(Laconia, 1851-Brookline, 1909)

gammon frank portrait

Jean-Claude SEGUIN 


John Gammon (Portsmouth, 1776-Parsonsfield, 04/06/1828) épouse Eunice Carter (Newark, [1780]-Keene, 03/08/1812). Descendance :

  • George H. Gammon (Parsonsfield, 1805-New Hampshire, 03/12/1882) épouse Mary Jane Leavitt (Laconia, 17/07/1814-New Hampshire, 28/03/1880). Descendance :
    • George, Henry Gammon (New Hampshire, 1840-New Hampshire, 10/04/1860).
    • Arabella F. "Bella" Gammon (New Hampshire, [1844]-[1871])
    • Jeremiah Gammon (New Hampshire, 1950-)
    • Frank Royal Gammon (Laconia, 07/05/1851-Brookline, 11/05/1909)
      • épouse (Charlestown, 12/09/1872) Mary Eliza Hollings (Boston, 27/08/1850->1910). Descendance:
        • Louise Hollings Gammon (Laconia, 29/08/1875-Concord, 19/10/1955).
          • épouse (Boston, 10/10/1900/Div. New Hampshire, 18/10/1911) Walter Hosford Folsom.
          • épouse (Hartford, 22/06/1912/Div. New Hampshire, 23/12/1913) De Witt Clinton Howe.
          • épouse (Windsor, 04/11/1923) Herbert Adams Robinson.
      • épouse (Raton, 29/07/1886) Elizabeth "Libbie" Duncan (Missouri, 07/1866-). Descendance :
        • Virginia Belle Gammon (Guthrie, 16/02/1892-1965) épouse (Center Harbor/Belknap, 06/10/1910) George Robert Armstrong.
        • Frank Royal Gammon (New York/Brooklyn, 06/07/1896-México, 09/07/1973) épouse (Div.) June [Saniman].


Les origines (1851-1892)

Installé à Gilford (New Hampshire), le père, George H. Gammon exerce la profession de menuisier (recensement 1850). À la naissance de Frank Gammon, la famille réside (recensement 1870) à Laconia. En septembre 1872, il épouse Eliza Hollings :

gammon frank 1872 mariage article
The Boston Globe, Boston, septembre 14 septembre 1872, p. 8.

En avril 1879, Frank Gammon en collaboration avec Oliver H. Hay (Charleston, [1823]-Portland, 22/04/1888) fonde la société Hay, Gammon & Co. qui possède un établissement de produits secs (Dry Goods) à Topeka.

gammon frank 1879 The Topeka State Journal Wed Apr 23 1879
The Topeka State Journal, Topeka, mercredi 23 avril 1879, p. 2.

C'est en février 1884 que Frank  R. Gammon intègre la toute nouvelle loge maçonnique "Siloam Lodge" de Topeka (Kansas) :

Was Organized in 1884 and Has 240 Members.
The sixteenth annual reunion of Siloam lodge Nº 225, A. F. & A. M., will be held in this city this evening at Masonic hall. The sublime degree of Master Mason will be conferred on Otis W. Dalton. The lodge was organized February 20, 1884, and now has 240 members. Its first master was Frank Royal Gammon, while George W. Bainter at present holds that position. A neat program containing the names of all members and also the past and present officers of the lodge has been issued. Joseph E. Dubreuil, who was recently made paymaster of the Rock Island, is secretary of the lodge.

The Topeka Daily Capital, Topeka, jeudi 13 décembre 1900, p. 1.

L'année 1886 marque un tournant dans l'existence de Frank R. Gammon. D'une part, il se retire de l'entreprise "Hay, Gammon & Co" et cède sa place à Fred E. Wiggin :

M. Fred Wiggin has succeeded Frank R. Gammon in the firm of Hay, Gammon & Co., being admitted to the firm on Saturday, Mr. Gammon retiring. Mr. Wiggin has been connected with this establishment ever since it was opened here, and has innumerable friends all over the city, who congratulate him upon his success.

The Lance, Topeka, samedi 1er mai 1886, p. 5.

