56m301Means family papers, 1849-1954 56M301University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center2005Special Collections Research CenterMargaret I. King Building, NorthLexington 40506-0039SCLREF@LSV.UKY.EDUURL: This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2016-06-10 14:12:30 -0400.Description is in English.Describing Archives: A Content Standard
University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center
Means family papers
17.2 Cubic Feet
15 boxes, 49 volumes, 3 case files
The Means family played a dominant role in the development of the iron industry in the Hanging Fork region of southern Ohio and in eastern Kentucky. They also played a prominent part in the development of both river and rail transportation in the area and in the formation of Ashland, Kentucky as an industrial city. These papers include both personal and business-related correspondence, financial records, legal documents, memorabilia, newspaper clippings, journals, scrapbooks, and photographs.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright has not been assigned to the University of Kentucky.
56M301 : [Identification of item], Means family papers, 1849-1954, University of Kentucky Special Collections.
Biographical / Historical
The Means family played a dominant role in the development of the iron industry in the Hanging Fork region of southern Ohio and in eastern Kentucky. They also played a prominent part in the development of both river and rail transportation in the area and in the formation of Ashland, Kentucky as an industrial city. John Means' grandfather, Colonel John Means, was a wealthy South Carolina upcountry planter, who migrated from Bucks County, Pennsylvania and settled in the Union District of South Carolina (Spartanburg). Though a slaveholder, Means had little sympathy for the institution and in 1819 he migrated to Manchester, Adams County, in southern Ohio, where he granted freedom to his twenty-five slaves. In Ohio, he engaged in farming and was a land agent of Albert Gallatin. He also built and operated of one of the first iron furnaces in the Hanging Rock region.His son, Thomas W. Means, after a brief apprenticeship as a store keeper at Union Furnace, Ohio, formed a partnership in 1837 with David Sinton and took over operation of the furnace. Throughout the 1840s and 1850s, Means and Sinton came into control of several furnaces in southern Ohio and eastern Kentucky. The Ohio Furnace, purchased in 1847, was reportedly the first charcoal furnace in the country to produce as much as tens tons of iron a day.Hugh Means joined his brother Thomas in 1831 at Union Furnace, first as store manager and then assisting in the sale of iron. After spending a short time in Alabama on a merchandizing project, he returned in 1837 to Ohio to settle his father's estate. Together with Thomas Means and William Culbertson, he built the Buena Vista Furnace in 1847 in what is now Boyd County, Kentucky. Throughout his life, he maintained a close personal and financial relationship with Thomas and with his nephew John Means.John Means was born at West Union, Adams County, Ohio in 1829. After leaving Marietta College in 1848 because of poor health, he began his apprenticeship as a store keeper at the Ohio Furnace. In 1851 he went to Buena Vista Furnace which was then under the control of his father. There he served in various capacities until 1861 when the furnace was shut down due to the Civil War. In 1854, acting as his father's agent, he purchased the land upon which the city of Ashland, Kentucky now stands. In 1856, John, along with his father Thomas, uncle Hugh, and several other businessmen, formed the Kentucky Iron, Coal and Manufacturing Company to develop the town of Ashland. In the same year, the Meanses formed the Cincinnati and Big Sandy Packet Company, a river line made up of big iron freighters. They also bought up the bankrupt eastern division of the Lexington and Big Sandy Railway and, organizing the Ashland Coal and Iron Railway, extended its lines to their vast timber and coal lands to aid in the development of the area.Aside from the role in which the Means family played in the development of the iron industry, the development of transportation, and the establishment of the industrial city of Ashland, they also founded several banking institutions and personally supported various civic and religious organizations.John Means married Mrs. Harriet Hildreth Perkins on October 25, 1854. She was the daughter of Dr. Samuel Prescott Hildreth, of Marietta, Ohio, a member of the state legislature, assistant State Geologist, and local historian. Together, John and Harriet had six children: Thomas Hildreth, Eliza Isabella, Lillian, Rosalie, Harold, and Ellison Cooke (E.C.).Inheriting a vast industrial and financial empire from his father, E.C. Means, after attending Marietta College andthe Massachusetts Institute of Technology, graduating from the latter in 1887. He began his career as assistant to the manager of the Low Moor Iron Company which his father had helped form in 1873 in western Virginia. He also served as superintendent of the Ashland Coal and Iron Railway from 1891 to 1901, when he then became general manager of Low Moor. In 1916 he returned to Ashland to accept the position of president of the Means Realty Company. He also held various executive positions with the Yellowstone Poplar Lumber Company, the Ashland Steel Company, Norton Iron Works, and the Clinton Fire Brick Works. Aside from his business associations, Means was also active in civic affairs of the community, the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club, and served as chairman of the Ashland Water Works from 1921-1931.
