Ceilan Milo Spitzer

Ceilan Milo Spitzer, co-founder of Spitzer, Rorick & Company, was a prominent merchant and banker who contributed to the material development of Northwest Ohio.

Spitzer was born in Batavia, New York on November 2, 1849 to Aaron Bovee and Laura Maria (Parkins) Spitzer. His family moved to Medina, Ohio in 1851. He attended public schools and Oberlin College. In 1869, he began his business career by purchasing a half interest in a drug store in Seville, Ohio. He conducted business there for two years and then sold out, becoming an active associate of his father in opening the Seville Exchange Bank, C.M. Spitzer & Company.

The company was successfu. A branch was opened in Medina in 1877 and they organized the German-American Bank of Cleveland in 1878. In January 1880, the bank failed in the midst of a depression. Ceilan Spitzer had to settle with his creditors on 40% terms. It was a testament to his good character and business sense when he voluntarily paid the remainder of the debt ten years later. The Spitzers opened a bank in Fremont, Ohio in 1880, but sold it the following year. It was at this time that the firm of Spitzer, Wideman & Company of Toledo was organized. Spitzer purchased the interests of his partners the following year, in 1882, and was joined by his cousin, Adelbert L. Spitzer, under the firm name of Spitzer & Company. Spitzer & Company became a very successful business. They were the first company west of New York City to engage in the buying and selling of bonds. It was known as "the father of the municipal bond business in the middle west."

Adelbert Lorenzo Spitzer became well-known for his connection with the municipal bond and investment business he entered with his cousin, Ceilan Milo Spitzer.

Adelbert was born on a farm in Medina, Ohio on August 15, 1852 to Garrett and Mary (Branch). He was educated in public schools in his county and at the Lodi Academy. He accepted a position at the Exchange Bank of Seville, Ohio in December, 1872. In September, 1873 he joined his brother, Amherst T. Spitzer, in establishing the Bank of North Amherst under the firm name of Spitzer Brothers. On October 20, 1875 he married Sarah Elizabeth Strong. Spitzer Brothers was so prosperous that two years later he bought her one of the largest and most attractive homes in North Amherst. He purchased his brother's interest in the firm in 1878 and in 1882, he decided to close the business and move to Toledo. It was at this time that Adelbert joined his cousin, Ceilan Milo.

In 1887, Spitzer & Co. established a branch office in Boston which, in May 1899, was removed to New York City. A partnership change in February, 1911 led to the name change of Spitzer, Rorick & Company. The company's prominence had a strong effect on the other bond houses in Toledo. At one time, most of the heads of all the other bond houses in Toledo had received their training either directly or indirectly from Spitzer & Co.

Ceilan Spitzer remained active in the affairs of the corporation until his retirement due to ill health in 1913. Adelbert continued with the company for another eight years. Ceilan was also associated with many banking institutions of Ohio as a stockholder and director. He served as a director of the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad and was the first president of the Spitzer Building Company. Toledo's first fireproof, steel office building was erected in 1893 by the Spitzer Building Company. It was also known for building the sixteen story Nicholas Building. Ceilan also became president of the Nicholas Building Company. With his cousin, Adelbert, they owned these buildings jointly for a number of years, but divided the ownership in 1911.

In January, 1900, Cielan Milo Spitzer was appointed Quartermaster General of Ohio by Governor George K. Nash, with the rank of Brigadier General, and gained the title by which he was generally known. When Ceilan Spitzer was not working he could many times be found traveling abroad. He was a member of the Royal Automobile Club of England and enjoyed taking driving tours of Europe. At home he was a member of the Toledo Club, the Bankers Club of America, and Ohio Society of New York.

In 1884, Ceilan Spitzer married Lilian Cortes McDowell. He died on February 18, 1919. Lilian died on June 18, 1917.

Adelbert Lorenzo Spitzer decided to sell his interest in Spitzer, Rorick & Company in 1921. He continued to manage the Spitzer Building and look after his other banking concerns.

Adelbert was never so busy that he did not have time for himself or the community. In 1909, he served as the Director General of Toledo's King Wamba Carnival. The outbreak of World War I, found Adelbert as the President and General Manager of the local field Red Cross Society.

In his leisure he enjoyed his horses. He had a fine stable and won many blue ribbons at horse shows. He was a member of many social organizations including being a founder and director of The Toledo Club. He was the first president of The Toledo Country Club. He also had memberships in the Toledo Yacht Club, and the Ohio Society of New York. His wife, Sarah, died on July 17, 1914 at the age of 60. Adelbert died June 11, 1933 at the age of 81.

