|Little Home Histories, Part 94 -- William Henry Stanton, 1860-.|
by Holloway, Paul.
See previous entry: Little Home Histories, Part 93 -- Wolf Den Story.
William Henry Stanton, son of Eli and Mary P. (Bundy) Stanton, was born August 2, 1860, nine months before the outbreak of the war between the States. The sixty-year-old log house in which he was born was located about two miles east of Barnesville, Ohio's city limits. As you go down "Sandy Ridge" toward Captina Creek, you will arrive at the site of this log house by turning down the first road to the left after passing "Pigeon Point." The present road passes over the exact location of the log house at a point about two hundred feet west of Eli Stanton's second house (built in 1867) and in 1942 owned by Ross Bailey.
The older folks now know him as "Cousin Will". To the younger folks he is either Uncle Will" or Uncle Billy. His business associates respectfully address him, Mr. Stanton. Many others know him as the author of Our Ancestors the Stantons -- that treasure chest of family history. Now in his eighty-first year, his ambition has been to record the early history of some of the notable old homes in the barnesville vicinity. Up until the writing of this little book, the early history of these homes has existed only in the minds of men who either heard it from their fathers and grandfathers or who are old enough to remember some of this from their childhood. It had been Uncle Billy's desire that this information should be recorded before it was lost to the coming generations. He has had another, and perhaps, even more important purpose in mind -- that of arousing the interest of the younger generation in the history of their families and their community. This has been a subject close to his heart since he was a young man. It is natural that he should want to keep alive this interest.
His boyhood included attendance at the Friends Primary School, which was located on the Stillwater Meeting House grounds. In January 1876, the Barnesville Friend Boarding school opened its doors to students and he had the distinction of attending the first term. This term lasted from January until spring and he attended the succeeding summer and winter terms. The summer of 1887 he spent on his father's farm. In November of the same year, after the corn had been husked, he went to work in Joseph Kennard's blacksmith shop, which was located at "Pigeon Point" beside the school house (now torn away as of 1942). He spent fourteen weeks there learning general blacksmithing (except shoeing).
By previous arrangement, he left Joseph Kennard's employ to work as an apprentice to Charles Kugler, proprietor of the Belmont Machine Works, which were situated on south Chestnut street in Barnesville. His letter of recommendation from Joseph Kennard reads in part as follows: "I considered him a natural mechanic not requiring the attention and instruction in my line of business that the average apprentice demands." He began in March 1878 and worked in the "Iron and Wood Departments" for about two and one-half years. His first job was shaping the wooden prongs for a revolving horse hayrake. His day's work included getting up at five o'clock in the morning, starting the fire under the boiler, oiling line shafting and loose pulleys, returning to his boarding house for breakfast, and back to the shop by seven o'clock. The day closed at six p.m., with an hour out for lunch, except on Saturdays, when the day closed at five o'clock.
Every Saturday after quitting time, he walked the three miles from the shop to his home to be with his family over Sunday. While working at Charles Kuglers, he boarded first with Amasa Frame, then with his employer, Charles Kugler, and finally with Tabitha (Stanton) Davis. To this day, he recalls pleasantly the excellent lunches that Amasa Frame's wife put up for him in a half gallon pail.
In the summer of 1880, while making a pattern, he cut his hand seriously. Doctor Ely sat him in the shade of a tree outside his drugstore and sewed up his hand with a needle and string.
While recovering from this injury, he made arrangements to work for James W. Queen and Company, "Makers of Mathematical Optical, and Philosophical Instruments" in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He made the journey from Barnesville on the B&0 Railroad, arriving in Philadelphia the sixth of September 1880. Here, as an instrument makers, he found precision work to fully test his ability. He made the first Toepler Holtz machine (static electricity induction machine) in the United States for the electrical industry, which then was in its infancy. He also made for Professor George F. Barker, of the University of Pennsylvania, the first secondary battery made in this country. He worked late several nights at the shop in order to complete the batteries in time for Professor Barker to use them to illustrate a lecture. He rose quickly to assistant foreman and took the place of Schubert, the foreman, when he made a trip to Germany -- his homeland. While working at Queen he attended night school at the Franklin Institute where he studied mechanical drawing. He realized his need for more schooling and the opportunity presented itself when Professor John B. DeMotte of the De Pauw University, Greencastle, Indiana, who was passing through the shop at Queens, asked him if he would like to improve his education. The arrangements were made and he left Philadelphia for Indiana in the fall of 1884, the same day that he voted for McKinley, his first opportunity to use his right to vote.
