David Lauderdale

Abraham Lincoln Gallop: An acorn who grew into a mightly oak

Abraham Lincoln Gallop of Lobeco didn't lose very often, even though his life was marked by troubles that could've made handy excuses for failure.

When he was a boy, his father died after a long illness. Young Lincoln had to quit school to help support his mother and 11 younger siblings on the windblown Outer Banks of North Carolina.

His first wife died in childbirth.

But on one occasion, the Beaufort business leader lost on purpose. He ran a kamikaze campaign against state Sen. James Madison Waddell Jr. in the 1960s because he thought voters deserved a two-party system.

It was at the dawning of the modern Republican Party in Beaufort County. He ran to generate some interest, and he did. Today, the county GOP claims to be among the best organized in a decidedly red state.

Gallop, who died May 5 at age 92, came to Beaufort County in the late 1930s to build barracks on Parris Island. He found a home in a gritty community struggling to keep its head above water.

He married a Beaufort girl, Annie Barnes. After she died while delivering their second son, he married her sister, Leona, and they had two more children. The way she always told the story, she was caring for Gallop's two little boys and didn't want to give them up so she married him.

Gallop succeeded in a variety of businesses: carpentry, dairy farming, selling butane gas. He served in the Merchant Marine. He built and operated Beaufort's first marina.

He was good at making money and managed it well. People trusted him.

One of his flat rules of life was to buy only what you go in the store to get: "Don't buy a hammer when all you need is a nail."

Historian Larry Rowland of St. Helena Island said, "Lincoln was not only rock-solid honest, but he could do anything. The Gallops are intelligent, self-sufficient people."

He put energy, time and effort into everything he did and expected others to do the same.

"I don't know if he had a temper," said his daughter-in-law, Barbara Gallop.

He was a founder of the Beaufort Academy and its longtime treasurer.

The first Beaufort Academy class ring was given to Gallop as an honor from his fellow board members because he never got to graduate from high school.

His good friend Charles Aimar said, "Lincoln was truly an acorn to an oak. They say it doesn't matter where you start, it's where you wind up. He had a lot farther to climb up that ladder than most did."