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John Huntington
pages 40-42


IT is the dictate of our nature, no less than of enlightened social policy, to honor those whose lives have contribute in any way to the good of the community and associates; to bedew with affectionate tears the silent urn of departed worth and virture [sic.];to unburden the fullness of the surcharged heart in eulogium upon deceased benefactors, and to rehearse their noble deeds for the benefit of those who come after us. It has been the commendable custom of all ages and all peoples. Hence the following brief tribute to one of nature's noblemen. In contemplating the many estimable qualities of the late John Huntington, integrity and industry appear as prominent characteristics--an integrity that no personal or other consideration could swerve, and an industry that knew no rest while anything remained undone. His temperament was calm and equable, and his manners were emphatically those of the gentleman--plain, simple, dignified, despising sham and pretense of all kinds. His devotion to every duty was intense, while his perception of truth and worth was almost intuitive. In his estimate of these he was always open to conviction. He was a man whom to know was to respect and admire, and his loss was keenly felt by a wide circle of friends and acquaintances.
John Huntington, successful business man, philanthropist and public benefactor, eminent citizen and esteemed friend, was born in Preston, England, on March 8, 1832. His father, Hugh Huntington, was a man of more than ordinary standing in his community, having been one of the founders of historic Trinity School at Preston, while in other ways he earned th respect and esteem of the community. John Huntington was reared under the parental roof and secured a good, practical education in his home community. In 1852, when but twenty years of age, he emigrated to the United States, locating in Cincinnati, where he remained but a short time, then removing to Cleveland, Ohio, where he engaged in carpenter contracting and the roofing business. The young man applied himself with indomitable energy to the enterprise, his efforts being rewarded with a large measure of success, so that he was enabled to extend his interests into other lines of enterprise. In an early day he became interested in the oil industry, then practically in its infancy, and was associate with Clark, Payne & Company, one of the most prominent oil concerns of that day. His attention was attracted to the methods then in use in the refining of oil, and he made a number of very valuable improvements in the process, which he patented. He possessed marked mechanical and inventive genius and also invented and patented improvements in furnaces and in machinery for the manufacture of barrels. From the use of his and other inventions, Clark, Payne & Company derived such great advantages that they were enabled to outstrip all competitors,a nd eventually the united with other leading oil refineries in the formation of th Standard Oil Company. It may thus be truly said that Mr. Huntington, to a very definite degree, contributed to the phenomenal success of this great corporation, for it was his genius and practical application of his original ideas which, in a way, revolutionized former methods of refining and handling of the refinery products and enable the company with which he was identified to do that which it was impossible for others to do. In 1886 Mr. Huntington engaged in the lake shipping business, becoming part owner of a large fleet of his section of the country. He was also a large stockholder and vice-president of the Cleveland Stone Company, an important and successful concern. Thus in many ways, Mr. Huntington became a conspicuous figure in the commercial and industrial life of his city and was successful, not only in the accumulation of a fortune, but also, what was of far greater value, in the gaining of the universal esteem and respect of the community of which he was for more than four decades an honored citizen.
Though Mr. Huntington was successful in the acquisition of wealth, he gave freely and liberally to many charitable and benevolent causes. A man of action, he practiced rather than preached, and no worthy object appealed to him in vain. Prior to his death he had established a fund known as the John Huntington Benevolent Trust, and he also provided for the setting aside of a certain per cent. of the income of his estate for the establishment of the Huntington Art Museum, now in course of construction in Wade Park and an evening polytechnic school. With a vision of the future and foreseeing the needs of the city along these lines, he thus made abundant provisions for the meeting of the requirements for educating those who otherwise would be unable to secure such advantages. He accomplished much because he had large visions, and he had the courage and the decision to follow his convictions in all things. He realized the responsibilities and privileges which the possession of wealth brought to him, being true to his conscience in those things which related to the moral and esthetic phases of life, as he was also in the more practical and material affairs.
As a citizen, Mr. Huntington stood as a man among men and faithfully performed his full duty to the community. A Republican in his political views, he took a deep and intelligent interest in public affairs, and especially in municipal affairs in which he maintained a deep interest. In an early day he rendered efficient and appreciated service for many years. He was one of the leaders in originating and carrying forward to successful completion the plans for many of the public works of Cleveland. He had great faith in the city's future and determined to plan and build for the coming years. He was a member of the committee which had in charge the construction of the bridge across the river at Superior Street; in fact, it was he who, in 1872, introduced in the city council the resolution for the appointment of a committee to consider the construction of such a bridge. He was one of the promoters of Lake View Park and the Superior Street viaduct and in all public improvements he stood for the highest and most substantial character of the work, for it was characteristic of him that whatever was worth doing at all was worth doing well. Though a millionaire, he never felt it beneath him to devote a share of his time and thought to the affiars of his city and he was as honest and conscientious in his relations with the municipal affairs as he could have been in his private business affairs. He was considered a man of broad views and sound judgment, his advice being held in the highest esteem by his business associates and in the official circles of the city. He enjoyed a wide acquaintance in all circles and was deservedly popular throughout the city, because of his unselfish and generous regard for the rights of others.
Mr. Huntington was twice married, first at Preston, England in 1852, to Jane Beck, soon after which the young couple started on the long voyage across the Atlantic to their future home. They became the parents of seven children, John Huntington, who died in infancy; Arthur Grant Huntington, deceased; Leonora Huntington, deceased; Hanah Beck Huntington, now Mrs. A. C. Hord; William Robert Huntington; Margaret Jane Huntington, now Mrs. Francis P. Smith; and Matilda Huntington, now Mrs. Edward A. Merritt, all of Cleveland. Some time after the death of his first wife, Mr. Huntington married Mrs. Mariett L. Goodwin, the daughter of Talmage W. leek of Cleveland. Mr. Huntington's death occurred in London, England, on January 10, 1893, in the sixty-first year of his age, honored and beloved by all who knew him, for there was probably not another man in his home city who was held in higher esteem by the population, regardless of sects, politics, or profession. Personally, he was a clean, pure man, his private life being unassailable. A man of marked domestic tastes, his most enjoyable hours were spent within the precincts of his own home. In the largest life of the community he filled an important place when his presence was most needed, and the forces for good which he set in motion continue to bless mankind, although the fine brain that conceived them be stilled forever.


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