MAJOR GENERAL BENJAMIN F. BUTLER - STOCK CERTIFICATE SIGNED 11/23/1891 CO-SIGNED BY: JAMES WILLIAM HYATT, C. A. NORTON, G. W. KEMPERLY - HFSID 32179
Sale Price $807.50
BENJAMIN F. BUTLER
He signs as President of the Georgia-Alabama Investment and Development Company, a massive swindle! By the time these shares of stock were transferred in the following year, the company was bankrupt. Also signed by corporate officers C. A. Norton, who emerged unscathed to become the court-ordered receiver; and James W. Hyatt, a former US Treasurer who died penniless because of this venture.
Stock Certificate signed: "Benjamin F. Butler" as President, "James W. Hyatt" as Treasurer, "E. A. Norton" as Assistant Secretary, 8¼x11. Tallapoosa, Georgia, 1981 November 23. Certificate No. 9103 for ten shares of capital stock in the Georgia-Alabama Investment and Development Company, issued to G. W. Kemperly. (On verso Kemperly has transferred ownership of the shares to Albert S. Heritage on July 23, 1892.) This company was a massive fraud perpetrated on investors by Benjamin Butler and others, based on misrepresentation of properties in the boomtown of Tallapoosa, Georgia. The scam was blatant. The Company took a bird's eye map of Brockton, Massachusetts, and relabeled it as Tallapoosa. There was some genuine development in Tallapoosa, including vineyards established by 200 Slovakian immigrants, but over 15,000 investors, mostly northerners, lost their capital in the venture. (The vineyards prospered until Georgia imposed Prohibition in 1907.) A well-known lawyer and political leader and a Brigadier General of the Massachusetts militia, BENJAMIN F. BUTLER (1818-1893) entered the Civil War in a dramatic way. Leading the 8th Massachusetts, he broke the blockade of Washington five days after the bombardment of Ft. Sumter. President Abraham Lincoln rewarded him with an appointment as the first volunteer Major General. Butler was appointed Military Governor of New Orleans in May of 1862, but he served only until December, earning the sobriquet "Beast Butler" from angry Southerners. He returned to combat duty with command of the Army of the James in 1863. He proved inept against General P.G.T. Beauregard at the Battle at Bermuda Hundred (May 16, 1864), and Grant sent him to New York. Butler resigned his commission in January of 1865. He was a member of the House of Representatives (1867-1875, 1877-1879), where he played a prominent part in the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson. He changed political parties several times, and was elected Massachusetts' Democratic Governor (1882-1884). In 1884, Butler, who advocated an eight-hour workday, ran unsuccessfully for president on an anti-monopoly platform. JAMES W. HYATT (1837-1893), a Civil War veteran and Connecticut state legislator, was the majority shareholder of the Norwalk Horse Railway Company from 1873 until his death. He served as Connecticut's Bank Commissioner, US Bank Commissioner for Connecticut and Rhode Island, and United States Treasurer (1887-1889). Adroitly switching political parties like Butler, he was appointed to his federal posts by President Cleveland. To the surprise of every one in his home town, he died very poor, his investment in Tallapoosa no doubt a contributing factor. C. A. NORTON, who had moved to the town, was apparently not guilty of wrongdoing. A Georgia court appointed him as receiver of the bankrupt Company at the end of 1891, a mere month after these shares were issues. Multiple mailing folds. Lightly toned at folds. Lightly worn at edges and corners.
Otherwise, fine condition.
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