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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cuse. able management.

Mr. Hyde is a member of the Citizens' Mr. Hyde married Anne P. Cheney,

Club, the Chamber of Commerce and the a daughter of Timothy C. Cheney, an

Lotos Club of New York City, and has early settler of Onondaga county, and a

been a co-worker with many leading jjrominent contractor, who built the old

citizens in movements toward the up-
building of a Greater Syracuse. In
politics he is a Republican with a citizen's
interest in the adoption of the prin-
ciples which he believes best conserve
good government. He was the first com-
missioner of jurors in Syracuse and filled

Wieting block, the courthouse and other
notable structures of the city. The chil-
dren of Mr. and Mrs. Hyde are as follows:
Henry N., born in 1873, rector of St.
Philip's Church, Joplin, Missouri; Mary
Frances, born in 1875, now the wife of
Charles W. Andrews; Charles Salem,

that office for six years. He is serving born in 1877, employed in the store with

his third five-year term as a trustee of the
Syracuse Public Library and has been
for many years vice-president of the
Historical Society, also of the Syracuse
Museum of Fine Arts, of which he is a
charter member. He belongs to the May
Memorial (Unitarian) Church, and is
greatly interested in charities, to which
he has been a liberal contributor. Mr.
Hyde during his lifetime has been a man
of literary tastes and has accumulated
one of the finest private libraries in the
city, containing many rare volumes and
being especially strong in early nineteenth
century English literature and in books
pertaining to the history and literature of
Greece. A unique feature of this library
is the collection of Emersoniana, number-
ing nearly five hundred bound volumes
in several languages, which together with
many pamphlets, autograph letters and
other items of interest probably forms as
complete a collection of works relating to
Emerson and his writings as may be
found anywhere. His life has been char-
acterized by a resolute purpose and early
in his career he became imbued with a
laudable ambition to master each task
that was assigned him and progressed

his father; Dana Cheney, born in 1879,
also associated in business with his
father; Florence M., born in 1882; Nelson
C, born in 1888, secretary to Congress-
man Magee, and Washington correspond-
ent of several newspapers ; and Dorothy
A., born in 1891.

CURTICE, Edgar N.,

Head of Important Indnstry.

The financial and commercial history
of New York State would be incomplete
and unsatisfactory without a personal and
somewhat extended mention of those
whose lives are interwoven closely with
its industrial and financial development.
When a man or select number of men
have set in motion the machinery of busi-
ness which materializes into a thousand
forms of practical utility, or where they
have carved out a fortune or a name from
the common possibilities open for com-
petition to all, there is a public desire,
which should be gratified, to see the men
so nearly as a portrait and a word artist
can paint them and examine the elements
of mind and the circumstances by which
such results have been achieved.



The subject of this review finds an
appropriate place in the history of those
men of business and enterprise in the
State of New York whose force of char-
acter, whose sterling integrity, whose
fortitude amid discouragements, whose
good sense in the management of com-
plicated afifairs and marked success in
establishing large industries and bringing
to completion great commercial under-
takings, have contributed in an eminent
degree to the development of the re-
sources of this noble Commonwealth.
The great army of employes and the
magnitude of the business which he
controls both attest the marked ability
of Edgar N. Curtice, whose name is
known in trade circles wherever civiliza-
tion has left its stamp.

He was born in Webster, Monroe
county. New York, on December 9, 1844,
a son of Mark Curtice and a descendant of
one of the oldest Colonial families. His
ancestry is traced back to Henry Curtice,
who was one of the original grantees of
the town of Sudbury, Massachusetts, in
1638. His son. Lieutenant Ephraim Cur-
tice, born March 31, 1642, was a noted
frontiersman and famous Indian scout.
Ephraim Curtice, son of Lieutenant Cur-
tice, was born in Topsfield, Massachu-
setts, in 1662, and became the father of
Ebenezer Curtice, born in Boxford, Mas-
sachusetts, August 21, 1707. The latter's
son, Jacob Curtice, was born March 21,
1730, in Topsfield, Massachusetts. He
wedded Mary Stiles, a native of Boxford,
Massachusetts, and from Boxford re-
moved to Amherst, New Hampshire. He
and five of his sons valiantly fought for
American independence in the Revolu-
tionary War, Jacob Curtice enlisting at
Amherst in 1775 and serving until the
close of hostilities. Jacob and Mary Cur-
tice had nine children, of whom Ebenezer,
the fifth, was born in Amherst, New

Hampshire, June 9, 1760. He married
Sarah Parker, and removed to Western
New York. He was among the earliest
settlers of this part of the State, locating
at Bloomfield, New York, in 1789. In
1792 he removed to Webster, then a part
of Ontario county, where his remaining
days were passed. He died August 22,
1832, and was buried in Lakeside Ceme-
tery in Webster. His wife died August
16, 1847, in her eighty-third year.

