The DeGarmo and Smith Men of
Luckey, Platt & Co., Poughkeepsie, NY
by by Steven Mann
Smith Lawrence DeGarmo was born on October 10, 1842, at Highland,
Ulster County on what was the DeGarmo family farm. He moved with his
parents to Dutchess County while nine years of age. He was educated at
the New Paltz Academy and later a private school kept by Rev. Sherman
Hoyt, Presbyterian minister, at Dutchess County.
In November 1868, he came to work as a clerk in the furnishing goods
store of a maternal relative, Thomas A. Lawrence. In spring 1869, he
entered the firm of William H. Broas selling dry goods.
In 1870, Smith DeGarmo accepted the position of salesman at the store
of Luckey & Platt, which was formed in 1869 from the firm of Luckey,
Vail & Mandeville. He was admitted to the firm in 1872, and died on
April 30, 1915. He was one of the three original members of the firm
with Mr. C. P. Luckey and Mr. E. P. Platt, that was to be known as
Luckey, Platt & Co. Mr. DeGarmo is buried at Poughkeepsie Rural
Cemetery as is his nephew, William DeGarmo Smith.
Mr. DeGarmo came from a long line of French Huguenots. His family
settled in Ulster County in the rural farming community of Butterville.
What is left of Butterville is located just down the old road from
Mohonk Mountain House, outside of New Paltz. His grandmother, Hannah
(Sutton) DeGarmo, widow of Rowland DeGarmo, is buried in the old Quaker
Cemetery on the east side of that road, right at the hairpin curve. She
may not be the only DeGarmo buried there, however many of the earlier
buried Quakers did not have gravestones as gravestones were seen as
vanity by many Quakers until the 1840s. The old Quaker meeting house was
moved further down that road and still stands, in front of a neighboring
c 1870 farm house. The Butterville Preparative Meeting was run as a
mission of the (New) Paltz Preparative Meeting from 1894 until 1900.
Remaining Quakers went to services either at Mohonk or at Poughkeepsie.
He is descended from Thomas Lawrence, a Quaker preacher, and Captain
Jonathan Lawrence, a captain in the Revolutionary War buried at Esopus
in a private family burial ground.
Others members of the DeGarmo family are buried at the Friends of
Progress Cemetery hidden on the west side of Route 9W, just north of the
Ship's Lantern Inn Restaurant. The next generation of ancestors is
buried at the Crum Elbow Friends Burial Ground on Quaker Lane in Hyde
Park. This being the case as much of the DeGarmo family moved from
Ulster County to central Dutchess County. Over a dozen of that and the
next generation are buried in several different plots at Wiltwyck
Cemetery in Kingston.
William DeGarmo Smith was president and general manager of Luckey,
Platt & Co., Poughkeepsie, NY. He was brought into the business by
his uncle, Smith Lawrence DeGarmo, mentioned above. He entered service
to the firm on November 6, 1901, and became secretary and treasurer of
the same firm on February 19, 1912.
He quickly advanced to the position of vice-president on January 26,
1914, and became president and general manager on June 5, 1915, shortly
after the death of his uncle Smith DeGarmo. Although from Quaker stock,
Smith was associated with Christ Church (Episcopal) in Poughkeepsie.