SAMUEL M. FOSTER is a citizen whose loyalty and manifold services of constructive order mark him as one of the most influential men of Northern Indiana and one of the most liberal and progressive citizens of Fort Wayne. To enumerate the agencies through which he has contributed to the civic and material progress and prosperity of his home city would be to catalog the major number of important enterprises that have been here projected and carried to successful culmination within the many years of his residence in Fort Wayne.

Mr. Foster was born at Coldenham, Orange County, New York, December 12, 1851, and is a son of John L. and Harriet (Scott) Foster, he being the youngest in a family of six sons and one daughter. At the age of fourteen years, after due preliminary education in the public schools, Mr. Foster became a clerk in the dry-goods store conducted by his older brothers in New York City, and three years later he went to Troy, that state, where, at the age of twenty-one years, he and his brother, Albert Z., now deceased, formed a partnership in the retail mercantile business. His ambition to advance his education found expression two years later by his entering Yale University. While a student in that institution he was one of the editors of the Yale Courant, was appointed to the junior exhibition, had the distinction of being chosen one of the Townsend taken from a class of 132 members and was named by the faculty as one of the ten men to appear on the platform at the commencement exercises when his class was graduated, June 16, 1879. He received the degree of Bachelor of Arts and ranked fourteenth in class student honors in a class that originally had 200 members, and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa.

In the autumn of 1879 Mr. Foster came to Fort Wayne, Indiana, and entered the law office of Robert S. Taylor. His health having become somewhat impaired through his close application while a student at Yale, he held in abeyance for a time his selection of vocation. After giving a period to the study of law he turned his attention to the newspaper business. He established the Saturday Evening Record at Dayton, Ohio, and became its editor. In 1880 he and his associates sold the plant and business, and this paper was the nucleus of the present Dayton Daily Herald. At this juncture in his career Mr. Foster returned to Fort Wayne and became associated with his brothers in the retail mercantile business. In 1882 the firm of Foster Brothers was dissolved, when one of its principals, Scott Foster, went to New York City and became president of a bank in the national metropolis. In the dissolution of the firm Samuel M. Foster continued the dry-goods department of the business, and it was while financial reverses were attending this enterprise that he became the originator and first manufacturer of shirt-waists for women. The innovation met with most favorable reception on the part of women throughout the United States, and it was through the medium of this line of manufacturing that Mr. Foster laid the foundation of his substantial fortune. He initiated the commercial manufacturing of shirt-waists in December, 1886, and the industry eventually became one of the largest and most important in Fort Wayne. Eventually Mr. Foster left to his associates the executive management of this large and prosperous business, and in 1904 he became one of the founders and also the president of the German-American National Bank of Fort Wayne, from which has been evolved the present Lincoln National Bank & Trust Company, one of the largest and most influential financial and fiduciary institutions in Northern Indiana and one of which Mr. Foster continued the president until he resigned the office and assumed his present position, that of chairman of its board of directors.

Mr. Foster gave prolonged service as president of the Wayne Knitting Mills, and from this position retired to assume that of chairman of the board of directors. He is now a large stockholder in many of the leading financial and industrial corporations of Fort Wayne, including the Fort Wayne Box Company and the splendid Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, of which he became president at the time of its organization and of which he is now the chairman of the board of directors.

Outstanding features in the career of Mr. Foster have been his loyal and determined efforts to protect and forward the interests of the people of his home city. He has reason to take special pride in the work that he accomplished as advocate of the principle that interest on public funds should not pass into the hands of officials but should belong to the people and be used for public benefit. On this issue Mr. Foster was elected a member of the Fort Wayne board of education, and the splendid campaign that he initiated resulted in legislative enactment of the Indiana law that requires interest on all public funds to be turned back to the public. He thus served as a trustee of the board of education one term, and it is worthy of special note that the interest received on school funds was supplemented by his donating his official salary and made possible the purchase of the site of the present public library of Fort Wayne, in 1895.

Mr. Foster has been a stalwart in the ranks of the Democratic party, and in 1914 President Wilson tendered him the diplomatic post of United States Ambassador to the Argentine Republic, an honor that he was constrained to decline, for private reasons. In 1907 Mr. foster and his wife made an interesting tour of Southern Europe, and in 1909 they visited the Scandinavian countries and familiarized themselves with the fair Norseland.

