Going east in the Fall of 1821, Mr. Cutter, on his return, preferred the staunch steamer Walk-in-the-Water, to the Wasps, Fire Flies and Franklins, on board of which he had experienced so many buffetings. George Williams and John S. Strong were also of the same mind. These three old settlers, and about seventy others, went on board at Black Rock, in the afternoon. Eight yoke of oxen were required to assist the engines in getting her over the rapids into the open lake. In the night a furious gale arose, Capt. Rogers put back, but not being able to get into Buffalo Creek, came to anchor near its mouth. Being awfully sea sick, Mr. Cutter lay below, little caring where the Walk-in-the-Water went to. Her anchor, however, parted before morning, and she went ashore sidewise, on an easy sand beach, without loss of life.
This year completes his semi-centennial as a citizen of Cleveland, yet he is still hale and vigorous. He has gone through revulsions, and has enjoyed prosperity with equal equanimity, never indulging in idleness or ease, and has now come to a ripe old age possessed of an ample competence.
Peter Martin Weddell.
One of the most noted historical and topographical landmarks of Cleveland is the Weddell House. Its builder was one of the most valuable citizens of the Forest City.
Mr. P. M. Weddell was born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, in 1788. His father died before his birth, and his mother, marrying again, removed to Paris, Bourbon county, Kentucky, the State at that time deserving its sobriquet of the "dark and bloody ground," as the contest with the native savages was carried on with relentless fury on both sides. Under such circumstances it may well be supposed that he grew up with few educational or other advantages, and that his youth was one of vicissitudes and hardships.
At the age of fourteen he applied at a store for employment, what surplus clothing and effects he then possessed being carelessly flung over his shoulders. He promised to do any work they were pleased to set him at, and he thought he could satisfy them. This broad pledge was so well kept that at the age of nineteen he was made a partner. This partnership was soon closed by the death of the old member.
Young Weddell, with a vigorous body, good habits, a clear judgment, and some money, removed to Newark, Ohio, during the war of 1812. While he was successfully trading there, Miss Sophia Perry, of Cleveland, was sent to her friends at Newark for greater safety, and to acquire an education. She was but little past fifteen when she consented to be Mrs. Weddell, and they were married in November, 1815.
In 1820, Mr. Weddell removed from Newark to Cleveland and established himself in business on Superior street, taking a stand at once among the leading merchants of the place, a position he retained as long as he continued in business.
In 1823, Mrs. Weddell died, leaving three children, of whom H. P. Weddell is the only survivor. A portrait of her, by Peale, still remains in the family house, which confirms the remembrances of her friends that she possessed many charms both of person and of disposition. In the following year Mr. Weddell married Mrs. Eliza A. Bell, of Newark, who is still living, and whom every old citizen of Cleveland well knows and sincerely respects.
In 1825, he formed a partnership with Mr. Edmund Clade, from Buffalo, and retired from active participation in business. In 1828, the partnership was dissolved. Three years afterwards he took into partnership with him his two clerks, Greenup C. Woods, his half brother, and Dudley Baldwin, the firm name being P. M. Weddell & Co. The firm lasted but four years, when Mr. Woods established himself in Newark, and Messrs. Weddell and Baldwin continued the business together until 1845.
When Mr. Weddell commenced his mercantile life it was no child's play. At that time there were no canals or railroads to facilitate commerce—scarcely were there any roads at all—specie was the only currency west of the mountains, and that had to be carried across the mountains from Pittsburgh on the backs of mules, and the merchandise returned in the same way. Long after, when traveling over the Alleghanies with a friend, Mr. Weddell frequently pointed to places on the road which he remembered, and of which he related interesting anecdotes. Several merchants would travel together and sometimes they would have guards, as the lonely uninhabited mountains were not altogether safe even in those days.
In 1823, Mr. Weddell built what was regarded as a princely brick residence and store on the corner of Superior and Bank streets, afterwards the site of the Weddell House. His surplus funds were invested in real estate, which soon began to increase in value at an astonishing rate, as the city grew in population and importance. On one of his lots upon Euclid street he built the stone cottage which he designed as a country retreat, and after his taking his clerks into partnership, he left the store mainly to their management, devoting his attention to the purchase and improvement of real estate, being generally regarded as a gentleman of wealth.
In the Spring of 1845 he began work upon the Weddell House, tearing away the store and mansion, where his fortune had been made. It was finished in two years. He then made a journey to New York to purchase furniture. On the way home he was attacked by typhoid fever, and in three weeks was in his grave.
As a merchant, Mr. Weddell had few superiors. His urbanity, industry, and care made him popular, successful, and safe, while his integrity and his liberality were well known to his correspondents and to all the religious and benevolent institutions of the times.
He was always willing and ready to aid and assist his young men; when he found one correct and capable he never refused a helping hand. Very few of his day were so liberal in this respect, or could point to so many who became prominent merchants by their aid as could Mr. Weddell.
At his death, Mr. Weddell was a man of such personal energy and business capacity, that he had promise of twenty more years of active life. Soon after the Rev. S. G. Aiken became pastor of the old Stone Church, Mr. Weddell became a communicant, and he died in the Christian faith. He bequeathed to the American Board of Foreign Missions the sum of five thousand dollars; to the Home Missionary Society five thousand dollars, and several other bequests amounting to some thousands to other benevolent institutions.
In 1819, Dudley Baldwin came to Cleveland from Ballston, New York, having as his principal capital a fair common school education. In course of time be found employment in the mercantile store of Mr. Weddell, and became one of his trusted clerks, being, after a few years, taken into partnership. The death of Mr. Weddell in 1847, terminated a connection that had existed pleasantly for over twenty years.
For the next few years Mr. Baldwin was chiefly engaged in closing up the affairs of Mr. Weddell, after which he engaged for a time in the manufacture of agricultural implements, until, from ill heath, he was compelled to relinquish business and seek restoration of health by travel and in quiet retirement.
Mr. Baldwin was identified with the Cleveland and Mahoning Railroad from its inception, and during the darkest days of the undertaking he stood firmly by it, in connection with the other directors, never losing faith in its ultimate success—a success he has lived to see perfected. He has also, for a number of years, been a director of the Commercial Bank of Cleveland.
In religious principles Mr. Baldwin is a Presbyterian, and has long been connected with the Euclid street Presbyterian Church. He is known to all his acquaintances as a man of quiet unassuming manners, and of sterling worth.
Norman C. Baldwin.
Very many of those who settled on the Western Reserve, in the early days of its history, came from Connecticut, and the fact of so many Connecticut families being already here induced considerable emigration from that State long after the first rush was over. Among others of Connecticut birth who found their way eventually to Cleveland, was Norman C. Baldwin, born at Litchfield, July 29th, 1802, and spending his early years in the struggles which so many of the New England families of limited resources had to pass through in the early portion of the present century.
Whilst yet but a mere child he assisted his father in the work of the farm, but being left fatherless at the age of eight, he was sent two years afterwards to work in his cousin's store, where he remained four years. In his fourteenth year he left Litchfield for New Haven, where he found employment for a year with a provision packer.
At that time his mother joined the stream of emigration setting towards the Ohio, and with her came her children. Stopping at Hudson, Summit county, young Baldwin commenced trading on his own account, and built up a good business, which he managed alone for eighteen months and then formed a partnership with two of his brothers, the partnership lasting eight years. Then the firm was dissolved and Norman C. came to Cleveland, where he formed a partnership with Noble H. Merwin in the general produce business.
In 1830, the firm of Giddings, Baldwin & Co., which had succeeded that of Merwin & Baldwin, contained seven partners, of whom Mr. Baldwin is the only survivor. The business was mainly forwarding and commission, the forwarding being mostly by canal. The firm was one of the most important on the lakes, owning a line of boats, the Troy and Erie, from Portsmouth, on the Ohio river, to New York In those days the canal lines carried passengers as well as freight, the boats usually taking about thirty passengers and one thousand bushels of wheat. For emigrants, of whom many were pouring into the West, special boats were fitted up with accommodations, such as they were, for about a hundred and fifty passengers. In 1836, Mr. Baldwin left the mercantile business altogether, and thereafter devoted his attention to operations in real estate.
As illustrating the growth of the city and the consequent increasing value of city property, Mr. Baldwin relates having purchased in 1833 three parcels of land, neither of which cost over two thousand dollars, which are now estimated to be worth half a million of dollars each. In 1831, he was offered, in the course of his operations, a strip of land fronting on Superior street and running back to the canal, with a comfortable frame house thereon, for one thousand dollars. The price looked high and Mr. Baldwin, distrusting his own judgment, consulted 'Squire Cowles, then a prominent attorney. Mr. Cowles hesitated, thought the investment somewhat risky, although they might live to see the land worth thirty dollars a foot front. Heeding his own fears, which were not abated by the doubtful opinion of his adviser, Mr. Baldwin refused to purchase. That same land is worth now not merely thirty dollars a foot, but equivalent to three or four thousand dollars a foot front.
As showing the condition of the roads around Cleveland, and the mode of traveling in the early days of its history, it is narrated by Mr. Baldwin, that when living in Hudson he was fond of good horses and kept a team of which he was proud. The distance between Hudson and Cleveland was but twenty-four miles, but that distance had never been done in one day by any team. Mr. Baldwin thought the time had come for performing the feat, and accordingly set out on the journey. Just at tea time he drew rein in front of Merwin's tavern, at the corner of Superior street and Vineyard lane, and shouted to the landlord. The guests had just seated themselves to tea when Mr. Merwin rushed into the room in a state of great excitement, exclaiming, "For God's sake, gentlemen, come out and see a team that has been driven from Hudson to-day!" The guests left the table in a hurry and rushed to the door, scarcely crediting their own eyes.
