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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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changes made by Mr. Mischka, he never gave up a
place except by voluntary resignation to




JOSEPH -1//.SV II K I

another position in the line of promotion. His
house is filled with valuable gifts received at various
times from the societies and churches with which he
has been connected.



402



MK.\ Or NEW YORK \\~ESTERN SECTION



While organist of the Westminster Church, Mr.
Mischka began his career as conductor of singing
societies by taking charge of the newly organized
Arion Society. This was a chorus of mixed voices,
and its concerts, conducted by Mr. Mischka, were
very popular. In 1 rS(i,S he became chorus master of





II \.\1EL O'GK. tin

the Caroline Richings Opera Co., with which he
remained one year. Returning to Buffalo at the
end of that period, he found the Liedertafel direc-
torship vacant, and was asked to conduct rehearsals
until the position should be permanently filled from
abroad. He was so well liked, however, that the
idea of sending to Europe for a leader was aban-
doned ; and Mr. Mischka remained in the position
twenty-four years, with an interruption of two years
between 1<S77 and 18711. (In his retirement in the
fall of 1.SH4 the office of honorary director was
created in order to bestow it upon him.

Mr. Mischka was the local musical director of the
Sacngerfest of the North American Saengerbund
licld in Buffalo in I ss:!, comprising :!<><)<> singers



and 100 musicians, and of the great musical festivals
held in that city in 1884, 1885, and 1887. He was
director of the Vocal Society from 1887 to 1894,
and brought that organization to a high pitch of ex-
cellence. For the last twenty-seven years, with the
exception of two years between 1880 and 18,s2, Mr.
Mischka has been organist of Temple
Beth Zion ; and since 1887 he has been
organist at the Delaware Avenue Metho-
dist Episcopal Church. Since 1873 he
has been professor of music in the Buf-
falo State Normal School. Having been
appointed in the fall of 1894 supervisor
of music in the Buffalo public schools,
he found the responsibility of this position
so great that he severed his connection
with the Liedertafel and with the Vocal
Society. He now has (10, 000 children
in his charge. It is his ambition and
aim, not only to teach music to the chil-
dren for their own sake, but also to furnish
capable singers to the chorus masters of
the next generation.

As a promoter of music in Buffalo no
man has a record superior to that of
Mr. Mischka. He has always been active
in support of musical enterprises, and
has never been sparing of his time or
strength in furthering their success. His
generosity toward his colleagues is well
known, and many a young musician
dates his career from the time when Mr.
Mischka brought him to public notice.

PERSONAL CHR ONOL OGY -
Joseph Mischka was born at Herman-
mestec, Austria, May ,v, /.V}'/.- came t<<
tin- f 'nitfii States in /,s',"> .', and settled
in Buffalo : was chorus master of an
opera troupe, 1Kl>S-ti!> : ffi^u^i;/ in busi-
ness as music dealer and publisher, 181)9-,.':
married Catherine Dietz of Buffalo September ~>,
1871 ; was director of ilie Buffalo Liedertafel,
1870-77 ami 1870-94 ; has held various prominent
positions as teacher of music and as church organist
in Buffalo since 1870.



P, one of the deputy excise
commissioners appointed under the famous Raines
law of 1890, was born in Rochester, N. Y., a short
time before the outbreak of the Civil War. His
father carried on a prosperous business in Rochester
for many years, and there the young man acquired
his education and early business experience. After
attending the public schools of the Flower City he



J/A\V OF XKll' YORK WESTERN SECTION



4o:i



took a course at Bryant & Stratton's Business Col-
lege, graduating from the institution in due time.

Mr. O'Grady's real start in the world was made
in 1885, when he shifted his residence from Roch-
ester to Buffalo, and established himself in business
in the latter city. He selected for his field of
operations a part of Buffalo that was then very
sparsely settled the extreme eastern section of the
city. Much of this neighborhood is now given up
to prosperous manufactories, railroad yards, slaughter-
houses, and cattle pens ; but when Mr. O'Grady
established a grocery at the corner of Broadway and
Bailey avenue most of the land near him was used
for tanning purposes. It was evident, however, that
the industrial growth of Buffalo was likely to move
in that direction ; and Mr. O'Grady soon had plenty
of neighbors. A large Polish population ultimately
occupied the territory tributary to his
business, and he came to know the
people well, ami to have considerable
influence with them. Several railroad
and other strikes, of long duration and
c orresponding severity to employees and
their tradesmen, have occurred at East
Buffalo since Mr. O'Grady went there;
but he has weathered every such indus-
trial gale, though some other commercial
craft have foundered.

