The History of New York State
Biographies, Part 70

Editor, Dr. James Sullivan

Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Pam


Page 388


A prominent trial attorney of Albany, and a member of the well-known law firm of Toohey & Noonan, was born March 21, 1892, at Mechanicsville, New York. Mr. Noonan is the son of Michael J. and Mary Ann (Higgins) Noonan; and a grandson of James and Margaret Noonan, who were born in County Cork, Ireland, and who later returned there to spend the rest of their lives after having lived for some years in the United States. Michael J. Noonan, the father, was born February 28, 1858, in County Cork, Ireland, and came to the United States when four years of age. He was for many years department manager for the West Virginia Paper & Pulp Company, at Mechanicsville. He is now retired from commercial enterprise. Mary Ann (Higgins) Noonan, the mother, native of Mechanicsville, died there in 1898. They were the parents of five children: 1. Elizabeth, who married William H. Cunningham, of Mechanicsville. 2. John, who resides in Mechanicsville, an inspector of the New York State Conservation Commission. 3. Mary, who married Dennis Nolan, and with him resides in Troy, New York. 4. James Martin, of whom further. 5. Marguerite, now deceased.

James Martin Noonan received his early education in the public schools of the community in which he was born, and was graduated from the Mechanicsville High School. Shortly after the completion of these courses of study he pursued his professional training, entering the Albany Law College and graduating from there in 1917, when he received his degree of Bachelor of Laws. He was formally admitted to practice before the New York State bar in January, 1919, and in the following month he established a private practice of the law in Mechanicsville. This proved to b quite a successful venture, and in 1920 and 12922 he filled the office of corporation counsel for the city of Mechanicsville. He gave up his practice there upon the expiration of his term of office, and, journeying to New York City, became associated with the law firm of Griggs, Baldwin & Baldwin, at No. 27 Pine Street. He remained there until January 1, 1927, at which time he resigned to form a partnership with Henry F. Toohey. This firm has offices at No. 109 State Street, in Albany. They are specializing as trial lawyers, and have already begun to build up an enviable reputation for their ability at the bar.

During the period of the emergency created by the entry of the Untied States into the World War, Mr. Noonan enlisted, July 8, 1917, as a private in the infantry; was promoted to sergeant, and was assigned to Company H, of the 303d Infantry. He was picked for the Third Officers' Training School at Camp Devens. On June 1, 1918, he was commissioned second lieutenant, United States Infantry, at Camp Lee, Virginia, where he was re-assigned to duty with the 73d Infantry. This unit was later made a part of the 12th Division, stationed at Camp Devens, at which point Lieutenant Noonan remained until January 31, 1919, when he was permitted to resign, with honor, from military service. since his return he has taken in increasingly active interest in civilian affairs, and he has been active, as well, in the club and social life of his world. He is a member of the Beta Chapter, Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity of Union University; Mechanicsville Lodge, No. 1403, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; and Mechanicsville Council, No. 208, Knights of Columbus; the Union League Club of Jersey City, the Albany Club of Albany, and the Wolfert's Roost Country Club. He is also identified with those organizations which pertain directly to his profession, such as the New York County Lawyers' Association, the New York State Bar Association, the American Bar Association and the Albany County Bar Association.


Among the men who steadily followed one line of business for many years in this vicinity is Frederick Melvin Dressel, of Kingston, a brother of George Dressel. Mr. Dressel is a descendant of one of the families that came to Ulster County in Colonial days, and some members of this family have continued to reside here since. He is the son of John N. and Mary (Scharoche) Dressel. His father was a carpenter and contractor in Kingston for many years.