Mr. Baldwin was married in 1829, and lost his wife in the Spring of 1867. Of this marriage there are now six children living and three dead. One son, Norman A., is engaged in agriculture in the neighborhood of the city.
Leverett Alcott was born in Walcott, New Haven county, Connecticut, in 1820. From early boyhood his taste was for mercantile pursuits. At the age of seventeen he obtained a position in an extensive country store at Bristol Basin, on the Farmington Canal, (now Plainville.) By diligence and perseverance, he was soon promoted from the duties of errand boy to a responsible position, and in course of time stood at the head of all the clerks in the establishment.
For the benefit of neophytes in commercial life, it may not be uninteresting to state how boys were made merchants in those days, and the remuneration they received for services. They were not (as is too often the case at the present time) transformed in a few months from crude green boys to merchants, but were obliged to learn the business by actual experience. An arrangement was made in this case for three years, on the following conditions: fifty dollars for the first year, seventy-five dollars for the second year, and one hundred dollars for the third and last year, with board in his employer's family. With this modest salary it required the utmost care and rigid economy to clothe and keep himself; but where there's a will there's a way, and the economy thus practiced in early life was no detriment in laying the foundation for a sound business career in after life. After having fulfilled his engagement with his employer, he spent some three years of mercantile life at the South, but the customs of the country, and the barbarous system of slavery were so repulsive to his feelings that he abandoned that field for the more congenial and prospectively profitable activities of the West, and in December, 1842, landed at Medina, in this State. In the Spring of 1845, a mercantile copartnership was formed with Mr. Augustus W. North, under the firm name of North & Alcott. During the subsequent Fall he married Miss Mary A. Williams, with the view of permanently settling at that place, but the mercantile prospects, and the growth of the town not appearing satisfactory to his views, the firm of North & Alcott was dissolved and the business discontinued, to be reconstructed and opened in a wider field and on a broader basis. Accordingly, in the Spring of 1849, (just twenty years ago,) a business arrangement was entered into with his present partner, Mr. Burrett W. Horton, a former school mate, under the firm name of Alcott & Horton. The business was to be the retailing of dry goods, and located at 177 Superior street, in Harrington's Block. The beginning was a moderate one, with a very limited capital, but what was lacking in capital was made up in energy, industry and perseverance. At first a retail trade only was contemplated, which was continued some four years, when the rapid growth of the city and increase of business induced them to open a wholesale department in the lofts of their store. Subsequently they closed their retail business and occupied the whole building for their jobbing trade; but their apartments were soon found to be too strait for their rapidly growing trade, and in August, 1855, they removed to the large new store, No. 141, in Clark's Block.
Mr. Alcott has a knowledge of human nature that imparts a keen perception of the character and motives of men, and hence, almost instinctively knows whom to trust. He is also quick in forming his judgment, ready in the adaptation of means to secure an end, vigorously prosecutes his plans, and seldom fails of a successful issue.
In a young and vigorous country like the United States, where so many opportunities are offered to ambition and laudable enterprise, and where too often, everything else but gold is lost sight of, it is refreshing to find some among our heaviest merchants, who recognize the fact, that man "cannot live by bread alone." Mr. Alcott, through all his active life has found time to attend to his religious duties. He has been for a long time connected with the Second Presbyterian Church, and for many years one of its elders. He was formerly President of the Young Men's Christian Association; actively engaged in missionary Sunday School work in the city—taking a lively interest in all Christian labor; a ready and willing giver toward public improvements, and all benevolent enterprises.
On the evening of Sunday, August 9th, 1857, died, at nearly the ripe age of eighty-eight, Richard Winslow, the father of the Winslow family that have filled so important a place in the commercial and shipping history of Cleveland.
Mr. Winslow was born in Falmouth, Maine, September 6th, 1769, being descended in a direct line from Knelm Winslow, brother of Governor Edward Winslow, who played so important a part in the early history of Plymouth colony. In 1812, Mr. Winslow removed to North Carolina, where he lived for fourteen years, at Ocracoke, becoming largely interested in commerce, both internal and marine. Soon after his removal to that State, he married Miss Mary Nash Grandy, of Camden, N. C., who became the mother of eleven children, of whom but four, N. C., H. J., R. K., and Edward, are now alive. Mrs. Winslow died October, 1858, having survived her husband a little over one year.
In 1830, he decided to leave North Carolina and try his fortune in the West. A preliminary tour of observation brought him to Cleveland, then lively with business, and more lively still with expectancy of business to come from the completion of the canal, then in partial operation. Like many who preceded, and more who followed him, Mr. Winslow was struck with the natural advantages of Cleveland and concluded to try his fortunes here. The site of what is now known as the "Winslow warehouse," on the river, was owned by C. M. Giddings and Captain Belden, and a building was then in course of erection on it. Mr. Winslow purchased the property. He had strong faith in the growth of the city, but others did not have it to the same extent, and he was strongly urged not to attempt business so far down the river, where it was impossible that trade would ever reach him.
Immediately on concluding his purchase, he went to the eastern cities, where he purchased a large stock of teas and groceries, which he sent with his son, N. C., to Cleveland in the Fall. The stock arrived in December and was at once opened on Superior street, opposite Union lane. In the following May, Mr. Winslow followed with his family, purchased a lot on the south-east corner of the Public Square, and contracted with Levi Johnson for the erection of the house that was occupied by the Winslow family until the death of Mr. Winslow.
Unlike most of the early settlers in Cleveland, Mr. Winslow came with capital to invest at once in business, and by prudent management and far seeing enterprise that capital rapidly increased. He soon became agent for a line of vessels between Buffalo and Cleveland, and also of a line of canal boats. The first step toward his own shipping interests here, which subsequently assumed such proportions, was commenced by building the brig North Carolina. A few years later he was interested in building the steamer Bunker Hill, of 456 tons, which at that time was considered a very large size. To these were added, by himself and his sons, so many other lake craft that the family ranked among the foremost, if not the very foremost ship-owners on the chain of lakes, their sail vessels, propellers and steam-tugs being found everywhere on the western lake waters.
In 1854, Mr. Winslow retired from business, leaving his interest to be carried on by his sons, who inherited their father's business qualities. In his retirement, as in his active business life, he enjoyed the friendship of a very large social circle, to whom his frank, generous manners, warm attachments, and spotless honor commended him. He was a favorable specimen of the old school gentleman, warm and impulsive in his nature, quick to conceive and prompt to act, cordial in his greeting, strong in his attachments, and courteous to all.
His death was accelerated by an accident which seriously injured a leg he had badly injured several years before. To the last he preserved his faculties and his cheerfulness, and but for the injuries he had received would probably have lived for many years longer.
He was no politician, never sought office, but at the same time took a keen interest in public affairs, and did not neglect his duties or privileges as a citizen.
The three brothers in active conduct of the large marine interests known as the Winslows', are distributed as follows: N. C. at Buffalo, H. J. at New York, and R. K. at Cleveland, all of whom have been eminently successful.
Amongst Cleveland's earliest merchants who have already passed away, none deserve more honorable mention than Richard Hilliard. Like nearly all our men of mark, in early life he was obliged to sail against wind and tide. He was born at Chatham, New York, July 3, 1797. His father, David Hilliard, died when Richard was 14 years of age, he being at the time serving an apprenticeship with a hatter named Dore, at Albany. He was a lad of superior organization, and so, although obedient and obliging, had an extreme distaste for drudgery. A son of Mr. Dore one day threw down a pair of boots, saying, "Clean those boots Dick," when the lad concluded he would not do it, and at once prepared to leave for parts unknown. None of his friends knew of his whereabouts for several months, but at length learned he was at Skaneateles, with an older brother. Here he remained until he was about 18 years of age, being employed at clerking and school teaching, and ever mindful of his widowed mother and fatherless sisters.
From Skaneateles he removed to Black Rock and engaged himself as clerk to Mr. John Daly, a general merchant at that place. The young man soon gained the confidence of his employer and was admitted as a partner without capital. After a year or two, the firm moved to Cleveland, as a place of greater promise for trade. This occurred in 1824. They at once commenced business in the same line here on the site of the present Atwater Block, in a frame building of two compartments, one of which was used for dry goods, and the other for groceries. Mr. Daly was not an active partner in the business here, having given the entire management to Mr. Hilliard.
In 1827, Mr. Hilliard purchased Mr. Daly's entire interest, and continued alone for several years, till at length the demands of trade making it desirable to have a resident partner in New York to make purchases, he associated with himself Mr. William Hays, of that city. This partnership existed till the close of Mr. Hilliard's life.
As soon as business prospects warranted the investment, Mr. Hilliard secured a lot on Water street, and erected the block now occupied by Raymond & Lowe, and on taking possession of the new place of business, commenced the wholesale branch, and continued the same until 1856, when, being on his way home from New York, he took a severe cold, which was soon followed by congestion, and after one week's illness, died, deeply regretted by all who knew him.
