Happy 200th Birthday, John Sherman!

Today, May 10th, marks a milestone: the 200th birthday of John Sherman, a monumental figure in the history of Mansfield.

John Sherman was born in Lancaster, Ohio, on 10 May 1823, in the same house as his brother William Tecumseh Sherman, who would become one of the most notable generals of the U.S. Civil War. John Sherman would go on to study law in Mansfield, and have a career of more than 40 years in the federal government, including appointments as Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of State.

Scroll through this post for a timeline of Sherman’s life!


John Sherman is born in Lancaster to Charles Robert and Mary (Hoyt) Sherman, as the eighth of their eleven children.

Charles would pass away when John was only six years old.

John Sherman at 19 years old


John moves to Mansfield to begin studying law with his oldest brother, Charles Taylor Sherman.

Charles Taylor Sherman


John Sherman marries Margaret Cecelia Stewart, the daughter of a local judge. She had been raised in Mansfield, and then attended the Granville Female College and the Patapsco Institute of Maryland.

Margaret Cecelia Sherman
John Sherman at 23
Sherman’s first home in Mansfield

1854: Elected to the House of Representatives

In 1860, Sherman is elected to the House for the third time. He falls short of being elected Speaker of the House by 3 votes, and instead is chosen to be the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.

1861: Elected to the Senate

In 1861, Ohio Senator Salmon P. Chase is chosen by newly-elected President Abraham Lincoln to serve as Secretary of the Treasury. John Sherman is selected to take his place in the Senate

During this time, the conflicts that would erupt into the Civil War were escalating. As a member of first the House and then the Senate, Sherman was well aware of the situation, and he also corresponds with his brother, William Tecumseh Sherman, about it.

John Sherman’s house in Mansfield, beginning in 1867.


Sherman is re-elected to the Senate for his first full term. He becomes the chairman of the Finances Committee.

Also in 1867, Sherman travels through Europe during the Senate recess. During this trip, he is invited to dine with Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte III of France at the Tuileries.


John Sherman introduces a Concurrent Resolution before the Senate to encourage Congress to fund the completion of the Washington Monument, construction of which had halted in 1848 due to lack of funds. The resolution passes, and on 2 August 1876 President Ulysses S. Grant signs a law appropriating funds for the completion of the Monument.


Rutherford B. Hayes is elected president, and selects John Sherman as his Secretary of the Treasury.


Sherman is elected to the Senate for the fourth time.

In the spring, he also receives the honorary degree Doctor of Law from Kenyon College.


In February, John Sherman serves as the chairman of the dedication ceremonies for the Washington Monument.

In December, Sherman is elected President Pro Tempore of the Senate.


1890 marked the passage of Sherman’s signature legislation, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. The act was the first federal legislation that addressed trusts and monopolies. The law was used as the basis of anti-trust suits against many companies over the years, including Standard Oil, General Electric, AT&T, and Microsoft.

The Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Photo from the National Archives.


Sherman is selected to become President William McKinley’s Secretary of State.


Sherman resigns his post as Secretary of State and retires to Mansfield.

John Sherman with his grandson, John Sherman McCallum


On October 22, John Sherman dies in Washington, D.C. A large funeral was held in D.C. at St. John’s Episcopal Church, and then his body was brought back to Mansfield to be buried with Cecelia, who had died in January from a stroke, in Mansfield Cemetery.


John Sherman and the Washington Monument

Since monument day was this week (April 18th), we thought it only appropriate to discuss one of the most well-known monuments in our nation: the Washington Monument in Washington, D. C.

Photo by Mary McKinley.

The construction of the Washington Monument began in 1848, but was halted in 1854 as the private organization that had been funding the construction ran out of funds. The monument stood incomplete at about 156 feet tall for many years, far short of its intended 555 feet.

On 5 July 1876, Senator John Sherman brought a concurrent resolution before the Senate, proposing that Congress “at this the beginning of the second century of national existence, do assume and direct the completion of the Washington Monument in the city of Washington, and instruct the committees on appropriations of the respective Houses to propose suitable provisions of law to carry this resolution into effect” [1]. Concurrent resolutions are not enforceable as law, but proposing the resolution apparently had enough impact to get Congress to move on the idea. After some debate, Congress passed an act to fund the monument later in July, and it was signed by President Ulysses S. Grant on 2 August 1876.

With funds once again available, construction on the monument resumed. However, the original marble was no longer available, which is why the color of the monument at the base is different than at the top, and repairs had to be made to the foundation of the monument. With these challenges and delays, the construction of the monument was not completed until late in 1884, and the ceremonies to dedicate the monument did not happen until 1885 [2].

