James H. (James Hadden) Smith.

History of Duchess county, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers online

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Online LibraryJames H. (James Hadden) SmithHistory of Duchess county, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers → online text (page 80 of 125)
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ient for the Bank to do it, (as I suppose,) applied
to one of the stockholders, who actually had the
goodness to discount it out of his own private
funds for one hundred dollars, besides the interest
for six months. If he can have the note renewed
for six months more, at the same rate of interest,
making one whole year, the interest will only
amount to two hundred and forty-seven dollars,
according to my cast. I beUeve it is not custom-
ary, however, to renew those kind of accommoda-
tion notes at the same rate of interest. Admit
that they can be, who would not give this trifling
sum for the use of five hundred dollars to save him-
self and family from ruin, and say that we have
reason to believe we have good men in . Pough-
keepsie yet ? Zadock Southwick.

" P. S. — The action of good men ought to be
held up to the public as stimulus to virtue. *

"4th Mo. 8th, i8i8."

This is an example of extortion which it would
be difficult to surpass even in this degenerate age.
Nevertheless, the bank did a large business, and
enjoyed a good degree of confidence, as it was
supposed to be a sound and strong institution ;
and when, on the 28th of May, 1829, its doors
were suddenly closed and an examination showed it
to be insolvent, everybody was filled with surprise
and consternation. " It was a shaky concern, "
says a contemporary,! " and succeeded in 'touch-
ing' many Duchess county people to the quick.
Its bills were only found of use in papering old
trunks." Mr. William A. Davies, however, the
gentlemanly President of the Farmers' and Manu-
facturers' National Bank of Poughkeepsie, a posi-
tion he has held since 1842, says the bank paid the
bill-holders and, it is believed, the depositorsiin full,
though the stockholders did not receive anything.

Levi McKean and Nathan Myers were doing a
private banking business here about the time of the
war of 181 2. " Nathan Myers' Exchange Bank"
was located in the basement of the building now
occupied by the Fallkill National Bank, which has
since been remodeled.

The Duchess County Bank, of Poughkeepsie,
was chartered April 12, 1825, with a capital of
$150,000, and opened for business in the building
now occupied by the Merchants' National Bank of
Poughkeepsie. Soon after the establishment of
the " Safety Fund System " the bank was re-char-
tered, under that act and the capital increased to
$600,000. Henry Davis was president and Walter
Cunningham, cashier, during the continuance of
the first charter and for some years under the safety
fund charter. Henry Swift succeeded to the pres-



* The Sunday Courier, Poughkeepsie, March i6, 1873,
Miid, March 9, '875-



idencyand held that office till the expiration of the
charter, July i, 1845. James H. Fonda, succeed-
ed Mr. Cunningham as cashier, and he, likewise,
retained the position during the further continuance
of the charter. At the expiration of the charter
the business was wound up, though a final settle-
ment was not reached until the present year, (1881,)
when a final dividend of one-fourth of one per
cent, was declared on the stock.* The bank paid
its circulation at par, but returned only thirty to
forty per cent, to the stockholders.

The Bank of Poughkeepsie, (now the Poughkeep-
sie National Bank) was organized under the
Safety Fund Act, June 17, 1830, at which
time the following directors were chosen : Thom-
as L. Davies, James Thomson, Albro Aikin,
Thomas Taber 2d, James Hooker, Nathaniel P.
Tallmadge, Nathan Conklin, John Lockwood,
Aaron Innis, Richard Pudney, Alexander J. Coffin,
Matthew Vassar and Gilbert Wilkinson. The
capital stock was $100,000.

