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History of Ashtabula County, Ohio

with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches
of its
Pioneers and Most Prominent Men.
by Publ. Philadelphia - Williams Brothers -
(Transcribed by Sharon Wick)



Bradley Cummings Randall 
Morgan Twp. -
BRADLEY CUMMINGS RANDALL.   The desire for approbation is as legitimate as the desire for food, and when a man, actuated by pure motives, accomplishes something from which good is derived, he merits the approval of the hearts that love him, and he receives their expressions of praise with grateful pleasure.  It is our purpose to write a brief notice in commendation of him whose name and portrait head this sketch, feeling assured that by a meritorious and blameless life he is deserving of mention in the pages of this work.  Jason and Martha Randall, the parents of Bradley Cummings, removed from Genesee county, New York, to Ohio, and located in Kirtland township, then Geauga, but now attached to Lake county, at which point they arrived in February, 1819.  It was here, on the 25th day of February, 1820, that the subject of the present sketch was born.  His parents eventually removed to Chardon, Geauga county, and died there, —the father in 1853, and the mother in 1858.  Bradley C. was the youngest son and the sixth child of a family of ten.  His education was begun of course as that of every American boy has begun,—at the district school, and finished at the academy situated in Kirtland village.  Taught perhaps two terms of school, and then engaged in the business of merchandising, as a partner in the firm of Randall, Cook & Co., at Chardon, Geauga county.  In connection with the store the firm operated an extensive morocco factory, and also dealt largely in general produce, wool, etc.  This was the commencement of a series of years of toil in the occupation by which he acquired the handsome competence he was not permitted to live to enjoy.  Continued in business at Chardon until 1855, when he removed to Rock Creek, purchased a tannery and opened a dry goods store; this was under the firm-name of Cook & Randall. Their mercantile department increased until they had as extensive extensive a stock as was shown in the county.  The tannery grew to be a stupendous enterprise. In 1861 he became sole owner, and continued as such until the 20th day of January, 1867, when his useful and honorable life was brought to a close.  His death was deeply regretted, for the loss of a truly worthy and good citizen always leaves a void not easily filled.
     Mr. Randall was united in marriage, on the 18th day of April, 1848, to Flora C., daughter of Thomas and Ruby Murphy, of Chardon, Geauga county, who were among the pioneers of that township.  This estimable lady is still living in widowhood.  The children of this marriage were Carlton Bradley, who was born in Chardon, on Jan. 19, 1849.  He was married, on June 20, 1870, to Frances A. Shafer, of Morgan township.  He was only permitted to enjoy the marriage relation a brief period, dying of pulmonary consumption May 29, 1872.  The next child was Ida Flora, who was born on the 21st day of May, 1851, also in Chardon.  Her marriage occurred on the 24th day of September, 1870, and her death on the 29th day of the same month and year.  She was a noble girl, too frail perhaps to endure the many bitter experiences of life.
     Mr. Randall was strongly Republican in politics, was a member of the independent order of Odd Fellows, and in early life a communicant of the Baptist church, and in later years an attendant at the Congregational church.  He was universally respected and esteemed as a man of sterling integrity, excellent business qualifications, sound judgment, and uncommon ability; an ever kind and indulgent husband and father, and, although ever engrossed with the cares of his business, vet had always time for those attentions which every one happily wedded loves to bestow.
Source: 1798 History of Ashtabula County, Ohio with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Pioneers and Most Prominent Men by Publ. Philadelphia - Williams Brothers - 1878 - Page Betw. 198 & 199

Hon. Rufus
Percival Ranney
     This gentleman was born at Blanford, Massachusetts, Oct. 30, 1813.  In 1822 he removed with his parents to Ohio.  They located first at Fairport, and afterwards at Freedom, Portage county.
