The History of New York State
Biographies, Part 37

Editor, Dr. James Sullivan

Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Pam

 

HON. JOHN S. MAXWELL

One of the most highly respected and greatly venerated men in his vicinity of Amsterdam, New York, is Judge John s. Maxwell of this city. He is an honored veteran of the Civil War and a prominent member of the Grand Army of The Republic. He has for many years been a resident of the city of Amsterdam while his name occurs many times in places of prominence in her history. He first won success in the industrial field and then with a unique history, in later life, he entered the legal profession where he has shown such marked talent and such great ability as both attorney, and judge that hew is recognized as one of the foremost jurists in the State of New York.

John S. Maxwell was born at Cohoes, New York, on February 4, 1845, the second son of John and Elizabeth (Davidson) Maxwell, who emigrated to this country from Hawick, Scotland, in 1841. In 1859, they moved to the village of Rock City, which was later known as Rockton, and is now the eighth Ward of the city of Amsterdam. John Maxwell, father of the judge, was one of the pioneers in the manufacture of knit goods in this part of the state, beginning in partnership with the late Adam W. Kline, of Amsterdam. These two men laid the foundation for the growth of this industry which has had such an important part in the upbuilding and continued prosperity of this community. Judge John S. Maxwell received his early education at the "little red schoolhouse" on the hill, and then attended the Amsterdam Academy. He finished the work there and desiring preparation for business, he went to Poughkeepsie where he entered the Eastman Commercial College for the term of 1682-63. He also received a thorough training in the principles of manufacturing knitted goods, and at the age of nineteen years, he enlisted in the United States Navy and served during the Civil War with credit and distinction during the course of the conflict. After that war, he returned home and for a time acted as superintendent of his father's knitting mills. But not for long, for his initiative spirit took possession of him and prompted him to establish a business of his own. His success began immediately, for he had that ability to direct others, which is one of the keynotes to the success of any large undertaking and his business grew to the extent that it was not long before h operated at various times knitting mills at Amsterdam, Stittville, Oneida, and St. Johnsville, New York, and at Toronto, Canada. In 1889, Mr. Maxwell withdrew from business on the decision to enter the legal profession and being prepared for that work, he was admitted to the bar on February 4, 1802, which was the forty-seventh anniversary of his birth. the following year, he was a candidate of the republican party for the position of city recorder of Amsterdam, and was elected by a majority of five hundred and fifty votes. His term was for three years, and on its expiration he was re-elected by an increased majority. He was again chosen for the third consecutive term and being without opposition, he was elected. When the term was completed, he was elected district attorney for Montgomery County for a term of three yeas. When this term was completed, Mr. Maxwell was again chosen as the candidate but this time he declined the honor and subsequently was called to the bench, becoming municipal judge for the city of Amsterdam, New York. His knowledge of the principles of jurisprudence, comprehensive and exact, and the quality of his services is indicated in the fact that he has been retained in this office for three terms and is now serving his fourth term. Judge Maxwell has a faculty of tempering justice with mercy and compassion, allowing himself to be guided by sympathy and kindness in the administration of justice, and these qualities are so admirably combined with sternness and firm sense of right that his decisions are considered models by his colleagues as well as by all law-abiding citizens.

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The pubic offices filled by Judge Maxwell at Amsterdam are not all the positions of public responsibility which he has held. While engaged in the manufacture of knit goods at Stittville, in Oneida County, New York, he was appointed postmaster by President Grant, and in 1908, he was prominently mentioned for the office of Secretary of State on the republican ticket. In 1915, he was appointed a member of the board of trustees of the soldiers and sailors' Homes of Bath, new York, and shortly afterwards, he was elected president of the organization for a term of six years.

