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    Joseph E. Mumford, deceased, was for many years actively connected with the mercantile interests of Miami city, and belonged to that class of representative American citizens who, while promoting their individual prosperity, also advance the general welfare. He was born July 8, 1844, on the old homestead in Elizabeth township, his parents being John and Mary M. (Crawmer) Mumford. No event of special importance occurred to vary the monotony of farm life through his early years, but at the age of nineteen he left the plow and began learning the carpenter's trade under the direction of Peter Smith, a neighbor. He followed that pursuit until the spring of 1880, and for a number of years was actively identified with the building interests of the county. He was well known as a contractor for school-houses, and erected a few of these institutions of learning in the immediate neighborhood. In the spring of 1880 he entered upon a mercantile career, in partnership with Jesse M. Smith, now of Dayton, and was connected with commercial pursuits until the failure of his health caused his retirement from business in the winter of 1893. For thirteen years he had given his attention exclusively to the store and had succeeded in building up an excellent trade. In 1883 his partner, Mr. Smith, retired and was succeeded by Mr. Mumford's wife, who was associated with him in business for some time. She was also appointed postmistress during President Arthur's administration, as a successor to Mr. Smith, and continued to serve in that capacity until the store was sold, with the exception of a brief period during the Cleveland administration, when Mr. Smith again was postmaster, having in the meantime returned and opened a separate store. That mercantile establishment was purchased by Mr. Mumford and his wife, who carried on the business successfully until disposing of their entire stock. They carried a fine line of well selected goods, Mrs. Mumford making most of the purchases. She possessed excellent business and executive ability, and her careful management contributed not a little to the success of the enterprise. Mr. Mumford enjoyed an unassailable reputation in business circles. His weakest point as a merchant was his liability to sell goods on credit, was a much better salesman than collector, for his accommodating spirit led him to give his customers all the time they wished in which to pay for their purchases. In this way he frequently lost money, but altogether his mercantile career was a prosperous one.

    Mr. Mumford was twice married. In 1869, at the age of twenty- five years, he wedded Miss Mary Ellen Norton, who died about seven years later, leaving two children: William Firman, who was educated in Buchtel College at Akron, Ohio, and died of consumption June 24, 1896, at the age of twenty-six years, and Lulu Fair, who was born June 10, 1873, and is now the wife of Frank Fosdick, of Carthage, Missouri. The son was a successful teacher in Miami and Huron counties, and in the latter county he married Sarah Jeanette Culler, who died of consumption eight months later. William then returned to Miami county, where he engaged in teaching until failing health caused him to put aside all professional cares. He died in Huron county, and was laid to rest by the side of his wife. The children, who died previous to the death of his first wife, were: Emory B., who was a twin brother to William Firman, born July 17, 1870, and died May 26, 1871; and an infant boy, who was born and died January 21, 1875. Mr. Mumford was again married November 20, 1879, in Troy, his second union being with Miss Nancy E. Eddy, a daughter of William and Caroline (Head) Eddy, both of whom are now deceased. The old Eddy homestead is situated on the Springfield pike, two miles west of Miami city, and there her only brother, William A., now resides. Mrs. Mumford was born in Perry county, Ohio, and when a maiden of fifteen summers came to Miami county with her parents, the family locating in Elizabeth township, where the father died on the 20th of June, 1879, the mother on the 15th of July, 1887. Mrs. Mumford pursued her education in the country schools, and remained at home until her marriage, which has been blessed with one daughter, Mary Grace, born June 12 , 1890.

    Mr. Mumford continued merchandising until 1893, when impaired health forced him to put aside business cares. About a year later he was stricken with paralysis and continued an invalid until his death, which occurred November 25, 1898. His last remaining hours was the sweetest to him, for in the assurance of his bright hope he looked upon death as the door to a life more glorious than he could know here, and arranged for his own funeral as calmly as one prepares for a pleasant journey. His standing in business circles was indeed enviable, and as a citizen he held a leading pace in his community, owing to the active support and encouragement which he gave to all measures for the public good. He was a wide-awake and progressive man, who attempted to secure material improvement. He advocated the introduction of telephones and railroads and the establishment of township high schools, although many of the measures which he advocated were not successful, owing to the opposition of many heavy tax payers, but nevertheless he was instrumental in securing the adoption of many measures which have contributed to the general prosperity and marked advancement of his community. His ambition on behalf of his business interests and his county was too great for his strength. In politics he was a Democrat and labored earnestly for his party's success. He served as township assessor for nine years and frequently attended the county conventions as a delegate. The Masonic fraternity of New Carlisle numbered him among its valued members and he was also a representative of the Odd Fellows society. Of the Universalist church he was long a faithful follower and served as deacon for sixteen years. He possessed those sterling qualities, which in every land and in every clime command respect. He was a man of strong convictions, yet never unpleasantly aggressive; was true to principle and had an abiding charity that won him the esteem and good will of all classes of people. His wife is also a member of the Universalist church, and with her daughter she occupies the pleasant home in Alcony, which was erected by her husband. She is a lady of culture and refinement, possessed of natural ability, and the circle of her friends in the community is extensive.

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