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The Life of
Alfred Andrew Cohen

He was the father of A.H. Cohen and bought the furnishings for the Cohen Bray House.

Written by William Donald, husband of Barbara Donald, great-granddaughter of A.A. Cohen.


As far back as we have been able to trace, Alfred Andrew Cohen’s family came from Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

His great-great-grandfather Yehuda Cohen was born in Fuerth (Germany ?) in 1688. But moved to Amsterdam and died there in 1740. Yehuda married Sara Gompert in 1711. She was born in Amsterdam in 1696.

Their son, Moses Cohen, was born in Amsterdam in 1728 and died at Herne Hill, Camberwell, Surrey, England in August 24, 1830. Moses married Rachel Coenraad [born in 1732] in Amsterdam in 1756. They moved to Jamaica soon after this. They had five children. Their third son, Hyman, was born in 1761 in Jamaica B.W.I.. Their fourth son, Henry was born about 1762. (1)


We do not have a direct explanation as to why the family moved to Jamaica. However, many Sephardic (Spanish and Portuguese) Jews moved there during the Spanish Inquisition. Also many Sephardic Jews went to the Netherlands. The only remaining synagogue in Jamaica now is Shaare Shalom [Gates of Peace] a replica the great synagogue in Amsterdam, built by Spanish Jews.


(2) Our family may have met and joined some of those who later went to Jamaica. Hyman was referred to in the information from the Great Synagogue, London as a “Prominent London Ashkenazi” which implies that his family came from Germany and Holland. The Great Synagogue is the Ashkenazi synagogue, separate from the Sephardic Synagogue. The records get fuzzy here. We have one version which says that Henry married Hatty [or Kathy] Levy on November 7, 1763 and were Andrew’s parents and Alfred Andrew’s grandparents. But, according to information that Richard Lyman obtained from France and London, Hyman was A.A.’s grandfather. Brother Henry married Esther (? last name) on December 22, 1878 in Jamaica. They had 11 children all born in Jamaica. Henry’s will does not mention Andrew, A. A.’s father, or the children who are listed as Andrew’s siblings. Hyman married Zeporah Isaacs at the Great Synagogue, London in June 1796. They had 13 children, the first eight were born in Jamaica and the last five were born in London. Andrew, who was Alfred Andrew’s father was the second oldest., born on October 7, 1790 in Jamaica.


About 1800 Hyman and Zeporah moved to London. Hyman, with his brother Judah, continued to own plantations in Jamaica and a ship “Thalia” which sailed between London and Jamaica. They did business as ‘Hyman & Judah Cohen, Merchants.” In 1819 Hyman was appointed by the Great Synagogue London to “reform laws of the congregation and record in Hebrew and English”. In 1816 he was on a ‘committee of the Great Synagogue to record compulsory births, marriages and deaths. Andrew Cohen married Hannah Oppenheim December 15,1817 at the Great Synagogue. He was a ‘Wine and Beer Merchant” at 19 Fenchurch Street, London. They had 12 children. Alfred Andrew was the seventh, born July 17, 1829 in London.


Andrew had inherited coffee plantations in Jamaica but because of the Emancipation Act of 1833 freeing the slaves and because of the failure of the Bank of Scotland, he had severe financial losses. The family moved to the ancient Roman city of Exeter, near the Devonshire coast because of it ‘educational advantages.’ Alfred Andrew grew up and started school there. After seven years, at about the age of 12, he went to London and in the offices of a solicitor he began the study of law. He contributed to his own support by copying legal papers. Aware of his parents’ financial struggles and possibly wanting independence, he begged for permission to go to Canada. His father bought his a passage on a London packet bound for Canada and sent him off with 30 Pounds Sterling in his pocket and letters of introduction to two friends in government positions there. He arrive in Montreal just after his 14th birthday. The expected assistance did not appear, so he secured work as a clerk and errand boy, copied law papers and swept out the shop.


About 1847 he said to Kingston, Jamaica to join his older brother, Morris A. Cohen. Then he heard of the “discovery of pure gold in the sands of the Sacramento River in California.” In 1849, at age 20, he sailed to New York to take a ship to the Isthmus of Panama, crossed there and went on to California, arriving in 1850 in Sacramento. He founded a commission firm with his brother Morris. By 1852 he had moved to San Francisco where he established a brokerage business. He was an extremely successful businessman, importing, dealing in grain and farming among other things.


