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

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Carolina Society, the South Carolinians,
and the New York Alumni Association
of North Carolina University. While in
college he was active in Greek letter
societies, and has served as grand master
of the Zeta Psi fraternity of North
.America. He was president of the New
England Society of Brooklyn, and is a
member of many clubs, including the
Lincoln, Oxford, Brooklyn, Crescent
Athletic, Hamilton and Montauk clubs
of Brooklyn, and the Lawyers', Manhat-
tan, and National Democratic clubs of
Manhattan. He has always been ready
to give of his time and counsel in the
interests of the Democratic party, has
attended many local State and National
conventions, and in the National Con-
vention of 1900 he was selected as New
York's member of the platform commit-
tee. He has ever urged what seemed to
him as the most advanced and practical
action of the party, and at the National
Convention of 1900 he held the platform
committee in consecutive session for
about fourteen hours, in the discussion of
his views in the interest of harmonizing
his party upon the platform. For many
years Judge Van Wyck was a member
of the Democratic State Committee, and
he has participated in many struggles for
the attainment of high ideals. In 1909
he suggested a plan for the restoration
of his party to power in Kings county,
and at great sacrifice on his part he
accepted the chairmanship of the com-
mittee, which was unanimously tendered
him by the regular county and district
leaders. This resulted in the election of
the local ticket, and contributed to the
election of Judge Gaynor as mayor of
New York City. The New York State
League, which was modelled upon his
plan for Kings county, was very helpful
in achieving success of the State ticket




Mayor \


in the succeeding year, and in this organi-
zation Judge Van Wyck acted as a pri-
vate. Judge Van Wyck has a most exten-
sive acquaintance in all parts of the coun-
try, and in every circle he is welcomed as
a congenial and able public man.

His devotion to his principles has cost
the jurisprudence of New York State the
loss of an able judge.

Judge Van Wyck married Leila G.
Wilkins, of Richmond, \'irginia, and they
have two children: William Van Wyck,
formerly assistant district attorney of
Kings county ; and Leila Grey, the wife
of James W. Osborne, of New York City,
formerly assistant district attorney of
New York county.

VAN WYCK, Robert Anderson,

First Mayor of Greater New York.

Robert Anderson Van Wyck, sixth son
of William and Lydia Anderson (Maver-
ick) Van \V'yck, of New York City, was
born in 1S49, i" New York. He was
prepared for college at the celebrated
W'ilson Academy in North Carolina, and
later graduated from Columbia College,
New York, as valedictorian of his class.
His earlier years were spent in banking
and mercantile pursuits, after which he
prepared for the practice of law, and for
many years has enjo3-ed a large and
lucrative practice in New York city. In
1889 he was elected a judge of the City
Court, and became presiding judge of that
court. In November, 1897, he was elected
mayor of Greater New York at the first
election held under its charter. The task
which confronted him as chief executive
of the several combined boroughs forming
the greater city was a gigantic one, but
he brought order out of what seemed
almost like chaos. The interests of the
various municipal corporations involved
were harmonized and adjusted, and under
Mayor Van Wyck's administration was

constructed the first subway railroad in
Manhattan, and provision was ti»ade for
the construction of the tunnel to Brook-
lyn, and the first subway in that borough.
He was also an advocate c* greater bridge
facilities connecting the boroughs of
Brooklyn and Manhattan, and the further
extension of tunnels under both rivers
bordering the latter. He had long been
active in political affairs, attending many
conventions, State and national. By tak-
ing advantage of a division of forces in
the National Convention, he and a few
others without organized political back-
ing secured the nomination of General
Winfield Scott Hancock as the Demo-
cratic candidate for President of the
United States, in 1880. Judge Van Wyck
is pleasantly and prominently identified
with social institutions, has been presi-
dent of the Holland Society, a member of
many social clubs, and prominent in
Masonic circles, affiliating with the An-
cient Lodge of New York City. He is
very fond of traveling, and has indulged
in that pleasure to a large extent, accom-
panied by his estimable wife.

The brothers Augustus and Robert A.
Van Wyck have both been highly hon-
ored by their fellow citizens, and maintain
a most constant intimate and afTectionate


DONOHUE, Florince O., M. D..

Physician, Sanitationist, Anthor.

