George Washington Cowles.

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was the most decisive innovation of the period in pear culture, and is at the present
time, 1894, vigorous and productive. L. H. Bailey, professor of horticulture of Cornell
University, while visiting it in its season of fruiting in 1894, said; "It is an inspi-
ration to me, and is an historical orchard." Many of the trees are from nine to twelve
inches in diameter and only about eight to ten feet high.

In 1879 Mr. Yeomans visited Holland, and brought thence that fine strain of Hol-
stein-Friesian cattle (thirty-three animals), the nucleus of the herd of T. G. Yeomans
& Sons, which has become famous throughout the country, and the progeny of whicn
have enriched the stock of countless farms. One of the largest breeders and best judges
of this breed of cattle pronounces this the most remarkable importation ever made. It
was this firm, with this herd, who first brought out conspicuously, by actual tests, the
surprising qualities of this breed for butter production ; which have since been abund-
antly confirmed and demonstrated by their winning the chief prizes at most of the great
public contests of the breeds in this country ; and by the production of more butter from
one cow in a single year than was ever produced by any other cow of any breed, viz. :


eleven hundred and fifty-three pounds and fifteen ounces. On the organization of " The
Holstein-Friesian Association of America," Mr. Yeomans was chosen its first president,
and some member of their firm has at all times been a member of its official board. Mr.
Yeomans has not only visited several European countries, but has seen much of Ameri-
ca, having twice with Mrs. Yeomans visited the Pacific coast, spending three months
in California, and later visited Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. His several
other excursions include New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and all of the States of the
American Union except Texas. Between 1836 and 1845 he held, part of the time, the
office of town clerk and postmaster; and subsequently justice of the peace for about
sixteen years. Previous to holding the latter office litigation was quite common, though
by h ; s method of administration it was so checked that only five or six suits were con-
tested in his part of the town during the whole period of his official service. He was
supervisor of Walworth in 1849 and 1850, and is understood to be the only person liv-
ing who was supervisor either of those years.

The following year, 1851, he was elected member of assembly, serving two years in
succession ; he can learn of but two others now living who were members of that hon-
orable body in 1851, viz.: Hon. William H. Feller, then of Dutchess county, and now of
Minnesota, and Hon. Hamilton Harris, of Albany.

He has voted at fifty-nine consecutive annual elections, and in the good old times
from 1836 to 1846, when elections were held three days at different places in each town,
he was in the habit orattending all three days at the polls. His first vote was cast for
Gen. William Henry Harrison in 1836, and he had the pleasure of helping to elect him
in 1840 ; it is needless to say that he was among the enthusiastic supporters of the old
General's grandson in 1888. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention
in 1884 which nominated James G. Blaine for president.

Mr. Yeomans' eldest son, L. T. Yeomans, was member of assembly from Wayne
county in 1872 and 1873 ; his youngest son, Francis O, was two years member of
assembly in the State of Washington.

When the rebellion broke out in 1861, and President Lincoln called for 75,000 volun-
teer soldiers, Mr. Yeomans offered to pay each man who enlisted from Walworth three
dollars per month extra pay, and paid them through their colonel, Joseph W. Corning,
of the 33d Regiment, U. S. Vol.

Under a subsequent call for " 300,000 more " he went to New York city and procured
enlisted men to fill the quota for Walworth (seventeen or eighteen men).

About 1840 Mr. Yeomans offered a liberal prize for planting shade trees on the streets
and public grounds of the village, and an extra prize of twenty-five dollars to the person
who would plant the greatest number within three-fourths of a mile of the village.
The result was the planting of many hundreds, which have become in later years the
ornament and pride of the place.

The village of Walworth has abundance of nice flag stone and cement walks, a large
portion of which were provided by Mr. Yeomans, including those about the hotel and
churches. He took an active part in organizing Walworth Academy more than fifty
years ago, and has been one of its trustees from the first, and the largest contributor to
its finances.


The town of Walworth is noted for its general neatness and orderly character, which
may be attributed in some degree to the fact that no license to sell intoxicating drinks
has been granted there for about sixty years ; and it was the first town in the State to
refuse such license.