In 1854, on his birthday, he married Emilie Gibbons, the daughter of Henry Gibbons, a prominent physician and a founder of the California Medical Association.


On February 23, 1855 here was a financial panic in San Francisco. One of the large banking firms had run out of cash money and announced that they would not open the next day. As a result, another banking firm, Adams & Co., expecting so much of a run that they would not have enough coin, called A. A. Cohen and two other men to their offices in the early morning of February 24. They explained that they were going into receivership while they collected the coins they had sent out to buy gold dust and asked the three of them to act as receivers. Cohen resisted at first but finally agreed and within a few hours, the Honorable Judge Delos Lake had appointed him and the two others as receivers under a bond of $1,000,000. It was a wise move because, in a similar situation in Sonora depositors looted the offices of a company of $40,000 and anything else they could lay they hands on. The money and gold dust were moved out of Adams & Co.’s offices to the vault of Alsop & Co., private bankers. The expected run did occur at 10 a.m. that morning. The receivership lasted only two days. The assets of Adams & Co. were returned to the company. A character known as James King of William had been a highly paid employee of Adams & Co. and as a result of this maneuvering, he found himself out of a job. He circulated rumors about illegal practices by the firm and by Cohen. Cohen, of course, resented this and there was a physical encounter in which neither was hurt. Cohen then challenged King to a duel. King refused to accept the challenge. He had been passing himself off as a southern gentleman and his public refusal did not help his reputation. Cohen dropped the matter but King did not forget it. A.A. was discharged as receiver by Judge Lake and received permission from the Judge to travel to New York with his wife and son, William, (born in May 1855). While A.A. was gone from San Francisco, Judge Lake resigned and Hohn Hager was appointed in his place. Judge Hager revoked Cohen’s discharge and in a strange interpretation of the law, fired him and appointed another receiver. When Cohen returned from New York where he had left his wife and son, the new receiver, thanks to King’s influence, brought charges in Judge Hager’s court. Cohen and the other two receivers were slapped with a judgement against them for $269,000. A. A .’s wife and son were still on the East Coast and he did not want his wife and infant son to travel west alone, so he boarded a steamship for New York on January 5, 1856. Although he had plenty of property including valuable real estate so that no one would think he was running away, a sheriff’s deputy nabbed him, warrant in hand as soon as he boarded. He was put in jail and there was nothing his friends could do. The Supreme Court of California physically could not act. There were only three justices on the bench at that time. Justice Heydenfeldt was out of the state on a leave granted by the legislature, Justice Terry was in the custody of vigilantes who were trying to make up their minds to hang him for sticking a Bowie knife in a man’s neck and Justice Murray could not decide the matter by himself. While in jail, A.A. resumed his reading of law with great intensity. Justice Terry was finally released by the vigilantes and A.A. was promptly acquitted that summer. Thanks to his law studies while in jail, he was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of California in 1857, less that a year after his release. King, on the other hand, did not fare so well. He started and published a newspaper in a manner that resulted in his being gunned down by a rival publisher in May 1856. Back in 1854 just after their marriage, A. A. and Emilie had visited in Alameda where Dr. Gibbons owned