     Judge Ranney's early education was limited.  He worked on his father's farm in summer and attended village school in winter.  At a later day, by his own industry, he managed to attend college at Hudson for a short period.  In 1836 he entered the law-office of Wade & Giddings, at Jefferson, this county, and after two years’ study was admitted to practice.  In 1839 he became the partner
of Hon. Benjamin F. Wade, and by diligent and faithful attention to his duties rose rapidly in his profession.  In 1846 and 1848 he was a candidate for congress against General John Crowell, but failed of an election, though he ran largely ahead of the Democratic State and county tickets.  In 1850 he was chosen to represent the counties of Trumbull and Geauga in the constitutional convention.  In the debates of that body he took a prominent part.  On the 17th of March, 1851, he was chosen by the legislature a judge of the supreme court in place of Edward Avery, resigned.
     This was the last election of supreme judge under the old constitution.  In October, 1857, Judge Ranney was re-elected by the people.  He resigned in 1856, and in 1857 was appointed by President Buchanan United States district attorney for northern Ohio.  This position he held two months and resigned.  The same year he removed from Warren to Cleveland.  In 1859, Governor Chase appointed him one of the commissioners to examine into the condition of the State treasury; but the appointment was declined.  In the fall of 1859 he was the Democratic candidate for governor against William Dennison, but failed of an election.  In 1862 he was again elected judge of the supreme court, which position he resigned in 1864.  From 1864 to 1868 he served upon the Democratic national committee.  Since 1864 he has held no official position, but has been engaged in the practice of his profession at Cleveland.  As a lawyer and jurist Judge Ranney has no superior in the State.  It is conceded, not alone by his political friends, but as well by his political foes, that he stands at the very head of the bar in northern Ohio.  We cannot claim him wholly for this county, but this is the place where he began the study and the practice of his profession, and he was a resident of the county for a number of years.
Source: 1798 History of Ashtabula County, Ohio with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Pioneers and Most Prominent Men by Publ. Philadelphia - Williams Brothers - 1878 - Page 85
  CAROLINE L. RANSOM *   The defect in the American character is on the art side.  The art elements in the nature of individuals remain comparatively undeveloped.  The aggregate effect on the national character in the eye of an educated foreigner is somewhat striking, and is not unfrequently charged to the account of defective moral sentiments; a something in the climate, they say, tending to savagery, of which there has been a deal of twaddle.  This deficiency is not due to any lack of native endowment, that we inherit from our polyglot ancestry, but to the want of means, the helps for its development.  Our present greatest need, in the way of education, is far deeper, higher, more universal art culture.   When a shoal of poets come they create their audience.  This would be true of a school of painters, but there always must be some prophecy and preparation for a Messiah.  You cannot make an artist; the schools and colleges never produced one, and never will.  If any man should ask me what is their use, I should attempt no reply to him; the question could never be answered to his apprehension.  He is not far enough removed from the Digger Indians.  The labor should have been with his ancestors.  We have much well-considered writing and criticism of art and artists.  What we most need are collections of works of art, a better and wider diffusion of genuine specimens.  The man who carries a really good picture, even when translated into an engraving, to a remote village, is a benefactor in a small way.  The city that decorates one of its squares with a fine piece of statuary, has done as much for its people as if it had endowed a free school.  None will pass it with indifference.  To some it would be a perpetual pleasure; to the few a celestial revelation, giving point to their own aspirations, suggesting the needs of their own natures, and leading the way to the possibilities of their own powers.
     The story of one artist soul, born in exile from artistic surroundings, I am briefly to sketch.  Genius is sexless, when lodged, as in this instance, in the feminine form, and finds expression by a woman's hand; it nevertheless asserts itself as undeniably genius, a part of the great art soul of which the favored few are endowed.
