Custodian of Five Oaks, an Historic Massillon Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places
The McClymonds Family
Ruth Esther McClymonds married Dr. Leslie M. Maitland in 1909 in Massillon, Ohio. the Maitlands lived at times in Chicago, Montana, Colorado and California. On J. Walter's death, Ruth inherited a collection of Mid-19th century French paintings. She and her husband continued to add to the collection which grew to include works by Rembrandt, Durer, Matisse, Picasso, Cassat and Hopper. The collection was exhibited at several venues, including the Los Angeles County Art Museum and the Dallas Public Art Gallery.
The Maitlands had two children, Walter and Flora. Ruth died on September 15, 1958, in California.
Edna Elizabeth McClymonds attended Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut, from 1895 until 1898, when she became engaged to Arvine Wales of Spring Hill Farm in Massillon, Ohio. Their wedding took place on October 25, 1900, at Five Oaks. Distinguished guests were President William McKinley and Elihu Root, Secretary of State. William McKinley and J. Walter had been friends since their parents' acquaintance in New Lisbon, Ohio. The Presidential train arrived late for the ceremony, as the party had attended the funeral in Mansfield of John Sherman, a former U.S. Cabinet member. The immediate wedding party and President McKinley were seated in the billiard room.
The Wales family built a home on Spring Hill Farm in 1903-1904. The Wales had six children. While in Massillon, they contributed to civic projects. Their generosity helped in the construction of a YMCA facility and a new wing at the Massillon City Hospital. Edna personally was instrumental in developing the first Massillon welfare service known as The Social Service League, serving on the League's Board of Directors. In 1923, fire took the Wales home and the family moved to Ossining, New York. They also acquired homes in Maine, South Carolina, Washington, D.C., and New York City. Arvine died in New York City in 1935 of a heart attack. Edna died on February 3, 1955, at the Massillon home of her eldest daughter, Mrs. R.P.L. McLain. Both Edna and her husband are buried in the Massillon Cemetery.
James Walter McClymonds of Scottish and Irish descent was born September 18, 1842, the fifth of nine children born to John and Elizabeth McClymonds of New Lisbon, Ohio. After leaving high school, he entered into military service at the time of the Civil War. His first enlistment was for three months as a private. He re-enlisted for three years, served with Company E of the 19th Ohio Voluntary Infantry and was promoted to Sergeant Major. He participated in the battles of Shiloh, Pittsburgh Landing and the Seige of Corinth. In July, 1862, he was active in organizing the regiment in Massillon, Ohio. The regiment had an encampment in the area of the present Oak Knoll Park. At the close of the war, having attained the rank of Captain, he received a commission as 1st Lieutenant in the Regular Army. He chose , however, to return to a business career. In 1866, he rejoined his family in Massillon, Ohio where they had moved.
In 1869, J. Walter moved with his family to Cleveland and served as assistant cashier in the Ohio National bank of which his father had been an organizer and later, president. After three years, he returned to Massillon, became a bookkeeper at the Russell Company and eventually entered into a partnership in the company, directing the financial management. The Russell Company made horse-drawn farm machinery, traction engines, threshing machines and saw mills. In time, he became president of two companies that grew out of the original: the Russell Company and the Russell Engine Company. In 1890, J. Walter organized the Merchants' National Bank, of which he was president until his death in 1912.
As previously noted, J. Walter had an early business connection with the Russell Company. His connection with the Russell family became personal when he married Flora Adele Russell on November 9, 1870. Flora, born in 1848, was the daughter of Nahum Russell, one of six Russell brothers who were all eventually partners in the Russell Company. Flora's sister, Anna Maria, married J. Walter McClymonds' brother, Louis McClymonds in 1876.
In addition to being an industrialist and banker, J. Walter was a philanthropist. He was instrumental in establishing Massillon's first public library. In 1897, the Russell daughters, Flora and Anna, gave their parents' home directly across North Street from Five Oaks for use as a library. It was called the McClymonds Public Library. J. Walter served as president of the Library Board of Trustees from its founding until his death. Other gifts to the city of Massillon included two pieces of land. The larger became Sippo Park and the smaller, Oak Knoll Park.
The McClymonds lived on three corners of Prospect (Fourth) Street and North Street, across North, across Fourth and Five Oaks. Construction of Five Oaks began in 1892 and was completed in 1894 for a cost of under $130,000. The family moved in around Thanksgiving of 1894. On April 19, 1895, a gala was held. Mr. and Mrs. McClymonds and their two daughters, Edna, sixteen years old and Ruth, eleven years old, received their guests in the drawing room while the Massillon orchestra played on the first stair landing.
J. Walter and Flora had three children: Russell, who died at birth; Edna Elizabeth, born August 5, 1879; Ruth Esther, born May 3, 1884. Mr. McClymonds was injured in an automobile accident near Jamestown, New York, in 1909, and never fully recovered. He died on October 5, 1912. Mrs. McClymonds survived him by two months. She died while visiting her daughter, Ruth, in Chicago. The McClymonds are buried in the Massillon Cemetery.