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George Washington Crouse
ONE OF the best remembered and most representative
citizens of Akron, Ohio, during the generation that has
passed, who, after an unusually successful, prominent,
and honorable career, has taken up his journey to that
mystic clime — Shakespeare's "undiscovered bourne, from whence no traveler e'er returns"— leaving behind him a heritage of which his descendants may well be proud, an untarnished name, was the late George W. Crouse, for a long lapse of years one of the leading manufacturers and men of affairs of his section of the State. But not only as a business man of high quality is he deserving of mention in a work of this nature, but also on account of his splendid public career, which embraced terms in the State senate and the National Congress. His long life of four score years was one of decided usefulness.
Mr. Crouse was born near Akron, and had faith in her future when he was first starting out on his career; and he lived to see and take a conspicuous part in the development of the place from an insignificant frontier village in the midst of practically a wilderness, to one of the important commercial centers of the Middle West. The date of his birth was November 23, 1832. He was a son of George and Margaret (Robison) Crouse of Summit County, Ohio, but originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The father, a man of old-time sterling qualities, devoted his life to agricultural pursuits. To these parents seven children were born, all now deceased.
George W. Crouse grew to manhood on the home farm and received his early education in the district schools. His ambition for an education was not to be gratified in college halls, but, nothing daunted, he became a well-informed man by close observation and by extensive home study. He was a splendid type of the successful, self-made American. When only seventeen years of age, he began teaching in the rural schools of Summit County, near his home, continuing for several years, teaching one winter in South Bend, Indiana. Later, he became deputy treasurer of Summit County, Ohio, then deputy auditor, finally being elected county treasurer, and thus served his county in a public capacity for several years to the satisfaction of his constituents. For a few months he was agent at Akron for the Erie Railroad Company, after this road had just been built. Then he was employed by Aultman, Miller and Company, manufacturers of agricultural implements, when that firm was first organized, about 1862. He was one of their office employees, and, being an alert, faithful, trustworthy, and courteous young man, he was rapidly promoted, becoming treasurer and finally president of the company, which position he held until the firm w- ent out of business in 1903. During that long period of nearly forty years, he gave much of his best efforts to the enterprise, and its large success was due to his able management. It was about the last-mentioned date that Mr. Crouse retired from active business, but as he had become interested in nearly every .manufacturing concern in Akron for a number of years, it was necessary for him to devote the major portion of his time to looking after his accumulated properties. He made one of his most important investments about 1870, when, in partnership with Col. G. T. Perkins, he furnished Doctor Goodrich with fifty thousand dollars, which marked the beginning of the present vast Goodrich Rubber Company of Akron. Although he was never active in the company, he was vice president of the same for many years and also a director until his death. He was also an official in several other manufacturing concerns of importance in Akron, among which were: The Thomas Phillips Company, the National City Bank, and the Akron Cultivator Company, being president of all three; and their pronounced success was due for the most part to his sagacity, foresight, and business acumen.
Mr. Crouse was a man of patriotic impulses, and when the great war between the States began, he wanted to enlist in defense of the flag, but was holding a county office at that time and did not deem it advisable to resign; however, when his term expired, toward the close of the war, he enlisted in the one-hundred-day service as guard at the Capitol in Washington. He was always actively interested in public affairs and a leader in the Republican party in his section of the State. He served one term as State senator, and was a member of Congress from the Akron district one term. In all positions of public trust he discharged his duties in an able and faithful manner, winning the plaudits of his constituents.
Fraternally, he was a member of the Masonic Order—a Knight Templar. He was a conscientious member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, in which he was senior warden for many years and a very liberal contributor; in fact, was a pillar in that fashionable Akron church. He was president of the board of trustees of Buchtel College for several years. He was not a club man, and had no hobby unless. it was in helping deserving, promising young men get started in the business world. There are men in Akron and elsewhere who owe him a debt of gratitude which they cannot repay. He did an incalculable amount of good in this respect; and, although always ready to give the discouraged youth a helping hand, and liberal in his charities in general, he never gave in an ostentatious manner, but always from a sense of duty and a heart full of love and kindness; and when he was summoned from earthly scenes at the beautiful family residence, in Akron, January 5, 1912, at the advanced age of eighty years, the whole city mourned his loss, and his memory will long be revered.
George W. Crouse was married to Martha K. Parsons, a daughter of William E. and Clementine (Janes) Parsons, and as a result of this union five children were born, namely: Martha is the wife of Dr. Thomas Parsons, of Rochester, New York, and they have one son, Thomas Crouse Parsons; Julia is the wife of Horace M. Houser, of Akron, and they are the parents of two children, George Crouse Houser and Martha Parsons Houser; Mary is the wife of David M. Mason, of London, England, and to
them seven children have been born, Stephen, Esther, Dorothy, George, Henrietta, Christian, and ; Nellie is the wife of Samuel E. Carpenter, of Ridgefield, Connecticut, and they have four children, Samuel, Eleanor, Edith, and Mildred; George W. Crouse, Jr., of Akron, married Elizabeth K. Alden, and they have one son, George W. Crouse the third.
Barbara's Bordered Backgrounds