ROBERT SHERRARD, J.R., lawyer and banker of Steubenville, is of Scotch-Irish ancestry, from whom he acquires those distinctive qualities of that race, energy and perseverance. His father, Robert A. Sherrard, though of humble station in life, was of high repute among those with whom his life was spent. He and his wife, Mary Kithcart, were natives of Fayette county, Penn., whence they removed to Jefferson county, Ohio, in 1805. Here Robert Sherrard was born June 9, 1824. He, as he grew up, assisted his father on the farm, and had those educational advantages characteristic of the country, until his father moved near Steubenville, when he was able to attend the private academy, of John W. Scott. In 1845 he entered the law office of Masson & Moody, and after three years reading he was admitted to the bar October 4, 1848, by the supreme court sitting at new Lisbon. He at once engaged in the practice of the law. In 1850 he was appointed United States marshal for the seventh district of Ohio. In the same year he became associated in the practice with Judge John H. Miller, a partnership which continued until 1863. In 1861, on motion of Hon. T. D. Lincoln, of CIncinnati, he was admitted to practice in the supreme court of the United States; and in the same year was elected by the republicans to represent his senatorial district in the legislature, running ahead of his ticket. He served efficiently, being chairman of both the penitentiary and railroad committees and member of the common school committee. A renomination was tendered him but he declined on account of his increasing business. During the period of his practice of the law, which terminated in 1863, Mr. Sherrard held important relations to the public. In 1850 congress passed the bill granting land-warrants to all citizens who had been in the military service of 1812. Mr. Sherrard, having anticipated the passage of the bill, was one of the first attorneys to visit Washington as a representative of a large number of claimants under the act, and the location of lands in West Virginia became a specialty of his practice, and led to large holdings, on his own part, of western lands.
When in 1855 a supplemental bill was passed equalizing the apportionment of lands, without regard to service, Mr. Sherrard's services were again brought into requisition, and the warrants being made assignable by the latter ill, opportunity was afforded for their purchase. Suring the same period of his life, Mr. Sherrard took a prominent part in the management of Washington college, having been appointed in 1853, and continued in office until 1865, by the synod of Wheeling, as a member of the board of control of that institution, of which he acted as treasurer. In 1864, Rev. Dr. Charles C. Beatty proposed an endowment fund of $50,000 to Washington and Jefferson colleges, as an inducement for their union, and this being accomplished, Mr. Sherrard ws named by the act of the Pennsylvania legislature establishing a board of trustees for the institution as one of that body, as which he has since continued to act. During the years of the civil war Mr. Sherrard rendered most valuable service to the government, though on account of heart trouble he was not received in active service. He devoted himself in relieving sick and wounded soldiers and their families, and was the agent of the state and county for the payment of bounties, disbursing in this position over $150,000. By Appointment of Secretary Chase he took subscriptions to the government loan known as seven-thirty bonds, and, after himself making the first subscription in the county, of $2,000 received subscriptions in the total sum of $200,000. On October 9, 1862, he was appointed by Governor Todd, drafting commissioner for the county, under the call for 300,000 men, the duties of which position he faithfully discharged. In 1864, when the confederate, Gen. John Morgan, made his raid from southern Ohio, through the interior, Gen. Brooks, in command of the division, commissioned Mr. Sherrard to take charge of two regiments sent from Pittsburgh to intercept Morgan, who was heading for West Virginia. One regiment he stationed at the mouth of Rush Run, the other at Portland, and Morgan learning of this through his scouts, changed his route from Georgetown, at the headwaters of Short Creek, so as to carry him through Smithfield and New Alexandria, in the direction of Cross creek. Mr. Sherrard consolidated the two regiments, at this movement, at the mouth of Short creek, forcing Morgan to abandon his intention of crossing the Ohio there, and move on to the north end of the county, where on a Sunday morning he was surrounded and captured, with 700 men and many horses, etc. Morgan was sent to Camp Chase, and thence to the penitentiary, and the horses were brought to Evansville and placed in charge of Mr. Sherrard, with the other booty the raider had captured in his movement. These Mr. Sherrard issued to the owners, on proof of title, and in this way returned over 700 horses, leaving only three unclaimed, which he turned over to the department. In 1863 Mr. Sherrard embarked in banking, in which he has had a conspicuous and honorable career. he purchased the Mechanics' savings bank, of Steubenville, which he operated as a private bank until October, 1865, when it was converted into a national bank, as which it was continued until October 1, 1868. It then became a private bank and is now carried on as the commercial bank of Sherrard, Mooney & Co. In 1870 he went to New York, and became the president of the American National bank and executive officer of the New York transfer company. The latter afforded transportation facilities to and from the various depots of New York and Brooklyn, and during Mr. Sherrard's connection with it, carried the mails in the two cities. The company employed 400 men and 600 horses and wagons. Col. George W. McCook, of Steubenville, having died in December, 1877, Mr. Sherrard was obliged to return to take charge of business interests in which they had been united, but he still retains his connection with the American national bank. In addition wo his connection with Washington and Jefferson college, Mr. Sherrard has aided in the cause of education as member for seventeen years of the Steubenville board of education. He is president of the Steubenville coal & mining company, and the Steubenville gas company, and is treasurer of the cemetery association. In 1878 he traveled in Europe and the Holy Land, and on his return lectured upon his experiences. In 1881 he again visited Europe. Mr. Sherrard was married in early manhood to Sarah A. Salmon, by whom he had three children, one of whom died in infancy. The survivors are Col. Henry C. Sherrard, now serving his second term on the staff of Gov. Foraker, and Emma V., wife of Henry C. Elliott, of New York. Mr. Sherrard's second marriage was to Kitty, daughter of Sr. Johnson, of Steubenville, on December 13, 1881. By this union he has had three children: Thomas J., Robert S. and Mary C., of whom the second is deceased.
Copyright © 2006 Danice Ryan. All rights reserved.