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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Seymour M. Farmer, son of Jonathan
Farmer, was born in Fowler, and subse-
quently removed to Hailesboro. For a
number of years he was engaged in busi-
ness as a merchant, and for a long time
held the office of justice of the peace. He
was a major of the State niilitia. He mar-
ried Alethea M. Rich, who died in 1913,
and who was a member of a pioneer fam-



271



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



ily of Northern New York. Children :
William Sidney, whose name heads this
sketch ; Frances A., of Syracuse ; Anna
E., who married Hon. Vasco P. Abbott, of
Gouverneur ; Martha A., married Charles
W. Carpenter, of Syracuse ; Lieutenant
Harry H., a prominent attorney of Syra-
cuse, now associated with his brother,
Judge Farmer.

Judge William Sidney Farmer, son of
Seymour M. and Alethea M. (Rich)
Farmer, was born in Hailesboro, St. Law-
rence county. New York, July i8, 1861.
He received his education in the public
schools of Hailesboro, and the Gouv-
erneur Wesleyan Seminary, at Gouver-
neur, New York, and from early years
showed decided ability as a speaker. Hav-
ing decided to adopt the law as a profes-
sion, he commenced his studies with the
Hon. Vasco P. Abbott, at that time sur-
rogate of St. Lawrence county, and at
the same time becam,e clerk of the surro-
gate's court. He was admitted to the
bar at Saratoga, New York, in 1882, and
established himself in the practice of his
profession in Gouverneur, but remained
there but a short time. Going to Kimball,
South Dakota, at that time a pioneer set-
tlement, he was successfully engaged in
practice there for a period of two years,
during which time he served as vice-presi-
dent of the Farmers' and Traders' Bank
of Kimball. In 1891 he returned to the
State of New York, where he established
himself in the practice of his profession
in Syracuse, and is still busy with a large
clientele. There he formed a partnership
with Emmons H. Sanford, under the style
of Sanford & Farmer. Subsequently he
associated himself in a partnership with
his brother. Lieutenant Harry H. Farmer,
which firm is still known as W. S. & H.
H. Farm.er.

In May, 1914, during the absence of
Judge Shove, William S. Farmer was ap-



pointed acting judge of the Court of
Special Sessions, by Mayor Will, and on
January 9, 191 5, he was appointed judge
of the Municipal Court by the same
mayor, to fill the vacancy made by the
resignation of Judge Cady. Judge Farmer
is interested in many of the social, frater-
nal and benevolent associations of Syra-
cuse, and has attained the thirty-second
degree in Free Masonry. He is a member
of the Masonic Club of the City of New
York ; of Central City Lodge, No. 305,
Free and Accepted Masons, of Syracuse ;
honorary member of Syracuse Lodge, No.
501, and of Gouverneur Lodge, No. 217,
at Gouverneur, New York. Masonically
he has been master of his lodge, district
deputy grand master of the Twenty-
seventh Masonic District for three years,
one of the commissioners and chief com-
missioner of the Commission of Appeals,
and is now senior grand warden of the
Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Ma-
sons in the State of New York. He is a
member of Americus Lodge, Independent
Order of Odd Fellows : of the Syracuse
Lodge, Knights of Pythias ; of the Syra-
cuse Chamber of Commerce ; Masonic
Temple Club ; City Club ; Citizens' Club ;
Republican Escort ; and Mystique Krewe
of Ka-noo-na, a civic corporation of Syra-
cuse, of which he was president three
years.

Judge Farmer married, in 1889, Ruth
Selleck, daughter of William H. Selleck,
of Syracuse, and they have one daughter:
Helen Alethea, born August 30, 1905.
The beautiful home of the family is at No.
1 5 18 East Genesee street.



BELLOWS, Anna May (Marshall),

'Well-Known Elocutionist.

