Part 7 out of 11
out of the altered condition of the money market. The story of the
seemingly hopeless, but finally successful, struggle that followed is told
in another part of this work. At length, in 1857, after five or six years
of persevering efforts, and most perplexing difficulties, the road was
opened through to Youngstown; substantial machine shops were built at
Cleveland, station houses erected along the route, and the coal and iron
of the Mahoning Valley were made accessible by a quick and easy route.
In October, 1863, the road was leased for ninety-nine years to the
Atlantic and Great Western Railroad, which had already laid a broad gauge
upon the track, That company now controls the main line to Youngstown,
with the several branches to Hubbard and the coal mines. The narrow gauge
is kept up for the use of the Mahoning trains, freight and passenger,
while the broad gauge is used by the Atlantic and Great Western through
trains. The track has been extended to the shore of the old river bed, an
extensive wharfage established, and large facilities obtained for
connecting the traffic of the road with the lake commerce.
The Cleveland and Toledo Railroad Company was formed by the consolidation
of two rival and nearly parallel lines. One of the companies thus united,
was incorporated as the Junction Railroad Company, and the other by the
name of the Toledo, Norwalk and Cleveland Railroad Company. The former was
incorporated by an act of the legislature of Ohio, passed on the second
day of March, 1846; and the latter, by an act of the seventh of March,
1850. The Junction Railroad Company, by its original charter and two
amendments, in 1861, was authorized to construct a railroad from the city
of Cleveland to the west line of the State by such route as the directors
might determine, with power to construct branches to any points within the
counties through which the main line might pass. The charter of the
Toledo, Norwalk and Cleveland Railroad Company, authorized the
construction of a railroad from Toledo, by the way of Norwalk, in the
county of Huron, to a connection with the Cleveland, Columbus, and
Cincinnati Railroad, at some point in the counties of Huron or Lorain. The
authorized capital stock of the Junction Company was three millions, and
that of the other company, two millions of dollars.
The consolidation was effected, and the new company organized on the first
of September, A. D. 1853, under the specific provisions of the twelfth
section of the amendment to the Toledo, Norwalk and Cleveland Railroad
charter, passed on the first of March, 1850. Under its charter, the
Toledo, Norwalk and Cleveland Railroad Company constructed a road from the
east bank of the Maumee river, opposite the city of Toledo, to Grafton,
where it connects with the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati Railroad,
twenty-five miles south-west from the city of Cleveland, being a distance
of eighty-seven and one-half miles, all of which was finished and put into
operation in January, 1853. This became known as the Southern Division of
the Cleveland and Toledo Railroad.
The Northern Division, or Junction Railroad, was originally intended to
run from Cleveland, west side, via Berea and Sandusky, westward to a point
on the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana Railroad some twenty miles
west of Toledo, and crossing the track of the Toledo, Norwalk and
Cleveland Railroad at a point about eight miles east of the same city. The
road was opened between Cleveland and Sandusky and operations commenced
upon it in the Fall of 1858, immediately after the consolidation. The
original project of a separate line to the west was carried out by the
consolidated corporation so far as to construct the road to its
intersection with the old Toledo, Norwalk and Cleveland track, from which
point both lines approached Toledo over the same right of way. This line
was operated over its whole length until the 31st day of December, 1858,
on which day the use for regular business of that portion lying west of
Sandusky was discontinued, and all the through travel and traffic turned
upon the Southern Division. On the 30th of July, 1856, a contract was
entered into with the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati Railroad Company
by which the Cleveland and Toledo Company acquired the right to use the
track of the first named company from Grafton to Cleveland, for the
Southern Division trains, and from Berea to Cleveland for the Northern
Division, and thence forward all trains were run into, and departed from,
the Union Depot in Cleveland--a change which soon resulted in the
practical abandonment, for the time, of that portion of the Northern
Division lying between Berea and Cleveland on the west side of Cuyahoga
river. This arrangement, together with the completion, in 1855, of a
bridge over the Maumee river at Toledo, enabled the company to receive and
discharge its passengers in union depots at each end of its line. During
the years 1865 and 1866, about eight miles of new road were constructed
between Elyria on the Northern Division, and Oberlin on the Southern
Division, for the purpose of allowing all trains to leave and come upon
the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati Road at Berea, thirteen miles,
instead of Grafton, twenty-five miles from Cleveland. This new piece of
road was opened for business on the 10th of September, 1866, and the road
between Oberlin and Grafton immediately abandoned, The construction of a
bridge near the mouth of the Cuyahoga river at Cleveland, brought the
Northern Division line between Cleveland and Berea once more into use, and
over it the freight trains of the line are now run. In 1869, the company
was made part of the Consolidated line between Buffalo and Chicago.
The Atlantic and Great Western Railroad, by its lease of the Cleveland and
Mahoning Railroad, has become an important part of the Cleveland railroad
System. The company was organized in 1851, as the Franklin and Warren
Railroad Company, to build a road from Franklin Mills (now Kent) in
Portage County, to Warren, in Trumbull county, with power to extend to a
point in the eastern line of the State, northeast of Warren and
southwesterly to Dayton, Ohio. In July, 1853, operations were actively
commenced along the whole line, but were soon seriously retarded by
financial embarrassments. In 1854, the Franklin and Warren Railroad
Company, under authority of an Act of the General Assembly of 1853,
changed its name to the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad Company. Two
years before, a project had been started to extend the broad gauge of the
Ohio and Mississippi Railroad through Ohio, northeastern Pennsylvania and
southwestern New York, to connect with the New York and Erie Railroad.
This route would run through Meadville, Pennsylvania, Warren, Kent, Akron
and Galion to Dayton, Ohio. In 1858, the Meadville Railroad Company
changed their name to the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad Company of
Pennsylvania. In 1859, a company was organized in the State of New York,
under the name of the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad in New York, and
purchased in 1860 of the New York and Erie Railroad Company thirty eight
miles of their road, from Salamanca to near Ashville. These thirty eight
miles with eleven miles of new line, make up the entire length of line of
this road in the State of New York. Each of the above companies made
contracts for the building of their respective roads.
In the Fall of 1858, negotiations were commenced in London with James
McHenry, for the means to carry on the work. T. W. Kennard, a civil
engineer, came over as the attorney of Mr. McHenry, and engineer in chief
of the whole work. In 1862, the road was opened from Corry to Meadville,
Pennsylvania. In 1863, it was extended to Warren, and in the next year to
Ravenna and Akron--202 miles from Salamanca.
In October, 1863, the three companies above named, leased for ninety-nine
years, the Cleveland and Mahoning Railroad, extending from Cleveland
southerly to Youngstown, Ohio, sixty-seven miles. This road has a narrow
gauge track crossing the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad at
Leavittsburgh, Ohio, fifty miles south of Cleveland. The Atlantic and
Great Western Company laid a rail on either side of the narrow track, thus
carrying the broad gauge into Cleveland, and a broad gauge train from the
city of New York entered Cleveland on the evening of November 3rd, 1863.
Subsequently the several companies forming the Atlantic and Great Western
line were consolidated into one line, and this again was, in 1869,
consolidated with the Erie Railway.
Besides opening a new and important thoroughfare to the East, this line
has opened up to Cleveland the resources of north-western Pennsylvania,
and in the oil product has added an immense and highly profitable trade to
the business of the city.
Several lines have been built, connecting with and adding business to the
railroads leading to Cleveland, but of these it is not the province of
this work to speak. A large number of new railroads have been from time to
time projected in various directions. Some of these "paper railroads" have
intrinsic merit, and these, or lines aiming at the same objects, will
eventually be built.
[Illustration: Yours truly, Jacob Perkins]
Jacob Perkins was born at Warren, Trumbull county, Ohio, September 1st,
1822, being next to the youngest of the children of Gen. Simon Perkins,
one of the earliest and most prominent, business men of norther Ohio, a
land agent of large business, and the owner of extensive tracts of land.
In his early years Jacob Perkins developed a strong inclination for study,
acquiring knowledge with unusual facility, and gratifying his intense
passion for reading useful works by every means within his power.
He commenced fitting himself for college at the Burton Academy, then under
the direction of Mr. H. L. Hitchcock, now president of Western Reserve
College, and completed his preparation at Middletown, Connecticut, in the
school of Isaac Webb. He entered Yale College in 1837.
While in college he was distinguished for the elegance of his style and
the wide range of his literary acquirements. He delivered the philosophic
oration at his junior exhibition, and was chosen second editor of "Yale
Literary Magazine," a position in which he took great interest, and filled
to the satisfaction and pride of his class. His college course was,
however, interrupted by a long and severe illness before the close of his
junior year, which compelled him to leave his studies and (to his
permanent regret) prevented him from graduating with his own class. He
returned the following year and was graduated with the class of 1842.
He entered his father's office at Warren, and was occupied with its
business until, upon the death of his father, some two years afterwards,
he became one of his executors.
During his residence at Warren he appeared occasionally before home
audiences as a public speaker, and always with great acceptance.
In politics, he early adopted strong anti-slavery principles, then not the
popular doctrine, and they were always freely and openly advocated. Of an
address delivered in 1848, which was published and attracted very
considerable local attention, the editor of the Chronicle remarked, "We
have listened to the best orators of the land, from the Connecticut to
the Mississippi, and can truly say, by none have we been so thoroughly
delighted in every particular as by this effort of our distinguished
townsman." The oration discussed the true theory of human rights and the
legitimate powers of human government--and the following extract gives the
spirit of his political principles on the subject of slavery:
The object of law is not to make rights, but to define and maintain them;
man possesses them before the existence of law, the same as he does
afterwards. No matter what government may extend its control over him; no
matter how miserable or how sinful the mother in whose arms his eyes
opened to the day; no matter in what hovel his infancy is nursed; no
matter what complexion--an Indian or an African sun may have burned upon
him, this may decide the privileges which he is able to assert, but can
not affect the existence of his rights. His self-mastery is the gift of
his creator, and oppression, only, can take it away.
Without solicitation he was nominated and elected a member of the
Convention that framed the present Constitution of Ohio. His associates
from the district were Judges Peter Hitchcock and R. P. Ranney, and
although "he was the youngest member but one of the Convention--and in the
minority, his influence and position were excelled by few."
He was one of the Senatorial Presidential Electors for Ohio on the Fremont
ticket in 1856.
In the intellectual progress of the young about him, and the building up
of schools and colleges, he took especial interest. He first suggested and
urged upon President Pierce to adopt the conditions of the present
"Permanent Fund of Western Reserve College," rather than to solicit
unconditional contributions, which experience had proved were so easily
absorbed by present necessities, and left the future as poor as the past.
In connection with his brothers, he made the first subscription to that
fund. The embarrassment arising from his railroad enterprise prevented him
from increasing that contribution. The wisdom of his suggestions was
subsequently shown, when, during the rupture and consequent embarrassment
under which the college labored, the income of this fund had a very
important, if not vital share in saving it from abandonment, and
afterwards proved the nucleus of its present endowment.
He was always efficient in favoring improvements. He was associated with
Hon. F. Kinsman and his brother in founding the beautiful Woodland
Cemetery at Warren. The land was purchased and the ground laid out by
them, and then transferred to the present corporation.
Soon after his return from the Constitutional Convention, he became
interested in the Cleveland and Mahoning Railroad. He was most
influential in obtaining the charter and organizing the company, of
which he was elected president, and became the principal, almost sole
Owing to prior and conflicting railroad interests, little aid could be
obtained for his project in either of the terminal cities, Cleveland and
Pittsburgh, and the work was commenced in 1853 with a comparatively small
stock subscription. A tightening money market prevented any considerable
increase of the stock list, or a favorable disposition of the bonds of the
road, and the financial crisis a few years afterwards so reduced the value
of the securities of this, as of all unfinished railroads, as practically
to shut them out of the market. In this emergency the alternative
presented itself to Mr. Perkins and his resident directors, either to
abandon the enterprise and bankrupt the company, with the entire loss of
the amount expended, or to push it forward to completion by the pledge,
and at the risk of their private fortunes, credit, and reputations.
