Amasa J. (Amasa Junius) Parker.

Landmarks of Albany County, New York online

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verance and thrift which characterized the sons of New England parentage, and
after receiving a good common school education became an apprentice at cabinet
making, at which he served faithfully for four years, and for which he had strong
natural tastes. His parents' limited means forced him in early youth upon his own
resources, but with a determination at once rare and commendable he rapidly
acquired great skill and won approval from all who knew him. Finishing his ap-
prenticeship in 1843 he opened a small store in South Pear! street, Albany, where his
close attention to business, his pluck, industry, and honorable dealing, and the ex-
cellent style and finish of his manufactured goods brought him success and substan-
tial prosperity. Here he prosecuted a constantly increasing business for eight years,
or until 1851, when he erected a four-story building at Nos. 57 and 59 South Pearl
street to accommodate the growing demands of his trade. He enlarged the capacity
of this structure from time to tune, conducted his cabinet-making business with
marked success, established a wide reputation as a manufacturer of the highest class
of work, and devoted his energies and his mechanical skill to building up a trade
not only in this section but in many of the Eastern States. He attained what he set
out as a youth to accomplish, a foremost place as a manufacturer of artistic house-
hold furniture. His work has always been noted for its beauty, durability, and
ornamental design, and numerous specimens of it have for many years graced the
finest homes, hotels, banks, offices, etc., in this as well as in other localities. His
estublishment has long been the leading one in the furniture trade of Albany, where
his active life has been spent. As a designer and decorator of private and public
buildings Mr. Wooster has won the highest reputation, which is due largely to his
love of the beautiful in art, his excellent judgment in appropriate and harmonious
ornamentation, his long experience as a manufacturer, and his careful and constant
oversight of his work. In July, 1889, he occupied the present handsome store at
Nos. 36 and 38 North Pearl street, which was built by him for the sole use of the

While Mr. Wooster has devoted his time chiefly to his private business interests



he has nevertheless taken an active part in furthering the material welfare of the
city of Albauy and is prominently identified with its growth and prosperity. As a
citizen he has always been progressive, sustaining every movement which promised
general benefit. He was one of the founders in 1871 of the Albany County Bank
and became its vice-president, a position he held for seven years or until 1878, when
he was elected president. He served in this capacity till 1891, when he resigned,
leaving the institution as it now stands — one of the best, soundest, and most useful
in the city. During his administration as president a savings bank became neces-
sary to the other financial developments and was added, and the result of this move
is a flourishing savings department with deposits aggregating over §400,000. The
Albany County Bank was originally quartered in the old Tweddle Hall, where it
was burned out. The board of directors then purchased the site and erected the
present handsome bank building on the corner of State and South Pearl streets,
where for over 200 years stood the historic Staats house, one of the earliest Dutch
dwellings in Albany and the last to disappear. Many other oflSces of honor and
trust have been offered to Mr. Wooster, but he has declined them, prefering to give
his whole attention to his large furniture business, in which he has attained the
highest degree of success. In 1878 he erected a handsome brick residence on the
corner of State street and Western avenue, fronting Washington Park, and most
beautifully furnished its interior with furniture of his own designing.

Mr. Wooster was married, first, in 1845, to Miss Mary E., daughter of Levi Steele,
Albany, who died in the fall of 1860, leaving two daughters. In 1853 he married,
second, Miss Katharine M., daughter of the late Thomas Wright, of Elmira, N. V.,
and they have had six children, of whom four are living.


Sa.muel Lvm.\n Munson descends, paternally and maternally, from the purest and
earliest Puritan stock, his father's family .settling in New Haven and his mother's,
the Lymans, in Hartford, Conn., where they lived for several generations.' His first
American ancestor, Thomas Munson, came, it is supposed, from England in 1621,
and was one of the founders of the New Haven colony. Mr. Munson's father, Garry
Munson, of the eighth generation in this country from the pioneer Thomas, was a
man of noble impulses, of remarkable industry, and of very con.siderable ability.
He held several public offices, was a farmer, a wool dealer, and a manufacturer, and
imparted to his children those sterling traits of character which have distinguished
the family name. He married Harriet Lyman, a lineal descendant of Richard
Lyman, another Puritan who, as early as 1635, was one of the little band that left
Boston and founded the present city of Hartford, Conn. Her father, Samuel Lyman,
was a colonel stationed at Boston in the war of 1812.

