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 1) online

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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 1) → online text (page 14 of 27)
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willingly and liberally, whenever charity appeals to him
for assistance ; and, with a firm ]3urpose to avoid that
which might compromise his honor, he combines the quali-
ties of a good public officer and reliable friend.

He is a member of the Committees on Public Health
and Medical Colleges and Societies, and held the same


positions last year, with that on State Charitable Institu-
tions. In the transaction of legislative business, he
assumes no showy demeanor for the sake of effect ; but
talks and acts with a motive to make himself useful.


Mr. BuELL was born in Broadalbin, Fulton county,
N^. Y., on the 16th day of March, 1830. His ancestors
were from the State of Connecticut. His early educa-
tional advantages were such only as the common schools
of his native town afforded. His father was a farmer,
and he resided with him and followed that occupation till
he was eighteen years of age, when his father permitted
him to enter upon the active business of life on his own
account, and receive the proceeds thereof for his own
benefit. He then eno-ao-ed in the lumberino; business, and
has ever since followed it, carrying it on as successfully
as he could have hoped to do. His present residence is in
the town of Benson, in the county of Hamilton.

He has always acted with the Democratic party. Dur-
ing the late war he was styled a War Democrat, and
exerted all his influence, which was very considerable,
for preserving the Union and maintaining the Constitu-
tion. Though possessed of considerable political influence,
he never sought and would not consent to hold an office
until the fall of 1866, when he was persuaded to accept
the nomination for School Commissioner of Hamilton
county, and was elected by a large majority. He still


holds the office, discharging its duties with general

In the fall of 1867, without his knowledge or consent,
and while he was absent from the county, he was nomi-
nated by the Democratic party for Member of Assembly,
and very reluctantly consented to become a candidate.
At the election he received the largest majority ever
given in Hamilton county for any candidate, and a
majority of fifty-six in Fulton county, which the preced-
ing year had given the Republican candidate for Member
of Assembly a majority of over nine hundred. We could
give no better evidence than this of the confidence reposed
in his integrity and ability, and of his personal popu-
larity. He is an energetic, hard working and successful
member, and is Chairman of the responsible Committee
on Public Printino;. He is also a member of the Sub-
committee of the Whole.


Mr. BuRHANS is one of that class of men who, by steady
application, make no little progress in the work as well as
the honors of life. Such men may not make so brilliant
displays as others do, but persevering honest j^urpose
brings them a certain reward, which is frequently more
preferable, when a whole life-time is being summed up, than
that which is measured out to many who started in life
with pecuniary advantages in their favor.

]Mr. BuRiiAxs was born in the town of Roxbury, N". Y.,
March 25th, 1804. His parents were among the first
settlers of the town, having moved thither from Ulster
county. His father was of Holland ancestry and his
mother of French Huguenot extraction. When he was
five years old his mother died ; but the loss which he had
to sustain thereby was partially made up by the kindness
of his grand parents, with whom he lived for a few years.
Until he was nine years old, he did not speak English at
all, having been taught to talk Dutch up to that period.
At about that time, however, a new field was o^jened to him,
in the way of school-life. But the opportunities were very
circumscribed, and lasted only until he was twelve ; after
that, he was obliged to get his education at home. Pos-
sessing keen intellectual faculties, and being especially
inclined to mathematics, he soon mastered the common
English branches sufficiently to be able to take up survey-
ing in its practical details when he was fifteen ; and at
sixteen, he taught school during a winter term. At the
age of twenty-one Mr. Buriiaxs entered the mercantile
business without any capital, and has continued therein


until the present time. In the meantime, he has carried
on farming, and bought and sold real estate to considerable
extent. He has been, and now is, a thorough worker,
rising early and toiling late. When nineteen years old he
first tasted the successes of politics by being elected
Inspector of Common Schools, and three years after he
was made Justice of the Peace, and acted in that capacity
for sixteen years. He was also Post Master from 1837 to
1850, and Supervisor for several terms. During the year
1844 he was elected to the Assembly; and Vv^as a member
of the State Senate during 1858-59. Such were his
honesty of principles and practical knowledge of legal
matters, that he was appointed County Judge- in 1845, his
term being terminated January 1st, 1847, by the require-
ments and action of the new Constitution.

