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The men of New York: a collection of biographies and portraits of citizens of the Empire State prominent in business, professional, social, and political life during the last decade of the nineteenth century (Volume 1) online

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whole life. In this respect Mr. Cook
is like most soldiers, who would not
exchange their war experience for any
other.

On returning from the field Mr. Cook
entered the service of the New York Cen-
tral & Hudson River-railroad, and filled
a clerkship with that company. His old
business training, however, asserted itself, and after
a while he became bookkeeper for a plumbing house
conducted by T. W. Toye, one of his first em
ployers. His faithfulness and ability brought in the
course of years their proper reward, and he was made
a partner by Mr. Toye under the firm name of
T. \V. Toye & Co. Finally Mr. Cook branched
out in business in his own name, and for the past
eighteen years he has been at the head of onr oi
the largest and most complete plumbing, heating,
ventilating, and lighting establishments in Buffalo.
Mr. Cook is connected with numerous social and
IM -in \olent organizations, and is an active member
of each. He has long been prominent in the Grand
Army of the Republic, the Union Veteran Legion.



.1//-;.V OF NE\V YORK WESTERN SECTIOX



199



and the Military Order of the Loyal Legion. He is
a member of DeMolay Lodge, F. & A. M., and
of the Acacia Club. All societies and clubs having
a patriotic or philanthropic object find in him a warm
supporter and friend. His name is identified with
the Good Government Club, the Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Liberal Club,
and the Charity Organization Society. In short,
Mr. Cook is not only a man of business, but a man
of affairs generally, recognizing his obligations to
society, and meeting them by hearty co-operation
to the full extent of his time and power.

PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY Edward L.
Cook was born at Buffalo March 2.9, 1S39 ; was
educated in the public schools ; was bookkeeper for a
firm of plumbers, lS59-6:~> : serred in the Union army,
1862-65 ; married Mary E. Moffett of Portagerille.
N. K, June 16, ISliO : became a mem-
ber of the frm of T. II'. Toye <5r Co. ,
plumbers, in 1N70, and lias conducted <i
similar business under his incn name since
1878.



(Seoroe M. (lotbran has risen to

his present eminence through indomit-
able energy and inborn ability. When
he was four years of age his father
died, leaving his mother with a small and
heavily encumbered farm and a family of
thirteen children, of whom George was
the youngest. Until he was sixteen years
old the routine of farm work, study at
the neighboring school, and lessons with
an elder brother, filled his time. Re-
moving to Lockport, he devoted the
succeeding four years to acquiring a
practical knowledge of several branches
of the mechanical arts. In these he
evinced decided skill, and his ability to
draw plans of wooden, iron, and stone
structures has often been of service in
his law practice in causes involving such
questions.

The young man's ambition to study
law saw promise of fulfillment when
Phineas L. Ely of Lockport took him
into his office. After three years' faith-
ful application Mr. Cothran was admit-
ted to practice in all the courts of New
York state. His examination was un-
usual : it was conducted by three judges in open
court, and he answered correctly all the questions
with a single exception. After a year spent with
his preceptor, Mr. Cothran opened a law office in



Lockport in 1858, and met with most gratifying
success until he was interrupted by the call to arms
in 1KU1.

Organizing battery M, 1st New York volunteer
light artillery, he was commissioned its captain, and
went at once to the front. The record of this battery
is that it never lost a gun in all the great, battles or
lesser engagements in which it took part. An eight
hours' fire at Antietam was one of Captain Cothran's
memorable experiences. Another was the exposure
to a twenty-four hours' rain, which brought on
sciatica, and obliged him to resign his commission
and return home. From the effects of this he has
never fully recovered. After the battle of Antietam
Captain Cothran was recommended to President
Lincoln, by every commissioned officer in the llth
army corps, for promotion for meritorious service in




II COTHRAN



the field ; but political considerations prevented him
from receiving this richly deserved honor.

On leaving the army in 1 *(>'!, Mr. Cothran took
up the practice of his profession in Buffalo, and soon



MEN Ol' NEW YORKWESTERN SECTION



achieved an honored place in the bar of western New
York. He has been connected with many important
litigations. In 1869-72 he conducted what was
known as the "penalty litigation" against the
New York Central & Hudson River Railroad Co.
for exacting excess of fare ; and the result i <>m




II -11.1.1 AM H. CUDDEBACK

pelled a reorganization of the passenger tariffs of
nearly all the railroads in the country, and pre-
vented their demanding more than legal rates. In
l'S7!) Mr. Cothran went to Chicago, to help unravel
a railroad complication, and made that city his home
until 1885, when he returned to Buffalo. He has
practiced there ever since.

