Norris Galpin Osborn.

The National cyclopaedia of American biography, being the history of the United States as illustrated in the lives of the founders, builders, and defenders of the republic, and of the men and women who are doing the work and moulding the thought of the present time (Volume 17) online

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Online LibraryNorris Galpin OsbornThe National cyclopaedia of American biography, being the history of the United States as illustrated in the lives of the founders, builders, and defenders of the republic, and of the men and women who are doing the work and moulding the thought of the present time (Volume 17) → online text (page 1 of 135)
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SHEDD, John Graves, merchant and capital-
ist, was horn at Alstead, N. H., July 20, 1850,
son of William and Abigail (Wallace) Shedd.
His earliest paternal American ancestor was Dan-
iel Shedd, who came from England about 1642
and settled at Brnintree, Mass. From him and
his second wife Elizabeth the line of descent is
traced through their son Samuel and his wife
Elizabeth; their son Daniel and his wife Abagail;
Daniel and his wife Mary Tarbell; William and
his wife Elizabeth Parker; to their son Silas and
his wife Polly Williams, who were the grandpar-
ents of John Graves Shedd. William Shedd,
father of our subject, was a farmer. John G.
Shedd received his education in the public schools
of Alstend and Langdon, N. H. He began his
business career in 1867 as clerk in a grocery store
at Bellows Falls, Vt., receiving $1.50 a week and
board. At the end of a year he found work in
a general store at Alstead, his wages being $125 a
year. When fire destroyed that store, a rival
merchant engaged him for $175 a year. In 1870
he entered a dry goods house at Rutland, receiv-
ing $300 annually with board. His ability was
marked, and the chief merchant of Rutland, whose
principles and practices were far ahead of those
generally current, secured his services for double
the former salary and allowed him a commission
on sales. In 1872 he decided to go West. In
Chicago he determined to secure a position in the
best store in the city, and found that Field, Leiter
& Compan; conducted the largest. He went to
see Marshall Field, and when this merchant prince
asked him what he could sell he replied that he
could sell anything of any character that was for
sale. Mr. Field promptly engaged him, starting
him at $10 a week as stockkeeper and salesman.
Five months later his pay was raised, not to $12 a
week, which had been stipulated, but to $14, Mr.
Field explaining that this was in consideration of
his notably good work. This tribute pleased him and
proved an inspiration. Within four years he be-
came head of the lace and embroidery department.
The talent he displayed for analyzing conditions,
for reading trends, and for skilful merchandising
induced Mr. Field to entrust not one but half a
dozen departments to his care. Before long he
was appointed general merchandise manager of
the entire business, a position carrying tremen-
dous responsibilities since it entailed oversight of
the buying as well as the selling of millions of
dollars worth of goods a year. In 1881 the firm
became Marshall Field & Company, and in 1893
he was admitted to a partnership. Upon the in-

corporation of the business in 1901 he became
vice-president, a rank second only to Mr. Field
himself, but the bulk of the active work fell upon
Mr. Shedd as Mr. Field by then felt entitled to
relax and indulge his fondness for travel. For
years before Mr. Field 's death in 1906, Mr. Shedd
hail been not the nominal but the actual head of
the firm, and his election to the presidency fol-
lowed as a matter of coiurse, the corporate style of
Marshall Field & Company still being retained.
Under his personal direction the corporation now
does a business of $150,000,000 a year. It car-
ries over a million articles and does 25,000,000
transactions annually. On special exposition days
more than 300,000 customers have visited the re-
tail store. The store 's floor space covers 45 acres,
and has over thirty miles of carpet. Its electrical
power would serve a city of 150,000 inhabitants.
To deliver goods more than 350 motor trucks and
motor wagons daily cover 350 square miles and
when the holiday business is at its height 50 addi-
tional motor vehicles are added. On one day in
1916 the retail store alone delivered within the
territory covered by its own equipment approxi-
mately 100,000 packages. Under him are some
20,000 employes, including as many as 12,500 in
the retail store at holiday times. The corporation
owns important factories at Spray, Draper, and
Leaksville, North Carolina, and Fieldale, Virginia,
for the manufacture of cotton and woolen goods;
and also manufactures laces, curtains, handker-
chiefs and bedspreads at Zion City, 111., and has
factores in Chicago for the manufacture of mis-
cellaneous merchandise. Years ago Mr. Shedd took
up the production on a large scale of the merchan-
dise sold over his counters, adopting as one of his
mottoes "From cotton mills to consumer." He
was one of the first great merchants to realize that
the day of the middleman is passing. This af-
forded unlimited scope for creative talent in origi-
nating exclusive designs, for upholding and carry-
ing a step forward the Marshall Field idea of
"better quality." His inventive skill is shown in
the colonial draperies, ginghams, and other cotton
fabrics designed and produced under the Marshall
Field aegis. Marshall Field & Company have been
in continuous operation for more than half a cen-
tury and in that period not an old employe has
been discharged for either lack of work or because
of depressed general conditions. From president to
the most humble employe the central thought is the
Marshall Field idea

