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Biography of Orlando C. Saffell

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Biography of Orlando C. Saffell

Posted: 985089600000
Classification: Biography
Edited: 993334892000
Surnames: Saffell, Millikin, Thompson, Murphy, Pittman, Hillock, Bond, Jennings, Wayman, Wright, Wagman, Balser
Of Henry County, Indiana
B.F. Bowen

Surnames in this biography are: Saffell, Millikin, Thompson, Murphy, Pittman,
Hillock, Bond, Jennings, Wayman, Wright, Wagman, Balser,


Deeds are thoughts crystallized and according to their brilliancy
do we judge of the worth of a man to the country, which produced him, and in
his works do we expect to find a true index to his character. The study of
the life of the representative Amencans never fails to offer much of pleasing
interest and valuable instruction, developing a peculiar mastery of
expedients, which sometimes entails wonderful results. The subject of this
review is a worthy representative of that type of American character and of
that progressive spirit which promote public' good in proportion as they
advance individual prosperity. Mr. Saffell stands distinctively as one of the
most alert and progressive business men of New Castle in that he is the
leading spirit and general manager of the city's largest and most important
industrial enterprises, an enterprise which has earned not only a state
reputation, but is now known throughout the length and breadth of the land,
especially in those great agricultural regions devoted largely to American's
most important staple, Indian corn. Mr. Saffell is an Ohio man, born in the
county of Columbiana on the 12th day of March 1849. When a child three months
old he lost his father upon whose death the mother was left in rather limited
circumstances with three helpless children dependent upon her. What small
property was left to her she afterwards sold and with her small family came
to Indiana, settling in the town of Greensboro where she spent the remainder
of her life. Orlando C. was about eighteen years old when he came to this
state and from that time until twenty-two years of age he remained with his
mother and like a dutiful son looked carefully after her interests. Like the
majority of boys reared in comparatively humble circumstances, he did not
hare the educational advantages which others more fortunately situated are
permitted to enjoy, his knowledge of books being derived from a few months'
attendance each winter upon the common schools. At the age of twenty-two Mr.
Saffell began working at the carpenter's trade at Knightstown and after
following the same three years engaged with other parties in building mills,
two of which, the Risk and the Hodson mills, are in Henry county. He worked
in this way for about three years and then embarked in the mercantile
business at Greensboro handling groceries and a line of drugs and druggists'
sundries. After spending two years behind the counter with varied success he
turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, but gave up his first place at
the end of one year for the purpose of taking a much more desirable farm in
the vicinity of the county seat. In 1889 he changed his residence to New
Castle and taking possession of the place, began clearing and otherwise
improving it, making it in the course of a few years a fine farm. The place,
consisting of one hundred and seventy-six acres, mostly rich bottomland
skirting the river, was originally covered with a dense forest growth and
thick under-brush, much of which Mr. Saffell removed with his own hands, and
when reduced to a state of tillage the soil proved very productive and
yielded much more than a mere livelihood. Mr. Saffell's predilection for
mechanical pursuits finally led him to abandon farming and engage in the
manufacture of buggies and wagons, in addition to which he also handled
ready-made vehicles. The excellent quality of his workmanship soon created
quite a large demand for the products of his shop, in consequence of which he
was obliged to enlarge its capacity and increase his force of workmen. For
quite a while he employed from eight to ten skilled mechanics and established
local agencies for his buggies and for other vehicles in various towns of
Henry and neighboring counties, the business continuing to grow in volume
until he found himself on the high road to prosperity. He carried on the
manufacture and sale of vehicles for about seven rears and then sold the
business and with several other parties organized the Mercantile Canning
Company of New Castle. This organization went into effect with a capital
stock of twenty-five thousand dollars, of which Mr. Saffell's owned a third
interest and it was he who planned and superintended the erection of the
building now used by the company. The enterprise proved successful
and fully met the expectation of the projectors. It. has been operated upon
quite an extensive scale to the present time, but Mr. Saffell is no
longer actively connected with it, though owning one-third of the stock and
as much as ever interested in. its success. He also owns his farm near the
city, which has increased in value until it is now considered one of the best
and most valuable pieces of land of its area in the county. Severing his
active connection with agricultural pursuits and the canning company, Mr.
Saffell in the year 1898, in partnership with T. B. Millikin, Dr. Thompson,
