Cotton Baron

Autograph letter signed (“Stephen Whitney”), also signed (“Elisha Tibbits”) to Mssrs. Talcott & Bowers (“Gentlemen”) being an order for “cotton lately held by you for our joint account” to be signed over to Whitney as “the sole owner”.

New York: 16th September 1813.

1p. pen and ink on paper, docketed on verso. 9-3/4 x 7-/4 inches. Cotton Baron. Old folds, soiling minor tears to edges, 3 inch tear at folds, residue from tape repairs on verso, good Item #312737

An illustrative example of Whitney’s shrewd cotton dealing, during the War of 1812, that made him one of the wealthiest merchants in New York City during the first half of the 19th century, amassing a fortune second only to John Jacob Astor.

By the time he was 24 years old, Connecticut native, Stephen Whiney (1776-1860), had saved enough capital from the job he had in his brother’s New York mercantile firm, to go into business for himself as a grocer and importer of wine and spirits. During the war of 1812, when cotton had become virtually worthless due to the embargo on exports, Whitney arranged through agents, such as Talcott & Bowers of New Orleans, to have his southern debts paid to him in cotton. He reportedly even purchased the cotton bales used by Andrew Jackson’s army to make fortifications during the Battle of New Orleans. In 1815, when the war ended and the price of cotton skyrocketed, Whitney was sitting on warehouses full of the sought after commodity, which instantly made him a wealthy man.

Price: $450.00 Free Domestic Delivery