EDWARD J. HINGSTON has long held a place in the front rank of Buffalo's solid citizens and successful men. Mr. Kingston is one of the leading general contractors of that city, and is especially identified with dredging and excavating enterprises together with the building of water mains and submarine structures. He is a master of his business and a man of first class executive ability.
Mr. Kingston is of English and Danish ancestry and comes of a family whose records have been preserved for many generations. The Hingstons are descended from the Danish chief, Hengist, who with Horsa fought King Alfred and finally received from that king a grant of land in Kent and Devonshire. The family name means "son of Hengist." .The Hengistsons or Hingstons were 500 years ago a knightly family in Devonshire. When the Civil War broke out in England the Hingstons took the Parliamentary side and served under Cromwell in Ireland, receiving for their reward a grant of land in County Cork, where the branch of the family from which Edward J. Hingston sprang made its home. To this line belongs also Sir William Hingston, who was Mayor of Montreal, and was knighted by Queen Victoria because of his distinguished attainments as a surgeon. Edward Hingston, father of Edward J. Hingston, was a master ship-builder of Dublin, and built some of the finest merchant vessels ever constructed in that port. In 1843 he came to this country and engaged in the shipbuilding business at Thomaston, now Rockland, Me. In 1844 he died at the age of thirty-four. He was a man of exceptional ability and by his death a career of great promise was cut short. In 1841 he married Elizabeth Jenkins of Whitehaven, Cumberland, England.
Edward J. Hingston was born at Thomaston, Me., January 22, 1844. His boyhood and youth were spent in England, and he was educated at the National School in Liverpool, where he taught school for some time. When eighteen years old he returned to this country and settled in Buffalo, where he learned the ship-builder's trade. After five years spent in that business he became bookkeeper for a well-known firm of Buffalo dredgers, and continued in that capacity for ten years. He then engaged in the dredging business for himself, forming a partnership with Arthur Woods, under the firm style of Hingston & Woods. This copartnership prospered from the outset, and soon gained a leading reputation in its field, executing dredging contracts at the principal ports of the Great Lakes and tributary rivers. Among the enterprises with which Messrs. Kingston & Woods were identified may be mentioned the building of the inlet pier of the Buffalo Water Works, the construction of the Lehigh Valley slips at Buffalo, the building of water mains for Rochester, Syracuse, Erie, Dunkirk and Tonawanda, and large rock removal contracts at Buffalo, Dunkirk, Erie, Oswego, Ashtabula, New Brunswick, N. J., and Sault Ste. Marie. The firm of Kingston & Woods was dissolved in 1902. Ten years before Mr. Hingston had become a member of the firm of Hingston, Rogers & O'Brien, which did a very successful business and existed till 1903, and he was also a partner in Leh & Co., dock-builders. In 1902 the Lake Erie Dredging Company was organized, with Mr. Hingston as its general manager. The concern carries on a large general dredging business, principally at ports on Lake Erie and Sault Ste. Marie River. It has successfully fulfilled a great number of contracts of important character, involving many critical problems of engineering and practical work. It is today one of the representative contracting concerns of the Great Lakes region.
In the diverse enterprises with which he has been connected, Mr. Hingston has demonstrated that he possesses a superior order of administrative ability and executive skill. His technical knowledge has been confirmed and amplified by extensive experience. He is sound in methods, fertile in resources, and is the kind of man who may be relied on to materialize projects into results. Mr. Kingston's business pursuits have never obliterated the scholastic tastes of his youth, and his leisure time is chiefly spent in literary studies.
Mr. Kingston is a Mason of long standing, having been affiliated since 1866 with Washington Lodge, P. & A. M. He is H member of the Buffalo and Oakfield clubs, and was for many years connected with the Lafayette Presbyterian Church.
July 22, 1872, Mr. Hingston married Mary E. Rees, daughter of Thomas and Hannah (Roberts) Rees of Buffalo. Mr. and Mrs. Hingston have two daughters, Louise, now Mrs. H. A. Meldrum, and Genevieve, now the wife of Mr. Clarence Spaulding Sidway.
SOURCE: Memorial and Family History of Erie County New York; Volume I