John Richards Buchtel


Buchtel, John Richards, philanthropist, born in Greene Township, Summit County, Ohio. Jan. 18, 1822; died in Akron, Ohio, May 23, 1892. The early part of his life was spent in farming, and he acquired the old Thornton farm, on which a portion of the city of Akron was built. On withdrawing from farming he entered the employment of a firm in Canton, Ohio, manufacturing reapers and mowers. In 1856, when the firm's manufactory was burned and an assignment was made in consequence, his personal enterprise restored the firm's prosperity, and he induced it to establish a branch factory in Akron, of which he was for many years president.

Having given much time and study to the material development of that city, he undertook the development of the coal and iron resources of the Hocking valley, and among the successes of this enterprise was a thrifty village bearing his name.

He continued in the active management of his various interests till 1887, when he was stricken with paralysis, from which he never recovered. Mr. Buchtel will long be remembered for his munificence in the cause of education. In 1870 he made possible the organization of a college by giving $(?) toward a building fund and $25,000 toward an endowment fund. To secure the location of the institution, citizens of Akron raised a further sum of $60,000, and on July 4,1871, Horace Greeley laid the corner stone or the institution, then known as "The Universalist Centenary School of Ohio." In 1874 he founded the chair of Physics and Chemistry in the name of his wife, with a gift of $20,000 ; between 1874 and 1876 he added about $25,000 ; in 1879 he gave $25,112 toward the extinction of a debt of the institution ; between 1879 and 1881 he contributed $24,716 in various sums; in 1881 he gave the college property valued at about $(?); in 1910 celebrated Founders Day by a gift of (?) supplementing this the same year with a gift of lands valued at (?): on commencement day, 1887, he gave $100,000 and all his life-insurance policies, amounting to $74,400. In his will he made the college, to which his own name had been given, his sole legatee.

One of the most interesting incidents in his career occurred on June 28,1887, in connection with the fifteenth annual commencement of the college. Three months previously he had been stricken with paralysis. So eager was he to attend the commencement exercises that he offered the students $1,000 in cash, to be applied to the construction of their gymnasium, if they would take him to the college chapel, in the fifth story of the building, on commencement day. The offer was accepted, and the college corps of cadets, in uniform, marched to his house, carried him in an invalid's chair to a vehicle expressly prepared for the occasion, drove him to the college building, and then took turns him carrying him up the long flights of stairs.


Buchtel Mine

Buchtel, Ohio, 1909

Courtesy of the Mahn Center,
Alden Library, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio

The following from Buchtel, O., to the Pittsburgh Telegraph
is regarding the interests of the Akron Iron Company in Athens County:

"The furnace at this place is still doing well, making an average of from 40 to 50 tons of No. 1 iron per day.  The mines are also running pretty regularly, and the miners would get all the work they wanted if it was not for the scarcity of flats. This seems to be the cause of the slack work all over the Hocking Valley, as I understand there are plenty of orders for coal. The new hot blast at this place, and which had never gone into use yet, came very near being blown up the other day. The bleeder on top of the furnace becoming choked up and could not consume the surplus gas, it became necessary to waste it, so it was wasted through the hot blast, and becoming ignited while they were stopped for casting it blew one of the chimneys off and scattered the brick promiscuously, a piece of one hitting our Superintendent, Mr. Buchtel, but not injuring him severely. It will be repaired as soon as the weather will admit." (1-12-1881)

Buchtel is locally known for a large local spring (nicknamed the "watering trough") close to State Route 78. This spring emerges from an abandoned mine shaft that has been dammed up. Many area residents get water at this spring.

Buchtel, Ohio, in Athens county, is 55 miles SE of Columbus, Ohio. The village has a population of 574.

Local Spring Buchtel Ohio

photo and information: Wikipedia

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