The History of New York State
Biographies, Part 25

Editor, Dr. James Sullivan

Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Pam



A member of the old family and a descendent of one of the "Mayflower" Pilgrims, Mr. Griswold has been engaged in business for more then three decades, ever since he graduated from college in 1894. Since 1915 he has been secretary and treasurer of the Clausen Architectural Iron Works, of which he was one of the founders and which occupies several buildings on Tivoli Street, Albany, New York. the firm has established a very high reputation for the excellence of its product and for the promptness and efficiency of its service and its organization. It manufactures structural steel and iron for modern building construction and has supplied this material for many of the most important buildings erected in recent years in Albany, as well as in many other places throughout the Eastern States. Much of its continuous growth and steady prosperity if attributable to Mr. Griswold's ability and energy. He is also prominently active in the civic, social and religious life of the community, where he is considered one of the most substantial and successful business men.

Morgan B. Griswold was born at Whitehall, Washington County, New York, June 9, 1872, a son of Samuel K. and Martha (Eddy) Griswold, of Whitehall, New York. His father was a successful merchant to the time of his death in 1903, while his mother is now a resident of Albany. Mr. Griswold was educated in the public grammar and high schools of his native region and at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, from which latter he graduated in 1894, with the degree of Bachelor of Science. Immediately after completing his education he began his business career, becoming associated with the firm of Dixon & Eddy, wholesale coal dealers. Later he was in business with his father, continuing this enterprise after the latter's death until 1915. In that year he organized, together with N. C. Clausen, the Clausen Architectural Iron Works, of Albany, of which he has been secretary and treasurer ever since, Mr. Clausen being president. Amongst the more important buildings for which this firm has furnished the entire steel and ironwork, are the Delaware & Hudson Railroad Building in Albany, one of the finest structures of its kind in the world; the New York State Teachers Institute and College; and the New Albany

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High School. Many other buildings of a similarly high type in carious Eastern States have also been supplied with the steel and iron work used in their construction by the Clausen Architectural Iron Works. The company employs upwards of seventy-five people and is one of the important industrial establishments of New York's capital. Mr. Griswold is a member of the board of directors of the Albany County Savings Bank and president of the board of trustees of Memorial Hospital. Mr. Griswold is also a member of Chi Phi Fraternity. His clubs include the Cornell Club of New York, the Albany Country Club, the Albany Rotary Club, the Albany Chamber of commerce, and the Fort Orange Club, of which latter he is a past president. In politics he is a supporter of the Republican party, while his religious affiliations are with the Presbyterian Church, and more particularly with Westminster Presbyterian Church, of Albany. He is also a member of the Mayflower Society and eligible to membership in the Society of the Sons of the Revolution, though he has never availed himself of his eligibility.

Morgan B. Griswold married, in 1906, Frances T. Luke, of Albany, a daughter of Henry and Therese Luke. Mr. and Mrs. Griswold have no children and make their home in Albany.


Thought born in Boston, Massachusetts, Edward Strecker has been a resident of Troy, Rensselaer County, New York, for many years, and for the last eleven years has been cashier of the Union national Bank of troy, one of the leading financial institution of this city. A very able banker, Mr. Strecker not only enjoys a very high reputation in financial and commercial circles of his community, but also takes an active and effective part in the civic, fraternal, social and religious life of Troy, where he enjoys to an unusual degree the respect and confidence of all who know him.

Edward Strecker was born in Boston, Massachusetts, February 28, 1867, a son of the late Werner and Walburg (Kirchner) Strecker, the former for many years successfully engaged in the insurance business in Troy. He was educated in the public grammar schools of Troy, to which city he had removed with his parents during his early childhood. Entering the banking business after leaving school, he has acquired a very thorough knowledge of all its branches and has become widely known in that part of New York State as an able, efficient and careful bank executive. In 1881, he became connected with the Union National Bank, of Troy, with which he has continued ever since then, being the cashier of this bank. Founded in 1851 as a State Bank and incorporated in 1865 as a National Bank, this institution occupies a very prominent position among the banks of Eastern New York, and much of its success in recent years is attributable to Mr. Strecker's untiring devotion to its interests. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Bank of Waterford, Waterford, Saratoga County, and one of the active members of the Troy Chamber of Commerce. In politics, he is a supporter of the Republican party and of its principles, and, as such, a member of the Troy Republican Club. Fraternally, he is associated with the Troy Lodge, Benevolent and protective Order of Elks, of which he is treasurer. He is also a member of the Troy club. His religious affiliations are with the Baptist church, and more particularly with the First Baptist Church, of Troy, in the work of which he takes an active and helpful part, being a member of its board of trustees and treasurer of the church.

