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Ashtabula County, Ohio

Genealogy and History



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Edward Nelson Saunders
In the death of Edward Nelson Saunders on June 22, 1913, passed away one of the men whose work and influence had been most conspicuous in the development of the great coal trade in the Northwest, though the interests and the usefulness of his long career were not confined to one industry. He was a pioneer in the best sense of the term, a hard worker, a good manager of men, a keen and resourceful business man and faithful and efficient in the performance of his civic responsibilities.
Edward Nelson Saunders was born at Geneva, Ashtabula County, Ohio, April 26, 1845. His parents were of old New England stock, having come to Ohio in the early days when most of the northern and northeastern counties of that now popular state were comprised in the "Western Reserve." His father was a country minister of the Presbyterian church, whose duties could be likened mostly to those of a missionary in modern times. This faithful minister died in 1855, and his wife two years later, so that at twelve years of age Edward N. Saunders had to make his own way in the world. His early education was received at the little schools in the villages where he spent his young boyhood, and from the teachings of his mother, and, later of his grandmother and aunt, women of the type that had so much influence in bringing up boys to be the men that made the State of Ohio what it now is. In the early '60s Mr. Saunders was able, by hard work of any kind that he could find to do, to give himself the benefit of two years in the Western Reserve University of Ohio.
After his two years at the university he began work in Cleveland, employed as a clerk in a retail dry goods store until the spring of 1870. In that year he came to Minnesota by way of the lakes. This trip was taken as a vacation, in search of much needed rest. However, on his arrival at St. Paul, on the then newly completed railroad from Duluth, the possibilities of the new and growing country so impressed him that he decided to remain in Minnesota.
His first venture was in the oil business, bringing a small cargo or so of oil from Cleveland to Duluth by water. But he was one of the first to realize the possibilities of the coal trade, due to developments made in railroad building, and in 1871 started the shipment of coal from the lower lake ports to Duluth. The first cargo of coal ever received at the head of the lake was consigned to him in the spring of that year.
This first cargo of coal marked the starting of one of the greatest industries of the upper lakes, and Mr. Saunders, as its originator and as a lifelong leader in the industry, was always affectionately known among his associates and competitors in business as "father of the coal trade." One of the greatest factors in making Duluth a prominent commercial city is its position and facilities with reference to the coat distribution over the Northwest, and Mr. Saunders deserves lasting memory for assisting to lay one of the chief corner stones of that city.
His career since his start in the coal trade was a continuous and important factor in the industry. In 1877 he organized, with a number of St. Paul and Minneapolis associates, the Northwestern Fuel Company, of which company Mr. James J. Hill was the first president and Mr. Saunders the general superintendent. The history of the Northwestern Fuel Company, the history of the coal trade of the Northwest, and the life of Mr. Saunders have been almost identical. A short time after the organization of the North Western Fuel Company, Mr. Saunders became its president and principal stockholder, and retained that connection with the company until his death.
Outside of his interests in the northwestern coal trade, he was for many years before his death actively and financially interested in the coal mining industry in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois, having been closely allied with some of the largest producers of coal in those states. He was for many years also actively interested in banking circles of St. Paul, being for a long time a director in the First National and the Merchants National banks of that city, and for some years vice president of the First National Bank.
His interests in matters pertaining to the civic welfare of St. Paul and the development of the Northwest was at all times sincere and helpful, and he was also a factor in the social side of his home city. He was identified with the various clubs of St. Paul, and at times held the position of president in the most influential of those organizations.
His home life was always the happiest. He was surrounded by many friends and by a devoted wife and family of three daughters and one son. His first thought was always for his family and in his rise from a poor boy in Ohio to a leader of the commercial life of the Northwest he took his greatest joy in giving to his dear ones the pleasures and advantages he was unable to have himself in his early life. Mr. Saunders was married February 9, 1873, to Mary Proal, daughter of Charles Proal, an early resident of St. Paul.
The late Mr. Saunders was fortunate in being one of the men whose span of life covered a period of growth and development in his country extending from the early pioneer stage to the time of achievement of great things. He was one of the men who could see the future of the Northwest and help bring that future to reality. Such opportunities as his are rapidly diminishing as the resources of the country are more fully developed, although the younger generations of men are carrying on the work of such a man as Mr. Saunders, the chances of originating and starting the development of new countries must necessarily be more and more limited. To those who knew him, the career and life of Edward Nelson Saunders in all things has been a help and an example both practical and inspiriting.
[Source: "Minnesota: Its Story and Biography, Vol. 2 (1915)" - KS - Sub by FoFG]

