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BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES HARRIS MCEWEN

This biography was possible through the generous consideration of Mrs. Gina M. Reasoner.  

Email:  greasoner@prodigy.net

Source:  History of Ohio, The American Historical Society, Inc., 1925 Volume IV, page 197:

JAMES HARRIS McEWEN, dean of Youngstown bankers, and one of the most prominent men of Mahoning County, has devoted his life to finance, and is now a member of the directorate of the Mahoning National Bank, successor to the Youngstown Savings & Loan Company. He was born at Youngstown, October 13, 1842, a son of James and Elizabeth (Fitch) McEwen, the former born on a farm near Elkton, Indiana, and the latter born in New York City. About 1835 James McEwen came to Youngstown, having been attracted here during his work as an engineer on the canal. In 1839 he was married and took up his residence in this city, and following the completion of the canal, served as its superintendent, and still later was president of the company. When he died, in 1872, at the age of seventy-three years, he was holding that office. His wife died in 1869, aged fifty-seven years. After a boyhood and youth spent at Youngstown, James Harris McEwen went, at the age of twenty years, into the Mahoning County Bank as a clerk, and continued with that old institution until 1868, during that period laying the foundation for the knowledge of banking which later was to make him such an authority on finance. In 1868 he entered the Youngstown Savings & Loan Company as treasurer, and during the turbulent reconstruction period following the termination of the war, with its numerous problems, a number of the leading citizens of Youngstown, among whom was Mr. McEwen, whose names have since been linked with the great industries of the state, realizing the need for greater banking facilities, organized the Mahoning National bank in 1877, as the successor to the Youngstown Savings & Loan Company, with which they had already been connected. With the opening of the doors of the new institution Mr. McEwen assumed the duties of cashier, and ably discharged them until January 14, 1908, at which time he was elected president of the bank, and he served as such for nearly two years, retiring from the office and from business generally, January 11, 1910. Although more than ten years over the three score years and ten of psalmist, he retains his place on the Board of Directors of the bank, and his wealth of experience, gained through almost sixty years of constant service, is freely given and gladly availed by the active officers of the bank. In spite of his age, Mr. McEwen is very active and visits the bank almost daily. He was an intimate friend of the late Robert McCurdy, and when the latter died in 1904, Mr. McEwen was named as executor of his estate, and this, with his personal affairs, he still successfully administers. On February 22, 1883, Mr. McEwen married Miss Florence Rayen, who was born at Champion, Trumbull County, Ohio, and was a teacher in the Rayen High School prior to her marriage. This school was named in honor of her uncle, William Rayen, one of the prominent men of earlier Youngstown. Her father, John Rayen, was born in Trumbull County, Ohio. Mr. McEwen is residing at 534 Bryson Street, Youngstown, Mrs. McEwen having died in 1912, leaving no children. For many years Mr. McEwen was vice president of the McMillan Library, and he has otherwise been of great service to his community. One of the old-line republicans, he has followed his party's fortunes almost from its beginnings, and has met and known intimately some of its greatest lights. He still enjoys meeting his old friends at the Youngstown Club. During his long and varied life Mr. McEwen has witnessed many changes, and has seen most marvelous development in and about Youngstown, in whose history he is so deeply concerned. The stainless record of this honorable gentleman proves that a man may achieve prestige and wealth, and yet never swerve in so doing from the path of strictest probity.