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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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from Columbia College Law School in 1877 ; was
managing clerk in the /'//ice of Bou'en, Rogers &-*
Locke of Buffalo, 187781 ; has prat /iced lait* in
Buffalo since 1882.



3L. IDOUQlaSS, vice president and
general manager of the Western Transit Co., is a
lineal descendant on his father's side of William
Douglass, who settled in Ciloucester, Mass., in 1640,
and Major Brian Pendleton, who came to America
in 1630 and settled in Watertown, Conn. On his
mother's side he comes of a race of sturdy, honorable
ship carpenters and seafaring men, who emigrated
from Germany in Ki.'K), and settled in New York. His
grandfather in this line was Captain John Winans,
whose career deserves more than a passing mention.




CARL THURSTOX CHESTER

John Winans was born in Poughkeepsie, N. Y.,
June !.">, 17(ili. He learned the trade of a ship
'arpenter under his father, lames Winans, whose
shipyard was at that time a noted place for the



456



MEN OF NEW YORK WESTERN SECTION



building of ocean vessels as well as river craft ; and
he ultimately succeeded his father in the ownership
of the business. When Robert Fulton started the
first steamboat ever built the ' ' Clermont ' ' from
New York for Albany September 2, 1807, John
\Vinans was on board. He had been brought in




GIBSON L. DOUGLASS

contact with the great inventor through Robert R.
Livingstone, Fulton's friend and partner and the
legal counselor of Captain Winans. Chancellor
Livingstone appreciated the ability of the latter,
and brought the two men together for the purpose
of aiding Fulton to perfect his invention. Captain
Winans had watched the construction of the " Cler-
mont " with the deepest interest, and had given
Fulton many valuable suggestions. When the suc-
cess of the new invention was secured he immedi-
ately contracted with Fulton and Livingstone for
the right to build and navigate steamboats on Lake
George and the waters of Lake Champlain lying
within the borders of New York state. He at
once set about the construction of a vessel for this



purpose ; and in the spring of 1808 he launched
from the foot of King street, Burlington, Vermont,
the steamboat ''Vermont." This steamer was li'n
feet long, twenty feet wide, and eight feet deep ;
and had a speed of four miles an hour. She was
the second steamboat ever constructed in America ;
and Captain Winans, as her builder,
owner, and navigator, may justly claim a
high place among the industrial pioneers
of the land. The "Vermont" com-
menced regular trips between Whitehall,
N. Y. , and St. Johns, Canada, in the
spring of 1809 ; and from that time until
she sunk at Isle Au Noix in October,
1815, had an eventful career. During
the war of 1812 she was used by Commo-
dore McDonough and General Macomb
for the transportation of troops and sup-
plies on Lake Champlain ; and she took
an active part in the battle of Platts-
burgh September 11, 1814. During
these years Captain Winans organized
the Champlain Transportation Co. and
the Lake George Steamboat Co., both of
which are still in existence as part of the
Delaware & Hudson Canal Co. system.
The state of Vermont granted to Captain
Winans and his associates, November ID.
1815, the sole right to navigate with
steam vessels the waters of Lake Cham-
plain within the boundaries of that state ;
and this grant, together with his con-
tract with Fulton and Livingstone for
New York waters, gave him control of
the steamboating on lakes Champlain
and George. In 1815 he superintended
the building of the steamer " Phoenix "
at Vergennes, Vt., for the Champlain
company, and the next year he built for
himself the steamer "Champlain." Both of these
vessels were burned within a few years. The
steamer "Caklwell," which was built about this
time, and of which Captain Winans was half owner,
was the first steamboat ever used on Lake George.
This vessel furnished the connecting link in the
water transportation between New York city and
Montreal, since the great thoroughfare between the
north and the south at that time was by way of these
two northern lakes. Having successfully established
steam navigation on these waters, Captain Winans
sold his interest in the two transportation com-
panies and returned to his native city of Pough-
keepsie, where he died June o, 1827. He was
married September 2, 1793, to Catherine Stewart of



.l/A'.V OF NEW YORK\\'ESTER\ SECTION



4. -,7



Poughkeepsie. Many original documents of unusual
interest connected with the early history of steam-
boating on the waters of Lake Champlain and Lake
George were left by Captain Winans, and are now
in the possession of his grandson, Mr. Douglass.

