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Sidney Shepard

Modified on 2019/09/24 13:12 by Joel Havens Categorized as Biographies

      As announced in a recent issue, Sidney Shepard, whose portrait we present herewith, died at his residence at New Haven. Oswego County, N. Y., on the morning of December 26th. Mr. Shepard was among the oldest and most prominent citizens of Buffalo, having moved to that city in the spring of 1836, when he was 22 years of age. The business which he started then has since developed into the present houses of Sidney Shepard & Co. of Buffalo, and C. Sidney Shepard & Co. of Chicago.

      Mr. Shepard was born at Cobleskill, Schoharie County, N. Y., September 28, 1814. He was descended from Ralph Shepard, who came to this country from England in 1635, while on the maternal side his ancestor was William Hamilton, who came from Glasgow in 1668. Mr. Shepard’s father, who was a physician, was well known throughout Schoharie County. and his grandfather, Hosea Hamilton, was a surgeon in the Revolutionary War and a personal friend of General Washington. At the age of 14 years he left school and took a position as a clerk in a hardware store at Dansville, N. Y. He subsequently removed to Rochester, where he remained until the spring of 1831, when he associated himself in business with a brother in Bath. This enterprise proving successful enabled him to remove to Buffalo in 1836 and purchase a hardware store and found the business which still bears his name. He subsequently established the sheet metal ware manufactory on Clinton and Union streets, and in 1849 became the owner of the Shepard Iron Works on Ohio street, Buffalo.

      Mr. Shepard resided in Buffalo and continued in the active management of his affairs until 1865, when he handed over the control of his Buffalo interests to his partners. and after spending several years in foreign travel returned to this country and purchased the old family homestead of his wife. at the village of New Haven, where he afterward resided.

      All of the business enterprises of Mr. Shepard were successful in an eminent degree. and the concerns with which his name is associated attained a very high commercial standing. Mr. Shepard, however, was not content with these achievements and sought a wider field for the exercise of his business ability. He was among the earliest to put faith in the possibilities of the electric telegraph and invested largely of his wealth in the stock of the Western Union Telegraph Company. He was a director of that company until within a few months of his death. when failing health compelled his resignation. He was also prominent in railroad affairs and was a director in the Mobile & Ohio and Jersey Central roads, in which he held large interests.

      Mr. Shepard had been a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Buffalo for over 50 years. He was married in 1851 and his widow and two sons, Charles Sidney and Ralph Hamilton, survive him. Mr. Shepard gave away much during his life, though few, even of his most immediate associates, were acquainted with the extent of his benefactions, for they were bestowed in such a way that they were often known to none but the recipients, and at times even they were not made aware of the source of the gifts. He was not an indiscriminate giver but exercised the same care and judgment in his charity which he applied in his business affairs. Regarding the personal character of Mr. Shepard, in business and in private life, we will quote the words of one who knew him: “Though Mr. Shepard withdrew some years since from active interest in the Hardware and Metal trades, yet the impress which he made upon all who were associated or acquainted with him during the many years that he was prominently identified with these lines, is a very lasting one. He possessed an exceptional genius for organization and great executive ability. He was a close student of events and had the elements of progressiveness and conservatism happily united in his character. His adherence to the strictest principles of integrity was rigid and unswerving. His disposition was genial and inspiring, and his memory will be treasured by all who enjoyed the privilege of knowing him."

Information Sources

  • Iron Age, V53, 11 Jan. 1894, pg. 80

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