George Washington Cowles.

Landmarks of Wayne County, New York online

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Lockwood, and James Gregg. In 1853 Rev. Antoinette L. Brown, the
first woman regularly ordained to theministry in the State, was installed
pastor "by a speech from Gerritt Smith." Soon afterward the society
languished and finally ceased to exist. Their old church is now used
as a dwelling.

The Disciples Church of South Butler originally consisted of eleven
members, among whom were John Dratt and wife, Lyman Hill and
sister (Mrs. Chapin), Israel J. Clapp and wife, and a Mr. Comstock.
Mr. Dratt was the elder. The meetings were first held in an old tan-
nery, and for some time in school houses. This church, first designated
" Campbellite," then "Disciples," and later " Christian, " was instituted
about 1831. They denied Scriptural authority for ordaining or setting
apart any one as a minister or preacher, or as specially authorized to
administer the rites of the church, such as baptism and the Lord's
supper; and maintained that a hired ministry and the "paying for
preaching" were unnecessary. This dogma was therefore practiced
upon. They organized themselves into a congregation of baptized be-
lievers, and any one of them might perform the duties of the church.
Their first meeting house, which cost about $800, was sold to the
Advents. In 1861 the present edifice in South Butler was erected at
an expense of $3,000. The first located minister was Josiah I. Lowell,
who remained until his death in L858. The first Sunday school was
organized by Dr. M. F. Sweeting about is,">.">, with fifty pupils. The
present pastor is Rev. Mr. Applegate. The society has L 70 members.

The Seeoiid Advent church was organized at South Butler in L861.
The old church edifice of the Disciples was purchased and used as a


place of worship. They still maintain regular services and a Sabbath
school. The local preacher is E. P. Stevens.

The Methodist Protestant church of South Butler was erected in L879
with Rev. A. L. Stinnard in charge. Prior to his appointment a class
was organized at the house of R. H. Arnold, with twelve members,
and with Arthur Skinner as leader. The first church services were held
in a hall over the hardware store, and the first cpiarterly meeting con-
vened here June 3 and 4, 1880. The Baptist church was leased and
later the Advent church was used, and in 1881 Rev. W. H. Bentley be-
came pastor. Their frame edifice was erected that year and dedicated
in August by Rev. M. Prindle. It cost about $2,500. The present pastor
is Rev. Hale Gardner. The society owns a parsonage and has about
forty members.

The Methodist Episcopal church of Butler Center was erected prior
to or about 183G and belonged to the Rose circuit, for on the records is
the following entry: "The first quarterly meeting was held in the
Methodist chapel. Butler Center, December 3, 1836. Present — Isaac
Stone, presiding elder; Burrow Holmes, preacher in charge; Joseph
Byron, assistant; John Roe, secretary; Thomas Roberts and Daniel
Smith, local preachers; Austin Roe and Francis R. Nichols, exhorters.
Class leaders: M. Smith, Paul- H. Davis, James Cosgrove, William
Wadsworth, Thomas West, Russell Rusco, Thaddeus Collins, Benja-
min Jenkins, Joel H. Lee, James Park, Amos Aldrich."

The society owns a frame parsonage and a cemetery plat adjoining
the church lot. The membership numbers about ninety and Rev. C.
C. Tucker is pastor. F. R. Pierson is Sunday school superintendent.

A Methodist Episcopal church was built at a very early day on the
present site of the Disciples parsonage at South Butler. It was finallv
moved to Savannah village, where its frame forms that of the M. E.
church building" there.





