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Isaac Porter Lamson
NO compendium such as the province of this work defines in its limitations will serve to offer fit memorial to the life and accomplishments of the late Isaac Porter Lamson of Cleveland, for a long period of years one of the leaders in business and industrial circles in this city--a man remarkable in the breadth of his wisdom, in his indomitable perseverance, his strong individuality, and yet one whose entire life had not one esoteric phase, being able to bear the closest scrutiny. He was remarkably successful in many respects, yet his entire accomplishment but represented the result of the fit utilization of the intimate talent which was his, and the directing of his efforts along those lines where mature judgment and rear discrimination led the way. There was in Mr. Lamson a weight of character, a native sagacity, a farseeing judgment and a fidelity of purpose that commanded the respect of all, but greater than these was his unswerving integrity. His was a long life of honor and trust and no higher eulogy can be passed upon him than to state the simple truth that his name was never coupled with anything disreputable and that there was never the shadow of a stain upon his reputation for integrity of word and deed and unwavering honest. He was essentially a man among men, having ever moved as one who commanded respect by innate force, while as a citizen he easily ranked with the most influential of his compeers in affairs looking toward the betterment of his community. His life and labors were worthy because they contributed to a proper understanding of life and its problems. In his earlier years he had made his way over obstacles seemingly insurperable, and eventually won for himself a place of prominence and honor as one of the world's honored army of workers. He ranked high in all circles in which he moved and his memory is to-day honored by all who knew him.
The Lamson family is of English origin, and, on the paternal side, is traced back through eight generations to (I) Barnabas Lamson, who embarked from Harwich, England, in the ship "Defence" on August 10, 1635. He settled at Newtowne (now Cambridge), Massachusetts, where he became a land owner, a selectman and surveyor of the town. He died about 1640. Who his wife was is not known, but among their children was (II) Joseph, born probably in 1638 at Charleston, Massachusetts, and who died in February, 1679. Among his five children was (III) Ebenezer Lamson, who married, April 19, 1698, at Concord, Massachusetts, Sarah Hartwell. They had seven children, of whom (IV) Timothy was born at Concord, Massachusetts, July 25, 1699. He married patience Thompson, and they had seven children, the fourth born of whom was (V) Ebenezer, born April 13, 1741, who became a preacher of note, first in the Baptist, and later in the Universalist Church. He died July 4, 1834. He married Ruth Phillips, of the same stock from whence came Wendell Phillips and Phillips Brooks. They became the parents of nine children, the eldest of whom, (VI) Isaac, was born February 19, 1764, at Charlton, Massachusetts. Isaac Lamson was a close student, a successful teacher, and enterprising business man. He married Keziah Sharpe, to which union was born eight children, on of whom was (VII) Isaac, was born at Charlton, Massachusetts, on February 8, 1799. He became a collier and farmer, was a member and class leader in the Methodist Church, and lived an honest, upright, and just life. On January 4, 1825, he married Celina Miller, the daughter of Rev. Thomas and Asenith (Andrews) Miller, who was born October 7, 1805. From Sheffield, Massachusetts, they removed to Mt. Washington, that State, where the greater part of their lives were spent, their last years being spent at Burlington, Connecticut, where their deaths occurred, he passing away on March 25, 1886, and his wife on August, 1, 1888. They were the parents of the following children: Samuel M., Thomas H., Celina, Isaac Porter, Esther, Waldo, Mary A., and Lucinda. The genealogy of the Miller family has been traced back through eight generations to John Miller, who came to America from Maidstone, Kent County, England, about 1644, settling first at Lyon, Massachusetts, and removing later to East Hampston, Long Island. The Rev. Thomas Miller, father of Mrs. Celina Lamson, was a direct descendant of John Miller and was the son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Filer) Miller. He was born in 1783 and died in 1859. To Thomas and Asenith Miller were born eleven children, and by a subsequent marriage, to Phebe Canfield, there were ten children.