"To do the right thing, at the right time, in
the right way; to do some things better than


they were ever done before; to eliminate er-
rors; to know both sides of the question; to be
courageous; to be an example; to work for
love of the work; to anticipate requirements;
to develop resources; to recognize no impedi-
ments; to master circumstances; to act from
reason rather than from rule; to be satisfied
with nothing short of perfection "-
thus the whole aim of the establishment is service.
Mr. Shedd 's aim is to supply nothing but service-
able merchandise, when possible, of better quality
than furnished elsewhere; always to satisfy his
customers, no matter at what cost or inconvenience,
so that they will become the best, advertisers of
the store; to treat employes with the greatest con-
sideration and thus inspire their loyalty. He was
the first merchant in Chicago to introduce the Sat-
urday half-holiday. He is an advocate of healthful
recreation for both employers and employes. A
large portion of one floor of the store is devoted
to their exclusive use. Beading rooms are pro-
viilnl for men and women, and a branch of the
( 'hie-ago Public Library is maintained in the build-
ing. There are medical rooms, with nurses; music
ami rest rooms; educational motion pictures to
show the process of manufacturing textiles; lunch
rooms and cafeterias which serve an average of
3,000 employes daily ; a choral society of 150 mem-
bers; a baseball league and a gymnasium. An
academy is provided for boys and girls serving
in the store, and its diploma is equivalent to that
awarded high school graduates. The management
encourages young men to enter the militia. The
rniiditions of employment are such that a position
with Marshall Field & Company is coveted. Mr.
Shedd 's great aliility was recognized by Marshall
Field. At a time when Mr. field was everywhere
recognized as the greatest merchant in America, he
was summoned before a senatorial committee to
give evidence on the Dingley Tariff bill. On rising
he began : "I am holding in my hand a letter
from a man I believe to be the best merchant in
the United States." This letter was signed "John
G. Shedd. Aside from this interest, he is a mem-
ber of the directorate of the Merchants' Loan &
Trust Company, Commonwealth Edison Company,
Illinois Trust & Savings Bank, Chicago; Balti-
more & Ohio Railroad Company, Illinois Central
Railroad Company, Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific
Railway Company, and a trustee of the Mutual
Life Insurance Company, New York. He is also a
director in. the First State Fawners' Society, Chi-
cago. He holds membership in the Chicago, "Union
League, University, Commercial, Midlothian, On-
wentsia, South Shore Country, Flossmoor Country,
Old Elm, Saddle & Cycle, Chicago; the Metropoli-
tan Club and The Recess, New York City; Mid-
wick Country Club, Los Angeles. His political af-
filiation is with the Republican party. He is a
member of the congregation of the Kenwood Evan-
gelical Church. He finds his chief recreation in
golf, is fond of riding, and was an ardent cyclist
before he took up automobiling. His benefactions
to the Chicago Young Men 's Christian Association,
to hospitals and to other worthy causes have been
substantial, but of these the public knows little.
To his native town, Alstead, he has donated and en-
dowed a library built of New Hampshire granite, a
gift partly inspired by the recollection of the dif-
ficulty he experienced when a boy in securing good
books, of which he was then and is still fond. The
growth ami scientific development of Marshall
Field <S.' Company have been due largely to his fore-
sight, initiative, practical ability, and imagination.
He was married at Walpole, N.' H., May 15, 1878,

