Part 4 out of 11
McDermott. The firm immediately erected works for turning large
grindstones for manufactories, and distinguished their first Spring's
business by sending to New York city the first cargo of building stone
ever shipped there from Ohio. During this year they furnished the stone
for all the trimmings and carved work on the Government buildings at
Ottawa, the capital of the Dominion of Canada, and also for a number of
buildings in Montreal and other cities and towns of Canada. The year's
business was heavy, and the result was largely due to the energy and
enterprise of Mr. McDermott. In the latter part of the year Mr. McDermott
took up his residence in Cleveland, where he had purchased a house, and in
the spring of 1864 the office of the firm was removed to Cleveland.
The business of the firm was now growing vigorously, the result of the
year 1864 being in the highest degree satisfactory, not alone in the
pecuniary returns, but in the wider extension of the trade and the
introduction of the Ohio stone to markets where it had previously been
unknown, and where it has since been in steady and large demand. Near the
close of the year the firm of Worthington & McDermott was dissolved, and
Mr. McDermott purchased of the Wallaces the old quarry at Berea originally
opened by John Baldwin over forty years ago. He took into partnership his
brother William and established the firm of J. McDermott & Co. The new firm
went actively to work in developing its quarry, mining and manufacturing
block and grindstones, and succeeded rapidly in establishing valuable
business connections and enlarging the stone trade of this section. Among
the first improvements introduced was the building of a railroad track
Connecting the quarry with the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati track,
and other facilities for the expeditions handling and getting out stone
were added as promptly as practicable. In the spring of 1865 the firm
filled a contract with the Cleveland and Toledo Railroad Company for stone
with which to replace the wooden bridges along the line of the road.
During the year the firm made extensive progress in developing its quarry,
trenching to a greater depth than had yet been reached in any of the
quarries, and obtaining a quality of building stone superior to any
produced up to this time in Ohio, which very soon became, and is still, in
large demand. In the spring of 1866, the firm sold the first five hundred
tons of Berea rock block stone that ever went to New York city, and
succeeded in so far interesting several of the largest builders of the
metropolis in this stone as to induce them to visit the Berea quarries.
During the year 1867, the firm sent to New York all the clear rock block
stone they could get out, and also filled several large contracts for
block stone with the Cleveland and Toledo and Lake Shore Railroad
Companies, doing this year a very large business. On the 1st of January,
1867, the firm was increased by taking in another brother, Mr. Michael
McDermott, the firm name remaining unchanged.
The house of J. McDermott & Co. occupies at this time a leading position
in the stone trade of Ohio, and indeed of the West, not alone in the
amount of its annual business, but in credit, character and influence, and
in these latter respects it is hardly surpassed by any mercantile house in
Northern Ohio. The trade of the house not only extends to nearly every
State of the Union and the Dominion of Canada, but the product of its
quarries finds a market in Mexico, South America and other parts of the
world. During 1867, this house furnished the stone for fourteen blocks and
fronts in New York city, and a number of buildings in Boston, New Haven
and other cities, and in 1868, the business was largely increased. A
single firm of builders in New York city erected during that year fifteen
buildings and fronts for which J. McDermott & Co. furnished the stone.
The quarries owned by this firm embrace twenty-five acres of land of which
less than an acre has been worked out. In 1867, they turned out 106,200
cubic feet of block stone, 46,000 feet of flagging, 119 car loads of rough
block stone, and 1,510 tons of small grindstones. These quarries are
valued at $200,000, and the excellent quality of the stone produced is
amply attested by the large and increasing demand for it.
The business of the house of J. McDermott & Co. is under the immediate
personal supervision of Mr. James McDermott, to whose experience,
enterprise and business capacity its marked success is due. Mr. McDermott
has taken an active interest in all that relates to the stone business,
and also to whatever tends to build up the prosperity of Cleveland. In
1866 and 1867, he visited Washington to procure the modification of the
internal tax and import duty on stone, and was successful in his
endeavors. He also brought about the organization of the "Association of
the Grindstone and Block Stone Manufactures of Northern Ohio," a work
which was not accomplished without much difficulty, in spite of the fact
that it was for the mutual benefit of all engaged in the trade. It should
be mentioned in this connection that the firm issued a valuable series of
tables of weights of grindstones, and rules for computing the same, now in
general use by manufacturers, and which was chiefly compiled by Mrs.
McDermott. The most recent public work of Mr. McDermott was his active
labor in organizing the Cleveland, Wooster and Zanesville Railroad
Company, to which he has devoted time, money and labor.
Mr. McDermott is still young, being but thirty-two years old, of fine
physical proportions, a robust constitution, and clear, comprehensive
mind. His healthfulness, and also his success in business, he attributes
in large measure to his habit of strict temperance. In business matters he
is prompt, scrupulously conscientious, and holding a verbal engagement to
be as binding as the most carefully drawn contract. In private and social
circles he is warm-hearted, cheerful, and every way a pleasant companion.
J. A. Redington.
J. A. Redington is son of Captain John Redington, formerly of Saratoga
county, New York, who, when nineteen years of age, ran away from his
stepfather, who abused him, and volunteered into the Revolutionary army,
where he served seven years, and was taken prisoner by the British, and
incarcerated in the Sugar House, New York. There the privation that fell
to his lot in the great struggle for freedom, nearly killed him. Had Capt.
Redington lived till the present time he would have been one hundred and
twelve years old. J. A. Redington, the subject of this sketch, was born
June 4, 1818, when his father was sixty-one years old, and there were five
children born to the old soldier afterwards. At the birth of the last, he
was seventy-two years of age.
Ten years of the boyhood of J. A. was spent with an uncle in Vermont, where
he received a good common school education. While living at that place his
father died, and at the age of sixteen he had a keen realization of the
situation. He had nothing, and could not mend matters where he was, so he
determined to go home to his mother and see if he could be of service
there. After remaining with his mother a year, he engaged with a
ship-chandler at Oswego, for twenty-five dollars per year and board. After
a few months his employer closed up, leaving him out of employment. About
a year from this time, his former employer, who had gone to Cleveland,
wrote him that if he would come to Cleveland he would employ him again. He
worked his passage on a canal boat from his home to Oswego, where he took
passage on board a vessel just leaving for Cleveland.
The late Chester Deming was the gentleman who had engaged his services. He
received two hundred dollars the first year, three hundred the second
year, and four hundred the third, on which handsome salary, for those
times, he concluded to marry.
Mr. Deming closed up his business here in 1841, and Mr. Redington
commenced on his own account, dealing in oats, wheat and other grains.
This continued about a year when he formed a partnership for the purpose
of opening a general furnishing house for vessels. He did a successful
business, but as it was only during the summer months, he established a
dry goods store in connection with it on the West Side. This enterprise
was only partially successful, and so he closed it up, and for several
years was employed as clerk on board a steam boat.
In 1856, he, in connection with Mr. Bacon, commenced the shipping and
forwarding business, built the vessel E. C. Roberts, which was a
profitable investment, and also ran the propeller Manhattan. This
partnership was dissolved after two years, Mr. Redington retaining his
vessel interests. He is now engaged in mercantile pursuits on the river,
dealing principally in pig metal.
By dint of hard work and a determination to succeed in spite of adverse
circumstances, and by strict integrity, he has accomplished his purpose
and acquired a comfortable competency.
Samuel Sage Coe.
S. S. Coe has been favorably known in the business circles of Cleveland
for over thirty years, and, although he has not succeeded in amassing as
much wealth as some of his competitors, yet his fortitude has enabled him
to glide over reverses easily, and enjoy somewhat of life as it came.
Mr. Coe was born in Oswego, New York, October 6th, 1819. He obtained all
the education a widowed mother could give him before he was twelve years
of age, when he entered a country store and remained five years. The only
recreation he had during that time was a trip to Niagara, on the schooner
Saratoga, with Capt. Dolph. Howe, with whom some of our citizens are well
acquainted. In 1836, he went to New York and clerked in the hardware store
of Wolf, Bishop & Co., and returned to Oswego in June, 1837. Not being
able to find employment there, he concluded to try his fortune in the
West, and at once took the schooner Charles Crooks, bound for Cleveland.
Mr. Coe landed in this city July 19th, 1837, his cash capital being at the
time one dollar and twenty-five cents. After a few days a situation was
obtained in the office of Ransom, McNair & Co., with a salary of thirty
dollars per month, out of which he had to board himself. He remained with
this firm until about 1841, when he went into the employ of B. F. Smith &
Co., composed of B. F. Smith, now residing at Buffalo, as superintendent of
the Buffalo and Erie Railroad, and George Woodward, now residing at
Milwaukee, with whom he remained until 1845, when he engaged in business
for himself, in the firm of Doddridge & Coe, in the forwarding and
commission line. In about one year this firm dissolved, and Mr. Coe went
into the same business with his brother, Chas. W., under the style of S. S.
Coe & Co. This firm was unfortunate, and existed only one year.
In 1848, while doing a small commission business alone, he was offered,
and accepted, the agency of the Merchants' Insurance Company, of
Milwaukee, and labored faithfully for them one year, and, at its close,
his premiums amounted to less than two hundred dollars. This was the first
insurance company with which he was ever connected.
In 1851, Mr. Coe organized and got into operation the Commercial Mutual
Insurance Company, of this city, acting as its Secretary for about one
year and a half, when he resigned, and went into the insurance agency
business, with which he has ever since been identified.
In 1865, Mr. Henry F. Clark desired him to reorganize the Cleveland
Insurance Company, the charter of which was granted by the State of Ohio
in 1830, and which was successfully managed by his father, Mr. Edmund
Clark, until his death. Mr. Coe undertook and completed the task, and
operations re-commenced April 1st, of the same year, on a paid up cash
capital of one hundred thousand dollars, increased in 1866, to one hundred
and fifty thousand; and in 1867, to two hundred thousand dollars, and now
increased to its limit, five hundred thousand dollars, making it the
largest cash capital company in the State of Ohio, a credit to the city
and to the State at large.
Mr. Coe is the right man in the right place, as the successful workings of
this company fully demonstrate. He, as secretary, devotes his whole
attention to the interest of the company. H. B. Payne is the president,
and S. D. McMillan, vice-president.
In looking over a correspondence of about twenty years ago, in search of
some data connected with Mr. Coe's history, we came on the following
letters, which will be read with amusement by old Clevelanders, as
reminiscences of the ante-railroad period, and for the allusions to public
and political events of that day, as well as for the contrast between the
irascible tone of one letter, and the cool humor of the other:
Messrs. S. S. Coe & Co., Cleveland, Ohio:
Gentlemen,--No one dislikes, more than we do, to grumble or find fault,
but we hate just as bad to have our boats detained beyond a reasonable
time, at your place; and when our boats leave here for your place, we
look for them back at a certain time; and if they do not get here soon
after that time, it disarranges all our calculations and proves a great
loss to us. All our boats were detained a week on account of a break in
our canal, and then to be detained beyond a reasonable time in port,
makes it worse. Mr. Wheeler, at Akron, is the only man on the Ohio
canal, that we know of, that has been in the business longer than we
have on our canal, and we defy you to find a boatman on our canal or
river that will say we ever detained them beyond a reasonable time; and
there is no need of it if men do as they would be done by, and the
situation our river has been in this geason has been vexatious enough
for any one. Time is money, and eight or ten boats being detained a day
or two counts up. The J. Larkin left for your place to-day.
S. Adams & Co.
Cleveland, July 29th, 1848. Messrs. Sam'l Adams & Co., Dresden, O.:
Gentlemen,--Your esteemed favor of the 25th inst. is at hand.
