George B. Cluett
George B. Cluett

Information on this page is from History of Rensselaer County, New York by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, published in 1880.

GEORGE B. CLUETT, the subject of this narrative, belongs to that class of young men who, while young, meet by necessity the obstacles of life coincident with limited means, contend for position, with the odds against them, with young men of wealth and trained business capacity, and see no propitious future either of business or of leisure, but from boyhood begin at the foundation of business to carve out a fortune for themselves. Such men, who, with strong hearts and willing hands, early learn to provide for themselves, often suddenly appear in the great business circle side by side with men of large experience and wealth, and finally gain control of trade.

George B. Cluett was born Nov. 21, 1838, in Wolverhampton, England, and came to Troy with his parents, William and Ann Cluett, July 19, 1850. He received a liberal education in the schools at home in Troy, and such parental training as made early impressions of integrity and morality. At the age of sixteen, in the year 1854, he became a clerk for Maullin & Blanchard, collar-manufacturers, in whose employ his brother, J. W. A. Cluett, has been since 1852. This firm was established in 1851 and employed as their first clerks the Cluett brothers. In 1857, J. W. A. Cluett joined his father in business under the firm-name of William Cluett & Son. George B. Cluett retained his position as clerk, until 1861, and became a partner with Mr. Maullin, Mr. Blanchard having withdrawn from the firm. This firm continued business until 1862, when, upon the death of the senior member, a new firm was organized, with the title of George B. Cluett, Bro. & Co., consisting of George B. Cluett, J. W. A. Cluett, and Charles J. Saxe, J. W. A. Cluett having dissolved partnership with his father at the same time.

In 1862 another brother, Robert Cluett, came into the business as clerk, and in 1866, upon the withdrawal of Mr. Saxe, he became a member of the co-partnership. Mr. R. S. Norton, who had been traveling agent for the house since 1869, became a member of the firm in 1874, the firm-name remaining unchanged. In 1873, George B. Cluett, Bro. & Co. opened a retail men's furnishing-store in Troy and, soon after that time, began to manufacture shirts to order. Their success in making fine shirts induced them to offer them to the trade. The increasing demand for the linen goods of this firm necessitated more ample accommodations for manufacturing purposes, and in 1878, they erected a shirt laundry - a five-story brick building, 70 by 45 feet - on North Fourth Street. George B. Cluett, Bro. & Co. have made many valuable improvements in the manufacture of linen goods. Their "Patent Bound Bosom Shirt," "Reinforced Bound Collar," and "Entire Seam Cuff," for which they have also been granted patents, are known to the best trade of the United States.

This important industry of manufacturing linen goods, second to no other in Troy, and which was first invested with the dignity of a special pursuit, has increased with the rapid demands of trade until the aggregate sales amount to several millions of dollars annually, and to such an extent has the trade of this firm increased that they have opened offices for the distribution of their goods in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, and San Francisco.

Mr. George B. Cluett in politics is a Republican, and a supporter of all enterprises tending towards necessary local improvement and the preservation of good society. He is an active member of Christ Church of Troy and a supporter of church and kindred interests. He was first married, in 1863, to Sarah B., daughter of G. D. Golden, of Troy. His wife died the following year, and, in 1867, he married Amanda R., daughter of Judge N. J. Rockwell, of Illinois.

NOTE from Lin Van Buren: The children of George B. CLUETT and wife Amanda R. CLUETT, as per the 1880 US Census, were these:

On 1 July 1911 in Tottenville, Staten Island, New York City, in the presence of George Bywater CLUETT and his second wife Amanda R. CLUETT nee ROCKWELL, daughter Beatrice CLUETT launched the newly built 135-foot three-masted schooner-rigged auxiliary cruiser (with 75 horsepower engine) the George B. Cluett, a gift from her father George B. CLUETT to the English missionary Sir Wilfred Thomason GRENFELL (1865-1940), to be placed into service as a hospital ship for Sir Wilfred's missionary work to the inhabitants of Labrador.

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