Biography of William E. MacEwen
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

WILLIAM EARL MacEWEN. The National Refining Company, one of the most complete organizations in the United States, in the production, refining and distribution of petroleum products, is an Ohio corporation, though its service and facilities are nation wide, with general offices located in Cleveland, Ohio.

This company was organized in 1882 by Mr. J. I. Lamprecht, and started with less than $10,000 capital. Mr. Lamprecht was the first and only president of the company until his death on October 4, 1920. He was succeeded as president by Frank B. Fretter, who had been an active associate of Mr. Lamprecht in the business for over forty years. All the officers, managers and other executives are employes who have worked their way up from minor positions. Most of the present board of directors have been with the company the greater part of its existence. The directors are: Frank B. Fretter, W. H. Lamprecht II, Ed S. Page, W. E. MacEwen, Frank H. Ginn, D. Z. Norton, C. E. Kennedy, C. C. Bolton, Frank Billings, George P. Comey, E. L. Mason, j. H. Wade and H. F. Heil.

Today, at the end of forty years of successful operation, the company utilizes a capital of $35,000,000. It has refineries located at Findlay and Marietta, Ohio, and Coffeyville, Kansas, and distributing branches in 110 cities, covering a territory all the way from New York State to the Colorado line and from the Canadian line to the Gulf. It is a complete cycle in the petroleum industry, owning its own production, its own pipe lines, its refineries, its tank cars and its marketing organizations.

Besides the general offices at Cleveland, there are executive organizations and representatives in such cities as Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri; Omaha, Nebraska; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Mankato, Minnesota; Sioux City and Dubuque, Iowa; Peoria and Springfield, Illinois; Indianapolis, Indiana; Chicago, Illinois; Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Memphis, Tennessee. Under the jurisdiction of these branch offices are various sub-branches located in the various cities in the state that they represent, all centering in the general office at Cleveland.

The executive officers of the company at Cleveland are: Frank B. Fretter, president; W. E. MacEwen, first vice president; W. H. Lamprecht II, vice president; Ed S. Page, vice president; C. S. Smith, secretary; and H. F. Heil, treasurer.

The National Refining Company is principally known as the manufacturers of White Rose gasoline and En-ar-co motor oil, White Rose gasoline selling at a premium throughout the United States, and the National Refining Company is the only company in the entire United States that sells one grade of gasoline at a premium over common, ordinary prices. The company employs in its various branches some 3,500 men.

The National Refining Company is also famous as the originator of the well known boy and slate, containing epigrams which, through advertising, has had more comments than perhaps any other advertising on any commodity in the history of advertising. The National Refining Company also lubricates about one fifth of the total railroad mileage of the United States.

William Earl MacEwen, one of the vice presidents of the company, was born at Eginondville, Ontario, Canada, May 12, 1882. His father, Murdoch MacEwen, brought his family to Cleveland in 1882, and has been a well known resident of this city for over forty years.

The second in a family of three sons and one daughter, William Earl MacEwen was educated in the grammar and high schools of Cleveland, and in the course of his business experience continued his education in the Baldwin University at Berea, and the Cleveland Law School. Immediately after he graduated at the Rockwell Street School he began earning part of his way as messenger boy for the Pennsylvania Railroad, and at the same time studied stenography, and three years later went on the payroll of the National Refining Company as a stenographer. His promotions eventually took him to the position of traffic manager, and subsequently he became secretary and finally was advanced to his present post as vice president.

During the World war period, Mr. MacEwen was a member of the Petroleum War Service Board and also acted as assistant secretary and counsel for the Western Petroleums Refiners' Association, having entire charge of the transportation of petroleum and its products throughout the United States during the period of hostilities. Another responsibility of war times was his direction of petroleum transportation of the United States for the petroleum branch of the War Service Board, which included the entire industry of the United States.

Mr. MacEwen is a member of the various Masonic bodies, and is also a member of the Union Club and Cleveland Athletic Club and MidDay Club of Cleveland, as well as the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce.

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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