MR. Foster's civic loyalty and liberality have found many avenues of expression. In 1911 Governor Marshall appointed him a trustee of Purdue University, a position in which he continued to served a number of years, and in 1916 Governor Samuel M. Ralston appointed him a member of the Indiana Centennial Commission. In the Masonic fraternity he has received the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite, besides being a Noble of the Mystic Shrine, and he is affiliated also with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and the Loyal Order of Moose. In 1915 Mr. Foster sold his fine home to the local lodge of the Loyal Order of Moose, and then proceeded to erect his present beautiful residence and also one for his daughter, both being situated on Fairfield Avenue.

The civic pride and generosity of Mr. Foster found a most noteworthy exemplification in 1909, when he became associated with his brother, Col. David N. Foster, in presenting the idyllic Foster Park to the City of Fort Wayne, this being the largest, and in many respects the finest, of the city's public parks and its title serving as an enduring memorial to the two public-spirited citizens who made it possible. The travels of Mr. Foster have been made to include a trip around the world, this pleasing diversion having been enjoyed by him and his wife and daughter in 1912.

In June, 1881, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Foster to Miss Margaret Harrison, of Fort Wayne, and their only child, Alice Harrison, is now Mrs. Thomas H. Mullins. He has one grandchild, wife of Dr. Arthur F. Hall, Jr., and two great-grandchildren, Arthur Fletcher Hall the Third and Samuel Foster Hall.

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By Charles Roll, A.M.
The Lewis Publishing Company, 1931

LAWRENCE R. MILLER, M.D. One of the best-known medical men of Pike County, Indiana, is Dr. Lawrence H. Miller, physician and surgeon, and owner and operator of the Miller Hospital at Winslow. Doctor Miller was born in Pike County, a member of one of the prominent old families, and the greater part of a life of eminent service to humanity has been spent here. Of studious habit and with scientific leanings, medical science began to make an appeal to him early, and in 1907 he was graduated from Kentucky School of Medicine at Louisville with his degree. Further preparations for practice followed and he then came to Winslow, which city has remained his chosen home ever since, finding here public appreciation, and the personal esteem that is one of the compensating factors of a life so busy and unselfish, as his. In addition to his professional work, both medical and surgical, in his own model hospital at Winslow, Doctor Miller is on the staff of Saint Mary's Hospital, Evansville, Indiana, and is frequently invited to nearby cities as a consultant.

Doctor Miller was born in Pike County, Indiana, February 9, 1881, a son of Peter R. and Eliza J. (Camp) Miller. Peter R. Miller was a native of Pike County, and was reared within its confines, and here he became a farmer and politician. For two terms he served Pike County as sheriff. His death occurred October 19, 1926. The Miller family was established in Pike County by the grandparents of Doctor Miller, and they came from North Carolina. The maternal grandfather enlisted for the war between the states and was killed in action at Perrysville, Kentucky. The Doctor's mother, Mrs. Eliza J. (Camp) Miller, died in Pike County, June 30, 1923. Mr. and Mrs. Miller had nine children: Doctor Miller, Hershal P, Noble C., Clarence E., Arval H., Cleva, deceased, and Eva, twins. Maud and Stella, who died in infancy.

In order to continue his own studies begun in Pike County schools, Doctor Miller taught school, at different intervals, for nine terms, after he was graduated from high school, and he took his degree of Bachelor of Science and that of Doctor of Medicine, in 1907. His interneship was taken in the City Hospital, Louisville, Kentucky. In 1912 he did post-graduate work in the Lousiville Medical College. His hospital is one of the best in this part of Indiana, and is well patronized. The people of Pike and surrounding counties, as well as members of the profession, fell that it is a great convenience, as well as a place in which proper scientific care can be given to the patients.

