A History of the Barney & Smith Car Company
History of the Barney & Smith Company (Part One)

 

A HISTORY OF

THE BARNEY & SMITH CAR COMPANY

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The history of The Barney & Smith Car Company is one full of interesting detail dating, as it does, from the advent of the steam railroad into the territory west of the Alleghenies, and its progress was contemporaneous with that of the steam railroad.

    To undertake a detailed narrative of the Company through its wonderful career of more than sixty years, would fill volumes and would be beyond the object of this sketch which is intended only to be a brief narrative of the establishment of the Company and the continuity of the personnel from the inception down to the present time.

     It is interesting to note that at the time the Car Works was established, Dayton was a town of 10,000 inhabitants.  Today authentic reports place it at 125,000.  In 1849 there was no steam railroad entering the town of Dayton.  The Mad River & Lake Erie Railroad had been built between Sandusky and Springfield and the grading of the road was in progress between Springfield and Dayton but it was not until two years later-1851-that the road was opened for operation to Dayton.

    The question naturally arises, how did it happen that a car works was located in Dayton, a town without a railroad?

     Dayton has always been noted for its industrial advantages, which were made possible by its excellent water power furnished by its hydraulic canals, and the founders of the institution foreseeing the future development of the railroads and perceiving their needs of car equipment, determined to enter into the car manufacturing business, and concluded that  Dayton with its facilities for water power, and its central location must of necessity, prove an advantageous point for a car factory.

     It is also of some interest to note that the first cars built in this institution, there being no railroad entering the town, were loaded on canal boats and taken down to the Ohio River and by means of barges and steamboats, transported to the nearest rail connection to their destination.

     By honest and conscientious work, careful attention to de-tails and liberality of spirit in dealing with railroads, the Company early acquired a reputation which it enjoys to this day.

     The Car Works was established in 1849 by Eliam E. Barney and Ebenezer Thresher, both mutually interested in the enterprise.

     Eliam Eliakim Barney was born at Henderson, New York, October 14th, 1807.  After an unusually hard struggle for an education during his boyhood and youth, we find him at the age of eighteen, a student of Union College at Schenectady, New York, from whence he was graduated in the year 1831.

     The Rev. Joshua Bradley, who had been Mr. Barney’s teacher in earlier years, had gone west to Ohio to connect himself with Granville College.

     After his graduation, Mr. Barney taught school for a short time at Sand Lake, New York, but was called to be principal of Lowville Academy at Lowville, New York, where he remained two years.  But he had become much interested in accounts from Ohio, and convinced that he could do more for his father’s family and better for himself, if they all moved westward, they decided to so do and after a two weeks’ wagon journey, the family located at Auburn, Geauga county in northern Ohio.

     Mr. Barney was now anxious to find some situation in the State of Ohio where he might teach school, and starting on horseback, after visiting different places, he came on to Granville, Ohio, where what is now Denison University had been lately established, and where, as previously mentioned, his former teacher, the Rev. Joshua Bradley, had preceded him.

     Here in 1833 he was invited to fill for a few months a vacancy then existing.

     In seeking a permanent location, Mr. Bradley had addressed letters to the postmasters of several towns in Ohio, inquiring if there were any openings for a teacher like himself, in their respective communities.  Mr. Catheart, the postmaster at Dayton, was the only one who responded, and thither therefore, he went, after his engagement at Granville had terminated.

     Arriving in Dayton, he found that the employment of a principal for the Dayton Academy (which building was after-wards known as Central High School, and has later been re-placed by the present Central District School building) was under consideration by the Trustees.  Mr. Barney secured the position, which he held until 1839, when he resigned, and after a few months, opened a school of his own at the North-east corner of Fourth and Jefferson streets, in the basement of what was then the Baptist Church and which was afterwards the Jewish Synagogue and which building has since been supplanted by the present Home Telephone Company building.  After conducting a successful school in this location for two years, his health failing him, he gave up his school and purchased a saw mill which was located on Wayne Avenue where the old Pierce & Coleman planing mill now stands, and where he was engaged in business for about two and a half years.  After taking possession of this saw mill he expended $600.00 on a new water wheel and when this was completed and the machinery in good condition, he took personal charge of the purchase of logs and the manufacture of same into lumber and the sale of same.