Judge Maxwell is keenly interested in the work of the Grand Army of the Republic, and his activities in that organization have won for him State-wide prominence. He was twice commander of the E. A. Young Post and for four terms filled the same office of the A. H. Terry Post which was disbanded about 1900. He served as Department Commander of the State Grand Army of the Republic, and as senior service department Commander and as Adjutant General. He was a member of the council of administration for three terms, chairman of the legislative committee for three years and for two terms was president of the Tri-county Veterans' Association. He joined the Artisan Lodge, No. 84, Free and Accepted Masons, in 1866, and is also identified with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Knights of Pythias and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

While Judge Maxwell has spent the greater part of his life in Amsterdam, New York, he has also done quite a bit of traveling, and during the year 1875 and 1876, he lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, acting as special organizing agent for the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company. In 1881, he took quite an extended trip to Europe, going first to Hawick, Scotland, the native place of his parents, and later visiting Glasgow, Edinburgh, London and Paris. He was away for three months and wrote several letters for the Amsterdam papers which contained interesting accounts of his travels and impressions of foreign cities. Although Judge Maxwell has reached the ripe age of eighty-four years, he still retains his vigor of physique and mind and enjoys excellent health which is considered the result of his wisdom in the manner of living, which has preserved him in such excellent condition. His career has been one of intense activity and usefulness, crowned with successful achievement, and he also enjoys the judgment of public opinion testifying to his high qualities of mind and heart. He is Judge Advocate for the Grand Army of the Republic; he is also secretary and treasurer of the Wilton Hygiene Knitting Company, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a business established by his father in 1880, and on the death of his father in 1908, Judge Maxwell was appointed with his brother, Charles T. Maxwell, as executive president and general manager.

Judge Maxwell has two children: 1. John Brooks Maxwell, who home is in New York City; has been employed by the Union pacific Railroad in the general offices of the company as an accountant, and is now chief of that department. 2. Elizabeth Davidson Maxwell, who is now Mrs. Frederick S. Smith, of Amsterdam.

FLOYD C. MARTIN, D. C.

Has since 1922, been engaged in the practice of chiropractic of Jamestown, New York, building up a large and extensive patronage as his reputation has spread with the demands for his services. Dr. Martin is also completely equipped to perform the most difficult x-ray work, offering to the community a service in this respect which is of the highest quality. He is active generally in Jamestown life, occupying high place in the esteem of his fellow-residents and citizens.

Dr. Martin was born at Belmont, New York, on March 24, 1897, a son of George and Myra (Cramer) Martin, of that place. He was educated in the local public schools, and later entered the Palmer School of Chiropractic, where he completed the course of study in 1916. Beginning practice soon afterwards, at Wellsville, New York, he remained there for a period of eighteen months, but at the time of the participation of the United States in the World War, he offered his services, enlisting as a machinist in the United States Navy in April, 1918. After meritorious performance of his duties for the remainder of the conflict, he was mustered out in July, 1919. Thereafter, Dr. Martin resumed his professional activities, and for three and a half years conducted practice at Warsaw in a very successful way. Finally, in September, 1922, he came to Jamestown and opened offices here, devoting his attention since that time to the practice which has now reached flattering proportions, and to his x-ray work. By constant study he as kept well abreast of all recent

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developments in Chiropractic science, and has also been active in the associations of the men of his profession, holding membership in the Universal Chiropractic Association.

Although the demands of his attention are large, Dr. Martin has maintained a consistent interest in the general welfare and progress of the community, contributing to many worthy enterprises. He is also in fraternal life as a member of Mount Moriah Lodge, No. 145, of the Free and Accepted Masons, and of the Lions Club.

In 1924, Floyd C. Martin married Lillian Williams, of Jamestown, and they are the parents of one child, Beverly Jean. The family residence in Jamestown is situated at No. 18 Adams Street, while Dr. Martin's offices are in the Odd Fellows' Building.

JOHN SCHAACK LEONARD.

Though still relatively young, John Schaack Leonard is accounted one of the most able and progressive members of the bar at Jamestown, New York. thoroughly trained in his profession, he has built up a wide local practice including many important Jamestown corporations among his clients, while his services to the community as assistant district attorney have proved repeatedly of the greatest value.

Mr. Leonard was born at Gowanda, New York, on November 2, 1892, a son of Irving Richmond and Emma M. (Schaack) Leonard, and member of an old and distinguished American family, originally of English stock. His father was well known as a lawyer throughout Western New York for many years where he was also active in civic affairs, serving for three years as president of the incorporated village of Gowanda.

