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


    Edward Ruthven Farrington, a retired capitalist of Piqua, belongs to that class of enterprising, progressive American citizens who owe their advancement entirely to their own well-directed efforts. He is a self-made man and the record of accomplishments in this individual sense is the record which the true and loyal American holds in deepest regard and highest honor. In tracing the career of the subject of this review we are enabled to gain an insight into the sources of his success, for he is a man of strong mentality, of marked force of character and one who has attained splendid success in connection with business affairs. For this reason there is particular interest attaching to the points which characterize his progress in life, and his history cannot fail to prove of interest to many of our readers, showing as it does the plans and methods he has followed to gain his present enviable position.

    Edwin Ruthven Farrington was born at Baldwinsville, near Syracuse, New York. His father, Philip, was a native of Albany county, New York, and in the Empire state spent his entire life. He resided for some years in Oswego county, where he began the manufacture of lumber. He died in 1848, when only about thirty-five years of age. In politics he was a Democrat and took an active interest in the growth and success of his party. He was recognized as an enterprising business man and through his carefully conducted affairs acquired a handsome competence for that time. In his religious views he was a Methodist. The family from which he is descended was of English extraction and the ancestry in America can be traced back to 1700. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Mary Haynes, was born in Onondaga county, New York, the father being one of the very prominent citizens of that locality. The Haynes are descended from an old family that lived near Boston in colonial days, but later representatives of the name took up their abode near Syracuse, New York, and owned a farm where the city now stands. Mrs. Farrington, the mother of our subject, died in New York, in 1878, when about seventy years of age. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and had a family of two sons, Origen B., a retired farmer and lumberman, who is now living in Oswego county, New York, and is the possessor of a handsome competence, and Edwin R., of this review.

    Rufus Farrington, a brother of Philip Farrington, was a very prominent Mason, who died in Memphis, Tennessee, of cholera. He had a contract with the government to move the Indians west of the Mississippi river and to supply them with blankets and provisions for a number of years. He went to Washington, District of Columbia, to get his money from the government, but before his claim was allowed his death occurred.

    Edmond Farrington, another brother, was for many years one of the most prominent and active business men of Piqua. His connection with the industrial and commercial interests of the city covered a period exceeding that of nearly every other man whose labors have proved an important factor in the conduct of business affairs. He was a native of New York and came to this city in 1838. Two years later he married Catherine M., daughter of Robert Young. Her death occurred in 1869. Edmond Farrington became the leading contractor of Piqua. Before coming to this city he built the Miami aqueduct and afterward completed several important contracts on the canal and other public works. In 1848 he engaged in business in this city, establishing many leading enterprises which have made this a thriving commercial and industrial center. His efforts have in very large measure promoted the substantial welfare and progress of the city, nor have his operations been confined to that point, but have been of great benefit throughout the Miami valley. He was for some years a senior member of the firm of Farrington & Slauson, grain dealers, who owned their own canal boat for transportation. He was also a member of the firm of Wood, Farrington & Company, proprietors of the Piqua Oil Mill, and of the firm of E. Farrington & Company, distillers. He was also interested in the grain business at other points and had loans in this part of the state. He was indeed for many years recognized as the leading business man of Miami county and the strongest capitalist of the valley. He possessed keen discrimination and was a man of distinctive ability whose strong determination and careful management enabled him to carry forward to successful completion whatever he undertook. His business methods were ever honorable and straightforward and his splendid success was the legitimate outcome of his labors.

    Edwin Ruthven Farrington, whose name introduces this record, remained under the parental roof until about twenty years of age and obtained his education in the common schools and in an academy in Mexico, New York. He put aside his text-books, however, in order to go to Memphis, Tennessee, and engaged in the dry-goods business with his uncle Rufus. He had been working there for only one year when his father died and in consequence he returned to his home. He and his brother succeeded their father as lumber manufacturers and owned two large mills which they operated for about ten years, when Edwin sold his interest to his brother. That was in November, 1860. Immediately afterward he came to Piqua and engaged in the distilling business, in company with his uncle, Edmond Farrington, who owned the distillery. This connection was maintained with mutual pleasure and profit until 1882, when they joined the trust and their business was closed down. In the meantime they also carried on an extensive business as grain dealers, and their interests were profitably conducted until the uncle's death in the fall of 1892. This severed the partnership which had continued for thirty-two years. Mr. Farrington continued in the grain business alone from that time until the summer of 1899, when he rented his building and retired from active business life. His business had grown both in volume and importance until he was a very extensive shipper. His efforts brought to him a handsome income and he is now numbered among the wealthy men of Miami county. He is vice-president of the Piqua Electric Company and one of its heaviest stockholders. He was one of the pioneers in introducing electricity for lighting purposes into the west. In 1880, he went to Pennsylvania and investigating some of the best plants, noting the superiority of electricity over other methods of illumination, and was instrumental in securing a plant for Piqua, establishing here the first electric light plant west of the Alleghany mountains. The object at first was simply to light buildings, but later it was used for furnishing illuminating power in the streets, and Piqua is certainly one of the best lighted towns in the state and is now putting in a new plant. Mr. Farrington served as president of the first electric light company, continuing to fill that position until the reorganization of the company. He is a stockholder in the Piqua National Bank and owns considerable valuable real estate.

    Socially Mr. Farrington is a Mason, having taken the initiatory degree in the order in Schriba Lodge of Constantia, New York. When he came to Piqua he was demitted to Warren Lodge, this city, also belongs to the chapter here and is a member of the commandery at Troy, New York. No investigation into the history of Miami county can be carried into the last half of the nineteenth century without the student learning that the name of Farrington figures conspicuously therein. Edwin R. Farrington, as well as his uncle, has left the impress of his individuality upon the city in which he yet makes his home. He is a brilliant financier and a man whose capable business methods are indicated by his splendid success. He possesses a strong will and steadfast nature and has ever persevered in his undertakings with a persistent purpose. Today he is not more honored on account of the enviable position which he has acquired in business circles than on account of the many kindly deeds of his life which have been quietly and unostentatiously performed.

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