Dr. Frank E. Scarsdale
DR. FRANK E. SCARSDALE, physician, P. O. Lick Creek; born in Ashtabula, Ashtabula, Ohio, April 9, 1938. William Edward Scarsdale, his father, born in Stafford, Staffordshire, England in 1807; came to this country in 1829, settling first in Maryland, then moving to Kentucky, stayed there about a year, and then moved to Ashtabula, Ohio about 1832. Here he married Amanda, daughter of Erastus and Jerusha Cook, of Ashtabula County. By this union there were two children; of these, the elder is Mrs. Lilly Pierce, living at Ellsworth, Pierce Co., Wis., and the younger, our subject. The Doctor was educated at Kingsville Academy, remaining there until he was sixteen years of age; from there he went to Minnesota, and remained there one summer and then came to Marion County, Ill., about the year 1858, where he taught in the country schools for three years; from here , he next went to Johnson County, where he again taught school for a year. It was here that he commenced the study of medicine in 1860 in the office of Dr. C. L. Whitnel; after completing here, he attended lectures in 1862 and 1863 at the Rush Medical College, Chicago. Doctor Scarsdale then came back and entered into partnership with his old percepter and remained in Johnston County for about two years. In January 1865 he came to Union County, Ill., where he located about three miles from Saratoga at what was then Bradshaw Post Office. Here he remained all of the time since, except when he attended medical lectures at Pope's Medical College, St. Louis, in 1870-71, and also a post-graduate course in the spring of 1882. He was married April 9, 1865 in Union County to a Miss Louisa P. Hastings, daughter of Westley and Mary Ledbetter Hastings. By this union he has had nine children, six of whom are living.
[Source: Perrin's "1883 History of Union County, Illinois"; AN - Sub by FoFG]