Charles T. Saxton, attorney in Clyde, Wayne county, N. Y., and nominee in 1894
of the Republican party for lieutenant-governor of the State of New York, was born in
Clyde in 1846. He is a son of Daniel Saxton, -who was for nearly fifty years a respected
citizen of Clyde, and who died in 1891. His advantages for securing an early education
were very limited. After attending district school until he was fourteen years old, he
worked about a year as clerk in a dry goods store. He was ambitious to go to college,
and with that purpose in view studied Greek while working as clerk. He hoped to be
able to fit himself to enter college and then work his way through. But the breaking
out of the war changed his plans. It required very little consideration by him to arrive
at a determination to enlist, and he did so, with a few of his young companions, joining
the 90th New York Infantry soon after the conflict began and went with the regiment
to East New York, where he remained until January 5, 1862. From there the regiment
proceeded to Key West, Fla. Mr. Saxton was then only fifteen years old. In the
miserable Florida barracks the regiment was attacked by yellow fever and 200 of its
number died. In the summer of 1863 the regiment went to Port Hudson and in the
siege of that place experienced its first taste of real war. Then followed the Red River
campaign, in which Mr. Saxton won the rank of sergeant-major. At Pleasant Valley,
Cox's Plantation, and other engagements the 90th Regiment served with credit. After
this the regiment was not engaged until the summer of 1864, when they were ordered
to Washington, where they joined Sheridan and shared in the glorious Shenandoah
Valley campaign. The extreme marches and field privations of this campaign caused
Mr. Saxton's severe illness, and he was sent to a Washington hospital with a fair
assurance that he would not leave it alive. But he is of sturdy stuff and was soon
afterward sent home on a furlough, tipping the scales at 114 pounds; his present weight
is 225 pounds. Forty days later he was again ready for the field. At the close of the
war his regiment was ordered to Hawkinsville, Ga., where they were kept until
February, 1866. On February 19 they were ordered to Hart's Island and mustered out,
four years and three months after Mr. Saxton's enlistment.

Returning from the war, still young and ambitious to enter a profession, Mr. Saxton
began the study of law in the office of Vandenberg & Baker in Clyde and studied night
and day until his admission to the bar in 1867. He was only twenty-one years old at



this time, and married soon after his admission to the bar with no other expectations of
income other than what he might earn by hard labor. He went with his wife to Grand
Rapids, Mich., and opened an office. Partly on account of his wife's desire to live
among friends they returned to Clyde and he formed a partnership with John L. Crane,
which existed two years. In 1876 he formed a partnership with his old teacher in law,
John Vandenberg, of Clyde, and for the succeeding seventeen years they worked har-
moniously and successfully together until the death of Mr. Vandenberg in the spring of
1894. A quick thinker, a concise, eloquent and effective speaker, Mr. Saxton early
attracted attention in his profession, and he attained unusual success. A Republican in
politics, he identified himself with the work of his party, and his talents were soon
recognized. After holding the offices of village clerk in Clyde, trustee and president of
the village, and justice of the peace, he was elected in 188G to the State Assembly, re-
ceiving the largest majority the district ever gave a candidate for that office. He was
one of the readiest and most conspicuous debaters in the Legislature and served with
special credit and ability on the Judiciary Committee. He was elected to the Legislature
in 1888 and 1889 ; was chairman in both years of the Judiciary Committee, and under-
took to secure the passage of his famous ballot-reform measure. His well-directed
efforts, his eloquent speeches, and his untiring labors were finally crowned with success.
In the fall of 188D he was elected to the State Senate and was re elected without op-
position in 1891. In that body, as in the Assembly, he occupied a conspicuous position,
not only in the councils of his own party, but in the promotion of many important
measures. In 1891 he secured the enactment of the ballot-reform bill, which embodied
the main features of the Australian ballot system ; but he was forced to accept it in an
imperfect form by the opposition of the other political adherents. In 1888 he had
charge in the Assembly of the bill providing that the death penalty should be inflicted
by electricity, which became a law the same year. In 1891 he framed and introduced
a corrupt practices Act, which defined offenses against the elective franchise and re-
quired, among other things, the publication by candidates of their election expenses.
This is the first act of the kind ever placed on the statute books of any American State;
and he has never ceased his efforts to supply the deficiencies of that law, but thus far
without marked success. In the fall of 1893 he was again elected to the Senate for the
third time by a plurality of 8,500, and by the unanimous expression of his Republican
colleagues was made temporary president and leader of the majority. Mr. Saxton's
career in the last session of the Legislature is well known. It was marked by the same
untiring activity, adherence to what he believed to be for the best interests of the State,
and his eloquent advocacy of those measures which made that session conspicuous. In
the fall of 1894, and while this volume is in press, Mr. Saxton was made a candidate of
his party for the office of lieutenant-governor, with Levi P. Morton for governor, and
the ticket has been unanimously nominated at Saratoga, and elected on the 6th day of
November. This election forces Mr. Saxton to resign his office in the Senate.