It has been a matter of some considerable interest to us to ascertain,
if possible, as to which city takes precedence in age, Zanesville or
As, which incident is first in date, the cutting of the bridle path from
Wheeling to the Muskingum by Old Zane, or the coasting of our lake to
the Cuyahoga of the exploring party under Old Stow. Your Mr. Adams, we
are quite sure, can give us the much desired information.
We see it stated that our good Democratic candidate for President once
resided at or near your beautiful village. You may be familiar with
his early history--we wish to know, if such a thing is possible,
whether he commenced his political career as a Federalist or a
Democrat, and whether he did or did not break his sword at the
disgraceful surrender of that old coward Hull; but more than all, as
we think it most important of all, is, did he, or did he not, when at
the age of nineteen, wear that emblem of Federalism, the black
cockade. To this last question we beg you will give us an answer if
such a thing be possible.
While troubling you in this manner, for which we beg your kind
indulgence, may we also ask you as to the condition, moral and physical
of your returned volunteers? Report says they have been badly treated;
we are anxious to know as to this, for if so, and commanded by Whig'
officers, we can make political capital out of it against the Whig
party; if not, we can make capital against the administration; we do not
care which, as our object is to do justice to both parties. Can you tell
us which candidate they will support. They are important in numbers, and
from their high character, will carry a great, moral force with them;
and on this last account we have supposed they would oppose General
Taylor, as it has been said he used profane language at the battle of
We are erecting here a new and beautiful theater, it opens Aug. 21. We
hope we may see you here at that time.
Your ob't serv'ts,
S. S. Coe & Co.
P.S. You are right as to the _unnecessary_ detention at this place of
canal boats; it is an evil of great turpitude. _We never do so_. Aside
from the great loss to owner, it affects the morals of the crews, and
in this we know the oldest forwarder on the canal, Mr. Wheeler, will
agree with us.
John Long Severance.
Conspicuous among those former residents of Cleveland who have passed away
and left only a pleasant memory behind them, is John Long Severance, who
died about ten years ago, mourned by a wide circle of friends, whom his
many lovable qualities had brought around him.
Mr. Severance was born in 1822, his father being Dr. Robert Severance, of
Shelburne, Massachusetts. His parents dying within a few months of each
other, when he was but nine years old, young Severance was adopted by the
late Dr. Long, of Cleveland, who gave him every advantage in the way of
education that could be procured in the city. A college course was
intended but his delicate health forbade this, and in his sixteenth year
he was taken into the old Commercial Bank of Lake Erie, and then into the
reorganized institution, remaining there twenty years.
His health, never good, broke down entirely under the fatiguing duties of
the bank, and he was compelled to resign his connection with that
institution and seek a restoration of his wasted vigor by a voyage to
Europe. At Southampton, England, he died on the 30th August, 1859, at the
age of thirty-seven, surrounded by every attention which kind friends and
sympathizing strangers could bestow upon him.
Mr. Severance was a man of many rare and sterling attractions. His social
qualities, passion for music, and love for little children, as well as
sincere attachment to a large circle of friends, caused general mourning
for his death. He was one of the founders of the Second Presbyterian
church, and by the members of that body his loss was keenly felt. He had
always felt a deep interest in the prosperity of the church, contributing
largely through his rare ability as a musician, both in the choir and in
the Sunday schools, to the welfare of the congregation, until he was
obliged to abandon those services on account of advancing disease. With
rare energy and many reasons for desiring to live, he was slow to believe
that he must fall in early manhood before the destroyer. And while he was
not afraid to die, and expressed a firm confidence in God in whatever
event, he felt it to be his duty to struggle for a longer life, and no
doubt prolonged his days in this manner. He was consistent, uniform,
earnest, stable, both in faith and practice; always punctual in the
discharge of his business and Christian duties, his attendance in the
church, and his labors in the mission and Sunday schools. His last letter
before death, written to an intimate personal and business friend, said:
"I feel quite sure the disease is making rapid progress, but this gives me
no uneasiness or alarm, nor have I experienced any feeling but that I am
hastening home. The prospect would be dark indeed with no hope in Christ,
no deep and abiding trust in God's pardoning love. This trust in him has
sustained me through every trial, and this hope in Christ and his
all-atoning blood grows brighter every day, taking away the fear of death,
and lighting up the pathway through the dark valley, through which so many
of my loved ones have already passed."
[Illustration: D. Sanford]
The late Daniel Sanford, whose name is held in esteem by old Clevelanders,
was born in Milford, Connecticut, in 1803. At a very early age he left his
home and went to New York where he learned the trade of a ship joiner, one
of his first jobs being upon the cabins of the Fairfield, the first
steamer on the East River.
In 1834, he came to Cleveland and worked for some time at his trade as a
journeyman ship joiner. In coming time he aspired to build ships on his
own account, and for this purpose formed a partnership with Luther Moses.
The first work done by the firm was on the steamer New York, and
subsequently the steamers Ohio and Saratoga were built by them. In
addition to these a very large number of propellers and sailing vessels
were built, and canal boats almost without number. The mere list of crafts
of one description and another, built by this firm, would take
considerable space in our pages.
In 1849, the firm, which had done so much important work in the ship
yards, was dissolved and Mr. Sanford changed his business from
ship-building to dealing in lumber, which he entered upon on a large scale
and continued under the title of D. Sanford, and subsequently Sanford &
Son, until his death, which occurred on Sunday morning, September 22,
1864, after an illness of about four weeks, the disease being inflammation
of the bowels.
Mr. Sanford came to Cleveland with but five hundred dollars in his pocket,
but he worked his way with prudence and economy till he had acquired a
handsome property. His business on his death descended to his third son,
Nelson Sanford, who has conducted it prudently and with success.
He was earnestly patriotic, and on the outbreak of the war for the
Union he took a lively interest in everything pertaining to it.
Becoming satisfied that the rebels never intended submission to the
lawful authorities until they were flogged into submission, he strongly
urged their severe punishment, and contributed liberally to send men
into the field.
Mr. Sanford was a strong advocate of the consolidation of Ohio City and
Cleveland, and in his position of member of the Ohio City Council aided
materially in bringing about the result. He was no politician, but was not
one of those who make that fact an excuse for taking no interest in public
affairs. He had decided views on public matters, and never avoided his
duties as a citizen.
In whatever concerned the welfare of the city he took strong interest, and
was one of the first stockholders of the Cleveland, Columbus and
Cincinnati Railroad Company, as he was also of the Cleveland and Mahoning
Every dollar of Mr. Sanford's money was honestly earned; not a hard,
mean, or wrongful action tarnished a single penny passing into his
hands. Had he been avaricious he might have died worth half a million
dollars, but he was infinitely richer in the blessings of hundreds of
poor people who were the secret recipients of his bounty. He had "a hand
open as day for melting charity." Yet in his good deeds he never let his
left hand know what his right hand did. His last words on earth were of
a character in keeping with his whole life. Calling his youngest son to
his bedside he said, "Benjamin, be honest in all your transactions." On
the tomb of David Sanford can with truth be written: "An honest man--the
noblest work of God."
Charles W. Coe.
Charles W. Coe, so long and favorably known in our business circles, was
born in Oswego, New York, March 19th, 1822. His grandfather, Col. Eli
Parsons, was a soldier in the Revolution, and prominent in the Shay's
Rebellion, in Massachusetts. His father was a physician of much note in
Oswego, and died about 1828, leaving two children; Charles, the younger,
is the subject of this sketch. Like a great many other physicians, he left
a number of old accounts of no value, and not a great deal besides, so
that Charles and his brother had to strike out early in life to do
something towards getting a living, and hence educational matters did not
receive all the desired attention.
Charles came to Cleveland in 1840, and at once engaged as clerk with N. E.
Crittenden, jeweler. He remained in that situation about a year, when he
returned to Oswego, and after the lapse of two years, came back to
Cleveland, and entered into the employ of Pease & Allen, produce and
commission merchants, with whom he remained until 1849. At that time, he
went into the employ of Mr. Charles Hickox, and continued with him until
1855, when he took an interest with Mr. Hickox in the milling business,
already referred to in this work, and in which he still continues.
Mr. Coe has won his present prominent position among the business men of
Cleveland by shrewd foresight and close attention to business. He is a
hard worker and a keen observer of the fluctuations of business, mingling
prudence with enterprise to such a degree that, whilst he has driven a
profitable business, it has always been a safe one. He is frank,
unselfish, and free hearted. Whilst having had reason to appreciate the
value of money, he esteems it not so much on its own account as on account
of the domestic comforts and enjoyments its judicious expenditure brings.
S. M. Strong
The drug establishment of Strong & Armstrong stands foremost in that
branch of the business of Cleveland and has achieved a wide reputation,
having an extensive trade not only through Northern Ohio, but in Indiana,
Michigan and Pennsylvania, drawing custom away from Pittsburgh, Cincinnati
and Detroit in territory previously considered naturally tributary to
S. M. Strong, the leading partner of the firm, is a native Buckeye, having
been born in Lorain County, Ohio, in 1833. His boyhood was spent in
acquiring a good common school education, after obtaining which he became
clerk in a drug store at Elyria, entering it at the age of sixteen and
remaining about two years when, in 1850, he accompanied his employer, who
removed to Cleveland, and remained with him there three years more.
At the end of that time, he entered Gaylord's drug store, in which he
continued about two years, when he turned his attention to pushing a
fever and ague remedy which he had been at work on for several years
previous. Four years he devoted to this work, finding a partial success,
and then he formed a partnership with A. C. Armstrong, of Medina county,
for the purpose of building up a wholesale and retailing business. The
business of Henderson & Punderson, which was established in 1836, was
purchased, and the new firm of Strong & Armstrong opened business in the
old place, No. 199 Superior street. At first the business was carried on
in a limited way, the total of jobbing and retail sales for the first year
amounting to but $75,000. But the partners were young, energetic, and full
of hope. They pushed their trade vigorously, attended closely to the
details of the business, and mingled enterprise with prudent economy so
well that they were soon gratified at finding their business annually
growing larger and more profitable. In less than ten years their trade has
grown from about $75,000 in a year to over $600,000, and their limited
establishment so enlarged as to require the services of twenty-four
assistants. The business, though large, has been managed with such care
and prudence as to render losses very light and litigation almost wholly
For years Cleveland has been the principal ship building port on the
lakes. Of late the ship building interest here has shared the depression
felt by it throughout the Union, but it is still an important interest,
and before long will probably resume its activity.
The first vessel reported built in the vicinity of Cleveland was the
Zephyr, thirty tons burthen, built by Mr. Carter, in 1808, for the trade
of the village. The precise spot of her building is not recorded. She was
burned at Conjocketa Creek, near Black Rock. The next was the Ohio, of
sixty tons, built by Murray and Bixby, in 1810, and launched from the East
bank of the river near the spot now occupied by Pettit & Holland's
warehouse. She was sailed by John Austen and afterwards became a gunboat
in Perry's fleet, but took no part in the battle of Lake Erie, being
absent on special service.
In 1813, Levi Johnson built the Pilot. The story of her construction and
launch has already been told in the sketch of Levi Johnson's life. In that
sketch also will be found the account of most of the early ship building
of Cleveland, he being the principal ship builder of the pioneer days.
In 1821, Philo Taylor built the Prudence, which was launched on the river
opposite where the New England block now stands.
In 1826, John Blair built the Macedonian, of sixty tons, and in the same
year the Lake Serpent, forty tons, was built by Captain Bartiss and
sailed by him.
The first steamboat built in Cleveland was the Enterprise, built by Levi
Johnson in 1826, but not floated into the lake until the following year.
