Charles E. (Charles Elliott) Fitch.

Encyclopedia of biography of New York, a life record of men and women whose sterling character and energy and industry have made them preëminent in their own and many other states (Volume 5) online

. (page 1 of 58)
Online LibraryCharles E. (Charles Elliott) FitchEncyclopedia of biography of New York, a life record of men and women whose sterling character and energy and industry have made them preëminent in their own and many other states (Volume 5) → online text (page 1 of 58)
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A Life Record of Men and Women of the Past

Whose Sterling Character and Energy and Industry Have Made
Them Preeminent in Their Own and Many Other States



Lawyer, Journalist, Educator ; Editor and Contributor to Many Newspapers

and Magazines ; ex-Regent New York University ; Supervisor

Federal Census (N. Y.) 1880; Secretary New

York Constitutional Convention, 1894






Both justice and decency require that we should bestow on our forefathers
an honorable remembrance — Thiicydides






ROOSEVELT, Theodore,

Soldier, Statesman, Author.

Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, twenty-
sixth President of the United States, was
born in New York City, October 27, 1858,
eldest son of Theodore and Martha (Bul-
loch) Roosevelt. He was of Holland
ancestry, and his father was a man of
sterling qualities, a prominent merchant
and banker, and a philanthropist.

Colonel Roosevelt was educated at
Harvard University, from which he was
graduated in 1880 with the degree of
Bachelor of Arts. He was early asso-
ciated with his father in business, but
made an almost immediate entrance into
public life. He was elected to the State
Assembly of New York in 1882, became
leader of the minority in that body, and
was active in behalf of reform measures.
He was reelected in 1883, and was largely
instrumental in carrying out the State
civil service reform law, an act for regu-
lating primary elections ; and legislation
of vast benefit, particularly to the city of
New York, in centering in the mayor the
responsibility of administering municipal
affairs. He was chairman of the New
York delegation to the Republican Na-
tional Convention in 1884, and an unsuc-
cessful candidate for the mayoralty of
New York City in 1886, having been nom-
inated as an Independent, with Repub-
lican endorsement. In May, 1889, Presi-
dent Harrison appointed him Civil Serv-
ice Commissioner, and he was president
of the board until May, 1895. During this
official term he succeeded in changing the
entire system of public appointments, and
in inaugurating important reforms. He
resigned on the latter date to accept ap-

pointment as president of the New York
Board of Police Commissioners, and with
characteristic energy and vigor entered
upon the work of reform by the applica-
tion of civil service principles in appoint-
ments to the force, and promotions. He
rigidly enforced the excise law, and suc-
ceeded in closing the saloons on the Sab-
bath, and in purifying the city of many
corrupting influences.

In 1897 Colonel Roosevelt entered upon
his career as a character of national im-
portance. In that year he became Assist-
ant Secretary of the Navy, under Presi-
dent McKinley. Soon after entering upon
his new duties, realizing the probabilities
of a foreign war, he procured appropri-
ations for ammunition for navy target
practice, and the results at Manila and
Santiago justified what was considered at
the time reckless extravagance. When
war with Spain became imminent, he re-
signed his secretaryship, and with Sur-
geon (now Major-General) Leonard
Wood, organized the First Regiment
United States Cavalry Volunteers, popu-
larly known as "Roosevelt's Rough
Riders," which distinguished itself in
Cuba. At the outset he was commis-
sioned lieutenant-colonel of his regiment,
and was promoted to colonel for gallantry
at the battle of Las Guasimas, and was
mustered out of service at the end of the
war. In 1898 he was elected Governor of
New York, and in that position gave
vigorous encouragement to salutary legis-
lation, and carried through every reform
measure to which he had pledged himself,
despite great political pressure. Above all,
he placed in office as high-minded and
able a set of public officials as the State
ever had from the day of its foundation.