Frederick Melvin Dressel was born at Kingston, on April 6, 1886. He attended the public schools and Spencer's Business College at Kingston and later took a course in sanitary plumbing. For twenty-five years he as been occupied in the plumbing craft, and for the past five years he has been in business at No. 73 Albany Avenue, where he carries on his trade to the satisfaction of his many customers. For seven years, he has held the office of plumbing inspector, and in 1927 he was elected alderman for a term of two years. He is a Republican in politics and a member of the Kingstown Republican Club. He is also a member

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of Kingston Lodge, No. 10, Free and Accepted Masons; Mount Horeb Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; Rondout Commandery, Knights Templar; Cyprus Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine; Junior Order United American Mechanics, and the Knights of Pythias. He is also a member of the Kingston Club; the Methodist Episcopal Church, and life-member of the Laymen's Association of the New York Methodist Episcopal Church conference.

In 1910, at Kingston, Frederick Melvin Dressel married Charlotte Palen, daughter of Rufus Palen. They have one child: Frederick Melvin, Jr. The Palen family is of old Dutch ancestry, the family being founded in Kingston about 1765, and members thereof were identified with the Revolutionary period. Rufus Palen was a native of Samsonville, Ulster County, and superintendent of the quarry. The Palen ancestry dates back to 1623--the "Mayflower" period.


Though American for many generations, the origin of Mr. LeFever's family is unmistakably fixed by the name, which through the years has retained its original form. Driven from home by the Catholics' relentless persecution of the Huguenots, his progenitor, Isaac LeFever, or LeFevre, first found asylum in Holland, whence he migrated about 1664 to the New World, and settled in the region now included in Ulster County. Several of the family later took active part in the war for political freedom which separated the colonies from all Old World ties and wrote the first pages of the history of a new and vigorous republic. His grandfather, David LeFever, served in the Civil War as a corporal in the New York Infantry.

Lloyd R. LeFever, born on November 6, 1901, at Rosendale, New York, is the son of Ralph H. and Mary Campbell (Bowen) LeFever. His father, who is a real estate and insurance broker in Rosendale, has held many public offices, among them that of town clerk and a member of the Board of Education. Mr. LeFever was educated in the local schools, graduating from the Kingston High School in 1920. After a course at the New Paltz Normal School, he took charge of a country school for a time, before beginning his legal studies at the Albany Law School, where he was made a Bachelor of Laws in 1925. Before beginning his independent practice, he spent a year in the general practice of his profession with Ernest L. Boothby, an attorney of Albany, settling in Kingston on October 1, 1926.

While a student at the Albany Law School Mr. LeFever became a member of the Gamma Eta Gamma Fraternity. He is also affiliated with Kingston Lodge, No. 10, Free and Accepted Masons, and the Kingston Club. In politics he is numbered among the Republicans, and he belongs to the Baptist Church.


In the development and progress of New York State, the part taken by the network of modern, improved highways has been one of the most important factors in furthering the prosperity of the entire commonwealth, and in the commercial history of the State, one of the most prominent men in road-building is Ralph Benjamin Ward, of Suffern. Mr. Ward, although still a young man, has already achieved a position of importance in the realm of business as secretary and treasurer of the Ward Road & Mason Supply Company, which is one of the largest concerns of its kind in the State, and the foremost contracting organization in this county. His career has been one of constant advance by reason of his unflagging energy and determination to succeed, coupled with a sincere regard for the rights of others and business principles of the highest type, his ambition never faltering even though he has to overcome many difficulties.

Mr. Ward was born in Suffern, November 7, 1892, son of Charles H. and Lizzie (Roe) Ward. Charles H. Ward was engaged for many years in mercantile affairs and is now living retired in Suffern.

Ralph Benjamin Ward was educated in the public schools of Suffern, and later completed a course in bookkeeping at the Packard Business School. He began his active career by working at a stone crusher for the Ramapo Trap Rock Company and he continued in this work for eight years, acquiring a splendid foundation for his future business life and familiarizing himself thoroughly with road building materials and the various details of this industry. In 1916, Mr. Ward decided to engage in business independently, and accordingly, he organized the firm of Ward Brothers, for the handling of road materials and the conduct of general contracting. The enterprise was a success from the start and, in 1922, the firm was incorporated as the Ward Road &

