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St. Louis, the fourth city, 1764-1909 (Volume 3) online

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Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive

in 2009 witii funding from

Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center


History of the Fourth City



"J/t-siiid lu had fouiiii a si /nation -l'/u-ii- Ju- tons going to form a scttlfimnt -ohich niig/it
ivioi/u' one of the finest cities of A in or ic a." — Lac/odc's prof>lu'iy from the imrrative of the srttlcniont
of St. Louis liy Attguste Chouteau.


VOL. Ill

Chicago-St. Louis:






While American trade annals contain records of many men who have been
the architects of their own fortunes there has been no record more creditable
by reason of undaunted energy, well formulated plans and straightforward deal-
ing, than that of Augustus Frederick Shapleigh, the founder of one of the most
important commercial enterprises of St. Louis. The name has become a syno-
nym for the hardware trade here and the extensive house, now conducted under
the style of the Xorvell-Shapleigh Company, remains as a monument to his
progressive spirit and business ability.

A native of New Hampshire, Augustus F. Shapleigh was born at Ports-
mouth, January 9, 1810, a son of Captain Richard and Dorothy (Blaisdell)
Shapleigh. The ancestry of the family is traced back to Alexander Shapleigh,
who was a merchant and shipowner of Devonshire, England, and prior to 1635
came to America as agent for Sir Ferdinand Gorges. Settling in ^lassachu-
setts he built the first house at Kittery Point, now in the state of Maine, on the
river Piscataqua, authority for which statement is found in the entry on the
records of the York court in 1650: "For as much as the house at the river's
mouth where Mr. Shapleigh first bylt and Hilton now dwelleth ; in regard it
was the first house there bylt."

In successive generations members of the Shapleigh family filled important
offices of trust mider the British crown and were rewarded bv landed possessions
which are still held by members of the familv, constituting a tenure of more
than two hundred and fifty years. j\Iajor Nicholas Shapleigh. son of the Ameri-
can progenitor, was especially prominent in colonial aft'airs in the province of
Maine, serving for many years as a member of the council and as treasurer of
the province from 1649 until 1653. He was a commander of the militia from
1656 to 1663, made a treaty with the Sagamore Indians in 1678 and was
attorney for the lord proprietor. Robert Mason. He also represented his dis-
trict in the ^lassachusetts general court until his death. The line of descent is
traced down through Alexander, son of the first Alexander, Captain John,
Major Nicholas II, Nicholas III, Captain Elisha and Captain Richard Shap-
leigh to Augustus F. Shapleigh of this review. In 1706 Captain John Shap-
leigh was killed by the Indians, who at that time captured his son. JNIajor Nicho-
las Shapleigh, and carried him to Canada. In later vears ^lajor Nicholas Shap-
leigh served for a long period as major of the colonial troops, while his son
Nicholas took part in colonial wars with the Blue Troop of York, one of the
companies of the regiment commanded by Sir ^^'illiam Pepperell. Captain
Elisha Shapleigh, one of the sons of Nicholas Shapleigh III, raised the first com-


pany of the Second York County Regiment and as its captain served in the
Revolutionary war.

Captain Richard Shapleigh, father of Augustus F. Shapleigh, was master
and owner of the ship, Granville, which was wrecked off Rye Beach, New
Hampshire, in 1813. In that disaster he lost his life and upon the son soon
devolved the necessity of assisting the mother in the support of the family.
Mrs. Shapleigh was a daughter of Abner Blaisdell, of Portsmouth, New Hamp-
shire, who served in the Revolutionary war as sergeant in Captain Titus Salter's
Company of Artillery at Fort Washington and later with Captain John Lang-
don's Light Horse Volunteers.