to Mary R., daughter of Dr. Winslow B. Porter of
Walpole; they have, two children: Laura A., who
married Charles H. Schweppe, and Helen M., who
married Kersey Coates. Reed; both live in Chicago.
BATTELLE, John Gordon, iron and steel
manufacturer, was born in Clarksburg, Va. (now
W. Va.), May 12, 1845, son of Gordon and Maria
Louise (Tucker) Battelle. His first American an-
cestor was Thomas Battelle, a native of England,
who came to America in 1642, settling in Dedham,
Mass. His great-grandfather, Ebenezer Battelle,
commander of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery
Co. of Boston, was one of the original settlers of
Marietta, O., in 178S, and served throughout the
revolutionary war and rose to the rank of colonel
in command of a Massachusetts regiment. He was
a graduate of Harvard. Our subject 's father, Dr.
Gordon Battelle, was a prominent Methodist min-
ister, who in earl}' life sustained a connection with
the Whig party, but when the new Republican
party sprang into existence joined its ranks, and
until his death was a staunch and loyal Union
man. He went to the front as a chaplain of the
1st Va. Vol. Infantry during the civil war, and
was a member of the Virginia convention held in
Wheeling, which resulted in the establishment of
the state of West Virginia in 1863. He died of
camp fever in Washington, D. C., August 7, 1862.
The son, John Gordon Battelle, spent his boyhood
in various towns in Virginia where his father
preached. After completing his education at the
Fairmont (W. Va.) Academy, he was employed for
six months in the United States treasury depart-
ment, Washington, and was for years in the quar-
termaster 's department of the Federal army in the
civil war. At the age of twenty-one he began his
business career as bookkeeper and clerk with an
iron manufacturing company at Wheeling, after-
ward becoming secretary and superintendent of
the Norway Manufacturing Co. there. He was in
business with an uncle in Memphis, Tenn., and
later engaged in the manufacture of cotton ties in
that city under the firm name of J. G. Battelle &
Co. In 1889 he removed from Cincinnati to Piqua.
O., to assume the management of what became the
Piqua Rolling Mills Co. and the Cincinnati Corru-
gating Co. He was president of the former com-
pany from 1889 to 1900, and was secretary and
treasurer and later vice-president of the latter.
He was likewise the active manager of both con-
cerns which were owned by the same individuals,
and it was due to his executive ability and business
acumen that they grew to be one of the most exten-
sive and important rolling mills of the state. The
plant of the Piqua Rolling Mills was the first in
the United States to manufacture tin plate. In
the fall of 1891, when Maj. McKinley was Repub-
lican candidate for Governor of Ohio, the out-
come of the campaign seemed exceedingly doubt-
ful, so Col. Battelle conceived the idea of showing
his gratitude to Maj. McKinley, who was called the
Apostle of Protection, by holding a great political
meeting in Piqua addressed by him. The badges
were made of superior roofing tin plate produced
by the Piqua Rolling Mills Company stamped with
the words ' ' McKinley and Protection ; made From
Ohio Steel, Missouri Lead and California Tin;
without one atom of Foreign Metal." The next
day at Greenville, O., Maj. McKinley gave the
keynote of the campaign. ' ' Cannot make tin
plate in America ? ' ' said he. ' ' Why I made tin
plate myself yesterday in Piqua! " His election
was achieved on the tin plate platform. Two years
later, Piqua tin plate was awarded the first prize
at the Chicago World's Fair. The Corrugating


Co. was incorporated in 1884, and the Piqua Roll- community, and as the entire village of Talcott-
ing Mills Co. in 1889. Both companies were ville is owned and controlled by the firm of which
sold in 1900 to The American Sheet Steel Co., he was head, he was largely instrumental in mold-
which in burn was merged into the U. S. Steel ing the life of the people. To his influence are
Corporation. Col. Battelle retired from active largely due the neatness and prosperity of the
business in 1900 and lived in New York city until town, as well as the high character of its in-
1905, when he went to Columbus, 0., to take the habitants. The firm of Talcott Bros, built the
presidency of the Columbus Iron & Steel Co., church, the schoolhouse and the library. Only men
which had been incorporated in November, 1899, with desirable habits were selected as employees,
with a capital stock of $1,000,000. In 1917 the The result is that Talcottville is free from the
Columbus Iron & Steel Co., of which he was still disadvantages and drawbacks which inevitably ob-
president, became incorporated in the American tain in communities fostering enterprises that feed
Rolling Mills Co., of which Col. Battelle was a upon the thrift and earnings of the residents and
director. It was at this time that he finally re- turn their energies into destructive channels. For
tired from active business. Col. Battelle, who gained twenty years he was president of the Tolland
his title through his appointment as aide on the staff County Missionary Society, and he was a director
of Gov. Nash, was one of the most widely known in the Congregational Home Missionary Society,
men in the steel industry in the United States. He Connecticut Home Missionary Society, and Con-
had a genius for devising and executing the right necticut Bible Society. His political affiliation was
thing at the right time, and his keen discrimina- with the Republican party. In 1895 he represented
tion and dauntless energy made him one of the the town of Vernon in the Connecticut general ag-
leaders in his line of trade. He was a life-long sembly, and for some .years he was a member of
member of the Republican party, being active in the Rockville high school committee. Horace G.
the affairs of the state organization, and a dele- Talcott was a man of sound judgment, common
gate to the state conventions in Ohio. He was a sense, and a brilliant gift of wit. He was high-
member of the Loyal Legion, the Sons of the Amer- minded as well as strong-minded, and was pro-
ican Revokition, Sons of Colonial Wars, the Ohio foundly religious. He worked no ill, spoke no ill
Society of New York, the Ohio State Board of and thought no ill of his neighbor. His marked
Commerce, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, a characteristic was friendliness, and he was sym-
director of the National Manufacturers' Assoeia- pathetic and cordial in a way that bound others
tion, vice-president Ohio Manufacturers' Assoeia- to him. He never married. He died at Talcott-
tion, and member Columbus, Columbus Country, ville, Conn., Aug. 7, 1917.

