Written and researched by Sharon M. Kouns

Name: David SINTON       Sex: M      
Birth:26 Jan 1808       Place:, County Armagh, Ireland
Marr:22 Jul 1846       Spouse: Jane ELLISON-213
Death:31 Aug 1900       Place:
Father: John SINTON-662       Mother:MCDONALD-663

           History of Adams County by Stivers – DAVID SINTON -The name is Anglo-Saxon, and in the early history of the family the Sintons were found settled near the border of Scotland. The ancestors of the subject went to the north of Ireland with one of Cromwell’s colonies. His father and mother were Quakers. His mother’s name was McDonald. John Sinton, father of David Sinton, was married in Ireland. He resided in County Armagh, and was a linen manufacturer at the city of Armagh.

           David Sinton was born January 26, 1808, and in 1811, his father and mother came to the United States in a sailing vessel, which occupied nine weeks in the voyage.

           John Sinton located at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and went to merchandising with his brother-in-law, McDonald. In one year, the partnership was dissolved, and Sinton removed to West Union, Ohio, where he sold goods from 1812 and 1825, at which time he closed out his business at auction.

           David Sinton had two sisters and one brother; the brother, William, died at West Union, and is buried in the village cemetery there. He had studied medicine with Dr. William B. Willson, and had qualified himself for a physician, when death cut him off in his early manhood. He had just begun the practice of medicine at the time of his death. One of David Sinton’s sisters never left Ireland, but married there. His other sister, who came with the remainder of the family to this country, married John Sparks, the banker, and died at Union Landing of the cholera, in 1833. Mr. and Mrs. Sparks had three children; Mary Jane, who married a McCauslen and resides near Steubenville, Ohio, and George Sparks, who resides at Clinton, Indiana. The third child died an infant at West Union, Ohio.

           John Sparks was born near West Union, Ohio in 1800, and reared there. He lived awhile in Hillsboro, when a young man, and then began merchandising in West Union, Ohio, on the corner now occupied by Miller & Bunn’s drug store and was in business there from 1820 until 1830. He went to Union Landing in 1830, and remained there until 1833. He then returned to West Union, Ohio, and went into the banking business, where he remained until his death in April, 1847. Bates & Surtees founded the bank at West Union, Ohio. They were both from Cincinnati. The bank was an unsound concern, and when it collapsed Thomas Huston lost $13,000 by its failure. David Sinton had the cholera at Union Landing in 1833, at the time his sister died of it, and he came very near dying himself.

           He left West Union in his fourteenth year and went to Sinking Springs in Highland County, Ohio, where he went into the employment of James McCague, who kept a tavern and a country store there, and remained at that place two years. McCague had a branch store at Dunbartown, Ohio, three miles south of Peebles. David Sinton was in his sixteenth year when he kept store at Dunbarton, for three or four months. McCague was a drinking man, and his wife and Sinton attended to all he business. Sinton says that the sales in the branch store at Dunbarton were principally whiskey. On Saturday, the furnace hands from the Brush Creek Forge, Steam Furnace and Marble Furnace, gathered at Dunbarton, and got gloriously drunk. Whiskey was then about six and on-fourth cents a quart, and drunks were consequently gotten up very cheap.

           David Sinton went to Cincinnati in 1824 and waited there four months, before he could get any employment. In that time he improved his mind by reading Hume’s History of England, and other works. Mr. Sinton thought he could have gotten employment, but he made himself “a hail fellow well met,” with the young men of his own age with whom he became acquainted and had he participated in their dissipation, but this he refused to do. He says those young men have been dead and forgotten for years. While trying to get work, he answered all advertisements, but with no success. He applied for the position of bookkeeper at Adams’ Commission House on Main Street, but found, on looking at their books, he could not keep them. He then went to work as a porter or laborer. He put up twenty tons of bar iron from Pittsburgh, and placed barrels of sugar in the loft. He had a difficulty with a fellow-laborer in the same house, and says: “I went to Mr. Adams, and asked him to discharge the other man. He refused to do so, and I discharged myself.”

