A SELF-MADE MAN.
Deprived of His Parents at the Age of Twelve, and Thrown Practically Upon His Own Resources, Mr. Eugene McIntyre Has Worked His Way to the Upper Rungs of the Business Ladder.
The face which this week occupies the space on our first page set aside for the special portrait feature of the MIRROR is that of one of Danby’s most successful self-made business men—Mr. Eugene McIntyre—and whose enterprising efforts have perhaps contributed more to the prosperity of Danby and Mount Tabor than any other man, with the exception of Mr. S. L. Griffith.
Mr. McIntyre was born in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, December 20, 1843, his parents being Conrad and Emily McIntyre, whose death occurred when he was but fourteen years old, leaving another son five and a daughter eight years old. His father was a farmer and charcoal manufacturer, and although he was possessed of considerable property at the time of his death, much of it was dissipated in the process of administration of the estate, and when final settlement was had there was only about $300 left for each of the three children.
Eugene being of sufficient age to meet the legal requirement, was enabled to select his own guardian. This guardian was, soon after coming into possession of Mr. McIntyre’s meagre inheritance, drafted into the service of the United States in suppressing the rebellion of the South, and he used Eugene’s $300 as commutation to the government, which drafted men were permitted to pay in lieu of giving their personal service or furnishing a substitute. Mr. McIntyre’s guardian, however, afterwards refunded the principal to him, little by little, but the interest on the sum was generously remitted.
When sixteen years old, Eugene was bound out by special agreement for the remainder of his majority to B. F. Tyler, a farmer of Watertown, Conn., the understanding being that if the lad should remain with him till twenty-one years of age, he should receive from his employer two suits of clothes and $100 in money. Eugene remained in this position, however, only about two years, and then enlisted, August 26, 1861, in the Sixth Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, serving two years and eight months and then re-enlisting on the field for three years. The war terminated before the completion of the latter period of enlistment, and he was called upon to serve but one year and four months of it—making the time he was in actual service just four years.
Mr. McIntyre’s military experience was most active, exciting and dangerous, and he was in many important engagements, serving for a considerable part of the time as corporal on the color guard—a point in the line of battle that always received the enemy’s most assiduous attention, and where the bullets were always the thickest. His regiment were the first northern troops to land at Port Royal, South Carolina —at that time more commonly known as Hilton Head. He served in this department of the army about two years and four months, and during that time his regiment was in the bloody battle of James Island and participated in the memorable charge on Fort Wagner, in Charleston harbor, in 1864. During this campaign his regiment was on all the islands of that vicinity, and he was an eye witness to the fall of the flagstaff of Fort Pulaski.
From there his regiment went into Virginia, and served under Gen. Ben Butler. From Petersburgh they went to Fort Fisher, near Wilmington, N. C., and after the fall of that fort went on up to Goldsboro, and was there at the surrender of General Lee. They then went to Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina, and was there when General Johnson surrendered to General Sherman. Leaving there, the regiment marched to Petersburg, were transported by rail to City Point, and from thence by boat to New Haven, Conn., where Mr. McIntyre received his discharge August 26, 1865.
After receiving his discharge from the service of the United States, Mr. McIntyre found employment in a wire mill in Waterbury, Conn. He remained in this position only about three months, however, as he found shop work not at all suited to his taste, and he went back to his old home in Massachusetts. Here he found employment in driving team for his grandfather, which occupation he followed about six months.
Mr. McIntyre next took a position with an uncle, at charcoal making. In those days and at that place they did not burn wood in the kilns, as many of our readers have seen it burned at the depot works and at various points on the mountain, where extensive operations in this line were carried on, from fifteen to twenty years ago. Instead, the wood was charred in pits dug in the ground and covered with earth, a process that requires no small amount of skill and most watchful care. Mr. McIntyre was here employed in burning charcoal during the summer season and in cutting the supply of wood used for the purpose in the winter, when frost in the ground prevented carrying out the burning process.