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Mason Supply Company, with Mr. Ward as secretary and treasurer. The demands for the products of this concern have grown to large proportions and the company now utilizes fifty motor-trucks in the operation of their extensive interests, furnishing materials and supplies for most of the roads built in Rockland and conducting a contracting business which has gained a reputation for absolute dependability and durability of all its projects. Mr. Ward is a prominent factor in the financial life of this community, being a director of the Ramapo Trust Company of Spring Valley. In the civic and fraternal activities of his community, he takes a constructive interest and is a popular member of the Ramapo Lodge, No. 589, Free and Accepted Masons. His political adherence is given to the Republican Party, in the affairs of which he takes an active part, particularly with regard to all campaigns in the interest of public welfare and advancement.

Ralph Benjamin Ward married, on March 18, 1922, at Suffern, Grace Edwina Huene, daughter of Edward and Ida (Spillman) Huene.


Modern products of the manufacturers' art demand such a high order of excellence that the finishing touches must be made by trained artisans of great skill. This particularly applies to such creations as high-grade automobiles, the bodies of which must make their appeal in beauty to the artistic eye as successfully as their motors must to the practical man. In this list of artists there are few more expert than William Henry Mott, of Kingston, a highly trained, expert automobile painter and finisher, who has devoted ten years of his art to practical application. Such men are needed more and more as the miraculous growth of the industry calls for its proportionate number of workers, for in large measure the output of a high-grade car is largely dependent upon its external appearance. Potential purchasers are first attracted by the beauty of a car, the examination of the motor following satisfaction of appearance. William Henry Mott has the reputation of being able to produce these results in high degree, thus making him a valuable unit in a great business.

William Henry Mott was born in Cohoes, New York, October 24, 1892, a son of William Henry and Margaret Bell (Vanderwerken) Mott. The elder Mott was an engineer and for many years acted in the capacity of precinct captain on New York City in the interests of Tammany Hall. His wife comes of an old Dutch family of Colonial Days. Their son, William, was educated in the New York public schools. His first essay into business took him to the purchasing department of the Scandinavian Trust Company, but for the last ten years he has devoted himself exclusively to his profession in painting and refinishing automobiles. He has traveled practically all over the World, having enlisted in the United States Navy in 1909 and remaining until the close of the World War. Prior to that he had been at the occupation of Vera Cruz and on other important duties. He attained the rank of first-class seaman. He is a member of Kingston Lodge, No. 10, Free and Accepted Masons.

Mr. Mott married, at Far Rockaway, New York, October 11, 1916, Minna Alma Richter, of Kingston, daughter of Herman Richter, a retired farmer and real estate operator. Their children are: 1. Robert Oliver, born January 13, 1925. 2. Virginia Carolina, born October 17, 1926.


Among the younger attorneys of Albany, New York, who give promise of making a high mark in the legal profession, is Joseph Greenberg, whose offices are at No. 82 State Street. Although only in his twenty-ninth years, Mr. Greenberg has been practicing general law since 1921, and in the intervening years he has build up an extensive and highly desirable clientele.

Joseph Greenberg, who was born in Providence, Rhode Island, May 20, 1898, the son of Bernard and Jeannette Greenberg, the former for many years a commercial tailor in Albany, received his early education in the public schools of Albany, and after graduating from the high school, entered the Albany Law School and subsequently received his degree of Bachelor of Laws from that institution, in 1920. It is interesting to note here that while at school he was honor man of his class and was elected to the Justinian Honorary Legal Fraternity. His law course was interrupted by the entrance of American in the World War and his answer to the call of his country, during which time he served as first-class fireman in the Untied States Navy. After completing his law course he was admitted to the New York State Bar and at once became secretary to Judge Frank Cooper, which office he held until September, 1923, when he established himself in private practice and is nor regarded with respect and admiration by all fellow-members of his profession, having dis-

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tinguished himself most creditably in his specialty, Federal work.

