validity by his own observation. In this way, he accumu-
lated a fund of information, upon which he afterward drew
to advantage. In 1860, a new field of action was opened
which he immediately occupied. Laying aside the farmer's
implements, he went to the city of New York, and, for
STEPHEN BAKER. 183
some time, was one of the publishers of the Practical Far-
mer and Scientific Gardener, a valuable paper, in its sphere.
Mr. Baker was formerly a " Know-Nothing," and, as
such, voted for Millard Fillmore for the presidency.
But he soon left the party, and united with the Democracy,
with which he has ever since cast his political fortunes.
This is his first experience in legislative action. He is a
member of the Committee on Agriculture ; and his already
acquired knowledge of farming will be of value to him in
the consideration of questions which may arise while he is
acting in that capacity. He is a very quiet member, is
punctual in his attendance, and is an attentive observer of
the proceedings of the House.
Mr. Baker's life has been chequered with dashing
adventures, which, if narrated in detail would form an
interesting volume. We can, however, but simply allude
to the salient points which we have been able to gather,
now and then, in hasty snatches of conversation. Mr.
Baker was born of American parentage, in the town of
Southeast, Putnam county. New York, December 31st,
1835, and received a moderate common school education.
At the age of twenty, wishing to see something of frontier
life, he went to Kansas, at the close of the civil strife in
that region, and engaged in the transportation business
between Omaha and Fort Kearney. In 1858, when the
gold mines of Colorado were discovered, he was one of
the first white men who explored South Park, and Pike's
Peak, traversing the south fork of the Platte river, and
leaving their names on the bleached skulls of buffaloes, as
184 LIFE SKETCHES.
guide-blocks for those who might follow after. During
this expedition, he participated in many thrilling scenes,
both in camp and on the march, and beheld some of the
grandest scenery on the continent. Of course privations
had to be endured ; but they were over-balanced by the
fascinations which always hover over an unexplored region.
In the spring of 1859, Mr. Baker joined in a war against
the Utahs, near the head waters of Clear Creek, and thus
became familiar with the customs of Indian warfare. His
venturesome spirit led him into the midst of many exciting
dangers, from which he escaped as by a charmed existence.
After varied experiences among the Camanches, Sioux,
Black Feet, Pawnees, Omahas, and other Indian tribes, he
returned to his native State, and in August, 1862, entered
the service of the United States as First Lieutenant in the
6th New York Artillery. July 5th, 1863, he was attached
to the army of the Potomac, near South Mountain, partici-
pating in the battles of Wapping Heights and Mine Run,
the latter of which was terribly sanguinary. In the month
of November, 1863, he was promoted to Captain, on
account of his bravery on the field. Remaining with his
regiment, he took part in the battles of the Wilderness,
Spottsylvania, North Anna, Bethesda Church, Coal Harbor
and Petersburgh. Captain Baker was ordered to Wash-
ington, in August, 1864, and was transferred to the Middle
Department under General Sheridan. After the battle of
Cedar Creek, he was promoted to Major, and ordered to
the Army of the James. For gallantry in an important
engagement with some of the enemy's iron-clads, he was
commissioned Lieutenant-Colonel. It was his privilege to
be engaged in the final rout of the Rebel army, which was
the crowning triumph of our arms. After his regiment
was mustered out, he was retained in the service, to aid
in consolidating the remaining battalions of the 6th, 10th,
and 13th Regiments of Heavy Artillery, and, with the
HORATIO BALLAKD. 185
consolidated regiment, was placed in command of Peters-
burgh. His signal bravery was again rewarded, in July,
1865, by a promotion to the rank. of Colonel. He was
mustered out of service in the following September.
Colonel Baker ably represented Putnam county in the
Legislature, in 1806, as a Union Republican, and, therefore,
has had experience in legislation.
Mr. Ballard is a gentleman of affability and urbanity.
