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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


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Henry D. Bacon.

THERE are some men whose characters are so nobly planned by nature, and so plentifully adorned with those virtues which ennoble humanity, that it is a duty and a pleasure to write their biographies and hand them as memorials to posterity for its benefit and instruction.

Henry D. Bacon was born May 3, 1818, at East Granville, Massachusetts. His grandfather participated in the trying scenes of the Revolution, and made a part of that memorable expedition to Canada under Arnold and the lamented Montgomery; holding at that time the commission of captain in the army. His father was an intelligent farmer, and early inculcated among his children the love of integrity, industry, and charitable feeling, which always guided his conduct and marked his career. The subject of this memoir is one of eight children, who are now living, and all well known and respected in the localities where they reside. William, the eldest, lives at the old homestead; Sherman, the second son, is senior partner in the extensive drug business carried on by the firm of Bacon & Hyde, of New York, and which has a large branch in the city of St. Louis; and all of the sisters are most respectably married.

For some time Henry D. Bacon assisted his father in his agricultural pursuits, but feeling that the sphere of the farmer was too circumscribed, and also wishing to move to a place where he could have access to a good library, that he might improve his education, which had not been as liberal as he wished, he went to Hartford, Conn., and entered a commercial house, in which he remained but a short time, and emigrated to St. Louis in 1835; and bearing the highest testimonials of character and capacity, he was soon engaged as partner in one of the most respectable dry goods firms in the city. He then entered into the iron trade, which he pursued successfully for several years, until his marriage in 1844 with Miss Julia Page, daughter of Daniel D. Page, when he became associated with his father-in-law in the flour business!

In 1848 the banking house of Page & Bacon, afterward so extensively known, was organized, which in a few years so won the confidence of all classes of people, that it did the heaviest banking business in the whole of the western country. A branch was established in California in 1850, and in 1854, the exchanges reached the almost staggering amount of eighty millions. Mr. Bacon was the active partner, and so readily and cordially did he at all times respond to the wants of the commercial community, that to this day, many of our leading citizens feel under a debt of gratitude to him for his accommodating liberality at that period.

The house of Page & Bacon was remarkable for its enterprise, and in 1853, knowing how fraught with advantages to St. Louis would be a direct

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communication to the East, through the rich American bottom of Illinois, they advanced the immense means necessary for the building of the greater part of the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad. This drew out an immense capital from their business, and a pressure shortly after taking place in the money market, the firm was compelled, in January, 1855, to suspend payment. The suspension caused for a short period almost a stagnation in business, as the house was the financial source from which a large portion of the business world drew the elements of their vitality.

In the crush, which he could not avoid, and which must have torn with anguish his sensitive organization, Mr. Bacon gave way to no despondency, to no selfish grief, but bent all of his powers to complete the railroad, which had ever been one of his darling schemes, and which had to stop its operations at his failure. He went to New York, where he was well known, and induced Eastern capitalists to advance sums requisite for its completion. This road, which now forms one of the main arteries of the prosperity of St. Louis, owes its existence to his efforts.

We have now to speak of Mr. Bacon in the retired walks of life, disconnected with business pursuits. When the Mercantile Library was in its infancy, and tottering for the want of pecuniary assistance to sustain it, he came forward and gave the required assistance, and stood its powerful friend, until his influence gathered other friends around, and to-day it is one of the most cherished ornaments and institutions of our city. The members have not been guilty of ingratitude; for they have graced the walls with a splendid portrait of their early benefactor. The splendid building known as the Union Presbyterian Church, in which the Rev. William Holmes officiated, he built and furnished, and donated to the church forty thousand dollars of the immense expense he had incurred.

The Webster College and the Home of the Friendless are beneficiaries of his bounty; and his daily charities in the humble walks of life have relieved a plenitude of suffering.

Perhaps the golden estimation with which Mr. Bacon is held by the citizens of St. Louis, would have never been so apparent, had he always been a favorite of auspicious fortune. There would have been nothing to call forth the spontaneous tribute of the heart in a disinterested moment; but when misfortune lowered upon him, and the community knew how much he suffered through his delicate sensibilities, there were expressions of sympathy from all classes of society, and no enemy's poisoned breath connected his name with dishonor, or rejoiced at his misfortune. He has ever been the friend of humanity, to science, and religion, and he is looked upon as the soul of honor and human uprightness.

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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
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