Mark Curtice, the father of Edgar N.
Curtice, was the youngest of the eleven
children of Ebenezer and Sarah (Parker)
Curtice. He was born in Windsor, New
York, October 17, 1808, and died in
Webster, Monroe county. New York,
November 9, 1880. Mark Curtice's wife,
Elmina (Goodnow) Curtice, daughter of
Simeon and Sarah (Griffen) Goodnow,
was the first white child born in what is
now the town of Webster. She was born
July 3, 1812, and died March 26, 1888.
Simeon Goodnow came to Monroe county
from New Hampshire in 1810. He was
born in the old Granite State in 1787, died
November 20, 1826, and was buried in
Lakeside Cemetery at Webster. He was
a son of Calvin Goodnow, who was born
February 15, 1752, in Westboro, Massa-
chusetts. Calvin Goodnow served in the
Revolutionary War from Rindge, New
Hampshire, and also from Amherst, New
Hampshire. The Goodnow family in
America is descended from Edmund
Goodnow, who came to America on the
ship "Confidence" in 1638. In the family
of Mark and Elmina (Goodnow) Curtice
were five children: i. Delia, who was
born in 1833, became prominent in educa-
tional circles, acting for more than
twenty-five years as principal of different
public schools in Rochester, most of this
time being at the head of No. 20. She
was a woman of superior mind, highly
respected and loved by all. Her death



occurred in 1903. 2. Albin B., born in
1838, died in December, 1886. 3. Simeon
G., born August 13, 1839, died February
7, 1905, after long connection with the
extensive business now conducted under
the name of Curtice Brothers Company.
4. Edgar N., of whom further. 5. Belle
Sophia, the wife of the late A. B. Wol-
cott ; is now a resident of Rochester.

Edgar N. Curtice was educated in the
common and advanced schools of Web-
ster and in what was known as Satter-
lee's Institute in Rochester, completing

ization of $1,500,000, showing thus a more
than seven-fold increase in the fourteen
years. On the death of Simeon G. Cur-
tice in 1905, Edgar N. Curtice was made
president and treasurer; Henry B. Mc-
Kay, vice-president ; and Robert A.
Badger, secretary.

The Curtice Brothers Company is one
of the largest producers of high grade
food products in the world and con-
tributes much to the fame of the Flower
City as a commercial center. Its products
are found in the markets all around the

his course when about twenty-one years globe, being recognized as goods of the

of age. He then joined his brother, highest quality and the company has

Simeon G. Curtice, who about three years difficulty in meeting the increasing de-

before had embarked in the grocery busi- mand made upon it. Each year has

ness on a small scale in what is known shown the necessity of increased acreage

as the Flatiron building at Main, North to supply the fruits and vegetables

and Franklin streets, Rochester. This needed for the business until now the

was in 1865 and there they continued company contracts for the yield of over

until 1868. They removed in that year eight thousand acres in farm and market

to the building at the corner of Water
and Mortimer streets, and commenced the
canning and preserving business which
has grown steadily to the present exten-
sive enterprise. The business continued
in this location until 1872, when the de-
mand for increased space compelled the
Curtice Brothers to build at No. 200

garden products from some of the most
famous and fertile lands in the world —
notably the valley of the Genesee. The
company owns and operates four plants,
the parent plant in Rochester, one in
Vernon, Oneida county. New York, for
vegetables, one in Woodstown, New Jer-
sey, for tomatoes, and one in Bergen,

North Water street, the new structure Genesee county. New York. The Roches-

being used for canning and preserving on
a larger scale. In 1880 they bought the
land and erected the buildings now occu-
pied by the company, which from time to
time have been enlarged in order to meet
the growth of the trade. In 1887 the
business was incorporated under the
name of Curtice Brothers Company, with
a capitalization of $200,000. Simeon G.
Curtice was the president ; Edgar N. Cur-
tice, the vice-president and treasurer ; and

ter factory not only carries on all sorts of
canning and preserving, but also manu-
factures the cans for use in all its fac-
tories. At Rochester also are the admin-
istrative offices. It is essentially a Roches-
ter concern. This immense enterprise
pays out annually very large sums of
money to its employes and to the
farmers who grow the fruits and vege-
tables used in the business. It markets
its products all over the world, as has

