Biography - Daniel Amsden

Daniel Cutting AMSDEN, manufacturer, and Secretary of the Litchfield Coal Company, born in Southington, Conn., January 16, 1814, was, when three years old, removed to Manlius Square, N. Y. Here his father remained a winter, and in the spring, removed to the site of the present village of Homer. After a brief residence of three years, he went to Cato, Cayuga County, and became a contractor on public works. When he was twelve years of age, his parents located in Erie County, and young AMSDEN was reared to farm labor, which, in character and severity of toil, is inappreciable to the pioneers of a prairie region. Before attaining his majority, he drove stage into Buffalo, then little more than a hamlet, and also tried the rude hardships of a lumberman. Prior to his marriage, in 1841, to Miss Mary BEACH, he had leased a hotel at Gowanda, Cattaraugus County, which pursuit he afterward exchanged for shop-keeping, and then farming. He was an ardent politician; held several offices; declined to be Sheriff; and made money only to see it slip away in the financial reverses, which shook the credit of States and the nation, as well as the fortunes of individuals. In 1854, he removed to Berlin, Wis., and for three years was interested in regular mercantile pursuits, and did not improve his permanent fortunes. In May, 1857, he arrived in Litchfield, then a little village, with its few cheap houses, located as if sown by the wind, and of a general appearance to dissipate day-dreams or poetic fancies. Here he entered the employ of the foundry and machine shop company as book-keeper and general utility man. Until he came to Litchfield, his life had been a wide preparation for the success which has since dogged his steps. He had looked on fortune's smiles, and felt her frowns. His schemes had successively turned to ashes, and, past life's meridian, he came here, poor but resolute, to repair pervious disappointments. For ten years, he spared himself to toil or economy. Tall - he is six feet two in his stockings - thin, with joints of strength and great muscular powers, he made himselfindispensable to his employers. In 1865, he became by purchase, an equal partner in the foundry and machine shop, the firm being H. H. BEACH & Co. The affairs of the firm were prosperous. Their shop was crowded with orders, and prices were good. In 1867, he was elected Mayor of the city, and his firm made the advances of money and credit which caused the opening of the coal mine at the eastern limits of the city - the solid foundation of its subsequent prosperity. He was, in 1871, one of the original stockholders of the Litchfield Bank, and the next year was a heavy subscriber to the stock of the Car Works, and the same year was the Republican candidate for State Senator, and was not elected - an adverse majority of 1,200 was too great a barrier to be scaled. In 1875, the foundry and machine shop were sold to the Car Works Company, and Mr. AMSDEN gave his chief attention to coal-mining. He now has a large and valuable interest in the famous block coal region of Indiana, and is a member of the firm of BEACH, DAVIS & Co., bankers. He owns a comfortable interest in the Car Works and the Litchfield Coal Oil and Pipe Line Company, and has bonds and a goodly balance to his credit at the bank. There has been no accident in his prosperity. If one would put money into ventures which should benefit himself while enriching the community, he must be able to bias public opinion in their favor and direct currents of business. If the affair prospers, it will be for the reason that success is as much of the man as of thecircumstances. The following children have been born to Mr. AMSDEN: George W., Helen A. and John B. W. Mr. AMSDEN has become widely known as a man of influence in local affairs. Every politician of his faith seeks his counsel or co-operation. Himself seeking no office, he is a vigorous, racy specimen of a man grown wealthy by the homely arts possible to all; of decision, industry and economy.

Extracted 19 Nov 2016 by Norma Hass from 1882 History of Bond and Montgomery Counties, Illinois, Part 2 Biographical Department, pages 123-124.

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