George Washington Cowles.

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county. Many years subsequently the late Hon. Oscar Craig was his
partner in Rochester, as was subsequently the late George M. Mum-

He was chosen in 1831 district attooney. In 1839 he was elected
member of Congress. In 1842 he became member of assembly and in
1851 he was elected justice of the Supreme Court. He filled this posi-
tion eight years, during one of which he sat as judge of the Court of
Appeals. His record in that tribunal is indicated by the fact that of
all the opinions from the eight members of the court regarded as valu-
able for publication, the greatest number came from his pen, excepting
only three written by Judge Denio.

In his early years his office was sought by two students who not only
absorbed their law in his society, but also shared his hardships, sleep-
ing in the same bed and cutting the wood for the office fire. One was
Hon. William W. Campbell, later a judge of the Supreme Court, and
the other Hon. Thomas M. Cooley, late chief justice of the Supreme
Court of Michigan, chief interstate commerce commissioner, and
author of learned works on municipal law and constitutional limitation.


Judge Strong, after retiring from the bench, practiced several years
with conspicuous success in Rochester, N. Y., and subsequently with
even greater success in New York city. His grasp of legal principles,
his remarkably soimd judgment, his power of application, his patient
industry, his unassuming and courteous demeanor, won for him as a
practitioner unlimited confidence and commanded for him as a judge
the respect and regard of the bar; and among all classes in Wayne
count}*, the name of Theron R. Strong was synonymous with the high-
est qualities of Christian citizenship. He died in New York city on
May 14, 1873, honored by the bench and bar of that city.

Ezra Jewell was probably the first lawyer in Lyons, and must have
been one of the earliest in the county. He came in about 1812 and
died about 1822. He held the office of judge in Ontario county, of
which Wayne then formed a part.

Graham H. Chapin was a prominent lawyer of early times, who came
to Lyons about 1819. He was a graduate of Yale and a man of more
than ordinary ability. He was elected to the Twenty-fourth Congress
and served with credit one term.

Gen. William H. Adams, although not so conspicuous at the bar of
Wayne county as some others, owing to his devotion to public and
private interests in other directions, was nevertheless for many years
one of the leading men in the community. Born in Berkshire, Mass.,
in May, 1787, he began law practice in Canandaigua long before
Wayne county was created. He was an officer in the war of 1812 and
in 1820 settled in Lyons as a partner of Hugh Jamison, the firm soon
securing a large and successful business for those times. For twenty-
five years these men were well in the front of the local bar. Mr.
Adams was a warm and active supporter of the Erie Canal project and
eventually sunk his competence in an effort to construct the Sodus
Canal, an account of which is given elsewhere in this volume. He held
the office of district attorney in 1823, 1&30, and was county judge in
1846. Public spirited, full of business energy, General Adams accom-
plished much good in this county. He died in Alloway April 7, 1865.

Hiram K. Jerome settled in Palmyra as an attorney in 1823 and soon
assumed a leading position at the bar. In 1848 he ran on the Whig
ticket under the new constitution for judge of the Supreme Court, but
was defeated through a bolt at Canandaigua. This was a grievous
disappointment to him, and as he had already engaged to some extent
in produce business, he still further neglected his practice for that


occupation. He was not successful and removed to Bloomington,
111., where he practiced to about 1860, when he returned to Rochester,
N. Y., but remained there only a short time. Again locating in
Palmyra he opened a law office, but not securing the business he de-
sired he again went to Rochester, where he died about fifteen years
ago. He held the office of county judge of Wayne county one term
beginning in 1840.

Lyman Sherwood, who died in Lyons, September 2, 1865, at the age
of sixty-three years, was a prominent member of the bar and judiciary
of Wayne county. He was for many years at the head of the law firm
of Sherwood & Smith, which was in the front rank in Western New
York. Originally a Democrat in politics, Mr. Sherwood gave his
allegiance to the Republicans upon the organization of that party and
remained in its ranks until his death. He was elected surrogate in
1833. In 1842 he was appointed to the State Senate, vice Mark H.
Sibley resigned. In the fall of 1859 he was elected county judge and
surrogate, holding the office until 1863. Judge Sherwood is remem-
bered as a man of good ability and extremely conscientious in perform-
ing what he considered his duty ; he was consequently highly esteemed,
not only in his profession, but by the public at large. He was father
of Lyman Sherwood, long a well-known citizen of Lyons, father of
Mr. Sherwood, now publisher of the Lyons Republican.