To pay his expenses at the University, he taught Physics, worked in the Laboratory, made scientific equipment, and travelled with Professor DeMotte to operate the apparatus he used to illustrate his lectures. After spending five years at DePauw University, his Mathematics Professor suggested that he study at a technical school. Accordingly, he entered Rose Polytechnical Institute at Terre Haute, Indiana, in the fall of 1889. He had hardly become accustomed to his new environment when the Philadelphia Quartz Company offered him a position as manager of their Auderson, Indiana, plant, which was just being built. He accepted, and, after a big Thanksgiving dinner, left Terra Haute for Philadelphia.
He began working for the Philadelphia Quartz Company on December 1, 1889, and spent a short period learning the business in Philadelphia before he left for Indiana to assume active management of the Anderson plant. He met Louise Smith in Anderson and married her in 1898 after a courtship in the best "bicycle-built-for-two" fashion of the day.
Under his capable management, the plant prospered and the company's business expanded until they were induced to build a plant at Chester, Pa., in 1904. He had an active hand in planning and building this plant and became a member of the Executive Board in the same year. In 1907 he was appointed President of the Brenan Sand Mining Company, a subsidiary of the Philadelphia Quartz Co. He and Aunt Louise lived in Maryland in 1907 and 1908 while he supervised the mining of the quartz sand, which was shipped by boat to the Chester plant located on the Delaware River in Pennsylvania. In 1909 he returned to Anderson to reassume the management of the Anderson Plant. The company's now rapidly expanding business, warranted the building of another plant. They selected Buffalo, New York, as a site and he went there with his wife in 1910 to supervise the construction of this plant. In 1913 he was made General Manager of all the Company's plants -- a position which made it necessary for him to live near the executive offices located in Philadelphia.
Accordingly, he moved to Ridley Park and in 1913 built the attractive stone house in which he now lives. He was made a Vice-President of the company in 1919 and retired the same year, after thirty years of active service.
At the present time he has served the company for an additional twenty-three years in an advisory capacity. When he retired from the company they presented him with a barometer. In 1939, a company dinner was given in his honor to celebrate his completion of fifty years of service with the company, at which time he was presented with a watch with his name engraved on the case. His record of service with the Philadelphia Quartz Co. is an inspiration to any young man with ambition. His attitude toward the company is shown by the manner in which he referred to it; he never said he was working "for" the Quartz Co. but rather that he was working "with" them.
When Uncle Will was leaving Rose Polytechnical Institute to go with the Quartz Co., his Mathematics Professor, C.A. Waldo, said to him, "Now Stanton, when you get out, don't just read a little here and there. Have a hobby. Take up one line of reading or study and follow the subject until you feel you are through with it; then take up another." He not only remembered this excellent advice; he followed it. He had been interested in, and has made a study of, nearly twenty different subjects. A few of the more important are landscape gardening, weather, astronomy, family history and wood turning.
His interest in landscape gardening is evident to anyone who has visited the Stanton's in Ridley Park, and has seen the pleasant appearance of the grounds.
While in Anderson, Indiana, he was made President of the Maplewood Cemetery Association and he supervised the landscaping of the Maplewood Cemetery. He wrote a series of articles in 1905 for the Anderson Daily Bulletin on the planting and caring of trees. A park in Anderson -- Stanton Park -- bears his name. He had the United States weather forecasting station in Anderson and the weather forecasts were signaled to the farmers in the vicinity by means of a large steam whistle. This steam whistle was located at the plant and was blown every day at noon. It is reported that this whistle was once heard for a distance of twenty-nine miles.