D'autre part, en juillet, il épouse Elizabeth "Libbie" Duncan, qui va créer un lien familial avec  Norman C. Raff, époux de Jennie Duncan :

Mr. Frank R. Gammon and Miss Libbie Duncan were married on Thursday at Raton, N. M.

The Topeka Daily Press, Topeka, vendredi 20 juillet 1886, p. 4.

En outre, il forme une nouvelle entreprise, "Gammon & Fowler" qui va ouvrir trois établissements à Cullison (Kansas) :

Frank R. Gammon and John Koller left the city Saturday. Mr. Gammon will make a flying trip to Topeka, Pueblo, Col., and New Mexico. He will be absent from the city about ten days. Mr. Koller returned Tuesday much benefited by his trip.
Messrs. M. E. Fowler and Frank R. Gammon, of the firm of Gammon & Fowler, large property holders at Cullison, who are now putting up a large hotel, a drug store building, &c., at that place, were callers at this office Monday evening.-Dem. & Watch.

The Cullison Banner, Cullison, jeudi 22 juillet 1886, p. 3.

Il reprend, enfin, le nouveau journal local, The Cullison Banner, en août 1886, dont il est le "manager" :

We have received a copy of the Cullison (Kansas) BANNER, a thrifly looking and neatly printed sheet, which carries at its head the name of Frank R. Gammon, manager. Gammon always had a weakness for liking to write for the papers and he always managed to indite a readable letter. We will warrant that the Cullison BANNER so long as Gammon runs it, will boom that part of Kansas for all it is worth and be full of spicy and newsy reading. We see, from one of the "ads.," that Gammon is in the real estate business out there and quite likely is running the paper as an annex to that. But keep the paper growing, Frank, for we warrant you were cut out for a successful editor.-Laconia (N.H.) Democrat.

The Cullison Banner, Cullison, jeudi 4 novembre 1886, p. 3.

Le succès que rencontre Frank R. Gammon dans ses affaires va le conduire à franchir le pas et devenir président de l'Englewood Town company orientant ainsi ses activités vers la finance.

gammon frank 1887 englewood
Clark County Chief, Englewood, vendredi 28 janvier 1887, p. 2.

Il semble avoir eu quelques velléités politiques puisqu'on le retrouve "Mayor" (maire) de Cullison :

Frank R. Gammon seems to have been doubly favored. He is elected Mayor of Cullison, and is appointed postmaster of the same place. As he holds an official position on the ". & W. he will doubtless have his hands full.

The Preston Plain Dealer, Preston, samedi 13 avril 1889, p. 1.

Au nombre des entreprises quu'il fonde, The Texas Phonograph Company of Cullison occupe une place à part. Il s'agit de l'une des toutes premières - sinon la première - collaboration avec Norman C. Raff :

Articles of incorporation were filed yesterday in the office of the secretary of state as follows:
The Texas Phonograph company, of Cullison, Kan. Capital stock, $500,000, in 5,000 shares of $100 each. Officers: Norman C. Raff, of Dallas, Tex., president: C. A. Philbrick, of Cullison, vice president; Virginia D. Raff, of Dallas, secretary and treasurer; Frank R. Gammon, general  manager; Dudley S. Philbrick.

The Topeka Daily Capital, Topeka, mercredi 21 août 1889, p. 5.

Dans le domaine bancaire, il devient Vice-Président de la Bank of the Indian Territory dont le Président n'est autre que Norman C. Raff :

There are a number of Topeka people in Guthrie. Mr. Frank R. Gammon, at one time in the dry goods business in Topeka, is vice president of the Bank of the Indian Territory, and is also president of the Guthrie board of trade.

Capper's Weekly, Topeka, jeudi 26 mars 1891, p. 6.

raff norman 1892 bank india Oklahoma State Capital Sat Apr 2 1892
Oklahoma State Capital, Guthrie, samedi 2 avril 1892, p. 8.

Autre responsabilité importante, Frank R. Gammon va être nommé commissaire pour l'Oklahoma de l'Exposition Universelle de Chicago, prévue pour 1893 :

Oklahoma's Commissioner
WASHINGTON, February 19-The president to-day appointed Frank R. Gammon of Oklahoma to be commissioner from Oklahoma to the World's fair, vice John D. Miles, resigned.