In this, the darkest day of the enterprise, Mr. Perkins manifested his
confidence in its ultimate success, and his generous willingness to meet
fully his share of the hazard to be incurred, by proposing to them,
jointly with him, to assume that risk; and agreeing that in case of
disaster, he would himself pay the first $100,000 of loss, and thereafter
share it equally with them.
With a devotion to the interests entrusted to them, a determination rarely
equalled in the history of our railroad enterprises, they unanimously
accepted this proposition, and determined to complete the road, at least
to a remunerative point in the coal fields of the Mahoning Valley.
The financial storm was so much more severe and longer continued than the
wisest had calculated upon, that for years the result was regarded by them
and the friends of the enterprise with painful suspense. In the interest
of the road Mr. Perkins spent the Spring of 1854 in England, without
achieving any important financial results.
At length, in 1856, the road was opened to Youngstown, and its receipts,
carefully husbanded, began slowly to lessen the floating debt, by that
time grown to frightful proportions, and carried solely by the pledge of
the private property and credit of the president and Ohio directors. These
directors, consisting of Hon. Frederick Kinsman and Charles Smith, of
Warren, Governor David Tod, of Briar Hill, Judge Reuben Hitchcock, of
Painesville, and Dudley Baldwin, of Cleveland, by the free use of their
widely known and high business credit, without distrust or dissension,
sustained the president through that long and severe trial, a trial which
can never be realized except by those who shared its burdens. The
president and these directors should ever be held in honor by the
stockholders of the company, whose investment they saved from utter loss,
and by the business men of the entire Mahoning Valley, and not less by the
city of Cleveland; for the mining and manufacturing interests developed by
their exertions and sacrifices, lie at the very foundation of the present
prosperity of both.
Before, however, the road was enabled to free itself from financial
embarrassment, so to as commence making a satisfactory return to the
stockholders, which Mr. Perkins was exceedingly anxious to see
accomplished under his own presidency--his failing health compelled him to
leave its active management, and he died before the bright day dawned upon
He said to a friend during his last illness, with characteristic
distinctness: "If I die, you may inscribe on my tomb stone, Died of the
Mahoning Railroad;" so great had been his devotion to the interests of the
road, and so severe the personal exposures which its supervision had
required of him, who was characteristically more thoughtful of every
interest confided to his care, than of his own health.
He was married October 24th, 1850, to Miss Elizabeth O. Tod, daughter of
Dr. J. I. Tod, of Milton, Trumbull county, Ohio, and removed his family to
Cleveland in 1856. Of three children, only one, Jacob Bishop, survives
him. Mrs. Perkins died of rapid consumption, June 4th, 1857, and his
devoted attention at the sick bed of his wife greatly facilitated the
development of the same insidious disease, which was gradually to
undermine his own naturally vigorous constitution.
The business necessities of his road, embarrassed and pressing as they
were, united with his uniform self-forgetfulness, prevented his giving
attention to his personal comfort and health, long after his friends saw
the shadow of the destroyer falling upon his path. He was finally, in
great prostration of health and strength, compelled to leave the active
duties of the road and spent the latter part of the Winter of 1857-8 in
the Southern States, but returned in the Spring with little or no
improvement. He continued to fail; during the Summer and in the Fall of
1858 he again went South in the vain hope of at least physical relief, and
died in Havana, Cuba, January 12th, 1859. His remains were embalmed and
brought home by his physician who had accompanied him--and were interred
at Warren, in Woodland Cemetery, where so many of his family repose around
him. A special train from either end of the Cleveland and Mahoning
Railroad brought the board of directors and an unusually large number of
business and personal friends to join the long procession which followed
"the last of earth" to its resting place.
One of the editorial notices of his death, at the time, very justly
remarks of him:
He was a man of mark, and through strength of talent, moral firmness and
urbanity of manner, wielded an influence seldom possessed by a man of
his years. In addition to his remarkable business capacity, Mr. Perkins
was a man of high literary taste, which was constantly improving and
enriching his mind. He continued, even amid his pressing-business
engagements, his habits of study and general reading. Mr. Perkins
belonged to that exceptional class of cases in which great wealth,
inherited, does not injure the recipient.
An editorial of a Warren paper, mentioning his death, says:
He was born in this town in 1821, and from his boyhood exhibited a
mental capacity and energy which was only the promise of the brilliancy
of his manhood. To his exertion, his personal influence and liberal
investment of capital the country is indebted for the Cleveland and
Mahoning Railroad. To his unremitting labor in this enterprise he has
sacrificed personal comfort and convenience, and we fear, shortened his
days by his labors and exposure in bringing the work to completion.
Known widely as Mr. Perkins has been by his active part in public
enterprises, his loss will be felt throughout the State, but we who have
known him both as boy and man, have a deeper interest in him, and the
sympathies of the people of Warren, with his relatives, will have much
of the nature of personal grief for one directly connected with them.
Said a classmate in the class meeting of 1862:
Although his name on the catalogue ranks with the class of 1842, his
affections were with us, and he always regarded himself of our number.
He visited New Haven frequently during the latter part of his life, in
connection with a railway enterprise, in which he was interested, and
exhibited the same large-heartedness and intellectual superiority which
won for him universal respect during his college course.
A gentleman who knew Mr. Perkins intimately, and as a director was
associated with him in the construction of the Cleveland and Mahoning
Railroad, and in carrying its debt, wrote of him as follows:
The management and construction of the Cleveland and Mahoning Railroad
by Mr. Perkins, under circumstances the most difficult and trying, were
well calculated to test his powers, and, in that work he proved himself
possessed of business capacity rarely equalled, sustained by
unquestioned integrity, and remarkable energy. These qualifications,
united with his large wealth, gave him the requisite influence with
business men and capitalists. His devotion to the interests of the road,
his abiding confidence in a favorable result, and his clear and just
appreciation of its value, and importance to the community, called forth
his best efforts, and were essential conditions of success. To him more
than to any other individual are the projection, inauguration, and
accomplishment of this enterprise attributable. From its earliest
projection, he had a most comprehensive and clear view of its importance
to the city of Cleveland and the Mahoning Valley, and confidently
anticipated for them, in the event of its completion, a rapidity and
extent of development and prosperity, which were then regarded as
visionary, but which the result has fully demonstrated.
His life was spared to witness only the commencement of this prosperity,
nor can it be doubted, that his close application, and unremitting
efforts to forward the work shortened his life materially. His deep and
absorbing interest in it, prevented the precautionary measures and
relaxations, which in all probability would have prolonged his life for
years. His associates in the board saw the danger and urged him to
earlier and more decided measures for relief. He too was aware of their
importance. But the constant demand upon his time and strength, and the
continually recurring necessities of the enterprise, which he had so
much at heart, were urgent, and so absorbed his thoughts and energies,
that he delayed until it was obvious that relaxation could afford merely
In his intercourse with the board, Mr. Perkins was uniformly courteous
and gentlemanly, always giving respectful attention to the suggestions
of his associates, but ever proving himself thoroughly posted; readily
comprehending the most judicious measures, and clearly demonstrating
their wisdom. Entire harmony in the action of the directors was the
result, and all had the fullest confidence in him. While his business
capacity and integrity commanded their highest admiration, his urbanity,
kindness and marked social qualities secured their strong personal
attachment, and by them his decease was regarded as a severe personal
affliction, as well as a great public loss.
Thus is briefly noticed, one who dying comparatively early, had given
evidence of great business capacity, as well as the promise of unusual
power and popularity with the people of his own State, and nation.
A work professing to give sketches, however brief and incomplete, of the
representative men of Cleveland, would be manifestly defective did it omit
notice of the late William Case, a gentleman of sterling worth and great
popularity, who was identified with much of the material progress of the
city, who had a host of deeply attached friends while living, and whose
memory is cherished with affectionate esteem.
[Illustration: William Case]
William Case was born to prosperity, but this, which to very many has
proved the greatest misfortune of their lives, was to him no evil, but, on
the contrary, a good, inasmuch as it gave him opportunity for gratifying
his liberal tastes, and his desire to advance the general welfare. From
his father, Leonard Case, he inherited an extraordinary business capacity,
indomitable energy, and strong common sense, with correct habits. To these
inherited traits he added an extensive knowledge, acquired both from books
and men, and made practical by keen observation, and liberal ideas, which
he carried into his business and social affairs. In all relations of life
he was ever a gentleman, in the true meaning of the word, courteous to
all, the rich and the poor alike, and with an instinctive repugnance to
everything mean, oppressive or hypocritical. With regard to himself, he
was modest to a fault, shrinking from everything that might by any
possibility be construed into ostentation or self-glorification. This
tribute the writer of these lines,--who owed him nothing but friendship,
and who was in no way a recipient of any favor from him, other than his
good will,--is glad of an opportunity to pay, and this testimony to his
good qualities, falls short of the facts.
William Case takes his place in this department of our work by virtue of
the fact that he was an early friend to the railroad enterprises of
Cleveland. He contributed largely to the Cleveland, Painesville and
Ashtabula Railroad, and for four years and a half, until August, 1858, was
president of that company. Under his management the railroad prospered and
paid large dividends, and when he left that position it was with the
regret of all his subordinates, whose esteem had been won by his kindness
But it was not alone as a railroad man that Mr. Case won for himself the
title to a place among the leading representative men of the city. He grew
up with Cleveland, and was alive to the interests of the growing city. No
scheme of real improvement but found a friend in him. He was energetic in
forwarding movements for bettering the condition of the streets; he took a
leading part in the location and establishment of the Water Works. Anxious
to effect an improvement in the business architecture of the city, in
which Cleveland was so far behind cities of less pretension, he projected
and carried on far towards completion the Case Block, which stands to-day
the largest and most noticeable business building in the city, and which
contains one of the finest public halls in the West. Mr. Case died before
completion of the building, which unforeseen difficulties made of great
cost, but his plans so far as known--including some of great generosity,
such as the donation of a fine suite of rooms to the Cleveland Library
Association--have been faithfully carried out.
In 1846, Mr. Case was elected member of the City Council from the Second
Ward, and served in that position four years. In that body he was noted
for his advocacy of every measure tending to the improvement of the city,
and the development of its industrial and commercial resources.
In the Spring of 1850, he was nominated, on the Whig ticket, for mayor of
Cleveland, and was elected by a large majority, against a strong
Democratic opponent, his personal popularity being shown by his running
ahead of his ticket. His administration was marked with such energy,
ability and public spirit, that in the following year--the office then
being annually elective--he was re-elected by an increased majority, and
ran still further ahead of his ticket.
In 1852, the Whig convention for the Nineteenth Congressional District,
which then included Cuyahoga county, assembled at Painesville, under the
presidency of Mon. Peter Hitchcock. Mr. Case was there nominated for
Congress by acclamation, and the canvass was carried on by the Whigs with
great enthusiasm. But the Democracy and the Free Soil party were against
him, and under the excitement growing out of anti-slavery agitation, the
Free Soil candidate, Hon. Edward Wade, was elected, though closely pressed
by Mr. Case. From that time Mr. Case, who was not in any respect a
politician, and who had at no time a desire or need for office, took no
active part in politics.
Mr. Case did not possess a strong constitution, and early in life his
medical attendant reported against his being sent to college, as the
application would be too severe a strain on his health. In accordance with
the advice then given, he devoted much attention to hunting, fishing, and
to horticultural and agricultural pursuits. But these were insufficient to
save him, and he died April 19th, 1862, whilst yet in the prime of life,
being but forty years old.
Amasa Stone, Jr.
