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getic, full of fun and always ready to play harmless jokes on his companions. Once when a local fire company was making a blundering attempt to extinguish a fire near the college campus, he quickly collected thirty or forty boys, charged on the firemen, took the extinguisher away from them, seized the nozzle of the hose with his own hands, climbed to the roof of the house, and remained there until the fire was put out.
Obviously Mark Hanna's suspension was the occasion of his quitting college rather than the cause. After he had finished with the high school, his own preference was for an immediate plunge into business, and in going to college he was merely making a temporary concession to the wishes of his mother. He could make the concession out of respect for his mother, but at the first check his own will prevailed. His parents had allowed him a good deal of independence, and he was accustomed to act for himself. All his deeper instincts urged him to begin his career in business. The fact that he considered himself engaged to be married would alone have been sufficient to make the idea of a long college course irksome. Life itself was beckoning to him. Why potter over books, when there were real things to do?
From his own point of view he made the right decision. He would have gained little from a college training. He was never interested in books. He never learned much out of books. Even at high school his progress must have been slow, or he would have been ready for college before he was twenty years old. By disposition and training he was the true product of a pioneer society, in which an active fife without any artificial preliminary discipline is the efficient life, and in which the action adopted is determined by the economic environment. Inasmuch as he was destined to be a business man, the sooner he began, the better. Experience was his one possible source of real education, and his experience could become edifying only as the result of actual experiment. While he had little ability to learn at second hand from books, he had or came to have a gift for learning from his own successes and failures, and so for adapting himself to the needs of his own career.
The business carried on by Hanna, Garretson & Co., into which Mark Hanna entered in the spring of 1858, afforded an excellent schooling for an energetic and intelligent young man. Nominally they were only wholesale grocers, but a wholesale grocery in Cleveland fifty years ago inevitably tended to become a general forwarding and commission business. Cleveland was at that time just beginning to reap the advantage of its situation on Lake Erie at the most convenient point for the control of the shipping and the trade, other than grain, of the Great Lakes. During the fifties both Wisconsin and Minnesota were beginning to be settled, and because of the Lakes many of the needs of the pioneer population of these states could be supplied most economically by water in the boats of the merchants of a conveniently situated city like Cleveland. Hanna, Garretson & Co. were apparently one of the first firms to anticipate the possibilities of this trade. They began early to extend their business into the Lake Superior region. In order to make their deliveries, they established a line of steamboats which carried passengers as well as freight, and for which return cargoes had to be found. And their return cargoes even at this early date were prophetic of the product, for which the upper Lake region was later to become conspicuous. The pioneers of Minnesota wanted to sell, not grain or hogs, but pig-copper, iron ore and salt fish. Hanna, Garretson & Co. used in this part of their business the Manhattan, one of the first steamboats regularly operated on the Lakes, and later the City of Superior and the Northern Lights.
Hiram Garretson spent much of his time in New Orleans, buying the sugar and molasses, which was sold to their customers in Ohio and along the Lakes, and which was still shipped to Cleveland by way of the Ohio River and canal. Leonard and Robert Hanna remained in Cleveland and took care of the selling end of the business. When Mark Hanna left college, his business experience began, as he himself says, in jumpers and overalls. He started as a general rustabout on the docks, and as a clerk in the warehouse on Mervin Street. His work was the same as that of any other young man in and about the store.
He was soon, however, given a more responsible job. He did not remain in the warehouse much longer than enough to obtain a speaking acquaintance with that aspect of the business. His first outside assignment was that of purser on one of the vessels for a season, whereby he obtained some knowledge of the Lake Superior country and the conditions of trade and transportation on the Great Lakes. Still later he went out as a salesman. The firm sold groceries in many towns in northern Ohio. It was not at that time customary to solicit business, but Mark was occasionally commissioned to start out and find customers. His brother, Leonard C. Hanna, believes him to have been one of the first commercial travellers in the United States — which is a distinction of a kind. He was no more afraid of the samplecase than he was of the overalls. All accounts agree that he was from the beginning an exceedingly successful salesman.
Although business interested the young Mark Hanna much more than books, he did not in the beginning apply himself to business with anything like the exclusive devotion which characterized the early career of his fellow-townsman and grocer, Mr. John D. Rockefeller. He was still wise, not beyond his years, but according to his years. He was not quite ready to settle down to serious work. He was more than anything else a young man who wanted to enjoy himself after the manner of other young men. He was by disposition gay, expansive and sociable. He eagerly sought and shared everything which Cleveland had to offer by way of sport and amusement. He joined the Ydrad Boat Club, of which he became captain. The club owned a long racing boat, and it used to row exciting races with its rival, the Ivanhoe Boat Club. He never cared particularly for horse-racing; but all his companions liked it, and he would join them because he did not want to be left behind. Although an enthusiastic card-player, he rather avoided poker. He was a conspicuous figure at dances and parties of all kinds, and he particularly enjoyed certain excursions to Rocky River for dinner, which he himself used to get up among his young friends of both sexes. He spent a great deal of time and money on these sports and diversions. In fact, he is said usually to have paid more than his share of the expenses, and certain members of his family assuredly thought that he was also spending more than a proper share of his time. He does not appear to have had any peculiarly intimate friendships as a young man, but he knew everybody, enjoyed general popularity and was one of the leaders among the young people of Cleveland.
Apparently his amusements interfered with his business career — at least in the opinion of some of his elders. His brother, H. M. Hanna, states that Uncle Robert used to complain about the number of Mark's social engagements, and of the consequent expense. But this was merely the unsympathetic criticism of a young man by an elder of different disposition. Mark was temporarily intoxicated with the wine of youth. If he had refused the cup, he might have made and saved more money, but he certainly would have been less of a man. The love of sport, combat and amusement was in his blood, and in giving free expression to them in his youth, he was behaving, as he always did, in a natural and a wholesome way. Be it added that his gayety was innocent in intention and harmless in its results. Both of his brothers testify that his youth was exemplary. As a young man he never even touched beer and whiskey, and he sowed no wild oats.
Soon, however, vicissitudes in the life both of his family and his country diminished his amusements and increased his responsibilities. Not long after Mark went to work his father's health began to fail. At about the same time Ohio and the North were in a ferment, first over a threat of civil war and finally by its outbreak. Suddenly Mark Hanna found himself confronted by the work and duties of a man.
The death of Leonard Hanna was the result of the accident which had been one cause of the abandonment of his professional career. The fall which he had received while mounting his horse had injured his spine. At the time the injury was supposed to be slight, and the only resulting inconvenience was a tendency to headaches. Later, however, these headaches became more frequent and more painful. They were localized at the very top of his spine, and he could obtain relief only by the application of very hot cloths to the back of his neck for hours at a time. As the headaches increased in number and severity, an operation was tried, and some of the nerves of the neck were cut. Thereafter the pains vanished, but his general health steadily declined. He died finally from the degeneration of the tissues of a part of the brain.
The illness which resulted in the death of Dr. Leonard Hanna on Dec. 15, 1862, had disqualified him for business throughout the two preceding years. During that Interval