Elias 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.

ELIAS PLUM, one of the most prominent men of Troy, New York, during the nineteenth century, proved by his life and labors that he was a true representative of his ancient noble English lineage. The family of Plum is an old and honored one in English history, the first of the name being Robertus Plumme, who is mentioned in the Normandy Roll of the year 1180. The main branch of the family was seated in County Essex, England, whence came the first American ancestor. By their deeds and achievements in the civil and military circles of England the members and descendants of the family of Plum are entitled to bear the following coat-of-arms:

Arms—Ermine, a bend vaire or and gules cotised vert.
Crest—Out of a ducal coronet or, a plume of ostrich feathers argent.

The name signifies plume, and the old spelling of Plumme gave way gradually to Plume, a corruption of this, both Plumbe and Plumb, and finally to Plum, the present spelling.

(I) John Plume was the first of his family to immigrate to America. He was a son of Robert and Grace (Crackborn) Plume, and was born at Spaynes Hall, Ridgewell, County Essex, England, on July 28, 1594. He left England and came to Connecticut in 1635, living first at Wethersfield, and locating later at Branford, Connecticut. He was one of the men in Captain Mason's little army during the Pequot War, 1637. His ship was the one that carried the seventy-seven men of Captain Mason's army around from the north of the Connecticut River to the Narragansett, from which they marched overland, west, to attack the Pequots at Pequot Hill, now Groton. He died in 1648. His wife's given name was Dorothy, and to them was born a son, Samuel, of whom further.

(II) Samuel Plume, son of John and Dorothy Plume, was born on January 4, 1625, in Ridgewell, Essex County, England. He came to America from England with his father in 1635, and died in January, 1703, in Newark, New Jersey, having previously resided in Wethersfield and Branford, Connecticut. He was one of the founders of Newark, with Governor Treat, removing there in 1668. He married Hannah , and to them was born a son, John, of whom further.

(III) John Plume, son of Samuel and Hannah Plume, was born in Bradford, Connecticut, on October 23, 1657, and at the age of eleven years accompanied his father to Newark, New Jersey, where he died on July 12, 1710. He was married, in 1694, to Hannah Crane, a daughter of Deacon Azaiah and Mary (Treat) Crane, the latter a daughter of Governor Robert Treat. Among their offspring was John (2), of whom further.

(IV) John (2) Plum, son of John and Hannah (Crane) Plume, was the first of his family to drop the final "e" from the patronym, which modified spelling has ever since remained in vogue. He was born in Newark, New Jersey, about 1696, and died there about 1785, aged eightynine years. He married (first) Joanna Crane; (second) Mary Pierson. Of the first union was born a son, John (3), of whom further.

(V) John (3) Plum, son of John (2) and Joanna (Crane) Plum, was born in Newark, New Jersey, about 1743, and died there about 1771, his will being probated during that year. He was married to Susan Crane, being the third Plum in direct succession to marry one of the Crane family. Three sons were born of this marriage: 1. Joseph Riggs, born 1765. 2. Matthias, born in 1768. 3. Robert, born in 1770. Susan (Crane) Plum was married (second) to David Banks, a son of James and Mary (Odgen) Banks, and bore him five daughters and one son. Among the offispring of John (3) and Susan (Crane) Plum was a son, Matthias, of whom further.

(VI) Matthias Plum, a son of John (3) and Susan (Crane) Plum, was born in Newark, New Jersey, on October 18, 1768, and died there on February 11, 1852. He married Phebe Woodruff, a daughter of Captain Seth and Phebe (Haines) Woodruff, and they were the parents of the following children: 1. Lucetta, born in Newark, in 1794, married her cousin, Joseph Plume. 2. Sarah, born in Newark, in 1797, married Ambrose Williams. 3. Stephen Haines, born in 1800, married Margaret M. Todd. 4. Elias, see below. 5. David Banks, born in 1813, married (first) Lenora Whitaker; and (second) Anna M. Arnold.