In 1.S77 Baker University of Kansas conferred
on Mr. Cothran the degree of LL. D. because of his
scholarly work in editing and annotating the sixth
edition of the revised statutes of the state of New
York, in three volumes containing nearly 4000
pages, lu 1879 he did a similar piece of work for
the revised statutes of Illinois, and this has been
biennially since, and is a standard authority.




Mr. Cothran is the author of two practical and help-
ful books entitled " Law of Supervisors " and " Law
of Assessors and Collectors." He has frequently
contributed in lighter vein to the pages of popular
periodicals.

Among the educational institutions that have bene-
fited from Mr. Cothran's liberality is the
Buffalo College of Physicians and Sur-
geons. He was its first president, and
for a considerable period occupied the
chair of medical jurisprudence.

Mr. Cothran's beautiful home in Buf-
falo is a veritable picture gallery and art
emporium. There is probably no larger
collection of music and musical literature
to be found in America than his. His
private library covers the whole range
of literature, a unique feature being a
collection of rare books on the origin,
formation, and progress of religious ideas.
His law library is said to be the most
thoroughly annotated of any in Buffalo.
PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY-
George W. Cothran was born at Royal-
ton, Niagara anility, N. Y. , February 25,
1834 ; was admitted to the bar in 1857 ;
1V77W/ in the Union army, _7,sv; /-//.; ; mar-
ried /t-nnic It'. Mann of Buffalo Ma\ .'<>'.
1863 ; was county judge of Erie county in
AS'/"/ 1 ,- edited, annotated, and wrote several
valuable books, 187589 ; has practiced
la'ti' in Buffalo since 1863, with the. excep-
tion of several \ears practice in
1879-85.



William 113. Gufc&cbach

of old Dutch stock, and his ancestors
settled in the Empire State soon after
it passed under the control of the Kng-
lish. Many of his lineage have figured in the local
annals of the state ; several served in the revolu-
tionary war, and took part in the fighting that oc-
curred in the Minisink territory, when the settlers
were attacked by the famous Indian chieftain,
Joseph Brant. Mr. Cuddeback's father was a dele-
gate to the constitutional convention of 184(5, a
member of the state assembly, and county clerk of
Orange county. Public affairs have proved attrac-
tive to his family, and naturally enough Mr. Cudde-
back has devoted the time not required in his pro-
fession to active participation in the management of
his political party in Buffalo. He is prominently
identified with the "regular" Democracy: ami for
two years was chairman of the Democratic general



,\v-;/r YORKU'KSTER.\ si-:cr/o.\



201



committee, and gave freely of his time and effort to
promote the success of his party. The divisions and
dissensions in the Democracy in the Queen City are
matter of history, hut Mr. Cuddehack has the re-
spect of all factions.

Mr. Cuddehack was horn in the delightful county
of Orange, in New York state, and received an
academic education in the town of Goshen, to which
his parents had moved. He entered Cornell Uni-
versity at the early age of sixteen, and spent four
years there. He chose the law as his profession, and
was admitted to practice at Poughkeepsie, N. V., in
May, 1877. At first he practiced alone for a short
time at Goshen, where he became a justice of the
peace. Then for seven years he was associated with
Henry A. Wadsworth of Orange county. But like
all ambitious young men, Mr. Cuddehack longed for
the marts of trade and commerce. He
realized the fact that to obtain business
one must go where business is. Accord-
ingly he cast around for a new location,
and, drawn by the obvious advantages of
Buffalo, moved thither in 1885. In 1SS1I
he formed a partnership with Daniel J.
Kenefick, at present district attorney of
Erie county, that lasted four years. In
1895 Mr. Cuddeback associated himself
with Joseph V. Seaver, county judge, and
is at present connected with Eugene P.
Ouchie. Since establishing himself in
Buffalo Mr. Cuddehack' s law practice
has grown steadily, and he has to-day a
recognized position at the liar of Erie
county.

Meanwhile he has become one of the
leaders of the Democratic party in the
western part of the state. His only pub-
lic office has been that of manager of the
Craig Colony for epileptics at Sonyea.
He was first appointed to this office by
Governor Flower, and, though a strong
Democrat, he has been twice reappointed
by Governor Morton a striking prool
of his efficient administration of the
office.

