John Phillips Downs.

History of Chautauqua County, New York, and its people (Volume 3) online

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Warren B. Hooker, was born Nov. 24, 1856. He
died at his home in Fredonia, Chautauqua county, N.
Y., March 5, 1920, and is buried in Forest Hill Ceme-
tery. His education, begun in the public schools, was
continued at Forestville Free Academy, from whence he
was graduated, class of 1876. Choosing the profes-
sion of law, he studied under the preceptorship of John
G. Record, of the Chautauqua county bar, and until 1879
was a student in the lattcr's office in Forestville. In 1879
h(! was admitted to the bar, and until 1882 practiced law
in Chautauqua county, with offices at Forestville. In 1882
he went to the State of Washington, and for two years
practirerl his profession in the city of Tacoma. He re-
turned to Chautauqua county in 1884 and at once estab-
li-^^hcd law ofTices in Fredonia, that village continuing his
home until his death, thirty-six ycnrs later.

Until 1890 Mr. Hooker successfully practiced law in




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47 CT /&^.



BIOGRAPHICAL



405



Fiedonia, then gave himself wholly to the public service
as Congressman from the then Thirty-fourth New York
District. He continued in Congress through successive
reelections until November, 1898, when he was appointed
by Governor Black a justice of the Supreme Court of the
Eighth Judicial District to fill a vacancy. At the elec-
tion in November, 1899, he was elected to the same high
office for a full term of fourteen years. On Dec.
8, 1902, he was appointed by Governor Odell to the Ap-
pellate Division in the Second Department and went to
Brooklyn, where he served until 1909, then returned to
trial work in his own district. Upon the expiration of
his term in 1913 he retired to private life. He was, how-
ever, recalled to the bench late in the summer of 1919 as
official Supreme Court Referee by appointm.ent, and dur-
ing the fall and winter heard a number of cases. The
last trial over which he presided was in Allegany county,
but two weeks prior to his death.

The record Judge Hooker made while on the bench
shows him to have been a diligent worker and most
anxious that nothing but justice should proceed from his
decisions. He was learned in the law, but never rendered
a decision until after deep search and profound study of
lavi' precedent and authority to fortify his own opinion.
Eminently just in this judicial decision, he was equally
noted for his fairness and impartiality.

The fifteen years Judge Hooker spent upon the Su-
preme Bench came as a crowning honor to a life of public
service that began while he was yet a law student. A
Republican in his political affiliation, he was of the domi-
nent party, but his was a day of personal politics, and it
was necessary to success that a politician maintain a
strong organization loyal to him as well as to the party.
This Judge Hooker early learned, and he proved one of
the strongest of leaders of organized politics in his dis-
trict. He fought his political battles according to the
rules laid down by former leaders and by contempo-
raries ; he a;ked no quarter, and gave and received hard
blows with equal equanimity.

His career in the public service began in 1878, the
\-ear before he was actually admitted to the bar, when he
was elected special surrogate of Chautauqua county. He
held that position for three years. After returning from
the West, Mr. Hooker immediately began taking an
active interest in public affairs, and in 18S9 was elected
supervisor from the town of Pomfrct. In 1890 he was
reelected, receiving the support in that election of both
kading political parties, which was a compliment to his
efficient service. In the fall of 1890, when yet but thirty-
three years of age, he was nominated by the Republicans
of th; Thirty-fourth Congressional District of New York
for representative in Congress. The district comprises
the counties of Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany.
His election followed by a majority of 5,726. He was
reelected in 1892 and again in 1894, receiving in the latter
election a plurality of 15.300 votes. In 1896 he again re-
ceived the nomination and was again elected by the hand-
some plurality of 27,436. He was elected for the last
time in 189S. At the time he was elected for the first
time he was the youngest member of Congress. He was
nominated at that time over old and experienced men of
the party. His subsequent renomination by acclamation
was a compliment to his popularity and faithful service.



