Amasa J. (Amasa Junius) Parker.

Landmarks of Albany County, New York online

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efforts and advice many important manufacturing establishments have found a

permanent home in the Capital City and are now contributing to its welfare and
prosperity. He is an able business man, enterprising, public spirited, and progres-
sive. In all movements which promise general benefits his counsel is sought and
valued, while support is both substantial and effective. He was connected with the
South End Bank and served as its president for three years,

Mr. Kinnear has also been an influential factor in politics and in the affairs of local
government. Originally a Whig, he was one of the earliest to enlist in the cause of
Republicanism, of which he has ever since been a staunch supporter. Imbibing
from his native land a strong love of freedom he was a firm believer in American in-
stitutions before placing his feet upon American soil, and this belief and love early
led him to take a foremost position among the abolitionists in the great slavery
agitation. Before and during the war of the Rebellion he loyally supported the
Union. He was for two years a member of the Board of Supervisors and has sev-
eral times been the nominee of his party for alderman of his ward, which is over-
whelmingly Democratic. Personally he is one of the most popular and best known
men in Albany. He is a thorough going American, takes a deep interest in all
public questions, and exerts his influence and freely uses his means to promote those
industries which contribute to the support of the workingman, among whom he
proudly numbers himself as a practical mechanic.

While in Canada Mr. Kinnear was married m 1849 to Miss Annie Gilchrist, a
native of Scotland.

WILLIAM wilbp:rforce byington.

TiiK Byingtons in the United States are descended from two brothers, John and
Willliam. wfio came to this country from England in the early part of the seven-
teenth century. The family dates back to the twelfth century, and its ancient coat
of arms can still be found among the descendants. In America its members have
always been active, influential, and industrious citizens, holding positions of honor
and distinction in the civil, social, military, and business life of their respective
communities. Justus Byington, grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was born
in Great Barringtim, Mass., April 17, 1763, and served as a soldier in the Revolu-
tionary war. His son. Rev. John Byingion, was born in Hinesburg, Vt., October 8,

William Wilberforce Byington, youngest of seven children of the Rev. John, was
born in Potsdam, St. Lawrence couuty, N. Y.. December 36, 1840, and attended the
district school at Buck's Bridge, West Potsdam, working at intervals on Ins father's
farm. During the winter of 1856, when si.xteen years of age, he taught school, and
then went to Battle Creek, Mich., where an elder brother resided, and where he at-
tended the public schools, teaching winters. In 1861 he entered the Michigan State
Normal School at Ypsilanti, at that time one of the first and best known Normal
Schools in the country, and was graduated therefrom m one year. After teaching
for a year in Battle Creek public schools he secured, by competitive examination,
the position of junior principal of the Barstow Union School in Detroit, and
shortly afterward, while but twenty-five years of age, was made principal of one
of the largest educational institutions in the same city.

While teaching in Detroit he was married, December 36, 1865. to Kate M. Preston,
at Battle Creek, Mich., Miss Preston having just graduated from Kalamazoo Col-
lege. Mich. After teaching successfully for five years in Detroit, Mr. Byington de-
cided to engage in business, which was uuselected at the time he resigned his posi-
tion. The resolutions passed by the Detroit School Board on receipt of his resigna-
tion contained not only a laudatory expression of their esteem and respect, but the
very highest encomiums on his character, ability, and success as a teacher. He
selected the insurauce business and went vigorously to work. For three years up to
1869 he labored in various places in the West, mainly in St. Louis and in Indian-
apolis, Ind. In 1869 he received a tempting offer to remove to New York city,
which he did and shortly afterwards was made the State agent for New Jersey for
the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York, and removed from New York to
Newark, N. J., where he resided for ten years. He filled this position of State agent
with great credit for a period of three years, when he resigned to accept the position
of superintendent of agencies of the Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company of
Newark, N. J. Several years were spent by him in vigorous travel, during which
nearly all the agencies of the company were revised and a number of those most im-
portant at the present day were created. After a very successful service in this
cepacity he determined to create an agency for himself, and with that end in view
he removed, in the latter part of 1883 to Albany, where he has since resided. He
came to the capital city as State agent for New York and Vermont for the Mutual
Benefit Life Insurance Company of Newark, N. J., and now has one of the largest
and most successful life agencies in the country, having general offices in Albany,
Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo.

Soon after taking up his residence m New York. Mr. Byington became an active
and vigorous factor in the literature of life insurance and particularly in its statis-
tics. For some time he published a life insurance chart, covering the business of all
the companies for periods of ten years. This chart was long the standard of author-
ity among solicitors. He was also for about fifteen years the insurance editor of the
New York Independent, where his weekly articles on various phases of the business
attracted much attention. He still writes occasionally for this paper. After locat-
ing in Albany he ceased regular work for the press, but has written much in a gen-
eral way. In 1886, at the request of General Taylor, editor of the Boston Globe, he
wrote an article, historical and statistical, filling thirty-two columns of that journal,
and when published in pamphlet form it had a circulation of over 300,000 copies.
Since that time he has written many articles for the Globe by special request.

Mr. Byington has always taken an active interest in fishing matters and in protec-
tive societies, and for some fifteen years his summers were spent on the St. Law-
rence. He organized the Anglers Association of the St. Lawrence River and was
its secretary, and afterward its president. This organization is known as one of the
most successful protective associations in the country. He is still one of its most
l)n)minent members, and is also a member of the Fort Orange Club, the Society of
the Sons of the Revolution, and the Albany Camera Club, of which he has been
president for several years. To him is due in a large measure the success and pres-
ent fiourishing condition of the last named club, which has long received his able ser-
vices and guidance.


Dr. I^ouis E. Bi.air, son of Nathan and Elizabeth Blair, was born in Lee, Mass.,
October 9, 1857, and in 1864 moved with the family to Albany, where his parents
still reside. Dr. Blair was educated \n the public and grammar schools of Albany,
and was graduated from the High School in 1875. He entered Dartmouth College
in the fall of that year, and pursued a four years' classical course at that famous
seat of learning, graduating with the degree of A. B. in the class of '79. He was
one of the honormen and commencement speakers of his class. While at Hanover,
N. H.. he also began his medical studies under the preceptorship of Prof. C. P.
Frost, dean of the Dartmouth Medical College.

Returning to Albanj' in 1879 he entered the office of Dr. John Swinburne and con-
tinued his medical course at the Albany Medical College, receiving his professional
degree in 1881. About this time Dr. Swinburne began his famous surgical work at
the Swinburne Surgical Hospital and Dispensary and Dr. Blair joined his staff and
afterwards became his first assistant. He was associated with Dr. Swinburne for
nearly five years. The opportunities for study and practice which the Swinburne
Hospital afforded have seldom been equalled, many thousand patients being treated
here annually. In 1884 Dr. Blair went to Europe for travel and study and pursued
a post-graduate course in the hospitals of Germany and Austria, devoting especial
attention to the diseases of the ear, nose and throat. Returning to Albany in 188fi
he has since successfully practiced as a specialist in the above diseases. Dr. Blair
has already won for himself a splendid reputation, and his consultation practice
covers a wide field. He is a frequent contributor to the medical journals, and has
written many valuable medical essays. Lippincott's new Encyclopedia of Ear,
Nose and Throat refers to his work. His original contributions on the cause and
successful treatment of asthma and hay fever

Online LibraryAmasa J. (Amasa Junius) ParkerLandmarks of Albany County, New York → online text (page 57 of 138)