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Downing, George Thomas (30 December 1819–21 July 1903), abolitionist, businessman, and civil rights advocate, was born in New York City, the son of Thomas Downing, a restaurant owner, and Rebecca West. His father’s Oyster House was a gathering place for New York’s aristocracy and politicians. Young Downing attended Charles Smith’s school on Orange Street and, with future black abolitionists ...

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Harvey, Fred (27 June 1835– February 1901), caterer, hotelier, and restaurateur, was born Frederick Henry Harvey in London, England, the son of English-Scottish parents, whose names are unknown. Harvey emigrated from Liverpool, arriving in New York City in 1850. He immediately found employment at the Smith and McNewill Café earning two dollars a week as a busboy and pot scrubber. In the early 1850s he traveled by coastal packet to New Orleans, where he worked in restaurants and survived a bout with yellow fever. In the mid-1850s he traveled by stern-wheeler up the Mississippi to St. Louis. There he became involved in a jewelry business and a clothing store. His early training, however, sparked his desire to have his own restaurant. He became a U.S. citizen in 1858, and a year later he married Barbara Sarah Mattas; they had six children....