Albert Lord Belden.

The fur trade of America and some of the men who made and maintain it, together with furs and fur bearers of other continents and countries and islands of the sea online

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Mr. Franchere, in company with other venturesome
traders and enlisted helpers, traveled the wild country
for weeks and months at a time bartering furs with
friendly Indians, and dodging those otherwise disposed,
with good results, his collections generally being large
and valuable. He was often pursued by bands of
savages, good hunters and trappers everyone, but who
greatly preferred a hairy forelock, Indian or white man
grown, to a furry fox pelt; during these stalking ex-
periences Mr. Franchere had many narrow escapes, but
he enjoyed the excitement more than he dreaded the
danger, and consequently continued his fur quest in the
open with ever increasing success.

He gradually extended his operations, constantly
westward, until he entered that section of the country
now known as Oregon, traded along the beautiful Co-
lumbia River, and brought up at Astoria.

Astoria at that time was a settlement and a trading
post to which Indian hunters and trappers brought many
bales of fine furs each season, exchanging them for pro-
visions and sundry supplies ; vessels owned by the com-
pany visited Astoria twice a year with supplies, taking
on the return voyage all furs collected to date of sailing.

In the forties Mr. Franchere settled in the fur busi-
ness in New York in association with Ramsey Crooks,
as a member of the American Fur Company, and finally
as head of the firm of G. Franchere & Company, which
continued from 1857 to the close of 1868.



Alfred Eraser, a man of irreproachable character,
marked intellectual attainments, and exceptional com-
mercial ability, devoted his life to the fur trade, not
merely as one who sought its pecuniary rewards, but to
definitely develop it to the extreme of possibility, and in-
sure it a leading place among mercantile and commercial
enterprises held in enduring respect in the markets of
the world.

Mr. Fraser began his business career as a young
man in the universally known and honored house of
C. M. Lampson & Company, London, and by efficient
attention to his duties steadily advanced to higher and
increasingly important positions of trust, and in 1878
was admitted into partnership. Following this event
Mr. Fraser, who had previously made annual visits to
America in connection with the business, came to New
York as permanent American representative of his firm,
and was entirely successful in conducting the aflfairs of
the house, and instrumental in augmenting the business
of the firm.

Mr. Fraser was well known to all raw fur exporters
in the United States and Canada, enjoyed the confidence
and esteem of all American fur merchants, and his re-
tirement in 191 1 from active participation in the business
was sincerely regretted.

Mr. Fraser died November 10, 191 5, aged seventy-



C. H. Habbert was actively engaged in the raw fur
business in New York for a quarter of a century ; he was
highly respected by all who knew him, and his intimate
and casual acquaintances embraced a vast number of fur
merchants, leading manufacturers and raw fur shippers
in both America and Europe.

He entered the trade with Belt & Butler, who an-
nually handled thousands of skins shipped to them by
individuals and firms in all the states and Canada.

Later he established in the same branch of trade on
his own account, and was noticeably successful.

Mr. Habbert was an unusually profound student of
economic conditions, and his annual forecasts of raw fur
prospects for the immediately succeeding season were
read in the trade at large with extreme interest.

Owing to impaired health Mr. Habbert retired
from mercantile pursuits in 1896, subsequently taking
up his residence near Frankford, Germany.


Charles A. Herpich began a fur importing business
in New York in 1853, with Leipzig branch; he was ex-
tremely industrious, well informed, and very progres-
sive, and under his tireless management the business
grew rapidly, and was extended to all large cities in the
states. In addition to foreign goods, he purchased large
lots of raw furs from collectors, both for American con-
sumption and export; he also dealt heavily in buflfalo
robes, and in 1875 purchased the entire Fort Benton coF-
lection of forty thousand robes, and other smaller lots ;


additional purchases were made the following year,
rather more than trade conditions warranted.

In 1877 he became financially embarrassed, but in
a short time effected a settlement and continued, but with
lessened output. February, 1895, the business was in-
corporated under style, Charles A. Herpich Company.

On June 18, 1878, in consequence of great mental
depression due to his reverses, he committed suicide by
shooting at his place of residence in New Brighton,
Staten Island.


