Monday, September 8, 2008

A Little Taste Of History (32)

Topic: Important Businessmen From Queens Borough #1

JOHN HENRY THIRY, from 1866 to 1875 a book dealer but now retired, son of Jean Baptiste Thiry and Anne Marie Dussard, is a native of Antwerp, Belgium, where he graduated from the First Normal School in 1845. Since 1874 he has been a resident of Queens County. His political convictions are with the Democratic party. Mr. Thiry was school commissioner under three mayors and at present he is a member of the local school board, District No.41, Queens Borough, New York City. Mr. Thiry became widely known as the father of the European system of School Savings-banks in the United States, which was introduced March 16,1885. Thanks to this system the little school depositors have been able to save, up to 1906, no less than $4,896,584. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus, the American Social Association and the Charities' Organization. In 1853 he married Ernestine Desamblanc, who died June 16,1896. His second wife was Miss Margaret O'Connor, whom he married February 23. 1898.

Two sons resulted from his first marriage, Raphael Ovide and Joseph; five children from his second, George, John Henri, Henrietta Frances, John, and an infant born December 27, 1907. John Henri and John died, respectively, March 17, 1899, and April 28, 1906. Twenty-two years ago, the distinguished gentleman introduced the system of School Savings-banks in the United States, which has grown to such an extent, that the system is now in operation in 1,098 schools of 173 cities of twenty-two states in America; the scholars of these schools have saved $5,485.504.48,of which $4,875,897.26 has been withdrawn leaving a balance of $809,617.22 due. This statement is up to January I, 1907, and shows the total number of the little depositors to be 177,972. As the founder of this important branch of our school system,Mr. Thiry's name and triumph will stand imperishable throughout the Union.

ELIAS A. FAIRCHILD graduated from Rutgers College in 1854 and succeeded his father,Ezra Fairchild, as principal of the Flushing Institute,until the school was closed in 1902. Under his direction the institute was for many years one of the best known private schools in this country and was attended by boys from other lands as well as from every state in the Union. Mr. Fairchild's institute property was one of the attractive landmarks of Flushing, and its absorption for business purposes after the closing of the school marked one of the radical changes in old Flushing. Mr. Fairchild died May 2, 19o7, and as a tribute to his character and life's work we quote the following : "We, the Business Men's Association of the Village of Flushing, desire to place upon record our appreciation of the life and services in this community of Mr. Elias A. Fairchild. Although never holding an official position in the affairs of the village, his voice and vote were always on the side of right and justice. In his life work, the education of young men, he was preeminently successful and many among us have reason to rejoice that they were placed under the guidance of his firm but loving care. Of a most cheerful disposition, he always had a kind word and pleasant smile for all and he will be missed as few men are. We thank God for the life of Elias A. Fairchild."

HON. JOHN H. SUTPHIN, deceased, for many years clerk of Queens County, and leader of the Democratic party in that section of the state of New York, was a resident of Jamaica from 1871 up to the time of his death in 1907. His name and fame extended throughout the state, as a man of great charity. Mr. Sutphin for many years served as chairman of the Democratic County Central Committee of Queens. He was a director and for some years served as president of the Bank of Jamaica ; a director and president of the Jamaica Savings Bank at the time of his death, a trustee of the Jamaica Normal School. He was a prominent member of numerous social, fraternal and benevolent organizations, and filled many high positions of trust in connection therewith. He was born at Jamaica, L.I., in 1836, where he received an education in the Flatbush Institute. Prior to his holding the important position of county clerk of Queens County, he held various other public offices, all of which he conducted in a high, conscientious manner. Mr. Sutphin married Miss Carrie M. Smith of Jamaica in 1857. Five children resulted from the union, viz. : Stella, Harry, Annie, Howard and Nina. When Mr. Sutphin died, the poor living in his community lost a benevolent friend, whose place will probably never be filled. The greater part of his income was devoted toward alleviating the needs and wants of a large portion of Jamaica's poor . (19)

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