Walker & Hatch Lumber Company

I have always known that my great great grandfather Dillon Franklin Hatch, (Frank), made his money in the wood manufacturing industry. But until now I hadn’t really known the details. Thanks to digitized newspapers, directories, and census records, I now have a better sense of how his manufacturing experience all went down. So here is the story as I know it.

When Frank married Almyra Brooks in 1873 he was working for an apothecary as a clerk, but it wasn’t long after their marriage (1874) that Frank and his new brother-in-law, David Walker, went into business together. (David was married to Frank’s wife’s sister.)

I can only speculate about where the money came from to start the business, possibly Frank’s parents, and/or his new father-in-law, John Brooks. Both families had money to spare for such an enterprise. (I don’t know about David Walker’s.) Or, the reputation of the patriarchs of these families helped them get the loans they would have needed. Regardless of the how, they did.

The following entry appeared in a local history book:

An important and promising industry is the WALKER & HATCH Lumber and Manufacturing Company, manufacturers of solid and veneered hard wood work, doors, sash, blinds, stair builders’ supplies, and all kinds of house finish. The business was started in 1874 by David WALKER and D. F. HATCH. C. E. MACOMBER was admitted to an interest in the concern in 1882, and the firm name of WALKER, HATCH & Co. adopted. The present stock company was chartered on the 12th of August, 1885, with a capital stock of $50,000. The officers are D. F. HATCH, president; David WALKER, vice-president; Gilbert HARRIS, treasurer; C. E. MACOMBER, secretary, and F. B. HOWE, clerk. At the time of the incorporation of this company they purchased the stock and interest of the Burlington Spoke Company and the Winooski Lumber Company. They make something of a specialty of the Stevens sliding blind, which is one of the best inside blinds manufactured. The buildings, situated on a five-acre plot on Winooski River, consist of a mill about 200 x 50 feet and three stories high, adjoining a saw-mill, boiler and shaving rooms, offices and sheds, and twelve large kilns for the drying of lumber, heated and arranged by the most approved methods.

CHAPTER XVIII HISTORY OF THE TOWN AND CITY OF BURLINGTON; http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~vermont/ChittendenBurlington_4.html
Ad in 1881 Burlington paper.
Gazetteer and Business Directory of Chittenden County, Vermont, for 1882-83–Google Books search. You can see that David’s sister is working as a bookkeeper at the company.

Other than one tragic accident, (that we know of), in 1877, the business went along pretty well for about 10 years.

[1877 Apr 9]--On Monday afternoon a man fell down the elevator way at Walker & Hatch’s mill in Burlington, a distance of forty feet, and received injuries that were thought to be fatal.

[1877 Apr 11]-CHITTENDEN COUNTY.
Charles Beauchamp died on Saturday last, of injuries recently received at Walker & Hatch’s mill in Burlington. He leaves a widow and seven children, who were dependent on his labor for their support.

–from Orleans County Monitor and Vermont Watchman and State Journal.

In 1882 they changed the ownership of the business, and the name.

They also had visions of expansion dancing around in their heads, because in April of the next year they purchased the Burlington Spoke Company, (and a Winoonski Lumber business, although I can find no articles related to that purchase, other than the local history book entry):

Messrs. Walker, Hatch & Co., have purchased the business of the Burlington Spoke company and will carry it on under that name

Messrs. Walker, Hatch & Co.,…page 5, col. 1, Burlington weekly free press. (Burlington, Vt.), 27 April 1883. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86072143/1883-04-27/ed-1/seq-5/>

The Burlington Spoke Company, WALKER & HATCH, agents, engaged in the manufacture of carriage spokes, axehelves, pick, hammer and sledge handles, have their mills located at Winooski village, and their place of business in Burlington. They employ a number of experienced workmen, and do a large business.

Gazetteer and Business Directory of  Chittenden County, Vt. For 1882-83 Compiled and Published by Hamilton Child Printed At The Journal Office, Syracuse, N. Y,  
August, 1882. 