Mr. BuRHAXs was a candidate for deleo-ate to the Con-
stitutional Convention in the Spring of 1867, but was
defeated. He was elected to his present office in the
Assembly by forty majority. He is Chairman of the Com-
mittee on the Erection and Division of Towns and Coun-
ties and a member of the Committee on Federal Relations.
Though he does not consider himself a strict party man,
his views not agreeing in full with those of either party,
yet he voted for Jacksox, Cass, Pierce, Buchanan and
McClellax, all of which is enough to confirm him as a
Democrat throusrh everlastino- ag;es.

Mr. BuRHAxs has largely and frequently contributed to
the wants of schools and churches ; and his liberality in
aidilig young men in acquiring an education and in enter-
ing business, has made many a heart grateful for his
kindness. His experience in legislative matters, coupled
with his superior judgment, make him a useful and valu-
able member.


Mr. BuRxs is the representative from the Second
District of New York. He was born in Ireland in the
year 1827, and came to New York when ten years of
age, and has ever since resided in that city. He learned
the trade of a stone-cutter, but some years since was
compelled to relinquish it, on account of his health, and
now holds a position in the County Clerk's office. In
1867, he was elected to the Assembly on the Democratic
ticket (Tammany), and was chosen by a plurality of 1,101
votes over James Donovan, Union Democrat. This is the
first elective position he ever held, and previous to last
fall was never a candidate for any office. He is a member
of two important committees, Banks and Claims.

Mr. Burns is kind hearted, sociable, enjoys a good joke,
and has the faculty of making plenty of friends. He is an
energetic member, and scrutinizes closely every measure
which comes up for consideration.


Mr. BuExs, one of the Representatives from Kings
county, is a native of the county of Monaghan, Ireland,
and was born January 1st, 1833. His parents emigrated
to this country about twenty-four years ago and settled in
Brooklyn, in the Second and Fifth Wards of which they
have resided ever since. Mr. Burxs was early appren-
ticed to a shipjoiner, and became an adept in the busi-
ness of ship-building, at which he worked for about seven
years ; the most of the time being in the employ of the
Government at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He early
attached himself to the Democratic party, in whose ranks
he was an active worker. At the age of twenty-one he
was elected a member of the Democratic General Com-
mittee; and, in 1862, was chosen to represent the Fifth
AYard in the Board of Supervisors, serving during his
term as Chairman of the Alms House Committee, and
Committees on Grades, Relief of Families of Yolunteers,
Courts, County Jail, and Bounties. As a member of the
latter Committee, he was assigned to the receiving ship
North Carolina, where he j^aid the bounties to the volun-
teers accredited to Kings county. The duties of this
position were very arduous, but Mr. Burns acquitted him-
self with credit, and won the praise of his associates and
the public. Just before the close of his term as Super-
visor, in 1864, he was unanimously nominated as the
candidate of his party for the Assembly, and was elected
by over five hundred majority, notwithstanding an Inde-
pendent Democrat took the field against him. In the
Assembly of 1865, he served on the Committee on Salt,


but its duties not taking much of his time, he devoted
himself to the affairs of his city, and became a useful
member. Mr. Burns made quite a reputation in an effort
to have all the streets of Brooklyn opened to the public,
but failed, owing to the desperate efforts of property
owners, who insist upon holding the thoroughfares in
which they live, as private property, subject to no local
control. In 1865, Mr. Burns started an extensive kind-
ling-wood factory, which proved a j^eciiniary success. At
the present time he carries on an extensive distillery. In
the Fall of 1866, he was again nominated for the Assem-
bly, to which he was chosen by a majority of nearly two
thousand, and was re-elected last year by a largely
increased vote. Mr. Burxs is a gentleman of generous
impulses, enlarged experience and good judgment. He is
quite an effective debater and an active Avorking member
of the House. He is a member of the Committees on
Commerce and Xavigation, and Expenditures of Execu-
tive Department.


JoxAS K. BuTTOx, member of Assembly from the First
District of Cattaraugus county, was born in the town
of Machias, Cattaraugus county, N. Y., May 3d, 1821.

His parents were of Welsh extraction, and emigrated
from Vermont to Cattaraugus county in the year 1816.

