Biography of John G. Tomson
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

JOHN G. TOMSON, superintendent of streets for the City of Cleveland, was born at the family home on Pearl Road, now in the City of Cleveland, March 17, 1879. His grandfather, Martin Tomson, was born in France and after his discharge from the French army came to the United States and bought a farm in Wyoming County, New York. In 1860 he moved to Iowa, where he spent his last days. Barney Tomson, father of John G., was born in Wyoming County, New York, in 1845. In 1861, at the age of sixteen, he enlisted, and performed his first duty as a soldier as body guard for General Scott, and subsequently was with the One Hundred Eleventh New York Cavalry in continuous and hard service in the Army of the Potomac, participating in Gettysburg and other battles. At the close of the war he returned to Warsaw, Wyoming County, New York. He had served an apprenticeship at the blacksmith's trade, and after the war he set up in business as a carriage maker and blacksmith. In 1870 he removed to Cleveland, purchasing property on Pearl Road, then a partially settled region, where he operated a blacksmith shop and conducted it until he retired from active life. He died in 1910. His wife, who was Pauline Schneckenberger, was born in Switzerland in 1845, and came to America when seventeen years of age in company with her brother Jacob. Barney Tomson and wife reared six children: Edward, Albert W., Barney W., Lydia (wife of Jack Healy), John G. and Otto.

John G. Tomson attended public schools at Cleveland, but at the age of thirteen was working to earn his own living, and he also learned the trade of blacksmith. He engaged in business as a general blacksmith and horseshoer, with shop on Carnegie Avenue, and continued there until 1910. In that year he was appointed assistant to the superintendent of streets, serving one year, and was then made superintendent of sidewalks during Mayor Bayer's administration. For four years he resumed his business as a blacksmith, until January 1, 1916, when Mayor Davis appointed him commissioner of streets, with offices in the City Hall. He has been retained in that office continuously, having charge of street repair and street cleaning and street permits.

Mr. Tomson married in 1902 Miss Louise Westf all, a native of Switzerland and daughter of John Westfall. She died at Cleveland, November 3, 1916, leaving one daughter, who was born September 26, 1903. Mr. Tomson married at Cleveland, November 8, 1917, Miss Carrie MacTavish, daughter of Alexander and Ella (Jorson) MacTavish. Her father was a lake captain.

Mr. Tomson has been prominent in republican politics, serving as president of the Western Reserve Club, a republican party organization, and he represented the Twenty first Ward in the city council in 1911. He is a member of the Masonic lodge, John Corwin Chapter No. 205, Royal Arch Masons; Forest City Commandery No. 39, Knights Templar Al Sirat Grotto No. 17; Al Koran Temple of the Mystic Shrine, is past chancellor of Forest City Lodge Knights of Pythias, past dictator of Cleveland Lodge of Moose, and a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Lakewood Lodge of Elks.

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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