Large as is the influence in a commun-
ity of those more subtle forms of force,
such as exert themselves in the expression



272



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



of aesthetic feeling, as in the case in in-
stance, it is very difficult to state in accu-
rate terms or even to compare with other
influences of another character. We can
gauge, at least roughly, the benefactions
of those whose gifts to their fellows are
material in character, we can apply to
them certain standards of value, even if
it be so gross a one as that of money
value, and thus gain some general idea
of their comparative worth to us, but how
shall we deal with the spiritual gifts of
the artist? What standard of value shall
we gauge and measure them by? So illu-
sive and intangible are they that the man
who does not feel them, the materialist,
will deny their existence altogether, and
even those who are most sure of their
great value, who are most sensitive to
their appeal, can find no adequate terms
in which to speak of them. Nevertheless
the great mass of people with sure in-
stinct are thoroughly convinced of their
worth as evidenced by the way in which
they seek every opportunity to have the
feelings which respond to artistic stimuli
awakened and applaud those who are suc-
cessful in awakening them. We must
always, therefore, turn with gratitude to
the work of such women as Mrs. Anna
(Marshall) Bellows, of Gloversville, New
York, who has given her life to the de-
velopment of her remarkable artistic tal-
ents, consecrating her best efforts to pro-
viding this most wholesome of pleasures,
the aesthetic pleasure, for her fellows.

Anna (Marshall) Bellows is a daughter
of Levi T. and Mary Ann (Smith) Mar-
shall, of Gloversville, New York, and a
member of a very old New England fam-
ily, the Marshalls having lived there from
some time previous to the year 1634, on
the 31st of August of which year Thomas
Marshall was admitted to the church in
Boston as we learn from a record in which
he is described as a "widower." Tradi-

N Y-Vol IV_18



tion, indeed, makes the lamily a very old
one in England and has it that the line of
descent runs back to one of the warriors
who accompanied William the Conqueror
into England at the time of his conquest
of that country. However this may be,
the line is a perfectly distinct one in this
country from the early colonial figure
down to the present representatives of the
name in New York State. The Thomas
Marshall already spoken of brought to
the country with him when he sailed from
England his four children, Thomas and
Samuel, Sarah and Frances, and it was
from the second of these sons that the
branch of the family with which this
sketch is concerned was derived. Thomas
Marshall occupied a position of promi-
nence in the Boston colony and held sev-
eral offices, such as selectman and deputy,
was deacon in the church and generally
highly respected among his fellow colo-
nists. The high standard set by him has
been consistently maintained by his de-
scendants and the family has numbered
many distinguished men among those
who have borne its name.

In the seventh generation of descent
from Thomas Marshall was Levi T. Mar-
shall, the father of Mrs. Bellows. In his
father's time the famil}' had removed from
Connecticut, where it had made its home
for a number of generations, to New York
State, and taken up its abode in Oneida
county, and it was there in the little vil-
lage of Vernon that Levi T. Marshall was
born. He was one of the splendid type
of farmers with which the North Atlantic
States abounded in the past generation,
enlightened and of strong personality,
who made of the primitive occupation that
they followed something that any man
might be proud to call his own. Un-
usually well educated and possessed of a
forceful character and powerful mind, Mr.
Marshall was one who might have shone



273



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



brilliantly in professional life and his
tastes led him somewhat in that direction.
He was, however, one of those philoso-
phers who make the best out of the condi-
tions of life in which they find themselves
and, finding that circumstances were such
as to make it necessary for him to farm,
he farmed with all his might and made a
great success of his operations. A man



much in debt to his memory. His public
life was a very conspicuous and praise-
worthy one and he became a very promi-
nent figure in the militia organization of
his State, being commissioned brigadier-
general by Governor William H. Seward
in 1839. He was elected justice of the
peace in 1835 and held that office until
1869, when he removed to Gloversville,



of his character would be prominent in and in 1861 was elected to the Legislature
any community and he was eminently so of New York State. General Marshall
among the rural population of Oneida was married, in 1832, to Mary Ann Smith,



county. He was one of the leading mem-
bers in both the Oneida and the New
York State Agricultural societies, held
high official positions in both and was one
of the most conspicuous figures in the
work of advancing the agricultural inter-
ests of that part of the country. His
farm was one of the model places of the
district, a sort of show place, where vis-
itors to the town were taken to admire
its beauties, and here he devoted himself
to his specialty, the cultivation of fruit.
In the year 1869 he removed to Glovers-
ville, New York, and there made his home
until his death in 1910. Upon his com-
ing to Gloversville he purchased forty
acres of land in the vicinity and added it
to the village with the idea of improving
its appearance and adding to its general
attractiveness. He then organized the
Rural Art Association, consisting of the
most public-spirited men of the commun-
ity, and at once began the active cam-
paign for the beautifying of the village.
He was himself chosen president of the
association and it has been largely due
to his unremitting eiYorts that the great
improvement in Gloversville's appearance
has taken place. It was a work entirely
in line with Mr. Marshall's tastes and in-
clinations and one which his unusual
taste and intelligence fitted him to per-
form m.ost fully and adequately. Cer-
tainly the present city of Gloversville is