Isaac Porter Lamson was born at Mt. Washington, Massachusetts, on September 2, 1832. His boyhood days were spent on the paternal farmstead, which he helped to cultivate during the summer months, while during the winters he attended the district schools. At the age of eighteen years, ambitious to start out in life on his own account, he made a agreement with his father to give him one hundred and fifty dollars for the remainder of his time, which amount was duly made in cash before he attained his majority. His first employment was in the making of clock faces, at which his remuneration was six dollars a month and his board. Later he entered the employ of Henry A. Miller, where he was engaged in turning carriage bolts, at more lucrative wages. Mr. Miller becoming financially embarrassed, the Miller Manufacturing Company was formed, of which Mr. Lamson became a stockholder, and here he secured regular employment and also an opportunity for studying mechanics and developing his genius along that line. Three years were very profitably spent by him in this factory, where he became an expert bot and nut maker, acquiring a useful knowledge of the construction of machinery. Then came the failure of the Miller Company, and with that went the savings of young Lamson, the stockholders having lost their entire investment, with the exception of six per cent., which was later returned to them. Such a condition would have discouraged a young man of less mettle than Mr. Lamson, but he was from the start determined to recognize no such word as failure, and he immediately sought other employment. This he found, first with J. B. Savage, of Southington, and later with the Plant Manufacturing Company, of Plantsville, Connecticut, with whom he remained until 1862, when he became a bolt-head turner with William J. Clark and Company, of Milldale, Connecticut. He remained with this company until 1868, when he joined his brother, Thomas H. Lamson, and Samuel W. Sessions in establishing the Lamson-Sessions Company, at Mt. Carmel, Connecticut During the following year the company removed to Cleveland, Ohio, where they were soon established as one of the leading manufacturing enterprises of that city. In 1884, the business was incorporated as the Lamson and Sessions Company, of which Mr. Sessions became president and Mr. Lamson, superintendent. Upon the death of Mr. Sessions, Mr. Lamson became president of the company, continuing in that position up to the time of his death, which occurred at his home in Cleveland on November 29, 1912.
The Lamson and Sessions Company was a prosperous concern from the start, and during the forty and more years of its history in Cleveland it has continually enjoyed a high reputation in business circles. Spendidly equipped with the most up-to-date machinery for the output of a high grade product, employing none but skilled workmen, and conducting the business according to the highest standards of commercial ethics, the company has always commanded its full share of the trade and has retained the confidence of the business world. Much of the success which came to the enterprise was undoubtedly due to the untiring efforts of Mr. Lamson, who gave his personal attention particularly to the manufacturing department of the business and for which he was well qualified by experience and training. He had a practical knowledge of almost every improvement in machinery for the manufacture of nuts and bolts, and he was always ready to take advantage of any improvement over methods already in use, so that the factory was maintained at the highest standard of equipment and capacity.
Aside from the Lamson and Sessions Company, Mr. Lamson had other business interests and investments, having been a director in the Ferry Cap and Set Screw Company, the Union Rolling Mill Company, and the Union National Bank. He was a man of varied activities and was keenly interested in the political, civic, religious, and business life of the city and in various philanthropic institutions, having been president of the board of trustees of the Jones Home fro Friendless Children, in which he took a deep interest, and was also a trustee of Riverside Company.
He was a supporter of teh Pilgrim Congregational Church, of which his wife was a member, and he gave liberally to the varied interests of that society. As a member of the Chamber of Commerce he was an efficient factor in advancing many movements for the upbuilding and betterment of the city, and his support was never sought in vain for any object that promised to benefit the people generally. Politically, Mr. Lamson was a life-long Republican, and always took a deep interest in public affairs. In 1876 he was a member of the City Council from the old Thirteenth Ward, serving for one term. He was frequently a delegate to conventions of his party, being a member of the convention which first nominated William McKinley for the Presidencey, and was a presidential elector on the ticket which elected Benjamin Harrison President. Socially, he was a member of the Clifton Club and the Tippecanoe Club.
On May 27, 1856, Isaac P. Lamson was married to Fannie L. Sessions, a daughter of Calvin and Lydia (Humphreys) Sessions. She was born at Burlington, Connecticut, April 21, 1836, and her death occurred in Cleveland, on January 24, 1908. To this union was born a daughter, Lillian May, on November 14, 1857, who, on January 23, 1884, was married to John Gould Jennings, and they have a son, Isaac lamson Jennings. The latter, who was born on January 14, 1885, graduated at Yale in 1907, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts, and is now connected with the Sales Department of the Lamson and Sessions Company. John Gould Jennings was born at Cleveland, Ohio, on September 28, 1856, and comes of sterling old Yankee stock, his ancestors having been identified with New England since the middle of the seventeenth century. He is a graduate of Yale, class of '78, degree of Bachelor of Arts, and since 1884 has been identified with the Lamson and Sessions Company as treasurer.
