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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

PERKINS, JOSEPH - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

PERKINS, JOSEPH (5 July 1819-26 Aug. 1885), businessman, philanthropist, and congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives the last two years of his life, was born in Warren, Ohio, to Simon and Nancy Bishop Perkins. He graduated from Marietta College in 1839, and returned to Warren to work for his father in the railroad business. He came to Cleveland in 1852 as president of the Bank of Commerce, serving until 1872. He was also president of the Cleveland & Mahoning Railroad and had interests in several other companies and banks. Perkins was a founder of the WESTERN RESERVE HISTORICAL SOCIETY; was first president of Cleveland City Hospital (later Lakeside); and contributed $5,000 towards purchase of the Holden property for the Case and Western Reserve campuses. He was a trustee for Western Reserve College from 1846-85. A founder of LAKE VIEW CEMETERY, he served on the public committee raising funds for the GARFIELD MONUMENT. As a philanthropist, Perkins gave extensively to city charities, particularly homes for orphans and the aged. He gave large amounts to the convent of the Good Shepherd (a Catholic home for girls) and to the Protestant Orphan Asylum. In 1869 he donated a house to be used as a retreat for "unfortunate" women. A few years later, he built a house for aged women. While on the Ohio Board of Charities, Perkins devised a system for classifying prisoners and developed a plan for controlling the state's infirmary system. He married Martha Steele in 1840. They had six children: Douglas, Joseph, Ellen, Lawrence Lewis, Charles, and Olive. Perkins died in Sarasota Springs, New York and was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.

Last Modified: 10 Jul 1997 05:11:35 PM

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