PICTORIAL HISTORY OF FORT WAYNE, INDIANA

by B.J. Griswold

The Paragon Cooperage Company

The Paragon Cooperage Company is a comparatively new concern that represents one of the important industrial and commercial enterprises of Fort Wayne, its functions being the manufacturing and wholesale dealing in cooperage products of all kinds. The company, which is not incorporated and which is a partnership concern, has not only its well established headquarters in Fort Wayne, but also has well equipped manufacturing and distributing plants in the states of Arkansas, Missouri and New York. The enterprise was established in March 7, 1910, and the interested principals from the inception have been Charles A Spanley and John E. O'Connor, of both of whom more specific mention will be made in this article. The company gives employment to a force of about one hundred persons and progressive and reliable policies have been the forces that have enabled the company to develop a substantial and prospairs business that shows a constantly cumulative tendency as marking objective appreciation of its facilities and effective services. Charles A. Spanley, senior member of the firm, was born in Fort Wayne on April 26, 1881, and both he and his coadjutor are numbered among the aggressive and enterprising young business men of their native city and state. Mr. Spanley is a son of Martin and Sophia (Gephardt) Spanley, both of whom were born and reared in Wayne township, this county, and are representatives of sterling pioneer families. Martin Spanley devoted the major part of his active life to farming and he and his wife still reside in Wayne township, where he is now living virtually retired after many years of successful association with the basic industry of agriculture. He is a Republican in politics and both he and his wife are earnest communicants of the Catholic church. Charles A. Spanley gained his early education in the parochial school of St. Mary's Catholic church in Fort Wayne and later took an effective course in the Interna- national Business College of Fort Wayne, Indiana. For a short time he was in the employ of the G.E. Bursley Company and later in that of the Fort Wayne & Northern Indiana Traction Company, and then completed his course in the business college, after which he was for eighteen months in the employ of the Horton Manufacturing Company. About four years were then given by him to service in the employ of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, and he then became associated with the Noble Cooperage Company, in the employ of which hee continued eight years, or until he became associated with Mr. O'Conner in establishing their present business, under the title of the Paragon Cooperage Company. Mr. Spanley is a Republican in politics, holds membership in the Fort Wayne Commercial Club and the celebrated Columbia Club of Indianapolis, and is affiliated with the Fort Wayne Lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. John E. O'Connor was born in Fort Wayne on December 11, 1887, a son of Stephen and Louis (Bercot) O'Connor, the former of whom was born in Ireland and the latter in Allen county, Indiana, where her parents established their home many years ago. Stephen O'Connor came to fort Wayne within a short time after the close of the Civil war and had been long and actively concerned with business affairs in this city, where he was secretary of the old S.C. Lumbard Company. John E. O'Connor is indebted to the parochial school of the Catholic Cathedral parish of Fort Wayne for his early educational advantages, and his initial activity in connection with business affairs was as an employee in the local offices of the Western Union Telegraph Company. He then found employment in the establishment of the Noble Cooperage Company and in this connection gained the practical experience that has effectively qualified him for independent enterprise along the same industrial line.

He continued with the Noble Cooperage Company until 1910, when, as already noted, he became associated with Mr. Spanley in the development and upbuilding of their now thriving business conducted under the title of the Paragon Cooperage Company. His political convictions are in harmony with the tenets of the Republican party and he and his wife are communicants of the Cathedral parish of the Immaculate Conception. Mr. O'Connor is affiliated with the Knights of Columbus, and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Friars, and holds membership in the Fort Wayne Country Club. On November 30, 1912, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. O'Connor to Miss Clara Lassus, daughter of the late John B. Lassus, of Fort Wayne, and they have two children­Mary Louise and John E., Jr.

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