The enterprise of ship building pursued a steady course in Cleveland for a
number of years, a few vessels being added annually, until about the year
1853, when the business took a sudden start and made rapid progress. For
the next few years the ship yards were busy and the ship building interest
was one of the most important branches of the business of the city. In
1856, a total of thirty-seven lake crafts, sail and steam, was reported
built, having a tonnage of nearly sixteen thousand tons. During the past
twenty years, nearly five hundred vessels of all kinds, for lake
navigation, have been built in the district of Cuyahoga, and of these all
but a small proportion were built in Cleveland. The description of vessels
built has greatly altered during that time, the size of the largest class
having more than trebled. During the year 1868, there were built in this
port four propellers, one steamer and three schooners, with an aggregate
of 3,279 tons. This is much less in number and tonnage than in some
previous years, but still gives Cleveland the lead in the ship building of
the lakes. The absorption of the flats on the lower part of the river for
railroad and manufacturing purposes, and for lumber yards, has seriously
incommoded the ship building interests by restricting the space available
for ship yards.
In the division of the ship building business of the lakes in past years,
the construction of large side-wheel steamers was principally carried on
at Buffalo, whilst in first class propellers and sailing vessels Cleveland
immeasurably distanced all competitors, both in the quantity and quality
of the craft turned out. As the demand for side-wheel steamers lessened,
the site of their construction was removed from Buffalo to Detroit.
Cleveland-built propellers, however, take front rank, and Cleveland-built
sail vessels have found their way over every part of the lake chain,
sailed down the Atlantic coast from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to South
American ports, and crossing the Atlantic, have penetrated nearly every
European sea. Everywhere they have done credit to their builders by their
speed, sea worthiness, and excellent construction.
Just here it is proper to place, on record the history of an attempt to
establish a direct trade with Europe, which gave abundant promise of good
results, both to the commercial and ship building interests of the city.
It has already been referred to in this work, but it appropriately falls
within the scope of this sketch.
In the year 1856, the schooner Dean Richmond, of 379 tons, was built by
Quayle & Martin in Cleveland, for C. J. Kershaw, of Chicago. This vessel
was loaded with wheat and under the command of Capt. D. C. Pierce, sailed
from Chicago to Liverpool. She arrived in good time, having made a quick
passage, and astonished the English people by her rig, and from the fact
of her having come from the inland lakes of America to Europe. The
schooner was sold in Liverpool, and her new owners changed her name to
the Belina, and placed her in the trade between Liverpool and Brazil, on
which route she made quick and successful trips.
In 1857, the same builders turned out the barque c.J. Kershaw, of 380 tons
burthen, having built her for Capt. D. G. Pierce, who was the pioneer
captain in the trade. The Kershaw was loaded with staves, cedar posts and
black walnut lumber. In the Fall, she started on her return with a load of
crockery and iron, but was twice driven back by terrific gales and had to
go into dock for repairs. This brought her into St. Lawrence river so
late, that she was frozen in the Lachine Canal. Early in 1858, she arrived
in Cleveland with her cargo in excellent order and to the perfect
satisfaction of the consignees.
About the time that the Kershaw was launched, a small British schooner,
the Madeira Pet of 123 tons, came from Liverpool through the rivers and
lakes to Chicago, with a cargo of hardware, cutlery, glass, &c., on
speculation. The enterprise was not successful, and no more attempts were
made to establish a direct trade between Chicago and European ports.
During the Spring and Summer of 1858, several of the leading business men
of Cleveland entered with vigor into the trade, and a respectable fleet of
vessels was dispatched to European ports. A new barque, the D. C. Pierce,
was built for Messrs. Pierce & Barney and sent to Liverpool with a cargo
of staves and black walnut lumber. The same parties sent the C. J. Kershaw
to London with a similar cargo, and the Chieftain and Black Hawk, with the
same kind of freight. Mr. T. P. Handy sent the R. H. Harmon with staves and
black walnut lumber to Liverpool, the D. B. Sexton with a similar cargo to
London, and the J. F. Warner with a cargo of the same kind to Glasgow. Mr.
H. E. Howe sent the new barque H. E. Howe to London with a cargo of staves
and lumber. Col. N. M. Standart sent the Correspondent to Liverpool with a
load of wheat, and Mr. C. Reis freighted the Harvest to Hamburgh with a
cargo of lumber, staves and fancy woods. This made a fleet of ten vessels,
owned and freighted by Cleveland merchants, with a total tonnage of about
3,600 tons. Two vessels were sent out from Detroit with similar cargoes,
but the enterprise was pre-eminently a Cleveland one.
All of the Cleveland fleet disposed of their cargoes to good advantage.
Six of them returned with cargoes of crockery, bar iron, pig iron, and
salt. This part of the trip also proved successful. It was the intention
of the owners to sell some of the vessels in England, but the shipping
interests were so prostrated that it was impossible to dispose of the
ships at anything like a fair price. They therefore still remained in the
hands of Cleveland owners, but four of them did not return to the Lakes.
The D. B. Sexton went up the Mediterranean; the H. E. Howe went on a
voyage to South America, the Harvest to the West Indies, and the C. J.
Kershaw was employed in the Mediterranean trade. Wherever any of the
Cleveland vessels went, they called forth complimentary remarks by their
fleetness and steadiness in heavy weather.
In the following year, other vessels were sent out and made successful
trips. The remarkable sea-going qualities exhibited by these lake-built
crafts, outsailing, as they did, ocean clippers and weathering gales that
sent sea-going ships flying helpless before the storm, attracted the
attention of Eastern ship-owners, and orders were received for vessels to
be built for the Atlantic coasting trade. The outbreak of the war gave a
severe check to the direct trade, which passed into the hands of an
English firm who still continue to run vessels between Cleveland and
Liverpool, and in the depressed condition of the American carrying trade
on the ocean there was no longer a demand for new vessels for the coasting
trade. With a revival of business in that line, and an enlargement of the
canals between Lake Erie and tidewater, so as to allow the passage of
larger vessels, there is a probability that a brisk demand for Cleveland
vessels for the salt water will yet spring up.
[Illustration: Respectfully, S. W. Johnson]
Seth W. Johnson.
The name of Seth W. Johnson has for more than thirty years been closely
and prominently identified with the ship building interests of
Cleveland. He saw the business in its infancy, was largely accessory to
its growth into the important proportions it at last assumed, and though
no longer engaged in the business, his withdrawal from it is so recent
that the mention of his name suggests, to those familiar with the
affairs of the city for a number of years, the incessant tapping of the
shipwrights' hammers and visions of skeleton ships gradually assuming
the form and substance in which they are to carry the commerce of the
great West to market.
Mr. Johnson was a native of Middle Haddam, Middlesex County, Connecticut,
his mother, who died October 17, 1868, being formerly Miss Mary Whitmore,
born at Middletown, Middlesex County, Connecticut, in 1780, and his
father, Henry Johnson, born in 1776, and died July 6, 1869. Seth W.
Johnson was the second son and third child of a family of nine, all of
whom, with both father and mother, were alive on the 16th of October,
1868, the oldest child being then about sixty-one years old, and the
youngest over forty.
Young Johnson worked with his father a short time as a farmer, but not
feeling in his element in the plow field or in the cow yard, he followed
the bent of his mechanical tastes, and engaged himself to work in a ship
yard. He commenced work in this line when about fourteen years old, and
served out his full apprenticeship of seven years, when he set up in
business for himself, taking full charge of the work of finishing ships.
This he carried on for three years with considerable success.
But New England, he rightly judged, was too narrow a field for the young
man who wished to improve his prospects and with narrow means lay the
foundation of a liberal competence. The West offered the most promise, and
to the West he accordingly came, taking his kit of tools with him. Landing
in Cleveland in the Fall of 1834, he satisfied himself that here was the
proper place for the exercise of his knowledge and abilities, and here,
accordingly, he prepared to make his home. Before settling down to steady
business in Cleveland he made a trip to Perrysburgh, on the Maumee, where
he assisted in finishing the Commodore Perry. This work done he returned
to Cleveland in the Spring of 1835, and opened his ship yard, at first
confining himself to the repair of vessels. But soon he was called on to
build as well as repair. The steamboat Constellation was completed by him
at Black River, and the steamboat Robert Fulton, built at Cleveland by
Griffith, Standart & Co.
In 1844, Mr. Johnson associated with him Mr. E. Tisdale, and the firm of
Johnson & Tisdale acquired honorable fame as ship builders along the
entire chain of lakes and beyond. The copartnership lasted nineteen years.
Before the formation of this partnership, Mr. Tisdale had commenced the
building of a railway for docking vessels, and this was the first firm to
lift vessels for the purpose of repairing them. With his first work, in
1835, in Cleveland, he commenced the acquisition of vessel property, and
steadily pursued the policy of taking this kind of stock, until he became
a large ship owner as well as ship builder.
The discovery of the mineral resources of the Lake Superior region
attracted a large number of people to that locality, the only feasible
means of communication with which was by lake. The Saut rapids prevented
the assent of vessels from the lower lakes, and to meet the requirements
of the trade that suddenly sprung into existence two vessels were built on
Lake Superior, the freights being carried across the portage around the
rapids. These vessels being insufficient for the needs, it became a
question whether others could not be taken across the portage from below
and launched on the waters of the upper lake. Messrs. Johnson & Tisdale
thought it could be done, and took the contract for thus transporting the
schooner Swallow and steamer Julia Palmer. They were hauled two miles on
greased slides or ways and safely launched on the bosom of the "father of
lakes." The undertaking was considered one of great difficulty, if not of
absolute impossibility, and its success gave Messrs. Johnson & Tisdale
When the first considerable fleet of Lake-built vessels left Cleveland for
European ports direct--as already described in this volume--Mr. Johnson
took one of his vessels, loaded with staves. She made a successful voyage,
remained in Europe two years, engaged in the coasting trade, and then
returned. His strange looking craft attracted considerable attention among
the skippers of about forty sea-going vessels wind bound at the same time
at the Land's End, and much ridicule was thrown on her odd looks, so
unlike the English salt water shipping. But the laugh came in on the other
side when her superior sailing qualities enabled her to run so close to
the wind as to quickly double the point, make her port, unload and reload,
and sail for another voyage before one of the others could beat around the
Land's End and get in. Since that time he has sold two vessels, the
Vanguard and Howell Hoppeck, to be placed by other parties in the direct
line between Cleveland and Liverpool.
Mr. Johnson has taken considerable interest in matters outside of the
ship building business, but which aided in developing the trade and
increasing the prosperity of Cleveland. He aided in the formation of
some of the railroad enterprises of the city although he has now
withdrawn his interests from all but one. He also was interested in the
Commercial Insurance Company, but has retired from active business and
devotes his whole care to the management of his property, which has been
added to by large investments in real estate in various portions of the
He was married July 15, 1840, to Miss A. S. Norton of Middle Haddam, Conn.,
the native place of both, and by the marriage has had three children. The
oldest, a daughter, died when seven years old; the two sons are still
living, the oldest being engaged in the coffee and tea business in
Buffalo, N. Y., with his father; the other at present being in North
Carolina engaged in the lumber trade.
With commendable prudence Mr. Johnson has known when to quit active
business and enjoy the fruits of his labor while he has a healthy mind
and body capable of enjoying it, and which, without accident, he
undoubtedly will have for many years to come. Hard work and close
attention to business have been the cause of his success, and hence he
will be able to appreciate the blessings of an ample competency. In
social life Mr. Johnson is looked upon as a man of genial temperament,
kindly disposition, and strong social qualities. He is universally
respected by all who know him.
The names of Quayle and Martin are as familiar in the mouths of vessel men
on the lakes as household words. The firm attained honorable prominence in
the ship building records of Cleveland, and their work is among the best
that floats upon the western waters.
