Biography of J. S. Crowell
Springfield, Clark County, OH Biographies





J. S. CROWELL, manager of Farm and Fireside, Springfield, Johan S. Crowell was born in Louisville, Ky., Jan. 7, 1850; was the seventh child of parents in moderate circumstances, and still living, and members of the Walnut Street Presbyterian Church of Louisville, of which his father, S. B. Crowell, was one of the founders, and elected a Deacon for life John attended the public schools of Louisville; was an apt scholar, and, although generally the youngest in his classes, stood at their head, completing in six years the usual eight year course. He evinced early an independent and self reliant disposition, and essayed to earn his own livelihood; at the age of 11 years, upon his parents objecting to furnish him the necessary capital to a start as newsboy, he held a stranger's horse, receiving 5 cents therefor, which was immediately invested in newspapers, and formed his paid up capital stock; for two years he sold papers in the early morning and attended school during the day; in the short interval between the close of school and his last public examination, he secured a situation in a small printing office at $2.50 per week; so desirous was his teacher to have him appear at examination that he secured his attention vi et armis, by the aid of a posse of his larger school mates, who carried him to the school in his working habiliments; but, even under such untoward circumstances, he acquitted himself with great credit to himself and his teacher. Against parental wishes and advice of teachers, he declined entering college, preferring the avocation of his choice, in which his success was marked and rapid; within six months, he was promoted from $2.50 to $12 per week, then made assistant foreman; but, preferring press work to type setting, was, at 16 years of age, made head pressman, and even then his fellow workmen predicted for him a future large publishing house of his own. While in this office, one of the workmen was caught by the arm between the ceiling and a pulley making 150 revolutions per minute; others looked on in horror, expecting to see him crushed, but young Crowell grasped a belt with one hand, was instantly hurled to the ceiling, where; securing a footing, he released his companion, who fainted in his arms; thus an arm perhaps a life was saved. He became, early in 1868, foreman of the Courier-Journal job press room, remaing until October, 1869, when about an inch of his right thumb was mashed off while attending a power paper cutting machine; he quickly adjusted the severed portion of the thumb, while the man who had caused the accident shut his eyes and called for help. While thus disabled, he invented an "elastic hand stamp," and the rubber like material out of which they were made, and, while deeming the invention scarcely worthy a patent, he commenced their manufacture, in which he employed his brothers, and did a very prosperous business for some time, which he discontinued a little before the panic of 1873. He then visited many of the States and Northern takes, and, on returning to Louisville, entered the office of Messrs. B. F. Avery & Sons, the well known plow manufacturers, conducting the publication of their agricultural journal, the Home and Farm, on a trip in the interest of which he first met Mr. P P. Mast, to whom he afterward suggested the idea of publishing a similar journal under the auspices of his manufacturing firm, which eventuated in the present well known and thriving journal, the Farm and Fireside, of which, as the founder, Mr. Crowell may feel a just and pardonable pride, and of which extended notice will be found in another department of this work. For ten years before leaving Louisville (which he did in the fall of 1877), Mr. Crowell was an active, working member of the Walnut Street Presbyterian Church of that city, and its Sunday school; and at 17 years of age was elected its Librarian; at 20, Assistant Superintendent of the school, and at 21, its Superintendent; and at 25 years of age, was chosen Deacon for life of that church. On Nov. 20, 1877, he married Miss Ella C. Mangold, of an old Louisville family, whose parents are still living. Mr. and Mrs. Crowell have a daughter 1½ years old. They area both members of the First Presbyterian Church of Springfield, which they joined in November, 1877. Mr. Crowell, although not indigenous to Clark County, is worthy of conspicuous mention among its foremost citizens.

From:
History of Clark County, Ohio
W. H. Beers & Co.
Chicago 1881


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