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 51 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 51 of 58)
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he continued to conduct with a large de-

HAMILTON, R. Andrew, S'^^^ of success until the year 1906 when

he leased the store. After the death of

Retired Business Man, Fnblic Official. ,. .Amr- ■ .- i-

his uncle, A. M. Semple, and prior to his
Leadership in more than one line is sel- taking charge of the business, the store
dom vouchsafed to an individual, but R. was conducted by W. E. Woodbury.
Andrew Hamilton, who to a considerable Since his retirement from mercantile pur-
extent has retired from active business suits, Mr. Hamilton has been devoting his



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time and attention to the supervision of
his real estate and other interests, in the
management of which he displays ex-
cellent business ability, keen foresight
and strong determination, characteristics
which make for success in any field of en-
deavor. In the spring of 1907 he was
elected a director of the Rochester Trust
and Safe Deposit Company, in which ca-
pacity his value as a man of worth and in-
telligence has often been proven and his
judgment often tested. He has also taken
an active interest in political affairs, and
is thoroughly alive to all that pertains to
good citizenship, affiliating himself with
whatever has a tendency to permanently
benefit his locality. He was elected a
member of the Common Council in 1909,
representing the Twelfth Ward, and as a
reward for faithful service was reelected
in 191 1 and 1913, and during his entire
tenure of office promoted the interests of
his constituents in every way possible.
He resigned from this office in order to
accept the office of commissioner of pub-
lic safety of Rochester, being chosen from
many applicants as the man best quali-
fied for this responsible position, which
fact is ample evidence of his popularity
and efficiency. Mr. Hamilton is an inter-
ested and active member of the Central
Church of Rochester, has served on the
board of trustees since 1897 and has been
secretary of the board since 1899. In
Masonry he has taken both the Scottish
and York Rite degrees, being a member
of Rochester Consistory, Monroe Com-
mandery and the Mystic Shrine, and is in
hearty sympathy with the teachings and
tenets of the craft, in his life exemplifying
its beneficent principles. He is a mem-
ber of the Rochester Whist Club, the Uni-
versity Club and the Rochester Automo-
bile Club, being highly esteemed in all
organizations. He is courteous, genial
and obliging, and these qualities render

him very popular, so that his circle of
friends is very extensive.

Mr. Hamilton married, October 23,
1901, Mae Ward, a daughter of Joseph
Ward, of Rochester, and they are the
parents of three children, namely : Ward
Lindsay, Robert Andrew, Jr., and Charles

Such is the brief career of one who has
achieved not only honorable success and
high standing among men, but whose en-
tire life has been irreproachably correct,
so that his character is above suspicion.
His life record demonstrates the fact that
success depends not upon circumstances
or environments, but upon the man, and
the prosperous citizen is he who is able
to recognize and improve his opportuni-

GOFF, Frank M.,


The ancestry of Frank M. Gofif, of the
Rochester bar, carries far into the past
and to the mountains of Wales from
whence came Robert Goff to Rehoboth,
Massachusetts, where according to the
records of that town he married Hannah
Horton, May 8, 1733.

(II) Their son. Comfort Goff, born in
Rehoboth, September 25, 1734, died in the
town of Rush, Monroe county, New York,
in 1819. He married, January 20, 1757,
Susannah, daughter of Seth and Bethia
(Lee) Garnzey, and the same year moved
to Colchester, Connecticut, where he
owned and cultivated a farm on the Cole-
brook road which he conveyed to Na-
thaniel Russell in 1784. In later years he
joined his sons in Rush. Monroe county.
These sons were : Charles, Comfort,
Enoch, Garnzey, Squire, of further men-
tion, and Samuel D.