Senator Saxton is noted for his brilliant advocacy in the Legislature of those measures
designed to promote the moral and intellectual advancement of the people at large.
Among the many bills of general interest introduced by him, which are now upon the
statute books,, are the university-extension bill, the anti-pool room bill, and the bill

Styju~ W. Wtiei



regulating gifts for charitable purposes, which is designed to prevent the failure of such
great public charities as that contemplated by the will of the late Samuel J. Tilden. lie
is recognized throughout the State as one of the most popular and effective of the
campaign speakers.

In 1892 Mr. Saxton was chosen honorary chancellor of Union College, Schenectady,
and delivered the chancellor's address to the graduating class, receiving the degree
of LL.D.

Mr. Saxton is a prominent member of the G. A. R.. in which he has been commander
of two different Posts, a member of the Department Council of Administration, and was
delegate- at-large from this department to the National Encampment of 1894.

Mr. Saxton's marriage took place in 1868 to Helen M., daughter of Ambrose S.
Field. They have four children.


Stephen K. Williams was born in Bennington, Vt. His father was Richard P.
Williams, a successful physician of that place. His mother was Lucy Fletcher, of Lud-
low, Vt. When he was four years old his family, consisting of his father, mother, and
older brother Fletcher and himself, removed to Newark, N. Y., where Stephen K. has
since resided. His father, Richard P. Williams, practiced his profession of physician and
surgeon several years, but finally retired from practice on account of ill health, and died
several years ago. His mother, Lucy F. Williams, died recently at the age of ninety-five
years. His brother, Fletcher Williams, is a banker at Newark, and president of the First
National Bank, of which he is the founder.

Mr. Williams's ancestors on his father's side came from Wales. His mother's name
was Keyes. His mother's brothers, Elijah and Timothy Fletcher, of Lynchburg, Va.,
and Michael, Calvin and Stoughton A. Fletcher, of Indianapolis, Ind., were prominent
men in the States where they lived.

Stephen K. Williams was from childhood a student, attending the common school at
Bennington, Vt, when three years of age. He is indebted to his father, who taught
him on winter evenings not only the common branches, but also the beginning of Latin
and Greek, for the foundation of his education. At ten years of age his father sent him
back to Bennington to attend the academy for a year, during which time he studied
Latin and other branches. On his return the remainder of his academic education was
obtained in the Palmyra, N. Y., Academy. He entered Union College at Schenectady
at the age of fifteen years, one year in advance, being the second or sophomore year
took the classical course, and graduated at eighteen. While in college he u stood among
the first in a class of about 125 and at the end of his course there received the honorary
election as member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, and was also one of the members of
his class selected to deliver an oration on Commencement day. He has since received
from Union College the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.

On his graduation from college he spent part of a year in Adrian, Mich., with his
father, buying wheat. He then returned to Newark, N. Y., and, as his father had


selected the profession of law for him, he entered the law office of Hon. Lyman Sher-
wood, county judge, as a student; and after remaining there about a year, finished his
law studies in the office of George H. Middleton, an able and accomplished attorney, and
on his admission to the bar was offered and accepted a partnership with Mr. Middleton
in the law business, with whom he remained several years. On Mr. Middleton being
elected county judge the firm was dissolved, and Mr. Williams opened a law office by
himself in Newark, where he has since resided.

M r. Williams has always been a devoted student and taking for his motto that " Genius
is labor," has exemplified it by hard labor in his office and has risen to the rank of one
of the most prominent lawyers in the State. He has always given close attention and
patient labor to his law cases and preparing them from his extensive law library, is quite
successful, and is always listened to with attention in the Circuit. Courts and in the
General Term of the Supreme Court, and in the Court of Appeals.