Robert A. Badger, the secretary of the been said, and the profits of this enor-
new corporation. In 1901 the business mous business come back into Rochester
was reincorporated under the same name to increase the wealth of its citizens and
and the same officers and with a capital- the resources of the banks. Each of the



company's plants is equipped with the
latest and most perfect mechanical appli-
ances, securing the highest degree of
cleanliness and most sanitary conditions.
Over twenty-five hundred employes are
at work in the factories in the busy
season, and a still larger number are en-
gaged on the farms in producing the fruits
and vegetables needed for the business.
The world-wide fame of the "Blue
Label" ketchup, chili sauce, soups, per-
serves, jams, jellies, meat delicacies, etc.,
is simply a recognition of the efficient
methods, the constant watchfulness, and
the wise management of the vast enter-
prise of which Mr. Curtice is the head,
and of which he and his brother have
been the creators.

Edgar N. Curtice was married in 1876
to Lucy E. Gardner. Their only son,
Edgar N. Curtice, Jr., born in 1878, died
in 1905, in which year the death of Mrs.
Curtice also occurred. Louie Belle, a
daughter, is the wife of Frederick Edwin
Bickford. Agnes Eloise, another daugh-
ter, is the wife of Dr. Volney A. Hoard.

Mr. Curtice is a member of various
clubs and social organizations, among
them the Genesee Valley Club, the
Rochester Yacht Club, Rochester His-
torical Society, the Country Club of
Rochester, the Oak Hill Country Club
and the Sons of the American Revo-
lution. Deeply interested in the welfare
and commercial development of Roches-
ter, he has been a member of the Cham-
ber of Commerce since its organization,
and he is also a director of the National
Bank of Rochester and of the Fidelity
Trust Company. His political allegiance
is given to the Republican party. Such,
in brief, is the life history of Edgar N.
Curtice, a man remarkable in the breadth
of his wisdom, his indefatigable energy
and his fertility of resource. One of the
prominent characteristics of his success-

ful business career is that his vision has
never been bounded by the exigencies of
the moment, but has covered as well the
possibilities and opportunities of the
future. This has led him into extensive
undertakings, bringing him, into marked
prominence in industrial and commercial
circles. A man of unswerving integrity
and honor, one who has a perfect appre-
ciation of the higher ethics of life, he has
gained and retained the confidence and
respect of his fellow men and is distinc-
tively one of the leading citizens, not
only of Rochester but of the Empire
State, with whose interests he has been
identified throughout his entire career.

WIDENER, Howard H.,

Lawyer, Public 0£Bcial.

A man of wide general information,
broad reading and deep thinking, well
educated and well bred, Mr. Widener even
without the prestige which he deserves
from his high position at the Rochester
bar would be a man singled out from
among his fellows as one far above the
ordinary. As a lawyer he is a clear
thinker, a logical reasoner, well versed in
the branches of the law, to which he has
devoted himself. As assistant and as
district attorney of Monroe county he
was necessarily obliged to specialize in
criminal law and some most notable vic-
tories are to his credit. His practice ex-
tends to all State and Federal courts of
the district, and he acts as legal repre-
sentative for some of the most prominent
m.en and concerns of the city, his sage
counsel based upon comprehensive under-
standing of the law proving a valuable
asset to his large clientele. He is noted
for his industry, his thorough knowledge
of the law, his concise and searching
mind, his systematic habits, his resource-
fulness, his personal honesty, and his



lofty professional ideals. It is the special
function of the lawyer to actively partici-
pate in the affairs of his community. He
is the spokesman for its patriotic observ-
ances, for the reform of its abuses, and
for the enlargement of its functions. He
is the motive power of its educational,
moral and charitable work. All these re-

tionary patriot, Henry (i) Widener, of
Sussex county. New Jersey, settled in
Chili, Alonroe county. New York, in early
pioneer days, and at one time was the
owner of six hundred acres of cultivated
land. He was a soldier of the War of
1812, serving with the defenders of the
Niagara frontier. He married Prudence

quirements of Mr. Widener fulfills, and no Kimball, of Riga, New York, who bore
man is more genuinely useful and helpful him ten children. He died at Chili, Janu-
than he. Admitted to the Monroe county ary 21, 1837, his wife. Prudence, died Jan-
bar in 1885, he has in the years inter- uary 7, 1845.

