WILSON, ELLA GRANT (7 Sept. 1854-16 Dec. 1939), florist and author who wrote about EUCLID AVE.'s "Millionaires' Row," was born Ella Lawton Grant in Jersey City, N.J., to Gilbert W. and Susan Lawton and came to Cleveland when she was 6. With $10 savings and $100 borrowed, she started a business of floral decorations. Wilson arranged over 300 weddings and 1,000 funerals, including JAS. A. GARFIELD's funeral in Cleveland. Her position as a florist gained her entry into the homes of Cleveland's wealthiest and most prominent citizens. Wilson designed floral arrangements for 18 years for the Chamber of Commerce and HOLLENDEN HOTEL. When a cyclone destroyed her greenhouse on 22 Apr. 1909 and nearly buried her son, she got out of the business. She went to work again in 1918, as garden editor for the PLAIN DEALER, remaining in that position 6 years. In 1929, Wilson began a new career. She had collected and maintained a huge series of scrapbooks of the history of Cleveland, and with them began a series of articles in Sunday magazine of the Plain Dealer dealing with Cleveland and Euclid Ave. The articles became the basis of the first of 2 volumes on Millionaires' Row entitled Famous Old Euclid Avenue. The first volume contained anecdotes, history, biographies, and geography of Euclid Ave. from E. 30th to E. 79th streets. Her second volume, published in 1937, continued the story to E. 105th St. Wilson married twice. Her first marriage was on 25 Dec. 1880 to Jas. A. Campbell, who died shortly after the wedding. They had one child, a daughter named Pansy. Her second marriage was to Chas. H. Wilson on 29 July 1891. The couple divorced in 1907. Wilson had four children from her second marriage: Helen, Carl, Fern, and Earnest.

Black, white and red text reading Western Reserve Historical Society

Finding aid for the Ella Grant Wilson Papers, WRHS.

Finding aid for the Ella Grant Wilson Photographs, WRHS.

Article Categories