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Lorain County, Ohio
History & Genealogy


Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens
and of Many of the Early Settled Families



Richard DeWitt Perry
RICHARD DE WITT PERRY, superintendent of The Western Automatic Machine Screw Co., Elyria, is a representative self-made man, and a living example of what willing heart and hands and indomitable perseverance can accomplish.
     He is a son of Clinton DeWitt and Celia (Spencer) Perry, and was born in South Manchester, Conn., Jan. 12, 1857.  His parents were also natives of the Nutmeg State, the father born in North Manchester, the mother in South Manchester, and after marriage they were residents of Hartford, where the father was engaged in general business; they still reside there.  The paternal grandfather of subject was a physician, and the patronymic of his maternal grandparents was Spencer (the grandmother's maiden name being Hollister).  C. M. Spencer, uncle of Richard DeW Perry, was the inventor of the widely-known Spencer rifle, and also of the Spencer automatic machine screw.
     The subject of these lines was educated in his native town and learned his trade with the Hartford Machine Screw Company, with whom he remained many years, filling nearly every position in the mechanical department, and becoming thoroughly efficient in each.  In 1883 he was appointed manager of The Western Automatic Machine Screw Company, at Elyria, and has ever since had charge of all the mechanical work done in that institution, which is by far the largest manufacturing concern of its kind in the West.  Since Mr. Perry's connection with it, its trade has expanded vastly, and new buildings have been added to accommodate the fast increasing business, all of which development is mainly due to his thorough knowledge of the business, and his natural energy and progressiveness.
     In 1883 Mr. Perry was united in marriage with Miss Jennie Swan, and three children have been born to them, viz.: Philip W., Hester and Richard De Witt, Jr.  In his political preferences our subject is a Republican, and in the spring of 1893 he was elected a member of the board of education of Elyria.  He has recently erected a handsome residence on West Third street, which has been equipped with all modern improvements.

Source: Commemorative Biographical Record of the counties of Huron and Lorain, Ohio - Illustrated_ Publ. Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co. - 1894 - Page 822

  HENRY PIPER.  This representative, prosperous agriculturist of Rochester township is a son of Christian and Catherine (Garner) Pifer, natives of Lancaster county, Pennsylvania.
     In 1836 the parents came to Ohio, locating on a farm in Orange township, Ashland county, where the father bought thirty acres of wild land, that part of the country being entirely new, without a single road in it, only blazed trees marking a path through the woods.  A temporary log house was built, and in course of time a better one; thirty acres were added to the first purchase, and, later, still more, until the farm aggregated 114 acres.  Children as follows were born to this pioneer couple; Jacob, who resides in Marion county, Iowa; Elizabeth, single, who resides on the home farm; Martha, who makes her home in Brighton, Lorain county; Mary, who is the widow of Isaac Lydick, of Orange township, Ashland county; Samuel, a farmer of Orange township, and Henry, whose name opens this sketch.  The father of this family died in July, 1881, aged seventy-five years; the mother on August 20, 1893, at the advanced age of eighty-eight years, one month, fourteen days, and they lie side by side in Orange cemetery, Ashland county.  They were members of the Dunkard Church, and in politics Mr. Piper was a Republican.
     Henry Pifer, whose name introduces this sketch, was born Sept. 11, 1841, in Orange township, Ashland, Co., Ohio.  In 1865 he came to Lorain county, where for a year he was employed on a farm of Josephus Clark, and then rented land.  After his marriage he rented a farm in Ruggles township, Ashland county, for a few years, and in 1873 bought seventy-five acres in Rochester township, Lorain county, which is embodied in his present farm.  Hither he removed, and there resided until his purchase from Thomas Knapp of the piece of land whereon he now has his residence, and which lies opposite his seventy-five acre farm.  He now owns 118 1/2 acres of excellent land, all greatly improved by him, and in addition to general farming he is extensively engaged in the dairy business.
     On Mar. 24, 1864, Mr. Pifer married Miss Mary A. Krebs, who was born Sept. 16, 1841, in Orange township, Ashland county, a daughter of Daniel and Catherine (Rickett) Krebs, and two children were born to this union: Jennie M., now Mrs. Henry Barnes, of Rochester, Lorain county, and Loran, at home with her parents.  Politically our subject is a stanch Democrat, formerly as stanch a Republican, his first vote being cast for Brough for governor of Ohio.  He and his wife are both consistent members of the Congregational Church at Rochester.
Source: Commemorative Biographical Record of the counties of Huron and Lorain, Ohio - Illustrated_ Publ. Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co. - 1894 - Page 1148