Scope and Contents
These papers are primarily those of John Means (1821-1910); his wife, Harriet Hildreth Perkins Means (1826-1895); their son E.C. (Ellison Cooke) Means (1864-1956); his brother William (d. 1837); his uncle Hugh Means; his grandfather, Colonel John Means (1770-1837); and his aunt, Margaret A. Means. Materials include both personal and business-related correspondence, financial records, legal documents, memorabilia, newspaper clippings, journals, scrapbooks, and photographs.
Organized by type of material; arranged chronologically thereunder.
Photographs from this collection can be found under accession number 56PA301. Please see also the Seaton Family Papers (56MS307, 56PA307) for additional materials pertaining to the Means and Seaton families.
Some genealogical materials have been returned to the Means family. A microfilm copy of this material can be found under microfilm number M-191.
Collection 56M307, Seaton Family papers, University of Kentucky Special Collections.
Coal mines and mining -- Kentucky.
Kentucky -- Genealogy.
Ledgers (account books)
Europe -- Description and travel.
Marietta (Ohio) -- History.
World War, 1914-1918 -- Personal narratives, American.
Ashland (Ky.) -- History
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.
Railroad companies -- United States.
River steamers -- United States.
Banks and banking -- Kentucky.
Kentucky -- History.
Iron industry and trade -- Kentucky.
Buena Vista Furnace (Boyd County, Ky.)
Cincinnati and Big Sandy Packet Company
Ashland Iron and Mining Company (Ky.)
Low Moor Iron Company (Alleghany County, Va.)
Kentucky Iron, Coal and Manufacturing Company
Ashland Coal and Iron Railway (Ky.)
Seaton, William Biggs
Seaton, Eliza Isabella Means
Means, Harriet Hildreth Perkins
Means, E.C. (Ellison Cooke)
Means, Kyle and Company
Means, Margaret A.
Norton Iron Works
FAMILY AND BUSINESS PAPERSI1840-1954, undated1840-1849iScope and Contents notePapers from this period include Harriet Hildreth's school essays and personal correspondence; programs for events at Marietta College; a certificate showing the appointment of John Means as Postmaster of LaBelle, Greenup County, Kentucky; land indentures of Hugh and Thomas W. Means, and various business papers and financial records.1840-1849111850-1859iiScope and Contents noteIncluded here is more personal correspondence of Harriet Means; business correspondence of John Means concerning work at Buena Vista Furnace and the formation of the Kentucky Iron, Coal and Manufacturing Company; and miscellaneous financial records.18501218511318521418531518541618551718561818571918581101859211860-1869iii1860-1865Scope and Contents notePapers from the Civil War period include several letters from Archibald Means, an officer in the Union forces of eastern Kentucky. His letters relate in detail the fighting around Prestonsburg, Kentucky in January 1862 and the flight of rebel forces south through the Cumberland Gap into Tennessee. Correspondence between Harriet Means and her mother mentions local attitudes toward the war and news of war-related events occurring near Ashland, KY and Marietta, OH.18602218611861231862 January-April241862 May-December251863 January-June261863 July-December271864281865291866-1869Scope and Contents noteAlong with a few miscellaneous personal letters, this period mostly consists of financial, legal, and business papers relating to the formation of the Means, Kyle and Company, a Hanging Rock Region Iron and Coal Corporation, of which Thomas W. Means was president.1866210186721118683118691869321870-1879ivScope and Contents noteIncluded here are more business letters and financial statements of the Means, Kyle and Company. There is both business and personal correspondence from William Means, John Means' brother, who was a bank president and whose letters comment on the effects of the Panic of 1873. Also included are an offer of the nomination for U.S. Representative from southern Ohio to Thomas W. Means and letters to John Means from John G. Peebles of Portsmouth, advising Means on a campaign for U.S. Representative from eastern Kentucky. There are more papers of the Kentucky Iron, Coal and Manufacturing Company as well as other business correspondence and financial reports concerning the Means family's various business ventures. The personal papers of Harriet Means include accounts of a trip she took to Europe late in the decade.1870 January-June331870 July-December341871351872361873 February-June371873 July-December381874411875421876431877441878451879461880-1889vScope and Contents noteThis period includes correspondence from E.C. Cooke while in school at Marietta College and later