The Leavenworth Times, Leavenworth, samedi 20 février 1892, p. 1. 

gammon frank 1893 portrait
"Commissioners World's Columbian Commission"
Major Ben C. Truman, Hon. Geo. R. Davis, Thos W. Palmer et alii. History of the World's Fair, 1893, 610 p.

Les images animées (1893-1894)

Cette situation privilégiée n'est sans doute pas étrangère au fait qu'il ait été en contact avec Thomas A. Edison qui souhaite présenter son tout nouveau kinetoscope à l'occasion de cet événement international. Le retard pris par les ateliers du génie de Menlo Park va pourtant contrarier ces projets. Finalement, en janvier 1894, la livraison des 25 appareils prévus est en route comme l'atteste le courrier suivant d'Alfred Ord Tate.

1894 01 18 tate edisonAlfred O. Tate, Thomas A. Edison, 18 janvier 1894.

En date du 13 février, une nouvelle lettre toujours envoyée par Alfred O. Tate à Thomas Edison détaille les éléments du contrat : 

Thomas A. Edison, Esq.,
Orange, N .J.
My dear Sir: -
The people with whom we have arranged to take hold of the active management of the Kinetograph business, so far as our interest in that business is represented by the machines that you have agreed to sell us, have authorized me to make a proposition to you. You are already aware that Mr. Andrew Holland is going to handle part of this business for us, and he will be assisted by Mr. Norman C. Raff of Chicago. Mr. Raff is a young man of independent means, wide business experience and unusual energy. He is well known to Mr. Benson and to Mr. Lombard.
We had a meeting several days ago and these people expressed the feeling that in going into the Kinetograph business they would handle it to much better advantage if they knew that their efforts would be recognised and would contribute towards the permanency of their work. They are all serious, capable men, and good for any thing they undertake. The proposition is as follows :
-In consideration of the agreement we will first pay you a cash bonus of Ten thousand dollars, Five thousand to be handed to you upon signing the agreement, and Five thousand within thirty days thereafter.
Second. We will assume all the expenses necessary to complete your experiments on the Kinetograph by paying the salary of Mr. Dickson and the wages of the assistants that he will require in this work, together with cost of supplies used in connection therewith. In other words, we will assume this pay roll and other expenses and remit the same to you weekly.
Third. We will agree to make an arrangement with Dickson whereby his interest in the business will be provided for by us, so that you will not have to pay him anything.
Fourth. We will agree to order Kinetoscopes in lots of not less than Fifty, and to place our first order within ninety days after the date of the agreement.
Fifth. Kinetoscopes to be furnished to us on the basis of Labor & Material, plus 60% General Expense, plus 20% profit, to which is to be added a royalty of Twenty-five dollars per machine for yourself, on the understanding that these instruments are not to cost more than Sixty dollars each.
Sixth. We will pay you a royalty of Fifty cents each on all photographic strips sold for use in connection with Kinetoscopes and Kinetographs.
Seventh. When the experiments on Kinetograph are completed, and a satisfactory instrument produced, these instruments are to be supplied to us on the same basis of cost as Kinetoscopes, but are to bear a royalty to you of Fifty dollars each.
Eighth. We will agree that your royalties shall amount to not less than Ten thousand dollars per year, payable quarterly, we to have the right to make good on the fourth quarter any shortages in payments on the previous three, the agreement to lapse and all rights to revert to you in the event of our failure to carry out any of these provisions.
Please let me know at once if the above is satisfactory. These people mean business, and so far as experience and ability are concerned, you could not find better men if you hunted the world over for them. They thought that the amount of the bonus that I insisted upon was pretty steep, but I would not consent to present the proposition in any other form.
If it is agreeable I will have the agreement drawn and the money turned over to you within a week or ten days. I have no doubt that I could give you the whole Ten thousand dollars when the agreement is signed, and you will receive payment for the 25 Kinetoscopes just as soon as you are ready to deliver them. This, together with the bonus, would enable me to turn in to you $16,250.00, including the $1,000 already paid to you, within the next few weeks, and to relieve you of all expense connected with these experiments.
Yours very truly
[signed] A .O. TATE.

