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 9 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 9 of 58)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

dence. No trust reposed in him has ever
been betrayed in the slightest degree and
in fact his entire career has been an ex-
emplification of the old and time-tried
maxim that honesty is the best policy.

His broat humanitarianism has led to
his support of various charitable and be-
nevolent interests and, while report says
that he gives generously in cases of need,
he has always done so in a most unosten-
tatious manner. In fact, he is opposed to
display of any character and is never
given to weighing any act in the scale of
public policy. Principle has guided his
conduct and shaped his course and his
views of life are based upon a recog-

nition of individual responsibility and the
brotherhood of man. He has served as
one of the trustees of St. Peter's Presby-
terian Church, and is connected with the
Rochester Homoeopathic Hospital as a
member of the board of governors. He
acted as its first treasurer and has done
much in the interests of that institution.
Socially he is connected with the Genesee
Valley and the Country clubs of Roches-
ter, while his membership relations also
extend to the Union League Club of New
York City. In those societies which
foster patriotism, historical research and
an appreciation of the honor which is
ever due to a worthy ancestry, he is also
known. He is a member of the Society
of Mayflov^fer Descendants, being eligible
by reason of the fact that his ancestry is
directly traceable to Elder William Brew-
ster, who crossed the Atlantic in the his-
toric vessel which brought the first set-
tlers to New England. He is likewise a
member of the Society of Colonial Wars,
the Sons of the American Revolution, and
the New England Society of New York.
In his citizenship he has ever stood for
advancement and improvement and is not
unknown in political circles. On the con-
trary he believes it the duty as well as
the privilege of every American citizen
to exercise the right of franchise and sup-
port those principles which seem most
beneficial in bringing about good govern-
ment. His stalwart republicanism and
his well-known devotion to high ideals in
political life led to his selection in the fall
of 1894 for representative in Congress
from the Thirty-first district of New
York. He served in the Fifty-fourth and
Fifty-fifth congresses and during his first
term was a member of the committee on
coinage, weights and measures. The fol-
lowing term he was made chairman of
the committee on the alcoholic liquor
traffic and a member of the committee
on invalid pensions. In 1900 he repre-



sented New York in the Republican Na-
tional Convention which placed William
McKinley at the head of the ticket, and
was an alternate-at-large in 1904. He has
been a member of the New York Cham-
ber of Commerce for fifteen years.

Most happily situated in his home life,
Henry C. Brewster was married in Octo-
ber, 1876, to Alice Chapin, a daughter of
Louis and Rachel (Shepard) Chapin, of
Rochester, and they have two daughters,
Rachel A. and Editha C. Their home is
the center of a cultured society circle and
their friends are many. Mr. Brewster
has never allowed the accumulation of
wealth to affect in any way his manner
toward those less fortunate and entrance
to the circle of his friends is gained by
character worth and not by material pos-
sessions. His associates know him as a
most genial, kindly gentleman and, while
he has made the acquaintance of many
men distinguished in state and national
affairs, he holds as his most priceless
treasure the friendship and respect of his
fellow-townsmen, among whom his entire
life has been passed and who are thor-
oughly familiar with his history from his
boyhood down to the present time.

VAN DUYN, John, M. D.,

Civil War Veteran, Physician.

One of the foremost members of the
medical fraternity of Syracuse, Dr. John
Van Duyn, in whom the public has long
reposed trust and confidence of his skill,
was born in Kingston, New York, July
24, 1843, a son of Abraham and Sarah
Van Duyn.

His early education, which was of a
literary and classical nature, finally led to
his graduation from Princeton in the class
of June, 1862, and thus broadly equipped,
he undertook the study of his profession,
having paved the way to success by first
learning the power of expressing himself.