He was a man of great business ability, and of strict integrity. He was not always appreciated, because his accurate foresight led him to advocate projects which the public generally were not ready to adopt. He labored most indefatigably for the construction of our Water Works, because he saw what the future wants of the city would be. The scheme was strongly opposed by many on account of the debt it would involve. But it was finally accomplished, and we are more indebted to Richard Hilliard for its achievement than to any other man.
Shortly after coming to Cleveland he became engaged to Miss Mary Merwin, daughter of Noble H. Merwin, who died before the marriage. He then brought his sister Sarah A. (now Mrs. O. Cutter) to live with him. In about a year from this time he was married to Miss Catharine Hays, of New York, who died about four years before Mr. Hilliard, leaving seven children.
S. H. Sheldon.
The lumber trade has grown to be a very important branch of the commerce of Cleveland, and some of its best and most enterprising citizens have been, or are now, engaged in it. Among these the name of Mr. Sheldon holds honorable prominence as one of the earliest in the trade, and who has always held place among the foremost engaged in it.
Mr. Sheldon's birth place was in Clinton, Oneida county, N. Y., where he was born August 12th, 1813. His early days were not passed among thornless roses. His father, a hard working farmer, died when the future lumber merchant was but eight years old. Young Sheldon remained on the homestead until he was sixteen years old, working hard, as did the others of the fatherless family, and snatching such crumbs of knowledge as could be obtained in the winter days, when time could be spared for schooling. On nearly reaching his sixteenth year, he went to Troy, N. Y., where he was received as an apprentice to the drug business, and served seven years in that capacity. As soon as his term of apprenticeship expired he set his face westward in search of fortune, as so many hundreds had done before him, and hundreds of thousands have done since.
In the year 1835, he reached Cleveland and at once started in trade as a druggist on Detroit Street, then in Ohio City, but now the West Side of Cleveland. At that time the West, generally, was enjoying seeming prosperity; everything was inflated and everyone was growing rich, on paper. Ohio City was then the city of the future, and fortune smiled on all its residents, and particularly on those who held real estate within its borders.
Four years later the commercial earthquake came and toppled over the whole fabric of trade and commerce in the West, reducing it to ruins. The entire West was devastated, and Ohio City received a blow from which, as a separate municipality, it never recovered. Among the others who suffered greatly by the disaster was Mr. Sheldon.
In 1842, he sold out his drug business, and went into the employ of another firm as an accountant, continuing in that position about two years. From this he went into business on his own account once more, this time dealing in groceries and provisions, which he continued to trade in until 1846, when he was attracted to the lumber trade, which he entered, in partnership with S. H. Fox. Four years later he disposed of his interest in the firm, and operated in lumber on his own account, not keeping a yard, but buying and selling by the cargo. In 1852, the firm of Sheldon & French was formed, a lumber yard opened, and the firm continued until the failure of the health of Mr. C. French. For a year after this event Mr. Sheldon carried on his business alone, and then took into partnership his son, Edward P. Sheldon, the firm becoming Sheldon & Son.
In April, 1869, the firm of Sheldon & Son merged into that of S. H. Sheldon & Co., being comprised of S. H. Sheldon & Son, and Sears & Holland, of East Saginaw, Mich.
The lumber trade of the city has been, generally, one of steady growth, and Mr. Sheldon's share in it has been of that character. It developed gradually, as the city grew in size and importance, and as the demand from the interior increased with the growth of towns and villages on the lines of canal and railroads. The beginning was small, and the earlier years of its progress full of difficulties, but in the end the trade reached large and lucrative proportions. Its highest point of prosperity was during the war, when the establishment of permanent camps through the State created a sudden and extensive demand for lumber, to build the numerous camp buildings. At that time the only perplexity of the lumber dealer was to find a supply sufficient for the demands pressing in from all quarters, for certain qualities.
From lumber to ship building is an easy transition, and Mr. Sheldon, five or six years since, became interested in lake craft, and added a fine three masted schooner to the lake marine. With the growth of manufactures in the city, he became interested in that direction also, connecting himself with the Etna Iron and Nail Works enterprise. He also took a deep interest in the formation of the People's Gas Company, for the supply of the West Side with gas, being one of the original supporters of the organization, and at present one of its directors.
In all his undertakings Mr. Sheldon has kept steadily in view the necessity of industry and economy, and it is the practice of these two mercantile virtues that has brought about his success. One trait of his business character is peculiar. He has, so far as possible, avoided recourse to law, holding the doctrine that, in most cases, when a debt could not be collected without the aid of a lawyer, it was not worth spending money for. In religious principles Mr. Sheldon is a Congregationalist, and has been connected for more than thirty years with the First Congregational Church, and during most of this time has discharged the duties of deacon, serving the church with fidelity and acceptance, in this official position. He has been identified with Sabbath school labors, as teacher and superintendent, and to his zeal and liberality the Detroit street Mission Sabbathe school largely owes its prosperity, and its present commodious chapel. In every Christian enterprise Deacon Sheldon has been among the foremost. No benevolent cause, whether local or general, has appealed to him in vain for pecuniary support, or Christian sympathy and countenance.
In 1836, Mr. Sheldon was married to Miss Cordelia H. Buxton, of Cleveland, a descendent of the English Buxtons, of philanthropic memory. Of the family of six children, one, the eldest, Henry A. Sheldon, died in 1842. The only surviving son became a partner with his father in 1866.
Whether the conversion of wheat into flour can more properly be classed among manufactures or trade and commerce is a question for casuists to determine. There can be no question, however, that Charles Hickox takes his place, by right, among the merchants and commercial men of Cleveland, whether the grinding of wheat be a manufacture or not, for it is not alone by the milling business that Mr. Hickox has identified himself with the commerce of the city. He has gone through all the phases of Cleveland commercial life, having been connected with the produce and commission trade, owned lake vessels, and otherwise qualified himself for a place among the merchants and "river men," aside from the business in which he is widely known—that of an extensive mill owner.
Mr. Hickox came to Cleveland in 1837, from the state of New York, making his debut in the Forest City in the year of its greatest depression. For the first two years he engaged as clerk, and served his employers faithfully. Then, gaining confidence, and seeing an opening he struck out boldly for himself, setting up, as was usual in those days, in the commission and produce business. The constantly growing commerce of the place increased his business and made it lucrative. With far-seeing enterprise Mr. Hickox pushed his operations so that his trade rapidly increased and his consignments steadily grew in number and quantity. To accommodate it he purchased interests in shipping on the lake, and eventually became a large ship owner.
Seeing his opportunity, Mr. Hickox turned his attention to milling, and commenced operations at a mill in Akron, which he soon made known to the commercial world by the excellence and reliability of its brand. To this was, in time, added the water mill, on the canal, in Cleveland, near the weigh lock, which he held for five years and then sold. After the sale of the latter mill, he purchased the Cleveland Steam Mills on Merwin street, with a capacity of about three hundred and fifty barrels per day, and in 1867, he added the National Steam Mills, with a capacity of from five hundred to six hundred barrels daily. Whilst a large capital is invested in these mills, the number of men employed is less than in establishments where labor saving machinery has not been brought to such a pitch of perfection. About fifty men are directly employed in the mills, and a large number additional in the manufacture of barrels and sacks. A very large proportion of the flour from these mills is sold in sacks, from the fact that the entire product is sold in the home market, which speaks well for the estimation in which the brands are held. Mr. Charles W. Coe is in active partnership with Mr. Hickox, in the milling interests, the firm name being Coe & Hickox.
Mr. Hickox has taken deep interest in the railroad affairs of the city, and has been for some time a director of the Cleveland, Columbus & Cincinnati Railroad Company. He is still as active and energetic as ever, well preserved in body and mind, and making his positive influence felt in all departments of business in which he becomes interested. He never tires of work, and, as he says of himself, he "holds his own well, at fifty-five."
Alexander Sackett, son of Augustus Sackett, of Sackett's Harbor, N. Y., was born August 17th, 1814. He received a good mercantile education in New York City, and came from thence to Cleveland in 1835, and at once engaged in the wholesale and retail dry goods line, in the old block of Mr. Weddell, on Superior street. He continued with success in this business until 1854, when he went into commercial business on the river, and in which he remained until 1868, when he retired from trade circles to devote his whole attention to his real estate interests.
Mr. Sackett was married in 1836, to Harriet, daughter of Levi Johnson, Esq., of this city. They have five children living, and have lost two. The eldest daughter is the wife of Mr. Virgil T. Taylor, of this city, and the son is in his father's office.
Mr. Sackett is still hale, and may reasonably expect, without accident, to long enjoy the fruit of his labor.
Mr. Mygatt is a genuine pioneer of the Western Reserve, having come with his father, Comfort S. Mygatt, at the age of ten years, to the new settlement at Canfield, Mahoning county, Ohio, in the year 1807. He was born at Danbury, Ct., on 14th of June, 1797, when that village had not recovered from its conflagration by the British, during the Revolution. There were then visible, and for many years during his boyhood, buildings which were charred by fires kindled by English soldiers.
Mr. Mygatt's father was a merchant and farmer, at Canfield. He was an active, honest and successful man. The year previous to his emigration, his daughter, Polly, was married, at Danbury, to the late Elisha Whittlesey, who removed at once to Canfield, Ohio. Mr. Whittlesey, his son-in-law, took the contract to clear a piece of ground for Mr. Mygatt, laboring on the job with his axe and team.