Samuel L. Munson was born in Norwich (now Huntington), Mass., June 14, 1844,
was reared on the parental farm, and received his rudimentary education in the
common schools of Huntington. When twelve years of age he entered Williston
Seminary at Easthampton, Mass., where he pursued his studies for three years. He
then became a clerk in a large dry goods store in Boston, but after an experience of


two years in mercantile life he was compelled on account of his health to return to
the farm. In 1863 he came to Albany and obtained a situation as commercial trav-
eler for Wickes & Strong, manufacturers of clothing, his territory lying principally
in the West. In 1867 he resigned this position, in which he had met with unusual
success, and forming a copartnership with J. A. Richardson and L. R. Dwight,
under the firm name of Munson, Richardson & Co., established a linen collar man-
ufactory, of which he became sole proprietor in 1869. Through Mr. Munson's able
business management this enterprise proved successful from the start. It was
founded upon a modest scale, but by rapid strides increased to immense proportions,
and within a few years larger and more convenient accommodations became neces-
sary. In 1884 he purchased the old Hudson Avenue Methodist church, which be re-
modeled and enlarged for the manufacture of shirts, collars, cuffs, lace neckwear,
etc. This building, which was opened and occupied by the business on December
21, 1885, is 140 by 68 feet and five stories high, and is equipped with the best ma-
chinery and conveniences. Between 400 and 500 persons are employed, and the
goods find a sale in almost every State in the Union as well as abroad. This was
among the first industries of the kind started in Albany, and has grown until it is
now one of the largest and most successful in the State, employing a thousand per-
sons. In 1889 he erected another shiit factory at Cobleskill, N. Y.

Mr. Munson is a representative business man. He is a trustee and secretary of
the Home Savings Bank, a trustee and chairman of the committee on manufactures
of the Albany Chamber of Commerce, the original treasurer of The Pure Baking
Powder Company, a trustee of the Madison Avenue Reformed church, and formerly
a director of the National Exchange Bank. He is a member of the Sons of the
Revolution, through his great-grandfather, Stephen Munson ; a life member of the
New England Society; and a member of the Fort Orange Club of Albany and the
Colonial and Republican Clubs of New York. He is also prominently identified
with several literary. Masonic, athletic, and social organizations of Albany, is a great
lover of literature and collector of books, and has traveled quite extensively.

In 1868 Mr. Munson was married to Miss Susan B., daughter of Lemuel J. Hop-
kins, of Albany, and they have four sons and two daughters: Harriet Lyman, Ed-
ward Garry. Paul Babcock, Samuel Lyman, jr.. Amy Treadwell, and Robert. The
eldest son is associated with his father in business, the second is a member of the
class of 1897 of Yale University, and the third, Samuel L., jr., is a student at Harvard
University, class of 1900.


Benjamin Marsh, son of Seymour and Mary (Gage) Marsh, of Oxford, N. H., was
born in Palatine Bridge, N. Y., on the 10th of February, 1817. He inherited many
sterling characteristics and received in early life a good common school education,
and the excellent qualities with which he was endowed were used for noble and use-
ful ends. In 1832, when a lad of fifteen, he came to Albany and entered the employ
of Chauncey Johnson, one of the leading jewelers and watchmakers of the city on
what was then South Market street, now Broadway. In 1838 be commenced business



for himself at the old location, which is now the printing house of J. Van Benthuy-
sen, and subsequently moved to Douw's building, where he finally sold out to Henry
Rowlands. About 1880 he resumed business at Nos. 79 and 81 North Pearl street,
taking as his partner Frederick W. Hoffman, under the firm name of Marsh & Hoff-
man. Here Mr. Marsh continued in the jewelry, watch and diamond trade until his
death on March 28, 1896, when he was succeeded by Mr. Hoffman.