Conspicuous among the railroad managers connected with Cleveland, indeed
occupying a prominent position in the list of the railroad magnates of the
country, is the name of Amasa Stone, Jr. The high position he has
attained, and the wealth he has secured, are the rewards of his own
perseverance, industry, and foresight; every dollar he has earned
represents a material benefit to the public at large in the increase of
manufacturing or traveling facilities.
Mr. Stone was born in the town of Charlton, Worcester county,
Massachusetts, April 27th, 1818. He is of Puritan stock, the founder
of the American branch of the family having-landed at Boston in 1632,
from the ship Increase, which brought a colony of Puritans from
England. The first settlement of the family was at Waltham. The father
of Mr. Stone, also named Amasa, is now alive, hale and hearty, at the
age of ninety years.
Young Amasa Stone lived with his parents and worked upon the farm,
attending the town district school in its sessions, until he was seventeen
years old, when he engaged with an older brother for three years, to learn
the trade of a builder. His pay for the first year was to be forty
dollars, increasing ten dollars yearly, and to furnish his own clothing.
At the end of the second year, thinking he could do better, he purchased
the remainder of his time for a nominal sum, and from that time was his
own master. In the Winter of 1837-8, he attended the academy of Professer
Bailey, in Worcester, Mass., having saved sufficient from his small wages
to pay the expenses of a single term.
His first work on his own account was a contract to do the joiner work of
a house building by Col. Temple, at Worcester. The work was done, and in
part payment he took a note of a manufacturing firm for $130; within a
few months the firm failed, the note became worthless, and the first
earnings of the young builder were lost. That note Mr. Stone still
preserves as a memento.
The following year, at the age of twenty, he joined his two older brothers
in a contract for the construction of a church edifice in the town of East
Brookfield, Mass. In the succeeding year, 1839, he engaged with his
brother-in-law, Mr. William Howe, to act as foreman in the erection of
two church edifices and several dwelling-houses in Warren, Mass.
During this time Mr. Howe was engaged in perfecting his invention of what
is known as the Howe truss bridge. After securing his patent Mr. Howe
contracted to build the superstructure of the bridge across the
Connecticut river, at Springfield, for the Western Railroad Company. Mr.
Stone engaged with him in this work. During a part of the first year he
was employed on the foundations of the structure in the bed of the river.
Thereafter until the year 1842, he was employed constantly by Mr. Howe in
the erection of railway and other bridges, and railway depot buildings. In
the Winter of 1841, his duties were most trying and arduous. About a
thousand lineal feet of bridging on the Western Railroad, in the Green
Mountains, had to be completed, and Mr. Stone and his men were called upon
to carry the work through. In some locations the sun could scarcely be
seen, the gorges were so deep and narrow, while during a large portion of
the time the thermometer ranged below zero. But the work was successfully
In the year 1842, he formed a copartnership with Mr. A. Boody, and
purchased from Mr. Howe his bridge patent for the New England States,
including all improvements and renewals. Subsequently an arrangement was
concluded with Mr. D. L. Harris, under the name of Boody, Stone & Co., for
the purpose of contracting for the construction of railways, railway
bridges, and similar work, the mechanical details generally to be under
the charge of Mr. Stone. In the year 1845, Mr. Stone was appointed
superintendent of the New Haven, Hartford and Springfield Railroad, he,
however, still continuing his partnership in the firm of Boody, Stone &
Co., and the business of the firm becoming so heavy that within a year
from the time of his appointment he resigned his office as superintendent.
Circumstances occurred previous to his appointment that may be worthy of
remark. The purchase of the bridge patent, before alluded to, was for the
sum of forty thousand dollars, to be paid in annual instalments. A few
years after the purchase some defects showed themselves in the bridges
that had been erected on this plan, and many prominent engineers had come
to the conclusion that it was not superior to, if it equalled, the truss
plan of Col. Long, the arch and truss of Burr, or the lattice plan of
Ithial Towne, and the firm of Boody, Stone & Co. began to fear that they
had made a bad bargain in the purchase of the patent. Mr. Stone, in
relating the incident to a friend, said: "I came to the conclusion that
something must be done or there must be a failure, and it must not be a
failure. The night following was a sleepless one, at least until three
o'clock in the morning. I thought, and rolled and tumbled, until time and
again I was almost exhausted in my inventive thoughts, and in despair,
when at last an idea came to my mind that relieved me. I perfected it in
my mind's eye, and then came to the conclusion that it would not only
restore the reputation of the Howe bridge, but would prove to be a better
combination of wood and iron for bridges than then existed, and could not
and would not in principle be improved upon. Sleep immediately came. I
afterwards, with models, proved my conclusions and have not, up to this
time, changed them." It seems that the invention consisted in the
introduction of longitudinal keys and clamps in the lower chords, to
prevent their elongation, and iron socket bearings instead of wooden for
the braces and bolts, to avoid compression and shrinkage of the timber,
which was the great defect in the original invention, and the adoption of
single instead of double intersection in the arrangement of the braces,
the latter being the arrangement in the original invention.
In the autumn of 1846, an incident occurred that may be worthy of
notice. On the 14th day of October, when walking in Broadway, New York,
Mr. Stone met the president of the New Haven, Hartford and Springfield
Railroad, who had in his hand a telegram, stating that the bridge across
the Connecticut river at Enfield Falls, one-fourth of a mile long, had
been carried away by a hurricane. The president asked the advice of Mr.
Stone, who stated that the timber for that structure was furnished by
Messrs. Campbell & Moody, of that city, and advised that he order it
duplicated at once. The president, a very faithful officer, but
disinclined to take responsibilities, asked Mr. Stone to take the
responsibility of ordering it. Mr. Stone replied, "Not unless I am
president." The timber was, however, ordered, and at the request of the
president, Mr. Stone went immediately with him to Springfield, where a
committee of the board was called together, and he was asked to propose
terms, and the shortest time upon which his firm would contract to
complete the bridge. He stated that his terms would be high, as the
season was late and would likely be unfavorable before so heavy a work
could be completed, and further suggested that if they chose to appoint
him manager of the work, he would accept and do the best he could for
them. He was immediately appointed sole manager of the work, and the
board placed at his control all the resources of the company. The work
was immediately commenced by bringing to the site men and material, and
it was completed, and a locomotive and train of cars run across it by
Mr. Stone within forty days from the day the order was given for its
erection. The structure consisted of seven spans of seventy-seven feet
each, with two other spans at each end of about fifty feet each. Mr.
Stone has been heard to state that he regarded this as one of the most
important events of his life, and that no one was more astonished than
himself at the result. He was rewarded by complimentary resolutions, and
a check for one thousand dollars by the company.
The following Winter the partnership of Boody, Stone & Co. was dissolved
by mutual consent, and the territory that their contract for the bridge
patent covered was divided, by Mr. Stone taking the States of
Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, and Mr. Boody the other three
States. A new partnership was then formed between Mr. Stone and Mr.
Harris, which continued until the year 1849.
From the year 1839 to 1850, the residence of Mr. Stone, most of the time,
was in Springfield, Mass., but the numerous contracts in which he was
interested called him into ten different States, He served several years
as a director in the Agawam Bank, was also a director for several years,
and one of the building committee in the Agawam Canal Company, which
erected and run a cotton mill of ten thousand spindles, in the town of
In the autumn of 1848, he formed a partnership with Mr. Stillman Witt and
Mr. Frederick Harbach, who contracted with the Cleveland, Columbus and
Cincinnati Railroad Company to construct and equip the road from Cleveland
to Columbus. This was the largest contract that had, at that time, been
entered into, of this character, by any one party or firm in the United
States. A large amount of the capital stock was taken in part payment for
the work. It was generally regarded as a hazardous adventure, but the work
was carried through in accordance with the terms of the contract, and
proved to be a profitable investment for its stockholders. In his
partnership contract it was stipulated that he was to act as financial
agent at the East, to send out the necessary mechanics, and to
occasionally visit the work, but was not to change his residence. Events,
however, occurred that required his constant presence in Ohio, and in the
Spring of 1850, he moved his family to Cleveland, where they have since
resided. In the Winter of 1850-1, the road was opened for business through
from Cleveland to Columbus, and Mr. Stone was appointed its
[Illustration: Respectfully, Amasa Stone, Jr.]
In the Fall of 1850, the firm of Harbach, Stone & Witt contracted with
the Cleveland, Painesville and Ashtabula Railroad Company to construct the
railroad from Cleveland to the State line of Pennsylvania, and furnish it
with cars, and to take in part payment for the work a large amount of the
stock and bonds of the Company. Soon after the execution of this contract,
Mr. Harbach died suddenly in the city of New York, and the completion of
the work devolved on Messrs. Stone and Witt. The completion of the road
through to Erie principally devolved upon the Cleveland company, and was
attended with many difficulties, as the Legislature of Pennsylvania seemed
determined that no road should be built through the State along the shore
of Lake Erie, and the general impression was, at that time, that the
construction of a road along the shore of the lake was a wild scheme and
would prove a failure. It was difficult to get capital subscribed and more
difficult to collect instalments. The contractors having confidence in its
success, prosecuted the work with vigor up to a period when they found
they had expended more than $200,000, while the aggregate amount that the
railroad company was able to raise and pay them was less than $100,000. An
effort was then made, with success, to engage the services of Mr. Alfred
Kelley. His well known character, aided by the reputation of others who
were elected directors, and a subscription from the city of Cleveland of
$100,000, enabled the company to meet its engagements with the
contractors, who carried the work forward to completion, and the road was
opened through to Erie in the Winter of 1852, when Mr. Stone was appointed
its superintendent. Notwithstanding the great expense that had to be
incurred in crossing the deep ravines in the State of Pennsylvania, and
the heavy burdens imposed on the company by that State, it has proved to
be one of the most successful railroad enterprises in the United States.
In the year 1852, Mr. Stone was elected a director in both Cleveland,
Columbus and Cincinnati, and the Cleveland, Painesville and Ashtabula
Railroad Companies, and has held that office in both companies
continuously up to the present date. He also continued to hold the office
of superintendent of both roads until the year 1854, when he insisted on
being relieved in consequence of failing health, caused by the arduous
labors which seemed unavoidably to devolve upon him. He was elected
president of the Cleveland, Painesville and Ashtabula Railroad Company in
the year 1857, which office he has continued to hold for twelve successive
years, until 1869.
In 1868, the Cleveland and Toledo Railroad was leased perpetually to the
Cleveland, Painesville and Ashtabula Railroad Company, at which time he
was also elected President of the former company.
In the year 1855, he, with Mr. Witt, contracted to build the Chicago and
Milwaukee Railroad, and was for many years a director in that company, and
for awhile its president.
For several years he held the office of director in the Merchants Bank, of
Cleveland. From its first organization until it was closed up, he was
director in the Bank of Commerce, of Cleveland, and has been director in
the Second National Bank, and the Commercial National Bank, of Cleveland,
and the Cleveland Banking Company, from the time of their respective
organizations until the present time. He was for some years president of
the Toledo Branch of the State Bank, at Toledo. He was elected a director
in the Jamestown and Franklin Railroad Company in the year 1863, which
office he has held until the present time. In the same year he was elected
president of the Mercer Iron and Coal Company and held the office until
the close of the year 1868.
Mr. Stone aided in the establishment of several manufactories at this
point. During the construction of the railroads from Cleveland, his firm
carried on extensive car shops in the city, where cars were constructed,
not only for those two roads, but for several others. He gave financial
aid and personal influence to the establishment and maintenance of several
leading iron manufacturing establishments and machine shops. In the year
1861-2, he erected, in the city of Cleveland, a woolen mill of five sets
of machinery, and for several years ran it and turned out more goods
annually than any other mill in the state of Ohio. He subsequently sold it
to Alton Pope & Sons.
