The History of New York State
Biographies, Part 66

Editor, Dr. James Sullivan

Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Pam



As a financier, business man, public servant, serving now, 1928, as postmaster of Corning, New York, Benjamin W. Wellington has since reaching young manhood identified himself with almost every constructive phase of advance in this community, and as such is numbered among its foremost citizens, held in the highest esteem by all who know him, and is, indeed, a worthy son of one who during his lifetime was an outstanding figure in Steuben County, greatly beloved, highly revered and a potent factor in the progress of Corning and its environs.

Benjamin W. Wellington, son of Quincy Winthrop Wellington, a review of whom precedes this biography, and Matilda Briggs

Page 366

(Wickham) Wellington was born in Corning, New York, March 23, 1861. Completing his education in the public schools of his native city he matriculated at Harvard University and was graduated from this institution in 1883. Returning immediately to Corning, he started in the banking business with his father and subsequently was made vice-president, which office he held until his father's death, when the bank was taken over by the Corning Trust Company.

Almost as soon as he returned from college, Mr. Wellington began to take an active interest in politics, identifying with the Republican Party. He was twice elected supervisor of Corning, but during his second term Corning was incorporated into a city and that terminated his office. He was the people's choice for their second mayor of the city; served on the board of water commissioners and under its direction over two hundred thousand dollars was spent by the board for enlargement of the pumping station, a new reservoir, and extension of mains; and one hundred thousand dollars was expended for the erection of a dyke to protect the north side of Corning, the dyke having been erected while he was mayor; and he appointed the commission of which he later became treasurer. He has served on city Republican committees and has been a delegate to many State conventions, finally yielding to the insistent urging of the people to accept the office of postmaster of Corning. He subsequently received the appointment from President Harding, February 1, 1923, and is still serving. He is a thirty-second degree Mason, a life-member of the Corning Club, president of the Corning Country Club, and the Harvard Club of New York City.

On September 23, 1886, Benjamin W. Wellington married Anna Ballard Robinson, and they are the parents of four children: 1. Gertrude, who married Stanwood Edward Flitner of Englewood, New Jersey. 2. Catherine, a graduate of Vassar who was vice-president of her class, is a Phi Beta Kappa and was secretary of the Vassar endowment, later studied at Columbia University, at which latter institution she took advanced courses in English and Psychology. 3. Beatrice, who married Ralph Edward Ogden of New York City. 4. Quincy Wellington (2), who gradated from the University of Michigan and is now employed by Stevens and Wood in Michigan. Mr. and Mrs. Wellington are members of the Episcopal faith and attend Christ Church of this denomination in Corning, where for many years Mr. Wellington served as vestryman.


Hon. William Walker Clark, after twenty-three years of service as Justice of the Supreme Court of New York, representing the 7th Judicial district, retires, this year, 1928, leaving behind him a record of emulation.

The American progenitor of the Clark family of which Justice Clark is a representative was Noah Clark, a native of England who came to this country settling first in Colchester, New London County, Connecticut, after which he removed with his family to Oneida County, New York, having secured a tract of wild land in this section which he reclaimed, and engaged in agricultural pursuits the remainder of his lifetime. He had a son Martin, of whom further.

Martin Clark, son of Noah Clark engaged in farming and like his father followed this occupation until his death, September 7, 1870. He married Wealthy Smith, who died in 1858, and from this union was born a son, De Marcus, of whom further. Martin Clark in politics was identified with the Whigs until the Republican Party was organized when he became a member of the latter.

De Marcus Clark, father of Justice Clark, was a son of Martin and Wealthy (Smith) Clark, and was born and reared on his father's farm. Then with two of his uncles he engaged in the manufacture of cotton cloth in Oneida County. The little village that grew up around the factory gained the name of Clark's Mills. A man of superior business acumen, De Marcus Clark throughout his lifetime commanded the respect and esteem of all who knew him. He was a strong adherent of the Republican Party. He married, at Utica, Mary Ella Walker, a daughter of Rev. Warham and Jane (Davis) Walker. Mrs. Clark was born in Utica in 1831 and died in 1860. Mr. Clark died January 7, 1871. Mr. and Mrs. Clark were the parents of a son William Walker, the subject of this review, and two daughters.