Under the circumstances indicated in
the foregoing statement of Mr. O'Grudy's
career in East Buffalo, it was natural for
him to take an interest in public affairs,
and to acquire considerable importance
in local politics. There seems, indeed,
to be a tendency of that kind in the
family, since Mr. O'Grady's brother,
James M. E. O'Grady of Rochester, has
long been prominent in the politics of
Monroe county, and is now speaker of
the state assembly. Daniel O'Grady has
been identified with the Republican or-
ganization in Buffalo for the last ten
years as district and general committee-
man, and has an important personal
following in his part of the city. He
has not cared to hold political office,
however ; and never did so until April.
1896, when H. H. Lyman, state commis-
sioner of excise, appointed him one of
his deputies, with headquarters at Buffalo.

Mr. O'Grady has given his chief attention to busi-
ness and politics. He belongs to various fraternal
associations, however, such as the order of Elks, the
Red Men, and the Knights of Pvthias. He is



naturally a member of the Buffalo Republican
League, and has served on the executive committee
of the organization.

PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY Daniel
O' Grady jcas front at Rochester Fefrniary 17, 1SH1
mas educated in common schools and Bryant & S/riit-
ton' s Business College; married Elhabetli Malone\
of Spencerport, N. Y., fanuarv 30, 1881 ; was ap-
pointed deputy excise commissioner for Buffalo in April,
189(1 : has been in business at East Buffalo since
1885.

30blt ZroW>U5Cn& flMtfciU was born in Wayne
county, New York, somewhat less than forty years
ago. The Pitkin family has had an important part
in the history of America ever since William Pitkin,
the third governor of Connecticut, was chosen in




JOH\ TOU:\'SE.\D PIT K IX

to prepare a plan of union for the colonies.
There were five other members of this committee
including the chairman, Benjamin Franklin. Among
the descendants of this Pitkin may be found three



404



MEN <>/' .YA7r YORK WESTERN SKCTIOX



judges of supreme courts, one United States senator,
two state governors, members of congress and state
legislatures, and many men prominent in profes-
sional and commercial life.

Our present subject went to the union school in
his native town of Palmyra, and after moving to
Buffalo in early youth attended the well-known
Heathcote School, a private institution of excellent
standing. At the age of sixteen he closed his books,
not expecting then ever to resume systematic aca-
demic training. He had always taken great interest
in electrical subjects, and his first venture in the
outer world was made as an electrician, line repairer,
and operator for the Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Co.
This was in 1874. The next year he made a com-
mercial hit by running "electric light" excursions
from Buffalo to Niagara Falls. The arc light was
then just coming into general use ; and the viewing
of the Falls in the new light, variously and bril-
liantly colored, became a popular pastime. In 187IJ
he entered the service of the Central-Hudson road
at Buffalo as train dispatcher, telegraph operator,
and ticket agent. The next year he was employed
by the Buffalo police department as chief telegraph
operator ; and in 1879 he became an operator for
the Western Union company at Buffalo.

Deciding to follow a professional rather than a
business career, and having a strong inclination
toward the study of medicine, Mr. Pitkin entered
the College of Physicians and Surgeons at New
York in 1881, and afterward attended the medical
department of the University of Buffalo. He
received from the latter institution in 1884 the
degree of M. 1). , obtaining at graduation the dis-
tinction of an "honorable mention." For several
years after this he tutored medical students at the
University of Buffalo with much success. Opening
an office in Buffalo soon after he obtained his degree,
Dr. Pitkin carried on an increasingly large general
practice for over a decade. His early interest in
electrical matter-, was maintained all the time,
naturally taking a direction harmonious with his
professional work.

The application of electrical science to surgen
and general therapeutics has become of great impor-
tance in recent years, and Dr. Pitkin has devoted a
good deal of time to the study of the subject. This
investigation convinced him of the wide usefulness
of electricity in the art of healing, and he decided
to specialize his work to a considerable extent in
this line. He founded, accordingly, in November,
I Mil'., the Buffalo Klectrical Sanitarium, with execu-
tive offices in F.llicott Square and branches at 20I>
Connecticut street and (ilf) Prospect avenue. This



experiment has already proved successful, and Dr.
Pitkin has at times more patients than he can easily
care for. He has taken great interest in the " X-
ray ' ' discovery as related to surgical operations, and
has done a good deal to populari/.e exact and useful
knowledge of the subject. He has contributed
articles to the Buffalo Medical Journal on stomach
and peritoneal washing and on hemorrhages from
the nostrils.