Whether it be owing to a special interest in the
subject of transportation inherited from his grand-
father, or to some other cause, the fact remains that
Mr. Douglass's entire business life has been devoted
to this kind of work ; and that few men in the
country have had a greater amount of practical
experience in that line than he. The altered
conditions of the present day have produced many
changes in the transportation industry ; but Mr.
Douglass has exercised the game foresight, en-
ergy, and sagacity that were conspicuous in Cap-
tain Winans's career, and has met with equal success.

Entering the employ of the Western
Transportation Co. as a clerk in their
office at Troy, N. Y., at the age of nine-
teen, Mr. Douglass has ever since been
connected with that company and its
successor, the Western Transit Co. In
1865 he succeeded to the management
of the Troy agency of the company, and
held that position for upwards of fifteen
years. In 1881 he was appointed gen-
eral freight agent of the company, with
headquarters in New York city ; and
when the New York Central railroad pur-
chased the organization in 18.S4, and it
became known as the Western Transit Co. ,
he continued to occupy the same position.

During these years Mr. Douglass has
been connected with various other freight
organizations; and his experience in
all branches of inland transportation
canal, rail, and lake has been remark-
ably extensive and thorough. During a
part of his years in Troy he represented
the New York Central road as agent for
the Blue Line and subsequently for the
Merchants' Despatch Transportation Co.,
both all-rail fast freight lines. From
1872 to 1877, also, he was the Troy
agent for the Northern Transportation
Line, a canal and lake line doing busi-
ness between New York city, northern
New York, and Canada via the Cham-
plain canal and Lake Champlain. He
was a director in this company, and at one time its
general superintendent. In New York city his du-
ties were still more varied and important. In 1890
he was appointed manager of the floating property



of the New York Central railroad used in the harbor
of New York, and operated under the name of the
New York Central Lighterage Co. At the same
time he managed the grain elevators of the New
York Central and West Shore railroads, and the
East-river piers of these companies. In January,
1897, he was elected vice president and general
manager of the Western Transit Co., and has since
made his home in Buffalo.

Mr. Douglass is a Democrat in political belief,
but has never had time to interest himself actively
in public affairs. He is a Mason ; and belongs to
the Ellicott Club of Buffalo, and the Transportation
Club of New York city. He attends in Buffalo the
Delaware Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church.

PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY Gil>son L.
Douglass ivas born at C/iazv, Clinton county, JV. Y.,




JOHN WINANS

fanuar\ 22, 1S-1H : married Anna M. Ojcrs of Chi-
cago March 30, 1804 ' I'ftamc a clerk in the office of
t/ic \\~i- st,Tii Tran^tirliiliii Co. in Troy, N. Y., in
1858, ami Inis l'<;-n iictir<-/\ i-ii^it^t'i/ in //it- liaihilin^ anil



158



MEN OF NEW YOKK \VESTERX SECTION



transportation of freight ever since : has been rice presi-
i/fiil and general manager of tlif M'e stern Transit Co.,
with headquarters at Buffalo, since January ..'(>, 1897.



C5 J8. IfoUff ^ one of the most popuhr
citizens of Tonawanda, both politically and socially ;




JAMES It. HUFF

and this fact is perhaps best accounted for by his
character, which is modest and unpretentious, and
generous to a fault. He was born in Tonawanda
barely forty years ago, and has always lived there.
He received a thorough education in the public
schools of the town, which he attended from early
childhood until he was twenty years old.

Public affairs have interested Mr. Huff intensely
ever since he was old enough to vote, and he began
to hold office soon after he attained his majority.
Nominated by the Democratic party in 1879 for the
position of village clerk, he was elected by a major-
ity of 200. The next year he defeated a different
candidate by about the same majority. His popu-
larity was so generally nvogni/ed that in the three



succeeding years no one could be found to accept
the Republican nomination against him, and he was
re-elected each time without opposition. But Mr.
Huff does not believe in monopolies, even though
they be political ones ; and at the end of five years
he refused to allow his name to be used as a candi-
date, thus leaving the field free to other
competitors. His next public office was
that of village treasurer, to which he
received a unanimous election. He has
also served as trustee of the village, and
has attended county and other conven-
tions of his party.

Mr. Huff's allegiance to the Demo-
cratic party was put to the test in 1896,
when the free-silver declaration was in-
serted in the Chicago platform ; and it
was a question whether he should stand
by his party or his principles. The lat-
ter triumphed, however, and he cast his
vote for a candidate who would maintain
the currency of the country on a gold
basis. In the spring of 1897 Mr. Huff
was chosen to bear the standard of the
disaffected faction of the Republican
party in Tonawanda as their candidate
for president of the village. That fac-
tion had suffered defeat the previous
year, and it was felt that he was the only
man who had a chance of succeeding
against the regular Republican nominee.
The result of the election was most flat-
tering, since he received a large majority
of the votes cast. Indeed, Mr. Huff has
never been defeated in a contest for any
public office, and it is easy to predict for
him further political triumphs in the
future.