at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in which he comments on college life in the 1880s. Included in these letters is a description of his participation in the funeral of President Garfield, a former member of the Delta Upsilon Fraternity at Marietta, of which E.C. was also a member. Other correspondence includes mention of the Ashland Massacre of 1881; the Marietta Flood of 1884; and description of the family's various travels throughout the United States and Europe. After 1887, letters from E.C. to John Means comment on the condition of the Low Moor Iron Company. There are also a few papers concerning the financial irregularities of William Means.18801880471881 January-April481881 May-December491882 January-May511882 June-December521883 January-June531883 July-December541884 January-May551884 June-December561885 January-May571885 July-December581886591887 January-June611887 June-December621888 January-July631888 August-December641889 January-July651889 August-September661889 October-December67circa 1880-1889681890-1899viScope and Contents noteMany of the materials in this period concern the estate of Thomas W. Means, who died in 1892. Included are papers relating to the long litigation which resulted from William Means's wife's attempt to recover his share of the estate after he assigned it to the executors to cover debts owed to his father. Other papers deal with the business concerns of the Low Moor Iron Company and Means, Kyle and Company; the election of 1896; local opinion of the Maine Incident; a request from William Howard Taft asking Means to serve as an appraiser; and the financial affairs of Margaret A. Means. This period also includes the death of Harriet Hildreth Means in 1895 and John's subsequent marriage to Mary Peck Seaton in 1896.18901890711891721892731893741894751895761896771897 January-May781897 June-December7918981898811899 January-June821899 July-December831900-1909viiScope and Contents noteCorrespondence from this period concerns Margaret A. Means's financial affairs; E.C. Means's brief association with the Yellow Poplar Lumber Company; the liquidation of Means, Kyle and Company; an unfavorable decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the suit rising out of the settlement of the Thomas W. Means estate; and the formation of the Ashland Iron and Mining Company. There are several letters from U.S. Vice President Charles G. Dawes, a friend of E.C. Means from Marietta College, and a letter from Booker T. Washington, dated March 28, 1901, concerning the establishment of an endowment and scholarship at Tuskegee University by Margaret A. Means.1900 January-June841900 July-December851901 January-June861901 July-December871902881903911904921905931906941907951908961909971910-1919viiiScope and Contents noteMany of these papers deal with the estate of John Means who died in 1910. There are several letters of E.C. Means, particularly to his aunt, commenting on the Democratic reduction of the tariff, the income tax, and the poor condition of the iron industry. There are also a few letters from a young woman working for the YMCA in France during World War I commenting on the troops and the war in general. Other letters concern E.C. Means's participation in the war effort. Also included are more miscellaneous business and financial papers.191098191199191291019139111914912191510119161021917103191810419191051920-1929ixScope and Contents noteThese papers are largely bills and business receipts. There are also papers relating to the estate of Margaret A. Means as well as financial statements of Norton Iron Works and papers relating to its proposed consolidation with American Rolling Mills. There is some description of conditions at Low Moor Iron Company, including information for stockholders.19201061921107192210819231091924101019251011192610121927101319281111929112circa 1920-19291131930-1954xScope and Contents noteThese papers relate to the dissolution of Low Moor Iron Company, the closing of the Second National Bank of Ashland, and the estate of Thomas H. Means. There are a few more personal letters from Charles G. Dawes.193011419311151932-19331161934-19381171940-19461181951-1954119undated1110undated1111MEMORABILIAIIundated1112NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGSIII1888-1952, undated1888-1952, undated1113GENEALOGY MATERIALSIV1907-1949, undated1907-1939121194012219411231942-1949, undated124Genealogical and Biographical Sketches of the Hildreth Family from the year 1652 down to the year 1840Circa 1900125Scope and Contents note[Note: Some information actually dates into the early 1900's.]Report: Identify descendents of Harriet Means Witt2007Phyllis Vannoy Spiker, volunteer genealogical specialist, was asked in 2007 by William Marshall, curator of manuscripts (since retired), to produce a report identifying the descendants of Harriet Means Witt who donated Mss. 56M301 Means Family Papers to the University of Kentucky Library. 