Mr. Williams has also during a part of his life been a politician and interested him-
self actively in the advancement of his party. He was district attorney for Wayne
county for three years. He declined other political preferment for some time, but at
length yielding to the solicitations of his friends, he was elected State senator for the
25lh district including the counties of Wayne and Cayuga, in 1864, and performed his
duties in that body with such acceptance to his constituents that he was twice re-elected,
holding the office six successive years. He gave the same ardent and industrious effort
to the duties of his political positions, as to his private practice in his profession. While
in the political field Mr. Williams was recognized as a factor of influence in his county
and throughout the State. He for a long time enjoyed the intimate friendship of Will-
iam H. Seward (of Cayuga county), one of the counties represented by Mr. Williams
in the Senate, especially while Mr.* Seward was secretary of state in President Lincoln's
and President Johnson's administrations. Mr. Williams was in Albany, as senator, at
the time of President Lincoln's assassination and took part in the ceremonies attending
the reception of the president's body in that city on its wav to the tomb in Springfield

Mr. Williams was active in forwarding legislation in support of the government and
in raising troops during the war. He was a member of the County War Committee and
president of the Town War Committee, and freely devoted his time and energies to the
raising of and care for the volunteers during the great struggle.

Mr. Williams was president of the Sodus Point and Southern Railroad Company while
that road was in process of construction and until its completion, and contributed largely
to its building. The completion of this road was the commencement of the permanent
giowth of the village of Newark and it has ever since been a principal factor in the ex.
ceptional advancement and prosperity of that village.

In 1882 Mr. Williams became the editor of the United States Supreme Court Reports,
published by the Lawyers' Co-operative Publishing Company, of Rochester, and has
since, with the exception of one year, acceptably filled this responsible position. In
that year he went to Washington and inaugurated the necessary arrangements for the
publishing of these reports, and while there became acquainted with Chief Justice Waite
and the other members of that court. This edition is now in thirty-eight volumes, each
one containing four of the official volumes.


Mr. Williams has always kept up his law practice at Newark and is a partner with
his son, Byron C. Williams, in that business.

Mr. Williams married Angeline Crane, daughter of Judge Zenas S. Crane, of Mont-
clair, N. J., who is now living. They have five children : Byron C, above mentioned,
Sarah Elizabeth, Frances J., Ida, and Cora May, all of whom except Ida A. are living.


Was a native of Tompkins county, N. Y., and was born in Ithaca April 4, 1840.
His father was Frederick M. Camp, who removed soon after the birth of his son to
Trumansburg, where he died. His mother was Sarah (Piatt) Camp, who was nearly
related to Hon. Thomas C. Piatt; she died in Trumansburg in January, 1894. The
other children of this family besides John H. were Mrs. Frank H. Griswold, of Auburn,
(a half sister), Mrs. George M. Patten, of Bath, Me., and the late Mrs. David S. Biggs,
of Trumansburg.

John H. Camp attended the academy in his native county where he won his first
laurels as an orator and debater, and afterwards entered the Albany Law School from
which he graduated with honor. Following this he spent a short time in Mr. Bishop's
law office in Rochester, whence he came to Lyons where the number of attorneys then
seemed less in proportion to population than in most localities. He opened an office
with the late R. W. Ashley, but in 1863 was appointed by Judge George W. Cowles to
take charge of the surrogate's office. This position soon gave him opportunity to form
a valuable acquaintanceship in all parts of Wayne county, which was of great service to
him in later years. He remained in that office under Judge L. M. Norton also ; but it
should not be understood that he acted as "surrogate's clerk," as he preferred to feel
free to keep up the practice of his profession. Clients sought him frequently and he
soon gained a considerable practice, in which he met with gratifying success. He was
an eloquent speaker, peculiarly persuasive and courteous in his address, while his legal
ability and conscientious efforts for his clients rendered him a formidable opponent at
the bar. He early entered the political field, which had great attractions for him, and
he became one of the most popular and effective campaign speakers in the State.

In 1867 Mr. Camp was elected district attorney of Wayne county and served most
acceptably through an important term, the prosecution of the murderer Graham falling
to him — a case that attracted attention throughout the country. In 1872 Mr. Camp
was one of the Republican Presidential Electors, and secretary of the Electoral College.
During these years be was rapidly gaining political strength and prestige, and in 1877
he was elected to the 45th Congress, where he made a brilliant and successful record
for six years. He exerted a large influence in that legislative body and left a record in
every way worthy of his talent and character. It was while in Washington that the
persistent malady attacked him from which he was thenceforth to suffer.

