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A Builder of the New South


A Builder of the New South

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    Daniel Augustus Tompkins
Excerpt from book: CHAPTER IV LAYING FOUNDATIONS—AT WORK IN GERMANY— GERMAN CHARACTERISTICS THE BROKEN BOLT DURING the years of his apprenticeship at Bethlehem, Tompkins was laying foundations for larger things, saving money, making investments, projecting enterprises, measuring his employers, looking beyond the mill. The second year of his apprenticeship he formed a partnership with a young merchant in Edgefield, S. C., for the sale of cotton ties, and invented a buckle to improve the tie. The ties and buckles were made by Tompkins in Bethlehem and shipped to his partner for sale in South Carolina. His surplus wages from the iron mill were invested regularly in building and loan stock. He soon became a director in the Building and Loan Association: and, finding that it was badly managed, he threw it into bankruptcy, bought up the stock, and organized a new association, of which he was secretary and general manager. With fellow workmen he organized a cooperative company for buying land and building houses. This enterprise, however, was not perfected nor well developed before he left Bethlehem. He made investments in railway stock. He built a residence on one of his lots in Bethlehem: and retained ownership of it until his death. In the midst of these varied activities he kept up his work in the mill, and nourished a lively ambition u for promotion. He longed to be an iron master like John Fritz—to build in the South a Bethlehem Iron Works. His non-promotion in the mills was a keen disappointment, which he bore with a brave spirit of patience and a clear consciousness of merit. He wrote to John Fritz the following letter, a model of dignified, manly, and modest appeal and remonstrance: "In behalf of a matter which seems to be of great concern to me, I wish to call your attention con...  
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