     John Ransom is a lineal descendant of Edward Hyde, the great Earl of Clarendon, and chancellor of Charles II.  In this branch of the family, the name of Ann Hyde, Edward’s daughter, and the mother of two queens, was repeated in every generation till the present.  Elizabeth Orms is the daughter of General Orms, of Castleton, Vermont, a strain of people, if less exalted, worthy to mate with the descendants of Hyde.  From the union of these two was born Caroline L., at Newark, Ohio.  In her infancy the family emigrated northward, and found a home near the Mormon temple, in the beautiful region of Kirtland.  In 1840 the Ransoms formed a permanent seat in Harpersfield, on the picturesque banks of Grand river, Ashtabula County.  There was much, both at Kirtland and about this final resting-place, that appealed to the imagination and poetic nature of the young girl.  We are told she exhibited an aptitude amounting to rare precocity in the study of some branches of education, which, united to an ambition quite masculine, enabled her to maintain a position in advance of her classmates.  With less than a girl's aptitude for mathematics, she easily surpassed her male competitors in the Greek and Latin classics, receiving her education at an academical school open to both sexes.  She was a graduate of the Grand River Institution, where she afterwards remained as principal of the ladies’ department, and had charge of the Greek and Latin classes of the whole school.  She was early aware of a strong predisposition to art, and looked about eagerly for the means of indulging her bent.  These were of the scantiest.  During her vacations she took lessons in linear drawing, and doing flowers in water-colors, from a strolling teacher of slender capacity.  Small as the aid was, it kindled the latent aspiration, and induced her to grasp at the elusive forms of beautiful nature.  Nothing escaped her eye. which caught at every point.  At that time she had never seen but one real painting.  Think of a young poet who had never read but one poem! With this scant furnishing forth she herself established a class in water-colors, and gave herself, as far as she could conscientiously, to nature.  While looking out eagerly for help a special Providence, in the form of a wandering portrait-painter, was vouchsafed her.  Him she employed to paint herself, and at once went about procuring him orders.  Had he sat to her she could not have studied him closer.  What can be more fascinating to a young art soul than a painter at his easel?  His colors, brushes, palette, the way he uses, and the marvels he works with them—nothing escaped her; every moment she could snatch from duties was spent at the temporary studio.  Everything he did observed, every word treasured, little scraps of old masters, stories of their wonders, talks of their lives, of living painters he had known, had read about, or heard of.  She induced her father to have portraits of all the family.  These, five in number, were painted in the family home. She felt in her soul that she could paint.  The artist had a portrait which he claimed to have painted under Chester Harding.  She copied it.  Her success astonished her master, friends, and, most of all, herself. She now essayed a living subject.  A kind old aunt of her mother was specially raised up to be her first sitter.  We may fancy the opening scenes of this experiment.  The eager young girl, her fair face flushed, her blue eyes large and flashing, with the masses of wavy hair dashed back as by the hand of the wind.  The good, patient, dear old aunt perked up, posed and pushed about by the dainty fingers of the girl artist, who would tell her to look this way and that, step back and view her, with her head first on one side and then on the other, till everything is adjusted; and then, with a long, quivering breath, the crayon is applied to the canvas.  What a picture it would make.  What anxious days those were, big with the fate of artist and sitter, both to be immortal, or neither.  Days of going on, going wrong, and then off, and then all right again.  It was a triumph.  Old aunty, at least, was made famous.  What a moment for the neophyte, as amid the wonder and plaudits of the eager friends, in the rush and gush of emotion, with her face in her hands, she heard her soul saying to itself, “I, too, am a painter!”  It is true, the outlines were a trifle hard, and the half-tints might have been better adjusted, but the hand that fashioned it was the hand of an artist.  It was a likeness and full of life and flesh.  She repeated the experiment with other sitters, and so found her career.  From her love of nature, and the seeming ease with which she sketched the features of a view, she thought that landscape would afford the best subjects for her pencil.