.'\mong all the vocations that con-
tribute to the welfare and happiness of
mankind, none stands in closer relation-
ship than the medical profession, for to
be of any great use to himself or the
world at large it is quite necessary that
a man should possess a "sound mind in
a sound body." While there have been
instances of genius making itself known,
and even accomplishing what seemed to
be its complete mission, under adverse


physical conditions, still the question is
always open as to the amount of good
which might have been achieved without
the handicap of weakness. Therefore, the
man who chooses as his lifework the task
of promoting the physical well being of
his fellowmen performs a mission the
result of which is too far reaching to be
estimated by the amount of suffering re-
lieved. Prominent among the members
of the medical profession in Syracuse,
New York, is Florince O. Donohue, M.
D., ex-president of the State Board of
Health, and who has filled a number of
other offices of equal importance and re-
sponsibility. He is a son of Cornelius
and Ellen Donohue, both natives of Ire-
land, who came to this country in 1847,
the former dying here in 1900, and his
wife in 1907. IVIr. Donohue was a well
known merchant of Syracuse in his day.
Florince O. Donohue, AI. D., was born
in Syracuse, New York, October 8, 1850.
As a lad he attended the public schools

ated therefrom in 1877 with high honors.
Since then he has been in constant prac-
tice in Syracuse, where he has won
unusual success and wide professional
recognition both at home and abroad.

Dr. Donohue, being an enthusiast in
every branch of his profession, has mas-
tered its mysteries with commendable
persistency, and as an obstetrician has,
perhaps, gained his highest renown,
though his knowledge of medicine and
surgery is fully as extensive and practical.
Fie became a member of the New York
State Medical Association on November
20, 1884, and in October, 1885, was elected
a delegate from that body to the British
Medical Association, of which he has
been a member thirty years, and took part
in its deliberations in 1886 and again in
1889. He is a member of the Onondaga
County Medical Society and the Amer-
ican Medical Association, served as presi-
dent of the Syracuse Medical Association
two years, and has been president of the

of the city. When he reached the age of Syracuse Academy of Medicine. On Oc-

nine years his parents removed to the

town of Onondaga, where he went to

school winters and worked on the farm

summers until 1869, after which he spent

two years in Onondaga Academy and one

year at Cazenovia Seminary, alternating

with terms of teaching at Navarino and

Onondaga Hill. Being endowed with

mental qualifications of exceptional

strength and activity, and possessing

tober 31, 1889, he was appointed a mem-
ber of the Syracuse Board of Health, and
on November 26, of the same year, was
appointed one of the State Commissioners
of Health, by Governor David B. Hill.
His term on the State Board expired in
February, 1S92, and in the following July
he was reappointed by Governor Roswell
P. Flower. At the first meeting there-
after he was elected president of the

scholarly attributes of a high order, he board, and was reelected to that position

had by this time thoroughly ecjuipped
himself for college, and also earned suffi-
cient money to pay his own way, and
having decided on medicine as a profes-
sion he entered the Medical Department
of Syracuse University in 1874 and re-
mained two years, living in the meantime
with Dr. W. W. Porter, under whose able
tutelage he supplemented his studies with
hard work. In 1S76 he entered Long
Island College Hospital and was gradu-

three successive years, the last time just
prior to the expiration of his term of
membership, in June, 1895. In 1892 he
was appointed by President Harrison a
memher of the United States Pension
Board of Surgeons, and is still president
of this body. President McKinley ap-
pointed him special United States
Medical Examiner of Central New York
State, and he is still the incumbent of this
office. In May, 1894, he was appointed



by Governor Flower a member of a
special commission of five to investigate
the prevalence and distribution of tuber-
culosis in the milk supply of the State
and report thereon. This commission re-
ported and went out of existence in Janu-
ary, 1895, at which time Dr. Donohue was
its secretary and chief executive officer.
The Legislature then passed a law which
provided that two members of the State
Board of Health should be appointed to
continue the investigation, thus creating
the New York State Commission of
Tuberculosis, of which Dr. Donohue was
made chairman, and is still in office. In
1906 he was elected president of the
American Anti-Tuberculosis League at
Atlantic City. He was a member of the
local Board of Health, having been ap-
pointed by Mayor Kirk in 18S9.

