Ohio

605 Front Street & T.G. Gaylord

605 Front Street, Portsmouth, Ohio.

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Ohio Historical Inventory

In November of 1975, D Brook and TM Turner of the South Central Ohio Preservation Society completed survey SCI-8-13 for the Ohio Historic Inventory. At the time of their survey the 1830’s Federal-style home was owned by Opal Flannery, and was used as a nursing home. 1

The building’s prominent features were described as such:

“Rectangular windows and doorways with ground floor windows elongated. Decorated lintels. Entrance protected by one story porch consisting of paired slender columns supporting decorated entableture. Main block measures 30’x42′. With irregular additions house measures roughly 41’x82′. Boxed decorated cornice with returns.

The history and signficance of the structure were described as:

“House built by McConnell family who sold to TG Gaylord of New York, August 3, 1835. Gaylord ran ‘one of the most complete and modern rolling mills of the West’ and was Director of the Portsmouth Insurance Company. The house later became a club house for the powerful Morton (later Garfield) Club which was affiliated with the Republican Party.” Over the years the structure was known as the Augustine House as well.

About Thomas Gould Gaylord:

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” The Gaylords or Gaillards as it is in the French, were among the many French Huguenots that left their beloved shores of France to enjoy the freedom of religious and political thought and action that was afforded them in the new land across the sea. They settled with others in the old Puritan State of Connecticut and there founded the town of Gaylordsville. In time they branched out, some going south others to the westward. Silas Gaylord, the father of the subject settled on a farm near Utica, New York, and there married Mary Gould. He was very religious in his tendencies, although they never carried him farther in the service of our Lord than a deaconship and eldership in the Presbyterian Church.”3

The wife and mother of Thomas was a stately commanding personage of great dignity and decision of action. From her Thomas got what proved so useful to him in his business life, quick perception and instant action. Silas as Mary Gaylord were blessed with two children – both boys- Thomas and Horace. Thomas being more patterned after his maternal than his paternal- took the lead in everything and being an ambitious youth, while yet in his teens, after getting a good common school education, and after teaching a year as was the custom for one to do, before one was considered a thoroughly educated man, asked his father to aid him in furthering himself in the world, and adopted New York as his initial point for a start. He was employed while there by a Mr. Greenfield, who was a very rich and influential queensware merchant, and he seeing that Thomas was ambitious to rose above the ordinary man of that day, determined to aid him and made a proposition to him to start a queensware establishment in Pittsburgh, and place him at the head of it. Thomas readily accepted and moved to Pittsburgh and opened his queensware store. Before leave however, while on a trip to Johnstown, New York, he met and fell in love with Angeline Morrell, daughter of Judge Morrell, then a very eminent and respected Judge on the bench. They were married and Thomas took this young bride to Pittsburgh. He was so successful in the queensware store that he soon made Mr. Greenfield a proposition to buy out his interest, which was accepted and he carried on the business himself.”

“About this time he set his brother up in the queensware business in Maysville, Kentucky, but with the appearance of cholera there in 1836, which carried off Horace and his entire family, he sold his store in Maysville and concentrated his attention to his Pittsburgh house. “

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“In 1837, Mr. Gaylord while on a visit to Portsmouth traded his queensware house and some mountain land in Pennsylvania for the Glover, Noel & Co. rolling mill of Portsmouth. This was his first appearance in the business community of Portsmouth. He moved his family there and set to work to re-model and modernize the mill and to build up a success in the iron business such as was his in the queensware business. New boilers were put in. The old fashioned “knobbing” furnaces gave place to the “puddling” furnaces and the “hammers” gave place to “rolls” and he soon had one of the most complete and modern rolling mills of the West.”

“In 1846, he left Portsmouth and moved with his family to Cincinnati and continued in the iron business under the name TG Gaylord & Son. He gave his son Thomas Greenfield Gaylord, whom he had named for his friend Mr. Greenfield, a quarter interest to remain in the business and promised him another part, as soon as he could pay for it out of the profits, which he soon did.”

“In 1858, while on a visit to New York, he was suddenly taken with a stroke of apoplexy and was found dead on the street. His remains were brought to Cincinnati and with his own workmen, who came in a body from Portsmouth to bring their last tribute to their beloved employer, as pall-bearers, he was laid away for his eternal rest in the Gaylord lot in Spring Grove cemetery, and afterwards, his body was placed beside his wife in the Gaylord vault in Cincinnati, which had been built by his son Thomas G Gaylord, Jr.”

