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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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 54 of 58)
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his day.

In 1863 he resigned his position as prin-
cipal of the academy and henceforth his
connection was with the law, the profes-
sion for which he had prepared but had
not hitherto followed, circumstances lead-
ing him into journalism and pedagogy.
He won instant recognition at the Mon-

born, who after a brilliant career died at roe county bar, for he was thoroughly

his home in Rochester, May 27, 1900, equipped for the practice of his profes-

leaving a son, Roy C. Webster, to con- sion, and during his years as editor of the

tinue the law business the father had "Rural New Yorker" and as principal of

founded and both had aided in upbuild- the Free Academy he had made a large

ing. Edward Webster aspired to higher acquaintance and many close friends. In

educational attainment, and after com- 1871 he rented offices in the Powers

pleting the public school courses in West
Bloomfield schools he entered Dartmouth
College. His means were limited, but by
economy and industry he made the
money he had with what he earned
finance his college course to graduation.
He had bountiful capital, however, but
it consisted of courage, energy and deter-

Building, the same yet being occupied by
his son. Roy C. Webster, forty-five years
later, a record in the city for continuous
occupancy of offices. After a long and
honorable career as journalist, educator
and lawyer. Edward Webster, "joined the
innumerable caravan."

Roy C. Webster, son of Edward and

mination, these overcoming the lack of Polly A. (Andrews) Webster, was born



in Rochester, New York, April i6, 1858.
After completing the work of the grades
in public school No. 6, he completed
college preparation in Rochester Free
Academy, graduating with the class of
1874. The next four years were spent as
a student in the University of Rochester,
receiving his degree A. B. from that insti-
tution, class of 1878. He then studied
law for two years, and in October, 1880,
was admitted to the Monroe county bar.
He at once began practice in Rochester,
his honored father admitting him to part-
nership and together they practiced until
death dissolved the bond. Since that
time he has practiced alone retaining the
offices 303 Powers Building, which since
1871 has borne the name of Webster upon
the door. He is not only learned in the
law but is a man of broad culture and re-
finement, interested in all good works and
true to the best traditions of the honored
family name he bears. He has a large
practice in the State and Federal courts
of the district and has been connected
with a great many of the more important
cases brought before those courts. He is
a member of the various law associations
and is highly esteemed by his profes-
sional brethren of the bench and bar.

The following case excited deep in-
terest and is one of the many of note
which Mr. Webster has brought to suc-
cessful issue. In the cause quoted he was
counsel for the respondent.

Monroe County.

The People of the State of New York,
on the Relation of Daniel W. Powers,
Edwin A. Kalbfleisch, Henry C. Munn
and Edward B. Burgess, Assessors of
The City of Rochester, Monroe County,
New York,


The above proceeding was brought for
the purpose of reviewing the action of the
assessors in assessing the building known
as "Powers Block" at the sum of $1,000,-
000 for the purposes of general taxation.
For more than ten years prior to the com-
mencement of this proceeding the build-
ing and land were assessed at $1,035,000.
Each year Mr. Powers had protested
against this assessment, claiming that the
valuation was excessive, but to no pur-
pose. In the year 1896 Mr. Powers again
appeared before the assessors and filed a
protest against the valuation placed on
the property (building and premises) and
the amount was reduced to $1,000,000.
Still feeling an injustice had been done,
he commenced the proceeding. It was
tried before Hon. George W. Cowles, of
Clyde, New York, as referee, who re-
ported that the property was over as-
sessed $175,000, placing its value at $825,-
000. The referee's report was aflirmed by
the Supreme Court at special term ; Jus-
tice Edwin A. Nash presiding. An appeal
was then taken from the judgment and
order entered to the Appellate Division
of the Supreme Court Fourth Depart-
ment, and the judgment and order sus-
tained by an unanimous decision. De-
fendants then appealed to the Court of
Appeals. The appeal was dismissed by
the Court of Appeals, June 7, 1898.

The proceeding is in many respects
novel and interesting on account of the
value and reputation of the subject-mat-
ter involved and the fact that this is the
first time the judgment of the assessors
was called in question and reviewed on
the determination of a general city tax.
It is of the utmost importance as it forms
a precedent and establishes the rule gov-
erning and controlling assessors in esti-
mating the value of commercial property
in the State of New York.

