All that glisters is not gold,
Often have you heard that told;
Many a man his life has sold
But my outside to behold;
Gilded tombs do worms infold.
If thou art rich, thou art poor;
For, like an ass, whose back with ingots bows,
Thou bearest thy heavy riches but a journey.
And death unloads thee.
Poor, and content, is rich, and rich enough;
But riches, fineless, is as poor as winter.
To him that ever fears he shall be poor.
O, the fierce wretchedness that glory brings us!
Who would not wish to be from wealth exempt,
Since riches point to misery and contempt?
When thou art old, and rich,
Thou hast neither heat affection, limb, nor, beauty.
To make thy riches pleasant.
How quickly nature falls into revolt,
When gold becomes her object!
For this the foolish over-careful fathers
Have broke their sleep with thoughts, their brains with care,
Their bones with industry.
For this they have engrossed and pil'd up
The canker'd heaps of strange-achieved gold:
For this they have been thoughtful to invest
Their sons with arts and martial exercises;
When, like the bee, culling from every flower
The virtuous sweets;
Our thighs pack'd with wax, our mouths with honey,
We bring it to the hive; and like the bees,
Are murther'd for our pains.
O thou sweet king-killer, and dear divorce
“Twixt natural son and sire; thou bright defiler
Of Hymen's purest bed! thou valiant Mars!
Thou ever young, fresh, loved, and delicate wooer.
Whose blush doth thaw the consecrated snow
That lies on Dian's lap! thou visible god,
That solder'st close impossibilities,
And mak’st them kiss! that speak’st with every tongue
To every purpose! O thou touch of hearts!
Think, thy slave man rebels; and by thy virtue
Set them into confounding odds, that beasts
May have the world in empire!
What a god's gold
That he is worshipp'd in a baser temple
Than where swine feed!
If money go before, all ways do lie open.
The learned pate
Ducks to the golden fool.
Will knit and break religions; bless the accurs'd;
Make the hoar leprosy ador'd; place thieves,
And give them title, knee, and approbation,
With senators on the bench.
Which buys admittance; oft it doth; yea, and makes
Diana's rangers false themselves, yield up
Their deer to the stand o' the stealer; and 'tis gold
Which makes the true man kill'd and saves the thief;
Nay, sometimes hangs both thief and true man; what
Can it not do, and undo!
Foul cankering rust the hidden treasure frets;
But gold that's put to use more gold begets.
I come to wive it wealthily in Padua;
If wealthily, then happily in Padua.
O, what a world of vile ill-favored faults
Looks handsome in three hundred pounds a year.
When in 1623 Cornelis Jacobsen May landed with thirty families from his ship New Netherlands and gazed about Manhattan island, he could hardly have believed that within two or three short centuries the place would be so crowded with people and houses as to overflow, and fill wide areas across the rivers. Neither would William Verhulst, who succeeded May as director-general of this Dutch colony have believed, nor Peter Minuit who succeeded Verhulst, nor Wouter Van Twiller who succeeded Minuit,—not any one of these several officials who were so ready each to take the place of his predecessor during the first two decades of rulership, nor even the sapient Stuyvesant, who in 1664 passed over to the English under Nicolls the Dutch New Netherland when Nieuw Amsterdam became New Yorke, could have been brought to apprehend that the cow-path which forked to the left beyond the King’s farm led by ground so worshipful as to be one day worth twenty pounds for a little square foot of it, and support such stately structures as the Equitable Life and Waldorf-Astoria,—for had not Minuit bought the whole island from the Indians for less than five pounds? But of course prices advanced, and that so rapidly that within a century, that is to say in1689, at a solemn sale by auction fourteen lots near Coenties slip sold at 35 pounds each, and one at the foot of Broad street it was thought might be worth 80 pounds!
A map of the New York of 200 years ago would show the New Amsterdam end of the island with its fort and incipient city cut off from the country by a wall, or the remains of one, extending from one river nearly to the other, whence Wall Street. Near where now is Chatham Square would be seen Wolfert Webber’s tavern; between the present Fulton and Warren Streets was the Dutch company's farm; and beyond, Beekman swamp, near Beekman street; Swamp meadow, Fresh Water pond, and then Bogardus' farm. Old Tan's farm, and the Negro plantations,—for there was slavery ashore as well as piracy and privateering afloat in those days, Indians as well as Negroes being held in bondage. North of Maiden Lane and west of Broadway all was open country, while the upper end of the Broadway itself led into the wilderness, Boston post-road deflecting to the right.
When Peter Stuyvesant became director-general of New Netherlands in 1647 by appointment of the Dutch West India Company, he resided on his farm, or bowery, which name the place retains to this day, though the scent of roses has long since left it. Later this same bowerland was the center of fashion, the Bowery Street a popular driveway, wealth and gaiety crowding its borders while yet the Broadway was a country road winding among humble farms and odorous stockyards. Near where is now Rector Street Hendrick Van Dyke in 1655 had a peach orchard. The ripe fruit tempting an Indian woman to theft, Hendrick had her shot to death, the colonists meanwhile fleeing to the fort; for which infamy the savages rose and devastated 28 farms on Staten Island, killing 100 and carrying into captivity 150 white persons. Where now is Jeannette Park, East river, stood a noted hostelry in colonial times, and there about the Dutch burghers drove a thriving trade in boating and produce huckstering. Other notable New York properties of the days gone by were Chelsea, the seat on the Hudson of Thomas Clarke, in 1813 conveyed to Clement C. Moore, under whose ownership it became a country village, about the middle of which was where now is the block bounded by 9th and 10th avenues and 23rd and 24th streets; Lispenard’s meadows, known times previous as Duke's farm, King's farm, Queen's farm, and then as Leonard Lispenard’s farm, being about where now are Hudson, Canal, and Vestry streets; Abraham Mortier's hospitable residence on Richmond hill, where such notables as Lord Amherst, John Adams, Baron Steuben, Jefferson, Van Birket, Chancellor Livingstone, and Count du Monstiers used to meet, Mr. Benzon owning the place later; and Rutgers residence, which became the pleasure resort Ranelagh, near Vauxhall, both gardens bordering on Lispenard’s meadows. And but a century ago, or even less, so far away was where is now Astor place, that the huts and dwellings there were regarded as a country village. True, there had been ere this spasms of progression, the population which in 1730 was 8,000, increasing to 20,000 in 1770, only to fall off one half through war and fire, then rapidly to recuperate and advance thereafter to the end.
But before New Amsterdam was Beaverwyck, as the Dutch called Albany. For, following Hudson's report of his visit in 1609, and of the picturesque beauty and grandeur of the river, of the abundance of furs and the friendliness of the natives, the Hollanders had come, and ascending the stream to near the head of navigation, had built in 1615 Fort Nassau, the later Fort Orange of the English and sometime Aurania. The Mohegans, the gentle savages were called who thus so kindly received into their homes the seeds of their own destruction, giving to the strangers freely of their lands, or peradventure better satisfying the puritan conscience by selling it to them for worthless trinkets.
It mattered little however in the end, for, attacked by the Mohawks in 1628, the Mohegans became scattered, and in due time were obliterated like all the rest. A century later, that is to say in 1722, the valley of the Mohawks attracted settlers, and so the spoilers were despoiled, and thus goes history spinning itself on forever.
The Iroquois nations, though figuring conspicuously in history, never numbered over 15,000, and in their palmiest days possessed less wealth than physical influence. The Onondagas were the head of the confederacy, its great sachem being first of the fourteen. On a reservation set apart for them in the state of New York they live in peace and plenty, all that is left of them. The Oneidas secured 65,000 acres of land on Green bay, Wisconsin. The Senecas had reserved to them 66,000 acres. The Senecas took part in all the wars, siding generally with the colonists, though permitting La Salle to erect a block house at Niagara. Their greatest man, statesman, orator, warrior, was Red Jacket, or Otetiani, that is to say "always ready." The most noted chief of the Cayugas was Tahgahjute, commonly called Logan, who with all his family and friends was infamously done to death by white men, whom he had all his life befriended. "Who is there to mourn for Logan?" he cried at the last. "Not one." The Susquehannas were a turbulent race, and obtaining firearms from the Swedes terrorized parts of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland. In 1701 their king, Canoodagtoh made a treaty with William Penn. Soon after 1630 Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, a jewel merchant of Amsterdam, secured possession of a tract of land near Albany, 48 by 24 miles in extent, and founded a feudality, called the colony of Rensselacrswyck, part of which land remained for several generations, that is to say until 1787, in the Van Rensselaer family, whose manor house was in north Broadway, the Visscher house and Schuyler mansion being not far away. The Vanderheyden palace and the Lydius house were built of bricks brought from Holland.
Across the river from New Amsterdam a settlement was made in New Jersey in 1617, the place being called Bergen, but for a long time it was nothing more than a hamlet. Cornelis May in one of his excursions, in 1623, discovered the Delaware, and erected a fort upon its bank opposite where now stands Philadelphia. Later, in 1638, under the auspices of Queen Christina, Peter Minuit brought thither Swedish colonists. In 1665 came Philip Carteret, with a company of English adventurers, and established himself at Elizabeth town as governor. In 1666 thirteen puritans came from Milford, Connecticut, to the Passaic River and settled Newark, according to God and a godly government, hither they had fled from those who had fled from former persecutions, only themselves to persecute the moment opportunity offered. Josiah Ogden, a rich and influential member of this puritan society in New Jersey, saved his wheat from the weather on Sunday, which his associates stoutly asserted he had no right to do; whereupon Ogden told them in words which, translated into the language of the present century, would signify that they might go to the devil, and turning on his heels established a church of his own, for even a blasphemer could not at that time live respectably without his church.
The Dutch began to trade with the Delawares, on the Delaware and Ohio rivers, in 1616. They were defrauded of their lands in Pennsylvania by the "walking treaty,” and finally driven from them by force. Some settled on the Muskingum in 1772 and became good agriculturists. Early in its history Delaware was a scene of contention, Dutch Swedes and English all desiring the best for themselves, and circumvention for all others, red men or white. David Petersen de Vries landed in Delaware Bay some Dutch settlers, who chose for themselves the spot whereon Wilmington now stands, but the Indians killed them all. So the Swedes took possession, erected a fort, and called the place Christina, and the country New Sweden. This the Dutch did not like, and set up Fort Casimir, six miles away. Prinz, the Swedish governor, maintained amicable relations with Stuyvesant, governor of New Amsterdam, until the coming to Delaware in 1654 of a new Swedish governor, Rising, with a fresh band of colonists. Contentions with the Dutch brought upon the Swedes Stuyvesant, with seven vessels and 600 men from Fort Amsterdam, who quickly conquered a peace. But soon Dutch and Swedes go both to the wall together. With the fall of New Netherland fell New Sweden, and New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Penn’s colony across the bay all became English. Thus it was that in 1655 the Dutch ruled the Swedes, and in 1664 the English ruled the Dutch and when the time came for the colonies to determine if it were not better to rule themselves, Delaware responded with a Yea that was felt throughout the land, for it settled many otherwise difficult questions.
The holy experiment of a free colony for all mankind which William Penn assured the people was his purpose in accepting the grant of Pennsylvania from Charles II in 1681, proved eminently satisfactory, the population increasing from the first at the rate of 1,000 a year, and later yet more rapidly, so that in 75 years there were present 200,000 persons, the Quaker element predominating. Penn found some difficulty managing his American interests while fighting in his peace-insisting way for the Quakers in England, but on the whole he did well enough. The capital city, placed on the Delaware and convenient for ships to the ocean, soon had a printing press, set up by William Bradford, and in 1690 a paper mill was built by William Rittenhouse. Benjamin Franklin came from Boston in 1723, and though at that time an unostentatious journeyman printer, he impressed his character upon the place in lines so deep that traces of his influence remain to this day. During the war of independence, Philadelphia was not only the capital of Pennsylvania, but virtually of the colonies. Philadelphia's foreign commerce a century ago was first of all with the West Indies, and then beyond to Europe and Asia. The carrying trade hence consisted largely of beef, pork, flour, apples, onions, butter, and lard, while hither were brought sugar, coffee, oranges, lemons, and pineapples, and from China tea, spices, and silks.
Among the prominent merchants and ship-builders of that day were Thomas Alibone, whose grandson was president of the Bank of Pennsylvania forty years ago; Abraham Piesch, who built more vessels than any other man of his day, having twelve schooners on the stocks at one time for blockade-running in the war of 1812; George Hand, who sailed ships of the larger class, like the Diana, the Telegraph, and the Little George Eyre; William Smith, nicknamed Silver Heels, because he once landed $80,000 in Spanish dollars brought from the Philippine islands; Samuel Wetherill, founder of the society of free or fighting, Quakers, and great-grandsire of the present family; John Vaughn, wine merchant and philanthropist; John Moss, a man of wealth and high integrity, and whose descendants are many; Jonathan Fell, manufacturer of mustard, chocolate, and spices, and whose business was well polished with age before the Independence; Francis West, and his brother John West, connected with the Cope line of Liverpool ships, this same Thomas P. Cope being no less conspicuous as an opulent merchant than loved for his benevolence; Joseph S. Lewis, president of the Schuylkill Navigation company, and whose father, Mordecai Lewis was largely engaged in the Calcutta and China trade; Robert Ralston, eminent in business and active in his charities; Gerard Koch, who, on subscribing $5,000 to the war fund of 1812, remarked, "this as a beginning, and if a frigate is wanted I will build one.” Merchantmen in those days might leave Philadelphia with a cargo of grain and cotton; sell the same at some French port and take in fruit and wine for St. Petersburg, there to exchange it for hemp and iron for Amsterdam, selling the cargo there for specie with which to buy India goods, tea, and silks at Calcutta, then back to Philadelphia, thus concluding a voyage paying ofttimes enormous profits.
Before the ground on which Brooklyn stands was covered with houses, it presented a somewhat forbidding appearance,—an irregular bluff surrounded by low marshy land broken by creeks and inlets. A century or two of intelligent effort has greatly changed things. The marsh lands have been reclaimed, and extensive basins for shipping, and bordered by large warehouses, constructed, with wharves, docks, slips, and every adjunct for the quick and economical handling of freight. There is a large dry-dock, constructed at a cost of over $2,000,000; navy yard with marine barracks, officers’ quarters, and warehouses; naval lyceum, marine hospital, besides grain elevators, sugar refineries, oil works, and a multitude of other manufactories. The now immense ferry travel was begun with row boats, but in 1814 the ferries were leased by Robert Fulton and steam applied. Next to New York and Philadelphia, Brooklyn has more manufacturing establishments than any other city in the United States,—in round numbers 6,000, with a capital of $85,000,000, employing 50,000 hands, wages $26,000,000, value of material $150,000,000, yearly product $210,000,000, consisting largely of boots and shoes, sugar, petroleum, cordage, and hats. A city of churches, it is called, and there are many educational and benevolent institutions, academy of music, art association, historical society, circulating and reference libraries, and scientific associations and clubs. A city for the living there are hereabout several cities for the dead—seven public cemeteries, and many more belonging to secret and other societies. Famed for its beauty and monuments is Greenwood, of 450 acres, 6,000 here finding their last resting place every year. Cypress Hill cemetery has 400 acres, the Evergreens 275 acres. In fact, at this rate the dead in time will leave scant space for the living. For the present, however, there is room enough in Brooklyn; besides innumerable elegant homes, there are an abundance of parks and pleasure grounds, zoological garden, and the rest, spacious and costly.
It seemed plausible to the French, Fulton’s plan when he was in Paris seeking patronage for an idea which was destined in time to revolutionize commerce, and which Napoleon even surmised might make great changes in naval warfare." But it was foreordained that to America should belong the honor. Robert Fulton was a Pennsylvania man, born in 1765 at Little Britain, and became first artist and then engineer. Some years in Europe enlarged his mind and concentrated his purposes. From his design in 1807 the Clermont was built with capital furnished by Robert R. Livingston, and from that day there have been steamboats on the Hudson River and on Long Island sound. That same year John Stevens sent the Phoenix to sea under steam to Philadelphia, the first steam vessel to brave the dangers of the ocean. The steam engine for Fulton's boat was brought from England by Jacob Barker in 1806. Barker was a wealthy ship owner, economist, and banker, doing business in New York. There was but one man in the United States who then owned and sailed more ships than he, and that was William Gray of Boston. Barker was active in politics and public affairs. He was elected to the New York senate, made loans to the United States government, advocated the purchase of Louisiana and the building of the Erie canal, and sustained Jefferson, Madison, and Jackson in their political measures. The first incentive to ship-building in America was the fisheries,—this in the 16th century. Ships of a larger class for whaling and the merchant service were later built at New York and on the New England coast; a few war ships were constructed in 1776 and 1812, and some transatlantic sailers afterward; but it was the gold of California, and the lines of clipper-ships established to sail round Cape Horn, that brought the art to its full beauty and perfection in America—for these white-winged messengers of commerce were nothing less than works of art. Among the great builders of that day were William H. Webb, Samuel Hanscom, and Donald McKay. W. H. Webb, shipbuilder and son of a shipbuilder, was born in New York in 1816. His father, Isaac Webb was for some time after the war of 1812 with Henry Eckford. The son assumed responsibility at an early age, building the packet-ship Oxford for the Black Ball line at twenty. After the death of his father and the firm of Webb and Allen continued for three years, then dissolved. W. H. Webb continuing and building some 150 vessels in all, merchant vessels and men of war, among them ocean steamers for the Savannah and New Orleans lines and for the United States and Pacific Mail steamship companies in the California trade, and steam war ships for home and foreign governments. Ship building has again been revolutionized within the last decade, battle ships particularly, and since the beginning of the war with Spain.
Under British occupation New York was governed first by Richard Nicolls, then in 1668 by Francis Lovelace, who bought Staten island from the Indians; in 1672, Edmund Andros, who filled up the ditch on Broad Street, removed the tan-pits and slaughter-houses to some distance beyond the walls, set free all Indian slaves, and gave to the burghers the inestimable privilege of bolting and exporting flour. In 1683 Thomas Dougan was governor; then Francis Nicholson; and 1692-1898 Benjamin Fletcher, who winked at piracy, received part of the spoils, and made amends by giving to the church the revenue for seven years of the Kings farm, which cost the governor nothing and saved his soul, laying meanwhile the foundations of a great fortune for Trinity. The earl of Bellomont next; then Lord Cornbury, 1702-1778. Robert Hunter, William Burnet, John Montgomery, under whose regime a fortnightly stage line to Philadelphia was established. George Clinton ruled and plundered the place for a decade, 1743-1753. Kings college being begun meanwhile and in due time came the continental congress, Washington, and Independence.
About 1640 Johannes de Peyster came to New Amsterdam and founded a family, the several members of which have ever since been prominent in New York for their wealth, talents, patriotism, and benevolence. Johannes himself held office under both Dutch and English regime. His eldest son Abraham, was mayor, supreme judge, governor, and treasurer of the provinces of New York and New Jersey, and intimate friend of William Penn, and of the colonial governor, the earl of Bellomont. At his house in Pearl Street, erected in 1695, Washington made his headquarters. Abraham the second was a man noted for his wealth, benevolence, and political influence; three of his grandsons were army officers, and the son of one of them. Frederick graduated at Columbia College and became master in chancery. John Watts de Peyster interested himself in state and municipal affairs, and wrote a number of important practical and scientific works. Three of his sons were officers in the union army during the civil war. John Watts de Peyster was also distinguished for his literary talent, as military writer, biographer, and critic. The descendants of his maternal grandfather, John Watts, founder of the Leake and Watts orphan house, Morningside park, trace their ancestry back to the English conquest. Stephen Watts commanded a battalion at the age of 22, while his son George Watts was aid to Winfield Scott.
Peter Warren, captain, commodore, or sir, was a very great man in New York a century and a half ago. A fine, fat, dashing fellow, he was 25 years of age in 1728, when he appeared on the American station as commander of the British frigate Solebay, and subsequently in other vessels. In 1744 with 16 sail at the Leeward Islands he captured as pirate, privateer, or other murderous capacity 24 prizes, from one of which alone he secured plate valued at £250,000. This was a large sum in those days, especially when we consider how many miles of Broadway it would buy. He was content with only 300 acres, his Greenwich farm, the city presenting him a little more, all of which fortune became still larger by his marriage with the heiress Susannah De Lancey in 1745. Warren occupied the Fay house at the foot of Broadway, at this time, building himself an elegant country seat overlooking the Hudson River. The Warren property was cut up into lots of 12 or 15 acres each, the homestead with 55 acres selling in 1788 for $2,200, Abraham Van West purchasing it, with the square formed by Perry, Charles, Bleecker, and Fourth streets for $15,000 in 1819. Round the Warren residence gathered other notable New Yorkers. James Jauncey, William Bayard, and Oliver De Lancey, so that in 1767 this was the most fashionable and charming of country retreats. From the Bowery to Fifth avenue, north of Greenwich lane, was the Eliot estate, later owned and in 1801 bequeathed by R. R. Randall for the Sailors' Snug Harbor. Randall bought the land in 1790 from one Poelnitz for £5,000; in 1800 the income from it was $4,000; in 1848, $40,000; in 1870, $100,000; and in 1895, $350,000,
At the time when in 1783 the Americans had regained possession of the city, and the political control of the state was divided between the three families, the Livingstons, the Clintons, and the Schuylers, Aaron Burr, with an extensive and lucrative law practice, occupied an elegant mansion on Richmond hill, then a fashionable suburb of New York city. There he lived in lavish hospitality, and fought for political supremacy, not only with the Schuylers and Clintons and Livingstons, but with Alexander Hamilton, than which nothing but his life’s blood would satisfy him.
It maddened Burr to find in Hamilton an abler man than himself, and so he fastened a quarrel on him and killed him, the duel proving Burr’s financial as well as political ruin. For fifty years thereafter his widow, daughter of Philip Schuyler, continued to wear the mourning attire of the time. General Schuyler's position at this time was a proud one. Of good family, great wealth, the inheritance from his grandfather, Philip Pierterson von Schuyler, who had come from Holland and settled in Albany in castle garden 1650, being largely increased by marriage with Catherine Van Rensselaer, the friend and peer of Washington, and recognized by congress as a true patriot, there were indeed none to stand before him. The land which under authority of the Dutch West India company Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, before mentioned, had acquired in 1630-1637 to the extent of 700,000 and more acres on the Hudson River, was farmed out by him and his successors to tenants under a kind of feudal tenure. Stephen Van Rensselaer, fifth in descent from Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, and whose mother was a Livingston, inherited seigniorial rights to some 436,000 acres of land in Albany and Rensselaer counties, divided into 3,060 farms, which he was ever ready to improve but not to sell. Graduating at Harvard in 1782, he married a daughter of Philip Schuyler, became active in the political and industrial affairs of the state, promoted the Erie Canal, directed geological surveys, and founded in 1824 the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Troy.
The founder of the Livingston family in America was Robert Livingston, whose grandson Philip was prominent as a statesman of high repute long before he became a member of the continental congress and signed the declaration of independence in 1776. Born at Albany in 1716, he graduated at Yale, became a merchant in New York, and was elected to the legislature in 1758. He gave liberally to colleges, and sold part of his property that he might the better aid his country.
Charles Clinton, founder in New York of the Clinton family, came from Ireland to Philadelphia in charge of a company of emigrants in 1729. His son, George Clinton, studied law, was in 1775 delegate to the continental congress, by which body he was made brigadier-general and sent to fight for his country. He was five times governor of New York, and fourth vice-president of the United States. Another son of Charles Clinton was James, brigadier-general in the revolutionary war, and commanding at Fort Clinton on the Hudson when attacked by the British in 1777. De Witt Clinton, son of James Clinton and Mary De Witt, born at Little Britain, and student at law, was the first graduate of Columbia College after the name Kings College had been dropped. He was successively state senator, mayor of the city, and governor of the state of New York. He was the father of the Erie Canal, which united the waters of the great lakes with those of Hudson River and the Atlantic Ocean. With Governor Clinton in his efforts in behalf of the Erie Canal, was Gouverneur Morris, delegate to the continental congress in 1777, passing the winter at Valley Forge with Washington and chairman of the Erie canal commissioners from , their first meeting in 1810 to near the day of his death, which occurred in 1816. He was chosen by Robert Morris, financier and signer of the declaration of independence, and after as superintendent of finance, some mercantile speculations he purchased the patrimonial estate at Morrisania.
The cities and communities of the eastern seaboard still retain much of their original individuality, notwithstanding the changes wrought by the constant and enormous evolution of wealth. Pennsylvania has in round numbers 10,000 miles of railroads costing $1,000,000,000.
During the decade 1880-1890 manufactures doubled; with the coal mines and wells, development in this direction is practically limitless. Here, indeed, is the home of anthracite coal and rock-oil. Philadelphia has 2,000 miles of streets, along which stand 165,000 dwellings, 110,000 of which are owned by the occupants. Six people live in a house in Philadelphia; in New York, sixteen. All pertaining to the Quaker city is in the main broad and spacious, spacious streets, spacious rivers, and many parks. In Fairmount, beautiful as a dream, with its somewhat less than 3,000 acres, stand as mementoes of the Centennial exposition Horticultural and Memorial halls, while on the outskirts is the zoological garden of 35 acres. I shall not attempt to enumerate the important public and scientific edifices, the churches and hospitals, the libraries and colleges; their name is legion. Age here is eminently respectable; instance Independence hall, completed in 1735; Pennsylvania hospital, 1755; United States mint and customhouse; Girard bank and college. There are temples to the secret societies, to literature, and the fine arts; an $8,000,000 post office; $13,000,000 city hall buildings, and thousands of smaller specimens. The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, organized in 1812, has a fine museum and library, and is in some respects the most important scientific institution in America. In conchology it is surpassed in the world only by the British Museum, and in ornithology by the museum of the University of Leyden. Before this in date, but not in importance, was the American Philosophical society, established by Benjamin Franklin in 1769. Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, has the usual state buildings, arsenal, and cathedral; also extensive manufactories, iron and steel, cotton, leather, and lumber.