During the Fifty-fourth Congress, Speaker Reed named
Mr. Hooker chairman of the important Rivers and Har-
bors Committee. His bill passed by big majorities by
both houses of Congress, and over the President's veto
won for him many warm compliments. In one of his
appropriation bills during his term as chairman of this
committee, was included a generous appropriation for
the Dunkirk harbor with which most important improve-
ments were made. In 1898, before he had completed his
last term in -Congress, Governor Black appointed him a
justice of the Supreme Court for the Eighth Judicial
District. This ended his political career, and upon the
expiration of this term in 1913, he practiced law and en-
gaged in business as a manufacturer of sand glass in
Pennsylvania.

Most of Judge Hooker's time after his retirement from
the bench was spent in Fredonia, where his genial nature
and pleasing manner won all hearts. He was sympathetic
and responsive to every reasonable appeal, and during
the last few years of his life took deep interest in the
affairs of Trinity Protestant Episcopal Church. He was
a member of the Masonic order, affiliated with Forest
Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, of Fredcnia. In 1899
Hamilton College conferred upon him the honorary de-
gree LL. D.

Judge Hooker married, Sept. 11, 1S84, Etta Elizabeth
Abbey, who survives him, youngest daughter of Chaun-
cey and Elizabeth (Chase) Abbey, her father one of
Fredonia's strong business men of an earlier day, bank
president and eminent citizen, who died in 1894. Eliza-
ijeth (Chase) Abbey died March 28, 1855. Mrs. Hooker
is a member of Benjamin Prejcott Chapter, Daughters
of the American Revolution, and of Trinity Episcopal
Church. She is of the eighth generation of the .•\bbey
fam.ily in America, descent being traced from John Ab-
bey, who was of Salem, Mass., Jan. 2, i''38. Judge and
Mrs. Hooker were the parents of two children, born in
Fredonia : Sherman Abbey Hooker, secretary of the
Benjamin Franklin Institute, New York City ; Florence
Elizabeth, married Eben D. Jiloon, of Elkhart, Ind., and
they are the parents of three sons : Warren DeWitt,
Eben DeWitt, Jr., and David Erownell Moon.

Two tributes from the press of Western New York
close this review of a valuable life. Buffalo "Times" (in
part only) :

Jlany years ago we were present in court when
Judgre Hooker sentenced to death a young man who
had been convicted of murder. Tlie magistrate showed
more emotion than did the defendent. The carefully
restrained but distinctly evident sorrow of the .ludge.
his pallor, his manifest sense of the tremendous and
melancholy responsibility he was wielding left an im-
pression which has never been effaced. It ■was a
memorable example of human feeling in exercising the
powers of .iustioe. and was consonant with the breadth
of vision Judge Hooker showed in afterward granting
that unfortunate young man a new trial.

It seems to us that this incident is more typical of
Justice Hooker than anything that could be conveyed
in an editorial of the conventional kind.

Jamestown "Journal" (closing paragraph) :

And now, some years after the days of his activity,
when he goes to his long rest after a strenuous life,
when he has laid down the burdens which he courage-
ously bore so many years, we pay tribute to his genius,
and join with those who sorrow at his passing from
the realm of the living to take his place in the silent
chambers of the dead.



400



CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY



CHAUNCEY ABBEY— A quarter of a century has
eUpscd since Cliaunccy Abbey walked Frcdonia's streets,
but his mcnwry is still green and monuments to his
memory are I'oimd on every hand. Nearly forty years
prior to his passing he organized with others the Fre-
donia Bank, a State institution, which later became the
Fredonia Natior.al Bank, of which Chauucey Abbey was
the able president during the last twelve years of his life.
Beginning life on a farm, he was very successful as an
agriculturfst, and as the years passed he broadened and
expanded until his activities touched nearly every de-
partment of Chautauqua county life. His life was a
successful and a useful one, for it was not given up to
selfish ends or ignoble purposes. He prospered, but it
was not at the expense of others, and his wealth was
both rightly acquired and rightly used. Seventy-nine
were the years of his life, and from the age of eight
years he was a resident of Chautauqua county, and from
arrival at legal age a landowner.

