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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Crittenden and in 1895, being just of legal appointed minister of St. Edmunds, in
age, was admitted to the Monroe county the city of New Sarum, Wiltshire, in
bar. He began and continued private 1622. Because of his dissension from the
practice in Rochester for three years, usages of the Established English church,
quickly taking leading position among he was much harassed by the spiritual
the voung men of the profession, and courts, and decided to emigrate to New
demonstrated the quality which led Cor- England, where he might enjoy greater
poration Counsel John F. Kinney to religious freedom. The death of his wife
select him as a member of his staff. On aljout this time altered his determination,
June I, 1898, he was appointed assistant and he did not remove. He was born in
to the corporation counsel and for 15S8, and died February 11, 1640. A
eighteen years has continued in constant letter written by him to the bishop of the
service, advancing from the lowest assist- diocese has been preserved. In this he
ant to chief of the legal forces of his begged that he might be excused from
native city. The fact that it is his native reading certain directions of the vicar-
city is most gratifying to the recipient of general, which he said were against his
the honor, for those by whom the appoint- conscience. He further stated : "I never
ment was conferred have known him neglected the order aforesaid out of con-
froni boyhood, have watched his course tempt of ecclesiastical discipline and
at the bar and in subordinate position, jurisdiction, as has been affirmed." On
their act testifying that the young man his tombstone is engraved the following
has been tried and found not wanting epitaph : "Here lyeth the bodye of Mr.
either in ability or integrity. He was Peter Thacher, who was a laborious
appointed corporation counsel by Mayor minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in
Hiram B. Edgerton, March 15, 1916. He ye parish of St. Edmund for ye space of
}s a member of the New York State Bar XIX yeares. He departed this lyfe the
Association and the Rochester Bar As- Lord's Day at three of the clock ye XI
sociation and stands high in the regard of February, 1640. Let no man move his
of his professional brethren. He is a bones." His eldest son. Rev. Thomas
member of the Genesee Valley Club and Thacher, born May i, 1620, received a
Knights of Columbus. grammar school education, and it w-as the
Mr. Cunningham married, in 191 1, intention of his father to send him to
Elonore MacKearnin, of BulTalo. Two Oxford or Cambridge, but the son was
children: Benjamin B., Jr., and Elonore J. disgusted with the prevailing ecclesias-

tical tyranny, and decided to remove to

THACHER Thomas America. To this his parents consented,

and w^hen fifteen years old he embarked

Attorney. . , , . , . ,

m company with his uncle, Anthony

Thomas Thacher, a prominent prac- Thacher, and arrived in New England,

ticing attorney of New York City, is a June 4, 1635. He lived in the family of

native of New Haven, Connecticut, a President Chauncey, who was afterward

scion of one of the most ancient and president of Harvard College, and under



the tuition of that eminent scholar pre-
pared for the ministry. He was ordained,
January 2, 1645, ^s pastor of the church
at Weymouth, Massachusetts, where he
continued a most faithful and affectionate
minister several years. We are told that
he possessed a peculiar spirit of prayer,
and was remarkable for the copious,
fluent and fervid manner of performing
the sacred service. Having acquired a
knowledge of medicine he was physician
as well as pastor to his flock. He removed
to Boston, and there became eminent as
a physician. When the Third or "Old
South" Church was founded in Boston he
was chosen pastor, installed Februarj' 16,
1670, and continued in charge of that
church until his death, October 15, 1678.
While attending a patient he became
infected with fever, which caused his
death. He has been credited as the best
Arabic scholar in the country, and accord-
ing to Cotton Mather was a great
logician, well versed in mechanics, both in
theory and practice. In 1677 he pub-
lished the first medical work in America,
"Brief Guide in the Small Pox and
Measles." He was remarkable as a
scribe and wrote in many languages, with
singular exactness, much of his work
being still in existence, including Syriac
and other oriental characters. His first
wife, Eliza, youngest daughter of Rev.
Ralph Partridge, first minister of Dux-
bury, Massachusetts, died June 2, 1664.
Their second son. Rev. Ralph Thacher,
was constable at Duxbury in 1673 and
clerk of the town for several years fol-
lowing 1686. Subsequently he settled in
Chilmark, Martha's Vineyard, where he
engaged in the work of the ministry for
many years. He married, January i,
1670, Ruth, daughter of George Part-
ridge, of Duxbury, where he made his
home several years. His youngest son.
Rev. Peter Thacher, was born August 17,
1686, in Chilmark, and settled at Lebanon,

