John Phillips Downs.

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

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active member of the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce,
and fraternally, he is a Mason, of thirty-second degree;
prominent in local lodges. Knights Templar and Shrine.
Also he is a member of the Benevolent and Protective
Order of Elks. He is popular in Jamestown, and has
proved himself to be a good business man, of sterling
integrity and likable ways.

In 1902, Mr. Curtis married, in Jamestown, Ethel,
daughter of Attorney John Weeks, whose record of
public work has been written for this work. They have
one child, a daughter, Louise, who now attends James-
town High School.

REV. PETRUS LETOCHA— The large Polish
population of Chautauqua county centers in Dunkirk,
where they began settling prior to 1855, the second only
to the Swedes in the order of their coming. In 1855
there were twenty-one Polanders in the count>', and in
1900 there were 1.027 natives of Poland living in the
county and many more descendants. In and around
Dunkirk are evidences of the thrift and industry that
distinguish these people ; they are among the best farm-
ers of the county, they give their children the benefit of
all school advantages, are making rapid progress along
the path of progress and make good citizens.

The Polish language, differing more radically from the
English than any other of the continental tongues, ren-
ders it difficult for them to acquire our language readily
and this explains why they are unable to quickly assimi-
late with the Americans in many respects. Polish soci-
eties and Polish churches are a necessity, and it is through
these agencies that the work of naturalization is has-
tened. St. Hyacinth Roman Catholic Church was erected
in Dunkirk in 1895, at a cost of $10,000, there then being
eighty-five Polish families in Dunkirk. In 1902, St.
Hedwig Church was erected to accommodate the Polish
population in the Fourth Ward of Dunkirk. Father
Schultz was the builder of St. .Hedwig. and to that
church in 191 1 came Rev. Petrus Letocha, the present
pastor. The parish then numbered 2.200 souls, and during
the years 1911-1920 that number has been increased to
3.200. The parish has grown in spiritual and material
power during his pastorate, and on every hand are evi-
dences of his untiring zeal as a priest and pastor. St.
Hedwig's Parochial School, which started with 200 pupils,
now has 436. divided into seven grades, taught by eight
sisters of the order, Petrus Letocha was born in Upper
Silesia, Poland. Nov. 19, 1874, son of Simon and Kath-
rine Letocha, his father a farmer. The lad grew up on
the farm, but was given a good preparatory education,
attending the equivalent of the .\merican high school
until 1890, when he came to the United States, a lad of
sixteen years. He began his theological education, at-
tending a university in Philadelphia, Pa., whence he was
graduated, class of 1898. He was ordained a priest of the


Roman Catholic churL-h the same year by Bishop Mc-
Ouade, and was at once assigned to St. Stanislaus Church,
Rochester. X. Y. His tirst parish was Our Lady Czes-
torchowa. at Xonhuniberland, N. Y., which he organized
with an initial congregation of 2S0 souls. He left the
parish in 101 1, thoroughly organized with church and
school buildings and a congregation of 2,000 souls. In
Ipii, Fatlier Letocha was appointed pastor of St. Hedwig
parish, Dunkirk, X. Y.. erected in 1902, and has there
accomplished a wonderful work for the cause to which he
has devoted his life and for the people he loves, his coun-

He is greatly beloved by his congregation and mingles
with them freely in social intercourse as well as holding
with them, the closest priestly relation. He is a member
of the Polish Union and the Polish Xational Alliance,
and leads his people toward the goal of enlightened Amer-
ican citizenship with a zeal equalled only by his devotion
as a priest of the church.

JESSE POWELI If those who claim that fortune

has favored certain individuals above others will but
investigate the cause of success and failure, it will be
found that the former is largely due to the improvement
of opportunity, the latter to the neglect of it. Fortunate
environments encompass almost every individual at some
stage of his career, but the strong man and the success-
ful man is he who realizes that the proper moment has
come, that the present and not the future holds his op-
portunity. The man who makes use of the "Now" and
not the "To Be" is the one who passes on the highway
of life others who started out ahead of him, and reaches
the goal of prosperity in advance of them. It is this
quality in Jesse Powell, who is identified in the business
circles as a master plumber, that has led him to success.

