Excerpts from The Defiance Democrat Newspaper
Benjamin L. Abell, Death of a President and Useful CitizenThe Democrat announced last week that Mr. Benjamin L. Abell, Cashier of the Merchants National Bank, was very sick, but that the symptoms at that time of going to press were more favorable. Vain delusion. The seeds of the insidious disease were to deep-seated for mortal physicians to remove and slowly, but surely, he drooped until noon on Sunday, when like a flickering candle in the stillness of night, the light went quietly out and family, friends and community were left sorrowing. It is difficult for us to write an obituary notice of our friend, for he was so dear and so near to us that the blow is too sudden to be realized in its full force. He never wavered in friendship and was true to the principles of right as he understood them. Prominent in business circles, he was identified with nearly every public enterprise,a nd his clear judgment and good counsel was most valuable in the management of varied industries of this city. Mr. Abell was born in Independence, this county, on the 12th of August, 1846, and, with the exception of nine years passed in Missouri, was always a citizen of Defiance county. Sixteen years ago he entered the Defiance County Bank (now the Defiance National Bank) as a clerk under the Cashiership of Mr. Edward SQUIRE. He very soon developed marked ability as a business man and in his early life his counsel was much desired. When the business of Defiance advanced to a point where a second bank was projected, Mr. Abell’s services were sought as Cashier. He undertook the task and the Defiance Savings Bank was very shortly one of the profitable institutions of the city. When that bank received a charter from the government and began business as a National Bank, Mr. Abell continued to be Cashier and held that office at the time of his death. The stockholders and directors had confidence in his business ability; and without disparagement to other excellent business men connected with the bank, it is probably true that to Mr. Abell’s careful management, his conservative disposition and his great perceptive power, is due the steadily increasing success of the Merchants National Bank. Efficient as he was in general business, he was equally able in city affairs. Twice elected a member of City Council, and having served one year as President of that body, his judgment had much weight with his brother members. In public duties he exercised the same careful prudence that marked his personal and business affairs. In all circles, public, business and social, he will be sadly missed; and for his many virtues, he will be most kindly remembered not only by the residents of this city, but by the people of this and adjoining counties. A year or more ago, Mr. Abell was appointed a member of the board of Ohio Commissioners to the New Orleans Exposition. His services as secretary of that Board were valuable and in the disbursement of large sums of public money he was commended by State officials for his prudence, economy, and good judgment. In politics, Mr. Abell was a Democrat, and in many campaigns, his counsel aided materially in accomplishing good results. His party will be a loser by his death. We have spoken of our friend as a business man, as a public official and as a politician. In speaking of his domestic life, we trench upon sacred ground, but it is a pleasure to bear witness that a more happy household was not known in Defiance than Mr. Abell’s. A devoted wife and three little children survive him. Their home is desolate, but he memory of a kind husband and loving father must take the place
now of him who in life was tender, watchful and solicitous for their welfare. No greater evidence of love and affection can be found than in the words of his will where he constitutes his wife as executrix without bond and without requiring any report of proceedings to be made. Simply a transfer to one in whom he had implicit confidence. As a mark of respect to the deceased, the flag on the city hall was hung at half mast, and the mayor issued a proclamation requesting merchants to close their business houses during the time of the funeral. The funeral obsequies were held at the family residence at half past ten o’clock on Wednesday morning, Pastor B.W. SLAGLE, pastor of the Presbyterian church officiating. The remains were followed to Riverside cemetery by city officials, the fire department, the Young Hickory Club, the Masonic fraternity, and by hundreds of citizens; and at the grave the beautiful Masonic burial service was rendered. Then he was laid away on “the lone couch of everlasting sleep.” We have often bade our friend good-bye, but now it is good-bye, dear friend, forever!