MAXWELL, NATHANIEL VAN - Montgomery County, Ohio | NATHANIEL VAN MAXWELL - Ohio Gravestone Photos

Nathaniel Van MAXWELL

Centerville, Washington Twp. Cemetery
Montgomery County,

From The Dayton Daily Journal (March 1886) - Death of Nathaniel V. Maxwell
The announcement yesterday of the death of Nathaniel V. Maxwell, perhaps the oldest merchant in this county, and one of the old citizens of the Miami Valley, will be read with deep sorrow by a host of friends in this and adjoining counties, as well as in the State. He had been unusually well during the winter, until last Tuesday, when about the middle of the afternoon he was taken with a chill which developed into and attack of catarrhal fever, with serious bronchial complications that resulted in his death at 7:14 p.m. on Monday, at his late residence in Centreville, of this county. He was very sick from the first, and being advanced in years and of delicate constitution, the attack the attack proved more than he could bear.
Mr. Maxwell was on of the few old personal landmarks remaining in the southeastern part of the county, nearly all of his contemporaries having preceded him and gone to their reward. For forty-four year he had been a merchant in Centreville, and died while yet engaged in the personal management of his business, and during all this period no man ever pursued a more unswerving course of business integrity. No not of his ever went to protest. No man ever lost a cent by him under any circumstances. In this long period of business intercourse he was a conspicuous figure of commercial honor. His word everywhere was recognized as equal to his bond.
Prior to Mr. Maxwell's career as a merchant his occupation was that of a tailor, to which, after the death of his father, he had been apprenticed in Miamisburg in 1825, when about sixteen years of age. In 1829, he was sent by his principal to open a tailor shop in Centerville, when business of this kind was quite different from the present day, which soon passed into his own hands, and which in about twelve years was abandoned for the general dry goods business, Mr. Maxwell first associating himself with Ellis S. Bradstreet, now of this city, under the firm name of Maxwell & Bradstreet. In 1846, this firm was dissolved, Mr. Maxwell thereafter, during the remainder of the long period which followed up to the present time, having conducted the business in his own name.
Nor was he solely a business man. He was actively and influentially with everything in his part of the county having for its object the development, education and morality, and the improvement of the community. A man of singular probity, he was a marked person in the community where he, for 57 years, had been a potential public factor. A prominent and loyal Whig during the existence of that party, he was still the uncompromising opponent of human slavery, and when the time came in 1856, for the organization of the Republican party, the new political organization found in him an enthusiastic supporter. He attended the Ohio State convention that year, and was an earnest friend of the nomination of the late Salmon P. Chase as a candidate for the Governor of the State. He was opposed to the Silver Grey element of his party from Montgomery county who contended that Mr. Chase could not carry Mr. Maxwell's own strong Whig township, to which the latter replied that unless they placed whoever they nominated on a strong anti-slavery platform they would certainly fail. The wise counsels of such men as he prevailed and the sequel the country now fully comprehends.
Mr. Maxwell frequently represented his county at State conventions, sometimes riding on horseback the whole distance, the trip taking a week. He was once or twice a candidate of his party for the Legislature prior to the war; was prominent in the counsels of both the Whig and Republican parties in the earlier years of his life and an earnest supporter of the Union cause during the rebellion, giving liberally both of substance and time to the support of the Government's defenders.
In the year 1842, he became the treasurer of Washington township and held the office, with the exception of one or two years, from that time until his death, making a service of more than forty years. In late years, though a pronounced Republican he had no opponent, the members of both parties uniting in his election to a position which in all this time he had so faithfully filled. The last working day of his life was mainly devoted to his office. He thus died in the harness of public service.
On the subject of religion he was an adherent at the Presbyterian Church. For many years a trustee, and entertained broad views. In the last days of his illness, in frequent conversations with the members of his family, he expressed the largest faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, saying that for years, He had been his "only hope, " a hope, as he expressed it, "both sure and steadfast." Few men in their closing hours have given such beautiful and satisfactory evidence of faith in the fundamental truths of the Christian religion.
Surrounded by his sorrowing family, he said to them, Don't cry. We shall pass over. It won't be long." When the hour of dissolution drew near, he passed into a profound slumber, but in an hour he opened his eyes, recognizing those about him and speaking to them. After the lapse of another hour, when one of the physicians spoke to him in a strong tone, he was again aroused, and on one of his children asking him if all was well with him, he replied, making a great effort to express himself, "very well." These were the last words he ever spoke, remaining thence in deep sleep and with laborious respiration for several hours, and until he passed away without a struggle as peacefully as the day closes.
Mr. Maxwell's wife, who, at the age of seventy-four, survives him, was the daughter of the late Sidney Denise, of this county. He had five children; Colonel Sidney D. Maxwell, the Superintendent of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, and Mr. Marcellus Maxwell, also of Cincinnati; Mrs. Dr. William H. Lamme, of Centreville; Mrs. John M. Adams, of Medway Clark county, in this State, and Miss Addie R. Maxwell, who remained at home and was intensely devoted to her father. All these were with him in his closing days and hours, administering to his wants, and doing everything that could be done for his recovery, and to make his condition as comfortable as possible. He educated his children and left to them the priceless legacy of a singularly well-spent life--a life in which charity was distinguished by a multitude of expressions, of which none but the poor ever knew.

Contributed on 9/5/07 by rwjustus
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Record #: 34729

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Submitted: 9/5/07 • Approved: 9/6/07 • Last Updated: 8/13/15 • R34729-G0-S3

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