Select Ives Miscellany

Here are some Ives stories and accounts over the years:

Ives in England

The following was the distribution of the Ives name in the 1891 census.


The Ives at Belton Church in Suffolk

There are several inscriptions to the family of Ives in Belton church, including:

  • John Ives, of Great Yarmouth, merchant, who died in 1758, aged 74
  • John Ives Esq., who died in 1793, aged 74
  • and Mary, his second wife, who died in 1790, aged 72.  
There is also a memorial to John Ives, Esq., Fellow of the Royal and Antiquarian Societies, and Suffolk Herald Extraordinary.  He was son of John Ives, Esq., who died in 1793, and was extensively known as the author of a work on the Roman Antiquities in the adjoining village of Burgh, entitled Remarks upon the Garianonum of the Romans - the Site and Remains Fixed and Described.  He also published three numbers of Select Papers relating to English Antiquities.

Jeremiah Ives of St. George's Tombland

At the beginning of his first mayoralty of Norwich in 1786, there were two ex-mayors of the name of Jeremiah Ives then living.  In documents they and he were distinguished thus: 

  • Jeremiah Ives the elder (mayor in 1756),
  • Jeremiah Ives of St. Clement’s (mayor in 1769),
  • and Jeremiah Ives of St. George’s Tombland (mayor in 1786 and again in 1801).  
In January 1802 he and Mrs. Ives gave an elegant ball to three hundred ladies and gentlemen in honor of the short-lived peace.  It was thus described in the Jerningham Letters: 

"The mayor's ball was very splendid as to numbers, the dancing very much crowded in the Tea Room and a cold supper with hot soups in the Great Room, three tables from top to bottom and above 50 people not sitting.  Mrs. Ives' dame d'honneur sat by her at supper, on the other side sat Miss Drake and by her that handsome fair Quaker Gurney from Earlham." 

Jeremiah Ives built Catton Hall as his home and he died there in 1820, aged sixty-six. There is a memorial to him in St. Margaret's Church, Old Catton.

William Ives of New Haven

There is no birth record for William Ives, but the best estimate has him born in Norfolk in 1607.  That would make him 28 when embarked for Boston on the Truelove in 1635, arriving there two years before Davenport and the main party of  New Haven settlers came on the Hector. 

In 1639 he was listed in the original New Haven Civil Compact as one of 63 signers of the Fundamental Agreement of Quinnipiac (now New Haven).  William and “Goodwife Ives” had nine children there.  He died in 1648.  The inventory at his death included: 

“His wearing clothes; one bed furniture to it; one trundle bed with bed & bolster; two cheats; one box; 3 pars of sheets; 2 pars pillow covers; 6 napkins; one board cloth; table; stools & chairs; old brass pot; iron pot; iron kettle; 2 skillets; 1 bake pan; a mortar and pestle; 1 skimmer; 2 ladles, warming pan; pewter; 2 candlesticks; wooden ware; one hower glass; 1 gridiron; 1 pair of bellows; 1 pot; hooks, pair of hangers; frying pan, fire shovel & tongs; cooking ware; musket and sword; bondoleers and sheaf; working tools etc; 2 wheels; 1 sheep and yews; the house home lot and all upland and meadow; 3 cows, 2 oxen, 2 horses, 3 swine."

Ives Toys

An obscure New Englander named Riley Ives launched into the metal stamping business in Plymouth with a small shop in the 1850’s.  By the time of the Civil War Ives was making buttons for the uniforms of federal troops.  At one point the shop in Plymouth began making what were eventually called hot air toys.  Basically the toys became animated with the steam provided by the family’s hot stove.  They also worked with any other source of hot air. 

However, the first really innovative product at the Ives operation was the clockwork operated toy locomotive developed by his son Edward.  Early in the 1870’s Ives production was moved to a larger facility in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  By 1874 the Ives firm had even perfected a moving clockwork locomotive train that whistled. 

Edward Ives later built some of the finest clockwork toys on the market.  In 1901, Ives made mechanical trains that ran on tracks.  The trains became very popular and by 1907 Ives opened a factory on Holland Street in the city’s West End.  The slogan of the company became “Ives Toys Make Happy Boys.”  This became the popular slogan found in all of their catalogues. 

However, the toys became less popular later on and Ives Toys filed for bankruptcy in 1929.

Henry Ives, from Hero to Zero

According to the New York Times in 1894: 

“Henry Ives’s career as a financier was rapid, brief and bewildering in its reckless daring.  Rising suddenly from obscurity to the ranks of the millionaires, he for a short time posed as one of Wall Street’s most noted men.  His audacity and nerve, aided by the temporary success of some of his railroad schemes, invested him for a while with a degree of importance that completely overshadowed the ordinary conservative capitalist of that day.  Experienced bank and railroad presidents were commonplace individuals as compared with this youngest of all ‘the Napoleons of Finance.’”  

During his time at the top, Ives was a liberal spender of money and enjoyed all the luxuries of a multi-millionaire, including a large mansion in Brooklyn and an $80,000 yacht. 

However, he overreached himself in his railroad stock acquisition schemes.  In early 1889 he was arrested and indicted on the criminal charge of the over-issuing of stock.  Ives was subsequently convicted and he served out his term in Sing Sing prison.  When he was released in the summer of 1893 he was but a shadow of his former self.

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