Sayre, David Austin

1793 - 1870

Silversmith and Banker.

David A. Sayre was born near Madison, New Jersey during March 1793.  He arrived in Lexington during the spring of 1811 and apprenticed himself in the silversmith business.  By putting in long hours, within a few years he was able to purchase the silversmith business and by 1823 branched out into the private banking business under the trade name of D. A. Sayre & Company.  In 1829, Mr. Sayre acquired the residuary interest in the first Bank of Kentucky.  In 1854, he donated the funds and land necessary to start the Sayre School.

He was a strong supporter of the Union and shortly before the outbreak of the war Mr. Sayre purchased a number of rifles, small arms and ammunition.  These munitions were stored in his banking offices just in case of any trouble.

Mr. Sayre was known as an exceptional but unusual banker.  He was described as a man of limited vocabulary, with his mode of conversation somewhat rude, but Mr. Sayre knew to the penny every deposit and note in his bank.  In his back offices, Mr. Sayre helped organize most of the businesses formed in Lexington from the 1840s until his death.

 Mr. Sayre died at his home on September 11, 1870.  During his life, he amassed one of the largest fortunes in Lexington, which at the time of his death was estimated to be over one million dollars.