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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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has attained high honors, being a Knight Templar
in Lake Erie Commandery, No. 20, a 32d degree
member of the order of Ancient Accepted Scottish
Rite Masons, and a Noble of the Mystic
Shrine. Mr. Stafford is president of the
board of trustees of the Richmond Ave-
nue Methodist Episcopal Church, and in
that position has done notable service in
developing the association from a strug-
gling mission to a prosperous and influ-
ential church.

PERSONAL CHJRONOLOGY-
Richard H. Stafford was born at Dublin,
Ireland, August 10, 1848 : was educated
in the to/union schools of Dublin ; came h>
the United States and settled in Buffalo
in IStll : was a clerk in grocery houses,
1W 1-", ! was associated with his brother
in the management of Fulton Market,
1873-92 ; married Ella S. Gatchell of
Medina, N. Y. , October 29, 1877 : has
been treasurer of the Security Investment
Co. of Buffalo since 1892.



William ZCblirStOlie was twenty-
eight years old when he came to this
country, a sturdy, hearty Englishman,
ready to grapple with whatever fate his
adopted land might have in store for
him. He was not the sort of immi-
grant for whom Uncle Sam has only a
half-hearted welcome immigrants who
claim that the world owes them a living,
but who do nothing toward collecting
the debt. He had served a seven years'
apprenticeship as printer to the Honor-
able Stationers' Company of London, had been a
reporter for several London newspapers, and had
become proprietor of the Horticultural Journal.

With such an equipment Mr. Thurstone did not
need to wait long for employment. The first money
he earned in Buffalo was by setting type on the city
directory, and he was soon after engaged as com-
positor by the Commercial Advertiser, and later
by the Express. Printers in those days were not
paid for their intervals of waiting for "copy,"
and after setting the single column of local items
there was often a long, profitless delay before work
could begin on the telegraphic dispatches. The
time from ten or eleven o'clock at night until two
or three in the morning was frequently spent in



OF .\7:'I1' YORK WESTERN SECTIOX



watching for the possible arrival from New York of
English news, which came by steamer, and was then
transmitted by wire. When a notification was re-
ceived that a steamer had been sighted, its arrival
and the news it carried were waited for. Mr. Thur-
stone was too ambitions to yield passively to such
enforced idleness, and he seized the opportunity to
do the work of a reporter in these intervals. He
was connected in this twofold way with the Express,
the Courier, and the Commercial Advertiser; and
finally became commercial editor of the Courier,
retaining this position twenty-two years. His pluck
and industry had now advanced him from a position
where, according to the custom of those days, wages
were paid two thirds in store produce and the rest
in current and uncurrent money (the latter some-
times suffering two or three per cent discount ) to
one of independence.

When Mr. Thurstone was appointed
secretary of the Hoard of Trade thirty-
three years ago, the institution was too
poor to pay more than a dollar a day for
his services. His fidelity and devotion
have done much to make that body the
power it is to-day, and he is still its
trusted secretary. He has also been sei
retary of the Merchants' Exchange for
fourteen years.

The United States bureau of statistics
is indebted to Mr. Thurstone for much
thorough and painstaking work, includ-
ing many reports on the commerce of the
Great Lakes and western New York, and
one on the railroad and canal systems of
the state of New York and the Dominion
of Canada, published in the United States
public documents. For over thirty years
he has furnished statistical matter for
boards of trade, commercial conventions,
newspapers, and pamphlets, and ranks
as an expert in this line. He has also
contributed extensively to the editorial
columns of New York and Chicago maga-
zines.

Politics has claimed a large share uf
his attention, as would be expected from
so public-spirited a citizen. Twice nomi-
nated for alderman in the old llth ward,
he failed of election because the district
was so strongly Republican ; but it is
noteworthy that his election as supervisor \vas the
only Democratic victory ever achieved in that ward.

Loyal to the church of his native land, Mr. Thur-
stone has been identified in Buffilo with the Church



of the Ascension and St. John's, serving in the
former as vestryman and treasurer, and in the latter
as vestryman and warden.

PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY U'illiam Thur-
stone was born at London, England, February 21,
1826 ; was educated in a private school ; was appren-
ticed as printer, IS 40-47 ; married Mary Anne Dil-
lon of Hereford, England, June 1, ISJ^S ; came to
the United States in 18~>4, and settled in Buffalo in
1855 ; occupied various positions there on the "Ex-
press," "Courier,'" and " Commercial Advertiser,"
IS.'i'i-S.'i : /i, is been secretary of the Board of Trade
since 1863, ami of the Merchants' Exchange since
1883.



eS M. HtlltlUlbaSt is widely known in
the important sphere of commercial telegraphy, and




JAMKS IT. T/l.l.f.VGHAST

he has rendered valuable service to the public by his
efficient management of one of the largest telegraph
offices in the country that of the Western Union
company at Buffalo.



234



.I/A'.V OF \E\\- YORK WESTERN SECTION



Mr. Tillinghast is a native of the Empire State,
and knows the lay of the land within all its borders
as perfectly as others know their immediate locality.
His business has made topography one of his strong
I M nuts. Receiving his early education at private
and public schools in Rome, N. Y., he completed
his academic training at the Fort Edward Collegiate
Institute. He began his commercial life at Toronto,
a few years before the Civil War, as a clerk for
his father in the office of the Northern Railway
of Canada. With characteristic enterprise and in-
dustry he took up the study of telegraphy as an
outside diversion, having no idea at the time that
this pursuit would become the work of his life. In
|.s lil, however, he went to Pittslmrg, and entered
the service of the Western Union Telegraph Co. as
an operator. While engaged in that capacity his
time was largely taken up with the handling of cipher
dispatches passing between the western armies of the
Union and the war department at Washington. His
duties became so exacting and severe that his health
failed, and by the advice of his physicians he aban-
doned active telegraphic work in 1863. The next
\ear he moved to Madison, Ind., as manager of the
telegraph office there. Less arduous duties in a
quieter scene brought about a gradual restoration
of health, and Mr. Tillinghast found himself strong
enough in the spring of 1865 to become assistant
manager of the Western Union office at Buffalo.
During a part of that year he was located at Erie,
Penn., as manager of the Western Union office there,
but he returned to Buffalo in the fall. Five years
later he was placed at the head of the office, and has
occupied that position continuously since.

In 1868 the general agent of the New York Asso-
ciated Press formed a rival organization, and with
several agents of the old association left it without
notice. Mr. Tillinghast was at once appointed agent
of the Associated Press at Buffalo, invested with full
charge of the service west and south of that point,
and clothed with supreme authority. So complete
was the rout of the new association that it quickly
abandoned the field, and Mr. Tillinghast resumed
his position with the Western Union. For the
services then performed for the Associated Press he
received a vote of thanks from the executive com-
mittee, and a personal letter from every member
of the committee praising his work in the highest
terms. This period is the only break in his long
connection with the Western Union since he cntrn <!
the service in Pittslmrg in ixiil.

Mr. Tillinghast is much attached to Buffalo, and
has more than once declined offers of promotion
involving residence elsewhere. He. has the respect



of his business associates and the confidence of the
community, both in large measure. He is the only
son of James Tillinghast, for many years a famous
official of the Central-Hudson railroad.

PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY James ]]'.

Tillinghast was born at Brownville, N. Y., Noi't'in-
ber 5, 1844 ' w<w educated at Rome Academy and
Fort Edward Collegiate Institute ; commenced busi-
ness as clerk in the office of the Northern Railway
of Canada at Toronto, in 1858; entered the service
of the }}'e stern Union Telegraph Co. at Pittsburg,
Penn., in 1861 ; married Sara A. Dannals of Pitts-
burg October (j, 1863, and Mrs. Anna Kellev of Lock-
port, N. Y., Februarv 1, 1868 ; has been manager
of the ll'estern Union telegraph office at Buffalo since

1870.



(Sreenleaf s. Uan <3orC>er, though not yet

beyond middle life, has made himself an important
tin tor in public affairs. His career is an inspiring
example to every American youth, and illustrates
anew the truth of the time-worn proverb, "Where
there's a will there's a way." He was thrown upon
his own resources in early boyhood, and his surround-
ings were such as to develop the best qualities in an
ambitious young man. To be born in an intelligent
community, having intercourse through library,
school, and press with the current events of the
world, is no mean inheritance. The small town and
the village rival the great cities in their contribution
to the ranks of the professions, and of the leading
business men of the country. The boy born in the
city is surfeited with opportunities, and too often
does not sufficiently appreciate them ; but the country
boy makes the best of the few at his command.