He is often pleased to note the progress in American enterprise, and among
other events that has come under his own observation, relates the
following: In the year 1839, he commenced his first railroad service upon
the foundation of a bridge that was then being erected across the
Connecticut river at Springfield, Mass., of 1260 feet in length. It was
regarded as a very difficult undertaking, as the bed of the river was
composed mostly of quicksand, and a rise of 25-1/2 feet in the river had
to be provided for, and floating ice, its full width, fifteen inches in
thickness. Maj. George W. Whistler, the first of his profession, was chief
engineer of the work, and he had as advisers Maj. McNeal, Capt. Swift, and
other eminent engineers. The work was about three years under
construction, at a cost of over $131,000, and every effort was made to
keep its cost at the lowest possible point, at the same time making
certain the stability of the structure. Within nine years from the time of
its completion, a similar structure, in every particular, was to be
constructed across the same river, at Hartford, twenty-six miles below.
Its length varied but a few feet, although it covered more water, and its
foundations and other contingencies were quite as difficult and
unfavorable. Mr. Stone concluded a contract for its construction for the
firm of Stone & Harris, complete, for the sum of $77,000, and to have it
ready for the cars in twenty months. The work was executed in accordance
with the terms of the contract, and has not only proved as substantial as
that at Springfield, but in many particulars, more so. It was the pride of
Mr. Stone for many reasons, (among others, that it was stated by many that
it could not be done for this sum of money,) to personally superintend
this work himself, and to put in practice some of his own inventions, the
most important of which was the cutting off the foundation piles with a
saw arranged on a scow, propelled by a steam engine, and the sinking of
the piers below water by means of screws. The result proved to be
satisfactory, and as favorable, in a financial point of view, as he
estimated. It will be noticed that the bridge structure, complete, at
Hartford, cost $54,000 less than that at Springfield, of like character.
He has been interested in the construction of more than ten miles in
length of truss bridging, and in the construction of roofs of large
buildings, covering more than fifteen acres of ground, most of which he
designed and personally superintended their election. The last extensive
structure that he designed, and the election of which he personally
superintended, was the Union Passenger Depot, at Cleveland. He was the
first person that designed and erected pivot draw-bridges of long spans,
which, however, have been much increased in length of span by other
parties since. He was also the first to design and erect a dome roof of a
span of 150 feet, sufficient to cover three lengths of a locomotive with
its tender, and numerous are the improvements he has introduced in the
construction of railroad cars and locomotives. The only eight-wheeled dump
gravel car in successful use was designed and put in practice by him.
For a number of years Mr. Stone has been trustee of the First Presbyterian
Church Society of Cleveland, and still holds that office. He was chairman
of the building committee in the election of the new church edifice, and
when it was burned down, was again elected chairman of the building
committee, and given full charge of the reconstruction of the building.
In 1868, Mr. Stone visited Europe, being compelled to seek relief, for a
brief period, from the exhausting cares of his numerous business
engagements. He is expected to return in the Fall of this year, ready to
again engage in the active prosecution of the important enterprises with
which he is connected, and in which he has won such distinction by his
sound common sense, sound judgment, unresting energy, and practicable
knowledge. In whatever he undertakes there is good reason for believing
that the success he has hitherto met will still attend his efforts.
Connected indissolubly with the story of the rise and progress of the
important railroad interests of Cleveland and northern Ohio, is the name
of Stillman Witt. As one of the builders of the pioneer railroad from the
city, and of the next in point of time, which has since become one of the
foremost lines of the country in importance and profitableness, Mr. Witt
deserves honorable record among the men who have contributed most to make
Cleveland what it is to-day, a rich, populous, and rapidly growing city.
Stillman Witt is a self-made man, and unlike some of this class, his
self-manufacture will stand the test of close criticism. The material has
not been spoiled or warped in the process. Those who know him best know
that the struggles of his early years have not soured his disposition or
hardened his feelings, and that access of fortune has not made him
purse-proud. The Stillman Witt of to-day, rich and influential, is the
same Stillman Witt who paddled a ferry boat at about forty cents a day,
and was happy in his good fortune.
Mr. Witt was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, January 4th, 1808. His
parentage was humble, and, in consequence, his facilities for obtaining an
education very limited. When about thirteen years old, his father moved
with his family to Troy, New York, where young Stillman was hired by
Richard P. Hart to run a skiff ferry, the wages being ten dollars per
month, which the lad thought a sum sufficient to secure his independence.
Among the passengers frequently crossing the ferry was Mr. Canvass White,
U. S. Engineer, at that time superintending the construction of public
works in various parts of the country. Mr. White took a strong fancy to
the juvenile ferryman, and was so much impressed by the interest the boy
manifested in construction, that he applied to Stillman's father for
permission to take the lad and educate him in his own profession. The
permission was granted, and from that day dates the career of the future
[Illustration: Yours Truly, S. Witt]
Young Witt was greatly pleased with his new profession, and devoted
himself to it with such zeal and faithfulness that he grew rapidly in the
esteem of his patron. When he had sufficiently progressed to be entrusted
with works of such importance, he was dispatched in different directions
to construct bridges and canals as the agent of Mr. White. In this manner
he superintended the construction of the bridge at Cohoes Falls, on the
Mohawk river, four miles above Troy, where, in conjunction with Mr. White,
he laid out a town which has since grown to a population of thirty
thousand. The side cut on the Erie canal, at Port Schuyler, was dug under
his management, and the docks there, since covered with factories, were
built by him. When these were completed he was dispatched into
Pennsylvania, with twenty-four carpenters, all his seniors, to build a
State bridge at the mouth of the Juniata, from Duncan Island to Peter's
Mountain. He was then ordered to the work on the Louisville and Portland
canal, but before this was completed he was taken sick and remained a
prisoner in a sick room at Albany for thirteen months.
With his recovery came a temporary change of occupation. Abandoning for a
time his work of bridge building and canal digging, he took charge of the
steamboat James Farley, the first lake-canal boat that towed through,
without transhipment, to New York. This was followed by his taking charge,
for between two and three years, of Dr. Nott's steamboat Novelty. Next he
became manager of the Hudson River Association line of boats, in which
capacity he remained during the existence of the association, ten years.
The Albany and Boston Railroad having been opened, Mr. Witt was invited to
become its manager at Albany, and accepted the trust, remaining in that
position seven years and a half.
Now came the most important epoch in Mr. Witt's life. After a hard
struggle the scheme for the construction of a railroad between Cleveland
and Columbus assumed definite shape, a company was organized and was
prepared to go to work when contractors should be found who would build
the road with a little money and a good deal of faith. Mr. Witt's
opportunity had come. At the end of a four days' toilsome journey from
Buffalo in a cab, he reached Cleveland, and satisfactory arrangements were
finally entered into. A firm was formed, under the name of Harbach, Stone
& Witt, and the work commenced. The story of the building of the
Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati Railroad has already been told in
another part of this volume; it is a story of hoping almost against hope,
of desperate struggles against opposition and indifference, and of final
triumph. Mr. Witt's part in the struggle was an important one, and the
solid benefit resulting from the success that crowned the enterprise was
well deserved by him.
Before the work of construction was half completed, Mr. Harbach died, and
the firm remained Stone & Witt, under which name it has become familiar to
all parts of the American railroad world. The road was opened between
Cleveland and Columbus in 1851, and the success that speedily followed the
opening, demonstrated the wisdom of the projectors of the line, and
justified the faith of its contractors. The three years of construction
had not terminated before Messrs. Stone & Witt undertook the construction
of the Cleveland, Painesville and Ashtabula Railroad, and in two years
this road, now one of the richest and most powerful lines of the country,
was completed. This was followed, sometime after, by the building of the
Chicago and Milwaukee Railroad, which required but one year to construct,
although built in the best manner.
With the completion of the Chicago and Milwaukee road Mr. Witt's active
career as a railroad builder ceased. Since that time he has been chiefly
employed in the management of his extensive railroad and banking
interests, having been at different periods a director in the Michigan
Southern; Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati; Cleveland, Painesville and
Ashtabula; Cleveland and Pittsburgh; Chicago and Milwaukee, and
Bellefontaine and Indiana railroads, besides being vice-president of two
of these roads and president of one of them. His connection with the
Bellefontaine and Indiana Railroad is noticeable from the fact that it was
by his sagacity and unwearied energy, ably assisted by the late Governor
Brough, as general manager, that the company was raised from absolute
insolvency to a high rank among dividend paying lines. Mr. Witt had gone
into the undertaking with a number of other Clevelanders, had all but lost
his entire investment, but had never lost faith in the ultimate success of
the line, or flagged for an instant in his efforts to bring about that
success. The event proved the justness of his conclusions.
In addition to his railroad engagements, Mr. Witt is president of the Sun
Insurance Company, of Cleveland; director of the Second National, and
Commercial National Banks, and Cleveland Banking Company; also, of the
Bank of Toledo. His interests are not all centered in railroad and banking
enterprises, he having investments in the Cleveland Chemical Works, and in
several other enterprises that contribute to the prosperity of the city.
Mr. Witt was married in June, 1834, to Miss Eliza A. Douglass, of Albany,
but who was a native of Rhode Island. Of the four children who were the
fruit of this marriage, but two survive. The elder daughter, Mary, is now
the wife of Mr. Dan P. Eells, of Cleveland. The younger, Emma, is the wife
of Col. W. H. Harris, of the United States Army, now in command of the
arsenal at Indianapolis.
Mr. Witt's qualifications as a business man are attested by his success,
won not by a mere stroke of luck, but by far-seeing sagacity, quick
decision, and untiring industry. From first to last he never encountered a
failure, not because fortune chanced always to be on his side, but because
shrewdness and forethought enabled him to provide against misfortune. As a
citizen he has always pursued a liberal and enlightened policy, ever ready
to unite in whatever promised to be for the public good. In social life he
has a wide circle of attached friends, and not a single enemy. Genial,
unselfish, deeply attached to his family, and with a warm side for
humanity in general, Mr. Witt has made for himself more friends than
perhaps he himself is aware of.
Wealth and position have enabled him to do numerous acts of kindness, and
his disposition has prompted him to perform those acts without ostentation
and with a gracefulness that gave twofold value to the act.
In religious belief Mr. Witt is a Baptist, having joined with that church
organization in Albany, thirty-one years ago. For years he has been a
valuable and highly respected member of the First Baptist Church in
Although James Farmer has been a resident of Cleveland but thirteen years,
and cannot, therefore, be ranked among the old settlers of the city, he is
looked upon as one of its most respected citizens, whose word is as good
as a secured bond, and whose sound judgment and stability of character
place him among the most valuable class of business men. But though
prudent in business affairs, and of deeply earnest character in all
relations of life, Mr. Farmer has not allowed the stern realities of life
to obscure the lighter qualities that serve to make life endurable. Always
cheerful in manner and genial in disposition, with a quaint appreciation
of the humorous side of things, he endeavors to round off the sharp
corners of practical life with a pleasant and genial smile. A meditative
faculty of mind, untrammeled by the opinions or dicta of others, has led
Mr. Farmer into independent paths of thought and action, in all his
affairs. Before taking any course, he has thought it out for himself, and
decided on his action, in accordance with his conscientious convictions of
right, independent of considerations of mere worldly notice.
Mr. Farmer was born near Augusta, Georgia, July 19th, 1802. His early
opportunities for acquiring an education were scant, only such knowledge
being gained as could be picked up in a common school, where the
rudiments of an education only are taught. Until his twenty-first year,
his time was chiefly spent on his father's farm, but on attaining his
majority he concluded to strike out a different path for himself, and
coming north, he engages in the manufacture of salt, and in the milling
business, at Salineville, Ohio. His means were small, but by assiduous
attention to business he was moderately successful. Four years later he
added a store for general marchandise to his mill and salt works, and
thus added to his property.