Thomas Quayle, the senior member of the firm of Quayle & Martin, was born
in the Isle of Man, May 9th, 1811, and came to America in 1827, coming
straight to Cleveland, where he has remained ever since. He learned his
trade of ship building from Mr. Church, of Huron, Ohio, who enjoyed an
excellent reputation in that line. After working as journeyman till 1847,
he formed a copartnership with John Codey, and at once started business.
This firm lasted about three years, during which time, among other work,
they built a vessel named the Caroline, and another, the Shakespeare. When
the last named was completed, the California fever had just broken out.
Mr. Codey caught the disease, the firm dissolved, and he went off to the
land of gold. Mr. Quayle soon after associated himself with Luther Moses,
with whom he did business for about two years, during which time they did
an almost incredible amount of business, considering the short space of
time, having from six to seven vessels on the stocks at once, and turning
out two sets a year. One year after Mr. Moses left the firm a
copartnership was formed with John Martin.
The new firm at once went into business on a large scale. From the time of
their organization to the present, the firm built seventy-two vessels,
comprising brigs, schooners, barques, tugs, and propellers. In one year
they built thirteen vessels, and eight vessels, complete, in a year has
been no unfrequent task successfully performed. Among others, they built
the barque W. T. Graves, which carried the largest cargo of any fresh water
vessel afloat. The propeller Dean Richmond is another of their build, and
is also one of the largest on the lakes; besides these, four first class
vessels built for Mr. Frank Perew, deserve mention as giving character to
Cleveland ship building. They are named the Mary E. Perew, D. P. Dobbin,
Chandler J. Wells, and J. G. Marston. Besides the building of vessels, they
have for some years been owners of vessels, and are at present interested
in several large craft. The firm of Quayle & Martin recently finished a
new tug of their own, the J. H. Martin intended to be used by them in the
port of Erie.
[Illustration: Yours Respectfully, Thomas Quayle]
Mr. Quayle was married in 1835, to Eleanor Cannon, of the Isle of Man, by
whom he has had eleven children, of whom seven are living. The eldest son,
Thomas, is ship builder by trade, and is still connected with the vessel
interests, though not building them. W. H. is also of the same trade as his
father, and engaged with him, as is also Geo. L. Chas. E. has been a
number of years with Alcott & Horton.
Mr. Quayle stands high among the citizens of Cleveland for integrity and
sterling character generally. He always fulfills his obligations, whether
to employer or employed. He has worked hard with his own hands, and given
personal supervision to all his work, believing that the eye of the master
and the hand of the workman combined assure good work. He is strict in
fulfilling all his contracts, and in this way has acquired a fine
reputation and a handsome fortune. But that point has not been reached
without a severe and continuous struggle against adverse circumstances,
which were overcome only by a determined will and patient labor that
Mr. Quayle's first wife died in September, 1860. He was married again
February 8th, 1867, to Miss Mary Proudfoot, of this city.
Elihu M. Peck.
Another of the ship builders who have assisted greatly in building up the
commerce and reputation of the port of Cleveland, is Elihu M. Peck. The
vessels built by him, or by the firm of Peck & Masters, which existed
about nine years, are known over the lakes. A large proportion of the work
done, especially in the later years, was in the construction of
propellers, of which several of the finest specimens afloat were made in
Mr. Peck was born in Otsego county, New York, in 1822, and on reaching his
sixteenth year, came west and learned the art of ship building in this
vicinity. On completing his education in this business, he worked for a
time as a journeyman. In 1847, he set up for himself, and his first work
was the construction of the schooner Jenny Lind, of 200 tons. When she was
finished he ceased building new vessels for some years, and turned his
attention exclusively to the repair of old vessels, at which he found
abundant occupation. His yard was always busy, for the growing lake marine
demanded a large and steadily increasing amount of annual repairs.
In 1855, a partnership was formed with I. U. Masters, and the new firm
immediately entered upon the construction of new vessels. The first craft
launched from their stocks was the Ocean Wave, the first of a fleet of
fifty built by the firm previous to its dissolution and the death of Mr.
Masters. They form a fleet of which the builders had good reason to be
proud, for a glance at their names will recall the whole history of the
lake marine for the past fourteen years. What strides have been made in
the improvement of the lake marine is plainly shown by the increase in the
tonnage of the vessels built, whilst to those familiar with the lake
trade, the names will call up recollections of the crafts that will give a
yet better idea of the progress made.
The barque Ocean Wave, the first built by the new firm, was followed by
the Julia Dean, of 460 tons. These were followed in rapid succession by
the Kenosha, schooner Iowa, 370 tons, barque B. S. Shephard, 500 tons,
schooners Ralph Campbell, 240 tons, A. H. Stevens, 240 tons, David Tod, 460
tons, and Ellen Williams, 380 tons; barque De Soto, 570 tons; schooners
John S. Newhouse, 370 tons, W. B. Castle, 230 tons, Baltic, 360 tons,
Midnight, 370 tons, and J. T. Ayer, 380 tons. At this time they undertook
the construction of propellers, and the first two built were at once
remarked for their correct proportions, beauty of finish, and strength of
hull. They were the Evergreen City, 612 tons, and the Fountain City, 820
tons. The schooner Ellen White, 160 tons, was built, and then the firm
resumed work on propellers. The Cornet, 624 tons, and Rocket of the same
size, were built and put into the railroad line running from Buffalo
westward. These were models of beauty and strength. Next came the
schooners Metropolis, 360 tons, Mary B. Hale, 360 tons, and E. M. Peck, 168
tons; barque Colorado, 503 tons; propeller Detroit, 398 tons; barques
Unadilla, 567 tons, C. P. Sherman, 568 tons, Sunrise, 598 tons, Golden
Fleece, 609 tons, and Northwest, 630 tons; tugs W. B. Castle, 219 tons and
I. U. Masters, 203 tons; barque S. V. R. Watson, 678 tons; propeller
Toledo, 621 tons; tug Hector, 204 tons; propellers Winslow, 920 tons,
Idaho, 920 tons, Atlantic, 660 tons, Meteor, 730 tons, Pewabic, 730 tons,
Metamora, 300 tons, and Octavia, 450 tons. This ended the operations of
the firm of Peck & Masters, in 1864. The firm was dissolved and Mr. Masters
[Illustration: Truly, E. M. Peck]
Mr. Peck now carried on his ship yard alone, and his first work was the
filling of a contract to build two steam Revenue cutters for service on
the lakes. The John Sherman, of 500 tons, and the A. P. Fessenden, of the
same size, were turned out, and no better work could possibly be found.
The Government officers promptly accepted the vessels and declared them
more than up to the requirements of the contract. They were pronounced
models of beauty, strength, and speed.
The cutters were followed by the schooner Oak Leaf, 390 tons; propellers
Messenger, 400 tons, and Nebraska, 1,300 tons, the latter, one of the
finest steamers put on the lakes; schooner David Stewart, 675 tons;
propellers Manistee, 400 tons, and City of Concord, 400 tons. Two other
propellers, one of 1,000 tons, and one of about 300 tons, were added in
the season of 1869.
It will be seen that nearly all the vessels, whether sail or steam, built
by Mr. Peck, were of the first class, being mainly barques and large
propellers. They will be recognized by those familiar with lake commerce,
as models in size, beauty, and strength, whilst several have made
unusually quick trips.
Mr. Peck has enjoyed an unusual measure of success. The work of his hands
has prospered, and he has earned his reward, not only in reputation but in
substantial prosperity. He has aimed not only to equal the best work done
by others, but studied how to improve on his own work. The result has been
a constant improvement in the style and quality of his vessels, so that
excellent as the last new hull may have been, it was almost sure to be
excelled by the next one that left the stocks. And whilst thus giving
close attention to the mechanical details of his business, he was skillful
in managing the financial part of it so as to secure the rewards honestly
won by industry and skill. He always kept his affairs in such order that
no serious financial difficulty ever troubled him.
Nor was he an avaricious, though a prudent man. A working man himself, he
was in thorough sympathy with his workmen, and in the slack season,
instead of discharging his men and thus entailing want upon them, he built
vessels on speculation, merely that he might keep the men busy and their
families from suffering. Providentially these speculations were always
successful, thus illustrating the proverb, that "there is he that
scattereth, and yet increaseth."
Mr. Peck took an active part in the formation of the People's Gas Light
Company, and is now president of that organization. He is also a director
of the Savings Loan Association.
John Martin, of the firm of Quayle & Martin, was born in the county of
Antrim, Ireland, December 15th, 1824, of poor parents, with whom he came
to Canada when but nine years of age. At the age of fourteen he commenced
working in a ship yard in Montreal, by turning grindstone. He soon
attracted the attention of the proprietor by his using handily the tools
of the workmen while they were at dinner, and he was furnished tools and
set to work at the trade. He continued in this employ for about two years,
and during the time, with a view to fitting himself for the business of
life, he attended school in the evenings. He then worked his passage to
French Creek, New York, having at the time of leaving only a dollar and a
half in money. At French Creek he engaged with G. S. Weeks, one of the best
ship builders on the lakes, and remained with him at French Creek two
years, when Mr. Weeks moved to Oswego, Mr. Martin accompanying him to that
place, and continuing in his employ two years longer. Mr. Martin then went
to Detroit, where he worked a year on the steamboat Wisconsin.
In 1843, he came to Cleveland and commenced work for G. W. Jones, on the
steamboat Empire. This work finished, he commenced sub-contracting,
wrecking, planking, and jobbing generally, until 1846, when he went into
the employ of another firm, with whom he worked two years.
At the end of that time his employers were owing him more than they could
pay, so, to square the matter, he bought an interest in their business.
But this did not mend the matter, as it proved to be an interest in their
debts, more than in their business, they being deeply involved. The firm
owned the brig Courtland, and one of the members had sailed her for some
time at a great loss. Young Martin took his place and proved himself
master of the situation, by reducing the liabilities of the firm to about
$2,500. That done he sold the vessel, dissolved partnership, and commenced
planking and general jobbing again. After a time he built a vessel for
Moses & Quayle. He found frequent employment in wrecking jobs, being very
successful at such work.
[Illustration: Yours truly, John Martin]
The three years thus occupied gave him a start in life. He cleared off
the indebtedness of the old firm and had $3,000 ahead. He then took the
contract for building the brig John G. Deshler, for Handy, Warren & Co.
This was a very successful contract, and gave Mr. Martin a handsome lift,
and enabled him to take an interest with Mr. Quayle, under the firm name
of Quayle & Martin, a brief mention of its operations being made in the
sketch of Mr. Quayle's life.
In 1858, Mr. Martin loaded the John G. Deshler and D. C. Pierce with staves
and made a successful trip to England, and on the return brought one of
the spans for the Victoria bridge at Montreal. In 1859, he took over two
more cargoes in the same vessels, selling one in Cork, and the other in
Glasgow. Nor was this the only connection of the firm with the direct lake
and ocean trade. They have built vessels for Liverpool parties, for ocean
service, and also two vessels for New York parties for the same purpose.
Six of these vessels have also been sold out of the lake service for ocean
navigation, and have been used on the ocean for five or six years with
great success. The John G. Deshler, which had been transferred to the
ocean, as previously mentioned, was sunk by the rebels at the outbreak of
the war, and was a total loss to the firm. The latest work of the firm is
a fine vessel for A. Bradley, that will carry a thousand tons of iron ore.
Mr. Martin has proved himself admirably adapted to the line of business it
was his fortune to learn, and this, of course, together with close
attention to business, furnishes the clue to his success. He is
emphatically a self-made man, and can therefore appreciate the handsome
competence that has crowned his labors so early in life, he being now but
45 years of age.