( )f late years Mr. Huff has been
prominently identified with the great lumber in-
dustry at Tonawanda, having established himself as
a wholesale lumber dealer in 1SJI2. He is well
known in Masonic circles, belonging to Tona-
wanda Lodge, F. &: A. M., and Tonawanda Chap-
ter, R. A. M., as well as to Zuleika Grotto,
No. 10.

PERSONA L CHR ONOL OGY - James B.
Huff was born at Tonawanda, JV. Y., August 14,
/.v.) ,' . ;,'if\ c, liifatt'il in the public schools ; married
Etta L. Long of Tonawanda December 21, 1881;
has serri'if as clerk of the rillage of Tonawanda, village
treasurer, and Tillage trustee : 7i'<rs elected president of
Ilie Tillage in Marcli, /.S'.'y? . has carried on a whole-
sale lumber business at Tonawanda since 1892.



MEN OF \EU' YORI-CU'ESTERN SEC7/n\



459



]D\VarC> C. 1ROtb, one of the best-known
insurance men of Buffalo, was born in that city
shortly before the beginning of the Civil War. His
scholastic education was not carried far and his
present fund of general information was acquired by
judicious reading and observation after he had left
school, and entered the larger world of business.
He prepared himself to take the course of study at
the high school in Buffalo, but finally decided not
to do so. Instead of that he began business life in
his early teens by entering the old hardware estab-
lishment of De Witt C. Weed & Co. Purposing to
learn the business thoroughly, he remained with the
house in various grades of service about five years,
and thereby acquired not only a minute knowledge
of the hardware business in particular, but also an
excellent all-round training in general business
principles and usages.

The death of the senior Mr. Weed in
1878 produced some unsettlement in the
Weed concern, and indirectly resulted
in Mr. Roth's retirement from the ser-
vice of the house. He then engaged in
the business with which he has ever since
been identified insurance. Entering
the office of William D. Lewis, he re-
mained with him about four years, and
learned thoroughly every branch of the
insurance business. By that time he had
become so well known among insurance
people that James Ferguson, a prominent
underwriter of New York city, sought
his alliance in a partnership in the fire
and marine insurance business. Mr.
Roth accepted the offer, and the firm of
Ferguson & Roth wrote a large volume
of insurance up to the time of Mr. Fer-
guson's death in 1885. Mr. Roth then
continued the business under the present
well-known style of Edward C. Roth &
Co. In 1888 George H. Hughson was
admitted to the firm, and in ISill Frank
W. Fiske, Jr., became one of the part-
ners : these two, with Mr. Roth, con-
stitute the existing firm.

Since Mr. Roth has concerned himself
with insurance the business has changed
in many respects, and has enormously-
expanded as regards both volume and
kinds of risk assumed. Fire and marine
risks constituted at first the greater part of his busi-
ness, and still make up a large proportion of his
transactions ; but he has added from time to time
various branches of insurance boiler, plate-glass,



burglary, employers' liability, etc. as new condi-
tions produced new hazards and the need of cor-
responding safeguards. He is now the Buffalo
representative of some of the strongest companies
in the world, providing insurance against a multi-
tude of casualties.

PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY Edward C.
Rotli was born al Buffalo October 2:2, 1859; was
educated in the public schools of the city : was emploved
in a hardware store, 1S73-7S ; was clerk in an insur-
ance office, 187S-S1; married Hattie }\~,iler of Buf-
falo September 29, 1891 ; has conducted a genera/
insurance business in Buffalo since 1SS1.



30blt %. SCb\Vart3, vice president of the
Buffalo Brewers' Association, is a native of the Queen
City, and is well known in its business, social, and




EinVAKD C. ROTH



political life. Born in 1.X">; in the old 4th ward, at
the corner of Washington and Chippewa streets, lie
received his early education in St. Michael's paro
chial school ; and when St. Canisius College \va>



460



MEN <>/' .YA'/r IWiA* WESTERN SECTION



opened in 1870 he became one of its first students.
After a course of four years there he left school at
the age of fifteen, and began business life.