John Sherman in the 1880s. Sherman Room Archives.

John Sherman was first elected to the federal legislature in 1854 as member of the House of Representatives from Ohio, and was subsequently elected to the United States Senate in 1861. He would be a senator for more than thirty years, but he also served as Secretary of the Treasury for Rutherford B. Hayes, from 1877 to 1881, returning to the Senate after his term was up [3].

So in 1885, John Sherman was a senator representing Ohio, and had recently been Secretary of the Treasury. The Washington monument was being completed, and Congress decided that since the completion of the monument had been funded by the people, it would be fitting for there to be a dedication ceremony for the completed monument. As the man who had originally proposed that Congress provide funding to complete the monument, Sherman was chosen to chair the commission of House members and senators who planned the dedication. As such, when the day of the dedication ceremony dawned, in the freezing cold mid-December weather, Sherman was the first to give a speech.

A Senators Ticket for the Dedication of the Washington Monument on 21 February 1885, with John Sherman’s signature as the Chairman of Commission. Stamped with the number 13. Sherman Room Archives.
A ticket for the Dedication of the Washington Monument on 21 February 1885, with John Sherman’s signature as the Chairman of Commission. Stamped with the number 1142. Sherman Room Archives.

Sherman’s Speech

“The Commission authorized by the two Houses of Congress to provide for suitable ceremonies for the dedication of the Washington Monument direct me to preside and to announce the order of ceremonies deemed proper on this occasion. I need not say anything to impress upon you the dignity of the event you have met to celebrate. The monument speaks for itself–simple in form, admirable in proportions, composed of enduring marble and granite, resting upon foundations broad and deep, it rises into the skies higher than any work of human art. It is the most imposing, costly and appropriate monument ever erected in honor of one man. It had its origin in the profound conviction of the people, irrespective of party, creed or race, not only in this country, but in all civilized countries, that the name and fame of Washington should be perpetuated by the most imposing testimonial of a Nation’s gratitude to its hero, statesman and father. This universal sentiment took form in this movement. Private citizens were associated under the name of the Washington National Monument Association who secured from Congress an act authorizing them to erect the proposed monument on this ground, selected as the most appropriate site by the President of the United States. Its corner stone was laid on the 4th of July 1848, by the Masonic fraternity with imposing ceremonies in the presence of the chief officers of the Government and a multitude of citizens. It was partially erected by the National Monument Association with means furnished by the voluntary contributions of the people of the United States. On the 5th of July, 1876, one hundred years after the Declaration of American Independence, Congress, in the name of the people of the United States, formally assumed and directed the completion of the monument. Since then the foundation has been strengthened and the shaft has been steadily advanced, and now the completed structure stands before you. It is a fit memorial of the greatest character in human memory. It looks down upon the scenes most loved by him on earth, the most conspicuous object in landscape, full of objects deeply interesting to the American people, and all eyes turn to it and all hearts feel the inspiration of its beauty, symmetry and grandeur.

Strong as it is it will not endure so long as the memory of him in whose honor it was built, but while it stands it will be evidence to many succeeding generations of the love and reverence this generation cherished for the name and fame of George Washington, first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen; more than even this, [he is] the prototype of purity, manhood and patriotism for all lands and all time.”

John Sherman, Speech at the Dedication Ceremonies of the Washington Monument, 21 February 1885. Printed in the Belville Star, 26 February 1885, page 3. Read it here.

John Sherman used in his speech the phrase “first in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.” This phrase was not of Sherman’s creation, but rather a quotation from Henry Lee’s eulogy at Washington’s memorial service in the chambers of Congress on 26 December 1799.

Sherman’s speech was published and paraphrased in newspapers around the country, along with the other speeches given at the event. Sherman’s speech was generally remarked upon to have been short but well-done; it even garnered this rather reluctant praise in the Farmer and Mechanic newspaper of Raleigh, North Carolina: “We hate to compliment the old South-Hater, but must say that John Sherman’s speech at the Washington monument ceremonies reads the best of the lot.” [4]

Despite his critics, Sherman would continue on in his career as a senator after the dedication ceremonies, and would serve as the Secretary of State under President William McKinley before retiring to his long-time home in Mansfield in 1898. While Sherman’s most notable contribution to the United States is usually considered to be the Anti-Trust act in his name, it is also worth remembering his contributions to the effort to complete the United States’ monument to its first president, the Washington Monument.


