DR. SAMUEL A. BAXTER
DR. SAMUEL A. BAXTER. When the wild mob in Paris was
rushing on its way to overthrow the Bastille and the Palace of the
Tuileries, an old man with silvery hair appeared in the street, and with
uncovered head called for silence. The leader of the mob at once
recognized him, and called to his men, "Halt! Sixty years of pure life
is about to address you. It is De La Ure; Halt! and listen ." The mob
halted and listened then returned quietly to their homes, influenced by
one known to be the friend of all humanity.
The long and eventful life of Dr. Baxter, filled with sweet charity
and unselfish devotion to his friends and his home city, his high moral
standing and business integrity, might well cause him to be called the "
De La Ure" of Lima, to do right under very trying and excited
Born, and largely educated, in Lima, all his life a lover of his
city and its people, no one claims a higher place in the hearts of the
people. Called again and again to posts of influence and trust, he was
never found wanting. When the city had a business crisis, or a great
financial success, Dr. Baxter was always called on to aid in tiding over
the one, and in expressing the general good will of the other.
Blest with a wise father and a devoted mother, plans were early
matured for his medical education. he was graduated from the Cincinnati
Medical College in 1863, and began practice in the army under a
commission direct from Hon Edwin M. Stantion, Secretary of War. He was
commissioned by John Brough, Governor of Ohio, to the 18th Ohio
Volunteer Infantry commanded by General Charles Grosvenor, a personal
friend of Dr. Baxter from his youth. Later he served both as assistant
and acting medical director of the Department of Georgia under Gen.
James B. Steedman.
After the war, Dr. Baxter began the active practice of medicine in
Lima. It was hard work for a time. But fortune came to him in
disguise. He was made health officer, and was put in charge of all
small-pox cases during the terrible scourge in Lima. He nursed the
sick, and buried the dead with his own hands. Small-pox then had
greater terror than the bubonic plague has now So successfully did he
perform his loathsome work that, upon the passing of the scourge, he
found himself overwhelmed with business in Lima and for a radius of 50
miles about the city. He was called in counsel to adjoining towns, and
was made surgeon for a number of railways. This success was soon
followed by one as brilliant, but in another line that of financier He
became interested in great enterprises, was secretary of the original
gas company, then entered the banking business, establishing the City
Bank of Lima for a long time one of the most successful financial
concerns of the Northwest; was president of the First National Bank,
which institution he made substantial in every way. He managed the
artificial and built the natural gas plants; was very influential in
building the street car line; promoted and sold the Indiana & Ohio gas
pipe- line and secured the building of the car works, then consolidating
these works with The Lima Locomotive & Machine Company, still one of the
greatest of Lima's Industries. The Lake Erie & Western shops, the
Chicago & Erie and the Ohio Southern railroads were each secured for
Lima through his aid and enthusiasm. But other fields of usefulness
also commanded his time and money: the Young Men's Christian Association
and Lima College, Institutions of great credit to the city were greatly
aided by him. Every church built in Lima in the last 40 years has been
aided by his generosity. During his long business career he formed
strong alliances in Bradford, England, Boston, New York, Cleveland,
Cincinnati, Toledo and Chicago.
He has served the State as trustee of State asylums for the insane
at Dayton and at Toledo and in many other ways. The people of Lima
elected him mayor of the city and would repeat it at any time they could
get his consent to be a candidate.
A short time ago, Dr. Baxter retired from the banking business, and
formed a partnership with his sons, under the name of Samuel A. Baxter &
Sons, for the purpose of developing his properties in the West, and for
handling other extensive interests.
Dr. Baxter is a man of rare intellectual force, history being his
favorite study. He has long been recognized as the leading historian
not only of Lima, but of the county. To his untiring labors as a
chronologist and as a collector of the facts of history, this work is
largely due, and to him as a benefactor of the community the people owe
an enduring monument
Samuel A. Baxter is a friend worth having. No man has ever exhibited
the sweet amenities of life in a higher degree than he . So warm-
hearted and generous he has drawn men to him and held them through life
with "hooks of steel." To him charity is a work of sweet and familiar
sound. No snow ever fell too deep, no northern blast ever pierced too
sharply to stay his helping hand. When old earth is wrapped in the icy
bounds of the Frost King and God's poor are suffering most then Dr.
Baxter's charity is most freely bestowed. In all the good work he has
done, he was only regarded by himself as a plain individual in the
general economy. With him charity began at home, where, surrounded by a
sweet and companionable wife and happy children, he was more than a
lord, but his charity did not end there. He took too broad a view of
life to be selfish he lived and still lives for all humanity. When his
career is ended, truly may it be said that, " Were all for whom he has
done a kind act to bring but a blossom to his grave, he would sleep
beneath a wilderness of flowers." C. C. M.