Connecticut, where he died in February,
1766. He married, in 1713, Abigail
Hibbard, of Windham, who died in Leba-
non, July 9, 1778, aged eighty years. She
was but fifteen years of age at the time
of the marriage, and is described as a
woman of remarkable beauty, as was also
her mother, Abigail (Linden) Hibbard, of
Rhode Island. Her second son was John
Thacher, born February 22, 1739, in
Lebanon, a soldier of the Revolution in
1775, in Captain John Durkee's company.
About 1787 he moved to Lempster, New
Hampshire, where he died October 7,
1805. He married Abigail Swift, of Leba-
non, and they were the parents of Peter
Thacher, who was their second son. He
settled in Hartford, Connecticut, and had
sons : Thomas Anthony ; Rev. George,
president of Iowa University ; Sheldon
P., who resided in Hartford.

Professor Thomas Anthony Thacher,
eldest son of Peter Thacher, of Hartford,
was born there January 11, 1815, and
graduated at Yale College at the age of
twenty years. From 1842 until his death,
in 1886, he was Professor of Latin in that
institution. He married Elizabeth Day,
born December 24, 1820, in New Haven,
daughter of Jeremiah Day, who was
president of Yale College from 1817 to

Thomas Thacher, son of Professor
Thomas Anthony and Elizabeth (Day)
Thacher. was born May 3, 1850, in New
Haven, Connecticut, where he grew to
manhood and received his education. In
boyhood he was a student at the Webster
public school in New Haven, and the
Hopkins grammar school, and entered
Yale College in 1867, graduating with the
degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1871. For
a year following this he was a teacher
in the Hopkins grammar school and sub-
sequently pursued graduate courses for
a year. From 1873 to 1875 he was a
student at the Columbia Law School,



under Professor Dwight, and in May of
the latter year was admitted to the bar.
From Yale he received the degree of
Master of Arts in 1874, and Doctor of
Laws in 1903. From Columbia Law
School he received the degree of Bachelor
of Laws, and during the summer follow-
ing he aided Hon. Ashbel Green in pre-
paring for publication Green's "Brice's
Ultra Vires," a work on corporation law.
In the fall of 1875 young Thacher became
a clerk in the law office of Alexander &
Green, and in June, 1876, was made
attorney of the Equitable Trust Company,
which conducted an extensive business in
real estate, loans in Western States, with
principal office in New York City. At
the same time he engaged in general law
practice, and has been successively a
member of the law firms of Simpson,
Thacher & Barnum ; Reed, Simpson,
Thacher & Barnum ; Simpson, Thacher,
Barnum & Bartlett. The present style of
the firm is Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett,
and makes a specialty of matters relating
to corporations. For many years Mr.
Thacher has been a lecturer on corpor-
ation law in the Yale Law School. For
some years he was secretary and a mem-
ber of the executive committee of Yale
Alumni Association of New York City,
and from 1895 to 1897 was its president.
When the Yale Club of New York City
was organized, in 1897, he became its
president, and continued in that position
until 1902. He has been a member of the
board of directors of the Alumni Univer-
sity Fund Association since its organiza-
tion, and from the outset represented the
Yale Club of New York City on the
.•\lumni Advisory Council, organized by
the Yale Corporation. At the Yale Bi-
centennial Celebration, in 1901, he de-
livered an address, "Yale in Relation to
the Law," and two years later received
from the corporation the honorary degree
of Doctor of Laws. Mr. Thacher has

been an occasional contributor to legal
publications. From 1907 to 1909 he was
vice-president of the Association of the
Bar of the City of New York. He is a
member of the Law Institute, New York
State Bar Association, American Bar As-
sociation, and several clubs, including the
University, Century, Yale, Midday clubs.
He was vice-president of the University
Club in the City of New York, 1910-1913,
and president from 1913 to the present
time. At this writing (191 5) he is presi-
dent of the University Club of New York.
Politically he is accustomed to sustain
Republican principles and policies. In
religion he is liberal, and is not asso-
ciated with any organization.

Mr. Thacher married, December i,
1880, Sarah McCulloh Green, born April,
1859, in New York City, daughter of
Ashbel and Louise B. (Walker) Green.
[Their home is in Tenafly, New Jersey,
and they have children : Thomas D.,
Louise Green, Sarah and Elizabeth. In
his career, Mr. Thacher has fully justified
the promise of his worthy ancestors, and
to-day occupies an enjoyable position in
literary, legal and social circles of New

KINNEY, John F.,

Liawyer, Jnrist.