His past political experience, his wide acquaintance with
men, and his legal attainments, are points of no insignifi-
cant importance to a member of the Legislature. He is
nearly sixty-four years old ; therefore, with other legisla-
tive capacities, he brings with him ripe judgment and
His father, a native of Massachusetts, was among the
early settlers of the town of Homer, New York, and was
one of the founders of the Cortland Academy. He held
various county offices, and was a member of the Legis-
Mr. Ballard received his education at the Pompey and
the Cortland Academy. He commenced his legal studies
with Judge Stephens, and finished them with Judge
Jewett. In 1828, he was admitted as Attorney to tlie
Supreme Court, and, three years subsequently, as Coun-
selor. He formed a law partnership with Judge Ste-
phens, and soon ranked among the leading lawyers in his
Judicial District. He accepted the appointment of District
Attorney, in 1841, and held it for a number of years, dis-
charging his duties in a manner acceptable to the public.
186 LIFE SKETCHES.
In 1848, he was the candidate of the Barn Burner Democ-
racy, for Congress ; but his district having heavy Whig
majorities against the Democrats, he was not elected ;
and, in 1859, having been nominated for Judge of the
Supreme Court, for the Sixth Judicial District, he was
defeated by the same causes.
On the reception of the news of the slaughter of some of
the soldiers of a Massachusetts regiment in the streets
of Baltimore, in April, 1861, a very enthusiastic war
meeting was held at the Court House in Cortland county,
over which Mr. Ballaed presided. He had drawn his
conclusions as to what should be his future course in rela-
tion to the war. Recognizing but one line of policy,
which seemed to him correct, he laid aside his former party
ties, and united with the Union organization. In Septem-
ber, 1861, he was spontaneously nominated, by the Union
Convention, for Secretary of State. That was a time
when men forgot all mercenary and petty motives, in the
great desire to express their condemnation of the faithless-
ness of the South ; and, while our heroes were baring their
breasts to the conflict, all along the lines, the voice of the
people, at the North, thundered out their protest against
the sophistry of secession. The Empire State gave no
uncertain expression on that occasion. Mr. Ballard's
majority was 107,712. He discharged the duties of Secre-
tary of State with carefulness and ability, and retired from
office with the reputation of being a consistent State
In the recent campaign, in the county of Cortland,
without solicitation on his part, and indeed, without his
expectation, he was unanimously nominated for the
Assembly, on the Union ticket, and elected by a large
majority, running ahead of his ticket.
His wife and three children compose his present house-
hold. One of his sons served as First Lieutenant in the
SAMUEL M. BARKER. 187
Union army, from 1862, until near the close of 1864, when
he fell a victim to disease, and the brave fellow, whom the
bullets of the rebels failed to kill, was buried, none
the less a hero than if he had fallen at the cannon's throat.
Thus the father feels that his own loyalty has been conse-
crated, as indeed has that of many others, by the sacrifice
which he has made. His eldest daughter married Hon.
Wm. H. Robertson, who is member of Congress from the
Tenth Congressional District.
Mr. Ballard takes an interest in the cause of education.
He is now President of the Board of Trustees of the Cort-
landville Academy — one of the flourishing institutions in
this State ; and, last fall, he was instrumental in procuring
the location of one of the State Normal Schools, in Cort-
land Village. He is a member of the Judiciary Committee,
and of the Committee on Colleges, Academi€S and Schools.
SAMUEL M. BARKER
As early as the year 1850, Mr. Barker was known to
the people of his county as an influential and competent
worker in politics. He is one of those men who are satis-
fied to use their energies for the common good, without
continually looking out for the "loaves and fishes."
Therefore, though he might have been elevated to oflicial
positions, if he had been disposed to urge his claims, he
held no office until the year 1865, when he was elected by
the Republicans of his county to represent them in the
Lower House of the Legislature. During that term, he
elicited the approbation of his constituents, as well as that
of his colleagues, by his plain, straightforward manner.
In 1866, Mr. Barker was again unanimously nominated
188 LIFE SKETCHES.
for a reelection. At this juncture, there arose an unfor-
tunate split in the party, which was accomplished by
stragglers and disaffected Republicans, and which resulted
in the running of a third candidate, in addition to the
regular opposition. In this campaign, Mr. Barker's
popularity was displayed to most excellent advantage;
his labors for the party were almost unremitting ; and the
success of the State ticket of 1866, in Schuyler county,
owes much to his strenuous persistency.
