William M. Ampt
Cincinnati, The Queen City, Volume III, 1912
Pages 158-164
Transcribed by: Kimberly Graman, Dayton, OH
 
 
 

While the records of the court indicate the prominent position which William M. Ampt occupied at the Cincinnati bar, there are many other equally substantial evidences of the important part which he took as a factor in the public life of the community in shaping thought and action and in molding public opinion. He was born in Trenton, Butler County, Ohio, February 1, 1840, and was of German lineage. His father, a native of Flonheim, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany came to America in 1832 while his mother, Mrs. Rosa Ampt, was a native of Bavaria, Germany, and crossed the Atlantic in 1837. The ancestry of the family can be traced back to Abraham Ampt, who was a Protestant minister of the Rhine country from 1696 until 1727. His son, Abraham Francisco Ampt, became a student in Heidelberg University in 1715 and after preparing for the ministry devoted his life to preaching the gospel. He died at Dalsheim in 1735, leaving two sons, Frederick and Abram, the former of whom was the great-grandfather of William M. Ampt. He too, was a Heidelberg student, entering the theological department in 1744. Both he and his brother went to Holland and joined the army of that country, and while Fredrick Ampt returned to Germany Abram continued a resident of Holland up to the time of his death, which occurred when he had reached the advanced age of eighty-two years. He left many descendants, including his son, C.G. Ampt, who as a major general commanded the fortress of Nymwegen in 1816.
 

The branch of the family from which William M. Ampt was descended continued prominently connected with Germany and his great-grandfather served for thirty years or more as burgomeister at Flonheim. He had two sons who took up the study of law at Heidelberg but subsequently entered the government service where they remained for many years. Their descendents are now found in Germany, England, France, Algiers and Australia, while one of the numbers, the father of William M. Ampt, came to America about 1832. He cast in his lot with the pioneer settlers in the vicinity of Dayton, Ohio, and for a time the family lived at Trenton, Ohio
 

With the family appreciation for the value of education and the advantages to be obtained therefrom the father gave his children good opportunities for progress along intellectual lines and William M. Ampt supplemented his preliminary school work by advanced study in Oberlin College, from which he was graduated with the class of 1862. He was chosen by a vote of his classmates, numbering seventy-five, as the valedictorian and was also recognized as a prominent member of the Literary Society. His preparation for the bar was made as a student in the Albany Law School and the same year he was admitted to practice before the courts of New York and Ohio. He chose Lima, Ohio, as the scene of his early efforts as a member of the bar and during his residence there served as city solicitor. In 1864 and 1865 he filled the position of chief clerk in the United States quartermaster’s office at Camp Denison. Previously he had visited Cincinnati, having come to this city in 1862 during the Kirby Smith raid with a company of college students of which he was captain. He returned in 1867 to remain a permanent resident here and that he won favor with his fellow townsmen and was soon recognized as an active force in public life is indicated by the fact that in 1869 he was nominated for the state legislature. However, the reform movement of that year caused the entire defeat of the ticket. Concentrating his energies upon the practice of law, he was in 1870 elected prosecuting attorney of Hamilton County and two years later was again a candidate for the office at the solicitation of his part, but was defeated. In 1876 at the request of Ohio State Republican Committee he went to Florida and took part in the contest before the Florida Returning Board. He was placed in charge of several counties, among others Hamilton County, in which he secured the rejection of two precincts that had given Governor Tilden a majority of one hundred and sixty-three. His work in support of General Grant will never be forgotten by the warm adherents of the hero of Appomattox. In 1878 Mr. Ampt introduced the Grant resolution in the Ohio State convention at Cincinnati and gave the first impulse to the Grant boom that two years later caused so much excitement throughout the country. The following year, 1879, Mr. Ampt went
abroad, visiting many European countries, and upon his return he again took up the work of supporting General Grant, for a third term in the presidency, and afterward received from the General his hearty thanks.
 