Admitted to the Monroe county bar in
1881, Mr. Kinney nine years later was
elected special county judge, winning not
only the office by a respectable majority,
but also the distinction of being the first
Democrat elected to a county office in
Monroe county in eight years, 1882- 1890.
From his admission to the bar until the
present time he has been continuously
engaged in private law practice in
Rochester, save during the four years
spent upon the county bench. He has
won high reputation as a lawyer of
sterling worth, has ever taken a promi-



,nent part in public affairs, and is one of
the strong men of the Democratic party,
potent in council, a trusted leader and
popular campaign orator. He is a son
of William D. and Julia (Howe) Kinney,
his parents coming from the Emerald Isle
in childhood, meeting in Monroe county,
New York, where their marriage was
solemnized. William D. Kinney was a
merchant at Spencerport for several
years, and prominent in community
affairs. He was clerk of the village,
weigh master on the Erie canal at Roches-
ter in 1878 and 1879. He was an ardent
Democrat and an untiring, capable
worker for party success.

John F. Kinney was born in the town
of Ogden, Monroe county, New York,
June 20, i860, and since 1881 has been a
resident of Rochester. After completing
the courses of the Union School at Spen-
cerport, he attended St. Joseph's College
at Buffalo, New York, there completing
his classical study. Choosing law as his
profession, he entered Albany Law
School, Albany, New York, whence he
was graduated Bachelor of Laws, class of
1881. In June of the same year he was
admitted to the Monroe county bar, and
so continues, having practiced in Roches-
ter for thirty-five years. He won his
position at the bar through merit, and
so highly was he recommended to Gov-
ernor David B. Hill that the Governor on
January i, 1890, appointed him to fill a
vacancy on the county bench as special
judge. He received the nomination of
his party as the regular candidate for that
office, and in November, 1890, was chosen
special county judge for a term of three
years. He was elected to the office by a
majority of about eight hundred votes
over his Republican opponent, and that
in face of the fact that Monroe county
had not chosen a Democrat for a county
office in eight years. He served his term
with credit and acceptability, then re-

turned to private practice, his service on
the bench leaving him the better equipped
for practice through viewing cases purely
from their legal aspect, uninfluenced by
the natural bias of a retained counsel. In
1898 he was appointed by the Common
Council corporation counsel for the city
of Rochester, and served in that position
until January i, 1904, since which date
his practice has been in private capacity.
He is a member of the Rochester Bar
Association, of which he was one of the
incorporators, November 28, 1892 ; also
belongs to the State Bar Association, and
to organizations social and fraternal. A
Democrat in politics, bred in the faith
and instructed in party management by
his honored father, Mr. Kinney in addi-
tion to the offices mentioned of a legal
nature has been of value to his party as
a manager and leader of campaigns and as
a trusted adviser. In 1904 he was chair-
man of the executive committee of the
county central committee, and in many
ways has aided the party cause.

Mr. Kinney married, October 23, 1883,
Elizabeth J. Hanlon, of Albany, New
York. They are the parents of: Wil-
liam E., graduate of the University of
Rochester, class of 1907, now a member
of the constructing firm of William E.
Kinney & Company; Helen R. ; John J.,
an inspector ; Dorothy E., an instructor.
The family home is No. 64 Lorimer
street ; Mr. Kinney's law office No. 406
Livingston Building.

PIERCE, Charles L.,

A graduate Bachelor of Arts, Univer-
sity of Rochester, class of 1902, and a
year later admitted to the Monroe county
bar, Mr. Pierce has in the thirteen years
that have now intervened pursued the
practice of law in the city of Rochester.
Most of those years he served the city in



official legal capacity, special counsel, tax
assistant and deputy corporation counsel.
He is a native son of New York, his
father, John Davis Pierce, a farmer of
Oneida county, a man of local promi-
nence, filling several offices including
that of justice of the peace.