Culumbus Riding, Scioto Country and Athletic BADGER, William Otis, Jr., lawyer and ed-

clubs of Columbus. He was a warm personal itor, was born in Brooklyn, N. Y., July 31, 1879,

friend of William McKinley, and he used his in- son of William Otis and Alvena Eunice (Branch)

fluence in the Republican party to secure the Badger. His earliest paternal American ancestor

nomination and election of McKinley as president, was Giles Badger, who came from England in 1635

He was married at Memphis, Tenn., Feb. 10, 1881, and settled at Newbnry, Mass. His wife was

to Annie, daughter of Julia Alston Norton and Elizabeth Greenleaf, and from them the line of

Samuel E. Norton, M.T)., D.D., of Montgomery, descent is traced through their son John and his

Ala., and had one son, Gordon Battelle of Colum- wife, Hannah Swett ; their son Stephen and his

bus, O. He died in Columbus, O., May 10, 1918. wife, Mercy Kettell : their son William and his

TALCOTT, Horace Gardner, manufacturer, wife, Hephzibah Prentice; their son Thomas and

was born at Vernon, Conn., Nov. 14, 1847, son of his wife, Mary Beighton; their son William and

Horace Wells and Jane M. (Gardner) Talcott, his wife, Esther Bartlett, and their son Charles

and a descendant of John Talcott (q.v.), a native Badger, and his wife, Joanne Ross Trafton, who

of Braintree, Essex co., England, who was a mem- were the grandparents of William Otis Badger, Jr.

ber of Rev. Thomas Hooker's company which set- William Otis Badger, father of our subject and a

tied in Newton, now Cambridge, Mass., in 1632. native of Boston, is president of the Nytanday

His father entered the old Kellogg woolen mill in Letter & Design Co. The son received his prelim-

1838, and spent two-thirds of his life there, being inary education in the public schools of Brooklyn,

associated with a brother, Charles Denison Talcott. including the Boy's high school. He was graduated

The two brothers were closely associated with ilr. at the New York Law School in 1902 with the de-

Kellogg, owner of the mill, and when he died, in gree LL.B. In the following year he was admitted

1854, the executors entrusted its management to to the bar of New York and began the practice of

them. In 1856 they bought the mill property, his profession in New York City as a member of

formed the firm of Talcott Bros., and changed the the firm of Van Iderstine, Badger & Barker, in

name of the village from Kelloggsville to Talcott- which his partners were Robert Van Iderstine and

ville. Horace G. Talcott was graduated at Phil- Wendell P. Barker. This relation continued until

lips Academy, Andover, Mass., in 1867, and en- 1910, since which time he has practiced independ-

tered Yale College, class of 1871, but impaired ently. Making insurance law his specialty, Mr.

health compelled him to abandon his college work Badger has represented successfully as chief coun-

and take up an active business life. He at once sel clients whose eases, on reaching final adjudica-

entered the mill at Talcottville, becoming super- tion, serve as precedents in some of the most im-

intendent upon the death of his father in 1871, portant and far-reaching phases in this class of

and general manager upon the death of his uncle litigation. A few of these, selected for the wide

in 1882. By his industry, energy and ability the general interest in the points involved, with their

business of Talcott Bros, grew steadily until it titles and citations, are given herewith: The C.