His degree of M. D. was received from
the Kentucky School of Medicine. At
that time he enlisted his services in de-
fence of his country, was a member of
the medical cadet corps, and upon receiv-
ing his medical degree he became assis-
tant surgeon in the United States Volun-
teers, and continued as such until the fall
of 1865. After the war, Dr. Van Duyn
turned his attention to building up a
practice, locating at first in the State of
New Jersey, where he remained until the
year 1868, when he removed to Syracuse,
New York, this move being due to his
relations with Dr. Wilbur, the founder of
the State Idiot Asylum, who offered him
the position of physician to that institu-
tion, in which capacity he served for a
short period of time. He then engaged in
private practice in Syracuse, which in due
course of time became both extensive and
important. He has also taught in the
Medical School of Syracuse LIniversity
since its establishment, and his ability as
an educator has found no fewer encomi-
ums than his ability in the art of heal-
ing. Many are the scholars who will pass
along the secrets of his vast knowledge,
for as a teacher Dr. Van Duyn has given
as freely of his gifts as he has received
them. He was one of the originators and
founders of the Syracuse Free Dispensary
and of the Hospital of the Good Shep-
herd, serving the latter institution in the
cacapity of surgeon. He is also surgeon
for the Delaware, Lackawanna & West-
ern Railroad. He is a member of the
Syracuse Academy of Medicine, of the
American Ophthalmological Society, of
the American Otological Society and of
the New York State Medical Association.
He is president of the University Club of
Syracuse, president of the Princeton Club
of Central New York, a member of the
Hospital Association, of the Onondaga
Country Club, of the Ka-Noo-No Karni-
val Company, of the Automobile Club,



of the Loyal Legion, and of the Grand
Army of the Republic. In Masonry he
has taken all the degrees of the York Rite
and has attained the thirty-second degree
in the Scottish Rite. He has, moreover,
given of his time as commissioner of
education and as health officer, in both
of which offices he rendered valuable
service. In February, 1915, the Syracuse
Academy of Medicine and the Onondaga
County Medical Society gave an enter-
tainment in honor of the completion of
his fiftieth year in the practice of medi-

Dr. Van Duyn married, December i,
1866, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Sarah
Faulks, who bore him two sons and one
daughter, namely : Edward Seguin, Wil-
bur, and Gertrude, who became the wife
of E. F. Southworth, of Syracuse. Ed-
ward Seguin Van Duyn was born in Au-
gust, 1872 ; graduated from the Syracuse
High School, class of 1889; Princeton
University, class of 1894; Syracuse Medi-
cal College, class of 1897; Rhode Island
Hospital, 1899, 3.nd studied in New York
and abroad during the years 1900 and
1901. He is professor of clinical surgery
at the Syracuse University Medical
School, surgeon of the Hospital of the
Good Shepherd and of the Syracuse Free
Dispensary, consulting surgeon of the
Ogdensburg State Institution, president
of the board of managers of the Syracuse
State Institution for the Feeble Minded,
and a fellow of the American College of
Surgeons. Professor Edward S. Van
Duyn had conferred on him the degrees
of B. S., M. D. and F. A. C. S. Mrs.
Van Duyn died December 21, 1915. For
many years she was prominent in social
circles of Syracuse. She was a member
of the Fortnightly Club, of which she was
one of the founders, and the Social Arts
Club. She was widely known in church
circles and took an active interest in
causes of religious and charitable natures.

The Rev. Dr. A. H. Fahnestock, pastor of
the First Ward Presbyterian Church, a
cousin of Mrs. Van Duyn, officiated at
the funeral services and interment was
in Oakwood Cemetery.

The demands made upon Dr. Van Duyn
by his profession have left him little time
to lead what might be generally termed a
social life. But this man, to whom so
many have come in time of need to profit
by what he has learned through wide
study, research, investigation and experi-
ment, can claim undoubtedly more of a
place in the hearts of the people than one
who has striven merely to be socially


Merchant, Financier, Philanthropist.

Rochester is a city noted for its great
industries and stable commercial houses,
but her true source of greatness has ever
been the quality of her citizens. Her
Roll of Fame includes men who, from
small beginnings, have built colossal
manufacturing houses, and others who,
as retailers, have attained the same de-
gree of prominence. The latter group
includes Clinton Rogers, who with J. H.
Howe established the firm of Howe &
Rogers in 1857, and who now at the age
of eighty-two years still gives the busi-
ness his daily attention. From a very
modest start with three employees in
1857 in a building thirty by one hundred
feet devoted to the sale of carpets, ex-
pansion has been constant until now the
handsome five-storied fireproof building
at the corner of South avenue and John-
son Park, completed in 191 5, is required
to properly house the very large business
in carpets, rugs, draperies, and a very
extensive and varied line of furniture,
which will be a new and important part
of the business, and one hundred em-
ployees are necessary to transact busi-




