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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dividuals for false claims against insur-
ance companies. In this trying position
Mr. Garvan developed the keenest of abil-
ities, and assisted greatly in making the



great reputation which surrounded Mr.
Jerome as State's attorney. No man in
that position ever achieved a finer record
than Mr. Garvan. He is a member of
many organizations and clubs, among the
latter including the Manhattan, Piping
Rock Racquet and Tennis, Rockaway
Hunt, University, Yale Club, and the
Delta Psi college fraternity. In addition to
a large general law practice, he is inter-
ested in various enterprises, and is a direc-
tor of P. F. Collier & Sons, one of the
largest publishers in the country. On
leaving the district attorney's office Mr.
Garvan became a m,ember of the law firm
of Osborne, Lamb & Garvan. Here he
finds field for the exercise of his unusual
talents, and is making rapid strides
toward the position of a leader at the New
York bar. He has been retained in much
important litigation, and has ever acquit-
ted himself with credit and success. He
is a faithful member of the Roman Cath-
olic church, and in political action has
ever been an unswerving Democrat, hav-
ing faith in the principles which have
made his party an active factor in the
direction of afifairs since the time of
Thomas Jefferson.

He married, June 9, 1910, in Albany,
Mabel Brady, daughter of the late An-
thony N. Brady, one of the most success-
ful business men of New York, and a
prominent politician. Mr. Brady was
born August 22, 1843, '" Lille, France,
and came with his parents to the United
States in childhood. His wife, Marcia
Ann (Myers) Brady, was born July 10,
1849, '" Bennington, Vermont. Mr. Gar-
van's children are: Patricia, Francis Pat-
rick, Jr., and Flora Brady.

GERE, James Brewster,

Bnsiness Man.

Identified with the business interests
of Syracuse since 1896, Mr. Gere is well

known in commercial circles as the capa-
ble president of the Gere Coal Company
and of the Onondaga Vitrified Brick Com-
pany. He is a son of Colonel James Mon-
roe Gere, one of the best known Civil
War veterans of Onondaga county, who
answered final roll call, July 12, 1908, at
the age of eighty-four years.

The family name is found spelled both
Geer and Gere, the earliest known ances-
tor of the family, Walter Geere, of Heavi-
tree, Devonshire, England, living in the
fifteenth century. He married, about
1450, Alice Somaster, of Southams, Dev-
onshire, England, and from them all Dev-
onshire Geers sprang. The origin of the
name is said to have been from the occu-
pation of the man who first bore it, John
of the Gear. He was in the service of a
chieftain and was chosen to superintend
the war equipment of the chieftain's men.
All such equipment was then designated
as "gear," and when surnames came into
vogue, about the middle of the eleventh
century, "John, of the Gear," became John
Gear. The immediate ancestor of J. Brew-
ster Gere, of Syracuse, was Jonathan
Geer, of Heavitree, Devonshire, of whom
little is known further than that he left
considerable property and two sons,
George and Thomas, in charge of his
brother. George Geer was born about
1621, his brother Thomas in 1623. Their
uncle gave them no educational advan-
tages and began at once to plan getting
rid of them in order to secure their patri-
mony, left in his care. He finally got the
boys upon a ship about to sail for Amer-
ica by requesting them to deliver a letter
to the captain for him. The letter asked
that the captain take the boys to Amer-
ica, and before they discovered the trick
they were at sea. This was in 1635, and
after the arrival of the ship at Boston the
boys went ashore, without money, all
trace of them being lost for many years.
George is on record as one of the early



settlers of New London, Connecticut, in
1651 ; Thomas was living in Enfield in

George Geer, the ancestor of this
branch, married Sarah Allyn in February,
1658, and lived at Groton until about
1720, then moved to Preston, where he
made his home with a daughter, Mar-
garet, wife of Thomas Gates, until his
death in 1726, aged one hundred and five
years, having been totally blind for sev-
eral years. The line of descent was
through George ; his son, Robert ; his son,
Ebenezer; his son, David; his son, Wil-
liam Stanton ; his son. Colonel James
Monroe ; his son, J. Brewster Gere, of

William Stanton Gere, born in Octo-
ber, 1785, died September 15, 1852. He
married, February 14, 1816, Louisa Brew-
ster. Their son, Colonel James Monroe
Gere, was born November 15, 1824, died
in Camillus, July 12, 1908, the last sur-
vivor of the seven children of William
Stanton Gere. He died in the house in
which he was born eighty-two years be-
fore, a house that had been his residence
and home during nearly his entire life.
His military career was attended by many
dangers and thrilling experiences. He
enlisted in 1862 and was at once commis-
sioned captain of Company F, One Hun-
dred and Twenty-second Regiment Vol-
unteer Infantry, a company recruited in
Camillus. He fought with the Army of
the Potomac from Antietam to the Wil-
derness, rising in rank to lieutenant-colo-
nel, and for some time prior to his death
was the highest officer in rank among the
survivors of his regiment. During the
Federal occupancy of Danville, Virginia,
Captain Gere was assistant provost mar-
shal and for several weeks commanded
the forces holding that city. At the battle
of the Wilderness he ranked as captain
and was taken prisoner by the enemy. He
was confined in Confederate prisons at

Macon, Savannah, Charleston and Colum-
bia, twice escaped and was recaptured,
but a third attempt was successful after
a six months' imprisonment. He made
his escape from Columbia prison in the
night, and after eight weeks of hunger,
sulifering and privation joined a detach-
ment of troopers from Colonel Kirk's
command, who were raiding the moun-
tains of Tennessee. He was aided in his
get-away by a loyal Union man, a North
Carolina mountaineer, who fed, clothed
and cared for him as best he could, and
instructed him as to the proper course to
pursue. Colonel Gere never forgot this
man and the only break in his Camiil
residence was during the ten years he
spent in North Carolina engaged in min-
ing mica with the man as partner who
had befriended him in his hour of need.
Colonel Kirk, after Captain Gere reported
to him, aided him to get to Washington,
and soon afterward he was sent back to
his regiment, arriving in time to accom-
pany it on the Petersburg campaign. At
the storming of Lee's lines at Petersburg
the One Hundred and Twenty-second
New York took part, Lieutenant-Colonel
Gere leading his men.

Colonel Gere married. October 8, 1856,
Helen Hopkins, daughter of Anson Hop-
kins, of Amboy, Onondaga county. New
York. She was born July 7, 1832, died
February 26, 1913, at Gere Locks, a mile
west of Solvay, aged eighty years. At
the time of her death she was the last
survivor of the first members of the Am-
boy Presbyterian Church, one of the old-
est churches in the county. She was born
in Amboy and never resided outside of
Onondaga county. After the death of
Colonel Gere in 1908 she made her home
at the old Gere homestead.

Colonel Gere for thirty-five years was

elder of Amboy Presbyterian Church, and

the year prior to his death represented

that church in Syracuse Presbytery. For