Biography of James E. Pilliod
Lucas County, OH Biographies

James E. Pilliod, a widely known Toledoan who spent the greater part of his life in this city, passed away on March 14, 1923, when sixty three years of age. For a number of years he enjoyed an enviable reputation as one of the most active members of the Toledo bar and prior to prohibition was one of the recognized leaders of the brewery interests of the middle west, being at the head of The Huebner Toledo Breweries Company, the second largest concern of the kind in Ohio. His birth occurred in Fort Loramie. Shelby county, Ohio, August 17, 1859, his parents being James and Mary Jane (Homer) Pilliod. His grandfather in the paternal line was James M. Pilliod, who came to America from Europe in 1824 and settled on virgin land near Fort Loramie, concentrating his efforts and attention upon the cultivation of the soil and the production of crops. He became one of the successful and highly respected farmers of that locality and as time passed on he added to his holdings and to a large extent colonized the properties with people from his native country. He thus added greatly to the growth and progress of the community. He was a man of broad culture and of marked business capacity and he aided materially in the improvement and upbuilding of his section of the state. Before coming to this country he was a soldier under the great Napoleon, serving with the rank of captain. He died in Ohio, at the advanced age of ninety four years. His son, James Pilliod, was also a native of Shelby county, Ohio, and in 1869 removed to Toledo, where he engaged in the milling business for an extended period but in his later years lived retired, enjoying in well earned rest the fruits of his former toil. He gained distinction as Toledo's pioneer miller and as the founder of one of the most extensive flour milling companies in the early history of the city. He passed away in 1890. His widow lives in the old homestead in Toledo, and is more than ninety years of age. She is a remarkably well preserved woman, retaining all of her faculties unimpaired, and she seems to possess much of the vigor and ambition of young womanhood.

James E. Pilliod, an only child, came to Toledo with his parents when a small boy and received his early education in a parochial school of this city, while subsequently he entered Canisius College at Buffalo, New York, from which institution he was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1881, when twenty two years of age. While a college student he manifested an intense interest in languages. He learned to speak five languages fluently and had a limited knowledge of two or three others. After completing his college course he studied law in the offices of a number of Toledo attorneys and was admitted to the bar in 1882. He practiced in partnership with Rathbun Fuller, made rapid progress in the profession and was regarded as one of its keenest representatives, first winning success as a criminal lawyer but later branching into corporation work. From 1882 until 1896 he was recognized as one of the brilliant members of the bar of this city and an orator of splendid ability. In the meantime he had become interested in the politics of Shelby county and soon became a leader of the democratic party there. He continued his connection with the democratic party until 1896, when the platform adopted by the national convention of that party, which declared for free silver, was not to his liking and he declared himself for William McKinley, the republican candidate for president that year.

In 1896 he gave up the law, notwithstanding his almost marvelous success, to assume the ownership and management of the Toledo Brewing & Malting Company, in company with John Huebner, the name of the company being changed to the Huebner Brewing Company. This company soon acquired the capital stock of The Maumee Brewing Company and The Schmitt Brewing Company. In 1906 he was the moving spirit in the merger of The Huebner Brewing Company, The Grasser Brand Brewing Company and The Finlay Brewing Company to constitute The Huebner Toledo Breweries Company, which became the second largest syndicate of this kind in the state. As head of the new concern Mr. Pilliod guided its affairs until the dissolution of the company after the passage of the National Prohibition Act. He also served as secretary and treasurer of The Woolner Brewing Company until within a short time prior to his death and after prohibition went into effect he spent a small fortune on scientific studies of near beer formulas and directed the manufacture of non alcoholic products at his plant on Hamilton street. He was also engaged in the real estate business, acted as secretary of the Joseph F. Kieswetter Carpet Cleaning & Rug Manufacturing Company and was financially interested in many other business activities. His commercial interests and large investments brought to him a very substantial and gratifying return, and at the time of his demise a local newspaper characterized him as "one of the most prominent men in Toledo's business life for more than a quarter of a century." He was a thoroughgoing business man who in the development of his interests displayed splendid powers of organization and of executive control.

On the 15th of September, 1885, Mr. Pilliod was married to Miss Anna. Becker of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gerard Becker. They became the parents of six children: Fanny is the wife of Erwin R. Effler of Toledo; Gerard is assistant United States district attorney at Cleveland; Theresa, a twin of Gerard, is the wife of John F. Kumler, also living in Toledo; Marie is the wife of L W. Rohr of this city; Edmund resides in Toledo; and Charlotte is deceased.

Mr. Pilliod was a popular member of the Toledo Club and the Inverness Golf Club, while fraternally he was identified with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. His religious faith was indicated by his membership in the Cathedral Chapel parish. He was a great reader of history, a student of all the advanced sciences, an accomplished pianist and patron of music and art. He had traveled widely, thus adding to his store of knowledge. He made frequent trips to France, Germany and the Netherlands and had also toured Egypt. At his death one of the local papers said: "Mr. Pilliod's sudden passing away will prove a shock to hundreds of Toledoans who knew him personally and to many who had been beneficiaries of his proverbial generosity."

Toledo and Lucas County, Ohio
BY: John M. Killits, A.M., LL.D.
S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago and Toledo

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