John M. Holly was born in Connecticut, November 10, 1802; entered
Yale in 1818, studied law in the Litchfield Law School and in the offices
of his uncle, Orville L. Holley, of Lyons, and Joseph Kirkland, of
Utica, and was admitted to the bar in 1825. He began practice at once
in Buffalo, but a year later located in Wayne count} 7 , where he attained
a prominent position, and was honored by his fellow citizens. He was
for a period partner with Graham H. Chapin. In 1831 he was chosen
district attorney and again in 1842. In 1841 he was elected to the
Legislature. In 1847 he was elected to Congress, but his health had
been broken and his very promising career was cut short by death at
Jacksonville, Fla., March 8, is is.

John H. Camp was born in Ithaca, April 4, 1840, and graduated from
the Albany Law School at the age of twenty- one. He located in Lyons
in 1861 and entered the office of Justice Robert Ashley, and in L863
went into the office of the surrogate. Mr. Camp began his political career
early in life by stumping the district for Lincoln in 1860. He was an
eloquent and persuasive speaker and he soon gained a considerable in-


fluencein political circles. He was soon made chairman of the County
Committee. He was elected district attorney in November, 18G7, and
served with credit one term. In 1872 he was a presidential elector,
and in 1876 was elected to Congress, where he served three terms with
marked ability. In 1883 he was a candidate for justice of the Supreme
Court, but failed of election. through factional differences. From 1877
to his death Mr. Camp was senior in the firm of Camp & Dunwell,
one of the foremost legal firms in Western New York. Mr. Camp was
attorney for the N. Y. C. railroad. In 1891 he was admitted to practice
in the U. S. Supreme Court. He died in October, 1892.

Conspicuous among the early lawyers and judges of Wayne county
was William Sisson. He settled in Lyons about the year 1816, and
soon entered the front rank of practitioners. He long held the office
of justice of the peace and was also master in chancery. In 1830 he
was appointed judge of the Court of Common Pleas, and held the office
with credit to himself and satisfaction to his fellow citizens for the long
period of seventeen years. He was a Democrat in politics, but never
an aspirant for political office nor especially active in the political field.
•He became noted for the correctness of his decisions and his earnest-
ness and persistent study to enable himself to do nothing but justice in
all cases that came before him. His children were three sons and a
daughter. He died in Lyons, December 7, 1863, at the age of seventy-
six years.

Coles Bashford, a native of Putnam county, N. Y., came to Lyons
with his parents in 1822. He was educated in the seminary at Lima,
studied law and was admitted to practice in 1842. He advanced
rapidly in his profession, and was elected district attorney in 1847. In
1850 he removed to Wisconsin, and in 1863 to Arizona, where he died
April 25, 1878. He became conspicuous as a politician and office
holder in the West.

R. W. Ashley died in Lyons, December 12, 1863, at the age of forty-
six years. He was a son of Dr. Ashley, an early physician, studied
law with Judge Sherwood and became a popular and successful
attorney. He was justice of the peace about fifteen years.

W. F. Aldrich was born in Mendon, Mass., October 22, 1815. He
came to Palmyra while young and while clerk in the collector's office,
took up the study of law. He subsequently entered the office of Judge
Theron R. Strong, and began practice in 1839. He had as partners at
different periods George W. Cuyler, a Mr. Hopkins (a brilliant young


lawyer who died early in his career), Thomas Ninde, and finally Charles
McLouth, with whom he became associated in 1858, and continued
until 18G6. In that year he went to New York city and substantially
made that his residence, gaining a large practice. He was elected dis-
trict attorney of Wayne county in 1861. Besides his law business in
New York, Mr. Aldrich assisted in organizing the Union Trust Com-
pany and was its secretary. He was also appointed b) r the courts re-
ceiver for large estates. He died November 14, 1878.

James Peddie was a native of Fulton county, N. Y. He came to
Palmyra after having taught school a few years, and began practice.
He was a Democrat in politics, a speaker of considerable ability, gener-
ous hearted, and became very popular. He held the office of town
superintendent of schools and justice of the peace. Late in life he re-
turned to his native place and died there.

L. S. Ketchum was conspicuous in the early bar of the county. He
was probably a native of Chautauqua county and settled in Clyde early
in his career. He was elected judge of the county in 1851, and re-
elected in 1856, holding the office eight successive years. He married
Mary Young of Marion. Judge Ketchum was noted among his
brethren for his kindness and consideration towards young lawyers
who appeared before him ; for his unfailing generosity, and for a sturdy
and outspoken honesty which would never permit any misrepresenta-
tions of witnesses or other questionable practices by attorneys. Several
local lawyers studied in his office who subsequently became prominent.
Among them are George W. Cowles, of Clyde, and Charles Mc-
Louth, of Palmyra. He was quite prominent in politics and altogether
attained a position of honor among his fellow citizens. He died in
Clyde about twenty years since.

