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Dr. Andrew J. Leitch
about my father, Andrew J. Leitch
By Harriet E, Leitch, September 6, 1963, Part 1.
My father was born in the County Donegal, Ireland,
January 22, 1848. He was named Andrew, very likely for an uncle,
Andrew Leitch, who settled in Charlottesville, Virginia where
cousins lived. The J was an initial only, he added it after he
He came to the United States when he was four
years old and lived in Ohltown, Ohio on a farm. This is partly
under water now as the Meander Creek was dammed to make the Youngstown,
Ohio water supply.
I never knew whether he was naturalized, just
took for granted he was young enough to be included with his father,
if his father took citizenship. I know he voted regularly, was
a Democrat but never voted for Bryan. When I was a small child
he took me with him and showed me how to vote. Once he took me
to the Court House in Warren and let me watch a jury trial which
After receiving a diploma from Western Reserve
Medical School, he started to practice medicine with Dr.
H.M. Landis, who later had a son Robert, a noted
T.B. specialist in Philadelphia.
In 1881 he married Ella Matilda Ward,
a young school teacher. Niles was a small town with a blast
furnace and a steel rolling mill. They employed many Englishmen
who received good wages and were some of the leading citizens,
as were many Welsh. There were some Irish and a settlement of
Italians in Russia Field (we pronounced it “Roosha”).
As the leading physician of the town, he was
called upon day and night. We were often awakened by someone
pounding on the door or the side of the house trying to waken
He never hesitated to go out at night and said
the only thing he feared was dogs so he carried a cane. He had
no use for a revolver and said the best weapon for attack was
a baseball bat so we took him at his word and put one under
his bed. A general practitioner was an internal medicine man,
an obstetrician, orthopedist, public health officer, and skilled
in minor surgery.
Leitch Residence at 234 West Park Avenue.
office which I remember was in a building on Furnace Street, next
door to the house we lived in and in which five of the children
About 1892 we moved to Chestnut Street and lived
there until the Reeves house on Park Avenue was purchased about
1896. Paul was born there.
Original photographs courtesy of Elizabeth Rowan.
of my first recollections was a fire which destroyed most of the
business district, beginning on Main Street and extending around
the office where the paint was scorched.
This office building was later moved through
the town to Main Street near Park Avenue, we rushed home from
school to ride in it and wave to our friends. In 1893 an office
building, the Reeves – Leitch block, was erected on Furnace
Street and “the handsomely arranged” (Niles newspaper)
office was on the second floor until father stopped practicing
on account of his health.
He bought a steel mill in Hammond, Indiana with
Mr. R.G. Sykes who lived in Niles and owned a roofing
company. This mill was purchased soon afterwards by the Steel
Trust, which became U.S. Steel. The purchase cancelled plans for
moving the family West.
After the sale of the mill he returned to Niles
and became President of the First National Bank. One time I stopped
in at the bank and he allowed me to hold $50,000, as he was signing
money issued by the bank.
He was a public spirited citizen and was a early
member of the School Board. Before I was born, he went to investigate
a well on one of the school grounds. As gas was suspected, a lighted
paper was dropped down the well. After no results, he leaned over
and received the full explosion in his face and for some time
it was feared that his sight was destroyed.
In the summer when we were on vacation from school,
if he had a call to make in the country, Mineral Ridge three miles,
Ohltown five miles, Lordstown seven miles, he would call and tell
the child whose turn it was to go on a ride to come to the office.
If she was not at home, I often went, even though out of turn.
He could not sing nor carry a tune and often said the only song
he knew was the Star Spangled Banner because everyone stood up.
As we rode along the dusty roads, he would ask us to sing, perhaps
it was one way of keeping us awake on the warm, sunny afternoons.
Often after school I would stop at the office to see if he was
making any calls and go along and sit in the carriage or the sleigh.
Postcard of Punch the pony and the phaeton carriage
from Elizabeth’s Grandmother, Alma Leitch Rowan.