This surname is \-ariously spelled. Abbe and Abbey
being the commoner forms. The origin of the word as
a surname is self-evident, the first to bear it taking ad-
vantage of the nearness of his home to the abbey to
adopt that v.-ord as his surname. The family in England
bore arms : Gules, five fusils in fesse, between three
scallop shells. Crest: On a wreath of three colors of
the shield, gules and argent, an eagle's head erased or.

Chauncey Abbey traced his descent through si.x gen-
erations of New England ancestors to John Abbey, who,
tradition says, was of Norwich, Norfolkshire, England.
John .-\bbey was admitted an inhabitant of Salem, Alass.,
Jan. 2, 1636, and allotted an acre of ground "for an
house" and "three acres of planting ground." He had
other lands granted him in Salem, and is mentioned in
the Wenham records in 1643; was a constable in 1669,
and according to Savage was at Reading, Mass., in 1685.
He died about 1690, aged not far from seventy-four
years. His first wife, Mary Abbey, who died Sept. 9,
1672, was the mother of Samuel .-Vbhey, througli whom
Chauncey .Abbey traced his descent.

Samuel Abbey was born about 1630, in Salem or Wen-
ham, Nfass.. died in Windham, Conn., in March, 1697-98.
He was a landowner and surveyor of Wenham, lived in
Salem Village, bought and sold several tracts of land in
Essex county, Mass., prior to Dec. 21, 1697, when he
was admitted an inhabitant of Windham, Conn. He
married, at Windham, Mass., Oct. 12, 1672, Mary Knowl-
ton, who survived him and married a second husband,
Abraham Nfitchell. Descent is traced to Chauncey Ab-
Ky throuirh Ebenezer Abbey, son of Samuel and Mary
( Knowlton ) ,^bbey.

Eb<:nczor .Vbbcy was b<^<rn in .Salem Village, Mass.,
July 31, 1683, died Dec. 5, 1758. He was of Norwich,
G-,nn., and Windham, Conn.' and in 172.1 was a mem-
ber of the Hampton church. He is traced by his lantl
transactions, and may have lived at Mansfield, as he there
married, Oct. 28, i/f/?, Mary, daughter of Joshua Allen,
on'- of Mansfi'-ld's early settlers. They were the parents
'it thir'<'n children, descent being traced in this branch
thro'it'h the eldest child, Ebenezer Abljcy.

Ef(enezer (2) .Abbey was born in Windham, Conn.,
J'lly 27, i7f»S. H'- married Abigail, surname tmknown,
Feb. 22, 1729, and th'v were the prir<iits (if seven chil-



dren, descent being traced through the si.xth child, John
Abbey.

John Abbe\- was born in Windham, Conn., Aug. 23,
1743, died in Bellows Falls, Conn. He was a soldier of
the Revolution, serving with the Connecticut Line. He
married, April 2y, 170S, Dorothy Bugbee, and they were
the parents of David .Abbey, the fouiider of the family
in Chautauqua county, N. V., and grandparents of
Chauncey Abbey.

David Abbey was born at Bellows Falls, Conn., in 1789,
died in Chautauqua county, N. Y., in 1876. He was a
farmer all his life, and owned land in various places.
He located in the town of Villenova (now Arkwright),
Chautauqua county, N. Y., in 1823, and there resided
many years. He married, in New England, Hannah
Woods, born in Beiniington, Vt., daughter of Nathan
Woods, a Revolutionary soldier, and descendant of John
Woods, born in England about 1610, one of the first set-
tlers of Sudbury, Mass. David and Hannah (Woods)
Abbey were the parents of seven children : James
Parker; Chauncey, mentioned below; Abial, Hannah,
John, David, Jr., and a child who died young.

