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PRAISE is always due to merit and especially where merit
is the product of unassisted energy and perseverance.
The self-made man commands our highest respect.
Those struggles by means of which he has risen to
honorable distinction cannot fail to enlist sympathy and call forth our warmest applause And, too, the record of a life well spent, of triumph over obstacles, of perseverance under difficulties and steady advancement from a modest beginning to a place of honor in the community in which one devotes his efforts, when imprinted on the pages of history, presents to the youth of the rising generation an example worthy of emulation and may also be studied with profit by those of more mature years whose achievements have not kept pace with their expectations. On the roster of the names of those who have been identified with the industrial life of the city of Cleveland during a past generation, that of the late Isaac Reynolds merits a place of honor, for he was a resident of this city for three-quarters of a century, having been one of our sterling pioneers, living to witness the growth of this great metropolis from an insignificant village on the lake shore. In the early epoch of her development as well as in later years, his energies were effectively directed along normal lines of enterprise, and in many ways he made distinct contribution to the progress of this favored section of the commonwealth of Ohio. The life of Mr. Reynolds was one of signal integrity as well as usefulness, and such was his association with the city's progress during its history that a record of his career should be perpetuated on the page of State and local history.
Mr. Reynolds, whose beautiful late residence was located in the attractive town of Willoughby, was born in New York City, December 27, 1830. He was a son of Ambrose and Ruth (Hendrickson) Reynolds. The father was a prominent business man in New York City. His death occurred when our subject was an infant, but the mother lived to bring him to Cleveland about the year 1831, and here she spent the rest of her life, dying in 1870 having been tenderly cared for by her son, our subject, from his boyhood until the end of her mortal existence. There was great attachment between them, and her careful training was always reflected in his character in all relations of life.
Mr. Reynolds grew to manhood in Cleveland, and here he received his education in the primitive schools of three-quarters of a century ago. However, he was self-taught, having been a man who delighted in perusing miscellaneous literature of a high grade, and he may be referred to as one of our most successful self-made men. Accounts of his early business career are not sufficiently clear to be given in detail. He was interested in the stave business in the early days with Messrs. McGreggor and Barber. They had some process of treating barrels, making them oil-proof, and Mr. Reynolds being an intimate friend of John D. Rockefeller, the latter tried to influence him to join the Standard Oil Company. The oil business was then in its infancy and Mr.
Reynolds couldn't figure it out as a great success, and he introduced Mr. McGreggor, who in later years rose to great prominence with the Standard. Mr. Reynolds first came into prominence as the manager of the old Valley Railroad, and he was also interested in the Lake Shore Railroad at the time of its building. He was for anumber of years regarded as one of the progressive railroad officials of northern Ohio, in fact, his most active and important business history was in connection with railroads, although in his later life he was known as proprietor of one of Cleveland's popular hotels, having purchased the American Hotel, 802 West Superior Street, Cleveland, in 1893, and continued as its owner and proprietor up to the time of his death. However, he had retired from active business a number of years previously. Under his able management this hostelry became a favorite stopping place for the traveling public, for here they always received courteous and fair treatment.
Mr. Reynolds had the distinction of being the real organizer of the Cleveland Stock Yards and its success and importance among the thriving industries of the city were due in no little measure to his efforts.
About 1906, Mr. Reynolds removed from Cleveland to Willoughby, a suburb of Cleveland, in Lake County, and devoted the rest of his life to small farming and the care of his beautiful country estate, very greatly enjoying this kind of life, for he was fond of nature, could appreciate its beauties to the full, and he also enjoyed having his friends as guests at his hospitable and commodious home there. He made a success of agricultural pursuits as he had in all other lines of endeavor, for his was essentially a business mind and no doubt he would have succeeded at whatever vocation he might have selected. He was at one time associated with Brenton D. Babcock in the hotel business in Cleveland, but as a rule he had no business partners.
Mr. Reynolds was twice married, first in 1847 to Almira Burnett, of Newberry, Ohio, whose family originally came from Connecticut, locating in the town of Newberry in early pioneer days. The death of Mrs. Reynolds occurred in 1893, and on September 4, of that year, he was united in marriage with Nettie Glenn, a daughter of J. B. Glenn, a prominent real estate man of Cleveland. Both marriages of our subject were without issue.
Mr. Reynolds was very fond of his home. He left one of the most beautiful estates in Ohio, and during the last eight years of his life could always be found there except when attending to some of his outside business interests, or enjoying practice at one of his shooting clubs. The fine home he left to Mrs. Reynolds is thoroughly modern and elegant in appointments and furnishings, and this, together with the fortune he accumulated through his able and judicious business career, are monuments most fitting to the ability of a self-made man, for surely our subject was in every way entitled to bear that proud American title.
Most of his recreation was obtained with rod and gun. He was an expert marksman and greatly enjoyed his annual hunting excursions into the wilds. He was fond of shooting either in the field or at the trap and made some remarkable scores. He was a member of the Ottawa Shooting Club, the Toussaint Shooting Club, and the Castalia Trout Club.
Politically he was a Republican, and while he took an abiding interest in the affairs of his party and a good citizen's interest in all matters pertaining to the material, civic and moral welfare of his city and State, he never sought political leadership. The only office he ever held being that of councilman in the city council of Willoughby, which position he held for many years, during which he did much for the general upbuilding of the town, so that her citizens will hold him in fond remembrance for many years to come.
In fraternal circles Mr. Reynolds was a prominent and influential Mason, having attained the thirty-third degree in that Order, having been a member of Oriental Commandery of the Knights Templars and Al Koran Temple of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Mystic Shrine. His daily life indicated that he lived up to the high precepts of this time-honored fraternity.
An insight into our subject's magnanimous and altruistic nature may be gained from the fact that by his will Thomas P. McCaffry, for ten years manager of the American Hotel for Mr. Reynolds, was retained in that capacity and given a one-fourth interest in the hotel site when the lease expires. Mr. McCaffry worked at the hotel more than twenty-six years, having begun as a bellboy.
During most of his long life, Mr. Reynolds enjoyed excellent health, having been a robust man by nature, his splendid physique carrying him safely through many trying ordeals up to within a few years previous to the end of his earthly career, when he began to fail in health, the final summons coming to him on August 9,1914, when nearly eighty-five years of age. Thus passed away one of the strong, generous, grand characters in the history of the Forest City and its environs, a man whose name will long enrich the history of this section of the fair country which he loved so well.
Barbara's Bordered Backgrounds