George Murphy, George Pittman, G. W. Hillock, W. C. Bond, S. P. Jennings, F.
L. Wayman and several others, organized the Safety Shredder Company of New
Castle for the manufacture of The Safety Feed Corn Husker and Fodder Shredder
From a comparatively small beginning this movement has developed into the
leading industry of the city and so constantly has the product grown in
popular favor throughout the great corn belts of the United States that the
establishment now ranks with Indiana's most important manufacturing
enterprises. As general superintendent Mr. Saffell has devoted his entire
time and attention to building up the company and establishing it upon a
solid basis and to him is largely due the almost phenomenal success, which
the enterprise now enjoys. For a brief history of the shredder company and a
description of its plant, output and present status, the reader's attention
is respectfully called to the sketch immediately following this review. As
the principal factor in the large and important industry he manages, the
subject brought to bear that distinctive practical ability which has
conserved his success in other business affairs-a. mature judgment, executive
ability of a high order, clear foresight and an intuitive wisdom which could
not but further the interests of the enterprise and in time win for it
reputation such as few industrial movements have attained. In all matters
-pertaining to the company he takes an influential part and his judgment has
weight with his colleagues. Exceedingly careful and sometimes conservative in
business affairs, he reaches conclusions only after the most mature
deliberation and he is more of a practical than a showy man, a man of deeds
rather than words. He has never stepped aside from his business enterprises
to mingle in political circles, although adhering strictly to the principles
of the Republican Party and at different times representing his precincts in
various conventions. Aside from serving two terms in the city council, he has
never held public office, nor has he ever entertained any ambition in that
direction, preferring the more satisfactory sphere of private citizenship to
any honors or emoluments such station can bring. In addition to his
connection with the large enterprise of which he is the leading spirit, Mr.
Saffell is also identified with several other industries and business
concerns, among the latter being the Citizens Bank of New Castle, of which
for a number of years he has been a large stock-holder and member of the
directorate. He has always taken a lively interest in the prosperity and
growth of New Castle, contributing much to its material advancement in the
way of improvements, owning in addition to his own beautiful dwelling a
number of other buildings which he erected, thus adding greatly to the cities
attractiveness as a place of residence. In his fraternal relations he is a
Mason of high degree, believing thoroughly in the moral precepts of the order
and endeavoring at all times to exemplify the same in his daily walk and
conversation. Mr. Saffell was married on the 3rd day of June 1870 to Miss
Wright, of Greensboro, Indiana, daughter of Joel Wright, a well-known and
influential citizen of that town. Mrs. Saffell is a lady of strong mentality
and beautiful moral character, a graduate of Earlham College, and is popular
in the best society circles of New Castle. She has borne her husband two
daughters, the older of whom, May, is now the wife of F. L. Wagman,
superintendent of the New Castle Canning Company; Lois, the second in order
of birth, married Harry Balser, an employee of the company of which Mr.
Saffell is superintendent. Mr. Saffell is emphatically a self-made man and
as such ranks with the representative and progressive citizens of eastern
Indiana. Beginning life with no capital but a clear brain and willing hands,
he has built up, by industry and well-directed energy, a large and thriving
business and by an upright and honorable course of conduct won the respect
and esteem of the community in which he resides. His life forcibly
illustrates what can be accomplished by concentration of purpose, together
with an indomitable will which hesitates at no obstacles, however numerous or
formidable. No one can peruse this brief review without gaining additional
respect for the man and being stimulated to greater activity by his labors
and example. His has indeed been a busy career, but amid the manifold duties
of business and the claims of responsible station, he has not been unmindful
of the social amenities of life and the obligations growing out of his
relations with his fellow man. He possesses a pleasing personality, is easily
approachable, and all who know him well respect him for his many sterling
qualities of head and heart. Mr. Saffell has been fortunate in his financial
affairs and is now the possessor of a liberal fortune, which, as already
indicated, is the direct result of his own unaided but wisely directed
industry and energy. Believing that life and usefulness may be greatly
lengthened and conserved by appropriate rest and recreation. He and Wife
frequently spend the summer months at northern health resorts, principally at
Walloon Lake, near Petosky, Michigan, where with rod and gun he renews the
energies which too close application to business sometimes jade and impair.

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