Alvah Mansur was born on 5 December 1833 in Lowell, Massachusetts, oldest son of Alvah Mansur and Elizabeth Wood. His father was a woolen manufacturer. Alvah was educated at the Lawrence Academy in Groton, Massachusetts. His first business venture was in the hardware business in Moline, Illinois, where he met the plow manufacturer, John Deere. He became connected with John and Charles Deere in 1859. He married Angeline P. Blockington on 1 October 1863 in Moline. Angeline was born on 30 January 1837 in Honesdale, Pennsylvania.

During the Civil War, Alvah enlisted on the Union side in the Nineteenth Illinois Infantry and was promoted to lieutenant. Following the war, he moved to Central City, Colorado, and went into the mining business. He served two terms in the state legislature.

In 1869, Charles Deere, CEO of Deere & Co., set up branch operations in Kansas City, Missouri, and later St. Louis, Minneapolis, Council Bluffs/Omaha, and San Francisco. Alvah Mansur rejoined the Deere operations in Kansas City. Mansur and Charles Deere formed a co-partnership called Deere, Mansur & Co. in Kansas City. Angeline Mansur died 17 March 1870 in Kansas City. In 1875, Mansur moved to St. Louis to establish a second co-partnership with Deere & Co.

St. Louis had been a longstanding Deere territory, with the Mississippi River being a direct river link to Moline. In 1877, Alvah Mansur and Charles Deere formed another separate corporation in Moline to manufacture corn planters, called Deere & Mansur Company. The corn planter employed a new rotary planting mechanism; the company made a profit of $10,000 in its first year and $48,000 in 1882.

During the late 1880s, Alvah Mansur and his brother-in-law, Lewis Bates Tebbetts, expanded to sell other equipment. In addition to Deere machinery, their catalog included a variety of farm machinery products. The fact that they also sold Deere competitor products created a rift between Deere and Mansur.

In 1890, Alvah Mansur sold his interest in the Kansas City operations and bought the Deere interest in the St. Louis operations. The business name changed to the Mansur-Tebbetts Implement Company. Their operations were at 3700 Lindell Avenue.

Alvah Mansur
Alvah Mansur
Photo in the collection of Linda Mansur
Used with permission

The 1880 U.S. census showed Alvah Mansur living at 1104 Park Avenue with L B. Tebbetts listed as primary owner. The household included Alvah’s sister, Ellen Tebbetts, their children, and Alvah and Angeline’s teenage daughter, Nellie Mansur.

In addition to serving as president of his company, Mansur also served as a vice president of the Merchant’s Exchange Bank, a director in the St. Louis Trust Company, a director in the Crystal Plate Glass Company, and a member in a variety of St. Louis clubs.

Mansur died on 8 January 1898 from pneumonia in Los Angeles, California, while on his way to his winter home in Santa Barbara. He is buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis. His will stipulated that his wife’s remains be moved from Kansas City to St. Louis. An article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimated his estate at $4 million, which was left to his son-in-law, brother-in-law, and their heirs.

Written by Linda L. Mansur
January 2021
© 2021, St. Louis Genealogical Society

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Last Modified: 29-Apr-2021 14:55