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History of the St Andrew's Society of the State of New York
Biographies: Adam Norrie



Twenty-fifth President
1851-1862.

Adam Norrie was the son of John Norrie and Margaret Smith, and was born on the 13th February, 1796, at Montrose, Scotland. He died on the 6th June, 1882, at his residence, No. 303 Fifth Avenue, New York City.

He received his early education at Montrose, and at the age of nineteen years went to Gottenburg, Sweden, where for nine years he was employed in a large iron manufacturing firm. He was also identified with this industry at Stockholm, whence he set out for the United States in 1823 as the representative of the iron manufacturers to investigate the prospects of building up a trade with this country.

Realizing the possibilities in the new country for an enterprising importing firm, Mr. Norrie soon entered into a copartnership with James Boorman and John Johnston, under the firm name of “Boorman, Johnston & Co.” Their principal transactions were in Swedish iron, and their place of business was in Greenwich, near Cedar, Street. At the deaths of Mr. Boorman and Mr. Johnston, James B. Johnston, the son of John Johnston, became a partner to Air. Norrie and the business was continued in an office on Broadway and Wall Street, over the Bank of the Republic, under the old firm name until 1875, when Mr. Norrie retired.

Thereafter he devoted his entire time and attention to the many business and financial interests with which he was identified. He was one of the original stockholders of the canal between Lakes Michigan and Superior and one of the oldest promoters and largest stockholders of the railroad then known as the Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Michigan. He was Vice-President of the Bank of Savings and a director of the Bank of Commerce from the time of its organization. He was also a trustee of the Royal Insurance Company and was at one time the Chairman of its Finance Committee.

In addition to his numerous business organizations, he was long a prominent figure in the large charitable and religious corporations of this city, and his benefactions in this line were as remarkable for generosity as for the modest manner in which they were accomplished.

He was one of the founders of St. Luke's Hospital, of which he acted as Treasurer from 1853-1882; a manager of the Orphan Home and Asylum; President of the Society of St. Johnland at London Island, where he built a chapel at his own expense; President of the New York Dispensary, and a trustee of the Parochial Fund of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of New York.

Air. Norrie succeeded John David Wolf as Senior Warden of Grace Church in 1872, having previously succeeded George Barclay as Junior Warden.

His character was conspicuous for commercial integrity, and his high sense of justice and tolerance gave him an enviable position in the community. Throughout all his career he was noted for evenness of temper and respect for the opinions of others, and a kindness of manner in administering the many and difficult problems of business and charitable work. It was undoubtedly owing to his sound judgment and generous aid that some of the leading charities of this city were started on their useful and prosperous existence.

He was elected a member of Saint Andrew’s Society in 1827 and qualified as a life member in 1867; served as a Manager from 18381840; as Second Vice-President from 1843-1851, and President from 1851-1862. He also served on the Standing Committee in 1863, 1865, 1867, 1868, 1870, 1872, 1874, 1877 and 1879, and was the First Treasurer of the Centennial Fund, acting from 1st December, 1856, the date of its creation, to the nth November, 1869. Upon his retirement from the presidency in 1862 Mr. Norrie presented the Society with a perpetual right to a bed in St. Luke’s Hospital, which has been the medium of comfort and relief to many ill and suffering fellow-countrymen.

He married on the 16th May, 1827, at Trinity Church, Alary Johanna Van Horne, daughter of Garett Van Horne and Ann Margaret Clarkson, and had issue: (1) Ann Margaret; (2) Gordon; (3) Alary Van Horne: (4) Julia C.

His portrait; reproduced from an oil painting bv Daniel Huntington now in the possession of his daughter, Mrs. Warren C. Beach.


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