a daughter of John Smith, of Vernon, and
to them were born three children : Charla-
magne ; Joseph Addison, who married,
January 26, 1876, Irene Wing Lasher;
Anna May, of whom further.

Anna May (Marshall) Bellows was
born at Vernon, Oneida county. New
York, and passed the early years of her
life on the beautiful farm owned by her
father. In the midst of this healthful en-
vironment, engaged in the wholesome
occupations and pastimes of the country
child, she grew up into young girlhood.
She very early showed that she inherited
her father's taste for art and the beauti-
ful, also his discrimination, and she inter-
ested herself particularly in literature and
the art of elocution. She was a girl
thirteen years of age when her father re-
moved to Gloversville, Fulton county.
New York, and from that time to the
present that city has been her home. She
was educated at the public schools of
Gloversville while a young girl. This
completed her preparatory studies and
she then attended Wells College. Dur-
ing this period she showed herself an un-
usually alert and intelligent student and
drew the favorable attention of her mas-
ters and instructors upon her because of
the high standing she maintained in her
classes. She completed her course in
1876 and then turned her attention to the
art she loved with the intention of mak-



274



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



ing it her work for life if it should be pos-
sible. What might have been a difficult
task for most of us, with her talents was
quite possible and she soon became
known as a successful public reader. In
the year 1883 she was married to Edwin
P. Bellows, of Gloversville. Mrs. Bel-
lows took up the work of elocutionist pro-
fessionally; she was previously enrolled
as a member of the Star Lyceum. Bureau,
with office in the Tribune Building in
New York City. She has read and re-



ter of the Order of the Eastern Star. Tak-
ing part in as many of the activities of
the community as she does, Mrs. Bellows
is of course a very well known figure in
community life. She is carrying on the
work and influence begun by her father
towards a better appreciation and under-
standing of the beautiful, although her
own course lies in difTerent paths and is
effective through other means. She is
highly successful in her profession, and
although it is necessarily difficult to pick



cited at many public entertainments in out the elements and contributory factors



the neighborhood of Gloversville and else-
where.

Large as is her influence in her profes-
sion, it is not by any means the only chan-
nel in which it is exerted for the good of
the community. On the contrary, she is
active in a large number of the impor-
tant movements undertaken in the city
for the general good and especially those
identified with her own sex. She is a
member of many of the most prominent
organizations among women in the State
and in all takes a leading part. From the
year 1886 she has been intimately con-
nected with the Young Wom.en's Chris-
tian Association of Gloversville and has
during all that period served as a mem-
ber of its board of directors and of¥ and
on as its president also. She is a member
of the Mohawk and Hudson Humane So-
ciety and a director of its Gloversville
branch, and is intensely interested in all



in a thing so complex as success, the sub-
ject is so fascinating a one that a glance
at it in the case of Mrs. Bellows is per-
haps justifiable.

There is no formula for success, one
accomplishing the ends by means that
seem the diametrical opposite of those
employed by others. One's strength
seems to lie in self-advertisement, to make
progress one must call attention to him-
self or herself and claim the admiration
and wonder of those he or she uses as
instruments, while with another silence
appears as necessary as did noise to the
first. There are, of course, a thousand
variations to each of these general classes
and we distinguish easily between those
who need silence or obscurity for their
deeds, and those who prefer them
merely as part of modest and retiring
natures. Perhaps we can say that it is to
this last class that the subject of this



philanthropic and humane work, espe- brief article belongs — a woman who does
cially that connected with children and not strive or proclaim her own merits, so
animals. She is also a member of the convinced is she that "good wine needs
General Richard Montgomery Chapter of no bush," that she concerns herself wholly
the National Society of the Daughters of with the performance in the very fullest
the American Revolution, and has served sense of all her engagements. The result
as its regent since the year 1906. Besides fully justifies her in her policy; her suc-
these organizations she also belongs to cess is great and no wide system of ad-
the Monday Afternoon Study Class, the vertising could have resulted in a more en-
Washington Headquarters Association of viable reputation or an achievement more
New York City and the Cayadutta Chap- substantial. Whatever may be thought