Mr. Barker is the eldest son of Joseph Barker, a highly
respectable farmer residing in the town of Hector, Schuyler
county, N"ew York. He was born on the 14th day of
August, 1827. Like most boys in his neighborhood, at that
time, he had the advantages of the district school, which,
though within the reach of almost every one, were, as
everybody is aware, of a very limited character. The
common school was in those days, and indeed now is, a
decidedly primitive affair, in many of the rural districts.
The cities and large villages have become awakened in
relation to the necessities of the present generation ; but
the boy who can blunder through some of our district
schools, and have an aspiration beyond the height of the
dingy ceiling above his desk, is worthy of a place in
Westminster. "When, however, Mr. Barker advanced to
the age of seventeen or eighteen, he became a pupil in the
select school of John A. Gillett, A. M., at Peach
Orchard, situated on the east bank of Seneca Lake.
While there, he made good progress in his studies, and
improved his opportunities perhaps as well as the majority
of his schoolfellows ; but he did not evince a decided taste
for the classics and literature, his mind being more
inclined to business and the active pursuits of life. At
the age of twenty-seven, he began farming, at a little dis-
tance from the homestead, and has pursued that calling
ever since. In combination with his agricultural occu-
SAMUEL M. BARKER. 189
pation, Mr. Barker has dealt largely in live stock and
wool, and recently has engaged in the manufacture of
mowing machines — a business which has gradually
become extensive and profitable. He most emphatically
opposes any appropriations for corporations, on the
ground that the present indebtedness of the State is
already large enough ; and the fact that he voted against
every bill afterward vetoed by the Governor, is worthy
of mention. In relation to our national politics, Mr.
Barker has never had any sympathy with that which is
hostile to equal rights; but he has always acted with
those impelling forces which pulse the country forward.
To this end, he worked zealously, in the time of war,
expending his means, and devoting his time, for the pur-
pose of filling up the ranks of our armies.
He is a perfect gentleman in his demeanor, generous in
his impulses, and upright in principle. Probably no man
in the House has more warm friends than he ; and unques-
tionably no Member is more highly regarded.
OLIVER A. BARSTOW
Mr. Baestow is a fine old gentleman of friendly -ways,
who is quiet in his demeanor and honest in his purposes.
He is plainly a thinking man, though of few words, and,
when convinced of the justice of a measure, his mind
is not easily shaken in its conclusions. His ancestors
came from England, in 1635, and settled in Hanover,
Massachusetts; they were, for several generations, sea-
faring men and ship-builders. He was born in Great
Barrington, Berkshire county, Massachusetts, in Novem-
ber, 1809. He is the youngest child of Doctor Samuel
Barstow, a gentleman of excellent talents, who was
reputed a skillful physician, and was held in high esteem
in the political circles of Massachusetts. At the time of
his death, which occurred in 1812, he was a member of the
Senate of his State.
Oliver A. Barstow remained with his mother, acquir-
ino: such education as could be obtained in the common
schools, until he was sixteen years of age. In the mean
time, he had not only gathered to himself quite a fund of
knowledge, but he had also been favored with all of those
pure influences which pervade a home presided over by a
mother. In 1825, he became a member of the family of
his uncle, the Hon. Gamaliel H. Barstow, of Nichols,
Tioga county, New York, who was then Treasurer of this
State, and who had previously been a member of both
branches of the Legislature, and First Judge of the Court
of Common Pleas of Tioga county. In passing, it is
due to Judge Barstow's memory, to say that, as State
Treasurer, he bore a spotless official record. The same
may be said of him with reference to every office which
he ever held. His election to Congress, in 1830, was an
OLIVER A. BAESTOW. 191
honor well bestowed, and his intimate acquaintance with
political reminiscences, rendered valuable aid to Mr. Ham-
mond in the preparation of the Political History of New
York. Young Oliver remained in his uncle's family
until he was twenty-one. It is to be supposed that his
character was shaped by his surroundings, for his uncle's
frugality, sound practical sense, and eminent honors, must
have have had their weight upon the young man; and
these things, coupled with the trainings of his earlier
days, left a lasting impression on his memory. In 1830,
he went to the "Western States, and found employment as
clerk on some of the river steamboats. But he remained
in the west only a year or two, and then returned to
Tioga county and went into business. His life has been
industrious and laborious, his attention being directed to
merchandising, lumbering and agriculture. In whatever
undertaking Mr. Barstow has embarked, he has put his
own hand to the oar, and weathered storms which would
have made more timid natures shrink.