In New Jersey the supply of magnetic iron ore seems inexhaustible. Zinc ore is found in the crystalline limestone, from which rock also good lime is made. On the southeast side of the Kittatinny Mountains is the Hudson River roofing slate, while on the northwest side are the limestones from which Rosedale cements are made. Trenton, the capital of the state, is a city of manufactures, iron steel stone and earthen ware predominating. At Princeton, besides the college of New Jersey, are many fine collateral buildings and educational institutions. During the last half century the growth of Jersey City has been rapid, the population which in 1850 was 6,856, becoming 120,000 in 1880, and 164,000 in 1890. Several great railways start or terminate here, fleets of ferry boats connecting them with New York. It has become prominent for mills and manufactories, flour, sugar, steel, soap, pottery, tobacco, and fifty other things being made here in greater or less quantities. The stations of the New York Central and the Pennsylvania railways in New York and Jersey City are marvels of management. At the several city offices of these and other railway and steamship lines tickets may be taken for travel quite around the world. The Southern Pacific and Morgan line, for example, transports passengers and freight by its own cars and steamers to New Orleans, San Francisco, and China, there to connect with the Oriental lines for India and Europe. Newark, on the Passaic River, has fine manufacturing and commercial facilities. It is called the Birmingham of America, and so great and varied are its industries that I cannot enumerate them all; suffice it to say that all the materials in commerce are used, wood, iron, cotton, wool, leather, all the metals, as well as chemicals tobacco and silk. Pennsylvania was early in the silk industry, sending her product to England in 1726. After the civil war, in Paterson, New Jersey, called the Lyons of America, fifty silk factories arose. Brooklyn makes silk laces and handkerchiefs. California had spasms of silk culture in 1854 and 1871, but they died away. Glass making began at Salem in 1639, and at Boston in 1792. There was a glasshouse in Pennsylvania in 1683. Glassboro, New Jersey, was established in 1775, then Lancaster, and not long afterward Pittsburg took the lead in this industry, and maintained it until the product from 45 factories amounted in 1865 to $6,000,000, since which time the product in the United States has reached $25,000,000, Pennsylvania still retaining the lead. In 1829 was completed the Chesapeake and Delaware canal, 13 miles in length, at a cost of $2,250,000. Such was its benefit to commerce, that it was proposed to enlarge it to a ship canal for ocean vessels. Besides their water facilities all these states are plentifully supplied with railroads. Delaware is prolific in small fruits, which are raised in large quantities for the markets of Pennsylvania and New York. It is in other respects also an agricultural state, growing wheat and corn as well. At Wilmington, besides machine shops, are carriage morocco cotton and paper factories, and six miles away the Du Pont gunpowder works. New Castle has cotton, woolen, and rolling mills. The vast fortune, placed at $100,000,000, acquired by the Du Fonts in the manufacture of gunpowder on the bank of the Brandywine, has not been unattended by sad results, Elexis in 1857, and Lamotte in 1884, giving their lives to the cause. There are about 100 buildings in the works, and there have occurred many explosions, killing from five to forty at each explosion. The Du Ponts own about four-fifths of all the powder-mills in the country. Eugene Du Font is the present head of the family.
The name Porter is prominent in the annals of the honorable. Andrew Porter fought in the war for Independence; his son David R. Porter was governor of Pennsylvania; his nephew. Andrew, general, was in the Mexican and civil wars; Horace Porter was in the civil war. Another David Porter was naval officer in the war of 1812; David K. Porter, his son, was admiral: another son, William D. Porter, was commodore; Fitz John Porter, nephew of David Porter, was general in the civil war. J. S. Porter was an author; P. B. Porter a general, and Noah Porter president of Yale College. Probably the greatest financier of his day was Robert Morris, 1734-1806, for there is nothing so difficult to manage as money where there is none. First as clerk in the counting-house of Charles Willing, then as partner of his son, then as member of congress and manager of the fiscal affairs of the nation, he displayed marked ability. And yet he seemed unable to care for himself; for investing in lands, a proceeding which has led to the founding of so many great families, he lost all, and lingered out a cheerless old age in prison for debt.
Since the time of Franklin Philadelphia has ever been prominent in educational matters. Nor was Stephen Girard's benefaction ever more highly regarded than now. Because of certain peculiarities of habit and disposition, and because he would not make his college sectarian, as was the custom of the time, but rather excluded clergymen, there were not wanting those to malign, and call the founder miser, infidel, and void of natural feeling and affection. Such was by no means the case, as is proved by many acts of kindness, as well as by the crowning act of his life. Not every man is bad who cannot get along with an ill-tempered or insane wife. During the yellow fever scourge which swept Philadelphia in 1793, driving out among others many kind and charitable people, this one-eyed man of money left his bank and his bags and ministered with his own hands and presence to the plague-stricken poor. During the war of 1812, when government credit was so low that but $20,000 of a loan of $5,000,000 was subscribed, Girard took the whole of it and saved the credit of the nation. And yet he was only a French sailor man, born at Bordeaux in 1750, and driven into the Delaware River by a privateer. Selling his vessel and cargo, he gave himself up to money getting, first as merchant and then as banker which in due time, with rigid economy and self-denial resulted in a fortune of $7,500,000, since his death grown to $26,000,000. With this money he left minute instructions how a college for orphans should be founded, and the buildings erected,—the main edifice of white marble and pure Corinthian architecture, placed in 41 acres of playground and gardens, and surrounded by a wall ten feet high, which with five other buildings now constitute the college. Himself of the strictest integrity he directed that sound, morality should be taught, but no enforced religion. Thus he lived and labored, and wrought out for his fellow men this great benefaction. I do not say for the love of God, or of humanity, or from the inexorable necessity to work; I only my fecit he did it.
The weaving of Axminster carpets in America was begun by William P. Sprague, in 1791, in Philadelphia, which has ever since been the leading city for carpets, though for thirty years after Sprague began few mills were started. Though among the foremost in carriage making. Philadelphia is obliged to share the honors with New York, Chicago, Boston, and Cincinnati.
The general wealth of the people of the United States, and the extent of country having good roads make this industry large and important. John Dickinson, the Pennsylvania farmer as he was called, but statesman and patriot as he was in fact, lived in Philadelphia before the Independence in elegant style at Fair hill, an estate which came to him with Mary, his wife, from her father, Isaac Norris. He was closely associated with such men as Benjamin Franklin and John Adams in their efforts to establish human rights in America. In return for his liberal assistance in founding a college at Carlisle, in 1782, the institution was called Dickinson College. On Bush hill stood the mansion once occupied by the colonial governor, Andrew Hamilton, afterward by the vice-president of the United States, and later still by the scourge stricken poor of 1793. Through the efforts of Benjamin Franklin $10,000 was raised in 1751 by the citizens of Philadelphia for the Academy and Charitable School, which in due time became the Pennsylvania university. To the scientific school of this institution Lenning gave $750,000, and Charles C. Harrison and his brother endowed the John Harrison laboratory of chemistry with $500,000 in honor of their grandfather. George Pepper bequeathed a million to the schools and charities of Philadelphia.
In 1837 the Drexel banking house was founded by Francis M. Drexel, and rose to wealth and high distinction. Two sons continued the business after the father’s death, A. J. Drexel, who founded the Drexel Institute, giving thereto over $2,000,000 besides bequeathing $1,000,000 to an art gallery and $100,000 to the German hospital, and F. A. Drexel, who also gave liberally to charity. Miss C. A. Drexel took the black veil at the convent of the Sisters of Mercy, in 1890, after endowing a new order with $7,000,000. John I. Blair of New Jersey, merchant banker and politician, made most of his millions in building and operating western railroads, notably the Union Pacific, in connection with Oakes Ames and Charles Francis Adams. He was charitable in his way, giving liberally to sectarian colleges and churches. A political power both during and after the civil war was Simon Cameron, who at one time engaged in business and made money.
James A. Dallas and George M. Dallas, father and son, were both prominent statesmen of Philadelphia, the former with Albert Gallatin in the direction of government finances and banking, the latter as diplomat and vice-president of the United States. Gallatin was a Swiss who came to America in 1780, and after failing in other things entered politics, and in due time became congressmen and secretary of the treasury. The Careys, Mathew and Henry C, father and son, were noted no less for their learning than for their wealth and enterprise. They were printers and publishers of newspapers and books from 1785 to 1836, and authors of many economical works of the highest order. John Lowber Welsh, father and son, have gained distinction, the former as minister to England and manager of the Centennial Exposition of 1876, and the other as financier and manipulator of street railways and traction companies. Arthur St. Glair in 1762 brought a colony of Scotch settlers to Pennsylvania. He was general in the revolutionary war, and a member of the court-martial that condemned Andre as a spy.
From the opening of the 19th century New York City progressed rapidly. Buildings were erected in City hall park; Astor’s residence gave place to the Astor house; Washington square, where had been the Potters field, became the fashionable quarter; Samuel B. Ruggles laid out Gramercy park; the farms and orchards around Astor place disappeared and Grace church, the Astor library, and Cooper institute arose; lines of fast sailing ships were established to Liverpool and Havre; the steam engine and printing press were utilized; Low, Griswold, and Aspinwall inaugurated the era of clipper ships by lines to California and China; Thompson's Madison cottage gave way to the Fifth Avenue hotel; the New York Central, Erie, and Hudson River railroads were built; lines of telegraph were completed in 1845 to Philadelphia, in 1846 to Boston, and in 1847 to Albany; the dedication of East River bridge occurred in 1883; Bartholdi’s statue of Liberty Enlightening the World was unveiled in 1886; and the population which in 1830 was 200,000, in 1860, 800,000, and in 1880, 1,200,000, became, with the environs comprising Greater New York, 3,000,000. Broadway, with its five miles to Central Park and nine miles of boulevard continuation, is the longest street of elegant business and residence houses in the world, while Fifth Avenue is a name synonymous with all that is elegant and expensive in luxurious living. Here and in the vicinity are, beside the Vanderbilts and the Astors Huntington, the Goelets, the Havemeyers, the Stuarts, Russell Sage, Bishop, Depew, Flagler, Whitney, Flower, and a host of others whose fortunes range from a hundred millions down. Wall Street, likewise, is another name for wealth, and the rapid revolution of the wheel of fortune. Central Park, with its 840 acres, retains much of its natural beauty, in its rocks, lakes and woods.
Begun in 1857, nearly $200,000,000 have here been spent. Prominent objects are the Dairy, the Carrousel, the Egyptian Obelisk, Menagerie, Casino, and Reservoirs. Riverside Park and drive also present scenes of exquisite beauty. Here, also, and in scores of other parks and squares are innumerable busts, statues, and monuments, conspicuous among which is Washington Memorial arch in Washington square. Trinity became the richest church in the United States. Besides the main edifice at the head of Wall Street, there were four branch churches built. The names of its patrons and promoters may be read on the street corners, Vesey, Reade, Ludlow, Beekman, Murray, Desbrosses, Livingston, Chambers, and Clarkson. The corporation bought lots on these and other streets from time to time, which are worth now perhaps $20,000,000. A list of the more important buildings and business houses would here be impracticable, but I will mention a few as representative of metropolitan greatness in this first of republics. In the lower part of the island, high buildings are becoming common, as those of the World and other newspapers, the Home Life, Mutual Life and other insurance companies; the Washington and other office buildings. For hotels, beside the Waldorf-Astoria I might mention the Hoffman house, the Imperial, New Netherland, and Savoy as examples. Churches—Trinity, Grace St. Patrick, Bethel, St John and scores of others. For public buildings there are the post office, mint, city hall; some fine banking institutions,—Clearing house, Ninth National, New Amsterdam, Mount Morris; club houses—Manhattan, Union, New York, Metropolitan; theaters—Madison Square, Lyceum, and Opera houses; mercantile houses,—Arnold and Constable. Lord and Taylor, Tiffany, Sloane, Wanamaker, Borgfeld, Jaffray, Morgan, McCreery, and 500 others. The Hoe works, where saws and printing presses are made, at Grand and Columbia streets, are the result of the evolution of this industry in America. Robert Hoe came from England in 1804, and the present head of the firm is the third of that name. The Standard oil building is at 26 Broadway; American sugar refinery, Brooklyn; American Bank Note company. Trinity place; Ansonia Clock Company. Brooklyn; Ironclad Manufacturing Company, Brooklyn; Steinway Piano factory, Park avenue; New York Biscuit company,—this will suffice as examples.
The largest circulating library in New York is the Mercantile; the united Astor Lenox and Tilden foundations, as organized for their new building on the site of the Croton reservoir. Fifth Avenue, is one of the largest and most complete reference libraries in the world. James Lenox, born in the city of New York in 1800, inherited great wealth from his father, part of which was a farm of 300 acres in about the center of Manhattan Island, and through which Fifth Avenue ran later. He was an ardent lover of books, his special interest being in works relating to America. The Tilden trust came through a desire of Samuel J. Tilden to found a library. These three great collections united give to writers and scholars in America equal advantages with those of Europe. The Lenox property is valued at $5,500,000, Astor $2,000,000, and the Tilden $2,000,000.
Walldorf, near Heidelberg, was the birth place of John Jacob Astor, who came to the United States at the twenty, in 1783.
Becoming interested in the fur trade, he devoted himself with industry and intelligence to that occupation, becoming ultimately the wealthiest man at the time in the United States. Among other projects in connection with the fur trade, he proposed to establish a line of posts from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, and thence by way of the Hawaiian Islands to China, India and so around the world. In 1811 he founded Astoria, at the mouth of the Columbia River, as his metropolitan post on the Pacific. Failing to carry out his views in this respect, he bought land and built houses in and old stock exchange Philadelphia around New York, investments which could not possibly have been better for his descendants. Besides many other bequests, he gave $50,000 to the poor of his native town, and $400,000 to found the Astor library. He was worth $250,000 in 1800, and $20,000,000 when he died, in 1848. The lot on Lafayette place, 80 by 120 feet, was set apart for the library by the founder. William B. Astor in 1856 giving ground adjoining, of equal dimensions, upon which a building was erected in 1895 similar to the one previously built by order of his father, at the same time making a further donation to the library for books and the library fund of $50,000. William B. Astor, 1792-1875, eldest son of John Jacob Astor, born in New York and educated at Heidelberg and Gottengen, became partner with his father in the fur trade, forming in 1827 the American Fur company, with wide connections and an enormous business. Besides owning 700 houses, William invested in railway, coal, and insurance companies. He was a liberal, high-minded man, his gifts and bequests to the Astor library alone amounting to $550,000. The estimated value of the Astor estate at the time of his death was $45,000,000. He was succeeded by his son John Jacob Astor, 1822-1890, who added a third building to the Astor library at a cost of $250,000, besides giving largely for the purchase of books. He founded the New York Cancer hospital, and gave largely to St. Luke’s hospital. His son, William Waldorf Astor, graduated at Columbia and became state senator in 1879, besides writing two romances of merit. The Astor estate is now estimated at $200,000,000. There are many fine hotels in the world, but beyond question the two most elegant, costly, and artistic, within and without, are the Waldorf and the Astoria, on Fifth Avenue, the former the property of William Waldorf Astor, and the latter of John Jacob Astor.
From his father, Peter Smith, partner in the fur business with John Jacob Astor, Gerrit Smith inherited a large fortune, consisting for the most part of land in almost every county in the state of New York. Gerrit Smith lived and administered his vast estate at Peterboro. He gave land in large quantities to public and private charity, distributing in one year, 1848, 200,000 acres in tracts of 50 acres. He contributed largely to the colonization and anti-slavery societies, and was a friend and supporter of John Brown, giving him special and substantial aid in his attack on Harper’s ferry. Men now great though then derided, clustered round Arthur Tappan and his brother Lewis, dry goods merchants and abolitionists of New York. They fostered the bible and tract societies, and founded the New York Journal of Commerce, Horace Bushnell being one of the editors. Their store and Arthur’s dwelling were mobbed, and their trade with the south threatened. "Our goods and not our principles are for sale,” they said. Arthur Tappan was the first president of the American Anti- slavery society; he once delivered William Lloyd Garrison from the Baltimore jail by paying his fine.
Kinlock Stuart, father of the great sugar and syrup men of half a century ago, was a small candy dealer in Barclay Street, where he began business in 1805. He was a thrifty Scotchman of strictest integrity, a large giver when large gifts were rare, and he made for his sons, Robert L. and Alexander Stuart, a fortune of $100,000. These introduced the steam-refining process, and their sales during the decade 1860-1870 were $36,000,000 a year.
Jason Gould, or Jay Gould, the name by which he is better known, was born at Roxbury, Mass., May 27, 1836. His parents were John Burr Gould and Mary More, who was descended from an old Scotch family, that emigrated from Ayrshire in 1772. The Goulds, or Golds, were a good English family, coming from St. Edmondsbury to Fairfield, Conn., in 1646. The pioneer ancestor was Major Nathan Gold, whose son, Nathan, Jr., was deputy governor of Connecticut in 1706 and chief justice of the supreme court of the state in 1724. Several of the family were soldiers in the American revolution. Colonel Abraham Gold, Jay Gould's grandfather, married Elizabeth Burr, whose father was one of the founders of Springfield, Mass. Colonel Abraham Gold was the first of his line to spell his name Gould. He was killed at the head of his regiment during the revolution. Captain Abraham, his son, settled in Roxbury in 1780, and his son was John Burr Gould, the father of the subject of this sketch.
Young Jay was educated at the district school and at Beechwood and Hobart seminaries. At the age of seventeen he studied Latin and Greek at Albany. His constitution not being strong, he could not work on the farm, so his father started a hardware store in Roxbury, in which the son began as a clerk, and soon became a partner and chief manager. During his leisure hours he studied surveying, speedily becoming competent, and his next step in life was on his own account. In April, 1852, he was engaged to survey and map Ulster County, New York at a salary of $20, and afterwards $30 a month. He took in partners to assist him, and came out with $500 clear. He tried hard to realize enough money to go to Yale, but this dream was never realized. Mr. Gould however became a certified civil engineer. In 1853 to 1856, he surveyed and mapped the counties of Albany, Delaware, and Sullivan, and the town of Cohoes. He also superintended the mapping of counties in Ohio and Michigan. His first railroad experience was the surveying of the railroad from Newburg to Syracuse, and of the Albany and Niskayuna Plank road. The young man in these contracts made his first large profit, realizing $5,000. During his surveying in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, he wrote a history of the county, but in 1856 the manuscript was burned. He rewrote the whole book, nearly all from memory, and it is a good reference book to this day.
He founded the town of Gouldsboro in eastern Pennsylvania and established a tannery. He felled the first tree, built a blacksmith shop and cabin, constructed a plank road, organized a stage route and two churches, built a schoolhouse, created a bank, and became postmaster. The firm of Jay Gould and company was organized and the tannery transacted a large business. After a dispute with his partner he sold his interest and the tannery fell into decay and ruin. About 1860 Mr. Gould became first identified with railroads. He purchased bonds of the Rutland and Washington railway company and transformed a bankrupt road into a good paying corporation. From this time forth his career is a matter of history. His financial transactions have been the marvel of the whole world and it is said of him that he never broke a promise and always kept his word. As a railroad manager he was connected with the Union Pacific the Texas and Pacific, the Wabash, the Erie, the Cleveland and Pittsburg, and the Missouri Pacific. All of them have benefited by his management, and developed into valuable properties.
He assisted Cyrus W. Field out of his troubles with the Manhattan Elevated, at great inconvenience to himself, and he made the road a great public benefit and profitable institution. Among other great corporations that are due to his genius for organization and development are the Western Union Telegraph company and he at one time controlled all the cable lines to Europe, with ocean cables to Europe, West Indies and South America.
Though giving largely to charitable and philanthropic enterprises, Jay Gould's gifts were made on condition that no publicity should be given. His purity in private life, his generosity, and his fidelity to his friends were proverbial.
Notwithstanding his strenuous business life, Jay Gould was an ideal husband and father, devoted to his family and finding his greatest pleasure in his home.
At his death in 1892, he left an estate declared to be worth $100,000,000 to be divided among six children: Helen Miller, George J., Edwin, Howard, Anna, and Frank Jay.
His son, George J., succeeded to the great business responsibilities, and at once took a prominent position Helen Miller in the financial world, administering the vast properties under his control with judgment and skill. Gould, eldest daughter of Jay Gould, has won national esteem for her many charitable acts and practical efforts to lessen the burdens of the unfortunate, besides carrying out in large measure her father's plans for the wise encouragement of educational and other worthy institutions.
The Garrisons are of the best stock of Manhattan Island, being among the earliest Hollanders settling in New Amsterdam, on one side being the Garrisons and Coverts, and on the other the Kingslands and Schuylers, all old Knickerbockers. Cornelius K. Garrison was born near West Point on the Hudson in 1809, thence going to New York to study architecture. But falling into the active affairs of the times stirred by California gold, he in due time became founder of the Nicaragua steamship line, banker, and mayor of San Francisco. He was always ready with his money, not only for moral and benevolent purposes, but for any public good work. His salary as mayor he divided equally between the two principal orphan asylums of San Francisco, and during the civil war he fitted out with his own money to a great extent the Butler Ship-island expedition.
William Re Tallack Garrison, son of C. K. Garrison, was born in Goderick, Canada, June 18, 1834. After graduating at Palmyra College in 1852, he joined his father in San Francisco, entering the bank of Garrison and Fritz. He was his father's adviser and associate in all his enterprises, and for five years was his active successor. He became identified with the leading interests of the Pacific coast and was appointed an aide on the staff of the governor of California, and was for several years acting colonel of the state artillery.
In 1864 he rejoined his father in New York City, where he resided until his death. He established steamship lines between the port of New York and New Orleans, Savannah, Cuba, and Brazil. In 1876, he became largely interested in railway matters, being drawn in that direction by his father's purchase of the Missouri Pacific property. He was vice-president and acting president of the company until the road was disposed of to good advantage.
As his father had been a pioneer in developing western navigation, William became prominent in the cause of rapid transit in New York City. He was made president of the Metropolitan elevated railroad. Subsequently, when the Manhattan railroad leased the two rival lines, the Metropolitan and New York, he was chosen president of the consolidated company. Mr. Garrison's reputation for administrative capacity and ability was such that other capitalists sought to secure his cooperation when undertaking any project of unusual magnitude. He was vice-president of the Wabash railway company, a director of the Mercantile Loan and Trust company of New York, the Mutual Gas Light company of Boston, the Hoosac Tunnel and Western and the Northern Pacific railways, and the United States Life Saving service.
He was also identified with many organizations of a charitable nature and was much interested in the promotion of liberal education. He was president of the New York club, and a member of the Union, New York Yacht, Jockey, and many other organizations of New York City. His knowledge of and attention to even the minutest details was an important factor in his success. His memory was remarkable, while upon questions of honor he was uncompromising.
In the midst of his career a railway accident at Elberon, July 1, 1882, terminated William Garrison's life. He was married September 25, 1856, to Mary Elizabeth, daughter of General James Madison Estill of Kentucky, then commander of the state forces of California. She is a direct descendant of Captain James Estill, the historic hero of the Kentucky Indian wars and her great-grandfather was for fifty years judge of the supreme court of that state. Her father's family was allied by marriage to Sir William Wallace, the hero of Scotland, and its original representative in America. Wallace Estill, was commander of a company of cavaliers who settled in Virginia in 1666 under letters patent from Charles II. After following the fortunes of the elder Charles, he married Mary Ann Campbell of the Argyle clan. Mr. and Mrs. Garrison had four children: Mary Noye, wife of Vicomte Gaston, Chandon de Briailles of France. Martha Estelle, wife of the Hon Charles Maule Ramsay, son of Admiral Ramsay, William Re Tallack Garrison, married to Constance Clementine Coudert, daughter of Charles Coudert, and Katherine Esther Garrison.
Three times the great showman, P. T. Barnum, raised himself from earth to fortune. Born in Bethel, Connecticut, in 1810, Barnum was thrown upon his resources at fifteen and was successively clerk, editor and village storekeeper before he engaged in the business in which he achieved world-wide reputation. Exhibiting for a time Joyce Heth as the nurse of Washington for $1,500 a week, he was enabled to establish Barnum's museum.
He secured Jenny Lind in 1849 to sing 150 nights in the United States for $1,000 a night; she sang 95 nights only, but the gross receipts were $712,161. All this was lost in a clock company. He recuperated in England showing Tom Thumb to Queen Victoria. Then his museum was burned; but from out the fire he soon appeared with "the greatest show on earth.” England was kind to him again; and being rich once more he published his Autobiography, and Humbugs of the World, and Lion Jack. And then he died, Paran Stevens and Alfred B. Darling, brought into association by the development of the Fifth Avenue hotel, were both at first poor boys and later hotel men, the former in Boston as keeper of the Revere house, and the latter as clerk in various hotels. Paran Stevens at one time controlled hotels in Boston, Philadelphia, and Mobile. He became interested in the Fifth Avenue hotel in 1858, and the hotel has been popular with noted people for half a century. He died in 1872, leaving large realty holdings in the metropolis.
