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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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 2 of 58)
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placed upon a more efficient footing as
to organization, arming and equipment.
These enumerations comprise but a small
portion of the accomplishments of this

On his retirement from the guberna-
torial office. Governor Morton returned
to the conduct of his important business
interests which, in addition to his im-
mediate financial holdings included di-
rectorate duties in the Equitable Life As-
surance Company, the Home Insurance
Company, the National Bank of Com-
merce, the Guaranty Trust Company, the
Industrial Trust Company of Providence,
and the Newport Trust Company. He
is a member of the Sons of the Revolu-
tion, the Society of Mayflower Descend-
ants, the New England Society, and the
following clubs : Metropolitan, Union
League, Lawyers, Republican and Down-
town. Governor Morton received the
degree of Doctor of Laws from Dart-
mouth College in 1881 and from Middle-
bury in 1882. He retired from active
business pursuits some years since and
spends the major portion of his time with
his family upon his magnificent estate
"Ellerslie," (of one thousand acres) at
RhinecliflF-on-the-Hudson. He married
(first) Lucy Kimball, who died in 1871 ;
and (second) Anna Livingston Street;
and of the latter marriage five daughters
have been born: Edith Livingston, Lena,
Helen, Alice and Mary.

Governor Morton has been a consistent
Republican from the first, ardently loyal
to the Union in its days of peril ; and
singularly free from factional entangle-
ments which have plagued his party in
the State ; and, therefore singularly avail-
able for public preferments in its power
to bestow. In office he has been distin-
guished for executive ability, prudent ad-
ministration and courteous demeanor,
exceedingly modest in his bearing, yet
with self-possession and graciousness
combining in a charming personality. He
has long been a member of the Protestant
Episcopal communion, constant to it
alike in his devotion and beneficences,
while his many public and private philan-
thropies have been as generously as
quietly bestowed.

FAIRCHILD, Charles Stebbins,

Financier, Cabinet Official.

Charles Stebbins Fairchild, distin-
guished lawyer, and Secretary of the
Treasury in the cabinet of President
Cleveland, was born in Cazenovia, New
York, April 30, 1842, son of Sidney T. and
Helen (Childs) Fairchild. His father was
a lawyer of marked ability, and for many
years was attorney for the New York
Central railroad.

Charles Stebbins Fairchild began his
education in the common schools, then
preparing for college at the Oneida Con-
ference Seminary at Cazenovia. He
entered Harvard College in his seven-
teenth year, and was graduated in the
year he attained his majority. For two
years following he was a student in the
Harvard Law School, and, having com-
pleted the prescribed course, received the
degree of Bachelor of Laws in 1865. Lo-
cating in Albany, New York, he com-
pleted the usual novitiate, and was admit-
ted to the bar in 1866 and entered upon
practice. In 1871 he became a member of


the law firm of Swartz & Fairchild, and
continued in this relation with marked
success until 1876, when he withdrew, on
account of official duties. In 1874 he had
been made a deputy under the Attorney-
General of the State of New York, in
which position he displayed such ability
that he came to be recognized as the
right arm of his superior, rendering espe-
cially useful service in the case of the
People z's. Gardner and Charlick, the New
York police commissioners, and in those
growing out of the reports of the Canal
Investigation Commission. In the Demo-
cratic State Convention in 1875 his con-
duct had so commended him that he was
made the nominee for the Attorney-
Generalship by acclamation, and at the
following election he was elected by a
majority of 2^,^02 over his Republican
competitor. In addition to the duties of
that office, he was c.v officio a commis-
sioner of the Land Office and of the Canal
Fund, a member of the Canal Board and
of the Board of State Charities, and a
trustee of the State Capitol and of the
State Hall. On retiring from his ofifice
in 1878, Mr. Fairchild visited Europe,
where he remained for two years, and on
his return took up his residence in New
York City and engaged in the practice
of his profession.