275



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



of the method from the standpoint of
business there is one thing certain, how-
ever, and that is that in a broader aspect
the knowledge of such a life must in the
final analysis depend upon the efforts of
others for its preservation. The more re-
tiring and self-efifacing a person is, the
more important is it that an account of
his or her career should be put in some
permanent form so that it may not cease
to serve as an example to others. Nay,
there is an added reason why such a one
should have his record preserved, for
modesty is an added virtue and one which
perhaps above all others, we need to have
presented to us for imitation, and which
by a strange paradox most readily hides
even itself. This is the raisoii d'etre for a
record such as this, that it shall assist in
preserving the knowledge of a career that
may serve us all as a model to be copied.



OTIS, Lyman M.,

City Official, Honored Citizen.

Exceptionally well preserved in this,
his eighty-fourth year, serving his city as
he has always served it, with fidelity and
zeal, the tall, spare, yet supple and re-
sponsive form of Lyman M. Otis, treas-
urer of the city of Rochester, is a daily
sight at his desk in the City Hall during
business hours. Physically, no man of
his years can surpass him, while in mental
vigor, breadth of vision, and loyalty to
the interests of the city he loves, he is
more the man of fifty than of eighty-four.
His has been a wonderful life, not more
for its success than for the spirit that in-
spires his public service. Since 1857
when, as a citizen of the town of Henri-
etta, Monroe county, he first accepted
public office, he has rendered official serv-
ice almost continuously, not from the nar-
row standpoint of self-interest, but from
a patriotic desire to be identified with



public afTairs and to aid the cause of
clean, honest, municipal government.
Prior to 1899, when he retired from active
business life, this public service was given
at the expense of personal interest and
convenience, and certainly the twelve
years during which he has been treasurer
of Rochester might have been justly de-
voted to personal comfort, not civic duty.
But he laid aside his rightful privileges
in his desire to be useful, and these twelve
years have been years of active service
and vigilant supervision of the financial
interests of his city, his keen foresight,
business sagacity, inborn financial abil-
ity, and sound moral principles all being
laid upon the altar of duty. And there is
a lesson to be learned from the example of
Mr. Otis that other men in control of
industrial and commercial enterprises
should take to themselves — that cities and
States need the wisdom and business abil-
ity of such men. and that not until the
light that has illumined the life of Mr.
Otis penetrates the cloud of selfishness in
which so many able men are enveloped
will the cause of good government ad-
vance. That the public appreciates the
more than half a century of official serv-
ice of Mr. Otis is best shown by the fact
that he found it necessary to announce
publicly that at the expiration of his
term, December 31, 1915, he would re-
tire permanently from official life in order
to prevent another reelection. But when
he shifts the responsibilities of his office
to younger shoulders he can do so with
the full knowledge that his duty has been
perform.ed and that he carries into private
life the unbounded respect and confidence
of an entire city.

Mr. Otis springs from an honored New
England ancestry, tracing to John Otis,
who came from Hingham, England, to
Hingham, Massachusetts, in June, 1635.
His grandson. Judge John Otis, born in



276



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



Hingham in 1657, moved to Barnstable,
where he died after a life of long and use-
ful public service, November 30, 1727. He
was for eighteen years colonel of militia,
for twenty years representative to the
General Court, for twenty-one years a
member of the Governor's Council, and
for twenty-one years Chief Justice of
Common Pleas and Probate Court.

David G. Otis, a grandson of Judge
John Otis, came from Connecticut to
Perry, Wyoming county. New York, at
an early day and was one of the pioneer
school teachers of that section. He taught
for many years in Warsaw, Wyoming
county, moving in 1838 to Henrietta,
Monroe county, where he also taught and
resided until his death in 1837. He was
for many years identified with military
affairs in the State, and at the time of his
death held the rank of brigadier-general
of militia. He served as school commis-
sioner and was actively interested in edu-
cational matters as teacher and layman
throughout all his life, although farming
was his principal occupation. He mar-
ried Maria Morris, born in Warsaw, New
York.