The Poughkeepsie Savings Bank. — The idea of
a Savings Bank in Poughkeepsie was suggested in
1829 or '30, by the Cashier of the New York Sav-
ings Bank, to William Davies of Poughkeepsie,
who, while on a visit to New York, was commis-
sioned by a colored female servant in his family,
who had formerly resided in the latter city to make
a deposit for her in that institution. Upon his
return, Mr. Davies reported his conversation with
that official to some of the prominent citizens of
Poughkeepsie, and after many preliminary meetings
and much discouragement, Mr. Davies, James
Emott, James Hooker, Frederick Barnard, Matthew
Vassar, Teunis Van Kleeck, Thomas W. Tal-
madge, Nehetniah Conklin, Griffin Williamson,
Henry A. Livingston and Stephen Armstrong ap-
plied to the Legislature for a charter, which was
granted April i6, 1831.!

The bank opened for business on Saturday, the
4th of May, 1833, in the office of Mr. Raymond,
the treasurer, which was located in the Burrett
House, on Main street, on the sife of Robert E
Taylor's brick building, where the business of the
Middle District Bank was transacted. The first
deposit was made that day by David Vosburgh,
who is still a depositor with the bank. Two de-
posits were received that day, one of $40, the
other of $7. The deposits during that year — to
Jan. I, 1834 — amounted to $6,922; the number of
depositors was fifty.

•The Poughkeepsie Eagle, AprU Jo, 1881.
i Report on Neiv York Savings Banks ^ 1869.



•398



HISTORY OF DUCHESS COUNTY.



The resolutions adopted by the board of man-
agers April 23, 1833, provided that the bank should
be open during business hours every day in the
week, except Sunday ; that on the third Wednes-
day of July and January in every year a dividend
of at least four per cent, per annum should be
paid on all sums above five dollars, on deposit for
six months previous to the first of July and first of
January, and one-half such per centum on all other
sums above five dollars, on deposit for three
months or more previous to those dates, but that
no dividend should be allowed on any sum or de-
posit less than three months ; that no money should
be withdrawn, except on the third Wednesday in
January, April, July and October, one week's notice
was required before the day of withdrawal; and
that no sum less than five dollars should be with-
drawn, unless the whole amount on deposit was
less than five dollars. It would seem that the rule
with regard to opening the bank every secular
day was subsequently departed from, for July 18,
1849, t^^t "^ulfi was re-enacted. Indeed the mag-
nitude of its business did not necessitate a daily
opening during the early years of its existence.

Jan. 19, 1853, it was resolved to purchase the
building and lot in Market street, then occupied
by Alexander Forbus. Thomas W. Talmadge, John
B. Forbus and Henry D. Varick were appointed
to negotiate its purchase. That building occupied
the site of the present banking house, which was
erected in 187 1, and first opened for business July
18, 1871.

July 2, 1833, Col. Henry A. Livingston resigned
the Presidency, and Thomas W. Talmadge was
elected to that office. Mr. Talmadge held the
office till his death, August 11, 1856, aged seventy-
five, and was succeeded by John B. Forbus, who
was elected August 15, 1856, and also continued
in it till his death, Oct. 28, 1865, aged seventy-
eight. His successor, Henry D. Varick, was
elected Jan. 12, t866, and he likewise held it till
his death, June 18, 1877, aged sixty-six. David C.
Foster, the present incumbent, was elected July
16, 1877.

Alfred Raymond filled the office of treasurer
till Jan. 19, 1837, when Peter P. Hayes was elected
to it and held it till his death. Josiah Burritt was
elected his successor March 30, 1842, but resigned
April 23, 1842, when Alfred Raymond was again
elected. He was succeeded by his predecessor,
Josiah Burritt, Oct. 2, 1846, the latter of whom
held^the office till his death. E. B, Benjamin was
elected to the office as Mr. Burritt's successor



April 14, 1851. Chandler Holbrook was elected
Feb. 25, 1853 ; Josiah I. Underbill, July 31, 1856;
A. Van Valine, Oct. i, 1867; and Isaac Smith, the
present incumbent, Feb. 3, 1879.

