Archibald Gracie was a
son of William Gracie, of Dumfries, Scotland, and was born on the 25th
June, 1755, at Dumfries, and died on the 11th April, 1829, at New York
City, aged seventy-three years.
Leaving his native town
in 1776, he started in business in Liverpool, and thus came in contact
with those returning from the American colonies and the West Indies.
opportunities for building up a large importing business in a new land,
and having full confidence in the future of the American Colonies, he
sailed for New York on the 27th April, 1784.
Shortly after landing in
this country he went to Petersburgh, Virginia, and there established
himself in business. Finding the small size and inland situation of this
Southern town unfavorable for the rapid development of a trading
business, Mr. Gracie returned to the City of New York in 1793 to become
the head of the firm of Archibald Gracie and Sons, East India Merchants.
Under his energetic and
wise management this business venture was crowned with great success and
he acquired a large fortune.
He was a close and
lifelong friend of Robert Lenox, being constantly associated with him in
business and charitable undertakings, and naming him as an executor of
Of a most generous and
benevolent spirit, his name constantly appears in charitable
organizations of his time, which he materially aided and advanced by his
many gifts and contributions. He was one of the subscribers to the
Tontine Coffee House, an original incorporator of the Eagle Fire
Insurance Company, a Director of the United States Bank, a Director of
the Bank of America, Vice-President of the New York Insurance Company,
and Vice-President of the Chamber of Commerce from 1800 to 1825. He
became a member of the Saint Andrew’s Society on the 30th November,
1796, and served as President from 1818-1823. Curiously enough, he never
was elected to or served in any of the minor offices of the Society.
He married in 1784 Esther
Rogers, daughter of Samuel Rogers of Norwalk, Connecticut, and Elizabeth
Fitch, and had issue: (1) Margaret, born 31st July, 1786: (2) William,
horn 28th November, 1787; (3) Marv; (4) Elizabeth, born 6th September,
1788; (5) Sarah Rogers, born 14th December, 1791; (6) Mary Morrison,
born 28th September, 1793; (7) Archibald, Jr., born 17th December, 1795;
(8) Robert, born 13th August, 1799; (10) Esther, born 5th May, 1801.
His portrait is
reproduced from a miniature by Malbone, now in the possession of Mrs.
James J. Higginson, a lineal descendant.