Pueblo County, Colorado
Francis Le Grand Capers
Contributed by Jean Griesan.
Francis Le Grand Capers, president and general manager of the Standard Fire Brick Company of Pueblo, was the originator of the enterprise with which his name has since been identified. A few years after coming to Colorado he interested a number of the largest capitalists in the state and established the company of which he is now the head. Besides the main plant in Pueblo, a plant has been established in Denver, and the output of the two factories now amounts to about five thousand carloads per annum, shipments of the products being made to all parts of the world. The building and paving brick and sewer pipe manufactured are of the highest grade, and, in addition, fire tile of every description is manufactured, ore is assayed and chemical and photographic supplies are turned out. The company has one of the two plants in the United States (and one of four in the entire world) for the manufacture of assayers' and chemists' supplies. They have a resident buyer in Germany, and import glass and porcelain ware and physical apparatus.
Mr. Capers is a member of an old southern family that descended from French-Huguenot ancestors, who settled in South Carolina in 1658. Through his maternal ancestors (the Layton family) he traces his lineage back to A. D. 1100. In his possession are the crests and coat of arms of both of his grandfathers and also of his grandmothers. His paternal grandfather, William Capers, a native of South Carolina, was next in rank to, and the closest personal friend of, Gen. Francis Marion, under whom he served in the Revolutionary war. One of his sons, William, held office as bishop of the southern states in the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and the latter's son, Ellison, now holds the same position and is one of the most famous bishops of that denomination. The family has been prominent in the professions, our subject having been the only one for a great many years who engaged in business. His father, Maj. Le Grand G. Capers, was born in South Carolina. During the Mexican war he was chief of General Worth's staff, and that distinguished chieftain died of cholera in the arms of Major Capers in San Antonio, Tex. After the war Major Capers was appointed United States military judge in Mexico, which position he filled for four years. Afterward for many years he engaged in the practice of law in New York City, and there his death occurred in 1868, at the age of fifty-nine years. He was a typical southern gentleman, hospitable, courteous, polished and generous, one who won many warm personal friends, as well as a high position in the legal fraternity.
The wife of Maj. Le Grand G. Capers was Amelia, daughter of Henry S. Layton, of Long Island, N. Y., and granddaughter of David Layton, a colonel in the Revolution. Her mother was a Cornwall, a direct descendant of the Cornwall family of England. The subject of this sketch was born at Roslyn, L. I., May 21, 1853, and was educated in the schools of Brooklyn, N. Y. After completing his education he secured a clerkship with A. T. Stewart, and when the latter, in 1874, opened his wholesale branch house in Chicago, he was given charge of a department, at the head of which he continued for four and one-half years. Later he spent a similar period with Marshall Field in the same capacity. On account of poor health he was finally obliged to leave Chicago, where he sold his property to good advantage. In 1885 he went to Denver, but soon bought and fenced a ranch of fifty thousand acres in Costilla County, Colo., which was the largest and finest ranch in the state. He had ten thousand head of cattle. After having engaged in the management of his property and stock holdings for two years he sold the ranch at a large figure to the Mormon Church. From Costilla County he came to Pueblo and opened a wholesale cracker and confectionery manufactory, which he conducted for a time. His next venture was the establishment of the Standard Fire Brick Company, which is the largest concern of its kind west of the Missouri River. As a business man he is shrewd, keen and discriminating, quick to see a favorable opportunity, and equally quick to avail himself of it. The success which he has gained proves him to be a man of splendid business ability.
Firm in his allegiance to the old-school Democracy Mr. Capers has more than once been offered the nomination for important offices, but these he has invariably refused, preferring to give his entire attention to private business affairs. While he is not a member of any denomination he is in sympathy with Christian work and contributes to the support of the Presbyterian Church, with which his wife is identified. On the 3d of June, 1880, he was united in marriage with Emma M., daughter of David Cole, of Chicago, and one son blesses their union, Francis Le Grand, Jr.
Extracted from "Portrait and Biographical Record of the State of Colorado," published by Chapman Publishing Company in Chicago in 1899.
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