ness with their numerous customers.
This in itself is a wonderful life work,
and had Mr. Rogers no other claim to
place in the history of Rochester it would
be sufficient. This, however, is but one
of his entitling rights to the high place
he holds in the esteem of his fellow-men.
For nearly fifty years he was a director
of the Traders' National Bank, and as one
of the founders and members of the Cham-
ber of Commerce has been an active
worker in promoting measures and enter-
prises resulting in the development of
his city and in advancing the public good.
Outside of the realm of business he has
also borne well his part, and to St. Luke's
Protestant Episcopal Church, the Roches-
ter Historical Society, to charitable and
philanthropic causes he has been a tower
of strength. Extensive home and foreign
travel has broadened his vision and now,
far beyond man's allotted "three score
and ten years", he is in the enjoyment of
the mental and physical vigor that has
characterized his useful life. He traces
his ancestry to early Colonial New Eng-
land days and to forbears who, as "minute-
men" responded to the call to arms and
at Lexington and Bunker Hill proved
their valor.

Clinton Rogers was born at Wales,
Hampden county, Massachusetts, De-
cember 3, 1832, son of Joel and Mary
(Shaw) Rogers. He obtained his educa-
tion in public schools, and began busi-
ness life as a clerk in his brother's store
at Wales. He remained with his brother
for two years, then was clerk in a Wor-
cester, Massachusetts, store for two years,
locating in Rochester, New York, in 1855.
He entered the employ of Wilder, Case
& Company as a clerk, and two years
later, in March, 1857, in partnership with
J. H. Howe entered the mercantile field
as a member of the firm of Howe &
Rogers, dealers in carpets. From that
distant date over a period of fifty-eight

years he has been engaged in the same
busines under the same name, changing,
however, from a partnership to a corpo-
ration in 1898. The young partners
started with little capital, their chief
asset being character; but so favorably
were they known that the Lowell Carpet
Company, departing from their estab-
lished policy, sold them their initial stock
on credit. The business grew by leaps
and bounds, the young men, capable, en-
ergetic and upright both, building on the
foundations of best quality, perfect serv-
ice, and the principle of fairest dealing.
As they grew older and gained greater
experience these principles were not devi-
ated from but rather intensified in their
application. Perfect confidence was estab-
lished between merchant and buyer, and
every efifort was put forth to strengthen
the bond. This has always characterized
the business and now, after half a cen-
tury,' the motto "a square deal to all" is
still the store slogan. On September 3,
1903, Mr. Howe passed away, thus break-
ing business ties that had bound him to
Mr. Rogers harmoniously and profitably
for nearly half a century. The place left
vacant by Mr. Howe's death was filled by
his son and business continued as before.
Located in the handsomest business
building in the city and with a volume
of trade largest of its kind in Western
New York, Mr. Rogers may review his
business career with satisfaction. He has
honorably won wealth and reputation,
and no man in all Rochester's list of emi-
nent business men is held in higher

With advancing years Mr. Rogers has
surrendered the heavier burdens of busi-
ness, but is daily at his desk, his wise
judgment and abundant experience fitting
in well with the enthusiasm of his effici-
ent associates. He has likewise sur-
rendered interests of importance outside,
after, in some instances, a connection of



fifty years. For that period he was a
director of the Traders' National Bank
of Rochester, and still is a director of the
Genesee Valley Trust Company. He has
been a member of the Rochester Chamber
of Commerce since its organization, was
its president in 1905, and during his term
of office secured the passage of a "smoke"
ordinance through the Council that has
greatly abated the smoke nuisance in the
city. He also secured the passage of an
ordinance for the establishment of the
Municipal Hospital with a liberal appro-
priation from the city. He has long been
identified with the Rochester Historical
Society, and for two years, 1906, 1907,
was its president.

Mr. Rogers has made a number of
foreign tours, his fine collection of steel
engravings being largely acquired while
abroad. While travel has been a favorite
way of spending his days "oflF duty", he
has kept in touch with the social life of
his city through church, club and frater-
nity membership. His clubs are the
Whist, Country and Genesee Valley, and
his fraternal affiliation is with the Ma-
sonic Order, the "best tenets" of which
institution he exemplifies in his life. In
political faith he is a Republican, and in
1912 was presidential elector on the Taft
ticket. Mr. Rogers' high ideals of busi-
ness probity have been in keeping with
his high ideals of private life, and both
are founded on a deep religious senti-
ment. He is not a dogmatic Christian,
but believes in religion as the mainspring
of life, a living, practical rule of life,
bringing peace, contentment and joy to
the possessor. For many years he has
been a vestryman and warden of St.
Luke's Protestant Episcopal Church, ever
active in the support of any worthy
object, religious, charitable or educational
in character.

