Hiram Milton Northrup was born at Olean, Cattaraugus County, New York, June 4, 1818. His ancestors on the paternal side were members of an English family and settled in Connecticut upon first coming to America, removing to New York State early in the 18th century. Andruss Bishop Northrup, father of the subject was engaged in business as a merchant and lumber dealer for several years. He lost a considerable fortune by becoming endorser and surety for others and met his obligations to the last farthing. Hiram's mother, Mrs. Martha Northrup was a lady of superior education and possessed more than an ordinary share of intelligence and strength of character. She died in 1820. Upon the death of his mother Hiram was adopted by his mother's sister, Sarah Lockwood of Olean. For her he formed a strong attachment and still tenderly cherishes her memory. Mrs. Lockwood was a lady of generous disposition, intelligence and cultivated; a member of the Episcopal Church and foremost in every charitable work. She took unusual pains with her nephew's early training until he was fourteen years of age, when she died. The boy Hirum had obtained a good common education. At the age of fifteen he went into Pennsylvania and taught a District School in McKean County. The people were very poor and there was no money in the County, and his compensation was $8.oo per month, payable in shingles. He had an attendance of about sixty scholars and gave excellent satisfaction.
In 1839 he was given the management of his father's store, and soon afterward a share in the business the firm becoming Northrup & Son. When his father became involved Hiram lost all of his accumulations. In 1844, Mr. Northrup came to a little group of huts and shanties then known as "Westport Landing", now Kansas City Mo. and formed a partnership for the purpose of trading with the Comanche Indians in Texas and Mexico. They went as far as the Verdigris River, where one of the company died, others were taken sick and the Osage Indians robbed them of nearly all their goods and stock. Mr. Northrup had a narrow escape for his life and returned to Westport where he entered into partnership in the Indian trade with E.P. Hart. Proceeding to St. Louis, a stranger and without funds, he made the acquaintance of several heavy dealers from whom he purchased, on credit, goods to the amount of $3500 which were shipped to Kansas City, Mo. The following year, Mr. Hart sold out. Mr. Pierre M. Chouteau purchased an interest in the business which he held twelve months and then sold to Mr. Northrup who continued the establishment alone for many years. His trade continually increased until it included the Wyandot, Shawnee, Delaware, Peoria, Pinkeshaw, Pottawattamie, Osage, Kansas, Seneca, Sac and Fox and Cherokee Tribes, from whom he bought furs, robes, peltries, wool, horses and cattle which he shipped to Eastern markets. After a few seasons he united his interest with those of Silas Armstrong and Joel Walker, of the Wyandot Nation. Upon the dissolution of this partnership he formed another with J. S. Chick, which soon controlled a large share of the Santa Fe Trade. Mr. Northrup was married at the Methodist Mission in Wyandotte by Rev. Wheeler, Nov. 1845, to Margaret Clark, daughter of Thomas Clark one of the Chiefs of the Canada branch of the Wyandot Nation, who died in Wyandott City in 1843. Mrs. Northrup was born on the Wyandot Indian Reserve near Lower Sandusky,, Ohio, Aug. 28, 1828. She died at their home in Wyandott, June 28, 1887. She was a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church for nearly 45 years, a devout Christian, foremost and earnest in good work. She was buried in Huron Cemetery. To the marriage of Hiram and Margaret Northrup were born four sons. The first bill of goods sold at wholesale in Kansas City was sold by Hiram M. Northrup. His firm sold the first goods that went to Topeka, Lawrence, Manhattan, Emporia, Humbolt and the Osage Mission. Their trading posts were established all over the Indian Territory, and their trade extended to New Mexico, Arizona, and the immense tract now included in Colorado, Utah, Western Missouri and the Cherokee Nation. Their sales at the various posts amounted to upwards of $300,000 annually. When the Union Bank of Missouri established a grant in Kansas City, Mr. Northrup was made its President. Just after the outbreak of the Civil War a party of fifteen Jayhawkers entered and robbed the bank of Northrup and Company while Mr. Northrup was at dinner. Owing to the insecurity of life and property here at the time, they determined to remove their banking house to New York City. Arrangements to this effect were soon completed, their mercantile interests in Kansas City disposed of and the bank established in New York. Here their usual prosperity attended them, and their business rapidly increased until the panic of 1873. They had been dealing largely in Western securities, particularly in Kansas bonds, and handled at that time three-fourths of all securites in the state. They were now compelled to suspend business, but in four months time settled with their creditors and liquidated every claim against them. The losses they had sustained were immense, and their failure very humiliating to men whose names had been good for one million dollars. While in New York Mr. Northrup was a director of the Hanover National Bank, a member of the New York Stock Exchange and the Gold Exchange. He was favorably known to all of the leading merchants and regarded as an able financier, with much experience and possessing unusual sagacuity.
Closing up his affairs in New York, Mr. Northrup returned to Wyandotte County where his real estate interests were considerable and in which state he owned numerous tracts of land. Here he established the banking house of Northrup and Son, and later reorganized as the Northrup Banking Co. In politics, Northrup was a Democrat and a bimetalist. He was a strong friend of silver and advocated his views with much clearness and ability in the public journals. He belonged to no church, but was liberal in his sentiments, tolerant of other's opinions, respected and revered all forms of morality, and held character and conduct the essentials of reli