In 1885 President Cleveland called Mr.
Fairchild to his cabinet as Assistant Sec-
retary of the Treasury. During his two
years occupancy of this position, he was
frequently called upon to represent Sec-
retary Daniel Manning, as acting secre-
tary ; and when Mr. Manning was obliged
by ill health to resign his portfolio (April
I, 18S7), President Cleveland at once ap-
pointed Mr. Fairchild to the place so
vacated. He remained during the entire
remainder of Mr. Cleveland's administra-
tion, and then returned to New York
City and gave his attention to financial
affairs, entering at once upon the presi-

dency of the New York Security & Trust
Company, and which position he occupied
until 1905. He is at present president of
the Atlanta & Charlotte Air Line Rail-
road Company, and of the Birkbeck In-
vestment Savings & Loan Company of
America ; and a director of the Lawyers'
Mortgage Company, and of the Erie &
Pittsl)urgh Railroad Company. Through-
out his career he has taken a lively inter-
est in economic affairs, and has been a
most useful member of various reform
organizations and bodies akin thereto.
He is an ex-president and ex-treasurer
of the State Charities Aid Association ;
vice-president of the Charity Organiza-
tion Society of New York ; and was for
several years president of the Reform
Club. An able speaker and a logical
reasoner, he is frequently called upon to
address important public assemblages.
The trend of his thought and an index to
his interest in economic affairs is dis-
cerned in his utterance in September,
1889, before the Harlem Branch of the
Young Men's Christian Association,
when, in discussing certain social prob-
lems pertaining to large cities, he said:
"The city is the heel of our American
Achilles — the place where our popular
government may be wounded to its de-
struction." He was a steadfast upholder of
a sound money policy at the time when his
party was disrupted by the silver move-
ment, and he was one of the strongest
figures in the Monetary Commission of
1897. He is a member of the following
clubs — University, Harvard, Reform,
Metropolitan of Washington, Ardsley,
Garden City Golf, and Golf Links of
America ; and of the Delta Kappa Epsilon,
Alpha Delta Phi and Phi Beta Kappa
fraternities. He received the degree of
Doctor of Laws from Columbian and
Harvard universities in 1888. He married
Helen Lincklaen, of Cazenovia, New
York, where is his residence.



JAMES, Thomas L.,

Journalist, Banker, Public Official.

Thomas Lemuel James, whose brilliant
career was principally useful in his
wonderful development of the national
postal service, was born in Utica, Oneida
county. New York, March 29, 1831, the
son of William and Jane Maria (Pria)
James. Up to the age of fifteen he at-
tended the public schools of Utica, where
he was recognized as a bright, vivacious
boy, quite as faithful to his studies as any
of his young companions, yet gaining the
affections of those with whom he was
brought in contact by his amicable and
attractive nature. When he was fifteen
years of age he left school and was ap-
prenticed for five years to Wesley Bailey,
a printer of Utica, who was the father of
E. Prentiss Bailey, editor and publisher
of the Utica "Observer." At the age of
twenty he became a partner of Francis
B. Fisher in publishing the "Madison
County Journal," at Hamilton, Madison
county. New York, where he went to
reside. This was an important period
in politics — the closing up of the old and
the beginning of the new regime. The
paper was of Whig ; proclivity. Mr.
James showed himself to be an enthusi-
astic, energetic, yet judicious young
editor, and speedily made an impression
upon the community. In 1852 Mr. James
was married to Emily I. Freeburn. In
1854 he was appointed canal collector at
Hamilton, New York, a position which he
held for two years. In 1856 the "Madison
County Journal" was united with the
"Democratic Reflector," under the name
of the "Democratic Republican." But
small localities in the interior of the State
were not stirring enough, or of sufficient
importance, to very long hold a man of
the calibre of Mr. James, and in 1861 he
went to the metropolis, where Hiram
Barney, at that time collector of the port,

appointed him inspector. From this he
was soon promoted to the position of
weigher of teas in the warehouse depart-
ment, and when Thomas Murphy became
collector he made Mr. James deputy col-
lector of the third (warehouse) division,
wliere he remained under the administra-
tion of Chester A. Arthur, who succeeded
Murphy as collector of the port. In what-
ever position he had been up to this time,
Mr. James had made for himself friends
among the most influential men in polit-
ical and business life, and so it happened
that, when President Grant was making
up his mind as to whom he should give
the important position of postmaster of
New York, he found that the general
tendency of suggestion and advice pointed
to Mr. James. The habits of the latter
had been formed on such a methodical
foundation, and he was so exact in his
work, and so rapid in the conception and
execution of his plans, that his value as
a public officer could hardly be over-
estimated. Appointed postmaster at New
York, March 17, 1873, he found the office
in a condition which showed clearly the
necessity for reorganization, and, in many
instances, for an entirely new arrange-
ment for the delivery of the mails to the
satisfaction of the enormous and growing
business interests of the metropolis. A
very brief study of the situation informed
the new postmaster of the direction in
which improvements could be made, and
he set himself about making them with
such zeal and efficiency that the New
York office presently became a model for
all others in the country. The election of
President Hayes brought about new ap-
pointments in New York, and while the
names of gentlemen to succeed General
Arthur as collector and Mr. Cornell as
naval officer were pending in the Senate
committee on commerce, on account of
the aggressive opposition of Mr. Conkling
and other anti-administration Senators,