The assets of the bank, as per statement of July
I, 1881, amounted to $4,517,538.29. Its liabili-
ties, consisting of $3,884,527.02, due 12,171 de-
positors, and $76,046.79, for interest credited to
depositors July I, 188 1, amounted to $3, 960,573. 81,
leaving a surplus of $556,964.48.

The Farmer^ and Manufacturer^ Bank was
organized under the Safety Fund System, April 26,
1834, with a capital of $300,000. July 19, 1834,
the following (the first) directors were elected:
James R. Cary, Nehemiah Sweet, William A.
Davies, Henry Conklin, Matthew Vassar, Wm.
W. White, Stephen Southwick, James Grant,
Jr., James Hooker, William ^gchell, Wm. H. Bost-
wick, Homer Wheaton and Daniel D. Akin, of
whom W. A. Davies, the present President, is the
only survivor. The bank erected their present
banking house, on the corner of Market and Can-
non streets, and commenced business in 1835.
The charter of the bank expired January 1, 1864.
December 31, 1863, the papers belonging to it were
formally transferred to a new organization, which
continued business under the same name and offi-
cers. The new bank was organized under the gen-
eral banking law, October 10, 1863. January 30,
1864, it was resolved to increase the capital $100,-
000. June 3, 1864, the bank was changed from a
State to a National bank under the name of The
Farmer^ and Manufacturer^ National Bank of
Poughkeepsie. July 15, 1865, the same officers were
continued. April 7, 1874, the capital was reduced
to $250,000.

James Hooker resigned the Presidency Dec. 9,
1834, and Matthew Vassar, who was elected to that
position the same day, held it till July 9, 1839,
when James Hooker was re-elected. Nov. 29,
1842, Mr. Hooker's resignation was accepted, and
Wm. A. Davies, who was then elected, has since
held the office.

James Grant, Jr., was cashier till his death, in
June, 1844, and was succeeded in that office by
Elijah P. Benjamin, who was elected June 27,
1844, and resigned August 16, 1847, at which
time Frederick W. Davis, who has since held the
office, was elected.

April 10, 1834, Samuel B. Johnston was elected
the first vice-president, a position he held till Jan.
30, 1865, when Charles W. Swift was elected and
held the office till his death in November, 1877.



CITY OF POUGHKEEPSIE.



399



Henry L. Young was elected his successor Jan. 8,
1878, and still holds the office.

The Merchant^ Bank in Poughkeepsie was or-
ganized July 2, 1845, with ^ capital of $110,000,
which was subsequently increased to $150,000.
The first directors were Matthew J. Myers, Alex-
ander Forbus, Isaac Merritt, Abraham G. Storm,
Caleb Barker, John Adriance, Thomas M. Vail,
John T. Schryver, Alexander J. Coffin, James
Emott, Jr., Solomon V. Frost, George Pomeroy
and David Arnold. The first officers were Mat-
thew J. Myers, President, and James H. Fonda,
Cashier.

The banlc commenced business July 1,1845, at
287 Main street, in the building now occupied by
the Merchants' National Bank of Poughkeepsie,
(which succeeded it,) and succeeded the old
Dutchess County Bank in the same building.

July I, 1865, it was organized as a national bank
under the name of the Merchants' National Bank
of Poughkeepsie, with the same capital, which was
increased June i, 1870, to $175,000.

Matthew J. Myers was president of the bank until
his death. May 22, 1852. His successor is James
Emott, who was elected July 6, 1852, and has held
the office to the present time under both organiza-
tions. James H. Fonda was cashier till March 2,
1854. He was succeeded by Joseph C. Harris,
who held the office during the further continuance
of the old organization, and under the new one till
Jan. 30, 1869, when Waltei: C. Fonda was elected
and has held the office continuously to the present
time.

The Fallkill Bank was organized April i, 1852,
with a capital of $150,000. The capital was sub-
sequently increased to $200,000. It was re-organ-
ized as a national bank in January, 1865.