George H. Middleton came to Wayne county from New London,
Conn., either with or about the same time of his father who settled
first in Newark village. The father died in the town. The son had
been admitted to practice before his removal to Wayne county, and for
many years was one of the leading lawyers of this section. He was
elected county judge in 1847 and held the office one term. He was
twice married, his second wife being a sister of H. K. Jerome. Judge
Middleton removed to Syracuse where he died.

William S. Stow was born in Middlebury, Vt., October 6, 1797;
studied law with Elisha Williams in Hudson, N. Y., and was admitted
to the bar August 19, 1818. He began his practice in Cherry Valley


in 1819; removed to Bainbridge, N. Y., in 1820, where he married a
sister of William S. De Zeng, and removed to Clyde in 1825. He was
a man of very active mind and possessed good ability as a lawyer. He
was one of the founders of St. John's Episcopal church in 1840; a trus-
tee of Clyde High School at its organization in 1835; was for thirty-
eight years a warden and vestrymen in St. John's church; twenty-eight
years a delegate to the Diocesan Council, and was a persistent collector
of local historical material. He was a member of the Masonic fra-
ternity from 1823 until his death. His son, De Lancey Stow, is now
in practice in Clyde.

Clark Mason was born in West Woodstock, Conn., in 1809, and came
to Newark in 1828. He lived there until 1863, when he was elected
county clerk and removed to Lyons. He studied law and was admitted
to the bar in 1850 and practiced in Lyons, where he died in January 30,
1882. From 1829 to 1863 he was a justice of the peace in Newark, and
was six years a member of the Board of Education in Lyons; he was
also justice of the peace in the latter town from 1878 to 1882. He
married in 1847 Emeline Petrie, who survived him.

Charles D. Lawton was a native of Newport, R. I., where he was
born September 7, 1802. He was educated at Hamilton College, and
studied law with Hiram K. Jerome, of Palmyra, and was admitted
about 1831. In 1833 he began practice in Clyde. In 1837 he was ad-
mitted to practice in the Supreme Court.- Elected district attorney, he
removed to Lyons in 1844 and in 1848 went to New York city where
he was in practice with his brother Cyrus. About a year later he re-
turned to Clyde, where he died August 31, 1877. He was a lawyer of
good ability and high ideals of his profession.

Hon. Horatio N. Taft was born in Savoy, Mass., in 1806 and came to
Lyons in 1822, where he was one of the founders of the Union school.
He was admitted to the bar and advanced in his profession. In 1845
he was elected judge and in .1846 was sent to Congress. In 1876 he
was appointed chief examiner in the U. S. patent office. He left
Washington in 1866 and for about twelve, years was one of the editorial
staff of the Scientific American. He subsequently settled in Sag

Luther M. Norton, of Newark, was born in Groveland, Livingston
county, N. Y., in February, 1832. He studied law in Mt. Morris in
that county and was admitted to the bar in December, 1855. He re-
moved to Newark and for one year was a partner with the late Judge


George H. Middleton. He soon assumed a prominent position as a gen-
eral practitioner, and took considerable interest in politics. He held the
office of justice of sessions and in 1870 was elected county judge and
surrogate, holding the office one term. In 1892 he was again elected
to the same office and is the present incumbent. Judge Norton enjoys
the confidence and respect of the county bar and the public at large.

Charles H. Roys was born in Lyons in 1837 and was adopted when
a child by his maternal grandfather, Samuel Westfall. He graduated
from Hamilton College in 1861; raised a company of volunteers in
Clinton and went to the war as lieutenant; was promoted to a captain
in 117th Regiment and brevetted major. Returning he studied law
with John T. McKenzie, in Lyons. He was elected district attorney
in 1870. Mr. Roys is a brilliant orator, well versed in the principles
of his profession and has had a successful career.

Thomas Robinson was born in Rose in 1837. He was a son of Henry
Robinson, a native of Ireland, who settled in Rose in 1835, and died in
1874. The son was educated in Red Creek Academy and Falley
Seminary; was elected school commissioner in I860 and served four
years, meanwhile reading law with George W. Cowles; was admitted
in 1865, and remained in the office with Judge Cowles until 1881, when
he began practice by himself. He was elected State senator in the
fall of 1883 and served two years.

George H. Arnold was a promising young attorney of Lyons whose
career was closed by death at the age of thirty-seven years; he died
July 2, 1867. He was a graduate of the law school at Poughkeepsie
and began practice in the office of Smith & Cornell in Lyons.