William Walker Clark, son of De Marcus and Mary Ella (Walker) Clark, was born at Elgin, Illinois, February 14, 1858, and received his early education in the district school of Clark's Mills, supplementing this with a

Page 367

three year course at Whitestown Seminary at Whitesboro, New York, after which he matriculated at Hamilton college, at Clinton and in June, 1878, graduated from the latter institution with the degree of Bachelor of Laws. In May, 1879, he removed to Wayland, new York, where he established himself in the practice of his profession, with few books for equipment but with an indefatigable determination to succeed and to overcome every obstacle which might impede this progress. His first fee was seventy-five cents paid by Josiah Gray, and his first law suit was in defense of an old rag peddler, fee three dollars. From this meager beginning, Justice Clark as consistently forged ahead until today he is among the leaders in the legal fraternity of Western New York State, and universally conceded to be one of the strongest lawyers and most distinguished jurists in the Empire State. Justice Clark in spite of his public offices, for these many years has retained his office in Wayland, and is prominently identified with the life of that community; was an organizer of the First National Bank of Wayland, its president since its inception, and has always given his earnest support to any movement which has for its aim the welfare and advancement of his home community.

A staunch Republican in his political affiliations, Justice Clark early became active in the affairs of his chosen party. In 1892 he was elected district attorney and served in this capacity three successive terms, or until 1902, when he was elected county judge of Steuben County. After serving four years in this capacity, during which time he had made an admirable record for himself, he resigned and was appointed by Governor Higgins to the supreme Court of new York, representing the 7th Judicial District, the vacancy caused by the death of Justice John F. Parkhurst. In November of the same year he was elected for a full term of fourteen years, and has been serving in this capacity up to December 31, 1928, when he retired because of the age limit, Justice Clark having attained his seventieth birthday. The last none months of his official life he has been an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Fourth District. Justice Clark is a member of the American Bar Association; the New York State Bar Association; and the Steuben County Bar Society; his fraternal affiliation is with Warren Patchin Lodge, No. 883, Free and Accepted Masons; Wayland Lodge, No. 176, Independent Order of Odd Fellows; and Wayland Camp, No. 10999, Modern Woodmen of America.

On September 18, 1879, Justice Clark married Hattie M. Hill. Mrs. Clark was born in Stetson, Penobscot County, Maine, June 25, 2857, a daughter of General Jonathan A. and Lucy (Richards) Hill, the former a soldier and officer in the Civil War. Mrs. Clark, who is a woman of culture and refinement, was educated at Wyklam Hall Seminary, Toronto, Canada, in 1875, and at Cazenovia Seminary at Cazenovia, New York. To Mr. and Mrs. Clark was born one child, William H., whose birth occurred July 2, 1880, and he died February, 1910. The distinctive office which he held so ably for almost a quarter of a century indicates not only the profundity of Justice Clark's legal knowledge but also the esteem placed upon him by his fellow-men.


Charles Edgar Welch was born in Watertown, New York, March 27, 1852, a son of Thomas Bramwell and Lucy M. (Hutt) Welch, and acquired his early education in the local schools of the period. His father was a successful dentist and under him the son studied that science, beginning the practice of the profession in Vineland, New Jersey, in 1872. Three years before that year the elder Welch, with the aid of his some and other members of the family, pressed out and bottled a small quantity of grape juice unfermented. It was a belief and hope that this wine, by scientific treatment in heating, could be kept sweet and that it could be substituted in the communion services of their church for the fermented wine that was used. Their experiment was successful and a new industry was created, yet many year were required to overcome the suspicion and prejudice of clergy and laity alike. Both son and father continued to practice dentistry during their experimentation with grapes, but the younger man gradually took over his father's interest and by the year 1875 was conducting it independently. He was then pressing and bottling a few tons of grapes annually and a hand press was all that was necessary for the work. Sales were nominal and the time and money expended seemed out of proportion to the results commercially, yet his faith in the eventual financial success of the undertaking was firm and he kept at his task.

Determined to broaden the scope of his enterprise, he began the publication of a small monthly publication, devoted largely to grape juice but containing a considerable amount of

Page 368

entertaining reading matter. It was named "The Acorn," and he was its compositor, printer, editor and publisher. This publication was followed, in 1880, with "The Progress," which announced in the late fall issue the pressing of ten tons of grapes. In the following year the two families moved to Philadelphia, where they opened a dental supply house, but continued the grape juice industry. In 1886 the dental supply business was sold for $12,000 and Dr. Charles Edgar Welch returned to Vineland and resumed his dental practice. In 1889 he decided to add to his activities, and, with the financial assistance of his father, began the publication of "The African News," devoted to the work of the Methodist Church in African missionary work, an enterprise that, in 1891, was taken over by others. The grape juice business was slowly growing and he decided to put all his energy and resources into it, a decision which resulted in the organization of the Welch Grape Juice Company, which was incorporated and of which he was the active head during the remainder of his life. A small plant was built in Vineland, and his father bought a share in the business. It still expanded and it became evident that the small acreage in grapes at Vineland was insufficient for its demand. A removal was then made to Watkins, New York, and again, in 1897, to Westfield, where the first year's product came from the pressing of three hundred tons of grapes. The fame of the product became widespread, and the factory at Westfield was enlarged to many times its original capacity. From time to time additional plants were erected, as follows: Pennsylvania, in 1911; Canada in 1914; Michigan in 1919; and Arkansas in 1923. Production increased until a peak of nearly 17,000 tons of grapes were pressed in one year, while the manufacture of jellies and preserves still further augmented the business, all of which came from the initial bottling of twelve bottles of grape juice in New Jersey.