HENDRICKS, 1966, 51-52. 

Raff et Gammon se lancent alors dans l'exploitation du kinetoscope et des salons "kinetoscope parlors". 


ouvrent plusieurs "kinetoscope parlor" à Atlantic City et Asbury Park (N. J.)


Dès le mois d'août, une nouvelle commande de 100 kinetoscopes est passée auprès d'Edison comme le précise le contrat du 18. Deux mois plus tard, "The Kinetoscope Company", dirigée par Raff et Gammon...


Dans le cadre de ses responsabilités de commissionnaire, il part pour plusieurs mois en Europe où il organise une tournée en Autriche, Russie, Allemagne entre les mois de juin et de septembre :

A lettter has been received from Frank R. Gammon, by a friend in Cullison. Gammon is in Dresden, Germany, and had recently arrived there from Russia. He is still at work settling up the Chicago Fair business. What a puddin' it has been to him ! In the letter he says it was well he left Cullison, as it prevented him from going to seed.

The Preston Plain Dealer, Preston, samedi 21 septembre 1895, p. 1. 


The Vitascope (1896) 

The Vitascope Company, with a capital of $60,000 has been incorporated for the purpose of manufacturing and selling vitascopes, kinetoscopes, phonographs, and other similar mechanisms and devices. It is to be located in New York City, but the three directors are Norman C. Raff and Frank R. Gammon, of the Mansion House, Brooklyn, and James H. White, of 10 Doscher street, Brooklyn. Each holds five shares.The Standard Union, samedi 9 mai 1896, p. 2.

The man Who Coined It Objects to Its Use by Others.
Special to the Jersey City News.
TRENTON, Jan. 28, 1897.—The word ‘‘vitascope,” which is one of the recent additions to the English language, is the subject of a suit in the United States Circuit Court, because the persons who claimed to have coined it deny the right of others to apply the term to articles they manufacture.
The suit was entered yesterday by the Vitascope Company, of New York City, against the United States Phonograph Company of Newark. Judge Kirkpatrick made an order returnable on February 15 for the defendants to appear and show cause why a preliminary injunction should not be issued, restraining them from further use of the term according to the bill of complaint.
The bill of complaint sets forth that Thomas A. Edison, of Menlo Park, and Thomas Armat, of Washington, were the original and first inventors of a machine for throwing on a canvas or screen pictures accurately representing and portraying the movements of moving or living objects. Under the direction and immediate supervision of and with the consent of Messrs. Edison and Armat, the complainants, Norman C. Roff [sic] and Frank R. Gammon, began the manufacture of these machines in New York. They coined the term vitascope and applied it to the machine.
Since that time the complainants say the term vitascope has always been used to describe their machines, which were generally termed “Edison’s Vitascope.” They claim to have expended more than $75,000 in making and advertising these machines, and charge that the defendants have been guilty of fraud in putting on the market a machine similar to the vitascope, and applying to it the name "Edison's Vitascope." They seek to secure a restraining injunction against the defendants and also to recover damages for past infringement.
Annexed to the bill are copies of letters sent by the defendant company to various parties offering to sell them the “only genuine Edison’s vitascope,” and others received by the Vitascope Company from persons holding territorial privileges and claiming to have lost sales through the false representations of the defendant company.
The defendant company sold their machines outright, while the plaintiffs only leased theirs.The Jersey City News, Jersey City, jeudi 28 janvier 1897, p. 2.

Et après... (1899-1909)

The following new corporations have filed papers at Portland, Me: Consolidated Lead & Zinc company; capital $1,000,000; predisent, Augustus B. Wilgus Jr of Joplin, Mo; treasurer, Norman C. Raff of New York city; directors, the above and George F. Kissam of New York city, Frank R. Gammon and Samuel L. Powers of Newton, Mass, and Matt, B. Jones of Newton Center, Mass.The Boston Globe, Boston, mardi 1er août 1899, p. 3.

gammon frank 1899 societe zinc
Hartford Courant, Hartford, mardi 19 septembre 1899, p 11.