On the personal side, mention may be made of
I >r. Pitkin's interest in military affairs. In 187!> he
organized company F of the 74th regiment, N. G.,
S. N. Y. , serving as captain of the company for
some time ; and he is now a member of the Buffalo
City Guard Cadet Association. In politics he is a
Republican, and received the nomination of his
party for alderman in 1887. He has observed
closely the territorial expansion of Buffalo, and has
made some successful ventures in real-estate opera-
tions. He is a member of the First Presbyterian
Church of Buffalo.

PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY John Town-
semi Pitkin n.'as horn at Palm\ra, X. Y., .}fay 8,
1858 ; attended Palmyra Union School and Heathcote
School, Buffalo : lield various positions as electrician
and telegraph operator, 1874-81 ; studied medicine,
and graduated from ilie medical department of the
i'nr.'i-rsity of Buffalo in 1884 : married Lizzie Simon*
Youngs of Buffalo Marcli 4, 1880: has practiced
medicine in Buffalo since 1884



3. IRObettSOn was born in Dela-
ware county, New York, in 18">1. After attending
district schools and the academy in his native town,
teaching at intervals and boarding around among
the farmers in the old-fashioned way, he sought
higher instruction in Delaware Academy at Delhi,
N. Y. At the age of twenty he entered Cornell
University with the class of '75, hoping to take the
full course. He was obliged to meet his own ex-
penses, and after working his way along through the
freshman year he decided that it would not pay to
follow such a life for three years more. He did not,
however, give up the idea of studying law ; and after
teaching German for a year at Delaware Academy
he began to prepare himself in an office at Delhi for
the bar examinations. He studied thus three years,
supporting himself by his labor, and was admitted to
the bar in the fall of 187(1.

Beginning practice at once in Delhi, Mr. Robert-
son concluded after a few months that he need not
hesitate to pit himself against the legal lights of a
larger place ; and in March, 1877, accordingly, he
opened an office in Klmira. After practicing alone



J/A'.V O/-' .VA'/r YORK WESTERN Sl-A'TlON



until January, 1880, he formed a partnership with
Gabriel L. Smith, ex-county judge. The firm of
Smith & Robertson carried on a successful practice
until January 1, 1889. At that time Mr. Robertson
associated himself with John Bull, Jr., and the next
year Dix W. Smith was admitted to the partnership.
The firm of Robertson, Smith & Bull
continued until the senior partner moved
to Buffalo in April, 1893.

Mr. Robertson had then practiced in
Elmira sixteen years, and had, of course,
formed valuable business connections ;
but he felt sure that Buffalo was destined
to become a large city, and he knew
that the abler members of the legal pro-
fession must share in such prosperity.
He has been in Buffalo only four years
now, but has already attained a position
of prominence at the local bar ; and the
prediction may safely be made that he
will repeat in Erie county his earlier
success in the Southern Tier.

Like many other lawyers, Mr. Robert-
son has been much concerned with pol-
itics ; but unlike many people so occu-
pied, he has not at any time sought
public office. His interest in the sub-
ject has been that of a public-spirited
citizen, believing heartily in the princi-
ples of the Republican party, and trying
to promote the greatest good of the
greatest number in all proper ways.
During his later years in Elmira Mr.
Robertson frequently acted as counsel for
Republican organizations in election con-
tests ; and he devoted a good deal of
time to the work of instructing election
officers as to their legal rights and duties
on voting days. He is thoroughly in-
formed in these matters, and the campaign managers
of Buffalo have availed themselves of his services in
every election since he went to that city. He has
also been prominently connected with the Good
Government Clubs of Buffalo, having associated him-
self with the movement from the beginning. He
has acted as legal adviser for the organization, and
rendered special service in conducting the investiga-
tion into the management of the Erie-county alms-
house in lWHi-97.

Aside from professional and political work, Mr.
Robertson has concerned himself with several inter-
esting subjects. He was one of the early devotees
of cycling, and was a charter member and the first
president of the Kanaweola Bicycle Club of Elmira.



He is an elocutionist of decided talent, and has
frequently read in public in a semi-professional way.
He is particularly interested in the study of Shakes-
peare, and is president of one of the Shakespeare
clubs of Buffalo. He has written somewhat for pub
lication at various times, and was the poet of his







A\I>KE W J. ROItKK TSOX

class at Cornell. He has been for many years a
member of the Zeta Phi fraternity of Delhi, and
was the poet at its annual dinner in 1874. He is
a charter member of the Independent Club of
Buffalo, and was the president thereof for the first
two years of its existence.