Mr. Van Gorder was educated in the common
schools of Geneseo, and received further training in
Angelica Academy and the academic department of
Alfred University. He supported himself, mean-
while, by farm work, teaching, and any other resource
that presented itself. He is not a graduate of any
school except, as he himself puts it, the " school of
experience." Having secured all the preliminary
education within his means, Mr. Van Gorder began
the study of law in the office of Sanford & Bowen of
Angelica, one of the leading firms in Allegany
county. He was admitted to the bar at a term of
the Supreme Court held in Buffalo, and began the
practice of his profession at Pike, Wyoming county.
By industry, energy, and perseverance, he has
attained high rank among the members of the bar in
his part of the state.

Political advancement, as well as professional suc-
cess, has marked Mr. Van Gorder's career. He is a



J/A'.V OF NEW }\>A'A' -WESTERN SECTION



Republican in politics, and has been a delegate to
many conventions of his party. He was elected
town clerk of Pike, and held the position four years.
This was his entrance into the arena of political
activity, in which he was destined to become a
prominent actor. After holding the office of super-
visor of Pike for five years, he was elected
a member of the state assembly from the
county of Wyoming for 1888 and 1.S.X9.
While in the assembly he served as a
member of the important judiciary com-
mittee. Representing Wyoming county,
the center of the western New York salt
fields, he started a movement that resulted
in the amendment of the constitution
of the state, providing for the sale of
the state "salt reservation " at Syracuse,
and thus removing the state as a com-
petitor against the private capital cm-
ployed in the salt industry in western New
York. The strong fight made by Mr.
Van Gorder on this question made him a
prominent figure in what was then the
.'JOth senatorial district, composed of Liv-
ingston, Niagara, Genesee, and Wyoming
counties. In the fall of 188!) he was
elected state senator with but little oppo-
sition, and was re-elected two years later.
In the senate, also, he was a member of
the judiciary committee. In both houses
Mr. Van Gorder proved himself a pains-
taking servant, and performed his duties
with credit and distinction. He was
identified with much important legisla-
tion. He was the author, for example,
of one of the best and most far-reaching
laws ever placed upon the statute books
of the state namely, the act to prevent
any peace officer or police official from
engaging in the manufacture or sale of intoxicating
liquors. In the session of 189o he was the author
and introducer of the " Bi -partisan Election In-
spectors" bill, which subsequently, in 1895, became
a law of the state.

Mr. Van Gorder's activities have not been con-
fined to politics or his profession. He has taken
a deep interest in educational matters, and for many
years has been one of the trustees of Pike Seminary.
He is also director and president of the State Bank
of Pike, and thus has come into contact with
financiers in western New York. He is a member of
several fraternal orders, and of the Holland Society
of New York. June 1 , 1 8!l(i, Mr. Van Gorder entered
into a copartnership for the practice of law at Buffalo,



and is now a member of the firm of Bartlett, Van
Gorder, White & Holt. In all his relations as a
lawyer, a banker, and a public man, he enjoys the
esteem and confidence of those who know him.

PERSONAL CHR ONOL O G Y Greenh -aj Xcott
I'fiu Gorder li'as horn at York, Livingston county,




GRKTM.I- II- S. VAN GORDER

N. Y. , June ..', /,s',/,j ,- received ii common-school and
an academic education ; studied /a if, and was admitted
to the bar June 1't, ISl'i : mored to Pike, N. Y., Au-
gust 7, 1S77 ; married Eva E. Lvon of Pike Angus/
29, 1X78 : lews supervisor of Pike, 1883-88, member
of assembly, 1888-89, and state senator, 1890-93,-
practiced law at Pike, 1377-96 ; has heen president of
the State Bank of Pike since Janiiarv, 1894 ; has
practiced la-ti.' at Buffalo since June 1, 1896.



fcarrison ittceObam IDcfc&er is less than

forty years old, but he has already, by dint of energy
and close application to business, won for himself
a high place among the substantial business men
of Buffalo. The insurance linn with which he is



.}fK\ OF XEi



YORfClVESTERX SECTION



connected is regarded as one of the leaders in its line.
But Mr. Vedder is not among those who selfishly
confine their energies to their own personal interests.
He is a man of public spirit, interested especially
in promoting the business welfare of the city. He
has long been one of the most active members of




ffARRJSO.\ \EF.DHAM VEDDER

the Merchants' Exchange ; he was chairman of its
postal committee in 1895, and is now serving his
second term as trustee of the institution. On the
social side he is greatly interested in yachting, and is
perhaps as well known for his connection with this
sport as for his business enterprises. He helped to
organize the Buffalo Yacht Club, and was its commo-
dore for three years, 1883-85.

