The History of New York State
Biographies, Part 64

Editor, Dr. James Sullivan

Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Pam

 

HARRY A. JENNER

Born in England, in March, 1859, Harry A. Jenner, of Johnstown, is a son of Harry and Elizabeth (Hambridge) Jenner. Harry Jenner, Sr., brought his family to the United States in 1864, and located in Broadalbin, Fulton county, where he resumed his craft as glove cutter, which craft was his through all the yeas of his active career. In 1872 he removed to Toronto, Canada, and there remained until the time of his death, in 1892. Elizabeth (Hambridge) Jenner survived him, and died in 1910. Both parents

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gave to their son a home training that inculcated in him those high principles of conduct that have been his all through manhood.

Harry A. Jenner was five years of age when his father and mother brought him with them to the United States and took residence at Broadalbin, Fulton County. He received his academic instruction there and in Toronto. It was in the last named place that he mastered the trade of glove cutter, after long and painstaking tuition from his father. In Toronto he served as apprentice under this father, and in 1882, at the age of twenty-three years, returned to Fulton county to employ the craft that he had learned. With the Northrup Glove Manufacturing Company of Jamestown he secured employment as a cutter. He applied himself diligently, did not satisfy his mind with mere completion of the task in hand, but gave his thought as well to broader theory, embracing the commercial aspects of glove manufacture. His rise in the organization was steady through the years, consistent with his thorough knowledge of the trade, his grasp of theory and practice, and business ability soon manifested. In 1890 he was made foreman, and twenty-one years later, in 1911, came the opportunity to become one of the firm's proprietors. In company with James A. Northrup and Albert Rosenthal, he purchased the business from James L. Northrup. On January 28, 1922, James A. Northrup died, and Messrs. Jenner and Rosenthal purchased his holding. Then, with Mr. Jenner as senior member and Mr. Rosenthal as junior member of the firm, business was increased and brought to great prosperity. S senior partner Mr. Jenner was largely responsible for this improvement, who never ceased to admire the sagacity with which he managed all affairs connected with the enterprise. This company is known all over the United States and in Europe as the house manufacturing the finest of mocha gloves. In fact, the firm is said to have introduced the mocha glove into American trade. Gloves of cape, chamois, and kid are also made, and sold by a staff of ten salesmen on duty constantly. The firm was founded in 1869 with two or three workers; and at the present time it has one hundred and fifty, the year 'round. This was the condition of the Northrup Company when, on December 1, 1927, it was announced that the Jenner-Rosenthal partnership had been dissolved, and that thereafter Mr. Rosenthal would continue the business as sole owner, and director. The dissolution became effective at once, and the Northrup Company is now (1928) in the able hands of Mr. Rosenthal, who is allowing the policies agreed upon between Mr. Jenner and himself in years past to remain in force. Associates in the company expressed deep regret in Mr. Jenner's withdrawal, for he was by them most affectionately known in all relationships of the industry. Mr. Jenner was in that industry some forty-two years.

While in the past he has been deeply involved in the affairs of the Northrup Company, Mr. Jenner has never failed to take a leading role in the movements of civic life of Johnstown. Now that he has withdrawn from the company and feels his responsibilities lightened accordingly, he is more free than ever to assist in the development of the community, and his efforts in this direction are appreciated. A Republican, he is staunch in support of the party's principles, and possessed of a goodly influence locally, which he exercises as seems best for the welfare of the people at large, and not necessarily for the greatest benefit of the party. Under the presidents Isaac Morris and Edward Bayliss, he served as trustee of the community, and was the last chairman of the excise board. When he was trustee he was interested in good roads movements, then new, and was instrumental in introducing macadam roads. During the World War Mr. Jenner served on various boards and committees concerned with war work, and was active in the campaigns of the Liberty Loan. He is a member of the Colonial Club of Johnstown, and a communicant of the Protestant Episcopal Church.

On December 11, 1884, Mr. Jenner was united in marriage with Sarah Adeline Clark, daughter of Charles L. and Cynthia (Soule) Clark. Mrs. Clark was born in Broadalbin; Mr. Clark in Ballston, Saratoga County, New York. He was a veteran of the Civil War, and the Mexican War, having served in the Union Army with the rank of lieutenant. For many yeas he was deputy sheriff of Fulton County, and died in 1906, one year after the demise of his wife. Mr. and Mrs. Jenner had two children: 1. Lewis C., born in March, 1889, died in the influenza epidemic of 1918. 2. Anna V., born in October, 1890. Miss Jenner resides at home with her parents.

