Monday, December 5, 2016

Sanford Gifford's Patron N. C. Folger: Part 2

Frederick Fitch Folger
When the economy recovered from the Panic of 1837, both Folger brothers--Nathan C. and Frederick F.--seemed to do very well. Frederick made enough money from the hardware and ship chandlery business he started in 1842 to enable him to retire from active involvement in the firm in 1853, at the age of 41. He left the day-to day operations of the firm presumably to his brother Lafayette and, "while still retaining a large interest in the New Orleans business," returned to Hudson. The next year, he purchased the "Bronson Place"--now a National Historic Landmark and undoubtedly a significant house at the time--from Dr. Oliver Bronson and named it "Glenwood."

Meanwhile, his brother Nathan wasn't doing badly either. In 1849, he  started his new business in partnership with Thomas N. Blake but soon became the sole proprietor. In 1854, same year Frederick acquired the Bronson House, Nathan built for himself a house in New Orleans that was lauded as a "splendid edifice" in the New Orleans Delta on October 30, 1854. The article was reprinted in the Hudson Daily Star on November 11.


Although Nathan never moved back to Hudson, he never lost his connection with his native city. As we know, he commissioned two paintings--views of Mt. Merino and the Catskills--by Sanford Robinson Gifford, which were completed in June 1851. The Daily Star reports that he also ordered other things from craftsmen in Hudson. 

In 1853, Nathan Folger ordered "six beautiful buggies" from C. Bortle, who had a shop on Allen Street near the river. At the time, the Star commented, "We are glad to know that in his prosperity, he does not forget the mechanics of his native city." In 1859, Lathan Avery, whose shop was on the east side of the Public Square, shipped a dozen sets of harnesses "to N. C. Folger, Esq., at New Orleans, to whose order they were manufactured." In August 1860, the Daily Star praised the "compositions of jewel work" created by W. W. Hannah, "a leading jeweler of this city," which were ordered by N. C. Folger of New Orleans. As with the Gifford paintings, the jewelry was displayed at Hannah's store before being shipped to New Orleans. The Daily Star described the pieces in this way.


N. C. Folger's connection with Hudson became even greater in 1857, when he established a manufacturing facility here to supply his retail clothing store in New Orleans, but more about that in the next installment.

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