Politically, he was, in past years, a Whig, but ever
since the organization of the Republican party, he has
uniformly acted with it. He has been Supervisor of the
town of Nichols, several years, and, for the last twenty-
three years, has been Justice of the Peace. In his elec-
tion to the Legislature of the present year, he received
twelve hundred majority over his opponent, Daniel D.
McDowell. Mr. Barstow is a member of the Com-
mittee on Canals, in which capacity we believe he will be
of material benefit to the State.
Mr. BERRYMAisr was born in County Derry, Ireland,
October 21, 1841. His ancestors were Scotch. He emi-
grated to New York, in October, 1856. He attended the
public schools in New York city, and, in 1857, entered
the College of the city of New York, then known as the
New York Free Academy, from which he graduated in
1862, receiving the degree of A. B., and, in 1865, the
degree of A. M.
Mr. Berryman" was mustered into the military service
of the United States, in March, 1864, as a First Lieutenant
in the 3 2d United States Colored Troops. He served
with the regiment, in South Carolina, until mustered out
of the service, in August, 1865. A portion of this period
he served as Assistant Provost Marshal of the district of
Hilton Head, and, subsequently, as Assistant Adjutant-
General of the district of Beaufort. He was with the
regiment in the battles of Honey Hill, South Carolina,
November 30, 1864, Pocotaligo, December 7, 1864, and
James Island, February 10, 1865, and in all the various
raids and skirmishes in which the regjiment was ensfas-ed,
including the expedition of General E. E. Potter, through
South Carolina, in March and April, 1865, which extended
as far as Camden.
Mr. Berryma:n- is a Civil Engineer by profession, and
resides at No. 315 West 43d street. New York. He is a
He was a Member of Assembly in 1866, having been
elected for the Thirteenth Assembly District of New York
city, and took an active part, in the Legislature of that
session in all measures relating to the city of New York.
RICHMOND BIG KNELL.
In point of years, Mr. Bicknell ranks among the
younger members of the House. He has a face which is
full of manly character, and a mind of fine culture.
There is no pomposity in his mental composition; he
approaches no man with a "flourish of trumpets," and
transparencies covered with inscriptions of "Ego;" nor
does he display an inanity which shows a lack of force
and individuality ; but he impresses one with the idea of
a modest determination which is not easily swerved by
opposition and temptation.
Mr. Bicknell's native place is the town of Stockholm,
St. Lawrence county. New York, in which he was born,
on the 1st of August, 1837. His father, one of the earliest
settlers of that town, and one of its highly respected citi-
zens, still survives. He brought up his son Richmond to
labor, in his youthful days, on the farm, believing that,
whatever avocation he might choose when he reached the
years of maturity, the physical development resulting
from manual work, and the invigoration of out-door exer-
cise, would be highly important in laying the foundation
for physical endurance.
In addition to Mr. Bicknell's common school advan-
tages, he received instruction, for a couple of terms, at the
St. Lawrence Academy, situated in Potsdam; but his
education has been, to a considerable extent, self-acquired.
When twenty years old, he began the study of law, at
Potsdam, in the ofiice of Hon. Henry L. Knowles, the
present County Judge of St. Lawrence county ; and about
two years and a half afterward he was admitted to prac-
tice ; since that time he has been a law partner of Judge
Knowles. His qualifications as a lawyer give him a
194 LIFE SKETCHES.
prominent place among the lawyers of the northern por-
tion of the State. He is a fluent and forcible advocate,
and, in the sphere of discussion, is perfectly at home. In
the political campaigns of the last few years, he has ren-
dered effective service, but, aside from this, has not
otherwise engaged in politics, until his nomination to the
Assembly, last fall, which resulted in his election by
the largest majority, except one, of any member elected
to the House of 1867, viz. : two thousand six hundred
LAFAYETTE J. BIGELOW.
