Abraham Teachout House

In 1886, 69-year old Abraham Teachout, a fierce supporter of the Prohibition movement gave a speech at the party's annual Cuyahoga County convention which he ended with the words: "The saloons must go but I am afraid I will not see the day." Teachout, who had been the Prohibition Party's district congressional candidate in 1884, did not live to see the age of Prohibition--but it was not for lack of trying. The owner and builder of the Teachout house at 4514 Franklin Boulevard, lived 26 more years after giving that speech, dying in 1912 at the age of 95 years old. America's short-lived Prohibition era would not begin until the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920--some 8 years after Teachout's death.

Abraham Teachout, one of Cleveland's wealthy nineteenth century businessmen and a close friend of John D. Rockefeller, was born in western New York in 1817. In 1836, he moved with his family to northeastern Ohio, settling in North Royalton, where the Teachouts are considered to be one of that suburb's early pioneer families. Over the course of the next 20 years Abraham engaged in a number of businesses moving to several cities, including Painesville, Columbus and Chattanooga, Tennessee, before achieving success as a Cleveland lumber merchant. Teachout was one of the first to ship lumber out of the South by rail to urban centers north of the Ohio River. He also was founder of the A. Teachout Co., which specialized in the manufacture of doors, sashes and other related building construction materials. The company, which was eventually headed by three generations of the Teachout family, had its offices on Prospect Avenue (formerly Michigan Street) in downtown Cleveland for many years.

The Teachout House is one of the most interesting houses on Franklin Boulevard. The house has over 5,000 square feet of living area and is notable for its impressive windows and its somewhat onion-shaped cupola. Teachout purchased the land upon which the Teachout house was built in 1883. At the time, he and his family lived on Fulton Road. It is unknown how long the house was under construction, but the family moved into the house shortly after construction was completed in 1887. Abraham lived in the house until his death in 1912. During his 25 years of residence on Franklin Boulevard, the elderly businessman was often seen being driven in his carriage by his African-American carriage driver, MacHenry, a former Virginia slave. After Abraham's death, his widow (who was his third wife--the first two wives predeceased him) remained in the house another decade, selling the house to the Michael and Mary Malloy family in 1924.

Abraham Teachout was a notable supporter of Hiram College. Hiram was founded in 1850 by the Christian Disciples of Christ congregation of which Teachout was a long time member. He worshiped at the Franklin Circle Christian Church  for nearly 50 years and served as superintendent of the church's Sunday school program for 25 years. Abraham sat on the Hiram College Board of Trustees for many years, as did his son Albert and later his grandson David. It was as a result of a $10,000 gift by Abraham Teachout that Hiram College built its first college library in 1900. Prior to the construction of a new library building in 1995, Hiram College's library was known as the Teachout-Cooper Memorial Library. Abraham Teachout and many members of his immediate family and other family relatives are buried in the Teachout family plot at Riverside Cemetery.

Images

The Teachout House

The Teachout House

This house located at 4514 Franklin Boulevard was built by Abraham Teachout in 1887. Teachout's success as a Cleveland lumber merchant and manufacturer of doors, sashes and other related building materials, is reflected in the ornate craftsmanship of this Victorian style home with the interesting cupola. Image courtesy of Jim Dubelko View File Details Page

Three Generations of Teachouts.

Three Generations of Teachouts.

In this circa 1907 photograph, three generations of the Abraham Teachout family are shown. From left to right are: Abraham Teachout (1817-1912), his son Albert R. Teachout (1853-1922), and his grandson David W. Teachout (1887-1940). Abraham founded and served as president of the A. Teachout Co. in Cleveland. Both his son and grandson also eventually served as president of the company. Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Library, Special Collections. View File Details Page

Teachout Library

Teachout Library

The first library at Hiram College, which included an observatory, was built as the result of a gift of $10,000 by Abraham Teachout which covered all of the costs of construction. The library was completed in 1900 and served as the college library until a new library building was constructed in 1995. Abraham Teachout, as well as his son Albert and grandson David, served on the Hiram College Board of Trustees. View File Details Page

Franklin Circle Christian Church

Franklin Circle Christian Church

Franklin Circle Christian Church was founded by the Disciples of Christ in 1842. Just 12 years later in 1854, Abraham Teachout became a member of the church and later served as superintendent of the church Sunday school program for 25 years. He had been a member of this church for almost 50 years when he died in 1912. Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Library, Special Collections View File Details Page

Cleveland's oldest merchant dies

Cleveland's oldest merchant dies

That was how the Plain Dealer described the death of Abraham Teachout in 1912 at age 95 years, an incredibly long life in that era. Up until the last week of his long life, Teachout was active in the family business that manufactured doors, sashes, and other building construction products. According to the article, residents on Franklin Boulevard remembered often seeing the elderly man traveling to the company's factory in the flats in a carriage driven by "MacHenry," an elderly African-American who was a former slave from Virginia. Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Library, Special Collections View File Details Page

Teachout House - 1953

Teachout House - 1953

This photograph of the Teachout House located at 4514 Franklin Boulevard was taken by the Cleveland Board of Zoning Appeals staff. It shows the condition of the house in that period. Image courtesy of Cleveland Public Library, Photograph collection View File Details Page

The Teachout House - 1970

The Teachout House - 1970

In this photograph, the Teachout House at 4514 Franklin Boulevard appears to be in much better condition than it was two decades earlier when the Cleveland Board of Zoning Appeals photographed it in 1953. Image courtesy of the Raymond Pianka Collection View File Details Page

Teachout Family Monument

Teachout Family Monument

Abraham Teachout, who lived to be 95 years old, is buried near this family monument at Riverside Cemetery. A number of immediate family members and other relatives are buried nearby in what is referred to by cemetery officials as the Teachout plot. Image courtesy of Jim Dubelko. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Jim Dubelko, “Abraham Teachout House,” Cleveland Historical, accessed June 28, 2017, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/565.
comments powered by Disqus

Share this Story