Charles E. (Charles Elliott) Fitch.

Encyclopedia of biography of New York, a life record of men and women whose sterling character and energy and industry have made them preëminent in their own and many other states (Volume 5) online

. (page 35 of 58)
Online LibraryCharles E. (Charles Elliott) FitchEncyclopedia of biography of New York, a life record of men and women whose sterling character and energy and industry have made them preëminent in their own and many other states (Volume 5) → online text (page 35 of 58)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

was located in what is now a far down
town section on Vandam street, adjoin-
ing the sugar house, and there John Craig
Havemeyer was born.

John Craig Havemeyer was born May
31, 1833, son of William Frederick and
Sarah Agnes (Craig) Havemeyer. Until
his eleventh year he attended various pri-
vate schools. Miss Durant's, Greenwich
and Charlton streets. Miss Houghton's,
Vandam near Varick street, and Mr. Mar-
tin's in Dominick street. At the age of
eleven he was sent to the boarding school
of Rev. Robert W. Harris, White Plains,
New York. From a diary neatly kept
during this period it is found that the
studies he pursued were Latin, Greek,
mathematics, French, geography, history
and spelling and that the religious ele-
ment was prominent in the training he
there received. He remained at White
Plains about two years, then entered the

N Y— Vol IV— 15



grammar school of Columbia College,
there gaining special commendation for
excellence in English. He was unusually
facile in expressing himself in good Eng-
lish while quite young and when but
fourteen one of his youthful essays, "The
Seasons," was admitted into the public
print. During portions of 1848-49 he was
a student at New York University, but
ill health and particularly poor eyesight
compelled him to withdraw from college.
He, however, continued his studies in pri-
vate and became a member of two debat-
ing societies, the Philosophian Society, of
which he was chosen president in 1850,
and the Addisonian, which he was instru-
mental in organizing in January, 1851.
The debates in these societies in which
the boy took active part were of great
aid to him in cultivating that fluency,
clarity and directness of expression for
which he has always been noted. The
abandonment of his college course was a
severe blow to him and brought him
much sadness and disappointment. For
a time he did nothing, then attempted to
secure a position but the fact that his
father was mayor created a peculiar diffi-
culty. He became discouraged and re-
solved to "run away," and go by vessel
to California, but his father learned of
his plans and busied himself in the boy's
behalf, finally securing him a position
with his uncle in a grocery store on Ful-
ton street, where he received fifty dollars
for his first year's work.

The following pledge solemnly taken
and kept with an extract from his diary
reveals his moral and religious sentiment,
deliberate judgment and will power,
even in youth: "I, the undersigned,
do hereby solemnly promise and declare
that I will, as far as in me lies, totally
abstain from the use of tobacco, snufT or
segars, and in addition thereto do sol-
emnly affirm that I will refrain partaking
in large or small quantities of intoxicat-

ing liquors of any kind so ever from date
until arrived at the age of twenty-one and
if then this course be found beneficial
whether or not I will follow this rule the
rest of life, remains for myself to de-
termine." The above has been drawn out
and is now signed from a growing incli-
nation towards indulging in them ex-
hibiting itself. From his diary, date of
November 14, 1850, this extract is taken:

In my eighteenth year, of moderate size and
passable loolis, engaged in the grocery business
with an uncle, I sometimes feel a contentment
and at others a depression of spirits which alter-
nately makes me satisfied with my condition and
again spreads on all objects around a gloom
which a day of active exercise alone can dispel.
But my trust is in God. He will answer my
prayers and give me the equilibrium of disposi-
tion, the sobriety of thought and activity of mind
and body which I have long and earnestly de-
sired. I wish to be neither too grave nor gay,
but desire to unite the two traits in such a
manner as will render me a happy medium.

Above all things I would be governed in my
actions and thoughts by a high and holy principle
which will lead me always to consider the right
and justice; influence me to act kindly and gen-
erously toward all, to relieve the wants of the
destitute, encourage the disheartened and which
will impart to my character a firmness and proper
dignity and give to my feelings an elevation
which shall act as a talisman to protect me from
the low contaminations surrounding me, by which
I sometimes fear that I have been somewhat

From June 12, 1852, until March 27,
1853, he took an extended tour through
Europe and the countries bordering the
Mediterranean, a journey taken at his
father's instance as a health measure, but
for the young man it became a period of
investigation and study, not mere sight-
seeing. At Bueckeburg, the home of his
German ancestors, he visited the house in
which his grandfather was born. His let-
ters from European cities and from the
Holy Land display an interest in every-
thing he saw, and a close observation
that enabled him to write most interest-



ingly and intelligently of the countries he
visited. He returned to New York from
Havre on the steamer "Humbolt," arriv-
ing home in April, 1853.