^ening made continuous progress in his
profession and has long occupied a posi-
tion of distinction among the leading
lawyers of that bar. His reputation as a
lawyer has been won through earnest,
honest labor, and his standing at the bar
is a merited tribute to his ability.

Mr. Widener springs from one of the
historic families of New Jersey, his great-
grandfather, Henry Widener, serving with
the "Minute-Men" of Sussex county in
the Revolutionary War. The family is
of German origin, the American ancestors
settling in Eastern Pennsylvania about
1735. A lineal descendant was Peter A.
B. W'idener. the great financier and capi-
talist, whose son and grandson were lost
at the sinking of the great steamship
"Titanic." The wonderful contributions
of that branch of the family to the art
galleries and philanthropies of Philadel-
phia are the glory of that city, and at
Harvard University a memorial building
stands as a monument to the brave young
man whose soul went out over the frozen
sea when the "Titanic" plunged beneath

Kinney A. Widener, son of Henry (2)
and Prudence (Kimball) Widener, was
born at Chili, New York, April 22, 1822.
He was a man of education, taught school
for fourteen years, but was a farmer the
greater part of his life. He was closely
identified with public affairs, held many
town offices, including town superintend-
ent and school commissioner. He mar-
ried, March 11, 1848, Mary R., daughter
of Samuel and Eliza (Reed) Phillips, of
Chili. She was the mother of three chil-
dren : Howard H. ; Chandler Reed, born
March 25, 1862, died January 11, 1865;
and Blanche Eliza.

Howard H. Widener, eldest son of Kin-
ney A. and Mary R. (Phillips) Widener,
was born at Chili, Monroe county. New
York, May 6, i860. He obtained an
academic education and was graduated
from Chili Seminary, class of 1879, and
for four years taught school. But his
ambition was for the profession of law,
and after a thorough course of prepara-
tory study he was admitted to the Monroe
county bar at the June term, 1885. He at

the wave. Other noted descendants are once began practice in Rochester, and has

General Josiah Gorgas and his son. Colo-
nel William Gorgas, both of the United
States army, the latter of Panama Canal
fame. Professor R. F. Widener, of Chi-
cago, is also a descendant of the German

Henry (2) Widener, son of the Revolu-

been continuously in practice until the
present time (1916). He soon gained a
foothold in his profession, and has gone
forward as the years have progressed
to a position of professional importance
most gratifying to himself and his m:iny
friends. He possesses that rarest of gifts,



the faculty for honest work, a faculty
which has won him professional fame and,
combined with business ability and sa-
gacityand personal qualities of the highest
order, has won him public confidence and
esteem and the afifection of a host of

A Republican in politics, Mr. Widener
was appointed assistant district attorney

practice of her profession, her advent
causing much more comment then than
can be now understood when the woman
doctor is no longer a novelty but a fixed
star in the medical firmament. She came
thoroughly prepared by college training
and hospital experience, but in the years
which have since intervened she has pur-
sued post-graduate courses in New York
City institutions and in her specialties.

of Monroe, and in that office tried some

very important criminal cases, and won jig^^^^gg of women and children! has won

notable victories. In 1907 he was the j,^^ highest professional reputation. She

candidate of his party for district attor-
ney, and won the verdict of the polls.
He not only upheld the high reputa-
tion he had gained as assistant, but
won additional fame and the highest
encomiums of the bench and bar. He
prepared his cases with the greatest
care, and in his presentation is clear,
logical and forceful. He is a fair oppo-
nent, a close observer of the ethics of the
profession, courteous to court, and most
solicitous for a client's interests. He is
fond of historical and genealogical study,
and in his hours "off duty" has compiled
a history of the Widener family, a work of
great labor, and very valuable. He is a
thirty-second degree Mason of Rochester
Consistory, and a Noble of Damascus
Temple, his lodge, Yoimondio, No. 163,
Free and Accepted Masons. He is a
member of the local and State bar asso-
ciations, and much interested in their

Mr. Widener married, February 22,1886,
Anna L., daughter of Lyman and Mary
J. (Hamlin) Brooks. The family home
is in Chili, where the family has been
resident for considerably more than a
century. His professional offices are in
the Powers Building, Rochester.

