NIU Libraries Digitization Projects
Lincoln/Net Prairie Fire Illinois During the Civil War Illinois During the Gilded Age Mark Twain's Mississippi Back to Digitization Projects Contact Us
BACK

Edwards, Richard; Hopewell, M.; Ashley, William; Barry, James G.; Belt and Priest; Casey, John; Hall, W.; Labaum, Louis A.; Leduc, Mary Philip; Lisa, Manuel; O'Fallon, Benjamin; Piernas; Port Folio; Risley, W.; Stoddard, Amos; Williams, Henry W.; Yore, John E. Edwards's Great West and Her Commercial Metropolis, Embracing a General View of the West, and a Complete History of St. Louis, from the Landing of Ligueste, in 1764, to the Present Time; with Portraits and Biographies of Some of the Old Settlers, and Many of the Most Prominent Buisiness Men . St. Louis: Office of Edwards's Monthly, A Journal of Progress, 1860. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; letter; narrative]. Permission: St. Louis Mercantile Library
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=edwards.html


Previous section

Next section

John D. Daggett.

JOHN D. DAGGETT was born at Attleborough, Massachusetts, October 4th, 1793. His father, Benjamin Daggett, was a respectable merchant, and his ancestors are all of English origin. When very young, John became an inmate of the little village school of Attleborough, where he was kept according to the practical customs of the times, until he became strong enough to do something for his own livelihood. At the age of thirteen, his father died, and he was taken from school and put to learn the trade of a machinist, and during the time he was thus engaged, his ingenuity was such, that he undertook, while yet a youth, the manufacture of musket locks for the army at Pautucket in 1812, which he accomplished with entire satisfaction.

In 1814, John D. Daggett determined, after the fashion of most of the young ambitious Yankees, to quit his home and seek his fortunes abroad. He first went to Philadelphia, where he pursued for a little while his trade, and after remaining there for a year he went to Pittsburg and engaged as salesman in a tin and copper store. He soon again changed his place of business, and then commenced as clerk in a silver-plating establishment. While engaged in that capacity, his employer, struck with his ingenuity and general ability, made him superintendent of the whole establishment. His time was then profitably and pleasantly employed, but he was solicited by Reuben Neal, who first employed him when he came to Pittsburg, to accompany him to St. Louis. Having wished for some time to go to St. Louis, he agreed to the offer of Mr. Neal, and started for St. Louis with a boat well laden with tin and copper-ware, and a variety of goods of this kind. He went down the Ohio and then up the Wabash to Vincennes, where he disposed of his merchandise in a most profitable manner, and came across on horseback to St. Louis.

The St. Louis of 1817 bore but little resemblance to the St. Louis of the present time. There was no town west of Third street, and though most persons thought it a growing town, the most sanguine could not have hoped that it would, in so short a time, reach the magnitude and appearance it now presents. Mr. Daggett, however, liked the appearance of the town, and resolved to accept the offer which Mr. Neal made to him of taking general charge in superintending his business, which he established in the tin and copper line on quite an extensive scale. He remained with Mr. Neal three years and a half, when, having gathered some capital, he resolved to go into business for himself, and forming a partnership, he commenced the commission business, the firm being Daggett & Haldman. This continued until 1822, when the firm dissolved, and Mr. Daggett went into the general merchandising, and remained in that connection for eight years.

All of the varieties of business that he pursued he made lucrative by giving them his undivided attention, and conducting them in legitimate channels, never having ventured in the uncertain depths of hazardous speculation. He was always contented with his profits, though slow, and day by day there was a gradual but healthful growth to his fortune.

-- 475 --

On quitting the general merchandising business, as it was affecting his health, Mr. Daggett was in possession of considerable capital, and he went into the steamboat business, purchasing an interest in a steamboat, and then serving upon her, either in the capacity of captain or clerk. He ran principally between St. Louis and New Orleans, and was at one time in the command of the steamer Oceana, which, when first built, was then most beautiful boat that floated upon the Mississippi. He remained six years in steamboating, which, like every thing he undertook, yielded him certain profit and enlarged his fortune.

On releasing himself from this pursuit, Mr. Daggett purchased an interest in the Sectional Floating Dock Company, and became the general agent and superintendent of the business of the corporation. While engaged in this business, it occurred to him there should be another company in existence, and when the time was ripe for such a corporation, through his instrumentality the Floating Dock Insurance Company was established, which may be said to be the natural production of the other; of this company he was for a long time director and president. This corporation has thriven since it has come into existence, wields a large capital, and exercises considerable influence.

Though domestic in his habits, and giving all of his time to his business pursuits, in 1841 the whig party nominated him against his will for mayor, and he may be said to have been dragged into the political contest. He was elected; for the people had all confidence in his integrity and knew him to be a working man, so different from those who pursue politics as a profession and who seek office with no other intention but to make what spoil they can out of it. After his term as mayor expired, Mr. Daggett never again ventured into the political field, for the turbulent confusion of which his inclination and habits of life were so unsuitable.

Mr. Daggett was married February 10th, 1821, to Miss Sarah Sparks, daughter of Samuel Sparks, Esq., of Maine. He has been identified with a variety of different pursuits and been successful in all. He is friendly in his relations with everyone, discriminating in his judgment, and possesses that quality so rare in these days of vanity, a diffidence as to his own worth. He has held other positions of trust than those we have mentioned, for his connection with any business gives it additional weight and importance before the community. He has been a director in the Citizens' Insurance Company, and president of the Gas Company; also one of its corporators, and served some time as secretary and treasurer. He resigned his office in favor of Mr. Edward Stagg, the efficient secretary of the company. He was also a member of the Board of Aldermen for two years, and was also street commissioner.

Mr. Daggett has for forty years been connected with the Masonic fragility, and has held every office conferred by the order in the state of Missouri, and is now the treasurer of five distinct Masonic lodges.

In the decline of his life, Mr. Daggett possesses an ample fortune, which he deserves to enjoy, for he has made it in legitimate channels. He commenced life a poor boy, and what friends he has since made, what worldly goods he has since gathered, have been the natural consequence of probity of character and an untiring devotion to business pursuits. He has truly been the architect of his own fortune, and his success teaches an instructive and useful lesson to posterity.

-- 476 --

Previous section

Next section


Edwards, Richard; Hopewell, M.; Ashley, William; Barry, James G.; Belt and Priest; Casey, John; Hall, W.; Labaum, Louis A.; Leduc, Mary Philip; Lisa, Manuel; O'Fallon, Benjamin; Piernas; Port Folio; Risley, W.; Stoddard, Amos; Williams, Henry W.; Yore, John E. Edwards's Great West and Her Commercial Metropolis, Embracing a General View of the West, and a Complete History of St. Louis, from the Landing of Ligueste, in 1764, to the Present Time; with Portraits and Biographies of Some of the Old Settlers, and Many of the Most Prominent Buisiness Men . St. Louis: Office of Edwards's Monthly, A Journal of Progress, 1860. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; letter; narrative]. Permission: St. Louis Mercantile Library
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=edwards.html
Powered by PhiloLogic