Monday, October 19, 2015

Lamech Rambo (1821-1896)

Portrait from the "Levering Family: History and Genealogy". 1897.

  We continue our stay in Ohio for the following write-up on Lamech Rambo,  a Muskingum County native who, with a last name like Rambo, will immediately bring to mind that scruffy, angry Vietnam War veteran portrayed by Sylvester Stallone in the "Rambo" film series. Hailing from a county that has been well represented here on the site (Epaminondas L. Grigsby and Illion E. Moore also being Muskingum County natives), Lamech Rambo represented that county in the Ohio legislature for one term in the late 1870s. Following his time in the legislature, Rambo was elected as the Mayor of his hometown of Dresden, serving in that post until his death.
   Lamech Rambo was born in Levering, Knox County, Ohio on August 6, 1821, being the son of William and Grace Levering Rambo.  His unusual first name is of biblical origin, with Lamech being recorded in the Book of Genesis as the "son of Methuselah and the father of Noah". This Lamech is also mentioned as having lived to "seven hundred seventy and seven years", not quite the length of years reached by Methuselah, but still quite impressive!!
  Afforded limited educational advantages as a youth, Rambo first ventured into the working world at age fourteen, taking employment with a "wool carding and cloth dressing" business located in Fredericktown, Ohio. Rambo remained in that business for five years before striking out on his own, renting first a factory on the outskirts of Fredrickstown. He would marry in 1843 to Sarah Ann Walker (1822-1903), to whom he was wed for over fifty years. Their lengthy union saw the births of six children, who are listed as follows in order of birth: William Adna (died aged three in 1847); Elmira Alice (born 1845); Elmer Judson (born 1847); Miranda Flavilla (died in infancy in 1850); Viola Miranda (died aged one in 1854) and Alvy E. (born 1857).
  Following his marriage Rambo continued his rise in the wool-carding business, renting another factory in neighboring Licking County, which was destroyed by fire in January 1848As his own insurer, Rambo is remarked to have suffered the full brunt of the fire monetarily, but, being made of the sterner stuff, he persevered. He refocused his efforts on Newark, Ohio, where in June 1848 he is recorded as being the owner of a "one set woolen mill." He removed from there in 1851 to Dresden in Muskingum County, where he would build up the Dresden Woolen Mills, a business which he would be affiliated with for over forty years. 

The Dresden Woolen Mills, circa 1875.

   Rambo's stewardship of the Dresden Mills saw him become "the largest employer in the area", a title that he would hold for over thirty years. A prominent landowner in the Muskingum County area, Rambo is also mentioned as being the owner of  "526 acres of land in the Muskingum Valley, the entire tract being exceedingly fertile and valuable." 
  Prior to his election to the Ohio State Assembly Lamech Rambo had been a "Whig in politics" but later switched allegiance to the Republican Party. For six years he served Dresden as a member of the town school board and in 1875 was elected as one of Muskingum County's representatives to the Ohio State Assembly. His one term (1876-78) saw him sit on the committees on Railroads and Telegraphs and Manufactures and Commerce. His brief time in state government was favorably remembered in the Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Muskingum County, which noted that he:
"Served one term with distinguished ability, during which time he was true to his convictions and to the interests of the section which he represented."
  Rambo continued with his business interests in Dresden after his time in the assembly and is also recorded as being the Mayor of that town, his full dates of service being unknown at the time of this writing. He died in office on July 31, 1896, a few days short of his 75th birthday. Rambo was survived by his wife Sarah, who, following her death in 1903, was interred alongside her husband at the Dresden Cemetery.

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