Biography of William J. Semple
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

WILLIAM J. SEMPLE, director of finance for the City of Cleveland, is one of the well known and popular citizens of the Ohio metropolis, and had a successful career in business before he was called to public duties.

He was born in Cleveland, son of William Semple and grandson of James Semple. James Semple, a native of Scotland, came to America when a young man and for ten years lived in Canada, where he married a girl who, like himself, was born in Scotland, and her parents were pioneers of the Province of Ontario. James Semple from Canada moved to New York State and finally spent his last years in Cleveland. William Semple, father of the finance director, was born at Silver Creek, New York, acquired a good education and was one of the first men to qualify for the profession of electrical engineering. For some time he was in the service of the Brush Electric Light Company, and was sent by this corporation to Cincinnati to install the first electric light plant in that city. After completing that work he returned to Cleveland, and was only forty two years of age when he died. His wife, Helen MacDonald Hart, was born in Scotland, and died at the age of sixty eight years. Her parents were Malcolm and Elizabeth Hart. William Semple and wife reared three children: Ruth E., teacher in the public schools of Cleveland, William J. and George Hart.

William J. Semple first attended school in Cincinnati, and completed his education in Cleveland. After leaving school he continued his studies, and has been an interested student of political science and commercial affairs all his years. Soon after leaving school he was given employment in the Cleveland offices of the Standard Oil Company as an office boy, was advanced to a clerkship, and left that corporation in 1906 to become associated with the Youghiogheny and Ohio Coal Company. He resigned in 1913 and for ten years was with the Cleveland and Western Coal Company, resigning his work with that corporation in 1923 to become city finance director.

Mr. Semple married, in October, 1916, Miss Mary Pendergast, a native of Cleveland and daughter of Thomas Pendergast.

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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