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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dram, and a grandson of James Meldram.
who came in 1820 from Leeds, England,
to the United States, and died in Syra-
cuse, New York, in 1890, aged eighty-
nine years, having conducted a meat busi-
ness for fifty years, his shop being on
Warren street where the Snow building
now stands. John James Meldram, who
died in Syracuse. April 28, 189^, was for
manv years engaged in the public service
as deputy sheriflF; United States deputy
marshal ; under sheriflf, sheriff and court

crier. He married Sarah Lavina Willard,
who died in February, 1899, daughter of
William W. Willard, who died in 1876,
senior member of the jewelry firm of Wil-
lard & Hawley, of Syracuse.

John Charles Meldram, son of John
James and Sarah Lavina (Willard) Mel-
dram, was born in Syracuse, New York,
July 20, 1856. After completing the pub-
lic school courses in grammar and high
schools of Syracuse, he began the study
of law, taking the full course at Albany
Law School from whence he was gradu-
ated LL. B. class of 1878. He was at
once admitted to the Onondaga bar and
began practice in Syracuse practically
alone until 1884. He then formed a law
partnership with the late William James,
that association continuing until 1889. He
continued alone until about 1907, when
the present partnership with Frank R.
Lennox was entered into. The firm prac-
tices as Meldram & Lennox, with offices
923-931 University Building, Syracuse.
Their practice is an extensive one, con-
ducted in all State and Federal courts.
Mr. Meldram is a member of the Knights
of Pythias, the Citizens' Club, The An-
glers' Club of Onondaga, the Anglers' As-
sociation of Onondaga, and the Onondaga
County Bar Association.

He married in Syracuse, in July, 1881,
Nellie E., daughter of Griffith Nelson and
Emily A. (Costello') Griffith. Mr. and
Mrs. Meldram have four children : Frank
John, born November 10. 1882: Leo
Griffith, April 29, 1888; Marjorie, De-
cember 16, 1889; Emily Lavina, March
10, 1893.

EDWARDS, Oliver Murray,

Mannfactnrer, Inventor.

The Edwards family, represented in the
present generation by Oliver M. Edwards,
inventor and manufacturer, of Syracuse,
claims as its ancestor Talmage Edwards,



who, accompanied by his brother, Daniel
Edwards, came to this country from the
border of Wales and England before the
Revolutionary War, locating, probably,
in the State of Connecticut, from whence
Talmage Edwards removed to New York
State and later to Johnstown, where he
established the heavy glove business
which later grew to be the local industry
and remains so to this day. The tradition
is that Daniel Edwards died during the
period of the Revolutionary War, the fact
remaining that he was not heard from
afterward. The following was copied
from the Johnstown "Republican," issue
of October 19, 1895 :

The manufacture of gloves in this vicinity
(Johnstown, New York) dates back many years
and to-day there are thousands of people em-
ployed in this industry in Johnstown. It is esti-
mated that no less than 30,000 are employed in
this business in the Cayadutta valley. Tal-
mage Edwards, a downeast Yankee, had learned
the art of dressing deer skins and of making
moccasins, mittens and leather breeches. He
began in a small way in a little house erected
by him at the corner of William and Mont-
gomery streets in Johnstown, on the site of the
present residence of Everett M. Kennedy. In
the course of time others became interested in
the dressing of leather and its manufacture, and
the business has increased until now there are
250 concerns in Fulton county making gloves.
The sales of the product of the glove industry
in Fulton county aggregate nearly $10,000,000

John Edwards, the first of the line here-
in recorded of whom we have authentic
record, was born in 1781, and when two
years of age accompanied his parents to
Johnstown, New York, removing thence
from Dutchess county, New York. He
served as jailor of Fulton county from
1806 to 1812, and was elected to Congress
in 1836. He married and among his chil-
dren was Daniel, of whom further.

Daniel Edwards, son of John Edwards,
was born in 1804, in Johnstown. New
York, and later became a very prominent
citizen of that place. He married Sally

Maria Wells, daughter of Eleazer Wells,
of Johnstown, who owned and occupied
the Sir William Johnson estate at Johns-
town, which has recently been sold to the
State of New York. Among the children
of Mr. and Mrs. Edwards was Eleazer
Wells, of whom further.