     Mr. Eugene Barney relates some interesting accounts of the trips made with his father throughout the country surrounding Dayton, riding double behind his father on horse-back.

     An interesting relic of the days when the elder Mr. Barney was in the saw mill business, can be seen in the company’s office, in the shape of an autograph letter of Mr. E. E. Barney written July 5th, 1841, being a proposal to the Woodland Cemetery Association for sawing logs into fence material.

     In 1844 Mr. Barney’s health having failed, he was forced to give up his business and seek restoration of health in a Southern trip and returned sometime afterward considerably benefited, and though his life, was prolonged for thirty-six years after this time, during which much of his strongest and most important work was accomplished, he was ever afterwards troubled with a strange and persistent cough.

     In 1845 Mr. Barney sold his saw mill to Ebenezer Thresher.

     In 1844 the Cooper Seminary having been built, Mr. Barney was selected principal and the school was opened in 1845.  This Seminary building is yet standing, occupying the block on the south side of First Street from Wilkinson to Perry Street.  Here Mr. Barney remained until his active connection with the Car Works in 1850.  For more than thirty years Mr. Barney was the active head of the Car Works until his death which occurred December 17th, 1880.

     Ebenezer Thresher was born in Stafford, Connecticut, August 31st, 1798.  He came west in 1845 via Baltimore and railroad as far as Cumberland, Maryland, thence over the mountains by stage to the Ohio River, thence by boat to Cincinnati.  At Covington, Kentucky, across the river opposite Cincinnati, he found an old friend, in Dr. R. E. Pattison, whom he had known back in Providence, Rhode Island.  After visiting there, he was induced by some reason to go to Dayton, Ohio, located on the Miami and Erie Canal, and as he approached the town of Dayton, he fell into conversation with a fellow traveler, Mr. Samuel Forrer, who was well known at that time as an engineer of public works, and who resided in Dayton, and from whom Mr. Thresher obtained a favorable impression of Dayton as a good town in which to locate.  The town had been incorporated as a city four years before (1841).  The hydraulic canal for water power purposes was completed the same year (1845) in which Mr. Thresher came to Dayton.  Mr. Thresher’s health being impaired, and who hoped by physical and open air exercise to recover same, in 1845 purchased from Mr. Barney his saw mill on Wayne avenue.  About four years after coming to Dayton (1849) Mr.  Thresher purchased from the Cooper estate some land on the northeastern border of the city east of Keowee street and opposite the head of Monument avenue.  In the meantime Mr. Thresher had retired from the saw mill business, and Mr. Barney, who was thinking of retiring from the work of teaching, formed a co-partnership for carrying on a manufacturing business, with a capital of $10,000.  Thus in the year 1849 was established the business of the present The Barney & Smith Car Company.

     The style of the firm name at first was Thresher, Packard & Co.  Mr. Barney was a partner from the outset, but having a year yet to serve at the Cooper Seminary, it was agreed for the time being he should remain a silent partner.  At the end of Mr. Barney’s term with the Seminary, his silent partner-ship in the firm became an active one and about this time (1850) Mr. Packard retired and returned east.  The firm name was then changed to E. Thresher & Company.

     About this time the firm had brought from the east, four men who were skilled mechanics in their respective lines, Messrs. Woodsum, Tenney, Leland and Tower.  Mr. Woodsum having charge of the wood working shops- Mr. Tenney having charge of the blacksmith shop- Mr. Leland having charge of the machine shop, and Mr. Tower having charge of the paint shop.  The first two mentioned, Messrs. Woodsum and Tenney, while their names do not appear in the firm name, were in later years financially interested in the establishment.

     In 1854 Mr. Thresher’s health having again failed, he sold out his interest to Caleb Parker, whom he had known well in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and retired.  Mr. Thresher died January 12th, 1886.  The firm name then became Barney, Parker & Company, and so continued for ten years. until 1864, when Mr. Parker retired, selling his interest to Preserved Smith; the firm name then being changed to Barney, Smith & Company and continued so until May 16th, 1867, when it became incorporated as The Barney & Smith Manufacturing Company with an authorized capital stock of $500,000.00 The directors of the company were E. E. Barney, Preserved Smith, J. D. Platt, E.  J. Barney and A.  E. E. Stevens.  The officers were:

          Eliam E. Barney, President.

