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Byrne, Andrew


Or "Uncle Andy," as he was known generally by both old and young, was the first tailor that came to and commenced the business in Indianapolis, in March 1821, although he ws here at the time the commissioners made the selection for the seat of government.

He was born in Frankfort, Kentucky, in the year 1800, and there learned the tailoring business, and ws considered a "first rate workman."  He was a small, spare-made man, black hair and eyes, and looked sharp enough to split a flaxseed in two pieces.  You would hardly think he would weight fifteen pounds, apothecaries' weight.  He thought (especially if he had taken a little "bayou blue") he would weigh several ton, and felt as big as a two story house.

Uncle Andy could make a garment to suit the most fastidious dandy of that early day.  He had the whole patronage of Indinapolis in that line; if any were disposed to grumble at prices, he would tell them they had bettr take their work to another shop.  He was generally very independent in businrss matters, but was a very unobtrusive, quiet man, unless excited or irritated.  His shop was about four feet square, in the corner of my father's cabin.  Here the fashionable tailoring of Indianapolis was first done.  One of the coats there manufactured would be worthy of Barnum's attention at this day.  They were only eualed by the hats that were generally worn with them, nd were manufactured by John Shunk, an account of of which will be found in another sketch.

Uncle Andy made several trips to and from Kentucky, before he could make up his mind to make this place his permanent residence.  He would sometimes drink a little too much, which always rendered him very happy as well as rich for the time being; he imagined he owned Indianapolis by the "right of discovery," and all the citizens were his "tenants at will."

For several years before his death, which was in April, 1851, his health was so impaired he was unable to follow his business, and made my mother's house his home.

He now lays in the family portion of the second cemetery, by the side of most of hi relatives, who had gone before him.  There are many who will see this short sketch, both in the city and throughout the State, who will remember "Uncle Andy Byrne."  "My he rest in peace."




Nowland, John H. B., “Early Reminiscences of Indianapolis, with Short Biographical Sketches of Its Early Citizens, and of a Few of the Prominent Business Men of the Present Day,” 1870, pp.35-36
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