Biography of Charles H. Strong
Erie County, PA Biographies

Charles Hamot Strong has been an important factor in the industrial development of Erie, and he is recognized as one of the thoroughly representative citizens of his native city, where his business interests are of wide scope and varied order, besides which he has the distinction of being a scion of one of the old and honored families of Erie County, with whose annals the name has been identitfied for fully a century. He was born in Erie, March 14, 1853, and is the only son of Dr. Landaff and Catherine Cecilia (Hamot) Strong.

Landaff Strong was born in Summit Township, Erie County, Dec. 30, 1821, the son of Martin Strong, who came to this county from Connecticut during the early days. He was a graduate of Washington College (now Trinity) Hartford, Conn., with the degree of B. A. in 1842, and from the University of the City of New York with the degree of M. D. in 1846. He practiced medicine in Erie for a number of years, and during the War of the Rebellion was proprietor with his brother in law, George W. Starr, of the Reed House Drug Store. He died in Erie, July 13, 1869, and his wife died Aug. 12, 1856. They are buried in Erie Cemetery. To Doctor and Mrs. Strong were born two children: Charles Hamot, the subject of this sketch; and Kate, born in Erie, July 5, 1856. She was married on Sept. 25, 1884, in St. Paul's Church, Erie, to Edward Higginson, Esq., of Fall River, Mass. Mrs. Higginson died March 12, 1921, in Greenwich, Conn. Her two daughters were Annie Storrow Higginson, born in Fall River. Mass., on April 26, 1887, died in Fall River, Mass., July 24, 1892; and Mary Hamot Higginson, born in Fall River, Mass., on May 7, 1889, died in New York City, Dec. 31, 1913. Her husband, Edward Higginson, died in February, 1922, en route to the Mediterranean, on the Empress of France. All are buried in the Erie Cemetery.

Charles Hamot Strong secured his preliminary education In the private schools of Erie, and attended Erie Academy, and in 1872 went to New Haven, Conn., where for one year he pursued his study under the tutorship of Thomas Thatcher, who later became a prominent member of the bar of New York City. In 1877 he was graduated from Yale University with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. He then returned to Erie where he read law for a few months in the law office of Frank Gunnison, later Judge Gunnison. Mr. Strong's business career began as a shipping clerk in the Mount Hickory Iron Works, Erie, of which he later became president. He was president of the Union Coal Company, Shamokin, Pa., miners of hard coal operating four collieries with several thousand employes, distributing coal to seaboard and to the lakes through the port of Erie. He was vice president of the Youghiogheny River Coal Company until it was taken over by the Pittsburgh Coal Company, was vice president of the Spring Valley Coal Company of Illinois for about 30 years, and in 1920 was made president. At the present time this company operates two bituminous mines in a reduced way. He also served as vice president of the W. L. Scott Company for a few years in the 90's. This company distributed hard and soft coal by lake into the northwest.

Mr. Strong has been president of the Erie & Pittsburgh Railroad Company (leased by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company) since about 1891. This was an official position requiring the Board of Directors to perpetuate the corporate standing of the railroad leased in perpetuity to the Pennsylvania Railroad Company.

Mr. Strong became president of the Dispatch Publishing Company in 1902, publishing the Erie Morning Dispatch. Later this was succeeded by the Dispatch-News Company, a new corporation, which published the Erie Morning Dispatch and the Evening News. Later this company was succeeded by the Record Publishing Company of Erie, of which Mr. Strong was president. This company published the Erie Morning Dispatch and later purchased the Erie Evening Herald. For a brief time the Record Publishing Company of Erie published the Erie Morning Dispatch and the Erie Evening Herald. The two were combined in about 1922 into the Dispatch-Herald, an evening publication His connection with the Record Publishing Company of Erie terminated Nov. 1, 1924.

Mr. Strong was president and one of the organizers of the Edison Electric Light & Power Company in 1886, also of the Erie County Electric Company organized some years later. The Edison Electric Light & Power Company purchased the Erie County Light Company and subsequently consolidated with the Erie County Electric Company into the present Erie County Electric Company, of which Mr. Strong is still president.

On Sept. 8, 1881, Mr. Strong was united in marriage with Miss Annie Wainwright Scott, a native of Erie, and a daughter of William Lawrence and Mary Matilda (Tracy) Scott, the former a native of Washington, D. C., and the latter of Erie. Mr. Scott, who was one of Erie's most honored and influential citizens, died Sept. 19, 1891, and his wife died May 19, 1898. To Mr. and Mrs. Strong a daughter was born, Matilda Thora Wainwright Strong. She was married in Erie on Feb. 24, 1906, to Reginald Ronalds, from whom she was divorced in New York City on Nov. 23, 1910, and by whom she had one daughter, Thora Scott Ronalds, born Dec. 14, 1907, in New York City. She was married a second time to Clyde B. Leasure, in the chapel of St. George's Church, New York City, on June 28, 1917, from whom she was divorced on Dec. 23, 1921, in Erie.

Mr. Strong is a Republican, a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and belongs to the Erie, University, Kahkwa and Yacht clubs of Erie, and the University, Manhattan, Yale and Delta Kappa Epsilon clubs of New York City.

History of Erie County, Pennsylvania
By: John Elmer Reed
Historical Publishing Company

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