During the war Mr. Martin was actively and earnestly on the side of the
Government. He was never idle, and always ready to furnish his share, and
far more than his share, to the work of suppressing the rebellion. He
furnished three substitutes for the army, and was active in promoting
Mr. Martin was married to Miss Mary Picket, of Devonshire, England, whose
father and grandfather were both Episcopal clergymen. Three children were
born of this marriage; a son, who is now book-keeper for the firm, and two
Mr. Martin has enjoyed the confidence of his neighbors to so high a
degree, that he has represented the Ninth Ward in the City Council for six
The Bench and Bar
The leading points in the history of legal affairs in Cleveland have
already been noticed with sufficient fullness in the sketch of the
history of Cleveland, especially so far as relates more immediately to
the earlier portion of that history. The following biographical sketches
give a good general idea of the progress of affairs in relation to the
Bench and Bar of the city within the active life of the present
generation. It is therefore unnecessary at this place to detail more than
a few incidental facts.
The township of Cleveland, of the county of Trumbull, was organized in
1800. The first justice of the Quorum, for the new township, was James
Kingsbury, and the first Justice, not of the Quorum, was Amos Spafford.
The first constables were Stephen Gilbert and Lorenzo Carter.
In 1810, the county of Cuyahoga was organized and Cleveland made the
county seat. The court-house, of logs, was two years afterwards built on
the Public Square, as narrated in previuos portions of this work. The
county was organized on the 9th May, and on 5th of June a County Court was
held with the following officers:
_Presiding Judge_.--Benjamin Ruggles
_Associate Judges_.--Nathan Perry, Sen., Augustus Gilbert, Timothy Doan.
_Sheriff_.--Smith S. Baldwin.
The first lawyer in Cleveland, under the county organization, arrived here
the same year and put out his shingle with the name of "Alfred Kelley"
inscribed thereon. Previous to this the law business had all been done by
Samuel Huntington, who arrived in 1801. At the time of the organization of
the court, the court-house had not been built, and the first session was
held in Murray's store, which had just been built. The first business was
the finding of a bill by the grand jury for petit larceny, and several for
the offence of selling whisky to Indians, and selling foreign goods
The first execution was that of the Indian Omic, which took place June
24th, 1812, as previously narrated.
In March, 1836, Cleveland was incorporated as a city, and henceforth to
the ordinary courts of the county was added a city court for cognizance of
offences against the ordinances.
In the year 1848, a Superior Court was organized, with Sherlock J. Andrew
as judge, and G. A. Benedict as clerk. This court existed but a short time,
when it expired by reason of the adoption of the new constitution of the
State, which made no provision for its continuance.
In 1855, Cleveland was selected as the seat of a District and Circuit
Court of the United States.
As a matter of curiosity, the following list of Attorneys and Counsellors
in Cleveland, in 1837, is taken from McCabe's Cleveland and Ohio City
Directory, those not practising at that time being marked with an
asterisk: Joseph Adams, John W. Allen, Sherlock J. Andrews, Oliver P.
Baldwin, John Barr, Phillip Battell, George A. Benedict, Henry W.
Billings, Elijah Bingham,* Flavius Bingham, Thomas Bolton, James A.
Briggs, Varnum J. Card, Leonard Case,* Richard M. Chapman, Alexander L.
Collins, James L. Conger, Samuel Cowles,* Henry H. Dodge, John Erwin,
Simeon Ford, John A. Foot, James K. Hitchcock, George Hoadly, James M.
Hoyt, Seth T. Hurd, Moses Kelley, George T. Kingsley, William B. Lloyd,
George W. Lynde, Samuel Mather, Daniel Parish, Henry B. Payne, Francis
Randal, Harvey Rice, O. S. St. John, Wyllys Silliman, George W. Stanley,
Samuel Starkweather, John M. Sterling,* Charles Stetson, Charles
Whittlesey, Frederick Whittlesey,* John W. Willey,* Samuel Williamson,
Hiram V. Wilson.
[Illustration: Alfred Kelley]
Alfred Kelley was born at Middletown, Conn., Nov. 7th, 1789. He was the
second son of Daniel and Jemima Kelley. His mother's maiden name was Stow.
She was a sister of Judge Joshua Stow, and also of Judge Silas Stow of
Lowville, N. Y. The latter was the father of Judge Horatio Stow, of
Buffalo, N. Y., and of Alexander Stow, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
of Wisconsin, both of whom were men of great talents and distinction. In
the winter of 1798, Alfred Kelley removed with his father's family to
Lowville, N. Y. His father was President Judge of the Court of Common
Pleas of Lewis county, N. Y., was one of the founders of Lowville Academy
and President of its Board of Trustees.
Alfred Kelley was educated at Fairfield Academy, N. Y. He read law at
Whitesboro, N. Y., three years, in the office of Jonas Platt, a judge of
the Supreme Court of that State.
In the Spring of 1810, in company with Joshua Stow, Dr. J. P. Kirtland, and
others, he removed to Cleveland,--traveling on horseback. At the November
term 1810, on motion of Peter Hitchcock, Alfred Kelley was admitted as an
attorney of the Court of Common Pleas for Cuyahoga county. On the same
day, being his 21st birth day, he was appointed Public Prosecutor as the
successor of Peter Hitchcock, late Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of
Ohio. Mr. Kelley continued Prosecutor till 1821, when he resigned. In
October 1814, he was elected from Cuyahoga county a member of the Ohio
House of Representatives, being barely old enough under the Constitution
when the Legislature met to take his seat in that body and being the
youngest member. Chillicothe was then the temporary State capital.
On the 25th of August, 1817. Alfred Kelley was married to Mary S. Welles,
oldest daughter of Major Melancthon Wolsey Welles, of Lowville, N. Y.
They had eleven children of whom six are now living.
He continued, with intervals, a member of the Ohio Legislature from
Cuyahoga county, from 1814 until 1822, when he was appointed, with
others, State Canal Commissioner, by an act of the General Assembly,
empowering the Commissioners to make examinations, surveys and estimates,
to ascertain the practicability of connecting Lake Erie with the Ohio
River, by canal.
The Ohio Canal is a monument to the enterprise, energy, integrity and
sagacity of Alfred Kelley. He was acting Commissioner during its
construction and the onerous and responsible service was performed with
such fidelity and economy that the _actual cost did not exceed the
estimate!_ The dimensions of the Ohio Canal were the same as those of the
Erie Canal of N. Y., but the number of locks was nearly double. The Erie
Canal was 363 miles in length, its total cost was $7,143,789, and cost per
mile $19,679. The Ohio Canal is 307 miles in length, its total cost was
$4,695,824, and cost per mile $15,300, being less than that of any other
canal constructed on this continent. The Ohio Canal was finished about
1830. The labor in the then facilities for conducting important public
enterprises was Herculean, but Mr. Kelley's indomitable will, and iron
constitution and physique triumphed over all difficulties. Mr. Kelley
neither charged nor received any pay for his first year's services in
superintending the preliminary explorations and surveys for the Ohio
Canal. The pay of the Acting Canal Commissioner was $3,00 [sic] per day.
When the work was done he resigned as Canal Commissioner, and retired from
public service to attend to his private affairs, and recuperate his
shattered constitution and health. In the Fall of 1830, he became a
resident of Columbus. In October, 1836, he was elected to the Ohio House
of Representatives from Franklin county, and was re-elected to the same
office in the next two Legislatures. He was Chairman of the Ohio Whig
State Central Committee in 1840, a year distinguished for a great
political revolution and the election of Wm. H. Harrison to the
Presidency, and was one of the most active and influential managers of
Mr. Kelley was appointed State Fund Commissioner in 1840, a period of
great financial embarrassment and distress. In 1841 and '42, a formidable
party arose in the Legislature and in the State, which advocated the
non-payment of the maturing interest upon the State debt, and the
repudiation of the debt itself. This was a time which indeed tried the
souls of men. Mr. Kelley went to New York, and such was the confidence
reposed in his integrity and practical ability--notwithstanding the
underhanded and atrocious means employed by the repudiators, to defeat his
object--that he was enabled to raise in that city (where no one could be
found willing to loan money to the sovereign State of Ohio) nearly a
quarter of a million of dollars on his own personal security, and thus by
his generous efforts, and by his alone, the interest was paid at maturity,
and the State of Ohio was saved from repudiation. At the time that Mr.
Kelley thus volunteered himself as security for the State, (an act which
was done contrary to the advice of his friends,) such was the
unenlightened state of public opinion, such the moral obtuseness of some,
nay, many men in power, that the chances were a hundred to one that no
effective measure would be adopted to save the public credit--none to
In 1844, he was elected to the State Senate from the Franklin district. It
was during this term that he originated the bill to organize the State
Bank of Ohio, and other banking companies, which by general consent among
bankers and financiers, was the best of American banking laws. His banking
System was successfully in operation during the whole twenty years of its
charter. Many of the most valuable provisions of the present National
banking law were taken from Mr. Kelley's bill to "organize the State Bank
of Ohio." Many of the provisions of this law were original and novel, and
evinced deep thought and a profound knowledge of this department of
political science. For several years, and during some of the most trying
periods in the financial history of Ohio, and of the country, Mr. Kelley
was a member of the Board of Control of the State Bank of Ohio; and part
of the time was President of the Board. It was also during this Senatorial
term that Mr. Kelley originated the present Revenue System of the State.
The main principles of this Revenue or Tax law were subsequently
incorporated in the new Constitution of Ohio.
While Mr. Kelley was a member of the Legislature few valuable general laws
can be found in the Statute books which did not originate with him, and
most of the measures requiring laborious investigation and profound
thought were entrusted to him. He was the author, in 1818, of the first
Legislative bill--either in this country or in Europe--to abolish
imprisonment for debt.
It then failed to become a law. In a letter to a friend, dated Jan. 16th,
1819, Mr. Kelley said: "The House has to-day disagreed by a small
majority, to my favorite bill to abolish imprisonment for debt. I was not
disappointed, although at first, a large majority seemed in favor of it.
The time will come when the absurdity as well as inhumanity of adding
oppression to misfortune will be acknowledged; and if I should live to see
that day I shall exult in the consciousness of having early combatted one
of the worst prejudices of the age." In 1831, the Legislature of New York
passed the first law abolishing imprisonment for debt.
At the end of this Senatorial term he was elected President of the
Columbus & Xenia Railroad Company, and was actively engaged upon all
the duties of that enterprise until it was finished; soon after which
he resigned. While this road was in progress, upon the urgent
solicitation of the active promoters of the C., C. & C. R. R., Mr. Kelley
accepted the Presidency of that Company, and began the work with his
usual order and ability.
His zeal and labors upon this enterprise were only surpassed in his work
upon the Ohio Canal. He solicited subscriptions to the capital stock;
located much of the route; procured rights of way; attended in person to
the purchase of materials; the procuring of money, and the details of the
construction of the road, and continued the ever working president of the
road until he resigned, a short time after its completion. With his own
hands he dug the first shovel of earth, and laid the last rail upon this
road. It is but just to say, that the citizens of Cleveland and the people
of Ohio are more indebted to Alfred Kelley than to any other man for the
C., C. & C. R. R. He was still acting president of the C. & X. and the
C., C. & C. Companies, when he was chosen, in 1850, president of the
C., P. & A., or Lake Shore R. R. Company. He was actively engaged upon
this road in the performance of duties similar to those done upon the
C., C. & C. road until its completion in 1853, when he resigned. It was
while he was president of this road that the famous riots occurred at
Erie and Harbor Creek, Pa., in opposition to the construction of the road
through Pennsylvania. The success of the company in this formidable
contest was largely due to the sagacity, forbearance and indomitable will
of Alfred Kelley. When he took charge of these railroads, such enterprises
at the West had but little credit at the East. The roads constructed by
him have paid regular dividends from the time of their completion. He
continued until his death an active director in these companies.