          Preserved Smith, Vice-President and Treasurer.

          J. D. Platt, Secretary.

          Eugene J. Barney, Superintendent.

     On June 20th, 1872, the capital stock of the company was increased to $750,000.00

     On January 22nd, 1877, Preserved Smith retired from the company, selling a portion of his interest to Frederick E. Smith.

     On July 18th, Frederick E. Smith was elected a director to fill the vacancy caused by the retirement of Preserved Smith-the directors then being:-

     Eliam E. Barney, Eugene J. Barney, J. D. Platt, F. E. Smith and A. E. Stevens.

     The officers of the company were:

          Eliam E. Barney, President.

          Eugene J. Barney, Vice-President and Superintendent.

          J. D. Platt, Treasurer.

          F. E. Smith, Secretary.

          Edward E. Barney, Assistant Superintendent.

     On February 18th, 1881, Albert C. Barney and Edward E. Barney were elected directors to fill the vacancy caused by the death of their father, Eliam E. Barney, and the resignation of A. E. Stevens.  The directors then being: Eugene J. Barney, Albert C. Barney, Edward E. Barney, J. D. Platt and F. E. Smith.

     The officers of the company were:-

          E. J. Barney, Vice-President.

          J. D. Platt, Treasurer.

          F. E. Smith, Secretary.

          Edward E. Barney, Superintendent.

    October 1st, 1881, Edward E. Barney resigned as Superintendent and the following officers were elected:-

          E. J. Barney, President.

          J. D. Platt, Vice-President and Treasurer.

          F. E. Smith, Secretary.

          Thomas A. Bissell, Superintendent.

          Edward E. Barney, Assistant Superintendent.

     On January 11th, 1882, the capital stock of the company was increased to $1,000,000.00.

     On February 12th, 1886, Edward E. Barney resigned as Assistant Superintendent and A. M. Kittredge was elected to succeed him.

     At this time the business of the company had increased to such an extent that additional shop facilities became imperative, and on July 24th, 1886, the company purchased the property of the Woodsum Machine Company for a consideration of $36,000.00-this property now being known as the Annex Plant.

     On July 30th, 1886, Thomas A. Bissell resigned as Superintendent and severed his connection with the company.

     On August 6th, 1886, Edward E. Barney was elected Superintendent to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Thomas A. Bissell.

     The officers then being:

          E. J. Barney, President.

          J. D. Platt, Vice-President and Treasurer.

          F. E. Smith, Secretary.

          Edward E. Barney, Superintendent.

          A. M. Kittredge, Assistant Superintendent.

     September 4th, 1888, Edward E. Barney being in declining health and having large property interests in Virginia requiring his personal attention, and having really severed his connection with the company and had been absent for a number of months previous to this time, resigned the office of Superintendent and was succeeded in this position by A. M. Kittredge.

     In March, 1892, William Voss was made Assistant Superintendent, the officers of the company at this time being:-

          E. J. Barney, President.

          J. D. Platt, Vice-President and Treasurer.

          F. E. Smith, Secretary.

          A. M. Kittredge, Superintendent.

          William Voss, Assistant Superintendent.

 

     On May 27th, 1892, the company was reorganized as The Barney & Smith Car Company, with a capital stock of $3,5000,000.00, being divided into $2,5000,000.00 preferred stock and $1,000,000.00 common stock and with a board of nine directors consisting of E. J. Barney, J. D. Platt, F. E. Smith, A. M. Kittredge, F. A. Moss, Charles Francis Phillips, Mortimer J. Brown, Daniel R. Hendricks and Ernest W. Combs, with the following officers:-

          E. J. Barney, President.

          J. D. Platt, Vice-President and Treasurer.

          F. E. Smith, Secretary.

          A. M. Kittredge, Superintendent.

          William Voss, Assistant Superintendent.

     On July 2nd, 1892, Charles Francis Phillips, Daniel R. Henricks, Mortimer J. Brown and Ernest W. Combs, resigned as directors and the following were elected to succeed them- Briggs S. Cunningham, William A. Procter, W. T. Anderson and R. Somers Hayes.

     The Board of Directors then consisted of the following:- E. J. Barney, J. D. Platt, F. E. Smith, A. M. Kittredge, F. A. Moss, B. S. Cunningham, William A. Procter, W. T. Anderson and R. Somers Hayes, with officers as last above mentioned.