Henry Kraus, born in Germany June 7, 1844, came
to America when a young man, and on account of his
knowledge of the business readily found employment in
the fur trade in New York. In 1875 ^^ established an
importing and exporting business, handling raw, dressed
and dyed furs ; for a time he was associated with Joseph

Mr. Kraus was an honorable and universally re-
spected merchant. He died May 23, 191 3, at Bad Kis-
sengen, Germany, where he was sojourning on account
of failing health.


Edward J. King founded in New York in 1839 an
importing business in furs and skins, which in later
years occupied a commanding position in the trade ; he
was conservative, alert and remarkably successful. Mr.
King was exceptionally well informed in all matters in
any way affecting the trade; rigidly exact regarding
every transaction; he possessed a wonderful memory


for details, and could readily give dates, assortments
and prices covering public sales for extraordinary
periods. He died June 30, 1885.

Following his death the business was taken over
by his sons, under style, Edward J. King's Sons, and was
continued until January i, 1900, when it was liquidated.


William Macnaughtan conducted a fur commission
business in New York from 1849 to 1879, and was widely
known in the United States and Europe as a merchant of
extreme ability and integrity, an expert judge of furs,
and a careful student of trade conditions.

Mr. Macnaughtan was never charged with an im-
proper transaction, or giving a promise that was not kept
to the letter.

He was born in Paisley, Scotland, November 8,
1820; twenty-eight years later he came to New York,
and very soon after his arrival was employed by John
C. Lord, a leading furrier of that period.

Rather more than a year later he accepted an im-
portant post with Ramsey Crooks, formerly associated
with John Jacob Astor, and a partner in some of his
chief enterprises, particularly the American Fur Com-
pany, the Astoria venture, and the Pacific Fur Company.

On the death of Mr. Crooks the business passed in
succession to Mr. Macnaughtan, who continued it with
extreme credit to himself and the American trade.

Mr. Macnaughtan died February 6, 1879.


Nicolas F. Monjo was for an exceptionally ex-
tended period one of the best and most favorably known
fur merchants in New York; he was not simply known
in the Metropolis, or by name and reputation generally,
but was personally known to all important fur dealers
from coast to coast in the United States, the most re-
mote settled points in Canada, and the great cities and
markets of Europe, by all of whom he was highly re-
spected and esteemed on account of his manifest integ-
rity, respect for his word, and his exceptionally complete



and reliable knowledge of every detail of the business.
He was a very great traveler, visited Europe many
times, crossed the American continent frequently, and
made numerous visits to the fur centers of Canada, in-
cluding the new as well as the older Provinces. His
travels were continued to very near the termination of
his remarkably active business life.

Mr. Monjo began his career in the fur trade in
1859, ^" which year he entered the house of G. Franchere
& Company, with whom he remained for a period of
ten years, and by close application acquired a thorough
knowledge of the business and men conducting it at home
and abroad.

In 1869 he became associated with Jean B. Chemid-
lin under style : J. B. Chemidlin & Company, and so con-
tinued until 1874, when he withdrew from the firm and
established in business individually with gratifying

In December, 1904, Mr. Monjo was appointed
American Agent for A. & W. Nesbitt, of London, who
had perfected plans for including North American pel-
tries in their established public sales of Australasian and
European skins, on and after January i, 1905. Mr.
Monjo retained this important relation to the English
house with marked ability and the satisfaction of all in
interest up to the time of his death, which occurred, re-
gretted by all who knew him, May 24, 19 14.

The photograph of Mr. Monjo was taken in i87(
the latest date at which he faced the camera.



H. L. Pence, in association with J. V. Clawson, en-
gaged in the manufacture of ladies' furs in New York
in 1873, and continued thus occupied until 1878, in which
year the partnership was dissolved, and succeeded, in
manufacturing, by Clawson & Biglow, who continued
for nine years, when Mr. Biglow withdrew. Mr. Claw-
son conducted the business alone to the time of his death,
May 25, 1890.

Following the dissolution of the first named firm
in August, 1878, H. L. Pence established independently
in the raw fur business in New York, as a dealer and
exporter, and had a satisfactory career in his second-
choice branch in fur merchandising.

In 1898 the business was incorporated as The H. L.
Pence Company, followed by the retirement of Mr.
Pence from personal participation in mercantile affairs.