Leaving his uncle’s employ, Mr. McIntyre went to Chenango County, N. Y., and followed the same business of manufacturing charcoal. He remained there one year, and then came to Arlington, Vt., taking charge of the coaling business at that point for Senator Miles of Connecticut. After remaining at Arlington a year and a half, he went to Copake, N. Y., remaining there in Senator Miles’ employ one year, and then going to Winsted, Conn., in the employ of Senator W. H. Barnum of Connecticut, who was buying large quantities of charcoal of different makers at that point, his duties being that of assistant to Mr. Barnum’s buyer.
From Winsted he came to Danby, where he was employed jointly by Senator Barnum and Mr. Silas L. Griffith, the latter having a contract with the former for the supplying of immense quantities of charcoal. It is held as a truism by most people, that “a man cannot serve two masters;” but Mr. McIntyre succeeded in very-convincingly disproving this assertion, for he gave very faithful and satisfactory service to Senator Barnum by seeing that the terms of his contract were strictly complied with, and he also served Mr. Griffith’s interests just as faithfully and satisfactorily by superintending the manufacture of the coal, to the end that there was no possibility of the contract being violated on his part, by the carelessness of the workmen having charge of the many kilns that were required to be operated to provide for the immense supply called for by the contract.
After serving one year in this dual capacity, Mr. McIntyre became the employee of Mr. Griffith solely, and as such remained with him for a period of three years. Then leaving his employ, he went to Boston Corners, Columbia County, N. Y., where he was engaged in the general mercantile business, for himself, for two years. At the expiration of this time he returned to Danby, and he and Mr. Griffith jointly purchased the large tract of timber land situated in Mount Tabor and then owned by the late Howell Dillingham, commencing business on the Black Blanch property January 1, 1880, under the firm name of Griffith & McIntyre. This firm was also engaged in the mercantile business for five years in this village, operating in the store now occupied by W. H. Bond, selling out his interest to Mr. S. L. Griffith, who afterwards purchased the business of W. B. Griffith and removed to the present location of S. L. Griffith & Co. —where Mr. S. L. Griffith had also formerly for many years conducted the mercantile business, which he sold to his brothers, C. H. and W. B., as his lumber interests came to require his principal attention.
Mr. McIntyre is also associated with Mr. Griffith in extensive lumber operations in Peru and Arlington, but has no separate property interest in this vicinity outside of some residential pieces. Ever since he entered the lumber business here, Mr. McIntyre has had the same foremen—Warren McIntyre and M. O. Schutt, brother and cousin respectively—and the various people who have been in his employ at different times invariably speak of him in the highest terms as an employer.
Mr. McIntyre’s career, as we have briefly sketched it, might be said to have been somewhat of a checkered one —but he certainly seems to have moved upon the right spot of the checkerboard of business every time, and each move has given him a more commanding position in the “game.” Mr. Griffith, himself a master in business affairs, quickly recognized in Mr. McIntyre a superior organizer and worker and hastened to grasp the opportunity which presented for the formation of a business alliance—and one, too, that has proved most profitable to each.
While Mr. McIntyre’s business activity has given him little time for political achievement or public service, he has been chosen by his townsmen of both Danby and Mount Tabor to represent their interests on the town board of Selectmen, and also in some of the towns in other states in which he has resided, and he was also the representative from this town in the last legislative body of the state. Socially, he and his estimable wife take an important part in village affairs, is a liberal giver for church work, and interested in everything pertaining to the welfare of the community and improvements of a public nature.
Mr. McIntyre’s two sons have also developed splendid business ability and have promising futures before them. Edward, the elder, is an accountant in the Rutland County National Bank, and Mr. McIntyre himself has been a director of that bank for the past ten years or more. Cecil has for some time past been foreman of Mr. Griffith’s works at the depot, but last week went to Batavia, Ill., where he has gone with a view of purchasing an interest in the coal and lumber business of Hunter & Griffith.
Altogether, Mr. McIntyre is a citizen that Danby should be and is proud of, and it gives the MIRROR much pleasure to present to its readers such an excellent likeness of the gentleman and to print this sketch of his career.