David Hunter McAlpin

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David Hunter McAlpin
David Hunter McAlpin.JPG
David Hunter McAlpin portrait (oil on canvas) circa 1890
Born 6 November 1816
Pleasant Valley, Dutchess County New York
Died 8 February 1901
New York, NY
Cause of death Stroke
Employer D.H. McAlpin & Co
Known for Owner and CEO of D.H. McAlpin & Co a large tobacco manufacturer in New York City
Home town New York, NY
Title Proprietor
Board member of

D.H. McAlpin & Co
Eleventh Ward Bank
German-American Real Estate Title and Guarantee Co
Home Insurance Company
Manhattan Life Insurance Co
National Bank of the Republic
Standard Gas Light Co

Union Trust Co
Spouse(s) Adelaide Rose McAlpin
Mrs A.D. Chamberlain

General Edward Augustus McAlpin
Dr. David Hunter McAlpin
George L McAlpin
Charles W McAlpin
William W McAlpin

Mrs James Tolman Pyle
Parent(s) James & Jane Hunter McAlpin

David Hunter McAlpin (1816–1901) was a prominent industrialist and real estate owner in New York City. He owned the D.H. McAlpin Tobacco Company. Among his children was a Civil War General and a prominent physician.

Early life[edit]

David Hunter McAlpin was born on 6 November 1816 in Pleasant Valley, New York to James and Jane Hunter McAlpin. His father had immigrated from Ireland in 1811, only five years before his birth[1] after participating in the Irish Rebellion of 1798.[2] In 1836 McAlpin moved to New York City where he opened a tobacco store at 84 Catherine Street in partnership with William H. Hughes. Over the next few years they opened additional stores in the city and the partnership dissolved in 1839 after which McAlpin continued the business alone.[3]

D.H. McAlpin & Co. Tobacco Company[edit]

In 1857 McAlpin became a partner in the firm of John Cornish & Co., tobacco manufacturers. In 1860 he bought out his partner upon his retirement taking sole control of the company and renamed it D.H. McAlpin & Co. His company was the first to introduce Virginia tobacco to the New York market branding it Virgin Leaf which contributed to the firm's growth.[4] In 1868 as the firm grew, McAlpin bought two entire blocks and built a large manufacturing facility at 150 Ave D (and 10th street) in Manhattan. After McAlpin's death, the D.H. McAlpin & Co was sold on 23 November 1901 to Consolidated Tobacco Co.[5] for a reported price of $2,500,000.[6]


At the time of his death, McAlpin was a director of:

Union Theological Seminary[edit]

McAlpin sat on the board of the Union Theological Seminary in New York City from 1872 to his death in 1901, and provided generously for the provision of the Seminary. He endowed a chair in theology, known as the "Skinner and McAlpin" Chair, with $25,000, along with an additional $55,000 from others. In 1884[7] he donated a multi-thousand volume collection to the seminary's library known as the "McAlpin Collection"[8]

McAlpin erected a church, the Olivet Chapel, on Second Street, Manhattan in memory of his son, Joseph Rose McAlpin.[9]


McAlpin was married three times.[4] His first wife was Adelaide Rose, daughter of Joseph Rose Jr., whom he married in 1846. The ceremony was held at the Market Street Church, which eventually became the Church of Sea and Land. Adelaide died in 1870. His second wife was Mrs A.D. Chamberlain (Adelia) whom he married in 1873 and who died in 1891. McAlpin's third wife, whom he married in 1892, and his third wife was Adelaide's sister, Cordelia (Rose) Shackelton, widow of Dr. Judson G. Shackelton.

Real estate interests[edit]

McAlpin accumulated several pieces of real estate in Manhattan and the surrounding area. According to the New York Times, he owned the “block on the east side of Broadway between 33rd and 34th streets, and on the southern end of the Alpine apartment house which got its title from the family name. This title retained the final “e” of the family name, which Mr. McAlpin had for many years omitted.[1] It was on this parcel of land that McAlpin's son, General Edwin A. McAlpin built the world's largest hotel known as the Hotel McAlpin in 1912.

In 1848, McAlpin purchased 60 acres (24 ha) in Monmouth County, New Jersey, in what would become the Cliffwood section of Aberdeen Township.[10] This is indicated as his residence in several real estate transactions during the early to mid 1850s. On January 26, 1855 he sold, for $50.00, 0.5 acres (0.20 ha) of land to the Trustees of the Matavan School District No. 1. for school purposes.[11] This remains a part of the campus of the Cliffwood Elementary School. After 1855 it would appear that he returned to New York City, as that is recorded as his residence in subsequent real estate sales.

Additionally, he owned 1,500 acres (6.1 km2) of land with a summer home at Morristown, New Jersey, which he called Glen Alpine, where he spent time in the summer. He owned additional property in Morristown itself, including a parcel at the corner of Speedwell Ave and Park Place, and properties known as the Postoffice Block and the United States Hotel.[12]


McAlpin died at 4:00 pm on 8 February 1901 at his home at 40 West 48th Street in Manhattan of stroke. He had spent the day at the company's manufacturing facility followed by a board meeting of the Eleventh Ward Bank, of which he was a director. His son, General Edwin Augustus McAlpin detected that he was feeling ill and moved him to his home where he was attend by another son, Dr. David Hunter McAlpin. Unable to restore McAlpin to consciousness, the family was called and was at his bedside at the time of his death. Funeral services were held at Brick Presbyterian Church[13] in New York and he was interred in Greenwood Cemetery.


McAlpin had ten children, all by his first wife Adelaide, six of whom survived him:

  • General Edward Augustus McAlpin, later Adjutant General of New York
  • Dr. David Hunter McAlpin, Princeton graduate and noted physician, who married Emma Rockefeller
  • George L McAlpin, graduate of Yale
  • Charles W McAlpin, graduated of Princeton
  • William W McAlpin
  • Frances Adelaide McAlpin who married James Tolman Pyle

Additionally he had two step-daughters:

  • Frances Knox
  • Adelaide McAlpin Stiles


  1. ^ a b Robertson, Campbell; Lipton, Eric (9 February 1901). "David H. McAlpin Dead". New York Times. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  2. ^ Young, James (1896). The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. New York: James T. White & Co. p. 298. 
  3. ^ Reynolds, Cuyler (1914). Genealogical and Family History of Southern New York. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company. p. 216. Retrieved 20 May 2009. 
  4. ^ a b Young, James (1896). The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. New York: James T. White & Co. p. 298. 
  5. ^ Moody, John (1904). The Truth About the Trusts. New York: Moody Publishing Company. p. 88. 
  6. ^ "Tobacco Trust Gets D.H. M'Alpin & Co". New York Times. 22 November 1901. Retrieved 7 January 2009. 
  7. ^ Prentiss, George Lewis (1899). The Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York: Its Design and Another Decade of Its History. With a Sketch of the Life and Public Services of Charles Butler, LL.D. New Jersey: M. W. & C Pennypacker. pp. 55, 75. 
  8. ^ Prentiss, George Lewis (1889). The Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York: Historical and Biographical Sketches of Its First Fifty Years. New York: Anson D.F. Randolph. pp. 55, 75. 
  9. ^ Reynolds p. 1217
  10. ^ Monmouth County Deed Book L5, page 91
  11. ^ Monmouth County Deed Book M6, page 242
  12. ^ Reynolds p 1217
  13. ^ "Webpage of Brick Presbyterian Church". Retrieved 2008-06-07. [dead link]