HON. DANIEL W. CRIST.  The distinctive service and achievement of Daniel W. Crist of Alliance consists in what he has done as an educator, as a teacher of schools and music, as a musical composer and music publisher. He has been publishing music for nearly forty years, and his business at Alliance, conducted as D.W. Crist, music publisher, is notable in size and distinctive as a house publishing largely the compositions and collections of one man, Mr. Crist.

He was born at New Chambersburg in Columbiana County, Ohio, November 28, 1857, and is a representative of staunch old American pioneer stock. His paternal grandparents, Robert and Elizabeth (Stevens) Crist, moved out of Maryland, and settled near Osnaburg in Stark County, Ohio, They were Catholic, but only one of their children remained in that faith. Their son, Robert Crist, father of Daniel W. Crist, was born in Maryland, was two years of age when brought to Ohio, and after his marriage lived in West Township of Columbiana County. As a youth he taught in one of the old log schoolhouses of the community, but for the most part was engaged in farming. He died in 1898 at the age of seventy-three. He married, Mary Ruff, who was born in the same section of Columbiana County in 1832 and died in 1908. Her paternal grandfather, Anthony Ruff, came from Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, to Columbiana County, at an early day. Her maternal grandfather, Rudolph Bair, came from the same county to Columbiana in 1803, and served as a first commissioner of the county. One of her great-grandfathers was Michael Zehner, who was an aide in General Washington's army during the War of the Revolution, and settled in Columbiana County, Ohio in 1804.

Daniel W. Crist, one of the ten children of Robert and Mary (Ruff) Crist, was reared on the homestead farm, attended country schools, and was also a student in the Ohio Northern University at Ada, where he graduated in the year 1882. As a teacher in rural schools he did fourteen years of work in Columbiana and Stark counties. He became superintendent of the Osnaburg graded school in 1880, and for three years was superintendent at New Franklin.

He early attracted attention by his interests, enthusiasm and proficiency in music, and was one of the pioneer singing teachers of his day. As a young man he began composing songs and later instrumental music, and gradually his efforts were directed to broader fields. His first publication, a collection of Sunday school music of his own composition, was published under the title of Gospel Gleanings in 1886. This was so successful that it proved the cornerstone of his business as a music publisher, which has been steadily growing through the past thirty years. He is a publisher of Sunday school song books, day school song books, music folios, sheet music, band music, instruction books, and is himself the author of eighteen song books, besides some eighteen volumes of musical collections and over 200 special compositions. For many years his business as a music publisher was conducted at Moultrie, in Columbiana County, but in May, 1915, he moved his plant to Alliance. Mr. Crist's musical compositions have reached the sale of nearly 3,000,000 copies.

He was one of the organizers and has been the first and only president of the Peoples Bank of Alliance. He has served on the school board of his home city for eight years, and is one of the men first to respond to organized effort in any worthy community project. In 1901 he was elected a member of the State Legislature on the republican ticket, was reelected in 1903, and in 1905 was elected to the State Senate. In the Legislature he was especially interested in education and taxation. He was chairman of the House committee on taxation, and while in the Senate he advocated ideas and principles that subsequently became the ground work of the state tax commission of Ohio. Mr. Crist is a member of the Christian Church. In Masonry he is a Knight Templar and thirty-second degree Scottish Rite mason, and Shriner, a member of Al Koran Temple, at Cleveland.

He married in 1882 Miss Mary A. Reed, of Columbiana County. They have three children: Myrtie M., wife of Charles G. Miller; James R., connected with the manufacturing industry at Canton and Dillon, a prominent business man of Alliance.

 

History of Ohio, The American Historical Society, Inc., 1925, Volume III