Charles E. (Charles Elliott) Fitch.

Encyclopedia of biography of New York, a life record of men and women whose sterling character and energy and industry have made them preëminent in their own and many other states (Volume 1) online

. (page 28 of 56)
Online LibraryCharles E. (Charles Elliott) FitchEncyclopedia of biography of New York, a life record of men and women whose sterling character and energy and industry have made them preëminent in their own and many other states (Volume 1) → online text (page 28 of 56)
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student of the great issues and questions
bearing upon the welfare of State and
Nation, he has always been without poli-
tical ambition.

On December 29, 1875, Professor Hale
was married in Rochester to Mary Eliza-
beth Judson, a daughter of Junius (q. v.)
and Lavenda (Bushnell) Judson. They
have two daughters, Edith Hariette and
Elizabeth Lavenda Hale. Mrs. Hale was
possessed of rare mental endowment, of
mature Christian character, and withal of
a most charming personality which
showed itself in sweet courtesy towards
all. She died April 12, 1915, sincerely
mourned by all who knew her.

Professor Hale is a member of the
First Baptist Church of Rochester, in
which he has served for many years as a
trustee, being also prominently identified 1
with the general interests of the Baptist I
denomination in this city. He has been
a generous contributor to many public
and charitable works and his influence is
always on the side of that which pro-
motes intellectual development, aesthetic



culture and moral progress. He has
given many years of an active and useful
life to the cause of education and has at-
tained wide distinction in the field of
labor he has chosen. He has been for
several years identified with the business
interests of the several Judson companies
of this city, in which he is both director
and stockholder.

PRICE, George M.,

Surgeon, Professional Instructor.

For more than a quarter of a century
George M. Price, M. D.. F. A. C. S., has
practiced his healing art in Syracuse, win-
ning honorable standing in his profession
and public esteem as a citizen. In fact,
save for the years spent in American and
European medical schools, his entire life
has been spent in the vicinity of Syra-
cuse; his birthplace, Liverpool, being
not far away. He is devoted to his pro-
fession and confines himself closely to his
special work as surgeon, having few out-
side interests.

George M. Price was born at Liverpool,
Onondaga county. New York, March 3,
1865. After a course of public school
study he became a student at Cazenovia
Seminary, later entering Syracuse High
School, there completing a full course to
graduation. He decided upon the profes-
sion of medicine as his life work, begin-
ning study in the medical department of
the University of Syracuse, whence he
was graduated M. D., class of 1886. Al-
though officially authorized to begin prac-
tice, he was not satisfied with his attain-
ments and for the next two years pursued
post-graduate courses in the hospitals and
schools of medicine in London, England,
and Vienna, Austria. He then returned
to the United States and spent some time
in further post-graduate work as interne
and student at New York Hospital.

After those years of thorough prepara-

tion, he located in Syracuse and there has
since continued, an honored and success-
ful practitioner. He is a member of the
New York State Medical Society, Central
New York Medical Association, the
Onondaga County Medical Society, and
the Syracuse Academy of Medicine. He
has served as president of the three last
named societies. He is surgeon to the
Hospital of the Good Shepherd and the
Syracuse Free Dispensary, and Professor
of Clinical Surgery in the College of
Medicine, Syracuse University. In 1914
he received the degree of F. A. C. S. from
the American College of Surgeons. He is
a member of the board of directors of the
Svracuse Young Men's Christian Associ-
ation, of the Syracuse University Social
Sentiment, and the Billy Sunday Club, and
of the session of the Park Central Presby-
terian Church. He has been honored by
membership in the following organiza-
tions: Alpha Omega Alpha (the * B K
of the Medical World), Iota Chapter,
Alpha Kappa Kappa ; Salt Springs Lodge,
No. 520, Free and Accepted Masons ;
Knight Templar; thirty-second degree
Mason ; University Club, Practitioners'
Club. Clinical Club, Automobile Club.

Dr. Price married, January 19, 1888,
Nettie B. Reese and has five children : J.
Reese, Emily H., Letitia E., Willis H.,
and G. Taylor, 2nd.

SMITH, Ray Burdick,

Lawyer, Author of Salutary Legislation.

