Edward H. Carrington, former slave, grocery store owner, and African-American community leader, was born on September 27, 1847, in Virginia to Leonidas Davis Carrington and Harriet Russ. Carrington and his parents were slaves in Virginia and after emancipation moved to Austin, Texas. In 1872 Carrington opened a grocery store, called the E. H. Carrington store located at 522 E. Sixth Street in Austin. He operated the store until 1907, when son-in-law Louis D. Lyons took over. Lyons ran the grocery store until the 1940s and was often called “the black mayor of Sixth Street.” The grocery store began as a one-story building, with a second story added on after several years. The second story was called Lyons Hall and used for social functions for the African-American community of Austin.
Carrington was considered a community leader and often loaned money to poor farming families. Additionally, he worked with the Friends in Need fund to help cover funeral expenses for the needy. In 1900 Carrington attended the Austin Emancipation Day Picnic, and he was known as being the first African American in Austin to sign a deed for his own property. Carrington was also registered to vote in Austin in 1892.
E. H. Carrington was married twice in his life. His first wife’s name is not known. His second wife was Lavinia Flora Jackson (1861–1944), and they married in 1884 in Texas. He had two known daughters, possibly from his first marriage, Emma and Rebecca. The E. H. Carrington store building was still standing on Sixth Street in Austin in the early twenty-first century and had undergone several renovations. In the early 1970s the Junior League of Austin restored the building and used it for a thrift shop. Later, the building was used for a Harley Davidson Motor Clothes Store with a restaurant upstairs and then as housing place for the M2K Advertising Agency. In 2002 a conglomerate called “The Carrington Group,” named so in honor of the building’s first owner, E. H. Carrington, purchased it. Carrington was considered a pillar of the Austin African-American community throughout his long life. He died in Austin on May 17, 1919. His wife followed him decades later on November 6, 1944.