James E. KNOX

Accounted outstanding among the prominent financial and industrial figures of Johnstown, New York, James E. Knox is known here very widely for his commercial abilities, as manifest in his direction as

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vice-president of the Knox organization, manufacturers of "Knox Sparkling Gelatine," and in other connections of business character. More, he is known as a foremost citizen of the community, whose public spirit knows no compromise with lethargy or disinterestedness. Seldom, indeed, during the years in which he has been connected with the gelatine manufactory and active in communal matters, has his support been refused to projects designed for the common good of the townspeople. Mr. Knox is a busy man, but like so many busy men, finds time for all things of a constructive nature. Like his distinguished father before him, he is recognized as a benefactor to Johnstown. His father, Charles B. Knox, was by many persons of large business reputation accounted an industrial genius. It was he, in 1891, who founded the Knox Gelatine works. Assisted by his able wife, Rose M. Knox, now (1929) president of the company, he conceived the idea of the company and launched it, through investment of five thousand dollars in the defunct factory put up for sale in Johnstown. From the first, this business was a family matter. After purchase of the plant, Mr. Knox found that he had not sufficient money to engage a road salesman, bur solved the difficulty by securing a position for himself as glove salesman--he had been a knit goods salesman at the time of his marriage--then disposed of the "Sparkling Gelatine" as a side line. Frequently, Mrs. Knox, or one of the sons, would accompany Mr. Knox on a business trip; and in this manner, the family as a whole became intensively schooled in all phases of the gelatine business. Charles B. Knox was in his day in the forefront of advertising movements. He realized that while a food product must have quality to sell and be resold in the open market, its excellence must be brought before the public. One of the most spectacular advertising devices was the employment of dirigible balloons and airplanes as media, when these machines were in their infancy. It came about naturally that the factory was made into a model source for the gelatine, with good air and light and modern machines, even in anticipation of health legislation, not at the time in force. And with the death of Charles B. Knox, in 1908, the seventeen-year-old industry was so well established and so completely understood by Mrs. Knox, that its future was never for a moment in doubt. Indeed, the company has since grown admirably, and is today one of the leading factories in the Mohawk Valley. In a sense this accumulated success is a tribute to the founder, Charles B. Knox, in perpetuation of his memory. Yet if the factory were gone and there remained nothing of its history, he would still be recalled with affection and appreciation as a citizen who accomplished lasting food to the community. His parallel activities were so manifold, and productive.

James E. Knox received his earliest school training in the public schools of Johnstown, then attended St. John's School, Manlius, in 1911 he graduated from Haverford School, and in 1919 from Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut. Born in Johnstown, December 11, 1892, he returned to his native city, and to the family's business directly after the completion of studies. As a boy, he had enjoyed a comprehensive training in the manufacturing and selling aspects of the gelatine company, and now, in early manhood returned to it, his father no longer with his loved ones, most ably assisted his talented mother in its direction; and he has relieved her since of the brunt of affairs. The Knox organization at the present time employs one hundred fifty-five person the year around in its central plant in Johnstown, and has in addition two spacious establishment, one in Montreal, Canada, and another in Camden, New Jersey. At the last-named unit the bulk of Knox gelatine is packed in barrels. In Johnstown, as noted, the plant gives employment to a number of hands, and is to a large degree a factor for the city's industrial position and maintenance, serving thereby as more then a means of profit to the owners of the company.

Soon after the United States entered the World War, James e. Knox went into the army as a private. For one and one-half years he was in the aviation corps, and at the time of his discharge held the commission of lieutenant. Upon returned to Johnstown he resumed the course of his career where he had abandoned it for his country's cause. A Republican, he is loyal to the [principles of the party, and in local political circles wields a considerable power, when he chooses, quietly, to most advantageous result. Fraternally, he is affiliated with the Free and Accepted masons, in which order he holds the thirty-second degree, being a member of Gloversville Consistory, ancient accepted Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. He is a member of two clubs: the Colonial and Sir William Johnson Country; and is a communi-

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cant of the Presbyterian Church of Johnstown.

On February 7, 1914, at Orange, New Jersey, James E. Knox was united in marriage with Eleanor Williams Eckfeldt, daughter of Edward H. and Eleanor (Williams) Eckfeldt; and they are the parents of children; 1. Mary Elizabeth, born August 26, 1916. 2. John Brooks, born July 21, 1918. 3. Nora, born May 7, 1922. 4. Rose Ann, born July 22, 1926.