Mr. Marsh was one of the leading jewelers and representative business men of
Albany, and throughout a long and successful career won the respect and confidence
of his fellow citizens. His character, his integrity, and his business reputation were
unsuUied and above criticism. He was public spirited, kind, generous, and benevo-
lent, and was highly esteemed by all who knew him. In his home and among his
family he found his greatest enjoyment, and it was there that his best characteristics
were displayed. He was first and last an honest man, a simple but noble citizen,
and a friend whom every one revered. He was one of the oldest members of the
Burgesses Corps, serving under Captain Bayeau.x in the anti renters' little disturb-
ance in the Helderbergs. He was also an exempt fireman, a member of Temple
Lodge, No. 14, F. & A. M., and one of the founders of the Jagger Iron Company, of
Albany. In politics he was first a Whig and then a Republican, but never accepted
public office, though often urged to do so.

On October 5, 1848. Mr. Marsh was married to Miss Ruth Picket Camp, of Dur-
ham, Conn., who died April 20, 1896, three weeks after the death of her husband.
They are survived by four children.


In this brief summary of points in the career of T. Howard Lewis, general agent
at Albany of the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York, it should be said,
as excuse for any omission, that a biography of more pretension could best convey
the lesson of his life of industry and intelligent management, which is full of instruc-
tion to all. His career, though only fairly begun, shows that honesty, capacity, and
power to " hustle" receive their reward at last, and in good measure. For the past
twelve years he has been associated with the Mutual Life, and during that time has
displayed much wisdom in the management of his affairs.

Mr. Lewis was born in Brooklyn, N. Y., November 6, 1869, and received his edu-
cation in the schools of that city. Being desirous of entering commercial life he
secured an appointment from the home office of the company in 1885, when but fif-
teen years of age. His first duties consisted of running errands for the various
departments of the company. He was advanced from time to time to various posi-
tions in the company's service, and on January 1, 1893, at the age of twenty-three,
was appointed a general agent of the company for Delaware, Virginia, and Eastern
Maryland, with headquarters at Wilmington, Delaware. The Mutual Life never
had a general agent in that territory before, and of his work in 1893 and 1894 the
statistician of the company published in a report the following flattering statement
relative to his efforts in that field for those two years:

"The Mutual Life record in Delaware under the the agency of T. Howard Lewis


is another illustration of what can be accomplished in the life insurance field by en-
ergetic, intelligent, and faithful attention to the business of getting applications
through competent solicitors. In two years the new business done has been increased
to more than ten times as much as it was in 1893, while the insurance in force has
been more than doubled. In 1894 the insurance issued was §1,944,500. and m 1892 it
was §174,500. Thus the gain of issue in two years was §1,770,000. December 31,
1894, the insurance in force was §2,730,000; in 1892 it was §1,266.300. The gain of
insurance in two years was §1,464,540.

"There are several intere.sting lessons connected with the Mutual Life's agency
work in Delaware during the last two years that ought to be observed and utilized
at this time. In 1892 this company did only nine per cent, of the total done by all
the companies operating in the State; and the Equitable and New York Life both
did a larger amount than the Mutual Life. In 1894 the Mutual Life did fifty-two per
cent, of the total, twice as much as the Equitable, and six times as much as the New
York Life. In 1892 the Mutual Life had only 16.5 per cent, of all the insurance in
force in the State, and stood number four in the list of twenty companies, the Equi-
table, the Penn Mutual, and the Provident Life and Trust being ahead. But in 1894
it was raised to the head of the list and held twenty-seven per cent, of the total in
all companies, it being ahead of the Equitable by §600,000, of the Penn Mutual by
nearly §1,200,000, of the Provident Life and Trust by §1,300,000, and of the New
York Life by $1,900,000. This business was obtained by legitimate soliciting meth-
ods and push, and without controversy with other companies. The total new busi-
ness done in the State was increased by §1,800,00 in two years, of which increase
the Mutual Life secured ninety-eight per cent. The total insurance in force in all
companies was increased by nearly §2,1500,000, of which the Mutual Life secured
three-lifths, and the balance was distributed among the smaller companies."

This remarkably large volume of business written in such a limited field resulted
in the transfer of Mr. Lewis to a larger one in New York State, with headquarters in
Albany, in January, 1895. He succeeded the old agencies of D. L. Boardman &
Son and afterward Henry F. Boardman. This general agency is one of the oldest
of the company, and since assuming charge of his new territory Mr. Lewis wrote
during the year 1895 more than four times the amount of business written in 1894.
This ratio has been proportionately increased during 1896. He has a large staff of
special and local agents, and maintains a branch office in Troy, besides offices in
smaller cities and towns throughout Eastern and Northwestern New York.