At Danbury, George had as good an opportunity in school as any Connecticut lad could have, under the age of ten years. At Canfield there was little opportunity for gaining book knowledge. He was engaged with his father as clerk and general helper, until he was twenty years old. In 1818, he became clerk in the Western Reserve Bank, at Warren, and remained in that position two years, when he engaged in mercantile business in connection with his father-in-law, Mr. A. Adams. This partnership lasted five years, after which he carried on the business alone until 1833.
From 1829 to 1833, he was sheriff of Trumbull county, and had the disagreeable office of executing the murderer, Gardner.
In 1834, Mr. Mygatt became a financier, which may be said to be his profession. He was then appointed cashier of the Bank of Norwalk, Ohio. In 1836, he was appointed cashier of the Bank of Geauga, at Painesville, Ohio; and in 1846 he became President of the City Bank of Cleveland, holding the last named office until 1850. The firm of Mygatt & Brown was then formed, for private banking, and continued until 1857.
In 1855, he was elected a member of the House of Representatives, from Cuyahoga county, serving two sesssion.
The Merchants Bank of Cleveland, in 1857, became deeply involved, by the failure of the Ohio Life and Trust Company, of Cincinnati. Mr. Mygatt was appointed cashier at this time, when a memorable panic in finances was sweeping over the country. The bank sank a large part of its stock, but maintained its integrity, and continued to redeem its notes.
In 1861, he retired from active business, but, with his long habits of employment, it soon became irksome to him to be out of work, and in 1865 he became Secretary of the Cleveland and Mahoning Railroad Company, a position he still retains, for the sake of being employed.
A large portion of Mr. Mygatt's time and means have always been devoted to benevolent purposes; Sunday schools, the annual contributions for the poor, the church, industrial schools, and, in fact, all charitable movements have found in him a ready response; he will long be remembered for his work's sake.
As a business man he was characterized by the strictest integrity, always preserving a quiet, considerate policy, and by incessant industry accomplished a great deal. For one who has reached the age of seventy-two, he possesses remarkable vigor, and we should judge, from the position he occupies, that his mental faculties are little impaired.
Mr. Mygatt was married in March, 1820, to Miss Eliza Freeman, of Warren, who is still living. Of their six children, four of whom arrived at mature age, and were married, only Mrs. F. T. Backus now survives.
Martin B. Scott.
Among the names of those who have done business on the river during the past quarter of a century, that of M. B. Scott, until his retirement a few years since, held a foremost place. Mr. Scott is a native of New York, having been born at Deerfield, near Utica, in that State, in March, 1801.
Mr. Scott is of Quaker stock; a lineal descendent in the sixth generation from the first American Quaker, (Richard Scott, one of the first settlers of Providence, R. I.,) and in the nineteenth generation from William Baliol Scott, of Scotts-Hall, Kent, England, in the line of Edward I. His Quaker ancestors suffered persecution at the hands of the Boston Puritans in 1658. The daughters of Richard Scott were cast into prison by Endicott, for avowing their Quaker faith, and his wife Katharine (ne Marbury, youngest sister of the famous Mrs. Anne Hutchinson) was publicly scourged in Boston by order of court, for visiting and sympathizing with her Quaker brethren in prison.
One of the maxims of Mr. Scott's life, was to despise no honest employment, however laborious; if he failed to obtain such business as he desired, he took the next best opportunity that offered, a principle that might be profitably practiced by many young men of the present day. Deprived of a liberal education, by the pecuniary embarrassments of his father, who had a large family to support, he left the Utica Academy in 1820, and made an effort to learn a mechanical trade, with only partial success. He, for a time, alternately taught a country school in winter, and was engaged for the remainder of the year in internal commerce, as master of a boat, or as forwarding clerk, in the then prominent houses of De Graff, Walton & Co., and Cary & Dows, on the Mohawk river and Erie canal. This early training in the elements of commerce and navigation was the nucleus of his subsequent pursuits, and the foundation of his commercial success, although his operations were not on the gigantic scale of many others, who either amassed great fortunes, or sank into bankruptcy; he managed his affairs with such prudence, sagacity and integrity, that he never had occasion to compound with his creditors, or even ask for an extension.
Mr. Scott was interested in the first line of canal boats that ran through from Utica to New York. In the outset of Erie canal operations it was supposed that canal boats could not sail down the Hudson, and the freight was consequently transhipped at Albany. Experiment proved the fallacy of this belief, and thenceforward canal boats ran through to New York. A new line of steam tow-boats on the North river, called the Albany & Canal Tow-Boat Company, was formed, and Mr. Scott was appointed principal manager, first at Albany and then at New York.
In 1836, his health failed, owing to his close application to business, and under medical advice he performed a horseback journey through Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. On his way westward he stopped at Cleveland and was favorably impressed with what was then a small but flourishing town. In 1837, he returned from his western journey and resumed business, but again his health failed, and he was ordered to permanently abandon Albany and seek a more favorable climate. Remembering the advantages of Cleveland both for business and residence, he concluded to remove to that point.
Here he continued his connection with the forwarding business by opening an agency for the American Transportation Line of canal boats on the Erie canal, his office being at the foot of Superior street. In 1841, he engaged in the purchase and shipment of staves, the markets for which were Albany and New York. This branch of business he continued for about five years.
In 1844, he built a steam elevator on River street, near his old stand, it being the first brick building erected on the river front. With the completion of this building he turned his attention more particularly to grain, receiving it by canal from the interior. On the opening of the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati railroad, his elevator was easily connected with that line, and the first load of railroad wheat stored in Cleveland was received into his elevator.
About the year 1840, Mr. Scott became interested in the lake marine by the purchase of the brig Amazon, of 220 tons, then considered a craft of good size. At the time of the purchase, the West was flooded with wild-cat money, and specie was very scarce. The brig was sold by order of the Chancellor of Michigan, and specie demanded from the purchaser, a condition that made buyers shy. In 1842, Mr. Scott purchased the schooner John Grant, of 100 tons, and in the following three years added to his little fleet the schooner Panama, of 100 tons, and the brig Isabella, of over 300 tons, the latter being something highly respectable in the way of lake shipping.
Prudence, foresight, and careful enterprise made all his ventures reasonably successful. In 1865, he resolved to quit business and enjoy the competence he had acquired, first in foreign travel, to free himself more thoroughly from business cares, and then in lettered ease at home. In pursuance of this purpose he spent six months in Europe, returning with recruited energies to the enjoyment of the well stocked library of rare volumes collected during his years of active business, and largely added to during his foreign travels.
A few facts in Mr. Scott's life, exhibiting his thorough confidence in the Government and the cause of the Union, should not be passed over. The first investment in the original War Loan taken in Cleveland, if not in Ohio, was made by Mr. Scott, August 12th, 1861. He still retains and exhibits with justifiable pride, a certificate from the Acting Secretary of the Treasury, dated August 29th, 1861, stating that five thousand dollars had been received from him on account of the three years' treasury notes, and promising that they should be sent him as soon as prepared. From that time to the present he has invested freely in Government securities, being fully convinced of their safety.
Since his retirement from business and return from European travel, he has employed his leisure in literary pursuits, especially in genealogical and historical studies, and has frequently contributed to the journals of the day curious and interesting facts relating to the early settlers in New England, in correction of erroneous beliefs regarding them.
In 1840, Mr. Scott was married to Miss Mary Williamson, by whom he has had seven children, of whom three still live.
J. P. Robison.
Among the soldiers present at Braddock's defeat at Fort Duquesne, near Pittsburgh, was John Decker Robison, an American of Scotch descent, who also did good service during the Revolutionary war. When the war was over he married a Hollander living on the North River, and when a young family grew up about him, moved to western New York, where, building the first house in Canandaigua, he received a patent of six hundred acres of land and settled down as a farmer in Vienna, N. Y. One of his family was a boy, Peter Robison, who stuck to the farm until the ex-Revolutionary soldier had gone down to the tomb, and until he himself had reached several years beyond the meridian of life, when he obeyed the general law of American human nature, and moved toward the setting sun. Years before this step was taken he had married Miss Hetty H. Havens, of Lyons, N. Y., and raised a family of children, among them J. P. Robison, the subject of this sketch, who was born in Ontario county, on the 23rd of January, 1811.
Like his father, young Robison spent the earlier years of his life in working on the farm, and it was not until his sixteenth year that it was decided to give him a good education. He was then sent to Niffing's High School, at Vienna, N. Y., where he attained considerable proficiency in his studies, including Latin and Mathematics. Having developed a taste for medical studies he was admitted as a private pupil of Professer Woodward, of the Vermont College of Medicine, and graduated in November, 1831. Immediately on the completion of his studies he moved into Ohio and commenced practice in Bedford, Cuyahoga county, in February, 1832. He soon succeeded in building up a good practice, and for eleven years continued in the exercise of his profession.
Then Dr. Robison concluded to change his business. In company with W. B. Hillman he engaged in mercantile business at Bedford, opening a store and at the same time carrying on other descriptions of trade, such as milling, packing provisions, dealing in land, and other operations such as the speculative American is always ready to engage in. Among other things he started a chair factory and a tannery, and his active mind was always revolving projects for the increase of business, and, of course, of business profits.