considerable property. They strolled around the eastern end of the peninsula. The bride was very impressed by the climate and the beauty of the oak groves and said that thou would like to live there. To please her, Alfred inqueried at the County offices as to who owned the property and found that he did! He and his brother Morris had helped a man financially some time before and had received title to the 77 acres of property in payment. His brother had signed it over to him as his share. So in 1856, a house was built at Fernside and they moved in at the end of that year. In 1857 he was admitted to practice at the bar and later that year was appointed the first ‘supervisor judge” (Justice of the Peace?) in Alameda County. His legal offices were in Alameda County and on Montgomery Street in San Francisco. He also became a ‘gentleman farmer’ and in 1857 was awarded a diploma for best strawberry field which covered 10 acres. He also received a silver pitcher from the California State Agriculture Society for having the ‘Best Orchard of Forty Acres” on property he had acquired in San Joaquin County. During this period more children arrived, Alfred Henry in 1858, Edgar in 1859 and Mabel in 1861. His practice was in general law. In 1861 while he was waiting to try a case in the Third District Court of Alameda County, the Court appointed him to defend man who had been indicted for the crime of murder. The public was anxious to see the man convicted and the evidence appeared to all be going that way. Perhaps in order to influence the judge a little, Cohen said,” You Honor, There seems to be a misunderstanding. I thought that I was appointed to defend this man, not to assist in his execution.” The case went to the Supreme Court and Cohen defended there. One of the Justices remarked to him that he seemed to take considerable interest in the case and Cohen replied, “Your Honor, my clients are not so numerous that I can afford to have one of them hanged.” In 1862, while the Civil War was going on in the East, he reduced his law practice and became involved in other public business such as building wharves and railroads. That year Cohen build a wharf at the north end of Grand Street. In March 1863, with six others, he formed a corporation to build and operate a railroad and ferry system from San Francisco to Niles. At that time Alameda was not an island. It was a peninsula with the Northeast end connected to Oakland about where the Fruitvale Avenue Bridge is now. The Northern half of the peninsula that is now Alameda, was wetlands. That part of the San Francisco Bay Estuary between Oakland and Alameda was called “Oakland Harbor.” It was not until 1902 that the land connecting the two was cut through by the “Tidal Canal” and Alameda became and island. The Army Corps of Engineers made the cut from Oakland Harbor just west of where Sausal Creek ends through A. A. Cohen’s Fernside property on the north side, where it adjoins the property of P. Sather ( of Sather Gate at UC Berkeley) to San Leandro Bay where San Leandro Creek ends. The railroad, which A. A. had sold to the Central Pacific was eliminated,. The Oakland Estuary was thus created. 1. Richard Lyman, Barbara Cohen Donald’s second cousin and also a great grandchild of A.A. Cohen, has done a lot of research regarding the family history. He has found much information at the Great Synagogue in London and received more from a genealogy researcher in France who had access to Jamaican and London records. Some information comes from family records and memories and from court records and newspaper and other sources published during A.A’a lifetime. I have pieced together this account from those sources. 2. San Francisco Examiner Magazine, Sun. June 18,1995 3. America’s Successful Men of Affairs— The New York Tribune 1896 4. 4 Sidney S Morrill, The East Bay Magazine Nov 1966 5. 5 Alameda Times Stare June 14, 1976