     Horace Greeley’s father had been a tenant of one of her Grandfather Orms’ farms, and Horace and her mother had been playmates in childhood, and grew up fast friends.  With a letter to him from her mother, she made her way to New York, was kindly received, and became an inmate in the family of his sister, Mrs. Cleveland.  Here she was placed under the care of the landscape-painter, Ashur B. Durand, successor of Professor Morse as president of the National Academy of Design.  After many months of studious and quite successful work, he assured her that her talent and genius, which were decided, were better fitted for portraiture.  She was then placed under the care of Thomas Hicks, and devoted herself exclusively to portraits and figures.  After six months she painted the portrait of Mrs. Goss, of New York, which received high commendation from her master and his brother-artists.  For eight succeeding years she spent about one-half of each under the best instruction in New York, and the other in Ohio, painting portraits to defray her expenses, being a member of John F. Cleveland’s family while in the city, enjoying the care and affection of a daughter of the house.  The latter part of this time she was a pupil of the celebrated Huntington, when she painted her portrait of the Hon. Joshua R. Giddings, which was purchased by congress, and now hangs in the old hall of the house, in the capitol, where he served so long and faithfully.  This was hung by the side of Huntington's best, in the exhibition of 1859, and received the highest commendation of him, and of the art critics, and the press of New York.  It is characterized by strength and boldness, and remarkable for its life-like expression.  This purchase by congress was its first patronage to a woman.  Among the distinguished subjects of Miss Ransom's pencil were the late Dr. Jared P. Kirtland, the naturalist, Governor Brough, General Garfield, Governor Huntington, and Governor J. D. Cox—the two last for the governor’s room in the capitol, at Columbus.  Chief Justice Chase sat to her twice while secretary of the treasury,—for a bust once, and again for a full-length portrait.  The last, representing him standing in the south portico of the treasury building, was the one he wished to be known by in after-years.  In July, 1867, she went to Europe, where she remained two years, seeing much of its countries, many of its great cities, and visiting some of its most famous collections of art, painting and copying several of them, making the acquaintance of many distinguished artists; correcting, widening, and deepening her art impressions and instincts, perfecting her education and judgment in matters of her profession, and improving her style.  A woman of wide and general culture, it was not in art alone that she was profited by these two most valuable and treasured years.  I think their influence can be clearly traced in her work since her return, when it may be said that she is quite at the maturity of her powers.
     Her master-piece, what she may not be expected to ever excel, what few artists in this country can equal, is her now famous full-length portrait of General George H. Thomas, so often described that effort in that direction is tautology.  The subject was one which peculiarly appealed to the sensibility and appreciative sympathy of Miss Ransom, artist and woman as she is.  The grand, massive head, weight, strength, and firmness of the figure, which she has so planted that nothing but an upheaval of the earth’s crust can ever shake it; the moveless will, the changeless resolve, the calm courage, the serene daring, the combination of the great solid qualities of the man, the general, and the hero, found in her the soul and intellect that could appreciate and reverence, and the hand that could express them in the face and form which she has given to the eyes of men.  All men and women have eyes with which to scan the faces and forms of their fellows.  Scarcely any two see all of the same things in the face of any worth looking at.  It is the gift of the artist in human portraiture to see all that the external face and form contain,—the nice lines and subtle expressions that elude common though acute observers. They see vastly more.  The countenance reveals to them the best there is in the man, the best which they attribute to a given man; and something of this a true artist will bring forth, and make to appear in the faces of those worthy of their pencils.  Two faculties the artist must have: The power of idealizing in his own soul his best conceptions of the man, and then such trained skill and deftness of hand that he can realize to the eye, to all eyes that have the power to see, that ideal in colors on the canvas before him.  Miss Ransom is a poet, as many artists are; she also has the gift of a poetic utterance, which few possess.  There is also a martial tone and touch in her being, something to which the stir and pomp of arms, belted knights, and embattled hosts appeal, and find response.  She conceived Thomas standing solitary on kindred rock, facing the near battle, swelling and lifted up with its spirit and inspiration, yet holding himself calm, proud, great, and as if in his single person he was to encounter, resist, and overcome the foe, and he looks not only as if he had made up his mind to the encounter, but would certainly vanquish the assailing host.  The likeness is said to be admirable.  It is much more than a likeness of the outer man; soul, intellect, weight, manhood, winning and ready to be crowned with a great victory, are all there.  The old comrades of Thomas come into its presence, look and uncover, remain silent, and burst into tears.  It has been present at many of the reunions of the armies he commanded, and was the most observed and honored personage present.
     It is true, newspaper men, who don’t know a palette from a plate, still continue to take their little flings at it.  Nothing better marks the position it occupies at the capital.  They have never heard of the works of older and better-known artists, but they have heard of this, and cannot rest until they have advertised the fact, and their own ignorance; and it is pitiful to think that the painter of General Thomas can be wounded by these “midgets.”  I am not to write a history of this work, nor of the sort of criticisms it has received.  I must add a word of its creation.