the collectorship of the port of New York
was offered to Mr. James, but declined.
In the meantime Mr. James had been re-
appointed postmaster by President Hayes,
and, his services having been recognized
as marking a new era in postal administra-
tion, he naturally felt disinclined to ex-
change that position for any other while
he still had in regard to it important
plans to carry out. Besides this, having
been General Arthur's deputy, he could
not consent to supersede him. In 1880
Postmaster-General Key was transferred
to a circuit judgeship of the United States
Court, and the vacant cabinet position
was offered to Postmaster James, but
declined. During the same year the Re-
publicans offered him the nomination for
mayor of New York, but this honor he
also declined. Finally, however, when
President Garfield announced his cabinet
on March 5, 1881, there was general re-
joicing in both parties when it was seen
that Mr. James had been appointed Post-
master-General. His new office was, he
soon found, full of difficulties. The de-
partment of the Second Assistant Post-
master-General offered for investigation
the scandalous condition of the "star
route" and steamboat mail contracts,
which it was evident had been dishonest-
ly manipulated, with the result of the rob-
bery of the government of large sums.
It was expected by the people, and justly
expected, that Postmaster-General James
would make such an examination of his
office as would expose the guilty parties,
and break up the existing wrong-doing.
The opposition to such action on his part,
however, was prolonged, powerful and
bitter. It included the persistent antago-
nism of his personal and political enemies,
and even of some who had been his
friends. Newspapers were subsidized at
the capital and in other cities to attack
the Postmaster-General and his assistants
in the most determined and obnoxious

manner, but none of these affected Mr.
James in the way of causing him to lessen
his efforts to break up the nest of dis-
honest officials, whose nefarious work
was speedily laid bare before him. The
dishonest mail routes were cut off, faith-
less employees were dismissed, and the
general tone of the service was strength-
ened and improved. He had been met on
his entrance into office by the fact of an
annual deficit of $2,000,000, which had
varied in amount every year from 1865,
and, with one or two exceptions, from
1851. The reductions which he made in
the star route service and the steamboat
service amounted to over $2,000,000, while
his thorough investigation into the abuses
and frauds of the post-office resulted in
the famous star route trials, and revealed
the scandals which had existed in that
service prior to his assuming charge of it.
Applying as far as it was practicable, the
civil service methods which had been in
operation in the New York post-office to
his new field of operations, the postal
service was made self-sustaining up to
the time when the rate of postage was
reduced by act of Congress. After the
deplorable event of the assassination of
President Garfield and the assumption of
the presidential chair by General Arthur,
Mr. James was reappointed by the latter
to the position of Postmaster-General.
But the political conditions rendered it
desirable for him to go out of the public
service, and he accordingly resigned his
portfolio to become president of the Lin-
coln National Bank, then just organized
in New York City, and where he assumed
office in January, 1882. Combined with
the bank was the Lincoln Safe Deposit
Company, of which Mr. James became
also president, and both these institutions,
under his shrewd business management,
and greatly on account of his own per-
sonal popularity, grew to be thoroughly
successful. Genial in his manner, quick



and appreciative in his understanding, the
social position of Mr. James matches his
official standing. He has friends innumer-
able ; indeed, no one who is brought in
close or continued contact with him fails
to become his friend. Mr. James holds
the degree of Master of Arts, con-
fered upon him by Hamilton College,
Clinton, New York, in 1862, and that of
Doctor of Laws, from Madison Univer-
sity, in 1882. St. John's College, at Ford-
ham, New York, also conferred upon him
the degree of Doctor of Laws.