In 1871, in Cincinnati, occurred the marriage of Mr. Ampt and Miss. Mary E. Gunckel, a record of whom follows this sketch, a daughter of William Gunckel, a prominent banker of Dayton, Ohio. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Ampt was born a daughter, Rosa E., now deceased. Mr. Ampt himself was a man of very liberal spirit and in his will made generous donation to the music fund of the city. He was reared in the German Lutheran Church but later supported the Methodist Church of which his wife was a member. In politics he was always an independent republican and kept in touch with the leading questions and issues of the day. He belonged to the Masonic fraternity, to the Lawyers Club, the German Literary Club and several other leading clubs and social organizations. He traveled extensively in Europe, going abroad nineteen times, while his wife accompanied him seventeen times, and the old world countries were almost as familiar to them as their own land. His friends were legion. He had the faculty of placing any one at ease in his presence and yet his own traits and broad learning made him a favorite in the society of the most cultured. Death claimed him on the 16th of December 1909, and his departure was a source of deep regret to all that he had been associated.
 
 


 
James Arata
Cincinnati, The Queen City, Volume III, 1912
Pages 212 - 213
Transcribed by: Kimberly Graman, Dayton, OH
 
        If heroism is meeting with unfaltering determination difficult situations and making the best of them, then there is much of the heroic in the life history of James Arata. Patiently preserving, he has worked his way steadily upward step by step from a most humble position, meeting at times difficulties and obstacles that would utterly have discouraged and disheartened many a person of less resolute spirit. While he today conducts a profitable business and certainly justly merits the success that has come to him, his life has never been self-centered. Remembering his own struggles, he has ever been ready to hold out a helping hand to fellow traveler on life’s journey, to speak a word of encouragement, or lend timely assistance. He was born in Orero, near Genoa, Italy, March 19, 1844, and is a son of Nicholas and Annie Arata. The mother came to America in 1882 and spent her last days in California, where her death occurred in February 1893. In the family were six sons, three of whom are living: Louis, a resident of California; J.B. Arata, also living in that state; and James of this review.
        The last named pursued his education in his native country and was twenty-two years of age when, in 1866 he came to America, landing at New York, where he was variously employed during the nine months of his residence there. In April 1867, he arrived in Cincinnati and for one year was employed by the firm of J.B. Cavagna & Sons. For three years he conducted a peanut stand at the northeast corner of Fifth and Vine Streets, and carefully saving his earnings, was at length able to enter into partnership with John Leverone in the fruit business, in which they have since continued. They began on a small scale but gradually their trade increased until they have one of the finest establishments among the fruit houses of all the Middle West. In 1889 they removed to their present commodious quarters, at the northeast corner of front and Walnut Streets. As a reward for their close application to business, economy, promptness and fair dealing, they have won the confidence of their patrons, some of whom have given them continuos support since their initial movement in business.
        The territory over which they now operate extends not only throughout the length and breadth of the United States but also to many European countries, from which they directly import nuts, figs, lemons, macaroni, olive oil and other European products which they furnish to the American trade. His name is indeed a prominent one in the business and financial circles of Cincinnati today, and on the 16th of September 1907, he honored by election to the presidency of the Pearl Street Market Bank, with which he has since been thus identified.
        In August 1866, Mr. Arata was married to Miss. Rosa Nassena, a daughter of Anthony Nassens, of Orero, near Genoa, Italy. She died on the 6th of January, 1887, leaving three sons and three daughters: Louis and Joe, who are now associated with the firm of John Leverone & Company; Anna, the wife of John Murphy, of Cincinnati; Kate, the wife of C.C. Kuhfers, of this city; Charles, who is engaged in the real-estate business in California; and Lillie, at home. The family adheres to the Catholic faith and in his political views Mr. Arata is a democrat. He has been particularly active in connection with Italian affairs and since 1888 has served as treasurer of the Italian Sacred Heart Church. He has also been treasurer of the Italian Benevolent Brotherhood Society for twenty-nine years and for an extended period has been a prominent member of the Congress Club. No man’s word is more unassailable and in his business dealings he has the full confidence of his fellow merchants. His manner is quiet, simple and unostentatious; he is approachable by the humblest; and many a poor man or woman in distress has gone to him with his or her tale of woe and received advice and material aid. He is exceedingly generous to his church. With a kind, gentle, sympathetic nature, responsive to every appeal. His life is full of good deeds.
 
 
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