Biography of Robert McCurdy
Mahoning County, OH Biographies

ROBERT McCURDY. For more than a quarter of a century the late Robert McCurdy was the president of the First National Bank of Youngstown, one of the most important institutions of northern Ohio. He was much more, an honorable, upright citizen, a man of sterling worth in every relation of life, and a stanch supporter of everything that related to the welirbeing of the city of Youngstown. He was born at Castle Finn, County Donegal, Ireland, June 24, 1842, and was a son of Dr. Robert McCurdy, who came to America when Robert, Jr., was a child of 11 months. Settling on a small farm near Crab Creek, Mahoning County, Ohio, he practiced his profession as opportunity offered, and also cultivated his land, in order to provide for the needs of his eight children. Of these still three survive, namely: Dr. John McCurdy, Mrs. Mary Bentley and Samtiel D. McCurcly.

Robert McCurdy had very little of what may be termed a helpful childhood. His surroundings were not those to encourage leisure as soon as he became self supporting, and probably he was earning his own keep in the world when other lads, not much better off, weile scarcely thinking about it. In after years Mr. McCurdy was disposed to look upon his early trials as good discipline, and it is certain that in his case habits of industry and economy were so early implanted that they greatly assisted him through life. From the public schools he sought self supporting work in the neighborhood, and, in August, 1861, he accepted a position in the old Mahoning County Bank. While he retained this humble place, he performed its duties with the same thoroughness that later characterized his management of the First National Bank.

In becoming even a humble accessory to an important business, a certain standing is assured, and so well did Robert perform the duties assigned him that he attracted the attention of his employers, among whom were some of Youngstown's most eminent citizens. Before long a clerkship was found for him when the First National Bank was organized on June 2, 1863. On June 20, 1865, he was made cashier, in which position he served with such ability and fidelity that when changes came about in the management of the bank, early in 1877, Mr. McCurdy was elected president, in which office he served continuously from that time until his death. During this period, covering some twenty seven years, Mr. McCurdy gained for the bank a reputation which increased its usefulness and added materially to its strength.

Although Mr. McCurdy's primary busineess was banking, he was on numerous occasions interested, for a short time, in some of the city's various important industries, and had a few tentative interests at other points. He was, however, a citizen devoted to Youngstown and took more interest in forwarding her enterprises than in investing elsewhere, however flattering the outlook might

During the Civil War Mr. McCurdy was an active supporter of the Government. At its outbreak he enlisted as a member of the 155th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and served three months in Virginia before he was stricken with typhoid fever, which resulted in his being discharged for disability. He was always a stanch supporter of the Republican party, and took an active part in its campaign work. On many occasions he served as a delegate to various important conventions.

On September 19, 1878, Mr. McCurdy was married to Isabella Porter, a daughter of the late William Porter. Mrs. McCurdy and their three children still survive. They had two daughters, Isabel and Florence, and a son, Robert H. The eldest daughter, Isabel, is the wife of J. L. Grandin, a business man of Boston, Massachusetts. Mrs. McCurdy resides in one of Youngstown's finest residences, at No. 726 Wick avenue.

From early manhood Mr. McCnrdy was a consistent member of the First Presbyterian Church of Youngstown, serving its needs in many capacities as Sunday school teacher, as clerk of the session and as elder for the twenty six years preceding, his death. In recalling Mr. McCurdy's many spheres of usefulness, his fellow citizens must always associate his memory with the Young Men's Christian Association, the Reuben McMilIan Public Library Association, and the Rayen School. In 1869 Mr. McCurdy became a member of the first committee that met to organize a branch of the Young Men's Christian Association. Throughout the remainder of his life never did he lose his enthusiastic interest in the organization, over which he presided as president for five consecutive years. At the time of his decease, Mr. McCurdy was one of the trustees of the Reuben McMillan Public Library Association and it was mainly through his efforts that Youngstown acquired the fine library that it now possesses. He served from 1877 as one of the trustees of the Rayen School and was continually concerned in its improvement and in the maintenance of the high school. standard for which it is noted. He was vitally interested in many other noble and uplifting agencies in his city and gave to them the best that was in him.

Mr. McCurdy was most charitably inclined, and never turned a deaf ear to an appeal on behalf of a worthy cause. His private charities were known only to those closest to him; the amounts so expended in relieving want and destitution were large indeed, and constituted the greater part of his benefactions. When contributions were solicited for the help of those who had been the victims of any public calamity, his name invariably headed the list with the largest amount.

Personally Mr. McCurdy attached others to himself irresistibly. He commanded admiration for his fearless outlook on life and his untiring, energetic and thoroughly sincere struggle against anything that interfered with his convictions of right. He was one who was always known as a dependable man, one who could never be swayed from the right course by sophistry or by an appeal to his personal feelings. All those who knew him were not his friends, because he was not in sympathy with much that he found in the niass of his fellow citizens, but none could be found who did not entirely respect him. His death occurred March 25, 1904, at his home in Youngstown, Ohio, after an illness of two years from Bright's disease. A portrait of this admirable citizen appears in connection with this article.

20th Century History of Youngstown
and Mahoning County, Ohio and
Representative Citizens,
Edited and compiled by Gen. Thos. W. Sanderson
Youngstown, Ohio
Biographical Publishing Company
Chicago, Illinois 1897

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