     On December 14th, 1893, F. A. Moss resigned as a director and was succeeded by William Voss, the Board then being the same as last above mentioned substituting the name Voss for Moss.

     At the Annual Stockholders’ Meeting June 21st, 1894, J. H. Winters was elected Director in place of R. Somers Hayes.

     There was no further change in the Board of Directors until the Annual Stockholders’ Meeting on June 18th, 1896, when W. J. Lippincott was elected a Director to succeed B. S. Cunningham.

     On December 19th, 1896, William Voss resigned as Director and Assistant Superintendent and severed his connection with the company.

     At the Annual Stockholders’ Meeting of June 17, 1897, W. H. Doane and Walter St. John  Jones  were  elected Directors to succeed William Voss and W. T. Anderson.  The Board of Directors then consisted of E. J. Barney, J. D. Platt, F. E. Smith, A. M. Kittredge, J. H. Winters, W. J. Lippincott, William A. Procter, W. H. Doane and Walter St. John Jones, with the following officers:-

          E. J. Barney, President.

          J. D. Platt, Vice-President and Treasurer.

          F. E. Smith, Secretary.

          A. M. Kittredge, Superintendent.

     On December 9th, 1897, H. M. Estabrook was appointed Assistant Superintendent.

     On January 1st, 1900, E. J. Barney resigned as President, but remained on the Board of Directors.

     On January 2nd, 1900, the Board of Directors elected the following officers:-

          J. D. Platt, President.

          A. M. Kittredge, Vice-President.

          F. E. Smith, Secretary and Treasurer.

          J. F. Kiefaber, Assistant Secretary and Treasurer.

          H. M. Estabrook, Superintendent.

     The position of Assistant Superintendent being abolished.

     On June 21st, 1900. F. E. Smith resigned as Secretary and Treasurer but remained on the Board of Directors.

     At the Annual Stockholders’ Meeting of June 2nd, 1903, W. T. Irwin was elected a Director to succeed Casimir L. Werk. 

     On January 18th, 1904, H. R. Viot was appointed Purchasing Agent.

     At the Annual Stockholders’ meeting of June 6th, 1905, George B. Cox and Joseph Rawson were elected Directors to succeed W. J. Lippincott and F. E. Smith.

     On March 15th, 1906, W. T. Irwin resigned as a Director and Vachel W. Anderson was elected to succeed him.

     On April 10th, 1906, a Special meeting of Stockholders was held and a resolution adopted increasing the Capital Stock of the Company to $4,500,000.00, divided into $2,5000,000.00 Preferred and $2,000,000.00 Common Stock.

        At the Annual Stockholders’ meeting of June 5th, 1906, H. M. Estabrook was elected a Director to succeed J. H. Winters.  The Board of Directors, then consisting of E. J. Barney, J. D. Platt, A. M. Kittredge, H. M. Estabrook, George B. Cox, Joseph Rawson, W. H. Doane, Walter St. John Jones and Vachel W. Anderson.

     The following officers were elected:-

          J. D. Platt, President.

          A. M. Kittredge, Vice-President.

          H. M. Estabrook, Second Vice-President and General Superintendent.

          J. F. Kiefaber, Secretary and Treasurer.

          E. A. Oblinger, Assistant Secretary and Treasurer.

          P. W. Klinger, Assistant Superintendent.

          H. R. Viot, Purchasing Agent.

     At the Annual Stockholders’ meeting, held June 4th, 1907, the following Directors were elected:

          J. D. Platt, A. M. Kittredge, H. M. Estabrook, E. J. Barney, W. H. Doane, George B. Cox, Joseph Rawson, Walter St. John Jones and V. W. Anderson.

     The following officers were elected:

          J. D. Platt, President.

          A. M. Kittredge, Vice-President.

          H. M. Estabrook, Second Vice-President and General

                   Superintendent.

          J. E. Kiefaber, Secretary and Treasurer.

          E. A. Oblinger, Assistant Secretary and Treasurer.

          P. W. Klinger, Assistant Superintendent.

          H. R. Viot, Purchasing Agent.

     At the Annual Stockholders’ meeting, held June 2nd, 1908, the following Directors were elected:  J. D. Platt, A. M. Kittredge, H. M. Estabrook, E. J. Barney, W. H, Doane, George B. Cox, Joseph Rawson, Walter St. John Jones and V. W. Anderson.

