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Charles Lawrence Leathers




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 of Charles' father, William Frederick Leathers


Read biography

 of Charles' son, Carl Lawrence Leathers

Charles Leathers was a well regarded businessman from the early 1890’s until his last illness in 1931.  He was the founder and administrator of the Leathers Plumbing Company.

Charles Lawrence Leathers

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Charles had always had his eye set on plumbing as a career.  His older brother, John, persuaded him to learn the printing business so they could buy a printing shop together.  John’s reasoning was that two of them could handle twice as much business and thereby get rich twice as fast.  A good thing to think of, but Charles could find no excitement in the printing business.  It was “dead.”  It was over 400 years old, not new and exhilarating, with new horizons, as the plumbing was. 

Charles was certain plumbing was the business of the future.  His good friend, Will Dunlap’s father had a flourishing business, Dunlap and Son.  In 1890 plumbers were on the brink of a  Bonanza with the advent of  “indoor plumbing.”  Charles could see this great new world ahead of him with all the “modern conveniences” popping up every day and more promised in the coming Twentieth century which was bearing down on him like a fast locomotive.  Just in the past few years, such marvels as the telegraph, telephones and electricity and now indoor bathrooms, running water in both kitchens and baths, and sewers to drain it out, were making the world a dynamic place. 

It fascinated him to think of living in a world with no more privies or outhouses, no more “thunder mugs.”  A totally changed way of living.  No more bringing in pitchers of water to wash with, or for carrying out the wastewater. 

When Charles was pronounced a full journeyman plumber, he and Bob Whitla went into business on South Croton Avenue.  Later, Whitla’s father-in-law, Mr. Main, built the brick building back of New Castle Dry Goods on Croton Avenue.  They moved into it shortly before Charles married in 1895. 

Charles, born November 15, 1871 in Harlansburg, PA, the son of William Frederick and Margaret Stevenson Leathers. 

Charles and his brothers set up businesses as soon as they had carefully saved the money to start.  John was a printer, Will was a pharmacist, Thomas was an accountant like his father before him.  This was America.  There was no limit to what a man could do with a little gumption and hard work.  “Gumption” was a trait Charles set great store by and which he had in large quantities. 

Louise Virginia Kroesen Leathers, wife of Charles Lawrence Leathers

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On 03-May-1895 Charles married Louise Virginia Kroesen, daughter of Robert Davis and Mary Elizabeth Kroesen. 

They lived at 8 Oak Street where their son, Carl Lawrence Leathers was born in 1896. 

Their daughter, Edna Virginia Leathers was born 22-Oct-1897 

In the 1920’s the Leathers Plumbing Company, located at the end of Grant Street where it met the railroad and the Shenango River, flourished until Charles’s last lingering illness in 1931.  He died 19-April-1931 and is buried in Oak Park Cemetery, as is his wife, Louise who died 06-Nov-1963. 

By Ethel L. Winterhalter,


Copyright © February 2001



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