"Statements of facts concerning the failure of the banking house of Adams and Company, and other historical matters in connection therewith: embracing bottom facts in the detail, as taken from the lips of Mr. A.A. Cohen, by George H. Morrison, who solicited the same in the interest of Mr. Hubert Howe Bancroft, Pacific States Historian, and for his use in the preparation of his History. 'It is somewhat difficult to state, with perfect accuracy, the details of matters which occurred nearly 33 years ago. Ordinarily there are some events in the life of a man which he cannot forget, and the matter of which I am about to speak is one of that character; but owing to the fact that about 4 years ago I had an attack of paralysis, from which I have not fully recovered, either in memory or in speech, I may be somewhat confused as to matters of detail and update. I find from papers in my possession, that on the morning of the 17th of February, 1855, the steamer 'Oregon ' arrived from Panama, bringing the latest intelligence and mails from New York; and among the items of great interest was the statement that the drafts drawn by the Bank of Page, Bacon & Co., of St. Louis, on Duncan, Sherman & Co. of New York, had been protested. At this time Page, Bacon & Co.. were the principle bankers of California. a runn was immediately started on their bank, which lasted all day, but all demands were fully met .The next day being Sunday, the banks did not open. On Monday the excitement seem to be allayed, and there was very little demand made by depositor's. It was supposed that the bank was beyond danger and would be able to fully meet its engagements. Naturally the depositors of other banks took the alarm, and a great many drew out their money; but no apprehension was entertained that there would be any serious trouble. On the 22nd of February, which was not then a holiday, it was evident that a quiet run was being made on all the banks of San Francisco. So far as I was concerned I did not entertain any apprehension that anyone of them would be forced to close, or was in serious danger; and so, at the close of business on the 22nd, I went to my home not expecting any trouble. Later that night I was aroused by my servant telling me that someone wanted to see me on important business. I dressed and went downstairs, and found a messenger whose names I do not remember but who was connected with the Bank of Adams & Co. He told me there was a meeting of gentlemen then being held at the office of Halleck, Peachy. Billings & Park . and that my presence there was requested immediately. I preceded with him to the building known as the Montgomery Block which was then owned by Hallek, Peachy, Billings & Park. I found that the meeting had adjourned to the office of Jaynes, Doyle and Barber , a noted and eminent firm of lawyers in those days. I found in that office that all the clerks were at work drawing papers, and the nature and object of the meeting were soon explained to me by the gentlemen there present, among whom I remember Mr. Frederick Billings, Mr. I.C Woods, the managing partner of Adams & Co., Mr. Eugene Casserley, Mr. James P. FLint, then the leading member of the firm of Flint, & Co., and his son Mr. B. P. Flint, Mr. Jaynes, Mr. Doyle, and no doubt there were many other whose names I do not now recall. I should here say that I had been in California about five years, and that I was twenty years of age when I arrived here, so that at this time I was between 25 and 26 years of age. I had been doing, up to that time, some business in buying and selling merchandise, and buying and selling real estate and had succeeded so as to have acquired a moderate fortune, and a good financial position. I was informed by the gentlemen then present that there had been so much of a run on Adams & Co. that they were short of coin; and while they felt themselves to be entirely solvent, yet until they could collect their moneys from their interior offices, where it had been sent to purchase gold dust, which was then the form of remittance usually made to New York and England, from California, they did not feel that it would be safe or proper for them to resume business on the next day; and that as Page, Bacon & Co. had already placed their affairs in the hands of a receiver, they felt that they ought to do the same; and it was stated to me that they desired that I would act as such receiver for them, provided the Court, to whom the application was about to be made, would appoint me. I declined this offer emphatically and pointed out to them that my age and experience did not warrant me in assuming so great responsibilities and I thought it would not give satisfaction to the creditors. I suggested that Mr. James P. Flint, who had been a merchant of long standing in Boston, and who was the head of a responsible house here, should take the position. Mr. Flint said that his home was in Boston, that he was but temporarily in San Francisco, and that it would be utterly impossible for him to assume such duties. I still refused to accept, but I was then assured by Mr. Woods and by his counsel that this would not be by any means a dissolution of the bank or a surrender of its business, but that within 48 hours they would be able to gather their assets, without doubt, and resume payment, and I would then be released. It was then getting very near the time when to obtain the benefit of a receiver it must be done immediately. It was getting near daylight on the morning of the 23rd of February, and if the receiver was not appointed before the bank opened, its property would all be taken by the attachment and suit of the most diligent creditors, and entail a great deal of expense; so that something had to be done immediately. Finding that no one was willing to take the position, and relying on the assurances that the affairs of the bank were in such condition that the suspension would be but temporary, I consented to take the appointment. An application was then made to the Hon. Delos Lake, judge of the Fourth