Chauncey Abbey, second son of David and Hannah
(Woods) Abbey, was born in the town of Virgil, Cort-
land county, N. Y., April i, 1815, died in the village of
Fredonia, Chautauqua county, N. Y., Sept. 11, 1894. He
was eight years old when brought to Chautauqua county
by his parents in 1823, and until reaching man's estate
remained at the home farm in the now town of Ark-
wright. He was educated in the district schools, and
developed marked ability as a mathematician. In 1836
he left home and began life on his own farm, having
become the owner of a choice tract of 194 acres, in the
town of Arkwright, near the village of the same name.
He gave particular attention to the improvement and
cultivation of his farm, and in course of time brought it
to the very highest condition of productiveness. He spe-
cialized in stock-raising and dealing, and in addition to
fertile fields, his farm was also noted for its fine stock.
He easily grew into leadership among the farmers of his
district, and that, in a community remarkable for its fine
farms and prosperous farmers. His cattle dealing began
when he was a young farmer anxious to increase his
income through other means than by actual cultivation of
the soil. It is related of him that after making some
small ventures he determined to go in heavier and went
to Ellicott to bid up the large herd of cattle Mr. Pren-
dergast annually placed upon the market. He looked so
young that Mr. Prcndcrgast advised him not to buy, but
be ."iatisfied with a farmer's gains, and not take a cattle
drover's risks. But the young man persisted and bought
the entire herd, clearing over a thousand dollars in the
transaction. Many times afterward he bought the Prcn-
dcrgast herd, but was never again burdened with the
owner's pood advice. For many years each farmer pro-
duced a herd of cattle for the market, and there was
hardly a farm in the county but Mr. Abbey sometime
visit<'d anti usually did some business. He imported
rattle from the West, principally to replenish Chau-
tauqua dairies, and fr)nnd marlcets for hi-; cattle at home
and ;ibroad.

So heavy were his transactions and so abundant was
his r.rjpitrd that he became a i)urchaser of commercial



BIOGRAPHICAL



407



paper and other securities, becoming practically the
banker for entire townships, in which the highest form
of security known was Chauncey Abbey's word. He
became familiar with all forms of business, drew wills,
settled estates, acted as guardian and safeguarded the
investments of minors and others. He was literally con-
sulted by hundreds in matters of deep importance to
them, and the advice they sought was always freely
given. Besides his own home farm at Arkwright, which
he never sold, he owned and improved a farm in Ohio,
and several valuable Chautauqua county tracts, for he was
a firm believer iu the future agricultural greatness of
the county and in the value of Chautauqua lands as an
investment.

While he was the best known financier in the county,
it was not until 1856 that he formed regular banking
connections. In tliat year, with Stephen M. Clements
and others, he organized the Fredonia Bank under the
State laws, and in 1865 reorganized and incorporated it
under the newly enacted National banking laws as The
First National Bank of Fredonia. He was a heavy
investor in the stock of both banks, always a member
of their boards of direction, and from 1882 until his
death, in i8g4, was president of The First National. He
was a member of the Presbyterian church, and in poli-
tics a Republican.

Mr. Abbey married (first) Elizabeth Chase, who died
March 28, 1855, aged thirty-eight years, daughter of
Stephen Chase, of Charlotte, Chautauqua county, N. Y.
They were the parents of four children : Hannah, died
young ; Ruble Lavinia, a resident of Fredonia ; Rosa E.,
married (first) Manly M. Sessions, (second) Herbert A.
Peirce ; Etta Elizabeth, widow of Judge Warren Brew-
ster Hooker, whose sketch precedes this.

The rise of Chauncey Abbey from farmer boy to
financier is well worth contemplation, and his character
proves difficult to analyze. He was ambitious, but not to
a degree unusual, and it is not easy to find the exact
characteristic which won success. He was a keen ob-
server of men. To the man struggling manfully with
adversity his strong arm was outstretched, but drones
and adventurers, wasters of fortunes and opportunities,
and betrayers of trusts never successfully applied to him.
He was a bold, energetic, self-reliant man, following
more than most men the suggestions of his own judg-
ment and conscience. He listened to others but decided
for himself. He generously aided every public enter-
prise to make men better and happier. He had the
frankness and geniality that attached to him his busi-
ness associates and neighbors. In a business career of
more than sixty years his integrity was never questioned.
He faithfully discharged every trust confided in him. He
was a wise man from the lessons of life and the book of
nature to him was ever open.