Mr. Strecker married, in 1889, Alta V/ Green, and they are the parents of two children: 1. Ralph D., born in 1890, and a resident of New York City, where he holds a responsible position in the engineering department of the J. W. Ferguson Company. 2. A. Elise, born in 1894. The family residence is located in Troy.


The solid abilities of Albany's Dutch ancestors have shone in many lines of activities and wrung success from trade and profession throughout three hundred yeas. Hailing from one of these worthy substantial families comes William L. Visscher, attorney and banker.

William L. Visscher was born in Albany, June 3, 1874, the son of John B. and Alida (Lansing) Visscher, each a representative of sturdy Dutch stock. John B. Visscher, the father was successful real estate man, who died in 1890. The mother died in 1920.

Their son received his early education in the Albany Boys' Academy, where he graduated in 1892. He entered the Albany Law School and subsequently graduated from that institution with the degree of Bachelor of Laws in the class of 1900. That same year he was admitted to the bar of the State of New York, and for the succeeding ten years prac-

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ticed law with Hon. William P. Rudd under the partnership name, Harris and Rudd. In this association he was very fortunate, since Judge Rudd had inherited the business traditions of one of the great law firms of Albany, established in the "seventies" as successors to Reynolds, Cochrane and Harris, a firm composed of John T. Reynolds, Clark B. Cochrane, and Hamilton Harris. In 1910, William L. Visscher became head of the law partnership of Visscher, Whalen and Austin, a relationship which continued for nine years, until the death of Mr. Austin. In 1920 this law association took the style of Visscher, Whalen, Loucke and Murphy, and continued thus until January 1, 1924, when the firm was dissolved. In January, 1923, Mr. Visscher was elected president of the Albany county Savings Bank, and since then he has been devoting the greater part of his time to the bank, although continuing, however, to practice law independently.

Mr. Visscher is also president of the board of managers of the New York State Training School for Girls at Hudson; director and treasurer of the Albany Public Library; director of the Albany Safe Deposit and Storage Company; director of the Mechanics and Farmers' Bank; director and vice-president of the Albany Garage Company; director of the New York Fire Insurance Company; president and trustee of the Memorial Hospital; trustee of the Albany Law School, and trustee of the Albany Institute of History and Art. For several years he served in the Common council of the city of Albany, elected on the Republican ticket. He is a member of the American Bar, the new York State Bar, and the Albany County Bar associations. His clubs are: the fort Orange, the Albany, the Albany Country, the Troy, the Stockbridge Country, and the University of Albany. His religious affiliation is with the Reformed Dutch Church of Albany, of which he is a trustee.

Mr. Visscher is unmarried, and resides at No. 58 Willett Street, Albany. His offices are at the corner of State and south Pearl Streets, Albany, New York


It is most fitting that in a work of this nature we record the lives of those men who, though dead, still live in the minds of those who are left, by reason of past deeds performed for the welfare and advancement of the communities in which they lived. Warren Curtis was such a type of representative citizen and as such we herewith present a resume, in brief, of his life-work, that posterity may benefit thereby.

Warren Curtis was born in Passaic, New Jersey, October 19, 1837, a son of Warren Curtis, who was an extensive paper manufacturer of that place. Mr. Curtis received his early education in the public schools of Newark, New Jersey, and then matriculated at Delaware College, where he took a course in civil engineering. At the age of seventeen he went West and secured a job as surveyor on the road that was being built neat Pike's Peak, in the Rocky Mountains. He then went to St. Louis, where he was night editor on the St. Louis "Times." From there he went to Des Moines, Iowa, where, in association with Edward Curtis, he built a paper mill and conducted it until it was destroyed by fire. He then returned East and became associated with the Hudson River Pulp & Paper Company, which was located in Palmer Falls, now Palmer, New York. When Mr. Curtis took charge the company owned the land, one machine shop and one machine, but under his able management the plant grew so extensively that it became at one time the largest of its kind under one roof in the world. At the inception of the International Paper Company, Mr. Curtis was elected a director and manger of the department of construction and maintenance of that company, and was identified with both of these great organizations up to the time of his death.

