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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ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



ber of the Builders' Exchange, of which
he is an ex-president, and is a director of
the National Association of Builders.

A Republican in politics, he has always
been loyal to the party, not through nar-
row partisanship, but through a strong
belief that his party stands for the best
interests of the country. He served as a
member of the Board of Education from
1872 until 1876 and during two years of
his service was president of the board.
He was president of the commission hav-
ing in charge the construction of the East
Side Sewer, the commission under Mr.
Edgerton's careful guidance returning to
the city an appreciable portion of the
million dollars appropriated for the work.
When the White Charter went into effect,
January i, 1900, reorganizing Rochester's
municipal government, Mr. Edgerton be-
came presiding officer of the Common
Council, continuing in that office through
successive reelections for eight years,
leading the head of the ticket at each of
the four elections. By virtue of his office
he was a member of the Board of Esti-
mate and Apportionment, the chief exec-
utive board of the city government, pre-
paring the tax budget, inaugurating all
municipal improvements and municipal
reforms. In this connection Mr. Edger-
ton rendered invaluable service to the
city and strongly entrenched himself in
public esteem. In 1907 he was elected
mayor of Rochester, his first election
being in response to a popular demand
for a straightforward business adminis-
tration. At the end of his term his record
demanded that he be continued for an-
other term of two years ; then a third,
then a fourth term, and now a fifth term,
by largest majority ever received, was
the insistent demand of the city and it
was so ordered at the polls.

To recite the benefits Rochester has re-
ceived during Mayor Edgerton's eight
years as chief executive is not possible in

107



this place. Among the more notable are
these : The city government has. been
reorganized and the recent report of the
New York Bureau of Municipal Research
declares that "Rochester, out of the fifty-
three cities examined, is the best gov-
erned ;" the public library and its
branches have been established ; Exposi-
tion Park and the Rochester Exposition
Company organized ; the Municipal Mu-
seum founded ; the park system and play
grounds enlarged and improved, the addi-
tion of play grounds lessening truancy
and adding to school efficiency. Good
schools, pure water, and adequate sew-
age disposal have been the administration
slogans, and in these respects Rochester
is the peer of any city.

Mayor Edgerton is a member of Frank
R. Lawrence Lodge, Free and Accepted
Masons ; Hamilton Chapter, Royal Arch
Masons ; Monroe Commandery, Knights
Templar, also a member of the Shrine,
Grotto, etc., and the Benevolent and Pro-
tective Order of Elks. His clubs are the
Genesee Valley, Masonic and Rochester.

He married, in 1868, Medora De Witt,
of Henrietta, New York. Children : Edna,
wife of Henry Lambert, of Rochester:
Elizabeth, wife of Benjamin T. Rood-
house, of Chicago.



POWELL, Edward Alexander,

Leader in Commnnity Affairs,

The man of genuine business ability,
the man whose judgment is never warped,
whose foresight is never clouded, and
whose integrity is incorruptible, the man
whose discretion is unfailing and whose
honor is unquestioned, is the man who,
whatever may be his place in life, is in-
dispensable. He is a man to be trusted
and looked up to as a leader, and his fear-
lessness in defense of his honest convic-
tions awakens the respect of even those
who oppose him. Ready to meet any obli-



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



gations of life with the confidence and
courage which come of rare personal abil-
ity, right conceptions of things, and an
habitual regard for what is best in the
exercise of human activities, Edward
Alexander Powell, of Syracuse, New
York, is a man, take him for all in all,
that the town may well claim with pride
as one of her leading and most enlight-
ened citizens. The name of Powell is of
Welsh origin and was originally Ap
Howell, being gradually contracted to
Powell. The early seat of the family
was at Breckonch, South Wales, where
the town of Breconshire is now located.
It has been largely represented in the pro-
fessions, but most of its bearers have
been engaged in agriculture. Wherever
found, people of this name are noted for
their industry, thrift, and kind and oblig-
ing dispositions.

The founder of this branch of the fam-
ily in the United States was Watkin
Powell, who with his son Watkin (2) and
daughter-in-law Rebecca (Adams) Pow-
ell came from near Breckonch, South
Wales, in 1801, settling near Utica, New
York. Watkin Powell, the elder, died
there in 1802 and was buried near his
home. Watkin (2) Powell continued his
residence there until after the death of
his wife, Rebecca (Adams) Powell, in
1814, and his second marriage to Mrs.
Nichols in 1815. They then in 1816 moved
with their family to Shadeland, Pennsyl-
vania, where both husband and wife died
in 1850.