To a common school education, in his case, was super-
added the mental discipline acquired by an active business
life, and a careful studj^ of human nature. He is by pro-
fession a farmer, and until recently has dealt extensively
in cattle.

Mr. Button is emphatically a self-made man. He began
life for himself at the age of eighteen, since w^hich time,
by force of his own energy, he has accumulated a hand-
some property, and is one of the largest land-holders in
his native county. His residence, built after a design of
his own, is one of the finest in Western New York.

Mr. Buttoj^ enjoyed in a high degree the friendship of
the late Hon. Peter Tex Broeck during his life time ;
the last named gentleman reposing such unbounded confi-
dence in his integrity that, at his death, he appointed him
sole executor of his will, and President of the Board of
Trustees of the Ten Broeck Free Academy, an institution
the construction and endowment of which Mr. Tex
Broeck handsomely provided for in his last will and

In 1843, Mr. Buttox was elected School Inspector in

the town of Machias, and continued to hold the ofiice

until its abolishment. In 1847, he removed to Franklin-

ville, where he has since resided.


As regards politics, Mr. Butto:n^ is a staunch Democrat ;
nevertheless, in a county strongly Rejoublican, whenever
he has allowed himself to become a candidate for office, he
has uniformly run ahead of his ticket. In 1858, '54, he
was elected Supervisor of the town of Franklin ville, and
was re-elected in 1857. In the fall of the same year, he
w^as nominated for Aiember of Assembly, Hon. Hexey
Vax Aerxam, the successful candidate, beating him by
about two hundred votes. In 1862, he was nominated
again for the same office, and was defeated by Hon. A. L.
Allen, the Republican candidate. In 1864, Mr. Button's
friends nominated him for Member of Congress from the
Thirty-first Congressional District. He was defeated,
however, by the Republican candidate, Hon. Henry Yan
Aernam, the present incumbent. In 1867 he was again
nominated for Member of Assembly, defeating the Repub-
lican candidate, Hon. Gideon Searle, by 772 votes, in a
district which gave the Republican State ticket a majority
of nearly 650. He is a member of the Canal Committee,
and also that on Roads and Bridges.

In private life, Mr. Button is eminently social. His
large-heartedness, combined with honorable dealing, has
won for him a large circle of friends. In the Assembly he
is closely attentive to his legislative duties, and is highly


The representative of the second district of Oneida, is a
native of the county of Herkimer, where, in IS'ewport, he
was born on the loth of K'ovember, 18T0. His father was
a native of Rhode IsLand, and his mother of Vermont.
He had, however, seen but five years, when his parents
removed to Waterville, Oneida county, where, from that
day, Mr. Cady has made it his home. In the common
school and academy of his adopted village, Mr. Cady
received as good an education as was in those com-
paratively primitive days, accorded to American youth.
At the age of seventeen Mr. Cady commenced life for
himself, as an apprenticed builder. Industry was rewarded
by success, and after years of faithful application to busi-
ness, by a natural sequence, we find Mr. Cady, from a
boy with no other capital than a strong hand and an
honest heart, risen to a man of influence and competence.
Mr. Cady has in his house a fine library, j^urchased with
money earned when he was an apprentice boy, " after
hours," that is, after the conclusion of the regular duties
of the dsLj.

Politically, Mr. Cady was formerly a Whig, but was the
first man in his town to join the Republican party.
Though not taking a very active part in politics, he has
still been frequently a delegate to the State Conventions of
his party, and in 1860 was an alternate delegate to the
Chicago Convention, which nominated Abraham LixcoljS^
for the Presidency. When Joshua A. Spencer ran as
an independent candidate against O, B. Matteson, Repub-
lican, in the Oneida District, for Congress, Mr. Cady felt


it his duty to espouse the cause of Mr. Spencer. Through
his influence, Mr. Spencer received nearly one hundred
votes in the town of Sangerfield.

This is Mr. Cady's first political office. As a Member of
Assembly he is conscientious and industrious, and repre-
sents faithfully and intelligently the interests both of his
constituents and the State. Mr. Cady, in " ye olden time,"
was connected with the military of the State, and in 1832-3
was Colonel of the 45th Reo'iment State Militia.