Politically, Mr. Curtis was an Independent, preferring to vote for the man, irrespective of party represented. For forty-two years he was identified with the village of Corinth; was supervisor, 1882-1883; and when the village was incorporated in 1888, he became its first President; in 1891, when the Union Free School District No. 7 was organized, he was elected president of the newly formed Board of Education and held that office for many years. It was during his tenure of office that the high school of Corinth was raised to a very high level. In 1896 he was presidential elector on what was known as the "Gold Democrat Ticket."

Warren Curtis married Margaret A. Parmenter, a daughter of Alexander D. and Rosetta (Cowles) Parmenter, the latter a daughter of Squire Nathaniel Cowles, who was one of the pioneers of Corinth who came there and built himself a log cabin and subsequently was elected justice of the peace, later serving in the State Legislature. Alexander D. Parmenter was born in 1812, and Mrs. Parmenter was born the following year. They were married in 1837,

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and Mr. Parmenter came to Corinth when a young man, being engaged for many years in the mercantile business on the present site of Ralph's Furniture Store. Mr. and Mrs. Curtis were the parents of five children: 1. Warren, who followed in his father's footsteps, was for many yeas identified in an official capacity with the International Paper company, until he resigned to establish himself as a construction engineer on his own accent, with offices in Niagara Falls, Tonawanda, New York, and at Thorwald, Canada. 2. Allen, vice-president of the International Paper Company. 3. Harry L., engaged up to the time of his death as manager of the electrical department of the International Paper Company. 4. Carita, wife of Charles Halstead Yates, a resident of White Plains, New York. 5. Marguerite, wife of William Bensel, is also a resident of White Plains.

No man was better known or more highly esteemed than was Warren Curtis. He possessed the affectionate regard of all who knew him; moreover the village of Corinth is practically a monument to his enterprising nature and great public spirit, for in fact it can be stated truthfully that while he lived he did more for Corinth than had anyone, before his time or since, to promote civic advancement. In his passing, which occurred November 2, 1913, Mr. Curtis was mourned by a large circle, outside of those nearest and dearest to him


Successful in the practice of law, Walter Scott Brown has come to be regarded in Elizabethtown as one of the foremost members of his profession. He has held several public offices in which he has done important work for his community, having been, since 1925, Assessor for Elizabethtown, and for several years, Town Clark and Justice of the Peace of the town.

The son of Levi Dewitt and Lovina (Kneeland) Brown, Walter Scott Brown was born in Elizabethtown, on January 9, 1854. His father, one-time supervisor of Elizabethtown, was born in 1814, and died February 65, 1866; his mother, who was born in 1821, died in May, 1912. Josiah Brown, great-grandfather of Walter Scott Brown, was the commander of a company at the battle of Bunker Hill, and his grandfather, Levi Brown, commanded a company at the battle of Plattsburg in the War of 1812.

As a boy, Walter Scott Brown attended the grammar schools and the high school of the town, then studied law with Arod K. Dudley, District Attorney, of Elizabethtown. He was admitted to the bar at Albany, in November, 1877, and after two years of study was admitted as counsellor in 1879 at Saratoga Springs. For a few years he practiced law with Judge Byron Pond, who for fourteen years was County Judge and whose daughter Mr. Brown married. In 1887, he went to Kansas, where he was admitted to the bar, but never practiced. After his return to the East, he went Keene, new York, in 1888, as corporation counsel and superintendent for the Adirondack Mountain Reserve, remaining there thirty-four years. He has been retained by the Adirondack Mountain reserve as counsel ever since. In 1924, he established a private practice in Elizabethtown, where he has continued in law and where he has taken a leading part in the affairs of the town. For several years he was Town clerk and Justice of the Peace of Elizabethtown. Since 1915 he has been a notary public, and since 1935 he had been Assessor. In political circles, Mr. Brown is a supporter of the Republican party and his other affiliations are with the Sons of the Revolution, the society of the Second War with Great Britain in New York State, of which he is Judge Advocate, and the Adirondack Mountain Club. Mountain climbing and out-door life comprise Mr. Brown's most favored forms of recreation. He is a communicant of the Congregational church and is one of its trustees.