FRANK A. PATTEN

Frank A. Patten, president and treasurer of the Liberty Dressing Company of Gloversville, Fulton County, came to this country with his parents when but a young lad, so that with the exception of three yeas' study in the local schools of his birthplace he received the whole of his education and training here. That this training has developed to the fullest extent his abilities and executive qualities is evidenced by the fact that he has attained a commanding position in the glove trade and is the head of one of the largest leather concerns in Gloversville.

Mr. Patten was born in Yeovil, which is one of the centers of glove manufacturing in England, on April 18, 1875, the son of William H. and Kate (Horsey) Patten. The former was a glove cutter and finisher by trade, and in 1884 came to Gloversville, where he successfully operated a glove finishing shop until his death in august, 1905, at the age of fifty-four years. His wife, the mother of Mr. Patten, died in Gloversville, September, 1889.

The early schooling which Frank A. Patten had received in England was supplemented in the public and grammar schools of Gloversville, and at the conclusion of his studies he entered his father's glove-finishing shop, where he continued for four years. he then went into the grocery business with his father-in-law, Henry Lenz, in which he successfully engaged for almost a score of years, selling out in 1919. In this latter year he became associated with John ruff and Arthur K. Hamm, in establishing the Liberty Dressing Company, of which concern Mr. Patten is president, treasurer and manager; Mr. Ruff, vice-president and G. H. Mayer, secretary. The Liberty Dressing Company is one of the largest concerns of its kind in Gloversville, specializing in high-grade glove and garment leather. It employs about fifty people.

In community affairs, Mr. Patten has ever been to the fore. In 1922 and 1923 he served as mayor of Gloversville, and prior to receiving that honor from his fellow-townsmen, held the offices of supervisor and alderman for t two years, respectively. He was president of the Gloversville Chamber of Commerce and the Kiwanis Club, during the year 1924, and vice-president of the eccentric club, and is active in other social organizations. He is affiliated with Gloversville Lodge, no. 423, Free and Accepted Masons, of which he is Past Master; is past District Deputy of the Nineteenth Masonic District; a member of the Consistory, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, and a member of Cyprus Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. His religious affiliations are with the Lutheran Church.

In October, 1880, Mr. Patten married Martha Lenz, daughter of Henry and Margaret (Kinkle) Lenz, who came from Germany to this country with their parents as children. Mrs. Patten was born in Stone Arabia, in August, 1874. Her father was a well-known cheese-maker of that town, and he owned the grocery store in Gloversville, which Mr. Patten operated for some nineteen years. He died in October, 1919, and was survived by his widow and five children.

WILLIAM T. JAMES

Banker, financier, philosopher, William T. James attributes the fulfillments of his career to his friends. These friends, on the other hand, cannot agree to this, saying that his successes have depended not on them, but on himself entirely. When asked as to the manner in which he has secured and retained the wealth of friendship that is his, Mr. James on one occasion said: "Honesty of purpose and integrity attract friends; another of man's chief assets is a smile; he that gives can smile; and in the giving, we receive."

An outstanding leader in banking, civic, fraternal and religious activities of Flushing, Long Island, and president of the Queens County Savings Bank of Flushing, Mr. James holds a position to which men have aspired. His bank, founded in 1859, is a reflection of the man. With deposits in excess of $18,000,000, it is enjoying a healthy, steady growth, and, like its president, makes new friends daily. Under his leadership the bank's personnel has caught the spirit that belongs to him, and with caution,

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careful dealing and progressive interest, imbued with the desire to give service, insures the institution's continued expansion. Mr. James became treasurer of the bank in 1900. In 1913 he was elected its president, and now (1928), at the age of seventy-eight years, continues worthily in the chair. His appearance is that of a man of fifty-five, and beyond question many of his most fruitful years lie in the future.

Honorable member of an honorable family, Mr. James' ancestors were among the earliest settlers on the continent. Baptist, they migrated from England during those distressing and oppressive times of 1644, and took residence in Boston. There they encountered additional troubles of religious character with the Puritans, and this led to the family's removal to providence, Rhode Island, with Roger Williams. William R. James (1), grandfather of Mr. James, manufactured the first cast-iron cooking stove. He maintained showrooms for disposal of the ware in New York City, and has his residence in New Rochelle. William T. James (1) married Hannah Perry, cousin of commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, the hero of Lake Erie; and his son, Albert T. James, married Louise E. Coutant, of an old French Huguenot family.

