From Frank Conover, ed., Centennial Portrait and Biographical Record of the City of Dayton and of Montgomery County, Ohio, Logansport, IN: A. W. Bowen & Co., 1897, pp. 486-487:
LEWIS M. FANSHER, senior member of the firm of Fansher Bros., soap manufacturers, Dayton, Ohio, was born in Randolph county, Ind., August 4, 1854, a son of William and Emily (Gray) Fansher.
William Fansher was a wagonmaker by trade, was an Odd Fellow fraternally and politically was a republican. His death took place in Memphis, Tenn., in 1863, from disease contracted while serving in an Indiana infantry regiment in defense of the Union during the war of the Rebellion, he being at the time a corporal of his company. He was the father of four children, viz: Martin D., now deceased, Lewis M., William I. and Mary E. A., wife of George Baker, a farmer residing near Arcanum, Ohio. Mrs. Emily Fansher, after her husband’s death, was married to George Booher, and is still living.
Lewis M. Fansher, whose name opens this biography passed his boyhood on an Indiana farm, was educated in the Farmland (Ind.) high school, and at the age of seventeen years began teaching in the district schools: when twenty years old he entered Antioch college, Yellow Springs, Greene county, Ohio, taking the preparatory course and two years of the college course, when failing health precluded further study; again he resorted to school-teaching, which he followed for several years, the last two being passed just east of Dayton.
In 1884, in partnership with his brother William I., after two or three years of other business ventures, he embarked in the soap manufacturing business, in which he is still engaged. The firm produce [sic] a bar of soap, which is designed for domestic and general laundry purposes, and a laundry chip-soap, for the use of steam laundries – the former being disposed of mostly in Dayton, while the latter meets with an extensive sale throughout several of the states; they also manufacture a compound known as the Anti-slip Pulley Dressing, which is the invention of Louis M. Fansher, and sold all over the United States as a preventive of the slipping of machinery belts.
Lewis M. Fansher was married at Newcastle, in Indiana, in 1874, to Miss Julia A. Swigart, the union resulting in the birth of three children, viz: L. Percy, Pearl and William. Of these the eldest is married to Miss Florence Lukinbeal, and is engaged in [p. 487:] the profession of photography in Dayton, Mr. Fansher has a quiet and handsome home at 417 North Broadway. In politics he is a prohibitionist, is a meber of the A. I. U., No. 2, of Dayton, and is recognized as one of the enterprising business men of the city.
William I. Fansher, junior partner in the firm of Fansher Bros., was born in Randolph county, Ind., August 31, 1858, and is the younger brother of Lewis M. Fansher. He was educated in the public schools of his district and remained on the home farm until twenty years of age. He worked for a year or two at the carpenter’s trade in Darke county, Ohio, and in 1881 came to Dayton, and for two years engaged in the manufacture of spring beds, in partnership with his brother Lewis, and for one year manufactured a hoisting-jack for wagons, William I. acting as salesman chiefly. In 1884, as related above, the soap factory was established, but on a very small scale and against strong competition. At times the brothers found it difficult to raise the means with which to purchase the stock from which the soap was made, and to meet the established trade of other manufacturers was a difficult task; but, by persistency of purpose, incessant toil and excellence of production, they surmounted all obstacles, the result being that already narrated. In this business William I. has attended to the outside affairs, effecting sales, making collections, etc., and proving himself to be a thorough business man. He is a member of the A. I. U., No. 2, of Dayton, and in politics is in accord with his brother.
William I. Fansher was married, February 5, 1884, to Miss Izora Leatherman, daughter of Frederick Leatherman, and to this marriage have been born three children, viz: Frederick W., Robert Gray and Susie May, the last two named being twins. The parents are members of the Summit street United Brethren church, in which Mr. Fansher is a steward, taking an active part in both church and Sabbath-school work. His pleasant home is at 123 Summit street, in a part of the city which possesses every church and social advantage.