S. Ralph (Samuel Ralph) Harlow.

Life sketches of the state officers, senators, and members of the Assembly, of the state of New York, in 1868 (Volume 2) online

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of banking. He entered the Middletown Bank in 1841 as
Teller, and in 1844 was made its Cashier. It was in this
institution that he achieved a reputation as a financier of
superior qualities — an inflexibly honest banker, and a faith-
ful and laborious ofiicer. He necessarily acquired an inti-
mate acquaintance Avith the business men of Orange and
other counties, Avho were won by his courtesy and fair
dealing, and esteemed him for his personal worth and
capacities. After twenty years of faithful service in this
institution, he was (in 1860) chosen President of the Wall-
kill Bank, Avhich position he still holds, retaining the
approval of all for his careful discharge of his responsi-
bilities, his uprightness and sound judgment.

Mr. Graham has but once before held public ofiice, and
the large majority by which he was then chosen was prac-
tical evidence of the appreciation in which he was held.
In 1857, he was elected County Treasurer of Orange
county, and re-elected at the close of his first term. Dur-



88 LIFE SKETCHES.

ing the six years that lie discharged the duties of the
office, he showed himself not unworthy the trust reposed
in him. He entered the canvass for Senator in 1867
under serious disadvantages. The district in which he
was nominated, and which he now rejDresents, had for three
successive terms sent to the Senate Hon. Hexry R. Low
(Avell known to many of our readers), the last time by a
majority of 551. Mr. Low's jn-estige was, therefore, against
Senator Geaham. The political revolution which swept
over the State might not have carried with it men less
known for sterling integrity and business capacity. But
he was so strong in the confidence of the people that he gave
additional impetus to tlie tide in his own district, and was
chosen by a majority of 633. Mr. Gkaham is not a man
who has either the disposition or the art of holding the
Senate from the dispatch of business by fine forensic
talent, but he has those other and higher qualities of a
successful legislator — attentive apj^lication to business,
discriminating perception, and careful, quiet and jiersistent
management. His clear judgment is highly appreciated
and sought after, especially on questions of finance.
Lieutenant-Governor Woodford but gave appro25riate
recognition at once to his powers and uprightness, when he
placed him on two of the most responsible Committees in
the Senate — those of Banks and Railroads.

Senator Graham's private and social life adds to his
honor. The friends of benevolent and humanitarian
movements rely upon him as a wise counsellor and willing
contributor. The sick and wounded heroes of the late
conflict with armed treason, had their sufferings frequently
relieved by his kind offices. He has always been a firm
Democrat, but never a bigoted partisan.



MATTHEW HALE,



The original liead of the American branch of the Hale
family was one Thomas Hale, who came to Newbury,
Massachusetts, in 1635. Hon. Robert S. Hale, late
member of Congress from the Sixteenth District of this
State, is a brother of the Senator.

Senator Hale was born at Chelsea, Orange county,
Vermont, June 20, 1829. Going through a good academic
course of instruction he entered the University of Vermont,
and graduated at the age of twenty-two. He then com-
menced the study of law with the firm of Kellogg &
Hale, at Elizabethtown, Essex county, New York, and
pursued his studies until he was admitted to the bar in 1853.
Shortly after, in connection with a brother, he opened an
office in Poughkeepsie, and commenced practice, soon estab-
lishing a promising business. After a time this partnership
was dissolved, and his brother removed to St. Paul. Mr.
Hale then formed a new copartnership with Mr. A. B.
Smith, of Poughkeepsie. This partnership existed for
three years. While in Poughkeepsie Mr. Hale became
much interested in politics, entering with enthusiasm
into the first campaign of the Republican party, and made
speeches in support of Feemoxt.

In 1859 Mr. Hale was led to change the sphere of his
professional labors from Poughkeepsie to New York city,
forming a copartnership with Lot C. Clark, of that
city. This business arrangement continued for five years,
at the end of which time he removed to Elizabethtown,
where he entered into a laAv partnership with Honorable
A. C. Hand (whose daughter Mr. Hale had married), a
12



90 LIFE SKETCHES.

lawyer of high distinction in that place, and R. L. Haxd,
a son of the Judge. The Senator is still a member of this
firm.