In the Spring of 1847, Mr. Farmer, imbued with the spirit of progress, and
appreciating in advance the benefits to accrue from the proposed Cleveland
and Pittsburgh Railroad, entered with spirit into the enterprise, worked
hard in procuring subscriptions to the stock, and aided in various ways to
its consummation. For several years he held the position of president of
the company, and it was through his labors in this channel of commerce,
that he became so thoroughly identified with the progress and prosperity
[Illustration: Very Respectfully, James Farmer]
On the completion of the railroad, Mr. Farmer was among the first to
avail himself of the increased facilities for business offered by the
road, and embarked in the coal trade, having previously owned coal fields
in Salineville. These coal fields were now worked, and the product shipped
by railroad to Cleveland and other points.
In the Spring of 1856, he removed to Cleveland, abandoning the mercantile
business after devoting to it thirty-two years of his life, and having
been completely successful. His coal fields still continue to furnish
supplies to the coal market of Cleveland.
So far as human power can be said to control human affairs, Mr. Farmer has
been wholly the architect of his own fortunes. The prosperity that has
attended his efforts has been due to the close attention given his
legitimate business, his strictness in making and keeping contracts, his
prudent economy, and his nice sense of commercial honor and general
honesty. What man can do to make honest success, he has endeavored to do,
and Providence has smiled upon his efforts.
Mr Farmer is still a hale appearing gentleman, though sixty-seven years
old, retaining most of his mental vigor, and much of his physical stamina,
and will, we trust, be permitted to remain among us for years to come,
that he may enjoy the fruits of his labor, and have the satisfaction felt
by those only who minister to the necessities of others.
In 1834, Mr. Farmer was married to Miss Meribah Butler, of Columbiana
county, Ohio, by whom he has had seven children, of whom five still
live--one son and four daughters. The son, Mr. E. J. Farmer, has been for
some years engaged in the banking business in Cleveland.
The father of Mr. James Farmer joined the Society of Friends, and was an
honored member of that society. His family were all brought up in the same
faith, and Mr. James Farmer has maintained his connection with the
society, by the members of which he is held in high respect and esteem.
George B. Ely.
George B. Ely is a native of Jefferson county, New York, a county which
has contributed many good citizens to the population of Cleveland. He was
born in the town of Adams, June 23d, 1817, received a good academical
education, and when seventeen left the academy to become clerk with Judge
Foster, under whose auspices he came to Cleveland. After serving with
Judge Foster one year in Cleveland, he accepted the position of
book-keeper in the forwarding house of Pease & Allen, on the river,
remaining in this position until 1843. At that date he removed to Milan,
Erie county, then at the head of slackwater navigation on the Huron river.
Here he engaged in trading in wheat, and in the general forwarding
business, and also became interested in lake shipping, doing business
under the firm name of Wilber & Ely.
In 1851, the railroad between Columbus and Cleveland was completed, and
the course of trade was almost entirely diverted from its old channels.
The business of Milan fell away rapidly, and the forwarding trade at that
point was completely at an end, Mr. Ely closed up his connection with the
place in the Spring of 1852, and removed to Cleveland, where he had
engaged a warehouse with the intention of continuing in the forwarding
business, but was induced to take the secretaryship of the Cleveland,
Painesville and Ashtabula Railroad, many of his old business and personal
friends having become interested in that undertaking and desiring the
benefit of his business tact and experience. About a year after his
accession to the company, the offices of secretary and treasurer were
combined, and Mr. Ely assumed charge of the joint offices. Three years
later he was elected a director of the company and has continued in that
position to the present time. At various times he has been chosen
vice-president of the company. In 1868, he was elected president of the
Cleveland and Toledo Railroad Company, retaining that position until the
consolidation of the company with the Cleveland and Erie Railroad Company,
and the formation of the Lake Shore Railroad Company. Mr. Ely is now the
oldest officer in point of service in the Consolidated company, and is
about the oldest employee. During all his long service he has been an
indefatigable worker, having the interests of the line always at heart,
and his arduous and faithful services have contributed their full share to
the prosperity of the company.
[Illustration: Yours Respectfully, Geo. B. Ely]
Whilst always watchful for the interests of the road with which he was
connected, Mr. Ely found time to engage in other enterprises tending to
advance the material interests of the city. In connection with Messrs.
R. H. Harman, A. M. Harman, and L. M. Coe, he projected and built the
Cleveland City Forge and put it into successful operation in the year 1864.
This forge has now four large hammers at work, and preparations are making
for two others, and it gives employment to about eighty skilled workmen.
He was one of the projectors of the Pennsylvania Coal Company, of
Cleveland, an organization having five thousand acres of coal lands in
Mercer county, Pennsylvania, and now that the Jamestown and Franklin
Railroad is completed, the prospects of ample returns for the outlay are
good. Sixty tons of good coal are daily delivered in Cleveland, whilst the
best markets of the product are found in Erie, Buffalo, and the
Pennsylvania oil regions. Of this company Mr. Ely is treasurer and one of
Among his other business connections he was a director in the old Bank of
Commerce from its early days until it was reorganized as the Second
National Bank, and is still a director under the new organization. He is
also a director in the Citizens Savings and Loan Association, and is
interested in the Cleveland Banking Company.
Mr. Ely has been the architect of his own fortune, and attributes his
success in life to close application to business and a firm determination
never to live beyond his income. He is now fifty-two years old, enjoys
vigorous health, and has never been seriously sick. From present
appearances he has a fair prospect of a long life in which to enjoy the
fruits of his labors, and to pass the afternoon and evening of his life
amid domestic comforts earned by industry and the esteem of a large circle
of friends to whom he has become endeared by his many social qualities and
In 1843, he was married to Miss Gertrude S. Harman, of Brooklyn, Michigan,
and formerly of Oswego, New York. They have one son, now twenty-five years
old, who has charge of the Cleveland City Forge, and one daughter, Helen,
aged seventeen, who is now at school.
Worthy S. Streator.
Dr. Streator, as he is still called, although for many years he has
abandoned the active practice of medicine, was born in Madison county, New
York, October 16th, 1816. He received an academical education, and at the
age of eighteen he entered a medical college, where he remained four
years. On completing his medical course he went to Aurora, Portage county,
Ohio, where he commenced the practice of his profession, in the year 1839
In Aurora he remained rive years, when he removed to Louisville, Kentucky,
spent a year in the medical college there, and returned to Portage county,
resuming his practice in Ravenna.
In 1850, Dr. Streator removed from Ravenna to Cleveland, and after
remaining two years in the practice of medicine, turned his attention to
railroad building. In conjunction with Mr. Henry Doolittle, he undertook
the contract for building the Greenville and Medina Railroad, and
completed it successfully. In 1853, the same parties contracted for the
construction of the Atlantic and Great Western Railway in Ohio, a work of
244 miles. Operations were at once commenced, and were pushed forward with
varying success, funds of the company coming in fitfully. In 1860, the
same firm took contracts for the construction of the Pennsylvania portion
of the line, ninety-one miles, and next for the New York portion. Work on
both these contracts was commenced in February, 1860, and the road was
completed from Salamanca, in New York, to Corry, in Pennsylvania,
sixty-one miles, in the Spring of 1861.
During the prosecution of the work Mr. Doolittle died, and, in 1861,
Dr. Streator sold the unfinished contracts to Mr. James McHenry, of
London, England, by whom they were completed, Dr. Streator acting as
superintendent of construction for about a year after the transfer
[Illustration: Yours Truly, W. S. Streator]
In 1862, he projected the Oil Creek Railroad, from Corry to Petroleum
Center, the heart of the Pennsylvania oil regions, a line thirty-seven
miles long. The line was built with extraordinary rapidity, and achieved a
success unparalleled in railway history. No sooner had the rails reached a
point within striking distance of Oil Creek than its cars were crowded
with passengers flocking to the "oildorado," and for many months, during
the height of the oil fever, the excited crowds struggled at the stations
for the privilege of a standing place on the car platforms after the seats
and aisles were filled. The resources of the road were inadequate to meet
the great demand on it for the transportation of passengers and oil, and
although Dr. Streator worked energetically to keep pace with the demand
upon the road, the development of the oil regions, consequent upon the
construction of the line, for some time outstripped him. The profits of
the line were enormous in proportion to the outlay, but the amount of
wealth it created in the oil regions was still more extraordinary. Dr.
Streator managed the road until 1866, when he sold out his interest to
Dean Richmond and others interested in the New York Central Railroad. In
order to connect the Oil Creek Railroad with the line of its purchasers an
extension northward, styled the Cross-Cut Railroad, was built from Corry
to Brocton, on the Buffalo and Erie Railroad, a distance of forty-two
miles, by Dr. Streator, for the New York Central Railroad Company. This
was the last of Dr. Streator's railroad building undertakings.
Since the close of his railroad business Dr. Streator has organized a
company, mainly composed of citizens of Cleveland, for the working of coal
lands purchased in La Salle, on the Vermillion river, Illinois. The
purchase contains three thousand acres on which is a five and one-half
feet splint-vein of coal resembling in general characteristics the
Massillon coal of Ohio. Thirteen miles of railroad have been built to
connect the mines with the Illinois Central Railroad, and during the year
that the road has been opened the average product of the mines has been
two hundred and fifty tons per day, with demands for more, that cannot be
met owing to a deficiency of rolling stock. By the close of 1869, it is
expected the product will reach a thousand tons daily. Another railroad is
to be built to connect with the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad.
Aside from his interest in this coal company, Dr. Streator has now no
active business engagements, and devotes his time to the care of his real
estate and a fine stock farm in East Cleveland, containing over three
hundred acres, on which he is raising some of the finest stock to be found
in the county.
Dr. Streator has had the good sense to retire from the pressing cares of
business whilst able to enjoy the fruits of his labors. At fifty-three
years old he is healthy and vigorous, and fully able to appreciate the
advantages of wealth in procuring social and domestic enjoyments. His
residence on Euclid avenue is a model of comfort and elegance, and the
surrounding grounds are laid out with artistic taste.
He was married in 1839, to Sarah W. Sterling, of Lyman, N. Y. His only
daughter is the wife of E. B. Thomas, Esq., of Cleveland; his oldest son
devotes his attention to the care of the stock farm; the other sons are
yet at home, being young.
Although Mr. Streator has been regarded, for years, as one of our most
active and energetic business men, he has found time to devote to his
religious duties. He has for a long time been a useful member of the
The Coal Interest
By the commencement of the season of 1828, the Ohio canal had been opened
from Cleveland to Akron. Henry Newberry, father of Professer Newberry, who
among his other possessions on the Western Reserve, owned some valuable
coal lands, saw, or fancied he saw, an opening for an important trade in
coal, and sent a shipment of a few tons to Cleveland by way of experiment.
On its arrival a portion of it was loaded in a wagon and hawked around the
city, the attention of leading citizens being called to its excellent
quality and its great value as fuel. But the people were deaf to the voice
of the charmer. They looked askance at the coal and urged against it all
the objections which careful housewives, accustomed to wood fires, even
now offer against its use for culinary purposes. It was dirty, nasty,
inconvenient to handle, made an offensive smoke, and not a few shook their
heads incredulously at the idea of making the "stone" burn at all. Wood
was plentiful and cheap, and as long as that was the case they did not see
the use of going long distances to procure a doubtful article of fuel,
neither as clean, convenient, nor cheap as hickory or maple. By nightfall
the wagon had unsuccessfully traversed the streets and found not a single
purchaser for its contents. Here and there a citizen had accepted a little
as a gift, with a doubtful promise to test its combustible qualities.
Eventually, Philo Scovill was persuaded into the purchase of a moderate
quantity at two dollars per ton, and promised to put in grates at the
Franklin House to properly test its qualities.
That was the beginning of a trade which has since grown to mammoth
proportions, and which has become the foundation of the prosperity of
Cleveland, for it is to the proximity and practically inexhaustibleness of
its coal supply that Cleveland owes its manufacturing character, which is
the secret of its rapid development within a few years, its present
prosperity, and the assured greatness of its future.