Mr. Yedder is a genuine product of Buffalo. He
was born and educated there, served his business
apprenticeship there, married there, and has always
lived there. He began attending school at the age
.it six, and was able to continue his education until
he was fourteen years of age. Young as he was, he
then began to earn his own living. He entered the



insurance office of Captain K. P. Dorr, where he
remained three years. Thus early did he gain an
experience in the business that has proved his high-
way to success.

After leaving Captain Dorr young Vedder went to
work as a clerk for the insurance firm of Smith,
Davis & Clark. Here he continued five
years, thus devoting altogether eight years
to the insurance business as an employee
before branching out for himself. He
was now a young man of twenty-two,
and ambitious for more rapid progress
than seemed possible in the position that
he was then occupying. He had been
prudent and economical, and had saved
some money. He had, besides, formed
an extensive acquaintance, which is of
considerable value to a young man enter-
ing almost any calling, and of decided
value to one embarking in the insurance
business.

Mr. Yedder did not immediately, how-
ever, enter business for himself. For a
brief time he abandoned insurance alto-
gether, becoming chief clerk for the West-
ern KL'vating Co. But after about a year
of this business he returned permanently
to insurance, forming a partnership with
Charles J. North that has since continued.
Mr. Vedder is active in the Masonic
fraternity, and has attained distinction
therein. He is at present Senior Warden
of Ancient Landmark Lodge, No. 441,
K. & A. M. He is also a member of
Adytum Chapter, No. L':!.~i. K. A. M.,
and of Hugh de Payens Commandery,
No. 30, K. T. He takes an interest in
the study and preservation of local his-
tory, and is a life member of the Buffalo
Historical Society.

PERS ONAL CHR ONOL O G Y Harrison
Xeedhain I'edder was born at Buffalo September 11,
IS.~>S : ;,',/> educated in the />n/>/if schools ; was clerk
in an insurance office, 1ST -2-80 ; married Ida Eliza-
beth Loreridge of Buffalo September 1-1, 7.V.S7 , /ias
l>een a member of the insurance firm of North & I'edder
since M'.s 1 /.



Jf VailCiS (5. TKHarfc, recently appointed super-
intendent of the water bureau of the city of Buffalo,
is a man of thorough experience in the conduct of
vast enterprises. He is a factor and product of this
intensely practical age, which hesitates at nothing,
from harnessing Niagara to divorcing continents.



.\ SEC77O.\



Mr. Ward belongs to the generation reared since the
< lose of the ( 'ivil War. He received his preliminary
education at the Rectory School in Hamden, Conn.,
and when still a child was sent to France, and placed
in the Institution Cousin and Lycee Bonaparte, Paris.
There he remained four years, acquiring not only a
careful scientific education, but as well a thorough
knowledge of the French language. The rumblings
of the coming struggle between France and Germany
were already in the air, and Americans residing in
Paris felt it wise to return home before the storm
broke in all its fury. So young Ward came back to
the United States, and prepared to enter the An-
napolis Naval Academy, to which he was appointed
a cadet in 187^?. His stay in his native country,
however, was not long, for he soon returned to
Europe, declining the cadetship. After another
year spent abroad in study Mr. Ward re-
turned home, and entered the employ of
the Laflin 6t Rand Powder Co., whose
Buffalo representative he became in 187.1.
After two years in this business he re-
signed to accept a position with the New
York Central & Hudson River railroad.
He began his railroad apprenticeship in
the arduous and responsible position of
night yardmaster and train dispatcher at
the Grand Central station in New York
city. He was with the Central in various
important capacities for seven years, when
he became assistant manager of the Har-
lem line.

Mr. Ward's experience in railroading,
and his skill in handling large bodies of
employees, coupled with his scientific
training and command of the French lan-
guage, commended him to the favorable
notice of the Cie Universtllc Canal Pana-
ma, which was engaged in building the
canal across the isthmus of Panama ; and
he was offered the superintendency of
the Panama railroad, then owned by that
company. He thereupon resigned from
the Harlem line, and accepted the po-
sition under the French company. After
spending two years at the isthmus, he
was ordered to Paris and made manager
of the railroad department of the canal
company, and a member of the construc-
tion committee of the Turkish-Asiatic
railroad. In connection with these interests he
remained abroad until 1889, when he obtained leave
of absence, and returned to Buffalo to look after per-
sonal matters. These he found so much disordered



as the result of his long absence, that he felt obliged
to resign his position with the canal company, and
to devote his whole attention to his affairs on this
side of the water.

