Biography of William K. Radcliffe
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

WILLIAM K. RADCLIFFE, a retired Cleveland business man, was a well known figure in the produce commission circles for thirty years or more. He is a prominent representative of the original Manx colony in Cleveland. Cleveland has been one of the principal centers for the settlement of people from the Isle of Man.

Mr. Radcliffe was born at the present site of the Board of Education Building on the west side of "Old Bond," now East Sixth Street, in Cleveland, on January 16, 1849. His father, John Radcliffe, was born near Ramsey, in Kirk Andrew Parish, Isle of Man, where his parents were lifelong residents. He was educated in the schools there, served an apprenticeship at the millwright's trade, and his acquired skill, combined with his natural talent, make him an artistic worker in wood. Some of the handsome pieces of furniture he perfected are still owned by his son, William K. Radcliffe. When a youth, in about 1831, he came to the United States, settling in Cleveland, and after working at his trade for a time engaged in business as a building contractor. This work he continued until his death, which occurred very suddenly at the age of forty three, August 16, 1854. He was born in 1811.

John Radcliffe married Mary A. Tear, who was born in Kirk Andrew Parish, Isle of Man. Her father, Patrick Tear, was born and married in the same country, and in 1826 brought his family to the United States. In the same party were William H. Kelley and family and William Kneen and family, all of whom came by sailing vessel that was on the ocean for seven weeks between London and New York. From New York a steamer carried them up the Hudson to Troy, and thence they came West by the Erie Canal to Buffalo and sailing vessel to Cleveland. William Kneen settled in Carroll County, Ohio, while the Tear and Kelley families located in Cleveland, and were the first Man people in the city. Later many other people from the same island came, and their descendants have been prominent in business and public affairs. Mr. Tear died soon after his arrival, and Mrs. Tear married a Mr. Kelley and reared two sons, Edward and Henry. Both these sons became soldiers in the Civil war, Edward in 1861 joining the Seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry and was wounded at the. Battle of Winchester, Virginia, March 23, 1862, and died the 1st of April of the same year. His remains were brought home and laid to rest in the cemetery at Gilletts Corner, what is now Leerood and Kinsman. Henry served in the Fourteenth Michigan Regiment of Mounted Infantry throughout the war, and spent the rest of his life in Michigan. Mrs. John Radcliffe died in 1890. She reared two children, Miss Eliza, who died unmarried, in 1904, and William K.

William K. Radcliffe attended the old Eagle School and then what was known as the Clinton, now the Brownell, School. After finishing a common school course he went to work to earn his own living, at first as a messenger boy in the Western Union Telegraph Office, and he also delivered the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Learning the carpenter's trade, he followed that occupation in Cleveland a short time, and in 1868 went to the oil fields in Pennsylvania, working as a tool dresser, and ran the engine. That was his source of livelihood until 1878, when, returning to Cleveland, he engaged in the wholesale commission business, and was active in that line until he retired in 1907. Mr. Radcliffe in 1912 purchased land on Coal Ridge Road, then on the outskirts of the City of Cleveland, and built one of the first houses in that vicinity. He has lived there ever since.

Mr. Radcliffe married, February 13, 1884, Miss Isabelle Brew. She was born on Eagle Street in Cleveland, daughter of William and Hannah Brew, natives of the Isle of Man and early settlers of Cleveland. Mr. Radcliffe lost his wife by death in 1916. There were two children, a son, Everett, and a daughter, Seville. Everett is a graduate of the Central High School and the Western Reserve University, and is now located at New York, a representative of the Carbide & Carbon Company of Cleveland. He married Katheryn Callow. The daughter, Seville, after graduating from Western Reserve University, taught in the West High School of Commerce four years, and subsequently married Perry F. Ellsworth. Mr. Ellsworth came from Meredith, New Hampshire, and is a son of perry A: and Ann (Foss) Ellsworth. Mr. and Mrs. Ellsworth have two sons, Perry Radcliffe and William Everett.

Mr. Radcliffe as a youth began attending the Sunday school of the Second Baptist Church, and joined the church at the age of sixteen. In Masonry lie is affiliated with Iris Lodge No. 229, also with Webb Chapter No. 14, Royal Arch Masons, and the Eastern Star. He is a member of the Mona Relief Society, composed entirely of people of Isle of Man ancestry.

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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