John Schaack Leonard, of his record, attended the public schools of his birthplace, and later entered the University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor. Completing the course of study in law, he was graduated from this institution in 1916 with the degree of Bachelor of Laws, and on October 1, 1917, was admitted to the New York State bar. When the Untied States entered the World War, however, Mr. Leonard immediately offered his services and on May 1, 1917, was admitted to the First Officers' Training Camp at Plattsburg, New York. He was commissioned second lieutenant and later, for meritorious service, promoted to first lieutenant, spending a full year in France as a member of the American Expeditionary Forces, where he saw action in many of the most important engagements of the war, including St. Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne offensive. Mr. Leonard received his discharge on July 15, 1919.

Upon his return to civil live, he resumed his legal activities, entering practice at Buffalo, New York, with the firm of Kinefick, Cooke, Mitchell, and Bass. With them he remained until January 1, 1921, winning merited advancement for his services, but at the end of this time he came back to Jamestown and became associated with Louis L. Thrasher in the practice of law. This arrangement was continued for a period of three years, after which the partnership was terminated and Mr. Leonard opened offices at No. 26, Bank of Jamestown Building. Since that time he has practiced independently, building up an extensive clientele throughout all this section as the demands on his services constantly increased. He is frequently consulted by large local interests and is addition to other cases in which he has appeared, he is now Jamestown representative for the Standard Oil Company and for the Jamestown Mutual Insurance Company.

Politically a member of the Republican Party, Mr. Leonard has been consistently active in civic and governmental affairs, lending his hearty support to all worthy causes. On November 1, 1924, he became assistant district attorney and has since continued in this office, discharging all the duties of his position in a highly efficient manner to the complete satisfaction of the community, which he serves. Mr. Leonard is prominent in the various associations of the men of his profession, holding membership in the New York Bar Association, and the American Bar Association, while fraternally he is affiliated with the Free and Accepted Masons. In this great order he is a member of Mr. Moriah Lodge, No. 145, of the local chapter of Royal Arch Masons, and the council of Royal and Select Masters, of Salamanca Commandery of the Knights Templar, and of all bodies of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rites, including Jamestown Consistory., with his family he attend the Jamestown First Presbyterian Church.

On June 24, 1922, John Schaack Leonard married Elizabeth Norquist, of Jamestown, and they are the parents of two children: 1. John Schaack (2), and 2. Mary Jane. The family residence at Jamestown is situated at No. 121 Arlington Avenue.

JUDGE WARREN J. CHENEY

In the passing of Judge Cheney, of Corning, New York, August 18, 1921, the entire southern tier lost one of its most potent factors in legal circles. From 1912 he had presided over the court of Steuben County, and in that time had given such able and noteworthy service that his name had become well and favorably known throughout this community. He was deeply public spirited, with the highest ideals of devotion to duty and throughout his entire residence in Corning, where he came in 1890, contributed largely, both ina professional and in a civic way, to furthering the welfare and advancement of his home community.