About 2 1/2 years later, in 1885, they became a stock company. The new board, thinking that business was going very well, but could be better, decided that they needed to expand even more. So they did, literally.

The stockholders of the Walker and Hatch Lumber company of Burlington have chosen these officers: President, S. H. Weston; vice-president, David Walker; secretary, C. E. Macomber; treasurer, J. F. Leonard; clerk, C. E. Macomber; directors, David Walker, D. F. Hatch, C. E. Macomber, S. H. Weston, J. F. Leonard, A. J. Willard, Gilbert Harris; managers, D. F. Hatch, C. E. Macomber, David Walker, J. F. Leonard. This concern is building a mill 200 feet long, 50 feet wide and three stories high with all necessary equipments

The Middlebury register and Addison County journal., November 13, 1885, Image 4, (Middlebury, Vt.) 1883-1885. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn98060001/1885-11-13/ed-1/seq-4/>

According to an article in the Middlebury Register a few days later, they were hoping to hire about 100 men when the new building was finished. The plans included a large store house, shavings house, office, and a brick boiler house. And looking at the map below, the location was excellent, right on the river for ease of transportation of goods. (The building no longer exists.)

This is a Sanborn Map page from Burlington showing the Walker, Hatch facility in 1884.

Unfortunately, this decision, while appearing sound at the time, was to prove their undoing. The costs involved with expanding the business became too much to handle and resulted in their inability to meet the huge expenditures. This led to the company’s insolvency in 1886, about 2 years after their fateful decision to expand.

Final notice of insolvency in 1894.

THE WALKER & HATCH FAILURE.

Meeting of the Creditors Friday—A.O. Humphrey Appointed Assignee.

The creditors of the Walker & Hatch lumber and manufacturing company held a meeting at the probate office in the city Friday and elected A. O. Humphrey, of the firm of Sanford and Humphrey, assignee. The creditors hoped to receive $.50 on the dollar allowing for shrinkage of sales, but the chances are against it. It was shown that the Winsooki water power company, who at first took stock in the new company, but subsequently sold out, have a mortgage on the factory for about $11,000 and H. E. Wright of Williston holds a mortgage on the machinery for $3000. The unsecured debts of the company aggregate about $29,000 in the estimate their assets at 17,000, but the unencumbered property will probably not sell for that amount.

The following are the major claims proved Friday: Shepard & Morse lumber company, $3450; Safford & Humphrey, $1026; Burlington Woollen Company, $320; Edwards & Stevens, $1830; A.R. Booth, $640; S. Bigwood & Son, $202; Skillings, Whitney and Barnes, $1747; B. Turk & Bro., $326.

The most important claims which have not been approved are as follows: John T. White of Concord, New Hampshire, $2000 Greenlee Brothers of Chicago, $634 … etc.

The statement of the firms affairs why the business should continue.

To the editor of the Free Press:

          The Walker & Hatch failure, I think, will turn out to be far less disastrous than was at first thought. The old company was a partnership composed of Messes. Walker, Hatch and Macomber. About one year ago they with others formed a stock company, and all the old company’s assets were turned over to the corporation. These assets, as I understand, were made up mainly of machinery, stock, both in the rough and partly finished. What their real value was it is my present purpose to consider. The old company had issued a catalog at an expense of about $2000, including the advertising in other channels, and it had worked up a good and profitable business. It was an industry which supplied a demand, and was in itself a credit to the city. The corporation made a purchase of $10,000. This was the original cost of the plant. The corporation have added to it in buildings, consisting of one large shop two stories high with basement, newly equal to another story for working purpose, a kiln two stories high and brick boiler house, the whole costing over $20,000. The buildings are complete in all their appointments with heating apparatus of the Sturtevant patent at a cost of $1,200. The shafting and main line of belting were all new and the same is true of every part of the above mentioned work except the two boilers. Probably no better shop either in its durability or in its adaptability to the uses for which it is built, can be found anywhere. The writer has seen quite a number of shops built for wood manufacture and has never seen one surpassing this one in the excellency or fitness of its appointments. The corporation have also added about $4,400 worth of new machinery and have spent some $400 in lowering the raceway. The figures above given are low considerable less that the actual cost.