In appearance, Mr. Cady is the physical Falstaff of
the Legislature, brmging down more pounds avoirdupois
than any of his colleagues. In manner, uniformly courte-
ous, afljxble, and considerate of the feelings of all with
whom he mingles, Mr. Cady is as good a specimen of the
gentleman of the old school as is often found.


Mr. Camerox is a descendant of a Scottish family or
clan that has occupied no small part in the history of that
country. He possesses in an eminent degree the peculiar
traits which distinguish his countrymen, and his success in
life, achieved against the most unfavorable circumstances,
has called into action the excellent qualities for which his
race is remarkable.

Mr. CAMEROisr was born June 5th, 1838, in the town of
Ellicott, Chautauqua county, New York. His father, John
A. Camerox, died when he was four years of age. From
the age of twelve until seventeen, he spent the summers in
working for wages as a farm laborer, and the winters
in attendino; school. Durino; the winters of the two
succeeding years, he attended the Academy at James-
town, New York. The following four years were spent
in farm labor, and in rafting lumber down the Alleghany
and Ohio rivers to Cincinnati and other places ; and the
three succeeding years were spent by him in alternately
teaching a district school, and in attending the Academy
at Randolph, New York. In 1862, he entered the office of
Alexander Sheldox, of Randolph, as a student at law.
While prosecuting the study of law at this place, the
second call of President Lixcolx for more troops was
issued. After a severe mental struggle, he enlisted as
a private in Company H, of the 154th Regiment New
York Volunteers. He was first j)romoted to the office of
Sergeant, then to that of Second-Lieutenant, and finally
to that of First-Lieutenant. He was wounded in the
thigh at the battle of Chancellorsville. While lying on


the ground after being wounded, he was captured by-
stragglers following the rebel army, and robbed of his
watch and his money. He was held as a prisoner about
two weeks, when he was released on parol, and was
brought into the Union lines. His wound healed, and at
the expiration of six months he was regularly exchanged,
and rejoined his regiment, which, in the meantime, had
been transferred to the Army of the West. He took
part in the battle of Lookout Mountain and the Knox-
ville campaign. The following year he was made Captain
of the Color Company of his Regiment. With this com-
pany he was engaged in the battle of Rocky Faced
Ridge, in Georgia. His compan}^, on going into the fight,
numbered twenty-four men. He came out with only-
seven. On the same day his brother John, a member
of the 9th New York Cavalry, Avas instantly killed by
a Minnie ball, at the battle of the Wilderness. His
mother, on learning this sad event, urged him to leave
the service. He obtained a leave of absence, in order to
visit his jnother, but on arriving at Jiome, learned the
painful fact that she was dead. His grief at his double
loss only made him more anxious to rejoin his regiment,
Avhich he did without delay. Some time afterward he
was placed on the staff of General P. H. Joxes, command-
ing the Second Brigade of General Geaey's Division,
Twentieth Army Corps. He was afterward detached to
serve as Assistant Inspector-General on the Staff of Gen-
eral A. S. Williams, commanding the Twentieth Army
Corps, in which capacity he served until the close of the

On being mustered out of the service, Mr. Camekon
returned to Jamestown, New York, and resumed the study
of law, and prosecuted the same at that place until the
latter part of 1865, when he entered the Albany Law


School. In May following he was admitted to the Bar,
and soon after opened an office and commenced practice
at Jamestown, New York.

In recognition of his patriotic services, Mr. Cameeon"
was made a Major, by brevet, by President Johxsox, for
"gallant conduct during the campaign of Georgia and
the Carolinas," his appointment to date from March 11th,
1865. He was also breveted Lieutenant-Colonel by
Governor Fextox, for gallant conduct at the battle of
Lookout Mountain. So honorable and patriotic a record
naturally enough attracted the attention of his party,
and he was, with the greatest unanimity, made a candi-
date for Member of Assembly for the Second District of
Chautauqua county, and was elected by 1,527 majority.
He is a member of the Committee on Commerce and
Navigation. He is a gentleman of fine appearance, agree-
able manners, and a warm friend. Although a good talker,
he is remarkably quiet in the House, seldom taking part in