Howell Powell, fourth son of Watkin
Powell, was born near Utica, New York,
March 11, 1804, died February 11, 1873.
At the age of twelve years he was taken
to Pennsylvania by his parents and there
obtained an education, gained a practical
knowledge of all agricultural matters, and
became a famous stock breeder and
farmer. In public life he also achieved
prominence, was one of the leaders in his



county in the Abolition movement, and
represented Crawford county, Pennsyl-
vania, in the State Legislature. He was
a man of wide spreading and beneficial in-
fluence and highly esteemed imtil his
death at the age of sixty-eight years. He
married, April 11, 1833, Sally Beatty,
born in Crawford county, Pennsylvania,
a daughter of Joseph and Susan (Lint-
ner) Beatty. They had eight children, of
whom Edward Alexander Powell is of
further mention ; three compose the firm
of Powell Brothers, engaged in business
in Shadeland, Pennsylvania ; one was an
attorney and practiced at Cincinnati,
Ohio ; a daughter married George C. Gal-
lawhur, of Girard, Pennsylvania ; and two
died in infancy.

Edward Alexander Powell was born on
the Shadeland farm, Crawford county,
Pennsylvania, January 27, 1838. In the
district and select schools of his native
county he obtained an excellent educa-
tion, which he has supplemented by a life-
long course of judicious reading and
study. At the age of eighteen years he
engaged in the profession of teaching,
which he followed successfully for a num-
ber of years, and before abandoning this
profession was with his brother, W. G.
Powell, in charge of the schools at New
Carlisle, Ohio. Always a lover of out-
door life, he then established himself in
the nursery business as vice-president of
the Smith & Powell Company, with which
he was successfully identified. He next
added to this industry the breeding of fine
strains of cattle, making a specialty of
Holstein-Friesian blood. In this field he
gained notable successes, becoming one
of the famous breeders of America, and
for five years served as president of the
Holstein Friesian Association of Amer-
ica. He is an oft quoted authority on his
special strain of cattle and an extensive
exporter of live stock, having shipped to
nearly every country of the globe where



108



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



the breeding of live stock is an industry.
He has taken active part in other busi-
ness affairs, serving as president of the
Syracuse, Lake Shore & Northern rail-
road five years ; trustee of the Onondaga
County Savings Bank for nearly a quar-
ter of a century, and was the first presi-
dent of the Syracuse Chamber of Com-
merce, serving six years. The parks and
streets of the city received an especial
share of his attention while in that office
and the beauty of the city was greatly
enhanced by his wise suggestions and aid.
The Syracuse Nurseries with which he has
been connected for forty-eight years have
furnished and planted trees without
charge in the streets of Syracuse and sur-
rounding sections equivalent to a con-
tinuous row forty feet apart for a distance
of twenty-five miles.

Mr. Powell is a man of many sided abil-
ities and broad interests. In spite of the
manifold demands made upon him by his
business activities, he has ever been a
lover and reader of good literature, and
has spent much time in furthering the in-
terests of charitable projects in the city.
He is a m,ember of the Historical Society
and of the Fortnightly Club ; is president
of the Council of the Old Ladies' Home of
Syracuse, and trustee of the Homoeo-
pathic Hospital ten years ; was president
for six years of the Society for the Pre-
vention of Cruelty to Children ; president
of the Bureau of Labor and Charities six
years ; president of the Onondaga County
Agricultural Society nine years ; presi-
dent of the board of trustees of the First
Presbyterian Church twenty-two years ;
president of the Holstein-Friesian Club
of the State of New York two years ;
president of the Onondaga County Farm
Bureau three years ; director of the
Onanda Historical Society twenty-two
years; director of the New York State
Breeders' Association three years ; and
a member of the executive committee of
the Fortnightly Club.



Mr. Powell married, in 1868, Lucy
Smith. Their only child, Edward Alex-
ander Powell, Jr., after completing his
education entered the United States diplo-
matic service, which has for several years
compelled his residence abroad. He is
also a well known litterateur and the
author of many books widely read and
recommended. For a year he was vice-
consul at Beirut, Arabia, following that
service as consular agent at Alexandria,
Egypt. When the present European
war began in 1914 he went to Belgium
and there served as official reporter from
the Belgian government to the United
States, and was war correspondent of the
New York "World." He remained in
Belgium until the capture of Antwerp.
He then reached London, but in such a
broken condition physically that he was
for some time under treatment at a hos-
pital. While convalescing there he dic-
tated his book, "Fighting in Flanders,"
later published in the United States by
Scribners. Later in 1914 he returned to
the United States and entered the lecture
field and is touring the country deliver-
ing his interesting and valuable lectures
dealing with the war in Europe. His pub-
lished books are : "The Last Frontier," a
work on South Africa ; "The Beckoning
Land ;" "Gentleman Rovers ;" "The End
of the Trail," an account of a journey
from Mexico to Alaska by automobile ;
"The Road to Glory ;" "Vive La France ;"
"Fighting in Flanders," and "The Secret
of the Submarine," all published by Scrib-
ners.



