March 21 – Happy Birthday Sam McCleary

mccleary333As you might imagine, back in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when Amsterdam’s many industrial mills were at the zenith of their productivity, the relatives of the scions who owned these prosperous enterprises were afforded certain privileges. Take today’s Amsterdam Birthday Blog celebrant as an example. Samuel Wilson McCleary was the nephew of William McCleary, who owned the mighty McCleary, Wallin & Crouse rug mill, which employed 2,000 people when it merged with the Shuttleworth brothers Mill in 1920 to form Mohawk Carpet Company.

Born on this date in 1889, Samuel attended the city’s public schools and graduated from the Amsterdam Academy in 1908. He was sent to a technical school for textiles where he learned the art of chemistry and dyeing. Upon completion of the two year program, he went right to work for his Uncle’s firm and after a short apprenticeship, was put in charge of the spinning room. It looks as if he joined the New York State Guards during WWI and then after the merger deal involving his Uncle William’s Mill,   Samuel decided to go into politics.

This was a time when political offices, especially at the state level, were very much a bastion of the upper class. Most of the congressmen, assemblymen and state senators who represented Amsterdam during this era were related to wealthy industrialists or financiers. Samuel McCleary was elected to…

The rest of Sam Mcleary’s birthday post will be published in the second editionof A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam NY Birthdays, which will be available for sale right after Thanksgiving. To make sure you get your hands on one of the first copies, join my mailing list here.

The first edition of A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam NY Birthdays, which features my birthday posts for 320 current or former Amsterdam residents, is currently being sold at Liberty Fresh Market, on Route 30 in Amsterdam. You can also purchase it online here.

McCleary shares his March 21 birthday with this native Amsterdam man who once sang feature roles with the Metropolitan Opera.

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