Alonzo Chesbrough was born in 1817 and lived his early life in Dorset, Vermont. At age twenty he moved to Lockport, New York and began working for the lumber manufacturing firm of Cameron and Moody. Initially the owners rejected his application, but Chesbrough offered to work for free to prove his abilities. After one day on the job, the company hired him at the highest pay the position allowed.John M. Killits, ed., [Toledo and Lucas County, Ohio, 1623-1923, (Chicago & Toledo: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1923) Vol. 2, pp. 81-82.]
Alonzo Chesbrough started out as a chopper, moved up through the ranks, and after twenty years, managed the interests of the company. At that time, he decided to strike out on his own. After exploring possible business, Chesbrough settled on Toledo where he established a large and profitable business. Chesbrough's business supplied timber to the government during the Civil War. Construction of the famous ironclad ship "Monitor" included Chesbrough's lumber. As his business expanded, he purchased large tracts in timber regions of Michigan and Ohio. These holdings included 59,000 acres of land on Michigan's northern peninsula.("Abram Morey Chesbrough is Dead in Home," Toledo Times, 29 May 1928 and Killits.)
For over twenty-five years Chesbrough maintained his business headquarters with the firm of Bell, Emerson and Company at the corner of Madison and Summit Streets. In addition to the lumber business, Chesbrough served as the vice-president of the Second National Bank of Bay City, Michigan as well as the Exchange Bank of Lockport.
In 1855, Chesbrough married Sarah J. Rufford. After moving to Toledo, the couple established their home on the east side of the city. There they raised four sons--Fremont, Frank, Abram, and Aaron. Alonzo Chesbrough died in January 1887 and his wife passed away May 17, 1893.
Chesbrough's four sons inherited the business but it Abram assumed the leading role in running the business. Abram Chesbrough had been born at Suspension Bridge, New York in 1860. He moved with his parents to Toledo at the age of seven and attended Toledo Public Schools as a child. In June 1886, he married Belle Brown. They become the parents of one son and two daughters.
After Alonzo's death in 1887, the company became known as Chesbrough Brothers. It operated until 1918 when Abram Chesbrough left to concentrate on his personal interests. He did, however, remain involved in the lumber business until around 1926 when he sold all his remaining interest in lumber mills and other holdings in order to retire. Abram Chesbrough died in May 1928 after a brief illness.(Ibid).
Chesbrough family mausoleum
(Photography of Woodlawn Cemetery by Josef Schneider.)