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CASE, LEONARD, SR.

 

CASE, LEONARD, SR. (29 July 1786-7 Dec. 1864), a businessman and philanthropist, was born in Westmoreland County, Pa., son of Meshack and Magdalene (Eckstein) Case. He moved in Apr. 1800 to Warren Twp., Trumbull County. In 1806, he became clerk of the court of common pleas for Trumbull County, later becoming clerk to Gen. Simon Perkins of the CONNECTICUT LAND CO. He studied law, passed the bar in 1814, and moved to Cleveland in 1816 when the COMMERCIAL BANK OF LAKE ERIE was formed and one of the founders hired him as the bank's cashier. After the bank failed, Case stayed in Cleveland practicing law. From 1821-25, as president of the Cleveland village council, he was responsible for planting shade trees along streets, earning Cleveland the nickname "FOREST CITY." From 1824-27, he served in the Ohio legislature, drafting laws taxing land according to value rather than size. He advocated railroads and canals.

From 1827-55, Case was an agent for the Connecticut Land Bank, acquiring large amounts of land from debtors during the Panic of 1837. In 1832, Case reorganized the Commercial Bank of Lake Erie and became its president. He was also an investor in the Cleveland-Columbus-Cincinnati Railroad. Case married Elizabeth Gaylord in Stow, Portage County, in 1817, and in the late 1840s turned his affairs over to his sons William and Leonard, Jr. Case gave to many charitable organizations, including Cleveland's first school for the poor, the Cuyahoga County Historical Society, the Cleveland Medical College, and the city's first lyceum for the arts. Case died in Cleveland and was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.