(III) Squire Goff (known as Elder
Gofif) was born about 1762, died in Can-



ada in 1S25. In 1803 James Wadsworth,
as agent for Jeremiah Wadsworth, who
was the owner of five thousand acres in
the town of Rush, Monroe county. New
York, prosecuted a system for exchang-
ing these wild lands for farms, "when
their occupants would become settlers."'
While on such a mission to Connecticut
he met Elder Squire Gofif, then the pas-
tor of a small church at Hartford, and
unfolded to him his plan to induce emi-
gration to Monroe county. He offered
Elder Gofif such attractive inducements
that he made the journey to Rush to "spy
out the land." He was so pleased with
the lands that he purchased one hundred
and thirty acres for himself at four dollars
and thirty cents per acre and returned to
Connecticut to form a colony. In the
spring of 1804 he returned to Rush with
his five brothers and their father, also
with ten other families, all settling in the
locality known as "GoiTtown." Here was
founded the original Gofif family in Mon-
roe county and here was built the first
Baptist church with a settled pastor in
what we now know as Monroe county.
Elder Squire Goff preached at the dif-
ferent houses in the settlement until 1806,
when Mr. Wadsworth donated four acres
of land in the town called "The Square"
and on it was erected a frame building,
the lumber being obtained from "Nor-
ton's Mills," now Honeoye Falls. That
building served as a house of worship and
school house until 1830, Elder Squire
GolT ministering as pastor until 1816,
when he moved to Lewistown, Connecti-
cut. He married (first) Experience
Brainerd, (second) Eunice (Brainerd)
Rowley, his first wife's sister and widow
of Samuel Rowley. He was the father of
fourteen children, of whom the second
was Roswell.

(IV) Roswell Gof? was born in 1786 in
Connecticut, died in the State of Michi-

gan in 1834. He came to Rush with his
father, grandfather, uncles, cousins and
neighbors in 1804 and resided at Goflf-
town until his removal to Michigan. He
married (first) Fanny Davis, (second)
Betsey, daughter of Elias Thompson,
(third) Eunice Billings. He was the
father of four children by his first wife,
two by his second and seven by his third.

(V) Henry Haight Gofif, eldest son of
Roswell GofT by his second wife, Betsey
(Thompson) Gofif, was born at Henrietta,
Monroe county. New York, in 1821, died
at Spencerport, New York, August 9,
1896. He was a school teacher in early
life, one of the very first teachers at the
Western House of Refuge, now known as
the New York State Industrial School.
Later he became a landowning farmer and
a dealer in farm produce, so continuing
until his death in August, 1904. a man
honored and esteemed by all. He mar-
ried, March 17, 1850, Sarah E. Wright,
of equally early Monroe county family, a
descendant of the New England family
which produced many noted men includ-
ing the Revolutionary patriot. Colonel
Ethan Allen, whose capture of the fort-
ress at Ticonderoga, New York, and his
other brave deeds at the head of the
Green Mountain Boys immortalized his
name. Mrs. Sarah E. Gofif died in 1898,
leaving two sons. Frank M. and Ben-
ton H.

(VI) Frank M. Gofif, son of Henry H.
and Sarah E. (Wright) Gofif, was born at
Spencerport, Monroe county. New York,
December 22, 1851, and until recent years
retained his residence in the village of his
birth. His youth was spent at the home
farm, in attendance at the public schools
and in more advanced study at the Brock-
port State Normal School. After gradu-
ation from Normal in 1870 he spent two
years at the University of Rochester ;
took a course in Bryant & Stratton's Busi-



ness College, and in 1873 began the study
of law. Three years later, in 1876, he was
admitted to the Monroe county bar, and
from that year has been constantly in
practice in Rochester, his offices 838 Pow-
ers building. There is deep satisfaction
for Mr. GofT in a retrospective view of
those twenty years and in comparing his
few professional engagements of the
early days with the full docket of to-day,
and in realizing that it has been his own
strength as a lawyer and his devotion to
the best tenets of his profession that has
brought the change. The law is right-
fully termed one of the learned profes-
sions, but more than learning is required
to produce the successful lawyer or jurist,
character and temperament must go hand
in hand with learning, and a confidence
established for integrity and courtesy be-
fore intellectual attainment is given op-
portunity. These qualities brought Mr.
GofT his early clients and so well did he
prove his learning and skill in those early
years that success came to him abun-
dantly. He is a worker, a deep student
of all that concerns a case, is thorough in
his preparation, ready with law and prece-
dent, a logical reasoner and a strong ad-
vocate. Of genial, friendly manner, cour-
teous to both court and opponent, he holds
the attention of a jury and with eloquent,
graceful speech presents to them his side
of the contention. He is a member of the
bar association, practices in all State and
Federal courts of the district, serving a
large and influential clientele with zealous