Mr. Webster is attorney for the Ameri-
can Express Company, the Westcott Ex-

N Y— 4— 23



press Company and numerous other cor- this progress the descendants of Deacon
porations in addition to the large private Judson have been most intimately identi-

interests he serves. He is a Republican
in politics, and thoroughly alive to his
responsibilities as a citizen. From 1890
until 1892 he was a member of the school
board and from 1892 until 1898 was civil
service commissioner. He served with
admirable zeal in both positions and in
many ways has attested his loyalty and
his public-spirited interest in the city of
his birth. He is a member of the Brick
Presbyterian Church which for many
years his father served as elder, and is con-
nected with the Masonic order, af¥lliating
with Corinthian Lodge.

Mr. Webster married, March 20, 1901,
Florence A. Kerwin, of Rochester. They
are the parents of a daughter, Marian
Florence. The family home is at No
1 1 15 Lake avenue.

JUDSON, John Brown,

Printer, Public Official.

fied, especially with the upbuilding of the
great glove industry which has given the
place its name and put it among the in-
dustrial centers of the country. Deacon
Judson's descendants are very numerous
in the region of the city and all the lines
of descent have carried on the worthy
traditions bequeathed them by their foun-
der. It is from the second son, Elisha,
that the branch of the family with which
we are concerned is derived, the members
thereof having continued to make their
home in Kingsboro or Gloversville down
to the present day. This Elisha Judson
was born in 1765, and followed the occu-
pation of farming all his life with the ex-
ception of the Revolutionary period dur-
ing which he distinguished himself as a
soldier in the Continental army. His
wife, who was Lucy Case before her mar-
riage, was born in 1766, and they were
the parents of six children: Sylvester,
Sylvanus, Gurdon, Elisha, Lucy and Alan-
son. The son Elisha was the grandfather

John Brown Judson is a member of one
of the old New York families, a family of the Mr. Judson of this sketch. Like
representative of the best type which his father he was a farmer, but he was
came from the "Mother Country" and also engaged in the making of gloves,
established English blood and English in- being the first m,ember of the family to
stitutions as the foundation of the social enter this business. He may, therefore,
structure in the United States. Domi- properly be called one of the founders of
nant and persistent in character, it has the immense business which in the next
given its prevailing traits to the popula- generation grew to such large propor-
tion of this country, which no subsequent tions. He and his wife, who was Rachel
inroads of foreign races have sufficed to B. Brown before her marriage, were the
submerge, and has formed a base for our parents of three children : Daniel Brown,
citizenship upon which the whole vast John Wesley and Elisha, of whom the
and composite fabric of this growing eldest was our Mr. Judson's father.
people is being erected in safety. It was Daniel Brown Judson was a man of un-

sometime prior to the last decade of the
eighteenth century that Deacon Daniel
Judson, the progenitor of the Judsons in
Fulton county. New York, settled in what
was then the little village of Kingsboro,

usual ability and marked talents for the
practical affairs of life. A great organ-
izer and manager, he also possessed a
wonderfully receptive mind and it has
been said of him by Professor Sprague in

New York, which has since grown to be his "Gloversville History" that "he had
the flourishing city of Gloversville. With less to learn and less to unlearn than com-



monly befalls when he came to grapple
with the duties of active life." His abil-
ities quickly made themselves felt even as
a school boy nor did they cease to be ap-
parent until the time of his death. After
the completion of his schooling he taught
for a time, but finally turned his attention
to the manufacture of gloves in which his
father had gained a considerable success.
It was his purpose, however, to conduct
it upon a much larger scale than any-
thing his father had ever contemplated,
and this purpose he rapidly carried out in
spite of obstacles by no means slight.
His great plant included besides the large
mills where the gloves themselves were
cut and sewed two leather mills where the
leather used in their product was dressed.
During the seventies, when the industry
had reached to its greatest importance, it
was the largest in the world at that time
and Mr. Judson, Sr., became one of the
most prominent figures, not only in the
glove trade, but in the commercial and
industrial world generally. He was one
of the most prominent figures in his own
town and county and held many impor-
tant positions there. He was among
other things vice-president of the Fulton
County National Bank for many years,
and was conspicuous in the affairs of
the Presbyterian and Congregational
churches. One of the connections in
which he was best known was that of his
activities as a member of the Democratic
party in New York State. A man of
ready intellect, whose thoughts had been
turned since childhood to political issues,
he was also possessed of that essential to
popular leadership, a strong and attrac-
tive personality. He was a fluent and
forceful speaker, as well, and these quali-
ties could not fail to gain a great prestige
with his fellow Democrats in Fulton
county. He was his party's candidate for
a number of important offices, among