He had looked forward to a second term
in order to further forward certain reform
innovations, but circumstances defeated
this purpose and led to his higher
advancement. He was a delegate in the
Republican National Convention of 1900.
The renomination of President McKinley
was a foregone conclusion. Much against
his desire, the Vice-Presidential nomina-
tion was practically forced upon him.
The ensuing campaign was the most re-
markable in the history of the nation.
Colonel Roosevelt traveled over the whole
country, defending the McKinley admin-
istration, and contending for honest
money as against the "16 to i" silver
policy as advocated by the Democratic
presidential candidate, Mr. William J.
Bryan. As soon as he was advised of the
assassination of President McKinley, he,
as Vice-President, was requested by the
cabinet of the deceased executive to im-
mediately take the presidential oath of
office. This he declined to do, saying, "I
intend to pay my respects at William
McKinley's bier as a private citizen, and
offer my condolence to the members of
his family as such. Then I will return
and take the oath," which he did. In 1904
he was elected to the presidency by the
largest popular majority ever accorded a
candidate. Perhaps the most notable of
his achievements as President was that
unofficial one, the bringing to an end of
the war between Japan and Russia.

In 1910 Colonel Roosevelt made a hunt-
ing trip through Africa, and afterward
went to Europe, by way of Egypt. After
his return home there was much discus-
sion concerning his intentions as to the
presidential campaign of 1912. Many
held that he had declared that he would
not be a candidate, but he remained quiet
upon the subject until February 21, 1912,
when he spoke the now well-known
words, "My hat is in the ring." Some ten
days previous, the governors of West Vir-

ginia, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Wyom-
ing, Michigan, Kansas, and Missouri, had
written him a letter urging him to accept
a nomination by the Progressive Repub-
licans. On February 24th he stated defi-
nitely that he would accept a nomination
if tendered. Before the Republican Na-
tional Convention in June that year there
was bitter conflict between the Roosevelt
and Taft forces. Mr. Taft was finally
declared the nominee, and the Roosevelt
men decided upon an independent con-
vention of Progressives, which met Au-
gust 6th and nominated him. As a result
of the division of the Republicans between
Roosevelt and Taft, Woodrow Wilson
was elected to the presidency. On Octo-
ber 14, 1912, Colonel Roosevelt was shot
by a would-be assassin, but made rapid
recovery, and a week later was able to
be out. In 1913-14 he visited the prin-
cipal countries in South America, and
after his return devoted himself to liter-
ary work.

It is difficult to conceive how anyone
so thoroughly devoted to public affairs
could find time for literary work, and yet
Colonel Roosevelt has achieved a world-
wide reputation as an author, and his
works have become standards on the sub-
jects he has treated. They comprise :
"Winning of the West" (1889-96); "His-
tory of the Naval War of 1812" (1882)
"Hunting Trips of a Ranchman" (1885)
"Life of Thomas Hart Benton" (1886)
"Life of Gouverneur Morris" (1887)
"Ranch Life and Hunting Trail" (1888)
"History of New York" (1890); "The
Wilderness Hunter" (1893); "American
Ideals and Other Essays" (1897); "The
Rough Riders" (1899); "Life of Oliver
Cromwell" (1900); "The Strenuous Life"
(1900); "Works" (eight vols., 1902);
"American Ideals and Other Essays" ;
"Good Hunting" (1907); "True Ameri-
canism ;" "African and European Ad-
dresses" (1910) ; "Realizable Ideals" (The





























Earl Lectures) (1912); "Conservation of
Womanhood and Childhood" (1912);
"History as Literature, and Other
Essays" (1913) ; "Theodore Roosevelt, an
Autobiography" (191 3). Part author of:
"Hero Tales from American History"
(1895); "The Deer Family" (1902);
"Outdoor Pastimes of an American
Hunter" (1906); "African Game Trails"
(1910); "The New Nationalism" (1910);
"Life Histories of African Game Animals"
(two volumes, 1914). The most impor-
tant of his works, however, are the four
volumes bearing the collective title, "The
Winning of the West." These have for
their subject the acquisition by the United
States of the territory west of the Alle-
ghenies, and in their intrinsic merit and
their importance as contributions to his-
tory they rank with the works of Park-
man. His books have been characterized
as "marked by felicity, vigor and clear-
ness of expression, with descriptive
power ;" his historical writings have been
further praised for their "accuracy,
breadth and fairness." "The Rough
Riders" is a volume which will keep its
place among the authoritative records of
the Spanish War. "It will be generally
conceded," says a reviewer, "that it forms
one of the most thrilling pieces of military
history in recent years."