Mr. Lewis was married in April, 1895, to Miss Jennie B. Lindsay, of Wilmington,
Delaware, daughter of David Lindsay, who is prominently identified with the large
paper manufactory of the Jessup & Moore Paper Company, of Wilmington, New
York, and Pniladelphia.


Dk. William M. Nkad is the second son of a family of three sons and two daugh-
ters of Gabriel and Mary (Eckerman) Nead, both natives of Pennsylvania, and was
born in the town of Lodi, Medina county, Ohio, November 30, 1859. He is of


Dutcli descent. His father followed at different times the occupations of photogra-
pher, stone mason, and meat dealer, and died in Lodi, Ohio, June 30, 1877, leaving
a widow who still survives. Dr. Nead was graduated from the Lodi public and high
schools, and for about a year taught the district school at Homerville, Ohio. Soon
afterward he began the study of medicine in the office of Dr. A. E. Elliott, of Lodi.
with whom he remained about two years, pursuing his studies nights and teaching
school during the day to pay his expenses. In September, 1882, he entered the
Cleveland Homeopathic Hospital College and was graduated therefrom with the de-
gree of M. D. in March, 1884. During the next two years he was associated in prac-
tice with Dr. W. G. Pope, of Keese villa, Essex county, N. Y. In 1886 he removed
to Albany, where he has since practiced his profession with marked success, not
only discharging every obligation which he had contracted for his education, but
acquiring in the brief space of ten years a handsome competency. In the sprmg of
1895 he built his present residence and office at No. 205 State street.

Dr. Nead is a member of the medical staff of the Albany City Homeopathic Hos-
pital; is a member and in 1895 was president of the Albany County Homeopathic
Medical Society; and has been a prominent member of the New York State Homeo-
pathic Medical Society since 1891 and of the American Institute of Homeopathy
since 1892. He is also a member and past chancellor of Chancellors Lodge No. .58,
K. P. ; examining surgeon and past commander of Albany Tent No. 362, of the
Maccabees; ex-senator of Albany Senate No. 641, Knights of the Ancient Essenic
Order; member of Ancient City Lodge No. 453, F'. & A. M. ; and a member and
trustee of Trinity M. E. church.

On July 24, 1890. Dr. Nead was married to Miss Linnie M., daughter of Rufus
Prescott, of Keeseville, Essex county, one of the largest furniture manufacturers and
builders in Northern New York. They have two children: Marjone Amanda and
Prescott Eckerman.


David C. Fitzoek.ald, sou of .Maurice and Mary (Cregan) Fitzgerald, was born in
Limerick, Ireland, June 8, 1868, and is a Imeal descendant of one of the most dis-
tinguished Irish families (the Geraldines), having among his ancestors men whose
biographies are among the brightest glories of Ireland's history.

The family seat of the branch of the great Geraldine family, of which the object
of this sketch is a descender has been established in Limerick since early in the
fourteenth century. Mr. F.czgerald completed his preliminary education in the
Royal University of Ireland, Dublin, where, -'1888, the degree of Bachelor of Arts
was conferred on him. In 1890 he receiver he degree of Barrister at Law at
Oxford, after which he seriously considered entering service in the British army,
for which he had studied, until attracted by the world-wide fame of the Albany bar,
with several prominent members of which he was already on close acquaintance, he
settled in this city, and in 1891 was admitted to the bar of New York State, having
previously in 1886 declared his intention of becoming a citizen of the United States.

His career as a student was particularly brilliant and distinguished him as a young


man of extraordinary intellectual powers and oratorical ability, which his distin-
guished achievements at the bar and in public life, since his advent into the business
world, has more than confirmed. He has an extensive foreign legal practice, in
connection with which he travels extensively in both hemispheres, and has success-
fully handled many cases involving millions of dollars, showing himself, on every
occasion, an able and successful lawyer and a brilliant orator. In politics he is a
Democrat, not of the partisan type but on principle, and has on several occasions
been honored by his party to which he has rendered invaluable services.

