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.

 

 

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