Irish Americans of Cleveland

Cleveland Press Articles About the Old Neighborhood

Irish Among City's Steel Pioneers

100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland, 39th of a Series
by Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, February 19, 1951

A native of Clare, Ireland, who became a pioneering member of Cleveland's rapidly developing iron and steel trade was James D. Clary.

At the age of 23, in 1865, he came to Cleveland and started working for Morrison Foster whose firm, after various changes, became known as the Bourne Fuller Co., one of the "old timers" on the Cleveland iron and steel scene.

Clary was secretary-treasurer of the Bourne Fuller concern in the 1890's. This was one of several steel companies which in 1929 merged and formed the Republic Steel Corp. The Bourne Fuller Co. became the nut and bolt division of Republic.

Another Irish pioneer operator of blast furnaces in Cleveland was Timothy H. Deasy whose parents came to America from County Cork.

From 1872 to 1895 he was in charge of the Cleveland Rolling Mill's blast furnaces and after his retirement he was named postmaster of the South Cleveland sub-station.

Thomas F. Barrett, former head stevedore of the Rhodes Co., predecessor toe the M. A. Hanna Co., came to Cleveland from County Mayo in the early 1860's.

His son, M. F. Barrett learned the molder's trade from another pioneer Irishman, Anthony Carlin. In 1892 Barrett started a modest concern of his own, with one employee. Frank Senz who died last year. Barrett named his concern the Cleveland Bronze and Brass Works.

In 1912 the firm was incorporated under the name of the Cleveland Brass Manufacturing Co., 4606 Hamilton Ave. At the start Barrett made bearings for rolling mills but gradually he went into making plumbing supplies. Today the firm employs about 250 men.

During the administration of Mayor "Honest John" Farley, 1899-1900, Barrett was director of police.

Maher and Brayton

The names of many an Irishman appear in the industrial roster of Clevelanders who, in the here decades before 1900, made this city nationally known. Some of these pioneering firms have since disappeared, others acquired new names and new owners.

Thomas Maher and C. A. Brayton in 1880 took over the old Cleveland Wheel & Foundry Works, 20 Carter St., established by Bowler and Maher in 1860. In 1890 this firm employed 250 men and its specialty was the making of wheels for locomotives and railroad cars.

In 1881 Maher and Brayton established the Riverside Foundry Works at 26 Carter St., next door to the old Cleveland Wheel & Foundry Works. In an advertisement of this concern published in 1888, the new firm announced that its daily output was 60 tons of finished work, mostly equipment for rolling mills.

Two Irishmen, O'Donnell and Barrett established in 1866 one of the first elevator and dumb waiter concerns in Cleveland, at 53 Center St. They prospered so much so that in 1886 they proudly announced the building of 26 steam, hydraulic and hand elevators.

Leaving the industrial pioneering aside for a while, few of the millions of persons who visited Euclid Beach Park since 1895 realize that the park was founded by a genial Irishman, W. R. Ryan.

When Ryan sold Euclid Beach Park to the Humphreys, he developed Manhattan Park which later became known as White City.

Before going into the amusement park business Ryan served as sheriff and justice of the peace in the 1890's. In 1893 Ryan became an "international" figure when he was reported to have made a bid, with Billie Weil and Morris Weil, to build a railroad line between Damascus and Mecca.

Ryan died unexpectedly of pneumonia in 1917.