In addition tot his executive positions of president and general manager of The Welch Grape Juice Company, he was widely and heavily interested in other organizations. He was president of the Ajax Coupling Company; president of the Grape Belt National Bank; trustee of the Chautauqua Women's College; member of the Executive Board of Foreign Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which meets monthly in New York City, and other bodies. He was a delegate in 1921 to the Methodist Ecumenical Conference, which met in London, England, and a delegate tot he Methodist General Conference in the years 1908, 1912, 1916, 1920, and 1924. For twenty-seven years he was a trustee of the Westfield Methodist Church and for twenty-five years superintendent of its Sunday School; for six years he served as chairman of the Chautauqua County Committee for the Prevention of Tuberculosis and served six terms as mayor of the village of Westfield, New York. His death occurred in St. Petersburg, Florida, January 6, 1926.

Charles Edgar Welch married twice. First, to Jennie Ross, of Burlington, New Jersey, November 12, 1879, deceased March 12, 1884. The children of this marriage are: 1. Edgar Thomas, born January 22, 1881. In 1902 he married Grace Harris, who was deceased in 1921, and they were the parents of Charles Edgar (2), Thomas Harris, Paul Roland, and Jean. He married Myrtle Warren in 1922, and they are the parents of Ross Warren, born in 1924. 2. Paul Ross, born July 209, 1882; married Mary Babcock, in 1914, and they are the parents of Barbara, Martha and Ann.

Charles Edgar Welch married (second) Julia Frailey, of Philadelphia, June 16, 1885, and the children of this marriage are: 1. John Frailey, born October 26, 1886. 2. Jennie Ross, born April 17, 1888; married Arthur L. Dewar. 3. William Taylor, born March 21, 1890; married Ruth Van Leuven.

Dr. Welch will live permanently in the records of commercial achievement in America, as well as in the hearts of a multitude of sincere friends whom he made and retained during a long and useful career. He was a productive giant and a wholesome Christian gentleman, a kind friend and an upright public-spirited citizen.


In addition to having built up a lucrative law practice in Wayland, New York, Walter N. Thwing is also prominently identified with social and fraternal circles; is a leader in educational affairs contributing in no small way to the progress and welfare of the community; and is a present or past office in many organizations in which are headed up constructive activities of the village. Yet in spite of these various phases of life he still finds it possible to devote a great deal of time and effort to what might be called his principal avocation, boy welfare work.

The American progenitor of the Thwing family was Benjamin, born in England in 1619. He came in the "Susan & Ellen" as an apprentice to Ralph Hudson to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1613, and later became one of the proprietors of Watertown and Concord, Massachusetts. He married Deborah, who may have come on the same ship, but presumably later. Both were members of the Boston First Church. His grandson, Nathaniel, born in 17903, became a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in 1736; was commissioned a lieutenant in Boston in 1743, of which Hon. Jacob Wendell was colonel. He served as major and captain of the Third company of the Eighth Massachusetts Regiment under Colonel John Choate, against Louisburg, and was n February 18, 1755, commissioned a lieutenant-colonel of a Regiment of Foot whereof Richard Gridley, Esquire, was colonel, being a part of the forces raised to protect His Majesty's territories from further encroachments of the French at Crown Point. In 1752 he went to Frankfort on Kennebec to open the county for settlement for the Plymouth Company who owned the land. He died April 18, 1760, and was buried in King's Chapel burying ground.

Nathaniel Thwing, his son, was born June 25, 1731, in Boston, went to Kennebec during 1756 and remained there alone the entire winter seeing no human being from the next day after Thanksgiving to the following spring. In 1763 he brought his family from Boston, he having acquired several thousand acres of land along the Kennebec, one hundred acres of which around Thwing's Point remain in the Thwing family. Benedict Arnold's expedition halted at Thwing's Point, some members calling at Thwing's house. He was one of the first overseers of Bowdoin College, was appointed by Governor John Hancock one of the Justices of Inferior Court of Common Pleas in County of Lincoln, October 6, 1781, and also justice of the peace by him for seven years; was county treasurer in 1792.