He is of eminently social nature and
he mingles with his many friends in social
and fraternal association. He belongs to
the different Masonic bodies of Rochester,
and in Scottish Rite Masonry has gained
the thirty-second degree. He is a mem-
ber of the Masonic Club, the Rochester
Whist Club, the Rochester Historical So-

ciety, and the Society of the Genesee, his
standing in the various organizations that
of an interested member who may be
called upon for any service to advance
their interest and add to their usefulness,
either as social centers, or educational
agencies. He is public-spirited and loyal
to community interests, but strictly as a
citizen, public office having no part in his

Mr. GofT married, September 18, 1877,
Clara B. Brown, of Spencerport. They
have two children, Louise Loomis A. and
William F. The family home at Spencer-
port has been recently changed to No.
191 Seneca Parkway, Rochester.

TOTTEN, John Reynolds,

Retired Military Officer, Author.

Captain John R. Totten inherits the
true American patriotic spirit from vari-
ous ancestors. His father. General James
Totten, was born September 11, 1818, at
Cincinnati, Ohio, and died October i,
1871, at Sedalia, Missouri. He graduated
from the West Point Military Academy
in 1841 and served at various posts in the
United States in both the Mexican and
Civil wars ; and was lieutenant-colonel
and inspector-general of the United States
army. He married, December 5, 1843, ^t
New London, Connecticut, Julia Hub-
bell Thacher, born March 6, 1823, at New-
London, died there January 31, 1906.
She was descended from the Rev. Peter
Thacher, born about 1549, at Queen
Camel, County Somerset, England, died
there in 1624. He was vicar of the
Church of England from 1574 to 1624,
and was the father of Hon. Antony
Thacher, born 1588-89, in Queen Camel,
died in 1667, at Yarmouth, Massachusetts.
He resided for some tim.e at Salisbury,
England, came to Boston on the ship
"James," arriving June 4, 1635, lived at



Marblehead, later at Yarmouth, Massa- in Litchfield, Connecticut. He died at
chusetts, was deputy to the general court Stratford, January 16. 1805. Their sec-
of Plymouth, and a member of the colo- ond son, Anthony Thachcr, was born Jan-
nial council of war. His first wife, Mary, uary 7, 1782, at Stratford, and lived at
died in 1634, at Salisbury, and he mar- New London, Connecticut, where he was
ried (second) in February. 1735, Elizabeth cashier of the New London Bank, and
Jones. They were the parents of Colo- died December 26, 1844. He married,
nel John Thacher, born March 17, 1639, February 24, 1806. at New London, Lu-
at Marblehead, Massachusetts, died May cretia Christophers Mumford, born Au-
8, 1713, at Yarmouth. He was deputy gust 10, 1785, at Salem, Connecticut, died
and assistant in the General Court of the April 6, 1871, in New London. Their fifth
Plymouth Colony, assistant in the com- daughter, Julia Ilubbell Thacher, was
monwealth of jWassachusetts, justice of born March 6, 1823, in New London, and
the peace, and colonel in the military became the wife of General James Tot-
service. He married, November 6, 1661, ten, as above related. Their youngest
in Marshfield, Massachusetts, Rebecca child is the subject of this biography.
Winslow, born there July 15, 1643, died John Reynolds Totten was born No-
July 15, 1683, at Yarmouth. Their son. vember 4, 1856, at Barrancas Barracks,
Deacon Josiah Thacher, was born April Pensacola, Florida, where his father was
26, 1668, at Yarmouth, died there May 12, then stationed. He received a liberal edu-
1702. He was long deacon of the church cation, being a student at the Episcopal
there, and was married there, February Academy of Cheshire, Connecticut, and
25, 1 691, to Mary Hedge, born there in was graduated from the United States
March, 1671. Captain Josiah Thacher, Military Academy at West Point, New
their youngest son, was born July 7, York, in the class of 1878. He graduated
1701, at Yarmouth, followed the sea, be- from the United States Artillery School
coming captain of a vessel, and settled at at Fortress Monroe. Virginia, in 1882,
Norwalk, Connecticut, where he became a and was assigned to service in the First
large landowner, and died August 22, United States Infantry as second lieuten-
1780. He married (second) in 1635, at ant. He was successively second lieuten-
Boston, Mary (Greenleaf) Blinn, widow ant and first lieutenant in the Fourth
of James Blinn, born 1706, at Cambridge, United States Artillery, served with the
Massachusetts, died in April, 1774, at army of the United States from June 14 to
Norwalk. They were the parents of Cap- August 28, 1878, at West Point, as in-
tain John Thacher, born July 25, 1742, at structor of tactics. From June, 1878 to
Norwalk, lived in that town, in New Mil- 1879, he was stationed at Fort Hale, Da-
ford and settled at Stratford, Connecticut, kota, and for about a year at Alcatraz
He commanded a company in the Revolu- Island, in San Francisco Harbor. From
tionary War, was wounded and taken May i, 1880 to 1882 he was at Fortress
prisoner at Valcour's Island, October 11, Monroe, Virginia, and at Fort Preble,
1776, paroled and exchanged and con- Maine, from May i, 1882 to 1884. He
tinued in the service. He married (sec- then became instructor in French and
ond) in 1777-78, at Stratford, Mehitable English at the West Point Military Acad-
(UfTord) Thompson, widow of Lieuten- emy, and assistant professor of Spanish
ant William Thompson, born March 16, from 1884 to 1889. On October i of the
1745, at Stratford, died September 6, 1807, latter year he was stationed at Fort



