The History of New York State
Biographies, Part 38

Editor, Dr. James Sullivan

Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Pam



The secretary and treasurer, as well as the general manager of the Jamestown Mutual Insurance Company, of Jamestown, New York, was born at Rockford, Illinois, September 18, 1884, son of Frank C. and Martha (Miller) King. He received his early education in the schools of Rockford, and then studied at Chicago, Illinois, and Buffalo, New York; he also attended the Bryant & Stratton business School. He first came to new York State to live in 1896, going to Buffalo, where he afterwards entered business with his father, Frank C. King, who was engaged in manufacturing. With his father he remained until 1901, when the business was merged with that of the American Can Company. With that corporation Howard G. King remained until 1904, when he became engaged in the work of instituting factory production and accounting systems throughout a large part of the United States. In this type of activity he continued working with different companies up until 1919, at which time he began organization of the Jamestown Mutual Insurance Company, which was the outgrowth

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of the Manufacturers' Association of Jamestown.

The company, whose work is discussed immediately following this biography of Mr. King, was finally brought to fruition in 1920, and Mr. King was chosen as its first secretary, treasurer, and general manager. In this position he has continued to this day. He is still connected with the Manufacturers' Association, however, in the capacity of secretary and treasurer.

On august 27, 1910, Howard C. King married Irene H. Morin, of Buffalo, New York. They had one child, Ruth Helen. The residence of the King family is at Harding Heights, Jamestown, New York.

The Jamestown Mutual Insurance Company, of Jamestown, New York, was organized in 1920, and in that year began its business activities. The home offices of the company are situated at No. 110 East Fourth Street, Jamestown, and the organization itself is in a flourishing condition. It writes liability and public liability insurance. Am outstanding feature of its work is its infirmary and hospital, where it takes care of injured persons and strives to restore them to a sound state of health. It claims the distinction of being the first company to established a medical and surgical department wherein to take care of injured individuals whose cases concern the company. The hospital is modern in every respect, and the surgical attention given is said to be of the best; as a result of its work, many patients are placed ina favorable condition to recover. The work of the company in this way is most helpful and beneficial, and is humanitarian and far-reaching in its effects and influence. The company maintains that this department of its work has been successful to a most gratifying degree. It has been rewarded by considerable financial success, having reported in its financial statement of January 1, 1928, a surplus of $263,600.33, while it has extensive holdings in United States government bonds and large bank deposits, which are regularly drawing interest.

Its officers are; C. C. Wilson, president; P. H. Garrity, first vice-president; C. E. Nord, second vice-president; H. G. King, secretary and treasurer; and A. E. Eckberg, auditor. Its executive committee consists of Ralph W. Taylor, chairman; Alfred A., Anderson, Alfred C. Davis, Axel E. Eckberg, and John A. Westman.


Standing in the foremost of State education, Milton Joseph Fletcher, superintendent of the schools of Jamestown, in which office he has served for ten years, is one of the best examples of citizenship that can be produced. Successful for thirty years in this city in advancing the cause of education, he has won a name far outside his own jurisdiction for progressiveness and stable maintenance of the lofty plant upon which out educational system is conducted. Admired for his attainments and esteemed for his accomplishments, Mr. Fletcher, through all the years of labors here, has displayed an active and helpful interest in all civic affairs and has served in public office outside his educational jurisdiction and given satisfaction to all in his achievements therein. He is one of the ablest citizens of Jamestown and stands high in the regard of its entire population.