The public are accommodated with a beautiful and commodious hotel, " The Pacific,"
built and owned by Mr. Yeomans; and since its construction in 1877 has been nicely
kept on strictly temperance principles, an honor to the town. It is unnecessary to say
that Mr. Yeomans has been a prime actor in securing and maintaining the public senti-
ment which favors this desirable condition of things, so beneficial to the community.

It is only natural that a man of his ability, experience and usefulness, should be a
great power politically and otherwise in the town and county where he has resided for
so many years, and where the whole of a busy manhood has been passed. Neverthe-
less it is rarely the case that for so many years in succession the people of any commu-
nity trust their affairs to so large an extent to one man. Mr. Yeomans may well feel
proud of the fact that for so many years his voice and influence have been so decisive
in the selection of candidates for office, and the choice of delegates to the various gath-
erings of the Republican party, as well as to the many public interests of the commu-

It shows the confidence with which he has been able to inspire two, or even three
generations of his fellow townsmen ; and is a most fitting testimonial of the worth and
sterling integrity of the man.

The portrait of Mr. Yeomans published herein is copied from a photograph taken
when he was eighty years of age.


Hon. George W. Cowles was born in December, 1824, in the town of Otisco, Onon-
daga county, N. Y. He entered Hamilton College, and was graduated in 1845. For
six years after completing his college course he engaged in farming. He then studied
law, and was admitted to the bar in 1854, and began practice in Clyde, Wayne county,
where he has since resided. In 1863 he was elected county judge of Wajme county,
and again in 1867. In 1868 he was chosen member of congress and earned an enviable
record in that body. In 1873 he was again chosen county judge, and was re-elected to
the same position in 1885. He is now practicing his profession at Clyde.


Newell E. Landon, M. D., eldest son of Zera N. and Sarah A. (Adams) Landon, was
born in Newark, this county, March 3, 1852. Zera N. Landon, son of James, was a na-
tive of Washington county, N. Y. He was a teamster and subsequently a farmer, and
about 1850 settled in thetown of Arcadia, where* he died November,9, 1893, aged


nearly seventy-four. His wife's death occurred May 18, 1894, in her sixty-second year.
She was a daughter of William Adams, who died in Palmyra in 1863, at the age of
seventy-seven, after a residence in the town of about forty years. Their children
were Dr. Newell E. ; William A., of Newark ; Charles S., who died in 1892 ; and Eudora
A., of Newark.

Dr. Newell E. Landon was reared on the farm and acquired his literary education in
the common schools and in the Newark Union Free School and Academy. At the age
of three years he removed with his parents to the town of Palmyra, where the family
remained until 1864, when they purchased a farm about two miles from Newark vil-
lage. Here the remainder of his boyhood days were passed. Having determined to
adopt medicine as his life work young Landon entered the office of Dr. Charles G-.
Pomeroy in Newark in October, 1872, where he thoroughly prepared himself for his
chosen profession. He became a student in the College of Physicians and Surgeons in
New York city (the Medical Department of Columbia College) and was, graduated from
that institution with the class of 1876, receiving a hospital appointment. By the advice of
Dr. Pomeroy, however, he declined the post, returned to Newark, and accepted a part-
nership with his preceptor, which continued four years. In January, 1880, Dr. Landon
married Miss Mary Easton and soon afterward located in Rochester, where he remained
a year and a half. Owing to the ill health of his wife he returned to Newark, where
he has ever since resided. Mrs. Landon died in December, 1882, and in October, 1886,
he married Miss Alice Russell, daughter of L. C. Russell, 1 of Port Grtbson, Ontario

Dr. Landon for several years was connected with the State Custodial Asylum for
Feeble Minded Women of Newark, first as attending physician and afterward as con-
sulting physician and surgeon. He is now Division Surgeon for the West Shore and
Northern Central railroads, a member of the Wayne County Medical Society, New York
State Medical Association, Central New York Medical_ Society, American Medical As-
sociation, and National Association of Railway Surgeons, and medical examiner for the
New York Life, New York Mutual Life, Massachusetts Mutual Life, Northwestern
Mutual Life, and John Hancock Life Insurance Companies. He is also a member of
Newark Lodge, No. 83, F. and A. M., and Chapter 117 R/A. M., and a member and
examining surgeon of the K. 0. T. M. and E. K. 0. R. Besides these he has served as
president of the village one term and health officer of the town several years.