Mr. Cuddeback is a Mason, and holds
membership in Ancient Landmark Lodge,
No. 441, Free and Accepted Masons. He
IN \vell known in club circles, belonging
to the Saturn Club, the Ellicott Club,
and the Acacia Club.

PERSONAL CHR ONOL O G Y \\~illiam
Herman Cuddeback was burn in //// foivii <if Dee/-
Park, JV. V., March ..''>, 1N.~ t >, , was educated at



Goshen Academy and Cornell University : was ad-
mitted to tiic bar in 1877 ; practiced law at Goshen,
N. Y. , 1877-Si> : was chairman of the Democratic
general committee, Buffalo, 1895-90 : has practiced
law in Buffalo since ISS'i.



has led a laborious, useful, and
honorable life. Born in the parish of Bitton, county
of Gloucester, near Bristol, England, about the time
printing machines were invented, and a year be-
fore the battle of Waterloo was fought, Mr. Dark's
career has extended over the most remarkable period
in the world's history. His place has been among
the toilers. From his early days he was accustomed
to heavy labor, since he went to work for his father, a
contractor and builder, at the age of ten, thus learn-
ing the mason's trade. Too young to carry on the




THOMAS 11. /A'A

business of his father on the hitter's death, Mr. Dark
left his home and went to Bristol, where he worked
at his trade under master builders. While there
some of his father's old patrons sent for him to do a



J//T.V Or A'Eir YORKU'ESTERN SEC77ON



job of masonry, and from this beginning Mr. Dark
developed into a building contractor. At first he
put up dwelling houses, for the most part, but after-
ward his specialty became municipal work th; con-
struction of bridges, culverts, waterworks, gas tanks,
sewers, and the like.

After a score of years spent at his trade in Eng-
land, Mr. Dark made up his mind to seek the richer
opportunities of a new country by going to America.
He arrived in Buffalo with two of his sons April 1,
1S57, in the midst of universal business depression.
At first the outlook was discouraging, and Mr. Dark
sought employment in Canada. He soon returned
to I'.uffalo, and, in order to become acquainted with
the customs of the place and people, secured work
on the new post office then building at the corner
di \Vashington and Seneca streets. Mr. Dark's
readiness to accept work under a "boss" when he
had long been an employer himself, is characteristic
of the man. Idleness he has always abhorred.

About this time, seeing an advertisement inviting
proposals for building a stone culvert across Louisi-
ana street, Mr. Dark put in a bid, and secured the
work. From that day he has been prominent among
the contractors of Buffalo, where he has performed
many large contracts for corporations and individu-
als. The foundations of numerous public and pri-
vate structures are the work of his brains and hands.
In all his undertakings he has applied the same
principles of dealing in the case of the public as in
that of a private citizen, and has never been classed
among contractors who grow rich on public jobs.

In 1873 Mr. Dark planned and constructed the
Titusville, Penn., waterworks. For nearly thirty
years he has taken a deep interest in the water sup-
ply of Buffalo. He received the first premium,

si' I, offered by the city of Buffalo in 18611 for

the best plans and specifications for the improve-
ment of the waterworks. Mr. Dark's ideas, how-
ever, were not carried out by the city and contrac-
tors, and he has always insisted that the work was very
badly done. He contends that the Buffalo water supply
is entirely inadequate to the needs of a growing com-
munity, and constitutes in some respects a distinct
menace to the prosperity of the city. He compiled
and published, in IS!)."), a fifty-page pamphlet on
the Buffalo waterworks, entitled "History of a
Great Failure." His contention in brief is that the
existing system and plant are radically defective ;
that the practice of supplying water in its crude state
to consumers, by direct pumping service from the
river, is a ridiculous and dangerous novelty in hy-
draulic engineering ; that the mains which deliver
water for domestic use should be filled from reservoirs



supplied by filter beds, the latter receiving the
water in its crude state from a separate pumping main ;
that the present inlet pier, receiving well therein,
and tunnel thence to the pumping station, were badly
constructed, at a cost monstrously in excess of the
proper cost of good construction ; that the water
supply is now, under certain conditions easily ful-
filled, polluted by sewage and street washings ; that
the water supply at certain seasons may be cut off,
to the great danger of the city, by slush ice partly
cut off, as it is every year, wholly cut off, as it maybe
under conditions foreseeable and not unprecedented ;
that the inlet is located in the wrong place, and should
have been built far out in the lake, where pure water
can be obtained at all seasons without danger of a
water famine from the clogging of the inlets by slush
ice. Without particularising further Mr. Dark's plans,
it may be said that his pamphlet on the subject, his
original estimates, diagrams, and specifications all
of which will be deposited in the archives of the
Buffalo Historical Society will be exceedingly use-
ful to future students of the Buffalo water supply, and
will constitute an interesting chapter in the history
of municipal government.