In October, 1857, he was again elected to the State Senate from Columbus,
being then 64 years of age, and the oldest member of the Legislature. This
was his last appearance in public life. During the last year of this
service his health was declining. Although so much debilitated that
prudence required confinement to his house, if not to his bed, yet such
was his fidelity to his trust, that he went daily to the Senate and
carried through the Legislature several important measures to ascertain
the true condition of the State Treasury, and to secure the public funds
from further depredations.
At the end of this term he retired from public life hoping to regain his
health; but his constitution was too much broken to admit of
re-establishment. He did not appear to be affected with any specific
disease, but seemed gradually wasting away from an over-taxed mind and
body. His oft quoted maxim was, "It is better to wear out than to rust
out." He was only confined to his room a few days previous to his death,
and on Friday, the 2d day of December, 1863, his pure spirit left its
earthly tenement so gently that the friends who surrounded him could
scarcely determine when it ascended. Mr. Kelley was twenty-four years in
the service of the people of Ohio, in the Legislature, and as Canal
Commissioner, and Fund Commissioner. His history would be almost a
complete financial and political history of Ohio. He gave a greater
impulse to the physical development of Ohio, and left upon its statute
books higher proofs of wisdom and forecast than any who had preceded him.
Indeed, few persons have ever lived who, merely by personal exertions,
have left behind them more numerous and lasting monuments of patient and
Note.--For much of this sketch we are indebted to an unpublished "Memoir
of Alfred Kelley," by the late Judge Gustavus Swan, of Columbus.
The late Leonard Case was the second child and oldest son of Magdalene and
Mesech Case, of Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania. His mother, who was a
native of Winchester, Virginia, was of German extraction, her maiden name
being Extene. His father, believed to have been of English ancestry, was
born in Sussex county, New Jersey. For nearly forty years Mr. Mesech Case
suffered from asthma to the extent of making him a partial invalid, and
hence much of the management of his affairs devolved upon his wife, a
woman of superior character, educated beyond the average of those days,
energetic, having good executive ability, and blessed with robust health.
The family cultivated a small farm in Pennsylvania, which yielded but a
moderate support, so that when news came of the land of rich promise
beyond the mountains, where the soil yielded with an abundance marvellous
in the eyes of those who painfully cultivated and carefully gathered in
the older States, they collected their implements and stock, packed their
household effects, disposed of the farm, and, crossing the mountains,
settled down somewhere between the western foot of the Alleghanies and
Pittsburgh. This, however, was not the land of promise. The reports they
had heard in their Westmoreland home of the soil which produced crops
almost without care, and which embarrassed by their abundant yield, came
from still farther west, and again the Case household took up the line of
march, settling down finally upon a farm of two hundred acres near Warren,
Trumbull county, Ohio, in the year 1800.
There were then five children in the Case household, Leonard, the oldest
son, and the subject of this biographical sketch, being then sixteen years
old, having been born in Westmoreland county, Penn., July 20th, 1784. In
the invalid condition of his father, and being the oldest son of the
family, young Leonard was compelled to take a prominent part in the
management of the affairs of the farm. In the Spring succeeding the
removal to Trumbull, he started out in search of working oxen needed for
the Spring work. The task was a difficult one, and he traveled for some
time, becoming much heated with the walk and the anxiety. On his return he
had to cross a stream several times whilst he was in this heated
condition, the result being the contracting of a severe cold which settled
in his limbs and brought on an inflammation that confined him to his bed
It was late in the Fall of 1801, when he recovered sufficiently to arise
from his bed. But he arose as a cripple. The injury he had received from
his unfortunate journey was permanent, and he was unable for some time
after his rising from a sick bed to walk, or even to stand. Thus helpless
in body, whilst active in mind, he pondered over his future. As a farmer
he was no longer of any use, and unless some other mode of livelihood was
adopted he must remain a dependent on his relations. This was galling his
independent nature, and he determined to avoid it if possible.
[Illustration: I am Respectfully Leonard Case]
His hands were free if his feet gave promise of but little usefulness. He
concluded that the pen would be a fitter implement for his purposes than
the plow, and he took measures accordingly. Whilst lying in bed, unable to
rise, he had a board fastened before him in such a manner as to serve for
a desk. With this contrivance he worked diligently, whilst lying otherwise
helpless, to acquire the rudiments of knowledge. He learned to write and
cipher with moderate ease and correctness, and when he had matured the
contents of an arithmetical text book, which was the property of his
mother, he borrowed a few works on the higher branches of mathematics from
some surveyors in the neighborhood. From the knowledge in this way
acquired, he conceived the desire to be a surveyor and he set to work
energetically to perfect himself in that science so far as it could be
done by books. He was embarrassed by the want of even the most simple
instruments. A semi-circle for measuring angles was made by cutting a
groove the required shape on a piece of soft wood, and filling it by
melting and running in a pewter spoon, making an arc of metal on which the
graduated scale was etched. A pair of dividers was improvised from a piece
of hickory, by making the centre thin, bending it over, putting pins at
the points, and regulating its spread by twisting a cord.
But more education was needed, and if he expected to pursue the path he
had marked out in his mind, he must leave his home and venture out in the
world. To do this, money was needed, for to a cripple like him the first
struggle in the battle of life would be almost hopeless, if he entered on
it totally without resources. As seen, he had already manifested a strong
mechanical bent. He was domestic carpenter, making and repairing such
articles as were needed in the household. This ability he immediately
commenced to turn to account. A rude chair suitable to his needs was
mounted on wheels, and in this he was able to reach the edge of the woods
surrounding the house, where he cut twigs and made baskets, which were
purchased by the neighbors. Other jobs requiring mechanical skill were
done by him for the neighborhood, and in this way a small fund was
gradually accumulated with which to make his meditated start in life.
In 1806, he was able to set out from home and reach the village of
Warren, where he concluded that a better opportunity existed for
obtaining work with his pen. He found employment as clerk in the Land
Commissioner's office, where his industry, zeal, and strong desire to
improve both his knowledge and opportunities, soon brought him into
notice and gained for him many valuable friends. Chief among these was
Mr. John D. Edwards, a lawyer, holding the office of recorder of Trumbull
county, which then comprised all the Western Reserve. Mr. Edwards proved
a fast friend to Mr. Case, and his memory was ever held in respect by the
latter. He advised the young clerk to add a knowledge of law to his
other acquirements, and furnished him with books with which to prosecute
his studies, until he was at length admitted to the bar. In addition, he
gave him such writing as fell in his way to be given out, and thus aided
in enabling him to support himself.
The war of 1812 found Mr. Case at Warren, having, among his other duties,
that of the collection of non-resident taxes on the Western Reserve, for
which he had to furnish what was then considered heavy bail. Having to go
to Chillicothe to make his settlement, he prepared for the journey by
making a careful disposition of all his official matters, so that in case
of misfortune to him, there would be no difficulty in settling his
affairs, and no loss to his bail. The money belonging to the several
townships was parcelled out, enveloped, and marked in readiness to hand
over to the several trustees. The parcels were then deposited with his
friend, Mr. Edwards, with directions to pay over to the proper parties
should he not return in time. The journey was made without mishap, but on
his return Mr. Case found that his friend had set out to join the army on
the Maumee, and had died suddenly on the way. To the gratification of Mr.
Case, however, the money was found where he had left it, untouched.
In 1816, Mr. Case received the appointment of cashier of the Commercial
Bank of Lake Erie, just organized in Cleveland. He immediately removed to
Cleveland and entered on the discharge of his duties. These did not occupy
the whole of his time, so with the avocations of a banker he coupled the
practice of law and also the business of land agent. The bank, in common
with most of the similar institutions of the time, was compelled to
suspend operations, but was revived in after years with Mr. Case as
president. Of those who were connected as officers with the original
organization, Mr. Case gave the least promise of a long life, but yet he
outlived all his colleagues.
With the close of the bank he devoted himself more earnestly to the
practice of the law and the prosecution of his business as a land agent.
The active practice of the law was abandoned in 1834, but the land agency
was continued until a comparatively recent period, when his infirmities,
and the care of his own estate, grown into large proportions, rendered it
necessary for him to decline all business for others.
Mr. Case had a natural taste for the investigation of land titles and
studying the history of the earlier land owners. His business as a land
agent gave him scope for the gratification of this taste, and his
appointment as agent for the management of the Western Reserve school
lands, enabled him still further to prosecute his researches, whilst his
strong memory retained the facts acquired until he became complete
master of the whole history of the titles derived from the Connecticut
From his earliest connection with Cleveland, Mr. Case took a lively
interest in the affairs of the village, the improvement of the streets,
maintenance and enlargement of the schools, and the extension of religious
influences. For all these purposes he contributed liberally, and spent
much time and labor. To his thoughtfulness and public spirit are due the
commencement of the work of planting shade trees on the streets, which has
added so much to the beauty of the city, and has won for it the cognomen
of the Forest City. From 1821 to 1825, he was president of the village,
and was judicious and energetic in the management of its affairs. On the
erection of Cuyahoga county, he was its first auditor. He was subsequently
sent to the State Legislature, where he distinguished himself by his
persistent labors in behalf of the Ohio canals. He headed the subscription
to the stock of the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati Railroad Company
with the sum of five thousand dollars, and became a director in the
Company. His good sense, a judgment that rarely erred, his extensive
knowledge of the village and surrounding country, and the cheerful
readiness with which he gave counsel, whenever requested in good faith,
caused him to be the confidential adviser of the county and municipal
officials, after he had ceased to take an active part in public affairs.
One of the rules from which he never deviated, was in no case to contract
a debt beyond his ability to pay within two years without depending on a
sale of property. In this way he was enabled to accumulate acre after acre
in what has since proved to be valuable portions of the city, and thus to
acquire a vast estate, which, in his later years, became steadily
Mr. Case was a man of uncommon industry, of high integrity, and strong
common sense. His manner to strangers, especially when interrupted in
business, was brusque, and gave an unfavorable impression to those
unacquainted with his real character, which was uniformly cheerful and
kind. As a seller of land, he was both just and generous, and from no one
ever came the complaint of oppressive or ungenerous treatment. Although
not a member of any church organization, he had strong religious
tendencies, of a liberal cast.
Mr. Case died December 7th, 1864, leaving one son, Leonard Case, the other
son, William, having died a short time earlier.
Honorable Reuben Wood, an early settler of Cleveland, was born in Rutland
county, Vermont, in 1792. In early life he worked on a farm in Summer and
taught school in Winter. Resolving to achieve more than this, he went to
Canada and studied the classics under the tuition of an English clergyman,
and while there commenced the study of law with Hon. Barnabas Bidwell.
When war was declared in 1812, young Wood, with all other resident
Americans were required to leave Canada. He then went to Middletown, Vt.,
where he completed his legal studies in the office of Gen. Jonas Clark, an
eminent lawyer of that place.
In 1818, he married, and emigrated to Cleveland, where he arrived
September of that year, a stranger, and without money. He at once
entered upon a successful practice, and soon became distinguished as a
lawyer and advocate.
In 1825, he was elected a member of the State Senate, and was twice
re-elected to the same position.
In 1830, he was elected President Judge of the Third Judicial Circuit.
In 1833, he was elected a Judge of the Supreme Court, and at the close of
his term was re-elected. For the last three years of his second term he
was Chief Justice. As a Judge he was noted for sound logic, and the
clearness of his decisions.