If this estimate is accurate, therefore, it would appear that, calling the new machinery worth half of its cost, the plant, as it may called, with new machinery, is really worth to day to the purchaser $32,400. This does not take into account the old machinery which the old company had on hand, nor the stock on hand at the time of failure. The latter was inventoried at $8000, but was put in the schedule at $6000. The good accounts were said  to be $2500, call them $2000. There would be then in all $8000 to be added to $32,000, making $40,400 of real assets, not counting the old machinery, or the value of the work already begun and in process of completion, and which now being finished and the full value of which less the cost of finishing, from the time of the failure, must be added to the figures already given. At a low estimate based on the above considerations it would seem that as least $44,000 of assets are available. Out of this is the real estate mortgage of $11,650 and a personal estate mortgage of $3000; in all $14,650, which deducted from the assets would leave net assets of $29,350 available to the creditors. This sum is about what the unsecured debts amount to.

In the above statement the cost of the new buildings has been shrunk one-quarter, the new machinery one half, and no account made of the old machinery. The stock has been called $2000 less than the inventory made at the tie, the good accounts at their face value, and $4000 for the value of the goods in process of manufacture at them of failure.

Now this property is valuable. It is all in readiness for the carrying on of a good business. It should be added that the plant embraces one-tenth of the water power at the dam. There is a demand for the continuation of this same line of work. It is understood that order for work have come in unsolicited faster than the work could be done with a help of 70 men. It is to be hoped some enterprising man or men of means will be on hand to purchase this property, and thus a valuable industry be saved to this city.

Burlington, Vt., Oct. 15, 1886.

The Walker & Hatch Failure, page 3, col. 2 Burlington weekly free press. (Burlington, Vt.), 19 Nov. 1886. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86072143/1886-11-19/ed-1/seq-3/>

It was determined that the company was in debt to the tune of about $35,000. This is calculated in today’s dollars as somewhere in the ballpark of $1,000,000. The loss of their business must have been a devastating blow, not only to themselves, but to their standing in the community.

It is no wonder that in June of 1887, Frank and his wife packed up the children, and their belongings, and headed to Cleveland, Ohio, where he had found a job managing the Sturtevant Lumber Company. Although, he only worked there a short time before we find him employed at ‘Wood, Jenks and Company’, another lumber manufacturing business in town.

The loss of his first business did not deter Frank, he stayed involved in the business of wood manufacturing and/or building his whole life. In fact in 1911 he shows up in the papers as part of a new endeavor:

Frank did pretty well for his family in Cleveland, I guess his motto was ‘never give up, never surrender’. Or it was just good old fashioned New England determination. (Just above Frank and Almyra, 1870s and 1910ish.)

Fun and Games

Often when doing family history research one is presented with a few facts that you can add to the database: birth, death, where they lived. If your lucky maybe a nice obituary can be found to fill out a bit more of the person’s life. More often, not.

That is why I love doing newspaper research. Because sometimes you find out details about your ancestor’s life that you would never have known otherwise. In this case I was doing some Vermont research, because they have been adding more Vermont papers to some of the newspaper database I use. I found this fun gem regarding John Brooks, Sr. and his son, John H. Brooks, Jr, in Burlington. Looks like they enjoyed a little pool. The odds are, there was probably a little side betting going on too. At this time 1865, Junior was 28 years old.

Burlington Times (Burlington, Vermont)– Saturday, December 2, 1865, page 4. [Newspapers.com https://newscomwc.newspapers.com/image/364922592%5D

Junior ran a billiard hall later in life, maybe he had a love of the game? I found this in the University of Vermont Collage Yearbook from 1900:

I believe this was a collage boy’s drinking line, and apparently Junior’s billiard room/hall was one of ‘the places to go’ for a bit of fun.

This the Van Ness House where Junior’s billiard hall was located in Burlington. Taken about 1902, so about the same time period. It was a famous place in town.

