Alfred Ethridge was for many years known as one of the leading merchants of Rome. As the head of Alfred Ethridge
& Company he gave proof of business ability of an unusual order and established the wholesale house which ranks
with the best in the state. He was of English descent and was born at Little Falls, New York, July 29, 1817. His
father, James Ethridge, engaged in hat manufacturing at Little Falls, but later devoted his attention to farming
in the town of Herkimer. Finally, however, he returned to the business which he had followed in his early manhood.
He died in 1865.
At the age of nine years Alfred Ethridge left home and took up his residence upon a farm where he spent four years.
He then became a clerk for Root Berry & Company, contractors for the enlargement of the Erie canal at Frankfort,
where they ran a store for supplying their men, and was soon made manager for them. After remaining with them a
few years he established a business of his own under the name of Northrup & Ethridge. In 1844 they moved their
stock to Rome and opened a store on the east side of James street, just south of Canal. The establishment was destroyed
by fire in January, 1856, and the partnership was dissolved. Soon afterwards Mr. Ethridge opened a store on his
own account at the corner of Dominick and James streets and continued at this location until 1865 when he erected
the Ethridge block at the corner of Dominick and South Washington streets into which he moved his store. After
several years Ackley P. Tuller became a partner and the title of the firm was changed to A. Ethridge & Company,
Erwin C. Carpenter being also admitted as a member. In 1875 the eldest son of Mr. Ethridge, Franklin A. Ethridge,
was given an interest and subsequently the title of the firm was changed to Ethridge, Tuller & Company. Messrs.
Tuller and Carpenter retired January 1, 1879, and the firm was reorganized under the name of Alfred Ethridge &
Company, consisting of Mr. Ethridge and his son. Two years later another son, James M. Ethridge, was admitted to
partnership but the title of the firm has remained unchanged. The company originally engaged in handling general
merchandise at wholesale and retail.
About 1875 the retail end of the business was discontinued and from that time it was exclusively wholesale. In
1898 the firm moved from the Ethridge block to the corner of James and Front streets, the original spot, where
he had his first store in Rome. This store is one of the finest in the state and has about two acres of floor space.
The territory of the house's activities extend over New York and into adjoining states and their trade increases
steadily. Mr. Ethridge was one of the founders and a director of the Merchants Iron Mill and was at various times
interested in many other corporations. He possessed exceptionally good business judgment, made friends wherever
he was known and accumulated a competency.
On November 5, 1851, he was married to Miss Abby Murdock House, a daughter of Leonard House, who was a son of Eleazer
and Abigail (Moseley) House, and four children were born to this union, three of whom are now living, Franklin
Alfred, James Murdock and. George. Mr. House, the father of Mrs. Ethridge, was born in Glastonbury, Connecticut,
August 24, 1787, and died December 23, 1879, at Houseville, Connecticut, a town named in honor of the family. The
mother of Mrs. Ethridge was before her marriage Louisa Murdock. She was a member of one of the old New England
Mr. Ethridge died September 11, 1899, having arrived at the advanced age of eighty two years. In politics he was
an old line whig and after the organization of the republican party became an earnest supporter of its principles.
He took an active part in local affairs and was a member of the board of supervisors, always evincing a lively
interest in the advancement of Rome. He led a busy and useful life and being a man of resourcefulness and large
practical knowledge of affairs, he was a leader in the community. Mrs. Ethridge still makes her home in this city
where she has long been known and is beloved and respected by all.
History of Oneida County, New York
From 1700 to the present time
of some of its prominent men and pioneers.
By: Henry J. Cookinham
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Oneida County, NY
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