SOME OF MAHONING COUNTIES

PROMINENT CITIZENS

Some Pictures and Narratives Provided by The Mahoning Valley Historical Society

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James Hillman and his wife the former Catherine Dougherty moved onto six acres, given to them by John Young in return for establishing a permanent settlement.  Theirs was the first frame house in the township of Youngstown.  Hillman expanded his holdings and was also involved in the grist and saw mills at Mill Creek.  By 1808 he operated a tavern in the village of Youngstown.  He was appointed constable for Trumbull County in 1800 and also served in the War of 1812.  Hillman died in 1848. He and his wife are interred in Oak Hill Cemetery

David Tod was born February 21, 1805 in Youngstown, Ohio to Judge George Tod and his wife Sally Isaacs. Following in his father’s footsteps, David Tod studied law and was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1827. Throughout his career, Tod successfully combined family investments with shrewd business acumen, developing one of the first coal fields in the Mahoning Valley and promoting the canal system and later railroad development. Possessing an understanding of the potential of industry, Tod purchased the Akron Manufacturing Company and moved the equipment to the Valley, creating what became known as the Brier Hill Iron and Coal Company, forerunner to the steel industry He lived out his years at his home in Brier Hill, outside of Youngstown, Ohio where he remained active in business and industrial pursuits until his death which occurred on November 13, 1868. He is interred in Oak Hill Cemetery

Plympton Ross Berry was an active and skilled mason by trade.  Credited with working on or serving as general contractor for a number of key buildings and landmarks, Berry also took an active role in civic and cultural affairs.  Examples of his masonry work include:  Governor David Tod’s mansion located on Holmes (now Fifth); the Youngstown Opera House; Rayen School which is now the Board of Education; and Youngstown’s first Mahoning County Court House formerly located at the corner of Wick and Wood. Mr. Berry was born in 1861 and died in 1917. He is interred in Oak Hill Cemetery.

William Holmes McGuffey. was born in Washington County Pennsylvania. In 1802, McGuffey's family moved to Tuscarawas Co. Ohio. He attended the country school and after receiving special instruction at Youngstown he attended Old Stone Academy. Afterwards he attended and graduated from Washington College, Pa where he became an instructor. In 1845 McGuffey moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, where he became Professor of Philosophy at the University of Virginia.  A year after his first wife Harriet died in 1850 he married Miss Laura Howard daughter of Dean Howard of the University of Virginia, in 1851. McGuffey is buried at university Burying Ground in Charlottesville, Virginia.

William Rayen (1776-1854), was born in Kent County, Maryland.  Rayen and his wife Margaret Caree settled in the Mahoning Valley before 1802. Rayen operated a tavern and mercantile in Youngstown. He was also involved in the early township government and other business and economic pursuits. Through his will, he established Youngstown's first high school open to all students regardless or race, creed, gender, or economic condition. The Rayen School was opened in 1866 the building still stands a 222 Wick Ave. He is interred in Oak Hill Cemetery.

Volney Rogers Born December 1, 1846 at East Palestine, in Columbiana County, Ohio and Died  December 3, 1919 in Cañon City, Colorado. He was a lawyer in Youngstown, and is known for his role in transforming Mill Creek "hollow" into one of the nation's most celebrated metropolitan parks. Rogers, a seminal figure in the history of America's state park system, served as counsel for the American Civic Association, a group dedicated to the preservation of Niagara Falls. In 1920, less than a year after Volney Rogers' death, Youngstown Mayor Fred J. Warnock presided over the public unveiling of a massive bronze likeness of Rogers that was designed to honor his achievements. The Volney Rogers Memorial still stands near the main entrance of Mill Creek Park. At the time of its unveiling, Warnock captured the sentiments of many community residents when he stated: "We do not erect monuments to selfishness.... We erect monuments to those who live for the community and whose high ideal is the welfare of the many. That is why we are honoring Volney Rogers today".In 2000, Volney Rogers was inducted into Ohio's Natural Resources Hall of Fame for his principal role in establishing Ohio's park districts.

David Theobald was born in Ibesheim, Germany in 1825.  He emigrated to the United States in 1849, establishing a dry goods and clothing store in Youngstown in 1852.  Along with his partner Ferdinand Ritter, Theobald formed the firm of David Theobald & Co. which was considered one of the leading commercial ventures in the area.  Theobald served on the Youngstown Board of Education, Youngstown Hospital Board, Board of Trustees for the Municipal Water Works, and was a director of the Mahoning National Bank.  He received the title of “Colonel” through an appointment as an aide-de-camp to Governor Headley.  Theobald is best known locally for helping to found Rodef Sholom Congregation.  Theobald also owned an interest in “The Woolen Shop” formerly owned by Abraham Walbrun.  Theobald remained active in both businesses until 1876 at which time he sold it to his distant cousin Isaac Strouss.  Theobald died in 1887. He is interred in Rodef Sholom Cemetery.

Mary Ann Campana, born in Italy in 1913, she emigrated to Youngstown at the age of 8 years.  She was Ohio’s first licensed woman teenage pilot (aged 18 years).  She attended Youngstown College (Youngstown State University). She also established the world’s light airplane endurance record of 12 hours 27 minutes without refueling in 1933.  Recognition and honors came to her, not only from the United States, but from her native Italy as well. In 1989, Italy conferred upon her the Cavaliere of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.