All work and no play makes John a dull boy!

Hatch meets Brooks?

There might be a few more posts related to my Brooks or Hatch lines in Vermont in the next few weeks, as I have been going through updated newspaper databases recently, and found articles related to these families.

This particular recent find got me thinking about my great great grandparents:

‘Burlington Democrat’ (Burlington, Vermont–Thursday, August 31, 1871, page 3; Newspapers.com [https://newscomwc.newspapers.com/image/355390579]

Dillon F. Hatch was just installed as an officer in this Templars group. He was all for temperance, as was seen a few years earlier where he was in the same group as his mother in Grand Isle.

In this same group just under his name is listed a young lady by the name of Miss Kate Brooks. Kate was Almyra’s older sister, by about 7 years. Hmmm.

In 1870 Dillon was in Louisiana working as a clerk:

Hatch H. F.  55, male, white, Banker, value of estate 10,000 born in Vermont [probably an uncle/cousin of Dillon’s although I don’t know who; b1815ish]
Hatch, Frank D. 21, male, white, Bank clerk, born in Vermont
Hatch, Joseph R.  16, male, white, attending school, born in Vermont

Details of 1870 federal census Louisiana, Jefferson Parish, 4th ward:
page 4, enumerated 10th June 1870, lines 1-3, house 16, family 31

A year later he is living in Burlington, and working as a pharmacist (his occupation as it appeared on his marriage record and in city directories). So sometime between June 10th of 1870, and August 8 of 1871, he moved back to Vermont.

He joins the Templars group because of his interest in temperance, meets Miss Kate Brooks, who introduces him to her family, and then he meets Almyra, who is the same age as himself. BAM! They fall in love, marry just over a year later, and live happily ever after. Well, that wasn’t in the paper, so I am definitely making that part up.

Almyra Brooks and Dillon Franklin Hatch were married 19 Feb 1873.

She married him in spite of that hairdo too!

I don’t actually know how these two met, but it does seem a very likely scenario. Although, Dillon’s job as a clerk in a pharmacy/apothecary could also have been their origin story. If only I had a time machine.

Early trade in Beverwyck/Albany

While I can’t really go back much further up the family tree with our Brooks of Albany, New York, I have been able to learn interesting things about John Brooks’ probable mother’s line, the Wendells.

Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 9.50.43 AM

It is believed, at this time, that John Brooks, Senior, who died during the War of 1812 was the son of Frances Wendell and Peter Brooks who married in Albany, New York, probably in November 1771. (They applied for their license November 7 of that year, according to Dutch Church records1)

Frances was the great great granddaughter of the emigrant ancestor Evert Jansen Wendell. It is thanks to Evert and his progeny that people interested in such things, can learn much not otherwise known about early trading in Albany as regards the local Indigenous people.

Evert was born about 1615 in Emden, Germany, a town located at the mouth of the River Ems in Hanover. He came to New Amsterdam about 1641/2 in the service of the Dutch West Indies Company, and made a living as an import merchant, fur trader, tailor and cooper. He stayed in New Amsterdam until about 1651, at which time he moved his family of wife, Susanna du Trieux, and 3-4 children to Beverwyck/Albany.

Evert was active in Albany’s community as an elder in the Dutch Church, an orphan-master, and a magistrate. He and his first wife, Susanna, eventually had 8 children together*. Our Brooks descend from their son Jeronimous.

Native-Americans-and-English-Settlers

Evert and his sons were heavily involved in the fur trade, which would not be unusual, as it was a major industry in this time period.  The family also made its fortune trading, and when the pelts started becoming rare, due to the indiscriminate slaughter of the animals who were wearing them, they moved on to other types of trade. Much of which was tracked by Jeronimous’ son Evert, who kept an account book that has survived to this day, and is used to help those who study these things, learn more about the anthropological details of early trading in the Albany area. This account book has been translated from Dutch and studied in great detail.

To Do Justice to Him & Myself: Evert Wendell’s Account Book of the Fur Trade with Indians in Albany, New York, 1695-1726, by Evert Wendell

Fur_Trade
Map of the fur trade.