But, whilst his hands were full of all kinds of business enterprises, Dr. Robison found abundant leisure for a different kind of occupation. He was an intimate friend and associate of Alexander Campbell, the leader of the Disciple movement, and organized a congregation of this faith in Bedford, which he preached to for sixteen years. When he commenced his ministerial labors in Bedford, (from whom, at no time, did he receive fee or reward,) his congregation numbered less than a dozen, but when he closed his term of service as a voluntary minister he left for his successor a congregation numbering four hundred and forty, showing conclusively that his ministering had not been in vain. Nor was his zeal for the faith as understood by the Disciples content with preaching during this long term of service. His purse was always ready for the calls of the church, and, in company with Alexander Campbell, he traveled from place to place throughout a great part of Ohio, addressing the vast concourses called together by the fame of the Disciple leader, then in the plenitude of his power and influence as a preacher and teacher. In these gatherings and in such company Dr. Robison enriched his mind and developed a great talent for extemporaneous address and discussion. Of a positive nature he brought strong earnestness and unflagging energy to the work in which he was engaged, and carried his hearers with him, as he himself was frequently borne away by the enthusiasm of his subject. The same earnestness and energy which made him so successful as a preacher served to make him popular and effective on the political platform, and in the cause of the soldiers of the Union in recent years. During the war he was active in procuring volunteers for the Union army, and whenever an effort was made to aid the cause of the Union Dr. Robison was among the foremost in the work. In politics Dr. Robison was an old Clay Whig. After the demolition of that party he voted with the Democrats. In 1861, he was chosen to the State Senate by the union of the War Democrats and Republicans, receiving the largest vote for any senator from this county. Since that time he has voted with the Republican party. His Senatorial career was highly honorable to himself and of value to his constituents, who found in him a faithful, active and intelligent representative.
It is as a packer of provisions that Dr. Robison has been for many years chiefly known. For twenty-five years he had been associated with General O. M. Oviatt in the packing business at Cleveland, and the brand of the firm had grown to be recognized everywhere as thoroughly reliable. In 1865, this partnership was dissolved, and Dr. Robison continued the business at first alone and afterwards in company with Archibald Baxter of New York. The scarcity of fat cattle in this vicinity compelled him in 1866 to remove his principal packing house to Chicago, where he continues to operate heavily, the amount paid out for cattle during the last season being over $300,000. In addition to the Chicago packing he has continued the work in Cleveland, and also for several years did something in that line at Lafayette, Indiana. The firm's brand, "The Buckeye", is well known and highly esteemed both in the United States and England, to which provisions bearing that mark are largely shipped.
Had Dr. Robison continued his practice as a physician he would undoubtedly have attained eminence in his profession, a leading physician having frequently borne testimony to his extraordinary skill in diagnosing disease, and urged him to devote his entire attention to his profession. But he preferred curing beef and pork to curing human bodies, and, so far as financial results are concerned, probably made a wise choice, though the judgment of human nature and insight into men's motives to which he attributes his success, would have served him in good stead in either line. At the age of fifty-eight, Dr. Robison is found in possession of a handsome competency, although he has all through life dealt with marked liberality toward all worthy objects of charity and patriotism. He is still in possession of much of the vigor that has characterized his business career, and we trust his life of usefulness may yet be long.
Truman P. Handy.
The oldest banker in Cleveland, and probably the oldest active banker in the State, is Truman P. Handy, now president of the Merchants National Bank. He has been identified with the banking business of Cleveland from his first arrival in the city, thirty-seven years ago, and throughout the whole time has been a successful financier, managing the institutions under his charge with unvarying skill and good fortune.
Mr. Handy was born in Paris, Oneida county, New York, January 17th, 1807. He had the advantage of a good academical education, and made preparation for entering college, which, however, he did not do, and at the close of his school term, spent the remaining time, until his eighteenth year, upon his father's farm, with the exception of two winters in which he taught school.
On reaching his eighteenth year it was decided that he should enter on a commercial life, and a year or two were spent in stores in Utica and New Hartford, N. Y., leaving the latter place in October, 1826, to take a position in the Bank of Geneva, Ontario county, N. Y., of which the Kev. H. Dwight was president. With this commenced Mr. Handy's long banking career. Five years were spent in this bank and then he accepted an invitation to remove to Buffalo, for the purpose of assisting in the organization of the Bank of Buffalo, of which he was made teller, and remained one year in that position. In March, 1832, the young banker married Miss Harriet N. Hall, of Geneva, and with his bride set out on the wedding tour, which was also one of business, to Cleveland.
Under other circumstances the journey would scarcely be deemed a pleasant one. It was in early Spring, and the weather was still inclement. The roads were bad, and the lumbering stage floundered heavily through mud, and amid obstructions that made the way one of discomfort, not unmixed with peril, for six weary days, between Geneva and Cleveland. But in addition to the fact that it was a bridal tour, the young couple were cheered by the prospect before them. The charter of the old Commercial Bank of Lake Erie, established in 1816, and which had gone under, had been purchased by the Hon. George Bancroft and his family in Massachusetts, and it was designed to resuscitate it under better auspices. Mr. Handy had been invited to become the cashier, and in pursuance of his acceptance of the invitation, was, with his bride, on his way to Cleveland.
The bank was organized on his arrival and commenced business on the lot now occupied by the Merchants National Bank, at the corner of Superior and Bank streets, the bank lot running back to the present site of the Herald building. Leonard Case, the president of the old Bank of Lake Erie, was president of the resuscitated bank, with T. P. Handy as cashier. It did a thriving business until 1842, when the term of its charter expired, and the Legislature refused to renew it, compelling the bank to go into liquidation. When the great crash of 1837 occurred, the bank had been compelled to take real estate in settlement of the liabilities of its involved customers, and thus the corporation became one of the greatest landholders of the city. Had the property been retained by the bank owners, it would by this time have been worth to them many millions of dollars.
The close of the bank and the winding up of its affairs necessitated the disposal of the real estate for the purpose of dividing the assets among the stockholders. Messrs. T. P. Handy, H. B. Payne, and Dudley Baldwin were appointed commissioners to close up the affairs of the bank and discharge its liabilities. This being done, the remaining cash and real estate were divided among the stockholders, who appointed Mr. Handy their trustee to dispose of the property. This was accomplished in 1845, when Mr. Handy made his final settlement. During the time subsequent to the close of the bank, he had been carrying on a private banking business under the name of T. P. Handy & Co.
In the Winter of 1845, the State Legislature passed a law authorizing the establishment of the State Bank of Ohio, and of independent banks. In November of that year, Mr. Handy organized the Commercial Branch of the State Bank of Ohio, with a capital of one hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars, and took position in it as cashier, the president being William A. Otis, and the directors, additional to Messrs. Otis and Handy, being John M. Woolsey, N. C. Winslow, and Jonathan Gillett. Mr. Handy was the acting manager of the institution, and so successful was his conduct of its affairs that the stockholders received an average of nearly twenty per cent. on their investment through nearly the whole time until the termination of its charter in 1865, a period of twenty years. His policy was liberal, but with remarkable judgment he avoided hazardous risks, and whilst the bank always had as much business as it could possibly accommodate, the tightest times never affected its credit.
Whilst the Commercial Branch Bank was having such uninterrupted success, the Merchants Branch of the State Bank of Ohio, on the same street, was experiencing a run of bad fortune. The failure of the Ohio Life and Trust Company embarrassed it for a time, and other causes conspired with this to cripple its resources. In 1861, the stockholders invited Mr. Handy to take charge of its affairs as president, and he accepted the trust. His usual success followed him to his new position, and the affairs of the bank were suddenly and permanently improved.
In February, 1865, in common with most of the State banking institutions, the Merchants Branch Bank stockholders decided to wind up the concern as a State institution, and avail themselves of the provisions of the National Banking Act. The Merchants National Bank was organized with an authorized capital of one million of dollars, of which six hundred thousand dollars was paid in, Mr. Handy assuming the presidency, and having associated with him in the management, Messrs. T. M. Kelley, M. Barnett, William Collins, James F. Clark, Samuel L. Mather, and William Bingham. Under this management the bank has thus far had an uninterrupted tide of prosperity, with every prospect of its continuance.
It is not alone as a banker that Mr. Handy has made himself prominent among the citizens of Cleveland, He has been intimately connected with other enterprises tending to increase the prosperity of the city, and it is remarkable that all the undertakings he has been connected with have proved profitable, to himself to a greater or less extent, as might be expected, but in a far greater degree to others, the stockholders, for whose interests he was laboring. Few, if any, men in Cleveland have made more money for others than has Mr. Handy.
In addition to his banking duties, he filled the position from 1850 to 1860, of treasurer of the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati railroad, and managed its finances with that skill and ability which were peculiarly needed in the earlier portion of that period, when the road was an experiment, carried on under the heaviest difficulties. In 1860, he resigned his position as treasurer, and is now a director in that company. He has also been interested in other railroads centering in Cleveland.
In 1856, a Cleveland built schooner left the lakes for the ocean, and crossed the Atlantic to Liverpool, thus commencing the direct trade between the lakes and European ports. In 1857, another Cleveland built vessel was sent across, loaded with staves and lumber, and returned with crockery and iron. The success of these Tentures attracted the attention of the enterprising business men of the lakes, and in the Spring of 1858, a fleet of ten vessels left Cleveland, all but one loaded with staves and lumber, for European ports. Their departure was marked by demonstrations on the part of the authorities and leading men of business, and with a fair breeze and good wishes the fleet bore away for salt water. Of the ten vessels, three were sent by Mr. Handy, the R. H. Harmon, bound for Liverpool, the D. B. Sexton, for London, and the J. F. Warner, for Glasgow. All of the vessels made quick and profitable trips, and the trade thus begun has been carried on with profit to the present time, although at the breaking out of the war American vessels were compelled to withdraw from it, leaving the enterprise wholly in the hands of English parties, who purchased vessels for the trade.