The first political oftice ever held by Senator Hale was
that of Supervisor of Elizabethtown, which he held during
the years 1864, '65. In the Spring of 1867 he was with
great unanimity selected as one of the candidates of the
Republican party to represent the Sixteenth District in
the Constitutional Convention. The Democratic party of
the district nominated opposing candidates against the
three other candidates on the Republican ticket, but con-
strained by their high regard for Mr. Hale, and their
confidence in his integrity and sound i^rinciples, they not
only declined to nominate a candidate against him, but
they indorsed his nomination and j^laced his name upon
their printed ballots. In the Convention he was made a
member of the Judiciary Committee. In this sphere of
extended usefulness his enlarged ideas, his clear logical
statements, his evident desire to establish sound principles
regardless of mere partisan ends and aims, his faithfulness
in labor, his ability as a speaker and his courteousness as
an associate, all combined to make liim one of the most
respected and admired members of that body, in which
was comprised so many of the intellectually strong men of
the Empire State. He did not speak often, but when he
did, what he said had energy and force and was to the
point. His speeches on the separate submission of the Suf-
frage question and on the Judiciary article were most
able efforts, and were listened to Muth the greatest
interest.

The fine reputation made by Mr. Hale in the Constitu-
tional Convention, naturally led the Republicans of his
district to make choice of him as a candidate for the ofiice
of State Senator. This was done without his knowledge,



MATTHEW HALE. 91

and the announcement of the fact was to him a great sur-
prise. He Avas elected by a majority of 1,436. He is a
member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Chairman
of the Committee on Claims. ^

Senator Hale does not descend to the low tricks of par-
tisan warfare, but in the advocacy of such measures as he
approves, relies upon argument rather than management.
Such men do not seek office nor manipulate jJi'imary meet-
ings, nor "run" conventions, nor make partisan bargains.
The people respect them for their attachment to principle,
and the bold and faithful advocacy of political doctrines
to which they subscribe; and this respect impels them to
put such men in office. Senator Hale has another charac-
teristic of the high toned gentleman and the man of honor.
He does not deal in personal abuse nor bandy partisan
squibs ; there is no bitterness or biting sarcasms towards
political opponents in his language. He is also conserva-
tive in his views ; he is a safe man, and seldom or never
does a rash or imprudent thing, or one out of season. His
feirness and honorableness of word and deed to political
opponents have elicited words of praise even from Demo-
cratic organs such as the New York World, which most
truthfully spoke of him as " one of the best men in the
Convention," and characterized his speeches in that body
as " amoncf the most interestins: made."



JOHN F. HUBBARD, JR.



Senator Hubbard was born in Norwich, Chenango
county, October 14, 1822. His father, Johx F. Hubbard,
Sr., who is still living at the date of this s-ketch, ably-
represented the Sixth Senatorial District, under the pre-
ceding Constitution, from 1828 to 1836.

The present Senator received an ordinary academic
education, and afterwards read law, but never entered
upon the practice of the profession.

After some years spent in editorial life, he received, in
1847, from Hon. W. L. Marcy, an appointment in the
War Department at Washington. He remained in that
city, holding various subordinate positions in the Govern-
ment service, until about 1854, when he resigned, and
again took up his residence at Norwich.

In 1860 he was chosen a delegate to the Democratic
National Convention, held at Charleston, from the then
Twenty-first District of this State, and participated in the
proceedings of that body.

In 1866 he was appointed Assessor of Internal Revenue,
by President Johnson, for the Nineteenth District of New
York, but not being confirmed by the United States
Senate, his time as Assessor expired on the 4th of March
following.

In the fall of 1847, he was, unexpectedly to himself,
nominated for the ofiice of Senator, to represent the
Twenty-third District, and was elected by a majority of
247 votes. His competitor was Hon. Daniel Waterbury,
of Delaware county. At the same election the Republican
majority on the State ticket in the district was 52 ; the
year previous it was 1,421.



WOLCOTT J. HUMPHREY. 93

In politics Senator Hubbard is and has been all his life
a decided Democrat. He is at present the editor and
publisher of the Chenango Union, printed at Norwich,
one of the best edited and managed country newspapers
of the State. He is a careful politician, bold and undis-
guised in his political sentiments, yet affable in his
personal address. He is energetic and of sound practical
talents, and gives every evidence of becoming a sagacious
and successful lea'islator.



WOLCOTT J. HUMPHREY.