He was born in East Guilford, Chenango County, new York, October 5, 1862, a son of Joseph and Susan (Sherwood) Fletcher, and was educated in the elementary and high schools and at Syracuse University, from which institution he was graduated in 1888 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. During his period at the University, he taught one year in the rural schools. Entering upon a career of teaching, he became principal of Dryden high School and remained in this capacity for six years, then going to Unadilla and accepting a similar position, which he retained for five years. In the fall of 1899 he came to Jamestown as principal of the high school and held the post for twenty years, when he was elected superintendent of the entire city system and still administers its duties. He is a member of the New York State Council of School superintendents and was its president in 1927. He also belongs to the Associated Academic Principals of New York and has served as president of the organization. He also belongs to the New York State Teachers' Association, and to the National Teachers' Association, as well as the local educational societies. In civic affairs he served eight years as a member of the Municipal Lighting Commission. He belongs to the University Club, the American Scandinavian Foundation, was at one time a member of the board of directors of the Chamber of Commerce, of which he served as president for two years; and was president of the Centennial Commission of 1927. He is a member of the Kiwanis Club and attends the Presbyterian Church.

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Milton Joseph Fletcher married, December 25, 1889, Nettie P. Ferguson, deceased in 1926, and they were the parents of one child, Louise E. The family residence is at No. 509 East Fifth Street, Jamestown, New York.


To the people of Chautauqua County the patronymic Edson has been known long, and with honor. For several generations members of the family have contributed to the general progress of the county, particularly as distinguished members of the bar. Walter Henry Edson has practiced the profession of law continuously through three decades (as this is written, 1928); his distinguished father before him, the late Obed Edson, spent his whole career in Chautauqua County, attained to note as barrister, and is recalled as a historian whose writings have perpetuated the annals of this historic region.

I. The family is of English origin, and from Thomas Edson, born about 1480, in England, descent is traced to Walter Henry Edson as follows:

II. Thomas Edson, who, as cited, was born about 1480, lived in Oxfordshire, and died during the reign of Henry VIII. He married Juliana Bustard.

(III) Deacon Samuel Edson, supposedly in the fourth generation from Thomas, was born in 1612, having married Susanna Orcut in England, when he was twenty-five, just prior to sailing West

(IV) Samuel Edson, 2d, married Susanna Byram, and they have a son:

(V) Samuel Edson, 3d, who married Mary Dean; and their fourth son was:

(VI) Obed Edson, 1st, sergeant in the French and Indian wars, and who died in Richfield, New York, having come to this State in old age. He married Katurah Willis.

(VII) Obed Edson, 2d, was a soldier in the French and Indian wars, and as a man moved to Richfield, where his father joined him. He married Prudence Fiske, daughter of Wyllys Fiske, of Welsh descent.

(VIII) Obed Edson, 3d, was born in Ashfield, Franklin County, Massachusetts, lived in Richfield and Cooperstown, New York, and later moved to Eaton, Madison County, where he died. August 6, 1804, aged but thirty-two years. He married Fanny Bigelow.

(IX) John Milton Edson was born at Eaton, Madison County. July 30, 1801, and died in Sinclairville, August 21, 1885. His stepfather, Major Samuel Sinclair, brought the family to Chautauqua County, Sinclairville being named after him. He married, in

(X) Obed Edson, 4th, was born in Sinclairville, February 18, 1832, and died at the 1831, Hannah Alverson, and they had but two children, the son being Obed, 4th.

He died in the home of his son, November 22, 1919, at the age of eighty-seven. At the age of twenty-two he was admitted to the bar, and began to practice forthwith in Sinclairville. He quickly attained to some distinction in the profession, and meanwhile gave his interest much to historical research, which, however, he refused to commercialize. He was a founder of the Chautauqua County Society of History and Natural Science, and its guiding spirit through the years to the time of his demise. He was a contributor to a number of magazines, chiefly on historical subjects, but wrote well on any subject. President of the Chautauqua County Historical Society, he was a member of the county and State bar associations, a member of the Buffalo Historical Society, lifelong Democrat, and active in political councils. In 1874 he was elected to the Assembly, the only Democrat ever elected from his district, and several years served on the Board of Supervisors, as representative of his native town. Identified with the Free and Accepted Masons sixty years he served Sylvan Lodge, of Sinclairville, as Master in 1862, and again held a century later, in 1912, as well as having held office in the years intervening. Obed Edson, 4th, made for himself a reputation unusual in its professional, cultural and social achievement.