William T. James, only child of Albert R. and Louise E. (Coutant) James, was born on the family estate in New Rochelle, January 2, 1850. In 1858 his father removed with the family to Minnesota, becoming one of the first settlers in that State. William T. James received his education in the public school most accessible to him, and at the age of twenty-one, in 1871, went to work in a drugstore owned and operated by his uncle, Samuel G. Welling, at New Rochelle. That same year he came to Flushing, going into partnership with John Hepburn, opening a drugstore under the firm name of Hepburn & James, at No. 103 Main Street. This was successful from its inception--as indeed have been all the ventures touched by Mr. James.

At the death of A. K. P. Dennett, his father-in-law, Mr. James attained to the control of his extensive ice holdings. He owned and operated Kissena Lake in this connection, and supplied most of the ice used in the city of Flushing. Mr. James operated this business for eleven years. In 1903 he purchased the flushing "Times," publishing the paper for two years, hen sold it and associated with the Queens County Savings Bank, this connection enduring through the succeeding years. Mr. James is active in the Free and Accepted Masons, in which order he is Past Master of cornucopia Lodge, No. 563, having served in office in 1881-82. In 1900 he was made Grand Sword Bearer of the Grand Lodge of New York State. For fifty-seven years, he has been a member of the First Baptist Church, and for thirty-five years has served the board of trustees as its chairman. Mr. James was elected village treasurer in 1891, and served in that office until 1897. When Flushing became a pert of Greater New York City, he acted as alderman for six years. As alderman he fought valiantly for construction of the Queensboro Bridge, over the East River, in the interest of Flushing, and under his leadership the necessary votes were more then secured.

Mr. James has lone been an enthusiast of photography, and the lens has give him a wealth of memories comprising beautiful scenes and views of old-time Flushing, and its people. In his political affiliations, Mr. James is a member of the Republican Party. He is a director of the Young Men's Christian Association and a member of the Kiwanis Club of Flushing.

It was not long after the commencement of his residence in Flushing that Mr. James married Grace Dennett, a daughter of A. K. P. and Jane (Smith) Dennett, her father having been an influential man of large business interests, well remembered in Flushing. Of this union were born two children, now living; 1. Mrs. Elizabeth (James) Nash. 2. Jane Louise.

PERCY ARTHUR RIPTON

After serving his community ina number of the minor public offices and being selected to act as mayor of Johnstown, Fulton County, for the years of 1922 and 1923, Percy Arthur Ripton, one of the prominent merchants and foremost citizens of that community, was again elected in 1927 to fill the mayoralty chair during 1928 and 1929.

Mr. Ripton was born in Johnstown, July 15, 1878, the son of James Hunter and Gertrude (Heever) Ripton, the former the owner of a grocery store in the same location as that now occupied by his son's business. Previous to his mercantile experience, Mr. Ripton's father was for a short time a glove cutter in one of the local factories, after which he was for seven years postmaster of Johnstown. The grocery business was established by out subject's uncle, William A. Ripton, who is now a resident of Putnam County, Florida, where he is engaged

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on the raising of grape fruit and oranges, having retired from active business. The Ripton family is perhaps one of the oldest in Fulton County, the original member having come to this country from the county of Derbyshire, England, about one hundred and four years ago, and settling in Johnstown.

The early education of Mr. Ripton was obtained in the public and grammar schools of Johnstown, after which he entered his father's business and made himself thoroughly acquainted with every detail of the grocery business. When he attained man's estate he showed such an interest in community affairs that he was soon selected for various public offices. He acted on the Board of Supervisors for several terms and occupied a number of minor positions in the service of the public, finally being chosen as mayor in the election of 1921. He served his two years of office with credit to himself and to the community and was again elected, on the Democratic ticket, in 1927. Mr. Ripton is an enthusiastic Mason and is of the thirty-second degree, ancient Accepted Scottish Rite. He is a member of the Colonial Club and takes a deep interest in all movements for the betterment and advancement of the community. He is affiliated with the First Methodist Episcopal Church, and is prominent in all projects fathered by that organization.