As a domestic fuel coal made slow progress in the city for many years, but
other uses were found for it, and the receipts of coal by canal rapidly
increased. Steamboats multiplied on the lakes, and these found the coal of
Cleveland a valuable fuel. By degrees manufacturing was ventured on, in a
small way, and there being no water-power of consequence, recourse was had
to steam, which created a moderate demand for coal. For ten years the
receipts increased steadily, until in 1838, it reached 2,496 tons. In
1848, it had grown to 66,551 tons, and in 1858--the canal transportation
being supplemented by two lines of railroad crossing the coal fields on
the way to Cleveland--to 222,267 tons. In 1868, it had swollen to 759,104
tons, and the demand continues to increase in a rate more than
proportionate to the enlarged sources of supply and increased facilities
The opening of the Cleveland and Mahoning Railroad gave a strong stimulus
to the coal trade of northern Ohio, and was one of the most important
events in the history of Cleveland. By this time the beds of the valuable
Briar Hill, or block coal, were tapped, which has proved the best fuel for
manufacturing iron from the raw ore, and has no superior, if it has a
rival, in the West. With the discovery of this bed of coal, blast furnaces
and rolling mills were established in the Mahoning Valley, and as the uses
of the coal became known in Cleveland and in other ports, a large demand,
for consumption in the city and exports to other points, sprang up. Over
one-half the amount of Ohio coal raised is of the Briar Hill grade, and of
the whole amount of Ohio coal raised, about one-half finds its market in
The bituminous coal is of several grades, each suitable for a particular
purpose. The most important is the Briar Hill grade, mined in the southern
half of Trumbull county and finding its outlet by the Cleveland and
Mahoning Railroad. This is a good grate coal, but its great use is in the
manufacture of iron, and the numerous furnaces of the Mahoning Valley, the
iron manufactories of Cleveland, and the demand along the line of the
lakes, keep the numerous mines in full operation. The Mineral Ridge grade
is a comparatively new quality to Cleveland, and has yet but comparatively
few mines. It is used both for domestic and manufacturing purposes. The
Massillon grade is brought both by canal and railroad, and is highly
esteemed as a grate coal. The rapidly growing demand for grate fuel has
given a great stimulus to the mining of this coal within a few years. The
Hammondsville and Salineville grades are used chiefly for stoves in
domestic use, for steam purposes, and for the manufacture of gas. These
grades come to market on the Cleveland and Pittsburgh Railroad. The
Blossburgh grade is used almost entirely for blacksmithing.
Besides the Ohio bituminous coals there is a steadily increasing demand
for the anthracite and semi-anthracite coals of eastern Pennsylvania,
which is brought by lake from Buffalo.
The growth of the coal trade during the past four years can be seen by the
following table, showing the receipts from all sources and shipments,
chiefly by lake, coastwise and to Canadian ports:
Date. Receipts. Shipments.
1865.......439,483 tons....235,784 tons.
1866.......583,107 " ....397,840 "
1867.......669,026 " ....334,027 "
1868.......759,104 " ....392,928 "
The amount brought over each route of supply during 1868, is thus shown:
By Lake, Anthracite...................................... 13,665 tons.
" Canal, Bituminous...................................... 197,475 "
" Cleveland and Pittsburgh Railroad...................... 274,159 "
" Atlantic and Great Western Railroad
(Cleveland and Mahoning)............................ 254,000 "
" Cleveland and Erie Railroad............................ 17,600 "
" Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati Railroad............ 2,205 "
This shows an increase of nearly 100,000 tons on the receipts of 1867,
notwithstanding a most obstinate and continued strike among the miners,
which diminished the receipts by the Atlantic and Great Western, from
20,000 to 30,000 tons. Of the shipments of each during the year, 382,928
tons went by lake, and about 10,000 tons by rail, mostly by Cleveland and
Toledo Railroad to Toledo and intermediate points.
Although never a resident of Cleveland, the enterprise of William Philpot
so directly contributed to the prosperity of the city, the labors of his
life were so connected with it, and the interests he founded have since
become such an integral part of the business of Cleveland, that his
memoir appropriately finds a place in this work. It is proper, too, that
it should stand foremost in the department relating to the coal trade of
the city, for he may justly be considered one of the leading founders of
William Philpot was born in Shropshire, England. At an early age he
removed to Wales and went to work in the mines at three pence per day.
Soon after he was able to earn full wages, he became an overseer, and
continued in that capacity until he took contracts on his own account. His
success was varied, on some he made handsomely, on others he failed. By
the year 1835, he accumulated about eight thousand dollars, and concluded
to go to the United States as affording greater facilities for small
capitalists. He proceeded to Pittsburgh, where he immediately interested
himself in the mining of coal. He commenced by leasing from one party a
portion of the coal and the right of way on a large tract of coal land,
for a term of twenty-one years, and leased coal from others, at a quarter
cent per bushel. Of another person he purchased a farm, bearing coal, at
seventy-five dollars an acre. In the Summer of 1837, he took into
partnership Mr. Snowden, and the firm set to work vigorously, mining coal
at Saw Mill Run and shipping on the Ohio river, to which Mr. Philpot had
built a railway a mile in length. The two partners were not well matched.
Mr. Philpot was full of energy, fertile in resources, and never slackened
in his endeavors to push his affairs. No difficulties daunted him; the
greater the obstacles the more pleasure he took in surmounting them. He
built his railroad tracks where most other men would have shrunk from
placing a rail and whilst those who commenced preparations for a mine at
the same time with himself were still in the preparatory stages of work,
his cars would be rattling down to the river loaded with coal. One great
secret of his ability to hasten matters was his influence with the men
under him. He was familiar and affable with them, worked energetically
among them whenever a sharp effort was needed, and in this way got more
work out of the men, without their feeling that they had been imposed
upon, than most employers could have done. Mr. Snowden was a man of an
entirely different stamp, and it soon became evident that the firm must
dissolve. After some negotiations Mr. Philpot disposed of his interests to
Messrs. Snowden and Lewis, and in 1838, removed to Paris, Portage county,
Ohio, where he had purchased a farm. His family at that time consisted of
his wife and two daughters; Mary Ann, now the wife of R. J. Price, Esq.,
Dorothy, now widow of the late David Morris, Esq. With them also was his
father, Samuel Philpot, now dead. Soon after his removal to Portage county
he became interested with Mr. Philip Price, in the excavation of the
Pennsylvania and Ohio canal, and during the progress of the work they
purchased land on either side of the canal, including Lock fourteen, where
they built a saw and flouring mill, using the canal water as motive power.
Towards the latter part of 1839, Mr. Philpot purchased the interest of Mr.
Price in the mills and land, and ran the mills successfully, until 1841,
when he sold both mills and land to Colonel Elisha Garrett, of
Garrettsville. In the Spring of 1841, Mr. Philpot rented his home farm and
removed with his family to Middlebury, Summit county, where he had
purchased a coal bank, and engaged once more in the coal trade.
The importance of his operations in coal, both to the business of the coal
regions and of Cleveland, which formed his principal market, can scarcely
be overestimated. Before removing to Springfield he discovered there, in
1840, a valuable coal mine, which he afterwards developed and worked
successfully, building a railroad of about three miles from the mines to
the canal at Middlebury, whence the coal was shipped to Cleveland. This
road he stocked with about forty coal cars, and for several years his mine
supplied the principal demand for the Cleveland market. In 1843, he
developed and improved the celebrated Chippewa mines, Wayne county, near
the village of Clinton, and built a railroad to the Ohio canal. From these
mines he supplied the Cleveland market with large quantities of coal until
the year 1845, when he sold out half his interests in them to Mr. Lemuel
Crawford, and some time afterward he sold one-quarter interest to Mr.
His next remove was to Youngstown, where, in 1846, he leased the Manning
and Wertz bank, and while sinking for coal, discovered iron ore. He then
went to Pittsburgh and endeavored to get up a furnace company, but not
being successful, he returned, and associated himself with Jonathan
Warner and a few others in organizing the Ohio Iron and Mining Company,
now known as the Eagle Furnace Company, Messrs. Philpot and Warner owning
two-thirds of the entire stock. Mr. Philpot at that time opened and
developed the Wertz and Manning Briar Hill coal mines, the furnace having
been built with the purpose of smelting iron ore with raw stone coal,
being the second constructed for this purpose in the Mahoning Valley, the
first being that of Wilkenson, Wilks & Co., at Lowellville. The
experiment was hazardous, and was carried forward under many difficulties,
financial and otherwise, but the energy and enterprise of Mr. Philpot
triumphed over them all.
Mr. Philpot was a man of rare energy, industry and practical good sense.
He was always successful for he seemed to have an intuitive knowledge of
what was the right course to take, and when once entered on an enterprise
never allowed himself to be defeated or discouraged. His integrity was
unquestioned. His word was as good as a bond, and was entirely relied on.
He was a kind husband and father, a true friend, and his heart and hand
were always open to the poor and distressed, many of whom were not only
relieved from their pressing emergencies, but were assisted to start in
business or to procure homesteads. Besides his many excellent social
qualities and business talents, he was possessed of a most extraordinary
memory, and it is related of him by one who knew him intimately, that
after hearing a speech or sermon that enlisted his whole attention, he
would sometimes rehearse it to others almost verbatim.
Mr. Philpot died in Liberty township, Trumbull county, June 2d, 1851.
In all the great enterprises of his business career, Mr. Philpot was ably
supported by his beloved partner in life, who was a woman of more than
ordinary ability. She was also most remarkably benevolent, bestowing much
care on the sick and indigent in her immediate neighborhood. She survived
her husband a number of years, and died at Cleveland, in August, 1865,
[Illustration: Lemuel Crawford]
The subject of this sketch belonged to the business classes, as
distinguished from the professional, but which are none the less fruitful
in characters of prominence and public interest.
Indeed it has come to pass in later years that what are commonly known as
the learned professions, law, medicine and theology, though still high in
rank, have lost something of the ruling pre-eminence they occupied in our
earlier history. Other departments in the world's industry have asserted
themselves, and railway systems, telegraphs, commerce, journalism,
manufactures, banking, and other branches, have come forward and absorbed
their fair proportion of the best talent and ambition of the country.
Lemuel Crawford was born in Florida, Schoharie county, New York,
December 15, 1805.
Left without means, at the age of fourteen he chose the trade of moulder
in the iron or furnace business.
At twenty-one he came to Painesville, Ohio, where he was made foreman of
the Geauga Furnace. Here he remained about six years, having especial
superintendence of the pattern and moulding department, and filling his
position with great skill and credit. At this place, July 29, 1832, he
married Louisa Murray, of Willoughby, in the same county, who still
survives him, and to whose long and faithful companionship, judgment and
energy, in all the vicissitudes of his fortune, he was largely indebted
for his success.
In 1833, Mr. Crawford moved with his family to Detroit, whence, after
remaining six years, he removed to Presque Isle on Lake Huron, where he
was the first to start the wood trade, for fuel for our then rapidly
growing steamboat commerce. Here he remained seven years, superintending
large bodies of wood cutters and suppliers, the saw mills, now so common
in the lumber region, being then unknown.
In 1846, perceiving, with his usual forecast, that coal was likely to
supplant wood for the uses of our steam marine, he removed to Cleveland,
and at once invested about forty thousand dollars in the Chippewa mines,
so called, in the Mahoning Valley, which had been opened a year or two
before, and promised, as the event proved, to afford an almost
inexhaustible supply of the richest coal. These mines, adding tracts of
adjoining coal land to them as occasion demanded, he continued to work
with a large annual yield for more then twenty years.
Shortly after commencing with the Chippewa, he was found, in 1848, to be
among the pioneers in opening up the beds of Briar Hill coal in the
Mahoning Valley, so well known to steamboat men and manufacturers ever
since, as being a kind of coal peculiarly fitted for their uses. Here he
continued to mine largely at several different localities selected by him
with rare judgment. He also opened and carried on mining extensively at
other points, such as on the Ohio, below Steubenville, also in Orange
county, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere.