ranked as one of the important mills of New Eng- A. Smith Lumber Co. vs. The Colonial Insurance

land engaged in the manufacture of woolens and Co. of New York. Mr. Badger, representing the

union cassimeres. In addition to his milling in- lumber company, had arrayed against him as op-

terests Mr. Talcott was a director in the First Na- posing counsel William B." Ellison, former corpo-

tional Bank of Rockville, National Machine Co., ration counsel, and George W. Richards, author of

Hartford, and a trustee of various funds. He was that standard work, "Richards on Insurance."

the leader in the religious and social life of the Evidence of the great interest in the case in the


insurance world was given by the presence at
court of special counsel from each of the various
fire insurance companies, whose knowledge and
wide experience in law, were thus made constantly
available against Mr. Badger 's efforts is behalf of
his clients, Mr. Badger's contention was that
' ' when a fire insurance broker has received the
premium from the assured, the company he repre-
sents immediately becomes responsible." His po-
sition was sustained by the court of appeals, which,
reversing the decision of the lower court, held that
' ' payment to the broker was payment to the com-
pany, ' ' thereby establishing a clear basis for guid-
ance on this hitherto much-disputed point of law.
(161 New York Supplement, p. 1120). In the ac-
tion brought by John A. Eekert, president of the
Fire Insurance Brokers Association of New York
city, against Pathe Freres, Mr. Badger, represent-
ing the latter, secured after three trials a ruling
affirmative of his contention that "a broker's com-
missions are not fully earned until the policy ex-
pires, " the opposing counsel being Almet Eeed
Latson, at one time candidate for judge of the su-
preme court. (174 New York Supplement, p. 740).
The U. S. supreme court was called upon to con-
sider and pass upon the unusual claim made by
Mr. Badger that "a policy of fire insurance may
cover property destroyed before the policy was
issued." Mr. Badger's client, William S. Sinclair,
had made application by wire to El Dia Insurance
Co. for insurance on certain lumber property in
Michigan. Three days elapsed before final nego-
tiations were completed, whereby the company ac-
cepted the risk as of date of the original appli-
cation. Meanwhile the property was destroyed by
a fire, of which the insured was at the time of its
occurrence without knowledge. The highest court
gave Mr. Badger 's client the full amount of his
claim, about $14,000. The opposing counsel were
his former partners, Van Iderstine, Duncan and
Barker. (U. S. Court of Appeals Report, Vol. 143,
p. 231). Mr. Badger won in the New York su-
preme court a favorable decision in an action
brought against Wachenheim and Huff, brokers,
by his client, Emil Westerburg, on the issue: "an
insurance broker is responsible for failing to dis-
play ability and skill." (164 New York Supple-
ment, p. 677). Representing the Ohio Farmers In-
surance Co., Mr. Badger was sustained by the ap-
pellate division, second department of the New
York supreme court, in his claim that "where an
insurance agent attempts to substitute one policy
in place of another, the insured cannot hold both
policies in case of the destruction of his property
by fire. ' ' The Synthetic Chemical Co., Inc., were
plaintiffs in the case, and Joseph O. Skinner was
opposed to Mr. Badger as counsel. (172 New York
Supplement, p. 1921). Aside from his professional
activities, Mr. Badger is editor of the ' ' Insurance
Law Journal" and "Workmen's Compensation
Law Journal." He served eight years as a mem-
ber of the local school board, district No. 27,
Brooklyn. He is a member of the Sons of the Rev-
olution, New York County Lawyers' Association,
Masonic fraternity, and the Crescent Athletic, Mon-
tauk, University, Brooklyn Civic, Knickerbocker
Field, Choral Art, and Mendelssohn Glee clubs of
Brooklyn, and the Drug and Chemical Club and
Casualty and Surety Club of New York City. He
finds his favorite diversion in music, and his chief
recreation in out-of-doors sports. Politically he is a
Republican, and in 1910 was the candidate of the
Citizens Union, Republican and Independent or-
ganizations for justice of the municipal court, his
opponent being Eugene V. Conran, since deceased.

He is a communicant of the Flatbush Congrega-
tional Church. He was married Apr. 27, 1904, to
Estelle, daughter of Frank L. Randall of Brook-
lyn; they have three children: Randall, Trafton
Otis, and Jean Badger.

SMITH, J[oseph] Brodie, was born in Rich-
ville, St. Lawrence co., N. Y., Apr. 6, 1861, be-

Online LibraryNorris Galpin OsbornThe National cyclopaedia of American biography, being the history of the United States as illustrated in the lives of the founders, builders, and defenders of the republic, and of the men and women who are doing the work and moulding the thought of the present time (Volume 17) → online text (page 1 of 135)