Colonel Roosevelt has received the
honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from
the following institutions: Columbia
University, 1899; Hope College, 1901 ;
Yale University, 1901 ; Harvard Univer-
sity, 1902; Northwestern University,
1903; University of Chicago, 1903;
University of California, 1903; Univer-
sity of Pennsylvania, 1905; Clark Uni-
versity, 1905 ; George Washington Univer-
sity, 1909; Cambridge University, 1910.
In the latter year he also received the
Doctor of Civil Law degree from Oxford
University, and that of Doctor of Phi-
losophy from the University of Berlin. In

1906 he was awarded the Nobel Peace
Prize ($40,000), with which he endowed
the Foundation for the Promotion of
Universal Peace. He has long been a
contributor to leading magazines and re-
views, and was on the staff of "The Out-
look" from 1909 until 1914.

He married (first) Alice Hathaway,
who died February 14, 1884, daughter of
George Cabot Lee; (second) at London,
England, Edith Kermit, daughter of
Charles Carow, of New York. The
family home is in Oyster Bay, Long

HUGHES, Charles E.,

Jurist, Governor.

Charles Evans Hughes, who as these
pages go to press is the regular candidate
of the Republican party for the presidency
of the United States, is a native of the
State of New York, born in Glen Falls,
April II, 1862, son of the Rev. David
Charles and Mary Catherine (Connelly)
Hughes. His father was of Welsh and
his mother of Scotch-Irish and Dutch

He began his education in the public
schools of New York City, and was fitted
for college by his father. At the age of
fourteen he entered Madison (now Col-
gate) University, transferring two years
later to Brown University, from which he
was graduated in 1881, taking the
Bachelor of Arts degree with honors —
winning the prize in English literature
and that for general attainment during his
course, and delivering the class oration ;
in 1884 he received from his alma mater
the Master of Arts degree. During 1881-
82 he taught Greek and mathematics in
the Delaware Academy at Delhi, New
York, and in the latter year entered the
Columbia Law School, and also studying
in the offices of the United States District
Attorney in New York, and in those of


Chamberlain, Carter & Hornblower. He
received his diploma from the Law School
in 1884, and was admitted at once to the
bar. From 1884 until 1887 he held a prize
fellowship at Columbia University. On
being admitted to the bar, he became a
clerk in the office of his former preceptors,
Chamberlain, Carter & Hornblower, re-
maining as such until 1888, when he be-
came a member of the firm of Carter,
Hughes & Cravath, afterward Carter,
Hughes & Dwight. He served Cornell
University as Professor of Law, 1891-93,
and as special lecturer, 1893-95; and the
New York Law School as special lecturer
on general assignments and bankruptcy,
1893-1900. In 1905-06 he was counsel for
the Armstrong Insurance Commission of
the New York Legislature ; and special
assistant to the United States Attorney
General in the coal investigations.

The public career of Judge Hughes may
be dated from 1905, when he received the
Republican nomination for the mayoralty
of New York City, but which he declined.
In 1906 he was elected Governor of the
State, and was reelected in 1908, resign-
ing in September of 1910 to take his seat
as Associate Justice of the United States
Supreme Court, under appointment by
President Taft. As Governor he stead-
fastly adhered to "the highest administra-
tive standards," and effected many salu-
tary changes in relation to railroads,
street railways, gas and electrical com-
panies. He made strenuous efforts to
procure legislation providing for a system
of direct nominations for elective offices,
in which he was several times defeated.
He succeeded, however, in securing the
passage of an act for the enforcement of
the constitutional prohibition of race-
track gambling, but only after long delay
and in the face of bitter opposition. In
his last appeal to the Legislature, at the
session in which the measure was passed,
he said : "The issue has been clearly pre-

