In 1852 wealthy Mississippi sawmill owner David Robert Wingate moved his family to a large cotton plantation in Newton County. During the Civil War (1861-65), he donated lumber from his Sabine Pass sawmill to build Fort Sabine and other posts. Federal troops burned his home and business. In 1874 he relocated in Orange, bought into a sawmill, and branched into rice farming. Wingate served as county judge in Newton and Orange counties. Although plagued with fires and disasters, Judge Wingate rebuilt his holdings and continued to help others.