In military circles Mr. Ward is well known. For
twelve years he was a member of the 7th New York
regiment, and as a member of the 74th regiment, of
Buffalo, he became captain, lieutenant colonel, and
inspector of the 8th division. While at Panama he
was for three years acting colonel of the battalion
formed of employees of the Panama railroad located
at Aspinwall. Among the many souvenirs of Mr.
Ward's residence at Aspinwall, one he values very
highly. After the destruction of that city by fire
in 1885, Mr. Ward rebuilt the entire plant of the
canal company, including wharves, railroad tracks,
and the streets belonging to the French govern




ia c,. \VAKI>

ment. In recognition of his distinguished service,
and upon the recommendation of M. ROUSMMH.
councilor of state, who inspected the work, Mr.
Ward was made the recipient of a Sevres vase,



ME\ (>/' NEW YORK WESTERN SECTION



with a letter of thanks from the French government.
In political and social life Mr. Ward is an active
factor in Buffalo. He is closely identified with the
Republican party, and has been one of its local
managers in several campaigns. He is a member
of the Sons of the American Revolution ; and in








HKXKY 1 1'AY/. /.

the Masonic order he has been Master of Ancient
Landmark Lodge, Captain General of Hugh de Payens
Commandery, and Lieutenant Commander of Buffalo
Consistory.

PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY Francis Grant
U'ant was born at Jordan, N. V. , March <V, 18n6 ;
was educated in the United States and France : was
in the emplov oj the Laflin e^ Rand Powder Co. , at
New York and Buffalo, 1873-7<>, and of the New
York Central & Hudson River railroad, 1KTH-85 ;
was employed frv the " Cie Cniverselle Canal Pan-
ama," at Aspinwall and elsewhere, /.v,s',7-,s'.'y . married
Christine Meday at Rutlicrf<ird, X. /., November 3,
1S86 : li'tii appointed superintendent of tlie bureau o/
water of Buffalo in ^Fay,



IfCleill is an excellent representative of
the class of citizens concerned in the oft -repeated
compliment that the best blood of Europe has gone
to make the present development of the United
States. Born and educated in a foreign country, he
brought to the land of his adoption an appreciation
of the importance of industry such as can
be felt only by those who have seen the
greater poverty of the old world. To
this, perhaps, more than to any other one
thing, is due the business success he has
achieved. He has been a tireless worker,
shrewd, methodical, and with a ready
talent for grasping opportunities. He
has built up a large importing business,
besides aiding materially in the develop-
ment of Buffalo real estate.

Mr. Weill is about forty-nine years
old. His father was a real-estate dealer
in the little town of Miittersholt/., Alsace,
and Henry was kept steadily at school
until he was sixteen years of age. l>ur
ing this time he went through the public
schools, and obtained the French degree
at the college in Schlestadt. He looked
forward to a mercantile pursuit, and after
leaving college became a clerk in a
wholesale dry-goods house in Mulhouse,
Alsace. The experience here gained was
valuable, especially as he was promoted
rapidly, and was thus enabled to learn
different branches of the business. When
about twenty years old he determined to
seek the broader opportunities and better
rewards that could be found on this side
of the Atlantic. He tried New York for
a time, but finding no suitable opening
went to Buffalo ; and there his fortune
has been made. He engaged first in sell-
ing cloth to country tailors, and was reasonably
successful, but after a short time became attracted by
the jewelry business. It was not the line in which he
had experience, but his ready adaptability enabled
him quickly to master its details, and by hard work
and honest dealing he rapidly built up a prosperous
trade. In 1NX1 he decided to try manufacturing,
and went to Chicago for this purpose. He estab-
lished there a jewelry factory, the principal product
of which was gold rings. After about two years he
returned to Buffalo, and established the business of
a diamond importer, which he followed up to 1892.
Observing the rapid growth of Buffalo, Mr. Weill
was one of the first to realize the possibilities that
lay in real-estate operations. He bought a tract of



MEN OF NEW ) VM'A' \\~ESTERX SECTION



239



land at North Buffalo, developed it, and made it one



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 35 of 69)