The barometer given him by the Philadelphia Quartz Company when he retired was in recognition of his interest in weather forecasting.
In 1901, he made a five-inch telescope with which he [thought he] saw snow on the mountain peaks of the planet Mars, at a time when Mars was nearest the earth. He made all the parts for this telescope except the lenses. He says it is the finest piece of work he ever did. One of the most difficult jobs an instrument maker meets is that of making a rack and pinion. The rack and pinion on his telescope is an example of his ability as an instrument maker and he has reason to pride himself in this piece of work. A letter of recommendation written by Professor John B. DeMotte and dated August 28, 1899, bears testimony to his ability thus: "As a maker of fine instruments I doubt if he has a superior in America."
The articles he has made while working at his wood turning hobby number more than three thousand and are made from fifty different kinds of wood. He has made lamps, candlesticks, salad bowls, fruit bowls, napkin rings, bracelets, beads, buttons, and many other articles, nearly all of which he has given away to friends and relatives. His work has been exhibited in schools of Philadelphia and New Jersey, and attracted so much attention that in 1939 The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin carried an article on his turning hobby.
While visiting Barnesville, Ohio, in 1940 he recognized, in the shop of William H. Sears, the movable slide rest on which he had served his apprenticeship in the shop of Charles Kugler. He had previously found in Philadelphia the instrument maker's precision lathe on which he worked while with Queen and Company, from 1882 to 1884. This is the one he bought and has used for his wood turning.
In addition to his extensive travels throughout the United States, he has travelled through South America and has made a trip to Hawaii. Wherever his business has called him, Aunt Louise has gone with him to make a home for him. She is an active church worker, being particularly interested in missionary work, and she has made many friends where ever she has lived.
Anyone who has engaged in a conversation with Uncle Will is impressed by his seemingly limitless knowledge; yet on several occasions he has been heard to remark, "How little we know." Also one cannot help but be impressed by his extraordinarily keen memory and his capacity for detail. To give an example. many years after he had left the Barnesville community he remembered that as a small boy of five or six he sat in the Stillwater Meeting house beside an octagon shaped column on which was cut the outline of the hull of a boat. He knew that when the present meeting house was built, the wooden columns from the inside of the old Meeting House were used for the south edge of the women's porch and out of curiosity he determined to look for the boat shaped cut on the next trip to Barnesville. At first he did not find it and was disappointed to think he had been wrong, but after careful searching he found it. Anyone wishing to see this boat shaped cut may find it on the first column from the west end about two feet up from the floor, and on the side of the octagon wheel faces northwest. He has known the struggle to gain a foothold at the bottom of the ladder of success and he has helped many through this struggle.
If you happen to be discouraged and were telling him your troubles in an "Oh what's the use mood" he would probably cheer you up with these words, "A dead fish floats down stream -- it takes a live one to swim up."
A review of Uncle Will's life to date, his kindness, his thoughtfulness, his ambitions, and his accomplishments is an inspiration to those of us who are young and who have only started down the long path of usefulness to mankind.
Source: Written by: Paul and Anna Marie Holloway, Germantown, Philadelphia, Pa.
For the table of contents and first entry in this series, please see: Little Home Histories, Part 01 -- Table of Contents and Introduction.
This entry is adapted from Little Home Histories in Our Early Homes, Belmont County, Ohio, which was published in 1942. Its publication was coordinated by Robert D. and Beulah Patten McDonald. This entry has been reedited for inclusion in the Pierian Press Fulltext eBooks database, and is included on the Stratton House Inn Website by special permission. This entry is licensed for use ONLY on this Website. It may be used for educational purposes and personal pleasure under fair-use provisions via this Website. Please note that the Stratton House Inn iteration of this entry does NOT include the subject headings assigned each chapter for use in the Fulltext eBooks database.
CO-AUTHOR: Holloway, Anna Marie.
DATABASE: Fulltext eBooks: Copyright (c) 2002 The Pierian Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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