At one time some cousins
of grandmother’s from New York were visiting us and we learned
that some of the Porter cousins in Newton Falls had a
pony for sale. We could not rest until the guests left and father,
with two of us, went to see the pony which he bought. There were
five or six Porter children and each had to take a last ride.
Punch was a small Indian pony which Robert rode
and the rest of us drove in a small phaeton which had been specially
My great grandfather, Andrew J. Leitch, was a
doctor in Niles, Ohio in the early 1900s. I wanted to pass along
these memories of him and his wife, Ella, which were
written by their daughter Harriet Leitch.
Original photograph courtesy of Elizabeth Rowan.
Drawing of the Leitch residence
as it appeared in the 1895 Trumbull County Atlas.
The Dr. A.J. Leitch residence, located on the
corner of West Park Avenue
and Butler Street. PO1.428
Built before 1895 in the Italianate Villa Style
of Victorian architecture, it was the home of the President
of First National Bank, and later the home of Harry
and Ethel Mason Evans.
The Leitch residence as it appears today (2023).
L: Drawing by David Birskovich
of the A.J. Leitch residence taken from the original photograph
donated by Elizabeth Rowan.
R: Residence of R.G. Sykes who along
with Dr. Leitch bought a steel mill in Indiana.
A line drawing of the Dr. A. J. Leitch residence
located at 234 West Park Avenue in Niles. Built before 1895, it
was later the home of Harry and Ethel Mason Evans.PO1.427
my father, Andrew J. Leitch
By Harriet E, Leitch, September 6, 1963, Part 2.
I was always fond of reading. There was no public
library in Niles, only a poor school library with sets of the
Elsie and Alger books. Father went to Cleveland every month to
a medical meeting and always asked me which book I wanted him
to bring me. I always had a list in case he could not get the
one book and he usually brought back a couple from Burrows Book
Store. He planned to be with us on Sunday evenings and read to
us. Two books I remember were Water Babies and Chatterbox.
Meals were rather irregular as to time. Often
we stood at the front gate and watched down the street ready to
rush in and give the signal that he was in sight or run down and
hippity-hop up the street with him. He was very particular about
our appearance. We had to come to the breakfast table fully clothed
with our hair combed or be sent away from the table. We were allowed
to go in our bare feet in the back yard only. No bicycle riding
on Sunday but as a treat a surrey was rented at the local livery
stable and a horse to join his own horse and we drove out to grandmother’s
to spend the afternoon.
Perhaps we thought
he was severe as we saw so little of him compared to mother and
he seemed to be the final voice of authority. He went with me
to Smith when I was entering and stayed until I had the results
of three entrance examinations, and encouraged me all the time.
While I was in college he wrote to me every week.
When I was called home from college on account of his first illness,
May 30, 1903, he was in a coma for ten days, I decided that I
would not return to college in the fall as I knew he would never
be well. He told me he wanted me to go back that I would never
be satisfied just to stay at home as the Niles girls did.
When I was blue and wrote frankly of my discouragement
after getting back to college, he made the effort to take the
trip to Northhampton to see for himself how I was. The summer
after this illness when he was recuperating, we went to Cambridge
Springs, Pennsylvania. In the mornings we walked the mile to the
Springs and drank water. He said that if a person walked that
much at home it would do him just as much good. He never believed
in dancing probably on account of the lack of musical ear but
he permitted me to take private lessons in the ball room while
he sat at a window and looked in.
He was a member and regular attendant of the
Presbyterian Church. Once he said, “For anything I have
given to the church, I have received back many fold.” He
was present at Communion Service the Sunday before his final stroke.
Andrew J. Leitch.................................................Died
May 7, 1904
grandfather, Andrew J. Leitch, was a doctor in Niles, Ohio in the
early 1900s. I wanted to pass along these memories of him and his
wife, Ella, which were written by their daughter Harriet
Leitch. — Elizabeth Rowan