Mr. Humphrey is a gentleman who has had considera-
ble experience in the political affairs of the State. For
twenty years or more, he has taken deep interest in public
matters, and has served the people in various positions of
responsibility and trust. His ability and fidelity have
been recognized by a re-election to the Senate, under
circumstances which rendered it one of the highest expres-
sions of confidence which can be given. A few days
preceding the election, he was made the object of a mali-
cious personal attack by a disapj^ointed legislative schemer,
with the avowed purpose of defeating his re-election. The
polls opened on election day, leaving him no defense
against the trumped up charge of corruption other than the
confidence of his constituents. It was under such circum-
stances that he was again elected. The Grand Jury of
Albany county heard the case after election, but as there
was no evidence substantiatino- the charge aofainst him,
dismissed the complaint and refused to find an indictment.



94 LIFE SKETCHES,

This suffices as a complete vindication. During the present
session he is Chairman of the Committee on Commerce and
Navigation, and a member of the Finance Committee, two
of the best positions in the Senate. He is also Chairman of
the Committee on Joint Library.

Mr. Humphrey's birthplace was Canton, Hartford
county, Connecticut. He is forty-nine years of age. His
father, grandfather and great-grandfather were natives of
the same town. The original head of the family in this
country were two bi'others, who came from England, in
the sixteenth century, and settled in Massachusetts. From
them have descended the numerous branches of the family,
which may now be found in every State in the Union.

Mr. Humphrey's father concluded, in 1818, to remove
from the locality where his family had dwelt for so many
years, and decided to make the town of Sheldon, Genesee
county (now Wyoming), his future home. This section
was then the "far West," and when we consider the
primitive facilities for travel which then existed — when
the long, tedious journeys of the hardy pioneers were
performed on horseback or in lumbering wagons — and
Avhen it is known that his father had the good old-
fashioned family of fifteen children to look after (after-
w^ard increased to seventeen), it will be readily believed
that the change was one requiring a good deal of New
England grit and perseverance. But the exodus was
accomplished, and a new scene opened in the lives of the
whole family.

Senator Humphrey's early education was acquired
wholly in a common school ; but, by extensive travel
through the States, and much mingling with the bustling
business world — " keeping his eyes and ears open" the
while — he has stored his mind with a large fund of practi-
cal knowledge and information. When twenty years old



WOLCOTT J. HUMPHREY. 95

he entered the military service of the State ; and, in 1840,
was elected Colonel of the 9th Regiment, 8th Brigade,
New York State Artillery. In 1844, he resigned his com-
mission and gave np all connection with military affairs.
He married, in 1841, Miss Amaxda Martixdale, a daugh-
ter of Major William S. Martixdale, of Dorset, Ver-
mont, a lady of excellent domestic qualities.

At different times Mr. Humphrey has held various town
offices; and during the year 1850, was Marshal for taking
the census in six of the tOAvns of his county. In 1849, '53
and '60, he was appointed Postmaster, and, after serving
awhile, as many times, resigned; his second resignation
took place when Tyler proved himself recreant to the
party with which he was identified. In 1850, he was
elected to the Assembly, and was returned in 1851. His
political talents and constant activity gave him a leading
l^osition in that body. The latter term he served as
Chairman of the Committee on Railroads, and reported
the Central Railroad Bill,- authorizing the railroad con-
solidation, and establishing the existing restrictions. He
was also selected by the caucus to take charge of the Pro-
hibitory Liquor Law passed at that session ; and he made
an able speech in its behalf.

Some time in 1855, Mr. Humphrey removed to Bloom-
ington, Illinois, where he was instrumental in securing the
return of the late Owex Lovejoy to Congress, against
Judge Davies. He was, we believe. President of the
Convention that nominated Mr. Lovejoy. After residing
in Bloomington three years or thereabouts, he returned to
Wyoming, and resumed business at Xortli Java, from
which place he removed to Warsaw, in 1864, Avhere he
now lives. During the war, he was enrolling officer for
the government, and was mobbed, by foreign opponents
of the draft, while in the discharge of his duties.



