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

. (page 43 of 58)
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 43 of 58)
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ninth in descent from Sir Henry Greene,
Lord Chief Justice of England, who died
in 1370; and on the "Capeteian line" was
twenty-fifth in descent from Robert the
Strong, made Duke de France in A. D.
S61 ; twenty-second from King Hugo
Capet; and nineteenth from Hugh de
Vermandois, the great crusader. In the
Revolutionary War Samuel Greene, of
Rhode Island, sent eight sons into the
war, a record no one else ever equalled,
and Joseph Greene, of New York, volun-
teer, twelve years old, was the youngest
soldier of the same war. The Greene
family, so closely identified with the early
history of Rhode Island, have enjoyed
more State and civic honors than any
other family within her borders, there
being more Greenes in the State than any
other name whatever and extending over
a period of nearly three hundred years of
American history not one has been found
to have ever been convicted of crime and
not one who was a drunkard. The Greene
coat-of-arms, with the motto, Nee Timeo,
Nee Spenw, consists of three bucks trip-
pant on an azure field, as it was borne by
the founder of the line. The crescent, a
mark of cadency, denoting the line of a
second son, is used by all the Warwick
and Quidnessett Greenes.

Ira W. Greene, father of Myron W.
Greene, was a native of Monroe county,
New York, born at Greene's Corners, now
Mann's Corners, in the township of Rush,
on May 2, 1832. He was a man of dis-
tinguished presence and commanding in-



fluence in politics, although never aspir-
ing to or accepting office. For twenty-
five years he was superintendent of the
Sunday school and president of the board
of trustees of the Rush Methodist Epis-
copal Church, his father, Nathan Greene,
having settled on a farm in this county
in 1804. For many years Ira W. Greene
carried on business as a farm,er and dealer
in live stock, coal and produce, and was
in the Eagel Bank of Rochester, New
York, from 1851 to 1853, which later
merged into the Traders' National Bank.
He was also propagator and grower of
choice field seeds and figured for many
years as a respected and worthy resident
of this county, being at the time of his
death, which occurred on June 22, 1905,
one of the oldest native sons of the coun-
ty. On the distaff side Myron W. Greene
is also a descendant from an old pioneer
family of Western New York. His
mother, who bore the maiden name of
Hester Ann Rulififson, was born in Henri-
etta, Monroe county, daughter of Isaac
Rulififson. She died in April of 1866.
The father was twice married and by his
first wife had three children, two sons and
one daughter, and by his second wife he
had two sons and one daughter.

Myron W. Greene was born in district
No. 6, in the township of Rush, Monroe
county, New York, November 26, 1864.
Provided with good educational privi-
leges he was graduated from the Genesee
Wesleyan Seminary at Lima, New York,
in the class of 1887 ^"d became a mem-
ber of the Genesee Lyceum Society. He
became an active member and is now
president of the board of trustees of this
society. He is treasurer of the Alumni
Gymnasium Association of the Genesee
Wesleyan Seminary and further retains
his interest in the seminary by maintain-
ing a scholarship prize and prize for pub-
lic speaking to members of the Lyceum

Society. As a student in the Syracuse
University, which he entered in 1887, he
pursued a scientific course and was can-
didate for the degree of Bachelor of
Science in the class of 1891. In 1888 he
entered Williams College, Massachusetts,
in the class of 1890. His broad intellec-
tual culture well qualified him for an im-
portant position in the business world,
and following the completion of his edu-
cation he entered the Bank of Honeoye
Falls, Monroe county, New York, where
he remained until 1892, when he became
connected with the Rochester Trust &
Safe Deposit Company, with which he
remained until 1899, when he established
a business on his own account for the
conduct of a private banking and invest-
ment business. He deals in government
and municipal bonds, and has gained for
himself a reputation as a financier of keen
■discernment and sound judgment.

Mr. Greene is a member of the Invest-
ment Bankers' Association of America,
the Zeta Psi (College) Fraternity of
North America, of which he was grand
officer in 1909-1910. During his term of
office he visited practically every college
of importance in the United States and
Canada, delivering numerous public ad-
dresses, and presiding at the International
Convention held in San Francisco in
1910. He has been president of the Zeta
Psi Alumni Association of Rochester,
New York, since the date of its organiza-
tion in 1905 ; vice-president of Williams
College Alumni Association of Rochester,
New York, 1913-14-15; vice-president of
Greene Family Association, 1913-14-15;
president of Rulififson-Wells Family As-
sociation, 1914-15. He also belongs to
the Frank R. Lawrence Lodge, No. 797,
Free and Accepted Masons, and Hamil-
ton Chapter, No. 62, Royal Arch Masons.
He is a worthy representative of an hon-
ored family, patriotic in his devotion to



American interests, and loyal in his sup-
port of those measures and movements
which he deems beneficial to the city,
government or nation.

