& Co. of San Francisco, California did a large banking business about
1852. Your uncle, Ben R. Nisbet and General William T. Sherman were partners;
ever after General Sherman became a valued and intimate friend of our
About 1872, I was appointed Fiscal Agent for the Government to sell the five percent bonds; was a Director in the Provident Savings Institution, of which Carlos S. Greely and later William Groshon were presidents and still later William H. Thompson, receiver. In 1874 I became a Director in the Third National Bank. From 1870 to 1880 I was receiver in bankruptcy of Brown, Weber & Company, wholesale druggists; St. Louis Barrel Company; O’Fallon & Hatch; William M. Price; Hall Safe Company and Parker Russel & Company. Afterwards I was local Vice President of the Maryland Casualty Company of St Louis; was Vice President of the Security Casualty Company of St. Louis and trustee of Missouri Botanical Garden. In 1884 was a Charity Commissioner; Vice President of the Hannibal Water Company; Vice President of the first Mercantile Trust Company, which was succeeded by the Lincoln Trust Company and also one of the Trustees of the Martha Parson’s Hospital.
The firm of Matthews & Whitaker about 1880 took in partnership Charles Hodgman, a former clerk, giving him a guaranteed salary and a small percentage of the profits in the business. We were prosperous up to 1884, when the panic of that year struck us. We feared at one time we would have to make an assignment, but, at the darkest moment, financial matters changed for the better and instead of having to make a great sacrifice, we came through with but little loss.
In 1888 I retired from the firm of Matthews & Whitaker, agreeing to stay with the old house until the business was wound up, the firm paying me $10,000.00 a year for four years.
When the Texas & St. Louis Railroad was opened to Pine Bluff, I was a director and we gave an excursion to a number of invited guests to view the road, and the country through which it passed. Those whom I remember being of the company were President Paramore, his two sons and the wife of Fred, who was formerly Miss Nellie Hazeltine, Mr. Bemis, a director, Ben J. Lewis, Governor Hubbard of Texas, a director, your mother and many others. We were entertained royally along the route, and many pleasing occurrences took place. Governor Hubbard told a story of an old woman who had never been on a railroad car before. When the train crossed over a long uncovered trestle, she thought it was flying across the river. Breathing heavily, she waved her arms wildly and called out – “Conductor! has the darned critter lit.”
Camp life along a railroad when building has many
interesting little episodes, and reminded me very much of our camp life
on the plains or in Arabia and Syria.