Biography of Clifton P. Gongwer
North Central Ohio Biographies

Clifton P. Gongwer. One of the representative young business men of Ashland is Clifton P. Gongwer, who is manager of the Ashland Sanitary Dairy, which is located at 161 Center Street. He was born in Milton Township, Ashland County, Aug. 17, 1892, the son of Peter and Estella (Redding) Gongwer.

Peter Gongwer and his wife are highly esteemed citizens of Ashland where they have lived since 1925. Both are natives of Milton Township, and until his retirement, Mr. Gongwer was recognized as a leading farmer of that township. He is a Democrat and a member of the Methodist Church. Mr. and Mrs. Gongwer have five children: Florence E., lives at home; Clifton P., the subject of this sketch; Margaret Ruth, who taught school for three years in Egypt, and is now engaged in teaching in Bulgaria; Earl Franklin, lives at Painesville, Ohio; and Fay, married J. B. Lentz, lives at Ashland.

Clifton P. Gongwer grew up on his father's farm. He is a graduate of Ashland High School and also attended Ashland College. While a student he spent three years in the employ of the Union Hardware Company, after which he became interested in the retail milk business, as the owner of a retail route in the city. In 1917 he became associated with D. M. Reed, and they purchased a half interest in the Ashland Sanitary Dairy, which was owned by W. D. Cummings and Stewart Whitcomb. This partnership continued until 1919, when Mr. Reed and Mr. Gongwer became sole owners of the business. An addition was built to the plant in 1921, and again in 1930, at which time modern refrigeration and machinery were installed. The company has a wholesale and retail trade which extends within a radius of 100 miles of Ashland. Their estimated output annually in dairy products consisted of 300,000 pounds of butter, 75,000 gallons of ice cream, with a daily sale of milk which amounts to 1,500 gallons. Approximately 30 people are employed by the firm which operates a fleet of nine automobile trucks. In 1925 the Ashland Sanitary Dairy purchased the Budd farm of 65 acres, which is located within the city limits of Ashland. This farm is devoted exclusively to the company's herd of pure bred Guernsey cattle, which numbers 30 in 1930. Their well known "Grade A Milk" is a product of this farm.

On Nov. 24, 1915, Mr. Gongwer married Miss Florence Fay Budd, of Ashland, the daughter of Frank and Elizabeth (Helbert) Budd. Mr. Budd died in 1927 and his wife died in 1926. Both are buried in Ashland. To Mr. and Mrs. Gongwer have been born two children: Kenneth Budd, born Aug. 4, 1918; and Elizabeth Estella, born March 25, 1920.

Mr. Gongwer is a Democrat, a member of the Methodist Church, and belongs to the Elks Lodge and Ashland Country Club.

Mr. Gongwer is a member of the board of directors of the Home Savings & Loan Company, Ashland.

Peter M. Redding, paternal grandfather of Clifton P. Gongwer, is a veteran of the Civil War, and lives in Ashland. He enlisted in August, 1862, as a member of Company A, McLaughlin's Squadron, Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, which was composed of 200 members. The Governor of Ohio had granted Major McLaughlin the privilege of enlisting two companies, and at Mansfield the squadron joined Sherman's brigade, which was made up of the Sixth Ohio Volunteer Battery, the brigade having been organized by Senator John Sherman in 1861. The outfit saw considerable service scouting in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia during that year, and in 1863 Mr. Redding was with Burnside at the siege of Knoxville, and in 1864 with Sherman from Kenesaw Mountain throughout the Atlanta campaign, later serving with Kilpatrick's Cavalry. On March 1, 1865, Mr. Redding was taken captive and held at Salisbury, N. C., later being transferred to Danville, Va., and from there to Libby prison, where he remained until April 2, 1865, being among the last to leave the old tobacco warehouse which was used for prison purposes. He received his discharge at Camp Chase, Ohio, June 20, 1865. Mr. Redding is now 86 years of age.

History of North Central Ohio
Embracing Richland, Ashland, Wayne,
Medina, Lorin, Huron and Knox Counties
BY: William A. Duff
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis 1931

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