On April 27, 1900, Mr. Greene was mar-
ried to Nancy Laura Lancaster, of Lead-
ville, Colorado. She was born in Lara-
mie, Wyoming, February 22, 1877, daugh-
ter of George W. Lancaster. Unto this
marriage have been born the following
named : Lancaster Myron, born Febru-
ary 21, igoi ; Norvin Rulififson, born Sep-
tember 13, 1902 ; Zeta Priscilla, born March
2, 1904; Nathan Ira, born March 6, 1906;
and Myron Wesley (2nd), born Novem-
ber I, 1911.

BELDEN, Alvin Jackson,

Man of Xiarge Affairs.

The true measure of Alvin Jackson
Belden, of Syracuse, New York, is clearly
indicated by the designations he succes-
sively earned as he passed along the road
of commercial effort — executive, iron-
master, railroad and canal builder, con-
structor of public works, financier, capi-
talist — ever and always a man of big
affairs. Greatness cannot emanate from
pettiness, neither can broad comprehen-
sion meet narrow perspective. The life
of Alvin Jackson Belden has been occu-
pied with accomplishments of magnitude,
in the main the outcome of his own in-
dividual ability and application, but to
some extent, perhaps, due to heredity.

The ancestral records of the Belden
family cover many distinguished lives,
Alvin Jackson Belden being in direct
lineal descent from Sir Francis Baildon,
who was knighted at the coronation of James
I., and whose son, Richard Belden, in
1638 emigrated from England, landing in
due course on American soil, and settling
in Wethersfield, Connecticut. Tracing
still farther back, it appears that Belden

is a place name, and the family of ancient
English origin. Bayldon, or Baildon
Common, is a chapelry in the West
Riding of Yorkshire ; Baildon was in the
Angle kingdom of Diera, A. D. 550,
whence came the immortal youths seen
by Gregory at Rome, and it has been the
seat of the Baildon-Bayldon-Baylden-Bel-
ding-Belden family since the time of King
John. Baildon Hall is still in a good state
of preservation. The hall was built
sometime during the fifteenth century,
and alterations were effected in 1660 by
I'rancis Baildon, cousin of Richard Bel-

The patronymic has during the cen-
turies been variously written, Baildon,
Bayldon, Bayldonn, Baylden, Belding,
and Belden being some of the variations.
Richard Belden, the progenitor of the
family in America, signed his name to the
oath of allegiance to the crown, March
26, 1 61 3, Richard Bayldonn — carrying the
extra "n,"' though on his arrival in Ameri-
ca his name was written into records, pre-
sumably at his direction, as Richard Bayl-
den. He died at Wethersfield, Connecti-
cut, in 1655, and among the effects men-
tioned in his will was rapier, or gentle-
man's sword, a weapon for which he
could have found small use in Wethers-
field, and was doubtless a relic of his
early days, indicating his aristocratic line-

In the annals of the Belden family of
the many generations between that of
Richard Belden, of Wethersfield, and the
present are contained many records of
honorable connection with, and partici-
pation in, national, civic and commercial
affairs; many Beldens were soldiers, one
of particular historic interest to the family
having been Elisha Belden who served
the State and Nation during three wars,
including the Revolutionary War of 1775 ;
another, Elisha. son of the aforemen-



tioned namesake, was a noted builder of
sailing vessels for foreign trade in the
early part of the nineteenth century ;
other members of the family have been
of Judiciary, the Legislature, House of
Congress, et cetera. An uncle of Mr.
Alvin Jackson Belden was the Hon.
James Jerome Belden, whose successful
execution of many mammoth public
works within the State of New York and
other parts of the country brought him
conspicuously before the "public eye" of
the Nation. He was twice honored by
election to the mayoral chair of the city
of Syracuse, and for three terms sat in
the Legislative House of the Nation.