sented whether the interests of those who
wish to maintain gambling privileges at
race tracks shall be considered paramount
to the constitution of the State. It is an
issue which has been clearly defined and
is fully appreciated by the people. It
cannot be obscured by a discussion of the
propensities of human nature. Race-track
gambling exists, not because it is hidden
or elusive, but as an organized business
shielded by legislative discrimination.
The law which professes to prohibit it, in
fact protects it." Early in his administra-
tion he undertook certain reforms in the
management and affairs of the Insurance
Department, and in which he persisted
until he left his high office. He brought
about the creation of a State Commission
to which was specially committed the
construction and maintenance of public
roads, and which took this labor away
from the State Engineer, who was over-
employed in the engineering operations
on the great barge canal, and he subse-
quently procured the establishment of a
Department of Highways. He also took
a persistent and determined interest in
the preservation of forest tracts and un-
developed waterpower streams, and great-
ly increased the State's forest domain,
and which included a one thousand acre
tract given by Hon. William P. Letch-
worth, in Wyoming and Livingston
counties ; a twenty-five acre tract at
Crown Point, containing the ruins of
Fort Frederic and Fort Amherst, from
Witherbee Sherman & Company ; and a
ten thousand acre tract in Orange and
Rockland counties, given by Mary W.
Harriman, in accordance with the wishes
of her deceased husband, Edward H. Har-
riman. Until he left his chair, Governor
Hughes industriously and persistently
followed up a policy of improvement and
retrenchment; also steadily insisting upon
honesty and efficiency in all of the various
departments of the State government.


Early in the year 1916 it became evident
that a very large element in the Repub-
lican party looked upon him as its most
desirable candidate for the presidential
nomination. Seated as he was, upon the
bench of the Supreme Court of the United
States, his position was most delicate.
He maintained a most dignified silence,
and even the close friends who presented
his name in the convention, could give no
assurance that he would accept, and he
only broke silence when his nomination
was actually made, when he at once for-
warded to President Wilson his resigna-
tion as an Associate Justice of the Su-
preme Court, and which was instantly

Judge Hughes is a fellow of Brown
University ; a trustee of the University of
Chicago ; and a member of the American
Bar Association, the New York State
Bar Association, the Association of the
Bar of the City of New York ; and of the
following clubs : The University, Union
League, Lawyers, Brown, Nassau Coun-
try ; and of the Delta Upsilon fraternity.
He received the degree of Doctor of Laws
from Brown University in 1906, from Co-
lumbia, Knox and Lafayette in 1907, from
Union and Colgate in 1908, from George
Washington in 1909, and from Williams,
Harvard and the University of Pennsyl-
vania in 1910. He married, December 5,
1888, Antoinette Carter.

MORTON, Levi Parsons,

Financier, Statesman, Diplomatist.

Levi Parsons Morton was born at
Shoreham, Vermont, May 16, 1824. He
is a descendant of George Morton, of
York, England, who was the financial
agent of the Mayflower Puritans in Lon-
don, and came over in the ship "Ann"
(arriving at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in
1623), and settled at Middleboro, Plym-
outh county, Massachusetts, where his

descendants have resided until the pres-
ent time. John, the son of George, was
the first delegate to represent Middleboro
in the General Court at Plymouth in
1670, and he was again chosen in 1672.
Levi Parsons Morton is the son of Rev.
Daniel Oliver Morton and Lucretia (Par-
sons) Morton. His mother was a descend-
ant of Cornet Joseph Parsons, the father
of the first child born at Northampton,
Massachusetts (May 2, 1655), his title
of cornet indicating his position in a
cavalry troop (the third ofificer in rank)
and the bearer of the colors.

Mr. Morton received a public school
education and graduated from Shoreham
Academy. He entered a country store at
Enfield, Massachusetts, at fifteen years,
commenced mercantile business at Han-
over, New Hampshire, in 1843, removed
to Boston in 1850 and to New York in
1854. and was extensively engaged in
mercantile business in both cities until
1863 when he entered upon his career as
a banker in New York City under the
name of L. P. Morton & Company. Soon
after this time a foreign branch was estab-
lished under the firm name of L. P. Mor-
ton, Burns & Co. In i86g the firm was
dissolved and reorganized under the
names of Morton, Bliss & Co., New York,
and Morton, Rose & Co., London, Mr.
George Bliss entering the New York firm,
and Sir John Rose, then finance minister
of Canada, going to London to join the
English house. The London firm of Mor-
ton. Rose & Co. was appointed financial
agent of the United States government
in 1873. Later the Morton Trust Co. of
New York, of which he was president,
was established with offices at 140 Broad-
way. Mr. Morton was appointed by the
President honorary commissioner to the
Paris Exposition.