According to the introduction to this volume the Wendells also made money (and acquired land) by acting as interpreters, and were called in by both Indians and Europeans to assist in negotiations of all kinds. Including making trips to Canada to act as interpreters on military expeditions against the French.

This account book contains information on commercial trade on the Hudson with the Indigenous populous. Giving researchers details that were completely unknown previous to its publication. Things like the use of native agents, how credit was used, the type and quantities of goods traded, the origins of the native customers, and the level of native women’s trade participation, among many other bits of interest. Details specific to the Indigenous people themselves like types of tattoos they had and their naming practices are of particular interest also.

This account book’s greatest value is in the fact that it is the earliest known surviving fur trade record of colonial Albany, New York. I highly recommend this gem of a book, although the introduction is the most interesting part. The tables that finish the book off are mostly of interest to real researchers who love the nitty-gritty of this kind of stuff. I am afraid that’s too much detail for me.

The Wendell’s were a prominent family for quite a while in Albany and their success was largely due to the fact that they learned from their progenitor, Evert, that the best way to stay well-heeled, was to diversify. Which is why when the fur trade started to decline as a feasible way to make lots of money they stayed well to do. The sons and grandsons traded in many items (not just fur), lawyered, made shoes, interpreted, and tailored. One of the grandsons also began selling the first products from a chocolate mill! Mmmm…chocolate.

I find it fascinating that there are ancestors on both sides of our family that have so much history with Albany/Beverwyck and New York/New Amsterdam. And the more I read about these cities’ very early beginnings, the more fascinating I find them.


*Interesting side note regarding Evert and Susanna Wendell’s children — Elsje and Johannes: Elsie married Abraham Staats; Johannes married Elizabeth Staats. Both of these Staats were the children of Abraham Staats and Catrina Jochemse Wessels. Catrina is the daughter of the same Joachim Wessels, who married our ancestress Geertruy Hieronimous, of the ‘Warmongering Wessels of Albany’[see post], and is in fact their daughter. This gives a connection between both my mother’s and father’s side of the family in America, although only a cousin connection, as neither side descends directly from Elsje or Johannes Wendell.


Sources:

  1. Holland Society of New York (1926/7); Records of the Reformed Dutch Church of Albany, New York, 1683–1809

Death by Railroad Car

new-york-central-railroad

KILLED AT HUDSON. [1911]

Charles Brooks, a former resident of Cherry Valley, was killed by the cars at Hudson, Sunday [February 26th]. Particulars of his death have not been received. He was in the employ of the Western Union Telegraph company and was one of the most valued of its employees. Mr. Brooks was born in Cherry Valley about fifty years ago, and his boyhood and early manhood were passed there. He was a pleasant, companionable man and had many warm friends here, who will feel deep sorrow at his loss. He leaves a widow and one child, as well as one sister, Mrs. Samuel Millson [Eliza Jane or Jennie], of North Adams, Mass. and two brothers, Andrew of this village, and Benjamin of Hawthorne.1

Charles Brooks was the youngest known child of David Brooks (brother of my ggg-grandfather John Brooks). His sister Sarah, who married a Woodward, was actually still alive but not mentioned in the obituary. She was living in Rochester, New York with one of her daughters.

According to his wife’s obituary from 1953:

Her husband, who was an employee of the New York Central railroad, was killed in a rail accident on February 26, 1911. An only son of the couple met with accidental death while with the Armed Forces in [Delhamps, Mobile County] Alabama on January 5, 1917.2

Unfortunately, I have been unable to find out anymore on their only child’s death. I can only assume it was a military training accident. A sad end to this Brooks line.


1. The Otsego Farmer, Vol. XXV, No. 13, (Cooperstown, New York), March 3, 1911, page 1; http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html.

2. The Freeman’s Journal (Cooperstown, New York), January 14, 1953, page 6; http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html.

