Samuel Cupples Envelope Company

St Louis, Missouri, USA


Samuel Cupples (13 September 1831 to 6 January 1912) was one of the 13 children of James and Elizabeth Cupples who emigrated from County Down, Ireland. His father established a school in Pittsburgh but it is said that Cupples had very little formal education. At the age of 15, Cupples left for Cincinnati, Ohio, where a company selling woodenware employed him. He soon started his own business on the levee in St. Louis distributing wooden utensils.

In 1866, Cupples hired brothers Harry and Robert Brookings, who ultimately became partners in the business, and the company entered into a major period of growth. As Cupples grew increasingly debilitated by severe asthma, the Brookings brothers often ran the business. Together, the three men amassed 22 warehouses by 1893. Known as Cupples Station, each was built directly next to and over railroad freight lines. This strategy enabled shippers to warehouse their goods so efficiently that Cupples and his partners essentially tied up the distribution in the city of St. Louis.

Cupples’ house was designed by Thomas Annan. Construction began in 1888, and the house was ready for the family by 1890. There are 42 rooms in Cupples House and 22 fireplaces. Entertainments and galas, though no dancing, were held in the formal rooms of the first floor while the second and third floors were reserved for the family. In 1904, a conservatory was added to the rear of the house. As a strict Methodist, Cupples did not approve of dancing. The Samuel Cupples House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

By 1900 Cupples’ business holdings included Samuel Cupples Envelope Company which held the official license to sell postcards at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, also known as the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. Postcards from the company were designated as Official Souvenir World’s Fair Saint Louis 1904. Some were hold-to-the-light postcards, popular because the image on them changed once they were held up to the light.

Cupples, his daughter, and his granddaughters were aboard the RMS Republic when it was lost at sea in a collision with an Italian ship off the Nantucket coast Known as the Millionaires’ Ship because of the number of wealthy Americans who travelled by her, Republic was described as a palatial liner and was the flagship of White Star Line’s Boston service. The ship was equipped with a new Marconi wireless telegraphy transmitter, and issued a CQD distress call, the predecessor of SOS, resulting in the saving of around 1,500 lives. This was the first important marine rescue made possible by radio, and brought worldwide attention to this new technology. The shipwreck aggravated Mr. Cupples’ asthma and left him with nervous prostration, both of which were said to contribute to his death from pneumonia and bronchitis.

The Cupples estate was valued at $1,575,129.29, not including his properties and their furnishings and artwork.

Source: St Louis University

This addressee: Captain John K. Cleary was a patrolman of the Morse Patrol.
Henry Nicholson Morse (1835 to 1912), bloodhound of the far west,” was an Old West lawman. Elected on 2 September 1863, he served from 1864 to 1878, as the sheriff of Alameda County, California. He was a Republican. From 1878 until his death in 1912, Morse ran the Harry N. Morse Detective Agency, a detective and patrol agency. Here he carried out a variety of police operations from hiring out night patrolmen to exposing corrupt state and federal politicians, to taking into custody Charles Boles, otherwise known as Black Bart, the Poet Highwayman. With his determination and ability in investigating crime, Morse can be compared to other California detectives who left a legacy of law and order there. Morse’s continued as an independent agency until 1972.

Cleary, a Captain of the Morse Patrol, was the son of civil war veteran whose gold war medal featured in a court case reported in the San Franciscan Call on 2 July 1909. Alice Wardner claimed she had pawned her diamonds to put in $350 to purchase of furniture for a house in respect of which she and Cleary’s wife were in association in the apartment house business. Wardner had been ejected from the house, Cleary having her arrested on a charge of embezzling $2. Mr and Mrs Cleary denied that Mrs. Wardner had any interest in:the house.

As America grew, gambling spread and diversified. Lotteries continued to be used at the state and federal level, and privately owned gambling businesses slowly developed in various communities. The lower Mississippi River valley became a hotbed of gambling activity, and New Orleans became the nation’s leading gambling centre. However, a backlash against gambling began to gain momentum in the mid-19th century, pushing gaming from the Mississippi River west into younger, less well regulated territories. The California Gold Rush caused San Francisco to become a popular gambling city, even as New Orleans began its gaming decline. Post-Civil War reconstruction efforts saw the brief return of lotteries and other forms of gaming as a means of generating revenues, but by the beginning of the 20th century it was once again almost uniformly outlawed throughout the United States. Pooling is a method of gambling in which all money bet on the result of a particular event by a number of people is awarded to one or more winners according to conditions established in advance.

