Ohio Biographies

John Stephen Goldcamp

It was well within the province of the ambition and individual powers of the late John S. Goldcamp to give to the world assurance of large and worthy achievement and to so order his course as to leave a reputation untarnished and a memory that is revered by those who came within the compass of his generous and kindly influence. Mr. Goldcamp was a native of Ohio and a representative of one of the honored pioneer families of this favored commonwealth, which it was given him to dignify and honor by his character and achievement. He was one of the prominent and influential citizens of Ironton, the metropolis and capital of Lawrence County, for many years prior to his death, which here occurred on March 5, 1909. In according to him a brief tribute in this publication it is found expedient to reproduce the gracious estimate published in an Ironton newspaper at the time of his death, but in perpetuating the article certain paraphrase and minor eliminations are indulged, to make the data more nearly in consonance with the specific functions of this history.

"Death is, indeed, laying a heavy hand upon Ironton, and is gathering many of her most prominent, honorable and influential citizens. The last to be laid low by the Grim Reaper, who is no respector of age or person, was John S. Goldcamp, whose name was known throughout the city as a synonym of honesty, sobriety, industry and all that the term 'good citizenship' implies. His eyes closed in everlasting sleep Tuesday night, at five minutes past ten o'clock, and the end came as peacefully and sweetly as could be. As gently as the breath of spring his pure spirit fled his weary body, and, with scarcely a noticeable throb, his big heart was stilled—and John S. Goldcamp was no more. When the final summons came, his bedside was surrounded by his devoted wife and his loving children, with their wives and husbands, a suitable end for one who loved his family as did he. What a genuine sorrow this announcement will cause throughout the city! John S. Goldcamp was a man honored and respected by all and was a citizen whom the city can ill afford to lose.

"While Mr. Goldcamp's death will cause universal regret throughout Ironton and Lawrence county, it came not as a surprise, for he had been in impaired health for the past five years and his condition had been most grave for the last week. His death was due to diabetes.

"John Stephen Goldcamp was born at Pine Grove, Gallia county, Ohio, on the 15th of May, 1840, and resided there until he reached manhood's estate. On the 12th of February, 1861, he was united in marriage to Miss Mary Elizabeth Frische, who was spared to care for him. during his declining years as only a true and loving wife can. In 1862 Mr. Goldcamp and his family removed to Ironton, where he resided until his death, save for one year passed at Lawrence Furnace. When Mr. Goldcamp came to Ironton he was employed as a contractor for shipping iron, but later he succeeded his father in the milling business. In March, 1887, Mr. Goldcamp organized the Goldcamp Milling Company, of which he was president and a director from its inception until his death. He was also president and a director of the Hannan-Cowden Dry Goods Company, the name of which was changed to the Bauer Dry Goods Company only a few days prior to his death. For many years Mr. Goldcamp was a member of the directorate of the First National Bank of Ironton and he was closely connected with and financially interested in many of the city's prominent business and industrial enterprises.

"Mr. Goldcamp had no political aspirations, being content to do what he could for his fellow .citizens in his own quiet, unassuming way, but, in deference to the wishes of his fnends, he served for six years as a member of the city council, with credit to himself and the municipality. He was a Democrat in his political adherency and was a zealous communicant and liberal supporter of St. Joseph Catholic church, where his funeral services were held.'

The widow of Mr. Goldcamp still survives him and is one of the loved and gracious women of Ironton. Of the twelve children nine are living—Frank, F. J. and Mrs. Edward F. Hannan, of Ironton; Mrs. James M. McJoint, of Norwood, a suburb of the City of Cincinnati, Ohio; Mrs. Hugh J. Loder, John X. and Mrs. Fred M. McPherson, of Iron Gate, Virginia; Mrs. William D. Crossing, of Columbus, Ohio; and Miss Victoria, who remains at the old homestead with her widowed mother.


From "A Standing History of the Hanging Rock Iron Region of Ohio" by Eugene B. Willard, Daniel W. Williams, George O. Newman and Charles B. Taylor.  Published by Lewis Publishing Company, 1916