There were giants in those days among the great newspapers, James Gordon Bennett of the Herald; Horace Greeley of the Tribune; Manton Marble of the World, and later Joseph Pulitzer with his several millions and house at Bar Harbor; Henry J. Raymond of the Times; Charles A. Dana of the Sun; David M. Stone, Journal of Commerce; William Cullen Bryant, Evening Post; Thurlow Weed, Commercial Advertiser; and James Brooks of the Evening Express. Thurlow Weed was worth $2,000,000; James Gordon Bennett the elder made three or four millions by his paper; the younger Bennett very many times more; indeed his income cannot fall far short of a million of dollars a year. The elder Bennett was a Scotchman, drawn to the United States by Franklin’s Autobiography. For some thirteen years he struggled with circumstances in New York, teaching school, writing, reporting, and trying to get a newspaper of his own successfully launched, which was accomplished in 1835, the New York Herald being then started as an independent one cent paper. Continued, and brought to the foremost state of efficiency and influence by James Gordon Bennett Jr., the wildest visions of the father are immeasurably more than realized in the achievements of the son. Horace Greeley came from Amherst, New Hampshire, in 1831, working hard setting type and reporting for ten years, and starting the Tribune in 1841. He was always a liberal giver according to his means. The Evening Post was started by Alexander Hamilton, under the management of William Coleman, and at whose death in 1829 William Cullen Bryant came in as editor and part owner, which position he held for about half a century.
A fit temple to finance is the marble Clearing House of New York, said to rival the house of Diana of Ephesus, or any of the ancient temples of gods or goddesses dedicated to power or pleasure. Pilgrims to the western shrine of Mammon are the money magnates of America, bank presidents and bullion warehousemen, and all who love lucre and the handling thereof by the ship load. Every morning within a period of ten minutes $150,000,000 change hands. An armed guard watches the steel vaults containing the surplus millions night and day. The roof of the room where the bank presidents hold their meetings is overlaid with gold, and furnished with a throne for the president and massive armed chairs covered with leather for the members. There is a superbly finished and furnished library room with frescoed ceilings and walls of mahogany panels. Polished Sienna marble is conspicuous in the pilasters and window and door frames of the several rooms of the building.
The financial center and financial barometer of the United States is Wall Street, a narrow roadway one- fourth of a mile in length, in or near it being the United States sub-treasury, stock produce and other exchanges, and offices of the great banks, brokers, and railway steamship and other corporations. When the rush for California gold broke out, Wilson G. Hunt was a New York merchant in the line of woolen goods. With him was Henry Clews, who afterwards went into Wall Street and gained distinction by negotiating loans for the government during the civil war, in which business Jay Cooke was also engaged. To the heavy Wall Street operators of a half or quarter century ago, like Daniel Drew, Leonard W. Jerome, David Groesbeck, Jacob Little, Jay Cooke Fisk and Hatch, life was one continued gambling game; and it was a dull day for them when what would be a fortune to most men was not won or lost. Groesbeck was a quiet, methodical, and honorable man, and worth some $10,000,000, Jay Cooke made his millions as agent for the government 7-30 and 5-20 bonds. In his Fifth Avenue house August Belmont had a half-million dollar picture gallery. James Brown, linen draper from the north of Ireland, founded Brown Brothers and company, and was worth twelve or fifteen millions. James G. King’s sons though very wealthy were always without ostentation. George Law was one of the wealthiest men of his day, building High bridge for the Croton aqueduct, sending muskets to filibusters in Cuba, and coining into money the infelicities of passengers by his steamers to California.
Law's career is a striking example of what may be accomplished through energy and self-reliance, and without influence or other advantages. Starting out for himself at eighteen with $40, he worked as a quarryman and on canals, finally taking contracts for canal work himself. In six years he had amassed $3,000, and in another four years had increased the amount tenfold, while before another ten years had passed he was widely known as one of the wealthy men of the country.
Russell Sage, worth $100,000,000 made in stock speculations, is a man of ready money, keeping more cash on hand than anyone else in America. He was born in the Mohawk valley in 1816, where at first he worked on a farm, then in a store, then went into politics, and finally to Wall Street. He and Jay Gould assisted each other in times of emergency. James Fisk, once Gould’s partner, was a bold dashing fellow, the reverse of Gould, who was of a quiet and retiring disposition. Fisk claims to have controlled more gold on the memorable Black Friday than ever the Rothschilds held, and had it not been for the president's founder interference he would have cleaned up thirty millions. Thurlow Weed was a printer with James Harper, of Harper and brothers, whence he went to conduct a country paper in the interests of DeWitt Clinton and the Erie canal. Daniel Drew was engaged in steam boating on the Hudson during the fierce rivalry of Vanderbilt, George Law, and others, in the forties. Then he went into Harlem railroad and other stocks, and to plunging in Wall Street. All this time he was religious and charitable, his benefactions running largely to churches and schools. He gave his name and $1,000,000 to the Drew theological seminary at Madison, New Jersey, gave $100,000 to the Wesleyan University at Middletown, Connecticut, and $30,000 to St. Paul’s, New York. James R. Keene came from California with a million or two, and undertook to apply San Francisco methods in Wall Street. Keene worked a tripartite game with Gould, Sage, and himself, coming out all right in the end, but only after great tribulation. The most of Joseph J. O' Donohue's fortune of $5,000,000 was made in coffee. John H. Starin, who was assisted in his beginning by the elder Cornelius Vanderbilt, spent his early life in the Mohawk valley, before starting out in the accumulation of his $20,000,000. John H. Inman came from Tennessee to New York, and was assisted in his earlier efforts by Richard T. Wilson, finally gathering in $8,000,000 after the war from southern railways and cotton.
Matthew Vassar migrated from England to America in 1796, became rich as a Pough-keepsie brewer, and founded in 1816 what is in some respects the finest college for women in the world. Mr. Vassar gave first $400,000 and 200 acres of land; afterward making large additions during his life, and at his death bequeathing $250,000 more. Matthew Vassar Jr., and John G. Vassar, nephew of the founder, have also given liberally. The main college building is of brick trimmed with blue freestone, 500 by 700 feet, with transverse wings. Peter Cooper had a varied life, first at hat ale and brick making; then coach maker and machinist; next grocer and glue maker; also oil, whiting, prepared chalk and isinglass.—all this in New York before 1828. He then bought 3,000 acres of land near Baltimore for $105,000, and erected ironworks, and there made from his own designs in 1830 the first railway locomotive in the United States. Iron works in New York followed, and their removal to New Jersey, and again to Pennsylvania, employing now 2,500 men. He was always an inventor, and at the end a philanthropist. The building of his Cooper Union—the union of science and art—cost him $634,000, to which other large sums were added for the carrying out of his benevolent purposes in connection therewith.
It was intended specially to benefit the laboring classes. After giving his first half million he had $150,000 left for his own wants, but habits of money making had become so much a part of his nature, that his fortune was regained almost before he knew it. The New York Academy of Science dates from 1876, although before then was a Lyceum of Natural History, incorporated in 1818, acquiring a library and specimens collection and herbarium, nearly all of which were burned. The Museum of Natural History in Central park has extensive and well filled cabinets. In 1828 was organized the Albany Institute, in 1861 the Buffalo Society of Natural History, in 1874 the Poughkeepsie Society of Natural History, and in 1881 the Rochester Academy of Natural Science; not to mention the many minor associations, like the American Chemical Society, established in New York in 1876, the herbarium of Columbia College, and the collections of Cornell. The donations of James B. Colegate to the Colegate University of Hamilton, New York, have reached the sum of $2,000,000, Asa Packer gave the Lehigh University $3,500,000; Paul Tulane, Tulane University $2,500,000; William C. De Pauw, De Pauw University $1,500,000: Isaac Rich, Boston University $2,000,000; Leonard Case, School of Applied Sciences, Cleveland, Ohio, $1,200,000.
Among other useful benefactions of New York are an academy and home for shipbuilders established by W. H. Webb; a trade school founded by Richard T. Auchmuty; the Baron Hirsch fund trade schools; the Cooper Union night schools of science; the D. O. Mills training school for male nurses; the Marquand, and Sturgis pavilions and Townsend building, Bellevue hospital; Montefiore home; Vanderbilt Clinic; Randal Sailor’s Snug Harbor; Palmer actors fund; Sloane maternity hospital; Isaac T. Hopper home; Leakc and Watts orphan house; the McAuley mission; the James H. Roosevelt hospital, founded with $1,000,000; the Ottendorfer home for old women, while also well known in charitable circles are other benefactions by Elbridge T. Gerry, Morris K . Jessup, John D. Archbold, R. E. Hopkins. James B. Colegate, John E. Andrus, J. J. McComb, Minturn, Norrie, Dubois, Osborne, Pratt, Morgan, Flagler, and a host of others. Jonas G. Clark founded in Worcester, Massachusetts, the Clark University, and gave to Hubbardston, his native town, a free public library building. Horatio Seymour was a man of large means, and though a lawyer never practiced; he was one of the best governors the north had. Charles O’Conor had an income of seventy or eighty thousand a year; James T. Brady not so much; the Tammany leader, Peter B. Sweeney, owned up to a million. Clergymen in those days like H. W. Beecher, E. H. Chapin, H. W. Bellows, William Adams, and O. B. Frothingham received salaries of $10,000 a year. John W. Draper, scientist and author, of the University of New York, was one whom all men might love and respect. He made many discoveries in science, was the first to photograph the human face, and was no whit behind Buckle in his philosophical writings. David Dudley Field, a Connecticut clergyman, was the father of four sons who gained distinction,—David Dudley Field, lawyer, of New York, and codifier of the laws; Cyrus W. Field, merchant, and one of the founders of ocean telegraphy; Stephen J. Field, judge of the United States Supreme court; and Henry M. Field, clergyman and author.
Ezra Cornell, of Quaker parentage, after youthful experience in the manufacture of pottery and machine making, became interested in the construction of telegraph lines, in due time laying the foundations of a fortune which found ultimate expression in lands. His first endowment of $500,000 to the university at Ithaca was afterward largely increased. Henry W. Sage gave liberally to this institution. Eugene Kelly, the rich banker, left large bequests to charitable institutions in New York. The Albany Institute for the Advancement of Science, founded in 1791, has a valuable library, and its transactions are widely circulated. Among the largest contributors to Princeton besides Mr. Green, were James Lenox, John I. Blair, the first to build a railroad in New Jersey, H. N. Halstead, William Libbey, the Marquands, Robert Homier, and R. L. and A. Stuart. Besides over $1,000,000 from Seth Low, Columbia College has had large gifts from J. Morgan, W. C. Schermerhorn, Cornelius Vanderbilt and Willis James. Thirty persons gave $5,000 or more each to the University of Rochester. Charles Contoit, in 1897, left $1,500,000 to charity, mostly Episcopal institutions in New York City. The Greens of Princeton have been very liberal to the college. Charles E. Green giving $1,500,000, and John C . Green founding the Lawrenceville preparatory school.
Manhattan Island has a water front available for vessels of about 25 miles, and from its piers and wharves are departures and arrivals to and from every nook and corner of the globe. The harbor defenses would be called good, but for the constantly new inventions of death-dealing implements.
Imports and exports are each about a thousand millions annually. All along the banks of the Hudson are picturesque towns and beautiful homes. At Poughkeepsie, besides Vassar College, and hundreds of elegant residences, are the St. Barnabas, Vassar brothers, and insane hospitals, and manufactories of iron, beer, glass, leather, pottery, and mowing machines. Erastus Corning was a merchant in Albany before the days of western railroads, in the building of which he took an active interest, projecting several roads and executing large contracts, particularly between Albany and Buffalo. Henry Farnum was another great railroad builder, his operations for the most part being further west. Silas Seymour aided in building the Erie Railroad, and then continued operations in the west. In like manner Sidney Dillon served an apprenticeship railway building in New York, acquiring distinction more particularly on the Union Pacific line. Of French Huguenot stock, Chauncey Depew’s ancestors farmed the family acres at Peekskill, the present representative studying law and becoming a great orator and financier. Thomas A. Edison has taken out 400 patents, some of them in foreign countries as well as in the United States. Born in Ohio in 1847, he had no education except such as he obtained from his mother and learned himself. He picked up telegraphy at a railway station, all the time making chemical and other experiments, invented the printing telegraph, and erected large works at Menlo Park, New Jersey. Wonderful indeed are his discoveries in the directions of sound and electricity. Naturally his income and his wealth are very large. In New York the Edison Electric Illuminating company have buildings at Pearl and Elm streets, and on 26th street. The next great invention should be a motive power from concentrated solar heat, and it is understood that John Ericsson, who built the iron-clad monitors during the war, has spent some time on the construction of a solar engine. John Wanamaker was born in 1838; earned two cents a day turning 500 bricks for his father before going to school; walked four miles twice a day to earn $1.25 a week in a book store, eating a two-cent dinner; next $1.50 a week in a clothing store; published a paper, soliciting for the advertisements and subscriptions himself; became active in Sunday school work; engaged in the clothing business on the one-price principle, and got rich. He erected a large building, and added dry goods and everything else to his business. He founded various benevolent and educational institutions. Finally, he took in as a branch the A. T. Stewart establishment in New York, after a term at Washington as manager of the nations post offices.
When the era of trans-continental railroad building opened, with the civil war as a stimulant, Thomas C. Durant was engaged in grain transportation in Albany. In 1863 he aided in procuring subscriptions to the two millions of stock required by congress before beginning the Union Pacific, in the building of which he aided, and pocketed his millions. Great as are railroads, the days of canals have by no means passed away; they have hardly begun, that is to say, steamship or ocean-vessel canals, or other than the horse and tow-path navigation. Christopher Colles, in 1784 presented a proposal to the New York assembly to connect Lake Ontario with the Hudson River by canals. It is estimated that an interior waterway from New York to the Gulf of Mexico, such as has been contemplated, could be constructed for 380,000,000. A commission appointed by the president of the United States to report on a new deep waterway from Niagara River via Lake Ontario to New York harbor estimated the cost at $82,000,000. It was a great event, the celebrating of the wedding of the waters of the great lakes with those of the ocean on the completion in 1825 of the Erie Canal, the foundation of New York's commercial greatness. Guns were stationed at intervals the whole length of the canal, from Buffalo to Albany, and down the river to the bay. Upon the departure of the first flotilla of canal boats from Buffalo, a gun was fired, and upon the signal, and the next, and then the next, and so all along the line of canal and river, until in one hour and twenty-five minutes from the discharge of the first gun at Buffalo was fired the last one at New York. Such was gunpowder telegraphy at the end of the first quarter of the 19th century. At Lockport the Erie Canal makes a descent of 66 feet and has ten massive locks to stay its waters, sufficient water power is here afforded to run many mills and factories, among which are lumber, flour, cotton, and woolen, besides foundries and machine shops.
Buffalo of late years has received an impetus in prosperity from the development of power for electrical purposes at Niagara Falls. Many railways center there, which with the Erie Canal and its position on the lake give it every commercial and industrial advantage. The business of elevating, storing, and transferring grain has here assumed large proportions, a score or so of these huge structures being controlled by an elevator association. Iron foundries and lumber are leading interests, and also the manufacture of boots and shoes, cigars, pianos, boats, scales, furniture, and carriages. The Holland Land Company founded the place, in 1801, where now stands one of the large cities of the commonwealth, with schools, libraries, churches, a fine art academy, historical society, and mechanics' institute. The power producing electrical plant is on a par with its stupendous surroundings, and able to deliver the current at New York on the one side and Cleveland on the other. The plant consists of an inlet canal a mile and a half above the American fall, with gates at the lower end, this canal being a reservoir into which the water backs, and having a capacity of 100,000 horse power. Pits into which the water falls from gateways descend from the canal, at the bottom of which turbine wheels are placed, and over which is the electrical powerhouse. A $3,500,000 canal is slowly penetrating its way under the Hudson. The Harlem Canal, as the enlargement of Spuyten Duyvil Creek is called, has proved a great aid to commerce in that quarter. A $75,000,000 canal project is to pierce the Florida peninsula. The Croton aqueduct is 38 miles long with a daily capacity of 100,000,000 gallons. At Pittsburg, in 1845, was built the suspension canal aqueduct, supported by two cables seven inches in diameter.
Some of the noted bridges in the United States, besides the Suspension bridge at Niagara Falls, and the Brooklyn Bridge, New York, are the Conemaugh, Carrollton, Kinyua, Starucca, Genesee, Wissahickon viaducts, the Stone street bridge, Philadelphia, the Schuylkill and Susquehanna bridges, and the Wenton, Pittsburg, Passaic, Raritan, Potomac, and Hudson River bridges. There are many magnificent bridges across the mid-continent rivers, the Ohio, Mississippi, Kentucky, Illinois, and Missouri, as the Cincinnati and Covington, the Quincy, Omaha, St. Paul, Minnehaha, St. Louis, Mandan, and others. The Brooklyn bridge, with the approaches on either side, is about a mile long; width 85 feet; four cables each 15 ½ inches in diameter; piers 280 feet high, 134 feet long by 56 feet wide at the water line; cost $15,000,000. It is the largest suspension bridge in the world, and was 13 years in building. Length of Niagara Falls bridge 800 feet; height of towers, 78 feet; width 24; height above river, 250 feet; 4 cables each 10 inches in diameter, containing 4,000 miles of wire.
While millionaires eat, the name of Delmonico will be famous. Father and four sons have become rich by attention to business; to that and nothing else. Their several restaurants are of worldwide repute, and the richest men and women of the metropolis are their guests. Time was when around a single table would sit eight or ten men and a wonderful thing it was if
"Every man there was a millionaire,"
and the dinner cost $25 a cover. Now, it is no uncommon affair, a banquet for fifty, in New York or Chicago or two hundred and fifty persons costing $10,000 to $25,000, the undulating tables, short, long, and horseshoe shape, strewed with rare flowers, and perhaps surrounding an artificial lake, in which swim live swans, the variegated fountains of perfumed water mingling their harmony with exquisite music, while the dishes served by the royal director fresh from the precincts of the cuisine classique are most inspiring to the taste. As wealth increases, man's ingenuity is put to the test for the means of gratifying ever increasing demands for luxury and comfort.
Club-land in New York is not a centralized Pall Mall as in London, but scatters itself from Gramercy to Central park. Among the wealthy and prominent club men and merchants of forty years ago were Moses H. Grinnell, of the New York club; C. L. Tiffany, Eclectic; August Belmont, Jockey club; Marshall O. Roberts, Union League; Dean Richmond, Manhattan; H. B. Claflin, A. T. Stewart, dry goods, the former worth $12,000,000, and the latter $20,000,000; Robert B. Minturn, G. G. Howland, W. H. Aspinwall, Commodore Garrison, in California steamship lines; A. A. Low, in the China trade; E. S. Jaffray, worth $5,000,000; Jackson S. Schultz, $2,000,000; R. L. and A. Stuart, sugar refiners. Architecture and art are here hand in hand, at home in private and in public. The Metropolitan Museum of Art values the contents of a $1,000,000 building at $6,000,000. The residences and hotels of Fifth Avenue and vicinity are alike temples of art. Aside from the frescoes and other decorations the private galleries of the Asters, the Vanderbilts, Huntington, Gould, Mills, Morgan, Rockefeller, Hoe, Drexel, Jesup, Twombly, Webb, Shepard, Sloane, Kernochan, Hoffman, Marquand, Hilton, Stokes, and a hundred others, have not on the whole their equal in the world. Conspicuous also along other lines of pleasure or profit among the wealth and fashion of New York are Frederick Gebhard, John Bigelow, Stuyvesant Fish, William B. Dinsmore, Elbridge T. Gerry, J. Hooker Hamersley, Austin Corbin, James B. Ireland, W. B. Clyde, B. W. Silliman, H. B. Hyde, Duane Pell, James Abercrombie Burden Jr., William C. Schermerhorn, Amos R. Eno, George Ehret, James McCreery, Henry Hilton, J. Pierpont Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, H. Victor Newcomb, Adrian Iselin, Percy R. Pyne. Bradley Martin, Eugene Kelly, J. S. Kennedy, William Seward Webb, James M. Constable, Hicks Arnold, Anson Phelps Stokes, Levi P. Morton, S. D. Babcock, George F. Baker, A. S. Hewitt, H. H. Rogers, John D. Archbold, H. S. Day, C. M. Stuart, William H. Mairs, E. L. Winthrop, W. R. Grace, John Claflin, E. S. Clark, J. L. Mott, George T. Adee, David H. King Jr., William Watson, H. B. Bloomingdale, J. W. Dimmick, Jacob Ruppert, Peter Doelger, W. D. James, John W. Chanler, John R. Ford, I . V. Brokaw, A. B. Cox, A. J. Adams, W. E. Wendell, and H. T. Lawrence. The Goelet family in America was founded by the French Huguenot, Jean Goelet, in 1685, who married a daughter of the rich merchant John Cannon in 1697, a large fortune resulting. Peter, grandson of Jean, was the pivotal point on which the fortunes of the family turned, as it was he who bought and held Manhattan land. Peter Goelet's sister was mother of Elbridge T. Gerry. When he died in 1877, Peter Goelet's vast holdings passed to Ogden and Robert Goelet, both of whom have since died. Ogden Goelet married a daughter of R. T. Wilson, Robert Goelet a daughter of George H. Warren. The Goelet family have probably the largest landed interests in New York city next to the Astors.
The private railway cars of Vanderbilt, Gould, J. Pierpont Morgan, and W. Seward Webb, cost about $50,000 each, being as sumptuous as money can make them. Chauncey Depew’s car is as comfortable as any, though less elegant, as becomes a plain popular gentleman with a few substantial millions. Beautiful also beyond description are the yachts of the New York millionaires, dreams of floating felicity like W. K. Vanderbilts Valiant, John Jacob Astor's Nourmahal and Utopia, George J. Gould’s Atalanta, Archibald Watt's Golden Rod, E. C. Benedict's Omida, F. H. Benedict's Vision, Henry R. Walcott’s Shearwater, Eugene Higgins' Varuna, and A. J. Drexel's Margarita II.
The last and final flight of the aristocracy of Manhattan Island began at Washington square, taking a straight line along Fifth Avenue up past Central park to the farthest limit, blossoming now all round the parks and along the bank of the beautiful Hudson. Already Washington square has become old fashioned, and the lower end of Fifth Avenue has been turned into shops; but there is more than compensation for this in the miles of palaces at the upper end. As Broadway's ten miles of business houses has not its way equal in the world, so it is with regard to the five miles of millionaires’ residences along Fifth Avenue. One of these miles can be marked off which contains twelve or more Washington square men worth a hundred millions each.
Confidence is the vital principle of commerce, and credit the palpable form and expression of confidence; therefore, rightly to gauge credit is one of the highest functions of business. For this purpose has been established the mercantile agency, by which means alone can be gathered and utilized the information necessary to establish individual responsibility throughout a large part of the civilized world.
The business of R. G. Dun and company occupies 150 branch offices, in this and other countries, including our new possessions, and finds employment for several thousand persons, with annual expenses of two million dollars, and having under revision over 1,300,000 business firms and individuals. It has been in existence over half a century. Since the commencement of the business in 1841, the system of obtaining information and communicating it by means of reports has been constantly improved, until the study and comprehension of this system as it exists at present is equivalent to a business education. To keep pace with the rapidly increasing commerce required energy and ability of the highest order, in gathering and distributing the requisite knowledge so as to reduce the risk of loss from giving credit to a minimum. Nothing proves more conclusively the value of the Mercantile Agency than that merchants are willing to contribute to its support several millions of dollars annually. Indeed, without its use, and no proper basis of credits could be reached, without credit business would be paralyzed. And not only has there been a constant effort made to increase the quantity of such knowledge of men and circumstances as should enable the merchant to transact his business with the greatest degree of safety, but the quality of such knowledge so furnished has been constantly improved. Thus the character and influence of this great arbiter of commercial destiny are constantly being elevated as well as expanded, until its importance and value as a factor in the affairs of men could only be realized by an attempt to do business without its aid.
Efforts have been made from time to time to substitute methods other than those instituted by Mr. R. G. Dun, the founder of the Dun Agency, but few of them have proved successful. So efficient and reliable have become the correspondents and trained employees of the Dun Agency, that it has now become recognized as the fundamental instrumentality of commerce. Institutions like this cannot be built up in a day; they are a matter of growth, new necessities and conditions ever evolving the requisite instrumentalities. Every traveler, reporter, correspondent, and agent must be endowed to the fullest extent with a personal responsibility, for even slight errors are apt to involve the distributors in serious complications. Some idea may be formed of the responsibility of the proprietors, as well as the expenses of the company, when we consider that the Dun Agency is in constant correspondence with over 100,000 persons engaged directly or indirectly in the service of the company. Accurate results from such extended efforts could be secured only by the most perfect system, to formulate which has been the work of Mr. Dun’s life. A close relationship has ever been maintained between the agency and its subscribers, to the elevation and improvement of both. If the rapid unfoldings of commerce throughout the world forced upon the agency expansion and the providing of facilities to meet the ever-increasing requirements of commerce, the agency on the other hand taught merchants many things,—how to do business and sustain fewer losses, how to give extended credits to the benefit of both seller and buyer, how to make men honest and truthful and keep them so.
Thirty years ago misrepresentation was a common fault with the buyer; now he dare not tell a lie regarding the condition of his affairs, and his claims for credit. Such is the monument which has been erected to the memory of Robert Graham Dun on the corner stone of the commerce of his country. Ohio is Mr. Dun’s native state, having been born of Scotch parentage at Chillicothe in 1826. After an academic education, he entered a business house at a salary of two dollars a week, but moved to New York in 1850 and began his remarkable career in the creation, in some respects, and developing of the mercantile agency business.