Returning from his labors in Congress Mr. Camp was nominated in 1883 for the high
office of justice of the Supreme Court. His colleague on the judiciary ticket, Hon. W.


D. Stuart, of Rochester, had inclined the enmity of many members of the Monroe
county bar, which led to the formation of an association of lawyers to defeat the Re-
publican nominees. This action in combination with the wave of Democratic success
growing out of the Folger-Cleveland campaign, and the popularity of the Democratic
candidates, was sufficient to defeat the opposing nominees in a district that is regularly
Republican. There was also treachery in his own county that contributed to defeat
Mr. Camp, though he was reluctant to believe it. It was a disappointment, undoubtedly,
to Mr. Camp, but it was not an unmixed misfortune; for he entered with renewed
ardor into the practice of his profession and with most remarkable success. He worked
hard and his great ability, his power as an advocate, his versatility and unbounded con-
fidence in himself, rendered him a legal antagonist to be feared. Admitting to partner-
ship, I. W. Dunwell, a young attorney who was destined to attain eminence in the
profession, the firm became favorably known not only throughout Wayne county, but
far beyond its bounds. His partnership with Mr. Dunwell began in 1877, continued till
Mr. ("amp's death, and was one of the strongest in this part of the State. The New
York Central Railroad Company and other large corporations sought the services of the
firm, and their practice became very large and lucrative.

His passion for politics again prompted Mr. Camp to enter the field, not as a candidate
for office, but as a controlling factor through Wayne county and a powerful influence in
the western part of the State. His talents were readily recognized by the State leaders
and in all important councils his presence and voice were sought. For years he was
intimately associated with Thomas C. Piatt, by whom he was implicitly trusted, and in
1891 when age compelled Hon. John N. Knapp to relinquish the chairmanship of the
State Committee, Mr. Camp was placed on the committee and would have been given
the chairmanship had not his increasing ill health interfered.

Throughout Mr. Camp's political career he exhibited the qualities of the born general
in that field. He was personally affable, courteous to all, and created a favorable im-
pression upon every one with whom he came in contact. Those who once acknowl-
edged his leadership, were reluctant to abandon it. He never refused a favor that he
could properly grant, and never forgot a promise however insignificant. No citizen of
Wayne county ever equaled him in the extent of his political connections and influence
outside of his own county. Generous, honorable, a charming talker, with social quali-
ties that endeared him to his friends, he was a personality that will not soon be for-

Mr. Camp was married in 1864 to Yictoria R. Drummond, of Bath, Me., to whose
love and devotion he was often heard to credit much of his success in life. They had
two children, one of whom, Frederick Mortimer Camp, died in infancy. Mrs. Camp
and a daughter, Mrs. Charles W. Armour, survive him. Mr. Camp's death occurred on
October 12, 1892, at his home in Lyons.

At a meeting of the Bar Association of Wayne county, October 14, 1892, a committee
consisting of Hon. Charles T. Saxton, Stephen K. Williams, and Charles McLouth, was
named to prepare a suitable memorial of Mr. Camp. This memorial (prepared by Mr.
McLouth), was reported at the annual meeting of the association, held November 14,
1892, and from it the following brief extracts are taken:


Coming to this bar in the first flush of professional life, his incisure at once displayed
itself, and every member of the bar acknowledged his fitness for the place. So without
seeming to lead, he easily led, and without crowding his way, it opened to him. His
industry was great — his preparation great — his advocacy great — and his labor tireless.
American lawyers are not prone to yield to leadership, but th*y are not ungenerous to
merit nor indifferent to success. No one sulked over Mr. Camp's triumphs. He won
by hard work, or by merit of his case, or by strategy, and he combined them all. .
He fought as fiercely against bodily infirmities, when any other might have succumbed
to the first assault, as for his clients. His location, his standing, his power over juries
his industry, his acquaintance, all combined to place him largely on the plaintiff's side,
and the great proportion of cases are with the plaintiff in all courts. And withal he

Online LibraryGeorge Washington CowlesLandmarks of Wayne County, New York → online text (page 46 of 107)