Eleazer Wells Edwards, son of Daniel
and Sally Maria (Wells) Edwards, was
born in Johnstown, New York, April 17,
1838, died in Syracuse, New York, where
he had resided for many years, November
25, 191 1. His father was for many years
a merchant in Johnstown, and on his re-
tirement from business in 1863, the son
succeeded the father, continuing the busi-
ness which had been founded in 1832. In
1889 Eleazer W. Edwards removed to
Syracuse, accompanied by his son, Oliver
M. Edwards, who had recently been taken
into partnership in the Johnstown store.
Another son of Eleazer W. Edwards,
Daniel M. Edwards, who had been oper-
ating a store at Gloversville, had pre-
ceded them to Syracuse and there pur-
chased the old Milton S. Price store. The
Syracuse firm was established under the
style of E. W. Edwards & Sons, compris-
ing Eleazer W. Edwards and his two
sons, O. M. and D. M. Edwards. Eleazer
W. Edwards was an elder of the South
Presbyterian Church of Syracuse. He
was a member of the Citizens' Club ; St.
Patrick's Lodge, No. 4, Free and Accepted
Masons, of Johnstown ; the Masonic Vet-
erans' Association of Syracuse, and was
one of the trustees of the Auburn Theo-
logical Seminary. His business, church,
and personal relations gathered around
him a large circle of friends, and he was
considered a type of Christian manhood,
belonging to the old school in which
honesty, integrity and character were
considered paramount essentials in busi-
ness life. Mr. Edwards was deeply inter-
ested in his business, and his inherent
honesty and sincerity btiilt up an extcn-



sive business, growing out of the general
confidence felt in him by the public. He
was deeply attached to his family and of
domestic tendencies. He endeared him-
self to all who came in contact with him,
had a host of friends and was not known
to have a single enemy. His deeply re-
ligious nature led him to take an unusual
interest in church work, and he was
among the most valuable citizens of the
city. He did not seek a part in the public
life in official capacity, but his share in
the development of all which made for
progress and civilization was very large.
To an unusual degree charitable, his
heart and purse were ever open to the call
of genuine distress.

Mr. Edwards married, October ii, 1859,
at Ephrata, New York, Amy^ Murray,
born September 17, 1S35, in that town,
and died in Syracuse, December 29, 1914.
They were the parents of two children :
Oliver Murray, of whom further; Daniel
M., an extensive dry goods merchant of
Syracuse and Rochester, New York.

Oliver Murray Edwards, son of Eleazer
Wells and Amy (Murray) Edwards, was
born at Ephrata, New York, October 20,
1862. He received his education at the
academy of Johnstown, Fort Edward In-
stitute, and Boys' Academy of Albany, all
of New York. His early life was passed agreeable and inspiring surroundings,
and he was taught those principles which
establish men in the hearts of their fel-
lows. He had a mechanical genius, and,
resigning from the dry goods firm of E.
W. Edwards & Sons, turned his atten-
tion to the development of devices for the
improvement of articles already on the
market and also made many new inven-
tions which have entered largely into
use. Among his most important produc-
tions may be mentioned the Edwards
Window Fixtures and Extension Plat-
form Trap Doors for railroad cars, now

in universal use on both steam and elec-
tric cars throughout the world. He
engaged in the manufacture of these and
other products of his invention, and in
producing the well known Omeco line of
padlocks and steel office furniture and
bank and battleship furniture. He is
president of the O. M. Edwards Company,
Incorporated, which is now conducting a
very extensive business. He is affiliated
with the Masonic order, in which he has
attained the thirty-second degree, and is
associated with Central City Command-
ery. No. 25, Knights Templar, of Syra-
cuse, New York, and Ziyara Temple,
Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the
Mystic Shrine, of Utica, New York. He
is connected with many clul^s of busi-
ness and social character, including the
Citizens, Century, City, Masonic Temple,
Technology, Onondaga Golf and Coun-
try, Sedgwick Farm, and Automobile
Club, of Syracuse ; the South Bay, Stony
Island, Fulton Chain Yacht, New York
Railroad, Central Railroad and Trans-
portation clubs. His home in Syracuse
is located on James street, and he also
has a camp in the Adirondacks. called
"Paomnyc" at Eagle Bay on Fourth
Lake of Fulton Chain.

Mr. Edwards married, in Johnstown,
February 3, 1886, Josephine Adele Riton,
and they have six children: Joseph Jean,
born January 8, 1887; Eleazer Wells,
born July 11, 1889, died September 13,
191 5 ; Amy Murray, born August 27,
1891 : Harold, born September 28, 1893;
Oliver, born December 29, 1896; Helen
Louise, born December 8, 1898.