12a1-3RECORD BOOKS AND JOURNALS, PHOTOGRAPHSV1849-1955, undatedMiscellaneousi1848-1955Daybook: Ohio Furnace and Buena Vista1849-1854131Scope and ContentsOhio Furnace, 1849-1850 and Buena Vista, 1851-1854 (recorded by John Means)Record books: Buena Vista and Bellefonte Furnace1852-1854, undated132Scope and Contents(2 items) (recorded by John Means)Record book: Personal record book of E.C. Means1881-1886133Record books: Iron analysis book, Furnace Manager's and Hamilton Furnace1883-1906134Scope and ContentsIron analysis book, 1883-1906; Furnace Manager's, 1892-1900; and Hamilton Furnace, 1894-1906 (3 items) (recorded by E.C. Means)Journal: Ohio Furnace and Buena Vista1849-1854135Scope and Contents(recorded by John Means)Journal: E.C. Means, Trial Balance1889-1917136Commission Sales Book: R.M.B. & Co.1848 January-November 137Bank Books: Margaret A. Means, Ashland National Bankand Citizen's National Bank1891-1898138Scope and ContentsAshland National Bank, 1891-1897 and Citizen's National Bank, 1891-1898 (2 items)Bank Books: Margaret A. Means, Central Trust and Safe Deposit Company and Ashland National Bank1909-1915139Scope and ContentsCentral Trust and Safe Deposit Company, 1909-1916 and Ashland National Bank, 1911-1915 (2 items)1884 Flood: Ohio River at Ashland18841310Scope and Contents note[Includes notes on rainfall, water levels and related events of February 8-13, 1884 as well as a few loose documents (clippings, telegraph message, etc.) on the relief effort.]Motor trip logs: E.C. Means1913-19421311Scope and Contents1913-1928; 1928-1932; 1934-1942 (3 items)Motor trip logs: E.C. Means1937-1955 1312Scope and Contents1937-1940; 1940-1942; 1942-1947; 1948-1955 (4 items)Photographs1870-18971313Scope and ContentsAnnie Seaton and Margaret A. Means portrait, 1870 tintype; unidentified house, exterior, 1897 April, gelatin printing-out paper; unidentified infant, 1886 September, albumen carte de visite; unidentified man, five portraits on a single strip, undated, gelatin silver print (4 items)Cashbooksii1861-1940John Means1861-188050John Means1881-189051Means Family1887-194016Chapbooks1921Poems by Cotton Noe1921, undated149Daybooksiii1881-1940E.C. Means1923-194017Means family 1881 January-March148Record Booksiv1881-1931Iron and Coal Mine Record Book1883-191318Scope and Contents(Recorded by John Means and Ellison Cooke Means)Thomas Williamson Means, Securities Record1926-193119LetterbooksvJohn Means, business correspondence, indexed1878-188120John Means, mostly business correspondence, indexed1881-188721Business correspondence, indexed1887-190022Family business correspondence1888-189523E.C. Means, personal and family business, iron manufacturing1895-189924E.C. Means, personal and family business, iron manufacturing1900-190625E.C. Means, iron manufacturing1904-191426E.C. Means, personal and family business1906-191227JournalsviUnion Furnace Landing and Hanging Rock, Ohio1855-1873 28John Means1855-187829Harriet Means1872-189530Harriet Means1872-189531Thomas Williamson Means1873-189032E.C. Means1887-192333E.C. Means1893-191149Margaret Means1911-192134LedgersviiJohn Means1849-185435Thomas Williamson Means, indexed1855-189036Harriet Means1872-189537John Means1874-190038E.C. Means1887-194039index to unidentified ledgerundated40ScrapbooksviiiJohn Means1857-187341John Means1870-190942John Means1871-190043John Means1894-190044E.C. Means1868-188545E.C. Means1880-188546E.C. Meanscirca 188247Guest BooksixFrom cover: "Winlyme Lodge, Christmas 1904" 1905-191548E. C. Means Diaries 1881-195518811411188914121890141319091414191214151913-191714261918-192214271923-192714391928-193214281933-1937143101938-1942143111943-1947144121948-1952144131952-195514414Clippings removed from diary 1928-19321928-1932145Postcard removed from diary 1943-19471943-1947146Clippings and photograph removed from diary 1952-19551952-1955147MAPS1895-1905, undatedPlot of the Means and Russell Iron Company1895 September 151Plot of the Means and Russell Iron Company1897 April 152A Great Tri-state City, Ohio River Rail road map including Ironton, KY, Ashland, KY, Catlettsburg, KY and Huntington, WV1905491A Great Tri-state City, Ohio River Rail road map including Ironton, KY, Ashland, KY, Catlettsburg, KY and Huntington, WV (5 copies)1905492Amanda Furnace Lands, Means, Russell and Means, Surveyed 1870undated493aMap of Russell, KY1905493b
Means family papers