These biographies and family sketches are copied exactly as found. Undoubtedly there will be minor variations found in later research.
Some writer for a new York newspaper, under date of August 18, 1894, lets himself loose in the following style:
"While Doctor Chauncey M. Depew is dividing his time in Europe between talking horse and diplomacy with lord Roseberry, Rhine wine and yachts with the German Kaiser and anarchy and politics with President Casimir-Perier, of France, his job as the president of the New York Central Railroad and authority on almost everything pertaining to railroads is being held down by a young man who is not so well known as he, but who is thought by men who know to be an altogether better president of railroads than the talented Dr. Depew. Dr. Depew's 'sub' is about twenty-five years younger than himself, and he can probably outrun and outbox his superior and do a lot of things that the doctor's stiffened joints would not possibly permit him to undertake. He is very much quieter than the doctor, and while he may not have as many friends, those who talk with him every day say that he can give his chief points in the line of 'hustling.' Although he was not altogether unknown four years ago, it was not until then that his genius as a railroad manager brought him prominently before the public. Mr. Depew was then, as now, in Europe hobnobbing with the big guns over there, while Cornelius Vanderbilt, who owns most of the New York Central Road and who hires Mr. Depew at a fancy salary, was somewhere in Africa."
This screed reads well and desiring to know more of this man who has proven himself able to "hold down" the great Chauncey's seat, we have taken some pains to make inquiries about him. We are told that in the spring of 1890 the directors of the New York Central railroad determined to make some changes in the organization--changes which involved promotion of some of the abler officers of the road. Among other things which they voted to do was the creation of a new department, the head of which was to be elected third vice-president of the system, and to have supreme direction of the traffic of the road, both passenger and frieght. He was to be held, in short, responsible for the management of such business as was offered to the company. The choice for this responsible office fell upon H. Walter Webb, and only a few weeks later this young man found himself face to face with a strike which was more threatening than any that had occurred upon the road, perhaps in its existence, certainly since the great strike year of 1877.
Two years later Vice-President Webb was called to face another emergency of the same sort, and these two experiences fixed attention upon him as one of the great railway managers of the United States. Men who do not know Major Webb are asking one another something about his personality and his intellectual qualities, as the generalship he displays not only in strike crises, but in those more silent but in some respects equally desperate battles which railroad companies as competitors of other railroad companies are constantly fighting.
In New York Major Webb is well known, but elsewhere, although he has gained wide repute, there is little knowledge of the manner of man he is. the story of his career contains much that is instructive and very interesting.
Major Webb is one of the sons of that distinguished politician and editor, of the time when the Whig party was fighting its battles, Gen. James Watson Webb. Great as were Gen. Webb's achievements in the political world, when he came to old age he took greater pride in the promise which was already beginning to be fulfilled, of raising a family of boys who would gain distinction perhaps equal to that which was gained by the famous Field or Washburn or Wolcott families.
Walter Webb in his youth showed some taste for engineering, and he was placed in the Columbia College School of Mines, which is the scientific department of that institution, and was at the head of his class some twenty years ago. After graduation, however, young Webb felt some inclination toward a career at the bar. He gratified it to the extent of studying, being admitted and hanging out his shingle for a brief time. His legal education was of value to him, though only in other achievements toward which he began to drift soon after he opened his office. An opportunity opened for him to go into banking and brokerage business, and for some years he was busy in studying the mysteries of Wall street, and in learning the market value of the securities there dealt in.
Almost incidentally he drifted into the railway business. His brother, Dr. Seward Webb, who married one of the daughters of William H. Vanderbilt, became interested in the Palace Car Company which the Vanderbilts controlled, and when Webster Wagner, the president of that company, met his sudden death, having been crushed between two of his own cars in a railway collision, Dr. Webb became president of the company, and invited his brother to accept an official post in connection with it. Walter Webb had not been in the railway business a month before both he and his employers discovered that he had peculiar qualifications for this business. It seemed to fascinate him. He was no pompous official, fond of sitting in richly carpeted rooms and issuing orders with heavy dignity. He was everywhere. He studied the science of railway car building; he skirmished around among the shops; he was not afraid of dirt, nor of putting on a jumper and a pair of overalls, if necessary, and as a consequence he soon had not only mastered those duties he was employed to perform, but being full of suggestions and devoted to his avocation, he was rapidly promoted. He served, really while an officer, an apprenticeship, working harder than any other employe, never thinking about hours or salary, but only bent on learning the business.
In the railway business such a person moves rapidly toward the top. The history of railway coporations in the United States furnishes many such instances. Social influence, political pulls, as they are called, family prestige, count for nothing in the development of railway men. Nothing but fidelity and capacity has any influence with directors in the selection of executive officers. Any other course would be perilous.
Therefore, when the time came for this corporation, one of the greatest in the world in railway management, to place a competent man at the head of its traffic business, Maj. Webb was selected, and so thoroughly has he justified that choice that at the time when President Chauncey M. Depew was considering the invitation of President Harrison to become the successor of Mr. Blaine, as Secretary of State, it was understood in railway circles that Maj. Webb would be chosen president of the New York Central, in case Depew resigned that office.
Chief among Maj. Webb's qualifications for this work is his devotion to business. His college training as an engineer has served him well, and his legal knowledge has been of great value to him in the two great emergencies which he was called of a sudden to face, when many of the employes of the road went out on strike. He lived not five minutes' walk from his office, and he is frequently there as early as 7 o'clock in the morning. In the summer, when he is at his country place, he takes the first train into the city, while the bankers and brokers, and professional men who live near him do not follow until two or three hours later. He rarely leaves his office before 6 o'clock, and sometimes is there until late at night. His office is a place of comfort, but not of luxury. Maj. Webb is democratic in his relations with men, and none of the red tape which prevails in some of the great corporation offices annoys visitors who desire to see him. If a delegation from the engineers or switchmen or from any of the other employees call, Maj. Webb receives them in a matter which does not lower their self-respect. There is neither condescension nor haughtiness in his relations with them. Maj. Webb will receive hard-handed employes, and within an hour be in association with a group of millionaires, fellow-directors of his in the great bank which is located near his office, and his manner is the same in each case. He treats everybody in a business-like way. He is quick-spoken, prompt, decisive, without being curt or brusque.
As a railroad man he is what is called a flyer. like William H. Vanderbilt, he is fond of going fast, and when business calls him to a remote point, he will order a locomotive attached to his special car, and within half an hour after the decision is taken, will be flying over the rails at the rate of a mile a minute. He is absolutely fearless in his travels, as William H. Vanderbilt was. Business men may see him in the afternoon of one day, and hear of him the next morning at Buffalo, 450 mile away. This does not indicate restlessness, but energy. Major Webb is one of the most quiet, self-contained and serene-mannered of all railway managers.
When, just after he became vice-president, he was called upon to face a most dangerous strike, railway men said that he had been put to the test too early, and some of them feared he would not br equal to the responsibility. Depew was in Europe, Cornelius Vanderbilt in Newport, and members of the executive board scattered here and there. Maj. Webb immediatley made of his office a camping-place. He collected his staff about him. The strikers had control of the approaches to New York city, and traffic was paralyzed. He first took pains to discover how many of the men were out, and also to learn what their precise grievance was. If it were a question of time or wages or any other thing over which there had been misunderstanding or business disagreement, he believed that the trouble could be speedily settled. He found, instead, that it was a matter of discipline, that the men protested against certain rules which the subordinate officers had found necessary, as they believed, in order to maintain discipline. The strikers objected to the discharge of certain men who were reported disobedient or incompetent, and when Major Webb heard this, he said, in a quiet way, to his staff: "This is a point this Company cannot yield. The stockholders must retain the right to manage, in their own way, this property."
Then he called upon his resources. He sent agents to procure men to take the places of the strikers. He called upon the police force of New York for protection, and got it. Night and day for seventy-two hours he left his office for only a few moments at a time. He caught catnaps, and two nights did not sleep a wink. And, when the railway men connected with other lines found out what he was doing, they said: "There is a young General in command at the Grand Central Station."
In his conferences with leaders of labor associations, Maj. Webb's legal knowledge was of great service to him, and Mr. Powderly himself, who met him in conference several times, was greatly impressed by his tact, coolness, good temper and his firmness as well.
When Mr. Depew returned from Europe not a sign of the strike appeared. Cornelius Vanderbilt, constantly informed over the wire at his Newport home of what was going on, deemed it unnecessary to come to the city
At the first mutterings of the strike in Buffalo, information of which was sent to Maj. Webb by telegraph, he touched his electric bell, the messenger who answered received an order which was taken to the proper authority, and within half an hour maj. Webb was aboard his private car, speeding over the tracks at the rate of fifity miles an hour, and before dawn next morning he was in Buffalo. His part in that convulsion is a matter of recent history, and unneccessary to describe here.
In physical appearance, Maj. Webb does not at all suggest the typical railway mamager. He is of slight figure, medium stature, erect in carriage. He cares nothing for social pleasures of the fashionable set. His home and his office are his life. He is not a club man. He takes no conspicuous part in politics, although he has strong political views; but it is safe to say that not a dozen men employed by his company know whether he is a Republican or a Democrat. He is a strong Churchman, being a vestryman and one of the most active members of one of the New York uptown Episcopal churches, and if the millionaires contributed sums proportionate to their wealth as great as those he gives for church work, his church would have an enormous income. Maj. Webb is a great believer in the future possibilities of fast railway travel. He has studied this development with great care, and with such results that he is now running daily the fastest railway train in the world, making nearly a mile a minute consecutively for 450 miles. His experiments have shown that the old idea that very fast travelling does not pay is an error, but he says that in order to make it pay, the cars must be light but strong, the service sufficient but not luxurious, and the carrying capacity limited, so that an engine will not be compelled to draw too heavy a train.
Chauncey M. Depew has the reputation of being the most accessible to newspaper men of all the distinguished men of New York, yet he is not more so than Maj. Webb. Any respectable newspaper man is welcome to his office at all times, and he treats such callers as though they were men, and like one who respects their calling. The reporter has yet to be found who has got of Maj. Webb a suggestion that a puff or a bit of praise would be pleasing. He will not talk about himself, but will cheerfully give all the news which he has, provided it is consistant with the policy of the road to make publication of it. If it is not consistant, he says frankly: "That is something I cannot talk to you about just now. Perhaps I may be able to do so to-morrow."
Perhaps this disposition is partly due to his recollection of the fact that his father was newspaper man who always treated the humblest of reporters with great respect. At the time Gen. Webb was approaching death, and the various newspapers of New York sent reporters to his home, so that immediate information of his death might be obtained, Gen. Webb used to say to his sons: "Are you taking good care of the newspaper men? If any of them have to wait long, show them some hospitality. Give them a glass of Madeira and a sandwich or biscuit, and do not forget that the newspaper reporters as a class are hard-working, fair-minded, intelligent men, who should be treated exactly as any other business man is, who comes to you on business matters." Whether this injunction accounts for the treatment Maj. Webb and his brothers give newspaper men or not, the fact remains that they all are thus minded when they receive representatives of the press.
The general impression in railway circles is that when President Depew retires from official connection with the New York Central, Maj. Webb will be his successor.
What we have thus far said relates to Mr. webb's connection with the main lines of the Central corporation, the extent of which all our readers understand, for that system is one of the largest in the world, and is managed with a degree of judgement and practical capacity that has elicited the wonder of travellers who are familiar with the great lines both in Europe and America. But it is in Major Webb's connection with our own northern lines that he has been brought more directly into official relations with our own people. When the New York Central, on March 14th, 1891, leased the lines of the R. W. & O. Railroad, Major Webb was placed in complete control of that entire system, and became the managing officer, the supreme executive head. Almost from the very week he assumed control, the beneficence of his management has made itself manifest. He began the great work of raising the newly-acquired property to the high standard of the trunk line. This necessitated new bridges, new rails, and the accomplishment of almost a process of new construction--entirely so in some localities. The outlay for these improvements has been enormous, reaching $2,000,000, of which over $600,000 has been expended in the construction of new bridges, built of steel and iron. The bridges upon the whole line are now as good as any in the country.
The entire road-bed has been re-ballasted, and in most of it new ties have been placed, and the number of the same per mile has been increased. New steel rails have been laid, weighing 70 and 72 pounds to the lineal yard, and the equipment has been correspondingly improved by the addition of standard locomotives of the heaviest pattern, which could not be run over the old R. W. & O., but which now, under the new improvements--steel rails, perfect road-bed, and strong bridges---are allowed to run at high speed, and haul heavy trains. New passenger cars have been added; in fact, the road has been virtually re-constructed. Freight rates have been reduced, and the general conditions have been greatly improved. Among other things, several enterprises in Northern New York have been assisted: and all this has been done by hard work, and under the plans made and supervised by Mr. Webb.
