Saturday, May 27, 2017

MANHATTAN - Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum... Garrit Storm

Like a miniature church,
the Mausoleum of Garrit Storm, Esq.
An Old Citizen Gone.--Garret [sic] Storm, an old and well-known citizen, for many years a resident of the Second Ward, died on Thursday, aged seventy-four.
The New-York Tribune, August 2, 1851, page 5

Garrit Storm was many things.  Merchant, Democratic Republican, jury member of the People v. Levi Weeks trial, which featured Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr and Henry Brockholst Livingston as attorneys for the defendant. Storm bought the "bad lands" at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue for $15,000--an amount which, owing to inflation, is only worth about $438,000 today.  He appears to have been a very shrewd businessman, and left his two daughters a magnificent inheritance.  

He was also probably a bit of an Ebenezer Scrooge.  

Garrit Storm, we believe, was never guilty of the impropriety of paying his clerks large salaries.  Had any of them, like Oliver Twist, in their innocency, "asked for more," Garrit would have certainly collapsed.
The Old Merchants of New York City, Volume 4, page 325, by Joseph Alfred Scoville 

An Interesting Coincidence

The May 15, 1847 edition of the Poughkeepsie Journal includes a long (rather too long) ballad called "The Robbery of Garret Storm."  Fifteen stanzas of... well, here's a sample:

His aged limbs, they now entwine,
Drag round and round his fam'ly shrine,
More cruel tortures yet await
That blind man's dire portentous fate;
His cup's run full, and swimming o'er,
His locks are stain'd with crimson gore.

This poem is about Storm's grandfather, a Dutchman also named Garrit Storm.  

For the last thirty years of [my grandfather's] life he was entirely blind, having lost his sight by the careless pitching of a sheaf of wheat into the barn before he was ready to receive it. He was very irascible in his temper and would swear roundly if his meals were not brough(t) to him when hungry and alone in midnight darkness. He was the greatest chewer of tobacco I ever knew; in fact, it was the only comfort remaining to him after his misfortune. He was a staunch whig and friend of his country. In the war of independence a party termed "Cowboys" from below attacked his house and hung him up to force him to disclose his money; the neighbours, however, heard the alarm and rushed in to the rescue of the family in time' to cut him down.
Garrit Storm's Narrative 
 Grandfather Storm sounds charming.

As for the interesting coincidence,  Grandson Storm was robbed as well.

In the (Wall Street) house belonging to Mr. Storm, the villains broke the looking glasses, the cabinet ware, and all the china they could lay their hands on.  
The Evening Post, September 6, 1822, page 2 

Adding insult to injury causes me to think that the thieves really detested Garrit Storm, Esq., or his class of people in general.  Come to think of it, from the sound of him, I probably would've loathed the man too.  What I can gather of his story brings to the imagination a rich man getting richer off the backs of poor men.  But isn't that just part of the story of New York?!   

* The Narrative of Garrit Storm unique family information
Duel with the Devil: The True Story of How Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr Teamed Up to Take on America's First Sensational Murder Mystery

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