96 LIFE SKETCHES,

Mr. Humphrey was first elected to the Senate in 1865,
from the Thirtieth District (Wyoming, Livingston and
Allegany), by 5,240 majority over the late Judge Has-
tings, of Livingston. An excellent j^osition was given
him, on the committees, he being a member of the Commit-
tees on Railroads, Internal Affairs and Printing, and Chair-
man of the Committee on Roads and Bridges. He ranks
as a faithful worker, and one of the best debaters among
the non-speech-making Senators. His political views were
Whig, so long as there was a Whig party, and he became
a member of the Republican party when it was formed.
He has been fai'mer, merchant, and tanner by turns, and
is extensively engaged in the latter business at jjresent.
He is a gentleman of fine presence, and great nervous
energy, of warm friendships and good impulses, and pos-
sesses talents of a high order, as a political organizer and
an indefatisrable worker.



GEORGE NELSON KENNEDY.



George Nelson Kennedy, Senator from the Twenty-
second (Onondaga and Cortland) District, is a native of
Marcellus, Onondaga county. New York, where he was
born September 11th, 1822. His paternal grandfather
emigrated from Ireland in 1760, and his maternal grand-
father was an immediate descendant of the Puritan set-
tlers of New England. Both were active participants in
the Revolutionary struggle, as soldiers in the army of the
young Republic. His mother's grandfather was killed in
the battle of Saratoga ; and both his grandfathers were
also engaged in that conflict. His father, in early man-
hood, removed to Mai'cellus, and was a farmer in moderate
circumstances. In 1831 he removed, with his family, to
Skaneateles, in the same county, where he remained three
years, in order to give his children the advantages of the
academy at that place. When George was eighteen
years of age, he was thrown upon his own resources, and
his fortune and honorable career have been achieved
through his own unaided exertions. Throughout his life
he has adhered strictly to the principles of honor and
comity that mark the true gentleman, and has aimed to
live for the good of those about him rather than for self-
aggrandizement.

Mr. Kennedy began the study of the law Avith Edmund
AiKiN, a lawyer at Marcellus ; was admitted to practice
in the Court of Common Pleas of Onondaga county, in
1842, and to the Supreme Coui't two years later. He
remained at Marcellus, engaged in the practice of his pro-
fession, and doing an extensive business, until 1854-, when
13



98 LIFE SKETCHES.

lie removed to the city of Syracuse, liis present place
of residence, and entered into a law partnership with
Charles B. Sedgwick and Charles Andrews, forming
the firm of Sedgwick, Axdrews & Kennedy, which has
been and still is a leading law firm in Onondaga county,
and one of the foremost in the profession in the Fifth
Judicial District. Mr. Kennedy has a prominent posi-
tion at the bar of Onondaga county. He has been an
active, energetic practitioner ; and to his credit, it is said
by his professional compeers, that no more honorable
adversary is found in the legal ranks of Central Xew
York. He is able both as counsellor and as advocate ; he
is a sound adviser in the office, and a strong, convincing
speaker before the court and the jury. Since he has
resided in Syracuse he has devoted himself assiduously to
his profession ; and for more than half this period he has
been engaged in a majority of the important legal contro-
versies that have claimed the attention of the courts of
Onondaga county.

Mr. Kennedy cast his first vote for James K. Polk for
President, in 1S44. Four years later he was a member of
the Buttalo Convention, which nominated Van Buren
and Adams as the Free Soil candidates. Subsequently he
acted with the Democratic party until 1854, when he was
among the earliest of those, who, impelled by a sense of
duty and patriotism, disconnected themselves from that
organization, because of its favoring the extension of
slavery over free territory, and joined the Republican
party, to whose princij)les he gave an earnest and efficient
support, and with which he has since steadfastly acted.
Until his election as Senator he held no public station.
He had several times been j^ressed for nominations by his
party, but waived his claims to subserve Avhat he deemed
its best interests. For several vears he was at the head of



GEORGE NELSOX KEXXEDT. 99

the party organization in Onondaga Connty, holding the
cliairmanship of the Republican County Committee, the
duties of Avhich he discharged witli ability and thorough-
ness, and thereby did much to secure the proud success of
his party in that locality. AYhen a candidate for Senator,
the best evidences of his personal popularity were afibrded
in the A^ote he received, which was greater than that of his
party for the State ticket in the Ward, City, and County
where he resides.

During the war to suppress the rebellion, no citizen was
more earnest and laborious in prosecuting the work of
raising troops for the Government, and in providing means
of support for the families of absent soldiers, than Mr.
Kenxedy. His voice was heard at the war meetings in
city and country, and his means were liberally given to
aid the cause of the nation. Few men who did not
actually participate in the strife of the battle-field, did more
for his countrj^ than he ; and his work was done without
ostentation — his aid was extended without parade.

