Thomas Williamson Means

Male 1803 - 1890


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  • Name  Thomas Williamson Means 
    Born  23 Nov 1803  Spartenburg, SC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender  Male 
    Died  8 Jun 1890  Ashland, Boyd Co., KY Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried  Ironton, Lawrence Co., OH, Woodland Cem. Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    • History of Adams County - THOMAS WILLIAMSON MEANS - iron manufacturer, son of John and Anne (Williamson) Means, was born November 3, 1803, in Spartansburg, South Carolina. He spent six years in a select school established by his father, which was chiefly for the education of his own children, and he acquired, not only a fine English education, but also a respectable knowledge of the classics. His father moved to Ohio in 1819, when he was sixteen years of age. He labored upon his father's farm and clerked in a store for several years in which his father was interested in West Union, and in 1826 he took a flatboat loaded with produce to New Orleans. In the same year he beame storekeeper at Union Furnace, which his father and others were then building four miles from Hanging Rock. This was the first blast furnace built in Ohio in the Hanging Rock iron region, and he had the pleasure of first "firing" it. The old Steam, Hopewell, Pactolus and Argillite were the only furnaces previous in existence in that region and they were in Kentucky. Since 1885, the old Union has not been in operation, but the lands belonging to it are yet, in part, owned by his heirs. In 1837, he and David Sinton became the owners of Union Furnace and rebuilt it in 1844. In 1845, they built Ohio Furnaace. In 1847, he became interested in, and helped build Buena Vista Furnace in Kentucky. In 1852, he bought Bellefont Furnace in Kentucky. In 1854, he became interested in and helped build Pine Grove Furnace in Kentucky, and the Hanging Rock coal works, and in ghe following year, with others, bought Amanda Furnace in Kentucky. In 1845, he and David Sinton built a tram-road to Ohio Furnace, one of the first roads of its kind built in Ohio, and now a railroad five miles in length runs from the river to Pine Grove furnace. The Ohio was the first charcoal furnace in the country which made as high as ten tons a day and was the first that averaged over fifteen tons. This furnace also produced iron with less expense to the ton than had then been achieved in any other. In 1832, when the Union had been worked up to six tons a day, the Pennsylvania furnaces were averaging but two tons. He, in connection with the Culbertsons, built the Princess, a stone-coal furnace, ten miles from Ashland, in Kentucky, and also, later with Capt. John Kyle and E. B. Willard, built another at Hanging Rock. In the first year of Union Furnace, three hundred tons of iron were produced; in the last year, 1855, it reached twenty-five hundred. Three hundred in 1837 was as large a yearly production as had been reached in the United States, and this rate was fully up to that of England. The largest furnaces now reach fifteen thousand tons a month in this country.

      Under the superintendence of himself and David Sinton, the experiments for introducing the hot blast were first made, and at their Union Furnace they put up the second hot blast in the United States, only a few years after its introduction in 1828. This was probably the greatest step forward that had yet been made in the manufacture of iron. Always favoring the advance in improvements, many changes were made by him in the form of furnaces and in the modes of operating them. Under his patronage, in 1860, at Ohio Furnace, was introduced the Davis hot blast, which greatly improved and modified the charcoal furnaces of the country. He was longer engaged and doubtless more extensively and directly concerned in the growth and prosperity of the iron business than any other man in the Ohio Valley. Besides his large interests in the various furnaces, he had a very considerable interest in eighteen thousand acres of iron ore, coal and farm lands in Ohio, and nearly fifty thousand acres in Kentucky. He was one of the originators of the Cincinnati and Big Sandy Packet Company and was its leading stockholder; was one of the incorporators of the Norton Iron works of Ashland, Kentucky, and one of its largest stockholders; helped lay out the town of Ashland, was a large stockholder in the ironton "Ohio Iron Railroad Company;" was one of the originators of the Second National Bank of Ironton, and its president at the organization in 1864, and was also a stockholder of the Ashland National Bank.

      In 1865, he purchased a farm near Hanging Rock and resided there several years.
      He cast his first Presidential vote for John Quincy Adams, and was identified with the Whig party while it lasted. At its dissolution, he became a Republican, and during the Civil War was an ardent supporter of the National Government. In his religious views, he was a Presbyterian, but not a member of any church. After the organization of the Congregational Church in Ironton, he attended that.

