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Charles Bingham - President of Standard Tool Company

12219 Lake Shore Boulevard
Charles William Bingham
Charles William Bingham

Charles William Bingham was born in Cleveland on May 22, 1846, to William and Elizabeth Beardsley Bingham. William Bingham came to Cleveland from Massachusetts in 1837 at age twenty as a clerk for George Worthington’s hardware store. After five years, he was a member of  William Bingham & Company that serviced canal boats, lumbermen, railroad builders, ore miners and builders of telegraph lines.

Charles was raised at 3033 Euclid Avenue until age twelve when his family built a new home at 2843 Euclid Avenue. Charles attended the Cleveland Academy and later the New Haven Hopkins Grammar School. He graduated from Yale with a B.A. in 1868.

After Yale, Bingham spent three years in Europe walking through Switzerland, attending lectures in geology, mining, and chemistry in Germany and mastering the language and customs of France. He was caught in the activities in the Franco-Prussian War. When he returned in 1870, he was granted an M.A. degree from Yale in 1871.

He began working at the Cleveland Iron Co., of which his father was president. In 1879, he was a member of Wm. Bingham & Co., and from 1881 until his death, he was president of the Standard Tool Co. He served on several banking boards and arranged business matters for family members, for whom he established the Perry-Payne Co.

On returning to Cleveland, Charles courted Mary Perry (Mollie) Payne, who lived at 2121 Euclid Avenue. She was born on July 9, 1854, to U.S. Senator Henry and Mary Payne. When Mollie was thirteen, she went off alone to live with her private tutor in Newburgh, New York. Her days were busy and challenging, but her nights were often too quiet. She missed her family and often cried herself to sleep. Her loneliness deepened when she journeyed the next year to Dresden, Germany to continue her private studies.

The courtship of Charles and Mollie tested the patience of the two young lovers, who yielded to their parents’ counsel to wait an extra year. Molly was slower to come to her love for Charlie, but when she did, she “absolutely worshipped him for the very depths of her soul and heart.” They were engaged in February 1876 and married on June 8, 1876. They spent their honeymoon in Hamburg, Germany and Stockholm, Sweden.

Charles and Mollie had five children: Oliver Perry born on January 1, 1878, William H. II born on July 21, 1879, Elizabeth Beardsley (Blossom) born on September 29, 1881, Frances Payne (Bolton) born on March 29, 1885, and Henry Payne born on December 9, 1887. Francis Bolton went on to become a U. S. congresswoman.

Bingham was a trustee of the Western Reserve Historical Society, treasurer of the Case Library and president of the Case Library Association. He was an original trustee conducting the Huntington Art & Polytechnic Trust, and trustee of the Horace Kelley Art Foundation. He chaired the building committee representing these two trusts in the construction of the Cleveland Museum of Art, of which he was a trustee from 1913 to 1920. A trustee of the Lake View Cemetery Association, Bingham was also a trustee of the First Presbyterian (Old Stone) Church.

Mollie died on January 20, 1898, in West Palm Beach, Florida. Charles died on March 1, 1929. Both were buried in Lake View Cemetery.