following page 254
transcribed by Alise Streutker
William R. McGill
WILLIAM R. McGILL.
William Ryan McGILL was born at Sharonville, April 8, 1831, the first son of James and Asenath C. (RYAN) McGILL. His primary education was received at Newtown, but he subsequently graduated from a three-years' course at College Hill, in the Farmers' college, his preparation enabling him to enter to advanced standing as a sophomore. He went at once into business in Newtown, in a small way at first, as a merchant, buying the old stock of John W. CROSSLEY. Mr. CROSSLEY at once bought a new and handsome stock and opened another store just across the way, which for a time greatly injured the business of Mr. McGILL. By the third year, however, the trade of the latter had greatly improved and finally the store of Mr. CROSSLEY became so unprofitable that he sold out and went to California, where he died. Mr. McGILL has since remained steadily in the mercantile business, enlarging it year after year, until it has been long considered the leading establishment in Newtown, and commands customers far and wide in Hamilton and Clermont counties. Beginning in September, 1851, in a single small room now occupied by his stock of groceries, he has now six rooms filled with the general stock of a country store, including drugs, school-books, and the like, besides the usual stocks of dry-goods and grocery stores. He has found time, however, to serve the public as township treasurer, for seven consecutive years, and was the leading spirit in the inception and prosecution of the important enterprise of building the Cincinnati and Eastern railroad. This was undertaken in 1876, purely as a local enterprise along its proposed route, and Mr. McGILL devoted himself largely for months to the awakening of an interest in the project and the solicitation of subscriptions to its stock and the right of way, and then to the prosecution of the work, as well as making himself a liberal subscription and loaning large amounts to the company. He was one of the original directors of the corporation and its vice-president, under the presidency of Mr. Samuel WOODWARD, and he and H. WILBER - both of Morrow, Warren county - were the projectors of this work. Upon Mr. WOODWARD's retirement, to accept the position of general superintendent of the Cincinnati Southern, in 1879, Mr. McGILL was promoted to the presidency of the Eastern, which he now holds. He found his road in the hands of a receiver, with a floating debt larger than could be managed; but within twenty months he secured the payment of all obligations of this character and also of a larger sum in overdue interest on bonds, and so rescuing it from the hands of the receiver, he taking the road again fully in charge on the first of March, 1881. With this good work he is solely credited by those who know the internal history of the corporation owning the road. He travelled far and near to find the creditors of the company and effect settlements with them; and through infinite trouble and difficulty succeeded in obtaining personal interviews with all creditors and making satisfactory settlements. As a result the bonds of the road are now at par, and its operations are on a working basis, hopeful and prosperous beyond all expectations. It is believed it will speedily become, under Mr. McGILL's presidency, one of the most profitable railway properties in Ohio, and of very great value to Cincinnati, to which the early completion of the Cincinnati Northern, with which it intersects, will soon give it direct entrance.
Notwithstanding his engrossment in public and private cares, Mr. McGILL has taken a very lively interest in the religious and secular training of the rising generation. For twenty-one consecutive years - since April, 1860 - he has been superintendent of the Sunday-school connected with the Universalist church in Newtown; and for the past fifteen years has been a member of the school board of the village, aiding in the material enlargement of the school-house and in making Newtown an independent district by act of the legislature. In all enterprises for local benefit he is among the first and foremost, and seems to have no higher ambition than to leave his part of the world the better for his having lived in it. He has been a life-long Democrat, but is not an active politician, much less an office-seeker.
Mr. McGILL was married December 3, 1861 (the bride's eighteenth birthday), in Norwood, Columbia township, to Miss Delia L. DRAKE, only daughter of Thomas T. and Lydia A. (MILL) DRAKE, who are now residing with their daughter and her husband in Newtown. Mr. and Mrs. McGILL have two children living - Alice, born September 1, 1864, and Louie D., born July 10, 1877. The former is a student at the Ohio Wesleyan college in Cincinnati. Their eldest born, a son, died unnamed in infancy.
Biographical & Illustrations Index
History of Hamilton Co. Index
Hamilton Co., OHGenWeb
©2000 by Tina Hursh & Linda Boorom