Mr. Kenzs^edt has achieved a gratifying professional and
pecuniary success. The practice of his profession, to which
he is enthusiastically devoted, has secured to him a hand-
some competency, and his other business operations have
been uniformly successful. He has the proud satisfaction
of knowing that he has been, in the fullest degi-ee, "the archi-
tect of his own fortune." He possesses all the attributes
requisite to the attainment of high success in legislative
bodies. His ability as a speaker, his thoroughness as a
business man, his uniform courtesy and manliness, com-
bined with unremitting industry and rare energy, are
qualities that indicate for him a bright and honorable career
in the halls of Lesfislaticu.



ABNER C. MATTOON.



Senator MattoojST repi-esents the Twenty-first Senatorial
District, composed of the counties of Oswego and Madison.
He was born in Locke, Cayuga county, in 1814. Senator
Mattoon's has been j^articularly an active business life.
At quite an early age, he went to Rochester, where he
remained until years of manhood, when he went to New
York city and entered into commercial pursuits. His
business in New York was of such a character as to
require frequent trips to the then " far West," the Missis-
sippi river being then considered in the same light by the
pioneers, as the " Ultima Thule " of the ancients. While
yet a young man, Mr. Mattoo^s^ spent several winters on
the steamers of the great " Father of Rivers," and at the
rarious towns which line its Avaters, advancing the inter-
ests of the house he represented in the commercial
metropolis. The time thus spent gave him an experience
and a knowledge of business and men which has been of
great use to him all his subsequent life.

In 1844, Mr. Mattoon removed to the then village of
Oswego, the jirincipal port upon the southern shore of
Lake Ontario, Avith the prosperity and growth of which
he has ever since been closely identified. From an unim-
portant town, he has lived to see the village of his adoption
expand into a point of great commercial importance,
rating, in fact, in the year 1867, the sixth port in the
Union in volume of receipts for foreign customs ; New
York, Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New Orleans
alone exceeding it.



ABNER C. MATTOON. 101

On removing to Oswego, Mr. Mattoon entered the
employ, as agent and managing man, of tlie firm of
Bronson & Crocker, at tliat time tlie oldest, and one of
the most extensive and respectable commercial honses on
all the northern frontier. Snbseqnently opening a com-
mercial house of his own, he has ever since been very
extensively engaged in the forwarding business, in grain
dealing, in milling, boat building, and in kindred pursuits,
his business relations extending to nearly all points in
Canada, and to the extent of the great lakes west.

Activity has always characterized Senator Mattoox in
his relations to society. His • own city, during the last
twenty years, has taken a leading position in educa-
tional matters. The efficiency and success of its schools,
and the excellence of its system of education, have given it
a deserving prominence among all the cities of the Union.
Senator Mattoo^t has been one of the most active members
of the Board of Education of Oswego, almost uninterrupt-
edly since its first organization. He has several times been
its president. Through his efforts in the Legislature, an
appropriation was obtained for the support of a " Train-
ing School " for the teachers of Oswego, which has since
srrown into a most flourishing and successful State
Normal School, and which is educating and training
hundreds of teachers annually to go out into the State and
the Union, prepared to introduce and practice the latest
and most approved methods of imparting primary instruc-
tion. Of the local Board for the management of this
school. Senator Mattoox has been from its organization
one of the most active members.

Senator Mattoo:n- was an early advocate of the temper-
ance cause, and in 1854, when political action was
proposed in his district, he was the temperance candidate
for Member of Assembly, withdrawing, however, before



102 LIFE SKETCHES.

the election in favor of the Hon. D. C. Littlejoiix, the
Whig candidate, who was elected.

Senatoi* Mattooj^ has always been an active politician.
In eai'ly life he was a Seward Whig. At the winding np
of the aiFairs of the Whig party, Mr. Mattoon for a time
was identified with the " Americans," and was their candi-
date for member of Assembly in 1855, in opposition to Hon.
Orville Robinsox, the Democratic candidate, who was
elected and became speaker.

Senator Mattoox, since its organization has been an



Online LibraryS. Ralph (Samuel Ralph) HarlowLife sketches of the state officers, senators, and members of the Assembly, of the state of New York, in 1868 (Volume 2) → online text (page 7 of 27)