Morris Ketchum

Last updated

Morris Ketchum (February 5, 1796 January 1, 1880) [1] was a prominent American banker and financier of the 19th century.


Early life

Ketchum was born on February 5, 1796 at Waterford in Saratoga County, New York. He was the fourth child of Amos Ketchum (1765–1835) and Arabella (née Landon) Ketchum. [2] Among his siblings were Mary Ketchum (wife of Dr. Samuel Akerly who founded the New York Institute for Special Education in 1831) and Hiram Ketchum. [3]


In 1832 he partnered with Thomas Rogers and Jasper Grosvenor to form the manufacturing firm of Rogers, Ketchum and Grosvenor; this firm eventually grew into Rogers Locomotive Works, the second most popular steam locomotive manufacturing company in North America. [4]

Ketchum was also a director of the Illinois Central Railroad. During his time on the board, he was able to funnel many of that railroad's locomotive orders to Rogers. [5]

In the 1860s, he partnered with Peter Cooper, John Jacob Astor Jr., Hamilton Fish and others to form a new committee, the Special Council of Hygiene and Public Health. Joseph Smith served as president and Dr. Willard Parker was vice-president. [6]

Morris Ketchum, with his son Edward B. Ketchum, led the financial firm of Ketchum, Son and Company in New York City. His son Edward was later found to have embezzled nearly $2.5 million to cover his losses in the 1860s; [7] [8] it was Morris's good reputation that kept the public from suspecting Edward of embezzlement for a time. [9] Morris had to resign as president of the Fourth National Bank of New York. [10]

Later career

After giving up his fortune to make good on his sons forgeries in 1865, Ketchum moved south and became interested in the Savannah Banking and Trust Company of Savannah, Georgia and the Central Railroad. [3]

Personal life

Ketchum was married three times. His later marriage was to Margaret Miller (1807–1893), [11] a daughter of Judge Sylvanus Miller of Long Island. [12] He was the father of three sons and two daughters that survived him, including: [3]

Ketchum died at his home, 19 Washington Square in New York City, on January 1, 1880. [3] He was buried at Willowbrook Cemetery in Westport, Connecticut. [14]

Related Research Articles

Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works 19th century steam locomotive manufacturer in Paterson, NJ

Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works was a 19th-century manufacturer of railroad steam locomotives based in Paterson, in Passaic County, New Jersey, in the United States. It built more than six thousand steam locomotives for railroads around the world. Most railroads in 19th-century United States rostered at least one Rogers-built locomotive. The company's most famous product was a locomotive named The General, built in December 1855, which was one of the principals of the Great Locomotive Chase of the American Civil War.

Matthew Baird was one of the early partners in the Baldwin Locomotive Works.

Morris Ketchum Jesup United States banker and philanthropist

Morris Ketchum Jesup, was an American banker and philanthropist. He was the president of the American Museum of Natural History.

Thomas Rogers was an American mechanical engineer and founder of Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works of Paterson, New Jersey. Fellow locomotive designer and builder, Zerah Colburn said that "Thomas Rogers maybe fairly said to have done more for the modern American locomotive than any of his contemporaries."

Jasper Grosvenor (1794–1857) was an American financier of the early to mid 19th century. In 1832 he partnered with Thomas Rogers and Morris Ketchum to form the manufacturing firm Rogers, Ketchum and Grosvenor which became the second most popular steam locomotive manufacturing company in North America in the 19th century. He remained a partner in the business until his death in 1857.

Luzon B. Morris 55th Governor of Connecticut

Luzon Buritt Morris was an American lawyer and politician from Connecticut. He served as the 55th Governor of Connecticut.

Swinburne, Smith and Company locomotive manufacturer (1845–1863)

Swinburne, Smith and Company was a railroad locomotive manufacturing company of the mid-19th century. The company was founded in 1845, in Paterson, New Jersey, by a partnership between William Swinburne and Samuel Smith. Swinburne had been a pattern maker for Rogers, Ketchum and Grosvenor of Paterson, who worked his way up to become shop foreman. Smith was foreman moulder at Rogers.

Alfred Smith Barnes American publisher, philanthropist

Alfred Smith Barnes was an American publisher and philanthropist. He was known as "the General".

John Adams (educator) American educator, born 1772

John Adams was an American educator noted for organizing several hundred Sunday schools. He was the 4th Principal of Phillips Academy. His life was celebrated by Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. in his poem, "The School Boy", which was read at the centennial celebration of Phillips Academy in 1878, thus recalls him:

Uneasy lie the heads of all that rule — His most of all whose kingdom is a school.

Northern Cross Railroad

The Northern Cross Railroad was the first railroad to operate in Illinois, originating in Meredosia and eventually extending both east and west to the state borders. It eventually linked the state capital Springfield east to Decatur and Danville, and west to Jacksonville and the Illinois River, and later to Quincy on the Mississippi River.

Grant Locomotive Works

Grant Locomotive Works was a manufacturer of steam railway locomotives from 1867 to 1895, first in Paterson, New Jersey, and then in Chicago. The company built about 1,888 locomotives.

This article lists events relating to rail transport that occurred during the 1790s.

Isaac Dripps was an American machinist and inventor. He worked on the locomotive John Bull and built seven locomotives. Dripps was a superintendent and partner of various railroad machinery shops. He has several patents to his name.

Fourth National Bank of New York

The Fourth National Bank of New York was an American bank based in New York City.

Philo Clark Calhoun was an American industrialist, banker, and politician who served as president of the Fourth National Bank of New York.


  1. Reitwiesner, William Addams. "The Ancestors of Julia Stimson Thorne" . Retrieved October 11, 2005.
  2. Selleck, Charles Melbourne (1896). Norwalk. The author. p.  73 . Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "MORRIS KETCHUM BANKER The Death of One of New York's Oldest and Best-Known Financial Men". The Atlanta Constitution . 7 January 1880. p. 4. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  4. Moshein, Peter & Rothfus, Robert R. (1992). "Rogers locomotives: A brief history and construction list". Railroad History (167): 13–147.
  5. White, John H. Jr. (1968). A history of the American locomotive; its development: 1830–1880. New York, NY: Dover Publications. ISBN   0-486-23818-0. p. 24.
  6. Goldman, Joanne Abel (1997). Building New York's Sewers: Developing Mechanisms of Urban Management. Purdue University Press. p. 136. ISBN   978-1-55753-095-0 . Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  7. "KETCHUM; Story of His Last Fortnight". The New York Times . 28 August 1865. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  8. "WALL STREET PANIC.; Tremendous Forgeries on Well-Known Firms" (PDF). The New York Times . 16 August 1865. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  9. Kalinke, Tom (2004). "Financial History". Museum of American Financial History. Archived from the original on October 16, 2005. Retrieved October 7, 2005.
  10. Williams, Henry Clay (1893). American Encyclopaedia of Biography. Hightstown, N.J.: Metropolitan Publishing and Engraving Co. pp.  123-124. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  11. "Obituary Notes". The New York Times . 12 September 1893. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  12. 1 2 Yale University Class of 1868 (1914). History of the Class of 1868: Yale College, 1864-1914. Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Press. p.  340 . Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  13. "Died" (PDF). The New York Times . 12 September 1910. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  14. Connecticut Reports: Containing Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Errors. Connecticut Supreme Court of Errors. Press of Case, Tiffany and Company. 1895. p. 86. Retrieved 16 January 2020.