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Philetus Pierson Argersinger

The original of this document is on file at the Johnstown Historical Society.   This piece was published in 1916 by Albany Argus Art Press in Albany, New York.  The editor was Hon. James Manning.

Laura Stewart generously typed this piece.   She is searching for information on NOLAN families, who worked and resided in Johnstown. Their main occupations were as masons and construction workers; in fact, they built several of the brick houses in Johnstown. Most of the family resided on the north end of Johnstown in the vicinity of Decker, Matthew and Miller streets. Her grandmother was Alberta Pearl NOLAN, her father was William NOLAN. She is also looking for information on the name NELSON. This was her grandmother's mother's maiden name. Believed this family came from Berne, NY.

Philetus Pierson Argersinger, for many years one of the most successful and most prominent glove manufacturers of Johnstown, a soldier of the Civil War and one of Fulton County’s most highly respected citizens, was born at Johnstown, Fulton County, N.Y., April 10, 1842, ninth child of Philip and Eleanor (Pierson) Argersinger.  Mr. Argersinger belonged to a family that has played a prominent part in the industrial and civic upbuilding of Fulton County.  His great grandfather, John Argersinger, was a native of Holland, where he was married, emigrating to the United States, he settled on a farm in the town of Oppenheim, Fulton County.  His second son, John, was the father of Philip, who was the father of P.P. Argersinger. Both were successful farmers of Oppenheim and honored citizens of that town. In the generation of the family to which Mr. Argersinger belonged there were several who, like himself, loyally responded to the country’s call in the War of Rebellion, and many also have become prominent in business and public life.

P.P. Argersinger received his education in the district school of the neighborhood, and the Johnstown Academy, and grew to man’s estate on the home farm.  When he was sixteen years of age, in 1858, he began his business career as a clerk in a grocery store, but in the fall of the same year gave up the position to respond to the President’s call for volunteers.  Mr. Argersinger enlisted in the Twenty-Fourth New York Volunteer Infantry, at Albany, and served for three months.  Upon the expiration of that period he received his honorable discharge, and returned home.

It was but a short time after his return home from the army that Mr. Argersinger began his long connection with the glove industry. In a building on his father’s farm he began the manufacture of gloves in a small way, and by energy, application and ability won for himself success, for this small endeavor was but the beginning of a long and eminently successful career as a manufacturer.  Meeting with success in his first effort at glove manufacturing Mr. Argersinger determined to seek a more conveniently situated location.  With this end in view he removed to Johnstown, hired two small buildings and extended his operations.

Thereafter, the growth of the business was rapid, and it eventually became one of the largest and most successful of its kind in the country.  Mr. Argersinger specialized in the manufacture of high grade gloves, and the product of his factory became widely and favorably know. Some time after locating at Johnstown, he admitted his brother, James P. Argersinger, to partnership under the name P.P. Argersinger & Company, and this continued until James P. retired from business in 1890.

Enterprising and energetic and possessed of unusual ability along business lines, Mr. Argersinger achieved marked ability along business lines, Mr. Argersinger achieved marked success as a manufacturer.  He was a man of sterling character and rare integrity, and was highly regarded, not only by his fellow citizens of Johnstown, but by all who knew him. He was quiet, patient, and unassuming, a man of few words, but a good listener.   He made his own way in the world and because of his perseverance, industry and rare business ability was a success.  He was a good citizen in every sense of the word.   He was one of the foremost businessmen not only of Johnstown, which he saw grow from a village to a city, but of Fulton County as well.  He had excellent judgment, was a good reader of human nature and instinctively knew whom to trust.

There were many who came to him with their business affairs for advice, and when they followed his suggestions they usually did so with profit. Progressive and public spirited to a marked degree, he was always deeply interested in anything that seemed likely to make for the welfare of his home city.  The demands of his business and his attachment to his home, however, kept him from taking any active part in political affairs.  In politics he was a Republican, and loyally supported that party with his vote and influence.

He was especially interested and active in church affairs, giving loyally of his time, means and effort in support of his church and all of its work for humanity.  For many years he was active in the work of the Johnstown Presbyterian Church, and long served on its board of trustees. M r. Argersinger was an active Mason, and was a member of St. Patrick’s Lodge No. 4, F. &A.M., and of Johnstown Chapter No 78, R.A.M., of Johnstown, and Holy Cross Commandery No. 51, of Gloversville. He was also a member of the Lotus Club and the Colonial Club, and a director of the People’s Bank of Johnstown.

On March 31, 1875, Mr. Argersinger was united in marriage to Catherine, daughter of John and Margaret (Stewart) Wells, and granddaughter of Nathan Perkins Wells, for many years cashier and president of the People’s Bank of Johnstown. Her father, Judge John Wells, was one of the most distinguished lawyers of Fulton County, and served as County Judge and Surrogate for years. He was elected a member of the Thirty-second Congress, and declined a denomination.  He was one of the original delegates that founded the Republican Party.

Mr. and Mrs. P.P. Argersinger were the parents of four children: Margaret, Eleanore, Grace, and John Wells Argersinger.  Margaret married Martin Kennedy and has a daughter, Eleanore.  Eleanore is the wife of Edward C. Shotwell, and they have two children, Catherine and Edward C. Grace married A.J. Baker, and they have three daughters, Marion, Catherine, and Margaret.

P.P. Argersinger died February 27, 1909.  His interest in the general welfare of Johnstown is shown by the fact that he left in his will sums aggregating ten thousand dollars, divided among the city’s churches and other institutions.

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