     In the autumn of 1871, Miss Ransom produced the first portrait of General Thomas, now owned by Colonel Squire, which was a study and preparation for the full-length.  This was commenced in the spring of 1872.  She secured a studio in New York, where she spent six months of the autumn and winter upon it.  The Army of the Tennessee held its reunion at Toledo, in the fall of 1873, when the work as then completed was exhibited.  It was a bold test which the artist challenged.  Its reception by his old comrades in arms was most enthusiastic.  It received as much attention as the great living commanders of the armies who were present and did it homage.  Thus approved, the artist determined to fully execute her original purpose—paint in the battle of Chickamauga as a back-ground.  For this purpose she visited the scene of that conflict, which she carefully studied and sketched, completing the work as it now meets the eye.  In the autumn of 1874, at the solicitation of the Society of the Army of the Cumberland, it was placed in the hall of their reunion at Columbus, Ohio, who marked their appreciation of it by the following resolution:
     “Resolved, That the Society of the Army of the Cumberland, at Columbus in session assembled, hereby tender to Miss Ransom their thanks for the presence of her magnificent portrait of our old and much-beloved commander, Major-General George H. Thomas.  We hereby indorse the great excellence of the portrait, and the accuracy of the landscape of the field of Chickamauga, and we respectfully request the congress of the United States to place it permanently in the Capitol at Washington.”
     Afterwards it was placed on exhibition in the rotunda of the capitol, during the opening weeks of congress, where it daily attracted crowds. It is now the most conspicuous object in the studio of the artist, at Washington, where it is accompanied by the fine bust portraits of General McPherson and B. F. Wade, and surrounded by many works of her brush, among which are the notable copies made in Italy.   The Wade should be purchased and returned to Ohio, where it belongs.
     I hardly dare venture a word further upon the qualities of Miss Ransom as an artist.  She seems to me to be remarkable for the certainty and firmness with which she grasps her subject, and the strength and fidelity with which she works out her conception of it.  She never fails of producing a striking likeness.  No one can greatly excel as a painter who is not to some extent a colorist.  Miss Ransom has a large gift of that power.  Her spirit is steeped in its rich sensuousness, which sometimes finds happy expression in poetic forms, some of which have been given to the public.  The best remain in MSS.  She has admirable judgment of works of art; is broad, just, and generous in her appreciation of the works of others; is a kindly, sympathetic, noble, lovable woman.  Her studio has been for many years in Cleveland.  For three winters past she has occupied one on Pennsylvania avenue, in Washington, where her Friday afternoons are among the pleasant occasions in the art and literary circles of the capital, into which she was at once received, and where she is justly appreciated.  Among the products of these riper years may be mentioned the portraits of Mr. French, sergeant-at-arms of the senate, Mrs. Garfield, and Mrs. Riddle, painted in Washington, all of which, and especially the last, are among the finest specimens of American portrait-painting.  Now quite at maturity, Miss Ransom may look forward to coming years of increasing fame, and a realization of all the hopes which should crown the deservedly successful devotee of widening, growing, American art.
Source: 1798 History of Ashtabula County, Ohio with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Pioneers and Most Prominent Men by Publ. Philadelphia - Williams Brothers - 1878 - Page 111
By Hon. A. G. Riddle.