Thoroughly devoted to his chosen calling Dr. Landon is a close student, critical and
quick in comprehension, unusually accurate and keen in diagonsis, and clear yet scien-
tific in treatment. He has established a large and successful practice, and is justly
conceded a prominent place among the leading physicians of Western New York. As
a surgeon he is skillful and unerring, and has performed nearly all of the more difficult
operations in his locality during the past dozen years. He also takes an active interest

1 Capt. Russell was for many years a very prominent citizen of that locality. He carried on an
extensive grain and produce trade, was a large dealer in general merchandise, ran a packet on the
canal before the days of railroad travel, and served some time as postmaster. For nearly half
of a century he was the principal business man of Port Gibson. He died in September, 1876, aged
seventy years.


in local affairs, particularly in educational and social matters, lending his aid and influ-
ence in promoting every good cause. In all of these he is ably seconded and assisted
by his estimable wife, who is actively identified with many local organizations.


Jacob Fisher was born in the grand duchy of Baden, Germany, October 29, 1831.
His father, Sebastian Fischer, was a mechanic and died in his native land. The mother,
Margaret Fischer (Americanized Fisher), came with her son Jacob to America in the
spring of 1853. She settled in Rochester and subsequently came to Lyons, where her
death occurred in 1885 at the age of eighty years.

Jacob Fisher inherited in full measure the unswerving honesty of purpose, the native
ability, and the simplicity of earnestness which characterized his parents, and before
leaving his fatherland had acquired a good practical education in the public schools. He
early became inured to hard labor and acquired habits of thrift and frugality which
guided the whole of his after career. His first work in this country was on a farm near
Rochester ; later he was employed in a furnace in that city. Neither of these occupations
suited his tastes and he therefore directed his efforts into other channels. In 1857 he began
to learn his trade in the Rochester pottery, where he remained until December, 1872,
when he came to Lyons village, which has since been his home. Upon his arrival he
leased of Thompson Harrington the Lyons pottery (established in 1825), which he con-
ducted until about 1880, when he purchased the establishment and has since been prac-
tically its sole owner. Excepting a partnership with George Lang, covering about two
years, he has carried on the business alone.

When Mr. Fisher first leased the Lyons pottery it was a very small concern with a
single kiln. In 1885 he put in another kiln of more than double the capacity of the
original one, and about two years later built a brick addition known as the " blue room."
Subsequently a second kiln replaced the first one, making two now in operation ; a large
brick building 28 by 80 feet was erected, and steam power with all the latest improve-
ments and conveniences was added, increasing the original capacity more than six-fold.
About thirty-five persons are employed and the weekly pay roll amounts to some $300.
Stoneware of all kinds is manufactured and shipped to all parts of the United States.
The capacity of the plant is about seventy-five kilns of 9,000 to 10,000 gallons per

Mr. Fisher is well known in every village in Western New York. His business has
brought him into wide prominence and has earned for him an enviable reputation for
honesty and fair dealing. Observing with a keen discernment the needs of his exten-
sive trade he has constantly increased it by legitimate innovations and modern improve-
ments, adding to the capacity of his plant as necessity demanded and pushing his wares
into new territory whenever an opportunity was presented. His long connection with
the pottery trade has made his name a synonym for excellence, reliance, and substantial
worth. In politics not only himself but his family are staunch Republicans, but all


have eschewed political preferment. During one term, however, Mr. Fisher served as
village trustee. In religion the family are German Methodists, to which denomination
all have contributed liberally of both time and means.

In July, 1858, Mr. Fisher married Miss Theresa Burger, of Rochester, by whom he
has had four children, all living. Edmund Fisher, the eldest, is the principal traveling
salesman for his father, being assisted on the road by Eben Bourne. William F. is cap-
tain of the boat Louisa (named from his youngest daughter), which is used in shipping
goods to all points along the Erie Canal. The daughters are Amelia and Louisa, the
latter being the bookkeeper and cashier of the works.