Charles L. Pierce was born in the town
of Bridgewater, Oneida county. New
York, April 22, 1877. He spent his youth
at the home farm. He completed the
public school courses of the district, pre-
pared for college at Marion Collegiate
Institute, completing the prescribed
course and graduating with the class of
1898. He entered the University of
Rochester with the freshman class in that
year, taking a classical course, and in
1902 received his degree Bachelor of Arts.
During his university course he read law
and after graduation spent a year in
special study in the law offices of Suther-
land & Otis, Rochester, New York. On
July 9, 1903, he was duly admitted to
practice at the New York bar, but until
January i, 1904, he remained with
Sutherland & Otis as managing clerk.
He then opened private offices and has
practiced independently until February i,
1907, when he became a member of the
law firm of Carnahan, Adams, Jameson
& Pierce, with offices in the Wilder
Building. During the years 1904 and
1905 he was special counsel in the office
of the corporation counsel, and in 1916
was appointed to the office he now holds,
deputy corporation counsel, his long con-
nection with the city law department in
the tax bureau calling for extended
knowledge of the law governing the
assessment and collection of taxes. He
is a member of the Rochester, New York
State and American Bar associations,
highly regarded by all who have come
within his sphere of influence. A man of
genial, social nature, he has many friends
and in fraternity and in lodge is a popular

member. He was formerly secretary-
treasurer of the Rochester Chapter, Delta
Upsilon Club, and a member of that
fraternity. He is a member of the Uni-
versity Club, Rochester Athletic Club,
Rochester Tennis Club, also of the Ma-
sonic order, belonging to Genesee Falls
Lodge, and Hamilton Chapter, Royal
Arch Masons.

Mr. Pierce married, August 30, 1904,
Grace, daughter of Oliver S. Adams,
editor of the Rochester "Democrat and


Admitted to the Monroe county bar in
1882 Mr. Bernhard, during the thirty-five
years which have since intervened, has
made continuous progress in his profes-
sion and has long occupied a position of
distinction in the ranks of the legal fra-
ternity of his native city, Rochester. The
reputation he has won is a tribute to his
learning and ability, but had he not pos-
sessed the qualities of perseverance and
industry to make them operative, they
would have availed him little. His is a
practical example of the value of labor
in the development of all that is best in
man's intellectual strength and to the per-
sistent care he gives to the preparation of
his cases Mr. Bernhard owes his success
as much as to the learning and ability
which inspires the strong, logical man-
ner in which he presents them to court
and jury.

He is a son of Adam and Phillipine
(Young) Bernhard, born in Germany,
who came to Rochester in 1848. Adam
Bernhard was a man of wonderful physi-
cal power and business ability, who for
sixty years was a m,erchant of Rochester.
He continued in business until past eighty
and did not surrender the burden of man-
agement until his last illness. His mantle



of energy and determination fell upon his
son and in him the resolute spirit of the
father survives.

John A. Bernhard was born in Roches-
ter, New York, August 5, 1859, and his
years, fifty-eight, have been spent in his

bees. He is a man of genial, social
nature, winning many friends and ever
retaining them. In political faith he is a

Mr. Bernhard married. May 14, 1884,
Minnie E. Hertel, of Rochester. They

native city. After graduation from have two sons, Robert A., now city super-
Rochester Free Academy in 1879, he be- intendent of play grounds and recreation,
gan the study of law, and in 1882 was and Frank E. The family home is at No.
admitted to the bar. He at once began 1387 Dewey avenue.

practice in Rochester, having a partner

for the first half year, and since the dis-
solution of that partnership, practicing
alone. His practice, general in character,
is conducted in all State and Federal
courts of the district, his offices at No.
236 Powers Building. He has a large

SWEET, John Edson,

Scientist, Inventor.

Whether the elements of success in
Hie are innate attributes of the individual,
or whether they are quickened by a

and well established practice, both as an process of circumstantial development, it

adviser and an advocate. He is a man is impossible to clearly determine. Yet

of quick invention, but does not depend the study of a successful life is none the

upon the inspiration of the moment, never less profitable by reason of the existence

appearing in court without the m.ost care- of this uncertainty, and in the majority

ful preparation and no matter upon which of cases it is found that exceptional abil-

feature of the case develops the higher ity was the real secret of the preeminence

importance he is fortified against surprise
and is equally ready to attack. He is a
member of the Rochester bar, highly es-
teemed by his professional brethren as
a man learned in the law, skillful in its
application, and strictly ethical in his
methods of practice.