Mr. Dun is ably assisted in the management of his affairs by his nephew and associate partner Robert Dun Douglass who has had an active experience of twenty-five years in the agency business with Mr. Dun.
John D. Rockefeller, with a fortune approaching $200,000,000, is the principal owner of the Standard Oil Company, and the richest man in America. He and his brother William, who is not far behind in the matter of wealth, were born in western New York, and did not acquire distinction before the period of the great oil discoveries of Pennsylvania. John D. Rockefeller has three daughters: Bessie, who married Professor Charles Strong of the Chicago University; Alta, and Edith; and one son, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who will each inherit some $50,000,000. The family are all plain in their tastes and habits, and devoted to their several charities. Mr. Rockefeller has given largely to the Baptist church societies, and to the Chicago University, his benefactions amounting to many millions.
A. T. Stewart came to America in 1818, and opened a small stock of dry goods on Broadway, and his business in time assumed mammoth proportions. He was a strict disciplinarian and dealt exclusively for cash. Many were his millions, with his marble palace on Fifth Avenue, and a garden city domain eight by four miles in dimensions.
Eminent like his father John W. Draper, and author of several important scientific works, was Henry Draper, born in Virginia, in 1837, his brilliant career terminating by death in 1882. His life was one of usefulness, spent in the midst of advanced scientific thought, to which he gave as much as he received. From the first Mrs. Draper took great interest in her husband's investigations, which were primarily photographic, first on the diffraction spectrum of the sun; second, the stellar spectra; third, oxygen in the sun; and fourth, the spectra of the elements. Henry Draper was professor of natural science in the University of New York from 1860, and professor of physiology in the medical department of the university from 1866 to 1873. He was also surgeon of the 12th regiment New York state militia, and occupied many other high positions of trust and merit. Says Professor Young, of Princeton, of Doctor Draper, "He was affectionate, noble, just, and generous; a friend most kind, sympathetic, and helpful; a lover of art and music, and in the pursuit of science able, indefatigable, indomitable.”
Courtlandt Palmer was descended in a direct line from Walter Palmer, who came to this country with Higginson in 1629. Walter Palmer owned a share in the land patent granted by King Charles I. He built the first house in what is now Charlestown Massachusetts; from there he went to Rhode Island, and finally, purchased from Governor Haynes a tract of land where the town of Stonington now stands. There Courtlandt Palmer was born in 1800. After his father's death he resigned, to his sisters his, interest in the family property reserving for himself $100. With this capital he came to New York at the age of eighteen years, to seek his fortune. Having acquired an independent property, he retired from active business in 1837 and from that time, until his death in 1874, devoted himself to matters of public interest. He was identified with the early railroad projects of the country, and was one of the incorporators of the Stonington Providence and Boston railroad, of which he was the first president. This road was at the time connected with New York by a steamboat line. Mr. Palmer was one of the originators of the idea of a safe deposit company, and a trustee of the first one that was established. Like all new projects, these institutions, which have become so useful, met with great opposition, and the first one was organized with much difficulty.
In the person of William Steinway is represented one of the world's greatest industrial successes, built upon the genius of the founder, and reaching within the span of a single life properties to the value of $6,000,000. Henry E. Steinway, piano maker in Brunswick, Germany, was 53 years of age when in 1850 he came to New York and with his three sons began the manufacture of pianos in Varick Street, in 1853, which in 1897 was sold to a London syndicate for $6,000,000. Chief among the sons were Henry Steinway, who added to the instrument several important improvements and inventions, and William Steinway, upon whom finally rested the entire management and financial responsibility of the house. Wealth rolled in upon him at home and royal honors abroad, the crowned heads of England, Germany, Spain, and Italy showering upon him titles and diplomas. Mr. Steinway has ever been conspicuous for his kind and generous qualities, his charities extending far and wide, and being a fine public speaker, as well as a rare musical genius, and liberal in contributing toward the advancement of the right and the suppression of wrong, he has ever been an important factor in politics.
Moses Taylor was a very wealthy man, beginning with nothing, like so many, and becoming a great banker and builder of railways and steamships. So with Marshall O. Roberts, who began his career in New York in 1833, as a ship chandler, and ended with ten millions, when millions were half as plentiful and of twice the value of today. He was an art connoisseur, fond of fine paintings, and was pious and charitable. His down town associates were such men as the Wetmores, the lobbyist Sloo, who obtained the California steamship subsidy. George Law, and Aspinwall while neighbors of his Fifth Avenue palace were Belmont, then rated at fifteen millions, Mason and Burnham, each three millions, and Taylor, forty millions.
The Van Nest family was of Holland origin, several generations later living in New Jersey. Alexander Thompson Van Nest, who died in 1896, at Langenschwalbach, Germany, who was born in New York City, in 1844. His father, Abraham Rynier Van Nest, endowed with and noted for a keen sense of honor and justice, left him the heritage of those sterling qualities which give confidence to, and draw admiration from the business world. After preparatory schooling the son entered Williams, but finished at Princeton, from which college he was graduated in the class of 1864. At one time he contemplated a course of study at Rutgers, doubtless drawn thereto by the fact that several of his relatives were among the alumni, and that one of the college buildings was a gift from his real uncle and was known by the family name. Though Princeton became his choice, Rutgers always held a warm place in his heart, and in recent years his trusteeship of the latter institution was a pride and satisfaction to him. His charities were of that better sort that avoid publicity but reach the beneficiary in the most direct way. No one seeking his counsel ever failed to receive consideration. He had a special talent for unraveling the intricacies of railroad accounts, and for estimating the limitations and probabilities of traffic, and this bent of mind made his services of great value upon reorganization committees. He was a director in many prominent railway companies, as the Delaware Lackawanna and Western, the Chicago Rock Island and Pacific, and the Norfolk and Southern. He was a director in the Bowery Savings bank, and was a Loan and Trust the Corn Exchange bank, and was a member of the executive committee of the Farmers company of New York. Many a man, whose life work shows a series of sacrifices, fails to live for a lengthened time in the memory of those who have profited by his efforts, the Sturm and Drang of the hurrying world soon obliterating all traces of his existence; but Mr. Van Nest’s labors were so deeply, though unostentatiously graven upon the records of important financial institutions that his influence will long be felt, and his name respected. He was married March 26th, 1873, to Margaret, daughter of Robert Lenox Taylor, who, with a daughter, survives him. He was a member of the St. Nicholas Society and the Holland Society. Taking a great interest in the latter he performed very much, if not all, of the work in connection with the selection of historic sites, in this city, and the placing of tablets to mark them. Robert Bonner came from Ireland and achieved wealth and fortune in the publication of the New York Ledger, and paying high prices for fast horses which he would not race for money. Dexter, Rarus, and Maud S. ruled the turf in their day, while their owner enjoyed life at his elegant country home in Morrisania, or at his city residence, or at the office of his Ledger, all made by paying writers a higher price per column than had ever before been heard of, and letting all the world know it. Among the first to receive what was then an unusual figure for literary work was Fanny Fern, engaged by Robert Bonner in 1855 to write a continued story at $100 a column. Other contributors were Mrs. Sigourney, Edward Everett, Henry Ward Beecher, Horace Greeley, John G. Saxe, James Parton, Sylvanus Cobb. Jr., Dr John Hall and Mrs. Southworth.
Among the gigantic developments of the last half century is that of the iron industry in the United States. Two names may be mentioned in this connection which will stand for all, those of Andrew Carnegie and Henry C Frick. The beginning was in 1864, the Cyclops Iron company being organized in that year with a capital of $100,000. Then followed, with a gradual increase of capital, the Keystone Bridge company and the Union Iron Mills in 1865; Carnegie, Kloman and company in 1870; Carnegie and company in 1871, until finally, in 1892, the Carnegie Steel company, limited, blossomed out with a capital of $25,000,000, The organizers were Andrew Carnegie, Henry Phipps, junior, Henry C. Frick, George Lauder, William H. Singer, Henry M. Curry, Henry W. Borntraeger, John G. A. Leishman, William L. Abbott, Otis H. Childs, John W. Vandevort, Charles L. Strobel, Francis T. F. Lovejoy, Patrick R. Dillon, William W. Blackburn, William P. Palmer, Lawrence C. Phipps, Alexander R. Peacock, J. Ogden Hoffman, John C. Fleming, James H. Simpson and Henry P. Bope. Thus it will be seen that this business has not been in any sense a combination of competitors, but a matter of growth. Although the company has investments in other parts of the country, for the better obtaining of its supplies of raw materials, yet its finishing mills are all situated in or in the immediate vicinity of Pittsburg, where, in the Carnegie building, its general offices are established. It has also its own offices in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Montreal, Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Atlanta, St. Louis, Denver, San Francisco, Mexico City, and London, with sales agents in every country on the globe.
Henry C. Frick was elected as a partner in Carnegie Brothers and Company, limited, in 1886, and elected chairman in 1888. This office he held until the reorganization of the Carnegie Eterprises, in 1892, when he became chairman of the board of managers of the Carnegie Steel Company, limited.
Allied to iron are coal and coke. As the Connellsville coke region is the greatest coke region in the world, so is the H. C. Frick Coke Company the greatest coke producing firm in the world. This company owns and controls the output of two-thirds the ovens in the region, and sells three-fourths of the coke that enters the market. The annual capacity of the plants owned and controlled by it reaches the enormous aggregate of 500,000 cars, or about 9,000,000 tons. Its coal supply is entirely commensurate with its immense manufacturing capacity. Out of about 60,000 acres of available Connellsville coal remaining in the region, this company owns about 45,000. Among the first in the field and early impressed with the destiny of the region, it was the policy of the company to enlarge its holdings as fast as possible, and especially its coal and land holdings, hence the kingly acreage it has acquired. It is also a matter worthy of mention that this coal lies for the most part in the very heart of the region, in or near what is technically known as the basin, hence the superior quality of the Frick coke, which has a name for excellence in every market.
The H. C. Frick Coke Company is the oldest and by far the largest company doing business in the Connellsville coke region. Being first to enter the field, it easily acquired possession of the richest coal lands, taking at the same time care to get control of lands through which flowed the purest and most important streams of water. As the firm was progressive its early advantages were not allowed to lie dormant, but were developed to the fullest fruition.
Henry Clay Frick, the head of this company, was its founder. As early as 1871, when a mere youth, Mr. Frick with that foresight which has characterized his whole business career became convinced that Connellsville coal made the best coke in the world and that the future of the business was in its puling infancy. For many years he gave his entire attention and time to the development of the region and the extension of his holdings. He builded broad and deep and he builded well.
Samuel Verplanck Hoffman was the direct lineal descendant of Martinus Hoffman, who immigrated to America from Holland in 1620. The Hoffman family had been distinguished in Europe during the sixteenth century in the learned professions, and Martinus made his mark as soon as he came to America. The records of New Amsterdam show that he was a large taxpayer and one of the principal inhabitants of that city in 1660. Removing to Ulster County, he became a leader among the people, and he and his descendants raised and commanded companies of militia, at first under the Colonial Government, and later on the side of the Revolution. They were justices of the peace, owned large numbers of slaves, and were persons of great property and influence.
Samuel Verplanck Hoffman, who was born at Red Hook, N. Y., in 1802, was a lawyer, practicing at the bar for a few years. He retired in 1828, and established the celebrated dry-goods commission house of Hoffman and Waldo; he was also a director in more than one insurance company. A member of the Union League club, he yet took no active part in politics. He was eminently philanthropic, an energetic trustee of several charitable institutions, and a devout churchman, being vestryman of Trinity church, New York, and warden of Christ church. He married Glorvina Rossell New Brunswick, where he owned a country seat, daughter of Garrit Storm, and died in 1880, leaving two sons, both of whom are clergymen of the Episcopal church, the Very Rev. Eugene A. Hoffman, D.D., Hoffman, D.D., D. C. L., Dean of the General Theological seminary, and the Rev. Charles F. LL.D., rector of All Angels' church, New York, which he rebuilt at his own cost in 1890.
Eugene Augustus Hoffman, eldest son of Samuel V. Hoffman, was born in New York March 21, 1829. He was educated at Columbia Grammar school and at Rutgers and Harvard colleges, obtaining from the latter university the degrees of B. A. and M. A. He received his training for the ministry in the General Theological seminary, and was ordered deacon in 1851. After two years of mission work, he was elected rector of Christ Church, Elizabeth, N. J., where he continued ten years. During his rectorship a handsome stone church, a parish schoolhouse and rectory were built, and two successful parish schools, one for girls and a classical one for boys, were organized. Whilst rector he established Christ Church as a free church; organized the parish of Milburn, seven miles distant, and built a church there; revived the congregation of Woodbridge and caused a church to be built for their accommodation; and interested himself in securing means to free from debt the church of St. James, Hackettstown, N. J. In 1863, at the earnest solicitation of the bishop, he accepted the rectorship of St. Mary's church, Burlington, N. J., where, with his characteristic energy, he succeeded in wiping off a debt of $23,000, and raising money to place a peal of bells in the tower and endow a bell-ringers' fund.
In 1864 he was appointed rector of Grace church. Brooklyn Heights, but after a successful rectorship of five years, he was obliged to resign in consequence of ill-health. He then accepted the rectorship of St. Mark's church. Philadelphia, where he remained for ten years, during which time the temporal and spiritual welfare of the parish was very marked.
In 1879 he was elected to the eminent position he now so honorably fills. For years the seminary had been languishing for lack of funds, and it was felt that only a man of great earnestness and energy could raise it to the position it ought to occupy. The choice made of Dean Hoffman has been amply justified. By his devotion and ability he has reared an enduring monument to the glory of God and the welfare of the church. In the seventeen years since his appointment a million and a half dollars have been secured to the seminary through his efforts and the munificence of his family. Chelsea square, occupied in 1879 only by two old stone houses, has been beautified and improved, and is now more than half covered with a magnificent pile of buildings, forming the east quadrangle, and presenting an imposing front on Ninth Avenue and Twenty-First Street. These buildings include a spacious deanery, houses for five professors, students' dormitories, library, lecture halls, and a beautiful chapel, erected by the mother of the dean as a memorial to her husband, Samuel V. Hoffman. During Dean Hoffman's tenure of office also two new professorships have been established and three professorships have been amply endowed by himself and his family, as has also the office of dean, the income of which is now accumulating for the benefit of the seminary; while scholarships, fellowships, and the "Bishop Paddock Lectureship" have been founded.
Dean Hoffman is a valuable and energetic trustee of the principal charities and church organizations of New York. He is also a member of most of the scientific and learned societies of the city, and has been honored by degrees from many of the colleges and universities of the United States and Canada.
Possessing great executive ability, he has faithfully, conscientiously and successfully discharged the duties that have fallen to him in his various spheres. Succeeding by inheritance to a large estate, he has administered it himself wisely and well. The General Theological seminary is perhaps the object nearest his heart, but he gives largely, though unostentatiously, to many public objects, and his hand is ever open to relieve genuine distress with practical help and kindly sympathy.
He married in 1852 Mary Crooke Elmendorf, and has living three daughters and one son, all of whom are married.
Rev Charles F. Hoffman, brother of Dean Hoffman, was also prominent in educational and religious work. Besides rebuilding All Angels' church, he contributed largely to St. Stephen’s College, likewise erecting a library building for the Porter Institute at Charleston, and Hoffman Hall, Nashville, for the theological education of Negroes. Dr Hoffman also built the Hoffman wing of the Negro orphan asylum, Lynchburg, and many other like benefactions, besides making numerous and important contributions to the religious literature of the day.
The Rhinelander family are large owners of real estate. William Rhinelander died in 1825 leaving city lands entailed, so that a very large property goes to the heirs of William C. Rhinelander, who died in 1878. Extensive holdings have been in the family for over a century, covering many acres in the heart of the city.
The closing years of the nineteenth century will doubtless be referred to in the future as the period when the movement towards industrial consolidation in the United States reached its zenith. A pioneer in the movement and one of the most successful organizers of his time is Charles K. Flint. Descended from Thomas Flint, who emigrated from Wales in 1642 and settled in Salem, Mass., his father, Benjamin, became a ship-owner and took up his residence in Brooklyn in 1858. His son, Charles Ranlett, was born January 24, 1850, and was educated first at the public schools of Thomaston, Me., and Brooklyn, N. Y., and at the private school of Warren Johnson, of Topsham, Me., graduating in 1868 from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn.
Beginning his business career in New York City as a dock clerk he later spent two years as a clerk in a shipping and commission house engaged in business with the west coast of South America. In 1871 he entered the copartnership of Gilchrist, Flint & Co., ship-chandlers, and in February, 1872, united with William R. Grace in forming the firm of W. R. Grace & Co. In 1874 he visited the different countries of South America, and two years later organized the firm of Grace Brothers & Co., in Callao, Peru. He remained on the west coast nearly a year, and on his return was appointed consul of Chile at New York, and during the absence of the Charge d’Affaires was entrusted with the archives and correspondence of the Chilean Legation in the United States. He held this position until the Chilean republic declared war against Peru in April, 1879, when, owing to the relations of his firm to the Peruvian government as financial agents, he resigned and placed the affairs of the legation and the consulate in other hands. Subsequently he was appointed consul of Nicaragua in New York and represented Nicaragua in negotiations with the parties who are now the concessionaires of the Nicaragua canal. Later he was also consul-general of Costa Rica.
Foreseeing that the inevitable trend of business was toward consolidation, Mr. Flint in 1878 organized a consolidation of several lumber companies under the name of the Export Lumber Company, Limited, one of the most successful lumber concerns in the United States, with yards in Ottawa, Montreal, Boston, Portland, Me., and New York (Greenpoint), and handling over 200,000,000 feet of lumber per year. The Export Lumber Company is also the selling agent for the Atlantic Coast Lumber Company, the greatest producer of North Carolina pine.
In 1881 he endeavored to bring about a consolidation of electric light companies, including the Edison, the Brush, the United States, Thomson-Houston, the Jablokoff, and Weston Electric Light Company, and would probably have succeeded had he not been a party in interest, as president of the United States Electric Light Company, of which Henry B. Hyde, Marcellus Hartley, and Anson Phelps Stokes were vice-presidents.
Shortly after this experience he took up the crude rubber industry and consolidated the four leading factors in that business. Three years later he visited Brazil and spent some time on the Amazon, acquiring a thorough knowledge of the details of the rubber business and establishing houses there. Since that time organizations with which Mr. Flint has been identified have handled crude rubber to the value of over $250,000,000.
In 1885 he became a partner in the house of Flint & Co., with his father, Benjamin, and his brother, Wallace B., dealing principally in the exporting of American manufactures to South Africa, Australia, and the Latin-American states, also importing wool, hides, and skins from the Argentine Republic and Uruguay.
In 1891 he became interested in the consolidation of the manufacturers of rubber boots and shoes, and a year later organized the United States Rubber Company, which has a capital of $47,191,500. Those who invested in this consolidation in 1892, and who have kept their holdings, have received over $8,500 per annum on an investment of $100,000, and can sell at a profit of over $20,000.
In 1892, after having successfully launched the United States Rubber Company he turned his attention to manufacturers of rubber goods, other than boots and shoes, and brought about a union of five companies, manufacturing belting, packing, hose, clothing, and druggists' sundries, under the title of the Mechanical Rubber Company. Subsequently, in the spring of 1899, the Mechanical Rubber Company became a part of the Rubber Goods Manufacturing Company, which he also organized, the new company taking over the business of the principal manufacturers of belting, packing, hose, mats, interlocking tiling, tires for bicycles, carriages, and automobiles, and paying handsome dividends.
With a view to extending his facilities for the handling of the rapidly growing export business of the country, he organized in 1895 Flint, Eddy & Co., taking in the Coombs, Crosby & Eddy Company. During the succeeding five years, this concern extended its connections with American manufacturers and developed its business to such an extent that in 1900 it further enlarged its organization by amalgamating with the largest mercantile company doing business in the Orient. The new concern, under the style of Flint, Eddy & American Trading Co., with its head office in New York, became the largest buyers in the country of general manufactured goods for export, shipping to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, China and Japan, the West Indies and all the Latin-American countries. It also imports a large quantity of raw material from Mexico, South America and the East.
In the summer of 1899 he brought about the with a organization of the American Chicle Company, with a capital of $3,000,000 preferred stock and $6,000,000 common stock, which, at the end of six months , paid from its earnings a semi-annual dividend of three percent on its preferred shares, four percent on its common shares, and deposited in the bank sufficient funds to cover all of its indebtedness and the dividend on the preferred stock for the following six months. The organization of the Sloss-Sheffield Steel and Iron Company followed with a capital of $20,000,000, the success of which showed the versatility of the man who could grasp the vital features of the iron and steel business as well as those of chewing gum, crude rubber, rubber manufacture, lumber, export and import.
Said Mr. Flint in an address to the leading bankers of Boston on “Industrial Consolidations:" "If I am asked what are the advantages of larger aggregations of capital and ability, the answer is only difficult because the list is so long. The grand result is a much lower market price, which accrues to the benefit of the consumers, both at home and abroad, and brings within reach, at the cheaper price, classes and qualities of goods which would otherwise be unattainable by them. This is the great ultimate advantage, and if this were not sooner or later true, if the world at large did not ultimately reap the benefit, the other advantages would be as nothing.
“I say unhesitatingly that the only way in which the United States can extend and hold its position in the world's markets for manufactured goods is by securing the advantages of highly developed special machinery, which is only possible through centralized manufacture and aggregated capital. Subsidy seekers claim that "trade follows the flag; merchants know that trade follows the price, and the flag follows the trade."
Mr. Flint was a delegate of the United States to the International American conference, 1889-1890, at which all of the American republics were represented, and to which he was appointed by President Harrison owing to his knowledge of the resources and conditions of the South American countries and his intimate acquaintance with Latin American trade.
As a representative of the United States on the committee on banking, he proposed, in order to facilitate inter-American trade, the establishment of an International American bank with its headquarters in the United States and branches in all the other republics. His recommendations were ratified by the conference, endorsed by Secretary Blaine, and President Harrison, in two messages, urged action by congress. A bill providing for the incorporation of the International American bank was introduced in congress, and reported unanimously by the committee on banking and currency. As a member of the committee on customs regulations, he proposed the organization of a bureau of American republics to carry out the vote of the conference in favor of a uniform system of obtaining statistics and the extension of trade between the republics. This proposition has been carried out by the governments represented in the conference.
After the adjournment of the conference and at the request of Secretary Blaine, Mr. Flint was the confidential agent of the United States in negotiating the first treaty of reciprocity under the Aldrich amendment; that with Brazil. It provided for a concession in tariff duties on products received by Brazil from the United States. This treaty was the key to the reciprocity situation, for it became at once the basis of other treaties with American republics and proved of especial value in the negotiations with Spain. At the time of the strained relations in 1890 between Chile and the United States, growing out of the Baltimore incident, the large influence of Mr. Flint led Secretary Blaine to invite him to take part in the efforts for a friendly and peaceful adjustment of the question at issue, and in this connection he rendered the government important service.
When the Brazilian navy revolted in September, 1893, President Peixoto entrusted Mr. Flint with the obtaining of a new navy. With remarkable energy he purchased Ericsson’s Destroyer, and the swift yachts Feiseen and Javelin were promptly converted into torpedo boats. A Yarrow torpedo boat was brought over from London. El Cid, a steel merchant steamer of 6,000 tons' displacement, the latest built and fastest of the Morgan liners, came into the port of New York, October 26, 1893. with a full cargo. On November 18th, twenty-three days thereafter, christened anew as the Nictheroy, she dropped down the bay transformed into a cruiser, with a pneumatic gun, capable of firing shells containing from 100 to 500 pounds of dynamite; twenty-two Hotchkiss rapid-fire guns and four torpedo launching tubes, and three torpedo boats fully equipped with torpedo tubes and rapid-firing guns on deck. The Britannia, an iron steamer of 2,600 tons displacement, came into the port of New York November 6th, went into dry dock, was fitted with sixteen rapid-fire guns and four torpedo launching tubes and a Sims-Edison dirigible torpedo, and, renamed the America, was ready for her voyage on November 24th. This fleet, capable of discharging 4,500 tons of dynamite simultaneously, and whose division officers were all graduates of Annapolis, prevented the secession of the northern provinces of Brazil, and thus prevented the restoration of the monarchy.
In 1894, and during the progress of the China-Japan war, Mr. Flint, acting as the agent of the government of Japan, purchased the Esmeralda, the crack cruiser of the Chilean navy, built by the Armstrongs, and delivered her to Japan, this being the only instance on record where an important vessel of war has been sold to a nation actually engaged in hostilities.
In the spring of 1898, both before and during the war with Spain, Mr. Flint rendered valuable services to the United States government in the purchase of vessels and munitions of war. Through his agents all over the world he kept in touch with negotiations which had been commenced by the agents of the Spanish government, and through the information thus obtained he blocked, in several instances, the attempts of the Spaniards to purchase foreign war vessels and supplies. He gave the United States government the first information of the sailing of the Spanish fleet from Cape Verde, and also, twelve hours later, the direction in which the fleet was steaming. He also advised the government of the sailing of colliers to a rendezvous with the Spanish fleet off the north coast of Venezuela, and arranged the purchase from Brazil of the cruiser Nictheroy which he himself had delivered to Brazil five years previous.
The Secretary of the Navy, in a letter of date June 4, 1900, recognized the valuable services of Mr. Flint, saying: "In this connection, also, will you let me refer to the services which, just before the war began and afterwards during its progress, you so kindly gave to the department, without compensation or reimbursement, in reference to other negotiations in connection with its efforts to procure ships and armament abroad. In view of your large experience and extended business facilities the department very highly appreciates your patriotic action and your generous cooperation, and takes this opportunity to formally tender to you its hearty thanks."