Hiram G. Hotchkiss, the subject of this sketch, son of Leman and Theodosia (Gil-
bert) Hotchkiss, was born in Oneida county, N. Y., June 19, 1810. Leman Hotchkiss
was a merchant, and in 1811 removed with his family to Phelps, Ontario county, where,
with David McNeil as a partner, he opened a general store, the first in the~town. The
firm of Hotchkiss & McNeil became one of the best known mercantile establishments
in Western New York, doing a business of over one hundred thousand dollars per
annum. In 1816 Leman Hotchkiss started a store in Lyons, under the firm name of
Leach & Demmon, which continued business many years. In 1822 Hotchkiss &
McNeil started the fir.<t general store in what is now Newark village, then called Mil-
ler's Basin, in which they placed Hiram G., then twelve years old, as clerk, he being the
first clerk employed in a store in that place.

Although the educational facilities of Western New York at this early day were limited
Mr. Hotchkiss's education was not neglected, and he grasped every opportunity which
was presented to educate and fit himself for the life that was to follow (i. e. a successful
merchant. At the age of eighteen he, with his brother Leman B., and a cousin, William
T. Hotchkiss, opened a general store in Phelps and successfully operated two mills in
Phelps and one in Seneca Falls, the combined capacity being over 500 barrels daily.

In 1837 while engaged in this business, Mr. Hotchkiss began buying oil of pepper-
mint of farmers along with their wheat, which was then produced in very small quan-
tities ; and having accumulated a quantity of this essential oil he sent it to the New
York markets, but without success. The business at that time was wholly in the hands
of adulterators and his oil being pure he was obliged to recall it. But nothing daunted,
Mr. Hotchkiss bottled his oil and consigned it to London and Rotterdam, where it al-
most immediately sprung into general favor. His label soon gained a wide reputation
and became a substantial guarantee for purity and strength. In 1837 he [disposed of
his store and began the manufacture of American essential oils in Phelps, and so rapidly
did his business increase that it required his entire attention and has since become his
life work. In April, 1844, Mr. Hotchkiss disposed of his milling interest and with his
family removed to Lyons, purchasing a large tract of land and beginning the cultivation
of American essential oils on a large scale. Here he has ever since resided.


Mr. Hotchkiss may be truthfully regarded as the father of the essential oil business
in America. He began in a very small way, selling less than 1,000 pounds the first
year. He boldly and unswervingly adhered to a high standard of beauty and purity,
and by strict honesty and fair dealing rapidly built up a trade covering not only all
portions of the United States but commanding the markets of the civilized world, un-
til now the output of American essential oils under the H. G. Hotchkiss brand is over
100,000 pounds per annum, and which has largely increased the value of the essential
oil lands of this county.

The manufacture includes oils of peppermint, spearmint, wintergreen, wormwood,
sassafras, pennyroyal, and tansy, the first two, however, being of paramount importance.
These oils lead the world, control the largest markets of the globe, and bring to Lyons
thousands of dollars annually. It is the only brand that maintains any credit on the
London and Continential European exchanges. In 1878 Mr. Hotchkiss visited Europe
and was everywhere received and entertained in the most complimentary manner by
the leading merchants of the old world. In London he was the floor of the
world-renowned London Exchange, and then and there complimented on the standing of
his brand of essential oils, an honor, to say the least, that has been extended to but few
Americans. Since 1851 Mr. Hotchkiss has taken the first prize medals and diplomas on
his brand of oils at the following World's fairs, viz.: At London in 1851 and 1862; at
New York in 1853 ; at Paris in 1856, 1867, and 1878 ; at Hamburg in 1863 ; at Vienna,
Austria, in 1873; at Philadelphia in 1876; at Chicago in 1893; and others besides of
a local nature, and it is through this business that Mr. Hotchkiss has become the most
widely known man in Wayne county. In fact there is not a town in all the civilized
world large enough to support a drug store or confectioner's shop but what the name
of H. G. Hotchkiss, the Peppermint King, is a household word.

On January 3, 1833, Mr. Hotchkiss married Mary Williams Ashley, daughter of Doctor
Robert Ashley, of Lyons. To them were born three sons and nine daughters: Ellen O,
widow of the late Col. Alexander D. Adams; Mary, deceased, wife of Thomas P. Attix,
of Brooklyn; Emma T., widow of the late Rev. Charles H. Piatt, of Binghamton, N. Y. ;
Theodosia, died in infancy ; Lisette, widow of the late Henry C. Parshall, of Lyons ;
Annie, deceased, wife of Charles H. Dickerson, of Detroit, Mich.; Leman, deceased,
the first Democrat elected member of Assembly in the 2d district of Wayne county ;
Adrianna D., wife of Rev. William H. Williams, of Lyons; Clara, died in Albany at
the age of twelve years ; Calvin and Hiram G., jr., now associated with their father in
the essential oil business ; and Alice M. A., wife of William G. David, of New York
city. Mrs. Hotchkiss died in 1886.