District Court, and he consented to appoint me, and fixed the bond as receiver at one million dollars. This bond was immediately given and approved by the judge, and I entered upon the performance of my duties as receiver. It was then suggested to me that as the news of this failure would come very suddenly upon the public, and as, in view of the then excitable character of our population, an attack might be made upon the banking house of Adams & Co. and its funds carried away, I had better remove from the vaults of the bank all the coin, gold dust, and other things of value, and deposit them at another place. This advice was especially urged upon me by Mr. H. Jaynes, who was then one of the leaders of the San Francisco bar, and a man of vey high character, and also by Mr. Eugene Casserley, afterwards Senator from this state, and by Mr. B.P. Flint. I saw no objection to this course and agreed to it. The keeper of the vault, the man who had the combination, was sent for. I took him into my employ, and directed him to make a list of such things as were in the vault except the bills payable, and to remove them and deposit them in the vault of Alsop & Co. the private bankers of great responsibility. Mr. Jaynes and myself having in the mean time seen a member of that firm who lived on the banking premises and who consented to accept the custody of these deposits. The time at our disposal was so short that the money which consisted to a great extent of silver was not counted nor was the gold dust weighed and from this omission a great deal of trouble afterwards arose; though an account of was taken by two employees of the bank before any disposition whatever was made of these funds, or any part of them. The announcement of the failure of Adams & Co. was made before the opening of businhess on the morning of the 243rd of February, 185t5 and the bank which was then situated in the Montgomery Block at the corner of Montgomery and Washington Streets, was soon surrounded by an angry and threatening mob of creditors, who demanded payment of their various claims. I do not remember how many offices throughout the stat e Adams & Co. had, but they were numerous and I think there must have been over forty. The scenes in San Francisco were repeated around every one of these offices. I am very well satisfied that Adams& Co. could have paid all their debts if the courts and their officers would have permitted the receiver so to do. The firm had done a very profitable business on this coast and so far as I now remember had not made any material losses but it had an army of creditors in every county of the State. Doing an express business as well as a banking business, it received moneys on deposit in small amounts and issued its certificate therefore which, in the absence of paper money, were largely used in transmitting money through the interior and in making payment in localities distance from bank facilities. Everyone of the express offices, in addition to its deposits, and a portion of the capital of the parent office sent to it to buy gold dust from the miners; and in addition to buying gold dusy, such offices received gold dust to be sent to the mines, or to some private assay office in San Francisco, to be assayed and coined and the returns to be made to the shipper. So that the business of Adams & Co. was considerably scattered, and involved more detail than that of the business of an ordinary bank. And in addition to this it sold the largest part of the exchange for remittance in all the interior town and counties of the State. In those days we were without railroads, and excepting to one or two points, without telegraphic communications. All the interior towns were reached from the head of navigation of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, by stages. So that when I undertook to perform my duties as receiver, I found it difficult to communicate with the agents of the company at these various points, or to hear from them. Some few of the offices with which communication was had, sent to me the moneys and gold dust they had on hand; but the amount received was small in comparison with the total assets. I saw, a few days after my appointment that the anticipation of Adams & Co. and their counsel would not be realized. The creditors in the interior had proceeded immediately on the knowledge of the suspension to attach whatever they could get, and the sheriffs and constables had broken open the vaults and safes of the company, and had take away in every case much more than sufficient to pay the amount covered by the writs of attachment in their hands. I have in mind cases where the original demand would be less than $25 but the costs would be 4 times that amount and it soon became evident to me that from this cause alone, what was supposed to be a temporary suspension would prove a very disastrous failure. The Interior courts would not assist the Fourth District Court in providing for the equitable distribution of the assets. They summoned sheriffs and constables of different counties to show cause why they should not be punished for contempt in interfering with the positions of the receiver but the result to the estate in dollars and sense was nothing. Judgments were obtained by default and mere service upon the agent. While these judgments white might undoubtedly have been set aside if taken in time, yet they were paid before we had any chance to move. A large portion of the certificates and claims being within the jurisdiction of a justice of the peace, proceedings were somewhat more than summary. Many of the offices in the interior had been lending money, and held bills receivable and open accounts. The debtors, when sued, brought up the paper of Adams & Co., which was then at a considerable discount, and offered to pay in that way. I do not remember any case of any suit brought where we were enabled to collect the amount of the judgment in coin. It seemed to me then, and does now, that all the forms of law for the proper disposition of the