In Part II of this volume will be found personal sketches of numer-
ous other living attorneys of Wayne county.




Wayne County Medical Society — Wayne County Homeopathic Medical Society —
Sketches and Reminiscences.

Previous to the formation of Wayne county the medical profession
was, of course, under the jurisdiction of the Ontario County Society,
which had its origin early in the present century. There is now no prac-
ticable means of learning the number of members of that society, or the
officers, if any, who were from within the present limits of Wayne
county, except as they maybe inferred from the list of those who shared
in organizing the Wayne County Society.

A meeting of physicians and surgeons was held, pursuant to a call,
in the Presbyterian Church in Lyons on June 2, 1823, for the purpose of
organizing a medical society in the new county. Dr. Gain Robinson
was chosen to preside, and William White acted as secretary. The fol-
lowing named persons were found competent and authorized to practice
medicine, and enrolled their names : Seth Tucker, C. S. Button, Samuel
Moore, Abraham L. Beaumont, Robert W. Ashley, Daniel Chapman,
William White, Joseph P. Roberts, Henry Hyde, Elisha Mather, Levi
Gaylord, Gain Robinson, Durfee Chase, Allen H. Howland, John Lewis,
William A. Gilbert, J. B. Pierce, Henry C. Hickox, Jonathan Corwin,
Morris T. Jewell, Timothy Johnson, and John R. Taintor.

This made a membership of twenty-two. The election of officers fol-
lowed with this result: President, Gain Robinson; vice-president, John
Lewis; secretary, William White; treasurer, Elisha Mather; censors,
J. B. Pierce, sr. , A. L. Beaumont, Robert Ashley, Morris T. Jewell,
Durfee Chase.

The preparation of by-laws for the society was entrusted to a commit-
tee consisting of Seth Tucker, J. B. Pierce, and William White. Will-
iam H. Adams and Alexander R. Tiffany were admitted honorary mem-
bers of the society and chosen its attorneys. A committee was also
selected to procure a society seal, to bear the symbol of a lancet.



It was determined to hold two meetings each year, in Jime and in
February. At the second meeting, which was held in Sodus, four new
members were elected: Alexander Mclntyre, Josiah Bennett, Jacob S.
Arden, and Hiram Mann. After this meetings were held in the vari-
ous more prominent villages of the county.

That the Wayne County Medical Society early determined to open a
war upon illegal practitioners is indicated by the fact that at the meet-
ing held in Newark in 1824 a committee was appointed from each town
to report illegal practitioners to the attorneys of the society, and a reso-
lution was adopted that a fine of twenty-five dollars be imposed upon
any member who should in any way assist or countenance such illegal
practice. This was an unusually severe penalty for an offense that in
early times was often difficult to avoid. A resolution was adopted at a
later meeting, that representatives of the county in the Legislature be
requested to endeavor to secure the passage of the law making it a
felony to practice illegally. The beneficent law of 1880, which makes
it imperative for every physician intending to practice in any county to
register his name, place and date of birth, when and where graduated,
etc., in the county clerk's office, renders such regulations unnecessary in
these later times, and at the same time supplies a record which may be
read by both professional and layman.

Eight new members were admitted to the society in June, 1824. At
the annual meeting of 1825, held in Newark, an effort was inaugurated
to procure the removal of the medical college at Fairfield, Herkimer
county, to some point farther west, with the expectation that it might
be ultimately located in Wayne county. The annual meeting of 1826
was held in Palmyra, and Dr. Alexander Mclntyre was chosen as the
first delegate to the New York State Medical Society.

During the period between the formation of the society and 1840 this
society seems to have experienced a period of prosperity and activity,
during which 117 members were admitted; but the act of May G, 1S44,
removing to a great extent the restrictions on physicians, and ignoring
their qualifications, struck a severe blow at all medical societies, and for
a few years the Wayne society was discouraged. About 1S50 interest
again awakened, members became active and earnest in working for
the general welfare and good reputation of this profession, and the so-
ciety has flourished ever since. Many able and important papers have
been prepared and read before the society by its officers and members.
In 1SS4 this society withdrew from the New York State Medical So-

•J^-t^-^C I £^<^__


ciety and joined the New York State Medical Association, of which it
has since been a member.