In every branch of activity it is the few
and not the many who rise to eminence,
and it is these few who give tone and
character to society, and shape the des-
tinies of the communities in which they
reside. More men rise to what is called
eminence at the bar than in any other
profession. The majority of our orators
and statesmen come from the forum, as it
is the most general school for the training



of genius or talent, and humanity is in-
debted to the study of law and the prac-
tice of our courts for the development of
some of the greatest minds the world has
ever produced. Certainly no state has
more reason to feel proud of her bar than
New York. The records of her lawyers
since the earliest periods of her history are
replete with the works of men who were
giants in intellect, and to-day no city in
the east presents a fairer array of legal
luminaries than Syracuse, New York.
Prominent among those who have earned
enviable reputations for themselves, and
whose worth the people of the city have
seen fit to acknowledge by conferring on
them positions of honor and trust, is Ray
Burdick Smith, of Syracuse.

The particular Smith family from
which he is descended originally came
to this country from Germany, where the
name was spelled Schmidt, and has been
changed to its present form in the course
of years. Henry Smith (Schmidt), great-
grandfather of Ray Burdick Smith, came
to America in the latter part of the
eighteenth century, and settled near Hud-
son in Columbia county, New York. He
moved to the town of Cuyler, Cortland
county, New York, at the time of the
Holland Purchase, with a large family of
children, of which William Henry Smith
was one. William Henry Smith cleared
and worked a farm in the town of Linck-
lean, Chenango county, and a tannery in
the adjoining town of Taylor in Cortland
county. He raised a family of eleven
children of whom Willis Smith, father of
Ray Burdick Smith, was one.

Willis Smith was a farmer in the town
of Cuyler, Cortland county, and later re-
moved with his family to Lincklean, Che-
nango county. He married Emily Bur-
dick, daughter of James and Martha
(Maxon) Burdick. The founders of the
Burdick and Maxon families were mem-

bers of the Roger Williams colony, and
settled in what is now the State of Rhode
Island. They have remained to this day
"Separatists", or Seventh Day Baptists,
and Ray Burdick Smith still clings to this
faith, although he is a member of the
First (Dutch) Reformed Church of Syra-

Ray Burdick Smith was born in Cuy- m
ler, Cortland county, New York, Decern- II
ber II, 1867, and was a young child when
his parents removed to the town of Linck-
lean, Chenango county, in the same State.
There he received his earlier education in
the country district school, later becom-
ing a pupil at the DeRuyter Academy
and Cazenovia Seminary, from which he
was graduated in the class of 1886, and
was awarded the W^endell Scholarship for
having maintained the highest standing
in the class. In the fall of that year he
matriculated at Syracuse University, re-
mained there one year, then entered Yale
University, from which he was graduated
with distinction in the class of 1891, with
the degree of Bachelor of Arts, and mem-
bership in the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
He achieved prominence in Yale both as
a prize speaker and writer. He was a
successful competitor for the John A.
Porter Prize Essay, being the second un-
dergraduate to win it after its foundation
in 1870. The "Yale Literary Magazine"
was in excellent standing during the time
time he was one of its editors and its
manager, and as a member of the Psi
LTpsilon and Chi Delta Theta fraternities
he was held in high esteem.

Mr. Smith commenced the study of law
in the latter part of 1891, in the Law
School of Cornell University, devoting
himself so earnestly to this that he prac-
tically completed a two years' course in
one year, one of his instructors having
been Justice Charles E. Hughes. Taking
up his residence in the city of Syracuse,



he completed his law studies in the office
of Waters, McLennan & Waters, was
admitted to the bar in 1893, and at once
opened offices in association with Thomas
Woods under the firm name of Woods &
Smith, which was later changed to
Thomson, Woods & Smith, which part-
nership continued until 191 1.

In 1894, when the Constitutional Con-
vention opened, Mr. Smith was appointed
clerk of the cities committee of that body,
and in this capacity drafted and advo-
cated the constitutional provision which
requires every bill for a special city law
passed by the Legislature to be sent to
the mayor of the city, and returned to
the Legislature or Governor within fifteen
days, with a certification as to whether
or not the city has accepted it. This was
one of the most important publicity pro-
visions of the present constitution, giving
to cities the right to a voice in measures
in which they are directly concerned. In
the Legislatures of 1894 and 1895, Mr.
Smith was clerk of the committee on
general laws of the Senate. He was
elected supervisor of the Fourteenth, now
the Seventeenth, ward of the city of
Syracuse, in 1895, and was the incumbent
of this office for a period of four years.
He was chairman of the committee which
had charge of the construction of the new
Onondaga County Penitentiary, a struc-
ture which has repeatedly been com-
mended by the State Prison Commission,
and is regarded as a model of its kind.