(VII) Elias Plum, fourth of the five children of Matthias and Phebe (Woodruff) Plum, and a representative of the seventh generation of the ancient English family of Plumes in America, was born in Newark, New Jersey, on November 18, 1804, and there grew to young manhood. He removed from Newark to Troy, Rensselaer County, New York, with his younger brother, David Banks Plum, and with him engaged in the leather business, which was the same field of endeavor his ancestors had been identified with for generations. He was very successful, conducting the steadily growing concern with a rigid ethical code in which ability, efficiency, integrity, and honor constituted the main ramifications. Mr, Plum was also intimately identified with the commercial, civic, and financial progress of his adopted city. In 1839, when the Commercial Bank of Troy was organized, Elias Plum was one of its first directors, and, due to his genius in monetary matters, he was elected president of the bank in 1847, and continued to discharge the many duties devolving upon this highly important executive office with his usual ability until 1862.

Mr. Plum was correspondingly active in the public life of the rapidly growing city, and so generally loved and respected was he that on December 22, 1853, he was chosen as mayor of the city of Troy, serving ably for one term. Politically, Mr, Plum supported the Democratic party.

Elias Plum's career was one of note in a community that has brought forth many important figures, and his beneficent influence on the young city of his adoption cannot be over estimated. It is entirely due to men of his stamp that the city of Troy, New York, is what it is today—one of the very important industrial and commercial centers of the East.

The Hon. Elias Plum was married three times: (first) on April 25, 1830, to Susan Rankin, a daughter of William and Wilhemina (Dunkee) Rankin. She died on January 15, 1837, leaving three children: 1. Mary Gould, who was born October 10, 1831, and married Col. George Lamb Williard, who was killed at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 2, 1863, her death occurring in Troy, New York, on July 30, 1888. 2. Anna Lee, born in Troy, New York, on May 11, 1833, died there on June 16, 1899. 3. James Rankin, born in Troy, New York, on January 2, 1837, moved to New York City when a young man, was married, on May 13, 1863, to Margaret Townsend, a daughter of Hon. John P. and Caroline (Drake) Townsend, and they had four children : i. George Williard, born February 27, 1864, died March 8, 1923. ii. James Rankin, Jr., born May 22, 1866, died January i, 1891. iii. Caroline Townsend, married Daniel Nason, January 15, 1902, and they have two children: (a) James Rankin Plum Nason, born November 5, 1902. (b) Mercy Plum Nason, born December 20, 1905. Daniel Nason died March 14, 191 1. iv. Townsend.

Elias Plum was married (second) to Mercy Mann, a daughter of Jeremiah and Lydia (Norton) Mann. They were married in Milton Center, Saratoga County, New York, on December 23, 1840. She died in Troy, New York, on November 4, 1852, leaving the following five children: 1. Francis Norton, born in Troy, New York, on December 11, 1841, died in Troy, New York, on January 5, 1876, from wounds received in the Civil War. 2. Elias, Jr., born in Troy, New York, on August 30, 1843, died on May 3, 1904, at Caranido Beach, California. 3. Sarah Williams, born in Troy, New York, on July 6, 1847, died in New York City, on November 13, 1911 ; married, in Troy, New York, on November 6, 1868, Edward Granger Gilbert, son of Hon. Uri (see preceding biography) and Francis Harriet (Granger) Gilbert, 4. Lucetta, born in Troy, New York, on July 29, 1850, died in New York City, on October 18, 1889 ; married, on April 22, 1869, at Troy, New York, David Banks, of New York, and they had issue: i. David Banks, Jr., married Mable Hatch, ii. Lloyd, died young, iii. Lucetta, married Frank Makepiece, in October, 1908, they the parents of four children : (a) David Banks, born in 1909, (b) Frank, Jr., born in 1911, (c) Lloyd, born in 1913, (d) Paul, born in 1915 5. Mercy Mann, born in Troy, New York, on September 13, 1852, now living (1924) in New York City.

Elias Plum was married (third) in Troy, New York, on October 30, 1855, to Martha Buell, a daughter of Hon. Horatio G. and Elizabeth (MacGregor) Buell. Martha (Buell) Plum died in Troy, New York, on September 27, 1873, leaving one daughter : Martha Buell Plum, born in Troy, New York, on August 2, 1856, who married, on April 21, 1881, in New York City, Dr. John P. Munn, of that place. Dr. John P. and Martha Buell (Plum) Munn have two children: 1. Dr. Aristine Munn. 2. Major James Buell Munn, who served with distinction in the late World War.

The Hon. Elias Plum died at his home, No. 57 Second Street, Troy, New York, on April 12, 1883, and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Troy, New York.

Send comments or suggestions to:
Debby Masterson

Go Back to Rensselaer Co. Biographies
Go Back to Home Page