For such labors, so well done, too much praise cannot be given this young man, who might have chosen ease, but prefers work. All that he touches he benefits. He has raised the old R. W. & O. R. R. system from a decaying condition, with worn material and weak bridges to become a grand system in itself, the natural ally of the great trunk system with which it makes close connections, with vestibuled trains, and in summer with its steady-running "flyers" that cross the country at 40 miles an hour in entire safety. The value of such a system, so connected, adds to the value of every acre of land in Northern New York, and is of interest to the poorest man as well as to the richest. The remarkable freedom from personal accidents to passengers during the year 1894 affords the best possible guaranty that the system is well and safely managed. Speed and comfort are two conditions demanded by modern travellers; but the perfect combination is a rare one. On most American railroads high speed is onlypossible at the expense of danger and discomfort. To combine comfort and safety with the greatest speed, perfect equipment and absence of sharp curves are necessary. This is certainly the case with the R. W. & O. system. its great eastern and western outlets, the New York Central and Hudson River Roads hold the world's champioship for long-distance fast trains, won by recent improvements in equipment and locomotive building that fairly mark an epoch in railroading; and its hundred-ton engines, borne on massive rails weighing 120 pounds per yard, now skim with perfect safety around curves at the rate of 55 miles an hour. The solidest of road-beds is needed to withstand this marvelous speed and to bear the enormous locomotives and trains; what it does with safety is impossible to other railroads of inferior equipment, or built with sharp curves. Excepting the Great Western of Canada, which has one air-line reach of 100 miles, the New York Central straight tracks exceed those of any other railroad in the world.
HON. FREDERICK LANSING, formerly State Senator and member of congress, who died at his home in Watertown February 1, 1894, was born in Manheim, Herkimer county, February 16, 1838. He was the son of Hon. Frederick Lansing, of Herkimer county, who was a brother of Hon. Robert Lansing, so long and favorably known in Watertown. Frederick, Jr., was educated at the Little Falls Academy, from which he graduated when 18 years of age, and came to Watertown to enter the law office of Hon. F. W. Hubbard, being admitted to practice in 1859. At the beginning of the Civil War he enlisted as 1st lieutenant in Captain B. B. Taggart's company (K), 10th N. Y. Heavy Artillery. From this branch of the service he was honorably discharged in March, 1863, and in July of that year he was commissined as first lieutenant in the 20th N. Y. Cavalry, with which he was serving at Bristoe Station, Va., in October, 1864, when he received his wound, and was carried off the field in a blanket, the surgeon of the regiment not expecting him to recover. But he gradually convalesced, and became an important factor in the political, professional and social life of Jefferson county.
We can do no better in preparing a sketch of Mr. Lansing's life, than to copy the remarks made before the Jefferson County Bar by Watson M. Rogers, his law partner. Among other things he said:
"The death of Frederick Lansing comes close home to me. For more than 15 years my relations with him were of the most intimate and confidential character. Each shared the labor of the other, and its results. Each rejoiced in the other's successes, and deplored his failures. We never exchanged an unpleaseant word. My affection for him could hardly be less, nor my grief for his loss more, if united by a kindred tie. No words at my command can adequatley express my estimate of his character and worth.
"As a lawyer, he was perhaps more of the ideal than the practical sort. He loved justice, and the science through which it is sought. He was well grounded in legal principles, and had a great familiarity with cases in the courts of our own State. It was rarely that one of importance could be mentioned with which he was not familiar, and he always seemed able to add a new light to any legal proposition submitted for his consideration. While he made no claim to preeminence in the argument of causes before court or jury, he nevertheless stated his reasons clearly and forcibly, interspersing them wilh sallies of wit or sarcasm that always secured the close attention of the hearer. He had little taste for the dry details and drudgery of a law office, and a detestation of the methods by which results are sometimes reached He never fomented strife, but discouraged litigation. He would have nothing to do with a cause, in the honesty of which he did not thoroughly believe, nor would he argue in favor of a legal proposition, however plausibly it might be done, which was not in accord with his own notion of the law.
"I remember well a trial at the circuit, when the evidence disclosed conduct on the part of the client that he could not approve, that he deliberately withdrew, leaving the case in the hands of his associate, and at the mercy of the court and jury. When, however satified that his cause was just, he espoused it with his whole soul, and from thenceforth made it his own. In this he was no respector of persons. the washerwoman's case was cared for with the same fidelity as the banker's.
"He leaves behind him no client whose fortune was wrecked by rashness or want of prudent management; who has not received all the fruits of the employment; or smarts under the recollection of an extortionate charge for his services. On the other hand, there are many who have received from him the labor of both lawyer and friend, without money or price. Their benedictions will follow him to his long home.
"He was elected State senator two terms, and served one term in Congress. His services in the Senate began without previous legislative experience, but from the first he took a prominent position, and during his second term was chairman of the Finance Committee, and became a leader in the party. He bore an important part in much of the legislation of those two terms. Among the measures he inaugurated was one of special interest to this locality--the preservation of the Adirondack forests, which finally resulted in the creation of the forestry commission, forestry wardens, &c., as they now exist.
"Mr. Lansing was in no sense a common man. His individuality was so marked that he was unlike any other. He imitated no one, was not a follower, was always respectful; yet I doubt if any man of his acquaintance was of sufficient lofty station to command of him any other consideration than could be accorded the humblest. He considered himself the equal of any man, and, though of a prominent family, conscious of his surroundings and what he was, he considered every other man the equal of himself. He was thoroughly democratic. He hated sham, hypocrisy and falsehood in every form; was absolutely honest, utterly unselfish and charitable to a fault, and he appreciated these qualities in others. His services to his country were heroic, his reward scanty, though in that respect his case is not exceptional.
Mr. Lansing's near relatives are his widow, a daughter of the late George C. Sherman; his children, Louis G. and Miss Marguerite Lansing; his brother, Dr. E. S. Lansing, of Burlington, N. J.; two sisters, Mrs. Robert H. Boyd, of Newburg, N. Y., and Mrs. Milton A. Fuller, of East Bloomfield, N. Y.; his nephews, A. T. E. Lansing, Stewart D. Lansing, Charles S. Lansing, George C. Sherman and Frank A. Sherman and C. M. Sherman, of this city; and his cousins, Mr. John Lansing and Miss C. M. Lansing, of this city.
THEODORE BUTTERFIELD. Mr. Butterfield comes into the transportation system of Northern New York by what may be called "natural inheritance." His grandfather, the Honorable John Butterfield, of Utica, was the originator of the American Express Company, which was started under the firm of Wells, Butterfield & Company. He also raised the money and built the first Western Union Telegraph Line, which was called the Morse Line Telegraph at that time, and was a director in the New York Central in its early stages, and one of the promoters and capitalists who built the Utica & Black River road, which started in opposition to the Rome & Watertown road, because they could not agree on a starting point, as the capitalists of Northern New York wanted to start from Herkimer; the Utica people would not hear to that, and were bound to start from Utica; so the other people started from Rome, and the Utica people, not to be outdone, started their road from Utica, which was built up to Boonville, and finally extended to Ogdensburg, Clayton, and Sackets Harbor. John Butterfield also started and owned the famous Pony Express or Overland Mail, which was the precursor of the Pacific railroads.
Theodore Butterfield's uncle, Major-General Daniel Butterfield, was the first general superintendent of the American Express Company, and also was chief of staff of the various commanders of the Army of the Potomac, and gave the celebrated order, by direction of General Meade, to the corps commanders to fight Lee at Gettysburg, the battle that nearly broke the back of the Confederacy.
Mr. Butterfield has been connected with the railroads of Northern New York for 20 years. He began as chief clerk in the accounting department of the old Utica & Black River railroad at Utica, and was soon after made general ticket agent, and then general passenger agent of that road; and as the road grew, he was made general freight and passenger agent. He remained in that position until the consolidation with the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg railroad, when he was appointed general passenger agent of the R. W. & O. R. R., and has held that positionn under the consolidation of that system with the New York Central & Hudson River R. R's. When first appointed he was the youngest general ticket agent in the United States. His experience as assistant to the general superintendent, and in the operating department of the Utica & Black River railroad, made him familiar with all departments of railroading, and that is the secret of his success in the passenger business, as he thoroughly understands the details of railroading, and has in addition rare executive ability. He is the originator of the long-distance excursions; such as the New York, Washington and Chicago excursions; and the idea of attaching sleeping-cars and drawing-room cars to excursion trains, now generally adopted, originated with him.
JOHN ADAM D. SNELL.
Mr. Snell having been president of the Jefferson County Agricultural Society (season of 1894), may surely be classed as one of the representative farmers of the county, and his biography may be printed among others whose reputation reaches beyond a single town. By his success in whatever he has undertaken, Mr. Snell has shown himself a man of broad intellect, thorough knowledge of all the details of his business, enterprising in reaching out for new and profitable departments of farming, and ever experimenting to ascertain what is the best method and what is the most money producing. With these qualifications and attainments it is not remarkable that his life has been extremely prosperous, and that he stands shoulder to shoulder with the most progressive agriculturists of the day, while the productions of his stock-farm have done much to add to the horse breeder's fame of the fertile valley of Jefferson county. In recognition of these talents Mr. Snell was unanimously elected president of the great Jefferson County Agricultural Society.
He is a man of fine business sagacity, bright, yet honorable in every transaction, enterprising in business, and charitable to all fellow-men, yet most frugal and accurate in all transactions; no man can point the finger of suspicion on any act of his life, and the progressive ideas he has inculcated have won for him the admiration and esteem of every loyal tiller of the soil in Jefferson county. He was born in Little Falls, Herkimer county, October 1, 1835, his father being David F. Snell, a well-to-do farmer of that locality. At two years of age he moved with his father to Theresa, where the family remained for three years, removing thence to Watertown, two miles south of Watertown Centre, in 1840, remaining there until he reached young manhood, receiving an excellent education in the common schools of that town, and in nearby educational institiutions. In 1859 he wedded Mary, daughter of Wm. Fuller, and a sister of Hon. Harrison Fuller, of Adams Centre, and after a short residence of five years at Dry Hill, they settled upon the farm at Adams Centre, which has since been their home. They have two children, William D. Snell, and extensive lumber dealer in Worth; and Mrs. Mattie K. Heath, of Adams Centre.
Mr. Snell has been engaged in general farming up to a few years ago, when he established the magnificent Home farm as a stock-raising farm. The fine breed of horses he has raised there are worthy of all the pride Mr. Snell feels in their records and in their prospects. He has heavy landed interests to occupy his time, and even in the portrait will be noticed that genial twinkle of the eye that characterizes the companionable jollity always recognizable in his pleasant face. During his presidency of the Agricultural Society its financial success has been marked.
Mr. Snell, in addition to the other honors conferred upon him, has been for years a director in the Farmers' National Bank of Adams. The election, for the second time, to the presidency of the Agricultural Society was tendered to Mr. Snell, but he respectfully declined, being willing and anxious that such honors should be passed around among his brother farmers, as he recognizes them as sharers in all the honor and credit that belongs to Jefferson county as having the best land, and the most of it in proportion to area, the prettiest women, the finest horses, the most superior cheese and butter, and last, but not least, the ablest farming community in the United States.
JAMES A. BELL was born February 8, 1814. his parents, George and Margaret Bell, emigrated from Belfast, in North of Ireland, in 1812, and settled in the town of Hebron, Washington county, N. Y. In 1824 they removed to Jefferson county, and located on a farm in the town of Brownville, where the subject of this sketch spent his youth and early manhood, working on the farm summers and attending school winters. The education which he obtained in the common schools and in the old Watertown Academy, under the instruction of Joseph Mullin, qualified him for teaching, which pursuit he followed several years.
In 1836 he engaged with Dr. James K. Bates in the drug and grocery business, in the village of Brownville. The next year he divided the stock of merchandise with Dr. Bates, and took his own share to Dexter, where extensive improvements were being made in the building of mills and factories, and the United States government was engaged in improving navigation at the mouth of Black River. To meet the demands of an increasing trade, and provide transportation facilities, he formed a co-partnership with Major Edmund Kirby, under the firm name of J. A. Bell & Co., enlarging the business, built a steamer and two sailing vessels, which they employed for several years, chiefly in shipping the products of the surrounding country to Eastern markets, by the way of Oswego and the canals, and bringing back merchandise and other freight.
Upon the death of Major Kirby, and after the settlement of the business of the firm, Mr. Bell built a new brick store in a more central location, and devoted himself for many years more exclusively to the business of merchandising.
Mr. Bell was twice married. His first wife was Persis, daughter of James Wood, who died of pneumonia on the 18th day after their marriage. On December 15, 1841, he married Rachel P., the youngest daughter of Joseph and Hannah Smith, a fine Quaker family, who came from Pennsylvania to Brownville in 1820. this family is most worthily represented by her two brothers Levi and Hugh Smith, the former of whom was for many years postmaster at Watertown, and the latter a member of the New York Legislature in 1872.
By the latter marriage they had two sons, James Edmund Bell, who died in his 18th year, and Howard Parry Bell, a graduate of Yale College and of the Columbian College Law School, an attorney and counsellor, and now in active business at Arlington, N. J.
Mr. Bell's business enterprise at Dexter was successful, but incapable of any considerable extension, and he turned his attention to the growing West. He purchased several thousand acres of government land in Northwestern Minnesota, and in 1867, in connection with Joseph Gaylord Smith (son of Levi Smith), established a bank at St. Cloud, Minn.
