MAURICE C. EDWARDS, a member of the firm of O. T. Bassett & Company, lumber merchants of El Paso, was born at Clinton, Indiana, where he was reared and attended school. When a young man he left home and came to the new Southwest, spending a few months in Las Vegas, New Mexico, then a wild, western town, enjoying a “boom” as a result of the completion of the Santa Fe Railway through the territory. He then came to El Paso, arriving in April, 1882, and on the 4th of that month he obtained a situation in the lumber yard of O. T. Bassett & Company. He has been with the firm continuously since—a history that is a splendid example of steadfastness and reliability in business, especially in a western city where advantages in business are so constantly growing. As time progressed he acquired an interest in the business and finally became an equal partner. The lumber yard was established in El Paso in 1882 by the late O. T. Bassett and is now owned by his son, Charles L. Bassett and Mr. Edwards. The original name of the firm, however, which is incorporated, is retained and business is carried on under the style of O. T. Bassett and Company—a name which has been familiar among the trade of circles of this part of the state for a quarter of a century. For twenty-four years, from 1881 until 1905, the lumber yard of O. T. Bassett was located on North Stanton street, at the southeast corner of the intersection of that street and St. Louis street. A photograph of the lumber yard taken in the former year gives a vivid idea of the insignificance of the town at that time, only a few adobe houses besides the lumber yard being visible, for the picture not only gives the enterprise but also the entire town. In October, 1905, the yards were removed to the corner of East Overland and South Virginia streets, where the plant comprises extensive sheds, covering nearly a block and a substantial two-story brick office building. The success of the enterprise is attributable in no small degree to the efforts, industry and sound business judgment of Mr. Edwards, who, in harmonious co-operation with his partners, has developed a trade that is extent and importance makes the business a very profitable one, so that there is annually a good financial return upon the investment.
Mr. Edwards has for many years been a prominent figure in the El Paso fire department, which he joined in 1884. He has been foreman of the hook and ladder company and is now treasurer of the department, and as the years have gone by has favored its improvement along modern lines for the scientific fighting of fire. Fraternally he is a Mason, who has attained high rank in the craft, belonging to the Knight Templar commandery and the Mystic Shrine. As the years have passed he has made consecutive progress in business life, keeping in touch with the rapid and substantial advancement of the Southwest and is to-day regarded as one of the leading and substantial citizens of El Paso, with close connection with its interests and with hearty support for all movements and measures that are calculated to advance its welfare.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 452-453.