remembered. He was interested in his studies, and enjoyed the privileges of the schools in Keene, so far as they were open to the children of the town. The question of an employment coming up for decision, it was determined by his friends that the lad should go to Boston and enter the shop of his eldest brother, John David, as an apprentice to the art of whip making. At that time no machinery was employed in the business, and the apprentice was taught every part of the craft.
Before the termination of his apprenticeship, his brother John David, was removed by death and an opportunity was presented of taking the stock and tools and carrying on the business. He was ambitious and his early experiences had made him self-reliant and courageous. The opening was promising, but he had neither money nor credit. In this exigency a partnership was formed with Mr. Samuel B. Melendy, who had some knowledge of the craft. With the beginning of the year 1821, the firm of Melendy and David raised a sign in Dock Square. The young men were willing to labor and they determined by industry and economy to win success. For a time the room, which they hired, served a two-fold use as they worked and slept in the same apartment. They lived cheaply and the work benches were cleared at night to furnish a place whereon to rest. Having no one to endorse a note for the firm in Boston, they had recourse to Mr. William Melendy, who had recently retired from business in the city and returned to Amherst, New Hampshire. By the most direct route, the distance from Boston must have been over forty-five miles, but Mr. Melendy, starting in the early morning on foot, reached his destination at night, and securing the signature of his brother returned the next day.
Such pluck insured success. The business became profitable, the firm had a reputation for promptitude, and were soon able to command capital. Retaining the store in Dock Square as a salesroom, the young men adopted a more comfortable style of living. They were unlike in their tastes and temperaments, the staid, cautious and steadfast conservatism of the older partner, making an admirable combination with the enterprising and hopeful spirit of the younger. Mr. David was sagacious and ready to employ every advantage that would enlarge the manufacture, or perfect the workmanship, or promote the sale of whips; while his associate had a practical oversight of the shop and materials which prevented any waste. The demand for their goods increased rapidly, and with a view to larger facilities for the manufacture, and diminished expenses, Mr. Melendy came to Amherst and commenced work in the Manning Shop, so called, about a mile south of the village, and a larger number of hands were employed. In the course of three years, a salesman was placed in Boston, an agency started in New York, and the business of manufacturing wholly transfered to this town. There was an element of romance leavening these various transactions, as in December on the twenty-second, 1825, Mr. Melendy was married to Miss Eveline Boutelle of Amherst, and on the twenty-fifth of the same month, Mr. David was married to Elizabeth Welch Melendy, a sister of his partner. These were fortunate marriages. The parties were not only happy in each other, but what is worthy special notice, a few years later in 1831, very eligible houses were bought, one for each family, at joint expense, which were occupied without interruption till both couples had commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of their marriage. During all this period, the property was held in common, and the expenses of each family, however enlarged, were paid from the common fund.
In 1830, stimulated by a desire to perfect his knowledge of the business and secure any improvements in methods or machinery to be found in England, Mr. David sailed for Liverpool.
As might be anticipated, in subordination to this main interest Mr. David sought to enlarge his knowledge of English men and English institutions. He became familiar with their commercial habits, visiting public buildings and places of historical importance, so that fifty years afterwards he could speak of parks, streets, and sections of the city of London in which any recent event occured as if he had been an eye witness. He was present at the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway when Lord Huskinson was killed, being crushed by the wheels of the locomotive. At this time he saw the Duke of Wellington, with other distinguished men, members of Parliament, and nobility. On his return to America, he brought a machine for winding whip-stocks, the first ever used in this country. The machine was subsequently duplicated, and proved a valuable accession to the trade. He also introduced some new materials, and enlarged the variety of fashions. In other respects the manufacture was unchanged. The prosperity of the firm had no serious checks; they had agencies for the sale of goods in Boston, New York, New Orleans, and large orders came from other cities. They bought materials for cash, so that when the commercial crash of 1837 carried disaster to multitudes, they survived. "We did not fail," said Mr. David, "for we owed no one anything, but we lost nearly all we had by the failure of others." The result of this experiment was a contraction of the system of credits and selling goods for cash or by guaranteed commissions.
For many years, the manufacture of whips was the most important business in Amherst. It gave employment to several persons and furnished the means of support to ten or twelve families. The purchases of ivory, whalebone, and other raw material, were usually made from first hands and in such quantities as often gave the firm control of the market; while in the style and workmanship of their handmade whips, they had few competitors.
With the enlargement of their resources, Messrs. Melendy & David became interested in other enterprises. They held real estate and buildings. They bought shares in the railways which were finding their location in New Hampshire. Mr. David belonged to the Board of Directors that laid out and constructed the Northern Railroad. Subsequently this property was sold, and with the proceeds they joined in new undertakings at the West, which subjected the firm to very serious losses. The business was entrusted to others, and unforeseen difficulties arose, attended by material disasters, which no precaution will certainly avert; and failing in the support which was supposed sure, defeat ensued. But these reverses were not without their uses, as subsequent events clearly demonstrated. Accepting the conditions, which were most disheartening, Mr. David and his partner addressed themselves to the work of securing their creditors and restoring their fortunes. It was a long and weary struggle, demanding persistent application, economy, and careful management. They were subjected to painful imputations and occasional rebuffs, but they also found sympathy, and at the end of nine years, in which they sought no relief from the usual claims of social and religious obligations, every debt was discharged and their real estate freed from all incumbrance. The example was most commendable, illustrating the sterling virtue and high determination of the men in circumstances where weak minds would have faltered, and unconscientious persons would have evaded payment.
Going back in this history to the period of their increasing business, we shall find that a strong religious element controlled the lives of both of these men. In the years from 1830 to 1836, which were so memorable in large accessions to the Churches of New Hampshire, the power of the gospel was manifested in Amherst, and these men with many others were persuaded to act upon their religious convictions and avow their faith in Christ. Mr. Melendy united with the Congregational Church in 1832, and Mr. David and several of his workmen followed the example in 1835; the character of all these men for integrity and