The San Francisco Call of 28 June 1907 featured a picture of Cleary illustrating a bizarre story from Sausalito, 4 miles north of San Francisco in Marin County, California:

State law was pitted against city ordinance, sheriff struggled against city marshal and town trustee disputed the authority of district attorney in the Sausalito poolroom fight today. The effort to close the poolrooms has served so far only to complicate the already entangled situation. When the smoke of battle had cleared away with the voluntary closing of the gambling house doors at 5 o’clock both poolroom advocates and poolroom fighters were so badly involved that neither side knew where it stood.
“You’re under arrest,” said Constable Louis Devoto this morning, laying his hand on the shoulder of City Marshal John Hannon and at the same time producing a warrant charging Hannon with having assisted in the escape of a prisoner. “So are you.” replied Hannon, likewise placing his free arm on Devoto’s shoulder and drawing a warrant from his inner coat pocket- There they stood in Sausalito’s main thoroughfare, with more than half the city’s population looking on, each with the other in his custody, and each” waiting for the other to make the first move. Town Trustee L.C Pistolesi was with Hannon at the time and was also arrested by Devoto on the charge of assisting a prisoner to escape. Pistolesi solved the problem by suggesting that the trio repair to the courtroom of Justice of the Peace Renner and allow that magistrate to put them aright.

TARRY TO FIGHT FIRE Justice Renner read a charge of the making of a false .arrest against Devoto. released him on his own recognizance and ordered him to appear at 4 o’clock today to plead. Devoto then started on his way to San Rafael with Pistolesi and Hannon. where they were to have been arraigned before Justice McGee, an arrest by the sheriff or constable coming under the jurisdiction of McGee’s court. Just at this time an alarm of fire was turned in, and. Pistolesi’s house being one of those threatened. Devoto. Hannon and the town trustee returned to fight the flames.

Meanwhile the fight in and around the poolrooms of Harvey and Daroux was being waged quietly but effectively by Sheriff W. P. Taylor and District Attorney Thomas B. Boyd. Assisted by a squad of 12 Morse patrolmen, sworn in as deputy constables under the leadership of Captain “Jack” Cleary, the leaders of the antipoolroom fight patrolled in and out of the gambling places and warned frequenters from entering and depositing bets. This method proved moderately successful, only about one-tenth of the usual number of bets being made on the day’s eastern races.
Only once during the day did the proceedings approach violence. Soon after the first race at Latonia had been posted on the boards in Daroux’s place a number of betters who had left the room attempted to re-enter and were blocked by three or four of the men under Captain Cleary. “Come in,” shouted Daroux from his box office on the inside. “Stay out,” called District Attorney Boyd, who was standing nearby. One or two of the bolder patrons of the house attempted to brush past the officers and one of them was ejected by Deputy S. M. Miller. Daroux rushed to the doorway and angrily thrust Miller outside. Daroux’s followers crowded around him, Miller quietly re-entered and further trouble was averted by an apology from Daroux.
The arrest of 17 men who were seen by the sheriffs forces to place bets was not attended by especial incident, all 17 quietly submitting to be led to the Justice’s court, where they were released on $10 cash bail each.
No cessation of hostilities appeared to be in sight tonight when the contending forces withdrew, each promising to renew the fight with the opening of the poolrooms tomorrow. “We have taken up the fight,” said District Attorney Boyd, “and we intend to fight it out. So far all developments have been in our favor. The decent element of Sausalito wants the poolrooms driven out and as they are operated in direct violation of the law we will run them out. No action on the part of the town trustee who has so interested himself in this affair or on the part of any of his satellites will interfere with us in the least. The poolrooms must go.” On the other hand, the poolroom advocates are equally firm. They accuse the district attorney and his men of acting with selfish motives and say that they will have recourse to civil law. Pistolesi said tonight that he would cause the arrest of the men on the sheriff’s force should they attempt to make arrests tomorrow. They would, he said, be charged with exceeding their authority.

Kingston Daily Freeman, Volume XXXVII, Number 61, 30 December 1907

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s