The rapid development of the West made a profitable demand for land in this choice section (the Park Region of Minnestoa), and also justified the increase from time to time in banking capital. The First National Bank of St. Cloud, of which James J. Bell is president, and J. G. Smith, cashier, now has a capital of $100,000, and a substantial bank building of great artistic beauty, second to none outside the three great cities of Minnesota.
In public Mr. Bell has been an active and intelligent participant in village, town, county and State affairs. For several terms he held the offices of school commissioner and supervisor of the town of Brownville. In 1859, by an unexpected majority over his Democratic opponent, he was elected to represent his district (then the 18th, composed of Jefferson and Lewis), in the State Senate, wherein he served his constituents and entire State with such distinguished ability and popular satisfaction, that he was returned for a second and third time. Mr. Bell was about 46 years old on entering his Senatorialcareer, and the best 12 years of his life were given to the State. For this purpose he divided a profitable business with others, inviting J. G. Smith and O. M. Wood into a partnership, known as Bell, Smith & Wood, at Dexter.
Even in his first term, Senator Bell was honored by his associates, in being chosen President pro tem. of the Senate, and by his just decisions and impartial rulings he secured the confidence and esteem of all the members of that body. He was a member of the Committee on Insurance and on Canals (and later in his official life became the head of the canal system of the State); but his great work was as chairman of the Finance Committee--always a committee of first importance, but pre-eminently so in the Legislature of 1860-65, when issues of unexampled magnitude, including the floating of great loans and supplying New York's quotas for the war, were pressing for wise determination.
From the firing on Sumter to the surrender, Senator Bell was indefatigable in well-directed efforts to preserve the integrity of the Union. No man in the State, except Governor Morgan, did more to facilitate the enlistment of troops, and and for their care and comfort in the camp and field. It was the high prerogative and duty of the Empire State to march at the head of the column in support of the National Government, and on the election of Governor Horatio Seymour (Democrat), to succeed the patriotic Morgan, it practically devolved upon Senator Bell, as leader of the war legislation, to keep New York at the front. The honor of the State in supporting the war, is the best brief commentary on our Senator's efficiency and success. His prominence in the Senate, and his favorable acquaintance with President Lincoln, with great War Secretary Stanton and General Grant, who was stationed at Sackets Harbor in early days, led to his frequently visiting Washington as the representative of the State of New York in its directed dealings with the United States, and enabled him to adjust and compose many serious complications. This extra Senatorial service grew in importance under the governorship of Seymour, whose hostility to the administration was so marked that he could not be induced to visit Washington, even upon special invitation from President Lincoln, borne by the Senator.
Touching general statutory legislation, many of the reforms which he originated and secured the enactment of, were models of improvement which have been adopted by many other States. For instance, the act allowing State prisoners commutation of terms of sentence for good behavior; the act of requiring counties of the State to provide suitable insittutions for the care and instruction of orphans and the children of indigents parents, outside of the poor-house; the act requiring insurance companies to deposit certain securities with the State Insurance Department for the protection of policy holders.
At the close of the war and his Senatorial career, Mr. Bell had no taste for merchandising at Dexter, and Smith & Wood succeeded to the business. this step closed his business career at hiis old home, though he spent a portion of succeeding years there, and gave attention to business interests in the West and South. In Alabama, near Huntsville, he purchased a cotton plantation and cultivated it under the supervision of Mr. Samuel Gillingham, until prudence became the better part of valor--in Ku Klux days.
Senator Bell was elected a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1867, his colleague being Hon Marcus Bickford. His thorough knowledge of State affairs was of great value, and highly appreciated by the members of that body, which included such men as William M. Evarts, Sanford E. Church, William A. Wheeler, Samuel J. Tilden and Horace Greeley.
in 1868 Mr. Bell relinquished his candidacy for Congress, and at the earnest solicitation of Governor Fenton and many Senators, accepted the appointment of Auditor of the Canal Department. The Governor and the Senate had gotten into a dead-lock, and two of the Governors's previous nominations had been rejected by the Senate. Mr. Bell was assured that his nomination would compose these differences, and in fact the Senate confirmed the same without reference or leaving their seats.
On entering the Canal Department, Auditor Bell found the canals in a deplorable condition physically; the revenues running down every quarter, and the personnel of the service demoralized. There was need for a strong hand and a capable head, and Auditor Bell received unstinted commendation, especially from commercial people, for the rapidity with which he put the canals in good navigable condition, from which increased use and business promptly resulted, with gratifying increase in revenues.
Not a dollar of the many millions that passed through the Auditor's hands was lost or misapplied. Mr. Bell proved to be the right man in the right place in preventing any misappropiation of canal funds, at a time when the Hoffman-Weed regime came into power at the Capital. In fact the Auditor was the only Republican head of a department at the Capital at a time as critical to the State as any in our generation. In 1874 Senator Bell became interested with others in a large number of building lots at Arlington, N. J., (a suburb of New York), and engaged in the erection of houses and buildings thereon, in part from a surplus stock of lumber cut from timber-lands which his company owned in Sullivan county, N. Y. This necessitated his removal to Arlington.
In polictics Mr. Bell was a Republican of the Henry Clay school. He was one of the first to sign a call for the organization of the Republican party of Northern New York.
In church matters he embraced the faith of his parents, and united with the Presbyterian church in his 16th year, being ordained a ruling elder at 25.
Special mention should be made of the abiding interest Mr. Bell has taken in the welfare of young people. He has ever been ready to assist worthy young men to fit themselves for usefulness in life, and with means to engage in business. Many a young lady has been qualified for teaching and to secure other remunerative employment through his timely assistance and counsel. The cause of religion has received his constant attention and support. In addition to assisting several churches on our northwestern frontier to provide houses of worship, he built, almost entirely from his own means, a substantial brick church, capable of seating 300 people, at Dexter, and a stone church of like capacity at Arlington, N. J.
There are few men in Northern New York who have ever stood as high as James A. Bell. He was not a man who sought office, though he was an ardent partisan, for he believed in his party, and it trusted him. His reputation for truthfulness and ability made him an unusually desirable man to aid the country in the great struggle it was destined to pass through from 1860 to 1865--the years when he was at the height of his physical and mental powers, and he "fought a good fight." He was ever the friend of the soldiers, sympathizing in the sufferings of those in the field, whose condition he knew of by personal observation. Viewed in almost any light, as the sound and progressive business man; as the grand, good citizen, alive to every good work or cause; or as a legislator who came very near being a statesman--as the loving parent, the faithful husband, no man could have stood higher than Mr. Bell. It was well-nigh a public calamity when he left our county--but he sought a wider field, and he filled it surpassingly well--earning the same meed of praise abroad as was bestowed upon him in the county where he spent his youth and mature manhood. J. A. H.
ANDREW JACKSON FAIRBANKS Is the eighth generation from the founder of the name in America, dating from his arrival in this counrty in 1633, and is a lineal descendant, upon both father and mother's side, of the first settlers of Watertown, his mother being a Massey. Mr. Fairbanks has made himself familiar with the early and continuous progress of events and biogragphies of persons by collections of documentary history, and also by interviews with old residents, many of whom have passed away, so that with a retentive memory and in the preservation of records, he now has a library both extensive and valuable. He also has accumulated a museum of relics and mementos of past generations, curious and instructive. He has contributed to this History several interesting sketches relating to the past, and has furnished data regarding many important events. His motive, aside from self information, in making these collections, is eventually to donate the most important and rare of his very valuable collection to the Jefferson County Historical Society for preservation and for publication. This transfer will be made just as soon as the Historical Society can obtain suitable secure quarters of their own.
Mr. Fairbanks is a veritable historian possessed of the rare peculiarities of that distinguished "genus homo." He is surprisingly accurate in his descriptions, and as he was very early the companion of his distinguished father upon his journeyings up and down the county and into Canada, his fund of reminiscences are remarkable and interesting. Mr. Fairbanks, with his three brothers, was educated at the Montreal Catholic College, an institution of learning with a reputation extending beyond the confines of America.
Referring to our previous remarks upon genealogical records, we still regard them as essential for the correct compilationof any history. Although only a century has elapsed since the first settlement of this Black River country, yet very few records have been secured relative to the pioneers and first settlers, of their ancestry or of their successors. It is lamentable that such important information has been lost to posterity. With the exception of a few entrie in old family Bibles, the record of those who have lived and passed away is a blank. In England, France and Germany genealogical records are preserved by law, and thus ancestry may be traced back for centuries. In some of the New England States, notably in Massachusetts, vital statistics are by law compiled in duplicate by the town clerk of each township, one copy retained and its duplicate filed with the State authorities, becoming a part of the archives of the State. At intervals these records are printed in book form for the information of the general public. this valuable compilation has been carefully going on since colonial days, even prior to the French and Indian War, and the War of the Revolution. The value of such records cannot be overestimated; from information derived from such files many sequestered estates have been restored, lost wills traced, and missing relatives and friends located. This subject is worthy of investigation and study of the present generation. It would become a duty, pleasing and instructive, and not so difficult as may imagined. A person of New England ancestry, if able to indicate the locality whence his forefathers emigrated, can procure by correspondence a list of past generations of their name, comprising births, marriages and deaths, as far back as the landing Pilgrims. As an example we have been shown a complete genealogical record compiled by Mr. Fairbanks, relating to his own ancestry, commencing with the founder of the family in America, who landed on these shores in 1633, with his subsequent successors of lineal descendants, comprising their names, the date of their births, marriages and deaths, even down to the present day, comprising 10 generations, and covering a space of 262 years--the present family finishing the line.
JOSIAH HUCKINS, whose face will be readily recognized by many of the older residents of Watertown, was born November 20, 1806. He was the son of Josiah and Polly (Duch) Huckins, who emigrated at an early date, from New Hampshire to Canada. The father, Josiah, died when his son was but three years of age. When about 15 years old, Josiah, the subject of our sketch, came to Franklin county, and later to the town of Watertown. He was educated at the common schools, and was a carpenter and contractor. He was interested in, and helped erect, nearly all the public buildings, and many of the private residences of the city of Watertown. He was a member of the Arsenal Street Methodist Episcopal Church, and when it was divided he was the contractor for the State Street Methodist Episcopal Church, in 1849, and remained a member of the same, and was an official member until he removed to Carthage in 1874.
He was four times united in marriage. His first wife was Arabella Welch, of Rodman, who died May 5, 1836. His second wife was Fanny Woodruff, daughter of Benjamin Woodruff, of the town of Watertown, who died march 14, 1847. They had one daughter, Sarah who died at eight years of age. His third wife was Sophia Woodruff, sister of his second wife, who died April 11, 1872. For his fourth wife he married, June 9, 1874, Marie H.. only daughter of William and Polly Fuller of Carthage.
Mr. Huckins was an invalid for many years, and died from consumption, December 10, 1878, in Carthage. Although not physically strong, he always took a deep interest in all pertaining to public affaira, and the improvement of the home of his adoption.
The author of this History was for several years a member of the State Street M. E. Church congregation when Mr. Huckins was class-leader and trustee. To him and to Joshua Hemenway, Judah Lord, J. W. Weeks, Thomas Baker, the Johnsons, the Butterfields, A. J. Peck and his brother Willard, and to others, "their names forgotten or remembered," that progressive church owes much of its stamina and later growth. Mr. Huckins was naturally a Christian, for his mind was without frivolity, his ideas of morality became fixed in early life, and he showed to all whom he knew that his profession was not a matter of mere form, but an earnest and pervading conviction. He was a good man, and his widow, who survives him, has shown her affection for her husband in rescuing his name and character from oblivion by the printed page.
JUDAH LORD, For many years a prominent mechanic and citizen of Watertown, was born 1802. He first came into the county from Connecticut, settling in Brownville, where he had been preceded by his brother, Colonel William Lord. Judah remained at Brownville some six years, and then removed to Watertown. In 1825 he married Miss Almira Smith, daughter of Benjamin Smith, who came from Vermont. Mr. Lord's first business venture was in manufacturing mechanical tools. this proved a profitable investment, and he continued it until he was induced to return to Brownville, where he remained nearly five years, the business he was engaged in proving unremunerative, and involving him in debt. In 1841 he returned to Watertown and accepted a position with George Goulding as a pattern-maker, having as a companion in the shop, Theodore T. Woodruff, his brother-in-law, afterwards inventor of the sleeping-car.
About1847 Mr. Lord became a partner with John Ransom in his former business--the manufacture of carpenters' tools, and so continued until finally, after years of labor and stuggle, he became partner with his nephew, Gilderoy Lord, and they built up a large and remunerative business on Beebe's Island. In this business Judah Lord was the inventive head; his mechanical genius, joined to his extraordinary ability as a practical mechanic, rendered his services unusually valuable. He was the inventor of the Young America mowing machine, of several improvements upon the plow, as borught out by Gethro Wood, and many other mechanical devices intended to lighten and facilitate labor.
As a mechanic, Mr. Lord had no superior in this vicinity. He was a remarkably modest and unassuming man, but possessed rare ability, and an industry that was never satified without doing all in his power. He was never a robust man, but kept on untiringly almost to the end of his life. He died in 1876. His widow survived him nearly nine years. They reared five daughters, three of them now living: Mary, wife of James DeLong; Frances A., wife of Judge Ross C. Scott, and Miss Lydia, who makes her home with her sister, Mrs. Scott. They are all devoted members of the Methodist Church, and have been such almost from infancy, maintaining the faith of their ancestry with a persistency and zeal that knew no abatement for many years.