Doctor Miller was married to Miss Bess Barnett, a daughter of Marshall and Sarah (Adams) Barnett, old and prominent people of Pike County. Doctor and Mrs. Miller have one child, Jack Barnett, who was born July 17, 1918. He is a graduate of the Junior High School at Petersburg, Indiana, and of the Summer School of Woodcraft at Culver Military Academy in the class of 1931 and is now enrolled at the Kentucky Military Institute at Lyndon, Kentucky. In political faith Doctor Miller is a Democrat. The Christian Church holds his membership. He belongs to the Knights of Pythias; the D. O. K. K., having passed all of the chairs in the latter, and is the only man in Indiana that is as high in the order as he; the Modern Woodmen of America; the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He holds membership in the Pike County Medical Society, the Indiana State Medical Society and the American Medical Association. In addition to the Miller Hospital, Doctor Miller owns city property at Winslow and a citrus grove in the Rio Grande Valley at Harlingen, Texas. The qualities which have won professional advancement and made Doctor Miller a leader in his community have also gained him both the confidence and good will of the people. In the different movements of his neighborhood he is not only a factor, but in many cases the leader, and he takes pride in doing solid and substantial work for this region, as well as giving close attention to his professional responsibilities.

By Charles Roll, A.M.
The Lewis Publishing Company, 1931

ELMER ELLSWORTH McCRAY. Ambition, thrift, integrity and persistence are the foundation stones in the character of Elmer E. McCray, president of the McCray Refrigerator Company, Incorporated, of which he is also owner, and one of the most prominent business men of Kendallville, Indiana. These above-mentioned qualities he has woven into the warp and woof of the great business he has reared, from the humblest beginning to an outstanding position of leadership, not only in the community but in the entire refrigerator industry.

From his father, the late Hiram McCray, he inherited the excellent basic patents upon the McCray system of refrigeration, and more important still, those sterling traits of character which enabled him to put those patents into practical application, to develop them to such a point that he may be rightfully called the founder of modern sanitary refrigeration.

His capital was the result of his thrift - five hundred dollars saved from earnings during his twelve years' association with his father in the produce business, and deposited in regular weekly installments with the local business and loan association. Add to this modest financial beginning the characteristics, infinitely more important in those pioneer days - industry, integrity, foresight and persistence - and you have the sum of the resources upon which this great business has been erected.

His hand has guided the destinies of the business from that early beginning to the present. He has steered a steady course, holding fast to an ideal of service and fair dealing, both to the public and his employees. The result is a business which sustains one-third of the families of its home community, which has made the name McCray synonymous with efficient refrigeration, and brought a food-saving and health-protecting service into homes, stores and institutions throughout the country and in many foreign lands as well.

Elmer E. McCray was born at Reynoldsburg, Ohio, June 20, 1860, a son of Hiram and Amanda (Reynolds) McCray. Hiram McCray was born in Licking County, Ohio, in 1829, and the wife and mother was born at Reynoldsburg, Ohio, which town was named in honor of her father, a pioneer in Ohio. Hiram McCray and Amanda Reynolds were married in Ohio, in 1857, and located at Reynoldsburg, where he was in the egg and butter business, although a carpenter by trade. In February, 1868, he brought his father to Kendallville, Indiana, and continued in the same line of business. He was also the owner of a cooper shop, in which he manufactured barrels in large quantities. In the course of time the business so expanded that he had erected a building for storing his eggs, in which he specialized. It was in fact a mammoth refrigerator, holding several hundreds of barrels of eggs at a time. His market was principally New York City, although sales were made elsewhere.

When Elmer E. McCray was eighteen years old his father made him a partner in the butter and egg business, the name becoming H. McCray & Son. Hiram McCray was active in civic affairs and served for two terms as a member of the common council. A high Mason, he was advanced to the Commandery. He was the inventor and patentee on a cold storage plant which was the first to be built west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was of a decidedly more efficient type than those made in the East. His patent covered what is known as the side method refrigeration.

Five children were born to Hiram McCray and wife, namely: Homer; Elmer Ellsworth, whose name heads this review; John, who lives in California; Cora, who is the widow of J. P. Stahl and resides in Kendallville, and Lena, who is the wife of H. H. McComer, of Kendallville. Hiram McCray died in 1888, and his wife is also deceased.