Warren J. Cheney was born in Hopkintown, St. Lawrence County, New York, April 27, 1862, the son of Judson M. and Thirza (Blanchard) Cheney, and spent much of his early days in Potsdam, New York, where he was graduated from the normal school in 1881. For the following eight years he served as principal of the high schools at Fort Covington, Brasher, and Stockholm, New York State. At this time, having decided to take up law for his life work, he entered the law office of John A. Vance, of Potsdam, then surrogate of St. Lawrence County, supplementing his studied with ready in the law office of Louis Land, of Brasher Falls, and John I. Gilbert, of Malone, and in 1890 was admitted to the bar, subsequently removing to Corning. For a number of years Mr. Cheney practiced independently, establishing for himself a large and lucrative practice. In 1900 he formed a partnership with James O. Sebring under the name of Sebring and Cheney, and this association continued until 1911, when Mr. Cheney withdrew and took into partnership his son, Guy W. Cheney, a review of whom follows this biography. Five years later Judge Cheney withdrew from the firm of W. J. & G. W. Cheney, and became a member of the law firm of Phillips, Cheney & Greene, of Hornell, this removal being made in order that Mr. Cheney might be retained as counsel for the Erie Railroad in Steuben county, but he nevertheless retained his residence in Corning, spending several days each week in Hornell. Throughout these years he had enjoyed the esteem of the people for his professional abilities, citizenship, the elements being furnished by him so conspicuously that go to making up a successful practitioner before the courts and a wise counsellor to his clients. In 1918 he retired from the Hornell firm, returned to Corning and practiced independently until his death. Having been long recognized as one of the most able lawyers in the Southern Tier his services were sought in many important cases, and yet he always found time to give his attention to public service. He was elected recorder of the city of Corning in 1894 and re-elected to the same office two years later, In 1909 he served for a short time as city attorney, and in1 912 was nominated by the Republicans for the office of county judge, during which time there was a strong effort made by the Democratic party for his endorsement. In November of that year, which was the year of the Bull-Moose split in the republican Party, he was elected to the judgeship and gained for himself the distinction of being the only Republican elected to office in Steuben County. In 1918 he was re-elected to this office, the Democrats at this time naming no candidate.

Judge Cheney was one of the incorporators of the Corning Business Men's Association, serving continuously as one of its directors until the organization gave way to the Chamber of Commerce in 1914. During the many years of his residence in Corning he did much to improve the city and to develop its residential section, owning a great deal of residential property, which he took great delight in developing. He built many houses, making it possible through his generous efforts for a young man to own his own house on the convenient terms of payment which he established, which proves conclusively his philanthropic nature, and is a glowing example of one of the many acts of kindness he was ever doing to aid the youth of his home community.

Judge Cheney was prominent in Masonic circles, having attained the Thirty-third degree in this body. He was Past Master of Painted Post Lodge, No. 117, Free and Accepted Masons' Past High Priest of Corning chapter, Royal Arch Masons; Past thrice Potent Master of Coring Council, Princes of Jerusalem; Past Thrice Illustrious Master of Corning Lodge of Perfection; a member of St. Omer's Commandery of Elmira; and of Kalurah Temple Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine of Binghampton; Past Commander-in-Chief of Corning Consistory; a member of the building committee which completed the Scottish Rite Masonic Cathedral in Corning, dedicated in the early part of 1921; and an incorporator of the Ashler club, and a member of the Masonic Temple Association. He also belonged to the Corning Lodge of Elks; was Past Exalted Ruler of that lodge and served as one of its trustees. Judge Cheney was one who worked most arduously as a member of the

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building connate when the Elks property was purchased and reconstructed. He also held membership in the Corning Club. His religious affiliation was with the Methodist faith, and served for many years as a member of the official board of the First Church of that denomination in his home city.

On July 3, 1883, Judge Cheney married (first) Elizabeth Southwick, who died in March, 1886, leaving one son, Guy W. Cheney (q.v.), on august 10, 1887, Judge Cheney married (second) Addie C. Benedict, daughter of James Turner and Celia (Jones) Benedict, of whom was born on child, Muriel, now the wife of George W. Pratt, of Corning.

At the time of Judge Cheney's death many personal tributes were paid him which appear in part as follows: Said James O. Sebring:

I am shocked and crushed to hear of the death of my former associate. During all our years together out associations were fine and true and culminated as they began, in mutual confidence and respect. His every act was one of consideration and his every though noble and just. He was a man of wonderful mentality, a lawyer of exceptional ability and a true friend.

Michael H. Cahill's tribute:

I came into Judge Cheney's acquaintance as a young lawyer and his gave to me of himself and his ability equally with his son, my partner. He was a man of the most lovable personality, a counsellor of unerring wisdom and judgment, and a friend such as comes to us but once ina lifetime. In his death I have sustained a great personal loss.

