Abbott Hardware Co., 37 W. 87th St., New York, 2009
Abbott Hardware was located at 636-638 Columbus Ave. on the southwest corner of 91st St. The business was founded by Matthias Abbott, possibly as early as 1857. He appears in Trow's New York City Directory of 1859 as "Matthias Abbott, stoves, 137 Eighth av." Matthias Abbott died in the 1880s or early 1890s, but the business was continued by his sons. Under the business name M. Abbott, Sons they were in business at either 137 8th Ave., 636-638 Columbus Ave., 322 W. 21st St., 116 W. 22nd St., 20 W. 22nd St., or 31 Union Square from 1889 to 1956. There was also an Abbott Hardware Co., who were located at 636-638 Columbus Ave. from 1903 to 1935. These businesses sold housewares, hardware and related products. There was also an Abbott Iron Works located at 613 W. 47th St. (1932-1936) and 544-546 W. 48th St. (1937-1973) and an Abbott Roofing & Sheet Metal Works located at these addresses from 1934 to 1963. Possibly Abbott Iron works created the coal chute above, which was then sold wholesale to contractors through the shop on Columbus Ave. It is difficult to date this cover. The row houses on this block of W. 87th St. seem to date from the mid-1890s, and it is likely that coal chutes were part of the original construction. The cover itself, however, could have been replaced at a later date.
This ad for M. Abbott's Sons was included in The Seminarian: [Andrew] Oliver Memorial Number, 1898.
Matthias Abbott can be found the U. S. Census reports of 1860, 1870 and 1880. In 1860 his occupation was recorded as "Tinsmith." In 1870 he was a "House Furnisher." In the 1880 U. S. Census he lived at 137 8th Ave. (near 17th St.). He was 55 years old and his occupation was "House Furnishings." He lived with his wife, Elizabeth, and six children, including the three sons of M. Abbott Sons: Richard H., age 32, Charles I., 20, and Ruben, 9, and a nephew, Philip H. Abbott, age 23. The three older boys were listed as "Clerk in Store." In 1864 Matthias Abbott, a "Retail Dealer," living at 137 8th Ave., was assessed taxes amounting to $10 on his Class B licesnse.
The successors to Matthias Abbott were Richard Henry Abbott (1850-died before 1936), Philip Henry Abbott (1860-1935), Charles I. Abbott (1861-1935), and Reuben F. Abbott (ca.1871-1920). Of these, the latter three were sons, and Richard H. Abbott was a nephew.
Richard H. Abbott appears in the 1870 and 1880 U. S. Census reports living with his uncle. In 1870 he was 21 years old, a bookkeeper, and in 1880 he was 32, "Clerk in Store." In the 1900 U. S. Census he lived at 163 Park Hill Ave., Yonkers, N. Y. His cousin, Philip H. Abbott lived with him, and both had occupations described as "Steam Heating." Richard and Philip Abbott continued to live together in Yonkers through the 1930 U. S. Census. Their occupations were recorded as hardware and heating until 1930 when Richard was described as "Superintendent S. E. Electric Co.," and Philip was "Proprietor, Furnace Co."
Charles I. Abbott and Reuben F. Abbott lived with their father in the 1870 and 1880 census reports. In 1900 Charles Abbott lived at 34 Donaldson Ave., Rutherford, New Jersey. He was a hardware dealer and lived with his wife, Mamie R., and their two children, Charles I. Jr., 8, and Grace R., 5. He continued to live at this address for the rest of his life. His death notice, New York Times, 5 Dec. 1935, read, "Abbott - At Rutherford, N. J., on Dec. 4, 1935, Charles I., beloved husband of Mamie R. Abbott. Funeral services at his residence, 34 Donaldson Av., Rutherford, N. J., Friday afternoon, 2:30 o'clock. Interment Hillside Cemetery."
Reuben F. Abbott was Matthias Abbott's youngest son. He appears in the 1880 U. S. Census, age 9. After that date I found him only in the 1920 census, when he lived at 149-151 W. 105th St., Manhattan. He lived with his wife, Leonor, and their two children, Richard, 3, and Frances, 2. His death notice in the New York Times, 9 Dec. 1920, read, "Abbott - Suddenly, on Dec. 8, 1920, at his residence, 149 West 105th St., Reuben F., beloved husband of Leonor Chainels Abbott. Funeral service at St. Agnes's Chapel, West 92d St., near Columbus Av., Saturday, Dec. 11, at 1 o'clock."
Another Abbott Hardware coal chute cover is located on St. Luke's Place (aka Leroy St.) near 7th Ave. South. Another dust-covered example is found on West 164th St. This one for M. Abbotts Sons is located on South Oxford St., Brooklyn.
Copyright (c) 2011 Walter Grutchfield