Biography of William H. Vodrey
Columbiana County, OH Biographies

William H. Vodrey, a well known attorney of East Liverpool, is recognized as one of the representative members of the bar of Columbian County. He was born in East Liverpool, March 4, 1873, and is a son of Col. William H. and Elizabeth (Jackman) Vodrey.

Col. William H. Vodrey, one of the founders of the business now conducted by the Vodrey Pottery Company, attained prominence as a soldier, politician and business man, and is well remembered by the people who in his death lost one of its leading public spirits. He was born in Louisville, Ky., Aug. 1, 1832, the son of Jabez and Sarah (Nickson) Vodrey. Jabez Vodrey and his wife were natives of Staffordshire, England. When he came to America he located in Pittsburgh, and there the firm of Vodrey & Frost established in 1827 the first pottery west of the Alleghenies. In 1830, being induced by Louisville parties to move to that city, they built there the first pottery in Kentucky and operated it in association with a Mr. Lewis. Mr. Frost withdrew from the firm three or four years later and the business was continued under the firm name of Vodrey & Lewis until Mr. Lewis withdrew. In 1839 Mr. Vodrey was induced to move to Troy, Ind., and take charge of a large pottery which was promoted and organized by James Clews of Staffordshire, England. He conducted a pottery there until 1847, in the spring of which year he removed to East Liverpool. Here he associated himself with William Woodward and James Blakely in building what was known as the Woodward, Blakely & Company, which was one of the very earliest plants established in the city. This was continued with success until forced to close down in 1857 on account of conditions of general business, practically amounting to a panic. On the site of that plant three concerns are now operating, the William Brunt Pottery Company, the Hall China Company and the Vodrey Pottery Company. After that date Mr. Vodrey did not again actively engage in business, but continued to reside in East Liverpool until his death in 1864 at the age of 63 years. His wife died in 1873. They were the parents of three children: Col. William H., father of the subject of this sketch; James N.; and John W., who died during the Civil War while accompanying General Sherman on his famous March to the Sea.

Col. William H. Vodrey moved with his parents to East Liverpool in 1847 and was for a time employed in the Harker Pottery. He afterward entered the employ of Woodward, Blakely & Company, with whom he continued until they closed their plant in 1857. It was then that in partnership with his brothers, James N. and John W., he established the foundation for the Vodrey Pottery Company, and with which he was identified until his death, Oct. 23, 1896. During the Civil War he served in the Union army, becoming colonel of the 143rd Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, having organized the Columbiana County portion of that regiment. He had been a lieutenant colonel in the Ohio State militia before his enlistment in the United States service. He served three terms as mayor of East Liverpool, 1862, 1863, and 1868. He also served a number of terms in the city council. For a period of 24 years he was a member of the board of education, a portion of that time being president. He was a Republican and was the first man of influence in East Liverpool to endorse and work for William McKinley in his first congressional campaign. He was a director of the First National Bank from its organization. To Colonel and Mrs. Vodrey were born three children: Oliver C., a prominent citizen of East Liverpool; Mrs. Mary Neace, lives in East Liverpool, and William H., the subject of this sketch.

William H. Vodrey was graduated from Bethany college, West Virginia in 1894, from the University of Michigan in 1896, and from Cincinnati Law College in 1897. He was admitted to the Ohio State bar in June, 1897, and has since engaged in the practice of law in East Liverpool. He served as city solicitor for two terms, and prosecuting attorney for two terms. He is a member of the Columbiana County Bar Association, the Ohio State Bar Association and the American Bar Association. Mr. Vodrey has extensive business interests in East Liverpool and is director of the First National Bank and the Potters Mining & Milling Company.

Mr. Vodrey was married to Miss Dorothy Kelly of East Liverpool, the daughter of Joseph M. and Sarah (Thompson) Kelly, both deceased. They have three children: William H., 3rd, born Sept. 23, 1903; Joseph Kelly, born Jan. 4, 1905; and Margaret Louise, will be graduated from East Liverpool High School in 1928. Both William and Joseph Kelly Vodrey are students at Princeton University and will be graduated in the class of 1926. The former is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa fraternity.

Mr. Vodrey is a Republican and is affiliated with the Masonic and Elks lodges. He has always been a citizen of responsibility and prominence.

History of Columbiana County, Ohio
By: Harold B. Barth
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis 1926

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