The editorial from the "Corning Leader" written at the time of Judge Cheney's death was in part as follows:

One of the fairest and squarest of men, one of the wisest defenders of justice, one of the truest of friends left us today. Warren J. Cheney he came into the world. He left it with all the true title and honor which real humanity can pay. For while he was titled Honorable by law, he was also en-titled to this distinction by a higher law the right of a lifetime of useful service to his fellowmen. Judge Cheney was a recognized leader of thought. Because he was a man of action and possessed a character of gold he was politically magnificently independent and often to his personal sacrifice and at the cost of ephemeral distinction. His was a type of mentality that was a statesman rather than a politician, since he formed public opinion rather then followed it, often championing a political issue while it was yet unpopular, instead of riding to power on it after the public has approved. Strong, logical, informing, his views always commanded the highest respect. Modestly, temperately, yet convincingly he told one where he stood and left his questioner admiring and envying the moral stature which placed him on such high ground. Fullness of information, a brilliant intellect, a winsome and sincere personality, perfect command of all his mental and physical resources, complete mastery of the technique of debate were the sources of his power. . . . . . His entire legal career was unspotted by a single instance of professional action that could be questioned for an instant. In his private life no man had greater reverence for sacred things than Judge Cheney. He experienced Christianity rather than followed it. His own life was an example for others to follow rather than a search of other lives for an example to follow. So he is dead as he lived, without an enemy, with a multitude of friends, with a great work of good accomplished . . . . . While he presided on the bench with unexampled dignity, and reserve, the bench added to his moral stature neither additional dignity nor power. In the highest possible sense, he seemed at times above the law itself, a big sincere, honest demi-god of democracy voicing in the simplest possible and unanswerable logic the principles of ethics, rather than a begowned personality lurking behind judicial mouthing of logical doctrines. Truly the Lord "made his light to shine before men," and the pessimist had a beautiful and true picture of Warren Cheney in mind when he sung of him who is "pure in heart." Therefore is he blessed in eternal life.

GUY W. CHENEY.

One of the foremost attorneys of this section of new York State, for his outstanding ability in his profession and his highly deserved election to the office of district attorney of Steuben County, the duties of which he is fulfilling with thoroughness and understanding and making for himself an enviable position in legal circles, is Guy W. Cheney, of Corning. Active, too, in the promotion of community well-being and development, he can always be counted upon to give his earnest support to every movement for the civic good and is universally recognized as one of Corning's most respected citizens.

The Cheney family, of which Guy W. Cheney, is a direct descendant, settled in Newton, Massachusetts, having come to this country in 1632, and since that time many of its representatives have been among the leading men of their time. This holds true of Mr. Cheney, who is carrying on the family traditions and enterprise. Judge Warren J. Cheney, father of Guy W. Cheney, was the son of Judson M. and Thirza (Blanchard) Cheney, the former having lived in Northern New York, and was killed in action during the Civil War while serving in the Union Army. A biography of Judge Cheney precedes this sketch.

Guy W. Cheney was born in Fort Covington, New York, February 26, 1886. After graduating from Corning Free Academy in the class of 1904, and from Syracuse with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1908, he continued at the latter institution and gained from the law school connected with the university the degree of Bachelor of Laws in 1910. He was admitted to the bar that same year and engaged in prac-

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tice with is father, the firm being known as W. J. & G. W. Cheney. Guy W. Cheney later formed a partnership with W. Earle Costello and they carry on a general law practice under the firm name of Cheney & Costello, and specialize in insurance, negligence and corporation law.

Early in his career, Guy w. Cheney, became an active factor in Republican politics, first serving as secretary of the county committee from 1912 to 1919; when he resigned to become secretary to Ambassador Houghton, then a member of Congress, remaining with him until the latter went to Germany. On November 27, 1921, he was appointed district attorney, being elected to that office in the fall of 1922, and re-elected in 1925. Professionally, Mr. Cheney holds membership in the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, and the District Attorney's Association of New York State. Fraternally he is a member of the Free and Accepted Masons, in which order he holds the thirty-second degree; the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, of which he is a life-member and Past Exalted Ruler; Alpha Chi Rho, Phi Epsilon Chapter, and the Phi Delta Phi, Comstock chapter, both of Syracuse University. He is also a member and past-president of the Rotary Club of Corning; and member of the Corning City and the Corning county clubs. In his religious affiliation he is a Presbyterian and is a trustee of the church of that denomination in Corning. His wide knowledge, exceptional memory

and unusual gift of eloquence have made Mr. Cheney a speaker of considerable note and he is much in demand for political speeches as well as talks on general topics.

