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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Nathaniel Foster Sargent

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 425-426 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Nathaniel Foster Sargent, one of the best known and highly esteemed residents of Oneida county, New York, was born at Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1849, and died at Boonville, New York, on March 17, 1918. His parents were Nathaniel M. and Lydia A. (Roper) Sargent, an old family of New England dating back to Revolutionary times, several members on both sides having served in the Revolutionary war. Nathaniel M. Sargent came to Boonville in 1851 and established a chair factory. He died on November 23, 1884, and his wife died on April 13, 1870. They were the parents of four children: Augustus W., who died in 1894; Nathaniel Foster, the subject of this review, who died in 1918; Frank; and Nellie Sargent, now Mrs. A. C. Yeager of Utica, New York.

Nathaniel Foster Sargent was educated in the public schools of Boonville, then started with his father in the chair factory and continued in the business all his life. He was united in marriage to Miss Nettie Rhoda of Boonville, who died. On July 23, 1891, Mr. Sargent was married in Greig, New York, to Miss Harriet Hubbard, daughter of Walter H. and Mary (Palmer) Hubbard, an old family founded in St. Leydon by Nash Phelps, grandfather on the Hubbard side. The members of the Palmer family were also early settlers but saw advantages in the west and migrated to California and Oregon during the gold rush of '49, and the younger members have now become prominent in banking and other circles in those states. Joel Palmer was one of the early trail blazers to Mount Hood in Washington and was governor of Indian affairs for seven years. Noah Palmer, a banker of Santa Ana, California, died in 1915. Mrs. Sargent is a prominent member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and of the Eastern Star. She was chairman of the improvement committee which was instrumental in getting electric lights placed around the parks of Boonville. Two sons were born to Mr. and Mrs. Sargent; John Walter Sargent, who married Miss Nettie Nugent; and Roland Lyle Sargent, both of whom are associated in the chair business.

Nathaniel Foster Sargent was an alderman of the village of Boonville for several terms and was also active in civic affairs. While not a member, he always attended the Presbyterian church and was interested in all of its affairs. In politics he was a stanch republican.

The business now known as N. M. Sargent's Sons was founded in 1851 by N. M Sargent, manufacturer of kitchen chairs, supplying jobbers of New York state and Pennsylvania. Upon the death of the founder in 1884, the sons, Augustus W., Nathaniel Foster and Frank Sargent, continued the business under the present name. The firm, however, is now composed of Frank Sargent and the estate of Nathaniel Foster Sargent, and employs thirty people. The plant is three times larger than its original capacity, having both water and steam power and saws its own logs, using approximately five hundred thousand feet of lumber annually. The original part of the mill as it stands today was a grist mill, built over one hundred years ago.

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