Dr. D. W. Raymond
(Conneaut, Ohio)
DR. DAVID WEBSTER RAYMOND was born in the town of Austerlitz, county of Columbia, and State of New York on the 7th day of November, 1808, he being the sixth of a family of nine children, as follows:  Margarette, Lucretia, Cynthia, Isaac, William, David W., Betsey M., James N., and Catherine.  In the winter of 1819, the family moved from Austerlitz to West Springfield, Erie county, Pennsylvania, where the doctor's father, Jacob Raymond, died Mar. 28, 1829; while his mother, Elizabeth, died at his residence in Conneaut, August 25, 1851.  At the age of twenty-three, he commenced the study of medicine under Dr. Fenton, of Conneaut, finishing his course with Dr. Peck, of Attica, Genesee county, New York, and graduating on the 14th day of January, 1833, in the Fairfield Medical college, county of Herkimer, and State of New York, his diploma bearing the signature of the venerable Dr. Wested Willoughby, June 22, 1833.  He established himself as a physician in Rome, Ashtabula County, remaining there a few months upwards of two years.  In November, 1833, he came to Conneaut and formed a copartnership with the late Dr. Greenleaf Fifield, which existed until July 11, 1839.  May 1, 1836, he was married to Frances J. daughter of Dr. L. L. and Jerusha C. Chester of Rome.  By this marriage three children were born as follows: Ellen A., May 4, 1837.  She was liberally educated, and became a most accomplished musician.  Nov. 30, 1871, she was married to Mr. James W. Sutherland, of Neodesha, Kansas, where she is still living.  Lee Chester, the second child, was born Apr. 27, 1843.  At the age of eighteen he enlisted in the Second Ohio battery, serving for thirteen months as a corporal, when he was honorably discharged on account of sickness.  Restored to health, in the spring of 1864, he commenced the study of medicine with his father, finishing his course with Dr. J. C. Hubbard, of Ashtabula, and receiving his diploma from the Bellevue Hospital Medical college, New York city, Feb. 28, 1867.  Having graduated with honor, he established himself in his father's office, where he practiced until February, 1873.  Sept. 12, 1867, he was married to Elizabeth Burgess.  Feb. 27, 1873, accompanied by his wife, he went to San Francisco, California, where he continued with marked success in the practice of medicine until the time of his death, which occurred May 15, 1876, leaving his widow and an only son, Lee Burgess Raymond, who was born May 3, 1874, to mourn his untimely death.  His remains, accompanied by his wife and child, were brought to Conneaut for burial, and now rest by the side of those of his father.  Henry Atkins, the youngest, was born Oct. 30, 1845, and died July 2, 1846.
     Dec. 4, 1848, his wife Frances J. died, and Mar. 4, 1850, he was again married to Miss Mary L. eldest daughter of Thomas and Lucretia Gibson.  From this marriage no children were born , and Mrs. Raymond is still living.
     Dr. Raymond died in Conneaut, June 18, 1865, in the fifty-seventh year of his age.  For thirty-three years he had been a leading and most universally successful physician.  He was loved and respected by all who knew him.  The immediate cause of his death was the result of an injury which he received at the age of fourteen, and which had made him a cripple for life.
Source: 1798 History of Ashtabula County, Ohio with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Pioneers and Most Prominent Men by Publ. Philadelphia - Williams Brothers - 1878 - Page 166
NOTE:  The Raymonds are buried in City Cemetery, Conneaut, Ashtabula Co., OH - CLICK HERE

James Reed
JAMES REED the senior editor of the Ashtabula Telegraph, was born in the city of New York, in the year 1812, of parents from Canada, his mother being of English birth.  It was in this city that his infancy and childhood were spent.  During the latter period the family removed to Norwalk, Connecticut, where the rudiments of an English education were obtained at the district schools of the State.  From parental preference and interest he entered early upon an apprenticeship to the business of a shoemaker, in which considerable progress was made; but it not being to his taste, it was abandoned at about the age of sixteen, when his parents had become residents of the adjoining town of Wilton.  It was here that the conclusion was reached to accompany the abandonment with a little dramatic effect, which should prevent any effort to induce a reconsideration.  At the close of a week’s work, in the presence of his shopmates, without a note of warning to any, the axe was procured and the bench upon which he had sat and labored for years was split into kindling-wood. and, with every article of kit, was thrust into the stove, and everything that was consumable was reduced to ashes.