DANIEL BRAINARD, father of O. V. Brainard, came to Watertown from Whitestown, Oneida county, about 1805, and married Miss Lorraine Hungerford sister of Hon. Orville Hungerford, in 1806. He practiced medicine in Watertown, joined the Medical Society in 1807, and died the 27th day of January, 1810. O. V. Brainard, his son, was long and intimately associated with the business of Watertown and the county at large, he having been for over 20 years cashier of the Jefferson County Bank. He was an intelligent citizen and an honest man.
REV. WILLIAM DIXON MARSH Among the preachers of Watertown who have made a marked impression upon the public, as well as secured the affectionate regard of his own congregation, is the Rev. Mr. Marsh, in the second year of his pastorate at State Street M. E. Church. He was born at Potsdam, N. Y., in 1854, the third son of Samuel and Hannah Marsh. His father was killed in the battle of Gaines' Mills, Va., June 27, 1862, at the head of his regiment. He was lieutenant colonel of the 16th N. Y. Volunteer Infantry, one of the best regiments in the gallant Sixth Corps of the Grand Army of the Potomac. When this regiment was marching through Baltimore to the front a few days after the Massachusetts regiment had been fired upon, a crowd of rowdies on the sidewalk demanded of the colonel, "Where is your music?" "In our cartridge boxes," was the prompt reply. This is the regiment so graphically spoken of on page 101-2 of this History, and in which Major-General N. M. Curtis and our beloved Captain Parker once commanded companies.
The death of his father occurred when Willian Dixon was only eight years of age. He attended the district school at Potsdam, and afterwards worked three years in Geo. B. Swan's sash and door shop. These years at handicraft gave him an insight into the wants and aspirations of working men, and has made him especially the champion of labor through all the years of his pastorate. he graduated at Potsdam State Normal School in June, 1874, in the classical course. He was principal of Gouverneur Graded School one year, 1874-5. He then entered Syracuse University, from which he graduated as A. B. in June, 1879. He was called to the chair of mathematics in Potsdam Normal School, in February, 1879, and occupied it until June 1881. He then entered the Theological School of Boston University, finishing the three years' course in two years, graduating B. D. in 1883. In June, 1882, he received the degree of A. M. from Syracuse University.
September 5, 1883, he married Miss Lillian Church of Morristown, N. Y. In 1872 he was soundly converted at a revival conducted by the distinguished Phoebe Palmer and her husband during the pastorate of Rev. L. D. White. In 1875 he was licensed to exhort by Presiding Elder Bramley. During his college and teacher's life he preached more or less, and has always, since his conversion, been ready, in season and out of season, to do his Master's work. In April, 1883, he joined the Northern New York Conference at Watertown. He was ordained deacon by Bishop Warren, in 1882; elder by Bishop Foss, in 1887, at Little Falls. His appointments have been: 1883-4, Parishville; 1885-88, Norwood; 1888-93, Malone; 1893, State street, Watertown.
Mr. Marsh's great forte is his earnestness. His manner is always argumentative and impressive, and at times rises into unusual eloquence. His command of language is exceptionally fine, and this, added to his persuasive and sympathetic manner, makes him the typical Methodist minister. He has always been popular in the charges he has served, as evidenced by the following extract from the Potsdam Palladium of April 20, 1893:
Rev. W. D. Marsh has been asked for by Gouverneur and by Watertown. It is, of course, not certain that the Bishop will send him to either place, but his friends here hope that his own preferences may govern in the matter. He has been in Malone the full five years permitted by the rules of his church, or his people here would never think of relinquishing their claim upon him. They appreciatively recognize that his exceptional abilities in fostering the church's material interests, value his social qualities, admire his independence, courage and intellectual endowments, and profoundly respect the intensity of his convictions and intolerance of anything that bears even a semblance of compromise with wrong. Indeed, this latter characteristic seems to us the strongest side of Mr. Marsh's nature, and it compels regard and almost veneration, even when in disagreement with him. In all his works he is open, aggressive, manly, striking brave blows and reaching out always for ends that he at least believes right. The esteem in which he is held is far from being confined to his own parishoners, but is shared by all societies, as has been testified in various ways many times during these closing days of his service in Malone. The Womans' Christian Temperance Union tribute last week was one evidence of it; a Christian Endeavor social on last Friday evening was another, and the great union service of the Baptist, Congregational and Methodist Societies on Sunday evening last to hear his farewell sermon, was a third and perhaps the most striking of all. The auditorium of the Methodist Church was crowded, even to its aisles. The words that Mr. Marsh spoke reflected the mind and heart of the speaker--dwelling most of course, on the theme of temperance, which always calls out most of his earnestness and fervor. The discourse can not but interest every one concerned for Malone's welfare, and we give it to our readers in a supplement sent out with this issue of the Palladium. Wherever Mr. Marsh may go, the respect and love of hundreds into whose hearts he has grown while in Malone, will attend him, and kindly, sympathetic wishes will be with him that health, happiness and rich results in his labors may be his portion.
The Rev. Osgood E. Herrick, D. D., Post Chaplain U. S. Army retired, who now resides in Watertown, spent his boyhood in this county. He was born April 25, 1836, in Windsor, Vt. His father, the late Samuel Herrick, removed his family to this county in 1839, and to Watertown in 1846. Rev. Dr. Herrick was ordained to the ministry of the Protestant Episcopal church by the late Bishop DeLancey, January 15, 1851. His first parish was in Adams, this county. In 1853 he became rector of Christ Church, Manilus, N. Y., and in 1856 he became rector of St. Pauls Church, Key West, Florida, which office he held 13 years, including the years of the Civil War. In 1864 President Lincoln, having learned that he was the only clergyman in the South who had not changed or omitted the stated prayers for the President and Congress of the United States, had him appointed Post Chaplain in the United States Army. In 1870 he was ordered to Fort Warren, Boston, Mass., and in 1875 to Fortress Monroe, Virginia, where he remained till he was retired, "by operation of law," having reached the age when all officers of the army are retired from active service. While in Key West, he and his wife passed through several seasons of yellow fever. he having it twice and his wife once. Before his leaving Key West, General T. W. Sherman issued an order, of which the following is a part:
2. To Rev. Osgood E. Herrick, Chaplain U. S A., and his estimable wife. There is probably not a single officer or soldier stricken down who does not feel greatly indebted for their sympathies and their kind and constant attentions.
The arduous services, too, of the Chaplain, both as pastor and friend, among the stricken in the city as well as in garrison, were unremitting to the extent of sacrificing his own health for the good of others. Contrary to the advice of the commanding officer and his physician, this officer insisted upon keeping his post in spite of ill health, and continuing in the performance of every duty--official, pastoral, and social--until this epidemic was stayed; and he has thereby shown how well the great military virtue of self-sacrifice combines woth the higher virtues of religion. By the order of Brev. Maj. Gen. T. W. Sherman.
And when he was retired, the commanding officer of Fort Monroe issued the following order:
FORT MONROE, VIRGINIA, April 28th, 1890.
V. The Reverend Osgood E. Herrick, Post Chaplain, having attained the age fixed by law, is retired from active service. In thus severing his official relations with those among whom he has served so long, Chaplain Herrick takes with him the affection and regard of all who have been the recipients of his faithful ministrations. His nobility of character and devotion to the duties of his sacred office will ever make his welfare and happiness the object of their most earnest solicitude.
BY ORDER OF LIEUT. COLONEL FRANK.
The degree of D. D. was conferred upon him by Hobart College, Geneva, N. Y. He is a member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, "having been specially distinguished for faithful services in maintaining the honor, integrity and supremacy of the Government of the United States." He was married May 16, 1853, to Miss Charlotte Willard Smith, whose mother and the mothers of Bishop Whipple, of Minnesota, and of the late General H. W. Halleck, U. S. Army, were sisters. Dr. and Mrs. Herrick have the honor of having had for their friends many of the distinguished men of the country, including the late Generals Winfield Scott, Meigs, Woodbury, Seymour, Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, French, Brannan, Barry, Gillen, Getty, McClellan, Hancock, McDowell, Reynolds, and others of the army; also Admirals Farragut, Porter, Paulding, Bailey, Wilkes, Fairfax, Craven, Scott, Alden, Trenchard, Sems, and others of the navy.
The loyalty of Dr. Herrick among those fire-brands of secession in the days when a Union man in the South was counted as a public enemy, required peculiar courage, joined to a high sense of duty.
REV. CHARLES G. FINNEY, D. D.---The county of Jefferson has not been behind other portions of the State in the number and ability of the great preachers who have from time to time become prominent within her borders before going out into the "wide, wide world," and demonstrating upon a broader theatre the ability which they possessed. One of these, a most peculiar and entirely unique character, was the Rev. Jedediah Burchard, whose life will be found somewhat briefly delineated among the early residents of Adams. There was was one of these preachers, however, who was destined to become more widely known than Mr. Burchard, and to leave a lasting impressiom upon his contemporaries. The Rev. Charles Finney, D. D., for many years president of the Oberlin (O.) College, was born in Litchfield, Conn., in 1792, and was spared to perform great labors, living to be nearly 83 years of age. He came early to Jefferson county and began to study law at Adams. In early manhood he gave evidence of unusual independence of character, and force and clearness of intellect. During this period of his life he manifested an indifference and even antagonism to religion, which caused him to be regarded as a dangerous companion for young men; but under the influence of the revival of 1821, he embraced religion, and in 1824 commenced the career of a preacher. He at first decided not to enter the pastoral office, but labored as an evagelist, with marked and wonderful success, for more than 10 years. Unquestionably, President Finney's greatest power was displayed in this field. Many are the anecdotes told of his power and fervor as a preacher of the gospel. In 1835 he went to the infant colony and college of Oberlin, then just established, at the earnest request of its founders, and became professor of theology in that institution--a position he held for more than 40 years. The entering upon this new field of labor, did not, however to his abandoning the old. In 1848 he visited England, remaining for three years. In 1851, on his return, he was elected president of Oberlin College, and held the office until 1866, when he resigned, retaining, however, his theological professorship. Mr. Finney was a voluminous writer on religious and theological subjects. His principal published works are Lectures on Revivals, lectures to professing Christians, Sermons on important Subjects, Lectures on Systematic Theology and Guide to the Savior, all of which have passed through several editions, in this country and in England. Up to the time of his death, President Finney retained those physical characteristics which made him a distinguished man in any assembly. His tall and erect form was unbent by age, his eagle eye had lost none of its keeness, and his hair and beard were but slightly touched with gray. His extreme age, however, made it necessary for him to restrict his labors, and he attempted very little beyond his lectures in the theological department of the college. It may truthfully be said that but few men had the power so strongly to mould and influence those with whom they came in contact as he. As a revival preacher he was probably without an equal since Whitfield; as a writer on theology and moral philosophy he has left some memorable works behind him. His useful life closed at Oberlin, O., in 1875.
CHARLES DAYAN SMITH, long a prominent maunfacturer and merchant of Watertown, was the son of Anson Smith, an early settler of Rutland, coming from Connecticut, who had married Miss Polly Smith in his native Sate before removal to the Black River country, and they brought two children with them; five more were born to them in Rutland. He settled on the State road, and there lived until his death, in 1847. He was a farmer as well as tanner and currier, and manufactured a large amount of leather, the small stream upon his farm being especially adapted for the use he desired in making a complete tannery. He was an energetic, thrifty man, seldom obliged to borrow, but usually lending money. He was a model citizen, blameless in his life, honored by his children and neighbors. Charles D., his son, had the benefits of the excellent common schools of Rutland, completing his scholastic education in the Academy at Champion, where Hon. Lysander Brown was the controlling spirit. He soon became a farmer, buying land of his own, and later falling into possession of his father's farm by the terms of the will. In 1844 he married Miss Sabra Andrus, and they reared three children, Ada, Emma and Alida A. In 1847 Mr. Smith removed to Watertown, and within a year he formed a partnership with Mr. Richard VanNamee, a practical cabinetmaker. They continued in business for nearly 20 years, being the largest manufacturers and dealers in furniture in Northern New York. His failing health induced Mr. Smith finally to withdraw from the firm, and he was soon thereafter obliged to give up all active business. Consumption at last carried him off in 1870. He is buried in beautiful Brookside. Mr. Smith was a peculiarly kind-hearted, sympathetic man. Those who were the closest to him loved him best. He was a partizan Democrat, and at first thought the war ought to have been avoided, but before its close he clearly saw the immimence and necessity of the struggle, and was a War Democrat thenceforth. In manner he was gentlemanly, though somewhat reserved. He was a good citizen, and much lamented at his deat. His amiable companion for so many years yet survives him, as does his eldest daughter, Mrs. James W. Tower, of Rochester, N.Y. His second daughter, Mrs. Charles A. Tubbs, died in August, 1894, a most beautiful and interesting personality, with a fine mind and a charming manner. Her death was deeply mourned by her friends, and the whole city shared in sympathy with those who lost so much when Emma died. Like her father, she died from a wasting consumption. and they sleep together in Brookside. The youngest daughter, Miss Alida, died in the very opening flower of her youth, almost yet a child. She was a wonderfully lovely young girl, and her early death was for a long time deeply mourned. The writer knew these people well, for Mr. Smith's children and his own were very intimate. They were an unusually closely united family, loving each other in a marked degree. The parents always seemed the companions of the children, and for them to be separated by death was a correspondingly cruel hardship, scarcely able to be borne. But their divine faith and trust enables those who survive to say, "it is well."