Rudolph Schoverling, a careful, conservative, con-
scientious merchant of the old school, with a thorough
German business training, took over an importing fur
and skin business in 1885 which had been established
briefly prior to that date.

Mr. Schoverling conducted the business with
marked credit to himself, but with varying success, gen-
eral trade conditions being adverse during a consider-
able part of the time. His integrity was unquestioned,
and he was held in the highest esteem in the trade to the
time of his retirement in 1893.

He died May 7, 1908, in the seventy-third year
of his age.


Mr. Schoverling did not make the fur trade greater
than it was when he entered it, an achievement exceed-
ing his financial means, but in honesty and correct busi-
ness methods he set an example considerably above the
average, and every way worthy of emulation.


Joseph Ullman was born at Pfafstadt, Alsace,
March 23, 1826; at the age of twenty-five he left his
native land for America, making New Orleans his des-
tination; he remained at New Orleans for some time,
then removed to St. Louis, and later settled at St. Paul,
which was then just putting forth the promise of becom-
ing a city — in time.

In 1854, up to which time he had been engaged in
another branch of business, he made his initial purchase
of raw furs, which netted him such satisfactory returns
that he at once disposed of his other interests and, from
that date to the time of his death, devoted his entire
energies to the fur trade, eventually employing upwards
of forty traveling buyers, who thoroughly covered the
northwest and southward to Texas in the collection of
raw furs, hides and sheep pelts. In 1866 he established
a branch at Chicago, and took up his residence in that
city; about a year later he opened a selling agency in
New York, which in due course became the main Amer-
ican house. Mr. Ullmann also established branches in
Canada to facilitate collections and shipments. In 1873
warerooms and offices were leased at Leipzig, Germany,
to which Mr. Ullmann devoted close attention, and he
later carried into effect a cherished plan for holding
public sales of American raw furs in Leipzig; about
eighteen hundred lots, comprising 58,950 skunk, 466,-


350 brown and 3,250 black muskrat, 6,900 red fox, 43,-
380 raccoon, and sundry skins, were catalogued in his
initial sale held September 26 to 29, 1875. The imme-
diate effect of the sale was extremely gratifying to the
Leipzig trade, as selling thus in open market fixed a
standard of values for all articles offered, a condition not
previously prevailing. Mr. UUmann subsequently estab-
lished permanent branches in London and Paris.

The several establishments in Germany, France,
England and the United States, except at Chicago, con-
tinue in operation to date, and have been, and are, a
power in the betterment of the fur trade both nationally
and internationally.

Mr. Joseph Ullmann died at Leipzig, September 3,
1906, aged eighty-one, in the full enjoyment of many
days and universal esteem.


Leopold Weil, an exceptionally manly man endowed
with many surpassingly excellent qualities of mind and
heart, entered the fur business at Chicago near the close
of 1872 as confidential assistant to Joseph Ullmann, and
so continued until 1876, in which year he became identi-
fied with the management of the New York house of the
same firm.

He subsequently withdrew and engaged in the fur
importing business in association with Henry Bressler,
following whose death in 1880 he organized the firm of
Leopold Weil & Brothers, the associate members being
Dr. Isaac Weil and Julius Weil.

The venture was successful from the beginning,
and during the entire period of its existence, some twelve


years, was conducted in accordance with wholly correct
mercantile methods, and unswerving integrity, gaining
a reputation which any merchant of that day or this
might very well covet as among the best things of time.

Leopold Weil was a man whom friends, acquaint-
ances and commercial competitors "delighted to honor,"
for he honored himself, and to the limit of his powers
sought to make the trade of his choice honorable.

Leopold Weil died February 6, 1903, in the forty-
ninth year of his age.

Julius Weil, junior member of the firm at the time
it was organized, died August 4, 1908.

Dr. Isaac Weil, liquidated the business after the
death of the senior member of the firm, but remained
in the trade until December 31, 191 6, when he retired.

iWanufacturing; Jf urrierg

Some of the Prominent Wholesale Manufactur-
ers OF New York of Highest Repute Who Are
Well Known at Home and Abroad, and a
Number of Earlier Date Who in
Their Day Helped to Make the
Fur Trade of America What
It Should Be


Mancer M. Backus added materially to the high
character of the fur trade during his entire connection
with it, being prominent in every movement designed
to maintain the business on an elevated plane.