Obed Edson, 4th, married, at Sinclairville, May 11, 1859, Emily Amelia Allen, who was born in New London, Connecticut, November 27, 1835, and who died March 31, 1899, a daughter of Caleb J. and Emily E. (Haley) Allen, her father having been mayor of New London, member of Connecticut Legislature, and a merchant in Sinclairville. Of this union were born children: 1. Fanny A., 2. John M., 3. Samuel A., 4. Mary U., 5. Hannah, 6. Walter Henry, of whom follows: 7. Ellen E., and 8. Allen O.

(XI) Walter Henry Edson, in the ninth generation from his family's progenitor in America, sixth child and third son of Obed Edson, 4th, and Emily Amelia (Allen) Edson, was born in Sinclairville, Chautauqua County, January 8, 1874. He graduated from high school there in 1891, took the degree of Bachelor

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of Letters, from Cornell in 1896, read law under his father, and from Cornell School of Law took the degree of Bachelor of Laws in 1897. From 1896 to 1898 he was clerk in the law offices of his father, and upon admission to the bar, 1898, formed a partnership with Harley N. Crosby, now Justice Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department. They opened offices at Falconer, and there continued in successful practice until 1914, when the firm dissolved. Mr. Edson continued practice in Falconer. January 6, 1915, he was appointed Assistant United States Attorney for the western district of New York, with headquarters in buffalo. In 1918 he resigned the Federal office to resume private practice in Jamestown. In April, 1919, he became a member of the firm of Dean, Edson and Jackson; on March 20, 1920, was appointed special assistant to the United States Attorney, and in that capacity served some time; January 1, 1921, he retired from active practice of the law to become Vice-President and Trust officer of the National Chautauqua County Bank of Jamestown. A Democrat, he has been a party leader in the county. In 1912 he was a delegate to the national convention at Baltimore, a supporter of Wilson. During the World War Mr. Edson joined the army, and trained at Fort Niagara, New York, receiving the commission of second lieutenant of infantry in the National Army, November 27, 1917. He was assigned to duty with the 91st. Division, at American Lake, Washington. On December 11, 1917, he resigned and returned to the United States Attorney's office. October 22, 1918, he was selected as a candidate for commission as second lieutenant to attend the Central Training School at Camp Lee, Virginia. He is a member of Cornell chapter Delta Chi; Sylvan Lodge, No. 303, Free and Accepted masons, Sinclairville, of which his grandfather, John Milton Edson, was first Master; a member of the Unitarian Church of Jamestown, and of Henry Mosher Post, No. 638, American Legion at falconer.

Walter Henry Edson married, at Shumla, Chautauqua County, June 27, 1899, Florilla Belle Clark, daughter of Francis Drake and Isabel M. (Grover) Clark. She is a great-granddaughter of Major Samuel Sinclair and his first wife, Sally (Perkins) Sinclair, while Mr. Edson is a grant-grandchild of Fanny Bigelow, the major's second wife, by her first husband, Obed Edson, 3d. Mrs. Edson is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Mr. and Mrs. Edson have children who are, as appears from the above, descendants of Major Sinclair and of both his wives. They are: 1. Isabel Emily, A. B. Wellesley College, 1925. Teacher of chemistry and history at Northampton School for Girls, Northampton, Massachusetts. 2. Samuel Sinclair, A. B. Cornell University, 1928. Law Student College of Law, Cornell University.


Since the beginning of his business life, Royal John DeLong has been identified with the Unites Hotels Company of America. He is at this writing associated with the Hotel Ten Eyck, Albany, and is considered one of the most competent young hotel officials of that line of enterprise. Gracious, energetic keen of mind and irreproachable in his code of social and commercial morals, Mr. DeLong has an army of staunch friends and holds them by the sincerity of his life. In short, he is one of the really worthy citizens of the State Capital and an ornament to the profession of which he is a virile member.

