Biography of William D. Brickell
Franklin County, Ohio Biographies





William David Brickell, prime mover in many of the business enterprises of Columbus, and until his death in. 1923 a director of the Central National Bank, was a man of public spirit as well as great business acumen. He was born at Steubenville, Ohio, November 19, 1852, the son of Capt. David Zillhart and Mary (McCarty) Brickell.

Capt. David Z. Brickell, like his father, John Brickell, was an Ohio River steamboat captain and commanded a hospital boat during the Civil War. After the war, in 1866, he engaged in the iron and steel business and amassed a large fortune. His partners were Henry W. Oliver and W. W. Martin, forming the firm of Martin, Oliver & Becket owners of the Kittaning, Pennsylvania, Steel & Iron Plants. They lived at Kittaning.

William David Brickell was educated in the public schools of Steubenville, Ohio, and attended Western University, which is now the University of Pennsylvania. He left school and went into the newspaper business as an apprentice in the printing shop of the Pittsburgh Post. He then worked in the composing and press rooms and finally became a member of the editorial staff of the Post. He went to St. Louis, Missouri, as a part owner of the St. Louis Democrat, now the Globe Democrat, and later was night editor. His next newspaper connection was with the Indianapolis Sentinel. In 1876 Mr. Brickel1 returned to Pittsburgh to accept the position as assistant managing editor of the Pittsburgh Leader. At that time the Columbus Evening Dispatch was on the market, and Mr. Brickel1 decided to investigate both the property and the city of Columbus as a newspaper field. He took an option on the property and contents and with Edward Myers of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, purchased it outright. Five years later Mr. Brickell took over Mr. Myers interests. At that time the Dispatch was a daily and weekly, with no Sunday edition, and without a great amount of prosperity or prestige. Mr. Brickell as sole owner and publisher added a Sunday edition, and practically revolutionized the paper and plant, and when he sold it in 1910 it was not only the leading newspaper in Columbus but in central Ohio, and Mr. Brickell was recognized as one of the best known newspaper men in the country.

For ten years Mr. Brickell was a director of the Associated Press, and during that period Columbus enjoyed the honor and benefit of having a resident director of that great news gathering organization, he being one of the nineteen directors throughout the United States.

Upon retiring from the newspaper field in 1910, Mr. Brickell devoted himself to his financial and industrial interests, which by that time had become important. He was president and treasurer of the Iron Clay Brick Company, of Columbus, and was a director of the Central National Bank. He had extensive business interests in Columbus and throughout the country. Mr. Brickell died August 7, 1923. He was one of the incorporators of the original Columbus Electric Light Company in 1887; an incorporator of the Columbus, Albany & Johnstown Interurban Company in 1891; and an incorporator of the first local telephone company in 1879. Mr. Brickell was one of a group of prominent Columbus citizens who purchased the B. E. Smith residence at Fourth and East Broad Streets in 1886, which became the home of the Columbus Club. He also founded the Brickell Alcove in the Columbus Public Library, which was maintained by him through annual donations of money and books.

On July 15, 1885, Mr. Brickell was united in marriage with Miss Cora M. Ross, the daughter of the late Samuel Ross, a pioneer railroad builder. He was in charge of the building of the Pennsylvania Railroad between Columbus and Richmond, Indiana.

Mr. Brickell was a Republican, a member of the Broad Street Presbyterian Church, and belonged to the Columbus Club, Columbus Athletic Club, Scioto Country Club, and Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks.

From:
History of Franklin County, Ohio
By:Opha Moore
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka - Indianapolis 1930


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