He was a native of Utica, N. Y., a graduate of
Columbia College, and for some time subsequent to his
graduation was editor of the Presbyterian Church Jour-
nal. In 1844 ^^> with N. B. Wilbur, formed the firm of
N. B. Wilbur & Company, to conduct a wholesale busi-
ness in hats and furs, with salesrooms at 85 Maiden
Lane, New York City. Four years later the firm was
changed to Backus, Osborne & Company, in 1857 to
Backus, Nichols & Company, and in 1859 the business
was succeeded to by M. M. Backus, who conducted
it alone until October, 1874, when he took into partner-
ship his son, Henry L. Backus, and continued as M. M.
Backus & Company, until the business was discontinued
in 1885.

M. M. Backus died April 23, 1887.




For more than half a century E. E. Baldwin has
been actively engaged in the fur business in New York
City, and he still holds a leading place in the trade.

He began his mercantile career in 1864, buying
raw furs direct from trappers, and manufacturing the
product for general wholesale trade. In his boyhood
days he trapped fur-bearers successfully, and when the
marshes in northern New Jersey were under flood in the
spring he brought in many fine muskrats with a small

In 1875 he admitted into partnership N. J. Bishop-
rick and N. P. Kenyon, the firm being Baldwin, Bishop-
rick & Company, three years later he purchased the in-
terests of both associates, and took into partnership his
brother Bleecker Baldwin and W. P. Dacosta under
style E. E. Baldwin & Brother & Company, and so con-
tinued until the death of B. Baldwin, seven years later,
when E. E. Baldwin bought Mr. Dacosta's interest, and
continued alone, as at present, and since 1902 at 34-36
East Tenth Street.

The business embraces raw fur skins, dressed and
dyed furs, importing and exporting, and manufacturing.

Mr. Baldwin has made it an invariable rule to
manufacture only strictly reliable goods, perfect alike
in material and workmanship; his success has been
measurably due to his progressive methods, recognized
reliability, and his practice of buying everything at "first
hand" in thorough knowledge of values and trade con-

Bleecker Baldwin, who entered the firm of E. E. &
B. Baldwin January i, 1882, died November 13, 1889.



Benjamin Blosveren, born in Kalish, Prussian Po-
land, in 1836, came to New York when thirty-two years
of age, and for about nine years served as an excep-
tionally efficient furrier with the prominent house of
Harris & Russak. In 1877 ^^ engaged in business on
his own account manufacturing fine seal caps. He died
November 28, 1893; highly respected by all who knew
him. The business was continued by his sons, Moss and
Baron Blosveren, under style B. Blosveren's Sons, who
have made a grand record as progressive manufacturers ;
the productions now include seal and fur caps, men's
fur and fur-lined coats of best quality, and attractions of
more than ordinary value in ladies' fashionable furs.

The firm, since February i, 1914, has occupied very
spacious quarters at 36-38 West Thirty-seventh Street.


Frederick Booss & Brother was for a little more
than half a century one of the firms that imparted char-
acter to the fur trade in America, and if all others had
wrought as wisely and well the fur business would have
occupied the first place in the category of mercantile
and commercial bodies.

Frederick and George Booss came to New York
from Germany in 1853 and established in fur manufac-
turing as F. Booss & Brother in the down town district ;
in 1864 they purchased the plot and building at 449
Broadway, where the business was continued to the
date of the death of Frederick Booss, December 4, 1901.
George Booss died September, 1898. The firm was


awarded a Gold Medal at the Centennial Exposition,
Philadelphia, 1876, and another at the Paris Exposition,


Karl Fuchs has been a prominent fur manufacturer
in the leading fur manufacturing market in the world.
New York, for many years ; at the outset he determined
to produce only reliable goods — full value to every buyer
— and in holding to his purpose made remarkable prog-
ress from season to season. In every department of hu-
man effort the specialist is at the top ; for years past Mr.
Fuchs, though making up other furs, has made a spe-
cialty of lynx, and has achieved extreme success in the
effective development of that excellent fur. The busi-
ness was incorporated in 191 5, and has since been con-
ducted at 130-132 West Twenty-fifth Street under style,
Karl Fuchs, Inc.


