Biography of Hon. Marcus A. Hanna
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

HON. MARCUS A. HANNA, late United States senator from Ohio, a resident of Cleveland for over half a century and one of the great industrial and commercial powers of the Middle West, did not reach the height of his political and public renown until his life was nearly spent. Since he was a young man he had always given his hearty endorsement and generous support to the republican party, but was approaching his sixtieth year before he decided to throw the full strength of his executive, diplomatic and administrative powers into the management of a national campaign for his party. At that late period in his life it was only his long and sincere friendship for McKinley which decided him to accept the chairmanship of the national committee and conduct the campaign for his Personal and presidential favorite on the same principles of careful organization, energy, good nature and fairness toward competitors which had won him pronounced leadership in the business and industrial world. Another important element of strength in the personnel of the national chairman was the fact that although he had been a large employer of labor for many years he had never developed into an autocrat, but had been ever ready to listen patiently to the presentation of alleged grievances from his employes and was on record as a consistent champion of arbitration in the settlement of differences between labor and capital. The country still remembers the masterly campaign of 1896, conducted by Marc Hanna, and his fair and open methods were so reciprocated by the democracy as to make it an epoch in the history of national politics. It was a campaign also of great surprises, as several states which had heretofore gone democratic were brought into the republican column seemingly by the sheer personal force and magnetism of the chairman and his skilfully marshaled forces. Mr, Hanna's financial rescue of McKinley in earlier times is no secret, and there is no doubt that, despite the elevated statesmanship and character of McKinley, he virtually elected the president of 1896; and the love which the people generally bore the president elect was brightly reflected on the great political captain, who brought him into the halls of the United States senate and placed a splendid capsheaf upon the closing years of his life. In 1900 Mr. Hanna was honored with the degree of Doctor of Laws by Kenyon College, but Doctor Hanna would never sound natural to the thousands of his admirers and fiends. He will always be remembered as Marc Hanna, one of the finest figures in the practical affairs of the United States, a plain, rugged Roman character transplanted to America.

Marcus Alonzo Hanna, as he was christened, was born in Lisbon (then New Lisbon), Columbiana County, Ohio, on the 24th of September, 1837. In 1852 he located with other members of the family in Cleveland; graduated from the city high school and the Western Reserve College at Hudson, and at the age of twenty entered the employ of the wholesale house of which his father was the senior partner. After the decease of the latter in 1862 he continued in control of his interest until 1867, when the business was closed out. The young man then joined the firm of Rhodes and Company, the pioneer iron and coal concern in Cleveland. In 1877, through his control of the business, the firm became M. A. Hanna and Company, and at his death in 1904 it was one of the largest establishments of the kind in the country. His business insight soon showed him the advantage of becoming identified with the transportation and financial interests of the locality, both being means in the moving and handling of the products of his mines and the materials of his business. For many years he was therefore connected with the building and navigation of the lake marine, among his specific interests which he held in this and other lines being those as director of the Globe Ship Manufacturing Company, president of the Union National Bank (organized in 1884), president of the Chapin Mining Company (controlling some of the most productive iron mines in the Lake Superior region), and president of the Cleveland Street Railway Company. In 1885, by appointment of President Cleveland, he served as director of the Union Pacific Railway Company. The latter position was purely an honorary one, with no salary attached, but proved to be weighted with heavy responsibilities; In the fall of that year he was summoned to the West, and gave several weeks of his time to a careful consideration and judicious settlement of the labor troubles along the line. This work brought him into national prominence. In the previous year he had served as a delegate to the National Republican Convention, and was likewise honored in 1888, his earnest support of John Sherman's presidential candidacy in the latter having a strong bearing on his own political career.

Briefly retracing Mr. Hanna's business career, it should be noted that in 1872 he was one of the organizers of the Cleveland Transportation Company, which built a fine line of steamers for the Lake Superior iron trade, being at times its general manager and one of its directors. In 1881 he organized the West Republic Mining Company of Marquette County, Michigan, of which he was long president, and in the following year established the Pacific Coal and Iron Company, with headquarters at St. Paul. In 1882 he purchased a controlling interest in the West Side Street Railway Company, and was at the head of the consolidated interests of the local lines at the time of his death. Further, as director of the Globe Iron Works, and as one of the founders and president of the Union National Bank, he materially assisted in making Cleveland one of the leading shipbuilding and financial centers of the United States. He was also the builder and owner of the handsome Euclid Avenue Opera House, and was for a number of years president of the Herald Publishing Company. So that Cleveland, as a city, is his debtor manifold.

On March 2, 1897, Mr. Hanna was appointed to the United States Senate by Governor Bushnell to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of John Sherman to become secretary of state in the McKinley cabinet. His term expired in January, 1898, when he was elected for the full six years' term and was reelected in 1904. During his service as United States senator, Mr. Hanna never failed, when opportunity offered, to appear as a friend of peace and compromise in all industrial disputes, and in 1901 was appointed a member of the National Civic Federation, organized to consider the vexatious questions of trusts, tariff and taxation. The final verdict of history will be that the nation at large has the deepest cause for gratitude to Marc Hanna because of his continuous and disinterested efforts to bring about more fraternal relations between the employer and employed. He died February 15, 1904.

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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