He was born in Cohoes, New York, January 8, 1890, a son of Maurice C. and Emily G. (Paye) DeLong, his father being affiliated with the textile industry. His education was attained in the public schools, with graduation from high school, when he became associated with the corporation already named, November 1, 1911. He has held no public offices, but during the World War was a member of the United States Army medical Corps, with station at Base Hospital No. 33. He is a Presbyterian in religion and a member of all grades of the order of Free and Accepted Masons, of the American Legion, and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He also belongs to the Wolfert's Roost Country Club of Albany.

Royal John DeLong married, April 23, 1920, in Rochester, New York, Mary B. Kelly, daughter of James and Mary Kelly.


Among those who are conferring marked benefits upon humanity through prescribing for the correction of visual defects, H. J. Meade, of Jamestown, an optometrist with a widely increasing practice and enviable reputation, is given high rank by his colleagues and clients. Dr. Meade goes beyond the immediate interests of his profession, serving as secretary of one of the leading organizations of optometrists, maintaining also helpful contact with the civic movements of

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Jamestown, where his cooperative spirit is an asset to community endeavor.

Born in Prattsburg, New York, October 27, 1897, H. J. Meade is the son of Louis M. and Clara (Orr) Meade. From the public schools he entered Penn Yan Academy at Penn Yan, from which he was graduated in 1917. He took his professional course in the Rochester School of Optometry, whence he was graduated in the class of 1923, receiving his degree in opthalmiatrics. In the meantime he had been employed by a jewelry house in its department of engraving at Penn Yan, having fitted for that line of work at Bowman's School of Technology at Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

In the fall of 1923, Dr. Meade located in Jamestown, succeeding to the practice of Dr. c. d. West. He has risen with remarkable rapidity in the demonstration of his skillfulness, in the esteem of his contemporaries and in the confidence reposed in his ability by those who have required his services. He is a member of the American Optometic Association, the southwestern New York Optometric Society, and the New York-Pennsylvania Academy of Optometry, which is fortunate in commanding his services as secretary. He is affiliated with Milo Lodge, No. 108, Free and Accepted Masons, Jamestown Consistory of the Scottish Rite and Epsilon Psi Epsilon fraternity. His religious connection is with the First Methodist Episcopal Church at Jamestown.

Dr. Meade married, September 25, 1923, Myrtle Wheat, of Horseheads, New York. Mrs. Meade is a leader in local society and in fraternal life. She is a Past Noble Grand of the Lady of the Lake Rebekah Lodge, Independent Order of Odd fellows, and a member of Mount Sinai Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star.


The name Underhill is synonymous with the publication of newspapers of the highest type in Steuben county, New York. Father and son, and son's son of the same family have contributed to the prestige and worth of two of the leading journals within the widening zone of their influence which extends throughout five counties in this State and Pennsylvania. The outstanding figure of this noted family was Edwin Stewart Underhill, Sr., who as editor, publisher, statesman and financier combined within himself the essential qualities of leadership in many and varied channels of the public service and constructive enterprise.

Born in Bath, New York, October 7, 1861, Edwin Stewart Underhill, Sr., was the son of Anthony L. and Charlotte (McBeth) Underhill. His was a birthright legacy of the Fourth Estate, since his father for more than forty years was editor and publisher of the "Steuben Farmers' Advocate," in Bath. The elder Underhill was also postmaster of Bath and served as Democratic presidential elector on the Cleveland ticket in 1884. Mr. Underhill was a direct descendant in the eighth generation of Captain John Underhill, of New Hampshire, at one time governor of that State, and who attained fame as a soldier in the war waged by early settlers of Massachusetts against the Pequot Indians.

