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Thomas William Graydon,
ONLY as the individual is lifted into something of the
dignity of true, responsible, personal life, can his duties
and work assume new and higher meanings. This is
true just because it is not the simple performing of the
duties which impart to them their meaning, but the purpose, spirit, and way of doing them. In the instance of this word-setting to the late Dr. Thomas William Graydon, for many years one of the best-known citizens of Cincinnati and southern Ohio, it may be recorded of him that, during his active years as a physician and public servant, he gave dignity to any pursuit in which he engaged. His was a true, responsible, personal life, and every duty he performed was according to his sense of life's high ideals. He infused the new and higher meaning into all his work, and his purpose, spirit, and way of doing it addressed their attention to all who knew him, in a forceful manner. In his relations with his fellow men, there was the evident purpose and incentive of an honest personality, and the way many were made to understand this in an unmistakable manner, was by knowing his personal life. This spirit and purpose, which were most commendable, were illustrated along his private pathways, in his professional career and his uniform integrity, fidelity, and fairness in the various positions of public trust. Truly he was a man among men, evidently born to leadership.
Mr. Graydon was born in Ireland, May 19, 1850, a scion of a sterling old family of the Emerald Isle, where his parents, Joseph and Mary (Mills) Graydon, were long highly respected citizens.
Our subject grew to young manhood in his native land and there received good educational advantages; he was a most assiduous student, about to enter Dublin University, and injuring his eyesight by too close application to his books, he left school at the age of nineteen years and immigrated to the United States. He went on a farm in Illinois, believing that his health would be benefitted by outdoor life. The result was that he rapidly recovered and built up a strong constitution, his eyesight becoming normal also. Being ambitious to complete his education, he entered Griswold College at Davenport, Iowa, in 1870, from which institution he was graduated in due course of time. Later he entered the State University of Iowa and was graduated from there in 1875, having made an excellent record in both these instituions. He had pursued a medical course, but he possessed rare natural ability as an orator and, while a student, won an envied reputation as a public speaker. He was chosen the representative orator of the State University to take part in the oratorical contest at the interstate contest in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was one of the prize oration winners. He was not only a polished and eloquent speaker, but his orations were logical, interesting, forceful, and models of rhetoric.
Doctor Graydon came to Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1876, and began the practice of his profession. Being well equipped for his chosen life work, and possessing the many innate qualities necessary to
success in the medical field, he was successful from the start and built up a large, lucrative practice. He continued for a period of nineteen years, during which time his ability increased with experience and research work, and he continued a diligent student, keeping fully abreast of the times in all that pertained to his profession, and always had a comprehensive idea of the gravity of his duties as a physician and a citizen.
Doctor Graydon was a man of great public spirit and took an active part in public affairs and had very much at heart the general welfare of the city of Cincinnati, so long honored by his residence. He also took great pleasure in assisting in any movement for the good of the great Buckeye commonwealth, becoming influential in State affairs and widely known as a leader in the Republican party. He was long a student of public questions and affairs. In the year 1885, he was elected a representative to the legislature from Hamilton County, Ohio, and, making an excellent record, his constituents importuned him to continue in office, but he refused a second nomination, preferring to give his attention exclusively to his profession. He did not claim to be a politician, but, owing to his great ability, public spirit, intimate knowledge of political conditions and unquestioned honesty, together with his advocacy of needed reforms and improvements in various ways, he was peculiarly fitted for high positions of trust within the gift of the people, and was therefore virtually pressed into public service, having "honors thrust upon him." VIn 1888, Joseph B. Foraker, then governor of Ohio, appointed him a member of the Ohio Board of Public Affairs, and he servedtwo years in this capacity. Subsequently, the mayor of Cincinnati appointed him a member of the Board of City Affairs, and he was a very potent factor in both these boards, making his influence felt for the general good of his city and State in no uncertain manner. He advocated many reforms and movements that were far-reaching in their effects. The other members of these boards always gave closest attention to his sound and logical counsel, his ready flow of well-chosen and forceful words always carrying conviction. Being a physician, he knew the needs of the city from a sanitary standpoint, and he was one of the foremost advocates in the building of a new and better water-works system, insuring the people pure water; and as a result, the Queen City to-day possesses one of the very best water works in the world. Those who opposed his ideas on public matters had, nevertheless, great respect for his exceptional ability and honored him for being a fair and broadminded opponent. He was a man of sound judgment and stood firmly for the right as he saw and understood the right, clinging tenaciously to his convictions. His sound advice was frequently sought by men in various walks of life, especially regarding public matters. All who knew him held him in the highest esteem. Charitably inclined, he gave freely of his time, means, and advice to those in need, being always willing to aid the poor and distressed, and a good deal of his practice was gratuitous. His kind heart went out in sympathy to the bereaved and suffering, the unfortunate and worthy whom fate had not smiled upon. Large numbers of these will long continue to revere his memory. He counted among his associates and close friends Cincinnati's good and influential citizens. He did as much as, if not more than, any other man during his day and generation to right the wrongs of his adopted city, having a keen mind for detecting error in all forms, especially as related to public institutions. He was a stanch advocate of purity in politics and worked to put reliable and capable men in the various offices.
Doctor Graydon was a member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and many other fraternal orders, medical societies, and associations of various kinds, in all of which he stood high. He was a member of the Episcopal Church. He enjoyed outdoor life and had a clear insight into nature, appreciating and being able to see beauty where the average man failed, for his was the soul of the poet.
The domestic life of Doctor Graydon began on November 25, 1875, when he was united in marriage with Miss Ann Hetherington. She is a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Simpson) Hetherington. After the mother's death the family located in Carrollton, Kentucky, where they maintained their home for many years and were well and favorably known. Mrs. Graydon is living in the commodious and beautiful family home in Lafayette Circle, Clifton, a surburb of Cincinnati.
To the doctor and wife, nine children were born, five sons and four daughters, namely: Joseph S. married Marjorie Maxwell, a daughter of Lawrence Maxwell; they reside in Cincinnati and have two children. John A. Graydon married Mary Kellog, a daughter of Charles Kellog, deceased, and they live in Des Moines, Iowa; they have two children. Thomas H. Graydon married Mary Anderson, a daughter of Colonel Joseph B. Anderson, of Newport, Kentucky, and they live in Cincinnati. Frank S. Graydon, single, is a student in Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Bruce J. is single and lives at home with his mother. Ethel M. married Major Cuthbert Rogers, of the English Army, who has for some time been on the firing line with his troops in France, and was severely wounded in one of the great battles during the summer of 1915. Margaret R. is single and lives at home. Lorna E. married George Upton, of Salem, Massachusetts, where they now reside, and they have four children. Helen H., the youngest of our subject's children, makes her home with her mother.
The death of Dr. Thomas W. Graydon occurred on February 28, 1900, when in the prime of life, not having attained his fiftieth birthday. His loss at so early an age was a calamity to his city, State, and humanity.
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