Dr. Donohue occupies a foremost posi-
tion among the leading physicians and
surgeons of Central New York. He is a
writer of force and ability on a wide
range of medical subjects and has con-
tributed numerous articles to the leading
medical journals of the country. He is
the author of the "Report of the Special
State Commission of Tuberculosis ;"
"The Progress of the Science and Art
of Obstetrics;" "A Retrospect of Medi-
cine and Report of the Proceedings of the
International Medical Congress of Mos-
cow,"' 1897; and numerous papers on
tuberculosis. In all official capacities he
has been fearless, effective and useful,
and locally he is always alive to the needs
of the city, not only from a sanitary
standpoint, but in a general way. He is
public-spirited, progressive and popular,
respected and esteemed by friends and
opponents alike, and enjoys to the fullest
extent the confidence of both the profes-
sion and of the public.

Dr. Donohue married, September 27,
1877, Lucy A. Moseley, who died in
1905, a daughter of the late William T.

Moseley, and a granddaughter of Judge
Daniel Moseley, whose career in the
jurisprudence of the State, and especially
in this county, is detailed elsewhere in
this work.

CONKLIN, William Rowe,

Lawyer, Man of Affairs.

The Conklin or Conkling family is
among the oldest in New York, having
located in Long Island as early as the
middle of the seventeenth century. John
Conklin came from England in 1638 and
settled at Salem, Massachusetts, whence
he removed in 1650 to Easthampton,
Long Island. Annanias Conklin, who
came to Salem and Easthampton at the
same time, is supposed to have been his
son. John Conklin received a grant of
land at Salem, May 30, 1649, and con-
tinued to own it until 1683, when he
deeded it to his son, John. The elder
was residing at that time in Huntington,
Long Island. While in Eastham.pton he
lived in the section known as "Hasha-
mommuck,"and was subject to the colony
of Connecticut, which made him and his
son, John, freemen in 1662. John Conk-
lin, Jr., was born in 1630 in Nottingham-
shire, England, and died April 6, 1694, in
Southold, New York, as shown by his
gravestone. He was the father of Nicho-
las Conklin, born 1661, in Easthampton,
and lived in East Chester, New York.
John Conklin, son of the last named, was
born in 1700 in East Chester, and located
at Haverstraw, New York, about the time
of attaining his majority. His son, Nicho-
las Conklin, was born in 1724 at Haver-
straw, and died at Cochecton, Sullivan
county. New York, in 1815. He was the
father of John Conklin, bom May 8, 1756,
at Haverstraw, died in Cochecton, April
15, 1856.

William A. Conklin, son of John Conk-
lin, was born March 3, 1787, at Cochec-



ton, died in Conklin, New York, in 1S50.
George Conklin, son of William A. Conk-
lin, was born January 22, 1822, in Conk-
lin, died in New York City in 1901. He
lived for some years at Amenia, Dutchess
county, New York, where his son. Wil-
liam Balis Conklin, was born June 24,
1844. In 1S76 the latter moved to New
York City, and continued to reside there
until his death, November 26, 1915. He
was president of the Orange County Milk
Association, and treasurer of the Ocma
Realty Company of New York. He mar-
ried Helen, daughter of Clinton and Mary
(Rowel Rowe.

William Rowe Conklin, son of William
Balis and Helen (Rowe) Conklin, was
born March 2, 1876, at Amenia, and came
to New York City with his parents when
three months old. He attended the public
schools of New York in childhood, was
later a student at the Condon private
school on Fifth avenue in the city, and
entered W^illiams College, Williamstown,
Massachusetts, in 1896. Four years later
he was graduated with the degree of A.
B., and immediately entered the New
York Law School, from which he was
graduated with the degree of LL. B. in
1902. In the same year he was admitted
to the New York bar, and entered the law
office of Frederic J. Swift, on Broadway,
New York, where he continued until
May, 1906. Following that he engaged in
practice independently, with offices at
No. 100 Broadway, until May, 191 1, when
he formed a law partnership with John
Reid, Jr.. under the title of Conklin &
Reid. This firm has since engaged in
general practice, devoting especial atten-
tion to surrogate and real estate law. Mr.
Conklin succeeded his father as president
of the Orange County Milk Association,
and is active in real estate operations, be-
ing treasurer of the Ocma Realty Com-
pany. He has had much to do in handling
large estates in his surrogate practice.