           He was disgusted with Cincinnati, and concluded to go home. He went to Manchester on a steamboat, and from there he walked to West Union. There he received letters, asking him to return to Sinking Springs. He went there and remained with his former employer, McCague, at eight dollars per month, for two years. Then he concluded he wanted to be a capitalist. He went into partnership with a Methodist preacher, and bought a still-house for one hundred and fifty dollars. He ran the still until he paid his debts, and then being ashamed of the business, he sold out. He guarded a prisoner for nine days in 1826 and got twenty dollars for it, and then concluded to go to Cincinnati. There he opened out a commission house for John Sparks, his brother-in-law, and Daniel Boyle, of West Union, but the venture was not successful, and the house was closed in six months. He then went to Washington C. H. in the employ of Dr. Boyd, to take charge of a store. He remained there for six months at twenty-five dollars per month. Then he received an offer to go to Hanging Rock at four hundred dollars per year. He left Washington C. H. and went to West Union to consult his brother-in-law, John Sparks. He offered Sparks to go to Union Furnace for two hundred dollars per year, and his board. The offer was accepted and he went to Union Furnace Landing, where he kept store, and sold pig iron. He was there three years. The firm was James Rogers & Co. Rogers, soon sold out, and the firm became John Sparks & Co., and Sinton became manager of the furnace at four hundred dollars per year, when other furnaces were paying one thousand dollars per year for the same service. Union Furnace had cost seven thousand dollars, but was much in debt. Sinton made the furnace put out five hundred tons of iron per year, and made it pay dividends. The output was mostly hollow-ware. Sinton wanted to push the business. He leased the furnace at a rental of five thousand dollars per year for five years. The stack fell down, and the bars gave out. While rebuilding the stack, he bought great quantities of wood, and had it stored about the furnace. Before the stack was rebuild, the wood caught fire, and was all consumed. Sinton was then twenty-eight years of age, and financially broken up. He had been up three days and nights fighting fire, and was utterly discouraged. He thought he would go to Mexico, but lay down and slept eighteen consecutive hours. Twice before he had lost all he had, and he concluded he would try it again. The men who had brought in the wood, and worked at the furnace, wanted their money. Sinton professed his ability to pay, and the men were paid as they came up, in as small bills, and change as could be used so as to consume as much time as possible in settling and making payment. He had one thousand dollars in small bills and change, and managed it so that he only paid out one hundred dollars on the first day of the run. The run continued until the third day, when one of the men put a stop to it by telling the others they were all fools, and then they brought their money back.

           After the furnace started up, Sinton sold iron at thirty-five dollars per ton, which he made at a cost of ten dollars per ton. At that time the furnace made six tons per day. David Sinton built Ohio Furnace during his lease on Union Furnace. It made ten tons per day, and Sinton ran it for a year before his lease terminated on Union Furnace. Union Furnace was then put and sold in partition, and David Sinton and Thomas W. Means bought it. They then owned and ran both Ohio and Union furnace.

           David Sinton went to Cincinnati in 1849, where he has resided ever since. He was married at Union Landing to Jane Ellison, daughter of John Ellison, of Adams County, Ohio and sister to the wife of his partner, Thomas W. Means. There were two children of this marriage, Edward, who died unmarried, at the age of twenty-one, and the wife of Hon. Charles P. Taft, of the TIMES-STAR, of Cincinnati. Mrs. Jane Sinton died in 1853, at Manchester, Ohio, and is buried there. David Sinton never remarried.

           Mr. Sinton’s father died at West Union, Ohio, Sunday, June 28, 1835, at the age of seventy-one, of that dread scourge, the Asiatic cholera. There were seven other deaths that day at the same place, and of the same disease, and it was the first day of the outbreak of the pestilence at West Union. David Sinton was then at Union Landing, and was notified by messenger, but, as was the custom at the time in cholera cases, John Sinton was buried the same day he died, and when Mr. Sinton reached West Union his father had been buried two days. Mr. Sinton’s mother survived until 1866, when she died at the ripe age of eighty-five.