The early boyhood of Augustus F. Shapleigh was devoted to acquiring an
education, but when the father died and the family was left in straitened finan-
cial circumstances he sought and secured a situation as clerk in a hardware
store at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where in compensation for a year's
services he received the sum of fifty dollars and boarded himself. The succeed-
ing three years were devoted to a seafaring life, during which he made several
voyages to Europe, but at the solicitation of his mother and sisters, he left the
sea and secured employment with the hardware house of Rodgers Brothers &
Company, of Philadelphia. Entering that employ in 1829 he there remained
for thirteen years and successive promotions eventually made him junior part-
ner. This firm extended its operations to St. Louis in 1843 ^"^ Mr. Shap-
leigh's business capacity, understanding of the trade and powers of organization
led to his selection for the establishment of the hardware house of Rodgers,
Shapleigh & Company, under which name the trade was continued until the death
of the senior partner. Thomas D. Day was then taken in and the firm was re-
organized under the name of Shapleigh, Day & Company, thus operating for
sixteen years, or until the retirement of Mr. Day, when the firm of A. F. Shap-
leigh & Company continued the business until 1880. In that year the A. F.
Shapleigh & Cantwell Hardware Company was incorporated and when Mr. Cant-
well retired in 1888 the name was changed to the A. F. Shapleigh Hard-
ware Company, which was retained until the retirement of Mr. Shapleigh in
1901. The business was then reorganized as the Norvell-Shapleigh Hardware
Company. From 1843 A. F. Shapleigh was the head of this well known estab-
lishment and from its incorporation until his retirement acted as president. He
trained his sons to the business, except Dr. John B. Shapleigh, who is a promi-
nent aurist, and Richard W., now first vice president, and Alfred L., treasurer,
exercise a controlling interest in the house, which from its organization has
made continuous progress, enjoying that creditable and enviable prosperity
which results from careful systematization, undaunted determination and the
execution of well defined plans and purposes. Today the house has no superior
in the entire Mississippi valley, its ramifying trade interests reaching out to
many sections of the country, while the development of the business has been an
indispensable factor in making St. Louis the center of the hardware trade.

Aside from his connection with this business Mr. Shapleigh was associated
with various other business concerns, all of which constitute elements in the
city's development as well as the source of revenue to himself. In 1859 he
became identified with the State Bank of St. Louis and in 1862 was elected
a director of the Merchants National Bank, so continuing until 1890, when he
resigned in favor of his son Alfred L. He was also president of the Phoenix
Insurance Company, vice president of the Covenant Mutual Life Insurance
Company and interested in the Hope Mining Company and the Granite Moun-
tain Mining Company.

The marriage of Mr. Shapleigh and Miss Elizabeth Anne Umstead, of
Philadelphia, was celebrated in 1838, and they became parents of eight children,
five of whom survive : Mrs. J. \Vill Boyd, A. F., Dr. John B., Richard W.
and Alfred Lee Shapleigh.


The death of Augustus F. Shapleigh occurred in February, 1902, when
he had reached the venerable age of ninety-two years. Thus passed from Hfe
one whose activity made the world better. While he never sought the distinc-
tion that comes in political and military circles his record was characterized
by the faithful performance of each day's duty to the best of his ability — and
that his ability was of superior order is indicated in the splendid results which
he achieved. His entire career was in conformity with the highest standard
of commercial ethics and his history indicates that splendid success and an
honored name may be won simultaneously. In early manhood he gave his
political support to the whig party and on its dissolution joined the ranks of
the republican party. He was long a member of the Central Presbyterian
church and religion was to him no mere idle word. It guided him in all his
relations with his fellowmen and he ever strove toward those ideals of living
which were set before the world by the Nazarene teacher more than nineteen
centuries ago.


Investigation into the business record of John W. Gannett indicates clearly
that his rise has come through successful stages of development and promotion.
His record is a proof of his force of character, his commendable ambition, his
strong determination and his indefatigable energy. He has been the secretary
of the Mitchell Clay Manufacturing Company since 1904, and thus, in a posi-
tion of executive control, is capably directing the interests of an important in-
dustrial concern.

