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Joseph Thomas Carew
ONE OF the most prominent and progressive business
men of the city of Cincinnati, and one of Ohio's most
representative citizens of a past generation, was the
late Joseph Thomas Carew, who, for more than a quar-
ter of a century, was conspicuous in both the mercantile and civic life of the community honored by his residence. He was essentially a man of affairs, sound of judgment and far-seeing in what he undertook; and, with scarcely an exception, every enterprise to which he addressed himself resulted in gratifying success. He was a self-made man of sterling character, having begun life poor in this world's goods, but rich in what is far more valuable than material wealth, a sound mind, strong body, and high sense of honor. He possessed concentration of purpose and energy that laughed at restraint, keen foresight, and the rare executive ability that made everything undertaken accomplish the purpose for which intended. To these qualities were added scrupulous integrity in all dealings with his fellow men and a degree of integrity in keeping with the ethics of business life, while behind all controlling all were the great principles embodied in the Golden Rule, without which no man, however vast his wealth and however distinguished his name, can be truly successful.
Mr. Carew was born at Peterboro, Canada, January 2, 1848. He was a son of Robert and Euphemia (Gordon) Carew, both natives of Ireland, the birth of the mother having occurred at Clonmel. These parents grew up in their native land, were educated and married there. The Carew family was one of the oldest and most respected in Erin, dating back to the twelfth century. The father of our subject, who was known as Sir Robert Carew of Woodenston Castle, became head of an entailed estate. He was for many years an influential citizen in his section of Ireland. He brought his family to Canada about the year 1846, but subsequently returned to his native land where he spent the rest of his life. His family consisted of two sons and four daughters.
Joseph T. Carew spent his boyhood days in the town of Peterboro and there attended the public schools, then entered the University of Toronto where he was a student for some time. When a very young man, ho started in mercantile pursuits as a clerk in his native town for the house of Fairweather and Company. After a short experience there, he went to Detroit, Michigan, and secured a place with C. R. Mabley in the Star Clothing House of that city. Young Carew developed so much talent that the shrewd Mr. Mabley recognized his possibilities and rapidly advanced him until he became manager of the Detroit store. Deciding that he wanted to exert his talents in some other city, Mr. Carew determined to locate in Cincinnati, attracted hither by advantages which he believed were beyond those of any other community. In 1877, C. R. Mabley sent Mr. Carew to Cincinnati as manager of the Mammoth Clothing House, which was in one room on one floor of the site of the present vast establishment. Fearing that Mr.
Carew might start in business for himself, Mabley made him a partner in the early eighties, and then was laid the foundation of the house of Mabley and Carew, the entire business of which was purchased by our subject upon the death of Mabley in 1884, and in 1894 was established the Mabley and Carew Company, a corporation, the business having grown to very extensive proportions under the able management of Mr. Carew, who, although giving most of his time to his rapidly increasing industrial affairs, was frequently called upon to give his services for the benefit of his fellow citizens. He was prominent in most of the fraternal and civic organizations. He was a member of Lafayette Lodge of :Masons, a Knight Templar, also a member of the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. No member of the Chamber of Commerce, Business Men's Club, Commercial Club, Piccadilly Club, Merchants' and Manufacturers' Club, or Queen City Club, stood any higher or was more respected than he; in fact, he was one of the most popular and influential members of these organizations. Often Mr. Carew used to refer to what he considered the greatest honor ever bestowed upon him, when the Chamber of Commerce in a body marched to his store and, through Howard Saxby as spokesman, presented him with a golden key of the city. That was the incident in his life that Mr. Carew valued most, although he held numerous positions of distinction. He was a member of one of the first park boards ever created in Cincinnati, and was also a director of the Cincinnati House of Refuge. On September 27, 1905, he was appointed a trustee of the Cincinnati Southern Railway to succeed the late Samuel Hunt, father of former Mayor Henry T. Hunt.
Throughout his entire life, Mr. Carew was a loyal Republican. He contributed liberally to the campaign funds of his party, but could never be induced to accept any office of emolument. Three times he was a Presidential elector from the State of Ohio, twice at large and once from the First District, and he was chairman of the Ohio Electoral College that voted for William H. Taft for President. He was also a member of the college when McKinley and Roosevelt were elected. For years be was regarded as one of the most potent leaders of his party in Ohio and was known to the leading politicians throughout the nation. Several times tremendous pressure was brought to bear on Mr. Carew to persuade him to be the Republican candidate for mayor of Cincinnati, but he remained indifferent to all entreaties and insisted that he was a business man and not a politician. He also prevented his selection as the Republican candidate for Governor on two occasions by his peremptory refusal to consider the offer.