BUTLER, Nicholas Murray,

Educator, Publicist.

Nicholas Murray Butler was born in
Elizabeth, New Jersey, April 2, 1862, son
of Henry L. and Mary J. (Murray)
Butler, the former named president of
the Board of Education of Elizabeth for
many years. He attended the schools of
his birthplace until he was sixteen years
of age, when he entered Columbia Col-
lege, New York City, from which institu-
tion he received the degrees of Bachelor
of Arts, 1882, Master of Arts, 1883, Doctor
of Philosophy, 1884. In 1884 he visited
Europe, and continued his studies at the
universities of Berlin and Paris, and at
the former named institution he formed a
strong friendship with Professor Paulsen,
the foremost living philosopher of Ger-
many, and this association proved bene-
ficial in determining the lifework of Dr.
Butler. He returned to his native land
in 1886, and then entered upon a career
that had been in his mind for many
years, that of an educator, and he accepted
the position of instructor in philosophy
in Columbia College, acting as such until
1889. In that year he became adjunct
professor, and in the following year was
made full professor of philosophy, ethics
and psychology, and lecturer on the his-
tory and institutes of education. In the

same year he was elected dean of the
faculty of philosophy for a term of five
years, and reelected at its expiration. In
addition to his duties in Columbia Col-
lege, which were numerous and varied.
Dr. Butler devoted considerable time to
the study of educational systems, State
and city, to statistical reports and official
documents, and he served in the capacity
of president of Barnard College ; first
president of the New York College for
the Training of Teachers, now Teachers'
College, of Columbia College, where, in
the Horace Mann School of Practice, he
had an opportunity to test his theories
by experiments, serving from 1886 to-
1891 ; member of the State Board of
Education from 1887 to 1895, and was.
instrumental in bringing about the educa-
tional revolution in his State which sub-
stituted the town for the district system
of administration ; president of the Pater-
son Board of Education, 1892-93, where
he acquired a thoroughly practical ac-
quaintance with the working of a city
system of schools. In 1894 he became
university examiner in education for the
State of New York. Since 1902 he has
been president of Columbia University,
including also the presidency of Barnard
College, Teachers' College, and the Col-
lege of Pharmacy.

Dr. Butler has also achieved success in
the literature of his profession. In 1891
he founded the "Educational Review,"
probably the foremost educational maga-
zine in the world, which he edited with
great ability, and he is also the editor of
the "Great Educators" series, and of the
"Teachers' Professional Library," as well
as of the "Columbia University Contri-
butions" to philosophy, psychology and
education. In 1889 he was the New Jer-
sey commissioner to the Paris Exposi-
tion ; delegate to the Republican National
conventions of 1888, 1904, 1912; chairman
of the New York Republican Convention,.



191 2; received the Republican electoral
vote for Vice-President of the United
States, 1913. He was chairman of the
administrative board of the International
Congress of Arts and Sciences, St. Louis
Exposition, 1904; chairman of the Lake
Mohonk Conferences on International
Arbitration, 1907-09-10-11-12 ; president
of the American branch of Conciliation
Internationale ; trustee of Carnegie
Foundation Advancement of Teaching,
Carnegie Endowment for International
Peace ; governor of the Society of the
Lying-in-Hospital ; trustee of the Colum-
bia University Press and the American
Academy in Rome ; chairman of the Col-
lege Entrance Examination Board, Officier
de Legion d'Honneur, 1906, and com-
mandeur, 1912; commander of the Order
of Red Eagle (with Star) of Prussia,

Dr. Butler is a member of the National
Educational Association, of which he was
elected president in 1894 ; of the Amer-
ican Academy of Arts and Letters, the
Pilgrims, the American Philosophical So-
ciety, American Psychological Associ-
ation, New England Association, Amer-
ican Historical Association (life). New
York Historical Society (life), German-
istic Society, American Scandinavian So-
ciety, University Settlement Society, Na-
tional Red Cross (life), National Council
of Education, New York Chamber of
Commerce, American Society of Interna-
tional Law, and the Century, Church,
Metropolitan, University, Barnard, Co-
lumbia University, Authors, Garden City
Golf and Ardsley clubs. He is the author
of: "The Meaning of Education," "True
and False Democracy," "The American as
He Is," "Philosophy," "Why Should We
Change Our Form of Government," "The
International Mind," and "Education in
the United States," and various other
works. Dr. Butler is a man of great natural
force and of high attainments, and as a