      He was a man of fine personal appearance and correct business habits; of a stong constitution, able to sustain a long life of incessant activity; with a high sense of social and business integrity, his great fortune was the legitimate result of uncommon business ability and judgment. He possessed a pleasing address, was agreeable in manners and wholly void of ostentation. He had a peculiarly rententive memory as to historical and statistical facts. He could give names, dates of election and length of terms of State and National officers - Presidents, Congress-legislation, and as to treaties with foreign countries; also could give in millions, tons, bushels, dollars, values of the imports and exports and production by the United States, and of many of the States, for instance, of cotton, corn, wheat, hay, iron, wines, etc. He was fond of discussion, and often in argument about protection, etc. surprised hearers at his accurate knowledge of matters. He had always a good general knowledge of his business affairs, was good at planning, but poor in detail. Was fearless of man or beast, but careless as to his dress.

      Mr. Means was married December 4, 1828, to Sarah Ellison, daughter of John Ellison, Jr., of Buckeye Station, Adams County. She died in 1871 at the age of sixty-one in their home at Hanging Rock. Their children now living are John, of Ashland, William and Margaret. In December, 1881, he bought a residence in Ashland, Kentucky, where he lived until his death, June 8, 1890. No man did more for the development of the Hanging Rock iron region than he, and in that respect he was a great public benefactor.

      I.R. July 25, 1861 - In the unfortunate affair on Kanawha killed John J. W. Robbins of Union Landing in this county. He was a young man of less than 18, was raised by Thomas W. Means . . .

      I.R. Thursday, June 12, 1890 - TWO IRON PIONEERS GONE - DEATH OF ROBERT SCOTT
      AND THOMAS W. MEANS - Thomas Williamson Means was born at Spartanburg, S.C., Nov. 3, 1803. He was the son of Col. John Means, a revolutionary soldier, of prominence in that region. Col. John Means moved to Ohio in 1879, and settled in Adams county. He moved his family to Ohio to get away from the influence of slavery, a fact that the children seemed to appreciate all their lives. Col. Means entered the iron business, and thus his son, Thomas, became an iron manager. The father died in 1837, and the son entered, that year, into the well-known firm of Sinton & Means. They rebuilt Union, and built Ohio, and he was interested in Vinton, Beuna Vista, Belfonte and other furnaces. In 1863, in company with others, he bought Pinegrove furnace and Newcastle coal works, when began the famous firm of Means, Kyle & Co. Thomas W. Means was one of the originators of the Big Sandy Packet line, the Second National Bank and other enterprises. Sinton & Means introduced the Davis hot blast in this region, placing the second one in the United States at Union furnace. In 1881, his wife died, and in 1882 he moved from Hanging Rock to Ashland, and since then has been quietly living there.

      Mr. Means was a man of clear ideas, great activity and honest deeds. He was thoroughly a business man in his younger days, when he made his great wealth. He was intellingently aggressive and comprehended the course of affairs clearly. He was a man of ample tasts and modest manners. He was agreeable and sociable, and had a pleasant word on all occasions. He will always be kindly remembered.

      His funeral took place at Ashland, Tuesday, at 2 o'clock. Rev. J. H. Young, formerly of the Congregational church, Ironton, conducted the funeral services. His remarks were largely a personal tribute to the virtues of the deceased. It was an impressive and interesting address. The remains were taken to Woodland Cemetery, above Ironton, and interred in the Means lot. The active pall bearers were selected from the men of the Norton Iron Works. There were also, honorary pall bearers, as follows: Commodore Honshell, Judge Ireland, Hiram Campbell, John Russell, Col. I. T. Moore, D. D. Geiger, S. Richards, and R. Leete.

      The attendance at the funeral was large. There were evidences of deep sorrow on many faces, for Thomas W. Means was universally esteemed. In the last years of his life, driven from the busy places by blindness and sickness, he was an example of patience and serenity.