With his return from Europe, Mr.
Havemeyer began his business life in
earnest. He became clerk in the Have-
meyer & Moller Sugar House and in a
few months wrote to his sister: "I went
into the sugar house as clerk towards
the last of December and have now (Jan-
uary 30, 1853) entire charge of the office."
During this period he was vice-president
of the Everett Club, a debating society,
and was active in the support of religion
and the church.

On the last day of the year 1855 he
signed a partnership agreement with
Charles E. Bertrand, then beginning his
independent career as a sugar refiner.
The firm Havemeyer & Bertrand was
located at Williamsburg at what is now
the corner of South Third and First
streets, Brooklyn. Six months later a
cousin, F. C. Havemeyer, was admitted
to the firm. The difficulty in getting
proper machinery from Germany caused
delay and loss, and after nine months of
struggle Mr. Havemeyer sold his inter-
est to Havemeyer & Moller.

In November, 1856, he started on a
journey intending to travel east and west
until he found a business opportunity and
wherever he found a business opportun-
ity there to settle, but after visiting Bos-
ton and Worcester he returned to New
York, there deciding to remain. In
March, 1857, he entered the employ of
Havemeyer & Moller and during the fall
of that year made a business trip to De-
troit and other places, a journey he re-
cords in his diary as one on which he
"made the acquaintance of several prin-
cipal firms in the grocery business." In
January, 1859, he made a special arrange-
ment with the firm of William Moller &
Company, Steam Sugar Refiners, as

salesman and agent, with power of attor-
ney, his compensation $3,000 a year and
a share of the net profits of the business.
His responsibilities were very great and
involved business trips to various parts
of the country. The entries in his diary
at this period, although meagre, show
him to have been in improved health and
spirits and very active in his business.
Yet, business cares did not prevent his
giving time to the church, Sunday school,
Young Men's Christian Association, Bible
Society and the Everett Club, and
wherever he happened to be on a Sun-
day he always attended Divine service.

About the end of January, i860, Mr.
Havemeyer left William Moller & Com-
pany, and very soon afterward started
independently as a commission merchant
with offices first at No. 107 Water street,
later at No. 175 Pearl street, also becom-
ing a member of the New York Produce
Exchange. It was at that time that Mr.
Havemeyer, prompted by devotion to
Christian business principle, had Scrip-
tural quotations printed on his business
letterheads. His father objected to the
practice and in deference to him the prac-
tice was discontinued. Mr. Havemeyer
admitted his brother Henry to a partner-
ship in 1865 under the firm name of John
C. Havemeyer & Brother. Their busi-
ness was largely in tobacco and rice, later
many other articles were handled and
journeys east, west and south were
necessary. This business relation existed
until July, 1869, when the firm of Have-
meyer & Company, composed of Albert
and Hector C. Havemeyer, engaged John
C. Havemeyer to conduct the mercantile
part of their sugar refining business with
power of attorney. This was an ex-
tremely responsible position, involving
extensive purchases and sales of sugar ;
"and any other articles for the use of or
being the product of one refinery, or
otherwise required by our business, to



draw or endorse checks and orders for
the payment of money, to make or in-
dorse any promissory notes or bills of
exchange, to borrow money and generally
to negotiate and transact in the name and
in behalf of said firm, all financial and
commercial matters properly relating to
said business as fully and effectually as
either we or either of us as copartners
in said firm could do if present." Under
so wide a contract Mr. Havemeyer
worked for nine months when Have-
meyer & Company sold out to Have-
meyer & Elder, January 7, 1870. From
that time until 1880 Mr. Havemeyer was
a member of the firm of Havemeyer
Brothers & Company, Sugar Refiners,
No. 8g Wall street. He sold his one-
sixth interest in the firm in September,
1880, to John E. Searles, Jr., of No. 100
Wall street, retiring from that time on
from all connection with the sugar busi-
ness; often during later years it has been
erroneously stated that he was a member
of the "Sugar Trust." Many times he
has been falsely attacked in that connec-
tion and to disprove the charge he has in
several instances publicly set forth his
relations, terminating in 1880, to the busi-
ness of sugar refining.

