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The Jonah Sherman Collection at the Marist College Archives

Jonah Sherman was a local businessman, native to Poughkeepsie, NY who operated the Sherman Furniture Corporation for many years. This company originally began as a family-owned appliance business and later evolved into a furniture retailer. A July 14, 1985 article of the Poughkeepsie Journal referred to Sherman as “an encyclopedia of business trivia, a man who inherited a family appliance store in the 1950’s and diversified to become a leading New York businessman and civic force.” Jonah Sherman served Marist College as a trustee for more the 25 years and several terms as an officer of the board. In 1993, Jonah and his wife Joan were established the Marist College Center for Lifetime Study, a program for senior citizens that has been subsequently adopted by other collegiate institutions. He served on many boards and civic organizations in the Poughkeepsie area and was instrumental as a board member of the Astor Home in Rhinebeck.

 

joan and jonah sherman

 

In 2007, Sherman donated a collection of material related to Poughkeepsie’s commercial and civic history to the college archives. Of particular note are documents related to local businesses and banking institutions. Much of the material is related to Luckey, Platt, and Company which began in Poughkeepsie in 1867 and operated continuously until closing in 1981. Documents include deeds, mortgages, contracts, insurance policies and claims, pamphlets, brochures, and architectural plans. Some of the more interesting documents relate to plans, specs, and proposals for the construction of the 1923 Classical Revival building by Poughkeepsie architect, Percival Lloyd. The “Luckey Platt Building” still stands at the corner of Main and Academy Streets in the city of Poughkeepsie. Scrapbooks related to Luckey, Platt, and Co., ranging from the early- to mid-twentieth century are excellent and succinct resources for historians studying Poughkeepsie businesses.

 

Banking history is documented well in Sherman’s collection. Two banks are featured prominently: the Poughkeepsie Savings Bank and the Merchants Bank of Poughkeepsie. Other banks include the Farmers and Manufacturers Bank and Fallkill National Bank. Typical documents in each of these folders include copies of articles of association, incomplete volumes of mortgage indexes, letters and correspondence, historical biographical material, and documents showing mergers with other banks. It is interesting to examine the various federal regulatory documentation, beginning in the 1930s and documented in the collection through the 1960’s.

 

Another box contained extensive material related to Marist College, Vassar College, Eastman Business College, and other academic institutions in Poughkeepsie. Records for Eastman Business College include financial statements, antique autograph books, and other administrative records. The collection on Vassar included pamphlets and historical material tailored to the general public.

 

The Sherman Collection is impressive in its volume of ephemeral material from local businesses and industry. These items include advertising material, postcard collection, and an impressive photograph cache of the business district.

 

Other noteworthy items in the collection include documents related to the Hackett and Williams law firm of Poughkeepsie. Henry T. Hackett, a partner in the firm, served as counsel to Franklin Delano Roosevelt on local matters and drafted his will. Hackett’s family settled in Hyde Park in 1852 from Ireland and rose to prominence as local attorneys. Henry was a 1909 graduate of Harvard University School of Law. The Roosevelt Presidential Library holds further material related to Henry Hackett and his dealings with President Roosevelt.

 

The Sherman Collection at the Marist College Archives is a comprehensive window into Poughkeepsie history of the 19th and 20th centuries and is an outstanding resource to someone researching industry in the region.

 

– Elijah Bender, Marist ’18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Jonah Sherman Collection at the Marist College Archives

Jonah Sherman was a local businessman, native to Poughkeepsie, NY who operated the Sherman Furniture Corporation for many years. This company began as a family owned appliance business and later transformed into a furniture retailer. A July 14, 1985 article of the Poughkeepsie Journal referred to Sherman as “an encyclopedia of business trivia, a man who inherited a family appliance store in the 1950’s and diversified to become a leading New York businessman and civic force.” He served Marist College as a trustee for more the 25 years and several terms as an officer of the board. In 1993, Jonah and his wife Joan established the Marist College Center for Lifetime Study, a program for senior citizens that has been subsequently adopted by other collegiate institutions. He served on many boards and civic organizations in the Poughkeepsie area and was instrumental as a board member of the Astor Home in Rhinebeck.

In 2007, Jonah Sherman donated a collection of material related to Poughkeepsie’s commercial and civic history to the college archives. Of particular note are documents related to local businesses and banking institutions. Much of the material is related to Luckey, Platt, and Company which began in Poughkeepsie in 1867 and operated continuously until closing in 1981. Documents include deeds, mortgages, contracts, insurance policies and claims, pamphlets, brochures, and architectural plans. Some of the more interesting documents relate to plans, specs, and proposals for the construction of the 1923 Classical Revival building by Poughkeepsie architect, Percival Lloyd. The “Luckey PLatt Building” still stands at the corner of Main and Academy Streets in the city of Poughkeepsie. Scrapbooks related to Luckey, Platt, and Co., ranging from the early- to mid-twentieth century are excellent and succinct resources for historians studying Poughkeepsie businesses.

