Lorin Andrews was born in Uniontown, now Ashland, April 1, 1819, and was the second male child born within the present limits of the town. Alanson Andrews, his father, resided in a small log cabin, about thirty-five or forty feet south of Main street, on the lot on which the office of M. H. Mansfield is now located. Here it was that Lorin Andrews first saw the light, learned to lisp the name of his parents, and began to give evidence of that talent for which he became, in after years, so noted. When quite young, his father purchased of David Markley, the farm adjoining Ashland on the southwest, and located thereon. Lorin attended the district schools of the village, and made rapid progress in the branches taught at that period. He was much beloved by his schoolmates, because of his amiable disposition, sprightliness of manner and acuteness.
When he was about seventeen years of age, he was regarded as one of the foremost youths of the village. In the year 1836, the patriotic fires of the Revolution were still kept blazing on the altars of the country. It was resolved to celebrate the natal day of our freedom in a becoming manner. To this end, after several village meetings, it was agreed that the people would assemble in Carter's grove, about one and a half miles east of Ashland, on the fourth of July, for that purpose; and that Michael Ritter, who kept a hotel on the premises now known as the Finley property, be invited to prepare a dinner; and that Lorin Andrews be requested to prepare and deliver the oration. When the time for assembling arrived, the procession was formed at Ashland, with Alexander Miller as marshal of the day; and the people were escorted to the grove, headed by a band, composed of Jacob Grubb as drummer, Pierce Robinson fifer, Joshua H. Ruth and John K. Billings with flutes. Young Andrews delivered the oration with a coolness and self-possession that astonished the assemblage. His address had been carefully prepared, well studied, and delivered with an ease of manner and grace of gesticulation that was pronounced admirable. The dinner and toasts followed. And the festivities of the occasion are yet referred to by many of the pioneers with much pride.
A copy of the address of young Andrews was published in the Ohio Globe, a little paper, then edited by our late townsman, Joshua H. Ruth.
A bright future was predicted for the young orator; and his father was induced to send him where his ambition, as a student, could have a better field and be more fully gratified. He at once entered the grammar School of Gambier College, where he commenced a thorough course of instruction. He remained in the grammar school about two years, and entered college, but during his junior year, in 1840, owing to financial embarrassment, was withdrawn from college. He returned to Ashland, and after a few months, by invitation of the trustees, took charge of the Ashland academy as principal, aided by several able assistants, in the male and female departments. Under his superintendence the school was in a most flourishing condition; students from every part of the state, and from distant states, came in by the hundred and enrolled their names. Not having completed his collegiate course, Professor Andrews was compelled to continue his studies in private, to keep in advance of his students. He applied himself with uncommon industry, and distanced the most advanced classes; he evinced a knowledge of the branches taught, and a readiness in recitation that was really surprising. His manner, as an instructor, was agreeable and well calculated to win the esteem of the student. He had a peculiar faculty of enlisting the sympathy, respect and confidence of all with whom he was brought in contact. He was frank and pleasing in his address, and a student met but to love and honor him. When compelled to enforce, with apparent severity, the rules governing the academy, it was done in such a way that the student respected him for his impartiality and evident intention to do justice. The writer of this sketch has seen Professor Andrews, scores of times, after reprimanding a hot-headed student for some gross violation of the rules, while yet smarting under the reproof, and blinded by rage and resentment, approach him at the black-board in the most friendly manner, take the chalk and give him a statement, and frequently solve the problem. Such treatment would soften the resentment of any young man of reflection, and secure his respect. In this Professor Andrews evinced his deep insight into human nature, and often succeeded in taming the ferocity of the worst students, and changed the whole current of their lives. With him "kind words could never die."
Professor Andrews was a fluent conversationalist, was very kind and gentlemanly in his manner; and egotism was an element that could not be detected in his intercourse with his students or society. In fact, he was the least selfish public man I ever knew. The result was that while he always had a flourishing school, and was popular among the students and the people, he was always financially distressed. If he found a student struggling to obtain an education, teaching in the winter and attending the academy in the summer, he would not exact tuition, but insist that his pupil should go ahead, and pay him when he could. This was often equivalent to no pay.
As a speaker, Professor Andrews was not an orator, unless we define oratory to be the ability to please and hold an audience. His addresses at school institutes, and lectures before his classes, were all delivered in conversational style. He talked remarkably well, and could hold an audience or an institute for hours. There was a fascination about his manner that invariably made his audience feel friendly toward him, while the lucidness of his ideas enlisted their whole attention. As a lecturer before institutes, he was widely known throughout the State, and he exercised as much or more influence, perhaps, than any other teacher in the west.