HARRY BENJAMIN HOPSON— The founder of
the Hopson line of this record was Sergeant John Hop-
son, the name appearing in early records as both Hopson
and Hobson, variations persisting to the present. Ser-
geant John Hopson was born in England in 1610, and
it is believed that he came to America in the "Globe"
in 1635, probably accompanying his father, John Hop-
son, who settled at Rowley, Mass. Sergeant John Hop-



son located at Guilford in the Connecticut colony, and
there he died July 3, 1701. He was three times married,
his first wife, Sara, died Sept. 9, 1669; his second, whom
he married Dec. 3 (or 9), 1672, Elizabeth, died in 1683,
daughter of Edward Shipman, of Saybrook, Conn.; his
third, Elizabeth Ailing, daughter of John Ailing, of
New Haven, born Sept. 11, 1653. The children of his
first marriage were: John, born March 16, 1666, and
Francis, who died young: of his second: Elizabeth,
born Jan. 27" 1674, married Comfort Starr; and Abi-
gail, born Dec. 17, 1677, died young; of his third: Sam-
uel, of whom further.

(II) Lieutenant Samuel Hopson, son of Sergeant
John and Elizabeth (Ailing) Hopson, was born in Guil-
ford, Conn., Jan. 10, 1684, lived in that town all of his
life, and died Dec. 21, 1771. He married (first) Jan.
20, 1709, Mary Fowler, born about 1681, died Oct. 17,
1717, daughter of Judge Abraham Fowler; (second)
Ann Leete, daughter of Governor William Leete, of
Guilford, Conn.

(III) Samuel (2) Hopson, son of Lieutenant Samuel
(i) Hopson, was born in Guilford, Conn., Oct. 21, 1710,
and died in Wallingford, Conn., May 3, 1789. He grew
to manhood on the homestead in the northern end of
the town, and in 1760 moved to Wallingford, where he
engaged in agricultural operations for the remainder of
his life. He married, in Guilford, about 1733, Mercy
Collins, born in Guilford, Jan. 19, 1707, died in Walling-
ford, Conn. Children: Clement; Linus, of whom fur-
ther; Samuel, born July 29, 1738; Ashel, born April 12,
1743; Rue, born Aug. 12, 1745 ; Simeon, born Oct. 14,
1747; Alvanus, born April 9, 1752; and Avis.

(IV) Linus Hopson, son of Samuel (2) Hopson, was
born about 1736, in Guilford. He was in the Colonial
army during the Revolution, served at Boston, and rose
to the rank of lieutenant. He was for a time a resi-
dent of Wallingford, Conn., and later moved to Free-
hold near Albany, N. Y. He married, about 1766, Mar-
tha Shattuck, born in Middletown, Conn., April 15, 1746,
died probably in Freehold, Albany county, N. Y.,
daughter of Timothy and Desire (Hall) Shattuck,
granddaughter of Rev. Benjamin and Martha (Sher-
man) Shattuck, and Nathaniel and Elizabeth (Curtis)
Hall, of Wallingford, great-granddaughter of William
and Susanna (Randall) Shattuck, of Woburn, Mass.,
and Joseph and Elizabeth (Winship) Sherman. (See
Shattuck V). Children: Philo, of whom further; Lyman,
born May 30, 1769; Sherman, born June 19, 1772; Linus,
born Oct. 20, 1777; and Jason, born May 19, 1781.

(V) Philo Hopson, son of Linus Hopson, was born
in Wallingford, Conn,, Nov. 16, 1767. He lived for a
time after his marriage in the place of his birth, then
moved to Chautauqua county, N. Y. From Chautau-
qua county he went to Virginia, and there all trace of
him was lost. He married, in Branford, Conn., Dec.
II, 1791, Anna Norton, who died in Chautauqua county
in 1809. (See Norton XVIII.). Children: Stephen,
Linus, Lyman, Sarah, born in 1801, Harry, and Philo, Jr.