David Greenfield began the manufacture of furs in
New York in 1852, and built up an extensive trade with
leading firms throughout the United States. He was in
the highest and best sense an honorable merchant, whose
word was never broken. He retired from business in
1897, and died September 9, 1904, in the seventy-ninth
year of his age.

?|«S0 f . iHisscIio

Herman Mischo, an efficient furrier, established in
1867 in the manufacture of high class seal and fur caps
at wholesale, with factory and salesroom at 76 Bowery,
New York, a central location at that time; a little later
he removed to 49 Crosby Street, then to 438 Broome
Street, and subsequently to 20 Bond Street. He con-
ducted the business with steadily increasing success for
a period of twenty-two years, and became widely known
as a proficient manufacturer of thoroughly reliable
goods, and a man eminently worthy of the highest
respect. Mr. Mischo remained actively engaged in busi-
ness until the beginning of 1889, when he withdrew to
enjoy a well earned rest of a little more than eight years
— he died March 28, 1897.

Mr. Hugo J. Mischo, dating from 1879, worked for
Mr. Herman Mischo for a number of years, during
which time he acquired a detailed knowledge of the
business, and extreme ability as a practical furrier,
attainments of incalculable importance to a manufac-
turer of furs of quality.

On February i, 1889, following the retirement of
Herman Mischo, the business was succeeded to by Hugo
J. Mischo and Jacob Simmons under style, Simmons &
Mischo, and continued at the above location.

A little later the firm name was changed to Simons,
Mischo & Company, and ladies' fur garments and small



furs were added to the productions of the house, with
marked increase in trade.

On February i, 1892, the firm was dissolved, Jacob
Simmons continuing alone, and Hugo J. Mischo and
G. H. Hill forming a new firm, as Mischo & Hill, with
much larger premises and increased facilities at 7 Wash-
ington Place, and producing finer goods to meet the re-
quirements of leading merchants throughout the coun-
try. Following the death of G. H. Hill the firm was
reorganized, Charles Miiller being admitted under style,
Mischo & Miiller, and in 1897 the firm removed to
722 Broadway.

February i, 1902, the business, which had ma-
terially expanded as a consequence of definitely sus-
tained superiority in production, was removed to larger
premises at 6-8 West Twenty-second Street; five years
later the present commodious building, 29-35 West
Thirty-second Street, was leased and occupied.

The firm was awarded the Grand Prize for its very
attractive exhibition of superb fur garments at the
Louisiana Purchase Exposition at St. Louis in 1904.

In 1 91 4 the business was incorporated under the
laws of the State of New York, as: H. J. Mischo &
Company, Inc.

The several recorded changes in locations were suc-
cessively rendered necessary by the continuously en-
larging demand for furs of the superior design and
quality constituting the output of the house; for years
past retail merchants of leading rank in the large cities
have been the important purchasers, and their "repeat"
orders season after season express their satisfaction
better than words ever do or can.


Mr. Mischo possesses a thorough practical knowl-
edge of every branch of the business, and displays un-
usually good judgment in meeting the tastes and needs
of buyers catering to fashionable custom in widely
separated sections of the country.

Mr. Mischo is personally known to fur merchants
and great fashion creators at home and abroad, and
prominent retailers throughout the United States; and
he enjoys the good will of the fur trade at large as the
merited reward of his fidelity to its highest and best



Christian G. Gunther was born in Saxony in 1795,
and as he grew to manhood he acquired a thorough
knowledge of the manufacture of furs, and familiarized
himself with business methods prevailing in the trade
abroad. When he was twenty-three years of age he
came to New York, and shortly after his arrival was
employed by John G. Wendell, brother-in-law of John
Jacob Astor, and leading metropolitan furrier, 57 Maid-
en Lane. In 1820 Mr. Gunther established a fur busi-
ness of his own, manufacturing high class goods ; he was
an extremely careful and conscientious merchant, and
his industry and integrity readily won for him a leading
place in the fur business, not only of New York, but
America, a position continuously occupied to date — with
the further distinction of being the oldest established fur
business continuously conducted under the same name in

Online LibraryAlbert Lord BeldenThe fur trade of America and some of the men who made and maintain it, together with furs and fur bearers of other continents and countries and islands of the sea → online text (page 17 of 34)