He began his political career by the
election to Congress as a Republican
from the Eleventh District of New York


(which had been Democratic previously),
receiving 14,078 votes against 7,060 votes
for Benjamin A. Willis, and was reelected
to the Forty-seventh Congress in i88o by
an increased vote over James W. Gerard,
Jr. He was nominated as Minister to
France by President Garfield in March,
1881, and resigned his seat in the Forty-
seventh Congress to accept the appoint-
ment. He presented his credentials as
Minister to France to President Grevy
on August 1st, 1881, and resigned his
office after the inauguration of President
Cleveland in 1885, returning to New York
in July of that year. During his residence
in France he secured from the French
government the official decree which was
published November 27, 1883, revoking
the prohibition of American pork prod-
ucts, but the prohibitory decree was
subsequently renewed. He also secured
the recognition of American financial
and commercial corporations in France.
He drove the first rivet in the Bar-
tholdi statue of "Liberty Enlightening
the World," and on July 4th, 1884, he
accepted the completed statue on behalf
of his government. He was a prominent
candidate for United States Senate in the
Republican legislative caucuses of 1885
and 1887, but after spirited canvasses
in each case the great political prize fell
into other hands. He was nominated for
Vice-President of the United .States by
the Republican National Convention, in
1888, receiving 591 votes as against 234 for
all other candidates. He proved a model
presiding officer of the Senate, filling the
position with a dignity and fairness that
gained for him the esteem of all, without
regard to party distinctions, even at a
time when questions of party politics
were most earnestly discussed.

In 1894, Mr. Morton was elected gov-
ernor of New York by a phenomenally
heavy majority. His long experience as
a merchant and banker, his familiarity

with great financial problems, his work
in Congress, his successful diplomatic ex-
perience and service as vice-president had
made him a conspicuous figure in public
affairs, and amply qualified him for the
gubernatorial office. His election was co-
incident with the approval by the people
of the fourth constitution, which went
into effect on the first of January, 1895,
the day of his inauguration. It heralded
also executive control of the State by the
Republicans for sixteen years, which
prior thereto had been in Democratic
hands for twelve years. In his inaugural
address Governor Morton discussed at
length the relations of the executive and
legislative departments to each other, de-
claring that "the Governor should never
interfere with the work of the Legisla-
ture beyond the precise line which his
constitutional duty and obligation war-
ranted. He used the veto prerogative
sparingly, vetoing only four bills in 1895,
and none in 1896. However, in several
instances wherein he disapproved a bill,
he would convey his objections to its
author, and in such cases the bill was
usually withdrawn, and returned in such
form as to command his approval. His
tasks were arduous. While the new con-
stitution was in large degree self-execut-
ing, much legislation was necessary with
reference to the drainage of agricultural
lands, damages for injuries resulting in
death, pool selling and book making,
prison labor, the civil service, the judici-
ary, forest preservation, canal improve-
ment. State boards and commissions,
charitable institutions, education, the
militia, and others. Under the new con-
stitution, several new boards were
created — of Charities, of State Prison and
of Lunacy. Much labor was made neces-
sary to provide for the submittal of stat-
utes relating to cities, to the cities af-
fected thereby, principally with reference
to New York City and Brooklyn. Under



the administration of Governor Morton
was created Greater New York, by the
consoHdation of the city of New York,
Brooklyn, and Long Island City, and
which was attended with much acri-
monious discussion. As the result of
much executive and legislative considera-
tion, a new effect was given to excise
legislation, establishing a more system-
atic control of the liquor traffic, and a
considerable reduction in the number of
dram shops. The National Guard was

Online LibraryCharles E. (Charles Elliott) FitchEncyclopedia of biography of New York, a life record of men and women whose sterling character and energy and industry have made them preëminent in their own and many other states (Volume 5) → online text (page 1 of 58)