Having graduated from Haverling High School, Bath, the student, Edwin, entered Yale University, from whose academic department he was graduated with the class of 1881. The urge to engage in newspaper work was strong within him, and to it he yielded, soon after graduating from college, when he entered the office of the "Steuben Farmers' Advocate," and was associated with its publication during the father's lifetime. Politics and public service now laid claim to his active participation, and in 1884 he was made chairman of the Democratic (Steuben) County committee, in which office he served several years. In 1888 he was the nominee of the Democratic Party for presidential elector. For some time he was editor of the "Canandaigua Messenger," which was published by his father. In September 1899, he, with his father, purchased the "Corning Daily Democrat," which later was changed to the "Evening Leader." On his father's death, in 1902, he became the sole publisher of the "Evening Leader," and the "Advocate."

In 1910, Mr. Underhill entered on his most conspicuous service in an eminent public career, when he was elected Representative in congress for the Thirty-third District of New York, and in 1912 he was re-elected, being the first, in his second term, to represent the new Thirty-seventh District. He had the unique distinction of having defeated two stalwart and able Republicans, Hon. J. Sloat Fassett, who had an international reputation, and Hon. Thomas F. Fennell. Though he declined a re-nomination, he was again the Democrat nominee in 1926. During his terms in Congress he gave his active support to Parcel Post, the Federal Reserve Bank Act, Federal Roads

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Act, persistently opposed the rule of the late "czar," "Uncle Joe," Cannon, and vigorously aided pension and public building legislation for his district, voted for American occupation of Mexico to protect the right of Americans, labored for the adoption of direct election of Senators, national Employers' Liability and Workmen's Compensation acts, farm legislation and many other measures. He was a member of the committees on buildings and Grounds, and on Industrial Arts and Expositions, of which latter body he was chairman.

Mr. Underhill's business association embraced a wide and important field. He was president of the Farmers and Mechanics Investment Corporation of Bath; vice-president and chairman of the board of directors of the Farmers and Mechanics Trust Company; served as secretary and later as president of the Urbana Wine Company, of Urbana, succeeded in 1921 by the Gold Seal Products Company, of which he was president.

His civic service to the Bath and Corning communities has been both deeply appreciated by their citizens and has ministered to their respective advance. He was a member of many civic and honorary bodies organized to accomplish special improvements and activities. Since 1911 he had been president of the Davenport Library in Bath, and was a member of the town's Board of Education for twenty years. He rendered particularly effective service in the World War period as Food Administrator of Steuben County, and as chairman of the American Red Cross Chapter in Bath, in which latter capacity he served for some time afterward.

He was highly placed in the Masonic fraternity, and was District Deputy Grand Master of the Thirty-fourth Masonic District, which office he held for two years. He was also a member of Corning Consistory and of Kalurah Temple, ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, of the same fraternity, and of the Corning Lodge, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He was a charter member of the Rotary Club of Bath. His religious affiliation was with St. Thomas' Protestant Episcopal Church, Bath, which he had served as vestryman many years.

Mr. Underhill married (first), October 9, 1884, Minerva Elizabeth, only daughter of William W. and Helen M. (Gansevoort) Allen. Two sons were born to this union: 1. William Allen Underhill (q.v.) and 2. Edwin Stewart Underhill, Jr., (q.v.). Mrs. Underhill died in 1921, and in 1925 Mr. Underhill married (second) Mary Amelia Allen, of Bath, where they resided. The death of Edwin S. Underhill, Sr., occurred February 7, 1929.

Mr. Underhill's brilliant useful records of service as editor and publisher is discussed in detail in the appended account dealing with the "Corning Evening Leader."

The "Corning Evening Leader," of which Edwin Stewart Underhill was the owner and published, and the only newspaper published in Corning, New York, is the survivor and consolidation of the "Corning Journal," established by Thomas Messenger, in 1847, the "Corning Sun," established in 1853, by Mark M. (the noted "Brick") Pomeroy, and the "Corning Democrat," established by Rev. Ira R. Brown, 1854, as the "Southern Tier Farmer," and changed by later owners, C. T. Huson and Frank B. Brown, to the "Corning Democrat." The "Democrat: remained under the ownership of the Brown family until 1899, when it was purchased by the late Anthony L. Underhill, and his son, Hon. Edwin S. Underhill. In 1903 its name was changed to the "Evening Leader."

