Earl Paul Penland
12 November 1950
to Answer Opportunity's First Call
seldom had to whistle more than once for Earl Paul Penland.
A husky man with a thick shock of white hair and a razor-sharp mind, the
vice- president of the Reynolds-Penland Company, has taken advantages of
the breaks in the game of life in which the breaks many times influence
the final score.
Paul Penland, of course, is a staunch Texan. As such, he probably
would be the first to say that among the biggest breaks in his life was
his coming to Texas.
It must be pointed out, however, that this was not his choice. He
was only five years old at the time.
It was Christmas
Day, 1885, when Paul Penland was born on the farm of Mr. and Mrs. J. A.
Penland in Clay County, North Carolina.
"I spoiled that
Christmas for my family," Penland recalls with a chuckle, and an evident
By the time 1890
rolled around, the Penlands had seven sons.
"My father decided to come to Texas so we boys could have lots of wide,
open space to roam around," Paul Penland says.
in the move - perhaps just as important - was that the Penland homestead
was on a pretty steep hillside. As such, it was not the best place
in the world to raise crops.
So to Texas came
the Penlands and bought a farm in Bonham. Two years later they pulled
up the stakes again and purchased a farm on the outskirts of Whitewright.
It was a typical
blackland farm. With profits from his cotton and corn, J. A. Penland
tried to feed the seven little mouths. As they grew up, the boys
helped. "Picking many a bale of cotton," Paul Penland recalls.
Incidentally, the late Dr. George W. Truett, venerated veteran pastor of
the First Baptist Church of Dallas, also was born in Clay County, North
Carolina, and his parents' farm was close to the Penlands. Dr. Truett
was the brother of Paul Penland's mother.
Penland attended high school in Whitewright and then went to Grayson College.
While going to school, he worked in a clothing store in Whitewright.
He had helped around a grocery store first, but jumped at a chance when
the clothier offered him the job.
Young Paul was an active, fun-loving youth. If he heard of somebody
giving a square dance or party, he'd call all his friends and he'd be there
gave him one of the first chances to practice an innate salesmanship.
Few people promenading around the floor didn't know before the dance was
over, that Paul Penland worked in a clothing store and would be very happy
to sell them anything they liked if they?d drop by and visit him.
But Whitewright offered limited opportunity. So in 1904, at nineteen,
he struck out for Dallas, when an older brother already was employed.
The brother worked
in a drug-store and had a room in an upper floor of the building.
Paul moved in.
Within no time, he had a job working for Sig Baldauf. It was Baldauf
who had given Ed Reynolds, president of Reynolds-Penland Company, his first
job in Dallas, too. Baldauf's store was located on part of the site
now occupied by Reynolds-Penland store.
When Baldauf died in 1906 Penland joined Burk & Company, another clothier.
Reynolds had worked for Burk, too, but had left to become a traveling salesman.
Five years later,
Penland was boys' wear buyer for another large clothing store. In
1925, he took charge of the store's men's department as well.
By 1929, Penland was ready to go in business for himself.
That was about the time that Ed Reynolds, by now operating his own little
store at the Baldauf's site, wanted Penland to join him.
The two had been good friends form many years. Reynolds was four
years older than Penland and about the same age as Penland's older brother.
These two had been close buddies and Paul Penland took a liking to Reynolds,
too. The two went out together on dates.
They had talked about the possibility of becoming partners for a long time.
When the time came, Penland borrowed
some money, added his own savings and the two prospective pillars of the
clothing business were mortared together.
In 1915, Penland
married Miss Lela Williams. In 1914, Penland moved into Dr. Truett's
home and started attending the First Baptist Church. And it was there
that his friendship with Lela Williams nurtured.
They have three sons - John Paul, William Rolfe and James Marr Penland.
Bill is a chemical engineer with the Standard Oil Company (Ohio) in St.
Louis. The other twoare with Reynolds-Penland.
The three sons
have in one respect, at least, made quite a hot seat out of the chair their
father occupies. John Paul attended Baylor, William, the University
of Texas, and Jimmy, Southern Methodist.
But the father has done his best to be a diplomat, a task not easy for
such an ardent football fan as he. His credo of doing business, like his
partner's, is quite simple. "If you work hard," Reynolds advises, "you're
bound to succeed."