H. A. Plato
HENRY A. PLATO, vice-president of the Savings Deposit Bank, and dry-goods merchant, North Amherst, is a native of Germany, born Dec. 28, 1845, a son of John and Wilhelmina (Bodman) Plato, also natives of Germany.
     In 1856 they came to the United States, and to Ohio, making a stay of four or five months in Vermillion, Erie county; then came to Amherst township, Lorain county, where they followed farming about three years, after which they moved into the village of North Amherst.  Here for some eight or ten years the father operated a livery, assisted by his sons; also erected a grocery store, and conducted a business there till his retirement from active life, at which time his sons took charge of the grocery.  He died in December, 1890, aged seventy-six years; his widow in yet living, now sixty-nine years old.  Their family comprised three sons and one daughter, viz.:  Henry A., John E. (partner in business with Henry A.), Herman J. and Matilda C., wife of Joseph Wesbecher, partner in the hardware business with Henry A. and John E.  Henry A. commenced the grocery business with his brother, John E., in 1869, and continued therein about twelve years, or till 1881, in which year his brother-in-law (Joseph Wesbecher) being in the hardware business, our subject and brother, J. E., bought an interest in same.  Subsequently Mr. Plato, in conjunction with his partners, built a brick block, and up to Jan. 1, 1892, he saw to the interest of the brothers in the hardware branch, which grew to be thriving concern, while J. E., the brother attended their dry-goods store; but being sickly changed positions with his brother, and went back to the dry-goods store on Jan. 1, 1892, at the same time retaining his connection with the hardware business.  About two years ago the Savings Deposit Bank was organized in North Amherst, and Mr. Plato has ever since been vice-president of same.  About four years ago he was instrumental in organizing the North Amherst Furniture Co., which is one of the best equipped enterprises of the kind in Northern Ohio, putting up the building which is now occupied by the concern.
     In 1866 Henry A. Plato and Miss Elizabeth Hilderbrand were united in marriage, and six children were born to them, viz.:  Matinda, a clerk in her father's store; Albert D., who was educated at Notre Dame, Ind., and is connected with his father in the dry-goods business; Wilhelmina also educated at Notre Dame, Ind.; Cecelia, Louisa and Florence, all of whom have had the best possible educational advantages.  They are possessed of rare musical abilities, and form within their own circle a talented band.  They have for some years furnished the music in the Catholic Church at Amherst, and are in much demand at both public and private entertainments.  The "Plato Band," as it is sometimes called, consists of two violins (played by son and one of the daughters); piano and cornet (two other daughters), and flute (Mr. Plato himself).
     Mr. Plato is a stanch Democrat, and a leader of the party in his vicinity.  In 1887 he was elected township clerk, a position he still fills.  In 1861 (then but sixteen years of age) he wished very much to enlist as a fifer, but his father prevented his going out, being too young; however, in December, 1863, he enlisted, this time in Company E, One Hundred and Twenty-eighth O. V. I., and served till July, 1865, when he was mustered out a Camp Chase, the war coming to a close.
Source: Commemorative Biographical Record of the counties of Huron and Lorain, Ohio - Illustrated_ Publ. Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co. - 1894 - Page 974

John E. Plato
JOHN E. PLATO, of the hardware firm of J. Wesecher & Co., in North Amherst, was born in the Kingdom of Hanover, Nov. 11, 1848, a son of John and Wilhelmina (Bodmann) Plato, also natives of Hanover.
     The family came to America in 1857, and after landing proceeded westward to Ohio, locating first at Vermillion, Erie county, later settling permanently in North Amherst.  The father was a professional musician, in his native land, but in this country he conducted a livery business.  He died Dec. 5, 1890, at the age of seventy-five years; his widow, now in her seventy-six year is living with her son John E.  They were the parents of four children.
     The subject of this sketch, who is second in order of birth, received his education at the parochial schools of New York, his attendance there covering some four years, after which he returned to North Amherst and engaged in the livery business.  Later he commenced in the grocery and dry-goods business, and for the past ten years has been a member of the firm of Plato Bros., in that line; also one of the firm of J. Wesbecher & Co., in hardware, at North Amherst, and connected with the North Amherst Furniture Co.  Of all these interests Mr. Plato now gives his sole attention to the hardware business.  The firm carry a full and complete line of shelf and heavy goods.
     On Nov. 29, 1877, Mr. Plato was united in marriage with Miss Lena Menz, who was born at North Amherst, Ohio, July 26, 1856, a daughter of John Peter and Matilde Menz, natives of Bavaria, Germany, who came to America May 2, 1853.  To Mr. and Mrs. Plato have been born five children, namely: Leonora, Agatha, John, Henry and Ruth.  Mr. and Mrs. Plato are stanch members of the Catholic Church, and influential pillars thereof.  In politics he has always been a Democrat, and is active in municipal affairs.
     Mr. Plato has for years been one of the leading business men of North Amherst and is progressive and public-spirited.
Source: Commemorative Biographical Record of the counties of Huron and Lorain, Ohio - Illustrated_ Publ. Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co. - 1894 - Page



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