     About this time an advertisement appeared in the Danbury, Connecticut. Recorder, the establishment that has since, it is believed, merged into the Danbury News,—so famous for its humor,—for an apprentice to the printing business.  There was little delay in responding,—perhaps less on account of the contumacy that preceded the burnt sacrifice, and the abandonment of a trade that it was hoped had been adopted for life.  It was proposed to make application for the place in person.  The distance was twenty miles, and there was no way to overcome the distance but to walk.  This was accomplished in good time, and the applicant for the place met with a prompt acceptance.  The day after his arrival was publication day, and he was at once introduced to the press,—an old Dr. Franklin, or Damage press, such as the reader may have seen among the old relics of the patent office at Washington.  The ink was put on with balls, the days of rollers not arriving until some time afterwards.  Notwithstanding the youth and greenness of the young acolyte, the whole edition was "beaten off" in usual time.  His term of service, though proving agreeable, was of short duration, owing to the death of the publisher.  Mr. Osborn, after an apprenticeship of only three months.  This occurrence left the subject of this biography without place or occupation.  He then went to Norwalk, and became connected with the Fairfield County Republican, a paper started by a company of disaffected gentlemen in opposition to the Gazette.  The publisher was an old school-fellow named Albert Hunford.  The Republican soon died out, and he was again adrift.  His fortunes were then cast with the old Norwalk Gazette.  Here, too, he met with a wooden—Franklin —press, and became rather expert in both beating" and “pulling” at the remarkable old machine.  Here the days of his apprenticeship were completed under the tutorship of S. W. Benedict, editor and proprietor.
     His first efforts as a journeyman printer were made on the New York Daily Advertiser, published in Wall street, by Theodore Dwight. A situation upon a morning daily, where the natural order of day and night were reversed, was found to be wearisome and slavish,—too much so for endurance.  It was, therefore, exchanged at the first opportunity for a much more pleasant one. upon the New York Evangelist,—weekly.  The Evangelist was started by our old friend Benedict, who had sold out the Gazette, and. with Rev. Joshua Leavit as editor, set out with the new paper.  This was about the year 1835.  While here he was offered a situation as office manager of the New Orleans Observer, a religious paper, just about being started in connection with the new Presbyterian church of that city, under the pastorate of the Rev. Joel Parker. Two seasons—those of 1836-37 — were spent here.  The loss of health induced a return in the latter year to the north.
     His lot, by purchase, was soon cast again with the Norwalk Gazette in the conduct of which he was materially assisted by Dr. T. B. Butler, a practicing physician of Norwalk, and afterwards a member of congress from the fourth district of Connecticut, where the connection was dissolved.  His residence in Norwalk continued until the spring of 1853.  Connecticut was then taken leave of for the west, Hudson, Ohio.  The position of business agent for the Hudson Planing and Lumber company was accepted.  The company, however, failed during the second year, and change was again the order of the day.  From Hudson he went to Cleveland, and again into the printing business.  A place was taken in the job-office of the Cleveland Herald, and from that he became the foreman of the Plain Dealer job-room. Printers' strikes and unions soon made it inconvenient to continue in that position, and hearing of the Telegraph, through Mr. E. W. Fisk, a visit was made to Ashtabula, and negotiations were at once opened for its purchase.  It was then published by Messrs. George Willard, Alfred Hendry, and H. L. Morrison, under the firm of Willard, Hendry & Morrison, as a conservative organ.  It was taken by the present proprietor in April, 1856.  The drift of the paper remained substantially the same until the nomination of Fremont, when it entered that campaign under Republican colors, since which time its fortunes have been steadily cast with the Republican party.  Of its usefulness this is not the place to speak.  With its history for the score of years since Mr. Reed became connected with the paper, the people of Ashtabula County are familiar.
Source: 1798 History of Ashtabula County, Ohio with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Pioneers and Most Prominent Men by Publ. Philadelphia - Williams Brothers - 1878 - Page 122

J. P. Rieg
JOHN P. RIEG was born at Baldenheim, Canton de Markolzheim, France, April 18, 1840; was an only child, and an orphan at the age of fourteen years.  He attended the public schools the number of years required by law, and afterwards was placed under a private tutor to fit himself for college.  Becoming restless, and having an uncle living in Warren, Pennsylvania, he conceived the idea of going to America.  At the age of fifteen he found himself in Warren, possessed of a fair education in German and French, but entirely ignorant of the English language.  He was apprenticed to Mr. Benjamin Nessmith, a harness-maker, whom he served for two years. Becoming dissatisfied with the trade he was learning, he left Mr. Nessmith, and went to live with Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Weaver, and attended the public schools for six months, in the mean time looking about for some kind of employment that would suit his taste, when he finally entered the printing-office of D. W. C. James, and learned the “art preservative of arts.”  In 1861 he purchased the office of the Conneaut Reporter, and has ever since that time, with the exception of sixteen months, held an interest in said office and been a resident of Conneaut. June 12 of the same year he was married to Julia K. Brooks, of Erie, and three children have been born to them,—May 8, 1863, Frank F.; December 15, 1865, Mary S.; and December 5, 1872, John B.