On September 7, 1881, Walter Scott Brown married Mary L. Pond, the daughter of Judge Byron and Mary (Hinckley) Pond. By this marriage there was one daughter, Mary E. Brown, now Mrs. George M. Bullock, of Washington, District of Columbia


Having shown, while still a boy, a strong interest in and a definite ability for mechanics, Mr. Rehrfuss, after leaving school, learned the machinist's trade, which he has followed ever since that time. Until 1922 he held positions as foreman with various machinery firms of Albany, new York, but in that year established a business on his won account, later formed a partnership with James G. Begley, and in 1926, became general manager and a director through a consolidation of various companies, which makes him a leader in industrial circles in this section of the State.

John H. Rehfuss was born at Cuba, Missouri, April 3, 1887, and came to Albany with his parents that same year. His father was John

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Rehfuss, a native of Danzig, Germany, a harnessmaker throughout his entire lifetime, and died in Albania, in 1914; his mother was Dora (Mittau) Rehfuss, a native of Cuba, Missouri. John R. Rehfuss was educated in the public schools of Albany and then learned the machinist's trade in the shops of Skinner & Arnold, where he remained for twelve years as a skilled machinist. During the next two years he was connected with Dubois Brothers, and then went with the Albany Machine Tool Company as assistant foreman. Two years later he became general foreman in the plant of the Jacobsen Gas Engine Company, which position he filled with marked efficiency until 1922, when he established himself in business at Rensselaer, New York, conducted it as the Rehfuss Machine Company, and continued until 1925, when he formed a partnership with James G. Begley, under the firm name of Rehfuss & Begley, continuing this until April 1, 1926, when this company, bought out the Townsend Furnace & Machine Company and Mr. Rehfuss became its general manager and a director of the organization, thus bringing to this important and responsible position his unusually wide experience, together with his great mechanical ability, and untiring energy. Mr. Rehfuss is fraternally affiliated with the Benevolent and Protective Elks.

John R. Rehfuss married, in 1919, Rhea H. Conway, of Albany, New York, a daughter of Michael and Ellen (Rahill) Conway. Mr. and Mrs. Rehfuss are the parents of three children: 1. John W., born in 1920. 2. Robert J., born in 1922. 3. William M., born in 1924. The family home is located at No. 252 South Manning Boulevard, Albany, Mr. Rehfuss' spare time is devoted to research work along mechanical lines. He has invented several devices for paper-making machinery several patents of his are now pending, and one has already been granted and is in use at the present time.


Sowing the seeds for a career in the field of journalism during his college life, Edwin Morey Waterbury has reaped a heavy crop of achievement during the comparatively brief period which he has devoted to active professional work. Not yet in the prime of life, he has risen in his chosen area of activity to a position of great importance among the publishers of daily newspapers, wherein the most painstaking of effort must be expended, if one would maintain the regard of critical contemporaries and of the reading public. Attesting this eminent position to which he has climbed are the offices to which he has been called within the magic circle of the "Fourth Estate," as well as to others of importance without the actual purview of his daily occupation. Affable, courteous, sociable and taking a deep interest in every question affecting his community and the citizenry-at-large,, he has made a multitude of friends, one of the most valuable assets to a man of action and enterprise. There are broader fields for his work and the universal prediction is that the will cultivate them equally well.

Edwin Morey Waterbury was born in Geneseo, New York, September 26, 1884, a son of Dr. Reuben A. and Frances (Butts) Waterbury. Dr. Waterbury was an educator, vice-principal of the New York State Normal School at Geneseo, from 1873 to 1895. He was located at Johnson, Vermont, from 1895 to 1897, when he was principal of the Vermont State Normal School. Later he headed various schools in Washington and Oregon. In Geneseo he founded the Baptist church. Edwin Morey Waterbury was educated at the Corning Free Academy, from which he was graduated with the class of 1903. He then took a course at the Mercersburg Academy, Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, afterward going to Yale University, from which he was graduated in the class of 1910. He at once went to Corning, where he became city editor of the "Evening Leader," filling that post from 1910 until 1922, when he assumed the presidency of the Oswego Times Company. He edited the "Times" from 1922 until 1925, when he merged the "Times" with the Oswego "Palladium," under the name of the "Palladium-Times," a daily newspaper, of which he is yet director, treasurer and business manager. He was secretary-treasurer and director of the Corning-Blossburg Coal Corporation of Corning, New York, from 1919 to 1922. He was vice-president and director of the Steuben Coal & Supply Company, of Corning, from 1919 until 1922. He is a direct of the Oswego Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the advisory committee; member of the executive board of the Oswego County Committee on Tuberculosis and Public Health; president of the New York State Associated Dailies; treasurer, director and business manager of the "Palladium-Times," Incorporated; editor of the Oswego "Times," and business manager of the Oswego "Palladium"; member of the Associ-