      Among those at the funeral were his son, Wm. Means; Mr. Sinton, his old partner, and Mrs. Taft, Mr. Sinton's daughter, and other Cincinnati people. There was a gathering of old iron men, who had no seen each other for years, to shed a tear upon the new grave of one of their departed companions.

      Thus, in one day, two noted iron men of this region are laid away in their final resting place, but the world, busy as it may be, will long and kindly remember them.

      I.R. June 19, 1890 - When David Sinton met John Campbell at the funeral of T. W. Means, he didn't recognize him and had to be told who he was.

      I.R. August 7, 1890 - T. W. Means Will - In 1880, the late T. W.
      Means made
      a will. It was written by J. L. Anderson. When finalized, the two took it and went over to H. C. Burr & Co's bank, where Mr. Means signed it, and Messrs. Anderson and Burr wrote their names as witnesses.

      A few days ago it was probated at Catlettsburg, and Mr. Burr and Mr. Anderson went there to take part in the official act. The will named John Means, William Means, and E. B. Willard as executors. It devised and bequeathed Mr. Mean's vast estate, among his five children or their representatives, share alike; in other words, John Means, Wm. Means, Mrs. Adams, Miss Maggie Means, and the son of Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Culbertson, each one-fifth. It was also, determined that this disposition of the estate should not be disturbed by any gifts that Mr. Means might make to any of his children during their lifetime, but what remains of the estate at death should be equally distributed.

      Upon probating the will, the executors named were not appointed by the Court. John Means did not accept the trust, and Wm. Means and E. B. Willard, being non-residents were excluded by law. The law provided further that those next of kin, if otherwise unobjectionable, should succeed to the executorship. So Thomas M. Adams and Cook Means, two grandsons of the deceased, and most careful and prudent young gentlemen, were appointed executors.

      We have not yet heard of an inventory of the estate, but it is generally thought to approach a million dollars, probably, however, not reaching that amount.
    • Portsmouth Times (Ohio) July 24, 1880 - Yesterday Thomas W. Means bought of Cyrus Ellison, his entire interest in the Iron Railroad, 10,000, or 100 shares, for which Mr. Means paid ninety cents on the share. - Ironton Register.
    • I.R. Sept. 16, 1869 - Sale of Furnaces. - Last Thursday, the sale of the property belonging to the firm of Means, Kyle & Co., was disposed of at private sale to Thos. W. Means, John Means, and John Kyle for the sum of $710,000. This property embraces the New Castle Coal Works, Ohio and Pinegrove furnaces, some steamboat property, and, about 18,000 acres of land. The business will be continued, as before, by Messrs. Means & Kyle. We publish the dissolution and co-partnership notices in another column.
    Person ID  I0203  Campbell Family Southern Ohio
    Last Modified  22 Dec 2006 

    Father  John Means,   b. 14 Mar 1770, SC Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 15 Mar 1837, Manchester, Adams Co., OH Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother  Anna Williamson,   d. 30 Nov 1840 
    Married  10 Apr 1798 
    Family ID  F083  Group Sheet

    Family  Sarah Ellison,   b. 1810,   d. 26 Apr 1871, Hanging Rock, Lawrence Co., OH Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  4 Dec 1828 
    Children 
     1. Margaret "Maggie" Means,   d. 31 Dec 1921, NY Find all individuals with events at this location
    >2. John Means,   b. 21 Sep 1829, West Union, Adams Co., OH Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Feb 1910, Ashland, Boyd Co., OH Find all individuals with events at this location
    >3. William Means,   b. 18 Dec 1831,   d. 28 Jul 1921, Yellow Springs, OH Find all individuals with events at this location
    >4. Martha Ann Means,   b. 25 Dec 1833, Union Landing, Lawrence Co., OH Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 15 Jan 1896, New York, New York Find all individuals with events at this location
     5. Isabella Means,   b. 1836,   d. 20 Jan 1863
     6. Esther Elizabeth Means,   b. 1840,   d. 19 Aug 1860
     7. Thomas Williamson Means, Jr.,   b. 1844,   d. Aug 1872, Hanging Rock, Lawrence Co., OH Find all individuals with events at this location
     8. Sarah Jane Means,   b. 1846,   d. 19 Sep 1874
    Family ID  F084  Group Sheet