Source: 1798 History of Ashtabula County, Ohio with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Pioneers and Most Prominent Men by Publ. Philadelphia - Williams Brothers - 1878 - Page 123

Res. of
John P. Robertson,
Ashtabula, O
JOHN PORTEOUS ROBERTSON.  This gentleman is the oldest of eleven, the children of John and Marbaret Robertson, the former of whom was a native of Jedburgh, Scotland, and the latter of Cambridge, New York, from which point they removed to Ripley, Chautauqua county, New York, in 1827, and from there to Ashtabula in 1847.  Here they died, the father in 1851, and the mother three years later.  The subject of this sketch was born in Cambridge, New York, Oct. 3, 1807.  the opportunities afforded him for an education were limited, consisting of from four to six months per year at the district school, until he had arrived at the age of twelve years.  His ambition was to acquire an education and fit himself for teaching; but his father's means being limited, and a large family to support, he was taken into the blacksmith shop with his father and remained there till of age.  With the one purpose still in view, he saved every sixpence.  He had hoarded enough to purchase a set of school-books, and every spare hour was from this time on employed in "digging out" the hard problems of old Pike and mastering Murray, which was done without a teacher.  Thus, by dint of hard study, he was, on attaining his majority, a fair English scholar.
     From 1828 to 1834 his time was occupied principally in teaching.  In 1835 he began his mercantile career in Rockville, Crawford county, Pennsylvania, with a capital of less than one thousand dollars; came to Ashtabula in 1838, and has remained there, the greater part of the time engaged in trade, until this time.  The crash of 1837 found him in Pittsburgh with a fleet of ten boats or arks loaded with lumber.  The was landed two days after the suspension of the banks.  He lost two thousand dollars by this venture; came home, closed up business, paying every indebtedness in full, and with the one thousand dollars saved from the wreck came to Ashtabula  and entered into a copartnership with J. I. Post & Co.  Since 1841, with the exception of three years, he has "sailed his own ship."  During his long and busy life, Mr. Robertson has filled many official positions, beginning, in 1836, by an appointment as justice of the peace by the governor of Pennsylvania.  Has been a mayor of Ashtabula one year; eight years member of council; six years township trustee; seven years treasurer of township; five years treasurer of borough; and six years treasurer and member of board of education.  Mr. Robertson was on Jan. 26, 1836, united in marriage to Miss Lovenia, daughter of John and Susannah Seiple, of Rockville, Crawford county, New York.  From this union seven children have been born, three of whom are boys and unmarried.  The eldest daughter, Mary, married James H. Prentice, and resides in Saginaw, Michigan; Margaret, the next daughter, married G. C. Mygall, of Ashtabula; Alice is unmarried; Caroline married George W. Kepler, who perished in the Ashtabula disaster, Dec. 29, 1876.  He was at the time of his death proprietor of the Erie store, a young man of splendid business talent, and highly esteemed by his associates.  His remained were never found.  His widow still carries on the business, under the name of Kepler & Co.
Politically, Mr. Robertson began life as an old line Whig, and is now a Republican, stanch and true.
     His religious belief is Calvinistic.  Having been trained in the Scotch Presbyterian church, he early embraced its faith, and is now an elder of that church.  His life has been a busy one, and he has now the satisfaction of knowing that he has ever met his obligations, has done his share towards supporting church and state, to assist the needy, and to benefit his fellow man.
Source: 1798 History of Ashtabula County, Ohio with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Pioneers and Most Prominent Men by Publ. Philadelphia - Williams Brothers - 1878 - Page 146





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