Mr. Greenberg is a member of the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, and the Albany County Bar Association. He is a Republican in his political affiliations and takes an active interest in all local and State party politics. His fraternal affiliations are with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Loyal Order of Moose and the Knights of Pythias, of which he is Chancellor Commander. He is also a member of the Jewish faith, and is president of the Philodoxia Honoraries of the Albany High School.


Accounted one of the outstanding men on Gloversville, Joseph Michael Rubin is senior partner of the firm of Joseph M. Rubin & Sons, manufacturers of fine dress gloves for men and lined gloves for women. The firm is among those of major importance to the prosperity of the city, and draws annually thousands of dollars to it; for Joseph M. Rubin & Sons sell large quantities of their merchandise. A number of the greater department stores in the United States, in the East, Middle West and South, handle the Rubin gloves, and repeat orders come inconstantly from retailers who are pleased with the quality of goods offered. Mr. Rubin is a practical glove man, trained in the manufacture of gloves from boyhood days in Europe. His conscience would not permit him, knowingly, to allow one single pair of gloves below standard of quality to leave the factory. His is the worthy pride of craft that makes for success, and which has, indeed, proven the cause of the success of the Rubin organization. More, he owns great ability in commercial management, equal to his skill as master craftsman. Joseph M. Rubin & Sons are solid financially; with a high credit rating, able to secure credit wherever desired. As manufacturer, as a personality, and as a citizen, Mr. Rubin retains the sincere regard of all who now him.

Joseph Michael Rubin was born in Riga, Russia, on the German border, February 28, 1869, a son of Louis and Rachael Rubin. He attended the schools of his native community, and early went to work as apprentice to a glove-maker. At the age of twenty years he was admitted to be qualified to manufacture gloves, as a finished workman, master of the craft. In 1892 he came to the Untied States. For three years he worked with Meyers Glove manufacturers, and for two years with Alder's. Then, in 1897, at the age of twenty-eight years, he set up in business for himself as glove manufacturer, in New York City. Prosperity attended the venture, and it grew steadily, until finally it became advisable to remove his factory to the hub of the American glove industry. It was in 1919 that Mr. Rubin brought his organization to Gloversville, where output has increased measurably. The firm employs one hundred and twenty-five hands, continuously, and among these are many of the most skilled glove craftsmen in the country. Mr. Rubin himself keeps close watch on the workmanship put into his product, and, should he see a workman doing a thing wrongly, personally corrects him, instructing him as a teacher would instruct a pupil. Purposeful, forceful, firm, he is yet gentle and patient. His men have cause to show him loyalty.

While Mr. Rubin is busily occupied with the responsibilities of his organization, he still finds time for community activity, taking part with suggestion and material support in various movements calculated to benefit the community as a whole, either directly through city government or indirectly through increased prosperity to its industries. Politically, Mr. Rubin has constantly allied himself with the principles of the Republican Party. He holds in it some influence, which he exercises quietly, as is his manner, and to good effect, with rather more thought to the welfare of the people at large than to that of the advancement of the party as such. He is affiliated with the Hebrew fraternal society, Beth' El, and with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, New York City. Also he is a member of the Glove Manufacturers' Association and the Association Club of Gloversville. He attends the Community Church. Toward charity he is both sympathetic and generous; giving liberally to all just appeals, without regard for race or creed whence the appeals may emanate.

Joseph Michael Rubin married, in New York City, December 4, 1894, Bessie Levy, daughter of Hyman and Hannah Levy. To this union were born children: 1. Louis, October 21, 1895. 2. David, November 20, 1896. 3. Max, January 1, 1900. 4. Harry, May 26, 1902. 5. Abraham Lester, May 5, 1908.


