To say of him whose name introduces this review that he has risen from a comparatively humble position to rank with the prosperous merchants of Cincinnati may seem trite to those familiar with his life history, yet it is but just to say in a history that will descend to future generations that his record is one which any man might be proud to possess. It commands for him the confidence and admiration of colleagues and contemporaries, for throughout his career he has never made engagements that he has not kept nor incurred obligations that he has not met. He has been found as honorable as progressive, as reliable as enterprising, and his establishment has largely set the standard for trade conditions in the city where for many years the Mabley & Carew Company has ranked foremost as proprietors of mercantile establishments.

Mr. Carew is numbered among the young men of Canadian birth who have crossed the border to find in this country a livelier competition but also advancement more quickly secured. He was born in Peterboro, Canada, January 2, 1848, his parents being Robert S. and Euphemia (Gordon) Carew.  The family is of Irish extraction and the ancestry may be traced back in the Emerald isle to the twelfth century, the family name figuring subsequently in connection with public affairs in Dublin and vicinity for about seven centuries. Robert S. Carew, the father of our subject, was born in Ireland in 1827 and became a large property owner there. His demise occurred in 1891. His wife, whose birth occurred in Dublin in 1829, is likewise deceased. They were the parents of six children, four of whom are yet living, namely: Joseph Thomas, of this review; Robert G., who is connected with the Mabley & Carew Company; Frances, who is the wife of Thomas Pocock and resides in South Carolina; and Catherine, the wife of James Hamilton, of New York city.

In the schools of his native town Joseph T. Carew began his education, which was supplemented by study in Toronto, after which he made his initial step in the business world as a clerk in a Peterboro store. A letter from a former schoolmate, who was then employed in the large clothing house of C. R. Mabley at Detroit, Michigan, led Mr. Carew to become a citizen of the United States and in 1869 he, too, entered the employ of the Detroit house.  There his close application, earnest effort to please and his thorough reliability won him promotion and when Mr. Mabley established a branch store in Detroit, Mr. Carew was placed in charge and conducted the business successfully for a number of years. At length, however, Mr. Mabley determined to unite his two establishments and Mr. Carew would thus have been deprived of a position had not Mr. Mabley made a proposition to him to become his partner in the establishment and conduct of a a business in any city here Mr. Carew might desire to locate. After looking over the field somewhat thoroughly the latter announced his belief that Cincinnati offered excellent business opportunities, and accordingly a store was opened upon Fountain Square in 1877. It was a little establishment, only seventeen feet front, but there was a prospect of securing an adjoining store of equal size at no very distant day. The stock of goods was opened in the first place and from the beginning the trade grew steadily along substantial lines. The stock was continuously enlarged to meet the growing demands of the trade and in order to secure increased facilities Mr. Carew purchased a number of small buildings at the corner of Fifth and Vine streets, which he razed, and upon that site erected one of the finest business structures in the city. The business was conducted as a co-partnership concern under the firm name of Mabley & Carew until the death of the senior partner in 1885. In 1884 they had extended their efforts to Baltimore in the establishment of a branch store there, and following the death of Mr. Mabley, Mr. Carew became sole proprietor of both the Baltimore and Cincinnati houses, forming a stock company a few years later. The splendid department store of Mabley & Carew is today a monument to the energy and enterprise of him whose name introduces this review, its six stories and basement being most attractively equipped and well stocked with goods. From four hundred and fifty to seven hundred people are employed in the conduct of the business. Mr. Carew is also one of the five trustees appointed for the Cincinnati Southern Railroad Company.

On the 10th of August, 1877, was celebrated the marriage of Joseph T. Carew and Miss Allie E. Stewart, a daughter of William and Anna (Martindale) Stewart. Her father, a ship owner of Detroit, Michigan, is now deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Carew have two children: Robert Gordon, who wedded Miss Little of St. Louis, and is connected with his father's business; and Elaine, the wife of Frederick J. Flach, of Cincinnati. The family residence is one of the attractive homes on Walnut Hills, situated at the corner of McMillan street and Highland avenue.

 

Mr. Carew is a republican in politics and was one of the electors of Ohio who cast a vote for William McKinley,Theodore Roosevelt and William H. Taft. In religious faith he is an Episcopalian. He is well known as a prominent Mason, having taken the Knight Templar degree of the York, and the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite, while with the nobles of the Mystic Shrine he has crossed the sands of the desert. Mr. Carew is also a member of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and the beneficent spirit of those fraternities has found exemplification in his life. He is a valued and popular member of the Business Men's Cub, the Queen City Club, the Commercial Club, the Country Club and the Golf Club. As prosperity has come to him he has made generous distribution of his wealth for the benefit of the city and to meet the needs of individuals. He has rendered valuable service as a member of the Cincinnati board of park commissioners and as a director of the House of Refuge. His life interests are wide, his spirit helpful and he has ever advocated practical and resultant methods in the attainment of high ideals, whether in business or benevolent projects.

 

Cincinnati, The Queen City, Volume III, 1912