From 1880 until his retirement, Mr.
Havemeyer confined his business opera-
tions to real estate dealing in the States
of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New
York, and the region now the State of
Oklahoma. During the seventies he was
president of the Central Railroad of Long
Island, associated as a bondholder with
the Darien Short Line Railroad in 1893,
in 1890 prominently connected with the
reorganization of the Toledo, St. Louis
& Kansas City Railroad Company, and
for some time was a trustee of the Con-
tinental Trust Company of New York.

During the years 1876 to 1881 Mr.
Havemeyer, as the executor of the will of
his father, found himself with his brother

Henry the defendants in a suit brought
by the administrators of the estate of his
uncle, Albert Havemeyer, involving the
charge of a breach of contract in the sale
of a large amount of stock of the Long
Island Railroad Company. Two juries
decided against the defendants but on
appeal the verdict was reversed. Judge
William H. Taft, afterward President,
was one of the judges who decided the
case in John C. and Henry Havemeyer's

In the home of his distinguished father
and in subsequent social and business re-
lations, Mr. Havemeyer frequently met
men of great reputation and influence.
One of these was Samuel J. Tilden, the
great lawyer and Democratic idol, who
used often to visit Mayor Havemeyer at
his home, Mr. Tilden, a bachelor, then
living on Union Square near Fourteenth
street. He left a lasting impression on
Mr. Havemeyer on account of his irregu-
lar habits of life. He went to bed very
late and got up very late, not before ten
in the morning. He had false teeth and
when agitated moved them about in his
mouth and as his agitation increased
would take them out and place them on
the table. He drew up Mr. Havemeyer's
partnership papers and warned him that
it was important to look into all the de-
tails of a partner's character, very much
the same as when one got married. In
the early eighties Mr. Havemeyer was
connected in business with John Wana-
maker, the great merchant and states-
man, and has some interesting letters ex-
changed with that great man, with Judge
Taft, and many other men of an earlier
day. Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll, the
noted agnostic, was also brought in busi-
ness touch with him, and an interesting
correspondence between the two men is
preserved, all the more interesting on ac-
count of the abysmal difference between
them in relation to Christian belief.



For forty years after his marriage in
1872 Mr. Havemeyer made Yonkers his
home and took a deep interest in promot-
ing its prosperity. He advocated public
parks, headed the agitation which result-
ed in old historic Manor Hall being saved
and transferred to the State of New York,
and at the dedication of "Hollywood Inn,"
a non-sectarian club house for young
men, represented St. John's Chapter of
the Brotherhood of St. Andrew in a
speech full of deep feeling. He was and
is opposed to war on Christian grounds,
depreciates the patriotism that is found-
ed on military or naval prowess, believes
that humanity and religion are above
patriotism and the law of universal love
before that of allegiance to one's country,
and that as long as mankind shall con-
tinue to bestow more liberal applause on
their destroyers than on their benefactors
the thirst for military glory will ever be
the vice of the most exalted characters.
He has maintained his positions in the

wholly impartial, only seeking to estab-
lish the fact that both capital and labor
were under obligations to higher de-
mands of humanity and religion.

Mr. Havemeyer was reared in the at-
mosphere of a religious home, and at
about the age of sixteen made an open
profession of religion and joined the
Methodist church. From this early age
he associated himself actively with all
departments of his church, believing them
all essential to the development of the
best type of Christian character. In 1862
he aided in founding the Christian
Brotherhood of Central Methodist Epis-
copal Church, New York, of which Rev.
Alfred Cookman of sainted memory was
pastor, and became its first president.
After settling in Yonkers he joined the
First Methodist Church and has never
removed his membership. He was treas-
urer of the building committee in charge
of the erection of the present beautiful
church edifice and he has been a devoted

religious and secular press, beginning at and influential layman of the church he

the age of seventeen with an article in the
New York "Evening Post," of which Wil-
liam Cullen Bryant was the editor, down
to the present, taking issue with Theo-
dore Roosevelt's article in the "Outlook"
in 1909 on "Great Armaments and Peace,"
answering it in the "Christian Advocate"

loves for over sixty years. For a number
of years he was closely associated with
the work of the Evangelical Alliance and
a member of the executive committee.
In the work of the Young Men's Chris-
tian Association, he has taken a lively
interest since youth, his membership dat-

