David Banks Plum
City of Troy

This biography is from Troy and Rensselaer County, New York, Volume III, by Rutherford Hayner, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., New York and Chicago, 1925. It was submitted by Debby Masterson.

DAVID BANKS PLUM—In the business world of Rensselaer County, New York, the name of David B. Plum is one of wide prominence, and his connection with various of the foremost industrial and publishing enterprises places him in the front rank of progress in his native city of Troy. Alert to the movement of the times, his work constructive to a marked degree, whatever the enterprise with which he is allied, Mr. Plum's activities are contributing materially to the general advance.

The name of Plum is a very old one in New Jersey, Mr. Plum's early ancestors having been among the original settlers of the city of Newark. The family is of Norman-French origin, and is traced to Robertus Plumme, whose name, in conjunction with that of Robert Plome, appears in the Great Roll of Normandy as far back as 1180. The name James Plume is found in ancient records of Hertfordshire, England, in 1240. A great-great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch was a soldier in the War of the American Revolution. David B. Plum, Mr. Plum's grandfather, was born in Newark, New Jersey, and came to the city of Troy, New York, as a young man. For many years he was associated with his brother, Elias, in the leather business in Troy, under the firm name of E. & D. B. Plum. David B. Plum was a man of progressive spirit and large business ability and did much for the local advance of his day and generation, his death occurring July 15, 1851. He married Leonora Whittaker, whose ancestors settled in the State of Massachusetts about 1700. She died in 1843. Their son, Fred A., is of further mention. The Whittaker family dates back to early English times, the name appearing on the Hundred Rolls as early as 1273, its significance being, according to one authority, "the northeast part of a flat or shoal the middle ground." Leonora (Whittaker) Plum was for many years the leading soprano in the choir of the First Presbyterian Church of Troy.

Fred A. Plum, son of David B. and Leonora (Whittaker) Plum, was born in Troy, New York, July 17, 1842, and died July 20, 1909. His education was begun in the public schools of his birthplace, and after his completion of the usual course at the Troy Academy, he entered the old Essex Academy, at Essex, Connecticut, from which he was graduated in the class of 1859. He then entered the employ of his uncle, O. A. Arnold, then a leading coal merchant of Troy, in the capacity of bookkeeper. Mr. Plum later engaged in the retail rubber business in Troy. It is understood that he is the only man who ever issued money made of India rubber. During the Civil War he issued 65,000 one cent pieces, and not one was ever offered for redemption, the presumption being that they were retained by the holders as historic relics or souvenirs. Fred A. Plum later accepted a position with the New Jersey Car Spring & Rubber Company, of Jersey City, and for nearly thirty years he was in charge of this company's sales in the States of New York and Pennsylvania. He was very prominent fraternally, was a past master of Mount Zion Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons; Apollo Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; Bloss Council, Royal and Select Masters; Apollo Commandery, Knights Templar; and the Consistory of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite; also a member of the Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. Inheriting his mother's fine voice, he sang for thirteen years in the choir of the First Presbyterian Church of Troy. He married Mary S. Fowler, a member of an old family of Albany, New York, daughter of Samuel S. and Julia (Gregory) Fowler, of Albany, the marriage taking place May 10, 1864, and they were the parents of two children: Leonora B.; and David Banks, of further mention.

David Banks Plum, son of Fred A. and Mary S. (Fowler) Plum, was born in the city of Troy, New York, October 7, 1869. His education was acquired in the local public schools, and after completing the course he became identified in 1889, with the mercantile firm of Starkweather & Allen, where he served as a clerk for eight years. In the year 1897 Mr. Plum became associated with the Troy "Record," in the capacity of collector, and from this position was advanced from time to time, until he has now filled all positions in the business department. He has been a director of the company since the year 1901, and has served as general manager and treasurer since 191 5. A practical man of broad ability and keen foresight, also with a keen appreciation of the educational value of the daily newspaper, Mr. Plum has been the leading factor in the development of the "Record" to its present importance in the newspaper world. He is a director and chairman of the Finance Committee of the Bureau of Advertising of the American Newspaper Publishers' Association, and is a director of the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Among the local industrial activities, Mr. Plum is affiliated as a director with the J. B. Carr-Woodhouse Company, Incorporated, and is president, treasurer, and a director of the Averill Park Company, also a director of the Troy Trust Company.

The public life of the community has always commanded the interest and aid of Mr. Plum, and as a loyal Republican he is well known in Rensselaer County, but he has never accepted the honors or responsibilities of public office. For ten years he served in the 6th Separate Company, Troy Citizens' Corps, and served as first sergeant of Company A, 2nd Regiment, New York Volunteer Infantry, in the Spanish-American War. Fraternally he is identified with Mount Zion Lodge, No. 311, Free and Accepted Masons; the Society of Colonial Wars; the Order of the Founders and Patriots of America, and the Sons of the Revolution. His clubs are the Troy, the Van Schaick Island Country, and the North Woods, and he is a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Troy, of which he is a trustee.

Mr. Plum married, on March 30, 1898, in Troy, New York, Harriet L. Barnes, daughter of Albert J. and Hannah C. (Bigelow) Barnes.

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