WINSLOW PATTRIDGE, long a resident of Watertown, was born in Chesterfield, New Hamsphire, July 1, 1791. He was of a family of 12 children, being the fourth son of Joseph and Sarah Pattridge, both of whom were of New England birth. His father was of Scotch descent; but his mother Sarah Warren, was a daughter of Captain Warren, and a near relative of General Warren of the Revolutionary War, and supposed to be of English descent. His father was a farmer by occupation. He lived at home until he was of age, and then went for himself, and for the first few years learned the cloth-dressing and wool-carding business. Entered a partnership with Jonathan Wood in the same business, in Otsego county, and remained there for two years, and in the year 1818 removed to Jefferson county, settling where the city of Watertown now is. Previous to leaving Ostego county, in 1816, he married Miss Levina Wood, daughter of Jonathan Wood, of Massachusetts, and of English descent. On coming to Watertown he at once commenced his business of clothdressing and wool-carding, and after a few years erected a building and began the manufacture of cloth. This business he continued until the year 1846, and accumulated a fine property. He rented his mill and retired from active business, but the next year his mill was burned, which resulted in a total loss to him. They reared ten children, five of whom died while young. Julia Ann married Luther J. Dorwin, Esq., an attorney of Watertown, and resides in this city. Robert Kirkwood married Miss Catherine Seaver, and resides in California. He went there early in 1850, and has been successful. Levina E. and Caroline M. reside at home. Mr. Pattridge died June 2, 1864, in his 73d year. His widow survived him many years. She was numbered among the living representative pioneer women of Jefferson county. Mr. Pattridge was a kind husband, father and friend, and a useful and much-esteemed citizen, and left with his family a more valuable legacy than money, "the example and influence of a pure life." His industry was phenomenal, his probity unchallenged, his success amply merited.
MAJOR JOSEPH CURTIS [PATTRIDGE], eldest son of Winslow Pattridge, was born in Richfield, N. Y., April 10, 1817, dying at Watertown in May, 1857, in his 41st year. In early life he received the best advantages of the fine schools of Watertown, graduating finally at Union College in 1837. He then studied law with Judge Isaac H. Bronson, and was afterwards appointed an examiner in chancery, an office abolished with the Old Court of Chancery. The law was never a congenial pursuit to Mr. Pattridge, and in 1847 he was appointed a Paymaster in the Army of Mexico with the rank of Major, following the fortunes of Gen. Taylor's division until the close of the war, when he was still retained in the service, becoming one of the paymasters of the regular army. Major Pattridge was a man of more than average ability. While not a great man, he was one who came readily to the front wherever his lot was cast. He was eminently independent, thinking out the different problems that confront every observing man, but he did it in his own way, rejecting the ideas of others until fully confirmed by his own judgment. He was a man of quick and active sympathies, was popular in the old army, and was spared the beholding of what came after him--the dreadful Civil War, where brothers from the same cradle and fire-side fought against each other fratricidal strife. Major Pattridge sleeps in Brookside.
JOSEPH ATWELL, long a resident of Watertown, and for some dozen years a merchant in Theresa, was born in Pharsalia, Chenango county, N. Y., November 12, 1822. His father was Rev. James Atwell, one of the early Methodist circuit-riders. Joseph's early life was spent upon a farm, where he attended a district school. He later attended the Manilus Academy, then a celebrated seat of learning, under the direction of Prof. Bailey. On leaving the Academy he entered the store of Azariah H. Smith, of Manilus village, where he received an excellent business education. About 1850 Mr. Atwell associated himself with William E. Hoyt, and the firm of Atwell & Hoyt, at Theresa, became well known through Northern New York during the 12 years of its existance. In the great financial distress before the Civil War, it went down in the general crash. Mr. Atwell in 1860 represented the town of Theresa on the Board of Supervisors, and introduced the resolution for building the present court-house. He was appointed chairman of the building committee. He took up the business of insurance later on, and in that relation he was best known in Watertown. He was deputy collector of customs at Cape Vincent, and rounded out the life of an honorable, and very intelli-
Here a page is missing from the volume we used. If anyone can find pages 751 and 752,
copy them or send them to me in email, we will add them to this file.
he passed through Martinsburg, which was entirely uninhabitated, to Lowville, which was called the "eleventh town," where there were a good many families. On the 8th, 9th and 10th townships not a human face or habitation was to be seen. He saw but one family in the fifth township (Denmark), two families, Hubbard and Harris, on the fourth, (Champion); two, Keyes and Miller, on the third (Rutland) near the pond. From here the road was so indistinct and difficult to follow to the residence of Johnson and Andrew Howk (in the present Colonel Hungerford neighborhood), that he lost his way, and did not find their clearings, which, so far as he had any purpose, was to have been the end of his journeyings for the present. Mr. Miles purchased the farm that he lived on so long in 1801. That was 94 years ago. We have seen how much of a wilderness this entire country was in the beginning. That wilderness has all disappeared, with the inhabitants, whose energies were taxed to the utmost in changing it into beautiful farms which now greet the eye. After rearing a large family of children, Mr. Miles died in 1860, aged 76 years, having been a good citizen and a useful man.
In writing of the unique and individual personalities of some of Watertown's earliest inhabitants, who possessed characteristics that would naturally elicit a boy's attention or admiration, there was one whom the writer recalls with peculiar regret, for he was a man who seems to have passed out of the recollection of his fellow-townsmen almost completely. We refer to Pliny E. Miles, son of Jonathan E., the distinguished Iceland traveller, whose newspaper writings about that remote country at one time attracted much attention and approval, particularly from the savants and men of letters. he was born in the town of Watertown, not far from Burrville, a farmer's son. He was educated in the public schools of that neighborhood, and came to man's estate like so many of the other farmer's sons of the early days of 1805 to 1845. He was very tall, and that perhaps added to his apparent forwardness, for he was a man of words and ideas, and such are not usually popular in rural neighborhoods, being open to the charge of desiring to make themselves conspicuous, when nothing may be further from their thoughts. In company with his brother the school-teacher, Mr. Fabius Miles, Pliny opened a book store in the Fairbanks blocks on Court street, but the book store did not prosper, for it had to contend with Knowlton & Rice, who were well-to-do, had unlimited credit besides being themselves publishers. What turned Pliny into a "globe trotter" we never learned, but the writer heard of him after he gave up his bookstore and had left Watertown, as a distinguished traveller and frequent writer for the newspapers; but of his subsequent life we know nothing. He died on a passage from San Francisco to Honolulu, whither he was going to seek health after his long Northern journeys. The impression he left upon our own mind is that of a man of pronounced ability, who went away from Watertown because he was unappreciated, and demonstrated, upon a broader theatre, and amid a different environment, a capacity which would have perhaps had earlier development and a hardier growth if appreciated in the neighborhood where he was born and came to man's estate. It is sad to think that he was buried at sea, with a few words spoken over him, sewed up in a sail-cloth, and shot over the side from a plank--the usual way of burial.
One of the most interesting families of the town of Watertown has been the Sheldons. The father and mother came into the town as early as 1804, having been born in Connecticut in 1783. They began life upon Dry Hill, a spot of considerable note in those early days, and still distinguished for its excellent farming land. The eldest son, Tilly R. Sheldon, is now in his 83rd year, with his mind clear and reminiscent. He says the first grist-mill he ever carried a grist to was upon the Wadley creek, about half a mile east of Rice's Corners, in the southeast part of the town. That is the creek which runs through Brookside Cemetery, and is formed solely from springs. In 1810 Joseph Sheldon had a distillery on Dry Hill. The next distillery was built on Washington street, three-fourths of a mile below the centre of town, in 1813. The first distillery in the county was erected at Burrville, by Thomas Converse. The surplus whiskey found a market in Canada, and at one time it was an important trade, bringing cash to the farmers at a time when money was a scarce article. But there were always risks from Canada revenue officers. Hon. Joseph Sheldon, a lawyer and judge, of New Haven, Conn., is a son of Joseph Sheldon. Mark Sheldon, of San Fansisco, is another son, while nearly all the citizens of Watertown remember John Sheldon. They have been a hard-working family, always prominent. Originally Whigs, the sons nearly all went into the Republican organization, and have been a working force in it. Hon. Joseph Sheldon is one of the ablest writers in the country upon the silver question. He is often quoted, and his dicta emphasized by truthful and unanswerable arguments.
CHARLES RICHARDSON was born March 1, 1817, about five miles south of the city of Watertown. He was reared upon a farm, received a good common school education, and in his younger days taught school. He has resided in Jefferson county all his life, except for three years spent in Onondaga county and one year in Illinois. He has been an active participant in town affairs and is at present town clerk. He reared a family of two sons and one daughter. Jos. Richardson, father of Charles, was born in Sterling, Mass., in 1784, subsequently removing to Herkimer county and in 1803 settled in Watertown where he spent the remainder of his life. He served as lieutenant in the War of 1812. His children were two sons and eight daughters. Tilley Richardson, father of Joseph, was born in Sterling, Mass., in 1759, and died in this county in 1852. He reared a family of two sons and six daughters. He was a Revolutionary soldier, and served his town as supervisor in 1808-09. The father of Tilley Richardson was a native of Massachusetts, and was a prominent man in that State, holding a civil office there many years.
REUBEN GOODALE was born in the town of Temple, N. H., April 9, 1783; he attended Appleton's School, in his native place, and Oneida Academy, Clinton, N. Y., and commenced the study of medicine in 1807, with Dr. White, of Cherry Valley, N. Y. He practiced over 50 years in Watertown. In 1819 he was treasurer of the society, secretary and censor in 1820, and was elected delegate to the State Society to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Dr. Spafford. One of his sons, Charles, was a physcian. In connection with his practice he carred on a farm situated on the State road, and was in partnership with Dr. Henry H. Sherwood in the drug business. He published the Constellation from December 13, 1830, about nine months. This paper, before coming into his possession was known as the Anti-Masonic Sun. In physique Dr. Goodale was tall and spare, active and energectic, pronounced in his opinions, and always ready to defend them. He was public spirited, and a friend of education, the standard of which he aimed to advance. He died in Watertown, January 26, 1871, 73 years of age. He was perhaps the ablest general practitioner of his day.
E. H. THOMPSON, for many years one of the merchants of Watertown, has been so successful, and withal so popular a citizen and so wholesome a man to know that we have taken considerable trouble to hunt up his antecedents. He is the son of Dr. Wm. Thompson, and was born in Martinsburg, N. Y., in 1835. Curiously enough, we have found him not only a lover of art, but an artist of respectable acquirements, one of his pictures now hanging in his store telling of his ability much better than any words of ours can do. In 1854 he went to New Haven, Conn., where he studied portrait painting with Wales Hotchkiss for three years. but Mr. Thompson was forced to give up his chosen profession on account of defective eyesight. He came to Watertown in 1859, first entering into trade under the firm name of E. H. Thompson & Co., the "Co." being Mr. Tyler. this business relation continued until 1866, when Mr. Thompson purchased his partner's interest, and took upon himself the whole burden of business. Few men have been more successful. In 1892 he became the head of the firm of E. H. Thompson & Co., in business on the south side of Public Square, in the Washington Hall block. His partners are Jno. W. Van Camp and D. J. McDonald. They are by far the largest dealers in retail groceries in Northern New York. Their stock is always choice and extensive. Mr. Thompson's personal popularity has doubtless done much to bring about these results, but he is so very modest and reticent about himself that diligent questioning has not elicited much of his early history. He may briefly be described as a "portrait painter diverted from his earliest aspirations to become engrossed in business."
WINCHELL DEVINNE RULISON was born in Carthage, March 25, 1844. He received his early education in that village, and his young manhood was spent as an assistant for his father, who was a surveyor. DeVinne became quite an expert at the business. July 13, 1865, he was married to Ella, daughter of William L. and Emeline (Henry) Easton, of Lowville. Mr. Easton was one of the most prominent citizens of Lewis county. At the age of 19 he started, in 1825, the Black River Gazette, a neutral paper. The last 12 years of his life he was in partnership with his son-in-law, Hon. D. W. C. West, in the dry-goods trade. He was one of the incorporators of the Bank of Lowville, and for many years a director and its president. Their union was blessed by 13 children, seven of whom are living. Mr. Easton died March 8, 1865, aged 59. DeVinne Rulison, subject of this sketch, was for many years the search clerk in the county clerk's office in Watertown, and was favorably known for his gentlemanly manner. He entered the office in 1868, and served therein until his death, May 26, 1891, after a short illness. He was also clerk of the Board of Supervisors for several years. "DeVinne," as he was familiarly called, was a Republican in politics, and made many friends. His wife still resides in Watertown, a lady of refinement and culture. they have buried three children.