He has since academy days been closely
allied with fraternity and secret orders,
and is one of the old volunteer firemen
of the city, now a member of the Veteran
Exempt Firemen's Association. He was
one of the founders of the Pi Phi frater-
nity of the Free Academy in 1878, and
has been a member of the Masonic order
since 1S89, belonging to Germania Lodge,
Free and Accepted Masons. In Scottish
Rite Masonry he has attained the thirty-
two degrees of Rochester Consistory, and
is a noble of Damascus Temple, Nobles
of the Mystic Shrine. He is also a mem-
ber of the Independent Order of For-
esters and of the Knights of the Macca-

which many envied. The career of John
Edson Sweet furnishes an example of
what may be accomplished with but few
of the advantages of favoring circum-
stances, when one is endowed with ambi-
tion, ability and untiring energy. The
Sweet family has been resident in Amer-
ica since the early Colonial days, the
direct American ancestors being John
and Mary Sweet, who settled at Salem,
Massachusetts, in 1631. Many of the
family have won fame as inventors.

Horace Sweet, father of Professor John
Edson Sweet, was a son of Timothy and
Eunice (Woodworth) Sweet, was born
April I, 1796, and died at Pompey, New
York, August 4, 1858. He was a pro.sper-
ous farmer in Onondaga county, of pro-
gressive ideas, and assisted materially in
the de\elopment of the section. He mar-
ried, November 20, 1817, Candace Aver3\
daughter of Punderson Avery, and had
children : Clarence H., Helen L., Anson


O, Ou


C cJou-cx^,


Avery, Homer D. L., Wheaton B., Wil-
liam A., John Edson and Ann E.

Professor John Edson Sweet was born
in Pompey, Onondaga county, New
York, October 21, 1832. Until the age of
fifteen years he attended the public
schools, where his mechanical ability was
noted at an early day. He readily found
means to help himself over any mechani-
cal difficulty which any situation pre-
sented, as an instance of which may be
given the fact of his construction of a
small violin, and learning to play a num-
ber of old-time melodies upon it, in the
course of a few weeks. In 1850 he was
apprenticed to John Pinkerton, a car-
penter and joiner, and the money he
earned was carefully put aside to pay for
needful tools, among these being the sec-
ond set of socket firmer chisels ever
made, one of these still being in his pos-
session. Having obtained a subordinate
position in the office of Elijah T. Hayden,
one of the ablest architects of Syracuse,
he obtained an excellent knowledge of
this line of business as it was carried on
at that time, and for a period of ten years
was chiefly employed in making construc-
tion drawings for buildings. He then be-
came office boy for C. O. Holyoke, a dis-
ciple of Ruskin, and under this preceptor-
ship he studied for one winter, during
which he profited in large measure. Be-
coming convinced that success lay for him
in mechanical fields, Mr. Sweet pursued
his studies and work in that direction, and
received the first premium in a national
competition held by "The Rural New
Yorker," after which he wrote many
articles on architectural matters, and was
recognized as an authority.

At the time of the outbreak of the Civil
War, Mr. Sweet was engaged in his pro-
fessional duties at Selma, Alabama, and
he soon returned to Onondaga county,
New York. He became a pattern maker

and draughtsman in the railroad shops in
Syracuse, and in the summer 1862 vis-
ited the London Exhibition, where he
continued his studies and investigations.
During the latter part of the year he was
a draughtsman in the international
patent office of Hazeltine, Lake & Com-
pany. Subsequently he again went
abroad as draughtsman for the Patent
Nut & Bolt Company, of Birmingham,
England, in order to superintend the con-
struction of machines for the manufac-
ture of nails, Mr. Sweet being the pat-
entee of this machine, which was financed
by the Birmingham company. While
abroad he contributed articles of a tech-
nical nature to "Engineering," a journal
published in London. Upon his return
to Syracuse in 1864, Mr. Sweet became
associated with Sweet, Barnes & Com-
pany, designing many machines, tools
and appliances, and introduced some of
the features which still mark his designs.
He invented a machine which paved the
way for the introduction of the linotype
machines now so commonly used. This
machine, which was exhibited at the
Paris Exposition of 1867, was later pre-
sented to Cornell University. He spent
some months in Paris, and upon his re-
turn to Syracuse he was again actively
connected with Sweet, Barnes & Com-
pany, and from 1871 to 1873 was mainly
engaged in bridge building for Howard
Soule, of Syracuse. His mind, however,
was constantly busied with inventive
plans of various kinds, and in the fall and
winter of 1872 he made the plans and