Whilst his vessels were in Europe, Mr. Handy availed himself of the opportunity to visit Great Britain and the Continent, to attend to his interests, and at the same time to study some of the institutions of the old world, especially the financial, religious and educational. In educational matters he had always taken a deep interest, having watched with a careful eye the growth of the public schools of Cleveland, and for some time was associated with Mr. Charles Bradburn in their management, as members of the Board of Education. And this, which was wholly a labor of love, with no remuneration but the consciousness of having done some good by hard work, was the only public office ever held by Mr. Handy, or ever desired by him. At the same time he was deeply interested in the growth and management of the Sunday schools of the city, and for many years has taken a leading part in all movements calculated to extend their field of usefulness and increase their efficiency. In Great Britain he visited the Sunday schools and was warmly welcomed by teachers and scholars, who were greatly interested in his account of the working of Sunday schools here, whilst the narration of his experiences on that side of the Atlantic frequently delighted the scholars at home on his return.
Although rapidly approaching the period allotted by the psalmist to man as his term of life, Mr. Handy is still as full of vigor and business energy as much younger men, and is as earnest as of old in managing large financial undertakings, or in teaching his class in Sunday school. His heart is as young at sixty-two, as at twenty-seven, and the secret of his continued health and vigor undoubtedly lies in his temperate and upright life, his kindly disposition, and that simple cheerfulness of spirit that makes him thoroughly at home in the society of children, who, in their turn, are thoroughly at home with him. One of the most energetic and successful of business men, he has never allowed business to so engross his time and attention as to leave no opportunity for religions or social duties or enjoyments. In this way he has won the confidence and esteem of all classes of citizens as a successful financier, a good citizen, a man of the strictest probity, a warm friend, and a genial acquaintance.
Mr. Handy has but one child living, a daughter, now the wife of Mr. John S. Newberry, of Detroit. His only other child, a boy, died in infancy.
That Charles Bradburn is a merchant long and honorably known in the commercial history of Cleveland, and that he still retains a prominent place in the business circles which he entered thirty-three years ago, are undeniable facts. And yet, the great feature of Mr. Bradburn's busy life, and that of which he is justly most proud, is not his business successes, but his connection with the public schools of this city. His money, made by anxious care in his warehouse and among business men, was freely spent to promote the cause of education, and the labor, solicitude and anxiety with which he prosecuted his business, great as they necessarily were, must be counted small compared with his sacrifices of time and labor in the effort to extend and improve the school system and make the school houses of the city a source of gratulation and pride to the citizens. But whilst his hardest labor was in the service of the schools, it was purely a labor of love, whilst his work on the river was a labor of business, and therefore he must, in this record of Cleveland's noted men, take rank among his commercial brethren.
Mr. Bradburn was born at Attleborough, Massachusetts, July 16th, 1808. His father was a cotton manufacturer when that great industrial interest was in its infancy. The first manufacture in this country of several articles of twilled fabrics was in his factory.
At the age of seven years Charles Bradburn had the misfortune to lose his mother, a lady highly esteemed by all who knew her. This loss was a serious one, as it left him almost entirely to his own resources. When sixteen years old he entered the Lowell machine shop as an apprentice, and after a service of three years, graduated with a diploma from the Middlesex Mechanics Association. He served as a journeyman for two years, when, feeling that his education was not adequate to his wants, he left the mechanic's bench for the student's desk, entering the classical school of Professor Coffin at Ashfield, in the western part of the same State. Subsequently he resumed his mechanical labors, which he continued until 1833, part of the time as a journeyman, but during the greater part as a manufacturer on his own account. At that date he changed his business from manufacturing to commerce, opening a store in Lowell.
In 1836, he decided to remove to the West, and in that year brought his family to Cleveland, where he commenced the wholesale and retail grocery business in the wooden building now standing, adjoining the old City Buildings, which were not then finished. The next year he rented the two stores adjoining in the then new City Buildings, of which but a portion now remains. In 1840, he built the warehouse now standing at the foot of St. Clair street and moved his business to that place, abandoning the retail branch. At the same time he established a distillery on what was then known as "the island," on the west side of the river. In 1854, he removed to the spacious warehouses, 58 and 60 River street, now occupied by him and his partners under the same name, "C. Bradburn & Co.," that graced the walls of the City Buildings in 1836. During his long commercial life Mr. Bradburn has enjoyed largly theturnpikesnce and esteem of the commercial community and is now one of the most energetic business men of the city.
But it is in his devotion to the cause of knowledge and popular education that Mr. Bradburn appears especially as a representative man. He was one of the first officers of the Mercantile Library Association, and in its early history took much interest in its prosperity. His great work, however, lay in the schools. In a letter to a friend recently written, he, with characteristic modesty, writes: "After a life almost as long as is allotted to man, the only thing I find to glory in is having been able to render some service to the cause of popular education; to be called by so many of our ablest educators the father of our public schools, was glory enough, and ample compensation for many years of hard labor and the expenditure of much money in the cause."
Mr. Bradburn was in 1839 elected to the City Council from the Third ward. As chairman of the Committee on Fire and Water he reorganized the Fire Department, which was then in a wretched condition, and, with the assistance of Mr. J. L. Weatherly, who was made Chief Engineer, and the aid of new laws, made it one of the most efficient of any at that time existing in the country. As chairman of the Committee on Streets, at that time an office of much responsibility and labor, he rendered the city valuable service.
In 1841, he was elected a member and made chairman of the Board of School Managers. This body was merged into the Board of Education, and for several years he filled the office of president. For thirteen consecutive years he served as member of the Board of School Managers and of the Board of Education, during much of which time he had almost unaided control of the educational affairs of the city. Mr. Bradburn succeeded in getting through the Legislature a bill authorizing the establishment of a High School, the first institution of the kind, connected with the public schools, in the State of Ohio. A school of this character was started in June, 1846, and maintained in spite of fierce opposition. But there was no building to receive it, and its earlier years were spent in the basement of a church on Prospect street, the room being fitted up by Mr. Bradburn and rented by the city for fifty dollars per annum.
Feeling strongly that he could render better service to the cause of popular education in the City Council than he could in the Board of Education, in 1853 he resigned his seat in the latter body and was elected to the City Council. When Ohio City was united with Cleveland, he was chosen president of the united Councils.
Having, on taking his seat in the Council, been appointed to a position on the Committee on Schools, his first and continuous efforts were directed to bringing the Council to provide suitable buildings, not only for the High School, but for all the schools of the city. In consequence of his earnest and persistent labors an ordinance was passed authorizing a loan for school purposes of $30,000. The loan was negotiated at par without expense to the city. Mr. Bradburn, and the Building Committee, of which he was chairman, immediately made plans for the Central High School, and the Mayflower, Eagle and Alabama street Grammar schools, all of which were put under contract without delay, and finished under their supervision to the entire satisfaction of the Council and Board of Education. The teachers of the public schools in gratitude for his services in the cause of education, induced Mr. Bradburn to sit to Allen Smith, Jr., for his picture, which was then hung in the hall of the Central High School. At a subsequent date the High School teachers presented him with a massive gold-headed cane, engraved with a complimentary inscription, but this highly prized token was unfortunately lost, together with a number of other cherished mementoes and all the family pictures, in a fire which destroyed his residence in February, 1868. In the fire also perished a valuable library of over four hundred volumes, the result of a lifetime's collection, and Mr. Bradburn barely escaped with his own life from a third story window, being badly injured in the descent.
In public matters he has done but little during the past few years, devoting himself entirely to his business, but he may be seen on all occasions where the cause of popular education can be benefited by his presence. In 1848, he was the Whig candidate for Mayor, but, being ill at the time, gave the canvass no personal attention, and was defeated by a few votes, the opponents of the High School, of whatever party, voting against him.
To Mr. Bradburn the credit belongs of procuring, after a hard battle against parsimony and prejudice, the establishment of the first free High School in the West.
Samuel Raymond was born in Bethlem, Connecticut, March 19, 1805. Like most of the sons of New England, his boyhood was passed in plowing among the rocks on one of the stony farms of that rocky and hilly State. At the age of sixteen he commenced teaching the village school, and continued teaching for six years, a portion of that time being spent in New York State, in one of the many pretty towns that are scattered along on either side of the Hudson. Returning to Connecticut at the end of his six years' trial of teaching, he was employed to keep the books of the old and wealthy firm of Messrs. A. & C. Day, dry goods commission merchants, at Hartford. The late Governor Morgan, of New York, was, at the same time, a salesman in the house.
In 1833, Mr. Raymond married Mary North, daughter of James North, of New Britain, Conn.