In 1850, Judge Wood was elected by the Democratic party Governor of the
State by eleven thousand majority, and was re-elected Governor in 1851,
under the new constitution, by a majority of twenty-six thousand.
In 1853, he was appointed, by the Government, Consul to Valparaiso, South
America. While there, he, for some months, at the request of the
Government, discharged the duties of a Minister Plenipotentiary to Chili.
On his return from Chili, he returned to his farm in Rockport, near
Cleveland, where he died, October 2, 1864, generally esteemed, and highly
respected by all who knew him.
John W. Willey.
John W. Willey was a native of New Hampshire, being born in 1797. He
pursued a regular course of study at Dartmouth College, under the
encouragement of the distinguished President Wheelock, after whom he had
been named. He studied law in New York.
In 1822, being then twenty-five years of age, he came West and settled in
Cleveland. At that time it had but one tavern, no church, no railroads, no
canal, an occasional steamboat only, three or four stores and a few
hundred inhabitants; such was the then picture of a settlement now
approaching to a city of a hundred thousand people. Small as Cleveland
then was, professionally, Mr. Willey had been preceded by men of decided
ability. Alfred Kelley, Leonard Case, and the late Gov. Wood, had taken
possession of the field four, six and twelve years before him, and were
men of far more than ordinary ability. Mr. Willey was peculiarly adapted
to such circumstances as these. Thoroughly versed in legal principles, of
a keen and penetrating mind, a logician by nature, fertile and ready of
expedient, with a persuasive eloquence, enlivened with wit and humor, he
at once rose to prominence at the bar of Northern Ohio. The Cuyahoga bar
was for many years considered the strongest in the State, but amongst all
of its talented members, each with his own peculiar forte, for the faculty
of close and long-continued reasoning, clearness of statement, nice
discrimination, and never ending ingenuity, he had no superior.
In 1827, Mr. Willey was partially withdrawn from practice, by being
elected to the Legislature, where he served three years as Representative
and three as Senator, until 1832.
He was the first Mayor of Cleveland, being elected in 1836, and re-elected
in 1837, by large majorities, and prepared the original laws and
ordinances for the government of the city.
He was amongst the earliest projectors, prior to the reverses of 1836 and
1837, of the railroads to Columbus and Cincinnati, and to Pittsburgh.
In 1840, he was appointed to the bench, thus restoring him to those
studies and subjects of thought from which years of public and of
business life had diverted him. No sooner had he assumed this new position
than by common consent it was recognized as the one above all others he
was best fitted to adorn. Possessing the power which so few men have, of
close, concentrated, continuous thought, he was at the same time prompt in
his decisions. His instructions to juries, and his legal judgments,
usually pronounced at considerable length, were marked by that precision
of statement, clearness of analysis, and felicity of language, which made
them seem like the flowing of a silver stream.
Judge Willey, at the time of his death, which occurred in June, 1841, was
President Judge of the Fourteenth Judicial District. He died deeply
regretted by a large circle of professional and other friends, who had
become much attached to him for his many virtues, uniform and dignified,
yet unostentatious life.
In the Western Law Journal for 1852, we find a judicial anecdote related
of Mr. Willey, in illustration of his wit, and immovable self-possession.
The writer says: "At his last term in Cleveland we happened in while he
was pronouncing sentence upon a number of criminals who had been
convicted during the week, of penitentiary offenses. One of them, a
stubborn looking fellow, who, to the usual preliminary question of
whether he had anything to offer why the sentence of the law should not
be pronounced upon him, had replied somewhat truculently, that he had
'nothing to say,' but who when the judge was proceeding in a few
prefatory remarks to explain to the man how fairly he had been tried,
etc., broke in upon the court by exclaiming that 'he did'nt care if the
court had convicted him, he wasn't guilty _any_ how.' 'That will be a
consolation to you,' rejoined the judge, with unusual benignity, and with
a voice full of sympathy and compassion, 'That will be a consolation to
you, in the hour of your confinement, for we read in the good Book that
it is better to _suffer_ wrong, than _do_ wrong.' In the irrepressible
burst of laughter which followed this unexpected response, all joined
except the judge and the culprit."
[Illustration: Truly Yours, S. Andrews]
Sherlock J. Andrews.
Judge Andrews was born November, 1801, in the quiet New England village
of Wallingford, Connecticut. His father was a prominent physician at
that place, where he spent a long and useful life in the practice of
his profession. He lived to a good old age, a Christian gentleman of
the old school.
Although Wallingford is but a short day's travel from Yale, even under the
old System of horse and shay, or horse and saddle, young Andrews was sent
out of New England to Union College, at Schenectady, New York, where he
graduated about the year 1821.
Soon after this time the elder Silliman was at Wallingford, and being in
need of an assistant in Chemistry and a private secretary, he offered the
position to Mr. Andrews, which was accepted. It seems to have been
mutually a happy relation. In his diary, Prof. Silliman says, "he was a
young man of a vigorous and active mind, energetic and quick in his
decisions and movements, with a warm heart and a genial temper, of the
best moral and social habits, a quiet and skillful penman, an agreeable
inmate of my family, in which we made him quite at home. We found we had
acquired an interesting and valuable friend as well as a good professional
assistant. It is true he had, when he came, no experience in practical
Chemistry. He had everything to learn, but learned rapidly, as he had real
industry and love of knowledge. Before the end of the first term he proved
that we had made a happy choice. He continued about four years serving
with ability, and the zeal of an affectionate son, without whom I could
scarce have retained my place in the College." During this experience in
the field of sciences, Mr. Andrews had pursued the study of the law at the
Law School of New Haven, with the same ardor, and in 1825, removed to
Cleveland, and established himself as an attorney.
In 1828, he married Miss Ursula Allen, of Litchfield, Connecticut,
daughter of the late John Allen, a member of Congress from that State, who
was also the father of Hon. John W. Allen, of this city. The late Samuel
Cowles had preceded Mr. Andrews here in the profession and offered him a
partnership. Their competitors were the late Governor Wood and Judge John
W. Willey, who were partners, and Judge Starkweather, who still survives.
Considering the limited business of the place, which scarcely numbered
five hundred inhabitants, the profession was evidently overstocked then,
as it has been ever since. Briefless lawyers had, however, a wide field to
cultivate outside this county, embracing at least all the counties of the
Reserve; with horse and saddle-bags, they followed the Court in its
travels, judges and attorneys splashing through the mud on terms of
Judge Andrews gave immediate promise of celebrity as an advocate. With a
sensitive and nervous temperament, he entered sympathetically into the
case of his client, making it his own. He possessed a brilliant readiness
of manner, full of skillful thrusts, hits, and witticisms. His correct New
England morals were not deteriorated by contact with the more loose codes
of a new western town. In his clear and earnest voice there was that
magnetic influence, which is necessary to complete the style of any
orator, and which is a gift solely of nature. As a technical pleader,
though he stood high, there were others upon the circuit equally gifted.
But in a cause where his convictions of justice and of legal right were
fixed, there was not among his contemporaries, in the courts of this
State, an advocate, whose efforts were so nearly irresistible before a
jury. He has command of sarcasm and invective, without coarseness. He
attacks oppression, meanness and fraud as if they were offences not only
against the public, but against himself. He has never strayed from the
profession to engage in any speculations or occupations to divert his
thoughts from pure law, except for two years from 1840, while he held a
seat in Congress. In 1848, the Legislature elected him judge of the
Superior Court of Cuyahoga county, a place he continued to hold till the
Court was abolished. As a judge he was eminently successful, his decisions
having been overruled by higher courts only in a single instance, and that
owing to a clerical mistake. In politics he was evidently not at home.
After leaving the bench, Judge Andrews returned to the practice, but has
been chiefly employed as associate counsel, occasionally addressing juries
on important cases.
As an advocate, Judge Andrews, during his whole professional career, has
been in the very foremost rank, with a reputation confined neither to
county, or even State lines. Distinguished for clear conceptions of legal
principles, and their varied relations to practical life, he has also
shown rare ability in judging of mixed questions of law and fact. His
legal opinions, therefore, have ever been held in the highest esteem.
But as jury lawyer, Judge Andrews has achieved successes so remarkable as
to have secured a permanent place in the traditions of the bar, and the
history of judicial proceedings in Northern Ohio. The older lawyers have
vivid recollections of a multitude of cases when he was in full practice,
and in his prime, in which his ready insight into character--his power to
sift testimony and bring into clear relief the lines of truth involved in
complicated causes--his ability to state the legal principles so that the
jury could intelligently apply them to the facts--his humor--his pure
wit--his pathos, at times bringing unfeigned tears to the eyes of both
judge and jurors--his burning scorn of fraud--and his appeal on behalf of
what he believed to be right, so impetuous with enthusiasm, so condensed
and incisive in expression, and so felicitous in illustration, as to be
well nigh irresistible.
Yet, highly as Judge Andrews has adorned his profession, it is simply
justice to say in conclusion, that his unblemished character in every
relation has adorned his manhood. He has been far more than a mere lawyer.
With a keen relish for historical and philosophical inquiry--a wide
acquaintance with literature, and an earnest sympathy with the advanced
lines of thought in the present age, his life has also been practically
subordinated to the faultless morality of Christianity. A community is
truly enriched, when it possesses, and can present to its younger members,
such shining instances of success in honorable endeavor, and sterling
excellence in character and example.
John W. Allen.
Mr. Allen, though not among the first attorneys who settled in Cleveland,
was upon the ground early among the second generation. Samuel Huntington
was the first lawyer of the place, becoming a resident here in the year
1801. Alfred Kelley was his successor, commencing his legal career as soon
as the county courts were organized in 1810. In 1816, Leonard Case was
added to the profession and in 1818 the late Governor Wood and Samuel
Cowles, and about 1822, John W. Willey About the year 1826, soon after the
construction of the Ohio canal was commenced, a troop of young lawyers
took possession of the field, some of whom still survive, Sherlock J.
Andrews, Samuel Starkweather and John W. Allen. They were all from Yankee
land, in pursuit of fame and fortune. Mr. Allen originated in Litchfield
county, Connecticut, a place prolific in prominent characters. His father,
John Allen, was a member of Congress from that State.
From 1831 to 1835, inclusive, he was elected annually to be president of
the village corporation of Cleveland, and mayor of the city corporation
of Cleveland 1841. In 1835-7, Mr. Allen represented the district of
which Cuyahoga county was a part, in the Ohio Senate, and in 1836 was
elected to the Congress of the United States, commencing with the famous
extra session of September, 1837, as an old line Clay Whig, and was
re-elected in 1838.
As soon as Cleveland assumed the position of a city in 1836, the subject
of railways became one of the prominent public questions. A portion of the
citizens were of the opinion that they had yielded enough to the spirit of
modern innovation when the Ohio canal was suffered to enter Cleveland.
This had banished the Dutch wagons entirely, and railroads might complete
our ruin entirely, by banishing canal boats. Mr. Allen, and the new comers
generally, took the opposite side. While he was rising to a leading public
position he labored zealously in the cause of railways in harmony with his
political opponents John W. Willey, Richard Hilliard, James S. Clark and
others, most of whom are dead. But for his zeal and perseverence the
Cleveland & Columbus Railroad Company would not have been organized
probably for years after it was and then it was done almost in spite of
many of the large property holders of that day, who looked upon the
enterprise as chimerical.