HOLLISTER, Granger A.,

Leader in Public Utilities, Financier.

Every man who has served his day and
generation well has done so along special
lines for which he was peculiarly well
adapted. The service rendered Rochester
by Mr. Hollister has been in connection
with public utilities, for which his abil-



109



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



ity as an organizer and as an executive
peculiarly adapted him. No city in the
State of New York can boast of a better
system of street railway transportation or
of a better system of lighting its streets,
buildings, and homes than Rochester, and
to Mr. Hollister this condition is largely
due. What has been accomplished in
bringing these public utilities to such a
condition of perfection in Rochester he
has repeated in other places through his
connection with light and railway com-
panies. He is also deeply interested in
financial institutions and other business
enterprises, and is not in any sense a man
of one idea, but is progressive, public-
spirited, and interested in all that makes
for the public good. His work in Roches-
ter has been spoken of as "the splendid
success of an honest man in whose life
business ability and recognition of his
obligations to his fellow men are well
balanced forces." To these forces may
well be added intense civic pride.

He traces descent from Lieutenant
John Hollister, who in 1640 came to New
England from England, settling at Glas-
tonbury, Connecticut. From Connecti-
cut, the home of his forbears, came
George A. Hollister, who settled in
Rochester in 1826. In 1832 he established
a lumber business which two succeeding
generations continued. Emmett H., son
of George A. Hollister, born in Rochester
in 1829. after association with his father
succeeded him in business on the death
of the founder in 1854, and successfully
conducted it until his own death in 1871.
He married Sarah, daughter of Austin
Granger, of Troy, New York, who died
in 1894, leaving two sons. Granger A. and
George C. Hollister, who continued the
business under the firm name of Hollister
Brothers until 1888, when the Hollister
Lumber Company, Limited, was incor-
porated, of which George C. Hollister is



now president. This successful connec-
tion with a business for three generations
under a family name is unusual in this
country, where changes are frequent, sons
seldom and grandsons rarely engaging
in the same business with the same con-
spicuous success as the founders.

Granger A. Hollister was born in
Rochester in 1854. He was educated in
Rochester's private schools, continuing
his studies until the death of his father
in 1871. He then entered into active busi-
ness life in connection with the lumber busi-
ness founded by his grandfather and con-
tinued by his father, forming later, with
his brother, George G. Hollister, a part-
nership and trading as Hollister Brothers.
In 1888 the Hollister Lumber Company
was incorporated with a capital of $125,-
000 — Granger A. Hollister, president ;
George G. Hollister, vice-president. Seven
years later, in 1895, Granger A. Hollister
disposed of his interest in the company,
which still continues, the largest lumber
and coal company in Western New York,
George G. Hollister, president. About
the year 1884 Mr. Hollister became inter-
ested in the business that has since prin-
cipally claimed him, and with a few asso-
ciates organized the Edison Illuminating
Company, entering into competition with
three other companies occupying the
Rochester field, the Rochester Electric
Light Company, the Brush Electric Light
Company and the Rochester Gas Com-
pany. Realizing the futility of attempt-
ing the object upon which he was bent
under the competition then existing, the
perfecting of an electric lighting system
for the city, Mr. Hollister and the others
associated with him determined upon a
plan of bringing these four antagonistic
interests into harmony through consoli-
dation. With a few associates he pur-
chased all of the stock of the Rochester
Electric Light Company, a controlling



no



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



interest in the Brush Electric Light Com-
pany, and a large interest in the Roches-
ter Gas Company. The consolidation of
the four lighting companies followed
under incorporate title, the Rochester Gas
and Electric Light Company. Vast im-
provements were made and a perfected
system installed with results that have
realized the hopes of Mr. Hollister and
his associates, justified their plans, and
proved the clearness of their foresight.
With a perfected lighting system estab-
lished, the weakness of the street railway
system became more apparent. The Clark-
Hodenpyl-Walbridge Syndicate, then in
control of the Rochester Railway Com-
pany, was brought by Mr. Hollister into
possession by purchase of a considerable
interest in the Rochester Gas and Elec-
tric Company, and in 1904 the lighting
and traction interests of the city were
merged into one corporation, the Roches-
ter Railway and Light Company, a cor-
poration of which Mr. Hollister is first
vice-president. With the formation of
the new company an era of expansion and
improvement in transit facilities began
that has continued greatly to the benefit of
Rochester and a great area of contiguous
territory. The lighting and traction sys-
tems of the city are unexcelled and are
Rochester's pride. In addition to his
official responsibility as vice-president of
the railway and light company, Mr. Hol-
lister is vice-president and director of the
Dispatch Heat, Light and Power Com-
pany, the Ontario Light and Traction
Company, and the Canandaigua Gas
Light Company, which are subsidiaries of
the Rochester Railway and Light Com-
pany. He also is a director of the Roches-
ter Electric Railway Company, the New
York State Railway Company, and the
Syracuse and Suburban Railway Com-
pany. He is the second vice-president of
the Chamber of Commerce, and member



of the board of trustees of the Chamber
of Commerce of the United States, one of
the two members from New York State.