In the Spring of 1835, he determined to try his fortune in the Far West, away out in Ohio. With Kansas as the present geographical centre of the Union, it is difficult for us to conceive of the New Englanders' idea of the West at that time. It was something of an undertaking. It was a journey of weeks, not a ride of twenty-three hours in a sleeping coach or palace car. It meant long and tedious days of staging—a monotonous ride along the Erie canal from Schenectady to some point a little farther west, and finally, when the lake was not frozen over, the perils of lake navigation. In 1835, Cleveland, Erie and Sandusky were all struggling for supremacy. When Mr. Raymond got as far west as Erie, he thought that might be a good place for him "to drive a stake," but the number of newly made graves suggested to him, on second thought, the propriety of getting out of the place as speedily as possible. Cleveland at that time was beginning to put on city airs—Kellogg's great hotel (the American) was slowly going up. The only vacant store to be had by Mr. R. was a little wooden building on the site of the present Rouse block—a location at that time about as far out of town as it would be safe for a prudent merchant to venture. Henry W. and Marvin Clark were associated with him in business, under the firm name of Raymond & Clark.
Mr. Raymond was a merchant of more than ordinary business ability, a man of scrupulous exactness in his business dealings. His extreme conservatism in business management carried him safely through every commercial crisis.
Like most business men Mr. Raymond had but little time to devote to political discussions. He voted the Whig ticket as long as the old Whig party had an existence. In religions principles he was a Presbyterian, and united with the First Presbyterian Church in 1840, at that time under the pastoral charge of Rev. Dr. S. C. Aiken.
In the Winter of 1866, in compliance with his physician's advice, he took a journey south for the benefit of his health, which had been impaired by his unremitting devotion to business. In company with a party of friends from Cincinnati, he and his wife left Louisville for Havana, in January. On the 2d of February a telegram was received by the remaining members of his family in Cleveland, informing them that Mr. Raymond was among the missing on the ill-fated steamer Carter, which was burned when within a few miles of Vicksburg.
When the alarm was given, Mr. Raymond and his wife were asleep. Hastily dressing themselves and providing themselves with life-preservers, they jumped through the cabin window, Mr. Raymond having a state-room door which he had wrenched from its hinges. Mrs. Raymond clung to a floating bale of hay and was saved after an hour of peril and suffering in the icy water. Nothing was seen of Mr. Raymond after he floated away from the wreck, clinging to the door. His death was mourned by a large circle of friends who appreciated his worth.
By diligence and economy he accumulated a valuable estate, leaving to his family property valued at two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
Richard T. Lyon.
The first secretary of the Cleveland Board of Trade, and its president for the year 1869, Richard T. Lyon, is probably the oldest established merchant now doing business on the river. He arrived here in 1823, when there were but a few hundred people in the village, and for some time resided with his father-in-law, Noble H. Merwin, on the lot now occupied by Bishop's Block, about where M. Heisel's confectionary store now stands. In 1838, he entered as clerk in the forwarding house of Griffith, Standart & Co., at the foot of Superior street, continuing in that position until the Spring of 1841, when he formed a partnership with I. L. Hewitt, and carried on a forwarding and commission business on River street, under the firm name of Hewitt & Lyon. The partnership continued until 1847, when Mr. Hewitt retired, and Mr. Lyon continued the business in his own name at 67 Merwin street, where he has remained until the present time. In the Spring of 1868, his son, R. S. Lyon, was taken into partnership, the firm name being changed to R. T. Lyon & Son. For a number of years Mr. Lyon has been the largest dealer of salt in the city, having had the agency of the salt works in western New York.
Mr. Lyon has held, from his first entry into commercial life to the present time, the esteem and confidence of the business men of Cleveland, and that confidence has been shown by the fact, that for many years he was the treasurer of the Board of Trade, having been elected to that position on the organisation of the Board; was subsequently made vice-president, and in the Spring of 1869, was elected president. This compliment was well merited, for he is now one of the very few remaining members of the Board who took part in its organization, and has never flagged in his interest in its affairs.
H. M. Chapin.
In the commercial, political, patriotic, and literary history of Cleveland for the past fifteen or twenty years, the name of H. M. Chapin will always have honorable prominence. In all these departments his persistent energy and unshaken faith, even in the darkest hours, have been potent for good.
Mr. Chapin was born in Walpole, N. H., July 29th, 1823, and received a good common school education. When fifteen years old, he removed to Boston, and entered a dry goods importing house, in which he remained nearly ten years. In the Spring of 1848, he left Boston for Cleveland, where he became a partner in the wholesale grocery warehouse of Charles Bradburn & Co., with whom he remained four years. In 1852, he commenced business as a provision dealer and packer of pork and beef. For a time it was up-hill work, but his native perseverance overcame all difficulties, and in the season of 1862-3, his business had grown to seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars. From that time there was a steady decline in the amount of packing done in Cleveland, the supply of cattle and hogs decreasing until but a very small quantity, in proportion to the facilities for packing, could be depended on. The slaughter-houses of Chicago arrested the great stream of live stock, and what escaped them went forward to the Atlantic cities for immediate consumption. In the Winter of 1867-8, Mr. Chapin, therefore, resolved to remove his packing business to Chicago, and commenced operations there with gratifying success. He intended abandoning Cleveland altogether as a packing point, but, contrary to his expectations, he has been able to resume the business here to a moderate extent. From 1862 to 1867, he carried on, in connection with the packing business, a very extensive coopering establishment, employing about fifty men, besides a large amount of machinery. Over a hundred and twenty-five men were at the same time employed in slaughtering and packing.
In addition to his ordinary business, and partly in connection with it, Mr. Chapin turned his attention to the question of insurance. It was a favorite maxim with him that the West was able to do its own insurance, and with this idea ever present, he was favorable to the establishment of home insurance companies. Of the Sun Fire Insurance Company, of Cleveland, he was for some years the vice-president, and labored earnestly for its success. Being a thorough believer in the principles of Homoeopathy, as well as an enthusiast on the subject of western insurance, he was a willing co-worker with a number of prominent citizens engaged in the organization of the Hahnemann Life Insurance Company, of Cleveland. The novel character of this company—it being the first of the kind in the United States—is sufficient warrant for a brief statement of its history. It was established in 1865, and numbered among its stockholders such leading business men and substantial capitalists as Wm. A. Otis, George Worthington, William Bingham, Stillman Witt, Selah Chamberlain, Dudley Baldwin, D. P. Eells, M. G. Younglove, and the Hon. B. F. Wade. The leading feature was the offer to insure those whose medical belief and practice were exclusively Homoeopathic, at lower rates than those subjecting themselves to Allopathic treatment. The theory on which this offer is based is, that all the evidence goes to show a lower rate of mortality under Homoeopathic than under Allopathic treatment. The Honorable William Baines, Insurance Commissioner of New York, in speaking of this company in his report, says: "The Hahnemann Life Insurance Company, of Cleveland, Ohio, is the first western company admitted into this State. It starts with a paid up capital of $200,000, one-half of which is deposited with the State Treasurer of Ohio, for the protection of policy holders. The company is organized on a basis of strength and capital, even larger than that required of New York corporations; it reduces the rate of premium to Homoeopathic members."
Of this company Mr. Chapin was made president, and in the management of this, as in everything which he undertakes, he infused a large amount of his energy, and made the company a complete success. During the present year his almost undivided attention has been given to the company's affairs, with marked effect on its rapidly increasing business.
In 1865, Mr. Chapin was elected Mayor of the city of Cleveland. The honor was not only unsought, but he was in entire ignorance of the whole affair until after his election. His name had not been mentioned in connection with that or any other office when he left the city on a business trip that kept him absent for several days. In the meantime the nominating convention of the Union Republican party was held, and there was some difficulty as to a choice between the persons named for the nomination as Mayor. In casting around for a way out of the difficulty, the name of Mr. Chapin was mentioned and instantly met with favor. He was nominated, elected by a strong majority, and the first intimation he received of the movement was reading the election returns in the Cleveland Herald, on his homeward journey.
He accepted the office in the spirit in which it had been conferred upon him. He understood that the people believed he was disposed and able to manage the affairs of the city vigorously and honestly, and he was not disposed to evade the responsibilities of the office. His time was devoted to the duties of his position, the different departments under his charge were carefully scrutinized, and whilst his strictness and vigorous execution of the laws made the offenders complain of his severity, there was no question raised as to his ability, integrity, or honest zeal for the city's interest. He discharged the duties of his office with scrupulous exactness, and he endeavored to make others do the same. During his administration it was no longer a reproach that the ordinances of the city stood
"Like the forfeits in a barbers shop, As much in mock as mark."
At the breaking out of the war, Mr. Chapin took an early and active part in stirring up the people to defend the Government of the Union. Wherever his money, influence, or active energy could be made serviceable, there he was always to be found. Having obtained the appropriation for the Twenty-Ninth Regiment, he worked diligently in raising, equipping, and sending it to the field, and spent much of his own time at the front in various capacities. The ladies who worked diligently for the comfort of the soldiers and the care of the sick and wounded, through the medium of the Ladies' Aid Association, found in Mr. Chapin an indefatigable assistant. He was ever ready with suggestion, active aid, and money, laboring day and night, either at the front, in the hospitals, or at home, in behalf of the soldier.