Mr. Smith was appointed assistant
clerk of the Assembly in 1898, holding
this office until his election as clerk in
1908. During his service as assistant
clerk, he annually organized the clerical
force of the house, and managed that
work with consummate ability and suc-
cess. For many years he has been recog-
nized as one of the foremost parliamen-
tarians of the State, and he so shaped the

procedure of the Assembly as to expedite
materially the work it is called upon to
perform. He drafted an amendment to
the legislative law, providing for a system
of original journals and documents which
have, since their adoption, enabled the
courts to save many thousands of dollars
to the State. During the sixteen years
he spent in Albany, he drafted practically
every piece of legislation affecting his
own county of Onondaga, and succeeded
in getting many laws passed of great
benefit to this section and to the State at
large. He was counsel for the commit-
tees which revised the charter of second
class cities and drew a proposed charter
for the city of New York and his knowl-
edge of constitutional law and wide ac-
quaintance with municipal affairs were
invaluable in these connections. One of
the legislative achievements of which Mr.
Smith may well be proud is the Syracuse
lighting law, which protects the rights
of the consumer of gas and electricity
more effectively than any measure of its
kind, and which was passed only after
a hard fight.

In 1910, when a Democratic Assembly
was elected, Mr. Smith retired from
active political life, and since that time
has devoted himself exclusively to the
practice of his profession, except that he
was elected and served as a member of
the Constitutional Convention of 1915,
and was a prominent figure in that con-
vention, notably in securing the adoption
of several amendments proposed by him
and in opposing other amendments in-
cluding the form of submission which
were instrumental in the rejection of the
proposed revision of the constitution by
the electors.

During the recent years he has won a
number of cases which have been of far
reaching importance. In one of them —
Tomaney against the Humphrey Gas.



Pump Company — the Appellate Division,
Fourth Department, affirmed a judgment
of twenty-five thousand dollars, given Mr.
Smith's client by a jury. This was the
largest verdict in a negligence action by
the Fourth Department up to the present
time (1915). In the fight in the courts
against the telephone monoply in Syra-
cuse, Mr. Smith has been a prominent
figure, as he also was in securing legis-
lation to relieve the towns of the burden
of paying a proportion of the cost of the
construction of county highways.

In his own county Mr. Smith has been
regarded for many years as influential
in public afifairs. He was elected a mem-
ber of the Republican general committee
of Onondaga county in 1895, and became
the vice-chairman of this body in 1896.
He was elected chairman in 1907, and
acted in that capacity through two of the
hardest municipal campaigns in the
experience of the party, that of 1907, and
that of 1909, in the latter of which Ed-
ward Schoeneck succeeded in a four-
cornered fight against one strong Demo-
crat and two Independent Republican

Mr. Smith is a member of the Citizens'
and Masonic clubs of Syracuse ; the Al-
bany Club of Albany ; the Republican
Club of New York City ; he is a thirty-
second degree Mason, and a member of
the Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the
Mystic Shrine, of Utica ; Syracuse Lodge,
No. 31, Benevolent and Protective Order
of Elks ; Westminster Lodge, Independ-
ent Order of Odd Fellows ; De Kanissora
Tribe, Improved Order of Red Men ;
Independent Order of Foresters ; the
Onondaga County Bar Association, and
State Bar Association.

Mr. Smith married, in 1891, Nellie
King Reilay, of Syracuse, and they have
one child : Willis King, born September
II, 1892.

VANN, Irving Goodwin,

Lairyer, Jurist.

If "biography is the home aspect of
history," it is entirely within the province
of true history to accumulate and per-
petuate the lives and characters, the
achievements and honors of the illus-
trious sons of the nation, and when the
history of New York and her public men
shall have been written its pages will
bear few more illustrious names or record
few more distinguished careers than that
of Judge Irving Goodwin Vann, of Syra-
cuse. Whatever else may be said of the
legal fraternity, it cannot be denied that
members of the bar have been ;;■;' re
prominent factors in public affairs than
any other class in the communitv. This
IS but the natural result of causes which '■
are manifest and require no explanation.
The ability and training which qualify
one to practice law also qualif , him in
many respects for duties which lie out- !
side the strict path of his profession and
which touch the general interests of soci-
ety. The keen discernment and the habits
of logical reasoning and arriving at accur-
ate deductions so necessary to the suc-
cessful lawyer enable him to view cor-
rectly important public questions and to
manage intricate business afl'airs suc-
cessfully. Not only has Judge Vann at-
tained an eminent position in connection
with his chosen calling, but also in public
office. His marked intellectuality and
fitness for leadership led to his selection
again and again for public honors. He is
a man remarkable in the breadth of his
wisdom, in his indomitable perseverance
and his strong individuality.