His banking and financial interests are
equally important. Since 1886 he has
been a trustee of the Rochester Savings
Bank and is the present first vice-presi-
dent In 1892 he aided in organizing the
Security Trust Company, was chosen its
first manager, has been a trustee of the
company since its incorporation, and is
the present vice-president and chairman
of the executive committee. In June,
1907, he was elected a director of the
great New York Life Insurance Company
and he is now a member of the executive
committee of the board of directors. He
is charitable and philanthropic, interested
in various enterprises for the betterment
of mankind, and serves as president of the
board of governors of the Homeopathic
Hospital of Rochester.

Mr. Hollister married (first) Isabelle
M. Watson, of Rochester, who died in
1903, daughter of Don Alonzo Watson,
one of the organizers of the Western
Union Telegraph Company. He married
(second) in 1906, Elizabeth C. Watson.

This necessarily brief record of the life
of Granger A. Hollister reveals a man
strong in executive ability, with the
capacity for the organization and man-
agement of great enterprises. He entered
a field already occupied and in it brought
about great improvement, harmonized
conflicting interests, impressed others
with the wisdom of his plans, and to him
and to his associates Rochester is in-
debted for its present excellent street rail-
way and lighting service. Civic pride,
long dormant, was aroused and the exam-
ple of public spirit thus set has been fol-
lowed in other directions until Roches-
ter has become a shining light to other
municipalities.



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ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



STRONG, Henry A.,

Man of Enterprise, Philanthropist.

Commercial interests have assumed
such extensive proportions, industries
have become of such mammoth growth,
such princely fortunes are controlled
by corporations and individuals, that no
longer can any business concern of medi-
um size make any noticeable impression
upon the history of the country. The
men whose names are before the public
associated with the world of business are
men of master minds, capable of planning
and directing enterprises of far-reaching
import and benefit, efifective in working a
change in conditions that will influence a
wide trade, will alter the established
order of things and prove advantageous
to the public. The two men comprising
the firm of Strong & Eastman, established
in 1880, and which later became the East-
man Kodak Company, were Henry A.
Strong and George Eastman. To the
former belongs the credit for a broad
vision that saw the possibilities of the
undertaking so clearly that he furnished
the capital and became the business head,
while to the latter belongs the honor for
the constructive genius and ability that
has developed the business to its present
gigantic proportions.

Henry A. Strong traces his ancestry to
the early Puritans who settled in New
England, ancestors strong both by name
and nature. He is a son of Alvah and
Catherine (Hopkins) Strong, the former
named removing to Rochester, New York,
from Scipio, same State, at an early day,
he a barefoot boy driving the cattle that
accompanied the wagon in which the
family belongings were carried. On the
way into Rochester the Strong family
stopped to rest at Castle Rock, from
which point they viewed the site of the
present "Flower City." Thus it will be
seen that Mr. Strong was one of the early

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settlers of the city of Rochester, and in
due course of time became one of its
prominent and public-spirited citizens.
Henry A Strong, in honor of his parents,
erected in 1907, on the grounds of the
Rochester Theological Seminary, "Alvah
Strong Memorial Hall"; "Catherine
Strong Hall" to the Women's Depart-
ment of the University of Rochester; in
1909 gave to Brick Church the building,
completed in 1910, known as Brick
Church Institute, a four-storied structure
with assembly halls, dining room, social
halls, gymnasium, swimming pool, quar-
ters for boys' and girls' clubs, manual
training room, and eighty sleeping rooms
for men; and in 191 1 his gift to the
Young Women's Christian Association
was their Administration Building, com-
pleted in 1912, of handsome brick con-
struction, two stories in height, with a
roof garden. All were given in a most
unostentatious manner, in keeping with
the characteristics of the donor.

Henry A. Strong was born in Roches-
ter, New York, August 30, 1838, and
there he has always maintained his resi-
dence. He was educated in the public
schools, passed his youth in varied man-
ner, little of general interest entering his
life until the outbreak of the Civil War.
He was then twenty-three years of age,
and on enlistment was appointed assis-
tant paymaster in the United States
navy, there serving four years. After the
cessation of hostilities, he returned to
Rochester and engaged in the manufac-
ture of whips in partnership with an
uncle, Myron Strong, and later he pur-
chased the interest of his uncle and con-
ducted the business on his own account
for a number of years. He next became
associated in business with E. F. Wood-
bury, a connection that existed until 1889.
It was, "however, nine years prior to the
latter date that he became interested in
the plans and hopes of George Eastman,



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