Estimate of Dr. Baxter by Rev. I. J. Swanson. The eminence of Dr.
S. A. Baxter, in the city of Lima and the county of Allen, is conceded
His place in public confidence, esteem and honor, is secure. It has
been won by a life of unsullied business integrity, of identification
with commercial, educational and philanthropic interests, and of
devotion to the public good.
It is interesting to trace the factors in the making of such a
career " Blood will tell," and while aristocracy of rank is unknown
amongst us, the aristocracy of culture, character and ability will
always have our respect.
The Baxters of Virginia and the Carolinas, from whom he descended, are
of the fine old English stock of colonial days, and have contributed
names to their country's history, distinguished in the progressions and
in political life. Doubtless Dr. Baxter owes to his honored ancestors
his talent for public service, and his deep sense of obligation to
further the common good.
Successful in his own affairs, he has watched over and contributed
to the development of Lima from a country town to a busy, thriving and
growing city. As physician, banker, promoter of industries and
organizer of important commercial interests, his life has been one of
untiring industry, business sagacity and unquestioned uprightness.
Philanthropic movements have found in him a stanch supporter. The
hospital, churches, and charitable societies, generally, have found a
friend. The extent of his benevolent contributions will probably never
be known, for "he has not sounded a trumpet before him."
The education interests of the city have had in him an enthusiastic
supporter and a sound counselor. He served for years on the board of
Lima College, which is at last emerging into a place of great usefulness
and promise, under the competent and energetic leadership of that
distinguished educator, President C. C. Miller.
A minor matter, and yet one that has endeared Dr. Baxter to
thousands, is the hospitality which has marked "Baxter Place." Its
beautiful grounds have witnessed many public gatherings, high school
reunions, sacred concerts on Sunday afternoons, or, perchance, a
reception to a Governor or other public officials, in which cases the
spacious residence was also the scene of a hospitality which kept alive
the fine old traditions of the courtly South. On such occasions and,
indeed, throughout his entire career, the winning, gracious and cultured
personality of Mrs. Baxter (loved in all relationships, though modest
and retiring as the violet) contributed to their success.
Such a life is valuable asset of any community. To young men of
ambition, industry and ability, it is an incentive to seek a career that
will serve not selfish interests alone, but by integrity of conduct and
promotion of the public good, to lead their age a little higher on
Humanity's upward path, which at last shall be crowned with the light of
a perfect civilization.
BENJAMIN C. FAUROT
BENJAMIN C. FAUROT. Was born in New York State,
October 13, 1829, and died September 7, 1904.
He was the son of a farmer and he worked on his father's farm in
Marion County, Ohio, till he was 21 years old. When 24 years of age he
was a hard working teamster in Kenton this was the time the Pennsylvania
Railroad was projected through this part of the State. Lima, Findlay
and Kenton were asked what inducements they could make to secure the
road and, to the great advantage of Lima and Allen County, the great
Pennsylvania Railroad was built through Lima. This fact induced Mr.
Faurot to leave Kenton and come to Lima. He engaged in the livery
business, starting in a barn situated in the rear of the Hume Property
on South Elizabeth street, between Market and Spring streets. For 10
years he continued in this business and during the war turned his
knowledge of horses to good account, selling large consignments of
horses and mules to the government and in this way laying the foundation
of his large fortune. In 1865 he was one of the incorporators of the
National Deposit Bank, afterwards called the Allen County Bank.
At the time of the suspension of J. Cooke & Company, in 1873, Mr.
Faurot was on the way to California. Realizing that this meant a
monetary panic, he telegraphed to Lima for intelligence in regard to his
bank. He was summoned home, where he found depositors crowding the
doors. When the creditors saw Mr. Faurot's determination to carry the
bank through the storm, even if he had to mortgage all he possessed, the
At one time Mr. Faurot cultivated 700 acres of land in and about
Lima, much of which was later laid out in town lots which became very
valuable. In 1882 Mr. Faurot built the Opera House which bears his
name, and when completed it bore the distinction of being one of the
finest west of the Alleghany Mountains. Mr. Faurot at this time
established the Lima National Bank, which formerly was the Allen County
Bank; acquired the ownership of the city's first street railway then a
horse-car line and secured the exclusive control of the Lima Strawboard
Company which was an enormous money maker. He was the president of the
Strawboard Association of the United States. In 1885, after Findlay had
found the great Ohio gas field, Mr. Faurot brought drillers to Lima, and
in sinking a well on the paper mill property, in the hope of discovering
gas, the initial oil-well of the Lima field was drilled in. It was not
a great success in itself but it was the pioneer stake in an industry
that has produced millions for Allen County and Northwestern Ohio.