Thomas Pim Goodbody married Luette Ruth, (b. March 14, 1882) the daughter of Adelbert Lorenzo and Sarah Elizabeth (Strong) Spitzer, on November 9, 1904. They had six children. Goodbody graduated from Williams College and was engaged in the investment banking business, and was a member of the Goodbody family which was prominent in New York financial circles. He died June 8, 1955 at the age of 77.

Lyman Spitzer Sr., built the Spitzer Paper Box Co., which he reorganized from the National Paper Box Co. into a major industry in Toledo. He was also involved the bond and investment field and was manager of the National Bank Building.

Lyman was born on February 2, 1880 in Amherst, Ohio to Adelbert Lorenzo and Sarah Elizabeth (Strong). He received his education in Toledo and at the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He graduated from Yale University in 1902 and joined the New York branch office of Spitzer & Company, where he remained for one year.

Spitzer then spent a year in Maine as a traveling representative of the bond department, then returned to Toledo in 1905 where he joined the Spitzer company for three years. He became involved with the real estate end of the business and was the manager of the Spitzer and Nicholas buildings for ten years.

In 1915 he purchased the controlling interest in the National Paper Box Company and remained active in the management of the business until he joined the Army, where he was made Captain, during World War I. Upon his discharge in 1918, he reorganized the paper box business under the name of Spitzer Paper Box Company.

Spitzer served as a Toledo Councilman, was a nominee for state senator in 1920, served as president of the Boy Scout Council, and was a member of the Toledo Chamber of Commerce. As a member of the Park Board he campaigned for twelve years to have benches put under shade trees downtown. Eventually he was successful and they were placed in Courthouse Square.

Lyman Spitzer made the most out of the time he had to himself. Mr. Spitzer very much enjoyed books and owned thousands of them on art, music, and literature. Mr. Spitzer often invited guests of the Town Hall Lecture Series to his house for luncheon. His notable guests included H.G. Wells, Robert Noyes, and Robert Frost. He was the owner of a copy of "North of Boston" by Frost where the poet had put inscriptions for 1917, 1927, and 1941.

He and his family traveled the world. He liked to live in a city like London, Paris, or Rome for months. This enabled him to take full advantage of the city's' culture and atmosphere.

On September 19, 1906, he married Blanche Carey Brumback. They had four children. Spitzer died April 1, 1979 at the age of 99. Blanche died January 3, 1956 at the age of 72.

Carl Bovee Spitzer held a prominent position in the financial life of Toledo as a partner in the firm of Spitzer-Rorick & Company, and the vice-president of the Spitzer-Rorick Trust & Savings Bank. Spitzer was born February 7, 1877 in Amherst, Ohio to Adelbert Lorenzo and Sarah Elizabeth (Stront). The family moved to Toledo when he was five years old. Spitzer graduated from the Toledo High School in 1894 and attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts for one year. He graduated from Yale University in 1899 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

He joined the bond house of Spitzer & Company which his father founded. He was later one of the organizers of the Spitzer-Rorick Trust & Savings Bank. At one time he served as vice-president of the Trust & Savings Bank. In 1927, he left it to devote his attention to the management of the Spitzer Building. When his father died in 1933, he became the president of the Spitzer Building Company.

Carl Bovee Spitzer was a prestigious member of several organizations. He was a president of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra in the 1920s. He became a trustee of the Toledo Museum of Art in 1907. When he resigned 47 years later, the board bestowed on him honorary membership. During his time at the museum, he had served as vice-president and on the executive committee. He himself took up painting at the age of 70. One of his greatest honors was presenting his one-man show at the Museum in 1951.

Spitzer also served as President of the Toledo Commerce Club, and was active in the Federated Charities. During World War II he was chairman of the Toledo Chapter of British War Relief.

Carl Spitzer also displayed a great interest in history. He was a member, and at one time secretary, of the Northwestern Ohio Historical Society. After leaving the Spitzer-Rorick Trust & Savings Bank he spent eighteen months on an archaeological dig in Greece.

On September 14, 1904 he married Edna Josephine Brown. Spitzer died on December 15, 1962 at the age of 85. Edna died June 2, 1964 at the age of 83. [John M. Killets, ed. Toledo and Lucas County, Ohio, 1623-1923, vol. 2 (Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1923), pp.353-354, 413-414, and 523-526. See also Randolph C. Downes, ed. History of Lake Shore Ohio: Family and Personal History, vol. 3 (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1952), 473-474 and Toledo Biography Scrapbook Local History Room, Toledo Lucas County Public Library].

Included a link to this article - Spitzer's Death May End Chapter of Toledo History Front page article about Lyman F. Spitzer (1949-2011),

The Blade, Toledo, Ohio, January 13, 2011

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