1963, 02 Nov 1967, 31 Jul 1979, 29 Jan 1976; The Orlando Sentinel, Orlando, Florida, 11 Jan 1985; The Palm Coast News, Palm Coast, Florida, 28 Jan 1976.

Please send questions, corrections or additions to Sisco Deen, P.O. Box 637, Flagler Beach, FL 32136 or email him at Sisco_Deen@hotmail.com