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Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel Albert Augustus Pope, U.S.V.


Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel Albert Augustus Pope, the founder of the bicycle industries in the United States, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, May 20, 1843. He traces his genealogy through many well-known New England families of Pope, Pierce, Cole, Stubbs, Neale, and others. His father, Charles Pope, was an active and stirring business man, and his mother, a daughter of Captain James Bogman, of Boston, was a lady of rare discernment and quiet decision of character, who taught her son the habits of economy, order, and method, to the exercise of which he attributes much of his success in life. When young Pope was only nine years of age, his father met with business reverses, which placed the family in decidedly straightened circumstances. Albert began at once his life of work and business activity by riding a horse to plough for a neighboring farmer in Brookline, which was his home at that time. Three years later he commenced buying fruit and vegetables of the farmers and selling them to the neighbors, and in one season this business yielded him a profit of one hundred dollars. During this time he received a fair public-school education, which was all the training he ever had from schools, though by careful reading and persistent application he has obtained an exceptional fund of general knowledge. At the age of fifteen he left the High School and secured employment in the Quincy Market, and later on took a position with a firm dealing in shoe-findings, receiving only four dollars a week, two of which he paid for board and saved money out of the balance.

When the war broke out he began the study of military tactics, joining the Salignac Zouaves and the Home Guards of Brookline, of which company he soon became captain. So intense was his interest that he kept a musket in the store and with it drilled his fellow-clerks and the " bosses" whenever business would permit. At nineteen years of age he joined the volunteer forces of the Union army, and went to the front as second lieutenant of the Thirty-fifth Massachusetts Infantry, August 22, 1862. His promotion to first lieutenant, March 23, 1863, and to captain, April 1, 1864, are evidences of his ability and valor. He was employed upon important detached services, and acted as commander of his regiment on many occasions when the colonel was absent or disabled. He organized within twenty-four hours a provisional regiment of artillery from the Convalescent Camp at Alexandria, and with this force he advanced to the defence of Washington, assuming command of Fort Slocum and Fort Stevens, with forty-seven pieces of artillery. This was a move which called for great ability in managing men, and it was accomplished with such skill that Captain Pope was highly complimented by his superior officers. He served in the principal Virginia campaigns; was with Burnside in Tennessee, with Grant at Vicksburg, and with Sherman at Jackson, Mississippi. He commanded Fort Hell before Petersburg, and in the last attack led his regiment into the city,-at the age of twenty-one years. He was brevetted major "for gallant conduct at the battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia," and lieutenant-colonel " for gallant conduct in the battles of Knoxville, Poplar Springs Church, and front of Petersburg," March 13, 1865.

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Soon after the war Colonel Pope went into business for himself in slipper decorations and shoe-manufacturers' supplies. In 1877 he became enthusiastic over the bicycle, and, with his rare foresight, determined to go into their manufacture. This was done under the name of the Pope Manufacturing Company, a corporation for which he furnished the capital, and of which he became, and has ever since continued, the president and active manager. Through the influence and encouragement of the Pope Manufacturing Company home talent also was brought to bear on the question, resulting in the production of Mr. Pratt's book, " The Bicycler," and the founding of the illustrated magazine, The Wheelman, which cost upwards of sixty thousand dollars. The educating process was followed by the opening of the highways and parks for the use of wheelmen, the company expending thousands of dollars in settling the Central Park case in New York, the South Park matter in Chicago, and the Fairmount Park contest in Philadelphia. Colonel Pope is a director in many banking and business corporations and the pioneer in the movement for good roads.

His latest move for a comprehensive road exhibit at the Columbian Exposition has aroused the press and the public in general to the importance of the road question.

He married September 20, 1871, Abbie, daughter of George and Matilda (Smallwood) Linder, of Newton, Massachusetts, and they have four sons and one daughter.

Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419 pgs.


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