The successive presidents of the Wayne county society have been as
follows: Gain Robinson, 1823-26; Robert W. Ashley, 1827; J. B. Pierce,
1 828 ; Gain Robinson, 1 829-30 ; Robert W. Ashley, 1831 ; John Delamatcr,
1832-34; A. Mclntyre, 1835-38; J. M. Wilson, 1839-41; A. Mclntyre,
1842-43; Nelson Peck, 1844-45; Dr. Gaylord, sr., 1846; A. Mclntyre.
1847-8; J. B. Pierce, 1849; from 1850 to 1876 the following: C. G. Pom-
eroy, Darwin Colvin, L. M. Gaylord, S. Weed, E. W. Bottom, J. E.
Smith, A. F. Sheldon; C. M. Kingman, 1876; J. N. Arnold,. 1877 ; L.
S. Sprague, 1878; Alexander Sayres, 1879; H. F. Seaman, 1880; L. A.
Crandall, 1881; C. G. Pomeroy, 1882; J. W. Putman, 1883; D. B. Hor-
ton, 1884; Darwin Colvin, 1885; D. B. Horton, 1886; J. W. Arnold,
1887; W. J. Hennessy, 1888; N. E. Landon, 1889; A. A. Young, 1890;
George D. York, 1891; M. E. Carmen, 1892; Darwin Colvin, 1893.

The annual meeting of this society for 1894 was held at the court-
house in Lyons on July 10. The annual address was read by the presi-
dent, Dr. Darwin Colvin, on the subject: "Medical Men and Medical
Literature Fifty Years Ago." It was a valuable and interesting paper.
Committees were appointed to prepare resolutions of respect and sym-
pathy upon the death of Drs. John A. Patterson, of Harwick, Mass.,
and Frank PI. Finley, of Macedon. A vote of thanks was tendered the
retiring secretary, Dr. J. M. Turner, for her long and faithful service.
The following officers were chosen for the ensuing year; Dr. L. H.
Smith, of Palmyra, president; Dr. T. H. Hallett, of Rose, vice-presi-
dent; Dr. A. A. Young, of Newark, secretary; Dr. Darwin Colvin, of
Clyde, treasurer; Drs. M. A. Veeder, N. E. Landon. W. J. Hennessey,
and A. A. Arnold, censors ; S. B. Mclntyre, esq. , of Palmyra, attorney.

Following is a list of the members of the society for 1894: Thomas
H. Hallett, Rose; Charles H. Towlerton, Lyons; M. Alice Brownell,
Newark; L. A. Crandall, Palmyra; J. N. Arnold, Clyde; J. W. At-
wood, Marion; G. D. Barrett, Clyde; H. N. Burr, Palmyra; H. L.
Chase, Palmyra; Darwin Colvin, Clyde; E. H. Draper, Wolcott; W.
J. Hennessey, Palmyra; N. E. Landon, Newark; James W. Putnam,
Lyons; H. F. Seaman, Alton; A. F. Sheldon, Lyons; J. E. Smith,
Clyde; L. H. Smith, Palmyra; J. L. Sprague, L. S. Sprague, William-
son; Miss J. M. Turner, M. H. Veeder, Lyons; George D. York, Hu-
ron; A. A. Young, Newark; M. E. Carmen, Lyons; Frank S. Barton,
Clyde; F. L. Wilson, Sodus; M. W. T. Negus, South Sodus; W. F.
Nutten, Newark,


The society now holds annual meetings on the 2d Tuesday of July,
at which officers are elected, and semi-annual meetings on the 2d Tues-
day of January. Since L880, 194 physicians have registered in the
county clerk's office in Lyons.

Wayne Count\- Homeopathic Medical Society. — Ever since the intro-
duction into this country of the school of medical practice founded by
Hahnemann, Wayne county has had its representatives, and among
them have been men of high character and intelligence, who have been
favored with large practice. All this is indicated by the fact that as
early as 1864, on February 9, a society of physicians of this school was
organized at Lyons, at the office of Dr. S. D. Sherman. Dr. M. P.
Sweeting, at South Butler, was chosen chairman. The society organ-
ized by the election of the following officers : I hirfee Chase, president;
M. V. Sweeting, vice-president; E. R. Heath, secretary and ti'easurer.
A code of by-laws and a constitution was prepared and at a later meet-
ing was adopted. It was at first determined to hold semi-annual meet-
ings, and afterwards quarterly. Besides the officers before named the
following constituted the original membership: A. G. Austen, O. C.
Parsons, S. B. Sherman, L. Goedicke, and A. P. Troop. At the pres-
ent time (1894) the society has twelve members. The last body of of-
ficers was elected in 1880 as follows: President, J. A. Reed, of Newark;
secretary, William H. Sweeting, of Savannah. Dr. Sweeting has held
the office of secretary continuously, since 1881. The following have

Online LibraryGeorge Washington CowlesLandmarks of Wayne County, New York → online text (page 13 of 107)