Mr. Flint has proven a useful associate in the management of financial and other institutions in New York City, and is a director of the National Bank of the Republic, the Produce Exchange bank, the Knickerbocker Trust company, the National Surety Company, the American Ordnance Company, the Audit Company of New York, Hastings Pavement Company, and the Manaos Railway company.
He is interested in the cause of higher education, and is a member of the council of the University of the City of New York and was one of the founders of University Heights.
In addition to his other interests he was chairman of the reorganization committee which consolidated the streetcar lines of Syracuse, N. Y., being associated in this matter with A. N. Brady and R. C. Pruyn, of Albany. He also organized the Manaos Railway Company, which built and is now operating a trolley line in the city of Manaosl, Brazil, one thousand miles up the river Amazon, where he also installed an electric light plant. He is president of the Georgetown and Western Railroad Company, operating in North Carolina.
Despite the magnitude of his business interests, Mr. Flint still finds time for recreation and is a member, of many shooting clubs. He is fond of yachting, and was the owner of the sloop Gracie, a noted prize winner. He was also one of the patriotic syndicate which built and raced the Vigilant, which successfully defended the America's cup against the Valkyrie, and is building a 130-foot steam yacht which will be named Arrow, and which will have a speed of at least thirty knots an hour, and is capable of being transformed into a torpedo boat in one week. He is a member of several clubs, including the Union, Century, Riding, Metropolitan, New York Yacht Club, and the New England Society.
In 1883 Mr. Flint married Miss E. Kate Simmons, daughter of Joseph F. Simmons, of Troy, widely known for her philanthropy and musical talents. She has devoted the receipts from her musical composition to charity, and from the sale of a “morceau" alone, the Racquet Galop , endowed a bed in St. Luke's hospital.
Industrial Insurance , a system by which wage-earners are placed on a level with people of wealth in securing life insurance protection, was introduced to this country by John Fairfield Dryden, president of the Prudential Insurance Company of America, who has thereby conferred an inestimable boon upon more than eight millions of policy holders. Mr. Dryden is a native of Maine, born near Farmingham in 1839, and entering Yale College in 1861. His attention having been directed to life insurance, he became deeply interested in the subject and was led on to make an exhaustive study of its principles, particularly of Industrial Insurance in England, as reported by the late Elizur Wright to the Massachusetts legislature. Mr. Wright doubted if such a system could be successfully operated in America. After giving the matter much thoughtful study, Mr. Dryden became convinced that a system of Industrial Insurance could be devised that would meet the wants and conditions of the American people, and that to originate and apply such a plan should be his life purpose. To his honor, and to the lasting benefit of the American people, be it said, he succeeded. First lie interested in his efforts a number of progressive and wealthy men, and with their cooperation as associates he procured a charter from the legislature of New Jersey. Then, on the 13th of October, 1875, the doors of the Prudential Insurance Company of America were thrown open, and rich and poor alike were invited to participate in its benefits. From that day the success of the enterprise and of the institution has been marked and continuous, until the amount covered by insurance aggregates the enormous sum of one billion of dollars, while over a hundred millions have been paid to policy holders.
Alfred Sully, railroad builder, was born at Ottawa, Canada, in 1841, the family moving to the United States two years later. Mr. Sully's first connection with railroads was as counsel of the Davenport and St. Paul. Afterwards he became vice-president and principal owner of the Indiana, Bloomington and Western, then a bankrupt road 200 miles in length. Within two years Mr. Sully and his associates had built 140 miles of additional track and had leased the Cincinnati, Sandusky and Cleveland railroad, creating a system of 570 miles, afterwards selling the entire property to the Big Four.
Mr. Sully personally constructed the railroad from Peoria to the Mississippi river at Keithsburg and from Keithsburg to Oskaloosa Iowa; also a line from Newton, Iowa, to New Sharon, Iowa, the three lines aggregating over 200 miles which he subsequently sold to the Iowa Central Railway company.
He was one of the builders of the Manhattan Beach railroad and of the Manhattan Beach improvements. Mr. Sully organized the Eastern Railroad of Long Island. with a view to an extension of the Manhattan Beach railroad, but subsequently purchased control of the entire Long Island system in connection with Austin Corbin, paying therefore $1,300,000. At that time, the road was in the hands of a receiver and its stock selling at twenty cents. Mr. Sully and his associate placed a new $5,000,000 mortgage upon the property, consolidated the subsidiary lines on Long Island, increased the stock from $3,000,000 to $10,000,000 and placed the road on a dividend paying basis.
In 1881, Mr. Sully purchased an incomplete railroad in Ohio, extended it and reorganized it as the Ohio Southern railroad and remained president of the road for over ten years when control was purchased by others.
In 1885, he became the largest individual owner of the stock and bonds of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company, one of the largest corporate aggregations of actual money investment in the world. After a bitter contest of some two years between opposing interests, Mr. Sully negotiated a compromise upon conditions which were acceptable to all.
For nine years Mr. Sully was vice-president of the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway company, assisting largely in building up that property. In 1886 Mr. Sully’s ability as an organizer was again demonstrated. At that time the Richmond and West Point Terminal Railway and Warehouse Company was in debt over $3,000,000 and the stockholders were notified that the property must be sold for its debt. The company had a capital of $15,000,000 and owned several southern railways. A committee of the stockholders had worked for over a year to reestablish the property, without success. Mr. Sully was induced to become chairman of the committee and within a few months the Terminal Company was reestablished in credit, its entire debt paid, and it had purchased additional Richmond and Danville lines, thus making it the greatest railroad power in the south, owning and operating over 4,700 miles of railroad, Mr. Sully becoming president of the Richmond and West Point Terminal company and also of the Richmond and Danville Railroad company.
In 1889, Mr. Sully retired from business, although he is still connected as director and large owner with important railroad properties.
The world has probably never before seen any such aggregation of business talent as New York contains today. Particularly is this the case in the direction of finance and manufactures, the prestige having been drawn away from England to the United States in both instances. Therefore when we see a man, for example, like William Seward Webb, who stands at the front of New York finance, and is also successful as a manufacturing manager, we may be able to form some idea of his ability and position before the world.
Mr. Webb is also prominent as a social and political leader, with a line of distinguished ancestry of whom an American cannot fail to be proud. Richard Webb came from Gloucester, England, and settled in Boston in 1632. His descendants took an active interest in the revolutionary war and the organization of the republic. Samuel B. Webb was private secretary and aide-de-camp to General Washington. James Watson Webb, son of Samuel B. Webb and father of William Seward Webb, was also distinguished as a journalist, soldier and diplomat. While yet a boy, William Seward Webb accompanied his father on a diplomatic mission to Brazil. On his return he attended the Sing Sing military school and Columbia College, continuing the study of medicine abroad at London, Vienna, and Paris. Graduating at the New York medical college, he at once became prominent in New York society, and in 1881 married Lila Osgood Vanderbilt, daughter of William H. Vanderbilt. He is a member of ten of the most prominent New York clubs, and aide-de-camp and colonel on the staff of the governor of Vermont, and was elected to the Vermont legislature in 1896. He takes much interest in horse-breeding, his large stud-farm at Shelburne, Vermont, having a world-wide repute.
For several years Doctor Webb was engaged in the business of stock broker in Wall Street, but in 1883, at the request of his father-in-law, he accepted the presidency of the Wagner Palace Car Company, which under his management assumed large proportions. Doctor Webb is an officer in many associations and stockholder and director in a large number of railway, trust, and insurance companies. At Saranac Lake is a large sanitarium erected on 100 acres of land contributed by Doctor Webb for that purpose.
Dr James Cook Ayer, famous as a manufacturer of proprietary medicines and as an organizer and financier, was born May 5, 1818, in that part of the town of Groton, Conn., which now bears the name of Ledyard. In his veins ran the blood of old American families, distinguished for personal character and active interest in public affairs. Frederick Ayer, his father, who served as a soldier of the war of 1812, and died in 1825, was a son of Elisha Ayer, a hero of the American Revolution. The mother of Dr. Ayer was Persis Ayer, who died in Lowell, Mass., July 23, 1880.
Although he lost his father by death early in life, he was anxious for a liberal education and obtained it in his own way. An arrangement was made whereby he removed to Lowell. Mass., and there he attended the grammar school, going later to the Westford academy and Lowell high school. He then prosecuted alone for three years the course of studies prescribed at Harvard College, having the advantage of tutorship by the Rev. Dr. Edson in Latin only. An active mind led him to supplement this preliminary education by the diligent reading of sound and choice books and, through tenacious memory and an ardent desire for knowledge he became a man of extended scholarship and the most varied information.
In 1838, the youth found employment in the apothecary shop of Jacob Robbins in Lowell, as a clerk and student, and there gained the training which determined his occupation for life and led him on to fortune. For four years he studied chemistry with all the ardor of a fresh and vigorous nature, aided by his own training in study, and then studied medicine under Samuel L. Dana and Dr. John W. Graves. In both branches of science he became proficient, taking rank at an early day both as an excellent analytical chemist and competent physician. The University of Pennsylvania gladly gave him the degree of Doctor of Medicine.
In April, 1841, an opportunity to buy the apothecary business of Mr. Robbins, his former employer, presented itself; and securing a loan of $2,486 for this purpose, Dr. Ayer bought the shop and its stock of goods and conducted the business thereafter on his own account, and, it may be said, with such success that within three years he repaid the loan in full. Beginning thus without capital of his own, he had then come into the possession of a paying business. This little store was the foundation of the enormous industry which Dr. Ayer developed in later years.
November 14, 1850, Dr. Ayer married Miss Josephine Mellen Southwick, a daughter of the Hon Royal Southwick, for many years a woolen manufacturer as well as a political leader in that district.
In 1855, the manufacture of proprietary medicines was undertaken in accordance with formulas invented by Dr. Ayer himself. These prescriptions were primarily intended for the use of people resident on the frontier and in remote districts where, in case of sickness, the prompt services of a physician could not be obtained. They proved to be useful not only to persons so situated, but to the public at large, and soon found a ready sale. Dr. Ayer’s business grew in volume from year to year, until Ayer's proprietary medicines became known not only throughout the United States but in every part of the civilized world. Much of their success grew out of energetic and ingenious advertising. One of Dr Ayer's original ideas was the publication of an almanac yearly, which in addition to its valuable astronomical data and calendar should contain a great variety of irresistibly witty jokes as well as complete information about the medicines. Ayer's almanac was given away by the millions of copies, and became in time no less renowned and no less eagerly sought for than the medicines themselves. A large laboratory was built to accommodate the growing manufacture, and was expanded until it gave employment to nearly 300 persons. The establishment having been fitted up with machinery for the publication of 15,000,000 almanacs a year, 800 tons of paper were bought annually for this single branch of the extended advertising of the house. In 1877, the firm of Dr. J. C. Ayer and Company was succeeded by the J. C. Ayer Company.
While the fame of Dr. Ayer grows largely out of the publicity given to his medicines, yet it must be said that his genius had many sides and his versatility was extraordinary. While profoundly versed especially in the mysteries of chemistry, he loved also the physical sciences. One of his investments took place early in the war. In November, 1861, he bought four Sea Island cotton plantations at Hilton Head, Ga., and engaged in cotton raising with free black labor. Although there were difficulties to be overcome, yet he finally made the enterprise successful; and the grandson of John C. Calhoun is the author of a statement, that if the south had believed that such enormous crops could be produced with free labor, there would have been no war.
In 1865, Dr. Ayer invented processes for the disintegration and desulfurizing of rocks and ores by means of liquids, applied to them while incandescent. Three patents were secured upon these processes, but Dr. Ayer did not possess the facilities for manufacturing; and for convenience, he sold the patents to the Chemical Gold and Silver Ore Reducing Company. He was engaged in many public works. Among other ventures, he embarked in a plan of his own for supplying water to the inhabitants of Rochester, N. Y., from a beautiful sheet of water named Hemlock Lake. Much litigation attended this enterprise. Dr. Ayer was also one of the original projectors of the Lowell and Andover railroad and a large owner in its stock.
In 1870, he bought a large interest in the Tremont mills and the Suffolk Manufacturing company, two large cotton industries, then bankrupt and idle, and by consolidating them as the Tremont and Suffolk mills, he placed them under good management and made them the most successful in New England. He was treasurer of the corporation for many years. Having made large investments in other factories in Lowell and Lawrence, and was one of the most influential Dr. Ayer became deeply interested in honest and capable management, advocates of corporation reform, a question which attracted the attention of the manufacturing world for two decades. He stoutly opposed the management of great corporations in the interest of a few large stockholders, rather than for the good of all the owners, large and small; and the strenuous battle of Dr. Ayer awakened public interest and brought about the desired reform.
The famous Portage ship canal at Keeweenaw Point on Lake Superior, a mile and a half long, by which Portage lake and Portage river were opened through to Lake Superior, and 110 miles of dangerous navigation were saved and an excellent harbor created, was the product of his mind; and he was the inspiring genius and a large owner in the Lake Superior Ship Canal and Iron company, which built the canal. An effort was made to induce Dr. Ayer to lend his strong support to the Panama Canal, but his judgment of the impracticability of that water route led him to refuse to engage in the scheme.
Always taking a native born American's interest in public affairs, and fitted by natural gifts for public station, Dr. Ayer was mentioned for congress several times; and in 1874, he was nominated by the republicans his district. That was a year of tidal reaction against the republicans, and Dr. Ayer was defeated as were hundreds of the best men of the party that year. He probably would have been elected, however, had not Judge E. R. Hoar, whom Dr. Ayer had cordially supported on a previous occasion, run that year as an independent third party candidate, dividing the republican vote.
Ample means enabled Dr. Ayer to gratify impulses of genuine philanthropy, and he contributed a bell to the chime of St. Anne’s church in Lowell, in 1857. In 1866, he presented to the city a winged statue of Victory for the public square in Lowell and made the public address of presentation. When the town of Ayer was incorporated in 1871, it was named in honor of him, and he gave it a beautiful town hall.
A man of conservative ability, Dr. Ayer scorned to build his own fortune by wrecking those of others. Vast wealth came to him through untiring endeavor, honest methods, the development of new enterprises, fine organizing genius, great capacity, and a business judgment that was unusual. He never undertook what he could not accomplish and what ought not to be accomplished.
He was able, unaided, to build up one of the large fortunes of the United States, without incurring the hazards of speculation. While devoted to science, he loved literature and art. He was a good scholar in Greek and Latin, spoke French fluently, and learned Portuguese when fifty years of age. In his large house in Lowell he accumulated a large library and was fond of reading the soundest and choicest books, especially the works of Horace. Art in all its finer forms awoke his admiration, and had he not died before the completion of his plans. Lowell would have been enriched by gifts of paintings of great value.
He died July 3, 1878, universally regretted, leaving a large estate to his wife, his two sons, Frederick Fanning Ayer and Henry Southwick Ayer, and his daughter, the wife of Lieutenant-Commander Frederick Pearson, a gallant officer of the navy.
Frederick Fanning Ayer is a lawyer of high standing in New York City, although he has devoted more of his time of recent years to literary pursuits, having written much upon various topics, which he intends publishing later on.
Like all New England boys, Frederick Fanning Ayer received his education at the public school in his town; but, unlike the majority of them at that time, he was enabled to take further study, and he left Lowell for a four years' course at St. Paul's school in Concord. N. H. At Concord he drank in every atom of book learning that was possible, and acquired a mental training that stood him in excellent stead. But his education was not yet finished, for he was destined for one of the great American universities. Harvard.
In the meantime, however, there were other things to be done. Dr Ayer, his father, recognized the necessity of his son becoming thoroughly acquainted with the business side of life as well as the scholastic side, and decided to put the young man in a position where he could familiarize himself with the details of business at the best advantage. At this time, the elder Ayer was heavily interested in the Tremont mills and the Suffolk Manufacturing Company, both of which were subsequently consolidated as the Tremont and Suffolk mills, and which, placed under good management, were made the most successful in New England. The younger Ayer, however, entered the Suffolk concern as an operative and went entirely through it, working diligently in every capacity until he knew absolutely all the details of every process through which cotton passed.
Frederick Ayer had kept in mind all this time his determination to become a lawyer and a good one. By the time he was twenty-three he had graduated from Harvard with honor, and traveled in Europe in the company of his father, and had entered the law school at Cambridge, and in the following year he was admitted to the bar and began practice in partnership with Lemuel H. Babcock.
The city of Rochester, N. Y., was being supplied with water from Hemlock Lake by a company of which Dr. Ayer was the controlling spirit, and litigation having arisen between the city and the company. Dr. Ayer engaged Judge Henry R. Selden as counsel. The Ayer family being deeply interested in the case, Frederick studied all the questions involved while he was yet in the law school, and went to hear the case up for argument at Rochester. To his intense discomfiture, Judge Selden introduced him as his associate from Massachusetts, and declared that he would open the case. The young man was taken quite unawares but lost his self-possession only momentarily; he got up with beating heart and spoke for half an hour. The outcome of his effort may be gauged by the fact that his father handed him a check for $10,000, his first professional fee, rather a large one for a beginner, but the circumstances were unusual.
Old Dr. Ayer died in 1878, and his son then became the manager of all the great properties and business his father had founded. Two years previously he had relinquished the active pursuit of law to undertake the partial management of these interests, and was thus fully competent to fill the newly responsible position. It was well that the young manager had been grounded in law, for the Ayer estate was being threatened with all sorts of dangers and a master hand was required at the helm to steer the ship through the violent seas that encompassed it.
And it is in this position of trustee of the Ayer estate that Frederick Ayer has acquitted himself so wonderfully these past years. The fortune of Dr. Ayer has been doubled by the judicious investments of his son, and the latter has in addition much property and wealth of his own. He is a director of the Lake Superior Ship Canal Railway and Iron Company, the Portage Lake and River Improvement Company, the Lowell and Andover railroad, the J. C. Ayer Company, the Tribune association in New York, and the Tremont and Suffolk mills. In the management of all these interests, Mr. Ayer has developed a business ability of the very highest order. With it all he has followed out the plan of the late Dr. Ayer of never aggrandizing himself or his at the expense of others, and the consequence is that he is a much loved man in his community.
On several occasions Mr. Ayer has demonstrated considerable oratorical ability. On October 26th, 1876, on behalf of his father he made the address of presentation of the new town hall of town of Ayer to the civic authorities and delivered to them the keys of the building.
In 1886, a bill to secure minority representation and cumulative voting in the directory of industrial corporations was introduced in the Michigan legislature. Mr. Ayer was so interested in the question that he made a powerful plea for it and it was passed. Other states have since then followed Michigan's example.
Mr. Ayer has done much for the town of Ayer. He built the Ayer Memorial library at a cost of $40,000 and has helped to build a beautiful home for children in the town. To enumerate all his philanthropic acts, however, would be a difficult matter.
Mr. Ayer is a member of the Harvard Merchants', Riding, Down Town, New York Yacht, Union League and Metropolitan clubs, although he is not strictly a club man, for, socially, he is of domestic tastes and prefers to devote his leisure hours to cultured pursuits.
The origin of the Tilford family that has been prominent in business and social circles in New York City for a generation can be traced back for almost a thousand years. The name as it is in modern use, is a construction from the various spellings of the old Norman surname Taillefer. The family is frequently referred to in works upon Norman-French genealogy. The general opinion of Perigourd and the L’Angoumois, which is justified by the testimony of many distinguished scholars and critics, is agreed that the house of Taillefer was descended from the ancient Counts d' Angouleme and this opinion has been confirmed and perpetuated in the fact that the surname is illustrated by the coat of arms. Wlguin, chief of this powerful race, was invested with great possessions in the year 866 by King Charles le Chauve. Guillaume de Taillefer, first of the name and the son and successor of Wlguin, as Count de L'Angouleme, transmitted the name, de Taillefer, to his race by one act of valor and extraordinary strength, during a battle with the Normans, in the year 916. From this distinguished ancestor the line of lineage has been clearly traced down to the subject of this sketch.
The immediate ancestors of Mr. Tilford came from Scotland. The first of the name in this country emigrated during the reign of George the second and settled in Argyle, a little village north of Albany. James Tilford, the grandfather of Mr. Frank Tilford, was a captain during the war of 1812 and before him his father served throughout the war of the revolution.
Mr. John M. Tilford, the father of Mr. Frank Tilford, was the first of the family to break away from country life. When he was only twenty years old, having been born March 16, 1815, he came to New York City to seek his fortune in new fields. Finding employment in the grocery store of Benjamin Albro, he remained there five years until he thoroughly mastered the business. In 1840, with Joseph Park, a fellow clerk, he helped to organize the firm of Park and Tilford, that, beginning business in a small way, has become the leading house in its line in the world.
In many groups of business men and financiers of New York City, Frank Tilford is entitled to a place in the front rank. He, and his father before him, have helped to make New York the great city that it is today. He is a keen business man, an astute financier and a public-spirited citizen.
Mr. Tilford was born in New York City, July 22, 1852, receiving his early education at the Mount Washington Collegiate institute. Here he proved himself a proficient scholar and a brilliant opportunity presented itself for professional honors, but his inclinations and strong commercial proclivities decided him to make his future a mercantile life. His father, John M. Tilford, took him into his firm as a clerk, and letting him work his way upward step by step, the young man eventually became vice-president of the largest grocery house in the world.
In October, 1873, when but twenty-one years old, he had shown such an ability to conduct a business successfully that he was made manager and given full charge of the concern's branch store at Thirty-Eighth Street and Sixth Avenue. In 1890, the business was formed into a close corporation, with John M. Tilford as vice-president. Upon the subsequent death of that gentleman, however, Fran Tilford was elected to fill the position which he still holds.
The year before this, 1889, Mr. Tilford, in connection with George G. Haven, organized the Bank of New Amsterdam, located at the corner of Broadway and Thirty-Ninth Street. He was vice-president of the institution until June 20, 1896, when he was elected to the important position of president, at which time the deposits amounted to a little over one million and now show the enormous growth to something over six million dollars. Safe deposit vaults have been added and under his direction the business has grown to such an extent as to necessitate the establishment of a branch institution at the corner of Third Avenue and Forty-Seventh Street.
Of such an energetic and enterprising disposition is Mr. Tilford that in addition to his banking and grocery business, he has time for other prominent and profitable enterprises, among which may be mentioned the Standard Gaslight Company of New York City, of which he is president; the New York and Queens Gas and Electric company, of which he is president, and a number of other gas and electric companies throughout the country in which he is a director; and president of many other industrial corporations.
He is a leading director in the Erie Telephone company, Telephone, Telegraph and Cable Company of America, as well as a director in many other telephone companies throughout the United States.
Mr. Tilford was the originator of the Fifth Avenue Trust Company of which he is a trustee, and is a director in many large and powerful corporations in New York City, as well as an active member of the Chamber of Commerce. As one of the executive committee of the Grant Monument association he was largely instrumental in the success of that movement. He is also one of the presidential electors for 1900.
Mr. Tilford is owner of the magnificent steel steam yacht Norman, and his palatial residence on that beautiful parkway—West Seventy-Second Street—is one of the most handsomely appointed edifices on the upper west side.
He is prominent in social circles, as well as a member of the Union League, Lotos, Republican, Colonial, New York Athletic, New York Yacht, and all the other leading yacht clubs, society of the Sons of the Revolution and American Society.
Among those who came to New England in 1635 with Sir Richard Saltonstall were John Whitney, his wife Elinor and his son Richard. Richard Whitney, 1660-1723, second of the name and grandson of the pioneer, was the first of the family born in this country. He was a native of Watertown, Massachusetts; married Elizabeth Sawtell, daughter of Jonathan Sawtell and of Hannah Whitcomb, daughter of Josiah Whitcomb of Lancaster.
General Josiah Whitney, 1713-1806, son of Richard and Hannah Whitney, was the great- grandfather of the Honorable William C. Whitney. His wife was Sarah Farr. In 1755 General Whitney fought against the French and Indians at Crown Point, in 1774 was in command of a militia company of Harvard, Massachusetts, and the following year was lieutenant-colonel of one of the colonial regiments. He was a brigadier-general in 1783. In civil life he was a justice of the peace, delegate to the constitutional convention in 1788, and a member of the legislature 1780-1789. His son, Josiah Whitney, 1753-1837, married Anna Scollay, and served in the continental army. Stephen Whitney, 1784-1852, grandfather of the Honorable William C. Whitney, was a representative from Deerfield to the Massachusetts general court, 1834-1835; His son, General James Scollay Whitney, 1811-1878, was the father of Mr. Whitney, whose mother, Laurinda Collins, was descended from Governor William Bradford of the Plymouth colony.
A democrat of the old school, James S. Whitney was brigadier-general of the second brigade of the Massachusetts militia in 1843; town clerk of Conway Massachusetts; a member of the legislature in 1851 and 1854; sheriff of Franklin county in 1851; superintendent of the National Armory at Springfield in 1854; collector of the port of Boston in 1860, and a member of the Massachusetts senate in 1872. Born in Conway Massachusetts, in 1841, the Hon. William Collins Whitney was graduated from Yale College in 1863, and in 1865 from the Dane School of Harvard College, soon after beginning the practice of law in New York. He early interested himself in public affairs in New York. He was active in the campaign that elected Samuel J. Tilden for governor, and in 1875 was elected corporation counsel and in that office brought about the codification of the laws relating to New York City which is still in use, and his administration of the office was distinguished it has been well said, "by reforms and economics within it and by notable legal triumphs for the city in the courts. Thirty-eight hundred suits were pending, involving between $40,000,000 and $50,000,000. He proceeded to reorganize the department with four bureaus, and within two years had doubled the volume of business disposed of while expenses were reduced. In 1882 he resigned office in order to devote his attention to private business, but in 1885 he became a member of President Grover Cleveland’s cabinet, holding the portfolio of secretary of the navy. He prepared in his first report to congress a plan for the reorganization of that department of the government business, and it was afterward claimed that by the results which followed its execution, "for the first time in the history of the navy it has been possible to prepare complete statement by classes of receipts and expenditures of supplies throughout the entire service, and of the total valuation of supplies on hand for issue at all shore stations."