estate and assets of a debtor among his creditors, were abolished, and none but the most diligent and their attorneys and officers employed for the collection of their deaths were benefitted. When I became convinced that the business of Adams & Co. would not be resumed, and that I must proceed with the performance of my duties as receiver, I had an examination made of the books which had come to me from the San Francisco office. I then found that the money which I had received was not so much as the books of the bank showed should have been there; and this was another one of the troubles that I had to encounter. it turned out it turned out that when the stoppage of the business of the bank had been resolved upon and before I was notified of the fact, a large amount of gold dust and coin had been removed from the office of Adams & Co. to the private assay office of Kellogg, Huston & Co., and the gold dust etc which had been received from the interior on the evening of the 22nd of February had also been taken to the same place. I inquired as to the meaning of this proceeding, and demanded that the property should be deposited with me; but I found that prior to my demand it had been dissipated and I was advised by my council that that property was without remedy. As I have said before Adams and Co., received from their various offices in their capacity as express agents, gold dust to be sent to the mint, or to a private assay office, to coin, and the proceeds to be returned to the shipper. Their mode of returning the coin to the shipper had been to direct the shipping office to pay the net result to the shipper; but the coin which they really received from the mint or assay office went into their general funds at San Francisco. This was very well so long as the agent at the other end of the line had enough money to satisfy the trust, but if he had not, then the manager in San Francisco, who had used the money would become liable for a criminal conversion. It was to avoid this responsibility that this money was taken from the San Francisco funds and used to pay the shippers of gold dust. Of course they were entitled to have had the amount received from the mint or assay office kept specially apart for them, and sent to them in precisely the same coin received from the mint on their account; but so long as the firm was solvent it was more convenient to settle with the shippers as the firm had been in the habit of doing. The firm of Adams & Co. consisted, if I remember rightly of Alvin Adams, Daniel H. Haskell, and Isaiah C. Woods. Woods was the only one in California, Adams lived in Boston and Haskell was at that time somewhere in the eastern states. When the full result of the disastrous failure was realized of course there was an attempt made to fasten all the responsibility possible upon the man they thought something could be made out of, and so an attempt was made to hold me responsible for the amount that had been expanded in the manner above described. When I found that this money had been taken from the funds of the bank, before my appointment and without my knowledge, I informed the court of the fact and desire to be released from the office of receiver. I gave notice to the parties that I desired to withdraw and got an order from the court directing them to show cause why a new receiver should not be appointed. About this time the attorneys of Adams & Co., finding that the affairs of the firm must be wound up, and not being able to get anyone who would accept the office of receiver and give the necessary bonds, conceived the idea of settling the estate by a proceeding in insolvency, and for that purpose they filed a petition of the partners of the firm to have their estate administered under the provisions of the insolvent law. The court entertained the petition and ordered, under the provisions of the then law, an election to be held by the creditors for the appointment of three assignees who should take charge of the estate and administer it. Upon this order being made I did not press my application to be discharged as receiver, knowing that if the assignees were appointed, my accounting would take place and in the ordinary course of affairs I would be discharged. The court appointed tellers, provided for the usual machinery of holding a legal election and caused the same to be extensively advertised throughout the state. The result of that election was that Richard Roman, Edward Jones, and myself were elected assignees by a very large vote. Immediately upon ascertaining the result of the election I declined to qualify, and it was only at the request of the judge and of various creditors who claimed that the experience I had had as receiver would be of great benefit to the assignees of the estate that I concluded to serve, with the understanding which I had with the judge, that I would should have the privilege of being away for a reasonable time since a majority of the assignees were competent under the law to perform the duties of the assignment and with the further understanding that, whereas Mr. Jones, one of the assignees was a member of the firm Palmer, Cook and Co. we should be permitted, under the order of the court, to constitute this firm of Palmer, Cook &Co. the depositary of the funds that came into our hands as was as assignees. Previous to that I had kept the funds at the agency of Rothschilds, both in general and special deposit. Immediately assignees were appointed under the order made by the court. I turned over to them all the moneys and property of every description I then had, and took receipt for the same . I then applied and obtained an order for the court to be served on the attorneys of the various parties who had appeared in the action in which I was appointed receiver, to show cause why I should not be permitted to pass my accounts, have my bonds cancelled, and be discharged as such receiver. In the hearing the court made an order appointing William G. Wood referee to examine and state the account between myself and the