The Mantooths were one of Angelina County's early successful commercial families. The Mantooths of Lufkin became very wealthy as merchants, and their home was described in the author's youth as the Mantooth Mansion. The author's great-great grandfather Amos Spears operated an early Lufkin store in partnership with a Mantooth.
The family originated in Cocke Co., Tennessee but moved to Homer, Texas about 1857. By 1860 Thomas J. Mantooth had become a county official and served as "Chief Justice" according to the census. Thomas died in 1865 at Homer, and by 1870 his sons Calvin and Albert were merchants at Homer. Son William Blackburn Mantooth was still a student. Daughter Evelyn married Austin Vinson, Sr., and their son Austin, Jr., later lived at Burke.
When the Houston East & West Texas Railroad bypassed Homer, the Mantooth brothers moved their businesses along with many others to towns on the new railroad. Calvin took his business to Lufkin, while William Blackburn came to Burke.
In 1880 William Blackburn and wife Mary A. Elizabeth Haynes Mantooth lived at Homer where he was a store clerk. The Mantooths moved to Burke by the late 1890s. Since there is no evidence that he owned a store in Burke, and since he was the Burke postmaster from 1897 to 1898, he probably worked in the Burke and McCall store. Mantooth died in 1899,and his wife Mary and children remained at Burke past 1900. By 1910 Bettie Mantooth and sons Clifford and Lee lived in Lufkin near other members of the Mantooth family.