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
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
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
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.
Virginia Kroesen Leathers, wife of Charles Lawrence Leathers
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.
Ethel L. Winterhalter,
© February 2001