     When the Annual meeting of Stockholders was held in June, 1908, there was no quorum of the newly elected Directors and no Directors’ meeting was held until November 10th, 1908, at which meeting the Board which had been elected the previous June, organized as follows:-

          A. M. Kittredge, President.

          H. M. Estabrook, Vice-President and General Superintendent.

          J. F. Kiefaber, Secretary and Treasurer.

          E. A. Oblinger, Assistant Secretary and Assistant Treasurer.

     Col. J. D. Platt retiring from the Presidency at this meeting.

     On November 23rd, 1908, Mr. H. R. Rochester was appointed Assistant to the President, having charge of the Estimating Department and the selling of cars.

     On December 1st, 1908, Henry Tesseymen was appointed Superintendent in charge of the Passenger Department in addition to his duties as Mechanical Engineer.

     On the same day P. W. Klinger was appointed Superintendent of the Freight Department, Wheel Foundry and Brass Trimming Department.

     On the same day R. M. Mitchell was appointed Shop Superintendent of the East Plant in charge of all Steel and Freight car construction.

     On the same day William E. Zahn was appointed Purchasing Agent in place of H. R. Viot, who was transferred to the position of Traffic Manager formerly occupied by W. D. Sullivan.

     On June 1st, 1909, H. R. Viot resigned as Traffic Manager and retired from the service of the Company.  After Mr. Viot’s retirement Mr. Virgil S. Knight acted in this capacity until A. J. Stevens assumed charge of the Purchasing and Transportation Department.

     At the Annual Stockholders’ meeting, June 2nd, 1909, the following Directors were elected:-E. J. Barney, A. M. Kittredge, H. M. Estabrook, E. Frank Platt, V. W. Anderson, Walter St. John Jones, Joseph W. Rawson, W. H. Doane, George B. Cox.

     On July 3rd, 1909, a called meeting of the Directors was held in pursuant to the call of President A. M. Kittredge.

     At this meeting a resolution was adopted to the effect that Mr. George B. Cox having expressed a desire to retire from the Board and having never qualified as a Director since his election on June 2nd, 1909, Mr. Hugh M. Wilson was elected a Director to fill the vacancy made by the retirement of Mr. Cox.  Mr. Wilson was also elected to the then vacant office of Second Vice-President.

     The officers of the Company then being as follows:

          A. M. Kittredge, President.

          H. M. Estabrook, Vice-President and General Superintendent.

          Hugh M. Wilson, Second Vice-President.

          J. F. Kiefaber, Secretary and Treasurer.

          E. A. Oblinger, Assistant Secretary and Assistant Treasurer.

          A. J. Stevens, Manager of Lumber Department.

          Henry Tesseyman, Supt. Passenger Department.

          P. W. Klinger, Supt. Freight Department.

          W. D. Sullivan, Purchasing Agent.

     Hugh M. Wilson assumed his duties as Second Vice-President August 1st, 1909.

     On October 21st, 1909, A. J. Stevens was appointed “Manager of Purchases and Transportation.”

     Hugh M. Wilson resigned as Second Vice-President and Director at the meeting of the Board, February 8th, 1910, to accept the position of Vice-President and Director of The McGraw Publishing Company of New York.

     At the Annual Stockholders’ meeting held June 7th, 1910, Arthur J. Stevens was elected a Director to fill the vacancy made by the resignation of H. M. Wilson in the previous February.

     At the Director’s meeting held the same day Mr. Stevens was elected to the office of Second Vice-President.  The officers of the Company then being as follows:-

          A. M. Kittredge, President.

          H. M. Estabrook, Vice-President and General Superintendent.

          A. J. Stevens, Second Vice-President.

          J. F. Kiefaber, Secretary and Treasurer.

          E. A. Oblinger, Assistant Secretary and Assistant Treasurer.

          H. R. Rochester, Assistant to the President.

          W. D. Sullivan, Purchasing Agent.

     On June 14th, 1910 P. W. Klinger resigned as Superintendent of the Freight Department and retired from the service of the Company.

     On September 8th, 1910, Henry Tesseyman resigned as Superintendent of the Passenger Department and retired from the service of the Company.

 

 

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