26 September 2009

Horatio Dalton Newcomb (1809-1874)

This biography is from B.M. Newcomb's book:

At the age of twenty-one, Horatio D. Newcomb left home and went to Louisville, Ky., where he continued to reside. Was for many years a wholesale grocer, of the firm of H.D. Newcomb and Brothers. The brothers were Warren and Francis; the firm was dissolved during the war, Warren going to New York city, Francis remaining with the firm until he died. Mr. Newcomb was president of the Cannelton, Ind., cotton mills, of which he owned the largest share. His reported income, 1867, $61,316.00; also president of Western Financial Corporation, Galt House Co., Louisville and Nasvhille R.R., and director of Texas and Pacific R.R. his portrait on steel (in group of seven persons) may be found in Richard H. Collins' History of Kentucky, published in 1874.

This one is from America's Successful Men of Affairs: An Encyclopedia of Contemporaneous Biography, published in 1896:

Horatio D. Newcomb is remembered as one of the most enterprising of the residents of Louisville, being largely engaged in Southern trade, the operation of steamboats on the rivers, the management of a large possession in land and, as president of the corporation, in the direction of The Louisville & Nashville Railroad.

And this one is from Biographical Encyclopedia of Kentucky of the Dead and Living Men of the Nineteenth Century, 1878:

Newcomb, Horatio Dalton, merchant and manufacturer, son of Dalton Newcomb, a distinguished farmer of Massachusetts, was born August 10, 1809, at Bernardston, near Springfield, Massachusetts. He received a good practical education, and, after working on his father's farm for a time, he taught school in his native state, but, being dissatisfied with his prospects in that direction, took the agency for a book, and traveled through several of the states, finally locating at Louisville, Kentucky, in 1832. He engaged, for a while, as clerk in a small business house; afterwards, in various mercantile enterprises, but which he accumulated some means; entered the commission house of E.E. Webb; was soon after admitted to partnership, and began a career of remarkable mercantile success. In 1837, he went into the liquor business; and subsequently established a large grocery trade, with his brother, Warren Newcomb, under the style of H.D. Newcomb & Bro., becoming one of the largest grocery establishments in the West. In 1863, his brother retired from the business, and a few years afterwards died in New York, a millionaire. The house soon became Newcomb, Buchannan & Co., devoting themselves entirely to operations in whisky. In 1850, after the projection of the Cannelton Cotton Mills, at Cannelton, Indiana, by J.C. Ford, Hamilton Smith, and others, when the enterprise was on the eve of a failure, he came forward with a large secured capital, placing the establishment on a sure foundation, and, though his commercial interests were valuable, a great part of his fortune was made in connection with the Cannelton Mills. In 1856, in connection with his brother, Dwight Newcomb, he leased the Cannelton Coal Mines, form which he retired after several years' successful operation, In 1871, having amassed a large fortune in the legitimate channels of trade, he abandoned active commercial pursuits for his own interests, and devoted himself, with great energy, to the cause of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, and was its most influential and substantial friend. He took large stock in the road; worked hard for its success, loaning his own credit for the establishment of that of the company; for sixteen years was one of its directors; at the death of Hon. James Guthrie, in 1859, became its president; as such carried the road through its financial embarrassments; and, for some time, bore the financial burdens of the company. Mainly through his great business ability and inexhaustible resources, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad was made the most successful and powerful railroad enterprise in the South. While actively engaged in business pursuits, he never lost sight of the interests of the city. After the burning of the Galt House, through his instrumentality, chiefly, the present magnificent hotel was built. He was one of the organizers of the Louisville Board of Trade, and was its first president; erected some of the finest buildings, and was variously concerned in most movements of importance to the city of Louisville. He was a man of marked peculiarities, as well as marked talents. He was a clear-sighted financier, steady and self-confident rather than aggressive, at all times conservative and safe; was valued among his acquaintances for his liberality and kindness of disposition; his tastes were always upward, and, although not ostentatious in his patronage, he was concerned in all art and public improvements; possessed of extraordinary gifts, he had few equals in the business world, and the withdrawal of such great resources as he possessed was a loss to his adopted city. He died of apoplexy, at his house in Louisville, in 1874, and probably left behind him no enemies, for he was a man singularly without malice. Mr. Newcomb was twice married; first, in 1838, to Miss Cornelia W. Read. The only remaining child of this marriage is H. Victor Newcomb, of Louisville, Vice-President of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. In 1872, he was married to Miss Mary C. Smith, eldest daughter of John B. Smith, of Louisville, a lady who has ever been distinguished for her beauty of person, and brilliancy of mind and manners.

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