Mrs. Fannie Lamson was a woman of unusual qualities of character, which gained for her the loyal friendship of all who knew her, and in the life of the community, in its various aspects, she always took a deep interest and was and active figure in many movements for the betterment of the community. In particular testimony as to the character and goodness of this noble woman, we quote the following words, uttered at her funeral service by her pastor, Dr. Dan F. Bradley: "Mrs. lamson, from her girlhood until the days when, in the maturity of a wide experience, she became the center of a large circle of congenial spirits, had the passion for kindness,a nd the beautiful memory of her life is the result of her full use of the disposition and the opportunity.
"It would scarcely be appropriate to say of Mrs. Lamson that she did her duty to her honored husband, to her church, her friends, and to all who looked to her for cheer and hope. Duty with her was illuminated and uplifted. It became only the starting point for manifold service such as the quick mind and the tender heart can give. Cold duty was kindled into a glow of gladness in every helpful, warm-hearted ministry. We came to expect from her, and not in vain, something sweeter and deeper than the ordinary processes of friendship and love. And those who knew her best and expected much of her were never disappointed. In all these years she has poured out her heart in devotion that never wearied. And who can ever forget, that ever know her, the beauty of this good woman, wo ruled her own circle as a queen, because all the royalty of her own soul was devoted to the home, the friends, the children, the church, the poor and needy--all who would be blessed by her liberal hand or could be cheered by her gentle word."
Mrs. Lamson's life had unfolded like a beautiful flower; full of promise in her girlhood days, in the fullness of time it had burst into bloom, scattering its fragrance into the lives of those around her. Her mind was a rich storehouse, filled with treasures, which she freely dispensed to comfort the sorrowing, strengthen the weak, and renew hope in the weary ones of life. Her friends regarded it as a rare privilege to spend an evening with this noble woman, whose ripened years were crowned with the glory of a well-spent life.
In closing this memoir, it is deemed entirely fitting to reproduce the following resolutions on the death of Isaac P. Lamson, coming, as they did, from those who were well qualified to form an estimate of his life, character, and service.
At the annual meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Jones Home for Friendless Children, held January 14, 1913, the following resolutions were adopted: "Isaac P. Lamson, the last surviving charter member of the Jones Home for Friendless Children, the first treasurer, and president of the board of trustees for the past ten years, died on November 20, 1912. He was a man of noble principles, kind, generous and wise, and never so happy as when he was adding to the happiness of others. He had a special love for children, which was manifested in large gifts of his time and money to promote their temporal welfare and train them for future usefulness. He believed in the Word of God, which declares, 'Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.' As a board of trustees, we honored and admired him while living, and gone, will seek to exemplify the noble example he has set us.
"In loving remembrance, we adopt this expression of our loss. Resolved, That in the death of our president, Isaac P. Lamson, the Jones' Home for Friendless Children has lost one of its best and truest friends and benefactors, and the city of Cleveland one of its first citizens, whose place it will be hard to fill.
"Resolved, That as the Board of Trustees of the Home, we extend our heartfelt sympathy to his loved ones and prayerfully commend them to the love and care of Him who is present help and comfort in every time of bereavement, sorrow, and trouble.
"Resolved, That these resolutions be presented to his family and be entered on the permanent records of this board, and be published in the next annual report of the Home."
At a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Union National Bank, held December 2, 1912, the following resolutions was adopted:
"Isaac Porter Lamson, a member of the Board of Directors of this bank, passed from this life November 20, 1912. Mr. Lamson has been identified with the Union National Bank as depositor, stockholder, and director for many years. His wise counsel and wide knowledge of affairs, due to his active interest in the political, civic, religious, and business life of this city, have always been at the service of this bank. We desire to place on the records of the bank this testimony to his sterling character and many noble qualities, and to express our deep sorrow and regret that he has been removed from us, and our keen appreciation of the loss we have sustained.
"Resolved, That a copy of the foregoing tribute to Mr. Lamson be placed on the records of this institution, and also that a copy be presented to his family."
From resolutions passed by the Board of Trustees of Pilgrim Church: "Whereas, the president of Pilgrim Congregational Society and chairman of the Board of Trustees, Isaac P. Lamson, has been called by death from his activities here on earth to the realms above, and,
"Whereas, He has served this society for twenty-nine years as trustee, and eight years a president, and during this long term of service has given generously of his time and means to the support and successful development of Pilgrim Church,
"Resolved, That the members of the Board of Trustees of Pilgrim Church do hereby express our appreciation of his faithful service to this board, and the deep sense of loss not only this church and society, but this community and city has suffered in his death."
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