Clinton Rogers married, August 23,
1876, Fannie C, daughter of Henry E.

Rochester, and granddaughter of Colonel
Nathaniel Rochester, founder of the city
that bears his name. The children of
Clinton and Fannie C. Rogers are : Fan-
nie Beatrice, wife of S. S. B. Roby, of
Rochester ; Alice Montgomery, wife of
Joseph Roby, M. D., of Rochester;
Rochester Hart, a lawyer of Rochester;
Helen, residing at home.

MERRITT, Edwin Atkins,

Legislator, Federal Official, Soldier.

The immigrant ancestor of the Merritt
family was Henry Merritt, a native of
England, who emigrated to this country
probably as early as 1626, and was among
the pioneer settlers of Scituate, Massa-
chusetts. Tradition says that he was
born in County Kent, England, 1590. He
died at Scituate, November 30, 1653. The
line descends through his son, John Mer-
ritt, who was born about 1635, died in
Scituate, about 1674. His son, John (2)
Merritt, was born in Scituate, 1660, died
there, June 5, 1749. His son, Jonathan
A'lerritt, was born in Scituate, May, 1702,
died in Hebron, Connecticut, October 27,
1758, having removed thither about 1730.
His son, Noah Merritt, was born in 1732,
died in Templeton, Massachusetts, March
24, 1814. His son, Noah (2) Merritt, was
born in Templeton, October, 1758, died in
Sudbury, Vermont, August 21, 1843. He
was a soldier in the Revolution from
Templeton, having enlisted, February 21,
1778, for three years, and he was also an
active participant in hostilities in the year
1780. His son, Noadiah Merritt, was
born in Templeton, December 3, 1782,
died in Pierrepont, New York, January i,
1854. He married Relief, daughter of
Jeremiah and Relief (Rogers) Parker, the
latter named having been a descendant,
according to family tradition, of John
Rogers, the Martyr, burned at the stake
at Smithfield, 1554. They were the par-



ents of General Edwin Atkins Merritt,
whose name heads this sketch.

General Edwin Atkins Merritt was
born in Sudbury, Vermont, February 26,
1828. He accompanied his family upon
their removal to St. Lawrence county,
New York, in 1841, and has resided in
that section of the State ever since, mak-
ing his home in Potsdam. After complet-
ing his studies in the public schools adja-
cent to his home, he served in the capac-
ity of school teacher in St. Lawrence
county. New York, but this occupation
not proving to his liking he qualified him-
self for the profession of civil engineer
and surveyor, which lines of work he fol-
lowed for many years, mainly in the Ad-
irondacks. He published the first map
for the use of tourists in the wilderness,
and was the engineer in charge of the
construction of the eastern section of the
Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Rail-
road. In 1854 he was elected supervisor
of the town of Pierrepont and reelected
the two following years. From 1857 to
i860 he was clerk of the Board of Super-
visors of St. Lawrence county, and in
1859 he was elected a member of the State
Assembly from the second district of this
county, receiving a plurality of one thou-
sand, three hundred and two votes, and
in i860 he was reelected by two thousand,
two hundred and fifty-nine plurality. In
1867 he was elected to the constitutional
convention of the State of New York and
was chairman of the committee on organ-
ization of the Legislature. For several
years he was a leading member of the
Republican State Central Committee. In
March, 1869, he was appointed naval
officer of the Port of New York by Presi-
dent Grant, and held that office for one
year and four months. In 1875 he was
the unsuccessful candidate for state treas-
urer, but two years later President Hayes
appointed him surveyor of the Port of
New York to succeed General Sharp, and
his administration was so successful that

the President promoted mm to the col-
lectorship of the port in July, 1878, and
up to that time he was the only man who
enjoyed the honor of having held the
three offices of surveyor, naval officer and
collector of the Port of New York. In
1881, shortly after the inauguration of
President Garfield, he was appointed
United States consul-general at London,
England, in which capacity he served until
1885, displaying the utmost zeal and
efiiciency. In 1871 he had been ofTered
the post of United States minister to
Brazil, but he declined the honor.