Mr. Dark embodies the best traits of the English
character industry, independence, and devotion to
the acquisition of knowledge. He is a fine type of
the self-made and self-educated man. His school
days were few; but he has succeeded by. persever-
ance and economy of time in enlarging his mental
hori/on until he has become an intelligently in-
formed man in a variety of lines. Close observa-
tion and sound judgment have been his guides. He
is fond of reading and travel. He wrote, in the
form of a diary, an account of a European trip
made with several members of his family in 189o.
This narrative was published at the request of friends,
and the book is thoroughly enjoyable, affording a
delightful picture of English home life.

PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY Thomas Dark
was born at Kin^swood, near Bristol, Engltin /, De-
cember .,'!, 1814 ' rcccireil an eh-nifiitarv education,
and learned the mason' s trade ; marrieJ Eliza \\~illis
of Kin^swooiin 1S-S-S ; came to the United 'States, anil
settle! in Buffalo in 18~>7 ; hat been a mason a>hl
building contractor in England and the United States
since 1833.



3. EflllCrt has led a markedly useful
and successful life along important and difficult lines
of commercial activity. He was born in the Ke\
stone State, but was taken during his infancy to Erie
county, New York, and has lived ever since in or
near Buffalo. He was unable to carrv his education



' .YA'/r YORKU'ESTKR.\ SECTION



203



beyond the common schools, and even that advan-
tage was cut oft" at the age of sixteen, when he began
business life as a clerk in a Buffalo grocery. Three
years of this service gave him considerable insight
into the elements and principles of business, and thus
paved the way for the partnership formed in 1JS47
with his father, Christian Eggert. They
established a general store in the Krie-
county village named from their family
Eggertsville, and built up there a flourish-
ing trade. Mr. Eggert remained in the
business until !*(>.!, when he sold his
interest and retired.

In the same year the sheriff ot Krie
county, Robert H. Best, offered the po-
sition of under sheriff to Mr. Kggert.
The latter had been so much absorbed in
business before this that he had found
little time for public office ; though he
had been elected, in l.Sf>!S, clerk of the
Erie-county board of supervisors. He
accepted the position of under sheriff,
and fulfilled its duties so effectively that
lie was himself elected sheriff two years
later on the Democratic ticket for the
term I.S65 67. The responsibilities of
this higher office were unflinchingly met
and adequately discharged, and Mr. Eg-
gert attained a reputation for integrity
and business ability that materially pro-
moted his subsequent success. Since his
retirement from the sheriff's office he h;is
not been in public life, except that in
1871 he was appointed police justice to
fill a vacancy.

Mr. Eggert's earlier career thus related
has been almost forgotten, and people
nowadays think of him as a financier,
and more particularly as a man widely
informed in the great business of insurance. In
1867 a corporation was organized in Buffalo entitled
the Buffalo German Insurance Co., to carry on the
business of fire underwriting. Mr. Eggert has been
identified with this enterprise from the very begin-
ning, having been one of the incorporators and one
of the first directors of the company. He held no
active executive position, however, until 1*74, when
Alexander Martin resigned the position of secretary,
and Mr. Eggert assumed the duties of the office. In
the twenty and more years during which he has con-
tinued to hold this position, the affairs of the Buffalo
German Insurance Co. have prospered exceedingly.
The reason for this cannot be found exclusively in
the secretary of the company, because the other



offices and the general management of the institution
have been vested in able hands. There is no doubt,
however, that the important duties assigned to Mr.
Eggert have been most faithfully and efficiently per-
formed, and the success of the business must be
ascribed in large measure to him. When he became




tll.ll'KK J. KdCKKT

secretary the assets of the company were about
$447,000 and the net surplus $141,000. By July 1,
1896, the assets had risen to 1,850,000 and the sur-
plus to $1,2.">0,( (0(1. These comparative figures dem-
onstrate clearly the sun ess of the company since Mr.
Eggert became its secretary. The insurance business
necessarily occupies the chief share of Mr. Eggert's
time and thought, but he is also a trustee and second
vice president of the Erie County Savings Bank. Mr.
Eggert's thorough knowledge of financial subjects
and sound judgment in matters connected therewith
are of great value in the conduct of banking affairs.
PERSONA L CHR ONOL O G Y Oliver
Jefferson Eggert was hum at Petersburg, Penn. , Octo-
ber >!, 1$8 ; received a common-school education;