ANSON J. COMINS, who resides on High street, was the son of Alexander H..Comins, long a resident of Watertown, coming to this city in the thirties, and learned his trade as a mason from his father-in-law, Benjamin Jeffries, who was one of the men who helped to erect Beebee's factory. Alexander H. Comins married Amanda Jeffries, and they reared five children. Alexander H. died in 1842. Anson J. Comins, the subject of this sketch, received a common school education at the old Factory Street School, taught by Mr. Ingalls. he was apprenticed to learn the mason's trade, which he followed for 44 years, being concerned in erecting the Watertown and Rome depot, the residence of Mr. Cook, on Washington street, and many private residences throughout the city. In 1861 he married Miss Augusta Curtis, daughter of Bradley Curtis, of Martinsburg, Lewis county. they have reared three children, Anna R., Grovene and Jay. These three children are yet at home, and their home is a typically happy one. Mr. Comins has long been known as one of Watertown's honorable contractors and builders; the natural outgrowth of those early times when mechanics of all descriptions took an active pride in doing good work. Mr. Comins had two brothers in the Union Army. one of them, Hamilton, going through three years of arduous and active service, including Fredericksburg and Chancelorsville, and coming out without a wound; another brother, Alexander, was fatally wounded at Fredericksburg, dying in Lincoln Hospital, Washington, in January, 1863, after having been in active service only a few months. He was another Watertown boy whose life's blood was freely given to save the Union. Can we say too much in praise of such?
CHARLES AYERS was born in Bridgewater, Vt., in 1798, came to Jefferson county with his parents in 1806 or 1807. He followed farming and school-teaching for several years, and in 1842 was ordained a minister of the Gospel. He always lived upon the farm settled by his father. He married, in 1823, Eliza Allen, a native of Hartland, Vt. Eben. A. Ayers was born in Watertown, January 29,1827, and was reared upon a farm, receiving a common school education. He married for his first wife Lucy, daughter of Jerome Ives, and had one son, Charles E. He married second, Jane S., daughter of Thomas W. Warren, of Houndsfield. After marriage, Eben. A. Ayers followed farming for several years, in the towns of Watertown and Houndsfield. In 1865 he built a cheese factory at Rices's in Watertown, and has since them devoted his time to the manufacture of cheese, and to dairying in general, being one of the organizers of "The Jefferson County Butter and Cheese Makes' Association," and in 1892 was appointed cheese instructor for Jefferson county. In 1884 he was appointed post-master at Rice's, and has since held that office. Thomas Warren, father of Mrs. Eben A. Ayers, came to this country from New Brunswick. The Ayers family in Jefferson county are descended from John Ayers and Hannah Winslow. John Ayers was a farmer and a shoemakes. He served in the war of 1812, was taken prisoner at the battle of Sackets Harbor, May 29, 1813, taken to Quebec and died there in prison in September of the same year.
TRUMAN B. TOWNSEND was born in the town of Champion, September 4, 1806. His early life was spent upon hois father's farm, receiving such an education as the common scools afforded. On attaining his majority he married Miss Sarah, daughter of Elisha and Betsy (Edwards) Allen, January 2, 1828, and soon after he purchased 35 acres of land near his father's place, and built a log house. In about five years he built a good frame house, and lived there the remainder of his life, near 60 years. In 1847 he saw the need of more land and purchased 32 acres more. He commenced life with that zeal and energy which characterized his every undertaking. In addition to farming his few acres, he learned to be a carpenter and joiner, which occupation he continued at intervals, and became a master builder. He was successful in business and in obtaining a good position in society, retaining the esteem and confidence of his fellow-citizens. He was called to fill several offices in his town, and discharged their duties to the satifaction of his constituents. His estimable wife and helpmate died in 1873, age 66 years. Their union was blessed with five children, two sons and three daughters: Priscilla K. (wife of I. W. Smith, now of Chicago); George H., who resides on the old farm of his grandfather; Erastus E., died February 28,1844; Florence A. (wife of A. W. Weeks, of Malone, Franklin county), and Mary E. (wife of Fred DeLong, of Watertown). In September, 1875, Mr. Townsend married Mrs. Margaret Copeland, of Milwaukee, Wis. After a long and useful life he died in his 82d year. This was one of the prominent families of Pamelia. a brief sketch of which is entitled to its place in the history of Jefferson County. This sketch is inserted in the Town of Watertown, for the Townsends were also well-known on both sides of the river.
JONATHAN COWAN.--Frequent reference has been made in this History to this early comer, one of the original owners of the water-power of Beebee's Island and all the south shore of the river up to a point where he joined Jewett's land, and down to near the lower bridge. His poverty and death in old age, excited considerable sympathy, and especially as the graves of his kindred have been so pitilessly desecrated by the officials of the city of Watertown. His contemporaries (Henry Coffeen, Hart Massey and that Jewett who owned all the water-power of the river where the Remingtons have made such great improvements), were prosperous when they died, but Cowan had not a dollar when he passed over to the other country. I remember him well, a tall, heavy, silent man, apparently digesting some subject in his mind as he passed along the streets. He proved himself a narrow man--for when he came to sell water privileges he insisted upon limiting the grant to some specific use--doubtless intending to hold for himself the best business opportunities; whereas a liberal man would have been willing, when he sold a piece of property, that the grantee should use it for his own purposes, untrammeled by any clause of restriction. This course made Mr. Cowan many enemies, and he gradually withdrew from active life. But he should ever be held in kind remembrance by the people of Watertown, for he was one of the men who conveyed the Public Square as a perpetual gift. It has been well improved, and is justly a source of pride to our people.
ALONZO M. WATSON, for several years a resident of Watertown, was admitted to the bar in 1837. In 1840 he was a law partner with John F. Hutchinson, a man of eccentric character, at one time postmaster at Watertown. Marrying unfortunately, he died early of consumption. Mr. Watson, his partner, before Hutchinson's death, had become infatuated with Fourierism, and with many other able men--notably Horace Greeley and several of his astute contemporaries--had attempted to reduce Fourier's principles to practice. The association which he aided in getting together at Cold Creek, two miles east of Watertown, after a year of bickerings and petty squabbles, principally among the women, relapsed into a state of "innocuous desuetude," and the result was bankruptcy, pure and simple. Watson left Cold Creek and went to Sodus Bay, in Wayne county, where the Fourierites had a second establishment on a farm of 1,100 acres. There he remained a year, and then removed to Rochester, resuming the practice of the law. After a couple of years he died suddenly of pneumonia, at the early age of 40 years. His capable wife was left with a family of seven children, whom she reared to habits of usefulness and respectability. Don A., one of her sons, served in the Union army most patriotically, and on his return from the field was elected superintendent of schools for the third Assembly district, a position he filled with entire acceptablility. He has been the kind friend and capable assistant of the author of this History, in preparing the matter for Alexandria, the town where he has resided for nearly a quarter of a century, much respected and beloved. another son, Dr. L. C. Watson, also served through the great Civil War, and died at Alexandria Bay, aged 57 years. One of the boys, George M., became a newspaper man in Michigan, and died there. A daughter, Emma, married George Snell, of Antwerp, and Mrs. Watson now resides there with her daughter, at the advanced age of 84 years, a heroic, noble woman.
COL. CHARLES C. ABELL
went into the Union army as Captain of Company C, of that large and meritorious regiment, raised mostly in Antwerp, where the Colonel had resided for many years. He was the son of Dr. Chester Abell, of Fairfield, Vt., whose wife was Miss Abigail Corliss Stone, of East Berkshire, Vt.
When the call came for 300,000 men, which the great and good President Lincoln hoped would be the last personal sacrifice the North would be called upon to make in order to put down the Rebellion, Col. Abell set about raising a company from his townsmen and acquaintances. This accomplished, he took up the life of a soldier as if he had been born to it, for it suited his ambition, and the martial spirit of his ancestry began to manifest itself in him. His ability as a soldier soon attracted the attention of his superior officers, and he was detached from his company to serve upon the staff of the chief of artillery of his division of that great army, which, under Grant and Meade, was to roll up the Confederates and eventually destroy their military power by hard blows and by the sacrifices which were only too manifest in the Wilderness and at Cold Harbor.
Charles early developed what in New England is called "faculty," a knack for doing anything or everything, being naturally ingenious, skilful and deft in many kinds of mechanical work, and was in general a boy "handy to have about the house," but for a further "faculty" to tease the life out of the rest of the household. As a youth he was active, sturdy, energetic and of an enterprising spirit, with a taste for military life, and especially desiring an education at West Point, but as circumstances did not favor this, he promptly turned to business pursuits, having first acquired a good academic education in St. Albans, Vt.
Col. Abell comes of notable hardy pioneer stock. As early as 1763, his great grandfather, Major Uriah Stone, emigrated with his wife and infant son from Massachusetts to Piermont, N. H., when that part of the province was yet an unbroken wilderness. Here he build a log cabin for a residence, and a block house near by for defence from the Indians. The ruins of this fort were still visible on their farm well on into the present century. Major Stone won his title by honorable service in the old French wars of Colonial times, and from then until now the numerous and patriotic family which he represented has not failed in ready response to our country's call for good men and true. Col. Abell resided in Vermont until 1855, when he came to Antwerp, continuing in mercantile business there until he entered the Union army.
Detailing with more particularity his service, we may say that he served with his company and regiment until June, 1864, when he was detailed as inspector of artillery for the 18th corps, commanded by the distinguished "Baldy" Smith. After serving as inspector for four months, he was promoted to be chief of artillery for the same corps. The 18th corps and the 10th each had colored troops and white troops intermingled. By putting the colored troops of each corps under one command they became he 25th corps, and the white troops were designated as the 24th. Col. Abell remained with the 24th as chief of artillery. He served through with that corps until Appomattox, and was honorably mustered out with his regiment in September,1865, after being relieved from duty with the 24th corps.
Col. Abell soon made Chicago his home, where he remained 18 years, then he was two years in Mexico. Since then he has resided in Denver and Omaha, and is now cashier of the Omaha Packing Company, where his business ability is appreciated by that large concern, with which he occupies a trusted and responsible position, and he is held in esteem as a citizen. However much Col. Abell may have distinguished himself in the field, where his service was one of exposure and great responsibility, it is as the sincere and courteous gentleman that he has developed the qualities that have endeared him so closely to his friends and acquaintances. By natural inheritance he is brimful of vitality, intellectual vigor, and strength of character, abounding too in the charm of genial humor in a remarkable degree. He is a friendly man, who finds in social life and in the society of congenial friends his greatest enjoyment.
The author of this History was privileged to share a day with the colonel and Mr. Geo.W. Wiggins last summer at historic Sackets Harbor, where the Colonel's company was organized. It was almost a perfect day of pleasure, and will never be forgotten. We three "were boys again," in spite of the contrary fact too plainly proclaimed by our grizzled beards, but--"Where snow flakes fall thickest there's nothing can freeze."J.A.H.
LIEUT. COL. JAMES B. CAMPBELL
The life amd military services of this estimable gentleman would of themselves commend him to favorable consideration in history, for he was a good soldier--one of the best. Join to this his unknown and mysterious ending, and we have all the elements of romance added to uncertainty and perhaps tragedy. Colonel Campbell possessed a fair degree of culture, he had a receptive and logical mind, and was of large physique, weighing 225 pounds, yet appearing like a man of less weight, for he bore himself with a certain lithesomeness that took away all thoughts of bulk. When the Civil War broke upon the country he was a farmer, and had no training in arms, though one of his ancestors had been a major in the British army. Colonel Campbell organized a company, and was mustered into the United States service as captain, September 11, 1862. His company was recruited mainly from the towns of Pamelia, Cape Vincent and Lyme.
The leading characteristics of Col. Campbell, as an army officer, were his superiority in drill, and in a capacity to enforce discipline without being classed as a martinet. He behaved gallantly in the field, and was particularly distinguished by leading his regiment in a night attack (April 1, 1865), upon the enemy's lines at Bermuda Hundred, in which engagement he received a gun-shot wound in his right arm. He also participated in the engagements about Petersburg, where the 10th Heavy Artillery bore so conspicuous and gallant a part in those last days of the Confederacy. He was mustered out with his regiment, and began life again as a farmer, near Plessis, but soon removed to Rutland, where he remained seven years. He had been to California, and that had perhaps given him an inclination towards a Western residence. In 1875 he began a new life in Chicago, having puchased a baking business in which he was prospering unusually well. On the 20th of October, 1877, he mysteriously disappeared, and no trace whatever has ever been had of him. He was undoubtedly murdered, as he had drawn over $1,000 from the bank the day previous, but had expressed it to his brother in the East, and so the murderer missed the money, though he killed the man--forming another of those dark chapters of crime which at one time or another have darkened the history of all our large cities. Colonel Campbell was a noble man, and has been and is now sincerely mourned. He was a brother to Mr. Alexander Campbell, who died at Watertown while filling the office of postmaster. He has another brother, Peter, living in Watertown.J.A.H.