RICKER, Marcena (Sherman), M. D.,

Successful Female Physician.

In 1888 Dr. Marcena (Sherman) Ricker
locJted in Rochester, New York, for the

is a member of the County, State and
National Medical societies. She has de-
voted a great deal of time to church, char-
ity and philanthropy. As an able repre-
sentative of the professional women of
her city, she has been of great aid to every
other woman who was ambitious to enter
a profession, and through the influence of
her own successful career and noble life
she has aided in breaking down the wall
of prejudice and opposition until now
woman can apply for admission to nearly
every institution of learning with the cer-
tainty that her sex alone will not be a bar.
Argument was good a quarter of a century
ago, but it needed the object teaching of
lives like Dr. Ricker's to make the argu-
ment effective, as the men controlling col-
leges of law and medicine are perhaps
bound by tradition more firmly than any
other class and yield only when their de-
fense is utterly demolished by facts and
Dr. Ricker aided by furnishing a fact in
her own life.

Marcena (Sherman) Ricker was born in
Castile, Wyoming county, New York,
daughter of Benjamin H. and Eliza
(Llewellyn) Sherman. Benjamin H.
Sherman was born in Rhode Island, a
distant relative to General William T.
and Senator John Sherman, of Ohio, and
died in 18S7, aged sixty-nine. His wife,
born in Bristol, Orleans county. New
York, was of Welsh descent. They were
the parents of two sons and four daugh-



ters. Marcena Sherman was educated in
Castile schools, Gainesville Seminary, and
Albany Normal College, qualifying as a
teacher. After graduation from Normal
she taught for three years, then began the
carrying out of a long formed ambition,
the study of medicine. She obtained her
degree of M. D. from the Cleveland
Homeopathic College, class of 1888, and
shortly afterward located in Rochester
where she has since been in continuous
practice, specializing in diseases of women
and children. She was remarkably suc-
cessful in her earlier efforts to establish
a practice, and it was not long before her
office was being sought for by a most
desirable class of patrons. Her experi-
ence and post-graduate courses taken in
New York later gave her greater confi-
dence in her own powers and she is now
the strong, self-reliant physician, skillful
in both diagnosis and treatment, her skill
being accompanied to the sick room by
that sympathy and womanly tenderness
which brings healing in itself. A student
and thinker, she is recognized as a learned
and able member of the medical profes-
sion and the contributions from her pen
to the medical journals have been fre-
quent and well received.

Dr. Ricker is a member of the Monroe
County Medical Association, Western
New York Medical Society, the American
Institute of Homeopathy, member of the
staff of the Homeopathic Hospital of
Rochester, president of the board of man-
agers of the Baptist Home of Monroe
County, visiting physician at the Door of
Hope, member of Lake Avenue Baptist
Church. The Baptist Home of Monroe
County was established largely through
her persistent effort extending over a
period of ten years, ere "hope ended in

Miss Sherman married, June, 1898,
Wentworth G. Ricker, born in the State

of Alaine, and for several years president
of the Ricker Manufacturing Company,
overhead trackings and machine work,
No. 239 North Water street, Rochester.
Mr. Ricker is one of Rochester's able, en-
ergetic and successful business men, his
line of manufacture being an important
one. He is a member of Lake Avenue
Baptist Church. In political faith he is a

FARMER, William Sidney,

Liaxpyer, Jurist.

As judge of the Municipal Court of
Syracuse. William Sidney Farmer is con-
tinuing a career in which he has served
his native State with conspicuous fidelity,
and with the dignity, zeal and courage
which have characterized his entire work
from the time of his admission to the bar.
Not onl}' is his mental attitude one of
simplicity and impartiality, but his actual
contact with everyone is based on that be-
lief in human brotherhood, so frequently
met with, and which makes him an ideal
magistrate. Rich and poor alike are dealt
with by him on a plane of simple equality,
and with a dignity and courtesy that are
only the outward aspect of great firmness,
courage and a far reaching progressive-
ness. The Farmer family has been resi-
dent in the State of New York for a num-
ber of generations, Jonathan Farmer hav-
ing been one of the pioneer settlers of St.
Lawrence county, when he took up his
residence in the town of Fowler.