The City National Bank of Poughkeepsie was
organized March 3, i860, as the City Bank of
Poughkeepsie, with a capital of $200,000, which
was subsequently decreased to $130,000. The
first directors were John P. H. Tallman, Joseph F.
Barnard, Daniel Matthews, George Lamoree,
Christopher Hughes, Milton Ham, Moses C. Sands,
Nicholas Strippel, Wm. R. Schell, Ambrose Wy-
gatt, Wilson B. Sheldon, David D. Vincent, Benja-
min Hopkins, John Brill, Benjamin Halstead,
William Doughty and C. A.VanValkenburgh. Jo-
seph F. Barnard was the first president, and held
the office till Jan. 10, 1880. Aaron Innis (who,
after serving as director for many years, was
elected Vice-President of the bank about 1870,)
was elected President Feb. 6, 1880, and still holds



the office. Hudson Taylor was elected Vice-
President at the same time and still holds the
office. John T. Banker was the first cashier, and
held the office till November 3, 1864, at which
time A. H. Champlin, the present incumbent, was
elected his successor.

The bank commenced business in its present
location, on the corner of Main and Market
streets, purchasing the building, which had pre-
viously been occupied for many years as a jewelry
store. It was changed to a National Bank
June 3, 1865.

The First National Bank of Poughkeepsie was
organized April 25, 1864, with a capital of $125,-
000, which was increased in 1865 to $160,000.
The stockholders numbered about a hundred at its
organization, and the number has always been un-
usually large.

The first directors were : Cornelius DuBois,
Robert Slee,* Levi M. Arnold, George B. Lent,
Daniel H. Tweedy. Cornelius DuBois was the
first president. He held the office till January,
1875, when Robert Slee was elected his successor,
and has since held it. Robert Slee was the first
vice-president. John P. Adriance, who suc-
ceeded him, still holds that office. Zebulon Rudd,
the Cashier, Frank E. Whipple, Teller, and
Jerome Deyo, Book-keeper, have each filled
their respective positions since the organization of
the bank.

The bank first opened for business July 7, 1864,
in its present location, on the corner of Main and
Catharine streets, in a building which is leased for
its use.



CHAPTER XXXIV.
The Press of Poughkeepsie.

IN this chapter we have to consider what has
been very appropriately termed the " art of
arts — the art preservative." The press reflects,
and in no small degree molds, the character of the
community from which it derives its patronage. A
low and venal Press impUes a base and truculent
people ; while a Press which is characterized by
purity, truthfulness and nobility of sentiment as
certainly implies corresponding qualities in the
people of its neighborhood. The influence exerted
by the Press, whose power, says Douglas Jerrold,

* Mr. Slee is the only one of the original directors remaining with the
bank, and, with the exception of George B. Lent, who is still a resident
of Poughkeepsie, is the only survivor.



400



HISTORY OF DUCHESS COUNTY.



"is as boundless as that of society," is scarcely
surpassed by the school and church, to both of
. which it should be supplementary.

Poughkeepsie owes the establishment of its first
newspaper, like the distinction of having been the
State capital, to the exigency of the Revolutionary
war, and these interesting incidents were nearly
synchronal in their occurrence. "The New York
Journal and the General Advertiser," the first
number of which was issued in Poughkeepsie,
Monday, May, n, 1778, until recently, was erro-
neously supposed to be perpetuated in the " Pough-
keepsie Journal," and at present in the "Pough-
keepsie Eagle," and is assumed in the " Docu-
mentary History of New York," (HI., 119S,) on
the authority of a communication from Isaac Piatt,
of Poughkeepsie, Dec. 28, 1850, then publisher
of the " Eagle," to have been the first paper pub-
ished in Duchess County; but Mr. Benson J.
Lossing,{Sketches of Local History in The Dutchess
Farmer, Dec. 12, 1876,) says that the "New
York Packet," which was started in Fishkill, Oct. i,
1776, and published there during the Revolution-
ary war, by Samuel Loudon, who fled from New
York with his type and press on the approach of
the British in 1776, was the first paper published
in the county. It was the successor in a direct
and unbroken Une of the first newspaper printed in
the Province of New York — -the "New York
Gazette" — which was started Oct. 16, 1725, by
William Bradford, whose son,* Andrew Bradford,
started the first newspaper published in Philadel-
phia, "The American Weekly Mercurie," Dec. 22,
1719, and the third one in America.