(VI) Lyman Hopson, son of Philo Hopson, was born
in Wallingford, Conn., in 1799. He was a lad of ten
years when the family moved to Chautauqua county,
locating near Hartfield, and in this vicinity he became a
land owner and farmer, his death occurring in 1853.
He married, in 1823, Nancy Earnhardt, born in Som-



4oS



CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY



erset county. Pa., in 1707. died in Hartfield. X. Y., in
iS:^. daughter o\ Feter and Molly (.Boyer) Rarnhardt.
Children: Martha, horn in August. 1S24: Amy Pris-
cilla, born Xov. i. 1S25: Eliza Ann, born in iS:?8; Nel-
son, of whom further: John and Peter (twins"), bom in
iSj(6.

(A'ln Nelson Hopson. son of Lyman Hopson, was
born in Hartfield, Chautauqua count}-, N .Y., June 27,
iS, - \ r.nd died Oct. 5. looo. one hundred years after his
jrrandfather first came to Chautauqua county. He was
a successful and substantial farmer, and both he and
his wife were members and liberal supporters of the
Methodist Episcopal church of Mayville. Politically
he was a Prohibitionist, and did active work for the
party. He married, March 20, 1852, Marilla Fuller,
horn Dec. 12. 182S. died at Majnille, April 8, 1913.
daughter of Joseph and Lydia (Lewis) Fuller. Chil-
dren, all bom in Hartfield, X. Y.: Xancy Viola, born
March 17. 1853: Newell Philo, born Feb. iS, 1S55;
Harry Beniamin, of whom further; and Jane, born
Sept.'2S, 1S68.

(\'ini Harry Benjamin Hopson. son of Nelson Hop-
son, was bom in Hartfield, Chautauqua county, X. Y.,
Sept. 14, 1857. He attended the district school
until his fourteenth year, when he entered the Fre-
donia Xormal School, where his sister Xancy Viola
had graduated at an earlier date. The four children of
Xelson and Marilla (Fuller) Hopson all attended the
Fredonia Academy, and the daughters graduated from
the Fredonia Xormal School. It has been characteris-
tic of the Hopson men to marry at an early age, and
Harrj- B. Hopson was no exception. In 1S70 he mar-
ried -Adelaide J. Gleason, oldest daughter of Charles
and Lucy .Ann (Slocum) Gleason.

Nfr. Hopson engaged in the wholesale ice business
at Mayville at about this time, and established one of
the oldest and largest businesses of its kind on Chau-
tiiinua Lake, building three different plants, all at the
hend of the lake. This enterprise came to employ more
men than almost any other concern, and the firm of
Hopson & Carlson, later known as the H. B. Hopson
Ice Company, has survived many other natural ice busi-
ncs-es of this region. In 1892 Mr. Hopson and his
brother purchased the old Sweet farm, a large grape
farm two miles east of Westfield. In 1903 he became
owner of the Prendcrgast homestead, a grape farm of
120 acres, on the east side of the main road of West-
field. He often delighted in telling his friends that
wh'.n a small boy he had driven by this beautiful home
with his father, and had resolved that at some time he
would own this place. The beautiful old house is of
splendid Jacol^crin architecture, and is situated on the
south side of the road facing Lake Eric, approached
through an avenue of magnificent old maples. It is
known as Kowan Place, from the English name of the
mountain ash trees found on the grounds in front of the
ho-ise. Here Mr. Hopson made his home until his
death in 1912.

Mr. Hopson was a staunch Democrat, and although
he did not care for politics, he filled many offices of
trust in the village of .Mayville, then his home. He was
a rommunirant of St. Peter's Episcopal Church of
Westfield, and in the Masonic order was a member of
lodge, chapter, commandcry, and consistory. He was



highly esteemed not only in his own community, but
throughout Chautauqua county and Western Xevv York,
where he was well known. He possessed a magnetic
personality, which not only endeared him to his family



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