Jesse Powell was born in England, July 7, 1876, and
came to this country when he was but five years old, liv-
ing in Quebec. Canada, with his parents, until he was
twelve years of age, when they moved to Fredonia, N. Y.
The boy Jesse attended school in Quebec, and when tlie
family moved to Fredonia he continued his studies for a
short time until he was obliged to start out in the business
world to earn his own living. He learned the plumber's
trade with the Xatural Gas and Light Company, working
for them for eight years, when he commenced contracting
in this jiarticular line of business for himself, since which
time he has done much work in Fredonia and has en.-
ployed as many as ten people at one time in his business
undertakings, having received the contract for the plumb-
ing of the Baptist church, the Barker .street school, the
Union school, and also for the plumbing in seventy-five
residences of Fredonia. The fact that Mr. Powell is
so thoroughly occupied is largely due to the constant care
and consideration which he has bestowed upon the up-
building and maintenance of his business. In the atmos-
phere that he creates there is no such thing as stagna-
tion, for he is quick to act and he is in the habit of ac-
complishing whatever he undertakes. Mr. Powell is an
indei>cnd'-nt in politics, voting for the man rather than the
party he reiiresents. He is a Baptist in religion. He
belongs to no Ivlges nor clubs, being too engrossed with
busincs matter"..

Mr. Powell married, Aug. 7, t'/ni, Annie R. Kyman,

of Fredonia, and they are the parents of five children;
Leo K., Jessemay, Amalyne, Wilda, Ryman.

Alert, alive and progressive, Mr. Powell justly merits
the success he has achieved. Happily gifted in manner, en-
terprising" in business methods, he is personally liked most
by those who know him best, and his natural attainments,
together with his exceptional aliility, seem to give promise
of a brilliant future.

WILLIS L. EDDY— On the old Eddy homestead,
near Watts Flats, in the town of Harmony, Chautauqua
county, N. Y., Willis L. Eddy was born Feb. 21, 1855,
son of James and Dorcas Eddy, his father a farmer.

He attended the district school, then was a student in
the Jamestown public schools, finishing with high school.
While from youth Mr. Eddy has been familiar with
farming operations, he taught school for ten years, hold-
ing a teacher's certificate at the age of sixteen, and has
been prominently identified with the business interests of
Panama village, where he has his home. For six years
he has been interested in the Panama Creamery, and for
fifteen years conducted a mill and lumber business in the
village, and is one of the substantial men of the town. In
politics Mr. Eddy is a progressive Republican, and in re-
ligious faith a member of Harmony Baptist Church at
Panama. He is a member of the Patrons of Husbandry,
and a man of sterling character, highly regarded by his
townsmen, of genial, friendly nature, progressive, of
well trained studious mind and well informed.

Mr. Eddy married, at Pittsfield, Warren county. Pa.,
April 4, 1883, Mary A. Meade, daughter of Filmore and
Caroline Meade, her father a farmer of Pittsfield. Mr.
and Mrs. Eddy are the parents of a son, Lynn W., born
June 12, 1888, and two daughters, Ruth H,, born Dec. 21,
1889, and Grace C, born June 5, 1903.

DON ALLEN CURTIS— There is just outside the
city of Jamestown, yet within its confines, a unique estate,
practically a sheep ranch. It covers many acres of land,
and has at the present time over 60D head of sheep. It
is located at the east end of Jamestown, and on this thor-
oughly up-to-date farm Don Allen Curtis is enjoying
life in his own way, leading an active, healthy existence
near to nature's heart, his interpretation of the "back to
the farm" idea taking a rather extensive form, albeit
quite conducive to health and enjoyment of the beauties
to be found in nature.

Don Allen Curtis was born in Elbridgc, N. Y., April
23, 1876. He is the son of Alonzo Mead and Electa Ade-
laide (Townsend) Curtis. Of this marriage six children
were born: i. Hcman D., at present residing in the
State of Wyoming. 2. Fred M., deceased. 3. Frank G.,
also living in Wyoming. 4. Don Allen. 5. Jessie W.,
who married Edward W. .Scowdcn, and is living at
Frewsliurg. 6. Caroline, married Henry G. Rask, of

In his early boyhood, Don Allen Curtis attended the
distri<t school at Elbridge and later the high school at
Jordan, N. Y., working on his father's farm after school
and on Saturdays, continuing this after leaving school.
At the age of nineteen, he moved to Jamestown and
started to work, in 1805, in his brother's chair factory
as night watclimxui at nine dollars a week. He also



