Name: Ebenezer Pemberton Cady

Formal Name: Ebenezer Pemberton Cady

First Date: 1812; Last Date: 1819

Function: Publisher, Bookseller

Locales: Fredericksburg


Connecticut native who partnered with Timothy Green (194) to publish the Virginia Herald (1812-15), and with William Fairfax Gray (192) to sell books in Fredericksburg (1815-19).


Publisher & Bookseller Fredericksburg Connecticut native who partnered with Timothy Green (194) to publish the Virginia Herald (1812-15), and with William Fairfax Gray (192) to sell books in Fredericksburg (1815-19). Cady was trained in the extended network of the Green family of early American printers, but where exactly is uncertain. The son and grandson of Revolutionary-era heroes, he hailed from Norwich, Connecticut, some 16 miles north of New London where Timothy Green III operated a press – called such to differentiate him from his father (Timothy II) and great uncle (Timothy I), all printers – so he was likely trained there rather than at the office of Timothy III's older brother Samuel in New Haven. That supposition is supported by Cady's purchase of New London's Connecticut Gazette in 1805; that paper was started as the New London Gazette in 1767 by Timothy III; he brought his second son, Samuel (named for his uncle), into the business in 1789, and so it was Samuel who transferred the family's journal to Cady and Nathaniel Eells, the first outsiders to own the paper. Cady kept the paper until May 1808, despite Eells leaving their partnership a year before; then he sold it back to Samuel Green. Financial considerations likely drove both transfers, with Samuel finally settling his father's estate in 1805, and Cady settling his debts in 1808; such an inference is supported by Cady's subsequent employment by Samuel Green as his bookseller through 1811, as evinced by the birth of his first two children in New London. That loyalty kept Cady in the Green network for the rest of his print-trade career. In August 1811, Cady relocated to Fredericksburg to become a partner to Timothy Green IV, son of Timothy III and older brother of Samuel. This Green had lived in this Rappahannock River port since 1786; he too had trained in his father's New London office, but left in 1781 to join his maternal uncle, Judah Spooner, in publishing a weekly in Westminster, Vermont; with that experience in hand, Timothy IV moved on to Fredericksburg to start the Virginia Herald, perhaps Virginia's most-recognized Federalist journal. By 1811, he had served more than two decades at the paper's helm; now the forty-six-year-old owner looked to lighten his load, and where better to find aid but from his family's New London office. On January 1, 1812, the Virginia Herald became a production of the firm of Green & Cady, with the younger Cady carrying on the bulk of the work. His daughter Mary later remembered that as Cady was "a strong Federalist," his tenure with Green was sufficiently controversial that he was compelled to sleep in the Herald office "with his pistols by his side, often being threatened with tar and feathers." That situation evidently kept Cady's wife and children in Connecticut until late fall of 1814, once his reputation had been redeemed by service in a volunteer militia unit assembled after the burning of Washington that summer. This ownership change was the first in a series of partnerships that Green established with younger tradesmen over the next decade, apparently in search of a viable successor to his diverse business. The process yielded three prospects: Cady; William Fairfax Gray, a brother of two Alexandria booksellers; and James D. Harrow (204), the son of a respected local schoolmaster. Cady obviously had the inside track, coming south with trusted credentials, then steering the Herald profitably through the travails accompanying the War of 1812. But after the war, he turned away from journalism to return to bookselling, evidently his greater interest; in July 1815, Cady formed a partnership with Gray, who was managing Green's attendant bookstore. Gray (and perhaps Cady) retained some connection with the Herald, as it was issued by the firm of Green & Co. over the next two years. But in July 1817, Green set Gray (and Cady) aside, introducing Harrow into the succession mix. The aging proprietor had trained his new partner in his Fredericksburg office and was now inclined to favor his succession. But that plan was shelved temporarily in January 1819 when Green turned his business over to Gray and retired; evidently Harrow did not then have the wherewithal to buy out his master; but Gray did and held the paper for a year until Harrow could purchase it in January 1820. Gray returned to bookselling, before he turned to the law in 1834, going on to Texas in 1835, where he gained fame as chronicler of the independence movement. Cady, meanwhile, revamped his small bookselling business into a larger one specializing in agricultural produce, bringing his cousin, L. L. Sturges, to Fredericksburg to assist him; the firm of Sturges, Cady & Co. continued successfully there for five more years; then both men determined to take their profits and return north in 1822. Cady bought a large farm in Plainfield, Connecticut, his parents' hometown, while investing in a nephew's mercantile business in New York City. He was still actively involved in both when he died in Plainfield in February 1828. Nearly a month later, Harrow tersely reported Cady's passing in his Virginia Herald without comment. The obituaries in Connecticut newspapers were more flattering, recording that Cady was man of virtue who had died in his sleep; yet none mentioned his decade in Virginia, focusing instead on his early days in New London with the Greens. Personal Data Born: Nov. 30 1783 Norwich, New London County, Connecticut Married: Mar. 18 1806 Elizabeth Smith @ New London, Connecticut Died: Feb. 26 1828 Plainfield, Windham County, Connecticut Children: Mary Pemberton (b. 1806), Elizabeth (b. 1811), Frances Joanna (1816-17), John Luther (b. 1819), Olivia (b. 1821). Sources: Imprints; Brigham; Watkins. Pemberton Family; Cady-Sturges, Reminiscences of a Long Life; Quenzel, Checklist for Fredericksburg; Quinn, Fredericksburg, Kiessel, "Green Family of Printers;" notices in Virginia Herald (1812-28); obituaries in Hartford Courant and New London Gazette (both 19 March 1828).

Ebenezer Pemberton Cady is associated with 4 other people.

Ebenezer Pemberton Cady is associated with 1 newspaper variant.

Ebenezer Pemberton Cady is associated with 11 imprint records:

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