writer and speaker he is clear, forcible, con-
cise, and he possesses in an extraordinary
degree that power of exposition which con-
vinces friends and confounds opponents.
Dr. Butler received the honorary degree
of Doctor of Laws from Syracuse, 1898,
Tulane, 1901, Johns Hopkins, Princeton,
University of Pennsylvania and Yale,
1902, Unversity of Chicago, 1903, St. An-
drews and Manchester, 1905, Cambridge,
1907, Williams, 1908, Harvard and Dart-
mouth, 1909, and University of Breslau,
191 1, and the degree of Doctor of Litera-
ture from the University of Oxford, 1905.
Dr. Butler married (first) February 7,
1887, Susanna Edwards Schuyler, daugh-
ter of J. Rutsen Schuyler, of Bergen
Point, New Jersey, and they were the
parents of one daughter. Mrs. Butler
died January 10, 1903. Dr. Butler mar-
ried (second) March 5, 1907, Kate La

ODELL, Benjamin B., Jr.,

Congressman, Governor.

Benjamin Barker Odell, Jr., who as the
thirty-seventh Governor of the State of
New York, labored arduously and suc-
cessfully for an economical administra-
tion of the public affairs, was born in
Newburgh, New York, January 14, 1854,
son of the Hon. Benjamin Barker and
Ophelia (Bookstaver) Odell. His father,
but recently dead, was a man of ability,
and occupied various important public

The future governor passed from the
public schools of Newburgh to Bethany
(West Virginia) College, and later to
Columbia University (1873-75), and from
which he received the LL. D. degree in
1903. He was for some years engaged
in banking, electric lighting and commer-
cial enterprises at Newburgh, and served
as a director in the Central Hudson
Steamboat Company of New York, and


^ ^^. ci^


president of the Newburgh Chamber of
Commerce. From his early voting years
he took an active interest in political
afifairs. From 1884 to 1896 he was a mem-
ber of the Republican State Committee,
and chairman of the Republican State
Executive Committee from 1898 to 1900.
A steadfast Republican, he was elected
to the Fifty-fourth Congress, and was re-
elected, serving from March 4, 1895, to
March 3, 1899, having declined the renom-
ination for a third term.

In 1900, when not yet forty-seven years
of age, he was elected Governor and was
reelected in 1902. In his inaugural
address the following January, he de-
clared his policy to be the conduct of the
business afifairs of the State "with econ-
omy and good judgment, and that the
burdens of taxation should be so adjusted
as to fall lightly upon those who can ill
afford to bear them, and be borne more
generously by those who have received
from the State protection and rights
which have been giving to their vast
business interests the success they de-
serve," and in this line argued for the
additional taxation of corporations, to the
relief of real estate owners. He set an
example of economy when he dispensed
with the "counsel to the Governor," and
devolved the work of that official upon
the Attorney-General. He efifected a con-
siderable lessening of the burdens of gen-
eral taxation, and the elimination of un-
necessary expenses, at the same time
without impairing the usefulness of any
of the administrative departments. He
materially reduced the expenses of tax
collection, notably in the items of inher-
itance tax, resulting in an average saving
of $150,000 per annum. Other savings
were efifected by the consolidation of
various bureaus and the erection of a
comprehensive Department of Labor in
their stead, with a resultant annual saving
of about $70,000. An expensive State Com-

mission of Prisons was replaced with a
board of three members ; and the State
Board of Health gave place to a Commis-
sioner of Health. Two commissions, the
one charged with the protection of for-
ests, fish and game, and the other with
forest preservation alone, were consoli-
dated into one department. Legislation
enacted at his instance resulted in great
saving in the item of printing. Perhaps
the most important innovation was the
legislation for the taxation of trust com-
panies, insurance companies and savings
banks, and which resulted in trebly in-
creasing the income from these sources ;
while other enactments increased liquor
taxes fifty per cent. Another important
innovation was the creation of the office
of F"iscal Supervisor of State Charities.
Good roads also occupied a large share of
Governor Odell's attention, and great im-
provements and extensions were made
under the State Engineer.

Governor Odell interposed his veto in
several important instances. One was of

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 2 of 58)