learned the chairmaking trade, working after a time
during the day, remaining so employed for a year and a
half. When he left he had acquired the cabinetmaker's
trade also. He then obtained a position as traveling
salesman for the Randolph Furniture Company, of Ran-
dolph, N. Y. ; this was followed by a like position with
the Star Furniture Company of Jamestown, after which
Mr. Curtis was engaged by the Morgan Manufacturing
Company of Jamestown on a commission basis. He
remained with this concern for five years, being contin-
ually on the road, saving his earnings and investing them
in the furniture factory. About this time the Lucas
Machine Company was formed, he being active in its or-
ganization. It became an incorporated concern, taking
in the business of the brother for whom he had formerly
worked and also buying out several machine corpora-
tions. They all became consolidated under the one
corporate name, the Lucas Machine Company, Mr. Curtis
being made treasurer and salesman. He only remained
in this connection one year, in 1913 becoming interested
in the oil business, buying stock in Wyoming concerns.
Shortly after, the New York Oil Company was formed
and Don A. Curtis was elected president of it ; later it
became a corporation. In Novem.ber, 1917, the Empire
State Oil Company was established with headquarters in
Casper, Wyoming, and an office in Jamestown. Mr. Cur-
tis was chosen vice-president of this company. On April
10, 1919, he resigned his office as president of the New
York Oil Company, and since that tim.e has not been at
all active in the affairs of the company.

Don Allen Curtis married, in Jamestown, Oct. i, 1908,
Susan B. Carr, of that city. They have one son, Don
Allen, Jr., born Nov. 8, 1912. He is now attending the
public school in Jamestown.

Of a very social nature and fond of mingling with his
fellowmen, Mr. Curtis is connected with several of the
popular organizations of Jamestown. He is a Free Ma-
son of the thirty-second degree, a Knight Templar and a
Shriner. He is a member of the Benevolent and Protec-
tive Order of Elks, and of the local lodge of the Inde-
pendent Order of Odd Fellows ; he is active in the James-
town Club and also in the Board of Commerce. Mr.
Curtis is a most congenial man, agreeable in manner, of
a kindly, sympathetic temperament, and is regarded by
other men as a generally likable man. During his sales-
man days his personality was one of his greatest assets,
for he made friends readily and had the gift of retaining
them. After he had attained a competence, he felt the
need of a rest from the many business interests in which
he had been engaged, for his nature compelled him to
do with all his energy whatever his hands found to do,
and as he had worked hard in his early life he desired
relaxation later, therefore he bought the sheep farm
before referred to and lives upon it in contentment.

ALBERTUS A. COBB, who has been for a number
of years an exceedingly prominent figure in the business
world of Brocton, Chautauqua county, N. Y., is a member
of a family which has long held a conspicuous place in
the life and affairs of this region. Mr. Cobb is a son of
John Hale and Julia (Prentice) Cobb, old and highly
respected residents of Brocton. The elder Mr. Cobb was
for many years engaged in business as a printer, and was
one of the successful editors of Brocton. He was born

at Sinclairville, and early in life went to the West, where
he spent a number of years. He returned, however, to
Chautauqua county, N. Y., while yet a young man and
published a paper at Ripley for a time, after which he
removed to Brocton, and for the twelve years preceding
his death, which occurred May 19, 1903, was associated
with the affairs of this city. He was tlie publisher of
the Brocton "Mirror," and besides controling the policy
of that paper he wrote the editorial page. He was an
unusually clear thinker and powerful writer, and his work
as editor untjuestionably strongly influenced local thought
on the political issues of his day. His ability was recog-
nized by his colleagues throughout this region, and it was
often lamented by them that he could not take the part
which his abilities warranted in some larger field of en-
deavor. They believed, and with good reason, that he
would have made a name for himself on some large city
newspaper, but although this was unquestionably true,
the work that he did in the home field was of great im-
portance and perhaps his influence, although more indi-
rectly, was as vital and effective as it could have been in
any other environment. John Hale Cobb married, Julia
Prentice, who was also a member of a well known family
in this neighborhood, by whom he had five sons, as fol-
lows : P. E. Cobb, of Cleveland, Ohio; Archie, who is
connected with a telegraph company at Springfield, Ohio;
Albertus A., with whose career we are here especially
concerned ; Harry, who resides at Brockton ; and Bert,
who also resides at Brocton.

