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Arnold Converse Saunders
THE biographies of enterprising men, especially good men, are instructive as guides and incentives to others. The examples they furnish of patient purpose and steadfast integrity strongly illustrate what is in the power of each to accomplish, when they have courage and right principles to control their course of action. The late Arnold Converse Saunders, for a number of years a prominent business man of Cleveland of a past generation, during which time he was successfully engaged in numerous enterprises, was a man who lived to good purpose and achieved a much greater degree of success than falls to the lot of the average individual. By a straightforward and commendable course, he made his way to an eminent and respectable position in the world of modern industry, winning the hearty admiration of the people throughout northern Ohio, where his life was spent, and earning a reputation as an enterprising, progressive man of affairs and a broad-minded, public-spirited, charitable, upright citizen, which the public was not slow to recognize and appreciate, and there is much in his life record which could be studied with profit.
Mr. Saunders was born in Rome, Ashtabula County, Ohio, in 1852. He was content to spend his life in his native State, believing that it offered as good if not better opportunities than any other of the Union. He was the son of a Yale graduate who died soon after undertaking a Presbyterian pastorate in the West. Most of the subject's life was spent in Cleveland, whither he came and entered upon an industrial career when only sixteen years of age. This was in 1868. He entered the employ of Rhodes and Company, with whom he remained until 1885. He at once proved a capable, alert, and trustworthy employee, and his advancement was rapid. One of the members of this firm was the late Senator M. A. Hanna, in fact, the firm name was changed in 1885 to M. A. Hanna and Company, and Mr. Saunders was admitted to partnership, which continued successfully until 1893, when he severed his connection with the firm for the purpose of organizing A. C. Saunders and Company, of which he was president. Several years later, he formed the Lorain Coal and Dock Company. He was elected president of this concern, and continued as such until his death. He was also vice president and director of the Johnson Coal and Mining Company, and interested in other corporations and business interests, in all of which he was one of the principal spirits, his rare business acumen, sound judgment, persistent and unswerving application resulting in pronounced success in all enterprises with which he was connected. He stood in the front rank of the captains of industry of the Central States. Thus, from boyhood he had to do with the lake coal and vessel trade. Few men of Cleveland during his day were more called upon for counsel in business matters than our subject. Politically he was Republican; a trustee of Calvary Presbyterian Church, member University School Corporation, Cleveland Gattling Gun Battery, and belonged to the Union, Roadside, Country, Euclid, Tavern, and Coal clubs.
Mr. Saunders was married October 18, 1877, at Willoughby, Ohio, to Libbey Damon, daughter of Dexter Damon, who was very prominent in Lake County. He was a Republican of the old school and represented Lake County in the Ohio House of Representatives. Ile was born in Massachusetts. Mrs. Saunders' mother, Harriett Matilda (Frank) Damon, was born in New York State. Both are now deceased.
To Mr. and Mrs. Saunders, the following children were born: Clarence Rhodes Saunders, a graduate of Harvard University; Grace Converse Saunders, who married Andrew Joyce Miller, of New York City, where they now reside, with their one child, Frances Marion Miller; and Arnold Converse Saunders, Jr., a graduate of Yale University.
Mr. Saunders, of this memoir, died after a brief illness at his attractive home on Euclid Avenue, January 22, 1908, in the prime of life and usefulness. The gentle phases of his character had made him beloved throughout the city, and it is now clear that kindness was the keynote to his career. We quote the following tribute to him from the "The Cleveland Leader," in its issue of January 24, 1908:
"The sketches of the life of Arnold C. Saunders, who died Wednesday night, have treated fully his business career, but have not set forth phases of his character which endeared him to a wide circle of friends. His great business capacity and excellent judgment enabled him to attain a large measure of success, but this was also very largely due to a frankness, firmness, and integrity of character which those with whom he had dealings quickly came to recognize and depend upon. In addition to these qualities, which led to his success in the business world, Mr. Saunders was charitable in his judgment toward his fellowmen, gentle in his contact with others, and most affectionate in his home life. These were the qualities which marked his life and dominated his conduct both in business and private relations. While absolutely loyal to the large interests entrusted to his charge, a broad-minded fairness habitually characterized his consideration of questions arising in connection with them, and he never sought an undue advantage."
"As a large employer of labor, his treatment of his employees was considerate to a degree. During the recent stringency, to meet payrolls, Mr. Saunders went to New York and purchased currency for that purpose at a large premium. To the remonstrance of a friend that such an expenditure was unnecessary, Mr. Saunders replied that Thanksgiving was approaching, and he was determined, no matter at what cost, that his men should have their wages in genuine currency. This was characteristic of the man. The same qualities marked the course of his private life. To lend a helping hand, or to do a kindness, afforded him the
greatest pleasure, and no effort to that end was ever burdensome to him. No worthy charity ever appealed to him in vain, and his giving, while entirely unostentatious, was most liberal. If forced to criticism, he used it sparingly and reluctantly. The gentle and kindly qualities which actuated the man in other relations were at their best in his home life."
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