The Death of Mr. Thomas G Gaylord

“Death has been busy of late among our valuable citizens. It has taken away many whom we could illy spare. The last prominent victim was our esteemed fellow citizen, Mr. Thomas G Gaylord. He was suddenly cut off, we might say, almost in the prime of life, as at the time of his decease he was only fifty-four years of age. Apparently he was a man of robust constitution, and those not aware that he had suffered for years, would have conceded he yet had a long lease upon life. But on Thursday evening last, while walking in the streets of New York, he suddenly expired. He had been afflicted with disease of the heart during many years, and always feared it would prove fatal. His convictions proved a melancholy certainty. Although he died away from home, it is gratifying to his afflicted family and his very numerous friends to know that he did not fall into death among strangers. His remains were taken charge of by John Shillito, Esquire, of this city, and Mr. RB Coleman of New York.”5

“Mr. Gaylord was a valuable citizen. He was emphatically a self made man. His fellow citizens regarded him a gentleman of marked probity. As a business man, he was prompt, never allowing his paper to be protested, and he possessed a sagacious mind.”

“He was a native of Utica, New York, married at twenty-two, and removed to Pittsburgh, where he engaged in the Queensware business with a small capital which he had accumulated. Thence he removed to Maysville, Kentucky, where he remained for several years. Subsequently he removed to Portsmouth, Ohio, where he laid the foundations of a handsome fortune, in the manufacture of iron. About twelve years ago he removed to this city, where he has remained. He was always actively engaged in business, and when he died, was in New York upon business connected with his firm, TG Gaylord & Son.”

He was a very successful business man, and accumulated property estimated to be now worth two hundred thousand dollars. He left a widow and several children to mourn their bereavement. We are advised that the remains will leave New York for this city this morning, in charge of a friend of the family. “

Particulars of the Death in New York of Mr. TG Gaylord

“New York, May 21st, 1858.
A number of Cincinnatians and other person here were much shocked at seeing the announcement this morning of the sudden death of Mr. TG Gaylord. From the testimony given before the Coroner, (Connery,) and other sources, I learn these facts:”6

“After ten o’clock last night a little boy near the corner of Canal and Church streets called the attention of a gentleman who was passing to Mr. Gaylord, sitting on a cellar door, and appeared to be ill. The police on duty near the spot where called, and one of them (John Wilson) said he thought he saw Mr. Gaylord’s lower lip quiver slightly as he came up, and supposed death took place then, or shortly before.”

“The body was immediately taken to the Station House in Leonard street, and a physician called. The inquest was had this morning in the presence of the jury and many friends of the deceased.”

“Mr. John Shillito testified that he had known deceased for twenty years, and that he was subject to an affection of the heart. Mr. Greenfield testified to the same effect.”

“A physician certified the death to have been caused by disease of the heart; and the verdict of the jury was accordingly.”

“While making a business visit yesterday, Mr. Gaylord was troubled with his old complaint. The attendance of the gentleman who first afforded assistance, and that of the physican first called in, could not be procured at the inquest.”

“I presume no apology is needed for making a public statement of the circumstances attending the death of a gentleman so widely known and so much respected.”

  1. Brook, D., & Turner, T. M. Survey SCI-8-13, Survey SCI-8-13 (1975). Columbus, OH: Ohio Historic Preservation Office.
  2. Henry A Lorberg, “Photographs of Miss Myra Kerr, Miss Lyda Kerr, the Reverend Doctor Burr, Thomas Gould Gaylord, Rev. William H. Gleiser, John Powers Sr.,” Local History Digital Collection, accessed February 16, 2020, https://yourppl.org/history/items/show/24336
  3. Evans, N. W. (1903). A History of Scioto County, Ohio, together with a pioneer record of southern Ohio by Nelson W. Evans. Portsmouth, OH: Nelson W. Evans.
  4. Kenny’s Illustrated Cincinnati. (1875). Kenny’s Illustrated Cincinnati.
  5. Death of Thomas G Gaylord. (1858, May 22). Cincinnati Daily Commercial, p. 2.
  6. Particulars of the Death in New York of Mr. T.G. Gaylord. (1858, May 24). Cincinnati Daily Commercial, p. 2.