others for Congress in the year when the
ticket was headed by Horace Greeley. He
married, March lo, 1852, Phoebe E.
Brown, of Gloversville, a daughter of
Thomas and Eunice (Mosher) Brown.
Their children, who were six in number,
were as follows: i. Edward Wall, born
January 30, 1853, at Gloversville ; has had
a very successful career as a member of
the firm of Baker & Judson, contractors
for heavy construction work ; married
Blanche Cutter, of Cincinnati, Ohio. 2.
Daniel Brown, Jr., born February 13,
1855, died February 14, 1857. 3. Mary
Louise, born December 3, 1857 ; married
Alvah J. Zimmer, to whom she bore four
children : Judson, Ruth, Janet and Hor-
ace. 4. John Brown, of whom further. 5.
Horace Sprague, born June 10, 1863 ; mar-
ried (first) Jessie Belden, (second) Mabel
Marstellar. 6. Daniel Bingham, born June
2, 1866, died February 21, 1903; married
Nettie Morrison.

John Brown Judson, the fourth child
of Daniel Brown and Phoebe E. (Brown)
Judson, was born August 20, 1861, at
Gloversville, New York. He has inher-
ited the talents and abilities of his father
and now occupies much the same place as
did the elder man in former times in the
regard of the community. His education,
which has been a very complete one, was
begun in the public schools of his native
town. A course in the Kingsboro Acad-
emy followed and his studies were com-
pleted at Williston Seminary, Williston,
Massachusetts. Like his father, he showed
great aptness as a student and drew upon
himself the favorable regard of his mas-
ters and instructors. Upon leaving the
Williston Seminary, he returned to his
native city, which has continued to be his
home ever since. He was scarcely more
than a boy at the time, but remarkably
enterprising and alert, and not only suc-
ceeded in mastering the craft of printing



but by the time he was sixteen years of
age had established a job printing office
of his own at Gloversville. It is not often
the case that the business experiments of
such extreme youth are permanently suc-
cessful, yet this was so in Mr. Judson's
case, and the little printing trade estab-
lished by him then has met with un-
broken success down to the present time,
having developed in the meantime to
great proportions. His success has been
largely due to the fact that he early mas-
tered every detail of his craft and was
able to turn out work far superior to that
of his competitors, work that bore the
stamp of his original personality in a cor-
responding originality and an attractive-
ness of design of its own. These qualities
have not diminished but increased with
the passing of the years and the gaining
of experience and Mr. Judson's business
is now on a more secure basis than ever.
His specialty is business stationery, it
being his intention from the start to make
his product fit the needs of the great
manufacturing concerns, especially the
glove companies of the city. In this he
has succeeded remarkably well and has
now a large market for his goods among
glove makers, not merely in his own
locality, but throughout the United States
and Canada. Another matter to which
Mr. Judson has directed his attention, in-
creasingly so of late years, is the field of
real estate in his native city. He has
realized with his usual foresight and
sagacity that the value of property in a
growing community like Gloversville is
bound to rise as a general proposition and
that it only required judgment in select-
ing them to make such properties the
best of imaginable investments. He has
never lost sight of the general interests
of the community, however, in any of the
transactions he has entered into and has
rather consulted its welfare in everything