Mr. Hotchkiss, through an honorable connection with the essential oil trade, is best
known. He has made his own name and that of his town familiar to all countries and
climes. For many years he has led an active life, and now, at the age of eighty-five,
we find him hale and hearty with his mind and body unimpaired, and with prospects of
of a useful life before him. As a business man he has been eminently successful, and
in local matters affecting the welfare of his town he has always taken an abiding in-
terest. In religion he is an Episcopalian and in politics a Democrat, but in no sense has
he ever been an office seeker. Public spirited, liberal, and kind hearted, he is emphatic-
ally a local benefactor.



Every person born into the world fills a peculiar niche in the great sea of human
activity, and when a single individual, through his own exertions, attains the distinction
of a successful man his career, even though it be incomplete, becomes a matter worthy
of permanent record. Genealogical data, when traced back into centuries gone by,
often presents gaps almost unconnectable, yet it is none the less interesting, for cer-
tainly some light will be thrown upon facts rapidly passing out the cotemporary biogra-
pher's reach.

The Griffith family is of Welch origin and the branch under consideration dates its
lineage from one Joseph, whose father settled in Virginia early in the eighteenth cen-
tury. Joseph Griffith, after having served in the Eevolutionary war, became a resident
of Luzerne county, Pa., whence he removed to Phelps, Ontario county, N. Y., in 1803
being one of the pioneers of that now rich and fertile locality. There his son John was
born, and there he lived and died. There John W., son of John, was born March 25, 1830.
All were quiet, substantial farmers and good business men. Joseph and John (his son)
were early and active members of the Presbyterian Church at Oaks Corners, about two
miles east of Phelps, which was the first religious organization in that town. John W.
Griffith, however, united with the Methodists as soon as an M..E. church was established
in the village, and lived and died in that belief. He possessed unusual natural ability, was
a remarkably keen observer of human nature, was well read and posted on all current
topics, and without advantages obtained a knowledge at once broad, thorough, and com-
prehensive. He was an ardent and staunch Republican, but eschewed all political prefer-
ment. He married Charlotte E. Malette ' and died at Clifton Springs, N. Y., Novem-
ber 21, 1891. They had seven children, of whom six are living, viz.: Frederick W. ;
John C, a lawyer in Buffalo; James M., of Geneva; Mary E., of Palmyra; Frank A.
on the old homestead in Phelps ; and Helena M., of Palmyra.

Frederick W. Griffith, the eldest of these children, was born on the family homestead
in Phelps on December 17, 1858, and spent his early life on the farm and in the district
schools, supplementing his preliminary education with a brief attendance at the Phelps
Union Classical School. At the age of eighteen he began the trade of a printer with
his uncle, James Malette, on the Geneva Courier, where he remained until 1881, being
associate editor during the last year of his residence there. Returning to Phelps he
prepared himself for college at the Union and Classical School, and in the fall of 1882 en-'
tered Hamilton College, from which he was graduated as a bachelor of arts and as a
high honor man with the class of 1886. His entire education was obtained wholly

1 The lineage of the Malette family is traced back to Pierre Malet, who was born in France in
1695. Following the edict of Louis XV, which deprived all Protestants of legal rights in the courts
and made their property subject 10 confiscation by the crown, he sailed to America in 1724 or 1725
with his wife and son Pierre, and other Huguenots. He located in Baltimore as a shipbuilder, but
soon removed to Reading, Conn., where he engaged in farming. He was distinguished for his
piety, and his wife possessed decided energy of spirit. His posterity were (2) Pierre, or Peter,
born in 1720 ; (3) Philip, born in 1751 ; (4) Levi, born in 1786 ; (5) Isaac ; (6) Charlotte E. (Mrs. John

Online LibraryGeorge Washington CowlesLandmarks of Wayne County, New York → online text (page 49 of 107)