Banking history is documented well in Sherman’s collection. Two banks are featured prominently: the Poughkeepsie Savings Bank and the Merchants Bank of Poughkeepsie. Other banks include the Farmers and Manufacturers Bank and Fallkill National Bank. Typical documents in each of these folders include copies of articles of association, incomplete volumes of mortgage indexes, letters and correspondence, historical biographical material, and documents showing mergers with other banks. It is interesting to examine the various federal regulatory documentation, beginning in the 1930s and documented in the collection through the 1960’s.

Another box contained extensive material related to Marist College, Vassar College, Eastman Business College, and other academic institutions in Poughkeepsie. Records for Eastman Business College include financial statements, antique autograph books, and other administrative records. The collection on Vassar included pamphlets and historical material tailored to the general public.

The Sherman Collection is impressive in its volume of ephemeral material from local businesses and industry. These items include advertising material, postcard collection, and an impressive photograph cache of the business district.

Other noteworthy items in the collection include documents related to the Hackett and Williams law firm of Poughkeepsie. Henry T. Hackett, a partner in the firm, served as counsel to Franklin Delano Roosevelt on local matters and drafted his will. Hackett’s family settled in Hyde Park in 1852 from Ireland and rose to prominence as local attorneys. Henry was a 1909 graduate of Harvard University School of Law. The Roosevelt Presidential Library holds further material related to Henry Hackett and his dealings with President Roosevelt.

The Sherman Collection at the Marist College Archives is a comprehensive window into Poughkeepsie history of the 19th and 20th centuries and is an outstanding resource to someone researching industry in the region.

 

– Elijah Bender, Marist ’18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Coffin Family Papers

 

The Coffin family collection at the Marist Archives and Special Collections represents a
snapshot glimpse of this unique Dutchess County family. Abishai Coffin, a fourth generation descendant of Tristram Coffin, moved from Nantucket and settled in the Hudson Valley around the time of the American Revolution.

 

Robert Coffin was born to Abishai and Sarah Long Coffin. Coffin was born in the Town of Washington, in eastern Dutchess County, New York and would go on to represent Dutchess County in the New York State Assembly in 1832. He married Magdalene Bently, daughter of Colonel Tabor Bently and together they had ten children. Coffin was an authority and breeder of race horses. It is important to note that the Coffin family were
devout Quakers, avid abolitionists, and involved in progressive causes.
Some highlights of significant items in the collection include receipts and promissory
notes between Robert Coffin and various local merchants. Jobs performed for the family
included weaving, lumber, shoe and boot repair, meat provisions, and general labor. More revealing documents include the will, estate inventory, and probate records of Tabor Bently, Robert Coffin’s father in law. Bently, a farmer, was indentured by means of a loan to Robert Coffin and Wheeler Gilbert for the sum of $1334.94. This indenture was signed on January 1, 1821 and was fulfilled on April 12, 1827. Bently had died before the financial obligation was fulfilled in 1826. Bently had other financial troubles, evident by another 1825 bond to Henry Able for thirty five dollars and transfer of property including “mare” horses in fulfillment of that loan. It is a possibility that his limited financial means were a result of his old age and inability to work and operate a farm.

 

Tabor Bently is interesting in considering his unique ties to Dutchess County history. His
ancestors settled in Narragansett, Rhode Island in 1671. It is unclear where Tabor was born, however, some of his siblings were born in North Kingstown, Rhode Island just prior to his birth in 1752. Tabor’s parents, William and Elizabeth Bently are accounted for as the original settlers of the Beekman Patent in Dutchess County. Tabor was active in Beekman and the American Revolution, signing the local Articles of Association and serving as Second Lieutenant in the Beekman Militia as of 1778. In 1781, Bently served as chief witness in the hanging of three British spies, Henry Wickes, Abraham Ackerly, and John Vermillier. These men were captured near the home of Colonel James Vanderburgh in the hamlet of Poughquag.1

 

The collection of papers pertaining to the Coffin family and Tabor Bently end around the
year 1833 and provide brief material of the individuals involved. Bently is a unique individual and his involvement in the American Revolution and Dutchess County warrants more research to be done on his life. What exists currently is only genealogical material compiled by family members and local historians and loosely organized primary source material related to the spy incident in 1781.
Little is known of the Dutchess County line of the Coffin family other than their devout
Quaker faith, strong ties to the Abolitionist cause, and other activism in progressive  politics of the time.