.•\.Ibertus A. Cobb was born in Barry, Pike county, 111.,
during the residence of his parents in the West, Dec. 23,
1871, and spent his childhood in his native region, where
he attended the local public schools. He was still a boy,
however, when his parents brought him to Chautauqua
county, N. Y., and he continued his schooling in the public
schools of Ripley. While still a youth, he entered his
father's printing establishment and there learned the
trade of printer and the elements of the publishing busi-
ness. At the death of the elder Mr. Cobb, he succeeded
to the publication of the Brocton "Mirror" and has con-
tinued to conduct that paper in a most able manner ever
since. The Brocton "Mirror" is one of the chief organs
of public information in this region, and Mr. Cobb's
printing office is equipped with all the most modern and
up-to-date presses and other mechanisms for the produc-
tion of a first class paper. Mr. Cobb's ability as a
writer and a publisher are universally recognized, and he
is regarded universally as the able successor of his tal-
ented father. Mr. Cobb is well kiiown in social and
fraternal circles here and is a member of the .\ncient
Free and Accepted Masons, of Brocton. In politics he
is a Republican of independent tendencies, and his paper
reflects his broadminded and public-spirited attitude to-
ward the affairs of the day.

Albertus A. Cobb was united in marriage, July 7,
1899, with Alice M. Barber, of Portland, N. Y. Mrs.
Cobb died in the year 1909. They were the parents of
four children, as follows : Mabel, born 1900, died in 191 1 ;
Merle, educated in the Brocton Public schools and the
Fredonia Normal School, and now is employed as a
teacher in the local institution ; Josephine, who attended
the Brocton public schools and is also following the pro-
fession of teaching; Ora, who is now a student in the
public schools of Brocton.



EDWARD C. TRILL, tax collector of Dunkirk,
X. v.. wi'.iih position he has held since 1015, was born in
Dunkirk. March zy, 1S74, the son of Thomas Trill, an
employee of the Brooks Locomotive W'orks, located in
Dunkirk, and of Fannie (Guenther) Trill, his wife.

Until he was fourteen years of age, Edward C. Trill
attended tlie public schools of his native city, when he
went to work in a planing mill, then to Erie, Pa., re-
maining for a year, subsequently returning to Dunkirk,
where he was employed in the foundry for nine years.
In 1915, he was appointed to his present position of tax
collector to fill an unexpired term, which expired in 1917,
when he was reelected, and has held the position ever
since. He is affiliated with the Republican party, and
takes a lively interest in that phase of politics that makes
for the highest good of the city. He is a member of the
Knights of Pythias, and is past chancellor commander of
the lodge. He is a member of St. John's Church.

Mr. Trill married, Feb. 2, 1900, Bertha Kncubbe, of
Dunkirk. They are the parents of three children : Edith,
an employee of the Lake Shore National Bank ; Florence
and Robert.

WILLIAM HENRY REID— No man in any com-
munity- fills a more important position than does the
postmaster, for to him is entrusted the custody and de-
livery of tlie mail and upon his vigilance and fidelity may
depend matters of the greatest moment to individuals,
institutions, cities and states. This is the office which
has now been held for six years by the man whose name
heads this article, and to whose ability and trustworthi-
ness the citizens of Lakewood, N. Y., can bear abundant
testimony. Mr. Reid has a most creditable record as a
business man and is actively associated with fraternal

Robert Reid, father of William Henry Reid, was born
in Edinburgh, Scotland, and at an early age emigrated
to the United States, where he followed the blacksmith's
trade. He married, in Franklinville, N. Y., Sarah M.
Phctteplace, a native of Chenango county, N. Y., and his
death occurred while he was still a young man.

William Henry Reid, son of Robert and Sarah M.
(Phcttei)lace) Reid, was born July 8, 1854, in Franklin-
ville, Chautauqua county, X. Y., and received his primary
education in the district school, passing thence to the Ten
Brocck .Academy. At the age of sixteen he obtained em-
ployment in a cheese factory and learned the business
thoroughly, remaining fifteen years. At the end of that
time he went to OI)i, .'Mlegany county, N. Y., where for
another fifteen years he conducted a grocery store. His
next removal was to Portvillc, N. Y., remaining four
years, during three of which he filled the position of
suiicrintendent of the Kent House, at Lakewood, N. Y.
He worked for Mr. Broadhead in the Traction Railroad
office and was also employed as agent for the American
Railway Express, at the same time filling the position of
tirkct agent for the Chautauqua Traction Comjjany.
In jKjlitics, Mr. Reid has always been a staunch Demo-
crat, and in 1914 was apiiointed postmaster of Lakewoorl.
The fact that he has ever since continuously retained the
office furnishes convincing evidence of his competence and
fidelity in the discharge of his very responsible duties.
He has passed the chairs of the Independent Order of
Odd Fellows, and also affiliates with the Maccabees and

the M. P. L. He was brought up in the Methodist Epis-
copal church, but is not now connected with any religious

Mr. Reid married, March 18, i885, Florence A. Cran-
dall, born in Genesee. N. Y., daughter of Joel A. and
Jennetta E. (Maxson) Crandall. Mr. Crandall, a na-
tive of Genesee, was a carpenter by trade, and affiliated
with the Republican party, holding various local oiBces.
He died April 16, 191 1. Mrs. Crandall, who was born at
Portville, Cattaraugus county, N. Y., lives with her
daughter, Airs. Reid. Mr. and Mrs. Reid are the parents
of one daughter, Grace Florence, wife of Harry H. Hagg,
of Lakewood. Mr. Hagg served in the Army of Occupa-

The record of William Henry Reid has been varied,
but always honorable. It is a record which his family
would wish to have preserved and of which his descend-
ants may be justly proud.