NICHOLS, Erwin George,


"The name Nichols (an alibreviation
of Nicholas) is of purely patrician
origin, having been invented by the



Alexandro-Egyptian dynasty as a Cog-
nomen for princes," (Patronymica Brit-
tanica). By degrees the brevet acquired
the permanence of a surname, eventuat-
ing in the historic Nicholas family of
Europe which has given the church two
Popes, besides a long line of nobility.
The branch of this celebrated and ancient
family from which Erwin George
Nichols, of Syracuse, descends settled
near Berne, in Switzerland, from whence
they came to the United States. His
great-grandfather, John Nichols, fought
with the Swiss Highlanders in the Na-
poleonic wars and in each generation the
family in all its branches have displayed
high qualities of leadership in whatever
station placed. Livingston county. New

city ; Central City Lodge, No. 305, Free
and Accepted Masons, and all bodies of
th'? Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, hold-
ing all degrees up to and including the
thirty-second of Lodge of Perfection,
Chapter of Rose Croix, Council Princes of
Jerusalem and Consistory. His clubs are
the Citizens', City, University, Bellevue
Country, all of Syracuse. Although in
practice but a few years, Mr. Nichols has
demonstrated his fitness for the profes-
sion he chose and has gained a large
degree of public favor.

MOREY, John Everts.


Journalism in Rochester and the name
York, was the early seat of this branch of Morey have been synonymous terms for

the family.

Erwin George Nichols is a son of John
E. and Sarah E. Nichols, now living
retired at Avon, New York, grandson of
Smith Nichols, and great-grandson of
John Nichols, the Swiss soldier. Erwin
G. Nichols was born at Avon, Livingston
county. New York, September 8, 1856.
He passed through the various public
school grades and was graduated from
Avon High School, class of "04." He
then entered Syracuse University, Col-
lege of Liberal Arts, whence he was
graduated Bachelor of Philosophy, class
of "08," and from the University Law
School, Bachelor of Laws, class of "10."
He was at once admitted to the Onondaga
county bar and has been in continuous

well on to three-quarters of a century,
John Everts Morey, father and son, rep-
resenting two generations of the family
owning and publishing the Rochester
"Daily Advertiser," consolidated with the
Rochester "Union" in 1856, the "Union
and Advertiser," the Rochester "Herald,"
and the "Evening Times."

John Everts Morey, Sr., was born in
Onondaga county. New York, in 1821,
died in Rochester, New York, September
II, 1890. He was thrown on his own
resources at the age of eleven years,
learned the trade of printer, came to
Rochester and became one of the promi-
nent figures in Western New York jour-
nalism. He became owner of the Roches-
ter "Daily Advertiser" and was its pub-

practice of his profession since that year lisher until 1856 when a consolidation
as a member of the well known and was effected with the Rochester "Union."
highly regarded law firm of Wiles, Neily The new paper the "Union and Adver-

& Nichols, with offices at No. 540-46
Gurney Building, Syracuse.

Mr. Nichols is a Republican in politics;
member of Park Central Presbyterian
Church. Syracuse ; Phi Delta Phi frater-
nity ; the various bar associations of the

tiser" was successfully conducted under
the business management of John E.
Morey until 1885, when he sold his inter-
esl^ and retired, being sixty-four years of
;;ge. He died in Rochester five years
later. He married Ann Maria Smith.