Elijah Bender, Marist ‘18
1 https://books.google.com/books?id=IAobAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA764&lpg=PA764&dq=Henry+Wickes,+Abraham+Ackerly,+and+John+Vermillier&source=bl&ots=TEMsUSNu6r&sig=X9qG2-l2kE8zuIqtHKMwW5cBHmE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjol-nrz8baAhXPTN8KHax2C9kQ6AEIKzAA#v=onepage&q=Henry%20Wickes%2C%20Abraham%20Ackerly%2C%20and%20John%20Vermillier&f=false

Meet the Intern: Sean Hayden

I’m a senior Business marketing major/ History minor here at Marist College, originally from Stratford, Connecticut, which is on the coast of the Long Island Sound. My sister Kellie is a Marist Alumna, which was a considerable factor in my decision to enroll at the college, and the last three and a half years have been an incredible journey.

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As a Business major, I am often presented with questions such as “Why do you also study history? What does that have to do with business?” When asked, I am quick to offer two responses, the first being that I simply have a love and passion for History! Ever since grade school, I was always the student that was deeply invested in the world’s interesting, chaotic, and occasionally dark past, as well as constantly analyzing and questioning the events of Earth’s timeline. This interest in understanding the past led me to minor in history, a decision that I am thankful for as it has greatly expanded my knowledge, along with presenting me fabulous opportunities such as interning at the HRVI.

The second response I give to the “why history?” question is my belief that understanding and interpreting the past can help an individual in business project future trends and make educated predictions. Furthermore, understanding the vast amount of mistakes made in history that involve business can be studied, with their consequences interpreted, and people of the future can learn from these mistakes. Basically, I find history fun, and I believe that it will help me be the best entrepreneur that I can be!

Outside of my studies, one of my main interests is following sports, New York sports in particular. I am a fan of Football, Baseball, and Basketball, with my teams of choice being the Giants, Mets, and Knicks. I try to watch as many games as possible, and typically try to go to at least one game per season in each sport. I’m also always eager to play a pick-up game of basketball or football with my friends.

One of my other hobbies that fills my free time is playing video games. I received a Gameboy Color when I was five years old, which was the catalyst for my love of video games that still continues today. As of late, I’ve been loving the new Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. A few of my all-time favorites are Super Smash Brothers, Resident Evil 4, and The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion.

Along with sports and video games, I am an avid film watcher. My favorite director is Quentin Tarantino; Pulp Fiction & Inglorious Basterds are tied for my all-time favorite film. In my opinion, his eye for cinematography and ability to write intertwining storylines are unparalleled.  Some of my other favorite movies are The Shining, Hot Fuzz and Deadpool.

I hope this introduction of me gave you a clear sense of who I am, what I like, and how much I like history. I look forward to contributing material to the Hudson River Valley Review!

Meet the Intern: Spencer Hogan

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My name is Spencer Hogan and I’m currently a Sophomore at Marist College studying Business Administration/Finance and Economics. I also have a minor in History, linked directly to my goal as an intern at the Hudson River Valley Institute: to expand on the research I have previously done on this region, which I have called home for my entire life. Hailing from Middletown, NY, I am a proud graduate of Middletown High School and lifelong admirer of Orange County’s vast collection of historic sites and stories.

My passion for history came to the forefront with a very personal discovery about a year ago: my family had unearthed a trunk that we quickly realized was used by my grandfather on a 3 month long trip to Western Europe after the Second World War as part of a cohort of American graduate students in a program entitled “The Marshall Plan in Action.” He met with government and industrial development leaders in the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, West Germany, Luxembourg and France, and kept records of each day with what we believe were intentions of creating a scrapbook. None of us knew much about his remarkable journey until our recent discovery, but seventy years later, I have now started work on that scrapbook in my spare time.

I’ve always enjoyed photography (mainly landscapes) and have had my work recognized by the New York State Art Teachers Association and Scholastic Publishing, with four “Gold Keys” in their Art and Writing Awards for the region. This ties in directly with my fondness for travel with my family, giving me the opportunity to photograph some of the most awe-inspiring sights across the world.

I am currently the President of the Marist College Business Club and an active member of the Honors Program. Honors at Marist has allowed me to take unique seminars that have piqued my interest, including “Why Nations Fail,” “Did It Happen Again? The Great Recession and the Great Depression,” and “The Evolution of Money and Banking.”

During my internship at the HRVI, my focus will be on “hidden history” in Orange County, particularly relating to a campsite in ruins within Highland Lakes State Park just outside of Middletown, for which I have obtained a collection of original records. After graduating from Marist, I plan to pursue a career relating to financial services or management, while certainly keeping my interest in history (particularly local history and genealogy) with me for a lifetime of research and enjoyment.