The Cleveland Library Association was another field in which Mr. Chapin's energy and business tact were manifested. In 1854, he was elected president of the Association, which had struggled along, a feeble organization, contending against numerous difficulties. Under his vigorous management the Association was brought to a higher degree of prosperity then it had ever witnessed; the income was largely increased, the number of books increased one-half, and a lively interest excited in the public mind concerning it. Mr. Chapin retired at the close of his term of office, and the affairs of the Association gradually lapsed into their former unsatisfactory condition. In 1858, an attempt was made to save it by revolutionizing its constitution and management. A new constitution was adopted, and under it Mr. Chapin was again elected president. The result was even more marked than in the previous instance. The number of members was nearly doubled, a load of debt that had accumulated through a number of years was removed, a large number of books added to the library, and the reading-room enlarged and improved. Again, after the lapse of ten years, Mr. Chapin has been called to the presidency of the Association, under circumstances precisely similar to those under which he had twice before assumed the duties of the position.
Mr. Chapin was married October 15th, 1849, to Matilda, daughter of John Fenno, of Boston. Of this marriage have been born six children, the oldest of whom, a son now nineteen years of age, is in the wholesale grocery of Edwards, Townsend & Co.; the others are all attending school.
Moses White, now one of the very few remaining early citizens of Cleveland, was born at Warwick, Hampshire county, Mass., February 25th, 1791. His father's name was Jacob White, a native of Menden, Mass., who traces back his ancestors as natives of that town, to as early a date as 1665.
Moses White, the subject of this memoir, being deprived, at a very early age, of his mother, by death, went to live in Mendon, with his maternal grandfather, Peter Penninian. Afterwards he went to Boston, where he learned the merchant tailor business, with one John Willson. From Boston he went to Providence, R. I., where he remained about two years, and where he became acquainted with Miss Mary Andrews, whom he afterwards married.
In 1813, being desirons of settling further west, he first went to Utica, N. Y., and after remaining there a few months, he proceeded, with a horse and buggy, to Cleveland, where he arrived in October, 1816, the population of the place then being only about 150.
He established himself here as a merchant tailor, and pursued the business steadily about twenty years, and with success. He afterwards established a store at Chillicothe, Ohio, which, not being under his own care, did not prove successful.
From his arrival in Cleveland, he was forward in all the moral and religious enterprises of the place, first in union with all the religious denominations represented, and afterwards he was more particularly identified with the Baptist Church, in which he has been for nearly forty years a deacon.
He now enjoys more than usual health and vigor for one of his age, and has the respect, confidence and esteem of every person who knows him.
His wife having died in 1858, he has since that date made it his home with his daughter, Mrs. J. P. Bishop, of Cleveland, with whom he now resides.
In many respects Deacon White's history furnishes an example worthy of imitation. In the times of his boyhood, in New England, when a boy did not possess the means for establishing himself in business, or of educating himself for some professional calling, and particularly if he was an orphan, he was required to learn some trade. In his case, his friends not only recommended this, but he was desirous himself, of doing it. He accordingly went from Mendon to Boston, a distance of about forty miles, where, alone and among strangers, he sought a place where he might serve as an apprentice. For days he wandered about seeking such an opportunity and finally fell in with John Willson, the merchant tailor before mentioned, who received him as an errand boy, and finally as an apprentice, in which position he continued, passing through all the grades incident to such employment, till he was twenty-one years of age.
Without father or mother, or friends to look up to for counsel and advice, he persevered, and preserved his integrity, having the confidence of all with whom he was associated.
In those early days, nothing was more common than to emigrate to the West, leaving the principles of New England education, in religion and morality, behind. Judging from accounts of society in Cleveland in very early times, such must have been the case of some, at least.
But such was not the case with the youthful Moses White. Though he found not many congenial spirits in this far-off western region, yet whenever, in the little village of Cleveland, he heard of a place of prayer, or a meeting, or association for the promotion of temperance or morality, thither he bent his footsteps. Now in a ripe and happy old age he enjoys, not only the retrospect, but also the present—and not only these, but he is constantly looking for a consummation of perfect happiness, beyond what either the past has, or the present life can afford.
Finally, so far as accumulating wealth is concerned, he has not been as fortunate as some, and yet less unfortunate than many others, and now enjoys a competence abundantly sufficient to provide for all his wants and to transmit something to his children. Well may worldly ones say, "O that my last days might be like his!"
David H. Beardsley.
Mr. Beardsley does not claim to be a pioneer, but an early settler of the second class, having arrived in Cleveland with his family in June, 1826. Cleveland is supposed to have then had about five hundred people. He was of Quaker origin, and lived at New Preston, Connecticut, before he removed to Ohio. He was of course anxious to obtain employment, and being a beautiful penman, a contract was soon made with the late Judge Willey, who was the county auditor, to serve as his clerk, at one dollar per day. He was employed about thirty days in making the county duplicate. The taxable property of the county at that time amounted to the sum of two hundred and sixty-eight thousand, seven hundred and seventy-one dollars. When Mr. Beardsley was deputy auditor, all the public business centered in the old log court house, on the northwest quarter of the Square.
On the fourth of July, 1827, the Ohio canal was opened to lock seventeen, near Akron, and the canal commissioners, prominent among whom was his friend Alfred Kelley, were in need of a scrupulously honest man, and a good clerk, for the purpose of collecting tolls. They found all the necessary qualifications of integrity, assiduity, and accuracy in Mr. Beardsley, who was therefore appointed, the day not having arrived when qualification for office should be the last of recommendations. The collectorship may be said to have been Mr. Beardsley's profession. He spent in the office most of the period of active life, in twenty-three years, undisturbed by the changes of administration. To our ears this may sound incredible.
Mr. Beardsley's salary was at first three hundred dollars per annum, increasing to twelve hundred before the close of his services. He collected the sum of one million, three hundred and ninety-eight thousand, six hundred and forty-two dollars and sixty-eight cents. His accounts were models of nicety as well as accuracy, errors and discrepancies being equally unknown.
Being a gentleman of simple tastes and habits, with few wants, he has acquired a comfortable competence, without acquiring a thirst for gold, and without withholding his substance from charitable and public purposes. He is highly esteemed by all who know him, for a life-long consistency of character, and sterling qualities as a man and a friend. The writer occasionally sees him on our crowded streets, although quite feeble, with a mind perfectly serene, and well aware that his race is almost run. His record is worthy of emulation.
Thomas Augustus Walton.
When the genial countenance and kindly voice of T. A. Walton were missed from the customary gatherings of the river merchants, it was felt that something had been lost which not even a lucky speculation, or a good run of trade, could not restore. When the news of his sudden death, whilst on a foreign tour for the restoration of his health, was received, there was genuine sorrow among his old business associates, and poignant grief with many who had learned to look on him not merely as a successful merchant, but as a man of tender heart and open hand when suffering and distress appealed to him for sympathy and aid.
Mr. Walton was born in London, and to the last he looked with affection to the city of his birth. His education was gained at the City of London School. After leaving school he was brought up to mercantile pursuits, and in 1830, concluding that there was a better opening in that line in America, he came to this country, bringing with him a considerable amount of money. For a few years he remained in New York, loaning his capital, for which he always found ready customers, but unfortunately they were not all as ready to pay as to borrow. He lost large sums, and was driven to the conclusion that for a man of his openness of character and confiding honesty, New York was an unprofitable location. The representations of a friend, combined with dissatisfaction with his experience in the commercial metropolis, determined him to seek his fortune in the West. Evansburg, Ohio, had been represented to him as a desirable place in which to live, a thriving business point, and adjacent to good hunting ground. This combination of attractions determined him, and he set out for Evansburg with what remained of his capital.
But the attractions of Evansburg soon wearied him. Neither his social, commercial, nor sportsmanlike hopes were fulfilled by the facts, and Mr. Walton speedily turned his back on the place of so much promise and so little realization. Cleveland was the rising place of the West, and to Cleveland he came, and established himself, as was the custom with new comers of a commercial turn, in the produce and commission trade. Following the old maxim, he stuck to his business and his business stuck to him. The old frame warehouse in front of which he hung out his sign in 1838, was occupied by him for twenty-five years, until January, 1863, when he retired from active business and was succeeded in the same building by his nephew, Thomas Walton, who still retains the business and the old location.
Mr. Walton's nice sense of honor commended him to a large circle of customers in the interior and in Michigan, whilst nearly all the Canadian business with Cleveland passed through his hands. His Canadian customers relied implicitly on his word, and the fact that he always retained his old friends, and received constant accessions of new, sufficiently proved that their confidence was not misplaced.
In the Spring of 1863, soon after his retirement from business, he went to England with the intention of staying a year or two and then returning to enjoy the remainder of his life in ease in this country. Whilst in England he paid a visit to some friends in Southampton, and whilst taking a bath in a movable bathing-house on the beach, probably was seized with cramp and suffocated by water getting into his lungs. The news of his death caused a painful shock in business, social, and religious circles, where he had been so well known and so highly esteemed.
For a long term of years Mr. Walton was the presiding officer of the St. George's Society of Cleveland, and that benevolent institution owed its usefulness in great measure to his indefatigable zeal in the cause, and to his unstinted liberality. To the distressed of any nation he never turned a deaf ear, but to the needy and suffering of his native country he was ever liberal, and accompanied his unostentatious charities with kind words and manifestations of sincere interest that were frequently as beneficial to the recipient as the money itself. He was also a valued member of the Masonic Order.
In religious belief he was an Episcopalian, and was long one of the leading members of Trinity Church. His devotion was unaffectedly sincere, and though he made no vaunt of his religious principles or hopes, there could be no question of his deep, earnest convictions. Kind, courteous, ever thinking of the good of others, and wholly unselfish, Mr. Walton was a good specimen of the true Christian gentleman.