By the turn of the century, F. E. Myers and his brother P.A. found themselves overseeing a company that had grown incredibly. Having branched out from pumps and farm implements, at one time they were also manufacturing all the bicycle racks for the Western Union Company.
There is no doubt that Myers put Ashland, Ohio, on the map. It was through their contributions that the Ashland and Wooster railroad went in, connecting Ashland with the Pennsylvania railroad.
After much personal sorrow, 1908 and 1909 marked happy years with three weddings. F.E. and Alavesta’s son, John C., wed Alice Mould, and after honeymooning in Europe, settled in Ashland.
The oldest daughter, Mary, wed Frederick Livingston Parker of a prominent New England family, executive of the largest manufacturer of buggy whips in the United States. One of their wedding gifts was an electric automobile from the bride’s mother, which ironically, would not require a buggy whip to operate!
The March 1909 wedding of their youngest daughter, Helen, marked more than a merger of two young lives. Thomas W. Miller had not only won the hand of the daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Ashland, but his company, the Faultless Rubber Company, was involved in the booming rubber industry.
Having the blessing and support of F.E. Myers, who was on the Faultless board of directors and an investor in the company, promised only good things ahead.
The Millers built a home just south of Helen’s brother, John C. Myers, and the family began celebrating the arrival of grandchildren over the coming years.
Tragedy again brought the bonds of family together when F. E. and Alavesta’s oldest son, Jay Myers, died in 1915 at age 41 from pneumonia. He was the fun-loving bachelor of the family who kept everyone laughing.
John C. Myers was the sole surviving son of F.E. Myers. In July, 1921, when his father and uncle converted their partnership into a corporation, it was valued at $6 million.
At that time, the company was producing two pumps per minute, along with pump cylinders, hay tools, hangers for barn doors, a line of lawn swings and many farm implements.
Neither the slowing economy nor a serious fire, which destroyed the Center Street woodworking plant, could stand in the way of the prosperous company.
Alavesta Myers died in March 1923, followed by the death of Samantha Myers, leaving F.E. and P.A. widowers. In failing health for nearly a year, F. E. was terribly weakened by the death of his dear wife.
When F. E. Myers passed away later that same year at age 76, Ashland lost a remarkable man. All the Myers plants closed in his honor, and company employees who had requested a place in the procession escorted his body to the Ashland cemetery.
The Ashland newspaper wrote that “he stood as an excellent example of the American gentleman of rugged health, fine physique and strong mind, while his contact with the world brought him the polish many acquire in schools of learning.”
P.A. became president of the company, but left the day-to-day operations to his nephew, John, and his son, Guy.
(Next week: The final chapter)