A pendant… Art Nouveau style… 14 karat gold… a flat oval
medallion cast in low relief on one side of the figures of comedy and
tragedy masks centered by a hand mirror… inscription around the
border stating: “To hold as 't were the mirror up to nature.”… the
back inscribed: …
Well… here’s the rub. The name on the back… depicted as the
Founder… is a name so famous that I would venture to say all of you
have heard it. Now remember the rules. No googling… no Binging.
This last is for those of you “au courant” with Microsofts advances
into the age.
He was born in Baden, Germany in 1763… the third son of a butcher.
One brother left for New York. The other brother went to England. Our
fellow behind the masks at first followed brother number two to
London and then shifted to brother number one in New York. He arrived
in 1784… married in 1785… got involved in selling furs and
musical instruments in 1786.
He sought approval and chartering of his enterprise called The
Pacific Fur Company in order to further his plan to open a chain of
fur trading posts in the Pacific Northwest. It was granted him in
Between 1808 and 1810 he had allied himself with Russian fur traders
and gotten the general support of President Jefferson and then
President Madison. Our protagonist was well on the way to
Which brings us to a place in Queens, New York known as Hallet’s
Cove. Our unnamed fellow was asked to invest $2,000 in the
neighborhood and as an inducement it was agreed that Hallet’s Cove
would be named after him. Alas… he only gave the village $500 and a
bitter battle over the renaming of the area ensued. However… the
issue was won by supporters of the man that was now the wealthiest
man in America and Hallet’s Cove was renamed to that which it is to
this very day. By 1840 our hero had a net worth of $40 million and
lived during the summer in a place called Hell Gate in Manhattan
around 87th Street where he could view across the river the Long
Island village named in his honor.
Who is he, you say? Who is he indeed. Email me. Give it your best
shot. And next week you shall have the answer as well as the name of
the village in queens. In the meantime…
For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may I
direct you to my home page at www.tyler-adam.com where you will
scroll down the left side menu till you get to the area that says
Current Tidbits… and you will see represented on our pages an image
of a Comedy and Tragedy medallion worth about $700 with the name of
its founder inscribed on the back.
And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.