Hiram Putnam Papers
Hiram Putnam was born in Danvers, Mass., on Jan. 30, 1786. He went to sea in 1802 and by 1812 was a ship's captain. He was involved with trade to European and South American ports, as well as with the China trade, until 1827. This included time on the ships Aurora and Rising Empire, and for ten years he was the captain of the ship China, of Salem, owned by Joseph Peabody. Capt. Putnam married Elizabeth Osgood in 1816, the daughter of Dr. George Osgood, of Andover, Mass. There were five children born to this marriage.
The Putnams moved to Syracuse, N.Y. in 1829, where Mr. Putnam was involved with business ventures and civic positions. From 1833-1846 he was in partnership with Thomas B. Fitch in the wholesale and retail drug business. Together these two men also engaged in real estate ventures and brought some 220 acres of land into the city limits of Syracuse. He was also involved with banking interests. Mr. Putnam served on various town boards and was instrumental in developing public education in Syracuse. He also was involved with anti-slavery groups and the underground railroad. In 1838 Mr. Putnam helped in forming the Syracuse Unitarian Society and in the founding of the Church of the Messiah (later re-named the May Memorial Unitarian and Universalist Society). The 1885 church building (now demolished) contained a memorial window to Hiram Putnam.
Elizabeth Putnam died on July 28, 1848. At that time three children were alive: Charles H., who lived in Michigan; E. Augustus, who lived in Syracuse; and Lucy Blythe, who was married to Dudley Post Phelps and also lived in Syracuse. Mr. Putnam lived with the Phelps in his later years and died in their home on Nov. 8, 1874.
Lucy Blythe Putnam (born in Salem, Mass., June 4, 1826) married Dudley Post Phelps on Sep. 3, 1845 in Syracuse. Mr. Phelps was born at Preble, N.Y., Oct. 8, 1817. He was by training an attorney, but was largely involved with the Syracuse and Utica Railroad from the early 1840s until the spring of 1852. From April 1856 to May 1860 he was involved with the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana Railroad Company and from 1861 to 1878 was employed in various banking establishments in Syracuse. In addition, Mr. Phelps served on various civic boards. He died on Sep. 25, 1880. Lucy Blythe died June 17, 1907 at Cazenovia, N.Y.