and has certainly served to great purpose
by the development of several important
tracts and the improvement of several
localities in the city. One of these tracts
has been named after its public-spirited
developer and is called "Judson Heights."
But it is not by any means only in oper-
ations such as these, or in the conduct
of his important business, that Mr. Jud-
son is best known in Gloversville and Ful-
ton county. He is a strong subscriber,
as was his father before him, to the prin-
ciples which are represented in this coun-
try by the Democratic party. To the
early trend of his opinions, gained natur-
ally enough under the influence of his
father's strong mind and personality, Mr.
Judson has added the still more profound
kind of conviction that arises from, in-
dividual thought and earnest study. He
began in early manhood to associate him-
self with the local organization of his
party, and from, the year 1888 has been
considered an important factor in county,
and later, in State politics. In that year
he was sent as a delegate to the State
Democratic Convention and was again
honored in the same manner in 1892. In
1890 he was chosen secretary of the Ful-
ton County Democratic Committee and
served in that capacity until 1894, when
he was chosen its chairman. In the pre-
ceding year he had become a member of
the New York State Democratic Commit-
tee and in the years 1894 and 1896 was
elected secretary of that body, an office
which he held for seven years. In 1895
he was nominated by the Democratic
Convention at Syracuse for State Comp-
troller by a vote of three hundred and
twelve to ninety-eight. Again in 1900 he
was the Democratic candidate for State
Treasurer on the same ticket as that upon
which John B. Stanchfield ran for Gov-
ernor. During these years the Demo-
cratic party was not the popular one in



the State and Mr. Judson suffered defeat after-dinner orators, his services being in

with his colleagues, but a great change in
public sentiment was about to be made
and in 1913, when Woodrow Wilson was
triumphantly elected President on the
Democratic ticket, he rewarded Mr. Jud-
son for his long and faithful service to the
party by appointing him postmaster of
Gloversville. Mr. Judson's administra-
tion of that department has been a most
efficient one and he has brought up to and
maintained at the highest standard its
local service. Mr. Judson is a prominent
figure in the social life of the community,
and a valuable member of the Eccentric
Club of Gloversville, and served as its
president in 1913 and 1914.

Mr. Judson was united in marriage at
Gloversville on September 19, 1882, to
Isabelle Stewart, a daughter of John and
Catherine (Wells) Stewart, old and highly
honored residents of the city. The Stew-
arts are of Scotch descent, Mrs. Judson's
grandparents being James and Margaret
(McFarland) Stewart, both natives of
Scotland. Her father was Judge John
Stewart, of Johnstown, one of the best
known men on the county bench, where
he presided for more than twenty years.
Mr. and Mrs. Judson are the parents of
two children as follows : Margaret, born
August 2, 1883, married, June 20, 1907,
Boyd G. Curts, of Brooklyn, trust officer
of the Empire Trust Company of New
York, to whom she has borne one child,
Isabelle Catherine; John Brown, Jr., born
May 10, 1893.

John Brown Judson is a fine type of
citizen and the part that he plays in the
community is a very vital one. He com-
bines in very happy proportion the quali-
ties of the practical business man with
those of the public-spirited altruist, whose
thoughts are with the good of the com-
munity, and in addition is noted through-
out Central New York as one of the best

great demand. It is by his own efforts
that he has developed the successful busi-
ness of which he is the owner and be-
come one of the city's prominent mer-
chants, and through all his worthy career
he has never conducted his business so
that it was anything but a benefit to any
of his associates or to the city at large.
He is frank and outspoken, a man whose
integrity has never been called in ques-
tion, who can be and is trusted to keep
the spirit as well as the letter of every
contract and engagement that he enters
into. He is possessed of the true demo-
cratic instincts, easy of access to all men
and as ready to lend his ear to the most
humble as to the proudest and most in-
fluential. It is scarcely necessary to add
that these qualities give him a host of
friends and admirers from every class of
society so that he may be fairly regarded
as one of the most popular men of the

HILL, Henry W.,

liCgislator, Scholar, 'Wateriray Promoter.

Henry Wayland Hill, scholar, lawyer,
legislator, and especially prominent as a
champion of the waterways system of
the State, was born November 13, 1853,
at Isle La Motte, Grand Isle county, Ver-
mont, of good New England lineage, the
son of Dyer and Martha Puella (Hall)
Hill. His father was a member of the
Vermont Legislature (1849-50) and hia
mother was of pronounced literary tastes.