General Merritt also has had a notable
military career. At the beginning of the
Civil War, 1861, he was appointed quar-
termaster of the Sixtieth New York Regi-
ment of Volunteers. He served with the
Army of the Potomac, and after the battle
of Gettysburg went west, participating in
the battles about Chattanooga and in
Sherman's Georgia campaign as far as
Big Shanty, near Marietta, Georgia, when
he received from President Lincoln a
commission as commissary of subsistence
with the rank of captain, and was ordered
to Washington and stationed on the
Potomac river to supply reinforcements
proceeding to join Sheridan's army. At
the close of the campaign he was ordered
to Annapolis, Maryland, to pay commu-
tation of rations to the soldiers returning
from rebel prisons. While on this service
he was appointed quartermaster-general
on the staff of Governor Fenton and en-
tered upon the duties of his office, January
I, 1865, and continued until January, 1869.
Subsequently he was superintendent of
the Soldiers' Home and established free
agencies for collection of bounties, back
pay and pensions due soldiers from New
York State. He has always taken an ac-
tive interest in educational affairs, and
was one of the prime movers in securing
the location of the State Normal School
at Potsdam, of whose board of trustees
he has been president for many years, has.



also served in a similar office in St. Law-
rence University at Canton, and is a
member of the board of trustees of Clark-
son Institute of Technology of Potsdam.
He is a member of the Military Order of
the Loyal Legion.

General Merritt married, May 5. 1858,
Eliza, daughter of Jacob Rich. Children :
I. Edwin Albert, born July 25, i860, in
Pierrepont, New York, died December 4,
1914; was a graduate of Yale College,
class of 1884; was deputy consul-general
at London, England, 1885 ; admitted to
the practice of law and was a member of
the Bar Association of St. Lawrence
County, and of the State Bar Associ-
ation ; for several years was vice-presi-
dent of the League of Republican Clubs
of the State of New York; supervisor of
the town of Potsdam for seven years ;
elected assemblyman in 1901, reelected in
1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, and dur-
ing these terms was a member and often
chairman of various important com-
mittees ; and speaker of the Assembly,
1913 and 1914; and was elected to the
House of Representatives in 1913 to suc-
ceed George Mulby, and was a member
at the time of his death ; married, Janu-
ary 24, 1888, Edith Sophia Wilcox. 2.
Arthur Rich, born August 31, 1863, died
1867. 3. Parker Wilson, born December
7, 1865, died 1867. 4. Darwin Fenton,
born July 21, 1867, died 1875.

General Merritt is still living (1916)
in hale old age with faculties unimpaired.
Of his fidelity to the important trusts
committed to him, of his sterling char-
acter, the friendships he has inspired, and
the esteem in which he is held by his
community too much cannot be said.

STEWART, William Adams Walker,

LaTryer, Phllantbropist.

William A. W. Stewart, an attorney of
New York, is of Scotch antecedents, as

his name indicates. His grandfather, John
A. Stewart, was a native of Scotland, who
came to New York City, and here was
born his son. William Adams Walker
Stewart, who died in 1888. The latter
graduated at Princeton College, Prince-
ton, New Jersey, in 1871, and at Columbia
Law School, New York City, with the
degree of LL. B., and engaged in practice
of law in New York City. He married
Frances Gray, a native of Boston, Massa-

William A. W. Stewart, Jr., son of
William A. W. and Frances (Gray) Stew-
art, was born September 10, 1876, in New
York City, and was prepared for college
at the Berkeley School of New York, and
at Princeton Preparatory School, where
he spent one year. Following this he
pursued the classical course at Princeton
College, and was graduated with the de-
gree of A. B. in 1897. In the fall of the
same year he entered Columbia Law
School in New York, and was graduated
in 1900 with the degree of LL. B. In the
same year he was admitted to practice at
the New York bar, and entered the law
office of Edward W.Sheldon, in New York,
where he continued in a subordinate ca-
pacity for six years. At the end of this
period he became a partner in the law
firm of Sheldon & Stewart, which sub-
sequently became Stewart & Shearer,
which firm is pursuing an active practice
in New York City, with offices on Wall
street. Mr. Stewart has taken an active
interest in philanthropic work of the city,
and is a trustee of the New York Infirm-
ary for Women and Children. He is a
member of the Presbyterian church, and
in politics acts independently of party
guidance. He is a member of the Associ-

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 9 of 58)