Me. Bigelow was born in the town of Ellisburgh, Jef-
ferson county, New York, on the 13th of May, 1835. His
parents came from Vermont, and his father, Jotham Bige-
low, was a farmer in independent circumstances, who
always took a lively interest in public affairs, held the
office of Supervisor of his town for several years, and in
1835 and '36, was a member of Assembly. Lafayette,
his youngest son, was sent to Union Academy, a distance
of two miles from where he lived, at quite an early age,
and as he boarded at home, he did not lack for physical
exercise. At this excellent institution, he was prepared for
college, and entered the Sophomore class of Union College
in the fall of 1854. While there he was studious and
stood about average in general scholarship. He was
elected President of the Adelphic society of that institu-
tion, and once read a poem before it. He was always
fond of general reading, and was more given to perusing
the English classics than in digging after the Greek roots,
or divining the subtle mysteries of the higher mathe-
LAFAYETTE J. BIGELOW. 195
matics. In composition, declamation and extemporaneous
speaking, he took rank among the first while at school.
At the end of the Junior year, feeling anxious to begin
active life, and having already decided on his profession,
he left Union College and entered the University of
Albany, Department of Law, in the fall of 1855. He
graduated at this institution in the spring of 1857, receiv-
ing the degree of LL.B., and while, there he took the
silver medal as the prize for the second best original essay
on the subject of " Eminent Domain."
In May, 1857, he removed to Watertown, the shire-town
of his native county, and commenced the practice of law
in company with Bradley Winslow, Esq., a young gen-
tleman who had just been admitted to the Bar. The new
firm of Wii^SLOW & Bigelow got along about as fast as
young lawyers usually do ; at all events, the junior mem-
ber of the firm, Mr. Bigelow, who is a prudent man
withal, concluded that he could stand the expense of
"coffee and muffins for two," and married Miss Hattie
E., daughter of Mason Rounds, Esq., of Mannsville, New
In 1861, he was appointed District Attorney to take the
place of his law partner who had been elected to the office,
but who entered the volunteer service early in that year,
and served in the Union army with distinction, rising suc-
cessively from Lieutenant to Colonel. In the spring of
1865, while in command of his regiment, he was shot
through the abdomen and did not recover until months
after. Mr. Bigelow served out his official term as District
Attorney, and gave his partner, in the field, |600 out of
the $800 salary of the office.
In the fall of 1862, he was nominated almost by accla-
mation for District Attorney, and was elected by a large
majority. For three years longer, he discharged the duties
of this office with entire satisfaction to the county, and had
196 LIFE SKETCHES.
the reputation of being a very faithful and successful public
prosecutor. In the fall of 1863, following an inclination
which he had long felt for the editorial profession, he
bought an interest in the Daily and Weekly Reformer,
published at Watertown, and one of the largest and most
influential Union journals of Northern New York.
Mr. BiGELOW has, for a young man, a high reputation
as a campaign speaker and literary lecturer. In the cam-
paign of 1864, he took a prominent part, and spoke in
Brooklyn and different parts of the State. In politics, he
has always been a Republican, and has never acted with
any other party. During the rebellion, he made many
Union speeches; was a member of the War Committee
in his county, and rendered effective service in raising
Mr. BiGELOw's tastes are really literary, rather than
political, and he is called a graceful and vigorous writer.
He has lectured before some of the first Lyceums in this
State, and his name is frequently seen in some of our
popular periodicals. At the last commencement of Union
College, he received the honorary degree of A. M., as a
recognition of his literary character. He has always
taken an interest in educational matters ; is a Trustee of
St. Lawrence University, and of two Academies. In the
winter of 1865 and '66, he held the office of Assistant
Clerk of the Assembly.
In the fall of 1866, Mr. Bigelow was nominated for
Assembly, receiving twenty-nine of the thirty votes in
the convention on a first ballot. He was elected by a
majority of one thousand six hundred and seventy-eight.
He was made Chairman of the Committee on Printing,
and accorded a position on Colleges, Academies and Com-
mon Schools, on which he is an active member. He was
an earnest supporter of Roscoe CoNKLmG for Senator.
Early in the session, he introduced the bill to increase the
JOHN J. BLAIR. « 197
salary of School Commissioners, supported earnestly the
bill to establish free schools, and in the exciting debate in
the House on the proposed Convention to revise the Con-
stitution, advocated the amendment providing for thirty-
two delegates at large. His future legislative career must
remain unwritten on these pages, but we predict that it
will be approved by his constituents and the people of the
JOHN J. BLAIR
The member from the Fourth District of New York,
was born in the city of which he is a representative,