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Henry Apthorp

(Superintendent of the Telegraph LS & MS Railroad  & Later A State Representative)


Born: Feb. 9, 1841 in Mayfield, OH (Cuyahoga County)

Died: Unknown



Henry Apthorp was one of the first people on the scene of the accident of the Ashtabula Bridge and train disaster. From their home at 370 Lake St. Ashtabula, Ohio, he and his wife heard the loud crashing of the bridge collapse as it happened. Henry grabbed his coat and a lantern, while his wife handed him a bottle of Camphor in a towel, which he shoved in his coat pocket as he ran out the door to the wreck.  Apthorp fought his way through the blizzard and when arrived he took control of the scene and began directing people. He was very instrumental in saving many lives.


In the book - A History of Cleveland, Ohio – Biographical Illustrated Vol. II, p. 847 Apthorp is described:


Henry Apthorp, capitalist of Cleveland, was born to be an organizer, developer and producer, possessing in marked degree the characteristics necessary to insure success along these lines. He was born February 9, 1841, at Mayfield, Cuyahoga county, Ohio, a son of William and Chloe (Howard) Apthorp. The former was born in Hinsdale, Massachusetts, in 1809, while his wife was born in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, in 1808. In 1836 they moved to Mayfield where the father carried on farming. His death occurred at Nottingham, Ohio, in 1880, while his wife died in the same place in 1898.


Mr. Apthorp received a district-school education at Mayfield, later attending the academy there and the Geauga Seminary. In early life he worked in a steam saw-mill which sawed some of the lumber, and drove a team of horses that hauled some of the lumber which went into the building of the Kennard House in Cleveland. Until he was twenty-two years of age he was largely employed in farming and then in 1863 was engaged in repairing and constructing telegraph and telephone lines, a foreman and lineman, by the Western Union Telegraph Company and the Lake Shore Railroad Company, and continued in this work until 1885. In the meanwhile he became interested in editorial work and was associate editor of the Democratic Standard of Ashtabula, OH, from 1876 to 1880. In 1891 he became managing editor of the Columbus Post at Columbus, Ohio. From 1887 to 1909 he was special agent of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad in matters of state legislation in Ohio, and accomplished some remarkably good work. He called his pen into service and in 1892 wrote and published a pamphlet against the proposed two-cent railroad fare. This was so popular that in 1899 he also issued a defense of trusts, and in 1903 opposed socialism in a skillfully worded pamphlet.


On December 8, 1859, Mr. Apthorp was married in Willoughby, Ohio to Harriet E. Strong. They have one son, - Warren. Mr. Apthorp has also been exceedingly prominent in politics, and served for two terms as a member of the council of Ashtabula, from 1872 to 1873 and 1883 to 1884. He was railroad commissioner of Ohio from 1885 to 1887; a member of the board of managers of the Ohio penitentiary from 1893 to 1896, and a member of the board of managers of the Ohio State Reformatory from 1897 to 1900.


It is almost impossible to properly estimate the influence of a man like Mr. Apthorp, who is fearless in the expression of his opinions and prompt to carry out his ideas of reform. His long experience in many diverse line enable him to judge accurately as to the merits of a question, and his judgment is relied upon by many of his associates in both the business and political world. His literary style is forcible and convincing and it is a matter of regret to his admires that he has not devoted more of his time correcting abuses with his facile pen.


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