Bradford continued the pubHcation of the " Ga-
zette" till the close of 1742, when he retired from
business. The paper was continued by James
Parker, a native of Woodbridge, N. J. Parker
added to the title, which then read : " The New
York Gazette, Revived in the Weekly Post Boy.
Containing the freshest Advices, Foreign and Do-
mestick." Parker continued to publish it, but in
i7S3i when William Weyman became his partner,
the title was changed to " The New York Ga-
zette ; or, The Weekly Post Boy." Weyman with-
drew from the partnership in February, 1759, and
was succeeded in 1760, by John Holt. Parker
withdrew in April, 1762. Holt continued the pa-
per, and October 16, if 66, changed the name to
"The New York Journal, or General Advertiser."

Holt was an ardent patriot, arid in September,

Poiigkkeepsie Daily Easli,Uiy ii, 1878. The American Cfch-
pedia [Article on Printing) says Bradford himself, not his son, started
the Mercurie in Philadelphia.



1776, when the British took possession of New
York, he fled with such of his effects as he could
move to Kingston, where the newly organized State
Government was formed, and there, being the first
State printer, reissued his paper July 7, 1777. Oc-
tober 16, 1777, the British burned Kingston, and
Holt followed the fugitive State Government to
Poughkeepsie, where he resumed the publication of
his paper May 11,1778. It was printed on a single
sheet, of two pages, about twelve by eighteen inches,
with three columns to the page. The following,
which appeared in that number, may be regarded
as Mr. Holt's salutatory : —

" The Printer sends his respectful compliments
to his customers, and informs them that after an
interval of near seven months, he has again re-
sumed his publication of a weekly news-paper.
But in order to make his small stock of paper,
(which at present he knows not how to recruit) go
as far as possible, and continue till he can obtain
regular supplies, he is constrained to reduce the
quantity from a sheet to a half sheet. He pro-
poses to' supply all those with his paper, who were
his customers at Kingston on the memorable 16th
of October, (when the most generous terms of
capitulation were granted to Gen. Burgoyne's cap-
tured army at the same time that Gen. Clinton's
acting in concert with it, under Vaughan, Tryon,
etc., needlessly and maliciously burnt and destroyed
that httle defenceless town.) But as there seems
to be no regular conveyance by posts, he must
generally depend more upon the gentlemen them-
selves who take the paper, for the means of send-
ing them, than on his own endeavors, which how-
ever will not be wanting. It was intended to take
some notice of remarkable events since the last
publication in Kingston, but this, with many other
matters, must be left to future papers."

A copy of this paper is preserved in the archives
of the New York Historical Society. On the 17 th
of August, Mr. Holt made the following appeal to
his patrons : —

"The PRINTER

"SENDS his compliments to his customers, and
informs them that he finds himself under a neces-
sity of adopting a new mode of receiving payment
for his newspapers, and other printing work ; or of
discontinuing the business.

" The exhorbitant and incessantly rising prices
of every necessary of life, and the proportionable
depreciation of our money, without reason, or ad-
vantage to any but engrossers and other enemies
to America, has almost deprived the public of the
convenience of a common circulating medium,
to be given and received in exchange for the
necessaries and conveniences that individuals
have occasion to procure or part vnth in a social
intercourse.

" And the printer being unable to carry on his



CITY OF POUGHKEEPSIE.



401



business without the necessaries of life, is obliged
to fix the following prices to his work, viz : —
"i^(?r a quarter of news.