born at New London, Connecticut, in bottom of the ladder. Three years later,

r822. in 1877, so rapidly had he advanced,

From 1874 until the retirement of Mr. he was admitted to a part ownership. He
Moray, St., in 1885. father and son were took an active part in the development
contemporaries in the journalistic field, of the paper during the next eight years,
and both interested in the ownership as but in 1885 both Mr. Morey senior and
well as in the management of the "Union junior sold their interests in the "Union
and Advertiser." When the senior with- and Advertiser," the elder man retiring
drew the junior Morey continued as a from active business. John E. Morey,
large owner in the Rochester "Herald" Jr., at once purchased a large interest in
until 1895, and since 1901 he has been the Rochester "Herald," became its busi-
principal owner of the "Evening Times," ness manager and for ten years con-
president of the Evening Times Company tinned in that capacity. In 1895 the
and general manager. There is no posi- "Herald" was sold to a Democratic syndi-
tion in a newspaper office he has not cate, Mr. Morey retiring from the paper
filled from press boy to editor and man- with the sale of his stock. He was not
ager. Journalism has been his life work concerted as owner with any of the city
and he has never been led astray by the journals for the next five years, but in
allurements of political office, holding to 1901 again entered the field of journalism
the chief tenet of the school of journalism as purchaser of the "Evening Times,"
in which he was trained that independ- which has since attained high rank under
ence was an editor's chief duty to his his able management. He is president
readers and must be preserved from such and general manager of the Evening
obligations as the acceptance of office Times Company, and gives to the paper
imposed. Independence and progressive- and its interests his entire time and
ness have marked his cour.5e and he is energy. He is one of the best known
one of the best exponents of modern figures in Western New York journalism,
journalism. The "Evening Times" is one and is highly esteemed both within and
of the leading journals of Western New without his own particular field of
York and in every page breathes the high activity. He is a member of Frank R.
purpose of its leading spirit, John E. Lawrence Lodge, Free and Accepted
Morey, Jr. Masons, the Genesee Valley Club, the

John Everts Morey, Jr., was horn in Rochester Athletic Club and several

Rochester, New York, November 22, purely professional associations.

1856. He has spent his life in his n;.ilive Mr. Morey married, February 8, 1877,

city and since his eighteenth ^.-ear has Alice R. Gage, daughter of George W.

been connected with newspaper work. Gage, of Fredonia, New York. Their

After courses in Rochester private only son, Frank G. Morey, died in early

schools he entered DeGralifs Military childhood. The family home is at Avon,

Academy, completing a four-year course New York, a beautiful stone mansion of

in 1874. He was naturally attracted to the style of eighty years ago, built on a

the business in which his honored father well situated tract, five hundred and

was so conspicuous, and at the age of eighty feet front, a bower of horticultural

eighteen he entered the office of the beauty in which the soul of its owner

"Union and Advertiser," beginning at the delights.




Enterprising Citizen, Public OfiScial.

Hiram H. Woodburn, of Binghamton,
New York, is one of those men who have
had success attend the efforts which they
have strenuously made, and which have
enabled them to rise from a comparatively
humble place to a position of prominence
in the community, commanding the
respect and esteem of all who knew them.
His keen discernment and marked enter-
prise have long been recognized as
salient characteristics in his career, and
yet his life has never been narrowed by
concentration of his energies on one
point. On the contrary he is known as a
broad-minded, public-spirited man, who
has kept in touch with those concerns of
vital interest to his city and State, labor-
ing entirely for public progress in many
ways and especially for the moral devel-
opment of the community. He stands
to-day a strong man — strong in his honor,
strong in his good name, and strong in
what he has accomplished, not only in the
life of individual gain but for the benefit
of his fellow-men, in whom his interest
is deep and sincere. He is a representa-
tive of an ancient family.

Woodburn is an ancient surname of
England and Scotland, derived from the
name of a locality. During the persecu-
tions of the Scotch Presbyterians by the
English in 1685. John Furgushall and
George Woodburn were shot to death by
Nisbet and his party. On their grave-
stone in Finnick, Scotland, is written :
"When bloody prelates, once this nation's
pest, contrived that curs'd self-contradic-
tory test, these men for Christ did suffer
martyrdom. And here their blood lies
waiting till he comes." A branch of the
Woodl)urn family went from Scotland to
Ulster, North of Ireland. The New Eng-
land Woodburns are probably all de-
scended from John Woodburn, who was

born in Scotland or Ireland about 1700,
and came with the Scotch-Irish to Lon-
donderry, New Hampshire, a few years
after the settlement of 1718. With him
came a brother David. Another immi-
grant came with the Scotch-Irish to Penn-
sylvania. They were from the same
section as the New Hampshire Wood-
burns. As neither branch had lived long
in Ireland, and as there were very few
of them judging from the records, it is
fair to suppose that the New Hampshire
and Pennsylvania settlers were closely
related, possibly brothers. The family
scattered throughout the State. In 1790,
according to the first Federal census,
there were seven heads of families named

George Woodburn, great-grandfather
of Hiram H. Woodburn, was born Sep-
tember 13, 1722. He married Mary Cul-
bert. born September 13. 1736. They
were the parents of Naphtali, of whom

Naphtali Woodburn, grandfather of
Hiram H. Woodburn, was born Decem-
ber 30. 1768. He married and was the
father of Naphtali, of whom further.