204



j//-:. v o/ - .\7-;ir YORK WESTERN SECT/OX



conducted a general store at E;^crtsrille, Eric county,
N. K, 1847 62 ; married Susan Frick of Eggerts-
ville NOVCIII !><>- l'i, HUH; ri'</\ appointed under sheriff
of Erie county in 1862, and was elected sheriff for the
years 1865-67 : lias /><< n secretary t >f the Buffalo Ger-
man Insurance Co. si net' 1ST 4-




JOSEPH FO\\LER

3-OSCpb jFOWlCf has practiced medicine in
Buffalo nearly a <|uarter of a century, and has thus
built iij) an enviable reputation, both professionally
as a general practitioner and socially as a cultured
gentleman and thoroughly likable associate. He has
served the public efficiently in positions of much
importance, and is widely known, outside the circle
nl his immediate practice, as a man of character and
responsibility.

Dr. Fowler was born in Saratoga county, New
York, shortly before the middle of the century, in
the township of Clifton Park. His ancestors were
among the early settlers of that part of the state,
and both his parents and grandparents were like-
wise born in the same community. His preparatory-



education was obtained at Half Moon Academy in
his native town. He was unable to enter upon pro-
fessional studies at the usual and most convenient
stage of life, and followed the example of so many
eminent men by basing his higher education on the
foundation of preliminary teaching. He undertook
this work at the age of eighteen, and
continued to teach for four or five years.
At the end of that time his resources
were such that he was able to carry out
his plans to fit himself for the medical
profession ; and in 18H9 he left Saratoga
county for the other end of the state,
matriculating in the medical department
of the University of Buffalo. Taking his
degree in 1873, he began practice in
Buffalo at once, with the happy results
stated in our opening paragraph.

The early career of a young physician
in a large city, without special prestige,
family connections of value, or other
favoring circumstance, is likely to be
somewhat thorny ; and Dr. Fowler had
no magician's wand with which to dissi-
pate the natural and inevitable drawbacks
of his early professional environment.
His progress, however, was rapid, and
the conditions quickly changed for the
better. The " personal equation " counts
tor much in the physician's calling,
and Dr. Fowler's engaging manners and
genial disposition doubtless helped him
onward in the struggle for success. As
early as 1881 he was elected one of the
coroners for Erie county, and served a
term of three years. He has always
been a consistent Republican in political
affiliations, and has been prominently
mentioned at various times in connec-
tion with important offices at the certain or possible
disposal of his party. His name was before the
convention on more than one occasion as that of
a suitable candidate for the office of superintendent
of education for the city of Buffalo, and in 1889 he
received the Republican nomination for the office.
He was appointed by Mayor Becker, in 1886, surgeon
to the department of police, and has since discharged
the duties of that office with ability and zeal.

Dr. Fowler believes in supporting professional
societies, and belongs to several, including the New
York State Medical Association and the Erie County
Medical Society. For ten years he was on the
medical staff of the Sisters of Charity Hospital.
He believes thoroughly, too, in fraternal associations



J/7-.'.Y 01-" XEll' YORK WESTER. \ SECTfOX



20o



unprofessional in scope, and has taken advanced
standing in the ranks of Masons, Odd Fellows, and
Minilar societies.

PERSONAL CHR ONOL O G Y Joseph Fowler
ic'tii born in Clifton Park township, Stinitt>gii county,
N. Y., May 3, 18J t 7 ; was educated in the schools of his
native town: taught school, lS<i.!,-ii!> ; married Cor-
nelia F. Cowles of Buffalo in ASY/; ,- graduated from
the medical department of the University of Buffalo in
1873 ; was elected a coroner of Erie county in 1881;
was Republican candidate for superintendent oj educa-
tion of Buffalo in 1SSH : was appointed surgeon of the
department of police in AS'.W, and has held the position
since ; has practiced medicine in Buffalo since 1873.



J. (Bavitl has displayed in the
management of private business and public affairs
the characteristics and qualities of a suc-
cessful financier. Born in Buffalo, he is
thoroughly familiar with the history and



Online LibraryMoses KingThe men of New York: a collection of biographies and portraits of citizens of the Empire State prominent in business, professional, social, and political life during the last decade of the nineteenth century (Volume 1) → online text (page 30 of 69)