Humason, James Henry & Juliette A. Betts
James Henry Humason: Business Owner
Juliette A. Betts Humason: Business Owner
Juliette A. Betts, daughter of Vienna Presbyterian Church minister Xenophon Betts, was born in Vienna in 1842. She married James Henry Humason on September 30, 1861. The couple would have five children, two of whom would live into adulthood.
Sometime in 1872 the Humason and Woodford families purchased a lot of land directly north of the Vienna Presbyterian Church. On this land they remodeled a saw mill and planing mill into one factory building to make rakes and harrows. This was the Vienna Rake and Harrow Factory.
It appears that Juliette was not only a wife, she was co-owner of the family business. By 1882, the factory employed between ten and fifteen men, and was manufacturing 3,000 rakes per year. One historian called these rakes “of superior quality and excellent finish, being manufactured from the best of slack lumber.”
According to available tax records, the Vienna Rake and Harrow Factory sold annually between $8,000 and $10,000 of revolving hay rakes, harrows, and pulverizers. The metal-and-wood rakes were used in gathering dried hay from fields. Harrows were used to till and fit soil in preparation for planting. These rakes and harrows were manufactured to be drawn by teams of horse or mules.
James Henry Humason died in 1891. Under the name “J. A. Humason,” Juliette continued to run the business. But James’s health may have been failing years before his death, for the Cleveland Plain Dealer published an advertisement for the sale of the factory and house under Juliette’s name on December 23, 1886. The advertisement details the buildings, equipment, and resources located on the property, offering not only a vivid description of one aspect of Vienna Center but intimating what Juliette’s responsibilities were in this very successful business:
A very desirable home for sale, consisting of 50 acres with good 2 ½-story house with wing, large frame barn 36 x 66 and shed, coal, ice, smoke and sugar house, together with all other necessary outbuildings; good orchard and living water all the year around, and good sugar camp of 120 trees. Situated at the center of Vienna, Trumbull county, O. … Also the extensive wood-working factory, known as the Vienna rake, drag and bee hive factory. The machinery is adapted to the manufacture of hayrakes, harrows, bee hive sashes, doors and blinds, and all other material for building. Machinery is first class, and is in perfect order. This property has 4 and a fraction acres of good land, good sawmill, … 1 frame house, 2-story high with wing, also good office, blacksmith shop, warehouse and barn, all in good repair, combining one of the best factories in the state. The factory contains 15 different machines, plenty of timber to run sawmill for years in the vicinity; 50 to 60 thousand feet of dry lumber, consisting of oak, ash, basswood and poplar. … The community is one of the best in the state. Healthy and free from malaria. Large churches and a graded school adjoining this property. [Cleveland Plain Dealer, December 23, 1886]
Juliette sold the business in 1895. She was living with her son Frank in 1900, according to the Federal Census of that year.
From History of Trumbull and Mahoning Counties, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches (Cleveland, Ohio: H. Z. Williams & Bros., 1882), Volume 2, pp. 455-456:
J. H. Humason, born in Vienna in 1839, married Miss Juliette A. Betts, and has five children—Martha, at home; James H., Charles, John, and Frank. Three died young. Mr. Humason is proprietor of the rake factory which was established in 1879, and employs from ten to fifteen hands; manufactured in 1880 about three thousand rakes. Present capacity about four thousand per annum. The rake manufactured by the Vienna Rake company is of superior quality and excellent finish, being manufactured from the best of slack timber. One of the most important features of this rake is the substitute of the steel spring by which the rake is completely under the control of the operator.
From Harriet Taylor Upton, A Twentieth Century History of Trumbull County, Ohio: A Narrative Account of Its Historical Progress, Its People, and Its Principal Interests (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1909), Volume 1, p. 595:
One of the most important families in Vienna is the Humisons, and we are able to get little or no data in regard to them. From the beginning they were good citizens, and Joel Humison, who was born in 1839 and married Juliette A. Betts, was in the vigor of his manhood one of the best business men of the town. He was at the head of the rake factory and engaged in other enterprises.