CAPTAIN JOHN H. PARKER,
who commanded Company H, 10th N. Y. Heavy Artillery was born in Watertown, july 23, 1837. He was the son of James and Mary E. (Swayze) Parker. James was a native of Watertown, and his wife was from Hope, Warren county, N. J. They reared seven children. John H. had the benefits of the common schools, completing his education at the Watertown Institute. His life, up to the time of entering the army, was passed much like other farmers' sons. In April, 1862, he married, at Cape Vincent, Miss Helen M. Esselstyn, by whom he had one daughter. Mrs. Parker died August 7, 1883. In 1887 he married, for his second wife, Miss Mary L. Holmes, and they also have a daughter, born in 1891. In 1862, when the call came from President Lincoln for 300,000 more troops, Captain Parker was a school-teacher in Dexter. His patriotism was aroused, and he began organizing a company of light artillery in August, which was finally mustered into service September 12, 1862, with four officers and 120 enlisted men. He then began the life of a soldier with the rank of 1st lieutenant. September 20, 1862, he, with his company, started for Washington. Their first halting place after leaving Sackets harbor, was at the City Hall barracks, in New York city, but their stay there was short, and on their way to Washington the Captain's diary gratefully records that they were breakfasted sumptuously at the Cooper Shop free restaurant, in Philadelphia, where nearly a million meals were served to the soldiers from 1861 to 1865. Strange to say, they were dined at Baltimore by the ladies of that city. Reaching Washington, their real camp life began at Camp Barry in a meadow, only a short distance east of the Capitol. It was at this camp that he and his company first realized that the duty of a soldier is to obey.
They were ordered to forcibly take possession of Fort Stanton, one of the series of earth-works defending Washington, thus changing the arm of service from light to heavy artillery. Lieutenant Parker was promoted to be captain of his company, and he served it in that capacity until the end of the war. In January, 1863, this command (named Company H), with other companies, was organized into the 10th N. Y. Heavy Artillery, and then began their drill in infantry tactics, preparatory for service in the field. The thoroughness of their drill and excllence of discipline, enabled them to give a good account of themselves wherever duty called them, whether defending the nation's capital or on the arduous and perilous field of battle.
May 27, 1864, this fine regiment took transports for Port Royal, on the Rappahannock, and soon were part and parcel of Gen. Grant's great army at Cold Harbor. From the siege of Petersburg, they were hurried to Washington, when Early was threatening that city. They were also in the Shenandoah Valley with Sheridan, in January, 1865; again in the siege of Richmond and Petersburg, occupying a long front line with its right resting on the James river. It was here that 10th N. Y. Artillery bore a conspicuous part in the great closing contest. Company H lost by death, disease and killed in action, one officer and 26 men; one officer and six men by promotion; seven transferred to the navy; four to Veteran Reserve Corps; 33 discharged for disability, and 10 were lost by desertion.
Notwithstanding this great loss, through the good name and popularity of the company, recruits and transfers were equal to the loss. The last morning report of the company, made June 21, 1865, gives five officers and 122 enlisted men. Captain Parker, when mustered out, entered upon mercantile pursuits in Brownville, removing to Cape Vincent in 1873, and continuing in that same business to the present time.
CAPT. JOHN ARMSTRONG
was born in Watertown in 1827. His parents were Edward and Elizabeth Armstrong, who came into Jefferson county from Canada, where they were emigrants from Ireland. They were residents of Watertown for many years, his widow surviving her husband for a long time, dying at last, as the result of a fall, in her 87th year. John C. was educated in the common schools of Watertown, and learned the molder's trade in the foundry of Horace W. Woodruff, then occupying the ground where George A. Lance's woolen mill now stands. He joined the Union army in 1862, as 1st lieutenant in the 10th Heavy Artillery. He served with that regiment until the January after his muster-in, when he was promoted to captain, and detailed for duty at the Park Barracks in New York city, which occupied the ground now covered by the New York City post office. He was relieved only seven days before the anti-draft riots of July, 1863, and rejoined his regiment in the field, being placed in command of Fort Baker, opposite the navy yard at Washington. When the 10th Heavy Artillery were ordered to the arduous service which culminated before Petersburg, and had its glorious termination at Appomattox, Captain Armstrong was with his company and was assigned, after the capture of Petersburg, to the command of one-fourth of the city, the place having been divided into four divisions. After Appomattox, Captain Armstrong was mustered out with his company at Madison Barracks. He was a good soldier, and served faithfully throughout the entire "unpleasantness" with our Southern brethen.
After completing his trade, he entered the service of the R., W. & O. R. R., for nearly 10 years, the road being only completed to Richland when he began his service. He afterwards accepted a position on the New York Central, and later on the Overland Mail route, in those early days when it was as much as a man's life was worth to be stationed on that stage line. He was there when the Civil War broke out, and on reaching Watertown entered the Union army, as stated above. Captain Armstrong has been prominent in Masonry ever since his initiation into the order. He has filled nearly all the positions in the different Masonic organizations; has been Past High Priest in Watertown Chapter, and Past Commander in Watertown Commandery K. P.
LIEUT. GEORGE W. WOOD
also seved in the 10th N. Y. Heavy Artillery; he was born in Dexter in 1838. He was the son of John T. and Orrilla (Field) Wood, who came into Jefferson county in the thirties. They reared six children. George W. the subject of this sketch, had the benefits of the common schools of Dexter. When 15 years of age he began work in the old Ontario woolen mill, now the sulphite mill, and remained in that employ in one capacity or another until he enlisted, in 1862, and became a member of the 10th N. Y. Heavy Artillery, where he was attached to Company H. In 1864 he was promoted to a lieutenancy, as a recognition of his ability and gallantry as a soldier. He served through with the regiment, and was mustered out with it at Sackets Harbor. In 1866 Lieutenant Wood married Miss H. Ellen Winn, daughter of Francis W. Winn of Dexter. They have reared two children, twins (Burt W. and Bertha), both of whom are yet at home. Lieutenant Wood is now in trade at Dexter, the firm being O. M. & G. W. Wood, and have been there since 1867. The Lieutenant is postmaster at Dexter, having been appointed under President Cleveland. He is a man who commands the respect of the entire community where he has so long resided. His amiability and kindness of heart make him popular.
CAPTAIN HORACE O. GILMORE,
so well known as the commandant of a battery in the 10th N. Y. Heavy Artillery (the present holder of a commission as Colonel in the militia of the State), was born in Fairlee, Orange county, Vt., in 1823. His parents were Horace Gilmore and Pamelia (Cook) Gilmore, who came into Vermont from New Hampshire. In 1862, Capt. Gilmore became a member of the 10th New York Heavy Artillery, and was assigned to command Company I, composed mostly of men who were raised in Houndsfield and Brownville, many of them being neighbors and friends.
The Captain was very popular with his men, was an efficient and able officer of artillery, and served straight through until the regiment was mustered out.
COLONEL CHARLES E. MINK
was born in Albany, N. Y., October 15, 1835, and served an apprenticeship as a machinist with Mr. Addison Low, the celebrated steam-engine builder of that city. Mink was an enthusiastic student of military tactics, and served in the militia of his native city. He assisted to erect the engines on the steamer "L. R. Lyon," the first successful steamboat on Black river between Lyons Falls and Carthage in 1856. At the time of the breaking out of the War of the Rebellion he was employed as engineer on the same boat, and left it to recruit a company for the war as soon as a man could be obtained to take his place on the boat. He left Lowville with his company for Elmira early in October, 1861, to join the First Regiment of New York Light Artillery.
MRS. SARAH C. MINK, wife of Colonel Charles E. Mink, is descended from the earliest settlers of New York State. Her paternal and maternal ancestors were identified with the Colonial interests, and the struggle for independence. From such ancestors she has inherited a love of country and loyalty to its defenders, which has found ample scope in the work which has given her national reputation among the veterans of the Civil War. When the Grand Army of the Republic asked for an auxiliary to assist them in their endeavors to aid the less fortunate of their comrades and their families, she was among the first to offer her services, and was elected President of the First Relief Corps, in Syracuse, New York, serving three consecutive years. Upon retiring from that office she was elected President of the State Corps, which office she held three years. She was elected National President of the Woman's Relief Corps. at their convention held in Indianapolis, September, 1893, and gave a year of untiring devotion to the interests of the work which has become second to none in the world in membership and money expended for relief of dependent veterans and their families. In eleven years the organization expended in charity $1,013,560.25, and has a membership of 140,000. Mrs. Mink is a woman of broad spirit and and great force of character, which is proven by the office seeking the woman, and in every case she has been elected to office as the unanimous choice. She was the first National President of the Woman's Relief Corps to represent that great Association in the National Council of Women. Upon her retirement as National President, she was made a life patron of the Council by her co-workers. In the address of the Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, John G. B. Adams, of Massachusetts, is the following extract:
"I most cordially endorse all the work of the Woman's Relief Corps, and take this opportunity to thank their President, Mrs. Sarah C. Mink, for her cordial co-operation in all matters connected with my administration; and I am sure I express the feelings of every comrade when I say that the Grand Army of the Republic, whose auxilary they are, thank them from their heart of hearts for the assistance they have so grandly rendered us."
THE TUBBS FAMILY.
In saying, as the author of this History has done when writing of older Watertown, that the name of "Streeter" was the only one to be seen upon a sign-board in the city that was in existence in the same line of business in 1833, he was mistaken. That name, however, and that of "Tubbs" may truthfully be said to be the only ones in Watertown that have been continuously in the same line of trade for the past 68 years. ALANSON TUBBS was the founder of this house. He came to Watertown in 1827, after conducting a small business in Champion, justly concluding, with many others, that Watertown was the coming town. He was born in Chatham, N. Y., February 15, 1801. He was married in September, 1826, to Miss Cornelia Canfield, of Champion, daughter of Jared Canfield, one of the best known farmers in the eastern part of the county. Mr. Tubbs had great faith in honest industry. It must be remembered that the wants of the town in the line of hats or any other merchandise was very different from what it is to-day. A man who sold $6,000 worth of goods in a year then, was a leading merchant. Mr. Tubbs first began manufacturing hats in the old red hat-factory which stood upon the river-bank at the foot of Arch street, below Whittlesey point--but the building has long since disappeared. He made his own hats, for the days of the wholesale hat merchant had not yet come. Year by year he grew into the business and in public confidence, until his goods were regarded by critical judges as the best on the market. He accumulated a competency by honest and fair dealing, and was in active business at the time of his death, in February, 1874. His wife survived until August, 1876. Mr. Tubbs filled out in all respects the full requirements of a good citizen. He was a superior mechanic, having learned his trade in his youth. He loved a good hat, and took an honest pride in his calling. He was one of the last of the old merchants of Watertown, for he was contemporaneous with Safford, Ely, Farwell, Peck and others, and left a memory of which his family may be proud.
He had three sons born to him: Jared Canfield, Sanford Alanson, and Charles Hobart. Sanford died in 1854, about 22 years of age. He was teller in the Black River Bank for several years. Jared is well remembered as for many years in the Watertown Bank and Loan Co. with Hon. Geo. C. Sherman--afterwards for nearly 25 years he was in the treasurer's office of the R. W. & O. R. R. He retired from active business serveral years since.
CHARLES HOBART TUBBS, the youngest son, chose the calling of his father, and had been a member of the firm eight years when his father died. He has continued the business uninterruptedly, enlarging and improving it, and is now in his own building at No. 18 Public Square. He was appointed commissioner of public works, to fill an unexpired term, and was reappointed for four years in May, 1894. He is a useful, respected, capable citizen, a little conservative, it may be, but fully "up to date," and has aided in educationg the people up to the idea that the Public Square of Watertown is one of the finest in America, and not equaled in many places in Europe. The square only needs one notch to be filled up to render it almost above criticism, especially now that the larger part has the substantial, smooth asphalt pavement.
In 1869 he married Miss Emma Smith, daughter of Charles D. and Sabra Smith. Mrs. Tubbs died in August, 1894.
Mr. Tubbs fully sustains the excellent reputation of his father, for he is a good citizen in the highest sense of the word; the friend of temperance, of reilgious growth and of the highest education practicable in the public schools. During his long residence in Watertown he has always favored progress, and has been ever ready to lend a hand in effecting needed improvements. In 1885 he was one of the men who introduced the Electric Light Company, and in 1893 he helped to start the Cannining Works. Other branches of industry have been aided by his helping hand.
The article upon the TUBBS family has called up many reminiscences relating mainly to those who were in trade and formed the actual business men of Watertown 50 years ago. Take the drug business--there is only one man now alive who was in that branch of trade in 1845; Mr. Talcott Hale Camp, the honored President of the Jefferson County Bank, whose long life has witnessed the rise and fall of so many firms and individuals, but through all changes he has been the same courteous, amiable gentlemen. In dry goods who can name a man in that branch of merchandise who has been here 50 years? Mr. Cadwell was then scarcely out of his frocks, while the Bushnells had not yet passed the years of easy lessons, Kirkham's grammer and Ruger's arithmetic. Bush, Bull, Roth & Co. were then wholly unknown. All this goes to show that it only takes two generation to almost entirely change the population. How many men are now living who were in Watertown in 1833, when the writer began to learn his trade in the office of the Democratic Standard? Less than 50, as near as we can count them. This surely shows the importance of history as a means of perpetuating the memory of those who have passed away.
LIEUT. FREMONT P. PECK.
