PHILIP WALTHER, one of Lima's representative business
citizens, identified with a number of her largest enterprises, and
engaged in the manufacture of wood-fiber, wall-plaster, established the
first plant of its kind in this section. Mr. Walther was born in 1860
at McKeesport, Pennsylvania, and is a son of George J. Walther.
In 1864 the parents of Mr. Walther removed to Monroe township, Allen
County, Ohio, where they resided for 18 months and then located at Lima,
the father conducting a hotel here for a number of years. He died in
Philip Walther was educated in the public schools of Lima and
subsequently took a business course in a commercial institution, after
which he was employed in a furniture factory. After three years' there,
he accepted an office position with a large local firm, and then
assisted his father in the hotel business until 1887, when he entered
the government service as a letter carrier. This position he resigned
in 1889 to become a deputy under Auditor Cyrus D. Crites, and in 1893 he
was elected to the auditorship itself. He entered upon the duties of
the office in September, 1894, was reelected in 1896, and completed his
public service in 1900. From early manhood he has taken an active
interest in politics and on many occasions has been selected for public
offices, his acceptance of these honors often being impossible, however,
on account of the press of private interests. He is at present a member
of the Board of Review of Lima.
In 1884 Mr. Walther was married to Mary Thoring, who is a daughter
of the late Henry Thoring, and they have three children, viz: Charles
F., Bessie and Pauline. The Family belong to the German Reformed Church
In addiion to the successful business connections previously
mentioned, Mr. Walther is a director of The Crystal Ice & Coal Company,
Feltz Brothers & Company and Citizens' Loan & Building Company. He
holds fraternal relationship with the Odd Fellows, Elks, Knights of
Pythias and Lodge NO. 267, Improved Order of Red Men (German).
His long experience, both in business and in public life, has
brought him into contact with a large percentage of his fellow-citizens,
who hold him in esteem, both for his business integrity and genial
personality. His present business enterprise was started in 1900 and
promises to become one of the most important in this locality, the new
chemical compound meeting a long-felt want of the trade.
WILLIAM A. McBETH
WILLIAM A. McBETH, a prosperous farmer of Shawnee
township, was born July 20, 1861, in Placerville, California, to which
place his parents had moved during the gold fever before their marriage.
He is a son of James and Eliza (Gardner) McBeth, who were the parents of
one other son, J. O., who resides in Lima. James McBeth was born in
Scotland in 1827, and came to America when he was about 21 years of age.
He was a carpenter on a steamboat which plied between Boston and the
Carolinas until he went to California. He remained there until about
three years after his marriage, when he returned as far East as Ohio,
and soon after enlisted in the 55th Ohio Regiment in which he served
until the close of the war. He belonged to the Pioneer Corps which went
in advance of the main army to build bridges, ect., and was with Sherman
in his advance on Atlanta. He married Eliza Gardner, who was a native
of West Virginia, but was reared in the vicinity of Mansfield, Ohio.
After coming to Allen County, James McBeth became a farmer and purchased
a farm of 180 acres. This land had, at one time, been owned by the
Indian chief Turkey Foot, who had sold it to one Edwards, from whom Mr.
McBeth bought it. The house then on the property had been built by its
Indian owner. Later Mr. McBeth purchased the 70 acres upon which our
subject resides, and still later he bought the 97 acres known as McBeth
Park. He was county commissioner for two terms. He died at the age of
68 years. His wife died in November, 1890.
James McBeth built the beautiful lake which ornaments McBeth Park,
and conducted a private park and pleasure resort for about 10 years,
when the ground was leased to the Western Ohio Railway Company. It is
one of the most delightful spots in Allen County and is a favorite
resort of those who wish to while away a few pleasant hours. The lake
covers 10 acres of ground and is 14 feet deep in many places, furnishing
fine rowing and fishing, as it is stocked with perch, bass, catfish and
sunfish. William A. McBeth now owns the lake, having inherited it from
The immediate subject of this sketch was a child of one year when
his parents located on the farm about one mile from his present
residence in section 3. Here he grew to manhood and received his
education, later entering the Lima High School and from this institution
going to the Ohio Normal University located at Ada. He followed farming
and stock-raising, and lived at home until his marriage, after which he
moved to a farm of 35 acres which was born November 18, 1858. They have
been some oil found on his land and a few wells sunk, but not in any
Mr. McBeth was married February 3, 1886, to Aldulia Reed, daughter
of Emanuel and Elizabeth (O' Hara) Reed, and a native of Shawnee
township, where she was born November 18, 1858. They have five
children, viz: James, a violinist and cornetist of rare ability, who is
devoting his time to music and lives at home; Harry Gardner, a student;
Dwight C. and Hazel D. (twins) and Quay W. Mr. McBeth is a Democrat
and has held a number of township offices. In religion he affiliates
with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and fraternally he belongs to Lima
Lodge, No, 205, F. & A. M.
