The Aultman & Taylor Company

Chapter 15: Litigation and Personnel in the Aultman & Taylor Company's Later Years


| March/April 2003



JAMES EPHRAIM

The 15th installment of Dr. Bixler's history of the Aultman & Taylor Company, as edited by Robert T. Rhode, appears in this issue of Steam Traction, which is serializing Dr. Bixler's book. Chapters 1-13 appeared in Iron-Men Album. Dr. Bixler, a professor at Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, passed away before he could publish the manuscript to which he had devoted considerable energy. Several manuscripts belonging to Dr. Bixler are in the Sherman Room of the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library in Mansfield, Ohio.

Chapter 15

The Aultman & Taylor Company was involved in a variety of lawsuits. They had to do with patent rights and infringements, damage suits, collecting of money due the company and contract violations.

On Feb. 15, 1870, Andrew W. Hummer brought suit against the company for certain damages. It was a civil action. The trial began on Feb. 28, but it did not in reality get underway until Sept. 14 when a jury was impaneled to hear the case. After due deliberation the jury returned its verdict in favor of the plaintiff and awarded damages in the amount of $360.1

At the conclusion of the trial the attorneys for both parties gave notice of their intention to demand a second trial. The plaintiff asked for $600, and the defendant set the figure at $200. The court records do not show the final disposition of the case.

In February of 1899 a furor arose over a lawsuit brought against the Aultman & Taylor Company. An Ohio statute provided that the county commissioners could employ a tax inquisitor whose responsibility was to search out those individuals or corporations in the county that had not paid their taxes. He was to be paid 20 percent of the amount of money collected. The New Testament shows that tax collectors were despised by most of the people. Ohio's were equally unpopular. Suit was brought against the company in the amount of $228,000 for delinquent taxes.

George Brinkerhoff was the attorney for the company and also the administrator of the Harter estate. At a meeting of the employees of the company he stated that W.F. Charters was employed by the county commissioners to hunt down prospects that may have concealed assets subject to taxation. It was charged that Charters had no interest in Richland County and was concerned only about the amount of money that he could collect for himself.