  1. Frederick Loviad Harvey, History of the Washington National Monument and Washington National Monument Society, .p. 90-91.
  2. US National Park Service, “History & Culture [of the Washington Monument].”
  3. “John Sherman: A Featured Biography.” https://www.nps.gov/wamo/learn/historyculture/index.htm
  4. Farmer and Mechanic [Raleigh, North Carolina], 25 Feb 1885, page 2. Chronicling America.

Little Chats with Some Mansfield Businesswomen: The Full Collection

For Women’s History Month 2023, the Sherman Room featured a weekly column from the 1920s in an email list. We wanted to make sure that everyone was able to access the articles, so we gathered them together for you here! Click on any title to view the scan of the article with a transcription for easy reading.

Laura Konrad was a millinery (women’s hats) buyer at Reed’s.

Branson interviews Dr. Ada Ford, a well-respected physician.

Ida Ackerman worked for the Aultman & Taylor company, a local steam engine and farm equipment manufacturing company.

Florence MacDonald was a musician and singing instructor.

Mrs. Margaret K. Bange owned her own women’s hat shop for many decades in Mansfield.

Mildred Hickman was the Chief Operator for the Mansfield Telephone Company.

Mrs. John Snyder, who was born and raised in Germany, had her own catering company, which was often hired by local clubs including the Elks.

Jeanette C. Hoffman was the assistant treasury and secretary for the Security Savings and Trust Company.

Margaret Fundom was in charge of the Friendly House, and shares stories of her experiences there.

Ilene Martin was the purchasing agent for the Ohio Public Service Company.

Mrs. Mary Beal was the secretary for the Home Service Department of the Red Cross in Richland County, which provided aid to families of soldiers who were serving overseas.

Margaret Marlow was the secretary for Mansfield Tire & Rubber’s General Manager George Stephens (sometimes Stevens).

Mary E. Old was a delivery clerk for the Western Union Telegraph Company.

Mrs. Wade Urich was the matron for the Richland County Home, which cared for elderly citizens of Richland County.

Mrs. Grace Chambers owned her own Needlecraft Shop on Main Street.

Anna E. Engwiller was an optometrist.

Mrs. Francis Marriott Conley was a court stenographer.

Helen Adams, who was trained in dietetics, was the manager of the Evergreens restaurant, overseeing the staff and planning the menu.

Goldie Boals was the assistant advertising manager of the Tappan Stove Company.

Mamie Hill was a visiting nurse for Richland County.

Edith Douglas was in charge of the filing and telegraph departments for the Aultman & Taylor Company.

Florence Marquis was a clothes buyer for Maxwell’s.

Mabel Gass Torrence had her own business as a private stenographer.

Helen Fox was the librarian for the Mansfield library.

Mrs. Emma Hughes was the matron of the Richland County Children’s Home.

Sarah Alice Sloane worked in the international sales department for the Ohio Brass Company.

Edith Martien was an auditor for the Citizen’s Savings and Loans company.

Mrs. Susan Wheaton was a probation officer for young women in Richalnd County.

Anna Wheelock was a cashier for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.

Dorothy Greene was the community organizer for the Richland County Red Cross.

Jessie McIlvaine was the clerk for the Superintendent of the Mansfield schools.

Lena Colgan was the acting treasurer of the Westinghouse Electric Products Company.

50 Years as An “Ohio Brass Girl”: Sarah Alice Sloane and the Women of Ohio Brass

Women’s History Month is coming to an end, but we still have some interesting history to share with you! Today’s “Little Chats” interview was with Sarah Alice Sloane, who worked for the Ohio Brass Foreign Trade (essentially, international sales) department. It may be useful to read the interview (included below) before reading this post.

Ohio Brass plant from the air, 1930. From OB Observer.

Although she wasn’t born in Mansfield, Sarah Alice Sloane was a dedicated Mansfield woman, and participated in and made her mark in Mansfield’s community in many ways.

As with many of our “Little Chats” interviewees, she was an Ohioan, born and raised. She was born in Ashland County to Harrison A. and Anna Maria (Clark) Sloane on 28 April 1879. Harrison was born in Ashland County, but Anna had been raised in Mansfield, and they were married in Richland County 18 March 1875. Their first child, Benjamin Howard, was born about a year later. In total, they would have seven children: Ben Howard, Mary Ethel, Sarah Alice, Rollin Clark, Clarence (who died shortly after his birth), Florence Lyle, and John Beaird.

In the 1880 census, when Sarah was just about a year old and the youngest child at the time, the family was living in Mohican, Ashland, and occupied a farm. In addition to the five Sloanes, there were also two “domestics” and a boarder living in the household.