After years of success, Mr. Faurot conceived the idea of becoming a
railroad builder, and this marked the beginning of his long and
disastrous financial reverses. He sold the strawboard works for
$600,000 and began the construction of what is now the Columbus & Lake
Michigan Railway, which, after years of litigation, he saw, before his
death in operation between Lima and Defiance. He acquired a land
concession in Mexico which placed in his hands the fertile Palomas tract
of 2,700,000 acres with a liberal contract from the Mexican government
for its colonization. He projected the Deming, Sierra Madre & Pacific
Railroad which started in New Mexico, was to traverse the Palomas
region, tap the mineral richness of the Chihuahua country and then reach
tidewater to the west at Guamas. Before any of these gigantic
enterprises were matured and before any of his hopes were realized, Mr.
Faurot became enmeshed in endless litigation from which he never fully
escaped, though he fought a gallant fight. With financial losses, came
the loss of his wife and afterwards his daughter Carrie. He saw all his
wealth slip through his fingers the Lima street railway system, the Lima
Electric Light Company, the Faurot Block and the land about the city.
for 10 years he endeavored to reestablish himself as a financial power,
but it was not to be. He has three brothers living George Faurot, of
Lima, Arthur Faurot, of Michigan and Gideon Faurot; also one daughter
Mrs. Lillie Moore Lauferswiler, of Columbus, Ohio; and one adopted
daughter Mrs. Charles F. Donze, of Lima.
Benjamin C. Faurot in the prime of his vigor and manhood was an
heroic figure. To Lima he was not merely an aid but a benefactor. Much
of his energy, determination and grit have been woven into the growth,
development and prosperity of Lima. He could foresee with the eye of
the seer the city's needs in the future. He planned and executed the
scheme to establish a more commodious and a more beautiful resting place
for the city's dead, and the result is seen in beautiful Woodlawn. The
extensive park system which Lima will fully enjoy is a result of his
plans and designs made, many years before financial reverses came upon
him. Mr. Faurot was ever ready and willing to give his time and means
for the advancement of the churches of the city, as well as the regular
business interests. His charity was well known, and when the good of
Lima was at stake he could always be relied upon. Lima needed stalwart
men more in the days of his victories than now.
To-day the city has gone beyond the power of any one man. Whatever
may have been his shortcomings, the average citizen of Lima will be
ready to forget, and in the last struggles of Mr. Faurot to regain his
lost financial prestige he will still be remembered as one of Lima's
REV. THOMAS POWELL JOHNSTON
REV. THOMAS POWELL JOHNSTON, deceased, an early pastor
of the First Presbyterian church, of Lima was born March 15, 1819, at
Wooster, Ohio, being the son of Thomas and Abigail (Powell) Johnston.
His father, a native of Ireland, was of Scotch- Irish descent, and a
descendant of one of those Presbyterian families whose faith was only
strengthened by persecution. One of his ancestors, who emigrated to
America some time in the early half of the 18th century, is supposed to
be of the same lineage as Col. Richard M. Johnston, by whose hand
Tecumseh is said to have fallen. Mr. Johnston's mother was a native of
Pennsylvania, her father's family, the Powells, being among the early
settlers of Chester County, in that State, where they have owned land
for over a century.
The subject of this sketch was educated in Jefferson College, at
Canonsburg, and at the Western Theological Seminary, in Allegheny. He
was licensed to preach by the Beaver (now Shenango) presbytery and in
1848 was ordained a minister, the same year accepting his first call at
Clarksville, Mercer County, Pennsylvania.
He was united in marriage in 1848 with Mary Haskell, daughter of
Charles and Elizabeth (Dana) Haskell, both of whom were descendants of
families of early settlers of Marietta, who with other pioneers occupied
the block-house for several years. Mr. and Mrs. Johnston were the
parents of four children: Mary E., Charles H. (deceased), Lizzie McLain
(deceased) and Mrs. Grace Catt. Charles H. Johnston was ordained a
minister of the Presbyterian Church in 1881. He was a young man of rare
personality, but his sphere of usefulness was cut short by his untimely
death, which came just as he began his work. He was married to Mary B.
Smith, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania.
Rev. T. P. Johnston remained in Clarksville for 10 years, coming to
Lima in 1858; he was pastor in Lima in 1864; was stated supply at Lima
Centre from 1864 to 1870; stated supply at Concord, 1871, and afterward
engaged in missionary work when ever his work permitted. He had long
been in feeble health and died from pulmonary trouble after a two weeks'
illness, May 2, 1895. His death was a calm and peaceful one, fit ending
to a life filled with good works. He was a man of fine education and
marked ability. The Herald and Presbyter paid this tribute to him:
"Mr. Johnston was a devotedly pious man, an earnest preacher, and a
sound theologian. The Jefferson College students of 50 years ago who
are still living will remember his earnest prayers, and also his efforts
for the good of his companions. He was strong in his personal
attachments, clinging to his friends throughout his entire life.