such as the Rockefeller properties and
others of that class, and has gained a high
reputation in that line of legal work. He
is attorney and counsel for the village of
Great Neck Estates, Long Island, and has
devoted much time to philanthropic and
religious works. He is a member of the
Fifth Avenue Baptist Church of New
York, secretary of its board of trustees,
a member of the executive committee of
the New York City Baptist Mission So-
ciety, and of the advisory committee of
the Baptist Home for the Aged. He is
also a member of the law committee of
the Northern Baptist Convention. He is
a member of the Association of the Bar of
New York, and of the Phi Delta Pheta
college fraternity and the Williams Col-
lege club of New York. Mr. Conklin is
a steadfast supporter of Republican prin-
ciples and policies in the management of
public aiTairs, but has always avoided any
official station.

He married, September 16, 1909, at
Great Neck, New York, Anna Lulu Dick-
erson, granddaughter of the late Commo-
dore John S. Dickerson, of the New York
Yacht Club. Mr. and Mrs. Conklin are
the parents of two sons, William Dicker-
son, born December 22, 191 1, and Frank
B., December 17, 1914.

CALDWELL, George B.,

Expert Acconntant, Financier.

Although of New York birth, parentage
and ancestry, Mr. Caldwell, from the age
of five years, has spent his life outside his
native State, returning in 1915, weighted
with business honors gained in many
fields of activity. As clerk, bookkeeper,
state accountant, national bank examiner
and banker, he has had an experience
most unusual for a man of his years ; an
experience that particularly fits him for
the position he returned to New York to
fill, president of the Sperry & Hutchinson



^.^.,,^. .

,,■■., New
ikhn, son of
1,'urn January -
I in New York f
ii\ vne years at

i\ew York,
alis Conkli.
1844. In 1876 the
York City. '
until his r\.
v/as pr



that els

>n of W .

1 • .le villag- '

t Neck Estates, Long Island, and
i.'d much time to philanthropic a :
-!ns works. He is a member of i..
enue Baptist Church of New
nere '. f , .secretary of its board of trustees,
He f. :r.">nher of the executive committee of
rk City Baptist Mission So-
'' : advisory committee of
.f' for the Aged. He is
a member of the law committee of
^tM ' ' u Convention. He is
N> ^ciation of the Bar of

\ York, he Phi Delta Pheta

■^e Williams Col-
Mr. Conklin is
'epublican prin-
°ment of
i!ed :inv

the dejT
ly entered .
'i^m which ..

ree of LL.
iiiOj. year he was admitted

to the ..'. .. . :, ..:i'' ">■'• ." ti^rpfl til.. Tn\i-

office of Frederic J

New York, where he cuiumucd until
May. 1906. Following that be engaged in
practice independently, with offices at

No. TOO Broadway,

he formed a law r

Reid, Jr., under tl

Reid. This firm ■

p-eneral practice, d'

lion to surrogate ai.

Conklin succee

r^f the Orange v -u

and is active in real

ing treasurer of the Ucma

pany. He has had much to '1

large estates in his surrc^.



' n &

i in


Expert AT

Although '
and ancestry-, .-.
of five years, ha>
native State,

,..;(!-, K-._.'

.' - - York to

.lent of »Jif Sperj , >chinson

7He ^■^-leVM^sT'^ v5& fiT^/jra*^S.e'.

S'^^J'^.'t^iitM.-n* ^Mj-iTjYif



Company, the pioneer profit sharing and
largest premium giving company in the

Mr. Caldwell is one of a number of men
who have been called from positions of
trust and responsibility in the West to
manage large New York City enterprises,
and he is one of the men whose names
carry weight in banking and business
circles from coast to coast. There is
something inspiring in the life history of
George B. Caldwell, who, beginning at
the bottom of the ladder, has won to such
a position of eminence in the business
world that his speech at the third annual
convention of the Investment Bankers' of
America was published in all the large
papers of the country, and as a message
to the business men of America was so
strong, so full of encouragement and
optimism, that it marked the turn of
public sentiment for the better.