F. E. HARMAN
F. E. HARMAN, one of the leading business men of Lima,
where he has been established since 1877, was born in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, in 1857, and was about 10 years old when he moved with his
parents to Ohio.
The boyhood and school days of out subject was spent at Lima, and
until 1877 he made himself useful to his father in the latter's general
merchandise store, which the elder Mr. Harman carried on for a number of
years. In that year he became bookkeeper and general manager for J. R.
Hughes, who conducted a large business in the line of house furnishing
goods. In 1886 Mr. Harman bought an interest in the business and the
firm name became Hughes & Harman, which continued for three years, when
Mr. Harman sold his interest and established his present line, in
association with his brother-in-law, under the firm style of Harman &
In 1894 Mr. Harman purchased Mr. Bell's interest in the business and
has since continued to conduct it individually. Its original main
feature was crockery and house furnishings generally, and to this Mr.
Harman has added a fine line of furniture and carpets, pushing his
business into the front ranks and enlarging his quarters to accommodate
its expansion. He is now using 40,000 square feet of floor space and
transacts a business which reaches annually into many thousands of
dollars. Mr. Harman is also a member of the directing board of The Ohio
In 1883 Mr. Harman was married to Clara M. Bell, who is a daughter
of William Bell, a pioneer of this section. They are members of the
Presbyterian Church. Mr. Harman belongs to the Masonic fraternity.
J. W. DOBBINS
J. W. DOBBINS, a citizen of Lima, who is held in
general esteem, for a long period very active in the business affairs of
this city and exceedingly prominent in Masonic circles in the State, was
born at Poland, Mahoning County, Ohio, April 26, 1834, and is a son of
Mr. Dobbins comes of sturdy ancestry, a combination of Scotch and
Welsh stock, with an added Irish strain. The family originated in
Scotland, but during the days of religious persecution fled to the North
of Ireland. From that section came the paternal grandfather of our
subject, who settled in Maryland in 1797. His movements later were to
Washington County, Pennsylvania, and thence to what is now Mahoning
County, Ohio, where he settled with other early pioneers. The maternal
grandfather, Thomas Williams, came from Wales and settled in Maryland.
Mr. Dobbins had the common experiences of other farmer's sons in his
locality, but in early manhood turned his special attention to
carpentry. He also taught school for several terms and spent several
years in Missouri, where he was employed as a surveyor of government
lands. Shortly before the opening of the Civil War, he returned to Ohio
and continued his former occupations until 1864, when he enlisted as a
private in the 180th Regiment, Ohio Vol. Inf., in which he served until
the end of the struggle. While this was the extent of his army service,
he has been connected with military affairs previously, having served
throughout the year 1862 as provost-marshal. He was a strong supporter
of the Union cause and testified to his loyalty in a very practical way.
Since 1863 Mr. Dobbins has been a resident of Allen County, and of
Lima, since 1880. For some years he was engaged in farming and
bridge-building, but since locating in the city his main interests have
been in the lumber trade. He is treasurer of Garrett Wykoff Lodge, No.
585, F. & A. M. He was secretary and treasurer of Woodlawn Cemetery
for several years, and is at present one of the trustees. He sold the
property which became the sites of both the Woodlawn and Gethsemane
cemeteries, the latter being the Catholic burial- ground. Mr. Dobbins
was one of the first members of the board of trustees of the Lima
Water-Works. Suring his residence in Shawnee township he served for a
number of years as justice of the peace. Endowed with excellent
business capacity, he has accumulated a competency and has always
thoughtfully considered the welfare of his family.
Mr. Dobbins was married in 1861, to Jane Fenn, and they had seven
children born to them, viz: Mary Olive; Carrie, wife of George Sifert,
of Lima; William F., Manager of the Laurens Hull Lumber Company; Joseph;
Grant, deceased; Arthur, with the Lima Telephone & Telegraph Company,
and Emma and Cloyd, both deceased. Clarence Sifert, the eldest son of
Mr. Dobbins' second daughter, was one of the 14 telephone and telegraph
operators on duty at the notable meeting of the Peace Commissners of
Russia and Japan, at Portsmouth. Another son of Mrs. Sifert is in the
telegraphic department of the Buckeye Pipe Line Company, of Lima.
For the last 30 years Mr. Dobbins has held some official position in
the Masonic fraternity at Lima. He is a 32nd degree Mason; is a member
of the Blue Lodge, Council, Chapter and commandery, at Lima; is one of
the older members of the Shrine at Dayton; belongs to the Consistory at
Toledo, and has long been a member of the Shrine Club. He is also
identified with Mart Armstrong Post, NO. 202, G. A. R.