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ated Press; member of the New York State Publishers' Association; member of the New York Associated Dailies, and member of the American Newspaper Publishers' Association. He is a member of the Publishers' Advisory Committee of the Syracuse University School of Journalism. He is a Republican in politics and from 1912 until 1922 was a member of the Corning Board of Fire Commissioners. He is a Past Grand Corresponding Secretary of the Alpha Sigma Phi college Fraternity, and a trustee of the Yale Chapter thereof. He is a former editor of the "Tomahawk," published by Alpha sigma Phi. He is affiliated with Painted Post Lodge, No. 117, Free and Accepted Masons, of Corning. He belongs to the Corning Club, the Oswego City Club, the Corning Country Club, the Oswego Country Club, and the Oswego Fortnightly Club. He was a charter member of the Corning Rotary Club and is a member and past officer of the Oswego Kiwanis Club. He is a member of the Oswego Historical Society and served on its Sesqui-Centennial Celebration Committee. He Married (first), At Coudersport, Pennsylvania, May 31, 1912, Florence Ferne Ashcraft, daughter of Dr. Elwyn H. and Annie (Jones) Ashcraft; and (second), Marie (Jenkins) Pettigrew, daughter of James William and Elizabeth (Edwards) Jenkins, of Glen Ellyn, Illinois. His children are: 1. Edwin Morey, born January 23, 1915, now deceased. 2. Jean Linton, born June 19, 1917. 3. Anne Constance, born December 1, 1917. 4. John Jenkins, born November 5, 1922. 5. William Church, born December 16, 1927


No small part in the development of this section of New York State has been played by families such as that of which Parker Corning, of Albany, is one of the [present representatives. Possessed of good mind and strong character, ambitious not only for themselves but for their communities as well, they held in a large measure to direct progress. That the choice of following the Corning tradition and entering into manufacturing advance was a particularly happy one has been truly proven, for it was a field in which Mr. Corning was innately fitted and therefore has brought him success and achievement. Today he is also prominent in political circles and as Congressman of the Twenty-eighth District, to which office he was elected on the Democratic ticket in 1922-24 and reelected in 1926, he is giving to that phase of progress the same energy and well-directed interest that has always characterized his undertakings.

Parker Corning, son pf Erastus (2) and Mary (Parker) Corning, was born in Albany, new York, January 22, 1874. He received his early education in the Albany Boys' Academy, and later entered St. Paul's School at Concord, New Hampshire, from which he was graduated in 1891, subsequently matriculating at Yale University fro which institution he received the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1895. After graduation he entered the Corning business circles and with James W. Cox organized the Albany Felt company for the purpose of manufacturing papermakers' felt. He was vie-president and treasurer of the company until January 1, 1918, when he became its president, and as a result the company is well worthy of the best Corning tradition. Mr. Corning is also first vice-president of the New York State Bank; first vice-president of the Ludlum Steel Company; trustee of the Albany Rural Cemetery Association, and trustee of the Mechanics and Farmers' Savings Bank. It is worthy of note that the Corning connection with the State National Bank began in 1834 with the election of Erastus Corning (1) as president, and now after ninety-three years, we find both his grandson, Edwin, whose sketch follows this, and Parker, the subject of this review, serving on the board of directors.

Early in his career, Parker Corning became actively interested in the affairs of the Democratic party, and as a result, in 1922 he was the choice of his party of the Twenty-eighth (Albany-Troy) District for Congress and was elected in 1922 by an overwhelming plurality; and in 1924 and 1926 was re-elected to the same office.

Congressman Corning is a member of the Fort Orange and the Albany country Club, of Albany; Schuyler Meadows Club; Racquet and Tennis and the University clubs of New York City. He is a vestryman of the Trinity Episcopal Church of Albany.

On October 31, 1910, Parker Corning married Anna Cassen, and they are the parents of a daughter, Mary Parker. The family's homes are the Corning Farm at Glenmont, Albany County, New York, and "Sea Urchins" at Bar Harbor, Maine.


The History of New York State, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., 1927

This book is owned by Pam Rietsch and is a part of the Mardos Memorial Library

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

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