           When the War of 1861 broke out, pig-iron was eighteen dollars per ton, and David Sinton had seven thousand tons on hand. Many thought he was ruined, but he held on to that iron until it went up to seventy -five dollars per ton, when he sold it. When iron rose in price, he continued making it, and selling it for cash. In 1863, he began putting his money in Cincinnati real estate. That real estate, bought with the proceeds of iron sold at seventy-five dollars per ton, advanced until it made its owner one hundred and twenty-five dollars per ton for all the iron he sold at seventy-five dollars per ton.

           During the war, his two furnaces made thirty tons of iron per day for every day they ran.

           Mr. Sinton attributes his great fortune to judicious investments of the money he made in the manufacture and sale of pig iron, at the beginning of and during the late Civil War.

           In Cincinnati, he has taken an active interest in many of the leading enterprises and he has erected many substantial and elegant buildings there. He has made a number of munificent public gifts. He presented $100,000 to the Union Bethel and $33,000 to the Young Men’s Christian Association. He is entirely a self-made man. He is noted for his strong common sense and self reliance. In business matters, his litigations, his conclusions, and his manner of execution are his own. He may be said to be self-educated. His readings on all topics have been extensive. In literature, science and history he is well informed, retaining all of any value he ever read, and being able to converse on all subjects with great interest to his listeners.

           Mr. Sinton was a Whig and has been a Republican in his political views, but never took any active interest in political matters. During the war, he was a strong Union man and did all he could with his influence and means to sustain the Government. His practical religion is justice, charity and good will to all men. In private relations, he is characterized by his kindness and benevolence.

           Since the above was written Mr. Sinton has made the princely gift of $100,000 unconditionally to the University of Cincinnati. He died August 31, 1900.

I.R. July 19, 1877 – David Sinton paid a visit to his old friend and partner, T. W. Means of Hanging Rock, last week. His daughter, Mrs. Taft was with him.

I.R. June 19, 1890 – When David Sinton met John Campbell at the funeral of T. W. Means, he didn’t recognize him and had to be told who he was.

I.R. Sept. 6, 1900 – DAVID SINTON IN LAWRENCE CO. – David Sinton, a pioneer iron master of this section, died at his home in Cincinnati Friday afternoon, aged 93 years. Concerning his career in Lawrence county, the Commercial Tribune of today says:

“The firm of Jas. Rogers & Co. of Union Furnace, in the Hanging Rock iron region, wanted a manager, and they offered him $400 per annum and board. Mr. Sinton accepted the position. The business of the company was the manufacture of hollow ware, pig iron, etc. It was succeeded by the firm of John Sparks & Co. and Mr. Sinton, when about 22 years of age, was made general manager of the entire works, shortly thereafter becoming part owner of the property and business of the company.

“Here was where the basis of the great fortune was made. Although a partner is what he believed to be a paying business, Mr. Sinton did not remit any of his industry. He took his place with the men and did considerable manual labor. He rebuilt the Union furnace and built the Ohio furnace, the two having the capacity for producing a large amount of pig iron for that period. He also accompanied a great quantity of iron down the river coming frequently to this city and going to Louisville with the metal. On such occasions the iron was loaded upon flatboats and on top of heavy bare blankets were spread, and these served as resting places for the crew. Mr. Sinton took his turn at the watch and did as much as any of his employees, and when he slept his bed was a roll of old blankets.

“By degrees the manual part of the labor was dropped, and in a few years the partners had a competency.

“About this time Mr. Sinton was married to Jane, daughter of John Ellison of Manchester, O., and his wife was taken to Hanging Rock. Altogether from eighteen to twenty years were spent in the iron region.”

–CHILDREN– 1-Edward SINTON-671
Died unmarried at the age of 21.
2-Annie SINTON-672
married: Charles P. TAFT (half-brother to President Taft)