Besides his multitude of duties, Mr. Carew was a director of the Market National Bank and a director of the Cincinnati Gas and Electric Company. He was a very cordial and approachable man. He loved his friends and he took keen enjoyment from his membership in the famous Pelee Fishing Club on Lake Erie, to which many distinguished men belong.
Singularly happy in his domestic relations, Mr. Carew was devoted to his family. He had a summer home at Wequetonsing, Michigan.
On August 14,1877, Mr. Carew was married to Alice E. Stewart, a lady of culture and many commendable characteristics. She spent her girlhood in Detroit where she received excellent educational advantages. She is a daughter of William and Hannah (Martindale) Stewart, whose family consisted of one son and three daughters. The marriage of our subject and wife was blessed by the birth of two children: Robert Gordon Carew, who married Gladys Little, of St. Louis, is a director of the Mabley and Carew Company, and he and his wife have one son, Joseph Stewart Carew, now four years old; Elaine Carew is the wife of Frederic J. Flack, of Cincinnati, and they are the parents of one child, Elaine, who is five years of age.
The Mabley and Carew Company's stores have as wide a celebrity as any other one institution in Cincinati. Joseph T. Carew was 'among the first to recognize the value of extensive advertising and judicious catering to the demands of the public. He set the pace not only for his rivals and associates in the mercantile circles of his adopted city, but his methods have been followed elsewhere. He mixed business and philanthropy with such admirable taste and effectiveness as to bar all criticism and win only praise for his splendid achievements. In all his relations, Mr. Carew was a citizen worthy of emulation. He was a conscientious member of the Church of the Advent (Episcopal), on Walnut MIS, and for twenty years a vestryman. He despised cant and hypocrisy, assist pocrisy, but was ever ready to sist a worthy cause. He gave freely and without display. He was appointed by Mayor Spiegel as a member of the commission chosen to find positions for the unemployed in Cincinnati.
The city was shocked beyond expression by the death of Mr. Carew, which occurred after a short illness December 11, 1914, when lacking a month of his sixty-seventh birthday. When the news was conveyed to the great Mabley and Carew stores, at Fifth and Vine streets, the floors were jammed with patrons buying holiday presents. Orders were given to close the doors, and the multitude of purchasers, each expressing a word of regret for the passing of this good and successful man, moved solemnly out, and the big establishment was deserted by all except some of the employees. Everywhere the death of Mr. Carew was regarded as a calamity. He was known and loved in every walk of life. His employees, more than five hundred of them, could not hide their tears when they heard the sad tidings; and all over the city, in club, business houses, and wherever people congregate, there was nothing but sincere sorrow manifested for the loss of the great merchant, genial citizen, kind and just employer, and patron of everything that tended to the improvement and betterment of Cincinnati. Numerous incidents of his active career were recalled by those who enjoyed his confidence: his innate modesty and aversion to personal publicity, his constant acts of kindness,
and his genius for business, with the rare faculty of securing the good will of his patrons, his charitable impulses, public spirit, exemplary personal habits, and many other splendid qualities which made him a man among his fellows whose memory they will
The following editorial tribute, which appeared under the caption of "A Civic Loss," appeared in the "Cincinnati Enquirer" in its issue of December 12, 1914:
"One of Cincinnati's most distinguished citizens answered the long roll call yesterday. For more than a third of a century, Joseph Thomas Carew has been identified with all that was best and most progressive in the development and growth of the city of his adoption. Self-made in the best sense of the oft-abused term, he succeeded without tyranny and achieved without arrogance."
"With fine generosity, and withal with splendid business foresight, he guided his employees along the tortuous pathway he himself had blazed, binding them to himself and to the great business he had developed with bonds of steel by giving them such interest in the business as their capacity and endeavor justified. He pioneered in modern advertising methods, which splendidly rewarded and vindicated his business judgment."
"Deeply sensible of civic duty and responsibility, he steadfastly declined public office, although repeated effort was made to thrust such honor upon him. It is no secret that he might have been the Republican nominee for governor of Ohio had he given his consent, nor that his party had repeatedly importuned him to accept the mayoralty nomination. In either or any official capacity, his genius for business and organization would have won for him high acclaim, but he preferred to work out his public debt through personal channels of his own choosing."
"The impress of his kindly, genial demeanor, his energy and business methods, will be lasting, an imperishable monument to his memory in the hearts of those who knew him. Cincinnati can ill afford to lose men of the type of Joseph T. Carew."
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