A native of Missouri, Mr. Gannett was born in Warren county on the
i6th of ]\Iarch, 1875, and is a son of George and Julia Gannett. His grand-
father, George Alfred Gannett, was a native of Massachusetts, and served as
quartermaster in the United States army. His death occurred in the year 1890.
His son, George Gannett, was born in St. Louis, and completed his education
by graduation from Washington University. He became the first auditor of the
St. Louis water works, and subsequently turned his attention to farming in
Warren county, Missouri, where he remained for ten years. On the expiration
of that period he returned to St. Louis, and after associating with the Edga
Zinc Company for a brief period, he turned his attention to the grocery busi-
ness, conducting the "Old Marble Block Grocery" in South St. Louis for three
years. He next engaged as manager of freight traffic for Laclede-Christy Clay
Produce Company.

John W. Gannett, entering the public schools of St. Louis at the usual age,
therein pursued his studies until he reached the age of fourteen vears, when
he started in business life as messenger for the ^^'estern Union Telegraph Com-
pany. After a year he engaged as office boy with the Hoover-Gamble Com-
pany for a year, and then entered the employ of A. J. Child & Son Mercantile
Company, with which he continued as bill and order clerk for three years. A
period of eight months was devoted to trucking cotton for a railroad company
in East St. Louis, and for nine months he was teamster for the Adam Roth
Grocery Company. During the succeeding two years he served as bill clerk with
A. J. Child & Sons, and then became receiving clerk for the Chicago. Burling-
ton & Oumcy Railroad, with which he continued for a year and a half. During
the succeeding years he engaged in the sale of graphophones for the Columbia
Company, and entered upon active connection with the Laclede-Christv Fire
Brick Manufacturing Company, as time keeper. During his six years' connec-
tion with that enterprise he was promoted from time to time until he had charge
of the factory office. Later he took up leases on valuable fire clav land with the
Cheltonham Fire Clay Company, which was afterward incorporated and of


which Mr. Gannett has since been president. In 1904 he was also elected secretary
of the Mitchell Clay Manufacturing Company by its board of directors, and is
thus identified with the business interests of St. Louis at the present time.
Almost every change that he made in his business career has brought him larger
opportunities and better chances, while his experience has been broadened through
the varied duties which have devolved upon him. Early in life he made it his
purpose to thoroughly master every task which came to him, and his close appli-
cation, methodical and systematic work have constituted strong elements in his

On the 1 6th of March, 1906, in St. Louis county, Air. Gannett was married
to Miss Josephine Bruno, and they have one child, Baptiste Bruno, now in his
second year. Mr. Gannett has for eight years been a member of the Odd
Fellows Society, but his efforts have largely been confined to business duties,
and although he started out empty-handed, at the age of fourteen years, as the
architect of his own fortune he has builded wisely and well. He is independent
in politics, and his religious faith is that of the Protestant church. He resides
with his family at 5756 West Park avenue.


Frederick Newton Judson has gained distinction as a member of the St.
Louis bar, but has never concentrated his attention upon his profession to the
exclusion of other interests which are of vital moment to the individual and to
the nation. On the contrary, he has kept abreast with the thinking men of the
age, and from the lecture platform has enunciated principles and beliefs of wide
interest, arriving at his conclusions as a result of what may be called his post-
graduate studies in the school of affairs. The clarity of his views and the
effectiveness of his labors find tangible evidence in the results which he has
achieved in awakening public interest in certain momentous or critical situations
and also in the work that he has done for municipal progress and advancement.

Further analysis of his life record brings forth the fact that his was an
honorable and honored ancestry. He is a lineal descendant of William Judson,
one of the first settlers of Stratford, Connecticut, where he located in 1634.
Dr. F. J. Judson, his father, was a respected and influential resident of Bridge-
port, Connecticut, who did effective work for mental progress as president of
the board of education and also president of the library board of that city. His
death there occurred in 1862. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Catherine
Chappelle, was a daughter of Dr. Newton Chappelle, of St. JNIarys, Georgia.

Frederick N. Judson, also a native of St. Marys, was born October 7, 1845,
and supplemented his preliminary education by study in Yale College, m which
he was matriculated in 1862. He was awarded the Woolsey and Bristed scholar-
ships and was graduated as valedictorian of the class of 1866. The initial step
in his professional career was made as instructor of the classics at New Haven,
Connecticut, and at Nashville, Tennessee, and the hours not occupied with this
work were devoted tO' the mastery of legal principles, for he had determined
upon the practice of law as a life work. His preliminarv reading secured him
admission to the senior class at Washington L'niversity, from which he was
graduated, in 1871, with the degree of Bachelor of Law.

