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

William T. Christy.

WM. T. CHRISTY was born June 20, 1803, in Clarke county, Kentucky. Both of his grandfathers were natives of Virginia, and, animated by the wild spirit of independence so characteristic of the first settlers, started for Kentucky, and located near Georgetown and Boonesborough, of that state, when the savages, with all of their murderous instincts in full action, were waging war upon that soil, which, to this day, is known as "the Bloody Ground." Though risking all things themselves, they did not remove their families to the state until 1785, when the Indians had been driven from the hunting-ground, which, for years, they had fought with the fury of demons to maintain. It was on the "Bloody Ground" that the subject of this memoir was born, and, in his childhood, he has often heard some of the old pioneers relate scraps of the fearful history connected with that period.

The education of young Christy was confined to the country school-house, which any boy of quick parts could soon exhaust of its mental supply; and, at the age of thirteen, he entered the store of his elder brother, at Winchester, Ky., and there remained, until 1817, when his brother gave up his business from declining health. After the death of his brother, he sought employment in Richmond of the same state, and was taken into the service of J. A. Grimes, with whom he remained a year; and then repaired to Glasgow, Barren county, where he entered the store of his namesake and kinsman, Wm. T. Bush, and sojourned with him for three years. Leaving Glasgow, he went to Louisville, and was engaged as book-keeper for Messrs. Duncan, Dobbin & Co. He did not remain long in his new situation, but, having formed the acquaintance of Mr. James Falls, a warm friendship sprung up between them, and this was followed by a business alliance; and the two, with a capital of $3,500, entered business in Russelville.

Mr. Christy went on to Philadelphia, to purchase goods, and, in these times such a journey was to be dreaded, as, from Kentucky to Baltimore, it had to be performed on horseback. On this journey, he met with an accident, which compelled him to make his debut as a merchant, in the streets of Philadelphia, on crutches.

The career of the new firm, Falls & Christy, established in Russelville the autumn of 1822, was a prosperous one, although a deranged and fictitious currency kept the young men in a continual alarm, as the paper money, even in the season of comparative confidence, was fifty per cent. when exchanged for specie. Believing, however, that Tennessee offered greater inducements for business, the firm removed their stock to Murfreesboro', where they entered upon a lucrative trade, which continued for

-- 482 --

four years; and, at the expiration of that time, Mr. Falls having married in Nashville, and wishing to reside in that city, he offered to sell out his interest to Mr. Christy, which was accepted. The partnership had subsisted for six years, and Mr. Christy frequently alludes to the rare business qualities and sterling worth of the partner of his early years, who is now deceased.

After the withdrawal of Mr. Falls, Mr. Christy determined, if possible, to induce Mr. James Woods to enter with him in business relations, as he had known him for several years, and thought him a proper substitute for the partner who had retired. Mr. Woods accepted the invitation, and the firm of Wm. T. Christy & Co. was well known for years in the vicinity, by the extent of their business, and enjoyed the unlimited confidence of the people. In 1836, the firm had amassed so considerable a fortune, that their capital became unwieldy in so small a place, and they determined on removing to St. Louis, where they could extend, ad libitum, their business. At this time a younger brother of Mr. Christy's was admitted into the concern, and then the name which the firm now bears, Woods, Christy & Co., was adopted. The new firm was started in St. Louis in the spring of 1837, and had but fairly entered upon the new theatre of action, before the muttering indications, which had been heard for some time, in the financial world, grew louder and more threatening, and at last the storm burst with a fury unknown before in the business annals of the country, and many of the old established houses tottered and fell, never to rise again. The house of Woods, Christy & Co. survived amid the almost general ruin, and from that period to the present time, has done a most extensive and lucrative business, and is well known to the commercial community. In 1857, it again had to sustain the financial earthquake, which shook, with ruinous effect, both this country and Europe; but it stood the shock unscathed.

In 1832, Mr. Christy married Ellen P., daughter of Calvin and Sarah Morgan, of Knoxville, Tenn., and has had seven children, five of whom are now living. Amid the absorbing pursuits of business life, Mr. Christy has been attentive to his religious duties, and is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He has been connected with several insurance companies, and, for sixteen years, has been a director of the Bank of Missouri. He has established a reputation of which any one may be proud; and, for his moral and business worth, there is no man better known in St. Louis, or more highly estimated as a citizen.

-- 485 --

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