On both sides of the family his lineage
is an ancient one. Samuel Vann, his
great-grandfather, was born in New Jer-
sey, and served with bravery as a lieuten-
ant in the War of the Revolution ; his



son, also Samuel Vann, died in 1878, at
the age of one hundred and six years.
Samuel R. Vann, son of the second
Samuel Vann, was a native of New Jer-
sey, and followed agricultural pursuits.
The greater part of his life was spent in
Ulysses, New York, where he died in
1872. He married Catherine H. Goodwin,
a daughter of Joseph Goodwin, who
served actively in the War of 1812; a
granddaughter of Richard Goodwin, who
was born in Pennsylvania, and, early in
the nineteenth century, settled at Good-
win's Point, near Taughannock Falls, on
Cayuga Lake ; and great-granddaughter
of Richard Goodwin, a native of New

Judge Irving Goodwin Vann, son of
Samuel R. and Catherine H. (Goodwin)
Vann, was born in Ulysses, Tompkins
county. New York, January 3, 1842, and
his early years were spent on the farm
of his father in that town. He was pre-
pared for entrance to college at Tru-
mansburg and Ithaca academies, matricu-
lated at Yale College in September, 1859,
entering the freshman class, and was
graduated in the class of 1863. He en-
gaged in the profession of teaching for
a time, and in 1864 was principal of the
Pleasant Valley High School, near
Owensboro, Kentucky, from which posi-
tion he resigned in order to devote him-
self to his legal studies. He commenced
these studies in the office of Boardman
& Finch, of Ithaca, continuing them at the
Albany Law School, from which he was
graduated early in 1865. Following his
graduation he served as a clerk in the
Treasury Department at Washington,
District of Columbia, for some months,
and in October, 1865, took up his resi-
dence in Syracuse, New York, with
which city his career was identified from
that time. A limited period of time was
spent as clerk in the office of Raynor &

Butler, and he established himself in
independent practice in March, 1866. The
firms with which he was successively
identified are : Vann & Fiske, Raynor &
Vann, Fuller & Vann, and Vann, Mc-
Lennan & Dillaye. His reputation as a
lawyer of tact, ability and undoubted
learning was soon established. His prac-
tice was mainly confined to cases in the
Appellate Courts, although he was so
frequently called upon to act as referee,
that he was at last obliged to refuse work
of this nature, owing to the mass of
other legal work which had accumulated.
The interest displayed by Judge Vann
in the public affairs of the community
was an unselfish and impartial one, but
it was soon recognized and appreciated
by the people of the city that he was a
man to whom the conduct of public
affairs could be safely entrusted. In
February, 1879, he was elected mayor
of Syracuse by a large Republican ma-
jority, declining renomination at the end
of his term because of the demands of his
private practice. However, the citizens
of Syracuse had had an opportunity to
judge of his worth as a public official,
and in 1881 he was elected a justice of
the Supreme Court of the Fifth Judicial
District, serving from January i, 1882,
to January i, 1889, when Governor Hill
appointed him a judge of the Court of
Appeals, Second Division, as which he
served during the entire existence of that
tribunal, until October i, 1892, when he
resumed the duties of justice of the Su-
preme Court. In November, 1895, he
was the nominee of both parties, and
was reelected a justice of the Supreme
Court, assuming his duties January i,
1896. and resigning them January 7, 1896,
in order to assume the duties of a judge
of the Court of Appeals, to which Gov-
ernor Morton had appointed him on
January 6, to succeed Judge Rufus W.



