LeRoy H. Hume was a man of many interests. Known as Roy Hume to Lima residents, he dabbled in local politics and theater and played the cornet in a local band well enough that, after a November 1880 performance in Pennsylvania, the Altoona Call, noting Roy Hume was “a fine cornet player,” suggested, “Here is a chance for some of our city bands to make an acquisition.”
On at least one notable occasion, he won a professional fight, the profession of his opponent being that of physician. According to the June 8, 1894, Lima Times-Democrat, Roy Hume and the doctor, with whom he had been arguing about a bill, had a chance encounter in a downtown alley the evening before while both were headed home. The doctor, the newspaper recounted, raised a buggy whip as if to strike Roy Hume, who promptly punched the physician, knocking him from his buggy. The Times-Democrat declared Roy Hume the obvious winner of the ensuing brawl, which earned both men a fine.
That same evening Roy Hume appeared in the Elks Club’s production of “Hamlet,” giving, in the judgment of the Times-Democrat, a fine portrayal of the Danish noblewoman Ophelia. In a review of the play, which was positioned directly above the article on his fight with the physician, the reviewer quipped: “Mr. Hume may be a little bit disfigured for the part, but he wants it distinctly understood that he is still in the ring.”
Mostly, though, Roy Hume was a photographer. According to the Times-Democrat, he was Lima’s “pioneer” photographer.
Roy Hume was one of the three (out of eight) children of Robert and Elizabeth Hume who survived into adulthood. Robert Hume was born in Pennsylvania in 1817. The Hume family moved to Miami County while Robert Hume was still a child. Around 1840, Robert Hume moved to Delphos, where he operated a livery and married Elizabeth Ramsey.
The couple’s three sons – Roy, William R. and Frank A. – were born in Delphos, as was daughter Mary Emmeline, who died before reaching her teens. About 1860, the Hume family moved to Lima, where Robert Hume again operated a livery, this one in the southwest corner of the Public Square.
“Bob Hume is a lucky man,” the Allen County Democrat wrote April 15, 1875. “His friends never forget him. For some time, Bob has been ‘under the weather’ and his step has not been as it was in younger days. One day last week, our popular hardware dealer, W.K. Boone, presented Robert with a cane, and now Robert walks our streets as proud as a young wife with her first baby. Should he again engage in the livery business the cane will be taken from him, as he puts on his fighting harness when in that business, and the cane would be a dangerous weapon in the hands of an enraged livery man.” At the prompting of his friends, Robert Hume reopened his livery the following year.
In November 1895, two years after his wife’s death, Robert Hume, who the Times-Democrat declared was one of Lima’s “oldest and most respected citizens,” died at the age of 78. Like their father, his sons also became respected citizens of the community.
William Hume, born in 1856, pursued a career in the growth industry of the time – railroads. On May 20, 1882, the Allen County Democrat reported that William “has taken charge of the night office of the L.E.& W. (Lake Erie and Western Railroad) in this city.” Sadly, he was soon struck down by tuberculosis, the scourge of the age and the Hume family. In September of 1856, the Democrat wrote that William Hume died at a home near Gomer, leaving behind his wife, the former Nettie Miller.
“Will was well known in and about Lima, having lived here as a boy and man ever since he was big enough to walk, and was highly esteemed by our entire community,” the Democrat wrote on September 14, 1882.
Frank A. Hume, the youngest of the sons, was born in 1856 and was twice married, first to Estella Ferguson and then to Lenore Leete. He had one son, Rex Alfred, who died in 1887 at about five years of age.
In May of 1880, Frank Hume entered the business world, purchasing a Lima liquor store. About a year later, the Democrat noted that “Messrs. Frank Hume and W.W. Granger, Jr., are erecting up on the alley entering the south-west corner of the Square, a large covered and enclosed platform, where during two or three evenings each week, the thirsty citizen can drop in and have a cool glass of beer or lemonade and listen to the music of the band.”
By the mid-1880s, Frank Hume was selling men’s clothing, first at the Lima Clothing Company and then in his own haberdashery (a men’s clothing and accessories store) in the 200 block of North Main Street. A February 1888 ad touted his store as the source for “Dunlap high class silk and derby hats.”
Frank Hume sold his haberdashery around the turn of the century and, according to his obituary in the February 14, 1942, edition of the Lima News, spent much of the next 40 years operating a “boat building concern in Miami, Florida.” Frank Hume, the newspaper wrote, was “Lima’s pioneer haberdasher” and the city’s “first exclusive men’s clothier,” who, during the 1880s, “was known as the best dressed man in the district, a reputation he maintained throughout life.”
The oldest of Robert Hume’s sons, Roy Hume, was born in 1851. In 1872, he married the former Mary Pierson, who died in 1935. The couple had five children, Carrie, Mary, Frederick Leroy, Robert Cyrus and Francis “Frank.”
In his early years, Roy Hume was involved in local dramatic productions as well as playing cornet in a popular band. As early as 1877, he was advertising his photographic studio. “Are you going to get your picture taken? Try L.H. Hume, he is making the best photographs for the next thirty days at $2 per dozen,” read one such ad in the July 12, 1877, edition of the Democrat.
Not all his work was in the studio, however.
“Roy Hume, on Saturday last, took a picture of the Kindergarten, numbering 30 little children, and their teachers, Miss Jennie French and Jennie Marmon. He succeeded in getting an excellent picture, and the little ones went away happy,” the Democrat noted on June 2, 1881.
“Yesterday afternoon,” the Times-Democrat reported on May 5, 1894, “agent Hiner, of the Ohio Southern (later the D.T.& I. Railroad), accompanied by photographer Hume, made a trip to Quincy where several views of the company’s monster big bridge were taken to be used in advertising the road.”
In May 1896, Roy Hume sold his studio and, in November 1897 after a second unsuccessful run for city council, moved to Cincinnati, but he didn’t stay away long.
“L.H. Hume, the veteran photographer and traveling man, has rented a suite of rooms in the front of the second floor of the new Black block and will establish headquarters there for all kinds of photographic supplies, for both amateurs and professionals,” the Times-Democrat wrote on May 23, 1901. “He will enter into the business extensively and will make this city the distributing center for a wide scope of territory in which his goods will be sold.”
He died of tuberculosis the following year.
Reach Greg Hoersten at firstname.lastname@example.org.