In consequence of his success as a teacher, in 1846, the honorary degree of A. M. was conferred upon him by Kenyon College.
In 1850 the union school system was adopted in many parts of the State. The trustees of the schools at Massillon solicited Professor Andrews to become superintendent. In an unfortunate hour the people of Ashland permitted him to retire from the academy, an institution which had been an ornament to the town, and a source of profit to our people. The academy speedily passed away, and the buildings were merged into the union schools.
Professor Andrews remained at the head of the Massillon schools about three years, during which time he was nominated by the Whig party, under the new constitution, for commissioner of common schools for the State. He failed, by a small vote, to secure his election. Under his management the schools of Massillon were very efficient and popular.
In December, 1854, he was invited to accept the presidency of Kenyon College, with which request he complied. He was the first lay member of the Episcopal Church who had been invited to fill that position. To be selected to preside over such an institution was indeed a flattering compliment. His high educational attainments, added to his purity as a man, made him the worthy recipient of such an honor. His presence in the college acted like magic-his friends from every part of the State began to look toward Kenyon as an appropriate place to educate the young men of the country. The college received new life; and energy and prosperity were diffused through every department. Students began to fill the classes, and everything betokened a prosperous future for the institution.
Some months after Professor Andrews had been inaugurated president of Kenyon College, the honorary degree of LL. D. Was conferred upon him by Princeton College, New Jersey. This was a high distinction and well deserved, because of his remarkable success as an educator.
In 1861, in the midst of his success as president of Kenyon, the rumbling sounds of discontent were borne from the south, and a sanguinary civil war seemed to be imminent. In February, believing the war to be inevitable, President Andrews offered his services to the governor of Ohio. In April he raised a company in Knox County, which reported to the governor, and he was appointed colonel of the Fourth Ohio regiment. Soon after his regiment was ordered into West Virginia, where it remained on duty during the summer. In September Colonel Andrews, in consequence of exposure, was attacked by a malignant form of typhoid fever that fell destroyer of so many northern soldiers, and, although able to reach his home in Ohio, was so much prostrated that the friendly efforts of the physician, and all human aid, failed to avert his impending end. The sentiment-
Our life is a dream, Our time like a stream Glides swiftly away,
was fully illustrated. He died September 18, 1861. Just prior to his departure with his regiment to Virginia, fearing some disaster might overtake him, he, accompanied by his wife, went into the cemetery at Gambier, and selected the spot where he desired to be buried in case of his death in the army. His wishes were complied with, and his honored remains now rest in sight of the institution he loved so well during his active and useful life.
Much surprise was manifested among many of his old friends when it was learned that he had abandoned the presidency of Kenyon College to accept a place in the army. It was believed that his true field was that of letters, and that his tastes all ran in that direction. When a student under his instruction in the old Ashland academy, years prior to the war, while translating Homer, Virgil, Xenophon, Livy, Cicero, and the orations of Demosthenes, the military spirit could be plainly detected in his comments upon the strategy of the heroes of that age. At the mention of Achilles, "swift of foot"-"Peleus' godlike son"-"Mighty Agamemnon, king of men"-the venerable "Nestor"-the achievements of the Scipios, Alexander, Caesar, Hannibal and Pompey, his enthusiasm exhibited itself in a forcible manner. There can be but little doubt if Colonel Andrews had survived the war he would have reached an elevated position as a military man, and acquitted himself as bravely as a Morgan, a McPherson, and a Sheridan. He was very ambitious to excel in everything he undertook, and his spirit, like-
"An eagle soured On restless plumes to meet the imperial sun."
His motto was "conquer, never cower at, opposition."
Hence he was always making progress in the line of his profession. His theory was-
"Rest not! Life is sweeping by; Go and dare before you die. Something mighty and sublime Leave behind to conquer time."
Right well he performed his part in the drama of the world. He was only about forty-two years old at his decease. Few men have accomplished more. From a cabin, by the force of his genius, he elevated himself to the presidency of one of the best colleges in the west before he was thirty-five years of age, and proved himself one of the first educators of the times.
In person President Andrews was about five feet eight inches high, would weigh about one hundred and thirty-five pounds, hair inclined to be curly and sandy, a broad forehead, a clear gray eye, a manly face full of benevolence; in his manners, courteous and gentlemanly; in his gait, very erect and quite sprightly in his movements. Such was President Andrews, one of the noblest sons Ashland ever sent forth, and whose career is worthy the emulation of all her future sons.