Anson Phelps Stokes

Anson Phelps Stokes

"For other men with the same name, see Anson Phelps Stokes (disambiguation)"

Anson Phelps Stokes (1838-1913) was a merchant, banker, publicist, and multimillionaire

Born in New York City, he was the son of John Boulter and Caroline (Phelps) Stokes; brother of William Earl Dodge Stokes and Olivia Eggleston Phelps Stokes. One of his grandfathers was London merchant Thomas Stokes, one of the 13 founders of the London Missionary Society, and Anson Stokes later actively supported the American Bible Society, the American Tract Society and the American Peace Society. His other grandfather, Anson Greene Phelps, was a New York merchant, born in Connecticut and descendend from an old Massachusetts family. [http://www.nathanielturner.com/ansonphelpsstokes.htm] Web page titled "Grandfather, Father, & Son / The Three Anson Phelps Stokes: Anglo-American Philanthropists" at the "ChickenBones: A Journal: for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes" Web site, accessed March 5, 2007]

Career

As a boy he started his career working in the family business, Phelps, Dodge & Company, a mercantile establishment founded by his grandfather Phelps and his uncle, William Earle Dodge, in the 1830s. [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,846374-2,00.html] "Ansonia" article in "TIME" magazine, May 25, 1929, accessed March 5, 2007] The company eventually became a mining business.

In 1861, he became a partner and also a member of the firm of Phelps, James & Company in Liverpool. In 1879, he organized Phelps, Stokes & Company, a bank.

Phelps became involved in the mining interests of Phelps Dodge Corporation in the American West. In the 1874, the Nevada legislature, after a bitter debate, approved a bond project to extend a railroad line to Austin, Nevada (the state senator sponsoring the bill was secretary for a mining company that needed the rail line). The legislature authorized Lander County to grant a $200,000 bond for the project, but the authorization would expire after five years. It wasn't until after Stokes came to Austin that the project got started 4 ½ years later. Stokes brought in General James H. Ledlie, a former Union officer in the Civil War, to direct the project, and crews went to work desperately, only to bring the line within 2 miles of the Austin town limits with less than a day left before the deadline. An emergency meeting of the Austin Town Board extended the town limits by two miles and the last rails were laid just minutes before the deadline. The 92-mile line from Battle Mountain to Austin became the Nevada Central Railroad. [Myrick, David F., "Railroads Of Nevada Volume 1", Howell-North Books, 1962]

In 1897, when Stokes still had a financial interest in several of the local mines, he built "Stokes Castle", a three-story stone tower just outside of Austin. The building was only occupied for a month, then fell into disrepair.

Family

Stokes married Helen Louisa, daughter of Isaac Newton Phelps, on October 17, 1865. In 1893, he built "Shadowbrook", a 100 room Berkshire Cottage at Lenox, Massachusetts. Shadowbrook was so large that a family anecdote tells of Anson Phelps Stokes Jr. being told by his mother while playing outside one day that because there was a storm gathering he should come inside and bicycle in the attic. In 1902, Stokes bought land at the southern tip of Long Neck, a small peninsula in Darien, Connecticut and built "Brick House", where he and his family lived for many years.Case, Henry J. and Cooper, Simon W., "Town of Darien: Founded 1641 Incorporated 1820," published by the Darien Community Association, 1935] Andrew Carnegie occupied it several summers, and in 1917 bought "Shadowbrook", where he would die in 1919. The Stokes family also had a summer house, or Great Camp, on Upper St. Regis Lake in the Adirondacks [Kaiser, Harvey H., "Great Camps of the Adirondacks", Boston: David R Godine, 1982.] , where family members spend their summers to this day.

At his death in New York City, Anson Stokes was survived by nine children: four sons and five daughters. He had lost one of his legs 15 years before. One of his sons was also named Anson Phelps Stokes (1874-1958), an educator and clergyman.

Notes

External links

* [http://www.metmuseum.org/Works_of_Art/viewOnezoom.asp?dep=2&zoom
] Portrait of "Mr. and Mrs. Anson Phelps Stokes", ca. 1898, by Cecilia Beaux (1855-1942) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
* [http://www.exploringnevada.com/nevada-pictures-photographs/stokes-castle-in-austin-nv-photographs/] Photographs of Stokes Castle


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