He is of athletic mould with an indomitable will and a vigorous constitution, and
the possessor of numerous trophies of victories won by him in the athletic arenas
of his college days; he is quite an equestrian and has been the hero of several
life-saving incidents, in a manner that has made conspicuous his brave and generous
nature and gained him the love and esteem of his fellow citizens.

Indeed Mr. Fitzgerald's distinguished life career of the past, with his extraordinary
physical and intellectual powers, and temperate habits of life, marks him as pre-
eminently a man of the future and a citizen of whom the capital city might well be


EuvvARD J., son of Thomas and Sarah Meegan, was born in the city of
Albany on September 28, 1846. His parents were natives of Ireland, whence they
came to this country in 1824, settling first in Boston, Mass. About 1826 they re-
moved to Albany, where they died. Mr. Meegan early evinced a strong love of
learning, and also as a youth displayed those qualities which make the successful
man. Attending St. Joseph's parish school he became a student and thor-
oughly mastered the elementary principles of a general education. From the first
he was determined to become a lawyer, but owing to the limited pecuniary means
of the family he was obliged to rely mainly upon himself for the prosecution and
completion of his literary and professional studies. When only thirteen years of
age he registered as a student at law in the office of Edwards & Sturtevant, then a
prominent firm at the Albany bar. He remained with them nearly seven years,
and also pursued his legal studies under Isaac Edwards, who was afterward presi-
dent of the Albany Law School, The law had for the young student no drudgery,
but a mine of wealth which he explored and mastered with remarkable quickness.
He was indeed a born lawyer, imbued with the highest principles of the law as a
science. Upon attaining his majority in 1867 he was admitted to the bar, and open-
ing an office in Albany he immediately entered upon the active practice of his pro-

Mr. Meegan had passed with great credit through his studentship, which was full
and unconditional, and during that period he had with his own hands conducted
many hundred cases through all the intricacies of the Code. When he commenced
practice for himself he was therefore a trained and experienced lawyer, and signal
success at once attended his efforts. He has been a lifelong Democrat. In May,
1869, he was elected corporation counsel, and on entering upon the duties of that



office was confronted with a large amount of unfinished work. He continued in the
position until 1874, and saved for the city during his official career more than half a
million of dollars. In this capacity he had gained a large experience in the man-
agement of city cases, and when he resumed his private practice he was retained as
counsel in many of this class of cases, in every one of which he was successful. He
has won a wide reputation as an able civil and criminal lawyer. He is also a distin-
guished orator, a great lover of books, and the owner of a well-selected private library.
His law library is one of the largest if not the largest in the State.

Mr. Meegan was married, first, on September 5, 1878, to Miss Katie E. Welch, of
.•\lbany, who died in January, 1884. September 24, 1886, he married, second, Miss
Mary Mattimore, of Albany% by whom he has had two daughters and two sons, of
whom one daughter is deceased.


JOH.N N. Briggs is a son of Albert N. and a grandson of Newton Briggs, who
came to Coeymans, Albany county, from Sherman, Conn., in 1804. Mr. Briggs was
born in Coeymans. N. Y. , in 1838, and received a practical common school educa-
tion. In 1866 he married Elizabeth M. , daughter of James and Maria Trego, of New
Baltimore, N. Y. He has always been a resident of his native town. In 1865 he
purchased his father's business, viz., general store and North River blue stone, which
he successfully continued for ten years. In 1877 he sold out his mercantile business
at Coeymans and engaged in the coal trade at Albany, N. Y., which he has since
conducted, having yards in both Coeymans and Albany. In 1879 he purchased
and fitted up Baerena Park, a beautiful plat of ground on Baeren Island, near Coey-
mans Landing, which he has made popular and attractive as a summer resort for
picnickers and e.Kcursionists. In 1881 he engaged in the ice business, and has facili-
ties for storing 100,000 tons of ice annually in his houses in Coeymans, which he sells
at his own depots in New York city. He has invented and patented several valuable
facilities for the use of ice men, which have come into general use throughout the ice
producing belt. Mr. Briggs is general superintendent of the ice cutting tools and
machinery of the Consolidated Ice Company of New York city, which harvests and
sells annually over 2,000,000 tons of ice. Is one of the incorporators and president

Online LibraryAmasa J. (Amasa Junius) ParkerLandmarks of Albany County, New York → online text (page 62 of 138)