His chief business office and coal depots were at Cleveland, but he had
branch establishments at Detroit and Chicago, and at one time was largely
interested in vessel property on the Lakes, and although the business of
mining and selling coal, mainly for supplying steam craft and for
exportation, was his leading pursuit, he was one of the earliest in 1851,
to engage in the manufacture of pig iron from our native ores in the
Mahoning Valley, having an interest in the second furnace started there,
and being the builder of the fourth. From time to time he invested
judiciously in real estate.
From all these sources in spite of some business adventures which
proved disastrous, through unexpected financial revulsions, or the
fault of others, he succeeded in amassing a splendid fortune to be
inherited by his family. He was never a speculator, nor a rash
operator, but his business views were liberal and comprehensive, and
carried out with energy and wisdom. Personally he was a man of fine
presence and manners, always pleasant to meet with on the street,
cordial and unassuming. He was intensely loyal and liberal throughout
the war, and always kind and charitable to the poor. He was not a
church member, but was a regular church attendant and a respecter of
religions institutions. In his later years he was frequently an
invalid, and being in New York in the Fall of 1867, by the advice of
physicians, and in company with friends from Cleveland, he sailed for
Europe, where, in Paris, during the Exposition, he spent some months,
returning with health improved, but which again declined until June
30, 1868, when at the age of sixty-two years, six months and fifteen
days, he died at his beautiful home in Cleveland, surrounded by his
family and friends, peacefully and calmly, as a good man dies.
We feel that we can not do better than to conclude this brief and
imperfect sketch with the notice which appeared in the Cleveland Herald on
the evening of the day of his decease. Speaking of the event it says:
We regret to announce the decease of this prominent business man and
respected citizen, who died at his residence on Euclid avenue this
(Tuesday) morning at about 9 o'clock.
Mr. Crawford had for years been more or less an invalid, but had not
been alarmingly ill until last Thursday, when by a sudden and severe
attack he was completely prostrated, and recovery became hopeless.
Mr. Crawford had nearly reached the age of sixty-three. A native of New
York, beginning life with few, if any, adventitous aids, he had attained
to affluence and position by a long and enterprising business career.
For the last twenty-four years he has lived in Cleveland. He was among
the pioneers in the coal mining business of Northern Ohio, contributing
largely ever since by his sagacity and experience, to the development of
that important element of commerce and public wealth.
Through all the vicissitudes of a long business life he maintained a
character of the most perfect integrity. As a citizen he was liberal and
public spirited; as a neighbor and friend he was kind and generous; in
his social and domestic relations he was simple and unostentatious,
affectionate and beloved. Very many in the various ranks and conditions
of life, both here and elsewhere, will mourn his loss, and remember him
with sincere respect.
D. P. Rhodes.
The name of D. P. Rhodes is distinguished among those who have
contributed to the prosperity of Cleveland by the development of its coal
and iron interests. For many years he has labored to build up the coal
and iron trade of the city, on which its future mainly depends, and has
met with a success which has benefitted the public in a far greater
degree than it has enriched himself, although he has had nothing to
complain of in that respect.
Mr. Rhodes was born in Sudbury, Rutland county, Vermont. His father dying
when the boy was but five years old, he was compelled to work for his own
living, riding horse for his neighbors whilst they plowed corn, digging
potatoes and picking apples for every tenth bushel, and doing other odd
jobs. When he was fifteen years old his mother married again and he lived
with his stepfather till twenty-one. His stepfather, being rich, offered
him a farm if he would stay with him, but he was bent on seeing the West
before accepting the farm, and so set out westward. Whilst in the West he
became engaged to be married, and before marriage he visited his home,
when his stepfather offered him half his property if he would return there
and live. The papers were made out but were not to be executed till he had
consulted his affianced. To do this he returned to the West. As he
traveled by canal he had abundant time to consider the matter, and the
more he thought of it the more he became sick of the idea. Things were too
circumscribed down east to suit his taste. He said nothing of the matter
to his affianced, but wrote home that he was not coming; and to this day
he has never seen occasion to regret his decision, but has been confirmed
in its wisdom. To use his own expression: "By Jupiter, I would rather live
west, if I did'nt live half as long."
Mr. Rhodes became early interested in the coal business, his first
enterprise being in company with Messrs. Tod and Ford, in 1845, at the old
Briar Hill mines, from which they raised and shipped by canal about fifty
tons per week. This was considered a good business. In two or three years
business increased to a hundred tons daily. In 1846, another mine was
opened in Girard. This was followed by the Clover Hill mine in the
Tuscarawas Valley, previous to the opening of which the firm was changed
by the death of Mr. Ford. The next opened was the Clinton mines in the
Tuscarawas Valley. Then a mine in Fairview, Wayne county, which was the
last large transaction with Gov. Tod as partner. In about 1855, Tod and
Rhodes dissolved partnership, Mr. Rhodes taking Clover Hill, and Gov. Tod
all the rest of the interests.
Whilst developing his coal interests, Mr. Rhodes made important
discoveries of iron ore, the first being veins of black band ore, very
similar to the English and Scotch, though richer. The veins of this ore in
Tuscarawas are from five to fifteen feet thick. He also discovered and
worked a vein of mountain ore that will also run from five to fifteen feet
thick, and is easily mined, one miner being able to mine twenty tons per
day after the earth has been removed. Mr. Rhodes spent several months in
the ore fields of Scotland and England in 1868, and found the veins there
not over two feet in thickness.
[Illustration: Yours Truly, D. P. Rhodes]
In the Tuscarawas Valley property, Mr. Rhodes has found seven veins of
coal, five of which are very good, and he has worked the whole of them.
There is also as good fire-clay as any yet discovered, the finest grade
being pure sandstone, which stands fire as hearthstones in furnaces better
than any other. Shell ore, block ore, and limestone also exist in
abundance. The iron enterprises in which Mr. Rhodes is interested are the
Tuscarawas Iron Company, formed about 1864, of which Mr. Rhodes is
president. This company have three or four thousand acres of mineral land
in the Tuscarawas Valley, and the works have a capacity of a hundred and
fifty tons per week; also the Dover Rolling Mill Company, of which Mr.
Baker is president. It makes all sizes of merchant and small T rail iron,
having a capacity of about fifteen tons per day.
He is largely interested in a mining company near Massillon, having three
engines and three openings there, and can mine a thousand tons of coal per
day as soon as the road from Massillon to Clinton is completed. This will
be the shortest coal bearing road,--for blast furnace coal--to Cleveland,
by fifteen miles, for it connects with the Cleveland, Zanesville and
Cincinnati Railroad at Clinton, thence to Cleveland by Cleveland and
Pittsburgh Railroad at Hudson. A company was formed and sunk some eight
hundred or nine hundred feet, within three miles of Canal Dover, on the
line of this company, and found salt water of the very best quality, the
water itself being almost strong enough to preserve meat. There is coal
within twenty rods of the wells at ninety cents per ton, whereas in
Syracuse and Saginaw they have to use wood, at a cost (at the former
place) of seven dollars per cord. Mr. Cass, President of the Fort Wayne
Railroad, and J. N. McCullough, of the same and of the Cleveland and
Pittsburgh Railroad, are heavily interested in the road connections
adverted to above.
At Fulton, three miles below Clinton, is another coal company in which Mr.
Rhodes is interested. This mine yields about three hundred tons per day,
and could double that amount if there were sufficient transportation.
There are two engines and two openings at this bank.
Mr. Rhodes is also interested in three mines at Marseilles, Willmington
and Braceville, Illinois. He has taken a hearty interest in all
improvements, and especially in the matter of railroads. He was interested
in building the Northern Division of the Cleveland and Toledo Railroad,
and was on the executive committee.
D. P. Rhodes and H. S. Stevens built the West Side street railroad, and
equipped it. He was also largely interested in building and equipping the
Rocky River railroad. He is also interested in the Cleveland and
Zanesville railroad project.
Dr. Upson, of Talmadge, and Messrs. Philpot and Camp were in the coal
business when Mr. Rhodes commenced, and they have all disappeared. They
only then received about one boat load of fifty tons per week by canal,
whereas, the firm of Rhodes & Co. now handle from ninety thousand to one
hundred thousand tons per year.
Mr. Rhodes has built his docks in this city, two of them are the largest
on the line of the river. About seven hundred men are employed on works in
which he is heavily interested, but nothing troubles him. He says: "If the
men don't dig the coal or iron, they don't get paid for it, so I take it
easy, and am giving my attention to farming. I have a stock farm of five
hundred and forty-four and a half acres at Ravenna that I run myself, and
I have another of eighty acres adjacent to the city, rented for gardening,
and still another of twenty-six and a half acres, out on the Detroit road
where I intend to build me a home to live and die in, if I do not die away
from home." He is now only fifty-three years old, hale and hearty, and
seemingly good for another score or two of years.
He has four children, the oldest and youngest being daughters. The oldest
is the wife of M. A. Hanna, of the firm of Rhodes & Co. The oldest son,
Robert, is a member of the same firm; the other son, James, has just
returned from a long visit to the mineral fields of Europe and attending
lectures on metallurgy and mining. By his observation and studies he has
acquired an extensive knowledge of the old world and the modes of working
mines. The youngest daughter, Fanny, is at school at Batavia, New York.
In 1867, Mr. D. P. Rhodes and J. F. Card being tired of the sale department
of their coal business, and having immense interest in mines that
required close attention, gave up their sale business in Cleveland to
Rhodes & Co., a firm consisting of G. H. Warmington, M. A. Hanna, and
Robert R. Rhodes, who are receiving and selling both coal and iron, the
same as the old firm.
The sales of coal by the firm for the past two years amounted to one
hundred thousand tons per year; together with a large trade in pig iron
and ore. The Willson Bank and Massillon and also Briar Hill grades of coal
are principally handled by this firm, who are also operators largely in
the Pennsylvania anthracites.
The ores passing through Cleveland to supply the manufactories of the
Mahoning Valley are from Lake Superior and Canada; the Canada ores forming
quite an extensive item. The firm keep for sale many varieties of pig
iron, the most considerable being that of the Tuscarawas iron, but
including also the Lake Superior and Salisbury irons.
The business of the firm averages one million dollars per year, and
extends through the entire chain of lakes, having agencies at Chicago and
Milwaukee, and also on Lake Superior ports. The Chicago trade is steadily
increasing, for which there are two or three good reasons, to wit: The
city is growing very rapidly; the Illinois coals are very inferior to
those of Ohio, and the local demand for the product of the Illinois coal
fields is very large, owing to the scarcity of wood.
The importance of biography as a branch of historical literature is
indisputable, and long before reaching this portion of our work the reader
must have realized the truth, that in the life of the individual can be
seen mirrored not only his individual struggles, "but all mankind's
epitome." The trouble, trials and labors of the one are but specimens of
the struggles of the many who have to fight the battle of life, and who go
down to their graves unchronicled. From the story of those whose
experience is recorded, may be gleaned lessons of hope under the most
discouraging circumstances, of perseverance amid difficulties, and
assurances that labor and faith will eventually conquer. These lessons are
forcibly taught in the history of the subject of the present sketch.
David Morris was born of respectable parents, in Sirhowy, Monmouth county,
on the border of Wales, July 9th, 1819. His opportunities for acquiring an
education were limited, but such as they were he made the most of, and
obtained sufficient knowledge of the ordinary branches to enable him to
successfully carry on business in after life. When about twenty years of
age he emigrated to the United States, landing in New York. October 4th,
1839, in company with his mother and the remainder of the children, his
father having arrived earlier, for the purpose of seeking a location. The
first stop was made in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, thence they removed for a
short time to Llewellyn, and afterwards to Primrose, Schuylkill county.