John Thwing, father of Walter N. Thwing, was born in Woolwich, Maine, August 20, 1847, and died August 5, 1919. He was an agriculturist throughout his entire lifetime. He married Henrietta Lilly, born March 7, 1848; she is now a resident of Bath, Maine. To Mr. and Mrs. Thwing were born; 1. Mabel, a resident of Bath, Maine. 2. Evelyn, who married Frank Decker, a resident of Greenwood, Massachusetts. 3. Walter N., of whom further.

Walter N. Thwing, son of John and Henrietta (Lilly) Thwing, was born in Woolwich, Maine, October 25, 1883. His preliminary education was obtained in the district schools of Woolwich, and at Maine Wesleyan Seminary at Kent's Hall, Maine. This was supplemented with two years of special courses at Bowdoin and with a law course at Syracuse University, which he completed with the degree of Bachelor of Laws, in 1910. While at Syracuse he was a ember of Battery A, field Artillery, New York National Guard. After graduating from the University he accepted a clerkship with the firm of Gannon, Spencer & Michell, corporation lawyers at Syracuse, and remained with this organization from 1910 until December, 1915, when he moved to Brockport, to become claim agent and local attorney for the Buffalo, Lockport & Rochester Railroad, which position he held until January, 1919, when he removed to Wayland and established himself in private practice. Although a general practitioner, his judgment is sought frequently on account of his early training in corporation law, when companies in and around Wayland are incorporating.

Mr. Thwing is a Republican in his political choice and although he has never sought public office he is very active in the affairs of his chosen party. In Syracuse he was County Committeeman of the 17th Ward; has been alternate delegate to judicial conventions on several occasions since coming to Steuben County; is ex-president of the Wayland Chamber of Commerce; one of the organizers, ex-president and a director of the Rotary club at Wayland; delegate to Rotary International at Minneapolis in 1928; organizer and president of the Wayland Community Rod and Gun Club; a member of the Steuben County Bat Association; was a member of Beta Pi, Beta Chapter at Bowdoin and of Epsilon Chapter at Syracuse. His fraternal affiliations are with Warren Patchin Lodge, No. 883, Free and Accepted Masons of Wayland; and Wayland Lodge, No. 176, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, having been previously a Past Grand Master of Westminster Lodge, No. 778, and of Syracuse. His religious preference is given to the Methodist faith.

On January 4, 1910, at Otego, Otsego County, New York, Walter N. Thwing married Lena Mary Burdick, a daughter of Sherman and Della May (Wilsey) Burdick, the former a veterinarian by profession, and a political leader in his section, having served as supervisor of the town, justice of the peace, and county committeeman for many years. Mrs.

Page 310

Thwing is a direct descendant of Phillippe Maton Wiltsee, who came to New Amsterdam in 1623 on the "New Netherlands," with his wife, Sophia Ter Bosch, and two children. Phillippe has pervasively served as a soldier under Prince Maurice of Holland in the battle of Turnhout in 1597. In America he was one of the eighteen families sent to Fort Orange, where he assisted in building Fort Orange. The family returned to Manhattan in 1626. In 1632, Phillippe with his sons, Henrick and Pierre, went to Swaaenendael and the father perished at the hands of the Indians, the two sons being saved and an attempt being made by Mohawk Indians to return them to their family. They were captured by the Mohican Indians and taken as prisoners to Connecticut River canton, and the following spring given tot eh Jesuit Fathers at Quebec, where they were kept for a year. In 1639 they were taken as servants by Fathers Jean de Brebeuf and Joseph Charrmanot on a mission to Nenter Indians in the Niagara country. Here the boys escaped and followed the water courses of the State back to the Hudson River and their relatives. Thereafter Hendrick often served as interpreter to the Indians and the French.

Mrs. Thwing, like her husband, is a vital force in the religious, political, social and educational life of Wayland. She is a graduate of Otego High School, class of 1902, Oneonta Normal School, class of 1906, and of Syracuse University, class of 1909, Bachelor of Philosophy. She was a member of Alpha Gamma Delta Fraternity at Syracuse University, and later, during 1914-15, served as president of the Pan-Hellenic Association of Syracuse University; for the past five years she has been president of the Lowell Literary Club at Wayland; is a member and Past Matron of the Order of Eastern Star, No. 449, of Wayland; is a member of the official board of the Methodist Church in Wayland, and is a very active in Sunday School work. She is a staunch Republican in her political affiliations; is a member of the Republican County committee; has been a delegate to the Republican State conventions, and now, 1928, is a ember of the Steuben County Campaign Committee for the coming Presidential election. Since 1920 Mrs. Thwing has worked in the law office of her husband, having filled a clerkship some years ago. In 1928 some portion of her time has been given to acting as local reporter for several newspapers of Western New York. Mr. and Mrs. Thwing are the parents of one child, Richard Nathaniel, born December 17, 1916, at Brockport, New York.