PERSONAL CIIR ONOL O G Y Andrew
/iii/if* Rohcihon ;,'ns /nu /I af Andes, Delaware county,
N. Y. , March !, IS.'i J : attended district school-; and
academic* and (.'ornell Cnircrsitv ; u-as admitted to
tlie I'ar in lS7li, and practiced in Delhi, JV. Y. ,
1S76-77 ; married Mai tha Hayt Thompson of Elmira,
N. Y. , Dcccml'ci /.'/, /,s'~,s' .- practiced law in Elmira,
1877-!->-! : has practiced lent' in Hnffali> since April,
1893.



401)



.1//-:.V OF NEW YORK WESTERN SECTION



jf. SCbOCllfeOpf, a veritable "captain
of industry," and widely respected in western New
York for his character and personal qualities, was
born in Kirchheim-unter-Teck, a small town of
Wiirttemberg, Germany, in 1819. After attending
the schools of his native town until he was fourteen




J.-tfO/i F. SCHOELLKOI'f

years old, he began his business life by becoming an
apprentice in his father's tannery. The tanner's
trade might almost be regarded as a part of Mr.
Schoellkopf s inheritance, since both his father and
his grandfather had been conspicuously successful in
the business. Having served as an apprentice the
full term of five years, Jacob Schoellkopf broadened
his industrial training by following a clerkship in a
mercantile house for about two years. Kuropean
emigration to the United States had already begun
on a considerable scale, and Mr. Schoellkopf was
sufficiently ambitious and foresightful to wish a part
in the movement. Continued reflection only con-
firmed his purpose; and in December, 1*41. when
t unity-two years old, he landed in New York city.



Utterly ignorant of the English language, Mr.
Schoellkopf was forced at first to accept the readiest
employment at hand, and he naturally reverted to
his old trade. After following this for two years in
New York city, he moved to Buffalo in lcS44, and
established a small leather store on Mohawk street.
His capital was limited to 8^00, which
his father had loaned him. Seeing at
once that he had made no mistake in
committing himself to business, Mr.
Schoellkopf soon embarked in a more
ambitious venture by purchasing a small
tannery at White's Corners (Hamburg),
near Buffalo. His early training was in-
valuable to him in this enterprise, and
ensured his success. In two years, or
in 184(i, he enlarged his operations by
starting a sheepskin tannery in Buffalo ;
in 1X4-S he established a tannery in Mil-
waukee ; and in IX/il) still another tan-
nery at Chicago resulted from his inces-
sant activity. Both the Milwaukee and
the Chicago tanneries are still in success-
ful operation, though Mr. Schoellkopf
withdrew his interest from them a few
years after their establishment. In 185.'!
he started another tannery at Fort
Wayne, Ind., and in l.sf>4 yet another,
at North Evans, N. Y., conducting the
latter plant with unusual success for
twenty years. In I,sii4 he bought a site
for a tannery at Sheffield, I'enn., then a
part of the wilderness, and built up there
a remarkably successful industry. He is
now the senior proprietor of one of the
largest sheepskin tanneries in the United
States, located in Buffalo.

In 11S57 Mr. Schoellkopf engaged in
the milling industry by erecting the
North Buffalo Flouring Mills. His wonderful busi-
ness ability brought him success in the new de-
parture, and he ultimately became one of the largest
millers in the Empire State. In 1870 he bought
the Frontier Mills in Buffalo, and subsequently
erected extensive flouring mills at Niagara Falls.
He is the senior partner in the famous milling firm
of Schoellkopf & Mathews.

Mr. Schoellkopf's brilliant success in the manage-
ment of his own vast enterprises has induced the
directors of various corporations to seek his aid ;
and in some cases he has been willing to accept such
directorates, or to share otherwise in the manage-
ment of important corporations. He was vice-
president of the Buffalo, New York & Philadelphia



.)//:. V (>/' NEW YORKWESTERX SECTtOX



407



railroad before its sale to the present Western New
York & Pennsylvania company. For a long time he
was vice president of the Third National Bank,
Buffalo ; and he is still a director in several banks in
Buffalo and Niagara Falls. He is also a director
and the president of the Citizens' Gas Co., Buffalo.
He has been a trustee of the Buffalo General Hos-
pital since it was founded. His varied industrial
enterprises at Niagara Falls gave him special interest
in the water power there, and in 1877 he bought the
Hydraulic canal at the Falls. Seeing clearly the
economic possibilities of the undeveloped Niagara
power, he began at once to improve the property ;
and many large mills, manufacturing paper, flour,
aluminium, and other important products, are now
using the canal. About 20,000 horse power is now
produced, but this quantity will be greatly increased
when proposed enlargements and im-
provements of the canal and power
station are completed. For the purpose
of developing the property Mr. Schoell-
kopf, soon after he bought the canal,
organized the Niagara Falls Hydraulic
Power & Manufacturing Co., of which
he is still president.