of New York. He was a Democrat by ing back to 1855 when the association
inheritance, but never has been narrowly occupied rooms in Clinton Hall, Astor
partisan. He warmly supported Grover Place. It was largely through his aid
Cleveland for President, and in 1908 sup- that the Yonkers branch was established,
ported Bryan, but with little enthusiasm, He was its first president, personally
believing on the whole he represented raised the first year's salary of the gen-
better principles than his opponent. He eral secretary, was for years president
bitterly opposed the use of the pulpit as of the board of trustees, was a recognized
a political rostrum. In 1903, when capi- association speaker and addressed more
tal and labor were in bitter controversy. Young Men's Christian Association audi-
Mr. Havemeyer endeavored to bring ences than any man in Yonkers, com-
about a better mutual understanding by pleted the fund to pay off its mortgage
public discussion and at his own expense indebtedness, and as the secretary writes:
obtained Music Hall, Yonkers, in which "There hangs in my office, just over my
to hold the meeting, his position being desk, a fine portrait of the kindly earnest,



generous face of my friend, John C.
Havemeyer, with the inscription on the
frame, 'John C. Havemeyer, First Presi-
dent of the Young Men's Christian Asso-
ciation 1881'."

For many years he was a local preacher
of his church and occupied many pulpits
other than those of his own denomina-
tion. The Bible is his great and final
authority ; what can be proved by it is
binding beyond dispute. He believes
thoroughly in personal Christian work, in
strict Sabbath observance. He has writ-
ten many monographs, among others "A
Study of Labor Unions," "Patriotism,"
"Shall We Prepare for War in Time of
Peace," "The Needs of the Church from
a Layman's Standpoint," "What is Love
of Country," "Great Armaments and
Peace," "Fundamental Facts About Re-
ligion," and "Foundation Truth." His
newspaper articles are legion and there
has been no great moral, religious or
ethical question of his time that he has
not publicly discussed, and has never
sought an obscure person to discuss it

Personal philanthropy cannot be fairly
dealt with in a biography for the essence
of true benevolence is secrecy. But phi-
lanthropy is an indication of character
and the method and spirit in which it ex-
presses itself deserve careful considera-
tion. Mr. Havemeyer was born with an
inherited disposition to help those in need

position in which he has intrenched him-
self particularly if it be a Bible truth. He
is conscientious to the last degree, emi-
nently fair in argument and most cour-
teous. A strong character and one the
world should know better.

Mr. Havemeyer married in Athens,
Greece, December 5, 1872, Alice Alide
Francis, daughter of John Morgan and
Harriet E. (Tucker) Francis. Her father
was for three years United States minis-
ter to Greece, later United States am-
bassador to Austria-Hungary, and owner
as well as editor of the Troy (New York)
"Times." Mr. Havemeyer met his future
bride in 1871 in Brussels, where she was
sojourning with her parents. Later they
became engaged and in November, 1872,
sailed from New York to Greece to claim
his bride. A number of distinguished
guests were present at the marriage,
among them several missionaries. They
made Yonkers their permanent home.

CLARKE, R. Floyd,

Attorne^-at-Law, Author.

Mr. Clarke is descended on the father's
side from one of the oldest Rhode Island
families, with straight descent from the
English family of Clarkes, originally
located at Westhorpe, Suffolk county,
England, whose pedigree can be traced
back with the aid of Parish Registers and

an ancient Bible to John Clarke, of Wes-
and was trained to do good from earliest thorpe, Suffolk county, England, who died
days by precept and home example. He there in 1559. (See "The Clarke Families

believes in simple living and regards
wealth as a stewardship for which an ac-
count must finally be rendered. He gives
systematically and as far as possible finds
out all he can concerning the person or
cause he is assisting. He holds decided
opinions upon philanthropy, as he does
upon every question he deems of impor-
tance, and is not easily driven from a

of Rhode Island," by George Austin Mor-
rison, Jr., page 13).

The grandson of this John Clarke was
also of Westhorpe, and had among his
seven children four males known as the
"Immigrants,'' namely, second son Ca-
rewe, third son Thomas, fifth son John,
seventh son Joseph, who emigrated to
America about 1637.


^-jchv CaTTJrhsiLByr:.