Meet the Intern: Henry Borum

Henry was born in Annapolis, Maryland, but has since grown up in LaGrangeville, New York. He graduated from Arlington High School in 2014. While a student there, he was active in the Arlington Soccer program as well as the Debate Club and the Arlington Model Congress.

Henry_blogpic

Coming from a largely military family, he was strongly influenced to join the military. Henry attended Boston College for his freshman and sophomore years on an Army ROTC scholarship. He decided to pursue ROTC in conjunction with his twin brother, who attended Boston College as well. Boston College was a great, broadening experience for Henry, but after two years he sought an educational experience that fir him better. This is what he found when he and his brother transferred to Marist College for their junior years in Fall of 2016. Shortly after arriving on campus, Henry knew that this was the place for him. The study of history, continuing ROTC, and the relationships that he’s made have made Marist a positive experience.

When Henry is not studying history, or waking up too early to run around campus, he loves playing video games. He has three different game consoles in his dorm room for purposes of variety, although he is partial to PlayStation over Xbox. Henry is also fairly confident that he is the world’s greatest Red Hot Chili Peppers fan, and counts seeing them in concert as one of his biggest accomplishments. One would not be surprised with what he picks for the next song on a long road trip.

Although he played basketball and soccer throughout high school, Henry’s favorite sport is football. As a Giants fan, the 2018 season has been a true test of faith. Loving to spend time with his family, Henry enjoys being close to home at Marist, as well as living with his brother at school.

Now a senior, and in the ROTC program, Henry is set to graduate, as well as commission into the Army as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Spring of 2018. He will become an active duty Air Defense Artillery Officer. At this point in time, a career in the Army is what he aspires to. However, beyond that, Henry is interested in incorporating the possibilities of graduate school, or law school as means to diversify his education and further his career. His background in history gives him a strong skill set and basis of knowledge for a wide range of opportunities that he may wish to take advantage of.

No matter what the future holds for Henry as an individual, he hopes that he can be a leader and provide service to the benefit of others.

Historic Preservation That You Can Take To The (Snow) Bank!

vernplow

During the 1930’s and 40’s, materials were rationed for the war effort. Tractors and commercial implements were in short supply and many companies began building kits for modifying Model T and A automobiles. David Bradley (Sears and Roebuck), Montgomery Ward, and Popular Mechanics all made instruction books and kits for these modifications and many in the northeast would commence in altering these vehicles. After modification, they would be used in agriculture and other industries, and frequently were outfitted with snow plows, cultivators, and trailer hitches for hauling.

Locally, these vehicles were very popular in Hyde Park, Rhinebeck, Staatsburg, and Red Hook. Farmers, hard up because of the Great Depression, would rely on these modified vehicles as farm equipment. This example was modified by the C.E. Sipperley Plumbing and Heating firm of Rhinebeck at that time. The business started in 1912 with Calvin E. Sipperley, and provided service to many of the river estates and mansions in the Rhinebeck environs. In 1945, Calvin’s son, Carleton modified a 1929 Ford Model A into a snow plow vehicle. The Model A was originally owned by the Van Auken Brothers, local grocers, and purchased by Mr. Sipperley sometime in the late 30’s or very early 1940’s. Originally a sedan, the cab was removed, the rear end chopped off, and a Model T rear axle installed. This rear axle was worm driven, allowing for more torque. A frame was welded together on the front to allow for a snow plow to be mounted complete with hydraulic lift. Given World War II, materials were rationed and the Sipperley’s relied on a lot of make-do metal like mattress frames, etc. The cab was built using metal ductwork and enclosed with wood doors. A one thousand pound cement block was fabricated to rest on the rear of the frame to add weight for the snow plow.

vernplowaweb

This vehicle was principally operated by Vernon Sipperley from the early age of 15 (1945) until he was 81 years old (2011). At one period in the 1950’s and 60’s, Vernon had over 45 driveway accounts and used the machine to clear snow from village streets, around the local Episcopal Church, and the firehouse. Vern was very much a part of village affairs as a member of the Relief Hook and Ladder of the Rhinebeck Fire Department from 1949 onward, and as a partner with his brother Peter in the plumbing business. Many Rhinebeck locals remember the vehicle as a familiar sight from the 1930’s up until a few years ago.

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I bought the Model A in January of 2018 and restored it to the condition of when Vern had it. It is only a hobby vehicle now but I am sure if put to the test it would function with no problem as a snow plow.

  • Elijah Bender, Marist ’18

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