Mr. Judson located for practice in St. Louis, where he has since remained,
winning distinction at a bar vi'hich has numbered many able members. Advance-
ment in the law is proverbially slow and yet no dreary novitiate awaited him.
His able handling of litigated interests early entrusted to him gave proof of his
comprehensive knowledge of the law and of his ability in correctly applying
the principles of jurisprudence to the points at issue. For vears he has had a
large clientele, making his practice of a most important character. He is now



senior member of the law firm of Judson & Green. As a lawyer he is sound,
clear-minded and well trained. The limitations which are imposed by the consti-
tution on federal powers are well understood by him. With the long line of
decisions by which the constitution has been expounded he is familiar, as are all
thoroughly skilled lawyers. He is at home in all departments of the law, from
the minutife in practice to the greater topics wherein is involved the considera-
tion of the ethics and the philosophy of jurisprudence and the higher concerns
of public policy. He has been the lecturer on different topics in the St. Louis
Law School and the expositor of laws affecting specific classes and condi-
tions. His authorship includes the "Law and Practice of Taxation in
Missouri," published in 1900, and "Power of Taxation, State and Federal, in
the United States," published in 1902, and "Interstate Commerce and its Federal

Mr. Judson, however, is not learned in the law alone, for he has studied
long and carefully the subjects that are to the statesman and to the man of affairs
of the greatest import, — the questions of finance, political economy, sociology, —
and has through clear and logical utterance presented his views from the lecture
platform, being many times called upon to address public gatherings. In 1887
he addressed the Commercial Club of St. Louis upon the subject, "What Shall
the State Teach?" the following year spoke before the Missouri Bar Association
on "The Rights of Minority Stockholders in Missouri," in 1890 he presented to
the Commercial Club of St. Louis "The Relation of the State to Private Busi-
ness Associations," and in 1891 spoke before the American Bar Association
upon "The Liberty of Contract Under the Police Power." His address on
"Justice in Taxation as a Remedy for Social Discontent" was given before the
Round Table Club of St. Louis in 1898, and in 1900 he addressed the American
Economics Association on the "Taxation of Quasi-Public Corporations." The
above list is sufficient to indicate somewhat of the extent of his researches and
investigation. Few men delve so deeply to the root of the matter, and his
summary of a situation is always clear, concise, logical and convincing. He
was chairman of the national conference on taxation in 1901 and delivered an
address upon the "Taxation of Mortgages." He also delivered an address at
the quarto-centennial of the University of Colorado in 1902 on the "Quarter
Centennial in American Jurisprudence."

Mr. Judson has always declined candidacy for public office and, while
sympathizing with the historic traditions of the democratic party, has been inde-
pendent in political action, deeming that political parties are only agencies for
the public good. He has always been active as a citizen in the discussion of
public questions. He is in favor of a stable currency and sound financial sys-
tem, opposing the silver movement m the campaign of 1896, and was delegate
from the Merchants' Exchange of St. Louis to the historic monetary conferences
at Indianapolis.

He was president of the American Association of Political Science in 1907
and delivered the annual address upon the subject, "The Future of Representa-
tive Government." He is the author of a review of the labor decisions of Judge
William H. Taft, published in the Review of Reviews of August, 1907, which
attracted wide attention. The same year he was chairman of the honorary
(unpaid) state tax commission appointed by Governor Joseph W. Folk. He
was special counsel of the LTnited States in 1905 in the investigation of the
Santa Fe and the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company rebate charges, associated
with Hon. Judson Harmon, of Ohio. He has been chairman of the alumni
advisory board of Yale University since its inauguration in 1906. He received
the honorary degree of LL. D. from Missouri State LTniversity in 1906 and
from his alma mater — Yale — in 1907. While deeply interested in the concerns
of national policy and progress, he is equally loyal to the city of his residence,
and his efforts in its behalf have been far-reaching and helpful. Early in his
professional career he served as private secretary to Governor B. Gratz Brown