Of these four immigrants, John Clarke,
born October 8, 1609, died April 20, 1676,
was the most prominent. (See sketch of
him in 4 "Appleton's American Cyclo-
paedia," 640, and "Story of Dr. John
Clarke, Founder of Rhode Island," by
Thomas W. Bicknell.) He devoted him-
self to study, and at twenty-eight years of
age we find him holding two professions
— that of a physician and also that of an
ordained minister of the Baptist faith.
He appears in the Catalogue of the Uni-
versity of Leyden, Holland, 1575-1875, as
one of the students there on July 17, 1635
("Story of Dr. John Clarke," jM/>ra, p. 74) ;
and during his life he practiced both pro-
fessions in New England, and also prac-
ticed as a physician in London for twelve
years while he was engaged in obtaining
the charter for Rhode Island hereinafter

He emigrated to Boston in November,
1637. Owing to his views on religious
toleration, he came in conflict with the
Puritan element, and was practically
banished, and proceeded with others to
form a settlement on the Island of Aquid-
neck, Rhode Island. Later, in 165 1, hav-
ing held religious services at Lynn, he
and two companions were sentenced to
pay fines, or else to be whipped, and to
remain in prison until paid, for their meet-
ing at William Witter's about July 21st,
and then and at other times preaching
and blaspheming, etc. On August 31,
165 1, from his prison he wrote to the
Honored Court assembled at Boston, ac-
cepting the proffer publicly made the day
before of a dispute with the ministers,
and therefore "do desire you would ap-
point the time when, and the person with
whom" the points might be disputed pub-
licly. This challenge to a debate was not
accepted, and his fine and Mr. Crandall's
were paid by friends without their con-
sent, they thus escaping corporal punish-

ment. His fellow prisoner. Holmes, was
publicly flogged. ("Story of Dr. John
Clarke," supra, p. 85.)

Later, Dr. Clarke and Roger Williams
proceeded to England — Clarke represent-
ing the Newport and .\quidneck colonies,
and Williams the Providence colony.
Williams returned, but Clarke remained
in England for twelve years, watching
over and advancing the affairs of the
Colony, and finally obtained from the
Government of Charles II. a Royal Char-
ter for Rhode Island in the year 1663.
This charter contains the first guarantee
of civil and religious freedom in America.
In fact it is the first charter of religious
toleration ever granted. This charter
provided : "that no person within the said
colony at any time hereafter shall be in
anywise molested, punished, disquieted or
called in question for any differences of
opinion in matters of religion, which do not
actually disturb the civil peace." ("Story
of Dr. John Clarke," supra, p. 193.)
The provisions in this charter, embody-
ing freedom of religious thought and wor-
ship with a temperate and just civil gov-
ernment as opposed to the narrow and
dogmatic attitude of the other New Eng-
land colonies at this time upon these
(|uestions was chiefly the idea and con-
ception of John Clarke. ("Story of Dr.
John Clarke," supra.)

Dr. Clarke maintained himself in Eng-
land by using his own funds, and we find
later that the town of Providence and
other towns voted him a partial compen-
sation for his outlays. On returning to
the Colonies, he settled at Newport, and
later died there, without issue, after hold-
ing various religious and public offices.
("Story of Dr. John Clarke, supra.)

While John Clarke left no issue, his
three brothers left issue, resulting in one
of the three branches of the Clarke family
in the United States.



Joseph Clarke, of Westhorpe, Suffolk him reading Euclid in the shade of a tree
county, England, and later of Newport while the horses and plough stood idle

and Westerly, brother of John Clarke,
is the ancestor of R. Floyd Clarke, of this
review. Joseph Clarke was admitted an
inhabitant of the Island of Aquidneck at
Newport in 1638. He was president at
the General Court of Election in 1640,
and became a freeman on March 17, 1641.
He was made one of the original mem-
bers of the First Baptist Church of New-
port in 1644, and a member of the General
Court of Trials in 1648; he became a free-
man of the Colony and acted as a com-
missioner in 1655-57-5S-59 and was as-
sistant in 1658-63-64-65-78-80-90. His
name appears in the charter granted to
Rhode Island by Charles II., July 8, 1663.
He became a freeman at Westerly in
1668, and acted as deputy to the General
Assembly in 1668-69-70-71-72-90. He was
a member of the Court of Justices of the
Peace in 1677. He returned to Newport
in the later years of his life. ("Clarke
Families of Rhode Island," Morrison, p.

The descendants of Joseph Clarke, the
immigrant above referred to, continued

Online LibraryCharles E. (Charles Elliott) FitchEncyclopedia of biography of New York, a life record of men and women whose sterling character and energy and industry have made them preëminent in their own and many other states (Volume 5) → online text (page 35 of 58)