early 1870s Clark Lane became interested in the industrial development
of Elkhart, Indiana, where his son Jacob may have already been living.
It is there that he moved his family in July 1875 after selling all
of his interests in the Owens, Lane and Dyer Company. He would not
be away for long. On 7 October 1875, Elbridge G. Dyer, one of the
partners in the company that still bore Lane's name,
in 1876 Clark Lane was called to return to Hamilton to assume the
receivership of the Owens-Lane-Dyer Company. It appears that the company
and its principal partners made unwise investments in Kentucky oil
wells and lead mines which shrank their treasuries. The post-Civil
War economic boom, fueled by speculation, ended with the Panic of
1873. This panic, today called a depression, was especially hard on
farmers. Now they no longer could afford to buy agricultural machinery.
The firm's balance sheet at the end of August 1876 showed a balance
of over $250,578.31 in assets above liabilities. But total liabilities
were $170,499.88 and cash on hand only totaled $2,500.
a period of years Clark Lane did sell the old Owens, Lane and Dyer
establishment to a group of Hamiltonians who continued the manufacture
of the standard products of the old concern as well as some new lines.
In January 1882 the new firm was incorporated as the Hooven, Owens
& Rentschler Company. The firm, whose roots dated to the mid-1840s
was Hamilton's oldest industry at the time of Hamilton's centennial
in 1892. It continued to be a major employer for more than a half-century.
After undergoing several corporate consolidations and name changes,
Hamilton manufacturing operations ceased in 1962.
Dyer was in financial difficulty, Clark Lane seems to have taken it
upon himself to help out the family of his former partner. For $20,000
he purchased the Dyer farm, which contained a beautiful and roomy
home in a grove of trees on a West Side hillside. This he gave to
Butler County upon the condition that it be supported by the County
as a Children's Home. One of the first, perhaps the first, occupant
of the Home was Clark and Sallie Lane's invalid son, Harry, who lived
there on a first floor room until his death in August 1886 at age
Daily Review reported that upon returning to Ohio Clark Lane lived
on the old family homestead 10 miles south of Hamilton where his aged
father still lived. He lived there in order to better take care of
the old gentleman and drove the 10 miles twice each day for several
years before, the paper says, moving to Hamilton. While it is certain
that he was making a daily commute in those years, it is unlikely
that he moved back to Hamilton. The only Hamilton County directory
in the 1880s lists Clark Lane as a farmer in Springfield Township.
May 1891 Mrs. Clark Lane died at the family home outside Mt. Healthy.
She had been sick for a long time and died of stomach cancer. The
following year Clark Lane returned to Elkhart, which he left in 1876,
to live with his son Jacob.