Born in the town of Amsterdam, NY on November 24, 1851, John E. Larrabee attended the community’s local schools and upon completion of those studies, secured a job in a Main Street hardware store owned by E.T. Leavenworth. Thus began a retail surname union that would last for the next century.
Larrabee loved the hardware business so when the opportunity to become a partner in a new one came, he jumped at it. The partner was a gentleman named L.L. Dean, who had split the previous eight years working as a clerk in Gardiner Blood’s dry goods store and as a bookkeeper in the Amsterdam Farmer’s Bank. Both young men were extremely well–liked and respected within the community and the new L.L. Dean Hardware & Company did well right from the very beginning. Fourteen years later, it had grown into Amsterdam’s busiest hardware store but Dean had other career goals he wished to pursue.