Enough has been written in the fore-
going to indicate the possibility that his
heredity had some bearing on the capac-
ity of Alvin Jackson Belden to handle
affairs of magnitude and moment ; and
certainly an example was prominently
before him during the greater part of his
life — in the achievements of his father,
Augustus Cadill Belden, a business man
of considerable note ; but chief credit for
the present standing of Alvin Jackson
Belden in financial and industrial circles
is due to Alvin Jackson Belden, who from
his very initiation into commercial affairs
indicated the quality within him.

Born in Pompey, Onondaga county,
New York, October lo, 1848, son of Au-
gustus Cadill and Rozelia (Jackson) Bel-
den, Alvin Jackson Belden commenced
his education in the schools of Geddes,
later proceeding to the Walnut Hill
Academy at Geneva, New York, from
which academic institution he graduated
in 1866. Electing to follow a business life
rather than a professional career, influ-
enced in his decision maybe by the char-
acteristic which later became so strongly
evident in him. i. e., his broadness of
view on all questions, he applied himself
with energy to his initial industrial oc-
cupation which had connection with the

iron business of the Onondaga Iron Com-
pany, manufacturers of pig iron. liis ex-
ecutive ability quickly advanced him to
posts of much responsibility, and he re-
mained secretary and treasurer of the
Onondaga Iron Company for many years,
in fact until 1881, when he resigned to
undertake the organization of the Phoenix
Foundry & Machine Company, of which
corporation Mr. Belden assumed direc-
tion in his capacity as secretary-treasurer.
About ten years later he decided to in-
terest himself actively in the business of
railroad and public works contracting,
and this sphere of activity being abso-
lutely in harmony with his disposition,
his success was rapid and considerable.
In a short space of time he was part
owner of three huge contracting com-
panies whose operations had assumed
immense proportions, successfully and
simultaneously undertaking contracts for
important national, state and other pub-
lic works of great magnitude in various
parts of the United States. One of the
companies executed three large contracts
for sewer building in Boston, and also
carried out the Erie Canal contract, a
project the cost of completing which
totalled to nine million dollars. Mr. Bel-
den was also one of the principals of the
Rapid Transit Company, of Syracuse, this
company doing considerable business
within the State of New York. Through-
out his active business life, Mr. Belden
has demonstrated his capacity for great
things. One biographer wrote of him :
"As an organizer and promoter, he occu-
pied a position of distinction in business
circles, and in all his ventures met with
success which results from capable man-
agement, keen foresight, and sound judg-
ment." And the best evidence of his
ability lies in the position he to-day holds
among the leading "men of affairs" of the
Empire State.

Mr. Belden is a member of the First



Presbyterian Church of Syracuse, and
liberal in his support thereof; in fact is
the donor of many more contributions to
religious and charitable institutions than
appear on the public records, a large pro-
portion of his benefactions remaining un-
announced in accordance with his wish.
He holds membership in the Citizen's
Club, the Century Club, the Onondaga
Club, and the Country Club, all of Syra-
cuse. He also belongs to the Transporta-
tion Club of New York, and to the New
York City Branch of the Automobile
Club of America. His political allegiance
is given to the Republican party.

On September lo, 1862, Mr. Beldenwas
married to Augusta, daughter of Isaac R.
and Susan (Case) Pharis, of Syracuse.

Now. having retired from active par-
ticipation in matters of business, outside
those bearing direct relation to his con-
siderable vested interests, Mr. Belden is
able to, and does, give much time to the
enjoyment of a pleasure in which he
could not indulge during the busy periods
of his life — he is an enthusiastic sports-
man and is often seen in the north woods
of the Adirondacks.

DENISON, Howard P., M. A., LL. D.,

liavryer. Professional Instmctor.

No class of citizens should be so well
prepared for public life as the lawyers,
their training for the bar fitting them for
framing or executing the laws, and in
these lie the principles of government.
The work of the legal profession is to
formulate, to harmonize, to regulate, to
adjust, to administer those rules and prin-
ciples that underlie and permeate all
government and society and control the
varied relations of man. As thus viewed
there attaches to the legal profession a
nobleness that cannot but be reflected in
the life of the true lawyer who, conscious

of the greatness of his profession and
honest in the pursuit of his purpose, em-
braces the richness of learning, the pro-
foundness of wisdom, the firmness of in-
tegrity and the purity of morals, together
with the graces of modesty, courtesy and
the general amenities of life.

