The Cyclopædia of American Biography/Seamans, Clarence Walker

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The Cyclopædia of American Biography  (1918) 
James E. Homans, editor
Seamans, Clarence Walker

SEAMANS, Clarence Walker, manufacturer, b. in Ilion, N. Y., 5 June, 1854; d. in Pigeon Cove, Mass., 30 May, 1915, son of Abner Clark and Caroline Matilda (Williams) Seamans. His father was for many years purchasing agent for the firm of E. Remington and Sons, gun manufacturers, in Ilion, N. Y. His first paternal Ameriqan ancestor was Thomas Seamans, who came to this country from England, in 1660, settling in Swanzey, Mass. The line of descent is then traced through his son, James, and Tabitha (Wood) Seamans; their son, Caleb, and Eunice (Aldrich) Seamans; and their son, Isaac, and Polly (Walker) Seamans, who were the grandparents of Clarence W. Seamans. He early manifested a love of study and an aptitude in the mastery of those lines to which he turned his attention and it was natural that after graduation at the Ilion public and high schools, he should seek a business career. In 1870, at the age of sixteen years, he obtained employment as a clerk in the office of E. Remington and Sons, where he remained five years. While in their employ he was prevailed upon to go West and look after the interests of some people connected with the Remingtons, and was made superintendent of silver mines in Bingham, Utah, where he remained three years. In 1878 he accepted a position as sales manager for Fairbanks and Company and E. Remington and Company, as sales agent for the Remington typewriter. Mr. Seamans became a very important factor in the typewriter business, with which he was prominently connected until his lamented death. In 1882 he organized the firm of Wyckoff, Seamans and Benedict and they entered into a contract with E. Remington and Sons to market their entire production of typewriters. Mr. Seamans made the Remington typewriter sales organization the finest selling force in the world; the revivified sales department made the Remington typewriter business the largest typewriter business in the world, with offices in every great city and a name synonymous with quality, durability, and service. In 1886 the firm of Wyckoff, Seamans and Benedict purchased the right, title, interest, and franchises, tools and machinery, of the Remington typewriter and formed a corporation under the name of the Remington Typewriter Company, of which he was made treasurer and general manager. When the Union Typewriter Company was formed, in 1893, through tho consolidation of the Remington, Monarch, Yost, American, and Smith-Premier, he became its president. For many years Mr. Seamans was the active head and controlling spirit in the typewriter business; but as the spur of necessity ceased to be felt and the natural financial prosperity of his remarkable business management increased, he left to others the more direct management of affairs in 1910. Mr. Seamans, besides his interests in the typewriter manufacturing industry, was director of the Washington Trust Company, Merchants' Fire Assurance Corporation of New York City, and the People's Trust Company of Brooklyn, N. Y. He was one of the great army of country boys who have become captains of industry. He was conspicuous among the city men who came from the farm to the broader world of commerce and who have in the past and will in the future furnish the backbone of the city activity. A business associate who had known Mr. Seamans since his boyhood said of him: “In his death the country lost a man whose life was a happy illustration of the honors and rewards of business fidelity and industry, when combined with high principle and unswerving integrity. As a business man his character was unclouded and unimpeachable He had excellent judgment, and adhered with stanch consistency to sound, conservative, and unquestionable business methods. His name was known among the highest circles of the business world as that of a man who could be trusted and with whom it was a satisfaction to transact business. Nor was he a man of mere money-making ambition. He loved his fellow men and was interested in those agencies that tend to the betterment of society; a truly loyal, earnest worker for the public good. It has been said of Mr. Seamans that no one could come in contact with him without feeling better for the meeting and acquiring a more kindly disposition toward his fellow men and the world at large. No man could be with him long without becoming his friend. The sunny smile which illuminated his strong, thoughtful countenance was the outward manifestation of a genial nature which recognized and appreciated the good in others. His sterling qualities of manhood commanded the respect of all who knew him. His life teaches the priceless value of unswerving loyalty to right, and the assured rewards of exemplary living. Fortunate indeed is the country that has such men as the late Clarence W. Seamans as its exemplars.” Mr. Seamans built a magnificent residence which he greatly enjoyed, and a summer home at Pigeon Cove, Mass., where he died. He spent his summers in the White Mountains. Mr. Seamans was for sixteen years a trustee of Syracuse University and the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences and held membership in numerous exclusive organizations, among them the Chamber of Commerce, Brooklyn Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Rockport Country Club, Bass Rock Golf Club, Nassau Country Club, Long Island Country Club, Dyker Meadow, Union League Club of Brooklyn, Riding and Driving Club, Crescent Athletic Club, Parkway Driving Club and the Rembrandt Club. Mr. Seamans will always be remembered in Ilion, N. Y., by the Seamans Public Library which he donated to the village when the Alumni Association of the Ilion High School was making hopeless efforts to give the village an adequate library. Upon his death his associates in the Remington Typewriter Company published a handsome brochure contain- ing the following resolutions to which were appended the signatures of each director: “The Directors of the Remington Typewriter Company desire to place on record an expression of the profound sorrow with which they learned of the death of Clarence Walker Seamans at his summer home at Pigeon Cove, Massachusetts, on May thirtieth, nineteen hundred and fifteen. Born at Ilion, N. Y., and beginning his business career in the employ of E. Remington and Sons, Mr. Seamans early manifested the characteristics which particularly fitted him for leadership, and in 1879 he became head of the department which handled the sale of the typewriter. In the development of a sales organization he was a founder of the firm of Wyckoff, Seamans and Benedict. Later he was president of the Union Typewriter Company, and continued in active control of the business until compelled by failing health to relinquish some of its responsibilities. At the time of his death he was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Remington Typewriter Company, successor to the Union Typewriter Company. He displayed great ability in developing the possibilities of the typewriter business and in shaping the policy which proved so successful. To those who know Mr. Seamans well the sense of loss is so great that it is hard to say all we think and feel. He was a very human man and possessed a most lovable character He was a personal friend of the worker and interested in his individual progress. He had that rare quality which created in the minds and hearts of those who served under him a love of service. Therefore, be it RESOLVED that in the death of Clarence Walker Seamans this company has suffered an irreparable loss and the members of this Board have been deprived of one of their most cherished associates; that his loss brings peculiar sorrow to his fellow directors and the officers of this company, for he was at all times a tried and loyal friend and a wise leader, ever ready to co-operate with his associates for the well-being of this company. And be it further RESOLVED that we tender to the family of our deceased friend and associate our sincere sympathy in their great bereavement. And be it further RESOLVED that a copy of this expression, properly engrossed, signed by each member of the Board be sent to the family of Mr. Seamans.” On 20 Feb., 1879, he married Ida Gertrude, daughter of Adrian L. and Lucia (Roby) Watson, of Washington, D. C., and they had four children, two sons, Ralph Walker and Harold Francis (both deceased), and two daughters, Mabel G. (now Mrs. Robert Payson Loomis) and Dorothy Seamans. Mr. Seamans was also survived by a sister and two brothers, Cornelia Seamans, of Ilion, N. Y., Francis M. Seamans, of Pasadena, Cal., and I. C. Seamans, of Ilion, N. Y.