Abel Putnam Jr.

Local History by Ron Patch. Ron Patch is a Chester native, Chester Historical Society president, and a lifelong antiques dealer. He can be reached at 802-374-0119 or email knotz69@gmail.com

I wrote an article a couple years ago about Abel Putnam Jr. of Chester. Putnam was an inventor of a new style Civil War button. That article is included in my new book, “Local History Vol 2.”

Below is a newspaper clipping I just found in one of Mary Harris’s scrapbooks. This is new information. It is from a Saratoga Springs newspaper dated Sept. 2, 1904.

Abel Putnam Jr. Saratoga Springs stock certificate.
Abel Putnam Jr. Saratoga Springs stock certificate. Photo provided by Chester Historical Society

Death of Abel Putnam, Jr., A well known citizen.

“Abel Putnam, one of Saratoga’s oldest and most representative citizens, died of pneumonia, with which he had been afflicted about a week at 12:15 o’clock this afternoon at his home No. 173 Church Street.

“Mr. Putnam was a third cousin of Israel Putnam, of Revolutionary fame. He was born a son of Captain Abel and Lydia Gould Putnam, at Windham, VT., on March 16, 1819. His education was acquired in the common schools and Chester Academy. Twenty-one years of age found him engaged in general mercantile business in Windham.

“At the age of 27 he went to Londonderry, VT., where he was engaged in the milling business for six years. In 1852 he went to Chester, turning his attention to inventions and the handling of patented articles.

“He was always noted for his inventive ability. His first successful invention was a practical clothespin. While in New York City, handling a successful business in patented articles, the Civil War began, and he was appointed recruiting officer for Chester.

Moved to This Village in 1864.

“In 1864, his health becoming impaired, Mr. Putnam came to Saratoga Springs and purchased the residence on Church Street, where he had since resided. In 1866 he purchased an interest in the Star Spring, which, however, he disposed of in 1873. In 1878 he purchased St. Nicholas Hall, which in 1882 was remodeled into Putnam Music Hall. This latter has since been twice replaced after destruction by fire, once by a theatre and lastly by the Citizen’s Bank building. The Royal Spring which he had drilled in 1886, has lately been discontinued.

“One of Mr. Putnam’s latest inventions was the Putnam Soapstone Heat Retainer. This is one of a dozen of equally successful inventions numbered as the fruit of his genius.

Survived By Four Children.

“Mr. Putnam married Hannah P. Harris, a daughter of Judge William Harris, of Windham, VT., on October 10, 1843. Mrs. Putnam died on July 29, 1888. Four children survive Mr. Putnam, Abel A. Putnam, of Chicago; Lizzie H., wife of Hon. B.D. Stone, of Camden, N.Y. and the Misses Louisa C. and Loa L. Putnam.

“Deceased was a Republican in politics and for many years had been a member of Rising Sun Lodge No. 103, F. and A.M. Notice of funeral will be given hereafter.”

Before I was president of the historical society, someone had donated a substantial amount of Harris family history. It is from that donation that I found these scrapbooks.

Mary kept clippings of poetry, who married who, who died, or who visited town. There are clippings of political events or politicians of her day. She was an intelligent young lady.

The photo with this article I found pasted in one of Mary’s scrapbooks. It is a Saratoga Star Spring Company stock certificate. It is five shares of this company valued at $100 per share. Abel Putnam Jr. is the shareowner. The stock certificate is dated Feb. 8, 1868.

If you take this new information and add it to the article in “Local History Vol 2,” you will have the most complete history of Putnam to date. Often history is found in tidbits.

In the mid-1800s health resorts and grand hotels sprang up throughout New York and New England. Saratoga Springs mineral water was believed to possess magical healing powers. Saratoga Springs became a getaway for New Yorkers.

Mary Harris grew up in the house that today is Bill Dakin’s law office.

This week’s old saying: “Cabbaged onto.” Old-timers used this expression to describe someone who took something that wasn’t theirs. “Well, he ‘cabbaged onto’ that when no one was looking.”

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