Howard P. Denison, of Syracuse, New
York, whose reputation as a patent lawyer
is world wide, is certainly a type of this
class of lawyers, and as such he stands
among the most eminent members of his
profession. In every department of the
law he is well versed, having a very ac-
curate and comprehensive knowledge of
the principles of jurisprudence, but he has
made a specialty of patent law, and in
this line has won a most desirable and en-
viable position. Cases of great importance
have been entrusted to his care and he
has shown that he is fully conpetent to
handle the intricate problems of jurispru-
dence involved in their solution. His
keenly analytical mind enables him to
apply to the point in litigation the prin-
ciples of jurisprudence bearing most
closely upon it, citing authority and pre-
cedents until the strength of his case is
clearly seen. He is a scion of several old
families. His paternal grandmother was
a member of the Klock family of Holland
descent, the original representative of the
name in America building the Klock fort
at St. Johnsville, New York, in 1750. In
the maternal line he is descended from
the Bensons. who sailed from England in
1692 and became residents of Newport,
Rhode Island. Where the family and its
descendants resided for several genera-
tions. His great-great-grandfather. Wil-
liam Benson, was a Baptist clergyman,
holding many important pulpits in New
England ; he died in 1818 and is buried at
Pomfret, Connecticut. His great-uncle,
John Benson, a pronounced abolitionist
and intimately associated with his cousin,



William Lloyd Garrison, and Wendell
Phillips, was the first manufacturer of
silk at Paterson, New Jersey, establish-
ing that industry in the year 1844. Mr.
Denison resided with Mr. Benson in

Howard P. Denison, son of Le Roy W.
Denison, was born in Parish, Oswego
county, New York, May 28, 1859. His
childhood and earlier youthful years were
spent in Euclid, New York, where he
acquired his elementary education. He
continued his studies at Cazenovia Acad-
emy, which he entered in 1876, remained
there two years, then entered Greenwich
Academy, at East Greenwich, Rhode
Island, and there prepared for college
during the next two years. After his
graduation from Greenwich Academy in
1880, he was for a period of two years
engaged in filling the position of principal
of a grammar school at Portland, Con-
necticut, and, having matriculated at
Wesleyan University in 1881, with the
class of 1885, he there completed his
classical education. Following this he
traveled abroad for a time, taking up his
residence in Syracuse, New York, upon
his return, and has been closely identified
with the interests of that city since that
time. After a thorough and comprehen-
sive preparation, he was admitted to the
bar at Syracuse in 1887. His studies in
this direction were partly pursued in the
office of the Hon. Charles H. Duell. later
Commissioner of Patents, and judge of
United States Circuit Court of Appeals
for the District of Columbia, with whom
he formed a connection in 1S86 as manag-
ing clerk. A partnership was entered
into with the late Cornelius W. Smith in
1888, this association being continued with
the greatest harmony and success until
the death of Mr. Smith in 1899, since
which time Mr. Denison has practiced
alone. Patent law is one of the most

difficult branches of the legal profession,
requiring a most extended general knowl-
edge along all lines of enterprise and
progress in the business and scientific
lines. No man was better qualified for
the conduct of this important branch of
litigation than Mr. Denison. The number
of patents he has taken out runs into
the thousands, these including some of the
largest patent and trade-mark cases ever
brought before the United States courts.
At Detroit he argued the famous Harrow
cases before the United States courts for
the defendants, the Eureka Mower Com-
pany, in an action brought by the Na-
tional Harrow Trust. The case involved
the question of infringement in over
seventy cases brought upon the same
patent in New York, West Virginia and
Alichigan. So thoroughly was the court
convinced at the close of his argument
that there was no infringement that the
cases were all decided for the defendants
and the bill-of-complaint dismissed.

The press at that time said: "It is
quite unusual for a court to dismiss a bill
in a patent case at the close of the argu-
ment. It is only done in rare cases where
the court is convinced that it is absolutely
right in the decision." Perhaps no better
indication of the ability and well de-
veloped talents of Mr. Denison can be
given than by quoting from one of the
Supreme Court justices of the state, who,
in writing to President Roosevelt recom-
mending the appointment of Mr. Denison
for the position of judge of the United
States District Court, said: "He posseses
splendid abilities, great legal learning,
especially in the law patents, and in
patent litigation ; he is a man of integrity,
is the soul of honor, is an ardent and in-
fluential Republican, is always loyal to
his friends, possesses a judicial tempera-
ment and is a man of untiring industry
and energy. I believe that he is in every