The following tribute was paid him by Senator Preston B. Plumb of Kansas, a political opponent, in a speech in the senate on February 12, 1889; "I am glad to say in the closing hours of Mr. Whitney's administration that affairs of his department have been well administered. They have not only been well but there has been a stimulus administered in the sense that everything has been honestly and faithfully done, given, so far as it could be done by executive direction, to the production of the best types of ships and the highest forms of manufacture. I am glad to say that during the past four years the navy department has been administered in a practical, level-headed, judicious way, and the result is such that I am prepared to believe and to say that within ten years we shall have the best navy in the world." Mr. Whitney’s record at the head of the navy department need not be dwelt upon more in detail here, except to say that he proved to be the most efficient secretary that the country has ever had, and that he laid the foundation of our present navy. Since 1889 he has been active in national politics, especially in the campaigns of 1892 and 1896, but has resolutely declined all political preferment.
In 1869 Mr. Whitney married Flora Payne, daughter of the Hon. Henry B. Payne, United States senator from Ohio. Mrs. Whitney died in 1892, leaving four children. The eldest, Harry Payne Whitney, who is a graduate from Yale University, married in 1896 Gertrude Vanderbilt, daughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt. The eldest daughter, Pauline Whitney, married in 1895 Almeric Hugh Paget, who is by birth an Englishman, and a member of a family represented for centuries in the peerage. The two remaining children are Payne Whitney, a student at Yale, and a daughter, Dorothy Whitney.
In 1896, Mr. Whitney contracted a second matrimonial alliance, his bride being Edith S. (May) Randolph, of East Court, Wiltshire, England. Mrs. Whitney died of injuries received from falling from her horse in the hunting field. The city residence of Mr. Whitney is in upper Fifth Avenue, opposite Central Park, and his country home, October Mountain, near Lenox, Massachusetts.
Mr. Whitney's town residence is a magnificent building on which he has spent thousands of dollars to rebuild and refurnish and is one of the finest in the city of New York.
Mr. Whitney is a director in the Central Crosstown railroad, Christopher and Tenth streets railroad, Horse Show association of New York, Manufacturing Investment company, trustee of the Metropolitan Investment company, trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Natural History, director of the Metropolitan Opera House company, trustee of the Mutual Life Insurance company, Nassau County bank, Mineola (New York) National Horse Show association, National Union bank, Queens County Horse Show association, Second Avenue railroad, and trustee and member of the executive committee of the State Trust company.
Mr. Whitney belongs to all the leading clubs in New York City, and to many clubs in other parts of the country. He is a member of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and a trustee of the Peabody Museum of Yale.
Cornelius Vanderbilt, railroad president, known for more than forty years as Commodore Vanderbilt, was born on Staten Island, May 27, 1794. He died in New York City, January 4, 1877. The first of the name in America, Jan Aertsen Van der Bilt, a worthy protestant from Holland, settled upon a farm on Long Island near the present city of Brooklyn about 1650. In 1715, a grandson of Jan, great-grandfather of Commodore Vanderbilt, removed to a farm on Staten Island, and is said to have owned considerable land.
During the early boyhood of Cornelius Vanderbilt, who was the oldest of nine children, his father changed his residence to Stapleton, at which place the family grew up. Like other farmers on Staten Island, he was his own boatman; but, unlike others, he had the thrift to carry to New York not only his own products, but that of others, and this was the origin of the Staten Island terry. Cornelius made many trips in charge of his father s boat. The young man was one of the most handsome lads upon the island. He was tall, athletic and brave, not over fond of hooks, but devoted to open air life and sports, a fine swimmer and a good oarsman and horseman.
The constraints of his early life were keenly felt by Mr. Vanderbilt, and, with a view to gaining greater independence, he finally offered to plow, harrow and plant an eight-acre lot for his mother if she would lend him $100, with which to buy a boat of his own. Mrs. Vanderbilt agreed to the proposition of Cornelius, provided that he should complete his contract before his seventeenth birthday, then only twenty-seven days away. The time was short, the undertaking a physical impossibility for one youth; but Cornelius quickly secured the aid of a number of playmates and earned in 1810 the $100, which led him on to splendid fortune. His new boat earned its owner in three years over $3,000. Most of this money he gave to his mother, but a small part being retained was invested in two other boats; and Mr. Vanderbilt thus became the master of three vessels, one capable of carrying twenty people. The fare for a passenger at that time was eighteen cents. When the war of 1812 occurred, a large increase of travel to Staten Island followed, owing to the placing of garrisons at the Narrows. In 1814, Mr. Vanderbilt secured a contract to carry men and supplies to the harbor forts.
At the age of nineteen he married Sophia Johnson, a second cousin, and, inducing his mother to relinquish her claim to the principal part of his earnings, he saved $500 and moved to New York City. He continued to employ his sailing boats on the Staten Island ferry route, and to various cities on the Hudson River and Long Island sound. His first schooner, Charlotte, built in 1815, went into this coasting trade and in the winter he sailed the vessel himself.
It was during this period that Fulton on the Hudson and Roosevelt on the Ohio were developing the steamboat as a carrier of freight and passengers. When the steamboat had passed the experimental stage, he saw that the time had come to adapt himself to a new order of things. In 1818, therefore, he became captain of the steamboat Bellona. The salary of $1,000 a year was less than he was then earning, but diminishing receipts from his Hudson River sloops warned him of the coming triumph of steam. The Bellona was employed in conveying passengers from New York to New Brunswick on the rest of their journey to Philadelphia, the trip being made in stage coaches to Trenton and thence by boat to Philadelphia.
In 1827, Mr. Vanderbilt leased on his own account the ferry between New York and Elizabeth. N. J., and built for it new and improved boats.
In 1829, having saved about $30,000, he resolved to engage in the navigation of the Hudson River. His first boat, Caroline, became in later years the basis of an international incident in connection with the Canadian insurrection in 1837.
For twenty years he devoted himself to the establishment of new lines in the river, sound and coastwise trades, in the face of strong competition. During that time there were built for and operated by him in the neighborhood of one hundred steam vessels, and it was at this time that, as commodore of his fleet, he acquired the title of commodore. This remarkable man never feared opposition. On the other hand, he seemed to love and court it and always knew how to meet it. He gained the good-will of employees by treating those who were capable generously, while merciless in replacing with better men those who were incompetent, and he pleased the public by the superior facilities supplied. He operated his own foundries and repair shops, and by shrewd and energetic management gradually gained considerable means.
The discovery of gold in California heralded the dawn of a new phase of maritime enterprise in America. A monopoly of the traffic by way of Panama having been gained by various companies, and the fare to California being $600. Commodore Vanderbilt resolved to establish a competing line. Having built the steamship Prometheus, he sailed in 1850 for Nicaragua, personally explored a new route to the Pacific and secured a charter from the Nicaraguan government. In 1851, a semi-monthly line, of which Mr. Vanderbilt was at first agent and later president, began operations on this route. In 1853 he sold his interest and then, a wealthy man, prepared to enjoy a vacation, to which he deemed himself entitled after more than thirty years of incessant labor, in accordance with his own plans, the splendid steamer North Star was built for him, and, with his family, he made an extended European tour.
During Commodore Vanderbilt's absence abroad, the management of the Nicaragua Transit company passed out of his hands, and upon his return, he found the purchasers of his interest in the Nicaragua steamship line disposed to evade the conditions of sale. This called forth a display of characteristic energy. A line of steamers between New Orleans and Galveston was at once established, and, in 1854, another line from New York to Aspinwall. A sharp and merciless struggle resulted in his possession of the Nicaragua Transit company. During the eleven years which followed, his profits were $11,000,000.
Upon the breaking out of the Crimean war, Commodore Vanderbilt resolved to establish a line of American steamers to ply between New York and Europe, intending to engage in a determined campaign to secure to the American flag the Atlantic carrying trade, but found that he could not operate his ships at a profit against the heavily subsidized European lines and his short but brilliant campaign failed. During this period of his life, Commodore Vanderbilt constructed many ocean steamers. During the civil war in 1862, the Vanderbilt, which had formerly plied in the ocean ferry to Havre and was the swiftest and best appointed steamer afloat, was presented to the federal government as a patriotic gift. This vessel gave valuable service as a cruiser during the war, and its donor received, in 1866, the thanks of congress and a gold medal, inscribed "A grateful country to her generous son."
In order to set free his capital, then amounting to at least $30,000,000, Commodore Vanderbilt began to sell his steamboat interests on Long Island sound about 1856-1857, and later sold or chartered to the federal government all his then remaining vessels.
As early as 1854, he had begun to buy shares in the New York and Harlem railroad, paying as low as $8, $9, and $10. In the same manner, while shares were low in price, he acquired a large interest in the New York and New Haven railroad. Among his first operations in Wall Street was a corner in Norwich and Worcester railroad stock. In 1860, he sought control of the New York and Harlem railroad, and in 1863 was elected its president. The stock, then $30 a share, rose to $92 in July and in August to $179.
After acquiring possession of the Hudson River railroad, he united it with the Harlem and instituted vigorous reforms in the management.
Commodore Vanderbilt in the winter of 1865 bought at a reduced price a controlling interest in the New York Central railroad. In 1867, he became president of the road, and in 1869 of the consolidated New York Central and Hudson River railroad, placing 1,000 miles of track and over $100,000,000 of capital under his control. The control of the entire line between New York and Chicago was secured when, at the annual meeting of the Lake Shore railroad, it was shown that the Vanderbilt party had possession of a majority of the stock.
Commodore Vanderbilt possessed the constructive temperament in a marked degree, and his great wealth came mainly from creating corporations which, under his management, were made to yield large dividends, the capital then being increased in harmony with the earnings.
His fight for the control of the Erie railroad is historic. In the end, Mr. Vanderbilt and his adversaries were compelled to adjust their differences between themselves, and the control of the Erie road passed into the hands of Jay Gould and James Fisk, Jr. In this campaign Commodore Vanderbilt lost $7,000,000, but recovered nearly $5,000,000 by legal proceedings.
In later years his operations in Wall Street were not conspicuous, although he remained constantly on the alert to protect his interests.
His faith in the New York Central and Hudson River railroad was strong to the last. In 1872, he became a large buyer of the securities of the Western Union Telegraph company also. When he rested from his labors he had accumulated an enormous fortune, estimated variously at from $60,000,000 to $100,000,000.
As he felt his end approaching. Commodore Vanderbilt made thorough preparations and left his great properties carefully disposed of.
He was a man of great physical vigor handsome and striking personality, six feet tall, and with clear complexion. He dressed plainly and was abstemious in his tastes. For the last twenty-five years he lived in a plain brick house in Washington place. He was a man of few words. Politics did not interest him. He was fond of driving fine horses and was frequently to be seen driving in the park or on Harlem lane and on trotting days at Fleetwood Park. Among large gifts which he made may be mentioned $1,000,000 to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and the edifice of the Mercer Street Church in honor of the Rev Charles F. Deems, its pastor. He was the father of thirteen children by his first wife: Phebe Jane, wife of James M. Cross; Ethelinda wife of Daniel B. Allen; Elizabeth, wife of George A. Osgood; William H. Vanderbilt; Emily, wife of William K. Thorn; Sophia J., wife of Daniel Torrance; Maria Louisa, wife of Horace F. Clark; Frances, and Cornelius Johnson Vanderbilt; Mary Alicia, wife of Nicholas La Bau; George W. Vanderbilt; Katharine Johnson, wife of Smith Barker, Jr., and George Vanderbilt second. The latter died in 1866 from disease contracted in the Corinth campaign. Mrs. Vanderbilt died in 1867, and the Commodore in 1868 married Miss Frank A. Crawford, a southern lady, who survived him.
William Henry Vanderbilt, railroad president, oldest son of Commodore Vanderbilt, born in New Brunswick, N. J., May 8, 1821, died at his New York house, December 8, 1895. For nine years after his birth, the family lived in New Brunswick, then a small town. William attended country school for a while, but, after the removal of the family to New York, was sent to Columbia Grammar school. He then found employment in a ship chandlery store, kept by a relative, and at the age of eighteen became a clerk in the banking house of Drew, Robinson and company, at a salary of $150 for the first year, which was increased to $300 the second year, and $1,000 at the beginning of the third. When twenty years of age, he married Miss Maria Louisa Kissam, the daughter of a clergyman of the Dutch Reformed Church at Albany. By diligent attention to the interests of his employers, Mr. Vanderbilt won their regard and an offer to make him junior partner. Sedentary occupation had begun to affect his health, however, and he was forced both to decline the offer and give up his position. It is said that Commodore Vanderbilt did not foresee the splendid business man which his son was destined to become, and it is certain that at that period he thought farming better suited to the young man's ability. He therefore helped William to buy an unimproved farm of seventy acres on Staten Island, and there the latter established himself with his young wife to enter upon the laborious life of a farmer. After various trials, so successful did he become in the cultivation of this land that, within a few years he had 250 acres under cultivation and was making $12,000 per year from the sale of produce. Here he remained until the time had arrived for him to take part in the management of some of his father’s properties.
In 1853, he visited Europe with his father and the rest of the family. Three years after this, the Staten Island railroad from Stapleton to Tottenville was chartered, with Commodore Vanderbilt as principal stockholder. Finished in 1858, the road proved a losing investment from the start and in two years was bankrupt. William H. Vanderbilt, then one of the most prominent men on the island, was made receiver of the road. This little line was only thirteen miles long, but it served to acquaint Mr. Vanderbilt with the details of railway management and to show his ability. He quickly mastered the situation and rescued the company from bankruptcy within two years and became its president. No man at that time was a better judge of the value of such services than Commodore Vanderbilt, and although he was slow to acknowledge the greatness of his son, yet he did in time.
In 1864, William H. Vanderbilt was elected vice-president of the New York and Harlem railroad. From that time forward, until his father's death in 1877, Mr. Vanderbilt was responsible in large part for the oversight and execution of many of the great operations undertaken by his father and gained an intimate knowledge of the mysteries of railroad management. In 1877, he succeeded to the presidency of the New York and Harlem, the New York Central and Hudson River and the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern railroads, and to the possession of nearly nine-tenths of his father’s fortune, with its tremendous responsibilities. One of his early acts was to add to the bequests of his sisters a personal gift of five hundred thousand dollars each, delivering it to them himself, when he gave them their shares under the will.
From the beginning of 1877 to the fall of 1881, the business history of Mr. Vanderbilt was identical with that of the system of roads which bears his name and was a season of great activity in railroad matters. During 1877, he bought the Canada Southern and the Michigan Central railroads and added them to the Vanderbilt system.
During his active career Mr. Vanderbilt engaged in many large operations in stocks, especially in Philadelphia and Heading and Chicago and North-Western, which were undertaken mainly to sustain the properties in which he was especially interested. Clear-headed, sagacious, and resolute, and possessing abundant capital, he was usually successful in these and other undertakings and practically doubled his fortune.
In November, 1879, Mr. Vanderbilt, to protect his road from the attacks of great rivals and at the same time change the character of a part of his investments, in order to make them more ready of distribution in case of his death, made the largest sale of railway stock in history by any individual owner. He sold at that time, to a syndicate representing a number of foreign capitalists, 250,000 shares of New York Central stock at $120 a share and invested He was known to be the proceeds in government bonds, the owner of 4,000 shares, worth in the market $130 each.
In the midst of the next great railroad war, that of 1881, Mr. Vanderbilt withdrew from the actual labor of railroad management and transferred the financial administration to his son, Cornelius, and oversight of the practical operations to his son William K. Vanderbilt.
May 4, 1883, Mr. Vanderbilt finally surrendered the presidencies of his various railroads, making arrangements, however, for harmony in their management and a continuance of the policies, which had theretofore met with the approval of the stockholders. His last achievement was the leasing of the West Shore road in order to put an end to competition, and this was accomplished only a day or two before his death.
Mr. Vanderbilt was a man of large physique, nearly six feet in height, well proportioned and active in movement. Sometimes abrupt in speech, he was as a rule genial in business affairs and easy almost to graciousness in social conversation. He was a hard worker, an excellent judge of character, quick in intuition, generally correct in his judgments, fearless of the dangers which surround a man of his prominence, and exceedingly regular in his daily inherited from his father of routine. He had that quality, being able to select the right man for any position and to leave its work to him with confidence that it would be well done. He was a domestic man, fond of the society of his wife and children, and enjoyed family gatherings at his house. His family life was always of the most pleasant character, and his wife, upon whom devolved the duty of bringing up their large family of nine children, only one of whom died in youth, was the same loving spouse and mother amid the magnificence which surrounded their latter days as in earlier times on the Staten Island farm.
One of his later undertakings was the building of his Fifth Avenue mansion which was the most handsome, private dwelling in America, and contained besides numerous works of art, a magnificent collection of paintings, most of which had been selected by himself or painted to his order. His taste ran mostly toward brilliant historical pictures, although many other subjects were represented, and upon many occasions he permitted the public to view his collection. Like his father, he was a lover of fine horses. One of his first feats was to drive Small Hopes and Lady Mac a mile to a top road wagon in 2.23 1/4 on Fleetwood Park track. This time had never been deemed possible and created a sensation in the trotting world. Later, he bought the celebrated Maud S. and one time drove her with Aldine to a top road wagon over the same course in 2.15 ½, the fastest time ever made by a trotting team under any circumstances.
While a liberal donor to philanthropic work (some of his gifts being too great to remain unknown), Mr. Vanderbilt avoided publicity wherever possible. Many of his benefactions have never been made public. On the presentation of the obelisk to this city by the Khedive of Egypt, Mr. Vanderbilt defrayed the entire cost of its transportation and erection in Central Park. He also gave $100,000 to the Vanderbilt University at Nashville, Tenn., for the erection of a theological hall. His other gifts to this institution at various times amounted to much more, and he left it $200,000 in his will. He was also a large contributor to the Deems fund for the education of indigent students at the university of North Carolina, and made several generous gifts to the university of Virginia. In 1884, he gave $500,000 to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York for a site and the erection of a new building. His generosity towards General Grant at the time of the disastrous failure of Grant and Ward is well known. By his will, he gave $100,000 to the Metropolitan Museum of Art; $300,000 for Episcopal missions; $100,000 each to St. Luke's hospital, the Young Men’s Christian association, and the United Brethren's church on Staten Island; and $500,000 more to other institutions, a total of a million dollars. His religious feelings were strong and well founded. He was a life-long communicant of St. Bartholomew’s Church, having become a member of that body when he first came to the city. For many years he served as a vestryman. When that church moved uptown he was a member of the building committee for the new structure, and gave liberally of both his time and money to this work. His children were: Cornelius, William K., Frederick W., and George W. Vanderbilt; Margaret Louisa, wife of Elliott F. Shepard; Emily Thorn, wife of William D. Sloane; Florence Adele, wife of Hamilton McK. Twombly; and Eliza O., wife of William Seward Webb.
Cornelius Vanderbilt, eldest son of William H., was born on Staten Island, New York, November 27, 1843, and died September 12, 1899. He was educated at private schools, and at an early age he commenced business life in the office of the Shoe and Leather bank of New York City.
Here he remained four years, performing the simple duties of a clerk, but showing remarkable aptitude for the study of accounts and affairs of finance. After spending about two years in the private banking house of Kissam Brothers, he was appointed to a position in the treasurer's office of the New York and Harlem railroad company. When twenty-four years of age, he married Miss Alice Gwynne, the daughter of a former distinguished lawyer of Cincinnati. From 1867 to 1877 he was treasurer, and from 1877 to 1886 vice-president, of the New York and Harlem railroad. He then became president of the road, which office he continued to hold the remainder of his life.
On the death of Commodore Vanderbilt in 1877, Cornelius was chosen vice-president of the New York Central and Hudson River railroad and took entire control of the finances of the road—a department for which his natural abilities and his ten years’ experience as treasurer of the Harlem eminently fitted him.
In 1878, he became treasurer of the Michigan Central railroad company and of the Canada Southern railway company; in 1879, vice-president and treasurer of the latter; in 1880, vice-president and treasurer of the Michigan Central.
His father retired in May, 1883, from the presidency of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company, the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway Company and the Michigan Central Railroad Company, and Cornelius and his brother resigned their vice-presidencies. A new system of management was then inaugurated, under which the president was still the chief of the executive, but the supreme authority became vested in the chairman of the board of directors. Under the new arrangement Cornelius became chairman of the board of the New York Central and Hudson River railroad and of the board of the Michigan Central railroad and his brother assumed the same position in the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern railway. During Mr. Vanderbilt’s incumbency of these various offices negotiations of magnitude and importance in the railroad world were consummated, notably the acquisition by the New York Central, under lease of the West Shore Railroad, the Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg railroad, the Mohawk and Malone railroad, and the New York and Putnam railroad.
The Vanderbilt system comprised the following roads: New York Central and Hudson River railroad and its leased lines, the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern, the Michigan Central and its auxiliary line, the Canada Southern; the Chicago and North-Western; the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha, and the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, and St. Louis. Over all these roads, Mr. Vanderbilt, with his brother, exercised a strict supervision.
Numerous and exacting as were his railroad interests, he nevertheless gave much time to religious and charitable work, and he was associated as a director or trustee with many public organizations, societies and institutions, among them being Young Men's Christian association St. Luke's , hospital, Sloane Maternity hospital. Domestic and Foreign Missionary society of the Protestant Episcopal church, Protestant Episcopal Church Missionary society for seamen in the city and port of New York Tribune, Fresh Air Fund society, General Theological seminary, Metropolitan Museum of Art, American, Museum of Natural History, New York Botanical Garden, Home for Incurables, Hospital Saturday and Sunday association, New York Christian home for intemperate men, New York society for the relief of the ruptured and crippled, New York Eye and Ear infirmary, Columbia College and Provident
Loan society, and for many years he was a member of the vestry of St. Bartholomew’s Church of New York City. Of a deeply religious and conscientious nature, he was ever ready to fulfill every duty he assumed and his attendance at a meeting of trustees of any of these institutions was as faithful as his examination of an abstruse railroad statement of finance.
Mr. Vanderbilt gave very generously, but quietly, of his abundant means and among his benefactions were the gift of the handsome building on Forty-Fifth Street and Madison Avenue, New York, for the use of railroad employees, and a contribution of $100,000 for the Protestant Episcopal cathedral; jointly with his mother, he erected the St. Bartholomew’s Mission house on Forty-Second Street, New York. He also gave largely to Vanderbilt Clinic of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, to Columbia College and to Vanderbilt University. To the Museum of Art he gave a collection of drawings by the old masters and the painting of the "Horse Fair" by Rosa Bonheur.
Mr. Vanderbilt was a member of the following clubs: Knickerbocker, Union, Metropolitan, Union League, New York Yacht, Country, Riding, West Island, St. Nicholas Association, Century, Grolier, Newport Reading Room, Players’ Club, Lawyers', Down Town, Press, Transportation, and Mendelssohn Glee club.
Mr. Vanderbilt's residence, Fifth Avenue, Fifty-Seventh and Fifty-Eighth streets, is an imposing structure. His beautiful summer home "The Breakers.” at Newport, R. I., was completed in 1895. At South Portsmouth, seven miles from Newport, his "Oakland Farm" is located, being a tract of about 200 acres of land with perfectly equipped buildings and barns—a model gentleman's farm.
Four sons and three daughters were born to Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt. His eldest son, William H., died in 1892, at the age of 21. The sons living are Cornelius, Alfred Gwynne and Reginald Claypole; the daughters, Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney and Miss Gladys.
Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt was Alice Claypole Gwynne, daughter of the late Abram Evan Gwynne, who graduated from Yale College, class of 1839, and was admitted to the bar in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1842. He died at the age of 32. His book on The Duly of Sheriffs is still in use. He was the only child of Major David Gwynne, United States army, and Alice Claypole, whose ancestor, James Claypole, was one of the seven distinguished men who came to America with William Penn. Sir John Claypole, his brother, married Elizabeth, daughter of Oliver Cromwell. Mrs. Vanderbilt is descended, through her mother, from Sir James Moore, who was colonial governor of South Carolina in 1700, and from Richard Ward, a governor of Rhode Island.
William K. Vanderbilt, second son of William H. Vanderbilt and Maria Louisa Kissam, and a favorite grandson of the Commodore, was born at Staten Island. December 12, 1849. He was educated especially with a view of taking a prominent place in railroad transportation and finance, completing his studies in Geneva, Switzerland.
The young man began his business career as a clerk in the office of C. C. Clarke, treasurer of the Hudson River Railroad, at a small salary. He had a thorough training in railroad work, and in 1877, was made second vice-president of the New York Central and Hudson River railroad, filling that high position until 1883. In 1882, he became president and chairman of the board of directors of the New York, Chicago and St. Louis, and in 1883, he became chairman of the board of directors of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern. In his management of these properties he has displayed good judgment and is regarded as a man of quick resource and conservative methods.