In 1841, he left his parents and went to Middlebury, Summit county, Ohio.
He at once commenced digging coal for Mr. Philpot, with whom he had been
acquainted in Wales. After a few months he commenced driving team on the
railroad, and continued in that capacity for about two years. The zeal
and ability shown by the young man attracted the attention of his
employer, and proved of signal assistance in pushing forward the work. So
marked was the interest exhibited by Mr. Philpot in his assistant, that
he favored a closer connection, and in 1843, his daughter, Dorothy
Philpot, was married to David Morris. The young wife was a lady of more
than ordinary good qualities, and the union proved a source of unfailing
happiness, Mrs. Morris being not only an exemplary wife and mother in her
home, but by her counsel and assistance materially advancing the business
interests of her husband.
In 1847, Mr. Morris, in connection with W. H. Harris, contracted with
Lemuel Crawford for mining the Chippewa bank by the ton. After two years,
he took the management of the work for Crawford & Price, the latter having
purchased an interest. He then went to Girard to work his own mines at
that point. The coal being of an excellent quality, and the demand
constantly increasing, these mines became a source of great wealth,
engrossing large capital, and giving employment to a host of workmen.
Instead of the one mine which he found, his original enterprise, his
estate now comprises the Mineral Ridge mines, which have been worked about
eighteen years, and have yielded about a hundred and fifty tons per day;
the Girard mines, worked about the same period, and yielding two hundred
tons daily; and mines at Youngstown, which have been worked eight years.
The pay roll of these mines now bears about $12,000 per month, and the
freight bills on the railroad average $3,000 per week. The coal is mostly
brought to Cleveland, whence it is shipped to Chicago, Milwaukee,
Hamilton, and Toronto, a large amount going to the latter place.
In 1856, Mr. Morris moved to Cleveland, the amount of business transacted
with this city making this step prudent. Here the firm of Crawford, Price
& Morris was formed, which subsequently became Price, Crawford & Morris,
and finally Morris & Price. On the 15th of February, 1862, he died in the
forty-third year of his age.
[Illustration: Truly Yours, David Morris]
Mr. Morris was active, industrious, and unfailing in his watchfulness
over the interests in his charge, both when an employee and when an
employer. His industry set a good example, which those under him were
induced to follow, and in this way labors which would have wearied and
discouraged men with a less energetic and industrious manager, were
performed with cheerfulness. He was a man of few words but his manner and
acts spoke more forcibly than words, and his men learned to obey and
respect an employer, who, instead of ordering and lecturing them, quietly
showed them how he wished a thing by setting about it with them. He was
careful to restrain his passions, and to act from judgment instead of from
impulse. In this way he was not only successful in business, and respected
by his business associates, but possessed the esteem and confidence of his
workmen, who, when he lay in his last illness, gathered anxiously to learn
every item of intelligence that could be learned in regard to his
Mr. Morris was simple and unpretending in his habits, and of a religious
turn of mind. He felt his obligations to God, and during his later years,
especially, was diligent in his attention on Divine worship. In the
closing days of his illness, he was constantly engaged in prayer, and
departed this life in the assured hope of a peaceful and joyous hereafter.
The disease that carried him off was typhoid fever, with which he was at
first seized in Cleveland, where he lay at his residence for some weeks.
On his partial recovery he visited Girard, where he suffered a relapse,
and after a lingering illness, died at the residence of his parents. He
was buried in Youngstown cemetery, the funeral exercises being attended by
one of the largest assemblages of friends ever congregated at that place
on a similar occasion.
It was feared that with his death the operation of his works would cease
and a large number of people be thus thrown out of employment. But a short
time before his death he had expressed the desire that the works should be
carried on after his departure the same as before it; "because," said he,
"to stop the work would do much harm to others and no good to us." Mr.
Morris appointed his wife, Mrs. Dorothy Morris, and Mr. Robert McLauchlan,
executors of his will, and trustees of the estate. Mr. McLauchlan, who had
been for a number of years engaged with the firm previous to the death of
Mr. Morris, and therefore familiar with all its business detail, had the
additional qualification of being an able financier, and possessing a
practical knowledge of all branches of the coal interest, and above all,
a character for unimpeachable integrity. His administration has been
Mr. Morris left a wife and six children to mourn his loss, the eldest of
whom, Mary, is now the widow of the late A. V. Cannon, and the second,
William, is a member of the firm of Ward, Morris & Co., coal dealers. The
third, John, is engaged at one of the estate mines, at Niles, Ohio, the
rest being quite young.
W. I. Price.
W. I. Price was born in Nantiglo, South Wales, May 21st, 1823, and came to
the United States with his father when about twelve years of age. His
father settled at Paris, Ohio, where the subject of this sketch remained
until he grew up to man's estate, when he removed to Cleveland, and was
engaged as book-keeper with Messrs. Camp & Stockly. The confidence of his
employers in his business ability and integrity was soon manifested by
their sending him to Chicago as their agent in the coal business. His stay
in that city was marked by several severe fits of sickness, and he was
eventually compelled to leave that post and return to Cleveland.
Soon after his return he became interested with Lemuel Crawford, in the
business of mining coal, in the early development of which branch of trade
he filled a conspicuous and important part. He often related, after the
coal interest had assumed large proportions, the difficulties to be
surmounted in introducing coal as an article of fuel, especially on the
steamboats. Frequently he has sat up all night watching for the steamers
to come in, and then almost gave away coal in order to induce their
officers to use it.
The firm of Crawford & Price was formed in 1850. With persistent energy it
continued to push its coal business until it assumed considerable
proportions, when, in 1856, Mr. David Morris became a partner, and the
firm name was changed to Crawford, Price & Co., and again in 1858, to
Price, Crawford & Morris. In 1857, the firm of Price, Morris & Co. was
established in Chicago, and Mr. Price was, during much of his time,
actively engaged in the extensive coal transactions of that firm.
[Illustration: Very Resp. Yours, W. I. Price]
Mr. Price was married to Miss Harriet Murray, who died in 1850, after two
years of married life, leaving one child, which only survived her three
months. He was married again August 27, 1856, to Miss Caroline Anderson,
of Manchester, Vermont, daughter of Rev. James Anderson, of the
Being in ill health at the time of his second marriage, Mr. Price, with
his wife, took a trip to Europe, visiting his old home in Wales, and
returned with his health so much improved that he was scarcely recognized
by his friends.
The year 1857 was a most trying time for business men. Mr. Price's labors
were arduous in the extreme; his energy was unbounded, and the labors he
was compelled to perform doubtless so over-taxed his strength that he had
not sufficient vitality to recover.
In the Fall of 1858, he had the first serious apprehensions for his
health. A bronchial difficulty from which he suffered, was aggravated by
traveling and exposure, and in the Spring of 1859, he went to New York
for advice. He was told to make another trip to Europe. This advice was
followed, but he returned very little benefited. After a few weeks he
started with his wife on a tour south, intending to remain there during
the Winter. Reaching Charleston, S. C., about the middle of November, he
remained but a short time, and then set out for the Sulphur Springs, at
Aiken. Here he improved rapidly, but as the cold came on, and the
accommodations were poor, it was thought advisable to go further south.
At Savannah he remained a short time, and after wandering from point to
point, arrived early in February at New Smyrna, where a large company of
English hunters made their headquarters. Here they found better food and
accommodations. After wandering through the South until about the middle
of May, they returned to New York, where they were met by the partner of
Mr. Price, Mr. Morris, and Mr. Price's brother Philip. The latter
accompanied them to Manchester, Vermont. The mountain air of that region
stopped the cough of the invalid, and from Thursday, May 17th, to Monday
21st, he was able to sit up, and was attending to business with his
brother all the morning of the last named day. A friend from Brooklyn
called, and with him he conversed for half an hour. On rising to bid him
good bye, he was seized with hemorrhage, and asked to be assisted to bed.
He never spoke more, and died in fifteen minutes. His remains were
brought to Cleveland and interred in Erie street cemetery, but were
afterwards removed to Woodland. The last illness of Mr. Price was borne
without a murmur.
Mr. Price was modest and retiring in manner, affable in disposition, and
benevolent to a fault. He was most beloved where best known. In business
circles his integrity was proverbial, and his financial ability
everywhere acknowledged. Few men have died so sincerely regretted by
those who knew him.
James Anderson Price, the only child of the subject of this sketch, was
born April 22d, 1858, and though yet very young, presents in personal
appearance and disposition an exact counterpart of his father.
D. W. Cross.
In the Spring of 1855, when the coal trade of Cleveland was,
comparatively, in its infancy, and before the Mahoning Railroad was built,
the late Oliver H. Perry and David W. Cross set about investigating the
coal deposits in the Mahoning Valley, which resulted in their making some
leases of coal lands, and in purchasing a coal tract of about one hundred
and fifty acres, known then as the old Heaton coal bank, of Mineral Ridge
coal. In January, 1856, Perry, Cross & Co. commenced operations in
earnest, opened an office and coal yard on Johnson & Tisdale's dock and
mined and brought to Cleveland the first cargo of Mineral Ridge coal. It
came by the way of the Pennsylvania and Ohio canal from Niles, Trumbull
At that time, when a gold dollar was only worth a dollar, the coal was
mined at forty cents per ton, the canal freight about one dollar and
seventy-five cents per ton, "dead work," handling, dockage, &c., about
seventy-five cents, making the total cost of that coal on the docks in
Cleveland ready for delivery, about two dollars and ninety cents per ton.
This mine produced about a hundred tons per day. The company that year
also received about eight thousand tons of Briar Hill or "block coal" from
Powers' bank, about two miles below Youngstown. This coal was also brought
in by canal boats.
In the year 1859, Hon. Henry B. Payne, who had an interest in the
original purchase of coal lands, with a view of establishing his son,
Nathan P. Payne, in business, bought the entire interest of Mr. Perry in
the concern and the business was continued in the name of D. W. Cross & Co.
Mr. N. P. Payne, then an active young man just from his collegiate studies,
took charge of the retail trade, and Isaac Newton had charge of the books.
In 1860, arrangements were made with the late Lemuel Crawford to run his
Chippewa and Briar Hill mines in connection with the Mineral Ridge mines,
and it resulted in forming the company known as Crawford, Cross & Co., for
one year, at the expiration of which time the firm of Cross, Payne & Co.,
composed of D. W. Cross, Nathan P. Payne and Isaac Newton, carried on the
business. This firm made extensive explorations for coal. They discovered
and opened the Summit bank coal mines, near Akron, built a locomotive
railroad three miles long to the canal at Middlebury, and to the Cleveland
& Zanesville and Atlantic & Great Western railroads; repaired the feeder
canal from Middlebury to Akron, built a basin capable of holding eight
canal boats, extensive shutes, docks, &c., capable of handling four
thousand five hundred tons per day. This coal tract includes between three
and four hundred acres. The coal is a superior quality of the Massillon
grade, about four and a half feet thick, and for steam, manufacturing and
domestic uses is claimed to have no superior. The company employed at this
mine from seventy-five to a hundred and fifty men; built extensive shaft
works for elevating coal to the surface; erected about forty comfortable
tenements for the workmen and miners, and, in short, used all their past
experience to make this a model mine. It is the nearest coal bank to
Cleveland now open.
They also, in connection with the late W. A. Otis, Charles A. Otis and
James Lewis, leased and purchased several hundred acres of coal lands in
Brookfield, Trumbull county, Ohio, and opened the extensive works known as
the Otis Coal Company's bank.
A shaft on this tract was sunk to the coal eight by sixteen feet and a
hundred and fifty-five feet deep, in sixty-one days by Isaac Halford,
superintendent, through solid rock, said to be the quickest work ever
known in the valley. This tract produces an excellent quality of the Briar
Hill grade of coal; a locomotive railroad connects it with a branch of the
Mahoning Railroad, and the works are capable of mining and raising three