On January 21, 1911, Mr. Ripton married Mary Jeanette Peters, daughter of Samuel L. and Mary Jeanette (Fraley) Peters. Mr. and Mrs. Ripton are the parents of two children: 1. Gertrude Anna, born November 1, 1922. 2. Mary Jeanette, born March 7, 1924.

JOHN T. MORRISON

One of Johnstown's most distinguished sons, John T. Morrison is one of the best-known men in the legal profession in the State of New York, in addition to which he is a leader in the civic affairs of this community and an author of a number of historical publications of superior literary style. Mr. Morrison has never relaxed his activities in the field of public welfare and has devoted a great part of his career to championing the interests of his fellow-citizens and by his energetic and enthusiastic support of all projects for advancement, has been an active factor in the development of this city and vicinity. His career is a splendid example of rightly directed ambition and unfaltering concentration upon the attainment of his goal, as he started his life as a newspaper reporter and, during the years that he was engaged in this capacity, read law in his spare hours and studied diligently, being rewarded for his persistence by his admission o the bar of New York State.

Mr. Morrison was born in Johnstown, April 25, 1870, son of Thomas and Mary (Concanon) Morrison, both natives of Ireland, who came to the United States as young people and settled in Johnstown. Thomas Morrison was actively identified with the leather business for many years. The Morrison family is of Scotch-Irish antecedents, ancestors having immigrated to Ireland from Scotland.

John Thomas Morrison was educated in the public schools of Gloversville, graduating from high school, after which he entered the journalistic field and became a reporter on the Johnstown "Daily Republican." He also became identified with political affairs, serving in the capacity of the last clerk of the village, and when the city was incorporated he became its first city clerk, serving until 1896, when he resigned. That year, in the exciting presidential rivalry between Bryan and McKinley, he traveled through this state, supporting William Jennings Bryan. Since then, his political activities have included his participation as candidate for State Assemblyman from this district and also as State Senator, both times on the Democratic ticket, almost winning the last named contest, and probably would have done so if the district did not poll such a regular, preponderant Republican vote as to make it impossible for a Democratic candidate to carry an election. Although deeply interested in politics, and serving as president of the Board of Elections for many years, Mr. Morrison has carefully avoided public life as his career. While acting as a reporter, he read law, and continued this practice in his free time after 1896, when he became traveling salesman for a local glove company, and also while representing the F. J. & G R. R. Company as traveling passenger agent. He was later enabled to enter the Albany Law School, completing his course and receiving his degree of Bachelor of Laws in 1906. Admitted to the bar, he returned to Johnstown and opened an independent office for the practice of his profession, meeting with success and winning the confidence and approval of all by his exceptional knowledge and brilliant ability, serving during the administration of William Sohmer as transfer tax attorney. A thorough and keen student of law, he is also possessed of an unusual command of language, and his forensic talents have brought him prominence in the courts of law.

In fraternal circles, Mr. Morrison is a popu-

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lar member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Loyal Order of Moose, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Royal Arcanum. He is a leader in the Johnstown Bar Association, and a member of the Johnstown Historical Society. His "hobby" is local history, he being a recognized authority on Fulton County history, and there is probably no one better versed in the early lore of this vicinity. To this connection, he has contributed many scholarly articles to local publications, in addition to publishing a "Life of Sir William Johnson," a "Biography of Major Nicholas Stoner," and a "Life of Joseph Brant or Thayendenegea," sketches which evidence a consummate knowledge of the early history of this interesting section and valuable researches made with care and discrimination. In his church affiliations, he is a member of St. John's Church. During the World War, Mr. Morrison was one of the foremost "four-minute" men in the county. He was always in demand to address meeting in behalf of various war-time activities, and by his eloquence and persuasive power, example and influence, contributed invaluable aid to the great cause for democracy. At the close of the war, he was chairman of the Plan and Scope Committee for the immense welcome home demonstration held for the returning Fulton County service men, the largest event of its kind ever held in Johnstown. When the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary celebration of the founding of Tryon county was held in 1922, he was instrumental in its success by acting as historian of the pageant.

John Thomas Morrison married, March 12, 1912, at Gloversville, Ruth Georgia Brennan, daughter of John and Fanny (Angell) Brennan, of Saratoga Springs, and this union has been blessed by four children: 1. John Thomas, Jr., born September 21, 1913, died October 25, 1920. 2. William R., born November 24, 1915. 3. Mary E., born August 4, 1917. 4. George R., born March 4, 1920.

 

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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