Benjamin Bartis Comegys, Sr

Benjamin Bartis Comegys, Sr

Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 29 Mar 1900 (aged 80)
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
Burial Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
Plot D 112-119
Memorial ID 102563143 · View Source
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4205 Walnut Street, 27th Ward

Philadelphia Inquirer, March 31, 1900

Successful in His Business Career, With All Its Exacting Duties, He Still Found Time to Cultivate Other Sides of His Nature

The news of the sudden death of B. B. Comegys, after two days' illness, from pneumonia, came today as a shock to banking and business circles of the city. He died at his residence, 4205 Walnut street, shortly before midnight Thursday night. Very few people even knew that the frame of 80 years was struggling to withstand the fatal disease. Benjamin B. Comegys was born in the building of the Farmer's Bank, at Dover Del., of which his father was president, May 9, 1819. After receiving a common school education he came to Philadelphia and was attracted to a mercantile pursuit. His father had been elected Governor of Delaware. Arriving at Philadelphia at the age of 18, he entered into a service of eleven years in a Market street counting house and with the old firm of Thomas Rockhill & Co. His next employment was as a clerk in what has since become the Philadelphia National Bank, where he passed through the various stages of banking and became president, which office he held to the day of his death. Cashier in 1851, vice-president in 1866, president in 1880 is the way his record ran. In 1869 he was elect4ed a director of the Philadelphia Trust and Safe Deposit Company, of which he became vice-president in 1890. He was the last of the original members of the Clearing House Committee of Banks, formed in 1858. He was appointed a manager of the Western Savings Society in 1875 and a director of the Board of City Trusts in 1881. As chairman of the Committee on Admission, Discipline and Discharge of the latter body, he manifested his remarkable interest in the boys under its care. A great part of his life was spent in writing for the young. Several volumes of "Addresses for the Young to Boys and girls" are the product of his literary labors.

His earnest work in that direction was shown also in the Board of Managers of the House of Refuge, of which he was appointed a member in 1873, For fifteen years he gave his services as director of the Jefferson Medical College. In 1884 he delivered a remarkable address to the National Banker's Association, at Saratoga and again upon another institution, he addressed the same association at Baltimore in 1894. His subjects were "Some principles of Safe Banking," "How a Banker Should Treat His Dealer and the Public," "What manner of MMan Should a Banker Be?" His election to the directory of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company occurred November 9, 1887, and his abilities were enlisted on the Finance Committee of that corporation.

In religion Mr. Comegys was a Presbyterian, and he served as an elder in the Walnut Street Presbyterian Church and also for more than thirty years as a manager in the American Sunday School Union.

The Advisory Board of the Pennsylvania Railroad Department of the Young Men's Christian Association had the benefit of his help and co-operation.

A valuable library was among Mr. Comegy's most loved possessions. Next to his relatives and friends his books held his affections. He insisted that there were few lives so busy that they could not find time for the cultivation of a taste for art, science and literature. Though he never pretended to be a great scholar, his selection of books, next to the choice of friends, would probably be the highest proof of his sterling character. His library represents the work of his whole life. Mr. Comegys leaves three daughters."

Philadelphia Inquirer, April 1, 1900

Last Rites held Over Dead Philanthropist and Financier

Funeral services over the body of the late Benjamin B. Comegys, financier and philanthropist, took place in the second Presbyterian Church, Twenty-second and Walnut streets, at 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon. They were conducted by Rev. Charles Wood, D. D., pastor of the church, assisted by Rev. Stephen W. Dana, pastor of the Walnut Street {Presbyterian Church. The funeral was attended by many men prominent in business and professional circles. Among them were Mayor Ashbridge, Edwin S. Stuart, Wencel Hartman, James L. Miles, John M. Campbell and A. J. Cassatt.

About two hundred Girard College boys attend the solemn ceremonies in the church. From 1882 Mr. Comegys was a member of the Board of City Trusts, and for many years was chairman of its committee on Admission, Discipline and Discharge for Girard College. This brought him into close relations with the boys of that great charity, in whom he took always a personal interest. It was his custom to address the boys in the chapel one Sunday in every month. He also published a book which was compiled from these practical talks to the students. This is given to every boy as he leaves that institution.

The services at the house, 4205 Walnut street, were quiet. None but the immediate members of the family were present. By request no flowers were taken to the church. The church service was one prepared by Mr. Comegys himself. Beethoven's Funeral March from the Twelfth Sonata, the anthem "Happy and Blest Are They Who Have Endured," from Mendelssohn's "St. Paul," and the recessional, "I know That My Redeemer Liveth."

Many officials of the Philadelphia National Bank, the Pennsylvania Railroad, Board of City Trusts, Jefferson Medical College and Y. M. C. A. were present. The pall bearers were J. Livingstone Ehringer, Lincoln Godfrey, John H. Converse, A. J. Cassatt, Clement A. Griscom, William M. Frazier, N. Parker Shortridge, Charles W. Spearhawk, George Wood, William Brooke Rawle, Dr. John H. Brinton, James M. Aertsen, Dr. George B. Shoemaker, Dr. J. Whitney Barstow, L. L. Rue and John Spearhawk, Jr."

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  • Maintained by: Mary Harrell-Sesniak
  • Originally Created by: Meges
  • Added: 25 Dec 2012
  • Find a Grave Memorial 102563143
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Benjamin Bartis Comegys, Sr (9 May 1819–29 Mar 1900), Find a Grave Memorial no. 102563143, citing Woodlands Cemetery, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by Mary Harrell-Sesniak (contributor 46488639) .