Mr. Vanderbilt is a true sportsman and a liberal patron of yachting. He owns the Valiant, one of the finest steam yachts in commission in America, lie has been interested in all the great international contests, contributing towards the construction of the champion racers, the Colonia, Defender, and Columbia, helping largely to keep the Temple Cup in America. He is also prominent in social circles, being one of the originators of the Metropolitan club and a member of the Union, Knickerbocker, Players', Racquet, Coaching, Country, Turf and Field, and Transportation clubs, also the New York, Larchmont, and other yacht clubs. He is a patron of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Geographical society and the St. Nicholas society. He married Alva Smith of Mobile, Alabama, and has a family of three children: Consuelo, who married the Duke of Marlborough, and is the leader of the most exclusive circle of the English aristocracy: William Kissam Vanderbilt, Jr., who married Miss Virginia Fair, daughter of James G. Fair; and Harold Stirling.
Cornelius Vanderbilt, who, it may be said, is better known to the general public as Cornelius Vanderbilt, Junior, having only acquired the nomenclature pure and simple by the recent death of his father, was born in New York on the 5th day of September, 1873. His early education he received at St. Paul's school, where his brothers were also educated, and which indeed has started the career of most of the wealthy scions of New York's fashionable clientele.
He was an unassuming youth, and gave great scholastic promise, which was fully borne out by his subsequent career at Yale, from which university he graduated as Bachelor of Arts in 1895. For scientific work done since then, he has been honored with the degrees of Ph. B. and M. E., bestowed upon him by the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University.
On August 3, 1896, he married Miss Grace Wilson, daughter of Richard T. Wilson of New York, and has two children, Cornelius, born April 30, 1898, and Grace, born September 25, 1899.
Latterly he has spent the major portion of his time in the Motive Power and Civil Engineering department of the New York Central Railroad, where for two years he has mingled with the workmen in democratic fashion, acquiring additional scientific knowledge in the field which always appealed to him, and for which he has shown himself admirably fitted.
One of his chief pleasures is yachting and during the past ten years he has taken part in the cruises of the New York Yacht Club, and sailed his racing yacht in many of the races off Newport.
He is not a clubman in the strict sense of the word being of a domestic nature and devoted to his home, but is nevertheless a member of the Knickerbocker, Metropolitan, New York Yacht, Corinthian Yacht, and Engineers' clubs, and of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
He has recently designed and patented a locomotive boiler, and an engine of this design is now in regular service. The New York Central and Hudson River railroad completed this locomotive last August in their shops at West Albany, and the experimental engine proved successful, so successful, in fact, that after a thorough test and trial in actual service, five more of the same type have been ordered.
The difference in the Vanderbilt boiler and the ordinary locomotive type is chiefly in the general arrangement and form of firebox used. At various times attempts have been made to use cylindrical corrugated fireboxes in locomotive boilers, but up to the present these attempts have failed.
By an arrangement of details too technical to describe, Mr. Vanderbilt has produced a locomotive boiler design, in which the cylindrical corrugated firebox is successfully incorporated. The advantages of the design as a whole are apparent to anyone familiar with locomotive construction, since it makes a much simpler boiler, materially cheapens the cost of repairs by doing away with the stay-bolts used in the ordinary firebox, and is at the same time more efficient. The trials of the present engine have been watched with much interest by the practical railway world, since it solves one of the greatest railway motive power problems, that of broken and leaking stay-bolts.
Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, second son of Cornelius and Alice Gwynne, was born in New York City October 20, 1877. His education, begun at St. Paul's school, Concord, N. H., was completed at Yale University, where he was graduated in 1899. As is usual with the descendants of the family, he will eventually take a prominent part in the management of the vast interests with which the Vanderbilts are identified. Modest in demeanor, he was popular with his classmates, and is a member of many of the most exclusive clubs of the metropolis, including the Knickerbocker, Metropolitan, Riding, Coaching, and New York Yacht clubs.
The Rossiter family today is represented by many distinguished American citizens and they are descended from a sturdy old English stock, which in the seventeenth century peopled the town of Plymouth, England. The pioneer American was Edward Rossiter, who emigrated in 1630 and settled in Connecticut. In 1636, his son Bryan, a doctor and a clergyman, was one of the founders of Windsor Connecticut. In 1652, he was magistrate and recorder of Windsor, Connecticut. By intermarriage the Rossiters are allied to the great families of Mather, Cotton, and Hyde. Josiah Rossiter was also a magistrate and recorder, and a member of the upper house of assembly of Connecticut from 1701 to 1711. He was the father of seventeen children and a highly respected member of the community. His youngest son, the Reverend Ebenezer, was a graduate of Yale College in 1718, and Ebenezer's two sons, John Cotton and the Reverend Dudley, were Yale graduates in 1756.
A branch of the family settled in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and Lucius T. Rossiter subsequently removed from Williamstown to St. Louis, Missouri. This gentleman was the father of Edward Van Wyck Rossiter, the subject of this sketch, who was born at St. Louis, Missouri, July, 1844. He was brought east, however, and educated in the Collegiate and Polytechnic institute of Brooklyn, New York. When only fifteen years of age, it was decided to make him a railroad man, and the boy approved of the decision. His first start was in 1859 as a clerk to President Sloan, of the Hudson River railroad company. In 1860 he was made a clerk in the treasurer's office and held the position for seven years. Then he was for several years cashier of the New York and Harlem railroad and subsequently assistant treasurer, and treasurer of that road. In 1869, the New York Central and Hudson River railroad companies were consolidated, and shortly after Mr. Rossiter was made assistant treasurer, and in 1883, treasurer. In 1886, he was appointed as secretary and treasurer of the West Shore railroad. Besides these important offices, he is secretary and treasurer of many of the subsidiary lines, and those leased and affiliated with the New York Central system. Besides his railroad positions, he is vice-president of the Lincoln National bank, vice-president of the Flushing bank, and for six years was president of the board of trustees of the village of Flushing.
In 1869, he married Estelle, daughter of Joseph Lawrence Hewlett, an old Long Island resident, and has a family of two daughters and four sons. He is a member of the Union League club, and he also belongs to the Niantic of Flushing, the Transportation club and the New England society.
Among the men who have made a history for the country as well as for themselves by the clever management of the great lines of railroad which interlace these great United States, George Henry Daniels must claim a foremost place. Mr. Daniels is a product of the west; he was born at Hampshire, Kane County, Illinois, December 4, 1842, and was educated in the public schools at Aurora. When only fifteen years old he started out to make his way in the world by becoming a rodman in the engineering corps of the North Missouri railroad. Subsequently he was on the survey of the line north of the Hannibal and St. Joseph railroad in 1857 and 1858. When the war broke out the young railroad surveyor joined the First Regiment of Marine artillery in 1862, and later he was transferred to the transport service of the United States as a steamboat pilot. Having served faithfully and honorably all through the war, Mr. Daniels returned to the railroads. His interest was great in his work and his rise upward was rapid. In quick succession he became general freight and passenger agent for the Chicago and Pacific railroad. He was then only thirty years old and he held the position eight years. Then he was general ticket agent of the Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific railway. Turning to another branch of railroading he was a commissioner of the Iowa Trunk Line association, and in November, 1882, was elected commissioner of the Colorado traffic association and held the position until 1886. He organized the Utah traffic association, but he resigned all his positions to accept the commissionership of the Central Passenger association, which was succeeded by the Central Traffic association, of which he was vice-chairman as well as chairman of the Chicago East-bound Passenger committee, and in March, 1889, he attained the crowning point of his career when he was appointed general passenger agent of the New York Central and Hudson River railroad.
Mr. Daniels is a great clubman; he is vice-president of the Transportation club, a director of the Lotus club, and president of the Quaint club. He is also a patron of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Botanical society and the New York Zoological society.
Edward Nathan Gibbs was born at Blandford, Mass., January, 1841. His parents’ ancestors were of sturdy Puritan stock and of the typical New England character.
At the age of sixteen his first position was that of a clerk in the local office of the New York. New Haven and Hartford railroad company. The experiences gained in this capacity were exceedingly useful in later life. Mr. Gibbs’ predilections having from boyhood led to a sincere interest in banking as a profession, the trend in that direction materialized in 1863 upon his entrance into the Thames National bank, of Norwich, Conn. His industry, his perseverance, and his earnest endeavor to do well every appointed task soon brought him to the favorable notice of the officers of the bank, and he was advanced from one position to another, filling each more than full, until, on one memorable day in December, 1864, he was appointed to the responsible position of paying teller. From this time on promotion was rapid; every detail of the banking business was mastered, together with his absorbing and personal interest in all that pertained to the welfare of the bank, made his services indispensable, until finally the directors invited him to become the vice-president, and later president. During his administration the bank had a career of prosperity seldom paralleled in the history of national banking in this country. At the time of his retirement to assume larger duties and responsibilities, he left the bank with a capital and surplus of $1,700,000, and deposits of more than $2,000,000. Mr. Gibbs was interested in and identified with many of the leading and successful manufacturing enterprises of Norwich and other New England towns and cities.
In 1887, Mr. Gibbs was elected a trustee of the New York Life Insurance company, and to that institution, during the past few years, have been devoted his chief energies.
After the election of Mr. John A. McCall as president, in 1892, it was known that, on the purely technical side of insurance, the New York Life Insurance company would continue strong. On the financial side the management had not been so strong. Mr. McCall was quick to see that the needs of the great institution demanded that a strong, able, experienced and successful financier should be added to the official staff and placed at the head of the finances of the company. With unanimous accord the trustees turned to the banker, whose counsel through years past the board had come to value highly. The office of treasurer was created, carrying with it ex-officio the chairmanship of the finance committee. Mr. Gibbs was by a unanimous vote of the trustees invited to accept the position. After long and careful deliberation he accepted their invitation. No cleaner and more conservative list of over $200,000,000 in assets can be found the property of one institution on the globe. The New York Life Insurance company is the only one of the great life insurance companies that annually publishes in detail a list of its entire assets, so that the whole world may know exactly of what manner of stuff the great superstructure is built.
In his tastes Mr. Gibbs is simple and modest; in his habits of thought and life, regular and systematic; he has the great faculty of seeming never to be in a hurry.
Another characteristic of Mr. Gibbs is his stalwart Americanism and his great and abiding faith in the destiny and greatness of our common country.
Mr. Gibbs, burdened as he is with heavy responsibilities, is a many-sided man. He is a good judge of a horse and a traveled man, rich with the spoils of culture and information which come to the keen observer who has traveled in many lands and mingled with the best of all circles. In 1891 he was honored with the degree of A. M. by Amherst College. He is fond of a good picture, and possesses a number which would do no discredit to any collection. He is a great lover of flowers, and in his conservatories at his beautiful country home at Norwich may always be found choice specimens of the horticulturists art. Perhaps few men are more gifted than Mr. Gibbs with a clear, practical and logical mind. All his mental processes are as clean cut as a cameo. When a business situation is complicated when affairs are critical, when the average strong business man would despair of any solution to the problem, then Mr. Gibbs is at his best.
To Mr. Gibbs' sound judgment, perhaps more than to any other faculty, is due his success in the financial world. Little wonder is it then, that he is frequently requested to become a member of directories of important corporations. He has had large experience in railroad affairs, and he was one of the leading members of the committee which so successfully put through the Atchison reorganization plan, admittedly one of the best and most successful reorganizations ever accomplished in this country.
It is in his home life, however, that Mr. Gibbs has been most happy. A devoted wife and talented daughter constitute his family. His country home at Norwich and his town house are each in season the scenes of quiet but delightful hospitalities to a large circle of friends.
This sketch would be far from complete if it did not mention and emphasize two other qualities that are markedly characteristic of the man—his constant and unvarying courtesy and great kindness of spirit and heart to everyone whom the wide circle of his life touches from day to day.
Perhaps this is the secret of that large and constantly growing circle of friends, many of whom, inspired by his example, and cheered and encouraged by his counsel and sympathy, have already conquered the fortress of success in the battle of life.
Collis Potter Huntington, railroad builder, financier and ship-builder, was born in Harwinton, Litchfield County, Connecticut, October 22, 1821, the fifth of nine children. When fourteen years of age he left school, beginning work for himself at a salary of seven dollars a month. Two years later he went to New York City and, with the aid of letters from friends at home, secured credit for goods which he sold at a handsome profit.
His success in New York City encouraged him to make a trip through the southern states, where his natural talent for merchandising enabled him to dispose of his wares to advantage. At twenty-two he had amassed a sufficient sum to permit of his purchasing a half interest in his brother Solon’s general merchandise store at Oneonta, Otsego County, New York. The business prospered, but in 1849 the gold excitement attracted his attention to California, and on March 15th of that year he sailed for San Francisco. He drew $1,200 from the business for the expenses of the trip, and being detained on the Isthmus employed his time there to such good advantage that before reaching his destination he had increased his capital to $5,000. Locating in Sacramento. California, he commenced business under the name of C. P. Huntington, afterwards forming a partnership with Mark Hopkins. In seven years the firm of Huntington and Hopkins had a fortune.
Always a close student of conditions. Mr. Huntington early realized the immense advantages which would follow the building of a railroad connecting California with the east. The project was a stupendous one and the difficulties apparently almost too great for men of limited capital to expect to overcome. Yet, after careful deliberation, Mr. Huntington induced some of his neighbors to join with him and he and six others pledged themselves to undertake the expense of an initial survey across the mountains.
In 1861 the Central Pacific railroad company was organized with a capital of $8,500,000, and Mr. Huntington started for Washington to secure the cooperation of the government in the building of the road. The successful outcome of his efforts was realized by the acts of congress of 1862 and 1864, through which the government agreed to give lands and bonds in aid of the enterprise. His message to his co-directors was significant; "We have drawn the elephant, now let us see if we can harness him up.”
His mission in Washington successfully accomplished. Mr. Huntington proceeded to New York City on an equally difficult work; the enlisting of capital. His unwavering faith and courage led him to persist until he convinced those skeptical of the outcome of the enterprise and he was again successful. The completion of the road, May 10, 1869, was a lasting tribute to Collis P. Huntington's sagacity, courage and financial capacity; his success in carrying through so great an enterprise in the face of the obstacles with which he had to contend entitling him to a place among the foremost men of action of his time.
Subsequently Mr. Huntington and his associates, Hopkins, Stamford and Crocker, created and built the Southern Pacific railroad. When Thomas A. Scott planned to extend the Texas Pacific to the west coast, Mr. Huntington rapidly extended the Southern Pacific across Arizona and New Mexico, meeting Scott’s line near El Paso and pushing the road through to San Antonio. He secured a tidewater outlet at New Orleans by acquiring the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio railway, the Texas and New Orleans, Louisiana and Western and Morgan's Louisiana and Texas Railroad and Steamship Company. In 1884 Mr. Huntington organized the Southern Pacific Company of Kentucky, thus unifying in operation a system comprising twenty-six separate corporations, owning 8,597 miles of railroad and 4,976 miles of steamship lines.
At the time of his death, August 13, 1900, Mr. Huntington was the active head of the roads which he had helped so largely to create and was the guiding spirit in other great enterprises. He was president of the Southern Pacific Company and of the Pacific Mail Steamship company, and he built and owned the dry dock and shipbuilding yard at Newport News, Virginia, the various organizations which he controlled giving employment to nearly 100,000 men. His charities, though numerous, were unostentatious. He gave liberally to any cause that seemed to him deserving, and he was greatly interested in the uplifting of the Negro, to whom he was a steadfast friend. He left an estate valued at over $50,000,000 to his widow and adopted children, Archer M. Huntington and the Princess Hatzfeldt.
John W. Mackay has accumulated the wealth that he possesses largely with his own hands and honest labor. Mr. Mackay was born in Dublin, November 28, 1831. He came to America in 1840, and was educated in New York City. Park Row and City Hall Park were his playgrounds, and today he owns one of the largest and finest buildings in that section.
Young Mackay started his career as a boy in the office of William H. Webb, the great shipbuilder. Afterwards he migrated to Louisville, Kentucky, and, in 1851, on the outbreak of the gold fever in California, he went west with a party of twenty-five, including James Flood and William O' Brien who were subsequently his partners in the great Bonanza mine. Mackay went straight to the mines, working hard and acquiring a technical knowledge of mining. In ten years he made and lost a fortune, and he determined to try his luck in Nevada. There he worked steadily for twelve years with varied results. In 1872, however, he came across the great Bonanza mine on a ledge of rock in the Sierra Nevadas, under what is now Virginia City. The discovery proved to be vast deposits of gold and silver, the most remarkable in history. Mr. Mackay took in as his partners Flood and O’Brien, and James G. Fair, thus constituting the great "Bonanza Four." They worked the Comstock Lode with continued success and amassed riches "beyond the dreams of avarice.” Mackay and Fair with their own hands took $150,000,000 out of the Comstock mine.
Mr. Mackay personally superintended all the works and he was always to be found on the lower levels working as a plain miner.
In 1878, Mr. Mackay founded the Bank of Nevada with headquarters in San Francisco. In 1882, he became a partner with James Gordon Bennett, laying two cables across the Atlantic from the United States to England and France, and is today the head of the Commercial Cable company and the Postal Telegraph company. In 1885, he was offered the nomination for United States senator from Nevada, an honor he at once refused. He is widely respected, and has given largely to charitable and educational undertakings. His enterprises give employment to many thousands of men and his liberality to his employees has earned him an enviable reputation.
Mr. Mackay is a member of the Lawyers', Players', and other clubs, and is a patron of the American Geographical society.
In 1875, Mr. Mackay married Marie Louise Hungerford Bryant. Mrs. Mackay is prominent in social circles, having been presented at practically all the courts of Europe, an honor which has been accorded few American men. Mrs. Mackay’s grandfather was a Hungerford of Farleigh castle, who took part in the war of 1812, while her father was colonel of the 76th New York regiment in the civil war. For many years Mrs. Mackay has resided abroad and her home in Carleton House Terrace London, has been the center of many distinguished gatherings, though since the deplorable death of her eldest son, John W. Mackay, Jr., through an accident, in Paris, she has withdrawn largely from social affairs. Her acts of benevolence are many and much of her time is given to charitable works. Mrs. Mackay's daughter is the Princess Colonna Galatro. Her surviving son, Clarence H. Mackay married Katherine A. Duer, a direct descendant of one of the oldest and most aristocratic families of America , and is prominently identified with the management of important enterprises.
The world of finance during the last half century has drawn to its ranks many of our best Americans, men of intelligence, mental ability and brain force; men who could daily meet master and overcome the difficult problems encountered in banking and railroad circles, and in the development of the weapons of warfare and implements of peace.
We of the present generation are greatly indebted to the pioneer workers in the various departments of finance, transportation and industry. Vast wealth is now employed as a result of the persistent and constant efforts of the brave men who faced difficulties and often privation to bring forth to a successful completion a new system or method of transacting business, or an economical and time-saving invention.
It is interesting to observe how that great civilizer, iron, advances with the advance of civilization. Knowledge of the use of iron gave to the barbarians who discovered it, and to their successors, dominion over all the world. And the nations, wherein the iron industry is most fully developed are always the foremost nations in wealth and power. Until recently Great Britain occupied that position; now it is the United States. And to no one in the United States does the iron industry owe more than to George W. Quintard, who has been so prominent in the iron and steel construction industry.
What marvels of development Mr. Quintard has seen during his lifetime! Steam caught and held by iron to minister both together in a thousand ways to the benefits of mankind; also electricity; not to mention what wonders have been wrought by iron in the construction of engines of every kind, of machinery, of modern battleships, of sky-scraping buildings, of bridges, and in a thousand other ways.
Mr. Quintard entered the firm of T. F. Secor and Company, of New York City, in 1847, and in 1850 complete ownership of this great iron plant was acquired by him and his father-in-law, Charles Morgan, of the Morgan Railroad and Steamship company. During the sixteen years from 1850 to 1866, the Morgan Iron works were developed and operated by Mr. Quintard, who soon made this establishment one of the most notable connected with ship-building in the world. During this period more than one hundred vessels were built for the American marine service alone. One of these vessels was the United States, the first American steamship which crossed the Atlantic. Here in 1853 were built the engines which pumped up the water supply for the growing city of Chicago. Again, Mr. Quintard's contribution toward the development of the United States navy was scarcely less notable than that toward the merchant marine. He built engines for a large number of the war-vessels flying the stars and stripes, while throughout the civil war he employed more than fifteen hundred men in constructing engines, building ships, and making general repairs for the federal government. The ironclad Onondaga, the cruiser Ticonderoga, and a number of double-enders of lighter draught, were all his work. He built engines for the Idaho, Algonquin, and numerous other warships.
In 1866, the Morgan Iron works were sold to the late John Roach. The following year Mr. Quintard established in New York City the Quintard Iron works, one of the largest institutions of its kind in existence, now owned and operated by Mr. Quintard's son-in-law, N. F. Palmer. This establishment was soon made famous. Here were built the engines for the United States warship Maine, so treacherously destroyed by the Spaniards in Havana harbor. Here likewise were built the engines for the cruisers Concord, Bennington, and Marblehead; in addition six sets of pumping engines for Chicago, with sets for Boston, Albany, and New Bedford.
Mr. Quintard's genius for affairs may be traced in many other directions, as for example as assignee in such failures as those of John Roach of New York, and Harrison Loring of Boston, which he settled with consummate skill and fairness. He founded the New York and Charleston Steamship company in 1868, and directed its policy during the succeeding twenty years, disposing of the line in 1888 to the South Carolina Railroad company. By the appointment of Governor Dix he served a term as commissioner of emigration of New York. He also served as commissioner of parks, and during his term the city was given one of the finest systems of parks in the world.
Mr. Quintard is director of the Pennsylvania Coal company, vice-president of the Ann Arbor Railroad company, a director of the Union Ferry Company and vice-president of the Eleventh Ward bank. He is a trustee of the Colonial Trust Company and the Atlantic Mutual Insurance company. He is a director of the Erie Railroad company, the Leather Manufacturers' National bank, the State Trust company, the Manhattan Life Insurance company, the German-American Real Estate Title Guarantee company, the Island Railroad company, the International State Casualty company, the Batopilas Mining company, and the newly organized Trust Company of New York.
Beside his house in New York City, Mr. Quintard has a beautiful country place at Portchester, Westchester County, New York, which he purchased in 1863. He was born in Stamford, Connecticut, April 22, 1822, and is lineally descended from Isaac Quintard, who settled in Stamford in 1708. The latter, of Huguenot descent, was born in Bristol, England. He was a merchant at York, England, prior to his removal to Connecticut.
The Morgans are of Welsh descent; the original ancestor is traced back to the sixteenth century as William ap Morgan of Llandaff. The American pioneer was his son, Miles Morgan, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1636, and his son, Joseph, was a farmer and among the first settlers Springfield. He afterwards became a banker and was the successor of the great American firm of George Peabody and company. Joseph’s son was Junius Spencer Morgan, also a banker. He married Juliet, daughter of the Rev. John Pierpont of Boston, and their eldest son was John Pierpont Morgan, who was born at Hartford, Connecticut, on April 17, 1837, and who is today estimated as a great financier both in America and in Europe.
The young man was educated at the Hartford High School, the Boston Latin School, and completed his studies at Vevey in Switzerland and at the University of Gottingen. When twenty years of age, he returned to America and began a business career of great brilliancy and success. He first entered the banking house of Duncan Sherman and company of New York City, and there he laid the foundation of his splendid reputation and marvelous financial knowledge. In 1860, although only a comparatively young man, he was appointed American agent and attorney for George Peabody and company of London, and in 1864 he founded the firm of Dabney, Morgan and Company. For seven years he gained greater knowledge as a New York banker, and in 1871 he became the junior partner in the great financial house of Drexel Morgan and Company, today he is the head of the greatest private bank in America, and an establishment that has a powerful influence in Wall Street and which has many times rescued weak operators when in danger at a critical moment. Mr. Morgan’s policy has always been to help his associates in the time of need and become he is generally respected and beloved in financial circles in consequence. His reputation has international, and he can honestly be classed among the great financial geniuses of the world. His business transactions are not however, confined to his own firm. He has been connected as director at various times with the Manhattan railway the New York Central and Hudson River railroad the West Shore, the New York Providence and Boston, the Mexican, the Western Union Telegraph Company, Telegraph company, the Central and South American Telegraph company, the Madison Square Garden Company, and the Manufacturing Improvement.
Mr. Morgan has been twice married. First to Amelia, daughter of John Pemberton Sturges of New York, and second to Frances, daughter of Charles Tracy of New York. He has a family of four children, Louisa Pierpont, John Pierpont, Jr., Juliet Pierpont, and Anne Tracy. He is very popular socially, a great patron of the fine arts and a public spirited citizen. Among the many clubs and social organizations that he belongs to are the Union, Knickerbocker, Union League, Metropolitan, Century, Lawyers', Tuxedo, Racquet, Riding, Players', Grolier, and Jekyl Island clubs, and the Metropolitan of Washington. He has always been a most enthusiastic yachtsman, and many of the international cup races have been due to his public spirit and liberality. He is a member of the New York, Corinthian, and Seawanaka Yacht clubs.
Among the names most prominent in social and financial circles there are none that take precedence of the Belmonts. August Belmont, born in Alzey, Prussia, December 16, 1816, was the son of a banker and landed proprietor. At an early age he entered the employ of the Rothschilds at Frankfort, and after a careful training was sent to Naples, subsequently taking charge of the Rothschild branch in that city. In 1837, at the age of twenty-one, he came to the United States on an important mission: the settlement of the affairs of the Rothschilds New York branch, which had suspended during the panic of that year. Though scarcely more than a boy, he rapidly adjusted himself to the new conditions and within a short time after his arrival began business as a banker on his own account, while continuing to manage the interest of the Rothschilds.
