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Solon Long Severance
SOLON LONG SEVERANCE was born in Cleveland, Ohio, September 8,1834. His great grandfather, Judge
John Walworth, came to the Western Reserve in 1806, and as a civil engineer supervised the survey of the
counties. His grandfather, Dr. David Long, was the first physician to settle in Cleveland, in 1810. The only daughter of Doctor Long, Mary H. Long, married Solomon L. Severance, who came to Cleveland in 1830 from Shelburne, Massachusetts, to engage in the dry goods business. This young merchant died in 1838, leaving a widow and two children—Solon Long Severance, subject of this sketch, and Louis H. Severance.
Solon L. Severance was educated in the district and private schools of Cleveland's early days. Commencing in a banking office at fourteen years of age he continued a successful career in the banking business until he organized, with others, the Euclid Avenue National Bank. He was its first cashier and was President for years until the time it was merged into the Euclid Park Bank and afterwards the First National Bank. Although he retired then. he continued his banking interests, and was a director of the First National Bank and the First Trust and Savings Company when he died. He was a man of sound judgment, rare foresight and unusual ability along general lines as a banker and for many decades was a potent factor in local financial circles.
Mr. Severance was a member of the Chamber of Commerce and the Union Club. He remained active in religious and philanthropic work. His youth was passed in the Second Presbyterian church. He assisted in establishing the Mayflower Mission on Orange Avenue, Cleveland, about 1856. This was in reality, the beginning of the Woodland Avenue Church, which was organized in 1872. Of this society he was a charter member and one of the most devoted members and liberal donors the rest of his life. He served as Sunday-school Superintendent for twelve years when the Woodland Avenue Church had the largest Bible school in Cleveland. He was ruling elder almost continuously until he died. He was intensely loyal to religious and philanthropic work, his activities along this line including a directorship in the Fresh Air Camp
He was fond of travel, going abroad many times and was especially interested in Japan. He shared his journeys with his friends by giving illustrated lectures at his own expense, purely for the benefit of his church, its missions, and to awaken an interest in foreign, religious and philanthropic work.
Mr. Severance was married on October 10, 1860, to Emily C. Allen. daughter of Dr. Dudley Allen, of Kinsman, Trumbull County, Ohio. To Mr. and Mrs. Severance three children were born. namely: Julia, the wife of B. L. Milliken, of Cleveland; Allen D. Severance, Associate Professor of Church History and Bibliography in Adelbert College, Western Reserve University; Mary
The death of Solon L. Severance occurred on May 8, 1915, when lacking a few months of his eighty-first birthday. His long, active life had been of inestimable good to humanity. He possessed a keen and appreciative insight into human nature and his genial and intensely sympathetic spirit delighted to manifest good will in the most considerate way. He was approachable, because naturally winsome and democratic in tastes and his presence will long be missed by all, who knew him only to love him.
Various newspapers contained suitable accounts of his life and death and we herewith append an editorial tribute from one of Cleveland's leading dailies :
"'Cleveland is quite old enough to have a past,' said the late Solon Long Severance some time ago, 'and as it is a past worth
remembering it is worth preserving.'"
"Mr. Severance did his full share towards perpetuating the history of Cleveland's early days. His memory was excellent, his fund of personal reminiscence inexhaustible. He shared with the late E. R. Perkins the reputation of being the dean of the banking business of Cleveland, but Mr. Severance's banking experience antedated that of Mr. Perkins."
"His last conversation with the writer concerned the early home of his grandfather, Dr. David Long, Cleveland's first physician, which stood at the southwest corner of Superior and Seneca streets, and was, because of its terrace and flowers and handsome fence, one if the show places of early Cleveland."
"In addition to his excellent memory, Mr. Severance was blessed with keen powers of observation and a strong sense of humor. His long familiarity with the public had given him broadened perceptions and a quickened sympathy and many who were brought into business contact with him will bear witness to his unfailing good nature and his lively desire to be of service. He had virtually retired from active pursuits and his familiar figure was seen with less and less frequency on the city streets, but the news of his death will quickly recall him to a host of friends and acquaintances—and the recollections in every instance will be pleasant ones."
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