On February 22, 1911, Guy W. Cheney married Edith Madison Costello, daughter of William Edward and Virginia (Earle) Costello, now residents of Elmira, New York. Mrs. Cheney, like her husband, comes from prominent Colonial stock, and is a member of the Daughter of the American Revolution. Mr. and Mrs. Cheney are the parents of four sons: 1. Warren, born January 5, 1912. 2. Guy W., Jr., born February 12, 1915. 3. John Southwick, born April 13, 1916. 4. David Godwin, born February 11, 1922. The family home is in Corning.

HON. James T. FOODY

A vital factor in the legal, business, civic and religious life of Hornell, as well as being prominent in political circles of Steuben County, New York, is Hon. James T. Foody, representing the Second District of Steuben County in the State Assembly. Having attained prominence in so many phases of life, he is readily accorded a place among the leading representatives of that city, and as such supports, unfalteringly, every movement which has for its aim the welfare and advancement of his community.

James T. Foody, was born in Tonawanda, New York, July 5, 1881, the third of fourteen children of Thomas M. and Anna (Lenegar) Foody, both natives of New York State, the latter's people having been in America before 1776, and served in the War of the Revolution. Both Mr. Foody's grandfathers fought in the Civil War on the Union side. When he was six years of age he removed with his parents to Fultonville, Montgomery County, and here obtained his early education, later winning a scholarship to Cornell University. Working his way through college and after he had nearly completed his academic course at the university, he changed to the School of Laws, and in 1906 received from this institution the degree of Bachelor of Laws, spending the following year after graduation in New York City. He then removed to Hornell, which has since been the scene of his many successful ventures. Besides having one of the largest law practices in Western New York State and being an outstanding figure as a trial lawyer, as well as attorney for many corporations, he is president of the North Hornell Realty Company, which he organized and which owns large tract of land, formerly a farm now known as the village of North Hornell; is also a director and one of the largest stockholders of the Arkport State Bank at Arkport, New York; vice-president and director of the Alfred Atlas Sand & Gravel Corporation, one of the largest and most modern plants of its kind in New York State; is one of the largest real estate owners in Hornell and donated to the Bethesda Hospital of Hornell the land on which the nurses' home was erected in 1927, as well as having offered a large tract adjoining the city of Hornell for an airport; is vice-president of the Babcock-Bath Department Store; one of the original members of the Hornell Rotary Club; was an original director of the Hornell Young Men's Christian Association; was one of the original incorporators of Bethesda Hospital, and is one of the substantial sustaining patrons of that institution and is a large stockholder in many corporations. Mr. Foody has also been extensively engaged in farming for a number of years. He owns over

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one thousand acres, which he manages in an up-to-date manner. His farm between Canisteo and Hornell maintains a dairy of fifty cows; the farms, which has rebuilt, consists of concrete stables and patent stanchions, where he produces sanitary milk under approved conditions. He also owns the old Babcock stock farm at North Hornell, and land elsewhere in this vicinity.

In his political affiliations, Mr. Foody adheres to the Republican party, in which he has always been an active factor, although he has never until this year, 1928, consented to run for public office; and yet, being widely recognized as an orator of note, he has been called upon many times to advance the cause of this party and to discuss current topics. Having been endorsed by both parties to represent the Second District of Steuben County in the State Assembly, the unanimous decision of the public in electing him to the position is indicative of the explicit confidence placed in him by people in every walk of life. This in itself justifies the belief that now, since Mr. Foody has been launched so flatteringly in the political field, he will attain in this particular line of endeavor the same success which has crowned his other undertakings. Prominent in Masonic circles, having attained the thirty-second degree, he is a member of the Corning Consistory; and the De Molay Commandery; Knights Templar; is Past Deputy Grand Master of the Steuben District; and a Noble of Damascus Shrine at Hornell, Steuben County, New York State, and the American Bar Associations; and socially he is a member of the Hornell Country Club.

 

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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