At this time Mr. Schwartz's father and brother
carried on a planing mill in Buffalo, and the young
man went into business with them for several years.




JOHN L. SCHWARTZ

Four years later the father died, and the business
was dissolved ; and Mr. Schwartz became a clerk in
the office of Joseph Berlin, who conducted a general
insurance and coal business. After about a year in
this capacity he established a coal and wood business
on his own account. He was just twenty-one years
old at this time ; but he had had considerable busi-
ness experience, and was well qualified by natural
ability and training to carry on such an undertaking.
He conducted the enterprise with entire success for
twelve years, when he sold out to his brothers,
Edward J. and Joseph A. Schwartz.

Having disposed of his coal business, Colonel
Schwartz took up an entirely different line of work.
In company with John S. Kellner, Edward A.



Diebold, and Joseph Phillips, he bought the plant
of the Queen City Brewing Co., at the corner of
Spring and Cherry streets, and established the Star
Brewery for the conduct of a general brewing and
bottling business. He has devoted himself to the
management of this enterprise ever since, and has
become widely known in one of Buffalo's
most important industries.

Though he has never held public of-
fice, Colonel Schwartz has long been
prominent in the counsels of the Demo-
cratic party. He is actively interested
in several fraternal societies, and has
membership in many such. He was for
many years one of the board of trustees
of the Buffalo Catholic Institute, and is
still a member of the organization. Since
\x'.)'2 he has been Grand Treasurer of the
Catholic Mutual Benefit Association,
having been elected for the third time
at Syracuse in 1897. He owes his mili-
tary title to his connection with the
Uniformed Catholic Knights, having
been colonel of the 2d regiment of that
organization in the state of New York
for the past eight years. He belongs,
also, to the Buffalo ( Irpheus, the Catholic
Benevolent Legion, and the Royal Ar-
canum ; and is a trustee of St. Michael's
Church. He has been a member of the
board of directors of the Buffalo Volks-
freuncl Printing Co. since 1887, and
president of the Alumni of St. Canisius
College since 18!)4.

PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY-
John Leo Schwartz was born at Buffalo
April 13, 1859; was educated at St.
Canisius College, Buffalo ; worked in his
father' 's planing mill, 1874-78, and in a
coal office, 1S7S-79 ; carried on a coal and wood
business in Buffalo, 1880-92 ; married Elizabeth J.
Zegewitz of Rochester October 12, 1887 ; has been
manager and part owner of the Star Brewery, Buf-
falo, since 1892.



Ubomas Eugene Marner, well known for

many years in the journalism of Niagara county, was
born in Orleans, Ontario county, fifty-odd years ago.
He received his education in the schools of his native
town, and at the age of sixteen began to earn his
own living. He was fortunate in choosing at first a
trade that proved congenial, and that led naturally
to the position of newspaper publisher which he has
filled now for upwards of fifteen years.



.l/A'.Y OF NEW YORK WESTERN SECT/ON



461



Becoming a printer's apprentice in an office at
Phelps, N. Y., in 1860, he worked at his trade for
the next seventeen years. His apprenticeship was
completed in the office of the Geneva Gazette, under
Stephen H. Parker, one of the best-known represen-
tatives of the Democratic press in the state ; and his
practical experience of the printer's craft was gained
in a number of newspaper offices in some of the
largest cities in the United States, where he became
thoroughly conversant with the different departments
of the business. In 1877 he took up an entirely new
line of activity, accepting an appointment as warden
of the Jersey City Charity Hospital, where he re-
mained for the next two or three years.

In September, 1880, Mr. Warner moved to Tona-
wanda, and became associated with Thomas M.
Chapman in the publication of the Tonawanda
Herald. He had already had consider-
able experience in newspaper work, serv-
ing at first as a reporter on the Detroit
Free Press, and later as state editor of
that well-known journal, at the same
time furnishing reportorial correspond-
ence from the several cities of Michigan.
He was therefore well qualified by train-
ing as well as by natural ability for the
new work which he undertook in Tona-
wanda, and which he carried on for sev-
enteen years with much success. In the
fall of 1<S!)7 he sold his interest in the
Herald to Mr. Chapman, the senior part-
ner; and established the daily, semi-
weekly, and weekly Argus in the ''Twin
Cities" of the Tonawandas. For the
conduct of this enterprise he formed a
partnership with Frank P. Hulette, for
man}' years the successful editor of the
Wyoming County Leader of Arcade, N. Y.,
and widely known as the secretary of the
New York State Democratic Editorial
Association. The new paper is the only
one in its territory devoted to the inter-
ests of the Democratic party ; and as
Messrs. Warner and Hulette are both
ardent supporters of that party, and
newspaper men of trained ability, the
success of the venture need not be re-
garded as doubtful.