August Belmont was destined to play an important part in the history of his adopted country. Energetic, resourceful, resolute, and sagacious in judgment, he soon forged to the front in any line of effort which engaged his interest and attention. His success as a financier brought him international reputation and his advice and counsel were sought by the nation’s executive and by eminent men throughout the world. In the Letters, Speeches and Addresses of August Belmont, a work which was privately printed in 1890, appears the correspondence which passed between Mr. Belmont and President Lincoln, Seward, Chase, Sherman, Adams, Lord Dunfermline, Baron Rothschild and others, indicating the influence Mr. Belmont exercised over the affairs of the nation and his part in the shaping of momentous political events during the trying years of the civil war.
He early identified himself with the Democratic Party, of which he became an acknowledged leader. That his ability and distinguished service were recognized is evident from the many posts of honor accorded him during his political career. In 1844 he was made consul-general for Austria, but this office his conscience would not permit him to retain, for at this time Hungary was being crushed by a military despotism. He was appointed Charge d’Affaires and later minister resident at the Hague, where his services in connection with an important consular convention were especially valuable.
On his return to the United States in 1858, after a seven years' term, he received the special thanks of the state department. In 1860 he accepted the chairmanship of the national democratic committee and occupied this position for a period of twelve years. August Belmont was not alone prominent in politics and finance. Many sided, he was a power in other and lighter channels. For years he was a social leader of New York. He was a great patron of the fine arts, finding time to select for his private collection some of the finest masterpieces then owned in this country. He was also a lover of the turf, owning many blooded animals and having the honor of acting as president of the American Jockey club for twenty years.
He married the daughter of Matthew Galbraith Perry, brother of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, the naval hero. To them were born six children, of whom four were living at the time of Mr. Belmont’s death in 1890: Perry, August, Oliver Hazard Perry, and a daughter, Rica, who married S. S. Howland.
Philadelphia ranks among the first cities in the world in wealth and culture, and the names of many of America's distinguished men have been associated with the growth and prosperity of the Quaker city. Men like Franklin and Girard, and in later days George W. Childs, Benjamin H. Brewster, M. W. Baldwin, William Cramp, John Wanamaker, Thomas A. Scott, Hamilton Disston, A. J. Drexel, William Pepper, Thomas Dolan, P. A. B. Widener, W. W. Gibbs, William L. Elkins, Robert A. Foerderer, Clement A. Griscom, and their contemporaries, have all contributed in their time to the upbuilding of the city.
The career of John Wanamaker is an example for the youth of America, and in fact for the world at large. By his own industry he has risen from an errand boy in a book store to be the greatest merchant in the greatest manufacturing city in the United States, and a trusted adviser in the councils of the nation. John Wanamaker’s ancestors came to America about 1730. They were Palatines who left Germany to escape religious persecution, settling first in Pennsylvania and subsequently in Indiana. John Wanamaker, his grandfather, was a farmer, and at his death his three sons returned to Philadelphia. John Nelson Wanamaker married Elizabeth D. Kokersperger, and their eldest son is the present merchant and statesman. He was born in Philadelphia July 11, 1837, and educated at the public schools. When fourteen years old he started on his business career as an errand boy in a book store for the small weekly wage of one dollar and a half. Soon after his family moved again to Indiana, but returned to the Quaker city in 1856. Young John then became a salesman in a retail clothing store, and he managed to save a small sum. On the day that the gun from Sumter announced the beginning of the civil war, Wanamaker started in business with his brother-in-law, Nathan Brown, as retail clothiers. The firm was Wanamaker and Brown, and the capital was $3,500. The small store was on the site of what is now Oak Hall, one of the largest clothing establishments in Philadelphia, and still known as Wanamaker and Browns.
In 1869 John Wanamaker opened a general department store on Chestnut Street, and in seven years the business became so large that he acquired the old Pennsylvania Railroad station on Market Street, and became master of an immense store running through from Chestnut to Market Street. Here the business became world renowned, the sales now amounting to $20,000,000 a year and the business giving employment to over 5,000 people.
In 1893 he opened the great store in New York of the late A. T. Stewart, and he is one of the largest merchants in his line of business in the world. Apart from his great business connections Mr. Wanamaker has always been an active and public-spirited citizen, and has been a liberal benefactor to his native city. He was a member of the finance committee of the Centennial exposition, was the first paid secretary of the Young Men's Christian association and is foremost in all good works for the benefit of his fellow-citizens. Politically he is an independent republican and was active in helping to elect Benjamin Harrison to the presidential chair in 1888. His great services were rewarded with a seat in the cabinet as postmaster-general, his term of office being distinguished by a marked improvement in the postal service.
In addition to his business and political activity Mr. Wanamaker has always been strongly religious. In 1858 he organized a Sunday school at South and Twentieth streets. It began in a humble way, but is now one of the finest churches in Philadelphia, with schools teaching over 3,000 scholars and employing 200 teachers and officers. Mr. Wanamaker conducts the services personally, and when a cabinet minister in Washington he came over every Sunday to preside at his church.
Mr. Wanamaker married the sister of his partner, Nathan Brown, and he has a large family. He resides in Philadelphia, and is an influential member of the Union League club of that city.
Philadelphia has been foremost in the development of street railroads and the extension of that interest has evolved a remarkable group of financiers, among them P. A. B. Widener, Wm. L. Elkins, and Thomas Dolan.
Peter A. B. Widener was born in 1834 in the city in which he made his fortunes. His people were in moderate circumstances, and after receiving his education in the public schools, young Widener was for a time employed as a “printer’s devil,” afterwards learning the meat business. Taking an active interest in politics, he became prominent in the Republican Party, and in 1873 was selected to serve as city treasurer. Two years later he became identified with street railroad enterprises, acquiring with others a controlling interest in an important system.
The skill, sound judgment, and executive capacity of Mr. Widener and his associates resulted in the signal success of the undertaking. The city's street railroad service was transformed, the public securing increased conveniences and the lines yielding satisfactory profits. The result of the Philadelphia venture encouraged the development of the street railroad service in other cities, until Mr. Widener and his associates now practically control the street railroad lines of New York, Chicago, Baltimore, and Pittsburg and are known throughout the country as "traction kings.”
The success of Peter A. B. Widener is largely the result of hard work. Beginning with nothing, he fought his way to the top and won the confidence and respect of his fellow men. It is said of him that no matter how small his income in the years of his young manhood he made it a rule to save at least a part of his earnings.
Mr. Wideners collection of paintings is reputed the finest private collection in the United States and one of the finest in the world. The number of choice and valuable paintings in the collection is a revelation to art lovers, who find art treasures by Titian, Da Vinci, Rubens, Rembrandt and other great masters in the gallery to an extent rarely seen outside of the great museums of Europe.
Mr. Widener married in 1858 H. Josephine Dunton, a woman who became noted for her unostentatious charities and whose death was mourned not only by her husband but by many who for years had been the recipients of her help and bounty. In memory of his wife, the city of Philadelphia received from Mr. Widener his fine mansion on Broad Street as a gift for the use of the free library. Of Mr. Widener's immediate family two sons are now living, George D., the second son, married a daughter of William L. Elkins and is associated with his father in the management of important enterprises.
Among railroad magnates William Lukens Elkins stands in the front rank. He is interested in surface roads in many of the large cities of the Union and is an eminent financier. Mr. Elkins' family came over from England with the Puritans, and the members have ever since been prominent in commerce, finance, law, and affairs of state. His father was George W. Elkins, a pioneer paper manufacturer of Philadelphia. William was one of a very large family and was born May 2, 1832; he was educated in the Philadelphia public schools, beginning life as a clerk when fifteen years of age. In 1852 he started with William Saybolt in the produce and shipping business. In 1861 Mr. Saybolt retired and young Elkins turned his attention to oil. He soon became a power in the oil market and in 1872 was one of the organizers of the Standard Oil Company.
He went into the development of street railroads with characteristic energy, and soon acquired large holdings in lines throughout the country. He brought about the organization of the Philadelphia Traction company, of which he is a director. He is also a director of the Metropolitan Traction Company of New York, the West Side and North Side Traction Company of Chicago, the Baltimore Traction company, and the Pittsburg Traction company. He is also one of the organizers and director of the United Gas and Improvement Company, the Edison Electric Light Company, the Continental Railroad company, and the Pennsylvania Heat, Light and Power company, a trustee of the Girard estate, and a director of the Pennsylvania railroad.
Mr. Elkins owns over 3,000 houses in Philadelphia and is among the largest landholders of that city. He has a handsome residence on North Broad Street and one of the finest art galleries in the United States. In politics he is a republican, and was a commissioner from Philadelphia to the Vienna exposition. He married Miss Louise Broomall, a celebrated beauty, and has a family of two sons and two daughters, George W., William L., Jr., Eleanor, wife of George D. Widener, and Ida, wife of Sydney F. Tyler.
Thomas Dolan has won a place among the leading textile manufacturers of the world. Born in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, October 27, 1834, he went to Philadelphia when a boy and was educated at the public schools. His first business venture was as a clerk in a fancy knit goods and hosiery manufactory. For ten years he worked steadily, mastering every detail of the business, and in 1861 started for himself in a small way at the corner of Hancock and Oxford streets, Philadelphia. He prospered, and in 1866 began the manufacture of Berlin shawls. In 1872 Mr. Dolan changed the business to manufacturing worsted material for men’s wear, and subsequently fancy cassimeres and ladies cloaking materials. In 1882 he decided to produce only men's wear, and formed a corporation known as Thomas H. Dolan and company, and built the Keystone Knitting mills, a large factory in the city of large factories. His associates in the business are Rynear Williams, Jr., Charles H. Salmon, and Joseph P. Truett, all of them prominent Philadelphia merchants.
Mr. Dolan has always identified himself prominently with the knit goods business. He is president of the Quaker City Dye Works company, the Philadelphia Association of Manufacturers of Textile Fabrics, and the Textile Dyers' association; vice-president of the National Association of Wool Manufacturers and of the Union League club of Philadelphia.
He is also president of the United Gas Improvement Company, and a director of the Philadelphia Traction company, the Brush Electric Company, and the University hospital; a trustee of the Pennsylvania Museum of Art, and trustee and promoter of the School of Design for women. In fact, he is connected with every institution that benefits Philadelphia and the community at large.
Mr. Dolan is a republican in politics and was chairman of the advisory committee during Mr. McKinley’s first campaign, contributing largely to his election. He has several times refused the nomination for mayor of Philadelphia. His town mansion is in Rittenhouse square and he belongs to many clubs and social organizations, being president of the Manufacturers' club and a member of the Wool club of New York.
Alexander Johnston Cassatt, civil engineer, and president of the Pennsylvania railroad, was born in Pittsburgh, December 8, 1839. He was educated at the University of Heidelberg, finishing at the Rensselaer Polytechnic, Troy, New York, and taking his degree as a civil engineer in 1859. His first venture was the building of a line of railroad through Georgia. At that time politics ran high in the south, and just at the outbreak of the war the young engineer came north . He took a position as rodman for the Pennsylvania railroad, remaining with that corporation until 1882. He steadily worked himself to the top. In 1863 he was fourth assistant engineer of construction, connecting the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and Trenton roads. From 1864 to 1866 he was resident engineer in charge of the middle division of the Philadelphia and Erie. Colonel Scott soon saw the ability and industry of the young man, and he was made superintendent of motive power on the Philadelphia and Erie, subsequently becoming superintendent of the Pennsylvania railroad, with residence at Altoona. He held this position for four years, and in 1871 became general superintendent of the above road, and general manager of the lines east of Pittsburgh. Mr. Cassatt changed his residence to Philadelphia, and in 1874, on the death of J. Edgar Thompson, he was appointed third vice-president, becoming on June 1, 1880, first vice-president.
Mr. Cassatt was always a hard worker for the consolidation of the large number of independent lines, doing a great share of the task of creating the great Pennsylvania system. In 1882 his continuous labors necessitated a rest. He retired from office becoming a director of the road, and making an extended tour through Europe. In 1885, on his return, he was appointed president of the New York, Philadelphia and Norfolk, and in 1891 president of a syndicate to build railroads connecting North and South America. Mr. Cassatt, despite his steady application to business, found time to devote himself to sport of all kinds. He owns a large stock farm and is well known as the manager of the famous Chesterbrook stud. His country seat is "Cheswold" at Bryn Mawr. In 1898, on the death of Frank Thomson, he was made president of the Pennsylvania railroad, and reached the highest point of his career. He is the chief executive and patron of the Philadelphia Coaching club, the Merion Cricket club, the Radnor Hunt, and the Philadelphia Horse Show association, besides being one of the governors of the Monmouth Park and Coney Island Jockey clubs. Socially he is very popular, and he belongs to the Union, New York Yacht, Turf and Field and Country clubs of New York City, and the Philadelphia and Rittenhouse clubs of the Quaker city. His eldest son, Robert Kelso Cassatt, married Miss Minnie Drexel Fall, and he thus became connected with the most exclusive and wealthy Philadelphia families.
American shipping interests owe much to Clement A. Griscom. Born in Philadelphia in 1841, the descendant of a family which has been identified with the history of the city since the seventeenth century, he inherited traits of character which enabled him to take rank among the prominent men of the day. His first occupation proved congenial and determined his future career. Entering the employ of Peter Wright and Sons in 1857, he was at the age of twenty-two admitted to partnership. To better fit himself for his calling he studied marine architecture, and was the first president of the society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. One of the founders of the International Navigation company, he became vice-president and later president of the company, which controls and operates more tonnage in the transatlantic trade than any steamship company in the world. The old Inman line was purchased for the company in 1886 by Mr. Griscom, and he subsequently contracted for the palatial steamships New York and Paris. Through his energy special congressional legislation was secured which permitted these ships to sail under American registry. An important event was the placing of the contracts for the ocean liners St. Louis and St. Paul, which were awarded by Mr. Griscom to the Cramps. The result proved that his confidence in the ability of American ship builders to equal the work turned out by any foreign nation was well founded. President Cleveland attended the launching of the St. Louis and the ship was christened by the first lady in the land.
In the Spanish war the United States government secured the use of several of the company's ships, including the Paris and St. Louis, and these played an important part in the naval engagements, thus attaching to the boats a historic interest.
Notwithstanding the vast responsibilities connected with the steamship enterprises of which he is the head, Mr. Griscom is active in many other lines. He is a director of the Pennsylvania railroad the Bank of North America, Fidelity Trust and Safe Deposit Company, and other enterprises. He was also one of the organizers of the National Transit Company and its president for several years.
In 1889 Mr. Griscom was a delegate to the International Maritime conference for revising the Rules of the Road at Sea, twenty-eight nations being represented. He was also honored by being made an associate member of the British Society of Naval Architects, an honor conferred on but three others, including the Grand Duke Constantine of Russia, Lord Kelvin of England and DeLome of France.
Mr. Griscom married Frances Canby Biddle, daughter of William C. and Rachael Biddle, and has five children Helen Biddle, Clement Acton, Jr., Rodman Ellison, Lloyd Carpenter, and Frances Canby. His country house, “Dolobran,” is near Haverford college, on the Pennsylvania railroad.
Philadelphia has always been a center of manufacturing prosperity, and in its continually increased development from year to year, with modern methods of concentration, a large number of its successful merchants and manufacturers have been brought into public prominency.
Among the many noted manufacturers in the Philadelphia of today is Robert H. Foerderer, leather manufacturer. He is of German parentage, and was born at Frankenhausen, Germany, May 16, 1860, while his parents were sojourning in Europe. Edward Foerderer, his father, early in life emigrated to America, became a resident of Philadelphia and successfully established himself in business as a morocco manufacturer; subsequently visiting Frankenhausen, where he married and returned with his bride to Philadelphia. Their third child, Robert H., was educated at public and private schools, but during his sixteenth year his intense desire for a business life was gratified by his father placing him as an apprentice in his morocco factory. From that moment the boy mapped out his own course, onward and upward, and successively every line of detail work in leather manufacturing was mastered, and his majority found him fully qualified to enter that business for himself. In 1885 he started in the business of dongola leather tanning in a factory building on Randolph Street, 36 by 125 feet, four stories in height and with a capacity of about 7,500 dozen skins a year. It was here that his attention was called to a new process of tanning, not then successfully applied by its discoverer, but of which he obtained control and which was destined to afford him a field for the exercise and tenacious development of his strong, native executive ability and of his hard-earned education as a tanner. For months, by day and night, he studied and experimented with the process until full success rewarded his work and he had found and applied what was lacking. He then announced his trade-mark of "Vici Kid,” on a horseshoe emblem, and today that product is a commodity in all the markets of the world.
His business soon demanded new quarters, and with good foresight he removed to Frankford, a growing suburb of the city, where his manufacturing plant now covers over twenty acres of ground, employing upwards of four thousand people, and its capacity being 100,000 goat skins daily turned into "vici" kid shoe leather. Business success, so rapid and pronounced, with its diversified collateral interests, demanding and receiving close study of ever-changing questions of transportation, commercial supply and demand, financial and other problems, involving consideration of public needs and benefits as well as private necessities, inevitably attracted attention and favorable comment. Mr. Foerderer had never sought or held public office, yet always maintained an active interest in his party politics and good government. Recognizing the ability and integrity displayed in the conduct of his private affairs, the republican state convention of 1900 at Harrisburg nominated Mr. Foerderer for congressman-at-large, and deemed him exceptionally fitted for the duties of that position.
Mr. Foerderer is of strong home inclinations, modest and affable in deportment, and is a student and close observer of all public questions. He is an active member of the Union League, Manufacturers, Columbia, and other clubs; a member of the Philadelphia Bourse, Trades League, Commercial Museums and similar institutions; a mason of high degree, and is a director of the Tenth National bank, the Columbia Avenue Savings and Trust Company, and others, and finds time to give personal aid as a member of several strong political clubs. In New York and Boston Mr. Foerderer is always welcome and is a member of the Manhattan and New York clubs of New York, and the exclusive Algonquin of Boston. He has an elegant city home on Broad Street, but resides the greater part of the year at Torresdale, where he has a fine mansion with handsome grounds on the bank of the Delaware River.
The Gibbs of America are descended from an old Devonshire family, whose younger branches emigrated from England to America about 1625, settling first in Windsor, Connecticut, and afterwards in Rhode Island. They became prominent citizens of their adopted country from the first Giles Gibbs was a freeman of Dorchester, Connecticut, in 1633, and a selectman in 1634.
Since that time scions of the family have been warriors, lawyers, scientists, antiquarians, and important members of any society with which they may have been connected. The Gibbs collection of minerals, now in Yale College, is as yet unequalled by any collection in the country. William Warren Gibbs was born in the village of Hope, Warren County, New Jersey, March 8, 1846. His parents were Levi B. Gibbs and Ellen Venatta, who was a sister of the late Jacob Venatta, a distinguished New Jersey jurist, and at one time attorney general of that state. Mr. Gibbs' career has been an eventful one. He began a poor boy, and despite several setbacks and by dint of hard work, honesty and perseverance, he has succeeded in reaching the uppermost round of the ladder leading to success. Up to the age of fourteen he was educated in the public school of his native village. He then began his business career in a grain, flour, and feed store in Newark, New Jersey. In a year he became clerk in a general country store, and two years later found him holding a responsible position in a large grocery concern at Hackettstown, New Jersey. Here he stayed for eight years, and here he developed that great financial ability which was to lead him to fame and fortune later on in life. When he was about twenty-three years old he became a partner in the business at Hackettstown; but in 1871 his partner died and he closed out the business. By this time he had managed to save a few thousand dollars and he started for New York, the Mecca of every ambitious youth. Here he embarked in the retail dry-goods business, and struggled along until 1873, when he organized the firm of Bauer, Gibbs and Company, wholesale grocers. Want of capital, however, hampered his chances, and in 1875 he withdrew from the firm almost as poor as when he started in life. His youth, energy and aggressiveness were not to be suppressed. He studied the scientific journals, being strongly imbued with the instincts of his distinguished ancestors. He formed a friendship with Ferdinand King, the inventor and holder of a patent for making gas from petroleum. The young grocer and student soon became interested, a corporation was formed entitled the National Petroleum and Gas Company of New York, and a contract was entered into to build gas works in a small country town. Success was achieved only by close application shrewdness and constant attention. The merits of his gas reached the ears of a thrifty New Englander, and Amos Paul, agent of the Swampscot Machine Company of South New Market, New Hampshire became interested, and an arrangement was entered into to build works for the new system. Mr. Gibbs was the prime mover and organizer of all the works, and the National Petroleum Gas Company of New York soon became a flourishing and prosperous corporation, In the first seven years over one hundred gas works were erected, all over the country, from Maine to California, and the grocery boy was on the high road to the millionaire goal. The manufacture of the gas necessitated the purchase of immense quantities of petroleum oil, and in this manner Mr. Gibbs made the acquaintance of the heads of departments in the Standard Oil company.
His ability was soon appreciated and he succeeded in attracting the attention and interest of the great capitalists of the corporation. The United Gas Improvement Company was formed in 1882, Mr. Gibbs being appointed general manager. In seven years he made the company one of the most important in the United States. Then he launched out into other ventures. He contracted to construct the Poughkeepsie Bridge and the roads connecting with it east and west. He became chairman of a pool to acquire the control of the Reading Railroad and he soon became involved in a troubled sea of finance and speculation. In 1890 the Baring failure brought matters to a crisis, Mr. Gibbs being left with the loss of his whole fortune and an indebtedness of about three millions in cash added to an interest account of one hundred and eighty thousand dollars a year. Nothing daunted, he set to work to get back his lost fortune and to pay his debts. He had experience, great knowledge, and had learned caution. After eight years of hard work he had paid off all his liabilities and became possessed of a fortune larger than he had ever had before, today he is president, director, or manager of more than twenty prosperous corporations and he is looked up to as among the princes of finance in the country.
Mr. Gibbs married in 1872 Frances A. Johnson, daughter of George W. Johnson, one of his old employers. He has a family of six children and resides on Walnut Street, Philadelphia.
Miscellany—Among other names prominent in the social, financial and industrial life of Philadelphia are J. Edward Addicks, William C. Allison, Joseph B. Altemus, John T. Audenreid, F. Wayland Aver, Amasa P. Bailey, Daniel Baird, Matthew Baird, Joseph A. Ball, George Barrie, Prof. John Rhea Barton, Daniel Baugh, Clarence Bement, William B. Bement, R. Dale Benson, Luther S. Bent, C. William Berger, John F. Betz, Alexander Biddle, Hon. Craig Biddle, Spencer F. B. Biddle, Kenneth M. Blakiston, Samuel T. Bodine, Chas. Boyd, John A. Brill, Thomas Bromley, James C. Brooks, Alexander Brown, T. Wistar Brown, John C. Bullitt, George Burnham, William Burnham, Dr. Charles Cadwalader, Seth Caldwell, James D. Campbell, George Carpenter, William T. Carter, John H. Catherwood, William A. Church, Isaac H. Clothier, Henry T. Coates, George H. Colket, Benjamin B. Comegys, John H. Converse, Jay Cooke, Caleb Cope, Samuel F Corlies, Brinton Coxe, Charles H. Cramp, Henry W. Cramp, Samuel H. Cramp, William M. Cramp, John K. Cuming, Cyrus H. K. Curtis, Henry L. Davis, Henry M. Dechert, Evans R. Dick, James E. Dingee, William Disston, Horace A. Doan, John H. Drake, Thomas Drake, Robert C. Drayton, George W. C. Drexel, Joseph Drexel, John G. Dunn, Frederick C. Durant, Edmund P. Dwight, George H. Earle, Jr., William H. Eisenbrey, Chas. E. Ellis, John R. Fell, Edgar C. Felton, Wm. W. Finn, Jr., Edwin H. Fitler, Sr., George N. Flagg, Adam Forepaugh, Wm. W. Foulkrod, L. G. Fouse, Frederick Fraley, William W. Frazier, Samuel H. French, J. C. Fuller, John Gardiner, John H. Gay, Joseph M. Gazzam, John Howard Gibson, Jos. E. Gillingham, John P. Green, Henry S. Hale, Charles H. Harding, Joseph S. Harris, J. Campbell Harris, George Leib Harrison, William H. Harrison, William F. Harrity, Richard Hecksher, William H. Heisler, Charles W. Henry, Chas. E. Hires, Johns Hopkins, Henry H. Houston, William J. Howard, Gen. Henry S. Huidekoper, Wm. A. Ingham, Jas. A. Irwin, William Ivins, Dr. David Jayne, John G. Johnston, William H. Kemble, Edward C. Knight, John D. Lankenau, Thomas L. Leedom, Edward B. Leisenring, J. B. Lippincott, Alexander K. McClure, William MacKellar, Wayne MacVeagh, Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, Chas. C. Moore, Effingham B. Morris, Henry Morris, Albert Pancoast, Chas. T. Parry, Gen. Robert Patterson, Robert E. Pattison, Edward M. Paxson, George Philler, Thomas Powers, J. Sergeant Price, Evan Randolph, William F. Read, Jacob E. Ridgway, Algernon S. Roberts, Percival Roberts, Chas. H. Rogers, Benjamin Rowland, Peter A. Schemm, Lewis A. Scott, William Sellers, Henry W. Sharpless, Robert Shoemaker, Joseph Singerly, John B. Stetson, John Wesley Supplee, Chas. M. Swain, Frank Thomson, Richard A. Tilghman, Charlemagne Tower, Alexander Van Rensselaer, William Weightman, Henry D. Welsh, Cornelius N. Weygandt, Joseph Wharton, Dr. Edward II. Williams, Edward S. Willing, Isaac J. Wistar, Howard Wood, John Wyeth.