The career of Maxwell Copelof affords inspiration and instruction to every ambitious youth in a day when so much is heard about the door of opportunity being closed to the individual who is poor and without influence. While yet a lad,

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Maxwell Copelof came to this country among a strange people who spoke an unknown tongue. He quickly mastered their language and speaks it with fluency and perfection of accent and enunciation that puts most native sons to shame. He has risen from obscurity to a prominent place in the business world by reason of his acumen, indefatigable industry and a morality as fine in practice as it is in principle. He has not been spoiled by success. During all the years of his own struggle he gave generously of his time and efforts, as he is still doing, to aid in the industrial advancement and Americanization of those adventurous, courageous should who come to these shores in pursuit of material advancement and a wider opportunity for political and religious expression.

Maxwell Copelof was born in Kovno, then a province of Russia, but now capital of Lithuania, on June 10, 1879, son of Herman L. and Sarah (Carnofsky) Copelof. He was a small lad when his father died, and, soon after, his mother brought her small sons to Boston, Massachusetts, believing that in America her ambitions for their future stood a better chance of realization. That was in 1893. Young Maxwell attended the public schools for a year and then, in order to augment the family income, he went to work. His ambition for an education, however, was not so easily satisfied, and he attended the evening high school for a number of years. since then he has been an omnivorous reader of worth-while literature; specializing, perhaps, in history, economics, and sociology, subjects the importance of which was impressed upon him by his early experience and environment. His first work was in a wholesale drygoods concern, where he remained for bout two years. he then found employment ina line of business with which he has ever since been identified--women's clothing. His second employer was Oscar Grosberg, retailed of cloaks. Remaining in that position less than a year, he went into the large department store of R. H. White & Company, where he had wider opportunities to observe the methods of discovering and catering to the clothing needs of women.

During all these years he had been practicing thrift and missing no opportunity to acquire knowledge that would be of value to him in a business of his own. In 1901, at the early age of twenty-two, he felt that the time had arrived to venture into business on his own account. So he started in the manufacture of women's skirts at No. 149 Summer Street, under the firm name of M. & C. Skirt Company. Soon afterward the business was incorporated under the same name, with Mr. Copelof a treasurer and general manager. From a small beginning with about half a dozen employees the business was developed to a point where, in 1917, it gave employment to four hundred people, with national distribution of its product. Soon after the entrance of the United States into the World War, labor trouble arose and other adverse conditions appeared which forced the company to give up business. At that time it occupied 33,000 feet of floor space at No. 9. Federal Court. Then, for a time, the company tried to operate with small manufacturing plants scattered over New England. But, owing to war conditions, the skirt business declined, and thus a business that had been built up by close and strenuous application to a splendid success suffered, through no fault of the management, a decline to the point where it had to be abandoned.

Nothing daunted by this keen disappointment, Mr. Copelof went to New York City and entered the employ of Morris W. Haft & Brothers, in whose business he soon acquired an interest. He remained with that company nearly three years as sales manger, helping to build its business to large proportions. In 1921, Mr. Copelof organized his present business under the name of Copelof, Stillman & Company. Incorporated, himself becoming its president, treasurer and general manager. This company controls the output of a number of manufacturing plants giving employment altogether to six hundred people. The products come under the head of women's wear and have national distribution.

Mr. Copelof is a member of the advisory board of the Central National Bank. In Boston, he became interested in vocational education, and, in his capacity as an officer of the Needle Trades Division of the Boston School Committee, he did much to promote the adoption of such trades by Native Americans and the learning of the English language and acquirement of American ideas and ideals by the foreign-born. He is one of the organizers of the National Wholesale Women's Wear Association, of which he is president.

He is a member of Monitor Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, Royal Arch Masons; Massachusetts Consistory, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite; Aleppo Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine; Adoniram

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Council, Royal and Select Masters, and Trinity Commandery, Knights Templar, both the last-named bodies of Flushing, Long Island. Mr. Copelof is a member of Glen Oaks Golf and Country Club, and the Advertising Club and the Press Club, both of New York City.

Maxwell Copelof married Ada Berry Costigan, daughter of Hosea R. Costigan, of Stockton, Maine. They have three children; 1. Dorothy E., married Robert Tullis, and has one son, Robert Jr. 2. Maxine M., married John Traynor. 3. Marjorie L.


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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