Mr. Dobbins and family belong to the Presbyterian Church, and
William F. is one of the elders. Mr. Dobbins resides in a very pleasant
home at No. 120 West Spring street. His portrait accompanies this
IRA R. LONGSWORTH
IRA R. LONGSWORTH, a prominent attorney at Lima, and
a manufacturer and oil producer, has been a resident of this city since
1878. He was born at Van Wert, Ohio, October 2, 1859, and is a son of
Dr. William N. Longsworth.
Dr. Longsworth was a native of Maryland, born in 1818, and came West
in 1850. He studied medicine with Dr. Leander Firestone, of Wooster,
and obtained his professional degree from the Fort Wayne Medical
College. He died in 1903, one of the old and honored members of his
profession. He was also engaged in a manufacturing business, and was
quite prominent in politics.
Ira R. Longsworth was educated at Van Wert, and in 1876 was
graduated form its High School. He was prepared by a tutor for the
junior year at Wooster College, but in 1878 located at Lima and, finding
a business opening as manager of his father's manufacturing plant,
forever terminated his collegiate career. He continued to manage his
father's establishment, which was engaged in the manufacture of handles
for farming implements, until 1882, and then purchased it and conduced
the business at Lima until 1888, when he removed it to Anderson,
Indiana. In 1898 he removed the plant to Sumerset, Kentucky, and still
continues its operation.
Although Mr. Longsworth deemed it expedient at the time to give up
his collegiate course, it did not prevent his studying for the law, and
he was admitted to the bar in 1889, and opened an office at Lima. In
his first partnership the business name was Longsworth & Dotson, which
was existent for one and a half years, and his last association was with
Mr. Kephart, the firm of Longsworth & Kephart continuing for one year.
With these exceptions Mr. Longsworth has practiced alone, and is
favorably known in his profession throughout this section of the State.
Mr. Longsworth is also interested in the operating of oil wells, and
is a producer in the Trenton rock fields of Ohio and Indiana. He is
secretary of several successful companies.
Mr. Longsworth is a Republican in politics and in 1890 was elected
mayor of Lima, serving the city for two years.
In 1883 Mr. Longsworth was married to Esther Metheany, of Lima, who
is a daughter of Charles A. Metheany, a business citizen of this place.
They have three children, viz: Mary Esther, Walter I. and Helen Olivia.
The family belong to the Baptist Church, Mr. Longsworth being one of the
deacons in that body. The family is also prominent in the city's
HON. JAMES E. LOWERY
JAMES E. LOWERY, general agent of the Union
Central Life Insurance Company at Lima, and president of the National
Oil Company of this city, is a native of Richland County, Ohio, where he
was born in 1847. He is a son of Williamson B. Lowery, who was a
prominent farmer of Richland County, Ohio, and whose death occurred in
Mr. Lowery attended school at Mansfield, Ohio, until he was 16 years
old, when he became a telegraph operator on the Pennsylvania Railroad.
In 1866 he was appointed agent at Ada, Ohio, and remained there until
December, 1871, when ill health necessitated his retirement. He then
took up the work of the Union Central Lfe Insurance Company, and became
their special agent in the home office at Cincinnati. Later he was
appointed superintendent of agents, with headquarters at Cincinnati,
where he remained until 1881, when he severed his connection with the
company to assume the office of probate judge of Hardin County, to which
he had been elected. He was re-elected to this office in 1884, serving
in all six years. In January, 1888, he was elected clerk of the Ohio
Senate and acted in that capacity two years, when he again became
associated with the Union Central Life and was transferred to
Washington, D. C., where he remained three years. At the expiration of
that period, he was advanced to the general agency of that company at
Lima, having the supervision of the work in Auglaize, Allen and Hancock
counties, Ohio. He took charge of the offices here in 1894, but did not
bring his family to the city until some three years later. In 1902 he
became a stockholder of the National Oil Company, being now its
president and treasurer.
In 1868 Judge Lowery cast his first vote for Gen. U. S. Grant, and
has always been allied with the Republican Party. He was a member of
the Republican State Central Committee from 1882 to 1892, its chairman
in 1885-86, and the following three years served on the executive
committee. He was identified with the Sherman wing of the party during
the life of that statesman, and had the honor of being a close friend of
Maj. William McKinley during the latter's congressional, senatorial and
presidential careers, but never would accept office from Major McKinley,
although the proffer was urgently made.
Judge Lowery was married, in 1868, to Linda Bushnell, a daughter of
Thomas Bushnell, of Ashland County, Ohio. Their children are: Daisy,
wife of Frank Horner, of the Piper Grocery Company, of Lima, and William
B., who resides on a farm on the outskirts of Ada, Ohio. Judge Lowery
took his first degree as a Mason in 1868, and in 1874 he was exalted to
the rank of noble in Shawnee Commandery. He is also a prominent Elk.