and gained therein a clear insight into the possibilities of development for the
interests of municipalities and the commonwealth. Unlike many men who have
gained distinction in certain lines, he has never regarded the interests of his
home community as too inessential to claim his attention. On the contrary, his
cooperation has been a factor in the city's progress. From 1878 until 1882
and again from 1887 until 1889 he was a member of the school board of St.
Louis and served as its president from 1880 until 1882 and again during the
last two years of his connection with the board. His deep interest in the
advancement and orderly progression of his city and state has been manifest
in his labors in securing legislation productive of beneficial results. He was
the author of the law of 1879 making the school lands of St. Louis the basis
of a permanent school fund, and of the act of 1887 under which the city school
board was reorganized. He was a member of the Citizens' Nonpartisan com-
mittee which in 1895 procured the passage of the election law of St. Louis.
He was also chairman of the Bar Association committee which in 1895 drafted
the law reorganizing the St. Louis judiciary, and was chairman of the civic
federation committee which drafted the law of 1897, reorganizing the public
school system of St. Louis.

Mr. Judson was married in 1872 to Miss Jennie W. Eakin, of Nashville,
Tennessee, and they have a daughter, now the wife of Gouvenor Calhoun, the
district superintendent of the American Telegraph & Telephone Company in St.
Louis. His religious nature finds expression in his affiliation with the Episcopal
church and along more specificallv social lines he is connected with the Yale
Alumni Association of St. Louis, of which he has been president, and with
the University of St. Louis, the Noonday and the Country Clubs. His life has
been so varied in its activity, so honorable in its purposes, so far-reaching and
beneficial in its effects that it has become an integral part of the history of
St. Louis and has also left its impress upon the annals of the state.


The only royal road to success in any of life's vocations is a man's own
resources, which may be aroused from a latent or embryonic state by education
or exercise and thereby gradually enhanced, but if they do not in some measure
exist in the original make-up of the man they cannot be inculcated by the learn-
ing of the schools, nor can they be smothered and become useless through lack
of educational advantages. Elements of character will invariably display them-
selves. Such is true in the case of Mr. McKelleget who, by perseverance and
unwearied application to business, has attained his present reputation of being
among the foremost contracting plasterers of the city. Although seventy-one
years of age he still pursues an active career, his office being at No. 202 North
Ninth street. He is of Irish ancestry, being a son of James and Harriet (Tracy)
McKelleget. He was born in Washington, D. C, March 29, 1837. The only
education he received was obtained in the public school. While a pupil there he was
a schoolmate of the well known Arthur Phil Gorman. He started his career in the
business world earlier than most boys. At the age of twelve years he entered
a printing office and remained in the services of the establishment for three
years. He then apprenticed himself to a plasterer and after four vears' applica-
tion had mastered the trade. For two years he was employed as a journeyman,
working in Baltimore, Maryland, until the year 1858, when he removed to St.
Louis, where he plied his trade for a time and then enlisted in the St. Louis
State Militia. In May, 1861, while the militia was encamped at Camp Jackson,
the body was surrounded and captured by Federal troops, but were released on
the following day. During his military career he was employed in the quarter-
master's department of the Union armv as a mechanic. For most of the time


he was stationed at Camp Benton, St. Louis. He was later transferred to
Columbus, Kentucky, to the L'nited States Military Post shops, and then to
Huntsville, Alabama, where he remained until 1864. Returning to St. Louis
in 1865 he started in the plastering business for himself. His trade gradually
developed until he handled large contracts. As a plastering contractor he was
connected with a number of the city's largest buildings, among which are the
Rosier and Republic buildings. He has been very successful in his line of work
and his business has attained such proportions as to require the permanent
employment of thirty men.

In the year 1864 in St. Louis Mr. McKelleget wedded Anne T. Amelia.
Thev have the following children : Laura, Thomas, Francis, Charles Edward,
George./fracv and Pearl, the latter being a pupil in the public schools, while

Online LibraryWalter Barlow StevensSt. Louis, the fourth city, 1764-1909 (Volume 3) → online text (page 1 of 132)