Elmer E. McCray, in spite of his remarkable business success, received only such an education as was afforded by the common schools of Kendallville in his youth. He left school when seventeen years old to devote all his time to his father's business, and as already stated, from the time he was eighteen was a partner in the business. In 1890 the McCray Refrigerator Company was organized, and, although he continued in the butter and egg business for a year longer, in 1891 Mr. McCray closed his interest in that line so as to devote all of his time to what he felt was the more important undertaking.

Since he was eight years old Mr. McCray has lived at Kendallville, and naturally has played a very important part in its growth and expansion. One of the most charitable of men, his benefactions are beyond computation. When the new Lakeside Hospital was built he donated one-half of the money necessary for its erection, and the city paid the other half. In fact, of late years this has become his habit; to donate one-half if the other half is raised, and in this way Kendallville has some very excellent improvements, buildings and utilities far better than any other city of its size in the state. He is an ardent Republican, but has never aspired to or held a public office. Fraternally he is prominent in Masonic circles, having membership in all bodies of Masonry, and is also a member of Mizpah Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S., of Fort Wayne, Indiana. He also belongs to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and is as generous to his fraternities as he is along other lines.

On June 1, 1910, Mr. McCray was married to Miss Lena Orr, of Atlanta, Georgia, and they have one daughter, Sarah Amanda, who was born April 10, 1912. She was graduated from the Kendallville High School in 1930.

With the organization of the McCray Refrigeration Company Mr. McCray began to put to practical use the ideas which had been finally developed, and he produced the first of waht may be called "modern, sanitary refrigerators," so that the company may be said to have mde refrigerator history. The basic patents obtained by Hiram McCray and developed by Elmer E. McCray established a new standard of refrigeration, and the leadership which this superior refrigerator gave to McCray has been maintained consistently to the present day. McCray stands today as the outstanding manufacturer of refrigerators for all purposes.

In the factory which turned out the first McCray there was less than 2,500 square feet of floor space. The power was supplied by an old second-hand threshing machine. Today the floor space of the McCray plant is more than one hundred times that of the original - 310,000 square feet; the old threshing machine has given way to the very latest equipment of electrical engines. While many changes have been made, and different plants erected, the same site has been retained, comprising seven acres.

The remarkable growth of the company is intimately connected with the development of Kendallville, for at least one-third of the population of the littel city work in some capacity or other for the McCray people; and in addition there are over 350 persons employed in the outside territory. Always a public-spirited citizen, as well as a successful manufacturer, Mr. E. E. McCray has held the interest of his home city close to his heart. The esteem in which he is held by his fellow citizens, as well as by those associated with him in business, constitute a significant tribute to his character as a man, to his foresight and ability as a builder.

In December, 1926, Mr. McCray wrote an article which appeared in the magazine System of that month, under the title: "After Nearly 50 Years in Business I've Come to Know That _____." It so clearly set forth his own business, and what he had learned from its conduct, and from his connections with other enterprises, that it was republished in the McCray News of that month. It is for the same reason quoted below:

"'The Decision of Kalamazoo' is the name I have given to one of the biggest of my business milestones. It dates back to 1895. Our plant had been shut down for want of business to keep the men busy, and I had gone fishing - to think. Homeward bound, our train stopped to pick up a car of celery at Kalamazoo - and there in the Kalamazoo yards I found myself literally standing up to a decision which is expressed - minus the expletives - in the following:

"'You control this business and from now on you are going to run it, regardless of what the other fellow says or things, and no matter what happens.'

"Just then the switching was climaxed with a suddenness common to railroading of that day, and I sat down - hard. The statement of an underlying business policy that has been a guide to this day was thus fittingly punctuated, even if a neck was nearly broken in the process.

"Successful business leadership demands courageously independent action. Advice and counsel are all well and good and at times necessary; but in the end the head of the business or department must proceed on his own, accepting the full responsibility for his acts and exerting the complete authority of his position.

"Nearly fifty years of active business life teach one many things - at the cost of thousands of dollars. Success, however, is based on the net, and the man who is right more often than he is wrong, whose mistakes are outnumbered numerically, and from the standpoint of effect, by right decisions and proper actions, is bound to attain it. A few men are lucky; the majority win through work.

