Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Ames, Oakes

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AMES, Oakes, manufacturer, b. in Easton, Mass., 10 Jan., 1804; d. in North Easton, Mass., 8 May, 1873. He was the eldest son of Oliver Ames, a blacksmith, who had acquired considerable reputation in the making of shovels and picks. After obtaining a public-school education, he entered his father's workshops and made himself familiar with every step of the manufacture. He became a partner in the business, and with his brother, Oliver, Jr., established the firm of Oliver Ames & Sons. This house carried on an enormous trade during the gold excitement in California, and again a few years later in Australia. During the civil war they furnished extensive supplies of swords and shovels to the government. In the building of the Union Pacific railroad they were directly interested, and obtained large contracts, which were subsequently transferred to the Credit Mobilier of America, a corporation in which Oakes Ames was one of the largest stockholders. In 1861 he was called into the executive council of Massachusetts. He served continuously in congress from 1862 to 1873 as representative from the 2d Massachusetts district. His relations with the Credit Mobilier led to an investigation, which resulted in his being censured by a vote of the house of representatives. Subsequent to his withdrawal from political life he resided at North Easton, where he died of apoplexy. — His brother, Oliver, manufacturer, b. in Plymouth, Mass., 5 Nov., 1807; d. in North Easton, Mass., 9 March, 1877, was a member of the Massachusetts state senate during 1852 and 1857. He was largely interested with his brother in the development of the Union Pacific railroad, and was its president pro tem, from 1866 until 1868. He was formally elected president of the company on 12 March, 1868, and continued as such until 8 March, 1871. He was connected with the Credit Mobilier, and in 1873 succeeded his brother as the head of the firm. — Oakes's second son, Oliver, financier, b. in North Easton, Mass., 4 Feb., 1831; d. there, 22 Oct., 1895. He was apprenticed in his father's shovel-manufactory, was later educated at Brown university, and in 1863 became a partner in Ames & Sons. For ten years he superintended the mechanical business of the establishment, and on his father's death assumed control of his numerous financial trusts, including shares in the Union Pacific railroad. By judicious management he paid debts and about $1,000,000 in legacies under his father's will. He was a member of the state senate in 1880-'1, and in 1882 he received the republican nomination for lieutenant-governor, being re-elected in 1883, 1884, and 1885. In 1886 he was governor of Massachusetts, and was re-elected in 1887 and 1888.