Peckham, who had resigned in order to
take up his work as a judge of the Su-
preme Court of the United States. In
November, 1896, Judge Vann was elected
a judge of the Court of Appeals by the
largest majority ever received at a State
election in New York, his term to cover
from January i, 1897, to December 31,
1910. In the fall of 1910 he was re-
elected, having been nominated by both
the leading political parties, for the full
term of fourteen years, but on reaching
the age of seventy he retired on the first
of January, 1913, owing to the age limit
of the constitution. In 1882 Hamilton
College conferred upon him the honor-
ary degree of Doctor of Laws and the
same degree was conferred by Syracuse
University in 1897, and by Yale Univer-
sity in 1898. He has been a law lecturer
in Cornell, Syracuse and Albany Law
schools. He was the organizer of Wood-
lawn Cemetery, and has served continu-
ously as its president. He was one of the
founders, and for several years president,
of the Century Club, and was president
of the Onondaga Red Cross Society since
its organization. For many years he has
visited the Adirondacks, where he owns a
handsome, well appointed cottage, which
he had erected on Buck Island, in Cran-
berry Lake. There he houses his splen-
did collection of fire arms and weapons
of varied character, many of them of
decided historical and scientific interest.
Always an enthusiastic hunter and
fisherman. Judge Vann in earlier years
was also fond of camping. In his beau-
tiful city home are collections of another
sort, notably that of a fine and extensive
library, in which may be found many
volumes of almost priceless worth. Phil-
anthropic projects of varied character
and scope have always received a more
than fair share of his time and attention,
and his charities are wide and diversified.

Judge Vann married, October 11, 1870,
Florence Dillaye, only daughter of the
late Henry A. Dillaye, of Syracuse. To
this union there have been born : Flor-
ence Dillaye, July 31, 1871, who married
Albert P. Fowler, a member of the law
firm of Fowler, Vann & Paine ; Irving
Dillaye, a member of the above mentioned
firm, who was born September 17, 1875.

BRAYTON, Warren C,

Financier, Enterprising Citizen.

When, in the course of a few years, the
scope of a business grows from a moder-
ate beginning to a large amount annually,
it argues that there must be a very cap-
able leading spirit in control of its affairs,
and it is of such a man, Warren C. Bray-
ton, of Syracuse, New York, that this
sketch treats. Faithfulness to duty and
strict adherence to a fixed purpose in life
will do more to advance a man's interests
than wealth, influence or advantageous
circumstances. The successful men of
the day are those who have planned their
own advancement and have accomplished
it in spite of many obstacles, and at the
same time with a certainty that may only
be acquired through their own efforts.
Of this class of men, Mr. Brayton is an
excellent representative.

Eli C. Brayton, his father, was born
in Washington county. New York, in
1814, and died in Syracuse, New York,
in 1895. He was of English descent, and
engaged in agricultural pursuits through-
out the active years of his life. He mar-
ried Maria Barrell, also a native of
Washington county. New York. She
died in Syracuse, New York, in 1893.
Their two children were Warren C.
Brayton and Pierce B. Brayton. Pierce
B. Brayton was a resident of Syracuse
for many years and well known. Later
on, he took up his residence in Geneva,
Nebraska. He passed away in 1907.



Warren C. Brayton was born in Hart-
ford, Washington county, New York,
February 5, 1840, and there acquired his
education in the district schools. Brought
up on the farm, he assisted his father in
its cultivation, at the same time acquiring
a great deal of experience in this line
which was to be of assistance to him later
on. However, farm labors were not great-
ly to the taste of Mr. Brayton, and July
9, 1857, found him in Syracuse, whither
he had com,e in order to find more con-
genial employment. He opened a rail-
road ticket office as the agent of the Lake
Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad
Company, and several other lines, and in
1865 was joined in this enterprise by his
brother. Their unfailing courtesy and
unflagging interest in behalf of the travel-
ing public brought them a very large
business. They succeeded particularly in
obtaining a large share of the western
travel. This agency was conducted suc-
cessfully for more than a quarter of a
century. When the New York Central,
Lake Shore & Michigan Southern de-
creased the number of emigrant trains,
as travel to the west diminished, the
receipts of Messrs. Brayton Brothers
suffered in proportion and Mr. Warren
C. Brayton accepted the position of dis-
trict passenger agent of the Lake Shore
& Michigan Southern railroad. He was
also affiliated with the passenger depart-
ment of the W^est Shore road, which was
then completed and had just gone into
operation. When the West Shore be-
came a part of the New York Central
system, he became general agent for the
passenger department of the Delaware,
Lackawanna & Western railroad, and
was instrumental in building up a large
passenger business for this railroad. His
previous connections with other lines
made him one of the best known men in
Central New York.

N Y— Vol IV— 13 I

Online LibraryCharles E. (Charles Elliott) FitchEncyclopedia of biography of New York, a life record of men and women whose sterling character and energy and industry have made them preëminent in their own and many other states (Volume 1) → online text (page 28 of 56)