Donald Cameron was born in 1808, in the colony of Berbice, Dutch Guiana, moved to Scotland at an early age and was educated in Edinborough and London. In 1825 he entered the mercantile business and in 1855 came to the United States.
His story and that of his two sons, Donald S Cameron and Lambert van Battenberg Cameron is best told in “A History of Long Island – From It’s Earliest Settlement to the Present Time – Volume 2” published in 1902.
Soon after his arrival he entered the employ of John F Smith & Company of New York City as confidential clerk and bookkeeper. Three years later he became a member of the firm of John M. Smith, Son & Company, then among the largest provision shippers between New York and the West Indies. In 1884 was organized the firm of D. & D.S. Cameron, the eldest son of Mr. Cameron being the junior partner and this existed until after the death of the elder Cameron, which occurred July 31, 1888. At the time of his death, Donald Cameron was one of the oldest members of the New York Produce Exchange.
Lambert van Batenberg Cameron, second of the surviving sons of Donald Cameron was born in Brooklyn, September 9,1856… In 1880 he aided in the establishing the the firm (L.V.B. Cameron & Co.) which he is present head and manager. The principal business of the house is sugar brokerage, with large dealings in coffees, teas, syrups, etc.
Much of the history of the Cameron companies is confirmed in the various New York City Directories which list all three Camerons over a period from 1865 to at least 1925. They were labeled from directory to directory as either merchants, brokers, provisions, oil or sugar. All had common addresses for much of the period.
- Donald Cameron was first listed in the 1864/1865 Directory as a merchant. Between 1865 and 1877 he’s listed individually and later, in the late 1870’s he started listing Donald Cameron & Co. as well. He started at 122 Broad Street and at some point moved to 116 Broad Street. By 1889 he’s no longer listed individually.
- In 1878 D (Donald) Stuart Cameron joined Donald and they continue to be listed as Donald Cameron & Co from 1878 to approximately 1883. Later they were listed as D & DS Cameron. During this period they moved from 116 Broad Street to 2 Stone Street and end up at 100 Wall Street.
- From 1883 to 1890, Lambert Cameron, was listed as a broker at 109 Water Street.
- Around 1891 they came together at the 100 Wall Street address that included both D & D S Cameron and L V B Cameron & Co. By 1894, D & D S Cameron was no longer listed and soon after Donald S, Lambert and LVB Cameron & Co were all located at 121 Front Street. Lambert V B Cameron and Donald Stuart Cameron were both listed as principals in L V B Cameron & Co in the 1900 NYC Copartnersip and Corporation Directory but only Lanbert was listed in 1901. The company appears to have been primarily concerned with sugar and lasts at least into the mid 1920’s.
I found two small round bottles embossed identically “D Cameron New York”. As a result, they could date prior to 1884 when Donald Stuart joined his father Donald in business but certainly no later than 1894 when the only company name listed was L V B Cameron & Co. The bottles are also embossed with a trade mark depicting a raised sword.
I was contacted by a relative of the Camerons who read the initial version of this post and pointed out to me that the old crest of the Cameron clan in Scotland is described as follows:
A dexter arm embowed in armour, the hand grasping a sword, all proper, encircled by a belt and buckle.
The trademark on the bottle and the crest are certainly a match so the trademark design must have been influenced by Donald Cameron’s childhood roots in Scotland.
Many thanks to her for pointing this out as well as all the other information she provided. It’s what makes this all fun!