Cuyler Reynolds.

Genealogical and family history of southern New York and the Hudson River Valley : a record of the achievements of her people in the making of a commonwealth and the building of a nation (Volume 2) online

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interested in public afYairs and took a promi-
nent part in political matters in the state of
New York. \\''hen a resident of Troy in 1845
he was elected to the board of aldermen.
While holding this office he was also made
treasurer of Rensselaer county, the finances
of which were in a tangled condition. He
sneedilv straightened them out and held the
office for seven years. In 1848 he was a dele-
gate to the national convention of the Whie
party. He controlled twenty-eight out of
thirty-two New York delegates, and took a
leading part in the nomination of General
Zachary Taylor for the presidency. It was
at his susrgestion that the convention nomi-
nated Millard Fillmore for vice-president,
which selection made him president, for Gen-
eral Tavlor died while in office and Fillmore
succeeded him. In 1850 Mr. Sage was nom-
inated for congress by the Troy Whigs, but
owine: to the defection of a faction of the
party he was defeated. He was again nomi-



nated in 1852 and was elected by a small ma-
jority. Two years later he was returned to
congress by the unprecedented majority of
7,000 votes. During his four years in con-
gress the great talents of Mr. Sage in financial
matters found recognition in his appointment
as a member of the ways and means commit-
tee, the most important committee of the
house. He served also on the invalid pension
committee which had charge of the pensions
incurred by the Mexican war, and took part
in the five weeks struggle which finally re-
sulted in the election of Nathaniel Banks as
speaker. But the incident in his professional
career which brought him most reputation was
the appointment of a committee throu.gh his
efforts to inquire into the condition of Wash-
ington's old estate at Mount Vernon, Virginia.
The committee's report bore fruit in the for-
mation of the Mount Vernon Association, the
purchase of the estate, and its dedication as
a permanent memorial to the father of his
country.

The panic of 1857 which ruined so many
while it left him comparatively unscathed, had
an important effecjt on his business career. He
had advanced considerable money in the La
Cross railroad. To protect his loans he found
himself compelled to advance still larger
amounts, and finally three legal proceedings
to become owner of the railroad, which ulti-
mately extended into the Chicago, Milwaukee
& St. Paul system. During his career he
achieved the presidency of no less than twen-
ty transportation corporations. He was con-
nected in an official capacity, at one time or
another, with the Iowa Central, Union Pacific.
Missouri Pacific, St. Louis, Iron Mountain &
Southern; Wabash, Texas & Pacific; Troy &
Bennington ; Troy & Boston ; Delaware, Lack-
awanna & Western ; Chicago, Milwaukee &
St. Paul ; Manhattan Elevated, and other rail-
roads. He was one of the largest stockhold-
ers in the Manhattan Elevated, and took an
active part in its management. Other enter-
prises with which he had been active are the
Pacific Mail Steamship Company; the Mer-
cantile Trust Company ; the Importers and
Traders' National Bank ; Western Union Tel-
egraph : International Ocean Telegraph ;
American Teleeraph and Cable Company : the
Standard Gas Light Company, and the Fifth
Avenue Bank, of which bank he was one of
the founders and the only one living at the



246



SOUTHERN NEW YORK



time of his death. In 1863 Mr. Sage gave
up his Troy business altogether and removed
to New York to devote himself to the promo-
tion of his own and other railroads and to
operations in stocks. He opened an ofifice in
William street and gave his first attention to
Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul securities.
Later he extended his interest to other rail-
roads, and gradually enlarged his field of oper-
ations until it covered nearly the whole range
of stocks listed on the Exchange. One of the
features of Mr. Sage's financial career was his
friendship with Jay Gould. They had come
together as promoters of the .Atlantic & Pa-
cific Telegraph Company, which was later
merged into the Western Union. On Decem-
ber 4, 1901, Mr. Sage, while in his office, es-
caped instant death as by a miracle. An in-
sane crank, Henry W. Norcross, of Somcr-
villc, Massachusetts, entered the office, carry-
ing a bag loaded with dynamite, and demanded
that the sum of $1,200,000 be given to him
immediately or he would blow up the building.
Mr. Sage saw that he was in the presence of
a madman, rose and retreated from him ;
whereupon the maniac exclaimed : "Well then,
here goes", and lifting the bag high in the air
dashed it violently on the floor. The explo-
sion which followed blew off the dynamiter's
head, killed a clerk, injured others, and
wrecked the office. Mr. Sage received wounds,
but was able to return to the office in a few
days. Mr. Sage was a man of remarkable
and varied powers. He could have succeeded
in almost any field of action that he might
have chosen. He chose rather the largest,
hardest and most dangerous field of all вАФ the
development of the transportation system of
the country, for he was above all else, and
from first to last, a promoter and manager of
railroads. That he was also a lender of mon-
ey, particularly in his old age, was merely an
incident in his long and useful life. "He was
an .Xmcrican and loved his country", said
Henry Clews on hearing of his death. "My
aim jn life", so he confessed in an interview
which was published December ig, 1897, in
the New York Herald, "has been to do my
share in developing the material resources of
the country. I have spent millions on the
railroad system of the ITnitcd States and am
now connected with more than twentv thou-
sand miles of railroad and with twenty-seven
different corporations".



Russell Sage was twice married, but had no
children. He married (first) in 1841, Marie,
daughter of Moses I. Wynne, of Troy, New
York; she died in 1867. He married (second)
November 24, 1869, Margaret Olivia Slocum,
born September 8, 1828, daughter of Hon.
Joseph Slocum of Syracuse, New York (see
Slocum).

(The Slocum Line.)

The origin of this family is in some degree
indicated by the name, which is supposed to
be derived from a locality where there was an
abundant growth of sloe. Another theory is
that the name was originally Combe, and that
a second or third son of a Combe won dis-
tinction that entitled him to be known as James
or John Combe, of the Sloe, changed later to
Sloe-combe. It is claimed, and confirmed by
the records, that Anthony, Giles and Edward
Slocombe came to New England about the
same time and were the progenitors of most
of the Slocums or Clocombs of this country.
They were probably brothers, although the re-
lationship has never been established. They
probably all went first to Plymouth colony.
Edward, the youngest, was in Taunton in 1643.
He is mentioned in the Plymouth colony rec-
ords in June, 1647. 'is one of the supervisors of
the hitrhway for Taunton. Giles and Edward
probably remained there, and, while .A.nthony
had lived at Taunton, his religious views and
love of liberty and his identity with the Society
of Friends, who were under the ban of the
Plymouth authorities, no doubt necessitated
his removal to Rhode Island, within the juris-
diction of the liberal-minded Roger Williams,
who gave a hearty welcome to the persecuted
of every class.

(I) Anthony Slocum, immigrant ancestor of
the American family bearing the name, was
one of the forty-six "first and ancient purchas-
ers" A. D. 1637, of the territory of Cohannat.
which was incorporated in March, 1639. with
the name of Tatmton in New Plymouth, and
from which the present Taunton, Raynham
and Berkeley have been organized. His name
appears on the town records in various capaci-
ties as surveyor of highways and other posi-
tions. The place where he settled near Pas-
camauset river is more generally known as
Slocum"s river. The frajrment of a letter
written by his brother-in-law, without date,
indicates that his wife's nan'e was Harvey.
Giles was one of their children.



SOUTHERN NEW YORK



247



(II) Giles, son of Anthony Slocum, wis
born in Somerset, England,



Online LibraryCuyler ReynoldsGenealogical and family history of southern New York and the Hudson River Valley : a record of the achievements of her people in the making of a commonwealth and the building of a nation (Volume 2) → online text (page 47 of 95)