OTIS, CHARLES AUGUSTUS, SR. (30 Jan. 1827-28 June 1905), businessman and Cleveland mayor (1873-74), was born in Bloomfield, Ohio, to Eliza Proctor and WILLIAM A. OTIS. He attended local schools until his family moved to Cleveland in 1836, worked in his father's ironworks until 1848, then became a steamboat purser. In 1852, Otis founded the Lake Erie Iron Co.; he sold out his interest after the CIVIL WAR. He then spent a few months in Prussia (1866), studying that country's iron and steel mills, and upon his return founded the Otis Iron & Steel Co., the first company in America formed solely to make acid open-hearth steel. He remained as president until 1899.
Otis ran on the Democratic ticket for mayor and defeated Republican JOHN HUNTINGTON. Although business interests prevented him from seeking a second term, he served on several boards, including the Board of Imprisonments (1878-79) and House of Correction Board (1882-84). He established Cleveland's first Board of Fire Commissioners and Board of Police Commissioners. Otis's later business pursuits included establishment of American Wire Co., American Steel Screw Co., and CLEVELAND ELECTRIC RAILWAY CO. In 1894 he became president of New Commercial Natl. Bank, from which he retired in 1904.
Otis married Mary Shepard (d. 1860) in 1853, and had 2 daughters, Anna (Mrs. Wm. B. Sanders) and Nelly (Mrs. J. Kent Sanders). In 1863 he married his sister-in-law, Anna Elizabeth Shepard; they had 3 sons, Charles A., Jr., Harrison G., and William A. Otis died in Cleveland and is buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.