Biography of John R. Caunter
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

JOHN RICHARD CAUNTER was a young man of twenty one years when he left his native England and came to the United States. He made Cleveland his objective point, and in this city, by his own initiative, resourcefulness and energy, he has developed a substantial and prosperous business enterprise that is conducted under the title of the John R. Caunter Company.

Mr. Caunter was born at Pondsworthy Mills, Devonshire, England, May 22, 1872, and is a son of John and Elizabeth (Hanaford) Caunter, who passed their entire lives in Devonshire, where the former died at the age of eighty two years and the latter at the age of seventy five years. John Gaunter operated a farm, a saw mill and a wagon shop, and also was the village undertaker, a substantial citizen who ever commanded unqualified popular confidence and respect.

The schools of his native community afforded John R. Caunter his early education, and in the meanwhile, as a lad of nine years, he began to assist in the work of the home farm, plowing and planting having there been successfully negotiated by him when he was but thirteen years old. Later he served his time at the carpenter's bench, and as a boy and youth he frequently expressed a determination to come eventually to the United States, a desire that was increased when elder brothers here established their homes. He, the youngest in a family of sixteen children, manifested his filial solicitude by remaining at the parental home until he attained to his legal majority. He then, with money he had earned and saved, defrayed the expenses of his voyage to the. United States, and he made Cleveland his destination, as four of his brothers were at the time residents here. He arrived in Cleveland October 7, 1893, and here he worked at the carpenter trade until the panic of that year brought a virtual cessation of building activities. He then found a job driving a team, and in the spring of 1895 he made his initial and modest venture in the sawdust and kindling business. He paid $25 for a wagon, hired a horse for $3 a week, and with this equipment he peddled sawdust and kindling about the city. Gradually his little enterprise increased in scope, and finally he established permanent headquarters at 2315 East Thirty eighth Street. Of the success that has attended his vigorous and well directed efforts evidence is given in the statement that he now has a business that requires the operation of seven automobile trucks and gives employment to several men. He now supplies 90 per cent of the shavings and sawdust used in Cleveland for commercial purposes, and his clientage includes many of the leading manufacturing, industrial and commercial concerns of the city. He keeps available at all times a large stock of pine, hardwood and cedar sawdust and shavings, as well as kindling wood of all kinds, and his business is now the largest of its kind in Northern Ohio.

Mr. Caunter is specially and vitally interested in the local and international affairs of the Kiwanis clubs, and he has the distinction of being president (1923) of the Cleveland Kiwanis Club, which was the second to be organized in the United States, and the service of which has been of inestimable value in furthering the civic and material interests of the Ohio metropolis. Prior to his election to the presidency of this fine organization he had served as a director and as vice president of the club

In the Masonic fraternity Mr. Caunter affiliates with Bigelow Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Thatcher Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; Windermere Council, Royal and Select Masters; Holy Grail Commandery, Knights Templar, Lake Erie Consistory of the Valley of Cleveland, besides being a Noble of Al Koran Temple of the Mystic Shrine, and affiliated with Al Sirat Grotto, Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Real, in which he is chief justice at the time of this writing, in 1923.

Mr. Caunter wedded Miss Minnie Graber, who was born at Canal Dover, Ohio, a daughter of Alfred and Mary Graber.

A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924

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