Mr. Schoellkopf went back to Europe
for the first time in 1X53, and since
then he has revisited his native land
on many occasions. Though he is now
in his seventy-eighth year, he still enjoys
excellent health, and enters actively into
business and social life.

PERSONAL CHR ONOL OGY-
Jiifo/i Frederick Schocl/l;t>[<l i><as f><>ni at
Kirch!ieim-u liter -Teck, Germany, .\,<
vemher l.'i, IS 19 ; was educated in Ger-
man schools, and learned tJie fanner's
trade in his native land : fame to tin-
United States in 1841, and settled in
Buffalo in January, 1844 ' married
Christiana Sophie I)uerr of Kircliheim-
unter- Teck March 12, 1848 ; has been
engaged in the tanning business since
1844, >>< "lilling since 1857, and in tlie
management of various corporations for
main' vears.



obtained there. This excellent educational ground-
work facilitated further training in Buffalo by
private teachers, at St. Joseph's College, and at
Bryant & Stratton's Business College.

The mention of the last-named institution shows
the character of the career on which Mr. Schoell-
kopf had decided. It was natural and easy for him
to choose a mercantile life, since his father, Jacob
F. Schoellkopf, had vast business interests, and
wished to have his son versed in commercial affairs.
At the age of eighteen, therefore, Mr. Schoellkopf
went to work in his father's tannery, learning the
tanner's trade there thoroughly in the course of the
next four years. If heredity counts for anything in
such matters, the young man had every reason to
take kindly to this occupation ; since his grandfather
and his great-grandfather had been tanners in Ger-




.sv 'HOKLLKOPl-



%OUiS SCbOellfeOpt" was born iii
Buffalo somewhat more than forty years
ago, of German parents. He was

favored with unusually careful tuition. Attending many, and his father, after learning the trade in his
private schools until the age of ten, he then native land, had established himself in the same
studied for four years in Germany, his father having business in Buffalo thirty years before. Having
a high opinion of the thorough training to be acquired a firm grasp of the business, Louis



40S



J//-:.Y (>/' .\'/-:ir YORK WESTERN SECTIOX



Schoellkopf thought it advisable to set up a plant of
his own ; and in 1877, accordingly, he formed a part-
nership with his brother Henry, under the style of
J. F. Schoellkopfs Sons. This firm conducted a
successful tanning business until Henry Schoellkopf
died in 1880, when a new firm was organized, con-
sisting of Louis and Alfred P. Schoellkopf and John
Russ. This organization was well planned, and the
concern has transacted a large volume of business.
The original firm name is still used.

Mr. Schoellkopf has been concerned with various
business undertakings, both in Buffalo and elsewhere,
aside from that just described. In connection with
his father and brother, he has devoted much time of
late years to a number of enterprises in Niagara
Falls, including the Power City Bank, International
hotel, Cliff Paper Co., and Niagara Falls Hydraulic
Power cV* Manufacturing Co.

In the social life of Buffalo Mr. Schoellkopf is
highly regarded ; and as a lifelong resident of the
Queen City, and a trusted and trustworthy citizen,
he has an extensive circle of friends. In political
matters his sympathies are with the Republican
party, and he is a member of the Buffalo Republican
League; but he has taken no active part in politics,
and has never sought nor held public office. He
attends the Westminster Presbyterian Church, and
is a member of the Westminster Club. He belongs,
also, to the Ellicott Club, the Merchants' Exchange,
the Orpheus Singing Society, and the Charity
Organization.

PERSONAL CUR ONOL OG )" - Louis:
S, hiiellktiff was born at Buffalo March 25, 1855;
studied in Buffalo scliools and colleges and in Ger-
many ; /tamed tlie tanner's trade in Buffalo, 7,v;.,'-
/' '} : married Myra Lee Horlon of Sheffield, Penn. ,
May 18, 1881 ; /ms been engaged in f/ie tannery
business in Buffalo sinee 1877 as a member of the



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 60 of 69)