Adams, Rhode Island, and was attached
to a light battery. He resigned from the
army October i, 1890, to take effect April
I, 1891. Since that time he has resided in
New York City, and has given much at-
tention to literary work, especially in his-
torical and genealogical matters. He has
long been an officer of the New York
Genealogical and Biographical Society as
trustee and chairman of its executive com-
mittee, and during much of the time as
honorary librarian. Among his most
notable works is the "Thacher-Thatcher
Genealogy," which is still running in the
"New York Genealogical and Biographi-
cal Record." He is also the author of
many general essays. He is a communi-
cant of the Protestant Episcopal church,
and adheres to the principles expounded
by the Republican party in political mat-
ters. He is affiliated with numerous
patriotic societies, including the New
Y'ork Society of Mayflower Descendants,
Sons of the Revolution, Society of the
Colonial Wars, New York Historic-
Genealogical Society, New London Coun-
ty Historical Association, United States
Military Academy, Alumni Association,
and of clubs, including the Army and
Navy and New York Athletic. He was
married, at Garrison-on-Hudson, New
York, September 5, 1889, to Elma Smythe
(Preston) Van Voorhis, widow of Arthur
Van Voorhis.


lia-wjer. Legislator, Anthor.

De Alva Stanwood Alexander, of hon-
orable esteem in the field of politics and,
of even higher distinction in that of
letters, was born in Richmond, Maine,
July 17, 1845, the son of Stanwood and
Priscilla (Brown) Alexander. On the
paternal side, he is the eighth in descent

1652 and, in the seventh from David
Alexander who, migrating from Ulster,
Ireland, settled at Harpswell, Maine, in
1719. He is eighth, in the maternal line,
from George and Mary (Murdock)
Brown, who came from England to
Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1635.

