Lane, Philander Parmele


Philander Parmele Lane

Philander Parmele Lane was a Cincinnati businessman living in what would soon become Norwood, Ohio. His company, Lane & Bodley, grew into an international supplier of machinery. He had at least one venture into real estate when he and partners bought the old Ferguson farm and platted it as Norwood Heights—a name which soon replaced Sharpsburg as the name of the area. Lane was also noted as serving in the Eleventh Ohio Infantry, where he was Captain and later Colonel.

Early Life

P. P. Lane was born in Nassau (near Albany), Rensselaer County, New York, on October 5, 1821. He was the 1st son of David and Melinda Parmele Lane, originally from Connecticut. Philander had three older sisters. In 1828, the family moved to Portage County, Ohio, where they started a farm. At the age of 23, Philander left the farm and moved to western Pennsylvania where he worked in the lumber business. After two years he returned to Ohio, near the farm, to learn the trade of machinist. He traveled to other towns in Ohio until he was a journeyman machinist. In 1848, he came to Cincinnati, where he worked as a machinist for two years before starting his own company.

Family & Home

Soon after starting his own business, Philander met Sophia Bosworth. They married on July 18, 1851. She was born at Marietta, Ohio. According to his obituary, they had seven children: Dr. Lucia Lane, Harry M. Lane, Mrs. Laura Thompson, Mrs. Bertha Scott, Mrs. Helen McKaye, Mr. George Lane and Miss Florence Lane—the last two were living at home when Col. Lane died.

With his Montgomery Pike home at the boundary of Pleasant Ridge and Norwood, Colonel Lane was involved in both communities. He gave financial aid to the public library and Presbyterian Church of Pleasant Ridge and the Norwood Town Hall. He had been active in the Pleasant Ridge Lyceum and was a member of the Sharpsburg District School Board, 1871-74 .


After working as a journeyman machinist for two years, in 1850, he and partner J. T. Bodley established a machine-repair shop on Pearl Street. In 1856 the firm of Lane & Bodley moved to the final location at John and Water streets, where it grew into a machinery, engine and foundry plant. In 1861, when he voluntered to join the war, Lane left the business in the hands of Mr. Bodley. When Mr. Bodley died in 1868, Lane took complete operation of the company, although he did admit four old employees as minor partners—Oliver Brett (Britt?), Samuel R. Smith, Edward (Z.) Myers and Anthony Shnier (Schnier?). According to the 1869 directory, Mrs. Jos. T. Bodley was also an owner. (On the same page, P. P. Lane's residence was recorded as Sharpsburg, O.) Some of the machinery made by Lane & Bodley, as listed in their advertisements, were stationary and portable steam engines, boilers, circular saw mills, lath and shingle machines, wood working machinery, shafting, hangers, pulleys and couplings, safety power elevators.

In 1869, he joined with Sylvester H. Parvin and Lemuel Bolles, who was married to Sophia's sister, Sarah, to create the Norwood Heights Subdivision from the 81.06 acre William B. Ferguson farm. Initially, ownership of the undivided property was 1/2 Parvin, 1/3 Bolles and 1/6 Lane. Tradition has it that Sarah was the one to come up with the name Norwood— a shortened version of North Woods, referring to the location of the spot in relation to Cincinnati and its many trees.

Military Service

In April, 1861, when Lincoln called for troops, Lane called for a meeting where 119 volunteers signed up. Even though he was 39 with a wife and four children, Lane also signed-up and was elected Captain of this organization, which was named "The Union Rifles." In June his company of volunteers was ordered to Camp Dennison and assigned to the 11th Regiment, Second Brigade. In the section titled Eleventh Ohio Infantry in the book Ohio in the War, it was said that the 11th was ordered to Kanawha Valley in July. When it was discovered that rebels had burned the bridge over the Pocotaligo River, a new bridge was needed quickly. Captain Lane and his company of mainly mechanics built the bridge in less than twenty-four hours. Their only tools were a few axes and two or three augers. His men's efforts in the war included building roads, bridges and fortications.

After the war, he held "reunions" at his Montgomery Pike home, where the former soldiers would camp upon his large grounds. The house, with additions on both sides, still stands and is currently a funeral home.

The End

Because of injuries suffered in the war, he was not at full strength for many years. He had been an invalid since 1887 and, in 1889, he suffered a stroke. Around February or March, he was confined to his room and on December 6, 1899, at 78 years, he died at his home. He was buried at Spring Grove Cemetery.