During his residence in Tonawanda
Mr. Warner has become well and favor-
ably known in both public and private life. In
1M86 he was appointed clerk of the village of North
Tonawanda, and held the office continuously until
the adoption of the city charter in April, IN! 17,



when he was unanimously chosen the first city
clerk. He is a Mason, and holds the office of Past
Master in Tonawanda Lodge, No. 247, F. & A. M.,
and that of High Priest in Tonawanda Chapter, No.
1*7*, R. A. M. He is a member of St. Mark's
Episcopal Church.

PERSO NA L CHR ONOLOG V Thomas
Eugene Warner was born at Orleans, N. Y. , March
23, 1844 > was educated in common scJiooh ; learned
the printer' s trade and worked at tlie same in various
cities, 1860-77 ; married Florence Elizabeth Hana-
ford of Jersey City, N. /., September 18, 1876; was
warden of the Jersey City Charity Hospital, 1877-80 ;
was one of the publishers of the Tonawanda (TV 7 ". Y. )
1 1, -raid, ' ' 1880-97 ; lias been clerk of the village
and city of North Tonai^auda since 1886 ; established
the Tonawanda "Aryi/s" in October,




THOMAS EUGE\E }\'AK\1-K



UJ EmmCt MaterS, cashier of the Citi-
zens' Bank of Buffalo, has had an important part of
late years in the commercial activities of the Queen
City ; and, though comparatively a newcomer there,



4f>2



MEN OF NEW YORK WESTERN SECTION



has done much to further its prosperity. His public-
spirited zeal has been unflagging, and he is widely
known in business circles as a man of unusual energy
;inil sagacity.

Mr. Waters is a native of Herkimer county, New
York, and a large part of his life thus far has been






^^m



/AT/.V<; EMMET WATERS

spent there. Born in Little Falls about fifty years
ago, he received his education in the common schools
and academy of that place, and at the age of seven-
teen began to earn his own living. His first posi-
tion was with the American Express Co., where he
remained four years. He then secured a situation
as clerk in the Herkimer County National Bank,
where he gained his first insight into the manage-
ment of a financial institution. After several years
in this position he went to liuffalo in July, 1*7-'!. as
teller in the Hank of Commerce, which had just been
organized.

Hanking was to be Mr. Waters's life-work, and
Buffalo the scene of his success as a hanker : but he
did not stay long in the city at that time, returning




to Little Falls in May, 1876, and engaging in busi-
ness there for the next four years. This was quite
long enough to convince him that his talents were
better suited to a financial than a mercantile career ;
and accordingly, in 1880, he again entered the
employ of the Herkimer County National Bank, this
time as general bookkeeper. He re-
mained in this position for ten years,
becoming thoroughly familiar as time
went on with the science of banking,
and gaining experience that has been
invaluable to him since.

In 1!)0 the Citizens' Bank of Buffalo
was organized ; and Mr. Waters's friends
in that city, who had recognized his
ability during his short connection with
the Bank of Commerce fifteen years be-
fore, suggested to the board of directors
that the post of cashier of the new insti-
tution be tendered to him. The offer
was made and accepted, and from the
time the bank first opened its doors Mr.
Waters has filled that responsible posi-
tion. Under his energetic and efficient
management the new institution pros-
pered from the beginning, and soon be-
came recognized as one of the solid
financial concerns of the city. In the
conduct of its affairs Mr. Waters for the
first time had an opportunity to exercise
his talents as a financier, and the high
standing that it has attained shows how
well he has availed himself of that oppor-
H tunity. The Citizens' Bank has been
in existence only seven years, and dur-
ing much of that time the financial con-
dition of the country has been far from
prosperous ; furthermore, it is one of the
smaller institutions of the city, having a
capital of only 100,000. In spite of these facts it
occupies a foremost position in the financial world,
and is deemed one of the strongest institutions of
its si/.e in the country.

Mr. Waters has had the best interests of Buffalo
closely at heart ever since he took up his residence
there, and has had a part in many enterprises that
have been productive of good to the city. He has
been very successful in attracting outside capital
thither, and thus promoting business activity. He
was one of the organizers of the Lenox Corporation,



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 68 of 69)