By 1900, the family had moved to Mansfield, although Harrison was still listed as a farmer. Ben was no longer in the household, having married and moved to Lorain, and Rollin had similarly moved on. Younger siblings Florence and John were still at school, but Mary and Sarah had begun pursuing their own careers: Mary as a milliner (women’s hat-making and/or selling), and Sarah as a stenographer at Ohio Brass, a position she held at a minimum beginning in 1899, based on a Mansfield City directory entry from that year.

Sometime around 1904, Harrison packed up the rest of the family (Anna, Florence, and John) and moved to Youngstown to pursue a work opportunity there. Sarah remained in Mansfield to continue her work at Ohio Brass. Unfortunately, in 1907, Harrison became sick with typhoid fever, and he died.

The family returned to Mansfield, and in 1908, Anna, Florence, John, and Sarah were all living together there, and John was also working at Ohio Brass (precisely what department or position he held was not listed). About seven years after Harrison died, Anna also passed away, in 1914, and sometime shortly after that John left Mansfield to pursue his career, leaving Florence and Sarah together in Mansfield. They shared a home for a number of years as Sarah pursued her career at Ohio Brass.


As previously established, Sarah Alice Sloane began work at Ohio Brass in or before 1899, when she would have been twenty years old, and she began work as a stenographer. Based on her interview with Nita Branson, it does not seem that she had much formal education beyond high school, although she may have taken stenography classes in high school or at the local business college. Regardless, she progressed through the ranks of the department, from stenographer to sales order clerk, from sales order clerk to assistant department head, and eventually she was the head of the sales order department for foreign sales. She retired from the company in 1947, with almost 50 years of experience there, and having worked at the company through both World Wars. In her retirement she continued to be close with her family. Her brother, John, had settled in Arizona, and she would go out to visit with him and his family, and those and other family members would come to Mansfield to visit with her as well.

A Peek at the Ohio Brass Cafeteria

Making her Mark in the Community: Women’s Voting, and the Friendly House

In addition to her career, Sarah was active in the community, certainly by the 1920s if not much earlier. In the fall of 1921, just a year after the 19th amendment was passed allowing women to vote across the United States, Sarah was the president of a Republican Women Voters club, which met weekly in the lead-up to the election to hear from the candidates. The group organized a women’s voting registration drive to encourage all the women in Mansfield to register and vote in the election, exercising their rights under the law. Notably, this was the first local election in which women were permitted to vote– 1920 was the first presidential election, but there was not a local election in that year.

Later in her life and career, we again see Sarah’s leadership and involvement in the community. It seems highly likely she was more involved in the community than we have a good record of, because by 1937 she had been elected the vice president of the Board of Directors of the Friendly House, a position to which she was re-elected, and in which she occasionally served as acting president.

The Ohio Brass Girls

Sarah’s particular story is interesting for a number of reasons, but she was far from the only woman who worked for the Ohio Brass Company. And while her position was still relatively office-based, many women who worked for Ohio Brass worked in the factory itself. In particular, it seems that in the Malleables division, the Core Department was a particular home for female employees, as shown by a dedicated issue of the O.B. Observer in 1929.

Close-up of the Core Department from the “Malleable” Issue of the Ohio Brass Observer

As with many companies of the time, Ohio Brass strove to provide good facilities and social opportunities for its employees, as evidenced by their new cafeteria as shown above and by their participation in industrial league sports. The industrial leagues were not just men’s teams–there were women’s teams as well, when there was interest in them. Ohio Brass’s women’s bowling teams were especially successful in 1929, winning the championship, and the same year the company was working to start up a women’s “kittenball” (an early name for softball) team as well.

By the mid-1920s there were enough women working for Ohio Brass, across the entire company and not just in the office positions, that Mr. and Mrs. Charles Kelley King (the president of the company) began hosting an annual party for the female employees of the company to thank them for their important contributions to the company. The first such party was hosted in 1924, and about 40 women attended, including Sarah herself, who had been working for Ohio Brass for approximately 25 years at this point. These were just women who worked at the factory themselves–not wives of male employees.

The female employees of Ohio Brass at Kingwood in 1924.
A close-up image of Sarah Alice Sloane

Ohio Brass “Girls” at Kingwood

The parties continued to be an annual tradition, and grew over time. Even in 1925, at just the second party, there were reportedly over a hundred women present–which suggests that the first party probably was not attended by all the female employees at the company. In 1929, over 125 women were in attendance at the annual Kingwood party.