Lot 53
Stanton scrap books 1872-1898 railroads etc.

Estimate: $700 - $1,000

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About this Lot

Daniel N. STANTON (“carpetbagger” [?], railroad and tramway investor, stock-watcher).

A collection of 4 large albums reflecting the later business career of Daniel Stanton, mostly newspaper cuttings relating to businesses or schemes that interested Stanton, but also including reports of political scandals and campaigns that were relevant. [New York: 28 April 1872-19 Sept 1878, 19 Sept 1878 – 3 Aug. 1887, 26 Aug. 1887 – 11 Nov. 1892, Feb 15 1893 – Aug. 11 1898].  Folio (17 x 12 inches, and smaller). The four albums contain entries on a total of about 650 pages. Various bindings (generally in worn or poor condition).

Daniel Stanton is now best known as the less important of the two carpet-bagging Stanton brothers who were the (unwitting?) architects of a major financial collapse in Chattanooga following the failure of the  Alabama and Chattanooga Railroad as well as a number of other related schemes in the area.

These four albums offer a fascinating glimpse into the business mind and world of Daniel Stanton. Starting in late April 1872, the first album includes a great deal to do with Daniel’s brother John  C. Stanton’s involvement in Chattanooga but starting just after John had defaulted on the loans he had raised to fund his plans for the city. Daniel was living in New York when this album was being compiled and the investment opportunities offered by the developing rapid transit systems of New York city as well as railroads throughout North America seem to have been the areas on which Daniel Stanton focused. These themes continued through the second album, but also expanded to include the political life of NYC as well as a more general interest in stocks and bonds.

“John C. Stanton was a controversial railroad contractor who brought economic prosperity and ruin to Chattanooga in the post-Civil War era. A New Hampshire native, persuasive and energetic, he rose by his wits from the laboring ranks to a position of building contractor. In 1868, backed by New York financiers, he and his brother, D. N. Stanton, came south to exploit the railroad building program created by Alabama’s Reconstruction legislature. With millions in state funds, Stanton organized the Alabama and Chattanooga Railroad, destined to run the width of Alabama, reaching from Chattanooga to Meridian, Mississippi.

In 1869 Stanton moved his headquarters from Montgomery to Chattanooga. The city, which had stood destitute since the war, welcomed Stanton as its savior. Employment and business boomed during the railroad’s construction, and in 1870 Stanton erected “Stanton Town,” a new center of commerce. The downtown addition, located south on Market Street, boasted depots, stores, and a luxury hotel, the Stanton House. This instantaneous prosperity was based upon credit, however, and in 1871, when the interest on Alabama’s bonds came due, Stanton defaulted. The boom went bust.

The bankruptcy “tore Chattanooga from tower to turret.” Thousands of businessmen and unpaid laborers faced ruin and hunger. Over the following years Stanton launched new business schemes while promising to pay his many creditors. In 1879 he ran for mayor under the “Greenback” banner. Representing himself as a friend of the laboring poor, he gained little support except from African Americans. Many citizens considered him a “carpetbagger.” Others defended Stanton, reminded that he had brought the working man a temporary relief and convinced that he had failed through no fault of his own.

After losing the election and still battling a multitude of lawsuits, Stanton left Chattanooga in 1880 and retired in New York City on his proceeds from the South. He died in 1901, at age seventy-six, at his home, the historic Sturtevant house.” (https://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/entries/john-c-stanton/)

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