The "Corning Journal," purchased in July, 1851, by A. W. McDowell, and the late Dr. George W. Pratt, was taken over by Dr. Pratt and published by himself or his son, Hon. Harry W. Pratt, until 1918, when a company headed by the late John L. Chatfield, one of its editors, took over its publication until its plant liquidation, and newspaper merger with the "Evening Leader," in 1920.

With a wide acquaintance in the field and with a distinguished records of a lifetime of newspaper experience behind them, Anthony L., for more than forty years editor and publisher of the "Steuben Farmers' Advocate,' of Bath, and Edwin s. Underhill, as published and editor of the "Canandaigua Messenger," and later, of the Bath "Advocate," the "Evening Leader" quickly expanded from a four-page paper with a circulation of less than two hundred daily to a twelve to thirty-two page evening newspaper with a paid-in-advance circulation of nearly ten thousand.

The policy of the "Evening Leader," has been for many years, and was for some years previous to its absorption of the "Corning Daily Journal" (Republican), and independent newspaper of the highest political ideals.

While Edwin S. Underhill was in Congress (1911-1915), he foresaw the rapidly merging viewpoints of the two principal political parties

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on the great economic questions. With courage and progressiveness then at times ahead of public sentiment, he announced an independent policy for the "Evening Leader." Since that time the newspaper has actively, aggressively and vigorously stood for in journalism what Edwin s. Underhill so ably stood for in congress: constructive representation of the best interests of city, county, State and Nation.

In at least two respects the "Evening Leader," has been a real pioneer in journalistic practice. It was one of the very first newspapers to adopt a paid-in-advance subscription policy and also probably one of the first ten small-city newspapers to cut loose in the face of competition and strong party determination to stand for policies and men rather than mere political partisanship. This policy, regarded dubiously by Mr. Underhill's fellow-publishers when launched, was so successful as affecting home circulation that when the "Corning Journal" was merged with it, the subscription list of that newspaper brought it no new readers, the "Leader" already dominating the field with practically blanker coverage.

The "Evening Leader" is highly regarded for its advertising influence, and from news standpoint is generally recognized as one of the most ably edited and conducted newspapers in the State. The "Evening Leader," despite the fact that it is ina highly competitive field among many splendid big-city newspapers, has carved out an exclusive territory for itself in five counties in New York and Pennsylvania where it is truly the "home paper." It has for years shown a steady and consistent growth both in size and circulation, standing seventh in the United States for the comparative size of city circulation.

In 1915, Mr. Underhill erected the Evening Leader Building, a fire-proof structure, which is one of the finest buildings in Corning and exclusively occupied by his newspaper and printing business. The "Leader's" mechanical plant is as modern as can be found in the largest cities, including every type of equipment of the latest design. Its circulation is served by its own fleet of cars and trucks.

The "Evening Leader," has a working force of about sixty, and over one hundred and fifty correspondents furnish the vicinity news. The Associated Press, of which it is a member, supplies State and general news over its special leased wire. Its editorial page is graced by such leading and independent editorial writers as David Lawrence and mark Sullivan, while the famous political cartoonist "Ding" is a daily contributor, and Grantland Rice heads its sporting pages. In addition, scores of features of the highest grade and widest appeal are presented, while business and market page news is covered by the consolidated Press, Associated Press, Roger W. Babson, and other noted authorities.

Associated with Mr. Underhill in the active management and editorial direction of the "Evening Leader" for many years were his sons, William A. Underhill and Edwin S. Underhill, Jr., and John F. Rolfe (q.v.).


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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