Lake County Ohio GenWeb

Aaron Wilcox

This biography is taken from History of Geauga and Lake counties; Williams Brothers, 1878.

Transcribed and submitted by Becky Falin, 1996.

Aaron Wilcox, banker, of Painesville, was born March 8, 1814, at North Killingworth, Connecticut, and is now living. His father, Moses Wilcox, and uncle, Aaron Wilcox, were twins, and had a singular history. In personal appearance they were alike to the minutest detail and their resemblance was the occasion of numerous mistakes. In physical and mental conditions also they were the counterparts of each other. Whether together or separated, they were as one in the fluctuations of health and the varying moods of disposition. If one sickened, the other was affected by similar illness; when one recovered, the other regained health. If one brother was in grief, the other sympathized in sorrow; when one rejoiced, the other was light-hearted without knowing why. They served together as officers in the war of 1812. They were both prominent merchants and manufacturers. At one time they both taught schools in Middletown, Connecticut, and frequently changed schools without the fact being discovered. They married sisters, and both had large families, each having nine children. In 1824 the brothers, with their families, removed to northern Ohio, and settled at Twinsburg, that name being given to the settlement by them. They engaged in farming together, having purchased a quarter of the township, and by their industry, correct lives, integrity, benevolence, and strong religious feeling exercised a beneficial influence in the settlement. The manner of their death was no less remarkable than their lives. Both had been ailing for some time, and were in bed at their homes, half a mile apart, suffering from the same disease. Within a few moments after the death of Aaron at his home, Moses rose in his bed, exclaiming, "My brother Aaron is dead, and I shall die too." A little later in the day he died.

The brothers were buried together, and in the same grave. The son of Moses, who had been named after his uncle, came from Connecticut in 1827, and attended the schools in the neighborhood, after leaving which he became clerk with Mr. Isaac Gillet, in Painesville, and at the age of twenty-one was taken into partnership, under the firm-name of Gillet & Wilcox, doing a general merchandising business. Two years afterwards the artnership was changed, and with many changes of the firm-name he always being the senior partner after the retirement of Mr. Gillet. The business was conducted in the same place for over thirty years. In 1865, having acquired considerable property in the course of his business, he retired from the firm, and established the widely know Lake County Bank, for the transaction of a legitimate banking business. In 1873, Mrssrs. Wilson and S.K. Gray were admitted as partner, the firm-name being changed to Wilcox & Co., and the operations extended, so that it became the leading banking-house of the county. In addition to his mercantile and banking house business, he was for many years a director of the Bank of Geauga and its successor, the First National Bank of Painesville. He has taken a strong interest in all local enterprises and movements for the improvement of the place, has served many years in the council, and has been twice elected mayor.

In educational matters he was especially active, being for many years a member of the school board, giving time and means in support of the schools. He is a zealous friend of the Lake Erie Female Seminary, of which he was one of the founders, and at first the treasurer, working energetically to place it upon a sound financial foundation. His religious connection is with the Episcopal church, of which he has been thirty-five years a member, giving freely to its support. He has taken an active part in politics, holding very decided views, and working energetically to sustain them, being at first a Whig, and then a Republican when that party was organized. He is a thorough and consistent temperance man. He was chosen one of the presidential electors to cast the vote of the State for J.C. Fremont, and again on the second election of Grant to the presidency. He served for five years as associate judge of the court of common pleas, giving satisfaction by his course on the bench. During the war of the Rebellion he was an ardent supporter of the cause of the Union, working hard for its support, and contributing freely to that end. His devotion to business is unremitting, and his regard for commerical honor very high. His reputation for personal and business integrity, and scrupulous adherence to his word once given, is untarnished by a single blot. His individual and business affairs are regulated with mathematical precision, which may account in a measure for the invariable success of his undertakings. He was married in 1837 to Miss Eliza Jane Morley, of Weedsport, New York, and has seven children: A.M. Wilcox, of Cleveland, Ohio, of the firm of Cleveland, Brown & Co.; two daughters married to P.M. Hitchcock and Charles Doolittle, members of the firm of Cleveland, Brown & Co.; three daughters at home, Eliza H., Mary E., and Carrie; and C.S. Wilcox, in attendance at Yale College in 1878.

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