The sad tragedy which ended the life of this prominent young army officer, "in the line of his duty," at the proving ground at Sandy Hook, on February 19, 1895, was a shock to all who knew his history and splendid promise for the future.
The following account of his death is taken from the New York Hearld: "First Lieutenant Fremont P. Peck, of the Ordnance Corps, was killed by the bursting of the breach of a Hotchkiss gun on the proving grounds here this morning. Lieutenant Peck was in charge of the gun, and was standing beside it when it was fired. Fragments of the broken breech struck him on the face and neck, inflicting terrible injuries, from which he died a few minutes later."
Lieutenant Fremont Pearsons Peck was born at Stone Mills, Jefferson county, February 23, 1866. He came from good New England stock. Of his early ancestry, four great-grandfathers fought in the Revolutionary War.
An uncle (William E. Pearsons) on his mother's side, was an aide on the staff of Gen. Taylor during the Mexican War. It is thus clear that the subject of this sketch was born with the blood and fire of military enthusiam in his veins. From the district school at home he went to Canton University, where he spent two years, and at the age of 17 entered as a cadet at West Point. He graduated with much distinction in 1887. His first commission was as 2d lieutenant in the First Artillery, and he was stationed on the Pacific Coast. In February, 1891, he was successful in passing examinations transferring him to the Ordnance Department, being made 1st lieutenant. He went to Springfield in April, 1891, and remained until the late summer of 1892, when he was ordered to Sandy Hook. During his life at West Point, and while in the army, he was always looked upon as one of the most faithful students and one of the brightest young officers in the service. He took into the associations of army environments the rugged health and buoyant spirits of the farm, and his simple, dignified deportment endeared him to all with whom he came in contact.
Lieutenant Peck ranked high in the confidence of his superiors and brother officers in army circles especially. He was a keen searcher after truth, and his mind grasped the technicalities of gunnery and ordinance problems to a degree very seldom attained by young officers. He was an expert authority--even in one so young--in regard to the intricate details of strength of metals, velocity and force of projectiles, their elevation and trajectory, and the difficult questions of windage and range, were well understood and mastered by him. In character and attainments he stood in the very front rank of our younger ordnance officers.
Up to the time of his pathetic death, it is not too much to say that his promise of future usefulness and distinction in his chosen profession was unrivalled. Ambitious, chivalrous, enthusiastic and scholarly, death cut short a noble career just as manhood's morning was beaking into full view. The mysteries of our humanity almost confound us in the sudden close of such a promising young life, with so much to hope for, and such great power of achievement.
The loss of such an officer affected his companion in arms deeply, and his native county mourned the untimely fate of one of her most promising sons. The proofs of the appreciation of his superiors in the army are conclusive evidence of the standing he had won as a capable officer, and several of these touching memorials to his worth are herewith given. No words can add to these beautiful tributes to his efficiency as an officer, and to his worth as a man:
GOVERNOR'S ISLAND, NEW YORK, March 27, 1895.
MR. ABNER W. PECK, Watertown, New York.
DEAR SIR: I would gladly, if possible, offer some words of consolation for the loss of your son, Lieutenant F. P. Peck. From my first acquaintance with him in San Fransisco, some years ago, I have regarded him as an officer of unusual merit, and a most estimable young gentleman. Words are weak in the presence of such a terrible bereavement, but I hope it will be some consolation for you to know that your son was regarded by all who knew him as one of the purest of souls and a man whom it was a pleasure and privliege to know. Cut off suddenly, while in the execution of his duty, the world has lost a young life of rare promise, and the army has been deprived of one of its most brilliant ornaments. The deepest affliction falls upon his family, and in this affliction I beg to leave to tender my profoundest sympathy.
Very sincerely yours,
NELSON A. MILES,
Major-General U. S. A.
WASHINGTON, March 2, 1895.
MY DEAR SIR: I enclose a few copies of my order announcing the sad death of your son. Will you accept my very heartfelt sympathy for you and your daughter in your terrible affliction,
D. W. FLAGLER.
MR. A. W. PECK, Watertown, N. Y.
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ORDNANCE,
UNITED STATES ARMY,
WASHINGTON, February 21, 1895.
With deep sorrow the Chief of Ordnance announces to the Department the death of Lieutenant Fremont P. Peck, at the Sandy Hook Proving Ground, on the 19th inst. He was killed while in the active discharge of his duty, by the bursting of a gun. He was in charge of the firing detachment and was himself firing the gun that exploded.
Lieutenant Peck was appointed a cadet at the Military Academy, from New York, in 1883, and was graduated in June, 1887, and served in the 1st Artillery till March, 1891, when he was transferred to the Ordnance Department. He served at the Springfield Armory, Massachusetts, from April, 1891, to July, 1892, since which time he has been continuously on duty at the Proving Ground.
Lieutenant peck was an officer of fine abilites, great professional zeal, a hard worker and a close student. While on duty at the Proving Ground, in addition to his regular duties, he has performed valuable investigation work for the Department, and is the author of some valuable reports. His course while in the Ordnance Depatment had indicated for him a brilliant future. His death is a serious loss to the Department. His fine mind and many engaging qualities endeared him to all the officers of the Department with whom he came in contact, and his sad and sudden death casts a gloom on all who knew him.
As a token of respect to his memory, the National flag will be displayed at
half-staff at each Ordnance establishment on the day after the receipt of
this order, and the officers of the Department will wear the usual badge of
mourning for thirty days.
D W. FLAGLER,
Brigadier-General, Chief of Ordnance.
The above tributes proves that the young soldier--so suddenly and awfully taken away--gave promise of rare attainments in the life-work he had chosen. It was an honorable career he had marked out for himself, and he made his ideal of life high and noble. He was gentle and just--loyal and true--sweet in his love of kindred, and the very soul of his honor. A glance at the last letter to his sister proves that his dear ones were ever in his thought: "Have you been completely frozen up this winter? Many times, this season, when my feet and hands and ears were numb, my thoughts have turned to the old-time winters when we lived on the farm. I have been out in all the cold we have had, nearly from breakfast until 5 P. M., and sometimes have felt pretty stiff from it." A few hours after this reference to the "old-time winters on the farm" was written, death had sealed the volume of his young life forever, but it must have opened upon a broader theater and amid more beautiful surroundings than those of earth.
The following letter from a class-mate of Lieutenant Peck is a noble picture of the sweet soul so recently gone to its rest. It will fittingly close this sketch of one of the most promising sons of Jefferson county, who died at the post of duty in his early youth:
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF DAKOTA
SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA, March 26, 1895.
* * * I am a thousand times obliged to you for the sad satisfaction you gave me, through your letter with enclosed clippings about our beloved Peck. I somehow missed the item in the daily papers and was reading my Army and Navy Journal in the accustomed way, when my eyes fell upon the announcement. you can imagine my feelings and how eagerly and vainly I prayed and hoped for a refutation; alas, it was too true. I did not know where to turn to pour out the flood of sorrow that was surging through me, but my thoughts went to you of course. I presumed the funeral was over and I had been denied the melancholy satisfaction of the tribute of a flower to the manly form of him I loved best of all men--poor, dear old Peck! Why could not some of the many "little" men be taken, instead of the large, generous, noble fellow? I knew him well, and never saw him, under any circumstances, that he wasn't a man; true, frank, courteous and lovable. I knew he died as he had lived, like a man; and with all he had to live for. I can see calm contempt on his face over the fatal blow, and for the gun that gave it. If I had known that you were with him, I should have telegraphed you; but I thought he had been delivered to his relatives. I knew you loved him, and he loved you, too. I have heard him say as much so many times. I wish I could see you and have a long talk; we may have it some day, and I know how perfect will be our sympathy. Thanking you again, and hoping to hear when you have time to send a line, believe me, Always most truly yours,
S. D. STURGIS.
Many messages of condolence were received by his father and sister, lamenting the death of their noble son and brother, among these being a touching one from Hon. Charles R. Skinner, Superintendent of Public Instruction of the State of New York, and who, as a member of Congress, appointed Lieutenant Peck to West Point.A.B.S.
EBENEZER GEORGE FERRISS,
CIVIL ENGINEER, is descended from Puritan New England stock. His ancestor, Zebulon Ferriss, was from England, being the first man to plow a furrow in the town of New Milford, Conn. Zebulon Ferriss's sons having professed the Quaker faith, were obliged to quit New England, and moved to Quaker Hill, in Dutchess county, N. Y., where their descendants are prominent citizens now. Benjamin Ferriss, great-grandfather of E. G., was an engineer and surveyor, and laid out the townships in a large portion of Vermont, west of the Green Mountains, and took out the charters for many of those towns from the King of England, the grants being to Benjamin Ferriss and associates. Ethan Allen and many of his associates procured their titles for land through him. One of Benjamin's brothers, John Ferriss, moved to Pennsylvania, and from him have descended many prominent engineers--G. W. Ferriss, of the "Ferriss wheel" being one.
E. G. Ferriss was born August, 1828, in Camden, Oneida county, where his father was postmaster for many years. In 1842 his father moved to Mexico, in Oswego county. Here George attended the Mexico Academy for four years Governor Allen C. Beach, of Watertown, and a number of afterwards prominent men, were schoolmates of his. In 1846 his father moved to New York city.
In March, 1847, he began his professional work as a rodman, on the survey of the Hudson River Railroad. In 1848 he was promoted to assistant engineer, and had charge of the work from 31st street to Manhattanville, until the road was completed with one track, when he was promoted to resident engineer, in charge of work for second track on "New York Island." In June, 1850, he came on the Rome & Watertown Railroad, first at Rome and afterwards at Watertown, as assistant to Henry Van Vleck, with a division extending from Adams Centre to Cape Vincent. In September, 1851, he rode into Watertown on the pilot of a locomotive, the first to enter the village, the first man to reach Watertown by rail. In the fall of 1851, he, with George W. Wood, of Camden, took a contract to build the dock and fill the bay at Cape Vincent. In the spring of 1852 he sold his interest in the contract. In the summer of 1852, he located a plank road from Paterson, N. J., to Jersey City. In the fall of 1852 he went to Savannah, Ga., on the Savannah water-works, where was built the first of iron tanks for water-woorks put up in America. In 1853 he came to Watertown and took charge of the Potsdam road, from Watertown Junction to Antwerp.
In December, 1854, on the completion of his work on the Potsdam road, he went on the Erie Canal enlargement at Rochester, where he was an assistant to Ely Parker, the Indian chief who was afterwards General Grant's private secretary.
It would require more space than we can spare to detail all of Mr. Ferriss's professional engagements, which cover many of the States as well as Canada. He has been an exceptionally very industrious engineer, both upon railroads and other public works, as well as upon water and electric plants, and has evinced in all his efforts a faithful knowledge of his business. He is a safe and conservative engineer, abundantly able to fully understand the varied requirements of his laborious profession.
He is an expert in all departments of public works. Watertown has been his home many years. His wife is one of the daughters of Mr. Failing, long and favorably remembered as the hotel keeper on the Pamelia side of the river, and whose family, though large, had not one "black sheep" in it--the children all holding honorable positions in society.
In July, 1864, he enlisted in the 18th N. Y. Volunteers at Sackets Harbor, and went with that regiment to Virginia. He was promoted to second lieutenant in February, 1865, and captain in May of the same year. He is a much respected citizen, and good for years of service in his profession. He was the engineer in constructing the armory on Arsenal street, as well as upon the final construction of the road from Watertown to the Brookside cemetery. His work is visible upon many other improvements in Jefferson county, and they all mark his ability as an engineer.
ALANSON F. SIGOURNEY
Mr. Sigourney was born in Watertown, December 27, 1809, the eldest of a family of six children of Anthony Sigourney, Jr., and Betsey (Gloyd) Sigourney, the former a native of Bennington, Vermont, and of French extraction; the latter of Hatfield, Connecticut, of English descent. Two only of the family survive, the subject of this sketch and his brother William Harrison, now 80 years old. They are among the very moldest and most respected of the early settlers of Watertown.
Mr. Sigourney has been married twice--first to Miss Wiley J. Finney, Novenber 6, 1848, who died from cholera at Sackets Harbor on her return from Toledo, July 13, 1854; second, with Miss Julia C., daughter of the late Dr. Eli Eastman of Adams, September 27, 1855. Five children were born to them: Alanson P., jr., Harrison, Julia C., Lucy and Mary. Mary died April 3, 1861, and Lucy, January 28, 1870. Alanson, Jr., resides with his father on the original Sigourney farm; Harrison in Rodman, both married, and Julia C., the wife of Dr. F. M. Shepard, in Denver, Colorado.
Nearly all now upon the active stage of life have heard of or know Mr. Alanson P. Sigourney. He has been distinguished in many ways--as a teacher for many years, as Secretary of the Agricultural Society for over 20 years, and a farmer from his youth. His mind is as clear to-day as it was at 40.
For Mr. Sigourney's business life the reader is referred to the general record of "The Sigourney Family."
Return to Haddock Index Page
Return to Town of Watertown
Copyright 2016 Jefferson County NYGenWeb — a member of the NYGenWeb Project
If you have any questions or comments about this page, please contact,
County Co-Coordinator Nancy Dixon or
Co-Coordinator Bruce Coyne.
Return to Jefferson County Genweb Page