His father, Charles Melville Caldwell,
born at Jamestown, Chautauqua county,
New York, became a substantial farmer
of that county. But in 1868 he moved to
Ionia county, Michigan, where he in-
vested in land and continued prosperous
and prominent until his death at the age
of sixty-two years. He was a member of
the religious body. Disciples of Christ,
was affiliated with the Independent Order
of Odd Fellows and with the Knights of
Pythias, and was an ardent supporter of
the Democratic party. His wife, Mary
Ann fKelner) Caldwell, born at Elyria,
Ohio, died at the age of thirty-six years,
the mother of two sons and three daugh-

George B. Caldwell, eldest child of
Charles Melville and Mary Ann (Kelner)
Caldwell, was born at Dunkirk, New
York, August 24, 1863, and at the age of
five years was taken by his parents to
Ionia county, Michigan. His earlv edu-
cation was obtained in Ionia public

schools and at Greenville High School
was finished, save for a course in com-
mercial college at Grand Rapids, com-
pleted by graduation in i88i. He taught
school the winter following his gradu-
ation, then brought his talents, his energy
and his ambition to the business world,
his first position being as clerk in a hard-
ware store at Greenville, Michigan. One
year was passed in that capacity, then
being offered a position as bookkeeper in
the City National Bank of Greenville, he
accepted the offer. He was soon pro-
moted teller of the bank, a position he
held until his resignation in 1888.

These years with the bank had been
extremely busy years and crowded with
success outside his banking duties. In
1884 he was elected city clerk, and in
1886 he established the first electric light
plant in Greenville, a public utility that
he afterward sold at a substantial profit.
After resigning his position with the
Greenville bank, he located in Grand
Rapids and there became cashier and
chief accountant for Tucker, Hoops &
Company, one of the largest lumber
manufacturing and wholesale lumber
dealing firms in Michigan, operating mills
at Chase and Luther, Michigan. For two
years he was chief accountant for this
great firm, resigning his position in 1900
after his appointment as State Accountant
by George W. Stone, State Auditor of
Michigan. During his two years service
as State accountant, 1900-1902, Mr. Cald-
well established a uniform system of ac-
counting in all State institutions, boards
and commissions.

Mr. Caldwell had won even more than
state-wide reputation for his efficiency in
handling State accounting, and in 1893
he was appointed national bank examiner
by James H. Eckles, then United States
comptroller of the currency. He made
his headquarters at Detroit during his



term as national bank examiner, a posi-
tion he held until March, 1899, a period
of six years. These years had been of
inestimable value to the young man not
only in giving him the closest possible
connection with national banking and
financiering but in widening his acquain-
tance among financiers of national repu-

From 1899 until 1902 he was assistant
cashier of the Merchants' National Bank
of Indianapolis. From 1902 until 1910 he
was manager of the bond department of
the American Trust Company and Sav-
ings Bank of Chicago. In 1910 that insti-
tution was merged with the Continental
and Commercial Trust Company and
Savings Bank, Mr. Caldwell continuing
as manager of the bond department of the
consolidated banks, which united formed
one of the largest banking institutions in
this country.

With the year 1912, Mr. Caldwell
reached executive position, being elected
a vice-president of the bank he had so
long served as manager of its bond de-
partment. His peculiar qualifications for
executive management were again recog-
nied in 1912 by his election to the presi-
dency of the newly organized Investment
Bankers' Association of America, an as-
sociation of the bond investment houses
of the United States, which Mr. Caldwell
had taken an active part in forming. He
continued president of the association
until November, 1914, when he resigned,
and on December ist, following, lie offered
his resignation as vice-president of the
Continental and Commercial Trust and
Savings Bank, having been elected presi-
dent of the Sperry & Hutchinson Com-
pany. He entered upon his duties as
president of that great company, January
I, 1915, and has since made New York
City his home.

The magnitude of the business of which
Mr. Caldwell is the honored head is little

realized, so great has been its develop-
ment and so rapid its growth. The .Sperry
& Hutchinson Company were the pio-
neers in their system of profit sharing
through premium giving, and it is esti-
mated that more than one hundred mil-
lions of dollars are employed in their
business. The executive management of
this vast business is a task not lightly
to be assumed, but the years of training
with great financial institutions and the
great responsibilities he has heretofore
successfully carried have thoroughly
fitted Mr. Caldwell for that important
duty. He is one of the able financiers
and executives of his day and generation,
and to experience he adds ability, energy,
strength of character and a nobility of
purpose that marks the well poised capa-
ble leader of men.

While a New York man by birth, he
has a love for the county and State of his
boyhood, youth and manhood years, and
in his accumulation of real estate, Ionia