Source for image: https://ssl.bing.com/images/search?q=New+York+Central+Railroad&form=RESTAB&first=1&cw=2007&ch=1219

Andrew Brooks had a patent

In my recent search of newspapers regarding the Brooks family of Cherry Valley, I found an article about David’s son Andrew*, (the only son to  follow in his father’s tinsmithing footsteps). He had apparently won a patent on a new kind of fastener for milk can tops.

Untitled 2
Otsego Farmer, June 10, 1910, page 1.

It took a while but I finally found the patent using the Google Patent search engine. Trying to search the patent office for records before 1975 is very difficult if you don’t know exact dates, patent numbers, etc. The Google Patent search worked great.

So below is the sketch of what the device looked like, along with detailed instructions on how it was suppose to work.

 

US964385 copy

patent_brooksAndrew_US964385 copy 2

patent_brooksAndrew_US964385 copy

It is very likely that Andrew’s tin-smithing skills, and his experience working at the local dairy influenced this innovative design. There is no information on how successful this fastener was, so I don’t know if he got rich off of it.

This is the second relative of mine to have a patent. Dillon Hatch (husband of Almyra Brooks), together with two other men, applied for, and received, a patent on a door design in 1891 (which I wrote about in an earlier post).

Andrew and his wife Elizabeth had one child, a daughter Mary L. Brooks, who appears to have died in her early 20s, leaving no heirs. Which means there were no descendants around to brag about Andrew’s clever invention. Maybe this post will make up for that loss.

*Andrew is my mother’s 1st cousin 3 times removed.

 

David Brooks’ final tragedy

Earlier this year I wrote about David Brooks of Cherry Valley, New York regarding the fire that destroyed the family’s home and belongings in July of 1866. I ended with the hope that this was the extent of the family’s trials. Unfortunately that hope was squashed when I found this newspaper article:

David Brooks, aged 70, a tinner of Cherry Valley, committed suicide a while ago by hanging himself to his bedpost during a temporary fit of insanity.1

I tried to find more about this sad event, and a couple more articles showed up, each with a slightly different account in them 2, 3:

newspaper_brooksdavid_suicide1 copy
newspaper_brooksdavid_suicide2 copy

David Brooks was John Brooks’ brother. I do not know if they kept in touch when they both left Albany, with John moving to Vermont, and David heading to Cherry Valley, NY.  There was no family history passed down in our family regarding either of the brothers.

David was survived by his wife Margaret, who died about 1891 and five children Sarah, Jennie, Andrew, Benjamin, and Charles.

Source:
1. 1882-10-1 Utica Weekly Herald, Utica, New York, page 5, column 2 [http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html].
2. 1882-10-12 The Radii, Canajoharie, New York, page unknown [http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html].
3. 1882-10-10 The Canajoarie Courier, Tuesday, page unknown [http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html].

Is Almira’s mother Cornelia?

In my ever vigilant search for information on Almira Johnson Brooks’ parents, I have come across an interesting puzzle.

Almira’s death certificate/registration indicates that her parents were Catherine and Samuel with no last name (we do not know who gave the information). Almira and John Brooks’ son John, jr. has his mother listed as Almira Johnson on his death registration, with no indication of who gave the information. Another child of theirs has Almira’s surname as Johnston. So it has always been assumed by me that Almira’s mother was Catherine _____ Johnson/Johnston.

Something interesting popped up when I was looking into this matter recently. In the 1840 and 1841 city directories for Albany, New York, Diana/Dinah (Smith) (Brooks) Little is living at the same address as a Cornelia Johnson. Cornelia is also found in the 1840 census and, as would be expected as they are living in the same household, she is listed right after Diana Little in the entries.

untitled

Then Cornelia disappears. Meaning I can find no further record of Cornelia in Albany. At all.

When I first created my ‘directory’ database for all the relevant surnames of my Albany ancestors, I was looking for patterns, and I did this by sorting the information on different parameters. That’s when I found the entries for a Cornelia Johnson at the same address as Diana Little (along with her son John and his wife Almira). My first thoughts were that Almira Johnson Brooks, had a sister Cornelia who was also living with the Little/Brooks family. And these thoughts stayed pretty much the same until recently, when I decided to check the 1840 census for Cornelia.