Alexander's elementary education was
obtained in the common schools of his
native town. His father dying, he re-
moved, when thirteen years old, to Ohio,
with his mother; and, in 1862, with his
heart in the Union cause, he enlisted in
the One Hundred and Twenty-eighth
Regiment (infantry) Ohio Volunteers,
serving until the close of the war. Thert-
after, he returned to his native State and
entered Bowdoin College, from which he
was graduated in 1870, a member of the
Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, with a
fine record as a scholar, especially in the
English branches. He is a loyal son of
Bowdoin and, honoring it, has by it been
honored, receiving the Master's degree in
1S73 ^^'^ '^h'l*^ o^ Doctor of Laws in 1907
and has for years been one of its board
of overseers. Soon succeeding gradu-
ation, Alexander again went a westering,
seeking an opportunity for the employ-
ment of his maturing powers and after
teaching in Fort Wayne, Indiana, for a
time, found it in journalism, in that city
in 1S71, as one of the proprietors and
editors of the ''Daily Gazette," already a
leading Republican journal of the State.
He at once made a mark by his thought-
ful editorials, both of a political and
literary cast, materially enhancing the
prestige of the paper and attracting to
himself the confidence and friendship of
many of the leading politicians and pro-
fessional men of the State, especially of
Senator Oliver P. Morton, the famous
war governor. In 1874, he disposed of
his interest in the Fort Wayne "Gazette"
and took service as staff correspondent

from Philip Stanwood. who came from
England to Gloucester, Massachusetts, in with the Cincinnati "Gazette," with resi-
N Y_4-2I 337


dence at Indianapolis. Meanwhile he
acted as secretary of the Republican State
Committee and studied law, being ad-
mitted to the bar in 1877.

Thus, dropping his pen as a journalist,
which he did not resume for nearly thirty
years, and then as an author, he engaged
actively and successfully in the practice
of his profession for the ensuing four
years, at Indianapolis, still maintaining a
lively interest in politics. In 1881, upon
the recommendation of Senator Jienja-
min Harrison, always Alexander's friend,
he was appointed, by President Garfield,
an auditor in the treasury department,
serving under Secretaries Windom, Fol-
ger, McCulloch and Manning ; his re-
tention by the last named being unusual
and distinctly complimentary, as tendered
by a political opponent and, as is under-
stood, at the suggestion of President
Cleveland. This is emphatic testimony to
the intelligence and fidelity with which
Alexander had discharged his highly re-
sponsible trust. While residing at the
national capital he was elected com-
mander of the Department of the Poto-
mac, Grand Army of the Republic. At
the expiration of his term as auditor, he
removed to Buffalo, thus becoming a citi-
zen of New York, and formed a law part-
nership with the Hon. James A. Roberts,
his college class and fraternity mate, sub-
sequently comptroller of the State. In
June, 1889, Alexander was appointed
United States district attorney for the
Northern District of New York, by Presi-
dent Harrison, embracing what are now
the northern and western districts. This
appointment was objected to in certain
quarters because, as alleged, his brief
residence in the district did not entitle
him to such marked political recognition
and that it must, therefore, be regarded
as a purely personal appointment on the
part of the President who was firm in
asserting his prerogative, for he knew his

man and that his official conduct would
vindicate his preferment; as it certainly
did. The arduous labors of the office, in-
volving an exact knowledge of the law
and integrity and courage in enforcing its
sanctions, were duly fulfilled, demon-
strating his legal ability and also induc-
ing a full measure of public esteem. He
held the place until December, 1893.

Devoting the next three years to the
private practice of his profession he con
stantly increased in political strength and
popular favor and was in 1S96 elected
a representative in Congress from the
Bufi'alo district, remaining as such for
fourteen years consecutively — among
the longest tenures accorded to a New
York member. In Congress throughout
he assumed a commanding stand, especi-
ally active and influential on the judici-
ary committee. He aided in drafting the
important bills reported by the commit-
tee, for twelve years, and usually sup-
ported them in the house by speeches,
long or short, as occasion demanded. He
was chairman of rivers and harbors, and
as such bore the burden of the work in
committee and upon the floor. It is sig-
nificant that he never lost a bill that he
reported from either committee. Witli
a positive "genius for friendship," his
bearing — frank, cordial, cheery — won
the regard of all and the affection of
many of his colleagues ; as his helpful
offices rendered him extremely popular
with his constituency. Political life, on
its higher plane, always seemed to him
a worthy ambition, and his time and
thought, outside of his profession, have
been subject to the demand of his party
on the stump and in the work of organi-
zation ; but while a partisan, he has not
believed in party success at the cost of
jjrinciple ; and has uniformly identified
himself with clean politics.

The rare opportunities for knowing
public men, presented to him soon after



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 51 of 58)