Mr. Allen's free and generous manner not only rendered him popular among
his political friends, but prevented bitterness and personality on the
part of his opponents. During those years of prosperity he led a
thoroughly active life, not only as an attorney with a large practice,
but as an indefatigable public servant. In fact, through life he has
given to the public the first and best of his efforts. He never became a
finished advocate and speaker, but his enterprise and integrity secured
him a large business, most of which was litigated in the counties of the
Not long after Mr. Allen commenced practice in Ohio he married Miss Ann
Maria Perkins of Warren, Trumbull county, an auspicious connection which
was soon terminated by her death. His second wife was Miss Harriet Mather,
of New London county, Connecticut, who is now living, and was the mother
of two sons and two daughters, one son and one daughter now surviving.
[Illustration: J. W. Allen]
The financial storm of 1837-8 did so much damage to Mr. Allen's fortune,
as well as some unsuccessful efforts in the construction of local rail
roads ahead of time, that its effects are not yet gone. Being young and
energetic, with a large property, with few debts of his own, it would have
affected him but little, had he not been too generous towards his friends
in the way of endorsements.
In the winter of 1849-50, he was appointed under a resolution of the
Legislature the Agent of the State to examine into the claims of the State
on the General Government growing out of the grants of land in aid of the
canals and which had been twice settled and receipted for in full, which
occupied him five years at Washington. In this he was eminently successful
and did the State great service, and had the State performed its part of
the bargain as well as Mr. Allen did his, the result would have been a
rich compensation for his labors. His was the only case of repudiation
ever perpetrated by Ohio and he may well charge the State with punic faith
When the State Bank of Ohio, consisting of branches scattered throughout
the State under the general management of a board of control, was
authorized by an act of the Legislature about the year 1846, and which was
the soundest system ever devised by any State Government, Mr. Allen was
one of the five Commissioners charged with the duty of putting the
machinery in operation.
Very few of the present generation realize the obligation of this city to
him, and his public spirited coadjutors of thirty years since, for the
solid prosperity it now enjoys.
Hiram V. Willson.
The first judge of the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Ohio, will long be remembered by the bar and public of that
District, for the ability, dignity, and purity with which, for over eleven
years, he administered justice. When at last he lay down to his final
rest, there was no voice raised in censure of any one of his acts, and
tributes of heartfelt praise of his life, and sorrow for his loss, were
laid on his grave by men of all parties and shades of opinion. As lawyer,
judge, citizen, and man, Judge Willson won the respect and confidence of
all with whom he was brought into social or official contact.
Hiram V. Willson was born in April, 1808, in Madison county, New York.
Graduating at Hamilton College in 1832, he commenced the study of law in
the office of the Hon. Jared Willson, of Canandaigua, New York.
Subsequently he visited Virginia, read law in the office of Francis S.
Key, of Washington, and for a time aided his slender pecuniary means by
teaching in a classical school in the Shenandoah Valley. During his early
legal studies he laid the foundations of that legal knowledge for which he
was afterwards distinguished, and acquired that familiarity with the
text-books and reports which made him a safe, prompt, and prudent
counsellor. At school, college, and in the Shenandoah Valley, he
maintained a close intimacy with the Hon. Henry B. Payne, then a young man
of about his own age. In 1833, he removed to Painesville, but soon changed
his residence to Cleveland, where he and his intimate friend, H. B. Payne,
formed a law partnership.
Long after, when at a banquet tendered by the bar of Cleveland in honor of
the organization of the United States Court for the Northern District of
Ohio, Judge Willson referred to the auspices under which the young firm
commenced business. The following toast had been offered:
The First Judge of the Northern District of Ohio: In the history and
eminent success of a twenty years' practice at the Bar, we have the
fullest assurance that whatever industry, talent, and integrity can
achieve for the character of this long sought for court, will be
accomplished by the gentleman who has been appointed to preside over its
In responding to the toast, Judge Willson spoke highly of the character
of the profession, and then made a warm appeal to the young lawyers. He
said that all there had been young lawyers and knew the struggles and
difficulties that hang around the lawyer's early path, and which cloud to
him his future, and nothing is so welcome, so genial to a young lawyer's
heart as to be taken in hand by an older legal brother. He said he could
talk with feeling on the subject, for the memory was yet green of the days
when two penniless young men came to Ohio to take life's start, and when
as discouragements, and almost despair, seemed to lie in wait for them,
there was an older lawyer who held out a friendly hand to aid them, and
who bid them take courage and persevere. Who that friend was he signified
by offering, with much feeling, a toast to the memory of Judge Willey.
But the young firm did not long need friendly counsel to cheer them in the
midst of discouragements. Although they were but young men, and Willey,
Congar, and Andrews were eminent lawyers in full practice, they soon took
place in the front rank of the profession. Business flowed in upon them,
and from 1837 to 1840, the number of suits brought by them in the Court of
Common Pleas averaged two hundred and fifty per year; whilst during the
same time they appeared for the defence in twice that number of cases
annually. Briefs in all those cases were, to a great extent, prepared by
Judge Willson. Upon Mr. Payne's retirement, a partnership was formed with
Hon. Edward Wade and Reuben Hitchcock, and after a while the firm was
changed to Willson, Wade & Wade. Under these partnerships the extensive
business and high reputation of the old firm were preserved and increased.
In 1852, Judge Willson ran for Congress on the Democratic ticket, against
William Case on the Whig and Edward Wade on the Free Soil tickets. Mr.
Wade was elected, but Judge Willson received a very handsome vote.
In the Winter of 1854, a bill was introduced to divide the State of Ohio,
for United States judicial purposes, into two districts. The members of
the Cleveland Bar pressed the matter vigorously, and after a sharp
struggle in Congress, the bill creating the United States Court for the
Northern District of Ohio was passed. During the pendency of the measure,
and when the prospects were unfavorable for its passage, Judge Willson was
chosen by the Cleveland Bar to proceed to Washington and labor in the
interest of the bill. This was done, and the final triumph of the bill was
doubtless owing in great measure to his unwearied industry in its behalf.
In March, 1855, President Pierce appointed Mr. Willson judge of the
District Court just authorized.
The formation of the court and the appointment of Judge Willson as its
presiding officer, gave general satisfaction. A banquet was held by the
lawyers to celebrate the event, and although Judge Willson was a strong
political partizan, the leading lawyers of all parties vied with each
other in testifying their entire confidence in the ability and
impartiality of the new judge. Nor was their confidence misplaced. In
becoming a judge he ceased to be a politician, and no purely political, or
personal, motives swayed his decisions. He was admitted by all to have
been an upright judge.
The new court found plenty to do. In addition to the ordinary criminal
and civil business, the location of the court on the lake border brought
to it a large amount of admiralty cases. In such cases, the extensive
knowledge and critical acumen of Judge Willson were favorably displayed.
Many of his decisions were models of deep research and lucid statement.
One of his earliest decisions of this character was in relation to
maritime liens. The steamboat America had been abandoned and sunk, and
only a part of her tackle and rigging saved. These were attached for debt
for materials, and the question arose on the legality of the claim
against articles no longer a part of the vessel. Judge Willson held that
the maritime lien of men for wages, and material men for supplies, is a
proprietary interest in the vessel itself, and can not be diverted by the
acts of the owner or by any casualty, until the claim is paid, and that
such lien inheres to the ship and all her parts wherever found and
whoever may be the owner. In the case of L. Wick _vs._ the schooner
Samuel Strong, in 1855, Judge Willson reviewed the history and intent of
the common carrier act of Ohio, in an opinion of much interest. A case,
not in admiralty, but in the criminal business of the court, gave the
judge another opportunity for falling back on his inexhaustible stores of
legal and historical knowledge. The question was on the point whether the
action of a grand jury was legal in returning a bill of indictment found
only by fourteen members, the fifteenth member being absent and taking no
part in the proceedings. Judge Willson reviewed the matter at length,
citing precedents of the English and American courts for several
centuries to show that the action was legal.
A very noticeable case was what is known in the legal history of
Cleveland as "The Bridge Case," in which Charles Avery sued the city of
Cleveland, to prevent the construction of a bridge across the Cuyahoga,
at the foot of Lighthouse street. The questions arising were: the
legislative authority of the city to bridge the river, and whether the
bridge would be a nuisance, damaging the complainant's private property.
The decision of Judge Willson, granting a preliminary injunction until
further evidence could be taken, was a thorough review of the law
relating to water highways and their obstructions. In the opinion on the
Parker water-wheel case, he exhibited a clear knowledge of mechanics, and
gave an exhaustive exposition of the law of patents. In the case of Hoag
_vs_ the propeller Cataract, the law of collision was set forth and
numerous precedents cited. In 1860, important decisions were given in
respect to the extent of United States jurisdiction on the Western lakes
and rivers. It was decided, and the decisions supported by voluminous
precedents, that the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction possessed by the
District Courts of the United States, on the Western lakes and rivers,
under the Constitution and Act of 1789, was independent of the Act of
1845, and unaffected thereby; and also that the District Courts of the
United States, having under the Constitution and Acts of Congress,
exclusive original cognizance of all civil causes of admiralty and
maritime jurisdiction, the Courts of Common Law are precluded from
proceeding _in rem_ to enforce such maritime claims.
These are but a very few of the many important cases coming before Judge
Willson's court and decided by him in a manner that made his decisions
The judicial administration of Judge Willson was noticeable also for its
connection with events of national importance. And here it should be again
repeated, that in all his conduct on the bench he divested himself of
personal or party predilections and prejudices. To him it was of no
consequence who were parties to the case, or what the political effect of
a decision would be; he inquired only what were the facts in the matter
and what the law bearing upon them. The keynote of his character in this
respect may be known from an extract taken from his charge to the grand
jury in the Winter term of 1856, in which it was expected a case would
come before that body of alleged impropriety or crime by a Government
officer, growing out of party zeal during a very heated political canvass.
The passions of men were intensely excited at the time of the delivery of
the charge, and that address had the effect of suddenly cooling down the
popular mind, in the city and vicinity at least, and of bringing about a
better state of feeling. After referring impressively to the language of
the oath taken by the grand jury, to present none through malice, and
except none through favouritism, Judge Willson said:
It was but yesterday our ears were deafened by the turmoil and clamour
of political strife, shaking the great national fabric to its centre,
and threatening the stability of the Government itself. In that fearful
conflict for the control of the Executive and Legislative Departments of
the Federal Government, all the evil passions of men seem to have been
aroused. Vituperation and scandal, malice, hatred and ill-will had
blotted out from the land all brotherly love, and swept away those
characteristics which should distinguish us as a nation of Christians.
How important, then, it is for us, coming up here to perform the duties
incident to the courts, to come with minds free from prejudice, free
from passions, and free from the influence of the angry elements around
us. To come with a fixed purpose of administering justice with truth,
according to the laws of the land. A dangerous political contagion has
become rampant in our country, invading the holy sanctuaries of the
"Prince of Peace" and polluting the very fountains of Eternal Truth.
God forbid the time may ever come when the temples of justice in our
land shall be desecrated by this unhallowed and contaminating influence,
or by wanton disregard of the Constitution, or by a perfidious
delinquency on the part of the ministers of the law. Here let passion
and prejudice find no abiding place. Here let equal and exact justice be
meted out to all men--to rich and to the poor--to the high and the low,
and above all things, with you, gentlemen, here preserve with scrupulons
fidelity the sanctity of your oaths, and discharge your whole duty
without fear and without favour. Put justice to the line and truth to
the plummet, and act up fully to the obligations of that oath, and you
will ever enjoy those rich consolations which always flow from a
conscientious discharge of a sworn duty.
To men of your intelligence and probity, these admonitions are, perhaps,
unnecessary. Knowing, however, the reluctance and pain with which the
misconduct of men in office is inquired into, by those who cherish the
same political sentiments, I am confident, gentlemen, that in times like
these, you can not exercise too great caution in excluding from your
minds all considerations, as to whether the party charged before you is
the appointee of this or of that administration, or whether he belongs