Shortly before this exhibition Mr. Armat was solicited by his agents, Messrs. Raff & Gammon of New York, to allow the use of Mr. Edison's name in connection with Mr. Armat's machine.Evening Star, lundi 4 juin 1900, p. 3.


Frank R. Gammon left today for his home in Boston. He is interested in the oil prospecting in Greewood county and will return in about  a month.The Eureka Herald, Eureka, vendredi 8 avril 1904, p. 5.

Frank R. Gammon was at Toronto the first of the week looking after oil business.The Eureka Herald, Eureka, vendredi 10 juin 1904, p. 5.

Special to the Capital.
Eureka, Kan. July 8.-A complete drilling outfit has been un loaded at Neal, twelve miles of here, and as soon as the machinery can be set up the work of prospecting for gas and oil will be begun at that place. The enterprise is under the management of Frank R. Gammon of Boston, Mass., who is also interested in the developments that have been going on in the Flint hills district northwest of Eureka for the past several months.
Should oil or gas be found at Neal it will give new impetus to the gas and oil agitation in Eureka.The Topeka Daily Capital, Topeka, samedi 9 juillet 1904, p. 3.

La famille est recensée à Newton City (Massachusetts) en 1900.

Il rédige son testament le 1907, puis un codicille en 1908.

Il habite Concord en 1908.

Il décède en 1909.

He Had a Checkered Career, but Was a Promoter of Ability. His Russian Scheme Was Not a Winner.
Special to The Beacon.
Guthrie, Okla., May 14. The announcement from Boston of the death of Frank R. Gammon, founder of one of the first banks in Oklahoma, was received with great Interest here, and many expressions of regret have been heard over the end of a highly romantic and picturesque career, Gammon came to Guthrie on the opening day and established the Bank of Indian Territory. His bank was in a frame shack on the corner still occupied by the Oklahoma State bank as a banking house. He came to Guthrie from Wichita. He also had conducted a big dry goods store at Topeka, leaving that city finally on account of domestic troubles, which culminated in a sensational divorce suit. While, living in Topeka he had served as a director of the Santa Fe railroad.
Was Popular in Guthrie.
Gammon was very popular in Guthrie during the early days and was prominently Identified with every movement along the line of progress. He was recognized as a man of especial ability and in 1893 was selected as one of the national commissioners from Oklahoma to the world's fair at Chicago. Although representing a territory which at that time played a very insignificant part in the affairs of the nation, his administrative ability was immediately recognized by the other commissioners, and he was made chief of awards for the entire exposition. A little later he represented the United States at the international exposition at Antwerp.
He Never Returned.
He never came back to Oklahoma to live after the Chicago exposition and has figured prominently in national and international episodes since that time. During the Chicago fair he assisted in securing tho award of a gold medal to Russian wines, and in that way gained the friendship of the Russian representatives. He went to Russia himself a little later and was the first man to introduce American phonographs into that country.
According to the story that is told here, he conceived the idea that if he could place a phonograph in the royal palace it would be the biggest sort of a boost that he could possibly give to his work. He accordingly sent one of the finest talking machines made to the czar of all Russia, leaving the Impression, If not making tho direct assertion, that it was a present from the United States. The Russian government sent a note of acknowledgement to the state department at Washington, and when it was learned that it was not a present from the nation the czar's wrath to find that he had been made the victim of an advertising dodge was boundless. The gendarmes were at once sent out after Gammon, but he was warned by friends and barely managed to make his escape over the border into Germany before the order for his arrest was carried out. None of his friends here had heard of him since that time, and did not know where he was living.

The Wichita Beacon, Wichita, vendredi 14 mai 1909, p. 2.




Il est inhumé au cimetière "Union Cemetery" de Laconia (Balknap County, New Hampshire).

gammon frank 1909 sepulture
Frank Royal Gammon
Union Cemetery (Laconia, Belknap County, New Hampshire)


HENDRICKS Gordon, The Kinetoscope, New York, 1966, 192 p.