Miami County, Ohio Genealogical Researchers -- Sponsored by the Computerized Heritage Association


    History and biography for the most part record the lives of those only who have attained military, political or literary distinction, or who in any other career have passed through extraordinary vicissitudes of fortune. The unostentatious routine of private life, although in the aggregate more important to the welfare of the community, cannot, from its nature, figure in the public annals. But the names of men who have distinguished themselves in their day and generation for the possession, in an eminent degree, of those qualities of character which mainly contribute to the success of private life and to the public stability - of the men, who, without dazzling talents have been exemplary in all their personal and social relations, and enjoyed the esteem, respect and confidence of those around them - ought not to be allowed to perish. Their example is more valuable to the majority of readers than that of illustrious heroes, statesmen or writers. Few can draw rules for their own guidance from the pages of Plutarch, but all are benefited by the delineation of those traits of character which find scope and exercise in the common walks of life.

    Among the individuals of this class in the state of Ohio none are better entitled to representation in this work than the subject of this sketch. His record is the account of a life, uneventful indeed as far as stirring incident or startling adventure is concerned, yet distinguished by the most substantial qualities of character. His life history exhibits a long and virtuous career of private industry, performed with moderation and crowned with success. It is the record of a well balanced mental and moral constitution, strongly marked by those traits of character which are of especial value in such a state of society as exists in this country. A community depends upon commercial activity, its welfare is due to this, and the promoters of legitimate and extensive business enterprises may all be termed it's benefactors.

    Prominent in business circles of Piqua stands William Hetherington, who is the secretary of the Piqua Handle & Manufacturing Company. He is a native of Piqua, born April 14, 1852, and is a son of William Hetherington. The family is of Irish lineage, his grandfather, James Hetherington, having emigrated from county Tyrone, Ireland, to Pennsylvania, about 1805. At the time of the Vienna Exposition, his nephew, Henry Hetherington, of Des Moines, Iowa, was a state commissioner to Vienna, and while abroad visited Ireland , where he found a brother of James H. still living, and although he had attained an advanced age, was still hale and hearty. William Hetherington, the father of our subject, was a native of the Keystone state, and after his marriage he removed to Piqua, where he was known as a leading contractor and builder of the city prior to 1865. About that time he retired from the building industry and devoted his energies to the lime trade. He was very active in local affairs, not only as a prominent business man, but as one who had due regard for the duties of citizenship, and did all in his power to promote the welfare of the city along material, social and intellectual lines. He twice represented his ward in the city council and was highly respected and esteemed by his fellow townsmen. He died in Piqua, in 1877, at the age of sixty- six years. His widow, who bore the maiden name of Mary A. Mitchell, was a daughter of David Mitchell, of Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. By her marriage she became the mother of the following children: James, who served throughout the Civil war in the Ninety-fourth Ohio Infantry, participating in the campaigns under Sherman and the celebrated march to the sea, is now a contractor and builder of Piqua; Sue is librarian of the Schmidlapp Free Library of Piqua, which position she has filled since its organization; Mrs. John Wall, of Carthage, Indiana, and Mrs. Thomas Wall, of Marion, Indiana, are the other daughters.

    William Hetherington, the youngest of the family, was reared in his native state, completing his literary education by his graduation in the Piqua high school, in 1869. He is also a graduate of the Commercial College of Dayton. On putting aside his text books he became connected with the cutstone business, as manager of Hamilton quarries, which position he filled for seven years. He then spent one year in taking and executing contracts for county bridge and stone work, and through the succeeding year was superintendent of the government quarries at Marblehead, getting out stone for the Sault St. Marie canal. In that capacity two hundred and fifty men worked under his immediate supervision, while the force within the quarries numbered eight hundred. On leaving that place Mr. Hetherington went to Sandusky, becoming connected with the Woolworth Hickory Handle Factory, and in 1885 he returned to Piqua, since which time he has been identified with the Piqua Handle & Manufacturing Company. In 1890 he was made its secretary, which position he still retains. This is one of the important and leading industrial concerns of the city, furnishing employment to two hundred and seventy-five men. The manufactured product is sold throughout the world, and is in great demand, especially in England. The business has assumed extensive proportions and yields excellent returns to the stockholders.

    Mr. Hetherington was united in marriage of Miss Lyda E. Wells, a daughter of J. C. Wells, of Piqua, formerly of Troy. Their children are: Edward, who is a graduate of the Piqua high school, and the Wesleyan University, of Delaware, and is now attending a medical college in Chicago, after having pursued a preliminary course of reading under the direction of Dr. J. C. Fahnestock, of Piqua; Will Worrell, also a graduate of the Piqua high school, now a shipping clerk in the handle factory; Clifford Elizabeth, a graduate of the high school; Earl and Wells, who are now attending school; and Helen Dorothy, a little maiden of five summers, who completes the family.

    Socially Mr. Hetherington is a prominent Odd Fellow, for four years has been past grand of his lodge, has been a representative to the state grand encampment and is now a member of the state grand lodge. His study of political issues has led him to give an earnest support to the Republican party, and he is recognized as one of its prominent members. He does all in his power to secure its growth and. success and for two terms he capably served as a member of the city council. He is also a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, in which he has served as steward. His residence is one of the beautiful homes of the city, and he is a man of domestic tastes, who finds his greatest happiness at his own fireside, in the midst of his family. In manner he is genial and pleasant and has hosts of friends. In seeking for the causes which have contributed to his success we find them not so much in their rarity as in their harmonious union, and they may be briefly summed up by saying that he has the tastes of a scholar, the manners of a gentleman and the habits of a man of businesses - a combination of qualities that are bound to produce the highest results.

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