Lyman M. Otis, son of David G. and
Maria (Morris) Otis, was born in Henri-
etta, Monroe county, New York, Novem-
ber 12, 1831, and at the age of six years
was deprived of a father's care. He was
educated in public schools, Monroe Acad-
emy, and Genesee Wesleyan Seminary,
the last named institution located at Lima,
New York. During his youth and early
manhood he taught school during the
winter months, engaging in farming dur-
ing the summer seasons. In 1855 he made
his entrance into the business world as a
partner of D. W. Chase, embarking in
the nursery business under the firm name
Chase & Otis. This was in the early
period of the now great nursery business
of Monroe county, and in order to make



income and disbursements balance the
firm dealt in produce, live stock and wool.
In 1867 the firm sold its business in Hen-
rietta and moved to Rochester, where the
lumber business of J. H. Robinson & Son
was purchased. They conducted a very
successful business until 1888, when Mr.
Chase died, Mr. Otis continuing the busi-
ness under the firm name of L. M. Otis &
Company. For eleven years he managed
an ever-increasing business most success-
fully, then in 1899 sold to the W. B. Morse
Lumber Company and retired from pri-
vate business life. He was for many years
a member and treasurer of the Monroe
County Agricultural Society and one of
the organizers of the Monroe County
Building and Loan Association. He was
connected with that association during the
fifteen years required to mature its issue
of shares, every shareholder receiving
from six to ten per cent, on his invest-
ment. As a business man Mr. Otis was
progressive and successful, displaying the
qualities that ever make for advancement
and winning high reputation as a finan-
cier and executive manager.

During his earlier years Mr. Otis was
a Democrat, but like so many others
broke with his party when slavery be-
came the issue and affiliated with the
newly formed Republican party, to which
he has ever since been attached. He was
elected town clerk of Henrietta in 1857,
served nine years as justice of the peace,
and after his removal to Rochester in 1888
at once began taking active part in public
afifairs. In 1889 he was elected supervisor
from the Fourth Ward, serving continu-
ously for six terms, during the last two
being chairman of the board. He also
served two terms as alderman from the
Fourth Ward, from 1894 to 1898 was in-
spector of Monroe county prison, in 1894
was chosen chairman of the committee
having: in charge the erection of the new



277



EKCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



county court house, serving until its com-
pletion in 1896, and was elected sewer
commissioner in 1895. From 1900 until
1904 he was city assessor of taxes, and
on January i, 1904, entered upon his
duties as treasurer of the city of Roches-
ter, an office he held continuously, his
last term expiring December 31, 191 5,
when he announced that he would re-
tire from public life. He will be missed,
this kindly old gentleman whose sense
of humor never fails, whose tall form
and keen blue eye have welcomed callers
at the treasurer's ofiice for the past
twelve years. The treasurer's office of a
large city like Rochester is not a sinecure,
the single item of disbursements alone re-
quiring Mr. Otis to sign seventy thou-
sands checks each year. But from the
age of seventy-two to that of eighty-four
years he has carried the weight of re-
sponsibility the office entails with the
ease of a man thirty years his junior.

Mr. Otis married, in 1864, Amanda M.,
daughter of Ambrose Cornwell, of Henri-
etta, New York. Mrs. Otis died in 1909.
They were the parents of one child, Mary
S., widow of Fred W. Baker, of Roches-
ter.



GREENE, Myron W.,

Banker.

Myron W. Greene, who conducts a pri-
vate banking and investment business in
Rochester and acts as executor, adminis-
trator and trustee of estates and trust
funds, has gained distinction in financial
circles, and is a representative of one of
the oldest and most prominent American
families. He is the author of a family
genealogy from 1639 to 1891, which was
published in 1891 by the Narragansett
Historical Register. His grandfather,
Nathan Greene, married Maria Greene, a
descendant of John Greene, of Warwick,



Rhode Island, to which line belongs Gen-
eral Nathaniel Greene, hero of the War
of the Revolution and contemporary with
General George Washington.

John Greene, of Quidnessett, Rhode
Island, was fifteenth in descent from Lord
Alexander de Greene de Boketon, who
received his titles and estates A. D. 1202,
head and founder of the "Greene line ;"