Naphtali Woodburn, father of Hiram
H. Woodburn, was a native of Pennsyl-
vania, and died in 1871. He was a
farmer, and was one of the first to enter
the Union army at the time of the out-
break of the Civil War. He was in active
service until the battle of Petersburg,
when he was severely wounded and in-
capacitated for further active duty. In
1871 he removed with his family to Tioga
county, New York, where his death
occurred. He married Elizabeth Havens,
also born in Pennsylvania, and they had
children : Clarence, although only a
}-oung lad when the Civil War broke out,
enlisted, was wounded at Gettysburg, and
is now deceased ; Olive, married, and
lives at LaGrange, Illinois; Hiram H.,
whose name heads this sketch.


/yL-^^^^^ . /^y^' /V>z^a^^^i^*^»-*^ .


Hiram H. Woodburn was born in
Rome, Bradford county, Pennsylvania,
November 12, 1866. He was but five
years of age when he was brought to
New York by his parents, and his early
years were spent in Tioga county, where
he acquired his education in the public
schools. In 1882 he came to Bingham-
ton, New York, being in the employ of
the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western
Railroad Company, starting as a water
boy. He soon proved his ability, and at
the end of two years entered the service
of the Delaware & Hudson Railroad
Company, where he was a brakeman on a
passenger train. From this position li''
was placed in that of conductor on pas-
senger trains, an almost unheard of pro-
motion, as the conductors of passenger
trains have always been drawn from the
ranks of the freight car conductors. He
was one of the youngest men ever en-
trusted by the company with the respon-
sible duties of a passenger conductor.
He was in the employ of the Delaware
& Hudson Company for a period of
twenty-five years, lacking one month, his
run being between Binghamton and

In June, 1908, Mr. Woodburn, in asso-
ciation with J. W. Ballard and Joseph
Bromley, organized the Atlas Coal &
Supply Company, dealers in coal and
building materials. Their plant, located
at the corner of Court and Alice streets,
covers an acre of ground, and is fully
equipped in the most modern manner.
The original officers of the company
were : Mr. Ballard, president ; Mr. Wood-
burn, vice-president ; Mr. Bromley, treas-
urer. At the expiration of two years Mr.
Ballard withdrew from the concern and
Mr. Woodburn became president and
manager. The capital stock is $25,000, it
has been a success from its inception, and
they now transact a business of upwards
of $120,000.

N Y-Vol IV-17 2

But it was not to business afifairs alone
that Mr. Woodburn devoted his energies.
\'ery early in life he took a decided inter-
est in political matters, and this interest
increased and became intensified with the
passing years. His first political office
was as district committeeman in the
Seventh Ward, and in 1898 he was elected
a member of the Common Council from
the same ward, and served in this ofifice
for eight successive years. For a number
of years he was chairman of the finance
committee of this honorable body. In
1906 he was honored by election as mayor
of the city of Binghamton, served two
years, and as soon as he entered upon the
duties of this office, the city felt the
benefit of his executive ability and bril-
liant ideas. His first step was, figura-
tively, to clean house for the city. Under
his management the disorderly element
in the city was practically eliminated, in
all directions. He established a sinking
fund by levying a tax on the proceeds of
the water plant, a municipal afifair ; he
met with bitter opposition, but he had the
courage of his convictions, knew what
was best for the city and its residents,
and at the present time is accorded the
highest praise for his determined con-
duct in this matter. He was dubbed the
"Railroad Mayor," and a feeling as to
his incapacity appeared to prevail in
many circles, but he amply demonstrated
that his knowledge was not of railroad
matters alone. His political affiliation
has always been with the Republican
party, and he is in frequent demand as a
delegate to State conventions. He is a
born fighter, and generally wins his
battles. In August, 1915, he was ap-
pointed a member of the Child's Welfare
League, and was elected its first chair-
man at the meeting held September 3,
191 5. He was strongly urged to accept
the nomination for mayor of the city in
the fall of 191 5, but he resolutely



declined the honor, believing that he is
best serving the city by devoting himself
to the conduct of his business afifairs.
His religious connection is with the Cen-
tenary Methodist Episcopal Church of
Binghamton, in which he holds office as
president of the board of trustees. He is
a member of the Improved Order of Red
Men, the Royal Arcanum, and other
fraternal bodies of lesser importance.

Mr. Woodburn married, September 28,
1887, Delia Rice Pratt, of Binghamton.
One child blessed this union : Eva, who
is now the wife of Francis V. Leary,
an attorney-at-law of Binghamton, and