When I found her entry, I was a little taken aback, because both Diana, and Cornelia are listed as 50-60 years of age, a little old to be a sibling to Almira. Could this mean that Cornelia is actually Almira’s mother? Why else would an elderlyish women with the surname of Johnson be living with Almira’s mother-in-law?

If Cornelia is Almira’s mother, then her father Samuel probably had died before 1839 and it is possible that Cornelia died by 1842, as no further record can be found for her after 1841 (yet).

It is an interesting puzzle waiting to be solved.

Up in smoke…

Fire in some way or another has made its appearance often in my ancestor’s lives. The most devastating one being the Peshtigo Fire of 1871, a much nastier event than that little dust up they had in Chicago the same day. Most of the other fires seem to have been house or chimney fires of which I can count at least 6 having occurred to various ancestral families, so far. For the David Brooks family we have the following account.

David Brooks was John Brooks’ elder brother. He was born about 1812 in Albany, Albany County, New York. Both John and David lived with their mother until sometime after 1841 when we can find John at his own address in the city, as well as David.

David most likely trained or apprenticed as a tin smith in his early years, an occupation he continued throughout his life.

Sometime between 1855 and 1860 David and his wife Margaret packed up the tin smith business and the family jewels and headed to Otsego County, New York. Cherry Valley to be exact.CVSCAPE

 

The family wasn’t in the area long before we find this newspaper article in their county paper:

fire
The Freeman’s Journal, July 13, 1866, Page 3.

It doesn’t appear that any lives were lost in the fire, but the family most likely did lose a goodly amount of their possessions and possibly even their tin business for a short time.

David and Margaret continued to stay and raise their family in Cherry Valley. Together they had at least 5 children. Their son Andrew is the only one to take on the tin smith trade.

I can find information on only three of their children. Andrew who married and had one daughter who died without any heirs. Sarah who married and had 9 children, all Woodwards. Benjamin married and had one daughter and has descendants from her. There appears to be no sons that carried on the Brooks surname in his line.

David died in 1882 at the age of about 70. Hopefully this was the only nasty event to occur to the family.

Off to Academy…

According to John Brooks, jr.’s obituary, printed in the 1898 Albany paper, another item of interest was mentioned: that he had attended the Albany Academy.

The Albany Academy was chartered in March of 1813 “to educate the sons of Albany’s political elite and rapidly growing merchant class” (according to wikipedia). In the case of John this would appear to be true because his occupation and trade was cigar manufacturer,  definitely of the merchant class.

As the Academy is actually still a functioning school, I was able to contact the archives to try to find more information regarding its academic program, and if there were any record of John Brooks having attended.

Unfortunately at this time, no records have been found that can corroborate this claim. I don’t doubt that it is true, but can’t confirm. According to the gentleman who contacted me in response to my inquiry:

“The youngest students of the 1820s were about 10 years old. Their programs were anywhere from a few quarters to eight years. They selected either a classical or “English” program.”

Albany_Academy_1907
This the original building, which is now used as the Joseph Henry Memorial.

A copy of the Academy Statutes was provided to me and it makes for some light amusing reading regarding expected behavior of the students. Below is a page pulled from the statutes giving an example to some rules. They seem pretty consistent with rules for students today, with some exceptions, of course.

AAStatutes1829

John probably took the mercantile course which lasted four years and included the basics along with mercantile studies – ex.: accounting, book-keeping, etc.

merchantile
Here is the page covering the 4 year Mercantile course. The whole Academy pamphlet makes for interesting reading.

The family was in the business of cigar manufacturing until John passed way in 1898. His son John was a saloon and pool hall owner. I don’t think he was much interested in continuing the trade. His daughter Almyra married a furniture manufacturer and had moved to Ohio. The other children had died before John, or were daughters who married and moved away, so the business pretty much died when he did.

Fun little note: Andy Rooney attended the same academy as did Theodore Roosevelt III.