James Anson Campbell was born in Ohltown, Trumbull County, Ohio on September 11, 1854. In 1900 he co-founded the Youngstown Iron Sheet and Tube Company, later to be renamed the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company, in East Youngstown with George D. Wick in 1900. Campbell spent thirty years with Youngstown Sheet and Tube and during that time he participated in numerous charitable and civic activities. In 1926 the residents of East Youngstown chose to rename their city Campbell in recognition of Campbell's contributions to the community. Campbell died September 20, 1933 at the age of 79. He is interred in the Tod Homestead Mausoleum.

Dora Schwebel, in 1906 Joseph and Dora Schwebel started their bakery in Campbell, Ohio. The business prospered, then in 1928 Joseph died. Dora assumed control of the business and in 1936 opened a new $100.000.00 bakery on Youngstown's East Side. As business grew,there was need for a bigger bakery, so in 1951 a new state of the art bakery was built in Boardman. Dora passed away in 1964 at age 76.  Her and Joe are interred at Children of Israel Cemetery.

Isaac Strouss was born in Hanheim, Rhine Hesse, Germany in 1848.  He came to the United States at the age of 17 years, being met in New York by his distant cousin David Theobald who offered him a job in his store.  Strouss became friends with Bernard Hirshberg, a bookkeeper and salesman in The Woolen Store while working for Theobald.    Strouss and Hirshberg became partners after Theobald sold the business to him.  The firm of “The Strouss & Hirshberg Company” was born, being formally incorporated in 1906.  Isaac Strouss was active in many civic and social organizations including:  Dollar Savings & Trust Co., Youngstown Chamber of Commerce, Youngstown Hospital Association, Knights of Pythias, member of Rodef Sholom Congregation and the Youngstown representative of the Jewish Orphan Asylum located in Cleveland, OH. He is interred in the Tod Homestead Cemetery Mausoleum.

Elisha Whittlesey a Representative from Ohio; born in Washington, Conn., October 19, 1783; in early youth moved with his parents to Salisbury, Conn.; attended the common schools at Danbury; studied law in Danbury; was admitted to the bar of Fairfield County and practiced in Danbury and Fairfield County; also practiced in New Milford, Conn., in 1805; moved to Canfield, Mahoning County, Ohio, in 1806; practiced law and taught school; prosecuting attorney of Mahoning County; served as military and private secretary to Gen. William Henry Harrison. He was appointed by President Taylor as First Comptroller of the Treasury and served from May 31, 1849, to March 26, 1857, when he was removed by President Buchanan; was reappointed by President Lincoln April 10, 1861, and served until his death in Washington, D.C., January 7, 1863; interment in the Canfield Village Cemetery, Canfield, Mahoning County, Ohio.

Robert A. Gault, a member of the Gault family of Jackson Township, served with Company F of the 41st Ohio Regiment.  Gault was promoted to the rank of Sergeant Major in 1863.  This photograph is dated 1864 and was taken by J. H. Van Stavoren, Photographer in Nashville, TN.  Robert Gault’s son J. Ford Gault served as Township Clerk circa 1921.

McKinley

William McKinley, January 29, 1843 – September 14, 1901. President (Born Niles, OH; resident of Mahoning County) William McKinley's family moved from Niles to Poland, OH when he was nine so that he could attend the Poland Union Seminary. He taught in Poland's Kerr School District (1860-1861) and worked at the Poland post office. After serving in the Civil War, he studied law and worked for a law office in Youngstown. He was admitted to the bar in 1876 and practiced in Canton, OH. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives (1876-1891) and was governor of Ohio (1892-1896). He ran on the Republican ticket and won the presidential election in 1896 to become the 25th President of the United States. He was reelected in 1900. On September 6, 1901, he was shot by anarchist Leon F. Czolgosz and died eight days later. He is buried in Canton, OH at the McKinley National Memorial.
George Dennick Wick was the son of Paul and Susan (Bull) Wick.  He was involved in the iron and steel business, being one of the organizers of the Youngstown Sheet & Tube Company.  George served as its first president from 1901 until 1903 when he retired due to ill health.  George earned the rank of Colonel serving as aide-de-camp to Governor Asa Bushnell during the Spanish-American War.  He was married first to Mary Chamberlain of Cleveland.  The couple had one daughter Natalie.  George married Mary “Mollie” Peebles Hitchcock in 1896 after the death of his first wife, with whom he had one son George Dennick Wick, Jr.  George Dennick Wick and his wife Mollie, daughter Natalie, and Caroline Bonnell were onboard the Titanic when it sank in 1912.  The women were saved and eventually returned to Youngstown, Ohio.  Col. Wick was not rescued.  Mollie, his widow, was active and served as president of the Free Kindergarten Association, the Women’s Board of the Youngstown Hospital and the Y. W. C. A.  She resided at 656 Wick Avenue, now the YSU “Wick House” dormitory next to the Arms Family Museum of Local History. There is a monument to George D. Wick in Oak Hill Cemetery.

Michael J. Kirwan Political Advertisement

Michael Joseph Kirwan a Representative from Ohio; born in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pa., December 2, 1886; attended the public high schools of his native city; moved to Youngstown, Mahoning County, Ohio, in 1907; during the First World War served overseas as a sergeant in the Three Hundred and Forty-eighth Machine Gun Company with the Sixty-fourth Artillery, United States Army, 1917-1919; engaged in the mercantile business 1930-1936; member of the Youngstown City Council 1932-1936; elected as a Democrat to the Seventy-fifth and to the sixteen succeeding Congresses, serving from January 3, 1937, until his death in Bethesda, Md., July 27, 1970; interment in Calvary Cemetery, Youngstown