Mr. Thwing's recreation is found in out-of-door sports and amateur photograph, but as has been previously stated, his chief interest is in his avocation, boy welfare work. While at Syracuse, he organized the Knights of the Seven Stars, a club for boys, and since coming to Wayland has devoted much time to coaching the track team and football team connected with the local high school; through his efforts the Rotary Club of Wayland is forming a recreation center for the boys of the community, a project which, when culminated, will mean much for the morale of the town. Mr. Thwing is constantly devising plans to develop along constructive lines the youth of his community, and as such a leader is worthy of emulation, for he is, indeed, a type of which any place may well be proud to boast.


For yours one of the foremost and most highly respected citizens of the Mohawk Valley region of New York State, and of the city of Amsterdam, New York, where he ha spent the later years of his life, has been Charles Franklin Wait, prominent as a farmer and as a veteran of the Civil War. He was twenty yeas old when that great conflict between the States started, and he saw active service and rendered much valuable aid to his country in the cause of the Union. Since 1896 he has been living retired in Amsterdam, where he is pleasantly situated in a comfortable home and is highly admired by his fellow-citizens.

Mr. Wait was born in Galway, Saratoga County, New York, on February 5, 1841, son of Reuben and Ruby Wait, the former of whom was a farmer and business man and a descendant of an old an distinguished family. Charles F. Wait received his early education in the public schools of Galway, his birthplace, and while he was still very young began to render important assistance on his father's farm. Thus reared to a hardy sort of youth, he was the better prepared to meet an emergency when the Civil War broke out and split this great nation into two rival camps. He was then only twenty years of age, but in the following year, when he attained his majority, he took an active part in the effort to preserve the Union. It was on August 26, 1862, that he enlisted his services in behalf of the North, and went to the front as a private in Company I of the 155th Regiment of New

Page 371

York Volunteer Infantry, with which he continued to serve until the end of the war. He was mustered out of the service on June 28, 1865.

When he completed his military service he went to California, where for five years he was employed by the Western Union Telegraph Company as an operator. In 1870 he returned to his old home in Saratoga County, bought a farm, and conducted it successfully until 1896. In that year he sold the farm, and came to Amsterdam to live. Here he has been a resident ever since that time, and has come to be most highly regarded by his many acquaintances and friends.

It is only natural that a man who has so nobly served his country should be deeply interested in military mattes, as Mr. Wait is interested in them. He served for nine years on the staff of the commanding general of the Patriarch's Militant, in which he held the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and how has a retired commission of the Amsterdam post of the Grand Army of the Republic, in all of whose affairs he was most active. This post, which at one time had three hundred members, now has but ten. Mr. Wait, among his other activities, also is in fraternal and social organizations, being a member of the Free and Accepted Mason, in which he is affiliated with the Amsterdam Chapter, No. 81, of the Royal Arch Masons; with the Knights Templar, holds the thirty-second degree, and is identified with the Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine; the Artisans, of Amsterdam, Lodge No. 84, of the Free and Accepted Masons; the Valley of Albany consistory of the Scottish Rite; and Oriental Temple, Ancient Arabic order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. He is also a member of the Welcome Lodge, in which he has been admitted as an honorary participant in its activities. He is a Past Grand of the Galway Lodge, No. 453, of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of Galway, New York; Past Chief Patriarch of Star Encampment, No. 33, of the same order, of Amsterdam; Past District Deputy Grand Patriarch; and Past Captain of Canton, Amsterdam, No. 20, also of the Odd Fellows.

On august 15, 1865, Charles Franklin Wait married Alice H. Loomis, who died in 1903, daughter of Gilbert L. Loomis, also a member of one of the old families in that part of the State. Mr. and Mrs. Wait has a daughter, Alice Delia, born October 2, 1871, who married (first) Dewitt A Devendorf, of Fort Hunter, and to them as born a daughter, Dorothy, who married H. Stanley Alstrom, of Springfield, Massachusetts. By marriages in this family, Mr. Wait has two great-grandchildren, namely, Virginia Alstrom and Robert Stanley Alstrom. Mrs. Devendorf subsequently married J. S. Burt, and is now living in Oakland, California.


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

HTML by Debbie Axtman

You are the Visitor to this USGenNet Safe-Site™ Since September 5, 2004.


[Index][Book Index][NY][AHGP]