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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
George I. Herrick

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 692-694 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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In the passing of George I. Herrick, Amsterdam sustained the loss of one of its most prominent, substantial and public-spirited citizens, for he was successful in business through many years, was also an active factor in financial, religious and political affairs and took a notable part in the work of civic progress. He was in the seventy-third year of his age when called to his final rest on the 20th of December, 1911, his birth having occurred in Florida, Montgomery county, New York, on March 20, 1839. His parents were Davis D. and Mary (Loomis) Herrick, the former an old and well known resident of Amsterdam, with whose growth and material interests his life was closely joined. He had reached the Psalmist's allotted span of three-score years and ten when he passed away on the 30th of September, 1880, after a well spent, honest life. Davis D. Herrick was an extensive farmer in the town of Florida, and was also a member of the banking house of Morris, Phillips & Company. A man of rare business capacity, he accumulated a handsome property. He owned several valuable pieces of real estate, among them the Herrick block on Washington street. The following is an excerpt from a review of his career which appeared in one of the local papers at the time of his death:

"Mr. Herrick was a man of many excellent traits of character. He was modest, quiet and unassuming in his manner of life, cautious, industrious and of strict integrity. As a former business associate remarked of him, his word was as good as a bond and those who were intimately joined with him in business relations and knew him best. liked him best. His decease will cause universal regret among all those acquainted with him."

He left a widow and five children, two sons and three daughters, to mourn his loss.

George I. Herrick was educated in the common schools and taught for two years in the district schools. He was reared on the farm and with the exception of two winters spent in teaching he followed the pursuit of agriculture until he reached his forty-fourth year. Life on the farm endows a man with those qualities of industry and close attention to business which always insure success when other lines of effort are undertaken. In 1881 he removed to Amsterdam and embarked in the coal business, which claimed his attention throughout the remainder of his life, or for a period of thirty years. He became widely recognized as one of the leading and most successful coal dealers of the city and at his demise was succeeded in business by his son, Daniel P. Herrick, who still conducts the enterprise.

George I. Herrick's activities outside of the coal business were extensive and varied. One of the local papers, commenting on his passing, said:

"Mr. Herrick was one of the founders and until the time of his death was a trustee of the Amsterdam Savings Bank, and here those sterling business qualities which made for personal success were devoted to the good of others and in the meetings of the trustees his opinions were highly held. He was also a director of the First National Bank and a member of the board of trade. As controller and director of the Fair View Cemetery Association, he saw that plot of farm land transformed into one of the beauty places of the city. He was also director and treasurer of the Amsterdam Mutual Fire Insurance Company. Mr. Herrick was a trustee of the First Methodist church. He was a member of the Fort Johnson Club. In politics he was a republican and served the second ward for two years, in 1890 and 1891, as alderman… While the death of Mr. Herrick was not unexpected, he having been in failing condition for some time, the loss is none the less keenly felt. He was ever a kindly gentleman, lovable and always considerate. He gave of his time and energy to any worthy cause which appealed to him. He was interested in the Young Men's Christian Association during the time it flourished here and always hoped for and stood ready to assist in the building of a new Y. M. C. A. for the young men of the city. Mr. Herrick's death marks the passing of another of the conservative business men of the city — men whose clear vision, sterling integrity and honorable methods formed the foundation of the local business life of the city, making its progress steady and inevitable."

The following resolutions were adopted by the trustees of the Amsterdam Savings Bank in memory of George I. Herrick:

"By the death of George I. Herrick, another of the organizers of the Amsterdam Savings Bank has gone to his reward. From the incorporation of the bank, twenty-five years ago, Mr. Herrick has been continuously a trustee, the second vice president and a member of the finance committee. For all of these years he has given a great portion of his time to make the bank the success it is, and during most of the time he gave his services without any financial compensation whatever. To the trustees of this bank, who have been associated with him and who knew his real character, it was what they expected, knowing the high ideals of duty he had of a trust of this character. He took as much interest and pride in the prosperity of the bank as he did in his own affairs.

"In the highest degree he was an honest man; not one who is honest when it apparently pays to be honest, but at all times and under all circumstances. To him his positions in the management of this institution were sacred trusts to be filled to the best of his ability. He never sought to use the bank to advance his own personal interests or to get what he could out of it.

"Mr. Herrick was a careful, conservative man of good judgment and his ripe experience was a very valuable asset to the bank. His death is a great loss to this institution. We feel that we have lost a good friend, and the bank one of its valued officers. We will miss his pleasant greeting, his ever ready assistance and splendid advice.

"To his bereaved family we extend our heartfelt sympathy in their great loss. Resolved, That we adopt the foregoing and that the same be spread upon the minutes of the bank and a copy delivered to the family.

"L. L. Dean,
"W. Barlow Dunlap,
"James T. Sugden.
"Committee."

On the 24th of November, 1864, Mr. Herrick was united in marriage to Miss Sarah Margaret Birch, who survives him, together with two sons and one daughter: Daniel D., who is his father's successor in the coal business; Alfred B., a practicing physician; and Mrs. Origen Melville Miller. Mrs. Herrick resides at No. 25 Pearl street in Amsterdam, where she enjoys an extensive and favorable acquaintance.

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