"12 pounds of beef, pork, veal or mutton, or 4
pounds of butter, or 7 pounds of cheese, or 18
pounds of fine flour, or half a bushel of wheat, or
one bushel of Indian corn, or half a cord of wood,
or 300 wt. of hay, or other articles of country
produce, as he shall want them, in hke proportion,
or as much money as will purchase them at the
time.

" For other articles of printing work, the prices to
be in proportion to that of the news-papers.

" All his customers, who have to spare, any of
the above, or other articles of country pro-
duce, he hopes, will let him know it, and afford him
the necessary supplies, without which his business
here must very soon be discontinued."

This must have met with a response, for Decem-
ber 27, 1779, we read: —

" The Printer sends his Thanks to such of his
customers who have sent him sundry necessary Ar-
ticles of Country Produce ; and will be obhged to
other Subscribers for his Paper for the like Favour,
which the Weather this Winter (or at present) will
probably give them frequent opportunities to send
him in Sleighs."*

The second newspaper in Poughkeepsie was "The
Poughkeepsie Journal," which was started April
II, 1785, by Nicholas Power, and published in the
old building which occupied the site of 265. and 267
Main street. It remained in the hands of Mr.
Power until 1806, but its name was changed in
1786, to " The Country Journal and Poughkeepsie
Advertiser," and in 1789, to " The Country Journal
and Dutchess and Ulster Family Register." In
1806, it was purchased by Bowman, Parsons &
Potter, (Godfrey Bowman, Chester Parsons and
Paraclete Potter,) and removed to the second story
of the building then occupied by Mr. Potter as a
book-store. In 1808, Mr. Potter became its sole
proprietor and changed its name to " The Pough-
keepsie Journal and Constitutional Republican."
In 18 1 2, the name was again changed to "The
Poughkeepsie Journal," under which title Mr. Pot-
ter continued to pubUsh it until 1834, when he sold
it to Jackson & Schram, and removed to Milwau-
kee, Wisconsin. In point of literary merit and
mechanical execution his paper was the best then
published in the village.f He also printed from
stereotype plates Willett's Geography, Webster's
Spelling Book and Almanac, and did con-
siderable other book work. Jackson & Schram
continued the publication of the " Journal " until

• Poughkeepsie Eagle, May ll, 1878.

t S. P. Heermance's Reminiscences, in The Sunday Courier, of
Poughkeepsie.



the close of 1843, when Jackson's interest was pur-
chased, and in January, 1844, it was united with
the " Poughkeepsie Eagle," under the title of the
" Journal and Poughkeepsie Eagle," the first num-
ber of which was issued the first Saturday in Janu-
ary, 1844, by Piatt & Schram. The " Journal " was
at first the organ of the Federal party, and after-
wards of the Clintonian. _.

The " Eagle" was the successor of the " Dutchess
Intelligencer," which was founded April 30, 1828, at
which time there was a breaking up of old parties
and the political outlook was peculiar. The Dem-
ocrats and Clintonians, who had contended for
years on State questions, found their platforms gone
when national questions came up. Most of the
Democratic party declared for General Jackson,
but a large minority refused to do so. Of the
Clintonians the majority adhered to Mr. Adams.
Under these circumstances the two old party or-
gans in this county formed themselves on the same
side. The " Journal " had declared for Jackson in
the fall of 1827. Early in 1828, the " Telegraph,"
which had remained non-committal, followed the
example of the "Journal," and for full three
months the people of Duchess heard httle but
panegyrics of ^General Jackson, and denunciations
fearfully vindictive, against Mr. Adams and his
Secretary of State, Henry Clay.

The friends of the administration were aroused
to the necessity of establishing a party organ ; "but
while possessing ample means, and resolved, as
they said, to get up a first- class paper," they "came
quite feebly to the work, displayed a marked want
of spirit, and secured only funds sufficient to issue
a small paper in the humblest style of. the times,
using old material principally, with an old Clymer



Online LibraryJames H. (James Hadden) SmithHistory of Duchess county, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers → online text (page 80 of 125)