FRANK COOK, postmaster of the village of Niobe,
in the town of Harmony, was born in the town of Clymer,
Chautauqua county, N. Y., Aug. 24, 1861, son of Charles
and Harriet (Tanner) Cook. He was educated in the
public schools, and was variously engaged until 1915,
when he was appointed to his present office, postmaster
of Niobe. He is a member of Sylvan Lodge, No. 1225,
Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of Bear Lake, Pa.,
is a Democrat in politics, and a member of the Baptist
church. As a citizen Mr. Cook is highly esteemed by his
townsmen, and is well liked both as a postmaster and as
a man. He has made his own way in the world and holds
the respect of all who know him.

Mr. Cook married, at Watts Flats, town of Harmony,
Blanche E., daughter of Frank and Louisa (Laurence)
Danner. Their only daughter, Louise, married Ivan
Shreves, and has two sons, Gerald and Regis Shreves.

ALFRED ROY TRIPP, a prosperous business man

of the village of Panama, was born in the town of Har-
mony, Chautauqua county, N. Y., Dec. g, 1875, son of
Rassander G. and Nettie (Swezey) Tripp, his father a

He was educated in the public schhools, finishing with
graduation from Panama High School, after which he
was for a time engaged in farming. In 1905 he engaged
in milling at Panama, and with his partner, W. P. Muz-
zey, operates a milk station at Panama, and has a good
grain and feed business. Mr. Tripp has made his busi-
ness profitable through close attention to its every detail,
Ix5th he and his partner being men of energy and ability.
He is a Republican in politics; member of the Indepen-
dent Order of Odd Fellows, Patrons of Husbandry, and
the Methodist Episcopal church.

Mr. Tripp married, June 7, 1902, in Panama, Chautau-
qua county, Mae J. Cook, horn April 18, 1877, in Panama,
daughter of Thaddeus and Minerva (Oliver) Cook, na-
tives of Panama.

FRED AND JOHN SAHLE— Since 1910, Fred and
John Sahle, trading as Sahle Brothers, have been en-
gaged as fiorists in Fredonia, both young men being
practical florists, thoroughly skilled and capable. They
began in rented quarters, but soon bought the property,



to which they have made many additions, until they
have a well equipped modern greenhouse plant, with
16.000 feet under glass. Their particular specialty is
carnations, but all kinds of plants and cut flowers are
included in their stock. They have been very success-
ful in their business, and highly deserve to reap a gen-
erous reward, for they have worked with energy and
intelligence to achieve that result. The Sahle Brothers'
greenhouses are at Nos. 97-101 Newton street, Fre-
donia, and everything about the establishment bears
evidence of the ability and energy of the proprietors of
the plant. The brothers are well known and highly
esteemed both as business men and citizens. Both are
men of youtli and energy, and their future seems full of
promise. The brothers are sons of John and Marion
Sahle, their father a carpenter. John and Marion Sahle
are the parents of seven children: Mrs. Lizzie Law-
rence: Fred, of further mention; John, of further men-
tion; Burton; Mrs. Clara Gumtow; Rudolf, and Louise.

Fred Sahle was born in Bern, Switzerland, March
16, 18S6. He was educated in the public schools, and
early began his business career, finding his first em-
ployment in the nursery owned by Foster & Griffith,
with whom he remained two years. He was then with
Wilbur, the florist, of Fredonia, employed in the green-
houses, and was for two years, 1908-10, with Palmer &
Son. in Bufljalo, and then returned to Fredonia, where
with his brother John they formed the firm of Sahle
Brothers. Fred Sahle is an expert landscape gardener
and specializes in that department, but is a thorough
florist and skilled in all lines. He is a member of Fre-
donia Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows;
Fredonia Grange, Patrons of Husbandry; ex-president of

Online LibraryJohn Phillips DownsHistory of Chautauqua County, New York, and its people (Volume 3) → online text (page 51 of 101)