Henry Wayland passed his youth on
his father's farm and attended the pub-
lic schools whenever he was able to do
so. Desirous of a liberal education, he
began his preparation for college, not
without certain handicaps due to con-
tinued manual labors, and was enabled
to enter the classical course of the Uni-



versity of Vermont in 1872. While in
college he was a diligent student, at-
taining membership in the Phi Beta Kap-
pa Society, and was graduated honorably
in 1876 as Bachelor of Arts, five years
thereafter receiving his Master's degree,
in 1900 being laureated Doctor of Laws
by his alma mater, and in 1901, in recog-
nition of his scholarly attainments the
same distinction was conferred upon him
by Middlebury College. A period of
teaching succeeded his graduation. He
was principal of Swanton (Vermont)
Academy (1877-79) ; and of the Chateau-
gay (New York) Academy — Union Free
School (1877-83). Meanwhile he also
read law and was admitted to the bar of
the State of New York, at Albany, Janu-
ary 25, 1884. The following May, he set-
tled in Buffalo and became a member of
the law firm of Andrews and Hill, which
partnership continued until dissolved by
the death of Andrews, May, 1896. He
has uniformly maintained an honorable
and general practice, his house address
being at 471 Linwood avenue, Buffalo;
where he has a choice collection of books.
He married, August 11. 1880, Harriet Au-
gusta, daughter of Francis and Helen
Eliza (Butts) Smith, of Swanton, Ver-
mont. Mrs. Hill is a very amiable lady.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Hill are descendants
of well known New England families.

Early enlisted in political activities as
a Republican — hailing from Vermont, he
could not well be otherwise — he has con-
sistently adhered to that faith through-
out; and, happily, he came into New
York politics too late to be involved in
the factional embroilments that had vexed
his party therein for the preceding twenty
years. His first preferment was an ex-
alted one, that of his election, from the
Thirty-first Senatorial District, to the
State Constitutional Convention of 1894;
and, in that body he had an influential
part. He served on the suffrage, educa-

tion and civil service committees. He
was the author and introducer of sev-
eral important measures designed to pro-
vide home rule for cities, honest elections,
the maintenance on a popular basis of
secondary and higher education, especi-
ally the constitutionalizing of the Re-
gents of the University and, above all,
was the leading advocate of the further
development of the waterways system of
the State, with which subsequently he
has been conspicuously and persuasively

At the general election in 1895, he was
elected to the Assembly from the Second
District of Erie county, and by successive
reelections, served five terms in the Lower
House (1896-1900) ; and. promoted to the
Senate in the latter year, retained a seat
therein for five terms (1901-10). In each
house respectively he was highly es-
teemed and influential, clear and courte-
ous in debate, diligent as a member of
various leading committees and notably
efficient as chairman (in the Senate) of
those on commerce and navigation, codes
and finance. In the Assembly, his
labors ex necessitate, were largely of a
local character, among which the follow-
ing may be cited: The Buffalo Free
Public Library, the Buffalo Historical
Society Building and the New Armory
appropriation bills. Among general
bills to his credit are the Pan-Ameri-
can Exposition, the All-State Pharmacy,
and the Primary Election bills ; and
as chairman of the canal committee
in 1900, he was chiefly responsible for for-
mulating and securing the passage of the
Canal Survey law for a barge canal. In
the Senate, in 1902, he drafted and intro-
duced a proposed amendment to article
seven of the Constitution, providing for
the application of the surplus moneys in
the treasury to the liquidation of the
bonded indebtedness ; and an amendment
to the same article extending the bonded



period from eighteen to fifty years, both
which passing two legislatures, were ap-
proved by popular vote in 1905. He also
was the principal champion of the $101,-
000,000 canal referendum of 1903 which
was overwhelmingly ratified at the polls.
He has also championed all canal refer-
endum measures since that time. In
the last year of Governor Hughes's ad-
ministration he was chairman of the fi-
nance committee of the Senate, a position
of the highest responsibility. It may well be
doubted that any Senator, in recent years,
has compassed more of competent and
valuable legislation than did Senator Hill
during the period from his entry into the
Assembly in 1896 to the close of his Sen-
atorial career in 1910.

Outside his professional and legislative
service. Senator Hill has been engaged in
many activities, inuring to the public

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 54 of 58)