James Savage (banker)
James Savage (1784–1873) was one of the founding fathers of Provident Institution for Savings in the Town of Boston established in 1816 as the first chartered savings bank in the United States. James was also well known for his research as an antiquary as author of "A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England; A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England". And, was instrumental in helping his son-in-law William Barton Rogers establish MIT, as well as, helping his cousin Frederic Tudor establish the ice trade in the West Indies, among many other ventures.
James was born on Winter Street, in Boston, Massachusetts, on July 13, 1784, as the ninth child of father Habijah "Thomas" Savage Jr. (April 27, 1741 - Nov. 22, 1806) a merchant, and mother Elizabeth Tudor (March 31, 1745- February 2, 1787). He was a fifth generation of the descendant of one of the first Pilgrims, Major Thomas Savage, who came to Massachusetts from England in 1635.
James was just three years old, when his mother died giving birth to their 12th child, Arthur Savage. Totally devastated by his wife's loss, his father was admitted as "insane" to Andover, MA, "without ever gaining his reason." With this, James, Elizabeth, and Arthur were sent to be raised by William Savage, a blacksmith in Taunton, MA.
James obtained the Franklin metal in 1795, and attended the Washington Academy in Machias, ME, and the Derby Academy in Hingham, MA, before going to Harvard University, just as his grandfather did in 1695. After graduating Harvard in 1803, he went on to studied law at the office of Isaac Parker in Portland, ME.
From November 5, 1805 to June 1806, when James and cousin Frederic Tudor were both just 21, travelled to the West Indies during the Napoleonic Wars for a venture of establishing an ice trading business.
In 1806, Tudor bought his first brig Favorite to carry Fresh Pond ice 1,500 miles south, from Boston to Martinique. "Favorite" left Boston on February 10, 1806, as the following was reported in the Boston Gazette:
"No joke. A vessel has cleared at the Custom House for Martinique with a cargo of ice. We hope this will not prove a slippery speculation."
Tudor's business plan included sending his brother William and his cousin, James Savage, ahead to obtain a monopoly from the various governments of the islands.
"We wish you to procure from the gov' of Cuba a grant exclusive in which we offer you either to take a conces' of half or procure the privilege for us & we engage to pay you one thousand dollars with reasonable charges, in obtaining it you however to determine which you will do & write to that effect as early as possible."
Although a considerable amount of the ice melted during the three-week journey south, they did manage to sell much of what remained on board for a loss of $4,500 overall. However, this venture became extremely profitable in the years to come.
When he returned James continued in the practice of Law, and was admitted to the bar in 1807. He then served in both houses of the Massachusetts legislature. James was also a member of the executive council, and a delegate to the State constitutional convention of 1820, filled several municipal offices, and was a member of the school committee.
On December 13, 1816, Massachusetts Lieutenant-Governor William Phillips president, United States marshal James Prince treasurer, and Lawyer James Savage secretary, founded the Provident Institution for Savings in the Town of Boston as the first chartered savings bank in the United States with 961 accounts totaling $76,000.00 On the belief that; "savings banks would enable the less fortunate classes of society to better themselves in a manner which would avoid the dangers of moral corruption traditionally associated with outright charitable institutions." 176 years later, in 1992, the bank was acquired by Fleet National Bank of Massachusetts
At the age of 39, James finally settled down and married 31 year old 
Then, tragedy struck. His wife Elizabeth died in 1851, then soon after their daughter died. And just as James Jr. was finishing up at Harvard, In the Summer of 1854 their second daughter died, all within a three year span. After the funeral of the second daughter, James Jr. went on a trip to Europe with two classmates; Horace Furness and Atherton Blight. James Jr. studied agricultural chemistry while in Munich and Burlin. James Jr., when he returned to the States, started his own farm in Ashland, Massachusetts.
James Jr. entered the American Civil War as Captain, 2nd Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers (infantry), on May 24, 1861. James Jr. was wounded at the Battle of Cedar Mountain on August 9, 1862, as he was shot in three places; "First a bullet broke his right arm near the shoulder, the ball lodged in the flesh; second, another ball broke his right leg just above the ankle; while he was falling a he received a severe contusion on the left hip from a sent ball." He was then captured and set two miles behind enemy lines. The Rebel surgeons removed the balls a week later, but James Jr. died of his wounds in Charlottesville, VA at the age of 30.
""the soul of integrity," and says" "It is curious that James Savage, the most eloquent of men when his soul was stirred to its depths, should now be particularly honored merely as an acute antiquarian .... His hatred of iniquity sometimes blazed out in a fury of wrathful eloquence which amazed those who specially esteemed him as a prodigy of genealogical knowledge, and even disturbed the equanimity of those who chiefly knew him as the most valued and trustworthy of friends."
After a brief meeting with William Makepeace Thackeray, William remarked to a friend; "I want to see that quaint, charming old Mr. Savage again."
In 1906, His grand children published James' letters in the book titled; "Letters of James Savage to his family" By James Savage and Emma Savage Rogers
In 1811, Savage delivered a Fourth of July address in Boston. The text of the speech was published as "An Oration Delivered July 4, 1811, at the Request of the Selectmen of Boston in Commemoration of American Independence"
In 1816, with the discovery of the missing manuscript of John Winthrop's journal in the tower of the Old South Church, James Savage prepared and annotate the original manuscripts, which he published under the title of: "John Winthrop's History of New England from 1630 to 1646, with Notes to illustrate the Civil and Ecclesiastical Concerns, the Geography, Settlement, and Institutions of the Country, and the Lives and Manners of the Ancient Planters"
James also published the first volume of Winthrol's " Journal " from the family manuscripts (Hartford, 1790), in addition to numerous genealogical, historical, political, and controversial pamphlets.
In 1860, he published; "' Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, showing Three Generations of Those who canto before May, 1692" (4 vols., Boston, 1860-'4).
- "Notes and Documents; The Journal of James Savage and the Beginning of Frederic Tudor's Career in the Ice Trade", by Theodore Chase and Celeste Walker
- "Frederic Tudor: Ice King". iceharvestingusa.com. Retrieved 1 March 2010.
- One hundred years of savings bank service. 1916.
- George S. Hillard. Memoir of the Hon. James Savage, LL.D., late president of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Boston: John Wilson and Son, 1878; p.16/
- Davis and Payne. 1958; p.387.
- "MAJOR THOMAS SAVAGE OF BOSTON AND HIS DESCENDANTS" BY LAWRENCE PARK (1914)
- Harvard Memorial Biographies, Volume 1 By Thomas Wentworth Higginson
- Letters of James Savage to his family: (Privately printed) 1906 By James Savage
- "John Winthrop's History of New England from 1630 to 1646, with Notes to illustrate the Civil and Ecclesiastical Concerns, the Geography, Settlement, and Institutions of the Country, and the Lives and Manners of the Ancient Planters" (2 vols., Boston. 1825-'6: 2d ed., with corrections, 1853)
- William Paley's works, 5 vols., Cambridge, 1828" new ed., 1830
- "' Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, showing Three Generations of Those who canto before May, 1692", 4 vols., Boston, 1860-'4