"We have heard a lot lately about the butter-and-egg man. I started as one. In fact my father, Hiram McCray, founded a butter-and-egg business whic served the prosperous and populous East back in 1868, when the handling of eggs, meat, poultry, fruit and butter was much more of a gamble with spoilage than it is today. In those days eastern distributors actually warned against cooling butter before shipping, on the grounds that cooling would ruin it. There was no storage of eggs in time of plenty against months of scarcity.

"Then, if a produce jobber made a few thousand one month, he usually lost it in the next. If butter showed a profit, eggs were almost certain to show a loss. The producer and wholesaler lost great sums of money in the transactions, and the public suffered internally through spoiled foodstuffs.

"Father's invention of a cold-storage plant - the first west of Pittsburgh and of a decidedly more efficient type than those in the East - was a response to economic necessity. In the first place, he had to find a way of protecting his own profits; in the second place, he was concerned over the condition in which produce reached the market of consumption.

"On the basis of Hiram McCray's patent - which covered what is known as the side method of refrigeration - the Kendallville Refrigerator Company was organized. My brother-in-law joined me in purchasing the balance of the stock not held by our family, for $1,350. This was followed by the organization of the McCray Refrigerator and Cold-Storage Company - the McCray Refrigerator Company of today.

"Politicians cannot run an army. The War Department cannot direct maneuvers in the field. Nor can stockholders in mass run a business, or a board of directors and an executive committee do more than form and lay down policies which must be executed by the man directly in charge of the particular element of endeavor concerned with those policies. A successful army must have a good general. A successful business must have a responsible and authoritative head. Both must operate on the basis of actual conditions as they themselves see then, and each must be capable of courageous, independent action.

"They told me that it was unnecessary for an executive to go over the mail any more; that reports would suffice. But the mail is a symptom-expressing pulse beat of this business, and as long as I am at the head of this business I want to see it. Not that I want to digest the details of its contents, or to follow through on its suggestions. Mine is a hasty scanning of the correspondence with an eye for complaints; and as long as this business or any business goes on there will always be some complaints. It is through correcting these that we perfect our operations.

"We want our branches and our branch salesmen to make money. There is no advantage of the opportunities offered then. With a salary and a bonus, they sit complacently under the protection of the salary. Practically every concern with which I have talked is in the same condition. They need men.

"The fourth of my fundamentals is that quality merchandise adequately and fairly priced is the soundest merchandise for long-swing progress. Again I must of necessity ‘talk' in terms of my own business - we make it a policy never to - and we never have and never will under my direction - sacrifice quality to permit competitive pricing. Our drive is to keep ahead of competitors in quality, and in line with them in price. Today we are taking in many commercial refrigerators on trade at the figure they were bought for twenty-five years ago.

"Quality and price are two major consideratins for today's and tomorrow's business men. Price selling should not require salesmanship. Quality merchandise contributes to long-swing success. I believe this to be fundamental.

"During the fiscal year which closed in October, 1926, our advertising department sent out 3, 105,000 pieces of direct-mail matter. Over 2,000,000 of these were broadsides directed at specific markets, and 541,000 were letters sent out by our sales promotional department. All this is in addition to a definitely delegated national advertising program which directs so much against the general market, and a definite percentage against each individual field in which we sell.

"This advertising, our general accounting, our buying, our producing are all in capable hands whose responsibility and authority both are complete. Just as long as theirs is efficient, progress - net increase on the records which come to my desk - just as long as their inter-relations are what they should be, and our users are satisfied with what we are selling them, how it is being sold, and the manner of its servicing, mine is a simple task of keeping posted on what is going on and helping where I can.

"They say I am not wont to praise work well done. If a fault, it is one of bringing up. But why should competent operation demand praise beyond the personal satisfaction of having done the good work expected of one?

"There is a right and a wrong way of doing everything. There are also two kinds of decisions - correct and incorrect. There are two ways to go - ahead or back. How to do things, when to do them, and the course to follow are up to the heads of business - no matter what business it is.

"Business leadership - to be successful - means being on the job, developing that job, grooming men to succeed you at it, maintaining high standards at reasonable prices, and operating toward definite and always greater sales goals against which every selling resource, cloaked in the specificness of its particular audience, is consistently and determinedly directed."

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By Charles Roll, A.M.
The Lewis Publishing Company, 1931

Deb Murray