estate of Adams & Co., which was accordingly done. Mr. Wood made his report, showing what I had received, what I had disbursed, what I had charged for my services as receiver, and which was $10,000- according to stipulation entered into by the parties, and that I had fully and fairly accounted for everything that had come into my possession. Thereupon the court made an order accordingly and directed that my bonds be cancelled and that I be discharged as receiver. In looking over the bills receivable which came into my possession as receiver, I found there was missing a note made by Trenor W. Park to the order of Adams & Co., for the sum of $10,000. I inquired for this note and found that on the night of the 22nd of February, before my appointment as receiver, and at the time the moneys and gold dust were removed from the vault to the assay office, as I have previously mentioned, Park had persuaded Mr. Robie, the keeper of the vault, to deliver this note to him, saying that he would take it for or on account of his fee. I demanded the return of this note, and as it was not delivered to me I brought suit against Mr. Park to recover the note or its value. During the time that I was receiver, Alvin Adams was represented by one Charles C. Bowman, as his attorney in fact, but after this suit was brought Mr. Park went to Massachusetts, where Mr. Adams resided, and having persuaded him that his interests in California were not being properly cared for, managed to have himself substituted as his attorney in fact in place of Bowman. After I had been discharged as receiver Mr. Park returned to this State and gave notice to me and to the parties to the suit, on behalf of Adams, that he desired to show that I had not fully accounted for all the money I had received and that I was indebted to the estate in a large amount. The case came up for hearing, and was opposed by the attorneys for Haskell and Woods. The court had some doubts to its power to make an order asked for, but I stated to it that so far as I was concerned, I would not oppose the application, and that I desired it to appear that the order was granted with my consent; and I believe an order to that effect was entered. The matter was referred back to the same referee, William G. Wood. The parties all attended before Mr. Wood. In addition to the vouchers I had previously produced I put in a claim for something over $5,000 which I had been compelled to pay on a judgment that had been obtained against me for counsel fees. The result of the hearing and argument before Mr. Wood was that he again reported to the Court that I had fully and fairly accounted for all moneys I had received, and that after I had turned over the moneys to the assignees I had paid out certain sums which he reported should be allowed to me. After the election of the assignees in bankruptcy they brought suit against various debtors of Adams & Co., and among others against the firm of Barrett and Sherwood, who were indebted upon a promissory note. A defense was interposed that the assignees had no title to the note, because Adams &Co., being bankers, neither they nor the members of the firm could take the benefit of the insolvent laws of the state. The Supreme Court sustained that view and held that the election of the assignees in bankruptcy was void and that they took no title to the assets of the firm, and rendered a judgment for the defendants. This decision made great confusion. The property was in the hands of the assignees for the benefit of the creditors, and the court held that they had no title to it; the receiver had passed his accounts and turned over the property to them, and he had no custody of it; and the result was that the creditors of Adam & C0., ,then brought suit to attach all the funds, which were then deposited in the banking house of Palmer, Cook & Co., and garnished all the debtors who owed money to the firm. The court then required me to take charge of this property as receiver, which I refused to do, on the grounds that I had been discharged as receiver and my bonds had been canceled, that I had obeyed the order of the court and that I should not be required to reassume my duties a receiver; I had only consented that my accounts should be reopened to enable anybody to impugn them or to show that I had not accounted for what I had received, or that I had received more that I had stated, and if the court wanted anybody to take charge of the property it would have to appoint a new receiver. In August 1855 I left the state for a short visit to New York and Philadelphia, partly to attend to some private business of my own, and at the same time thinking I would see other members of the firm of Adams & Co., and explain matters to them. I returned to the state somewhere, I think, about the last of October of that year. At that time it took the larger part of a month to make the transit each way so that I remained in the eastern states but a few weeks. During my absence, Judge Hagar, who had been appointed to fill the place of Judge Lake who had resigned, in the excess of his judicial zeal made an order removing me as receiver, and then did what he had a perfect right to do, appointed Mr. Henry M. Naglee, receiver of the assets of Adams & Co., I am drawing on my memory for facts and dates. These can be corrected by the records of the Fourth District Court, which undoubtedly are still extant. I am now residing principally in the city of New York, and three years ago moved my office there: I judge, from a search I have caused to be made here recently that most of my notes connected with my position as receiver and the litigation which arose from it, were moved with other papers to New York.” This is from a document found in the archives of the Cohen Bray House. There is no date on the document but in reading it I believe it was dictated circa 1886. A. A. Cohen died on November 16, 1887 in Sidney, Nebraska. - (Nancy Donald, great, great grandaughter of A. A. Cohen.)





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