essential remarkably qualified for the dis-
charge of the duties of that ofifice." The
"Mercantile and Financial Times," in com-
menting upon his candidacy said : "Mr.
Denison has successfully practiced this
branch of his profession for fifteen years
and is the lecturer on patent law in the
Law College of the Syracuse University.
Of this qualification, therefore, for the
position with which his name is men-
tioned there can be no question, and in
the event of his appointment he would
acquit himself in a manner to justify his
high reputation for ability and the confi-
dence reposed in him. In view of these
facts and others which we could mention
were it necessary to know we are but
echoing popular sentiment when we say
it is sincerely hoped Mr. Denison will
receive the appointment."

As a lecturer on Patent Law in the
Law College of Syracuse University, Mr.
Denison has earned well merited com-
mendation for many years, and he is the
founder of and maintains the Denison
Declamation prizes in that institution.
The degree of Master of Arts was con-
ferred in 1905 upon him by Wesleyan
University, of Middletown, Connecticut,
and also by Iowa Wesleyan University,
at Mount Pleasant, Iowa, in 1900, and
Syracuse University conferred upon him
in T915 the degree of LL. D. This latter
degree affords him great gratification for
the reason that it was conferred by the
university of his home city, under whose
shadows he has lived for twenty-five

Mr. Denison has a beautiful country
estate at Skaneateles, New York, where
he spends with his family a large portion
of each year. He is a member of the "Tri-
lon Fish and Game Club" of Canada. He
was elected a trustee of Cazenovia Semi-
nary in October, 1900. His fraternal affili-
ation is not an extensive one, the demands

of his professional work precluding this,
and is limited to membership in the Alpha
Delta Phi college fraternity. His pro-
fessional membership is with the Ameri-
can Bar Association and the New York
State Bar Association.

Mr. Denison married, October 14, 1886,
Bessie E. Hildreth, of Herkimer, New
York, a daughter of the late Henan J.
Hildreth, and a descendant of one of the
oldest families of Herkimer county.
Three children have blessed this union,
one daughter, Marian H., and two sons,
H. Hildreth and Winthrop W. The daugh-
ter (recently deceased) became the wife of
Eugene A. Thompson, who is associated
with Mr. Denison in his law practice. He
has two granddaughters: Mary Jane
Thompson and Marian Denison Thomp-
san. The son, H. Hildreth, died in 1908.
Winthrop Will is a student at Lawrence-
ville School, New Jersey.

HOBART, Henry Lee,

Merchant and Churchman.

For thirty-four years Mr. Hobart was
successfully engaged in business in New
York City, as head of Henry L. Hobart
& Company, but on January i, 1914, he
retired from active business pursuits and
has since devoted himself to those insti-
tutions of philanthropy and the church
with which he had long taken more than
a passive interest. Those thirty-four
years do not cover entirely the period of
his business activity, since prior to 1880
he had been variously connected with the
business world. He is a son of James
Thomas and Anne (Newell) Hobart, who
were prominent in the State of Massa-
chusetts, where they resided. They trace
their line of descent from Edmund Ho-
bart, who settled in Hingham, Massa-
chusetts, in 1633. Another descendant of
this ancestor was John Henry Hobart,



rector of Trinity Church and bishop of
Xew York.

Henry Lee Hobart was born in Cin-
cinnati, Ohio, July 26, 1845, and is now
(1916) approaching the seventy-first anni-
versary of his birth. His early youth was
spent in this city, but in 1857 he came to
New York City and there completed his
studies at the "Free Academy," now
known as the College of the City of New
Y'ork, a member of the class of 1866, but
not a graduate. Upon leaving college he
engaged in business, and became one of
the solid, conservative merchants of New
Y'ork City. In 1880 he founded the firm
of Henry L. Hobart & Company, dealers
in sugar, molasses and rice, and until his
retirement, January i, 1914, was the hon-
ored head of that well known house. Al-
though yielding to no citizen in loyalty
or interest, Mr. Hobart has taken no
part in public afifairs beyond the per-
formance of the duties devolving upon all
alike, never accepting nor desiring public
office. His chief interest has been in
Trinity Church and her activities and in
the various philanthropies particularly
appealing to his generous, sympathetic
nature, and in these he bears a promi-
nent part.

He became a member of Trinity parish
in 1895 and has since been one of her

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 43 of 58)