Rev. Jonathan C. Stoughton
REV. JONATHAN C. STOUGHTON, a superannuated minister of the Rock River conference of the Methodist Episcopal church, residing at No. 70 South Lincoln avenue, Aurora, Illinois, was born in Ashtabula county, Ohio, November 3, 1820, and is the son of Henry and Almira (Clapp) Stoughton, both of whom were natives of Connecticut. The father moved from Connecticut to Ashtabula county, Ohio, in 1812, when a young man, and was there married. His life occupation was that of a farmer, and his death occurred in Windsor township, Ashtabula county, in 1876, when in his eighty-sixth year. He was a member of the Congregational church, while living in Connecticut, but, after coming to Ohio, did not unite with any church, as there were no churches of that denomination there at that time. He was well and favorably known in the county, which was so long his home. His wife, who was a devout member of the Methodist Episcopal church, died in 1844. Of their seven children, four are still living: Mary, wife of Mr. Gould, residing in Ashtabula county, Ohio; Sarah, also a resident of that county; and Henry E., of Cambridge, Illinois, which has been his home for many years.
Jonathan C. Stoughton, who was the eldest of the seven children born to his parents, remained on the home farm until in his eighteenth year, when he came to Illinois, and worked on a farm in Trivola township, Peoria county, for one hundred dollars per year, remaining there for three years. He then entered Knox College, at Galesburg, from which he graduated in 1846. During vacations he taught school, and worked in the harvest fields, that he might secure the means to continue his studies.
At an early age he was converted, and united with the Methodist Episcopal church. From the time of his conversion, he felt the desire to enter the ministry. In 1846, he joined the Rock River conference, with which he has since held official connection. In 1854, after having served at various places, he came to Aurora, and took charge of the Methodist Episcopal church at this place. Two years later, by appointment from the conference, he built the Jennings Seminary. In 1858, he went to Freeport, where he continued until 1860. He was elected a delegate from the Rock River conference to the general conference, held at Buffalo, New York, in 1860. He then went to Champaign, Illinois, and there erected a building, and started the Champaign and Urbana Seminary. A few years later, when the Illinois legislature had passed an act for the creation of a State University, the building and grounds of the seminary were offered the state, as an inducement to locate the university there. Had it not been for this generous offer, it is more than probable the university would have been established elsewhere.
During the summer of 1861 and that of 1862 he was in the recruiting service, and was instrumental in securing many volunteers. In the fall of 1862, Mr. Stoughton offered his services as a private, and with the command went to Camp Douglas, where he was commissioned by Governor Yates as a captain of cavalry, but never served in that capacity. He was later commissioned chaplain of the One Hundred and Twenty-seventh Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He was sent south to Memphis, and was with Sherman when after Price in Tennessee, and on the Tallahatchie river. He also took part in the siege of Vicksburg. He stood the service fairly well, but took sick on the Yazoo, in the fall of 1863, and was compelled to leave the service. He personally knew Grant, Sherman, and many of the leading officers of the Western army.
Returning home, he shortly after was assigned to Grace Methodist Episcopal church, Chicago where he remained one year, returning to Champaign, and completing the institution, which had been abandoned thus far during the war. At this time he was not engaged in pastoral work, but was appointed by the conference as a general agent, and lectured much on temperance. In 1864, he started and edited a temperance paper, which was wiped out by the fire in Chicago, in 1871. As a lecturer on temperance, he attained great celebrity, and his services were in great demand. After traveling in Europe for a time, he returned and again took up the regular work of the ministery. After serving the Galena street church, Aurora-followed with Rock Falls, Rochelle and Wyanet-he then went to New Mexico, in charge of the English mission, at old Santa Fe. Later he was sent to Chicago as pastor of the Asbury, and later to the Winter street church, the State street church and the Fifty-fourth street church. After leaving Chicago, he served three years at Sugar Grove, Kane county, Illinois, when he came to Aurora, where he has since continued to reside. He is now retired, after having served the church fifty years in the active work of the ministry, though not always as a pastor.
Mr. Stoughton has always taken an interest in political affairs, believing it to be the duty of a minister, as well as a layman, to exercise all the rights of citizenship. In 1870, he ran as an independent candidate for congress, against General Farnsworth, who two years previously had been elected by fifteen thousand majority. Notwithstanding the large majority to overcome, Mr. Stoughton made a vigorous canvass. For a few days after the election, the Chicago papers had reported he was elected, but the back townships counted him out. On the 9th of January, 1847, Dr. Stoughton was united in marriage with Miss Amanda Cheritre, a native of New York state. By this union there were three children, a son and two daughters. The son, Lorenzo T., was drowned in Fox river, at Montgomery, in 1864. With another boy he was in a skiff, floating down the river, and not observing the dam, was carried over and drowned. Of the daughters, Ethel is now the wife of Rev. W. K. Beans, of the Methodist Episcopal church, of Spokane Falls, by whom she has one son, Lorenzo W., student in the medical department, of the Northwestern University, class of '99. Estella, now the wife of Justice Anient, of Chicago. The wife and mother died, August 24, 1880, at the age of fifty-six years. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and a very active worker in the same. September 1, 1881, Dr. Stoughton was again married, his second union being with Miss Mary J. Leet, of Bradford, Illinois, and a daughter of William and Helen Leet. See sketch elsewhere in this volume. Mrs. Stoughton is a woman of superior business ability, and is a very successful worker in the Methodist Episcopal church, of which she has been a member for many years.
Since 1847, Dr Stoughton has been a member of the Sons of Temperance, and for many years was grand worthy patriarch of the order. Through his instrumentality, many persons have been saved from the curse of drink, and started in the way of righteousness. In 1852, he was made a Royal Arch Mason. While residing in New Mexico, he was a member of the G. A. R., but has not affiliated with the order to any great extent since his return to Illinois. While for many years a strong Republican, in 1872 he supported Horace Greeley for president, making many speeches in his behalf in Indiana and Illinois. For some years he has been an active worker in the Prohibition party.
[Source: "Biographical Record of Kane County, Illinois" - S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago, 1898; KT - Sub by FoFG]


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