Mr. Campbell, who represents the Sixth District of the
county of New York, is one of the young men of the
Assembly, having been elected to his present position at
the age of twenty-seven. Born of Scotch-Irish ancestry,
in the County of Cavan, Ireland, in Januar}^, 1840, he was
brought by his parents to the city of New York when a
child of five years. At the proper age, young Campbell
Avas placed in the public schools of his adopted city, and
continued therein until he was twelve years old. Impelled
by a laudable ambition to be independent of the sup23ort
of his parents, who were in humble circumstances, he left
school at that early age, and connected himself with an
institution not less worthy of being ranked as an educator
вАФ the printing press. Thus early thrown uj^on his own
resources, whatever success in life he has since attained is
due to his own exertion. Meanwhile, the labors of the day
at the press being ended, young Campbell, desirous to
make up for the deficiency of early training at the public
schools, added to his practical business education a further
book knowledge gained by attending evening schools.
He also joined a debating club, and by participating
in its weekly disputations he familiarized himself with
the prominent political and social topics of the day, and
there doubtless laid the foundation of his future success.
In the meantime he rose through the various gradations
of a printing ofiice from " fly boy" at the press, up to
general ofiice manager, serving at times in job ofiices and
again in various newspaper ofiices, including the Herald,
Express and Times.


During a portion of the year 1860, while the dark and
threatening war clouds were rolling up, obscuring our
political horizon, we find Mr. Campbell living in Augusta,
Georgia, and connected with the office of the Dispatch,
there published. He soon, however, returned to New
York, where, with the exception of the few months spent
in the south, he has always resided since coming to
America. For the past three years, ignoring types and
cases, Mr. Campbell has been a clerk in the office of the
County Clerk of New York. Though never till now
having held official position, Mr. Campbell has yet for
some years been active in local municipal politics, and is
now a member of the General Committee of Tammany
Hall. As a member of the Fire Department in the good
old days of the " volunteer " system, he had his share of
"perilous adventure and hairbreadth 'scapes." Though
serving his first term, the Speaker recognized the ability
of Mr. Campbell by placing him at the head of the Com-
mittee on Roads and Bridges, and also making him a
member of the Committee on Internal Afiairs of Towns
and Counties. Socially, Mr. Campbell is one of the most
genial of men, uniting with the firmness, pertinacity and
frankness of the Scotch, the characteristic humor, hearty
friendship and unswerving fidelity of the Irish. Possessed
of such a happily compounded nature, it is not surprising
that his friends are many, and grapjiled with " hooks of



Mr. Chapmax is one of the clear-lieaded and intelligent
members of the House. He shows a ready appreciation
of the duties of the office, and with the requisite exper-
ience will make a valuable member. He was born in
New Hartford, Oneida county, November 13, 1820. His
parents both emigrated from England in 1810, and in
1811 his father purchased a hotel in New Hartford, which
is still standing and is now owned by his son, the present
member, who is also responsible for its management,
although he himself resides on a farm, which, in the
order of its arrangements and beauty of the buildings,
is an ornament to the village. His father died when the
son was but three years of age, leaving his mother in
moderate circumstances, needing the labor of all her chil-
dren to aid in the maintenance of the family. William's
education was therefore confined to the common school,
and he was able to attend but three months in the year.
He lived in the hotel purchased by his father until he was
29 years of age, when he built his present handsome resi-
dence. He has always taken an active interest in politics,
being a strict adherent to the principles of the Democratic
Party, but he has never before held office. In 1854 he
was the Democratic candidate for Member of Assembly
from the First District of Oneida, but the district being
strongly Whig he was defeated, although he ran 250 ahead
of his ticket. He represents the First District of Oneida
County, and was elected by a majority of 94. He is
Chairman of the Committee on Indian Affiiirs.


Mr. Chism, who represents the first district of Albany
county, is a gentleman of warm social qualities, energetic
in business, clear discernment, penetrating observation
and untiring industry. He was born in Schenectady
county, January 18, 1822, and graduated from the Schenec-
tady Lyceum. He resides in the town of Guilderland,
Albany county. He is an attorney-at-law, by profession,
and acts as Insurance agent and auctioneer. He jDrosecutes
a successful business. His fellow-citizens have evinced

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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 1) → online text (page 14 of 27)