HON. FRANK M. CLEVENGER.   The force of heredity is not always so easily traced in the lives of public men as in the career of the Hon. Frank M. Clevenger, one of Wilmington's best known attorneys and a man of interesting and forceful personality. The fact that his grandfather was justice of the peace for many years, and his father postmaster, at least shows a predisposition in the family for public service, as well as the possession of those personal qualities which are necessary to merit the public confidence. For three generations, this noted family have won the respect of their fellow-countrymen, evidenced by honors which, perhaps, reached their culmination in the election of Frank Clevenger to the state Senate to represent two districts. Mr. Clevenger is now associated with Simeon G. Smith in one of the best-known law firms in this section of the state. He is the son of William, and Martha (Compton) Clevenger, and was born on a farm in Washington township, Clinton county,
, on Mar. 8, 1865.
     Enos Clevenger, grandfather of our subject, was the type of pioneer who leaves his impress upon his times. Born and reared in Frederick county, Virginia, he remained there until after his marriage to Christina Crouse at Winchester, Virginia, in 1824. Soon after this event, they packed their scant household goods on horses, and started northward, penetrating the forests of the new country. The young wife, being of German extraction, had the racial qualifications of the helpmeet of a pioneer, for she had love of home, courage, contentment and faith, all of which were needed in the trying years that followed. Traversing miles of attractive country, the horses of these early settlers were not stopped except temporarily, until they reached Clinton county, Ohio, which became the future home of the family. Here Enos Clevenger became one of the influential men of the community, and was justice of the peace during nearly all of his residence in the county. He died near Wilmington in 1867, his widow passing away three years later. Both the subject of this sketch and his father were born on the farm on which the old pioneer settled.
     William Clevenger, although seventy-nine winters have passed over his head, is now, and has been for the past twenty-three years connected with the Irwin Auger Bit Company of Wilmington. From 1885 until 1890, he was postmaster of the town, and served with satisfaction to both his own and the opposing political party. During these years, the devotion of his faithful wife, who was a native of Indiana, was no small element in either his happiness or his success. Their five children are all boys. The eldest, George, is now living near North Yakima, Washington; Frank was the second-born ; William W. resides in Santa Anna, California; the two youngest died at the ages of four and seven, respectively.
     The career of Frank M. Clevenger is of more than ordinary interest, because it records activity in the great world of affairs; it registers the thoughts and deeds of a man who has helped to mold public opinion, as well as the laws effected thereby. Although born on a farm, he did not remain there after his eighteenth year, when, with an ambition which presaged well for his future, he took up his residence in Wilmington in order to attend school. Graduating with honors from the high school in 1886, he began the study of law the following year, was admitted to the bar in 1890, and has been in active practice since that time. For six years, he had his own law office, then establishing the firm of Slone, Martin & Clevenger, he practiced with them until 1899. In November, of that year, he went into partnership with Simeon G. Smith, and together, these noted lawyers have made their firm one of the strongest and best known in this part of the state.
     Mr. Clevenger, while attending to professional duties, has always been an active politician, and as such, has made his influence in the community felt. From 1909 to 1911 he represented the fifth and sixth districts in the Ohio state Senate, these districts comprising the counties of Clinton, Fayette, Greene, Ross and Highland. While serving his constituents in this capacity, he was the author of a number of important bills, and was chairman of the special committee appointed to investigate the subject of taxation in Ohio, which investigation resulted in the present law. Although Mr. Clevenger filled the office of state senator with credit both to himself and to the Republican party, under the present system of "rotation of office," now existing, he was not a candidate for' re-election.
     Notwithstanding his busy professional life, and his public services, Mr. Clevenger has been true to the religious training of his God-fearing parents, and both he and Mrs. Clevenger have been active in the work and worship of the Methodist Episcopal church, of which the former is a trustee. Realizing, too, the benefit's to be derived from organization on the social side of life, Mr. Clevenger has allied himself with a number of fraternal organizations, these including the Masons, the Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias and the Elks lodge. In all of these, affiliation has meant to the noted lawyer not merely membership, but helpful co-operation.
     Mary H. Robinson, a native of Frederick county, Virginia, became the wife of Mr. Clevenger in August, 1890, the ceremony having been performed at her home in Win Chester, Virginia. In their home two children have been born, Agnes Virginia and Russell Robinson. Mrs. Clevenger has been a devoted wife and mother, and the circle of friends and acquaintances gained through her husband's prominence in public life, has only added to the number of those who respect and admire her.
     Mr. Clevenger is considered one of the ablest lawyers in the state of Ohio. His keen insight, his ability to strike the correct theory of a case, his power of logical thought, and of facile expression, all go to make up what is known as "the legal mind." And the crowning tribute to such a man as he, is that his gifts have not been limited to the -furthering of personal desires and interests, but have been considered by him in the nature of a trust to be used for the common good. With what success this ideal has been attained may be judged by his usefulness and prominence in the community in which the name of Clevenger has been honored in the past, as well as in the present generation.
     Mr. Clevenger was appointed by Governor Frank B. Willis, on June 21, 1915, a member of the Ohio state board on uniform state laws, for the term ending June 5, 1918. The object is the outgrowth of, a movement made by the bar association about ten years ago. The object is for each state to provide a board which will formulate plans to bring about' uniformity of laws throughout the United States. They shall collect data as to the prevailing law in the United States and other countries, upon special subjects where uniformity is important, and especially on the following subjects : Conveyances—form and execution ; commercial law, including bills of lading; corporations; insurance, fire and life ; negotiable instruments; partnerships; trade-marks; unfair competition; warehouse receipts; labor, uniform hours of ; marriage and divorce; wills, execution and probate.
Source: History of Clinton County, Ohio - Publ. 1915 by B. F. Bowen & Co., Indianapolis, Ind. - Page 409 - Transcribed by Michael McKay